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Panel Discussion 2020

SBC20 - 10

Theme: Immunizing Ourselves against Viruses of the Mind


The best thing about the Qs and As at the end of any of our conferences is that they are not scripted. The speakers have not seen the questions beforehand so their answers are totally spontaneous. Furthermore the answers are brief. This allows for any speaker to take on the questions. This year there were only five speakers left for the panel so each could add to the illumination of any question Moderated by Mike Church there was Sister Maria Philomena, Brother Andre Marie, Michael Hichborn, and Joe Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.

I will paraphrase the questions.

The first was: How do you answer those who say the Church is not true because of the pedophilia issue? Four of five panelists answered. For those who have a hard time refuting this unjust indictment of our Holy Church, this panel’s refutations, without minimizing the horrid reality of clerical abuse, were of great benefit in undercovering the pervasiveness of the problem outside the Church.

What is necessary for approval of an apparition? Brother Andre Marie provided the Church’s own rules and applied them specifically to the proper discernment of the goings on at Medjugorje. 

What about a real epidemic? Does the government have the right/duty to impose quarantines, masks, etc?. The speakers were quick to address the responsibility of the government to take care of the common good. Joe Doyle provided some helpful history. And Michael Hichborn gave a great response reminding all to pray during such crises and citing the story of Don Bosco whose boys, during an epidemic in Turin, wanted to help the victims. He required that they first go to confession then went out to help the sick both physically and spiritually. None of his boys got sick. 

A tough question came regarding the state intruding on the right of the Church to have public Mass. Brother Andre Marie quoted Cardinal Burke who said that a bishop cannot obey the state when the state prohibits public Mass. The pastor’s first obligation is the salvation of souls even in epidemics. The danger does not overrule the obligation. A bishop is acting ultra vires in forbidding public Mass and closing churches. This part of the discussion was extremely informative. 

Another question had to do with our civil crisis. Are we entering into a Civil War? What kind? Much enlightenment came from our speakers on this issue. The cultural has been going on as we all know. Now there are riots in the cities, but not state vs state, or two organized sides, armed for a cause as in a civil war. BLM and Antifa are financed and organized by oligarchs who are billionaires. They have formed pockets of revolutionary activity. 

Who should vote? Should women be allowed to vote? This rhetorical question went to Sister Maria Philomena who had a woman’s right to answer. She was ready for it. “Yes,” she said, “women should be allowed to vote if they are property owners.” Great answer! Same rule should apply to men. Touche

Brother Andre Marie handled the final question as a theologian should. What is the difference between the ordinary and extraordinary magisterium? Syllabus of Errors was a binding papal teaching, in spite of what Pope Benedict XVI said to the contrary. Pius IX’s Syllabus was ordinary papal teaching and infallible because it was universal for the whole Church on issues of faith and/or morals. To learn more on this question, listen to the talk.

2020 SBC Conference


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