July August 1982
as if the only thing forbidden in Catholic churches nowadays is
the traditional Mass in Latin. The only people refused hospitalilty
in our temples are Archbishop Lefebvre and his followers.
to allow non Catholic use of our churches for religious services
is growing and growing rapidly. It has caused much confusion to
in a recent issue of Challenge on a religious service
held in a cathedral in Quebec province where members of the United
Church were allowed to ordain Protestant ministers, including
a woman, in the presence of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of the
In the Wanderer
for June 24,1982 there is a report that a Methodist ordination
ceremony took place this year at the high altar of the principal
U.S. Catholic shrine dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary in Washington,
At the National
Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, located on the grounds of
the Catholic University of America, the order of deacon was conferred
on 18 Methodists and 19 other members of that church were elevated
to the rank of elder in that denomination.
man interviewed by a reporter said: "I think it's great that
the Methodists are using the Catholic church. It's really a sign
of unity. But, then, again, I think it's a terrible irony that
a church that takes a pro abortion stand should be having ceremonies
at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception."
ceremony, a crowd of about 1,000 heard the ordinands affirm they
will be loyal to the Methodist Church, accepting its order, doctrine
Roensch, director of the Shrine's Office of Development, said
the Methodists usually use another church, but it was not available
this year. The Church directive, he said, is "if a group
can't find a place, we can open our doors." He said such
use of the Shrine by nonCatholics was discussed and apparently
approved by all the bishops and board members.
were the same even handed approach to the Lefebvre followers,
at least an argument could be made in favor of church hospitality,
but what possible justification can there be for refusing the
Pius V Mass offered by validly ordained priests and permitting
Church is not stopping at allowing Christian Protestant services
in Catholic houses of God.
it is reported that there is now a suggestion by the Catholic
Commission for Racial Justice, under its chairperson, the auxiliary
bishop of Birmingham, that Rastafarianism (from Jamaica) is a
valid religious experience and its devotees should be given access
to Catholic premises to worship the Emperor Haile Selassie and
the late Duke of Gloucester.
a joint 10 religion service at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York,
August 30, 1979 when Cardinal Cooke sat beside the Buddhist Dalai
Lama of Tibet as Buddhist monks stationed around the altar blew
their trumpets and the Dalai Lama (with the Cardinal) would dip
hands into a box of what appeared to be incense and sprinkle it
towards the crowd.
far away from the times when the Fourth Lateran Council of 1215
said: "We decree that those who give credence to the teachings
of the heretics, as well as those who receive, defend and patronize
them, are excommunicated... If from sufficient evidence it is
apparent that a bishop is negligent or remiss in cleansing his
diocese of the ferment of heretical wickedness, let him be deposed
from the episcopal office and let another who will and can confound
heretical depravity, be substituted."
We can all
accept that the disciplinary decrees of one Council can be changed
by another. We accept that the Ecumenical Directory (The Pope
Speaks 12, n.3, 1967, 250 63) says: "If the separated
brethren have no place in which to carry out their religious rites
properly and with dignity, the local ordinary may allow them the
use of a Catholic building, cemetery or church."
it is no longer good to shun heretics, rather we should cooperate
with them in so far as it is possible to do so without injury
to the faith. But is it really necessary to defend and patronize
heretics and others by offering them hospitality in our churches?
in Homiletic and Pastoral Review for August/September
1982 notes: "Present norms would require that there be no
approval or seeming approval of what the Catholic Church considers
false doctrine or worship; that there be a proportionate reason
for action; that scandal or wonderment of the faithful be avoided
as far as possible."
Challenge Magazine, can be obtained from 1050 Grosvenor
Avenue, Winnipeg, Manitoba, R3M ON7, Canada.