Father Michael Rodriguez: Truth or Freedom?

Did Christ Really Die For Liberty?

By: Father Michael Rodriquez

(www.Remnant Newspaper.com)

On the verge of being condemned to death, Jesus Christ responds to Pontius Pilate, “For this I was born, and for this came I into the world, that I should give testimony to the truth.”  (Jn 18:37)  Jesus Christ was not born for “freedom of conscience” or “religious liberty”; He was born to bring the truth, and hence salvation, to a fallen world.  Erat lux vera . . . He was the true light.   Only adherence to the truth nurtures our God-given freedom and allows it to thrive and prosper properly.  Listen carefully to our Savior’s own words, “the truth shall make you free.” (Jn 8:32)  Pope Leo XIII, Vicar of Christ, teaches, “the best parent and guardian of liberty amongst men is truth” (Immortale Dei 40, November 1, 1885).

On January 20, 2012, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that nearly all employers, including the Roman Catholic Church, will soon be forced to cover the cost of contraceptives, sterilization, and abortifacient drugs in their health insurance plans.  Fortunately, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has spoken out against this brazen and blasphemous assault on the holy law of God, the sanctity of life, and the good of souls.  Unfortunately, their response has thus far been spiritually feeble and morally anemic, i.e. it has revolved largely around the protection of religious liberty, freedom of conscience, and First Amendment rights, while remaining devoid of explicit reference to the absolute moral truths revealed by God and entrusted to the Holy Catholic Church.

Almost all 21st century Americans, and most modern-day Catholics, mistakenly assume that freedom is an absolute good.  In his 1993 Encyclical Letter, Veritatis Splendor, Pope John Paul II writes extensively about human freedom.  In paragraph #34, he teaches, “there can be no morality without freedom [because] it is only in freedom that man can turn to what is good.”  The raison d’être of freedom is for one to decide in favor of what is true, beautiful, and good.  Our benevolent God has blessed man with free will precisely so that man may freely choose to submit to God’s commandments.

Already at the end of the nineteenth century, Pope Leo XIII was warning us about many who were “perverting the very idea of freedom” with “false and absurd notions.”  In paragraph #1 of his 1888 Encyclical Letter on the nature of true liberty, Libertas Præstantissimum, he wrote, “Man, indeed, is free to obey his reason, to seek moral good and to strive unswervingly after his last end.”  Pope Leo XIII is reminding us that we are to exercise our freedom in order to:  (1) obey reason and accept the truth, (2) do what is morally good, (3) save our souls, which is man’s final end.  “The supreme end to which human liberty must aspire is God.”  (Libertas Præstantissimum 11)  Our Holy Father also alerts us to the obvious danger:  by abusing his freedom and choosing evil, man will “disturb rightful order and fall headlong into the destruction which he has voluntarily chosen.” (Libertas Præstantissimum 1)

In Veritatis Splendor, #32, Pope John Paul II laments that “certain currents of modern thought have gone so far as to exalt freedom to such an extent that it becomes an absolute.”  In terms of metaphysics, placing freedom “above” truth is a calamitous error.  Morally speaking, freedom and “individual rights” may never be divorced from the truth.  No one can claim a “right” to espouse moral error or a false religion.

I hope and pray that our bishops will respond to the grace offered only to them as Successors of the Apostles.  Behold, dear Bishops, now is the acceptable time, now is the day of salvation!  (2 Cor 6:2)  The Health and Human Services “contraception mandate” is simply the latest manifestation of the pernicious moral relativism that continues to ravage both society and the Church.  In order to truly combat this hideous “smoke of satan,” our bishops must tread in the hallowed footsteps of the Apostles, cast aside false notions of “religious liberty,” and proclaim the truth with valor, “Whoever wishes to be saved must, above all, keep the Catholic Faith.  For unless a person keeps this Faith whole and entire, he will undoubtedly be lost forever.”  (Symbol of St. Athanasius)

With respect to the HHS “contraception mandate,” I urge our nation’s bishops to implement the following ten-point plan.

(1)  Pray to St. John Fisher, plead with him to intercede for you, and beg for the grace to imitate his indomitable example.  John Fisher (1469-1535) was a model bishop of the Diocese of Rochester for twenty-three years in an age when the lives of many bishops were less than edifying.  Under pressure from King Henry VIII, about 95% of the English bishops and clergy betrayed Our Lord and Holy Mother Church, but not Fisher.  On June 22, 1535, St. John Fisher, seventy-one years old and hardly able to walk, was taken from the Tower of London to nearby Tower Hill.  Upon the scaffold, right before he was beheaded, St. John Fisher spoke, “I am come here to die for Christ’s Catholic Church.  And I thank God . . . ”

(2)  Munus docendi:  teach the truth.  According to Apostolorum Successores (Directory for the Pastoral Ministry of Bishops, Feb. 22, 2004) 57, “As an authoritative teacher of the faith, the Bishop sets revealed truth at the heart of his pastoral action.”  Central to the bishop’s munus docendi (teaching office) is “to proclaim always and everywhere the moral principles of the social order.” (#120)  U.S. Bishops, please teach with clarity and charity that the following are intrinsic evils:  abortion, homosexual acts, contraception, and direct sterilization (against fertility) (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2271, 2357, 2370, 2399).  Use your full episcopal authority to instruct all Catholics that each of these mortal sins is never acceptable, no Catholic may support anyone else in committing these terrible crimes against God, and every single Catholic must oppose these sins both in the private and public spheres.

(3)  Devotion to Christ the King.  In order to govern with the mind and heart of Christ the Lord, a bishop must “lie prostrate” at the feet of Christus Rex.  U.S. Bishops, please read and study our Holy Father, Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical, Quas Primas (December 11, 1925), which established the Feast of Christ the King.  Pope Pius XI writes, “And we remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and His holy law out of their lives, that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics” (#1); “When once men recognize, both in private and in public life, that Christ is King, society will at last receive the great blessings of real liberty, well-ordered discipline, peace and harmony” (#19); and “Oh, what happiness would be Ours if all men, individuals, families and nations, would but let themselves be governed by Christ!” (#20)

(4)  Munus regendi:  “Catholic” politicians.  U.S. Bishops, please exercise your munus regendi (office of governing) by applying the truths of the Catholic religion, outside of which there is no salvation, to “Catholic” politicians.  It is not at all sufficient to urge the laity to “write to their senators and congressmen.”  You are the Successors of the Apostles!  You are the ones who have been strengthened by the Holy Spirit!  You are the ones who have been blessed with apostolic grace!  For the sake of the purity of our Catholic Faith, you must work diligently and prudently to win over the minds and hearts of so many “Catholic” politicians who have lost, or are on the brink of losing, the Faith.  No Catholic politician may in any way support these sins (i.e. abortion, homosexual unions, contraception, direct sterilization) against God, the truth, human life, and mankind itself.  If a “Catholic” public figure remains obstinate in such sin and persists in giving public scandal, you Bishops must, for the good of souls, issue the necessary excommunication, always with the goal and hope of the sinner’s eventual repentance and conversion.

(5)  Munus regendi:  the lay faithful.  U.S. Bishops, please exercise your munus regendi by applying the truths of the Catholic religion, outside of which there is no salvation, to the lay faithful.  With paternal solicitude, and always bearing in mind the salvation of souls, take the necessary measures to correct and discipline the lay faithful who are obstinate in supporting politicians and public officials who condone or promote abortion, homosexual unions, contraception, or direct sterilization.

(6)  Munus regendi:  the presbyterate.  U.S. Bishops, please exercise your munus regendi by applying the truths of the Catholic religion, outside of which there is no salvation, to your presbyterates.  Out of fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Church, and for the good of souls, insist that every single priest make it a pastoral priority to teach on the intrinsic evil of abortion, homosexual acts, contraception, and direct sterilization.  Be vigilant, as is proper to your office, and provide, as needed, the appropriate encouragement, formation, correction, or disciplinary action with respect to your priests.  Every single Catholic bishop and priest should teach what the Roman Catholic Church teaches.  No excuses, no exceptions, abundant joy, overflowing charity!

(7) Foster true participation of the laity in the life of the Church.  Apostolorum Successores, 110 (b), touches on the importance of participation in politics by the lay faithful, particularly in “addressing fundamental moral principles which do not admit of exception, derogation or compromise” and included in this list are “abortion, euthanasia, and the promotion and protection of the family based on monogamous marriage between a man and a woman.”  Thus, well-aware of our country’s dire need for authentic Catholic politicians, every U.S. Bishop should make it a concern to foster these “vocations.”  It is morally irresponsible to neglect the formation, encouragement, and support of true Catholic statesmen, while demanding that the faithful go out and vote when the only alternative available to them is settling for “the lesser of two evils.”

(8)  Restore Catholic Marriage and the Family.  Apostolorum Successores, 202, states, “As the one primarily responsible for the pastoral care of the family, which is the foundation and original cell of society and of the Church, the Bishop should establish this apostolate as a clear priority within the diocesan pastoral program.”  In order to carry out this apostolate in a manner that is truly faithful to the perennial teachings of Holy Mother Church, I urge the U.S. Bishops to read and study our Holy Father, Pope Pius XI’s Encyclical on Christian Marriage, Casti Connubii (December 31, 1930).  God willing, the core of each diocese’s pastoral program to restore Catholic Marriage and the Family will consist of promoting the following truths:  chastity before and within marriage, the primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children, St. Joseph as the role model for all Catholic fathers, the Blessed Virgin Mary as the role model for all Catholic mothers, the Divine Child as the role model for all Catholic children, modest dress, especially for Catholic women.

(9)  Prayer.  St. Paul writes, “Put you on the armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.  For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places.  Therefore take unto you the armor of God, that you may be able to resist in the evil day, and to stand in all things perfect.”  (Eph 6:11-13).  Dear U.S. Bishops, we are in the midst of an epic spiritual battle, and truth be told, we are currently getting whipped.  Please, lead the priests and faithful of your dioceses as often as possible in Holy Hours before the Blessed Sacrament  and in the recitation of the Holy Rosary.  Sancta Dei Genetrix, ora pro nobis.

(10)  Munus sanctificandi:  the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  I chose to save the most important one for last.  In order to crush the diabolic HHS mandate, and every other evil that is afflicting the Church and society, Bishops must exercise their munus sanctificandi (office of sanctifying) and work tirelessly to restore the Mass of All Ages.  Fr. Philip Wolfe, FSSP, preached very wisely in 2003, “What we do in the Liturgy determines what goes on out in the world.  The most divine thing we can participate in this side of heaven is the Sacred Liturgy.  During the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass the floodgates of heaven open up and all the graces come pouring down off the altar, through the congregation, out across to all creation.  The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important thing in the universe.  When things are properly done, the Liturgy raises earth up towards the level of heaven and it reorders and fixes the damage done by Adam and his descendants.”

Lex orandi, lex credendithe Church believes as she prays.  (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1124)  If the majority of Catholics no longer believe as the Church believes, e.g. that abortion, contraception, and homosexual activity are intrinsically evil and thus forbidden, this is necessarily a consequence of Catholics no longer worshipping God as the Church has always worshipped God.  U.S. Bishops, please be obedient to the liturgical directives of Pope Benedict XVI.  He refers to the Roman Missal promulgated in 1962 as “a precious treasure to be preserved” (Universæ Ecclesiæ 8, April 30, 2011), and declares that it “must be given due honor for its venerable and ancient usage” (Summorum Pontificum, art. 1, July 7, 2007).  Even more importantly, please be obedient to the venerable Roman liturgical tradition of two millennia, and the “timeless” liturgical truth transmitted by all the Popes in succession.  As the glorious Roman Rite spreads its divine beauty and aroma throughout  U.S. dioceses, the true lex orandi is sure to restore the true lex credendi.

The Son of God did not come down from heaven to “be free” and guarantee “First Amendment rights.”  No, He took flesh from the Immaculate Virgin Mary, in order to die on the cross, vanquish sin, and witness to the truth.  Only the truth safeguarded in the “womb” of the Catholic Church can set us free.

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15 comments to Father Michael Rodriguez: Truth or Freedom?

  • Ana

    What a wonderful priest he is! I saw him only one time on FB and recognize his greatness. How can I contact him? My family and I are without the spiritual help and I fear for our souls. If anyone knows his email please let me know and I’ll be eternally grateful.

  • Now a concerted effort being made to silence you by certain fragments within My Church

    My dearly beloved children, today you finally realized how much My Most Holy Word is not only opposed but rejected by certain members of My church.
    Those who are not fit to fall at My feet and beg for mercy, proclaim themselves fit to judge My Sacred Words given to mankind to save their souls.
    I am a God full of mercy, full of desire to save all of My children and am slow to anger.
    Today, My patience was tested as another assault, this time from a man who professes to speak in My name, was made to undermine these messages.
    You, My daughter may not, from this day forth, engage with any such representative without first asking for My permission.
    There is now a concerted effort being made to silence you by a certain fragment within My church.
    My children, these are the times when the faith of My most ardent followers, including members of My Church. will be put to the test in ways not witnessed since My crucifixion.
    Just as I was viciously treated and condemned to death for daring to speak the truth, when I came the first time so, too, will the same treatment be meted out to My prophets in the lead up to My Second Coming.
    They will be sneered at, ridiculed and made to look foolish when they spread My Word.
    They will be accused of heresy by those who proclaim My teachings but who fail to recognize My Word given to the world today.
    Be fearful those of you who attempt to block the pathway I now lay down before you in order to save humanity
    .
    You will be punished.

    You will have to answer to Me for the injustice you inflict on those sent to proclaim the Word of God in these, the end times.
    Reject the prophets of the Lord and you reject the Word of the Lord.
    Your arrogance blinds you to the truth and you do not have the right to represent Me.
    You offend Me greatly and your rejection of My Holy Word wounds Me deeply.
    I weep at your cruel rejection of Me while, at the same time, you preach a watered down version of the truth of My teachings.
    You must spend time now in Eucharist Adoration before you can communicate with Me to enable Me to guide you on the path of discernment.
    Examine your reasons for rejecting My Words.
    Is it because you do not want to hear the truth of the schism which is to grip the Catholic Church?
    Is it because you do not accept that the Church has been infested by the deceiver?
    Don’t you understand that this has all been foretold?
    You must pray so that you will see the truth and come to Me for guidance before it is too late.

    Your Jesus

    Redeemer of all Mankind

  • ANNE P.

    BECAUSE SOULS PERISH FOR THE LACK OF KNOWLEDGE ! –

    Yes, the TRUTH takes priority. But God gave us our free will so we will come to Him not through coersion but Love, and we must not let our government take it away.
    When speaking to government officials you must speak on terms they will understand since most of them are not Catholic.

    There are two major areas that need improvement (which include freedom and properly formed conscience) –
    1) actively and consistently teaching by Bishops and Priests the entire “CATHECISM of the CATHOLIC CHURCH, Second Edition”,
    and our obedient studying of it;

    2) And stopping SCANDAL and SACRILEGE through the enforcement of Canon 915. Scandal and Sacrilege loses Souls.

    Contraception, Sterilization, Freedom, a Well formed Conscience are all in the CCC and are teachings of the Church.
    I urge all Priests, Catholics and those who want to know what the Catholic Church believes to read the CCC.

    “ The Catechism of the Catholic Church, which I approved … and the publication of which I today order by virtue of my Apostolic Authority, is a statement of the Church’s faith and of catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition and the Church’s Magisterium. I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion. “ – Pope John Paul II. (pg 5)

    “….the Catechism has raised throughout the world, even among non-Christians, and confirms its purpose of being presented as a full, complete exposition of Catholic doctrine, enabling everyone to know what the Church professes, celebrates, lives, and prays in her daily life.” – Pope John Paul II (pg xiv)

  • Joe Rivera

    In 4) Munus regendi: “Catholic” politicians and (6) Munus regendi: the presbyterate, Fr. Rodriguez speaks of the “truth.” Bishops and priests should be teaching us the laity the “truth.” However, we are not being taught the “truth” because in my opinion we have weak leaders in our priests and bishops. My brothers and sisters let us pray for our clergy so that they may stand up and be courageous and start teaching all of us through out the nation and the globe the “truth” which Fr. Rodriguez is writing about. My prayers are with you Fr. Rodriguez.

  • I admire Father Rodriguez very much. What he is suggesting here though is converting the U.S.A to the Catholic church, which would be wonderful. Do not think it is going to happen. However the fact that fallen away Catholics like Glen Beck says, now we are all Catholics, in defense of our Religious Liberty. I think that all other Christians and Jews join in support of the Catholic is a step in the right direction, to some day draw them in.

    My own Timothy Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of N.Y. and President of the Bishop’s Conference has said on EWTN, that we have not taught our own people. We have to get our own people to know the truth, before we can get others to join us.

    When I try to tell the truth about confession or contraception or what ever I am pushed aside because there have been priests that have told them, “you don’t have to go to Confession”, where contraception is concerned, bishops have already paid for it. Some priests have actually say after Vatican II, “Use your own judgement, do what you have to do”.
    Something that will help us draw people in is the stand all the bishops are taking now.

    As for telling the truth, look at what happened to rick Santorum who gave a talk at Ava Maria University in ’08 saying that saten wanted to take over this country. True? Yes, absolutely, But, the man is being made to look like a really sick individual.

    Something that I always emphasize is that from day one the Catholic Church has taught abortion is intrinsically evil, that contraception is intrinsically evil. Now all these 2011 years later we find DNA, proving that a person resides inside his/her Mother. Some, many today, cause abortion. We did not always know all this, but God did and now science is affirming that truth.

    God Bless this good priest. It has to be so hard for him.

    Patricia

    Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus

  • Poor Father Michael. He has to know that there is salvation outside of the Catholic Church. He needs more years in the priesthood to gain a heart. He is still too young and hard-headed. I pray for him now and then.

  • Praise You Lord, for the gift of Your servant, Fr Michael Rodriguez. I ask You Lord, to continue to empower him with a spirit of courgage and boldness as You empowered Your Apostles, who said, “whether it is right in the sight of God for us to obey you rather than God, you be the judges”, Acts 4:19. After reading your 10 point plan Father, is it possible that the first thing that needs to happen is the complete renewal and reform of the Bishops as called for in the opening paragraphs of the Vatican11 documents. if possible, father, Maybe you could address this renewal of the Bishops in a future message. Thank you for your witness and service to Our Lord and Savior, Jesus. Bernie W.

  • Peter Alexander

    Father Rodriguez, God bless you my brother. You have reminded us all that it is the truth that will set us free. And knowing the truth, we will be free and we will defend our liberty, especially Religious Liberty. May each of us return to Jesus’ message and seek the truth of the Gospel. Standing together witnessing God’s truth as a united body of believers we will remind others as Father Rodriguez has for us that the truth is what sets us free and in truth we praise, worship and adore God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – three in one God. Amen. Peace, Peter ~

  • RJ

    I pray for and sympathize with all who are not currently blessed with a pastor that will speak the truth from the pulpit. To fill the void, I recommend augmenting with sermons from http://www.audiosancto.org. They can also be podcasted.

    I love Father Rodriguez and applaud him for his courageous stance in El Paso and subsequent obedience in being relocated to a remote place (somewhat of a persecution for speaking truth). The idea that defending religious liberty is incorrect is implausible.

    The Truth must undoubtedly be spoken but the religious freedom argument must be made as well. The HHS mandate is a violation of Religious Freedom. Unfortunately, this constitutionally protected right is used to allow para-religions such as atheism, modernism, paganism, relativism etc to speak out and offend the Truth. The Truth that Father Rodriguez spoke of. The hypocrisy of the government is being pointed out by the USCCB that one is allowed to exercise freedom so long as it is not Catholic and not True. The Bishops also point out that neither the constitution nor the president grants us our rights, they are chartered to defend our God given rights.

    The faithful are being coerced to not just violate their conscience but to offend God and thereby give their souls over to damnation. The flock needs defending and the Bishops are doing this. To argue moral theology with the presidential administration or HHS would be an exercise in futility. The First Amendment being upheld is what will thwart attempts to condemn souls. To use defending the flock as an analogy, one would fend off wolves with the staff, sling or other weapon not reason, rhetoric or some other ineffective tool. The Bishops must speak the language that will obtain the desired results. To quote the Holy Spirit from Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and simple as doves.” Think St. Thomas More.

    I agree that the ten point plan is efficacious and would like to see more of it in places where it is lacking. However, the argument is presented with a presumptuous tone. I pray for an increase in charity with truth. We must have both. May God Father Rodriguez and bestow continued graces.

  • Chris

    Thank you Father! Amazing and inspiring!

  • jude

    Thank You! I sent an article of the same nature (yours is better) to 4 of my churches and the diocese. They just won’t speak out on matters of sin because it is a rich community. Shameful.

  • tg

    God bless you, Father Rodriguez, for your courage to always speak the truth.

  • Terri

    Thank God for Fr. Rodriguez! We need multiple Fr. Rodriquez’s. In fact, we need a whole Church full!

  • Tim

    FINALLY! A member of the clergy gets it right. By coincidence I hammered on the same thing in a column for our archdiocesan paper (Guam) http://1timothy315.blogspot.com/2012/02/thus-spake-karl-marx.html

    Thank you, Father. By the way, Fr. Ochoa was the assistant pastor at my parish where I grew up in LA. Stick to your guns.

  • David Martin

    Does Fr. Michael Rodriguez have an email? I want to thank him for his outstanding article on Freedom.

    David Martin

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