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ACHONRY, Ireland, April 9, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) — The youngest Catholic bishop in Ireland has become the latest to join a number of church leaders who have openly distanced themselves from the Vatican’s ban on blessing homosexual couples.

Bishop Paul Dempsey of Achonry called the ban a “hurtful response from the Church to people with same sex orientation” in a March 26 reflection that appeared on the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference website.

Dempsey, who was appointed Bishop of Achonry in January 2020 by Pope Francis, expressed regret at the language used by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in teaching about why the Church cannot bless such unions.

The CDF announced on March 15 that the Church cannot bless homosexual relationships since God “does not and cannot bless sin.” A question to the CDF about whether or not the Church has the “power to give the blessing to unions of persons of the same sex” was answered in the “negative” by the congregation’s prefect, Cardinal Luis Ladaria Ferrer. The congregation’s statement was assented to by Pope Francis. The Congregation stated that it is “not licit to impart a blessing on relationships, or partnerships, even stable, that involve sexual activity outside of marriage (i.e., outside the indissoluble union of a man and a woman open in itself to the transmission of life), as is the case of the unions between persons of the same sex.”

Bishop Dempsey called the language used a “problem.”

“The deeper problem arises in the sphere of language, at best it is experienced as cold and distant, at worst hurtful and offensive,” he said.

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A senior Church prelate is strongly opposing a new Vatican proposal to ban private Masses and restrict traditional rite Masses at the world's premier church, St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

Cardinal Raymond Burke said that the new directions, issued by Pope Francis’ Secretariat of State, should be "rescinded" since they are "contrary to" and in "direct violation of" universal Church law.

Therefore, we ask you to SIGN and SHARE this petition, which is directed to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's Basilica (Cardinals Mauro Gambetti and Angelo Comastri, respectively), and which asks them to rescind the new directive banning private Masses and restricting traditional rite Masses at St. Peter's.

On March 12th, the Vatican’s Secretariat of State circulated a note with details of new dispositions restricting all “individual” Masses in Saint Peter’s, with special, even more restrictive measures for the traditional rite.

The note, which was unsigned, stated among other things that "individual celebrations are suppressed."

In response, Cardinal Burke said the new rules cause the faithful, and above all, priests, the "deepest concerns."

In particular, he addresses the celebration of private or "individual" Masses at the Basilica, something that the new document appears to target, writing:

The document imposes concelebration upon priests who wish to offer the Holy Mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica, which is contrary to universal Church law and which unjustly conditions the primary duty of the individual priest to offer the Holy Mass daily for the salvation of the world (can. 902).

In what church more than in the Basilica of Saint Peter would a priest desire to offer the Holy Mass, which is the most perfect and fullest way in which he carries out his priestly mission? If an individual priest wishes to offer the Holy Mass in the Basilica, once the directives in question are in force, he will be constrained to concelebrate, in violation of his freedom to offer the Holy Mass individually.

Quoting from the Council of Trent, Burke then emphasized the fact that the whole Church benefits spiritually from every Mass that is said, whether with people attending or without, stating:

The holy council would certainly like the faithful present at every Mass to communicate in it not only by spiritual devotion but also by sacramental reception of the Eucharist, so that the fruits of this most holy sacrifice could be theirs more fully.

But, if this does not always happen, the council does not for that reason condemn as private and illicit Masses (can. 8) in which only the priest communicates. Rather, it approves and commends them, for they too should be considered truly communal Masses, partly because the people communicate spiritually in them and partly because they are celebrated by a public minister of the Church, not for his own good alone, but for all the faithful who belong to the body of Christ’ (Session XXII, Chapter 6).

Please SIGN now and support the call to Pope Francis and the current and just retired Archpriest of St. Peter's to rescind the new directives which would severely restrict priests from offering private and traditional rite Holy Masses at St. Peter's Basilica.


Cardinal Burke: Vatican’s ban on private Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica should be ‘rescinded’ -

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“The statement that the Church ‘cannot bless sin’ is seen as targeting or treating same sex couples in a way that others are not targeted or treated in the Church. Many have found this deeply offensive. As a result some feel they are not welcome and have no place in the Catholic Church.  There is a great sadness in this as no one should feel that they are not welcome in the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Further to this, so many people in same sex relationships have enriched the life of the Church and continue to do so in parishes across the world,” he added.

Contrary to Dempsey’s assertions, the Church welcomes all sinners no matter who they are or what they have done. The Church, however, does not welcome sin and makes a careful distinction between sin and sinner. While rapists, pedophiles, and adulterers are welcome to receive God’s love and mercy in the Church through the sacraments, the Church uses strong language to condemn these sins and warns the people who do such things of the eternal punishment of hell that awaits them if they do not repent and believe in the Gospel. The Church speaks out of love when she uses strong language in warning men and women about the spiritual and even biological dangers of engaging in homosexual behavior.

Bishop Dempsey’s reflection comes in the wake of the country’s former president Mary McAleese demanding that Ireland’s Catholic bishops challenge the CDF’s directive for its language that she called “gratuitously cruel in the extreme.”

Dempsey joins German Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg (who is also head of the German Bishops’ Conference), Austrian Bishop Hermann Glettler, Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge, Belgian Bishop Johan Bonny, Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, and many others in voicing dissent from the ban on blessings for homosexual couples.

Cardinal Raymond Burke commented last month that defiance to the ban shows that an “aggressive homosexual agenda” is dominating those who have been elevated as shepherds.

“The blowback is simply an expression of a worldliness, a mundanity, which has entered into the Church by which the aggressive homosexual agenda is now dominating even in certain ecclesial circles and even among certain bishops,” the Cardinal, who is the former head of the Vatican's highest court and one of the world’s foremost canon lawyers, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo in an March 25 interview.

Burke went on to say that bishops who openly defy the decree should voluntarily “renounce” their office.

“The bishop, if he's pained by what's declared by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, then he must examine himself with regard to his own coherence with the Catholic faith. And, if he is not holding to the Catholic faith, then he should renounce his office. He has to be relieved of his office as diocesan bishop, because this is simply unacceptable. It can’t be,” Burke said.