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'Disputation of the Holy Sacrament' by RaphaelWikimedia Commons

(Lepanto Institute) — Last Monday, we published a very lengthy report on the Priests of the Sacred Heart (Dehonians) and a couple of their local projects in the United States. Many faithful Catholics are rightly upset by this report and have reached out to the Priests of the Sacred Heart to try to understand what is going on, why they are promoting things like women’s ordination and LGBT ideologies, and to generally inquire about what they have to say about the evidence contained in the report itself.

READ: Priests of the Sacred Heart promote homosexual ideology, ‘women priests,’ pagan rituals

On Monday of this week, one week after our report was published, the Priests of the Sacred heart issued the following statement:

Statement regarding the Lepanto Institute

Priests of the Sacred Heart

Recently we learned that an organization called the “Lepanto Institute” posted a variety of negative statements about the Priests of the Sacred Heart. We understand why such statements could be cause for concern.

We will not respond to the comments posted other than to say that we believe that our lengthy history of service to the Church and God’s people stands on its own and is a witness to the integrity of the Priests of the Sacred Heart.

The compassionate and pastoral actions seen in our schools, parishes, social service outreach, healthcare assistance, as well as many other ministries, are our response to the Institute’s posting.

In a court of law, this would be registered as a nolo contendere, or “No Contest Plea.” What that means is that the defendant does not wish to plead guilty but acknowledges that the prosecutor has enough evidence to convict.

Also, on Monday of this week, we published a new report on CommonSpirit Health. You will recall that back in June we published a 64-page report proving that CommonSpirit was performing “sex-change” operations and distributing puberty blockers to kids. In this follow-up report (which you can read here) we show that CommonSpirit Health is partnered with an abortion provider looking to build itself up to becoming the next-generation version of Planned Parenthood.

Help seminary in Brazil form traditional priests

What deeply saddens me, however, is that the reaction of many to our reports on these problems often results in attacking the Church, blaming Her for the actions of wicked men who act in Her name.

It’s all too easy for people to look at what is happening and blame the Church. What we must be absolutely clear about is that the Church is completely and totally blameless! She is not an organization, She is the most pure, unchangeable, inviolate Bride of Christ! She is a person! It’s easy for Catholics to rattle off the Catechism and acknowledge that the Church is the mystical Bride of Christ, but to many Catholics, this mystical bride is more of an idea and an ideal than an actual person. But the truth is, the Bride of Christ truly is a person.

More after the jump…

In the Catechism, paragraph 796, we read:

The unity of Christ and the Church, head and members of one Body, also implies the distinction of the two within a personal relationship. This aspect is often expressed by the image of bridegroom and bride. The theme of Christ as Bridegroom of the Church was prepared for by the prophets and announced by John the Baptist. The Lord referred to himself as the “bridegroom.” The Apostle speaks of the whole Church and of each of the faithful, members of his Body, as a bride “betrothed” to Christ the Lord so as to become but one spirit with him. The Church is the spotless bride of the spotless Lamb. “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her.” He has joined her with himself in an everlasting covenant and never stops caring for her as for his own body.

The truth is, the Bride of Christ — also called the mystical body of Christ — is a mystery that we can only grasp in faith. That said, Blessed Francisco Palau has written some marvelous things about the PERSON of the Church that I wish to share with you. Blessed Palau was a discalced Carmelite monk and priest who lived from 1811 to 1872. At the end of 1860, Francisco Palau was graced with a mystical vision in which he saw the Church in the form of a young woman.  He wrote down his mystical experiences in a notebook under the simple title: My Relations with the Church.

In his conversation with the embodiment of the Church, the Bride of Christ described Herself to him with these words:

I am the bride of the Lamb. I am the Congregation of the Just, the militant on earth. Under Christ, my head, I am your queen, I am your spouse, I am your mother, I am your daughter. This is what I am, and corresponding to your love I come to you. I am with you in this solitude. I am your companion. In a few words, I am going to answer your question. I am a reality, just as the body of a nation. I exist; live with my own life. I have a head, Jesus Christ, and members who form my own mortal body. My body is the only one of this, kind with perfect harmony in all its parts and organization. It is agile, well proportioned, infinitely beautiful, in perfect health. In me there is no illness. I am always young. Without stain or wrinkle, I do not age with time. I rule and govern in Heaven, on Earth, and under the Earth. I am the mistress of the universe. All creatures serve me. I have a tongue and I speak. I have ears and I hear what is said to me. I have eyes and I see. I have hands and I work; feet and I walk. I am the one object of love capable of filling the immense emptiness of the human heart. I am the infinitely beautiful and I have in myself all created beauties. As a living image of God Himself, apart from me there is no possible happiness for mankind.

When we think of the beautiful Bride of Christ, Holy Mother Church, as an actual person, how much easier is it to realize that those wicked Catholics who scandalized the faithful by spreading errors and false doctrines are not acting through the Church with their terrible crimes? We have to take care to remember, the Pope is not the Church. Individual bishops, archbishops, cardinals and priests are not the Church. The laity is not the Church. They are all part of the Church, but the Church is bigger than any of them, and even all of them combined.

The person of the Church is the Mystical Bride of Christ, and those members who act in contradiction with Her teachings, act outside of Her. Think of it this way: the Church is like a mother: She teaches her children how to behave and then sends them into the world. Some of her children disregard Her teachings and act against what She taught them. And when they act disgracefully, they disgrace Her good name. But She is not guilty of their immoral behavior!

In fact, the beautiful Church speaking to Blessed Palau actually addressed the wickedness of priests who betray Her. This is what she said:

All priests on the day of their ordination are handed over to me by my heavenly Father. The priest, whatever be his rank or dignity, from the day of his ordination, is my spouse and the ceremony is celebrated in due manner before the public. It could be that the husband or spouse in spite of the marriage bonds may become unfaithful, adulterous, impure and so unworthy of his wife. A priest, in spite of the sacred bonds of priesthood by which he is bound to me, may become unfaithful, adulterous, and bad spouse. Well then, I am a virgin, I have always been, and will be, and the one who unites himself to me in spiritual matrimony is so pure and purer as I embrace him, is more chaste with firmness and fortitude as he loves me, and no one is worthy of me except the one who comes to the priesthood with pure intentions. Do you want to know the cause of my sorrow?

She led him to the peak of the mountain, and with the light shining upon the plains, I saw the great multitude of false lovers who coming to the priesthood with devious intentions were in the power of Asmodeus. And she said to me: “These married me through the bonds of the priesthood, and loved not me but the benefice, stipends and temporalities; that is their beloved thing. By the priesthood I am their spouse, but they are adulterers because they have united themselves to the benefice and not to me. Some love the dignity and glory which they see surrounds me; others love my material riches, others the idleness, laziness, and their own comfort; and they began their career with these intentions and arrived at possessing a glorious situation. None of these know me, and I do not know them, neither do they love me. Oh, if all the priests knew the Church, if they knew me, if they loved me! All of these were consigned to the power of Asmodeus on the very day of the wedding: the day of Ordination, or of taking possession of the priestly living, the devil seized their souls; and dead to me, they live only for themselves, for the world and for the devil.

These are chilling words, and when we think of them and consider also that Our Lady told Sister Lucia that the great battle that is coming would be about the family, suddenly the push by some of the highest-ranking members of the Church to allow holy communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, or the acceptance of sodomitical “families” takes on a whole new meaning. But remember, these wicked times are not the fault of the Church, and the wicked men causing so much scandal and confusion are not THE Church, nor are they acting on behalf of the Church. To remain close to Holy Mother Church, stay close to her model – Our Lady! Pray the Rosary every day, make the 5 first Saturdays of reparation ,and never lose sight of the fact that this life is a battle to the death for your soul.

As always, please pray for the Church, for our bishops, priests, deacons, and for Lepanto’s mission as we continue to unearth the truth and “restore all things to Christ.” (Col. 1:20)

Christus Vincit!

Michael Hichborn
Lepanto Institute

Published with permission from the Lepanto Institute.