The following comes from an Aug. 28 email sent to California Catholic.
At a recent Consecration of Marian Catechists, Raymond Cardinal Burke stated the following;
“In a time of great confusion regarding the moral teaching of the Church, St. Alphonsus Ligouri held steadfastly to the word of Christ. He understood the meaning of every word of Christ in the Sermon on the Mount: ‘Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill. Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the Kingdom of heaven.’ Matt 5:17-19.
“St. Alphonsus understood that Christ had come into the world in order that He might win for us the grace to live according to God’s law written upon every human heart and according the laws which He gives to us in His holy Church for the sake of our growth in faith, hope and love.”
With the above in mind, I invite you, dear friend, to evaluate the attached letter. How do the positions of Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, O. P. sync with above teaching directed toward catechists? If it appear out of sync for catechists, how much more so for the teaching of the primary teachers of the Catholic Church, ordained priests?
If you sense something amiss with this, I invite you to register your comments, complaints by phoning those to whom this letter was directed:
Fr. Michael Murphy: 619 435-3167
Msgr. Steven Callahan: 858 438-3030
Mr. Rodrigo Valdivia: 858 490 8310
Bshp. Cirilio Flores: 858 490 8200
Fr. Michael Murphy
Sacred Heart Catholic Church
655 C Avenue
Coronado, CA 92118
August 18, 2014
Dear Father Murphy,
Peace be with you.
We understand that you have invited Father Timothy Radcliffe to address our San Diego diocesan priests during their annual convocation, and your own parishioners, next month.
We write to you today to register our strong objections to Father Radcliffe’s speaking engagements due to his long history of dissent on human sexuality, as stated by the Roman Catholic Church and Natural Law, and to respectfully ask that you immediately rescind these invitations and replace him with an orthodox Catholic speaker.
Father Radcliffe’s documented history of dissent on perennial Catholic teaching about marriage and sexuality stretches back many years. The many instances of his dissent are too numerous to detail here, but the following summary from the British blog Protect The Pope echoes our objections:
Fr. Radcliffe openly dissents on the Church’s teaching on homosexuality and Holy Communion for the divorced and re-married. Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP frequently celebrated Mass for the gay dissent group the Soho Masses Pastoral Council. During the reign of Pope Benedict XVI, Fr. Timothy Radcliffe was stopped from speaking at the General Assembly of the Catholic development agencies. Fr. Radcliffe is well known for his liberal positions on morality, including his public opposition to the Church’s teaching on homosexuality.
On his blog, John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children details many instances of Father Radcliffe’s dissent from 2004 to present.
One of the senders of this letter personally witnessed Father Radcliffe’s dissent during a talk he gave at the 2006 Los Angeles Religious Education Congress. At that time, the homosexual-themed movie Brokeback Mountain, which included a sodomy scene, was popular in United States culture. At that 2006 L.A. Congress, Father Radcliffe advised attendees to let “. . . our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain, reading gay novels . . .” For the full report, see this link. Father’s Radcliffe’s suggestions were tantamount to encouraging people to participate in an occasion of sin—something Catholics are cautioned to avoid.
Radcliffe’s theology is rife with group think and relativism that even we, the laity, can see. The consequences of sin are ignored in favor of his definition of “unity,” which calls for overcoming differences by decreeing they no longer matter—rather than achieving unity through docile submission to the perennial truths of our Catholic faith. Father Radcliffe shades the truth just enough to tickle ears, but in reality he is poisoning the well.
Former St. Louis University history professor James Hitchcock penned an insightful analysis of how Father Radcliffe shades the truth in an October 2006 Catholic World Report article titled “The False Prophet.”
Though too extensive to quote here, we call your attention to the following sections of Professor Hitchcock’s excellent article, which expose Father Radcliffe’s squishy definition of “unity”:
- The Theology of Self-Congratulation
- Slippery Spirituality
- A Convenient Formula for Unity
Radcliffe appears to operate as a rogue priest under no authority except perhaps the liberal agenda. A prime example of his embrace of the liberal agenda can be seen in his many writings and speeches professing empathy and support for mortally sinful homosexual relationships.
For example, in a March 2012 article for the British Catholic newspaper The Tablet, Radcliffe wrote that the “… committed love of people of the same sex” … “should be cherished and supported, which is why church leaders are slowly coming to support same sex civil unions. The God of love can be present in every true love.”
In a December 2012 article in the British newspaper The Guardian, Radcliffe wrote, “It is heartening to see the wave of support for gay marriages.”
Additional examples of Radcliffe’s theological roguishness can be found here:
- Radcliffe departs from Catholic teaching on homosexual priests
- Radcliffe departs from Catholic teaching and the New Testament on so-called homosexual marriage:
- Radcliffe purports Catholic understanding of human sexuality in Pilling report.
- EWTN Celtic Connections radio show (scroll to item #20 in this list, titled “Catholic teaching and pastoral provision for those with same sex attraction), and listen to host Kathy Sinnott and guest Fr. Dominic Allain discuss how key parts of Fr. Radcliffe’s contribution to the Pilling Report appear to be at variance with Catholic teaching.
Following the Pilling report, published by the Anglican House of Bishops last November, Great Britain legislated “same-sex marriage,” which was approved by the Crown on July 17, 2014. (The Anglican church also approved ordination of women bishops last month.)
In short, Radcliffe not only has a long and increasingly radical history of dissent from the Catholic Magisterium, but more importantly and more recently, he is used by the left to distort Church teaching, or at least to give the appearance of disunity, for the purpose of passing so-called homosexual marriage legislation.
This is not just an issue of really bad theology or poor speaker selection. In the larger agenda of the culture war for America, your decision to host Radcliffe will not be viewed as a nuance of theological debate, but as a deliberate flouting of Church teaching on one of the most serious moral issues of our day, homosexuality—a moral issue and mortal sin that steals our religious liberty and condemns souls to hell if they are not instructed to repent of it.
When so-called same-sex marriage legislation affects our religious liberty, San Diego Catholics will again feel outrage as they remember what Msgr. Callahan told them after the diocese was sued for complicity in sexual abuse: that he personally would screen diocesan priests for immaturity and disordered sexual attractions. How is that going to play when the wolf enters through the front door of the Church?
In light of Radcliffe’s long history of dissent and his sympathy toward homosexual relationships, we seek answers to the following pressing questions:
- Whose idea was it to invite Father Radcliffe to this diocese?
- Was that person already aware of Father Radcliffe’s history of dissent?
- If there was an awareness of Father Radcliffe’s history, why was he invited here?
- Who approved the decision to invite Father Radcliffe?
- Who is standing for the Truth in San Diego with an absent bishop?
A priest like Father Radcliffe, who consistently dissents from fundamental Catholic moral teaching, deserves no opportunity to savage the priests and sheep of our diocese.
The Catholic Church has two approved ministries to those affected by homosexuality, Courage and Encourage. We should promote those ministries instead of inviting a “gay-friendly” dissenter to speak to our priests and laity. Father Paul Check heads these ministries. Why not invite him instead of Father Radcliffe?
Again, we urge you to disinvite Father Radcliffe and instead invite a priest or other speaker, such as Father Paul Check, who is unquestionably faithful to the Church’s Magisterium.
Thank you for your consideration of our concerns.
Sincerely in Christ,
Immaculate Heart of Mary
St. Therese of Carmel
San Diego, California
Queen of Angels
El Cajon, California