Punishment Can Be An Act Of Love

“Bishops and Priests Should Not Apologize or Make Excuses
For the Teachings of Christ and the Church”

Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo

Philadelphia, Pa. (CNA).- When bishops and priests are hesitant in exercising their authority, the “father of lies” takes hold of the hearts and minds of the faithful, Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo warned recently.

“One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called ‘right to abortion’ … and still be able to receive Holy Communion?” the bishop said.

The continual reception of Communion by those who “so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil” creates “grave scandal” and undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church, he warned. The faithful can interpret these actions as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have “the responsibility to govern.”

Bishop Samuel Aquila, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, Bishop Aquila

Bishop Samuel Aquila

“If we honestly pray with the Gospel we can see that hesitancy and non-accountability is not the way of Jesus Christ, but rather it is a failure in the exercise of governance,” Bishop Aquila told a March 18 symposium in Philadelphia about the spirituality and identity of diocesan priests.

While Jesus provides criteria in Matthew 18 for correcting a brother or sister who sins, the bishop questioned whether Catholics follow this example.

If these criteria had been followed with those who dissented from Church teaching against contraception in 1968, he asked, “would we still be dealing with the problem today of those who dissent on contraception, abortion, same-sex unions, euthanasia and so many other teachings of the Church?”

He cited Pope Benedict XVI’s conversation with Peter Seewald in the book “Light of the Word,” where the Pope connected an anti-punishment mentality to the response that some Church officials have had to sexual abuse among clergy.

The awareness that punishment can be an act of love “ceased to exist,” the Pope said. “This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people.”

Pope Benedict said that love for the sinner and love for the person harmed are “correctly balanced” when the sinner is punished appropriately.

Bishops and priests should not apologize or make excuses for the teachings of Christ and the Church, Bishop Aquila exhorted. Rather, they should teach with “charity and unhesitating truth.”

The exercise of Church authority faces challenges because secular culture “makes man into god” and undermines any authority attributed to God. Bishops and priests should turn to Jesus Christ to learn how to exercise their authority in governing the Church, the Fargo bishop said.

Jesus was “direct” in calling people to conversion and to change their way of acting and thinking, he pointed out.

“This directness makes many of us uncomfortable today.

“We should follow his example and language, even if we do not use his precise words. His language is good to contemplate and definitely should challenge us to look at how we correct the faithful, including priests and bishops, and speak the truth especially with those who say they are with Christ and the Church but do not accept the teaching of Jesus and the Church.”

Jesus’ “forceful” language towards the Pharisees and Scribes “would never be tolerated today” but the Gospel writers did not hesitate to pass down his words, Bishop Aquila said.

“In love Jesus makes these direct statements to open the eyes of those whose hearts and minds are hardened. His straight talk, given in love for the person, desires the conversion and holiness of the person to the ways of God,” the bishop explained.

“(T)oo many people understand correction or punishment as not loving the other or as dominion over the other, and this is the work of ‘the father of lies.’ A reluctance or hesitancy to correct and properly punish does not invite the other into the truth that frees and ultimately fails in true charity.

“As servants of truth, of Christ, we will correct those who sin for their own good and for the love of the other, even if it leads to our own persecution and rejection,” Bishop Aquila said.

 

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7 comments to Punishment Can Be An Act Of Love

  • Gloria

    For God so loved the world. Punishment can be an act of love.!

  • Mary Bennett

    Please pray for congressman Todd Akin, from Missouri. I’m sure that everyone has heard of the controversy and orchestrated hysteria surrounding his comments. He is a good, honest man, and is being persecuted (especially by members of his own party) for his genuine pro-life stand. Please pray for him. He is not a Catholic, but he is much more pro-life than most of the “Catholic” politicians. Please pray for him and his family. He has even received death threats.

  • Dear Bishop Aquila,

    Part 1

    Thank you for stirring our Hearts to seek Our Lord.

    We are now witnessing the outcome from legalized abortion. A small number of the Children of God still weep, while others have allowed their eyes and ears to be shut, and their hearts turned into stone. Many have become callous and indifferent to the needy, the desolate and the outcasts of society. They no longer hear the Voice of the Church as they flee from the Light of the Church into darkness. It seems that addictions of all sorts have been sugarcoated as the world celebrates “freedom” to enter into a culture of death and self-destruction. But the “father of lies” has even more diabolical and sinister plans for those “children of God” that he and his ravenous wolves have mislead.

    Perhaps some of those in positions of power and influence suggest the possibility of expanding abortion to include those who are NO longer needed by society. Perhaps it is suggested that in order to ensure enough energy, food, recreation, freedom from crime, unemployment issues, monetary wealth, etc., the world might better thrive with about six billion less people. Perhaps those who follow the “father of lies” have convinced themselves that in the interest of building a better world six billion plus people will be “sealed” and targeted for new types of abortions. These people just might be exterminated within the next 20 years. I wonder if they will still be Pro-Abortion of self?

    Already it is being suggested that “printed bound books” are no longer needed. Imagine a law that says you may only keep “online books” and all other “printed bound books” (including the Holy Bible) must be handed in to your local designation depot for recycling. If you do not comply the new robotic police will be at your door marking you for extinction. Perhaps this future law may have found its seeds in the burning of a Holy Book by a pastor in the United States. His defiant act has caused death and destruction to innocent victims throughout the world.

    The first email I wrote became deleted by a click of the wrong button. The second email written in Word also became deleted. I prayed and asked God what lesson was I to learn from this. Perhaps not post or post again?

    Today those in positions of power know that the present “Internet Highway” will falter and self-destruct. America and most other countries are already prepared for this meltdown and are working on building a new Internet. I wonder that when the “lights go out” and the present Internet crashes will our personal information etc., be saved or will billions of people suddenly find themselves without any records that they ever existed.

    Robert Spellman http://www.fatimaprayers.com

  • Dear Bishop Aquila,

    Thank you for stirring our Hearts to seek Our Lord.

    We are now witnessing the outcome from legalized abortion. A small number of the Children of God still weep, while others have allowed their eyes and ears to be shut, and their hearts turned into stone. Many have become callous and indifferent to the needy, the desolate and the outcasts of society. They no longer hear the Voice of the Church as they flee into an even greater darkness.

    It seems that addictions of all sorts have been sugarcoated as the world celebrates “freedom” to enter into a culture of death and self-destruction. But the “father of lies” has even more diabolical and sinister plans for those “children of God” that he and his ravenous wolves have mislead.

    Perhaps some of those in positions of power and influence suggest the possibility of expanding abortion to include those who are NO longer needed by society. Perhaps it is suggested that in order to ensure enough energy, food, recreation, freedom from crime, unemployment issues, monetary wealth, etc., the world might better thrive with about six billion less people. Perhaps those who follow the “father of lies” have convinced themselves that in the interest of building a better world six billion plus people will be “sealed” and targeted for new types of abortions. These people just might be exterminated within the next 20 years. I wonder if they will still be Pro-Abortion of self?

    Already it is being suggested that “printed bound books” are no longer needed. Imagine a law that says you may only keep “online books” and all other “printed bound books” (including the Holy Bible) must be handed in to your local designation depot for recycling. If you do not comply the new robotic police will be at your door marking you for extinction. Perhaps this future law may have found its seeds in the burning of a Holy Book by a pastor in the United States. His defiant act has caused death and destruction to innocent victims throughout the world.

    The first email I wrote became deleted by a click of the wrong button. The second email written in Word also became deleted. I prayed and asked God what lesson was I to learn from this. Perhaps not post or post again?

    Today those in positions of power know that the present “Internet Highway” will falter and self-destruct. America and most other countries are already prepared for this meltdown and are working on building a new Internet. I wonder that when the “lights go out” and the present Internet crashes will our personal information etc., be saved or will billions of people suddenly find themselves without any records that they ever existed.

    Punishment

    It seems that everyday we find ourselves engulfed in “negative” news. We are now possibly facing Mega Storms / Earthquakes, etc. The scientists have recently confirmed that the axis of the earth has changed. People have come to doubt their leaders. People worry about stocks crashing. Some worry about those things that they will not be able to take with them when they leave this life and seem to have no worries about their eternal life. Some question a Loving God and if He exists at all. Atheism has entered into their minds by the “father of lies” as they listen with intent to the “false gods of man” while foolishly embracing satans lies.

    In New York City there is a cartoon show called “Family Guy” and is aired as a Family Show. In the musical introduction the voice says “Jesus is Death” and yet it is one of the most popular shows on TV. The Christian Community seems to choose to remain silent. For those who are concerned pray for the Victory of Jesus and Mary. Pray for the defeat of satan. Pray that those in Jesus Christ will awake from their slumber.

    Those who are awake in Christ know that all PUNISHMENTS and SUFFERINGS are precious gifts that are sent by a Loving God in order to bring us back to the Living Waters of Christ. What loving parent would give their child a stone as opposed to the gifts found within the Merciful Heart of Jesus. The Cross of Christ has been and will continue to be planted in each Country and within every Nation in order to save the Children of God.

    At St. Francis of Assisi Church in New York City there is a very kind volunteer who most often be found before the Blessed Sacrament. Her name is Assunta and many people ask for her intercessory prayers. One day I noticed that she was dragging her left foot. I prayed that Our Lord would help lift this cross. After Mass I told her about my prayer for her. She looked at me with great tenderness and asked me not to pray for she embraced each cross Our Lord sent her. She looked upon each cross as a precious gift. St. Padre Pio often spoke about the great benefits of carrying the cross.

    In 1917 Our Lady of Fatima appeared to the three children of Fatima. In 2017 it will be the 100th Anniversary of Fatima. I wonder what good Heavenly Gifts await those who will celebrate the 100th and the 101 (Alpha / Omega) Let us prepare to meet Our Lord as we consecrate our self (leading by example for our loved ones) to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    Robert Spellman http://www.fatimaprayers.com

  • Dear Bishop Aquila,

    Thank you for your kind words and helping us to enter into the Light of Heaven.

    We are now witnessing the outcome from legalized abortion. A small number of the Children of God still weep, while others have allowed their eyes and ears to be shut, and their hearts turned into stone. Many have become callous and indifferent to the needy, the desolate and the outcasts of society. They no longer hear the Voice of the Church as they flee into an even greater darkness.

    It seems that addictions of all sorts have been sugarcoated as the world celebrates “freedom” to enter into a culture of death and self-destruction. But the “father of lies” has even more diabolical and sinister plans for those “children of God” that he and his ravenous wolves have mislead.

    Perhaps some of those in positions of power and influence suggest the possibility of expanding abortion to include those who are NO longer needed by society. Perhaps it is suggested that in order to ensure enough energy, food, recreation, freedom from crime, unemployment issues, monetary wealth, etc., the world might better thrive with about six billion less people. Perhaps those who follow the “father of lies” have convinced themselves that in the interest of building a better world six billion plus people will be “sealed” and targeted for new types of abortions. These people just might be exterminated within the next 20 years. I wonder if they will still be Pro-Abortion of self?

    Already it is being suggested that “printed bound books” are no longer needed. Imagine a law that says you may only keep “online books” and all other “printed bound books” (including the Holy Bible) must be handed in to your local designation depot for recycling. If you do not comply the new robotic police will be at your door marking you for extinction. Perhaps this future law may have found its seeds in the burning of a Holy Book by a pastor in the United States. His defiant act has caused death and destruction to innocent victims throughout the world.

    The first email I wrote became deleted by a click of the wrong button. The second email written in Word also became deleted. I prayed and asked God what lesson was I to learn from this. Perhaps not post or post again?

    Today those in positions of power know that the present “Internet Highway” will falter and self-destruct. America and most other countries are already prepared for this meltdown and are working on building a new Internet. I wonder that when the “lights go out” and the present Internet crashes will our personal information etc., be saved or will billions of people suddenly find themselves without any records that they ever existed.

    “Punishments (Chastisements) are Precious Gifts from God as Jesus tries to awake His Children from their hypnotic trance. Some people ask how can a loving God inflict such pain on humanity. It is just that … because God loves us as His precious Children that He gave us His Son so that Jesus leads us to the Way, the Truth and the Life. Let us not waste time in building more earthly treasures then one needs but instead in helping to build the Kingdom of God. Let us prepare spiritually not just for our self but for all the Children of God.

    Let us often pray:

    ” … Come Holy Spirit, Come By Means Of The Powerful Intercession Of The Immaculate Heart Of Mary Your Well-Beloved Spouse.”

    Let us enter into the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Let us all not be discouraged but instead rejoice for we are all heirs of Heaven.

    Robert Spellman
    http://www.fatimaprayers.com

  • Thank you Bishop Aquilla. This is very well said. I wish the this came from a higher authority than you to all bishops and priests. You are being a good Shepherd.

  • Rita Smith

    Dear Bishop Aquila

    thank you for this brilliant thought. It is true that priests should speak openly to the faithfull about certain hot topics. at the moment in malta, Europe, there is this debate of the introduction of divorce of which we will be having a referendum on 28th May for the introduction of divorce. Here the church seems to be afraid to have clashes with the faithful and does not go really simple and direct to tell the faithful that voting Yes for divorce is a sin as it goes against the teaching of Christ and that God hates divorce. I would like to know if you can answer me if voting Yes for divorce is a sin and would one be barred from the sacraments for having voted for its introduction. Thank you.Rita

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