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Dear Brothers and Sisters,
December 22, 2023

TWO MOMENTOUS events took place this week that will forever change the course of western Christendom.

The Church of England formally allowed prayers for the blessing of same-sex unions thus paving the way for even greater sexual license in the coming years.

Across the Tiber, Pope Francis issued "Fiducia supplicans" (Supplicating Trust) which now allows for Roman Catholic priests to bless same-sex persons in relationships or other non-sacramentally married Catholic couples, thus breaking with 2,000 years of church teaching on the exclusivity and sacredness of sexual relationships between a man and a woman in holy matrimony.

It has been hailed as an important first step by Catholics who have advocated for changes in the Church's teachings on LGBT issues, and on cohabitation and divorce and remarriage.

Both denominations heavily nuanced their decisions saying that this was not marriage and that no formal church teaching on marriage had changed.

But most theological commentators realized that this was a momentous break with 2,000 years of church teaching and a capitulation to the culture that has been pushing both society and the church to formally recognize homosexual relationships.

Almost immediately two women priests in the Church of England had their relationship formally blessed, and from Rome Fr. James Martin SJ a pro-gay activist Catholic priest announced he would begin blessing homosexual unions. Celibacy is not even discussed.


That is the question that must now be asked.

Will every cardinal, archbishop, and bishop in the RCC go along with this change? For some, like Bishops Joseph Strickland and Raymond Burke the answer is a clear no. Even as I write they are being marginalized for their views by the pope. That is the price you pay for telling the truth.

In Anglicanism we have seen formal schism in The Episcopal Church with the birth of the Anglican Church in North America. (ACNA). Globally we have seen the birth of GAFCON and the GSFA, formally distancing themselves from the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Church of England.

Will the same happen in the RCC. Time will tell. Apart from the Reformation, the counter Reformation kept the church together despite its multiple apostasies. The Counter-Reformation sometimes called the Catholic Revival, was the period of Catholic resurgence that was initiated in response to, and as an alternative to, the Protestant Reformations at the time.

But the Reformation has lived on for 500 years and its recovery of the great doctrine of Justification by Faith alone in the finished work of Christ on the cross has never ceased. It remains the bedrock doctrine for myriad Christian denominations across the globe, and is in no danger of disappearing. The Reformation continues with revivals and modest movements of the Holy Spirit.

But there are small upstart traditional Catholic groups that have every intention of maintaining the Catholic position on marriage and the Mass and they repudiate any watering down of traditional Catholic teaching. They may well have to function outside of their dioceses, unless they find a sympathetic priest to assist them.

While the future might see Anglo Catholics and evangelicals uniting with traditional Catholics over hot button issues like abortion, gay marriage, and transgender issues, the two denominations will still not see eye to eye on weighty issues of salvation, the Mass, and the place of Mary as co-redemptrix and other doctrinal differences; but they will find they have more in common than in times past.

We may well see a return to small house churches where the faithful gather to read the Word, baptize and practice the sacraments, even as the mainline denominations die off, the price of revisionism. Ironically, before he died Pope Benedict predicted this.

"From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge--a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity."

"As the number of her adherents diminishes, so she will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more like a voluntary society, entered only by free decision."

"The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church."

"Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new," concluded Benedict.

The future of evangelical Christianity around the world might look very familiar.

Furthermore, we are seeing the face of Christianity in the Global South where the faith is most alive today. Churches in countries where the faith is denied, and where Christian's are forced to meet in their homes such as we are seeing in Iran and China, to name just two countries, will have much in common with faithful Western churches practicing in much the same manner. A profound irony indeed.

Over the next decade most of western Christendom will be dead and gone. Whoever replaces Episcopal Presiding Bishop Michael Curry will not stop the rot in the Episcopal Church. Even King Canute knew he could not roll back the incoming tides, and time will wash over Canterbury and Rome leaving a believing, worshiping remnant.

The survival of 'the faith once for all delivered to the saints' does not need the Vatican or Lambeth palace for its future. God dwells in temples not made with hands. (Acts 17:24-28).

I am posting several stories on this momentous decision which you can read in today's digest. We have scoured the Internet for the finest and best. You may not agree with everything posted, but it will give you a full-orbed picture of what has taken place.

We must never forget who really runs the universe and who is in charge of the Church. We all know how it will end. If for the moment our lives and events look bleak, we can take comfort in the martyrs and faithful who have gone before and who have paved the way for us to follow in.

With this last digest for 2023, I want to wish VOL readers a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Advent blessings to all,




Church of England to introduce same-sex blessing, as it faces 'disestablishment' bill in Parliament https://religionnews.com/2023/12/15/church-of-england/

Church of England backs same-sex blessings and the elite press yawns.

Bishops are abdicating responsibility over same-sex blessings https://premierchristian.news/us/news/article/bishops-are-abdicating-responsibility-over-same-sex-blessings-say-cofe-s-evangelicals

Canterbury Cathedral dean to consider same-sex blessings https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-67773326

'A long journey': blessings for same-sex couples expose Church of England divisions | Anglicanism https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/dec/15/same-sex-couples-blessings-church-of-england


FIRST THINGS: The Pope and the Black Hole | Dan Hitchens https://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2023/12/the-pope-and-the-black-hole

Perfect for Christmas headlines: Pope Francis OK's blessings for same-sex couples (sort of) -- Julia Duin https://www.getreligion.org/getreligion/2023/12/19/perfect-for-christmas-headlines-pope-francis-oks-blessings-for-same-sex-couples-sort-of

Pope Francis Opens Door to Blessings of Same-Sex Couples and Persecution of the Church - The Stream https://stream.org/pope-francis-opens-door-to-blessings-of-same-sex-couples-and-persecution-of-the-church/

ARCHBISHOP VIGANÒ: Bergoglio's 'blessings' for homosexual couples shows he is a 'servant of Satan' https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/abp-vigano-bergoglios-approval-of-blessings-for-homosexual-couples-shows-he-is-a-servant-of-satan/?utm_source=featured-news&utm_campaign=catholic

Homosexual Blessings: Austrian bishop says priests CAN'T refuse & Malawi bishops say NO WAY https://www.lifesitenews.com/episodes/homosexual-blessings-austrian-bishop-says-priests-cant-refuse-malawi-bishops-say-no-way/

Bishops in Malawi Declare 'Blessings for Same-Sex Unions of Any Kind are Not Permitted' https://www.ncregister.com/cna/bishops-in-malawi-declare-blessings-for-same-sex-unions-of-any-kind-are-not-permitted

Most American bishops are going along with Pope Francis' 'blessings' for homosexual couples https://www.lifesitenews.com/analysis/most-american-bishops-are-going-along-with-pope-francis-blessings-for-homosexual-couples/

Vatican's homosexual 'blessings' document invites priests to fudge both doctrine and practice. https://www.lifesitenews.com/opinion/vaticans-homosexual-blessings-document-invites-priests-to-fudge-both-doctrine-and-practice/

Pope's homosexual 'blessings' document pretends to be magisterial teaching but is not

Prominent canon lawyer Fr. Murray excoriates new Vatican doc endorsing 'blessings' of gay couples https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/prominent-canon-lawyer-fr-murray-excoriates-new-vatican-doc-endorsing-blessings-of-gay-couples/

Father James Martin blesses homosexual 'couple' at Jesuit residence in New York City

Christian Leaders Sounds Off After Pope Francis Gives Green Light to Bless ...

Breaking Down Fiducia Supplicans https://crisismagazine.com/opinion/breaking-down-fiducia-supplicans

Archbishop prohibits same-sex blessings, admonishes Pope Francis: 'Great deception'

Pope Francis Slammed for Blessing Same-Sex Couples: 'Blasphemy' https://www.newsweek.com/pope-francis-same-sex-marriage-blessing-backlash-1853397

NCR TIMELINE: What Has the Catholic Church Said About Same-Sex 'Blessings'? | National Catholic Register https://www.ncregister.com/cna/timeline-what-has-the-catholic-church-said-about-same-sex-blessings-vt4mkr60

Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria Nixes Same-Sex Blessings: https://twitter.com/blastc4/status/1737622972909654480/photo/1

The Church of England and Pope Francis softened on same-sex couples. Will it last? -

Pope's Approval of Same-Sex Blessings Unlikely to Sway SCOTUS https://news.northeastern.edu/2023/12/20/pope-francis-same-sex-blessings-supreme-court/

GOMES: Pope Francis Doubles Down on Blessing Same-Sex Couples | Rome dispatch

USCCB: Statement on Vatican's Document Addressing Pastoral Blessings | USCCB

One Catholic priest, Dwight Longenecker offers a list of things that will happen from the continued fall-out from the Pope's decision to bless same-sex unions.

*Conservative Catholics will look for another church home--the SSPX the Eastern Orthodox or one of any number of traditionalist sects

*Ordinary Catholics who simply see this as crazy Vatican political correctness will just leave.

*Faithful Catholics will vote with their wallet. Prepare to see "Peter's Pence" become Peter's penniless.

*This financial hit will not only affect the Vatican, but will hurt parishes, dioceses and Catholic apostolates

*Ecumenical relations with conservative non-Catholic denominations will be destroyed

*Evangelization efforts among individual non-Catholic Christians will be undermined.

*Co-operation from bishops, clergy and people will dwindle. Already several bishop's conferences have said they will not implement the advice in Fiducia Supplicans. Others will be more passive and just ignore it.

*Faithful Catholics will not dissent and rebel. At best they'll simply ignore anything that comes from the Vatican. At worst they will launch resistance movements. These movements will be smart, hard working and well funded...and they will cause more division in the church.

*Division in the church will increase and may culminate in schism. The schism may come from progressive Catholics for whom Fiducia Supplicans did not go far enough or from conservative Catholics who are fed up.

*Already overworked parish priests will be put in a hot spot when people in "irregular relationships" call to arrange for "blessing services". How will they navigate the pastoral minefield?

*When priests decline to conduct blessings for same sex couples will their diocese be sued? Has anybody thought of that?

*Worst of all the authority and respect for the papacy itself will be permanently damaged.

Source: https://dwightlongenecker.com/the-coming-fiducia-fallout/


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