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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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"In the Orthodox Churches they have kept that pristine liturgy, so beautiful. We have lost a bit the sense of adoration. They keep, they praise God, they adore God, they sing, time doesn’t count. God is the center, and this is a richness …"
— Pope Francis (8/2/2013)

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Credo Priests
published 10 May 2015 by Fr. David Friel

HE CONFUSION that followed upon the Extraordinary Synod on the Family last October has been a source of frustration to many faithful Catholics. At times, matters of settled church teaching appeared to be challenged. The confusion was not helped, of course, by skewed media reporting. (I wrote about the Synod twice before—HERE and HERE.)

One among many beauties of the Catholic faith is that our church doctrine is not created or decided by our membership, nor is it ever changed at a whim. As then-Cardinal Ratzinger famously explained: “Truth is not determined by majority vote.” Our teachings are derived, rather, from unchanging Divine Revelation: Sacred Scripture, Sacred Tradition, and Magisterium.

In response to the widespread confusion, Credo Priests was born. Credo Priests is not so much an organization as it is an opportunity for priests who love the Church & her teachings to reaffirm their love & fidelity. It is essentially just a website that offers a statement of belief. Priests who agree with the statement of belief are invited to sign their names to it.

The statement of belief is as follows:

To the Synod Fathers:

In union with our brother priests in England and Wales (conforming to the teachings summarized in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1650-51), we make our own the petition they signed urging the Synod Fathers in the upcoming Synod to stand firm on the Church’s traditional understanding of marriage, human sexuality and pastoral practices:

Following the Extraordinary Synod of Bishops in Rome in October 2014 much confusion has arisen concerning Catholic moral teaching. In this situation we wish, as Catholic priests, to re-state our unwavering fidelity to the traditional doctrines regarding marriage and the true meaning of human sexuality, founded on the Word of God and taught by the Church’s Magisterium for two millennia.

We commit ourselves anew to the task of presenting this teaching in all its fullness, while reaching out with the Lord’s compassion to those struggling to respond to the demands and challenges of the Gospel in an increasingly secular society. Furthermore we affirm the importance of upholding the Church’s traditional discipline regarding the reception of the sacraments, and the millennial conviction that doctrine and practice remain firmly and inseparably in harmony.

We urge all those who will participate in the second Synod in October 2015 to make a clear and firm proclamation of the Church’s unchanging moral teaching, so that confusion may be removed, and faith confirmed.

Yours faithfully,

(Signed)

This effort may appear to be a petition, but I think that is not an accurate description. At the heart of Credo Priests, rather, is a statement of fidelity to the Church’s long-held doctrine concerning human sexuality & marriage. These teachings ought not to be subject to petitions or lobbying or bullying from any angle or side or special interest group. They ought simply to be loved & embraced & respected.

I have signed my name to this statement of belief, and I encourage other priests to do the same. There is something to be gained from real priests in real parishes (and other pastoral assignments) making this public profession. The “hard sayings” of Jesus as well as the easier sayings are to be equally cherished & preached.

On this Mother’s Day, it would be opportune for us all to say a prayer for our Mother, the Church, through whom we have received the incomparable gift of true life.