Thursday, September 26, 2013

Good audio sermon on fraternal correction and simple ground rules

Saint Philip Neri supposedly once told a woman who gossiped to bring him a chicken, perhaps for some soup, and to pluck it's feathers along the way.  When the freshly plucked fowl was presented he told the woman to go back now and pick up all of the feathers. Of course, they had blown all around town, just like her gossip.

What would Saint Philip think about how we talk about others online? What would he think about the things we say to one another?

Sometimes we type faster than we think about what we are going to say to others and we involve ourselves in detraction and calumny.

Some will complain about the faults and imperfections of others online and call it fraternal correction.  This is a perversion if I ever heard one and it often comes from those complaining about how all those other people are perverting the faith!

Wouldn't we want to know more about fraternal correction before justifying use of it?  Are there ground rules we should follow as to when, where, what and whom?  We can spend many posts exploring the topic of fraternal correction, and still have room to dig deeper into what it all means.  The saints explain it in various ways, from the more complex theological form to a way so simplified a child could understand it.

I recently found a sermon at, on fraternal correction that is more simplified and refers to other saints and authors I had not heard on the subject before.   Listen to it as it is quite instructive.  Some clear guidelines are given.  These will be helpful to people in various capacities and it should guide us when addressing others online, as well as talking about others.

Note about Audio Sancto is a clearing house for sermons.  Since references are made within them about the Traditional Latin Mass, it's clear these are coming from those Masses.  But, a sermon is a sermon whether it is given in ordinary or extraordinary form.

Because it is entirely anonymous, someone might wonder if these are possibly from the SSPX, whose chapels are not in full communion with the Catholic Church.  Suspicion was heightened when one priest seemed to have lost his cool at the pulpit when Pope Benedict XVI abdicated the Chair of Peter.  That audio has since been removed, to their credit, after Fr. Angelo at Mary Victrix publicly objected, and rightfully so. If the priest was having a meltdown over the matter, his opinion didn't belong at the pulpit leading others into rash judgment of the person of the Pope emeritus or mistrust of the Church.

In general, I agree with Fr. Angelo in that post that there really should be some identification of the priests and their religious order or diocese. Many Catholics wondering if a site involves those not in communion with Rome, will check to see if there is a link to the Vatican.  Audio Sancto does not have a Vatican link in the list on the front page, so that made me wonder. It would help if they added it.

As to the anonymity, it's possible that there is fear of a bishop coming down on them because they talk about subjects like contraception. That fear may be real and it may be perceived.  Many a diocesan priest in the U.S. and in other countries can tell you that in the last 50 years, some have been disciplined for trying to uphold the Church's teaching on that and on other matters of morality.  People would complain and the priest ends up in a chaplaincy or in some remote outpost. But I see no need not to have at least a pseudonym and identify the religious order.  Many have commented online that they know the priests and most are coming from members of the FSSP and ICK (both Traditional Latin Mass communities in communion with Rome).  I've also seen it indicated a member of the Fathers of Mercy (not a TLM community) were involved.  These are all good, reputable Catholic religious orders with very good preachers.

From the Audio Sancto "about" page:

The priests you hear in the recordings on this website are Catholic Priests, in good standing with their local ordinaries and Rome, incardinated with normal faculties and jurisdiction, and serving in North America.

I have listened to a number of the homilies posted there in September of this year and thus far, they are all very good and very focused on the basis of Catholicism.  Many of them deal with the virtues, which is a topic that needs more cover.  I've heard the words of Pope Francis discussed in a positive way.

If anyone finds anything else that is disturbing in an audio, please email me at TeDeumBlog (at) gmail (dot) com.  But, in all charity, use the form at and raise your objection there first.  See if you get a response and if they agree that something was inappropriate, they can pull the audio.  As one who has recorded talks and homilies, you don't always get to hear every word and at the end of the day, priests are human.

*Painting at top is a Normal Rockwell, but I'm not sure of it's title.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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