PHILADELPHIA — Members of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, a national association of priests & deacons with international affiliations in Great Britain, Ireland, and Australia, met July 12-15 for their annual conference to discuss the urgent need for doctrinal and moral clarity as well as seeking fraternal support in the pursuit of remaining faithful sons of the Church.
Bishop Ronal Gainer of Harrisburg spoke on the spirituality of pastoral administration. Bishop John McIntyre of Philadelphia spoke on the impact of the World Meeting of Families and the Papal Visit to America last summer. Fr. Tad Pacholczyk from the National Catholic Bioethics Center spoke on medical moral issues like cloning, in vitro fertilization and ordinary care for the sick. Fr. Philip Bochanski from Courage International spoke on the impact of same sex attraction to family life.
Deacons, priests and seminarians who attended the seminar renewed their pledge to defend magisterial teachings, celebrate reverently the sacred liturgy and serve completely the spiritual needs of their parishioners with mercy and compassion. Fraternal support among all the clergy was seen as indispensable in the aim of removing the doubt and confusion caused by some in the secular and religious media in recent times on official teachings of the Catholic Church. Indissolubility of traditional marriage, proper disposition for reception of the sacraments, sanctity of human life from conception to natural death, et al. need not be compromised nor diluted while simultaneously going after the lost sheep. Wayward, lapse and former Catholics can be ministered to with mercy without any need to make the church politically correct or embrace moral relativism.
The Petrine ministry of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis are not diametrically opposed nor are they in conflict, rather, both the didactic and the pastoral lungs work together to save souls. As B16 would often say, Catholicism is a religion of BOTH/AND instead of EITHER/OR. The CCC encourages all priests and deacons to teach the fullness of unadulterated truth and to celebrate devoutly the sacred mysteries of grace while reaching out to all in spiritual need.
Polemics which seek to make divisions based on Pre Vatican II vs Post Vatican II, conservatives/liberals, or between Pope Benedict and Pope Francis are artificial and unhelpful. Fullness of truth and fullness of grace were given by Christ to His Church and they are not political nor sociological creatures to serve any agenda.