Creeping Pelagianism

I saw this news getting some national attention. And not good attention for the Church, as it is not a usual or an orthodox practice to deny the sacraments to a disabled person. The boy’s mother:

That is discrimination. This should not affect his religion. It is absurd.

Mrs LaCugna is partly right here. It is more than discrimination. It is pelagianism, the notion that a person can earn their way into grace. For the Christian, the notion is indeed absurd.

Mrs LaCugna also reports the ministerial deficiency of the pastor:

(H)e should have called me directly, and he has never met my son.

Pope Francis has rightly identified pelagianism as a danger in modern Catholicism. It affects believers from bishops all the way out to catechumens. Clergy should be especially self-vigilant. Heresy isn’t just about making a mistake; it has real consequences for people who follow leaders.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in Minnesota, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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2 Responses to Creeping Pelagianism

  1. Liam says:

    There’s a lot going on here, not all of it necessarily well laid out in the linked article, but reaching for a specific heresy label of Pelagianism is not persuasive nor probably fruitful here. I don’t see Pelagianism (which is not earning one’s way into grace, but that one can choose good without the assistance of grace) properly speaking in what’s reported or even adjacent to it and connecting dots seems like a way big reach. If one were to j’accuse the pastor of Pelagianism face to face, what would one *reasonably* expect from him in response to that? Would it make it more likely that fruitful shepherding of the child and family would follow and, if so, in what way?

    • Todd says:

      I’m not going to be seeing the man face to face, so I care little for the fruits of such an imaginary encounter. I’m just piling on, I admit it. I’m embarrassed to be a Catholic and a church minister when news like this comes out.

      I think there’s a way to suggest his theology is flawed, as well as produce convincing research on how other parishes handle sacraments for people in situations such as this. If I were on staff there, I’d be heading problems like this off at the pass. At worst, I would refer the family to another parish. I would have done it at the start of the year and refused to raise expectations.

      As a church “insider,” this episode reeks of incompetence. That’s not a heresy, but it is antigospel. Lazy, if not sinful.

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