Win the property; lose your soul?
by Dr. Edward Peters
I’ve been aware of, but—amid other duties—have not followed for some years the sad story of a breakaway Polish parish the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. A band of former parishioners, led by an ex-cleric, managed to wrest (God knoweth how) legal title of the parish from the archdiocese. Now, at a certain point, one can’t fight a given legal battle anymore, and I speculate that this mess was becoming a big money hole for the AOSL. Abp. Carlson seems simply to have called it off, and the former parish has agreed not to call itself “Catholic”. Whatever.
Those affiliated with a non-Catholic institution aren’t likely, I grant, to care what the Catholic Church teaches in regard to severing ecclesiastical communion, but, on the chance that some wavering consciences might see this, I post a brief passage of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen gentium (1964), n. 14: “This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church … is necessary for salvation … Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”
If you are, or ever were, Catholic, don’t live separated from the Catholic Church; but even worse, for its final and irreversible consequences, don’t die separated from the Catholic Church, which, I suggest, is exactly what membership in a church that has promised not to call itself “Catholic” implies. Priests in union with Abp. Carlson, who is in union with the Roman Pontiff, will help you back into communion, no matter what your role in this sad affair might have been.