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So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter.—2 Thessalonians 2:15

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Michael Coren goes Postal.

As in... National Post(al).


Michael Coren/Peter J. Thompson/National Post

It's fairly safe to say that, given his public record and apparent (impish?) enjoyment of forthright exchanges, Mr. Coren will appreciate a similar approach to an evaluation of his recent decision and the recent interview in the National Post. So then, with all due respect... .

Mr. Coren—on-again-off-again Catholic,... er, Anglican—has begun the usual course of action for apostates prodigals, which is, in a manner of speaking, a good sign. If he is a prodigal, prodigals eventually come home. The question is, is he a prodigal Catholic or prodigal protestant? Has he left his home or, by becoming Anglican again, has he returned? For the time being, only Michael and God can answer that question.

Mirror, mirror on the wall, what is the most tenable (or least untenable) excuse of them all.

That usual course of action spoken of in the preceding paragraph is to publish your decision enough times so that by hearing oneself say the words one might actually believe one's decision—and in the process gain a following of supporters who identify with the "reasons" for your decision. Everybody loves a cheering section, especially media personalities. The strategy is akin to the 'tell a lie enough times and it becomes the truth' strategy frequently employed by liberal-religionists, militant secularists and their mainstream media allies (all-lies). In this instant, the 'lie' is not so much a lie as it is a comfy avoidance of the truth about oneself. Mr. Coren can try to avoid the complications of his sophistry, but precedents say that he is too passionate about the facts to let himself be deceived for very long by his own attempts to enlist a mob to defend a position he has tried to sustain only to realize, upon his reflection of the facts, that Rome is home.

Michael Coren—remember your dignity!

Mr. Coren has given an interview with National Post reporter Joseph Brean wherein he attacks the "Catholic right". Apparently, Mr. Coren has a beef with Catholics who love Christ and His Church and who practice the Catholic Faith and who love striving to do so. He justifies his attack by attempting to pit Pope Francis against the faithful. By engaging in such a weak attempt to divide his now former flock, he has adopted the tactic of many an angry apostate dissenter and many a cafeteria-Catholic who value feelings and fiction over facts. Surely Mr. Coren can do better! While his admission of hypocrisy in the interview and his seeking to rectify it is laudable, behaviour that seeks to elevate his position at the expense of the dignity of others is beneath the dignity of such an otherwise intelligent man.

His ad hominem attacks aside, perhaps Mr. Coren should quit while he's ahead. Oh, wait—uh, he did quit.
National Post interview: click HERE for the full article. 
Q: You left the Catholic Church for three years in the 1990s, worshiping in various evangelical and Anglican churches. Why did you leave?

A: Not really for particularly good reasons. (Kinda like now, eh?). I had written a piece about (the late) Cardinal (Aloysius) Ambrozic for Toronto Life, and that’s a very long story, and I still don’t really think I did anything wrong, but it was a very difficult time. I was being sort of personally attacked by the Cardinal and his people. I quoted him saying things that were not very Christ-like, I suppose. He had called someone a name. He was a very harsh man. … I just thought I needed a closer relationship with Christ at that time. I just wanted something simpler, a relationship rather than a religion. (Mr. Coren is asserting a dichotomy between religion and personal communion with Christ that he, informed husband with a faithful Catholic wife that he is, should know is untenable and unnecessary. What exactly is Michael Coren saying? Is he actually blaming Cardinal Ambrozic for his own lack of faith? Why is it that people insist on holding on to the past when it is so obviously debilitating to do so? Is he saying he is ruled by his feelings and that his feelings say he cannot have a personal intimate communion with Christ in the Catholic Church? Since when do feelings trump supernatural faith? What can be more intimate than the worthy reception of the most Holy Eucharist? If, indeed, Michael Coren is ruled by his feelings, that would account for his apparent blindness to the possibility of meeting Christ in the Eucharist. As he has stated elsewhere, he has a beef with the teaching of the Church regarding human sexuality, and so he has left the building in protest. At least by leaving, the doubting Mr. Coren is more honest that many so-called and self proclaimed "devout" Catholics who dissent from Church teaching and who attempt to manipulate and corrupt the faithful from within the Church.)

Q: What brought you back?

A: It was really the pull of the Eucharist. It really was that. That is a centrepiece of worship for me.

Q: It is not exclusive to the Catholic Church. The same sacrament is given elsewhere.

A: That’s why I’m now in the Anglican Church.
Mr. Coren's response to that last statement—"The same sacrament is given elsewhere."—is incoherent and somewhat intellectually lazy. Given that he is married to a faithful Catholic and his children have been raised Catholic and he has written extensively about the Catholic Faith, it is very difficult to imagine that he is unaware of 1) the Catholic Church's teaching regarding her own understanding of the Holy Eucharist and 2) the teaching that the Anglican eucharist is no sacrament at all.
Centuries ago, Anglican's rejected the sacrificial language of the Church. The implications of that rejection are Anglican orders are invalid and the Anglican eucharist is not valid (cf. Apostolicae Curae).
With the development of the Anglican Ordinariate, changes were made to the Anglican liturgy which reestablished the sacrificial language and character of the liturgy that makes for a valid consecration of the bread and wine which become the Body and Blood of Christ.
If Mr. Coren knows that the Anglican Church of Canada liturgy does not result in a valid consecration, then by believing he is worshipping the Body and Blood of Christ, which the Anglican (ACoC/TEC/CofE/ACNA/etc.) eucharist is not, he is knowingly committing idolatry. I.e., worshipping mere bread and wine. Yikes!
Ubi Petrus, ibi ecclesia.

The only question remains is whether or not Mr. Coren is too stubborn to admit his contradictory and conflicted reasons for his decision to join the Anglican Church of Canada. He should not feel guilty for acting according to his conscience. His conscience, however, could use a little reminder and a lot better formation. For starters, he might consider the following passage from Holy Scripture that applies to his avoidance of the Church's authority. Christ is speaking about His teaching on the Holy Eucharist, that the bread and wine are transformed and become His real Body and real Blood. Christ is querying the apostles' and our acceptance or rejection of His authority. Our answer to Christ's question has eternal consequences.
Many of his disciples, when they heard it, said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of man ascending where he was before? It is the spirit that gives life, the flesh is of no avail; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you that do not believe.” For Jesus knew from the first who those were that did not believe, and who it was that should betray him. And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”
After this many of his disciples drew back and no longer went about with him. Jesus said to the twelve, “Will you also go away?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life; and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”—St. John 6:60-69
Since Jesus gave His authority to govern and guide the Church to Saint Peter (not Luther nor Calvin nor Henry VIII), we also have an obligation to accept the authority of the Church that teaches in Jesus' name. Unlike other Christians separated from the See of Peter, Catholics can have confidence in the words of Christ that the Church He founded on Peter, i.e., the Catholic Church, cannot lead us astray.

Quo vadis?

Many people mistakenly go where they think they will find the Church that Christ founded. That is, they go away from not toward the Catholic Church. The proposals which defend Christ's own words are many and beautiful—too many, in fact, for this brief essay to do justice to. One might start an inquiry into the Faith by clicking on the link below and searching the database:
Catholic Answers: http://www.catholic.com
Ultimately, the best way to encounter the truth is to meet Christ in the Church He founded. Start by going to Mass on Sunday at a Catholic parish: Roman Catholic, Ukrainian Catholic, Maronite, Anglican Ordinariate, etc. There are lots of liturgical flavours in the Catholic Church. Introduce yourself to a priest and ask for guidance and/or instruction in the Faith. Pray!—and be ready for anything God gives you.

One final note:
Holy Mother Church is waiting with open arms should Michael Coren reconsider his brief, for the moment at least, vacation from the Catholic Faith.
Pray for Michael; pray for his wife and children.
Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman: pray for them.
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Postscript

The combox at the National Post is filling up fast!

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