Proposed Changes to ICC Constitution

Proposed Amendment to the ICC Constitution
Please Comment and Discuss

Canonical Penalties for Belonging to Anti-Catholic Organizations,
and Actively Supporting Anti-Catholic Agendas

++Michael Callahan
The International Catholic Confederation
Presiding Archbishop

DRAFT
SUNDAY, JANUARY 27, 2019

As a new Catholic jurisdiction committed to being faithful to the historic deposit of faith, the International Catholic Confederation (ICC) needs to develop consistent teaching on how we address those who self-identify themselves as being in our communion, yet don’t hold our moral values.

Even more crucial to deal with are people among our clergy and laity who unrepentantly teach as acceptable, or actively advocate for moral evils such as abortion and others. As a Catholic institution, the ICC must do all that we can to remain outside of the realm of partisan politics. However, we must also be able to honestly evaluate the compatibility of party platform statements and organizational agendas in relation to Catholic traditional moral values. When it is discovered that these are egregiously targeting acts or supprting actions that are morally unacceptable, or even overtly opposed to the Catholic faith, we as bishops and clergy have an obligation to teach our faithful the moral implications being involved with such organizations.

One of the distinctions of the Christian faith is that we, both corporately and individually, are required to be forgiving — especially of those who are contrite and seeking reconciliation. Even the sin of ending the life of a pre-born child may be forgiven. Actually, the only sins which we may never be forgiven, are those which we refuse to repent.

For the past four decades I have been baffled at the growing number of Catholics who disagree with the Church’s teachings in multiple areas regarding our practice of faith and especially our historic moral teachings. The question today is in regards to politicians claim to be Catholic, yet persist in supporting the killing of unborn children — even on full-term infants, and all aspects of radical, modern deviant sexuality. Why do they persist in calling themselves Catholic at all?

There is a rising tide in one political party in the USA which supports the killing of pre-born children, not just in New York State, but across the country. Illinois already has passed their own similar legislation. You can be certain that this trend will continue, and that without serious changes in teachings from the Roman Catholic Church, that a majority of Catholics will continuing voting in support of pro-death, and pro-LGBTQ politicians.

No, this is not simply an American problem. Just last year, in Ireland, a referendum was passed repealing their constitutional amendment which was in place to protect the un-born. The result was that Abortion is now legal in that once staunchly Roman Catholic nation. The United Nations is also set to declare abortion as a “fundamental human right.

The Roman Catholic Church has historically stated and taught that belonging to groups such as the “Freemasons” is incompatible with their faith. Why cannot the same be said for political parties and organizations that are blatantly against church teachings? It is our observation that the Freemasons are not the only group that actively advocate against Church teachings.

In the United States of America the organization top of mind this week is the Democrat party. With the Democrat party platform specifically supporting anti-catholic positions such as abortion, and socialism, their disdain for the historic faith is clear. This subject came to light this past week when Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, USA, proudly signed into law a bill that allow for abortion every stage of pregnancy — for any reason. Not only was the bill passed, Cuomo and Democrats around the nation “celebrated” the event as a moral victory.

In the wake of News of this new law, there has been an outcry for canonical discipline on Cuomo and other politicians who advocate, vote for or implement laws that are in direct contradiction to the faith as consistently taught by the Church. Unfortunately, it appears that Roman Catholic, Canon Law does not have a remedy to persuade errant politicians or other laity from supporting these egregious acts. However there is a precedent that we, the ICC may modify in order to emphasize our stance and authorize canonical penalties in cases of obstinate and unrepentant sin.

Under the 1917 Code of Canon Law (CCL), Catholics associated with Masonry were: automatically, i.e. latae sententia, excommunicated, deprived of marriage in the Church, excluded from Catholic associations, deprived of Catholic funeral rites, invalidated from novitiate, invalidated reception of personal jus patronatus, with additional penalties against clergy, religious, and members of secular institutes.

Though the current Roman CCL does not mention Freemasonry by name, the injunctions and penalties remain. In 1983, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the personal approval of Pope John Paul II, issued a “Declaration on Masonic Associations,” which reiterated the Church’s continued objections to Freemasonry.

The only thing more horrendous than the recent vote in New York to legalize abortion up to the point of birth is the fact that certain figures who publicly present themselves as Catholic were in the forefront of the legislation and indeed promoted themselves and publicly celebrated their “accomplishment.” The fact that Governor Cuomo trumpeted this legislation and called for the World Trade Center to be illuminated in honor of it is a grave and horrendous scandal.

The Church is responsible for preserving and passing on to every generation all that she is and all that she believes (“He who hears you, hears Me” (Luke 10:16)). This is done chiefly through her teachings and is consistent and constant through the ages. This teaching office of the Church has traditionally been called the Magisterium. Magisterium comes from the Latin word magister which means “teacher.” It is the role of the Magisterium to interpret in a decisive way both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition.

The Magisterium is exercised on a couple levels. First, it is exercised as a “prophetic office” in the entire Church by the clergy and faithful alike. All have the responsibility to “hand over” Jesus to others, to serve them, to teach them by living what He taught. Second, it is also exercised by the college of bishops as the successors of the Apostles in union with the patriarch, consistent with the historic deposit of faith.

However, when an issue arises that requires that a judgment is made as to whether a spirit is of God, whether a teaching is authentic, the Presiding Bishop, in union with all the college of bishops must make that decision. Because they must do so faithfully, their authority must also be authentic as was that of their predecessors, the Apostles. This is a special charism entrusted to them by virtue of their episcopal office. Their exercise of this charism serves us in helping us to be sure that we are handing over the authentic Jesus, authentic Gospel, and authentic apostolic tradition.

It is the opinion the ICC that Catholic Politicians who vote to implement abortion laws are guilty of being complicit in the murder of untold numbers of children — a serious mortal sin. Additionally, membership in political parties or voting for politicians who support an anti-catholic moral agenda, are themselves complicit in the sins perpetrated as a result of their membership and voting choices.

We the college of bishops for the ICC declare that those remaining unrepentant and complicit in teaching or implementing laws contrary to our moral teachings be subject to the following canonical sanctions: automatically, i.e. latae sententia, excommunicated, deprived of marriage in the Church, excluded from Catholic associations, deprived of Catholic funeral rites, invalidated from novitiate, invalidated reception of personal jus patronatus, with additional penalties against clergy, religious, and members of secular institutes.

The aforementioned sanctions will also be applied to individuals who are members of political parties or other organizations supporting the above issues or voting for politicians who do. This also applies to bishops and clergy who teach as acceptable regarding issues that are contradictory to our Catholic moral values.

The Pattern and Basis for Discipline

(1) The discipline of the church is first patterned after the fact that the Lord Himself disciplines His children (Heb. 12:6) and, as a father delegates part of the discipline of the children to the mother, so the Lord has delegated the discipline of the church family to the church itself (1 Cor. 5:12-13; 2 Cor. 2:6).

(2) Discipline is further based on the holy character of God (1 Pet. 1:16; Heb. 12:11). The pattern of God’s holiness—His desire for the church to be holy, set apart unto Him—is an important reason for the necessity of church discipline. The church is therefore to clean out the leaven of malice and wickedness from its ranks (1 Cor. 5:6-8). A failure to exercise discipline in the church evidences a lack of awareness of and concern for the holiness of God.

(3) Church discipline is to be patterned after and based on the divine commands of Scripture (1 Cor. 4:6). We have numerous passages of Scripture which both command and give us God’s directives on the how, why, when, and where of church discipline. Again, a failure to exercise this responsibility demonstrates a lack of obedience and belief in the authority of the Bible and Church Tradition (1 Cor. 5:1-13; Matt. 18:17-18; Titus 3:10; 2 Thess. 3:6-15; 1 Tim. 5:20; Gal. 6:1).

(4) Another basis for the necessity of church discipline is the testimony of the church in the world (1 Pet. 4:13-19). The world observes the behavior and life of the church. When the church acts no differently than the world, it loses its credibility and authenticity (1 Pet. 2:11-18; 3:8-16; 4:1-4).

Canonical judgment, penalties, and sanctions must always be actions of the last resort. Seeking to properly catechize the individuals involved and prayerfully encouraging them towards a well-formed conscience and repentance is a pastoral necessity. Those individuals refusing correction and obstinately resist calls to repentance, in essence, place themselves outside of the sacramental life of the Church.

Seeking corrective action must never be made in anger, or with an attitude of revenge. Though we may be rightly justified in our anger, we must be motivated by love of God and the spiritual well being of those we serve. The idea of church discipline is totally consistent with the basic purposes of the church—evangelism, and edification. Evangelism ministers to those without the church who are in bondage to sin to bring them to faith in Christ where the transformation process begins. The edification process is designed to build up believers so they can be conformed to the image and character of Christ. Church discipline as a part of the edification process ministers to those within the body of Christ who are dominated by some area of sin so they can experience liberation from its power through fellowship with Christ.

Implementing canonical sanctions is the responsibility of the Ordinary Bishop closest to the situation. In situations regarding issues of state or nation-wide concern, the responsibility reverts to the presiding Archbishop of each national jurisdiction.

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