In this ChurchMilitant.com exclusive, Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea, president of the Association of Catholic Doctors of Bucharest in Romania, sits down with Michael Voris to discuss her well-received talk at the 2015 Synod on the Family as well as the heroic example of her parents in Communist Romania.
Michael Voris: So you gave what’s being described as this remarkable presentation. Was it plenary?
Anca-Maria Cernea: Yes, it was in the plenary. It was this three-minute intervention that we are allowed to have, us auditors, in the Synod. And I was surprised. It was received with enthusiasm because — anyway, the part that was extraordinarily neat was of course not my merit, it was the testimony about my parents and about my Church, the 12 great Catholic bishops who opposed the Communist regime and suffered for Christ in the Communist prison.
Michael Voris: Tell us a little bit about why you thought it was important to tell that story to the entire session.
Anca-Maria Cernea: Because it is an example of how you can be faithful in spite of the conditions, in spite of the terror, in spite of the prisons. Because nowadays, many people, unfortunately many shepherds of the Catholic Church don’t have the courage even to face the media in their countries. They are afraid of what? Of being attacked in the media. Our bishops had been tortured. Seven of 12 died in prison. The bishop of Bucharest, the predecessor of Msgr. Mihai who is here in the Synod, was killed in torture. And he was only asked to give up his loyalty towards the Holy See. Nothing else. He wasn’t asked to give up the Church’s teaching about marriage. He was not asked to give up the Church’s teaching about sin. He was just asked to give up his allegiance to the Holy See, and that’s why he died.
So I thought that now it was time to remind the bishops of the Catholic Church about this testimony of faith. People have given their blood for the Church. And nowadays, at least in the West, we are not asked to die for Christ, not to suffer torture. The most that we can suffer is media attack. Is that so bad? Is that so difficult to take?
I also brought up the example of my parents, because we hear a lot during the course of the Synod that it’s so difficult to keep a marriage functioning because of external conditions, because of material circumstances, because of economical conditions and social conditions. By the way, this language reminds me a lot of my Marxist lectures I had to do long ago in the primary school in Romania under Ceaușescu . And we are told that the family suffers because of these economic factors.
I brought up the example of my parents because you cannot imagine more extreme poverty than the family of a political prisoner. You cannot imagine worse social circumstances than the situation of a person being in a Communist prison, or his fiancé waiting outside to see whether or not he comes out alive. And they were not even married, they were just engaged! It was just a promise that they made to each other and to God. They could be faithful, both of them, because both of them could have betrayed this promise in different ways. My father could have accepted to give up his beliefs and to join the Communist Party. My mother could have married another man. And would that be the same? I mean, would they still be an example for Christians nowadays if they did so?
I was talking to a friend yesterday, and I tried to say that for me, Cardinals like Kasper and his supporters were men to be pitied, especially when they are compared to great saints like St. John Fisher or St. Thomas More. These were men who suffered imprisonment and death rather than proclaim that Christ’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage was either false or else was a doctrine in need of “pastoral revision.”
Kasper and his ilk are pitifully small creatures, I wanted to say.
At the same time, though, it was difficult to speak of Fisher and More, or to compare them to the Kasperites, because Fisher and More’s lives seemed to have been lived so far in the past.
And now we have this brilliant conversation with Dr. Cernea, who implicitly compares certain giants in our own time to the little Kasperites, who shamelessly reveal their concessions to the spirit of the world and their fear of the media. How else can one refer to Dr. Cernea’s suffering parents – clinging to the faith – other than to call them giants and heroes? How else can one refer to the Bishop of Bucharest – tortured to death by Ceaucescu’s henchmen because he would not renounce his allegiance to the Holy See – other than to call him a giant and a hero as well?
Dr. Cernea’s words should ring in the ears of the Kasperites and others at the synod – even in the ears of the Pope himself: “People have given their blood for the Church. And nowadays, at least in the West, we are not asked to die for Christ, not to suffer torture. The most that we can suffer is media attack. Is that so bad? Is that so difficult to take?”
To be a giant and a hero in the Faith does not make you a close-minded “pharisee” or “doctor of the law.”
Why can’t the Pope understand that?
To be a giant and a hero in the Faith does not make you a close-minded “pharisee” or “doctor of the law.” Why can’t the Pope understand that?
Erm…I’m pretty sure he wasn’t thinking about people imprisoned by communist authorities for their fealty to the Holy See when he made those comments.
As to Dr. Cernea’s words though – most inspiring indeed, and her interview here should be circulated to all those who (I suspect) put their fingers in their ears during her speech at the Synod. They could certainly do with the reality check.
This is indeed “inspiring”!
In a tactful and polite way Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea is telling us Westerners that we are mostly a whole lot of spineless cowards, more worried about getting a hammering from the press, or from those in our immediate circles, than sticking up fearlessly for Christ and Our Glorious Faith. AND SHE IS RIGHT. Have we forgotten Our Lord’s words to those who will deny Him before men? Surely if we truly believe that our earthly lives are no more than a preparation for Eternity, and if we truly believe in Our Saviour’s promises to those who take up their ‘cross’ and follow Him, we wouldn’t care what the world could do or say to us.
On 17th October I was at the annual ‘Aid to the Church in Need’ event in Westminster Cathedral. Listening to the heart-wrenching tales of those who have lost everything at the hands of ISIS, Boko Haram, (or other satanical groups, persecutors of Christianity) all for love of Christ and His true Church, refusing any compromise, even if that meant losing their very lives, I couldn’t help cringing with shame at my own miserable cowardliness.
(Not long ago I made a fuss when a homosexual internet bully, a Mr Richard Clarkson, was spitting venom at me for sticking up for the Church’s teaching! How quickly we forget that we should rejoice when we suffer for speaking the Truth!)
Kathleen @ 23:17, October 26th:
How lucky you were to listen to those inspiring stories, the likes of which do indeed put our trials in perspective! This reminds me of a recent post written about another of the ACN events here:
If only those ‘deformation’ bishops and cardinals at the Synod could step outside their comfortable worlds and see how precious the truths of the Church and real faith in Our Lord’s teachings is to so many – maybe then they might lose some of their passion for permissiveness.
P.S. An interesting article here by George Weigel on one of the historical factors behind the mess we are experiencing now within the hierarchy:
Michael @ 10:15
Thank you so much for Mary O’Regan’s link.
Amazingly, the courageous Iraqui priest, Fr Douglas Bazi, was one of the key speakers, together with Archbishop Jean-Clement Jeanbart of Aleppo, Syria, and Victoria Yohanna (through her parish priest, Fr Gideon Obasogie, who acted as her translator) at the ACN Westminster Cathedral Hall four days earlier that I attended!!
You can actually listen to his extremely powerful and moving talk as he gave it to us, here below:
“Fr Douglas works as a Chaldean Catholic priest in Erbil, Kurdish northern Iraq, and runs a Christian refugee camp in the city. In 2006, he was captured and tortured for nine days by extremist group Al Qaeda but after his recovery, he continues to minister to the Christian population in Iraq despite the real threats priests face. He tells how the church is helping displaced people as well as telling us of his own experiences.”
Fr Douglas’s last words are directed to each one of us: “Wake up, and take action! […] Stop the blood in my country!”
ACN has celebrated this event in Aberdeen and Liverpool too. For the other incredible testaments at the London event, see:
Kathleen, thank you very much for posting this video! I shall certainly watch it later on. The testimonies of people like Fr. Bazi and Dr. Cernea are always good to read/hear, as they provide a much-needed corrective to our perspectives, and a much deeper appreciation of the universality of the Body of Christ.
I finally watched the talk by Fr. Bazi above – there really are no words. It is such a sad situation, but his faith, hope and love are so inspiring. Really beautiful.
Yes Michael, I agree. Yet these ‘new’ martyrs for the Faith are strengthening the Faith of all who hear their tragic tales. And how great will be the reward for those who have given their lives for Christ! Their blood will be the ‘seed’ for a revitalisation and growth of the Church.
To return to the subject of this article, here is an inspiring Life Site News’ interview with Dr Anca Maria Cernea, filmed soon after her talk to the Synod Fathers (therefore before its conclusion) that covers, and fills in, so much about the Church and the Synod that we have been discussing these last few days:
Thank you again Kathleen 🙂 I am afraid I will have to delay watching until later again, but will definitely do so as soon as possible!
I have finally gotten around to watching the interview with Dr. Cernea above, and I must thank you again – she gives such a brilliant witness, and makes some really interesting points, particularly about the Leninist approach taken by the ‘deformation’ party in terms of their use of language and their campaigning tactics.
Also, there were two points she made, one very near the beginning of the interview and one in her concluding remarks, that, although responding to different issues, seem to me to hone in on something really important…
She mentions near the start that the approach taken by people like Cupich is really damaging, because it is encouraging people to go down a damaging path that a bishop should be warning against; and near the end she says that the dissolution of doctrine that is being advocated for is an offence against the memories of all those who died upholding the Faith.
In both these comments she is, it seems to me, highlighting how far the ‘progressive’ prelates have fallen from their calling – they either care more about what the world thinks, or have actually stopped believing in Christianity properly understood, putting in its place a feel-good, secularised and egocentric ‘spirituality’. This is what has led them to abandon the task entrusted to them in guiding the faithful away from the destructive temptations proffered by the world and defending the fullness of the Faith that so many died rather than betray. In accepting the golden calf of their new-found secularised religion, they have disowned the past and given over the welfare of present and future generations to whatever the world has to throw at them; they have thus given up the two most fundamental tasks of their office – to defend the Faith and guide the faithful.