AUSTRALIAN CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY BANYO QLD

Readers may recall our recent post :http://vexilla-regis.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/priest-writes-despite-what-jesus-said.html   which dealt with the writings of a Priest Lecturer in the School of Theology at Australian Catholic University at its MacAuley Campus at Banyo Queensland.The particular article he had written was the feature article in the "Majellan Sunday" Parish Bulletin so widely used in Australia.

Word of this supplementary source of income must have gotten around in the Academic Common Room at Banyo.

For Lo and Behold, another disturbing article appeared only a few weeks later in the same " Majellan Sunday" Parish Bulletin format, written by one of the good Father's lay colleagues, one Dr. Ian J.Elmer a Lecturer in the same School of Theology. Dr. Elmer is lecturer in biblical studies at ACU, Assistant Head of the National School of Theology, and research fellow with the CECS (Centre for Early Christian Studies). He is a member of various professional bodies, including SBL (Society of Biblical Literature), ACBA (Australian Catholic Biblical Association) and FBS (Fellowship for Biblical Studies).
 Impressive! Or just more ACU Banyo?

 Let us take a look at what Dr.Elmer wrote for the benefit of all the faithful Catholics attending Mass on 1st September,2013 :

" Those of us who are parents or teachers in Catholic schools often hear the complaint, "Why do I have to go to Church? I get nothing out of going to Mass every Sunday! I can pray to God in my own bedroom! What makes going to Sunday Mass so special?"

The complainants have a point.If we truly believe that Jesus is the Incarnation of God, then we must accept that no church, denomination or religion has a monopoly on God!

Our claim is not that God became a Catholic, but that God became human. And thus, all people, places and things can be sacramental, providing opportunities to encounter the presence of God. We can indeed, find God in a Catholic Church, but also in a Jewish synagogue, a Muslim mosque , a Hindu temple, a family meal , a wild garden , or a beautiful sunset."

( Emphasis added VR)

This amalgam of twisted versions of truths and near-truths and outrageous falsehoods and abuse of words would not be more dangerous if it were written with" malice aforethought". 


The suggestion is implied that the Catholic Church or Catholics generally claim " a monopoly on God". We do have a vigorously propounded claim - BUT THAT IS NOT IT. 

We claim and we know that the Catholic Church is the one true Church established by God made Man - Jesus Christ Himself.And we know that He declared Himself to be the true Vine and the members of His Church its branches, and that separated from it one can do nothing.

Next we find the ludicrous set-up that God did not become a Catholic! Very cute! But too cute by half! It is a dishonest device to avoid the Truth that God made Man -Jesus Christ Himself made Catholics . Yes He founded and insisted upon the unique role of His Church, which within 70 - 90 years of His Resurrection was being called " Catholic".

Next, our good Lecturer abuses the word " sacramental" . Now, we are aware that its abuse in academic circles has been going on ever since the Council. Indeed a female Professor at the same institution some years back told her students in a formal lecture that  "It used to be said that there were only 7 Sacraments..." and went on to say that even a party following a divorce decree could be sacramental!! 

But words do have meanings and we know that the Church teaches that a Sacrament is "a visible sign, instituted by Christ, to give Grace " .When the word "sacramental" is used in its adjectival sense it can only relate to the Seven Sacraments if its true meaning is respected. "Sacramental" is also used as a noun in the case of certain actions and rites.

These, apart from their ancient origin and traditional maintenance, are  ceremonies, blessings, lights, incense, etc. which enhance the dignity of the Holy Sacrifice and arouse the piety of the faithful. Moreover the sacramentals help to distinguish the members of the Church from heretics, who have done away with the sacramentals or use them arbitrarily with little intelligence.(Catholic Encyclopedia Adapted)

Sacramental rites are dependent on the Church which established them, and which therefore has the right to maintain, develop, modify, or abrogate them. 

It will be noted that Dr. Elmer's " all people, places and things  "do not measure up. His use of the word freighted with such heavy meaning by the Catholic Church, is totally alien - a nonsense.

His sally into virtual indifferentism in claiming "We can indeed, find God in a Catholic Church, but also in a Jewish synagogue, a Muslim mosque , a Hindu temple, a family meal , a wild garden , or a beautiful sunset." Is outrageous coming from a self-professed Catholic - a Lecturer in a Catholic institution, writing for a Parish Bulletin to be distributed at Catholic Church parishes. It is blasphemous to so disregard the Real Presence of Our Divine Lord in Catholic Churches as to say any such thing.

Although it is true that Jews knew that God dwelt in a special way in the Temple at Jerusalem - now reduced to rubble these last 1,943 years and the Sacred Veil of the Holy of Holies rent from top to bottom on Good Friday 1,980 years - ago signifying the end of the Old Dispensation and God's abandoning the Temple - But even Jews have never claimed God's Presence in their synagogues. As for claiming God's Presence in Mosques and Hindu Temples, Dr.Elmer must be off with the fairies. 

Mohammedans deny the Divinity of Jesus Christ and the Triune God, they are violent enemies of Christ's Church. Hindus for their part have such a muddled and varied system of pagan gods innumerable, that the one thing we can be certain of is that we will NOT find the one true God there!

Moving away from this disastrous, indeed scandalous beginning, he gets onto the Gospel reading for that 22nd Sunday Year C which deals with Jesus attending a Sabbath meal at the house of a leading Pharisee.Throughout the rest of his commentary Dr.Elmer relies heavily on the phrase " table fellowship" which gets a lot of use in ACU MacAuley Campus around discussions of the Eucharist. In its origins it is a Protestant term developed to avoid using any references to the Sacrificial character of the Mass. As such it was enthusiastically seized upon by the post-Conciliar Protestantising "New Church" people, who were keen to get away from the idea of "sacrifice" because it related to salvation from sin. And we wouldn't want to be worrying about sin, and guilt in the "New Church" would we!

We are told "For Jesus, and for us, table fellowship - expressed primarily in the Sunday Eucharist - is a radical sacrament of God's presence to all, regardless of their gender (he means sex -VR), financial means,social standing or station in life." What are we to say about this pot-pourri of words and concepts which seems to have been prepared by a very muddle-headed wombat?

"Table fellowship....is a radical sacrament of God's presence" No. 

It is not any sort of a "sacrament". The holy sacrifice of the Mass , offered at the Altar of sacrifice,( and NOT just on Sundays) in re-presenting the Sacrifice of Calvary gives us the Sacrament of the Blessed Eucharist . Then at Holy Communion that same Sacrament is ministered to the faithful from the Altar now sometimes spoken of as the table of the Lord. The Holy Mass involves both Sacrifice and Holy Communion.

He goes on "We can fully express the Christian ethic of openness to all only by sharing communion with others".Dr. Elmer's use of language is so loose in this little article, that he could be intending any one of several things here. Considering that this statement is made directly in the middle of reference to Holy Communion (this seems clear despite the loose language employed) we are compelled to treat it as a reference to sharing Holy Communion. That being so, it seems to suggest that we should be sharing Holy Communion with everybody. However we know that that is not possible in the case of those who do not believe in the Catholic Faith and are thus not in communion with the Catholic Church.

He goes on : " Table fellowship is an indispensable sign of the Incarnation." What? 

What does this mean? Is this a Catholic talking about the reception of Holy Communion if so, why not say so? Even so, " an indispensable sign of the Incarnation" what is he trying to say? It is true that the Blessed Eucharist is a "visible sign instituted by Christ" of His Body,Blood,Soul and Divinity incarnate, and it is "indispensable" because instituted by Christ and is as the Council tells us, the source and summit of our Christian life.But the reader is left adrift with the alien term " table fellowship".

In the last five sentences Dr.Elmer manages to drag himself out of morass he has created and to come back to his opening remarks.He concludes : " so while it may be true that one can be "present" to God in one's bedroom, it is only in our Eucharistic "gathering" that God's " presence" through Jesus is made visible and  available to the wider world.

This statement totally fails to address the fact that our attendance at, and participation in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the means of our worship of God.It is not simply a matter of God manifesting Himself to us , but of us worshipping Him.  The very essence of the prayers of the Mass is constant addressing of God the Father in worship and supplication through the Sacrifice of Our Divine Lord Jesus Christ.

To sum up, this is yet another hopelessly misguided "Majellan Sunday"Commentary, completely unsuitable for use in any Catholic Parish.
The Redemptorist Fathers who are the publishers, would do well to re-consider their editorial responsibilties. 

We now have two outrageous Commentaries from members of the Australian Catholic University MacAuley Campus at Banyo Qld. One is left to wonder what these gentleman might teach in their Classes.

It is a pity that they are able to write such material and still hold down their positions,What does this say about the School of Theology and the University itself?


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