Papal Smack Down!

“The Church’s Charitable Work Is Inseparable from Her Work Of Proclaiming The Gospel!

The Church Must Offer Our Contemporaries Not Only Material Assistance But Care For Their Souls!”


In light of the ever growing scandal of Catholic organizations providing funding to organizations that are in direct conflict with Church teaching, Pope Benedict has issued a Motu Proprio (letter).  In his Motu Proprio,  Pope Benedict makes it clear that he is not happy with the abuses involving some of the Catholic Church’s social justice organizations.   The following are highlights of the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio concerning authentic charity.

Pope Benedict XVI-“The Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility: of proclaiming the word of God (kerygma-martyria), celebrating the sacraments (leitourgia) and exercising the ministry of charity (diakonia). These duties presuppose each other and are inseparable”

It is important, however, to keep in mind that “practical activity will always be insufficient, unless it visibly expresses a love for man, a love nourished by an encounter with Christ” (ibid., 34). In carrying out their charitable activity, therefore, the various Catholic organizations should not limit themselves merely to collecting and distributing funds, but should show special concern for individuals in need and exercise a valuable educational function within the Christian community, helping people to appreciate the importance of sharing, respect and love in the spirit of the Gospel of Christ. The Church’s charitable activity at all levels must avoid the risk of becoming just another form of organized social assistance (cf. ibid., 31).

Nevertheless, to the extent that such activities are promoted by the Hierarchy itself, or are explicitly supported by the authority of the Church’s Pastors, there is a need to ensure that they are managed in conformity with the demands of the Church’s teaching and the intentions of the faithful, and that they likewise respect the legitimate norms laid down by civil authorities. In view of these requirements, it became necessary to establish in the Church’s law certain essential norms inspired by the general criteria of canonical discipline, which would make explicit in this sector of activity the legal responsibilities assumed by the various subjects involved, specifying in particular the position of authority and coordination belonging to the diocesan Bishop. At the same time, the norms in question need to be broad enough to embrace the significant diversity of the institutions of Catholic inspiration which are engaged as such in this sector, whether those originating from the Hierarchy or those born of the direct initiative of the faithful, received and encouraged by the local Pastors. While it was necessary to lay down norms in this regard, there was also a need to consider the requirements of justice and the responsibility of Bishops before the faithful, with respect for the legitimate autonomy of each institution.

The diocesan Bishop (cf. canon 134 § 3 CIC and canon 987 CCEO) exercises his proper pastoral solicitude for the service of charity in the particular Church entrusted to him as its Pastor, guide and the one primarily responsible for that service.

 The diocesan Bishop encourages and supports the initiatives and works of service to neighbor in his particular Church, and encourages in the faithful the spirit of practical charity as an expression of the Christian life and sharing in the mission of the Church, as indicated in canons 215 and 222 CIC and 25 and 18 CCEO.

It is the responsibility of the diocesan Bishop to ensure that in the activities and management of these agencies the norms of the Church’s universal and particular law are respected, as well as the intentions of the faithful who made donations or bequests for these specific purposes (cf. canons 1300 CIC and 1044 CCEO).

To ensure an evangelical witness in the service of charity, the diocesan Bishop is to take care that those who work in the Church’s charitable apostolate, along with due professional competence, give an example of Christian life and witness to a formation of heart which testifies to a faith working through charity. To this end, he is also to provide for their theological and pastoral formation, through specific curricula agreed upon by the officers of various agencies and through suitable aids to the spiritual life.

 It is the duty of the diocesan Bishop and the respective parish priests to see that in this area the faithful are not led into error or misunderstanding; hence they are to prevent publicity being given through parish or diocesan structures to initiatives which, while presenting themselves as charitable, propose choices or methods at odds with the Church’s teaching.

To read the entire text from the Holy Father’s Motu Proprio, Click here.

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8 comments to Papal Smack Down!

  • “Every Legitimate Theological & Canonical article of the RC Church states that the Laity have the RIGHT to be taught the Orthodox Gospel of Christ, the Authentic Traditions, & the Teachings of the Doctors of the Church.”

    I didn’t know this. It makes sense but didn’t know it had been delineated. Now that I do, I’ll ask for Orthodoxy at every parish I visit (thank God, He led me to a home parish that is Orthodox. May the Lord preserve it & our priests & deacons.)

  • Br. Christopher Sale

    I agree Father Doctor, I’m critized constantly for following the teaching of the church.Mostly by priest who say I’m to old school. Well I have no plans on bending the rules. I recently spoke up about a group of practicing gays receiving communion every Sunday at the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral. I was told by a priest to shut up or face disciplinary action. I complained about this priest at the Archdiocese and he was called to the carpet for his actions. We must stand up for the teachings of the church. Why should I face disciplinnary action when this priest is being disobedient to the teachings.

  • It is so good for us Catholics to have such a Holy and Courageous Leader as Pope Benedict XVI. Now let us go after the Colleges and Universities that call themselves Catholic but are far from it!!

  • Kathleen Riney

    Thank God for our holy, suffering, abused, Pope Benedict!!! NO ONE can say they “didn’t know any better” when we stand before Christ!! It’s our job to Look for what the Pope is saying…& lately, Benedict has come out with a real Zinger on an almost daily basis!! All of which have been roundly ignored by the American Catholic church. Come on guys, start calling them by their right names. “Words” have meaning!! The financial drain from the recent scandals is the only reason that the Bishops involved have not openly proclaimed this BREAK! It’s been planned for years…but they never figured on having to pay financially for what was allowed. This thing with “Catholic” Charities is nothing new. It’s been going on for over 40 years! Employees of CC, flew around the Country, First Class, & stayed at 5 star Hotels for their “meetings.”. That’s just for starters…Most of the workers were liberal, pro-choice, ANTI- “Humanae Vitae”, & in the same boat as the so called “Liberal” catholics & women priests, gay marriage proponents, that we see today. The only difference is, up until 8-10 yrs ago, they kept quiet. NONE of this is NEW!! That’s my point. That, & the fact that a huge number of the Laity was on their side! These are the ones who ran & continue to run, many Parishes. They bombarded the Bishops office if an Orthodox Priest said that “Contraception is a Mortal Sin”! The Bishop ‘caved’ & sent the ‘offending’ Priest to some small Parish out in the middle of Nowhere. Some of these brave Priests were even Forced to have a Psychiatric Evaluation!! I personally knew an excellent Psychiatrist whose ‘ministry’ to our Church was to go to the aid & defense of many of these Priests! A HUGE Scandal! I have yet to see anything written or said about that!! So, please understand…the Bishops know very well what Pope Benedict has said & what he KNOWS has been going on!! But now, you will know where your Bishop stands, by how he reacts to the Pope. Not just what he says, but what Changes are made. The Laity needs to pray for all of our Clergy, They also need to respectfully let them know that they WANT Orthodoxy! Every Legitimate Theological & Canonical article of the RC Church states that the Laity have the RIGHT to be taught the Orthodox Gospel of Christ, the Authentic Traditions, & the Teachings of the Doctors of the Church.

  • TG

    Thank you, Holy Father. I hope the bishops in charge of the Campaign for Human Development and Catholic Relief Services are listening.

  • […] Papal Smack Down! Posted in: Courageous Prst   Tags: gospel, pope benedict xvi […]

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