“What is urgent is the evangelization of a world that not only does not know the basic aspects of Christian dogma, but in great part has lost even the memory of the cultural elements of Christianity.” Pope St. John Paul II

        Boston Catholic Journal                   “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” Pope Benedict XVI

Suggested Reading:


The Problem
of Evil

The Problem of Evil: Exonerating God

Exonerating God


CCD

CCD: Crisis in Catholic Doctrine

Crisis in
Catholic Doctrine:

the Grave State of Religious Education in America



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Home ... the One, True, Holy, Catholic Church
 


 “That understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church once declared; and there must never be a recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding
(Blessed Pope Pius IX, 1st Vatican Council, S.3, C.2 on Revelation, 1870 ex cathedra)

 

When

    Silence

                         becomes

 





Scandal resulting from silence in the face of sin

 

 LESSON NOT LEARNED

 

It happened right here! Remember? Boston 2002!

Silence on the part of the cardinal, the bishops, the seminary rectors, the Religious orders — followed by Scandal. Horrible scandal. Scandal of the most hateful, despicable, vicious perversion that swept away — but not too thoroughly — miters, defrocked priests, caused the closing of hundreds of parishes and the selling off of quite nearly everything Catholic to pay off the lawsuits against predatory priests and silent superiors. Millions upon millions to pay victims and their lawyers, and most sadly to psychologically treat and medicate its victims who are now adults ... It continues to this day!

Most of what you put in the basket at church almost certainly goes to pay for the crimes of predatory homosexual priests who molested young boys — committed the most depraved sexual predation on the most trusting of youth … our children.

Under the euphemism of “consolidating parishes” countless church buildings and facilities were sold off to become condominiums and even mosques.

$35 million on counseling, psychiatric medications, and other services for survivors. Since 2003, it has paid about $215 million to settle legal claims, church officials say (Boston Globe January 2017).

Here in Boston we are STILL paying for a disgraceful and unutterably shameful SILENCE that not simply “rocked” the Church,  but literally caused much of it to be torn down to its foundations.
 


The Dubia: Five Vital Questions that Encounter Obstinate Silence


The following five questions were respectfully submitted to Pope Francis following the ambiguity inherent in his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia:

 

  1. “It is asked whether, following the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (300-305), it has now become possible to grant absolution in the sacrament of penance and thus to admit to holy Communion a person who, while bound by a valid marital bond, lives together with a different person more uxorio [as husband and wife] without fulfilling the conditions provided for by Familiaris Consortio, 84, and subsequently reaffirmed by Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 34, and Sacramentum Caritatis, 29. Can the expression “in certain cases” found in Note 351 (305) of the exhortation Amoris Laetitia be applied to divorced persons who are in a new union and who continue to live more uxorio?”

           SIMPLIFIED:  Can adulterers go to Confession and receive Holy Communion? Can a man or woman who are living together as though married to each other having been civilly divorced, but who nonetheless still remain married to their original spouses in the eyes of the Church and according to clear and unequivocal Holy Scripture, be considered as not living in adultery: that is to say, as not living with another man's wife and another woman's husband?”
     

  2. “After the publication of the post-synodal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (304), does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 79, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, on the existence of absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts and that are binding without exceptions?”

           SIMPLIFIED:  Are there acts so evil that under every possible condition or circumstance they must be, without exception, considered intrinsically evil?
     

  3. “After Amoris Laetitia (301) is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, “Declaration,” June 24, 2000)?”

           SIMPLIFIED:  In light of what is stated in Amoris Laetitia, is there any longer any objective situation of grave habitual sin?
     

  4. “After the affirmations of Amoris Laetitia (302) on “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility,” does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 81, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, according to which circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act ‘subjectively’ good or defensible as a choice”?

           SIMPLIFIED:  Given that “circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil into one that is subjectively good”, how can it be affirmed, as it is in Amoris Laetitia, that there are “circumstances which mitigate moral responsibility”? Can, then, circumstances or intentions transform an act intrinsically [objectively] evil into one that is subjectively good?
     

  5. “After Amoris Laetitia (303) does one still need to regard as valid the teaching of St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 56, based on sacred Scripture and on the Tradition of the Church, that excludes a creative interpretation of the role of conscience and that emphasizes that conscience can never be authorized to legitimate exceptions to absolute moral norms that prohibit intrinsically evil acts by virtue of their object?

           SIMPLIFIED:  Can the (subjective) conscience be appealed to abrogate or cancel intrinsically evil acts?
     

To date, Pope Francis has obstinately, if not arrogantly refused to deign to answer these vital questions necessary necessary to the integrity of our Holy Catholic Faith. This certainly does not accord with his widely publicized humility ... Indeed, in a recent interview, he he went so far as to characterize those who so much as questioned his questionable theology as fanatici — fanatics.
 

Enigmatic?

So often silence is hiding, concealing, refusing to disclose.

If confusion arises it calls for clarity; if apparent equivocation threatens sound doctrine it must be clarified for the sake of the faithful. If answering five questions that involve both — equivocation and confusion — promotes unity through a clearly articulated understanding, why refuse? Why obstinate silence, which only underscores the likelihood of an inability to answer in conformity with sound Catholic doctrine and Sacred Scripture? In a word what is to be gained through silence? It is hardly a mark of humility to hold oneself above questioning. Should the word enigmatic even be predicated of a pope?
 

“The Silent Card” — AMORIS LAETITIA — a Case in Point


Much like Cardinal Law and countless superiors in Boston, Pope Francis is playing the “Silent Card”. But it is a far more perilous gambling. Much as the famous Emperor's New Clothes, the Church has, figuratively speaking, no vestments and is shockingly unaware that the crowds perceive this. Sanctimony proved too costly and where the ecclesiastical authorities had yawned, the doggedly vicious secular prosecutors and courts were not nearly so lenient or forgiving to just let these atrocities pass. Lives needed mending (some never) and yes, there was money to be made. Lots of it. Sanctimony, ecclesiastics came to realize, was not only meretricious but quite costly.

In a humiliating denouement, it took Caesar to correct what the Church refused to. We still sting from that justice, even as we finally savor it.

Once again, however, a gambit of a similar sort is being played by Francis as he tampers with not only the Sacred Deposit of Faith of 2000 years, but Holy Scripture itself!

“Thou shalt not commit adultery.” (Exodus 20:14, Saint Matthew 5:27-28)

“Whoever unworthily partakes of the Body and Blood of Christ is guilty of it” (1 Corinthians 11.27)

Pretty clear, yes? And for over 2000 years.

 

The Straw Man: The Prize for the Perfect

Not so for Francis who casts more than a shadow of doubt upon it by approving sexually active cohabitation — adultery — and even holding it to be sacramental in a way equal to  … well, sacramental marriages — which of course brings up the question of why bother to marry sacramentally at all if the grace is given as it were, a priori? In the infamous “Footnote 351”, Francis magnanimously proclaims that: 

“In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy … I would also
point out that the Eucharist is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.”

Indeed, whoever approached Holy Communion with a sense of entitlement as receiving in all justice a “prize” for their perfection? Who ever experienced the Sacrament of Penance — Confession — as a Torture Chamber with a priest as a Grand Inquisitor? This is a Straw Man, and we know it. And what is more, Francis knows it, too. It is offensive to even suggest this. On the other hand it may be a rare insight into the thought processes of one who would utter this, especially to justify sacrilege. Does forgiveness precede sorrow, or is it necessary to forgiveness (in realms human and divine)? Is it really an act of “Mercy” to justify adultery and sacrilege? Indeed, are they then sins at all if they are to be repeated ad mortem under the aegis of “Mercy”? Indeed how is sorrow possible as long as the intent to continue in sin remains?

Francis:

“I’ve seen a lot of fidelity in these cohabitations, and I am sure that this is a real marriage, they have the grace of a real marriage because of their fidelity … It’s provisional, and because of this the great majority of our sacramental marriages are null ... Because they say “yes, for the rest of my life!” but they don’t know what they are saying. Because they have a different culture. They say it, they have good will, but they don’t know ... They prefer to cohabitate, and this is a challenge, a task. Not to ask “why don’t you marry?” No, to accompany, to wait, and to help them to mature, help fidelity to mature.’ ”

 

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, on the other hand states:

“Some today claim a “right to a trial marriage” where there is an intention of getting married later. However firm the purpose of those who engage in premature sexual relations may be, “the fact is that such liaisons can scarcely ensure mutual sincerity and fidelity in a relationship between a man and a woman, nor, especially, can they protect it from inconstancy of desires or whim.” Carnal union is morally legitimate only when a definitive community of life between a man and woman has been established. Human love does not tolerate “trial marriages.”It demands a total and definitive gift of persons to one another.” CCC 2391

 

Sacramental Adultery?

Of course, if sacramental adultery is not a sacrilegious concept, then neither are other Sacraments protected from sacrilege.

Sacred Scripture, Tradition, and the Sacred Deposit of Faith — neither Pope Francis or any other pope has the authority to violate any of the three … let alone abrogate them.
 

The Dialogue in place of the Decalogue: What of the other Commandments? What of the other 5 Sacraments?

What is evident to all but the most myopic is the prospect that if, indeed, Francis can equivocate about long established and clearly articulated concepts of marriage, adultery, cohabitation, the efficacy of grace, the notion of validity as it is predicated of each — what else, we ask, is up for grabs? What else has been misunderstood for 2000 years? What else has God hidden from the faithful until the accession of Francis to the Seat of Peter and subsequent to that accession subjected dogma and doctrine to his penetrating gaze that dispels all the myths of pre-enlightened (pre-Bergoglian, pre-Vatican II — you choose) Catholicism?

 

Ten Commandment in Hebrew  

 The Ten Commandments “Suggestions”

The proscription against adultery dates to the 12th century — BC. To preclude any misunderstanding, it was inscribed in stone! Little can be more definitive than that. In fact it is an adage: “It is written in stone”, that is to say, absolutely clear and unalterable. That was one- thousand-two-hundred years before Christ. But now — 3000 years later — we are suddenly unclear about what constitutes adultery?

Of course Pope Francis has an affinity for Luther to whom, after 1400 years of deceit and duplicity on the part of God in failing to reveal the “real truth” to the Church, finally revealed it to Luther in the fullness of time. It would appear that Francis has that singular privilege as well. Not only had God Himself had it wrong (or had misspoken), but the Apostles, the Church Fathers, the 21 Church Councils, the Saints, the Martyrs, and of course the “less educated” as well had it wrong. The Ten Commandments are not Commandments after all, or at least binding in any remotely coherent way. They are actually The Ten Suggestions that require “accompaniment” by Team Bergoglio who will parse them psycho-theologically in order to be reveal their “real meaning” to the unenlightened masses — so that sin will no longer be an impediment to union with God.
 

The Last and Most Frightening “S”

 

                                       Schism

 

If Francis persists in effectively amending Scripture to accord with his clearly progressive and dangerously liberal agenda, or in disregard of Tradition, and prescinding from the Sacred Deposit of the Faith, the only logical sequitur is also an “S” word, for it would likely provoke a monumental schism within the Church: not a “breaking away from” by Catholics faithful to Holy Mother Church,  but a “having already broken away from” Holy Mother Church by erstwhile Catholics who put liberal ideology in place of theology, man before God, their ambitions before their obligations, and their temporal gains before their eternal losses.

 

Code of Canon Law Article 1 §3

Of course, there are others issues at stake, especially pertaining to the office of the Petrine Ministry in the Code of Canon Law for which no such apparently facile remedy is immediately available, especially as it pertains to CCL Art 1 §3.

No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff.According to the 1917 Code of Canon Law: “Prima Sedes a nemine iudicatur” (Canon 1556) — “The First See [the pope] is judged by no one.”

The clarity and concision of this law is deliberately rigorous and for good reason — especially in light of the past 50 years which have witnessed widespread and regular dissent and disobedience vis-à-vis the papacy on the part of cardinals, ordinaries, national “Catholic Conferences”, seminary rectors, priests, theologians, and Religious. Widespread as these have been, much-needed correction on the part of the pontiffs preceding Francis has been rare, tempered, and even rescinded. Francis’s shocking authoritarian and peremptory character has no precedent in modern times. The question confronting thoughtful Catholics is why? Why is the full canonical weight of the papacy being exercised so vigorously by Pope Francis and “Team Bergoglio” — and if it is divinely ordained why are the consequences so deleterious to the Church and the faithful? Why such confusion and apparent subterfuge (St. Gallen Group)? Why such a pervasive atmosphere of fear permeating the Vatican as never before —  and as is routinely reported?
 

No implied “judgment” in the Dubia or Questions requiring Clarification

Much more to the point, there is no implied “judgment” of Pope Francis in what is simply, correctly, and canonically termed “The Dubia”, or the questions placed before the pope for clarification are simply that: questions — not judgments of the pope. Issues are involved that stand in dire need of clarification and consensus. Indeed, far from presuming to judge the pope in any way, they are questions requiring his judgment since no universal interpretive consensus is agreed upon — for which reason the dubia were presented to him! Bishops and priests in different countries are in diametric opposition to one another in their understanding of the questions involved. This is a scandalous state of affairs. Definitively answering the questions — which is the prerogative and responsibility of the pope alone — is the only way to settle these divisions, misunderstandings, and misinterpretations not only among the clergy, but the faithful. What is permitted in Poland is not permitted in Canada. Even within one country — America — what is permitted in Los Angeles is not permitted in Philadelphia. In a word, what is sinful in one place is not sinful in another.

That — if nothing else — is the scandal. No casuistry will ever overcome the Law of the Excluded Middle (or the law of non-contradiction): X cannot, at one and the same time, both be X and not-X. It is inconsistent with reason and irreconcilable with logic. It is also a terrible chaos in a universe of immortal souls and Divine pronouncements.


The Church is God’s — to do with as He wills

These are real and ultimately vital questions. To simply reply with Canon Law that No appeal or recourse is permitted against a sentence or decree of the Roman Pontiff is sufficient ... ultimately is not.

We must remember — with a faith straitened as perhaps never before — that ultimately the Church is God’s to do with as He wills. He chooses — or permits — Whom He will. Who are we to question God? In the end His ways are not our ways. And perhaps — just perhaps — He has given or permitted us to have what and whom we will — if only to teach us that there is a better ... but only at a cost we have proven ourselves unwilling to pay.

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
July18, 2017

 

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Comments? Write us:  editor@boston-catholic-journal.com


We strongly encourage you to read The Great Reformer: Francis and the Making of a Radical Pope — As many as 30 Cardinals implicated in Vote-Canvassing Scandal
 


 

 

Personal Sanctity

all that is left in a World without God

The Church in Ruins following Vatican II - Photo Credit: Wikipedia

 “I pray not for the world, but for them whom Thou hast given Me” (St. John 17:9)

 

The corruption — on every conceivable level — of the world and in the world (and most pernicious of all, within the Church Herself: her cardinals, her bishops, her priests, her feminist sisters and “nuns” … dare we say, even her present papacy!) — and especially in the West (often, and accurately, referred to as the “Post-Christian world”) — is nothing less than staggering. In the last 50 years (unquestionably since the confluence of that socio-theological miasma called Vatican II) we have encountered unprecedented levels of what can only be called malignant decadence — spiritual, moral, and social. It takes ones breath away.
 

WE HAVE LOST GOD


More accurately, we have abandoned God in favor of ourselves — and as a consequence we have lost not only ourselves, but our very identity, often painfully acquired over the last 2000 years. We no longer recognize who we are and what we are.

“Progress” and “the perverse” have become synonymous.

We have become — for all the wrong reasons — self-loathing: detesting ourselves and the patrimony of a Catholic culture through which our very identity both as individuals and nations had been articulated.

Many hate the Church — and a significant element within the Church hates the Church, remaining within Her as a cancer in its host. Western Christian culture is repudiated, ridiculed, and contemned as anachronistic, imperialistic, homophobic, racist, and misogynistic.

 Repudiating the true God as inimical to our passions and perversions, we have made our own gods, and they are many — in fact, as many as we are ourselves. Women are taught — indoctrinated really — to hate men and everything they deem “patriarchal”. 

Everything that pertains to our loins, or more accurately, the loins of others — especially of the same gender —  has supplanted, displaced, and superseded the numinous, anything authentically divine, and most especially, the holy. The very terms have been relegated to the periphery of polite discourse, when not entirely expurgated from it.

The world has fled God into the illusion of a utopian garden that is a desiccated desert. It is populated by fictions and the rim of the horizon of our desires is the pretension that there is an end called satisfaction instead of an endlessly recursive vanishing point.

We find few paradigms of holiness in this City of Man — sadly, not even among many of our priests, and, more tragically still, even fewer among our bishops. To what, then, shall we strive to attain in this increasingly lonely place we call life without Christ? What vision are we presented, and to what end are we called?

Mother Teresa, in an interview some years ago, explained the obvious. Rational persuasion, logical coherence, even the most impassioned homily will not bring a person to conversion, to Christ, and therefore to the Church. One thing only is capable of this monumental task: example; the example of holiness that we encounter in others that becomes the impetus to emulation: we want to be like them. And they are like Christ.

We are sadly lacking in example as Catholics. How often do we feel compelled to say to ourselves, “I want to be like her, like him!” when we observe an act, some instance, of holiness that overwhelms us in its simplicity? What examples, what paradigms, do we confront in our lives in Christ that compel us to holiness?  We must not confuse the exemplary with the popular, nor must we confuse it with carefully orchestrated events intended to inspire us. The exemplary is unrehearsed and has no concomitant agendum that is concealed within it. It is utterly spontaneous! ... and therefore, we sense, utterly genuine.
 

The Leaven of the World

What historical figures in our lives as Catholics attain to this extraordinary state of the exemplary that motivates men and women to imitation?  To what are we exposed that motivates us not to the common and ordinary, but to the uncommon and exemplary? What do we see before us that calls us beyond ourselves and beyond the gray and geometric sterility of the world to what lies beyond it?

In a word, where is the differentiation between the Church and the world, the common and the extraordinary, the profane and the sacred? Let us be truthful and acknowledge the obvious: the world has permeated the Church to such an extent that we can no longer coherently differentiate the two except upon the most tenuous of distinctions. Increasingly the agenda of the Church is the agenda of the world. This is not the leaven Christ spoke of. It is the leaven of the world; the leaven of infinitely deep and unimaginably hostile places that we pretend do not exist.
 

Personal Sanctity

First, let us understand this with complete clarity: we cannot attain to sanctity apart from the Church and Her Sacraments. We cannot become holy schismatics, that is to say, apart from the Church which is the Body of Christ. However sterile we have found it since the spurious  and self-promoting euphoria of Vatican II … however trampled the Vineyard and however littered with discarded and never-to-be-revised Roman Missals, Religious habits, Chapel Veils, Priestly collars, Roman Cassocks, kneelers … even the centrality of the Eucharistic Presence of Christ, and an understanding of the Mass as a Sacrifice; however grotesquely crippled and contorted the buildings we call our  “Churches” have become — more redolent of civic auditoriums than Sanctuaries, there … there … abides the Living God, hidden in Tabernacles we often do not see and only find with much difficulty. He is there! However much we shunt Him aside as both an ecumenical and chronological embarrassment, all the litter of what has been discarded cannot conceal Him from us. He beckons us, and even under the most humiliating circumstances, we can look upon Him Who ever looks upon us.

Apart from the Church, the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, and the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … we can do nothing, become nothing, worthy of the Most Precious Blood poured out for us upon that Altar. To be holy we must be part of the Church for the Church, as we have said, is the Body of Christ, and He Who is the Head of the Body is God Himself. Christ Jesus. God Alone is Holy — and it is  He Who participates His holiness to us that we may be, in the most clear way possible, what we were created to be; what we essentially are, despite the filth of sin that covers it, obscures it, and defaces it: the imago Dei, the image of God Himself!

In this wasteland barren of spires and empty of cloisters, ugly, squat, geometric and concrete, Bauhaus pretensions emerged from the rubble of “clustered” demolished churches (Churches without anyone left to worship in them one of the many “successes” of Vatican II). They are no longer grand structures striving to equal the soaring Faith of men and women in heights contiguous to Heaven itself … but stooped, square, economical structures that could as well be mortuaries (or athletic facilities, commercial structures, municipal offices “functional” things that could, in an instant, reflexively duplicate any of the above in need.

 
“Faith Communities”

Indeed, we no longer have “churches” as such but in some paroxysm of needless novelty we now have “Faith Communities only parenthetically “Catholic” lest they offend broad ecumenical sensitivities, for are there not other “Faith Communities” distinct from, if often antithetical, even inimical, to the Catholic Faith? By a “Church” we  immediately understand something quite different from a “Mosque”, a “Synagogue” , a “Temple”, or a “Kingdom Hall”. Understood as a “Faith Community”, a Catholic Church is no different from any of these. In an age of unbridled ecumenism are they any less “Faith Communities” than our own, we implicitly, even necessarily ask, not just minimizing but marginalizing the unique mission and commission of the Church established by Christ upon Saint Peter? If they were established by Muhammed, or Lao Tzu, or Martin Luther, are not such “Faith Communities” equally acceptable to God in the sweeping logic of ecumenism?  If indeed they are, then the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross is emptied of all value and meaning. He died for no reason if every “Faith Community” is the way to salvation. His death was not necessary in the economy of salvation: hence He died needlessly ... even gratuitously. This, of course, is a scandal to the very Gospel He Himself proclaimed. “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.” 12 


But in the malformed logic of ecumenism, even if other “Faith Communities” despise the Triune God of Catholics and hold to other gods, are they not equal expressions of man’s faith and legitimate venues of salvation? In the “correct” atmosphere of post-Vatican II theology, would we dare to assert that they are not? All roads lead to Rome … that lead away from Rome —  and every paradigm of the holy, however contradictory, is deemed legitimate and authentic, and the end of each is the same: Heaven and salvation. Saint, heretic, infidel and atheist alike go to God. The Catholic Church has no corner on salvation. She is now simply one among many, and Christ erred in proclaiming Himself, “the way, and the truth, and the life”, and deceived us in insisting that, “No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.”
 

We are so damnably democratic … We must “spread our tent pegs”, we are told, to be inclusive of all — even if God is not. The strange thing, however, about “spreading our tent pegs” is that the wider, the more inclusive, the more “horizontal”, they become, the lower the apex of the tent. We achieve the horizontal at the expense of the vertical. We sacrifice the magnificent height to accommodate the factious width. Ask any camper. Even happy ones. Eventually the fabric rips and the structure collapses. Most often in the rain. And in great ruin. The “stitching” did not, could not, hold this multiplicity of opposing forces however benevolent or brainless our intentions.
 

Accompanying this ecumenical impulse was, necessarily, theological ambiguity. How, otherwise, hope to bring hoped-for consensus out of conflicting doctrines? It is this ambiguity that afflicts pulpit and podium alike in nominally Catholic institutions. In matters of Faith, morals, and doctrine, it is rather like equivocating on geometric postulates or axioms; or in mathematics holding in abeyance quantitative relationships that are otherwise held to necessarily obtain between integers. Much like Dostoyevsky we reach a point where we declare,
 

“To me that 2+2=4 is sheer insolence. I admit that twice two makes four is an excellent thing, but if we are to give everything its due, twice two makes five is sometimes a very charming thing too.” (Notes from Underground)
 

This is largely the state of Catholic theology, and, eo ipso, Catholic homiletics. We are no longer I repeat: no longer (for once, and for a very long time we were … prior to Vatican II) certain of just what Holy Mother the Church teaches, given this priest or that theologian and whether it was Wednesday or Thursday. “Officially” She teaches “this”, but depending on the audience She or better yet, and to be fair, Her spokesman in the person of a priest, nun, sister, bishop, pope, or theologian proposes, or at least appears to suggest the contrary or openly rebels against it! For the average Catholic layman or laywoman, they: the bishop, the priest, the Religious, are the consecrated symbols of utter fidelity to the Church, and for that reason it is a scandalous state of affairs.
 

How then do we live our lives as Catholics — not post-Catholics in a post-Christian world

How do we live our Catholic lives as they had been fervently lived for 2000 years prior to the insipid, diffident, confused and eclectic — and at times even implicitly pantheistic  —  impulses and subsequent teachings that emerged from Vatican II, an unnecessary Council which effectively and efficiently tore down the edifice of Catholicism as distinct, distinguishable, and unique? As a way of life? In other words, lacking visible paradigms of sanctity, how do we go about living lives of holiness amid the detritus of so much we once considered sacred and that now litters the ecclesiastical landscape of the Modern Church or the American Church or the European Church — all of which are conflatable into one ecclesiastical body that appears to articulate itself as distinct from the Roman Catholic Church? In practical terms it is an increasingly autonomous body. We see this most strikingly today in Germany.
 

Shall we go more frequently to Mass?

This is an obvious paradigm from another and past generation. It once was true, but if we are remorselessly candid, it is no longer so.  How often do we go to Mass and leave no more enlightened or fervid than when we had entered? Much of what was distinctively and historically Catholic is no longer there. “God loves you. The weather is great. You are all going to Heaven (and your dog, too). Be nice. Shalom. Go in peace.” If we are honest we cannot leave fast enough.
 

How about the Sacrament of PenanceConfession

... now called the Rite of Reconciliation practiced face to face in a room with well-appointed and comfortable chairs strangely reminiscent of a psychotherapist’s office? The bulletin indicates that it is only available 45 minutes per week or “by appointment” … as with a “therapist”. Frankly, this is not much of an option, especially since the evisceration of the concept of Mortal Sin (a term no longer in use because no longer applicable) and the paucity of “real” sinners like you and me.
 

What about a Spiritual Director?

Good luck finding one at all, let alone one who knows and will give you the mind of the Church — rather than currently prevailing spiritual trends. Once again, we effectively encounter,  “God loves you. The weather is great. You are going to Heaven (and your dog, too). Be nice. Shalom. Go in peace.”
 

Perhaps we Should Go to Medjugorje to listen to the “Seers” of the “Gospa”?

The “Seers”, beginning June 24, 1981 — youngsters then, adults now, some 34 years later — surely have an answer somewhere in the thousands of appearances of the “Gospa” (Mary). 1 Make expensive travel arrangements through them to visit Medjugore (including hotels, meals, and even meeting with one of the “Seers” themselves) and watch your rosary turn into gold! You will hear much of the pronouncements of Vatican II validated by the Mother of God Herself, such as:

Before God all the faiths are identical.  God governs them like a king in his kingdom.” All sufferings are equal in hell; and Mirjana quotes the Gospa as telling her that people begin feeling comfortable in hell. … When the Madonna is asked about the title, “Mediatrix of all graces,” she replies, “I do not dispose of all graces.” 2

Perhaps the “Gospa” will reveal the way of holiness to you, although her track record over the past three decades (and thousands of “appearances”)  has been uniformly dismal in the way of predictions and has led to open schism with the local bishop who insists (with the Church) that the “Gospa” and her six now-not-so-little-confederates are not authentic (yes, despite the organized parish visits, in direct disobedience to the Church, with your local priest you can make a “pilgrimage” to a site condemned as spurious by Rome.)
 

What then? What is Left?

Personal Sanctity. Apart from any organized approach to holiness though the Mass (and the incredibly bad music that is a perpetual distraction from it), or Confession (barely extant), or sound Spiritual Direction (almost universally absent) there is one venue, and one alone that is open to you in these sterile, confused, contradictory, and tepid times in which the Church appears as clear and distinct as a Microsoft hologram: the commitment to personal sanctity guided by the Lives of the Saints, rather than disaffected theologians. “You are surrounded by a Cloud of Witnesses”, we are told 3 who have gone before you and have arrived at genuine sanctity, at complete and indissoluble union with God in Heaven. Let them — by their words and by their example — be our teachers who had taught and guided the Church for two millennia.

Personal Sanctity requires effort. You must come to know the mind of the Church and authentic Catholic doctrine and dogma. That is to say, you must be catechized. “But I went to CCD!” you protest. “And what did you learn?” I will ask. “Why did God create you?” And you will have no answer. In a word, you learned nothing despite the expensive, glossy textbooks your parents had to pay for, and which were far, far, more pictorial than substantial. They were … trendy. Empty. Worthless. And even back then, you knew it. Indeed, your CCD or Catechism teacher knew as much about the Faith as you did. Catechesis has not been an important agendum to your local bishop; even while it should be the most preeminent as that upon which all things subsequent depend.
 

The Sixth Decade of the Second Millennium: the Decade of Decadence

The Sixth Decade (the 1960's) of the Second Millennium ushered in the unparalleled destruction of every value inherent in, descriptive of, and intrinsic to Western Civilization — and with a particular vehemence the violent repudiation of the Church and the profanation of all things sacred. Christ became a Flower Child, ascended our altars, assumed the Lotus Position and taught us to worship ourselves through self-gratification. Satiation replaced sacrifice. In place of Holy Scripture and the 10 Commandments, we studied the Kama Sutra and the 64 Positions.  It was the decade of decadence, the apotheosis of the self — and we have never recovered from it. It was as if the maw of Hell opened its putrescent mouth and vomited forth every abomination before God, every perversion possible to man. So overwhelming the smoke, that it entered the Sanctuary of the Church itself ... and still lingers, blinds and chokes. In the way of Her sacred teachings, to use JRR Tolkien's words from the Lord of the Ring,

“some things that should not have been forgotten were lost. History became legend. Legend became myth.”

 

In many, many ways the Church lost the authenticity of its evangel as it clamored for relevancy in an opiated, lost, and dystopian world. We see it in contemporary theological writings, nominally Catholic literature, and tepid teachings that lack the clarity, conviction, and passion of a Church absolutely clear in its mission and resolute in its tenacity. Such unambiguous literature is now rarely found, and such utter conviction is rarely encountered in the post-Conciliar Church, and most painfully, in the present papacy of Francis.

What are we to do? Very clearly, the following:

Immerse yourself in authentic Catholic doctrine  —  and assiduously avoid anything, even with (or without) an Imprimatur and/or Nihil Obstat that post-dates 1950. The Imprimatur and/or Nihil Obstat are no longer any guarantee that what you read is consistent with the mind and historical teachings of the Church. Once they were legitimate stamps of approval as consistent with the Magisterium of the Church, but they have long ceased to be so. Open the first few pages of any ostensibly Catholic book and look for the date of the first printing. This will tell you much in the way of their authenticity and reliability as instruments appropriate for the formation of a Catholic Conscience. If it precedes 1950, politely put it down despite the rave reviews of any nominally Catholic source, to say nothing of any secular review.

In a famous line from the movie “The Exorcist” (based on fact) by William Peter Blatty, the elderly Father Merrin warns the much younger Father Karras who is suffering a crisis of Faith that, He is a liar, the demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien. And powerful. So don't listen, remember that, do not listen.

By and large, Catholic literature dealing with matters of Faith, Morals, Doctrine, and Dogma — either as pamphlets or scholarly tomes had, prior to 1950, been carefully vetted by competent Catholic theologians, priests, or bishops. They are credible sources and remain so, although many have fallen out of print — not from desuetude but as inconsistent with present and “popular” Catholic thought, often percolated through Rogerian psychology.

The famous library at Alexandria 4 in classical antiquity was burned by the Muslims in 642 in an effort to destroy any book incompatible with the Quran.” Modern” Catholic theology and literature has engaged in a similar enterprise. Many of the greatest books in Catholic literature are now only available on-line or through small publishing houses committed to preserving genuine Catholic teaching.

Apart from this treasury of 2000 years of Catholic teaching we are left with incomplete, contradictory, and confusing doctrines, not of the Church, but of dissident and disaffected theologians, priests, and would-be “priestesses” who, in today's “inclusive” seminaries are the instructors of what few candidates to the priesthood we have left following their decimation by homosexual clerics. Richard McBrien, Daniel Maguire, Hans Kung, and Teilhard de Chardin — all voluble and nominally Catholic writers — two were collarless priests — are among the most eminent examples of this theological dissidence, confusion, fiction, and heresy. In their writings we are presented with a mixture of some truth (to entice us) and many lies (to confuse us) reminiscent of the stratagems of the demon in Blatty’s, The Exorcist. Where is a Catholic to go to re-acquire an authentic Catholic identity consistent with the Church and the Saints for 2000 years?

 

Grayscale Memories

Many of us have them. We cleave to them as to invaluable possessions, for they introduced us to an awareness of the holy and of places other than Earth; to a belief in things more profound than venal democratic institutions and more enduring than perverse social issues. They opened the vista to things eternal and resplendent in glory, to things holy that the world could not possibly sully and debase because of the ontological distance that separated them, a distance as great as sanctity from sin. They are in carefully kept albums from a time of innocence, and inscribed in the Family Bible placed beside a statue of Mary the Mother of God. They are indelibly impressed in our memories; our First Holy Communions, May Processions, the Baptisms of our children, and on the memorial cards of those we love and who now live, please God, in a place called Paradise, forever beyond this jaded Earth.

 

So How do We Get Back?

A soul at a time, beginning with our own.

Let us look at a few fundamental concepts with which we ought to familiarize ourselves if we are committed to persevere to Personal Sanctity. Once we have acquired these we have the tools through which to articulate our own lives, whatever our vocation in life, to accord with the mind of Christ and the mind of the Church in matters dealing with the Faith, the Faith that has been faithfully transmitted to us through the Deposit of Faith, for what we are striving toward is nothing less than Exemplary Holiness which itself is nothing more than Personal Sanctity.

 

  • Devotion to Jesus Christ in the Most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar.

    We recognize that HE is there, REALLY and TRULY, in His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. This the character of exemplary Catholicism: the recognition of God Himself in the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity really and truly present to us in the Tabernacle. Without His Presence, without Him, the building we call a Church is nothing but a meaningless and empty edifice. He is there! And He awaits you. Anytime of the day or night. For the most part He is left alone and unrecognized. We do not kneel before Him, but have the hubris to stand as before an equal! Is that how you will approach Him in the Last Judgment? We do not have the humility to genuflect when we pass before Him, acknowledging Him … and yet we would not dare pass a mere man we know without greeting him with some gesture of recognition …
     

  • Frequent, but Discerning Reception of Holy Communion:

    You are familiar with the spectacle of  everyone going to Holy Communion as though there were no sinners in the pews.  This indiscriminate partaking of the Bread of Angels with no Examination of Conscience prior to approaching Christ in Holy Communion is itself a Mortal Sin if one is aware of an unconfessed Mortal sinned that has not been absolved in the Tribunal of Penance (Holy Confession). In the state of Mortal Sin and not sufficiently cognizant of the true and real Presence of Christ in the sacred species of Holy Communion, it is an act of blasphemy and therefore the death of the soul in conspectu Dei (in the sight of God), for Saint Paul is very clear: “For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord.” 5 Most often, apart from ignorance, the source of this sin is the Capital Sin of Pride which refuses to constrain us to conspicuously remain in the pews in recognition of our unworthiness, through Mortal Sin, to receive Holy Communion — when everyone else is. Even if Pope Francis in his Joy of Love (Amoris Laetitia) deems it acceptable in second, third, or fourth … “unions” …  of those “living in God’s grace”, adultery notwithstanding.
     

  • Recognition of the real Distinction between Venial Sins and Mortal Sins:

    This is not the venue of a discussion of the distinction between Mortal and Venial Sin. Suffice it to say that a Mortal Sin must contain all three of the following: (1) the matter of the sin must be serious, (2) one wills to commit the sin, and (3) one commits the Mortal Sin. A Venial Sin is not serious in nature, is committed without a full understanding of the detrimental nature of the sin, and/or is not committed with the total consent of the will. Venial sins do not preclude participation in Holy Communion. Mortal Sins do.
     

  • Devotion to Mary:

    One preeminent hallmark of Catholic piety is the love of Mary, Mother of God. Devotion to Mary is the sine qua non of the fully lived Catholic life. Her place in the economy of salvation is absolutely singular: she alone gave flesh (her flesh) to the Word Incarnate. Hence “every generation shall call me blessed” 6 She is our Mother. 7
     

  • Recognition of the Reality of Heaven and Hell

    It is the Sin of Presumption to assume that, as a matter of course, we will go to Heaven and stand before the Beatific Vision of God eternally. Even Saint Paul exhorted us to work out our salvation “with fear and  trembling.” 8 Despite the total absence and silence at the pulpit of any mention of Hell, it is quite real and many go there. 9
     

  • The Four Final Things: Death, Judgment, Heaven or Hell

    In many old graveyards you will find the following inscribed upon many humble markers: Sum quod eris, fui quod sis — essentially, As you are I once was, as I am you will one day be. Understand your mortality, recognize the inevitable, and act accordingly. Remember the distinction between “life” and “life everlasting” … however it will be lived … in Heaven or Hell. Have always before you the Last Four Things that will surely come to pass instead of the present “popular” things in vogue with a Church that has become heavily feminized in every aspect of its “Liturgy” and social teachings.
     

  • Never Pass a Church without recognizing Christ within:

    Gloria tibi, Domine! (Glory to You, Lord!), or “Laus (or Gloria) tibi, Domine” (Praise to You, Lord!). A devout Catholic always makes some sign of recognition of Christ in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar when he passes a Church. This is accompanied by tracing the Sign of the Cross on our forehead or over our heart. When this becomes instinctual (as it had been prior to Vatican II) it will assist us in recognizing Who abides there and for what reason. It is the instinctive call to holiness.
     

  • Receive Holy Communion on your Knees

    Remarkably, this is no longer the norm in modern Novus Ordo Masses. Saint Francis himself, it is said, refused Holy Orders (becoming a priest) because he did not think himself worthy to hold the Sacred Body of Christ in his hands. You may be reproached by the priest in your parish for not following the “approved posture” adopted by the diocese or the USCCB. As Saint Peter responded to those who discouraged his preaching the Gospel, “Is it better to obey God, or men?” 10 For 2000 years Holy Communion was received this way, and nowhere in the documents of Vatican II does it suggest otherwise. Would you approach Christ in less an attitude of humility and adoration? Do not fear being scorned for what others may ridicule as your “sanctimony”. It is Christ Himself you kneel before! What thought of anyone else should occupy your mind? For God’s sake get on your knees!
     

  • Honor the Saints and Martyrs

    They, not your Parish Council are your faithful and eternal friends. If they are no longer honored in the present Martyrology, honor them still, and invoke their aid and protection. Remain in their company, who behold the face of God in Heaven. It is the Company to which you are called!

 

Christ Himself promised us that the very Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church. And yes, the Church, as we limply excuse ourselves, is “made up of sinners.” But it is also made up of saints. That is our universal vocation: to be nothing less than saints, whatever our earthly vocation. But we are not saints yet. As Saint Francis famously said, “Let us begin. For up to now we have done nothing.” Do not be afraid of sanctity. It is the very character of the image in which you have been created.

Whatever the Church now suffers on earth it has suffered before, if not on so vast a scale. And that is precisely why your call to sanctity is so vital. You must pursue the sanctity that the Church at present appears to have lost, or spurns as too onerous … too “otherworldly” in this Age of Man. You must be the sign of contradiction that is the Sign of the Cross, and Him Who was crucified upon it for you. You must be in the world but not of the world, for Saint John warns us,
 

Love not the world, nor the things which are in the world. If any man love the world, the charity of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world is the concupiscence of the flesh, and the concupiscence of the eyes, and the pride of life, which is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the concupiscence thereof: but he that doth the will of God, abideth for ever.” 11
 

Spurn the world — and the empty love and praise of the world! Keep all that is holy before you and this day begin to dwell already in the Mansion prepared for you by Christ before the foundation of the world.

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
April 19, 2017
 

   Printable PDF Version

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1  See http://www.boston-catholic-journal.com/medjugorje-private-revelation-and-the-seer-ing-truth.htm,
2  http://www.crisismagazine.com/2012/the-devil-and-medjugorje
3  Hebrews 12.1
4  “In AD 642, Alexandria was captured by the Muslim army of Amr ibn al `Aas. Several later Arabic sources describe the library's destruction by the order of Caliph Omar. Bar-Hebraeus, writing in the 13th century, quotes Omar as saying to Yaḥyā al-Naḥwī: "If those books are in agreement with the Quran, we have no need of them; and if these are opposed to the Quran, destroy them." Later scholars are skeptical of these stories, given the range of time that had passed before they were written down and the political motivations of the various writers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_of_Alexandria 
5  I Cor. 11.29
6   St. Luke 1.48
7  St. John 19.26
 Philippians 2.12, 2 Cor. 13.15.
9  St. Mat. 7.13
10 Acts 5.29
11 1 John 2.15-17
12  St. John 14.6
 

Note: An invaluable source for historically authentic Catholic teaching including the writings of the Church Fathers can be found at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/  and http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/

The indispensable Baltimore Catechism  — universally used by the Catholic Church until it was discontinued following Vatican II can be found (and downloaded as a PDF) at: http://www.boston-catholic-journal.com/baltimore_catechism.pdf . It presents a clear, concise, and readily understandable presentation of our Holy Catholic Faith. We encourage you to explore it.

_____________________

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

 

 

 


 

Black Knight takes King's Bishops
 

Cardinal Robert Sarah — Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship

Cardinal Robert Sarah — Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship
 

The Face of Hope in a Disintegrating Church

 

“More and more voices of high-ranking prelates stubbornly affirm obvious doctrinal, moral and liturgical errors that have been condemned a hundred times, and work to demolish the little faith remaining in the people of God.” 1 

 


The Board is set and the Pieces are in place. Francis made the opening move ... and it was catastrophic.

Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, responded with a move that has compromised all the bishops. He openly uttered the obvious to nearly every Catholic outside the Continent of Africa: it is probable that most high-ranking members of the world-wide episcopacy — cardinals, archbishops, bishops, prelates, primates, metropolitans, episcopal vicars — have effectively lost their faith, succumbed to the World, the Flesh, and the Devil and remain only nominally Catholic” — and determined to erase even the memory of Catholicism as it had been practiced for 2000 years prior to Vatican II ... and Pope Francis (who is likely to exile Cardinal Sarah in the way he has callously dismissed every voice of opposition to his regime of progression ad infinitum and ad absurdam).

But the word is out! And who can take it back?

Who, with a straight face, can say surprise!”? No one in America or Canada or England. No one in Europe. In fact, no one outside Africa and Asia. We let them pretend to be holy when their words and deeds were blatantly and unapologetically perfidious. We did not raise our voice against them because they knew that genuinely faithful Catholics were taught to revere them and make every implausible excuse for their dereliction. Heretical bishops and theologians are a dime a dozen. But still we pretended that they were “Catholic” to cover our own shame for their scandalous behavior, disobedience, delinquency and turpitude — which none in higher authority reproached or redressed.

 

Habeas Corpus ... Postquam

We have watched them solemnly process into the conclave or the synod(s) — after feverishly assembling their own “schema” to subvert anything authentically Catholic: somber, grave faces of men who relished their image of stern sobriety ... until the doors were closed. The dissection of doctrine then proceeded and the vivisection of morals. The body of Holy Mother Church was barely left intact ... and barely recognizable!

How prescient Cardinal Robert Sarah! Not until the last drop of Faith has been exsanguinated from the Body will these men rest who work to demolish the little faith remaining in the people of God.

What a staggering statement!

Qui habet aures audiendi, audiat! (Saint Matthew 11.15)

________________________________

1  Catholicherald.co.uk  03 April 2017

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
April 3, 2017

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Catholicism as Art: “The ‘ART’ of Accompaniment”?

 

“The ‘ART’ of Accompaniment”?

 

 

“Hello. You are my project and I am your artist. You are the “medium” of my art, much as paint is to some artists and clay to others, and I will fashion you into something of my liking. Is that okay with you? You will admire my finesse and I’ve had lots of practice. Did I tell you that I went to school for this? No kidding; I got a BA in Art with a specialty in “accompaniment.” Never heard of it? It’s new. Very fashionable in Rome. I will follow you around and teach you some things to make you appear to be Catholic and okay with God; kinda smooth out the rough edges of the “sin”-thing so that you will be comfortable with it now and do what other Catholics do who, unlike you, at the moment are not in a state of mortal sin.

Of course they are sinners, too, but at the moment they are not sinning by living in adultery as you now are in your second (or is this your third?) “marriage”. No big deal. Like Francis said, who are we to judge anyway? What is more, the pope has recently concluded that we cannot really be sure about sin in any event because of what he calls the “Internal Forum” — your conscience really. It may be telling you that something is not a sin for you, even if the 10 Commandments say it is before God and for everyone else, unless, of course, their “internal Forum” tells them it’s okay for them, too. Got it?   

 

AMORIS LÆTITIA:

In life the shades of gray predominate - Pope Francis on Amoris Laetitia
 

“In life, shades of gray predominate”, Francis told us, so nothing is clear and there is no need to beat yourself up for something that may, in fact, be “good” and “wholesome” and “positive” according to Francis — despite appearances and connotations to the contrary. Clear on that? The thing is, I’ve got to accompany you and show you that what you may think is wrong really isn’t any more, especially if it’s making you uncomfortable or feel guilty.

Of course as an ARTIST of ACCOMPANIMENT, in order to have the “stuff” of my art to work with, you will have to tell me some, well, deeply private things, possibly salacious things, but hey, that’s art. I am NOT a voyeur. I am an ARTIST! As one Dominican journal gushes,

“Pope Francis describes the bedside manner needed in the art of accompaniment as “steady and reassuring, reflecting our closeness,” and as having a “compassionate gaze” (EG, 169). Some refer to this bedside manner, practiced within welcoming and loving communities” 1
 

With a Sigh …

Conservative Catholics do not understand this. They are into the manly work of evangelization and conversion; not accompaniment, compassionate gazes, and certainly not “this art of accompaniment which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other. They simply do not anticipate that they, like Moses, will have to veil their faces because they will radiate the lumen gloriae of the adulterous and the sacrilegious subsequent to “accompanying” them … after, of course, removing their sandals before these demigods in accordance with non-existent canons of the Art of Accompaniment that we can find in no college curriculum (see Exodus 3.5 which Francis invokes and 34.33-35 that we invoke).

The … shall we say, delicate … language of “art” leaves them — conservative and traditional Catholics — understandably uncomfortable, especially in the wake of the last 30 years of pervasive pederasty in the Church. And who, we wonder, will teach us to learn to make “compassionate gazes” and how will we be graded on our performance? Will such “gazes” be accompanied with a sigh? Is that also in Performance 101?

If they hope to gain any traction in the “modern Church they need to be slick like us, saying things no one really grasps and using ambiguous words which have no substance.

Francis and Kasper are “Artists” to be sure … Conservatives just don’t have the “stuff” to be artists. Too few theta waves. Indeed, does the Church need more “Artists” as Francis insists? :
 

The Church will have to initiate everyone — priests, religious and laity — into this ‘art of accompaniment’ which teaches us to remove our sandals before the sacred ground of the other (cf. Ex 3:5).” (Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, 169)
 

For every Catholic an Artist

She already has an abundance of “Ministries” (EXTRAORDINARY Eucharistic Ministers, Music Ministers, Youth Ministers, Hospitality Ministers, Community Service Ministers — Shawl-Making, Greeting, Lectors, Prayer, — virtually every activity at church anoints one a Minister). 

And now a superabundance of “Artists”?

After all, according to Francis, each of us will have to be “initiated”, not into a Sacrament, but into an Art. We will practice art, and therefore be practitioners.

Every Catholic an “Artist” and a Practitioner of the Art? (yet a new, but universal Ministry!)

Is this our new vocation? If we are all Practitioners chasing the lost, who are the remaining sheep? Are they not Practitioners, too?

Did you just think “circular”? Did you just visualize a dog chasing its own tail?

The Church needs more sanctity — not artists. More priests and fewer ministers. More Catholics and fewer Practitioners.

Ecce enim regnum Dei intra vos est! (Saint Luke 17.21)

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 1 http://www.dominicanajournal.org/the-art-of-accompaniment/

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
24 March 2017

 

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Contra Franciscus — Against Francis

“I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no Gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the Gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a Gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! As we have already said, so now I say again: If any man is preaching to you a gospel other than what you accepted, let him be under God’s curse!Am I now trying to win the approval of men, or of God? Or am I trying to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galations 1.6-10)

 

 

We must mightily strive to forever preserve intact and to protect the Sacred Deposit of Faith, and the indefectibly Authentic Teachings and Magisterium entrusted by Almighty God to the Holy Catholic Church which no man — or group of men — can change, alter, cancel, abrogate, diminish or attenuate!

 

Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness: who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter. — Isaiah 5.20

 


 

 

Salus Animarum
 

the Salvation of Souls

Hell
 

Whatever became of this most Fundamental Imperative …
indeed, the very reason for the establishment and existence of the Church?

 

It is unlikely that the vast, indeed, the overwhelming majority of today’s Catholics have not so much as heard of this phrase as old as the Church itself; certainty, not in English — and with greater certainty still, not from the pulpit. The very concept of “the salvation of the soul” appears to be non grata in homiletics for quite nearly 50 years (corresponding, unsurprisingly, to the implementation of Vatican II) — despite the fact that the imperative itself is clearly and unambiguously codified as the supremus lex (the supreme law) in Canon Law (1752):
 

Salus animarum supemus lex esto — the salvation of souls …

must be the supreme law in the Church.”
 

It is nothing less than the sole reason for the Incarnation … the Suffering, Crucifixion, Death, and Resurrection … of Christ: the salvation of souls!

Christ as Savior; Christ as Redeemer, cannot be understood apart from this most fundamental and utterly simple concept: He came to save souls — not to heal bodies (although He did), not to rectify injustices, not to rehabilitate politics, not to instruct us on economics, and certainly not save the environment.

He came with only two purposes that are really one:

  • To do the will of the Father

  • And the will of the Father is this: to save souls for all eternity in Heaven (and in so doing, to deliver them from Hell).

It is really that simple; in fact, so simple that it eludes us in our pretensions to sophistication, and our preferences for sophistry.

For 2000 years the mission of the Church (and its raison d’etre , the very reason for its being) could be summed up in two words instantiating that same beautiful simplicity: Salus animarum — the Salvation of souls”.  Through Christ in the Sacraments this is its sole mission.
 

No other Mandate

The Church has no other mandate from Christ. Even healing the sick, raising the dead, delivering men from demonic possession, and all that He taught in the Sermon on the Mount were means only to the principle end: the salvation of the soul. Christ Himself emphatically asks:

“What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (St. Matthew 16.26).

The purpose of all that He said and did was always eschatological, that is to say, pertaining to the Four Last Things:

  • Death

  • Judgment

  • Heaven

  • Hell

Everything else pales in significance. Two come once only, and two are at once everlasting.

To pretend that we really do not fully understand what Christ was talking about, and which He proclaimed in the clearest terms, is just that: pretension. We know very well what Christ said and did — but to our own devious and often deviant ends, we assume an air of erudite perplexity concerning them:

“Despite what He appears to say; indeed actually says — this is what He really means …” What follows seldom has anything to do with what He means. And we recognize it.

 Our own interpretation merely accords with what we wish He had said, for this would provide us with excuses for our sins or alternatives for His extremely unsettling pronouncements. We go from the reality of:  If only He had said …” to the fiction: “This is what He really means … because I am much more comfortable with this interpretation — which, rather coincidentally, allows me to continue in sin.”  In short, it is nothing more than wishful thinking, because they cannot both be true.

However contradictory to what Jesus and His Apostles really said and taught, we choose to believe another narrative, however factitious; a simulacrum that borrows the vocabulary of the real but with connotations utterly incongruous with it. It is disingenuous, a sham. There is a pathos of similitude but the depiction is counterfeit. We have not entered the mythical: we have fabricated it. Shamelessly. It pleases us … and this is the first clue that it is deceptive. We have both an aversion and an affinity for the truth. It is the patrimony of our broken heritage from the beginning. We ineluctably desire the true, but when it indicts us we demur from it; unable to accommodate both we resort to dissimilation, to a semblance of the real that is, despite our collusion with pretensions, a defection from it. Hence our penchant for comfortable and spurious “interpretations”.

For all our carefully fabricated allusions to what Christ really said and meant, we know the truth — because He is the Truth Who does not deceive nor can be deceived. We are not pleased with all He said, especially concerning things that frighten us because they describe us  … and convict us — and we know it! 

Despite this, we insist that so many vitally important things that Jesus clearly uttered are nevertheless not true —  because they are not “inclusive” and do not accord with our delicate post-modern sensitivities that any real deity would surely ascribe to. That some, perhaps many, are left in “outer darkness”, excluded from Heaven because of  their depravity and perversion, their penchant for sin and their obstinate predilection for evil, is unacceptable to our presently enlightened humanity. The list of our objections would be too long to enumerate and ultimately too tedious. Let us be satisfied with a few:


The Short List:

  • Not everyone goes to Heaven (St. Matthew 7:14)

  • People — indeed, many people — go to Hell (St. Matthew 7:14)

  • Hell is a real place of punishment, torment, and eternal suffering beyond our comprehension. It is the abode of the devil and demons. It is eternal and eternally devoid of any hope. (St. Matthew 5.29-10; Luke 16:19-31, 13.42; 25.41; St. Mark 9:42-44 etc.)

  • No one “goes to the Father” — enters Heaven — except though Christ (St. John 14:6)

  • If you deny Him before men on earth, He will deny you before His Father in Heaven (Matthew 10:33)

  • Not everyone who says, “Lord, Lord!” will enter the Kingdom of Heaven (St. Matthew 7:21)

  • Not any and every religion will bring you to Heaven (St. John 6.26-70)

  • Being a “nice person” does not suffice to bring you to Heaven or exempt you from Hell (St. Matthew 5.20; St. Mark 16.15-16)

Such pernicious nonsense has no place in our mythologized concept of God. We will have Heaven … “dammit”  ... but on our terms — despite what Jesus Christ says … much to our consternation, and quite likely to our damnation. We prefer other interpretations;  more comfortable and convenient exegeses ... and sadly they abound.

For my part, fool that I am, I will take Christ at His word. In fact, I stake my life on it.

 

Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

   Printable PDF Version

Comments? Write us:  editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

 

 





 

THE SACRED RULE

for Properly Celebrating the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass


The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: A Primer for Clueless Catholics

DO NOT DO at Mass  what you would never have done were you standing at the foot of the Cross with Christ visibly before you.

DO at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass what you would have done were you standing before Christ hanging on the Cross in front of you — for at Holy Mass you are at the crucifixion of Christ on the Cross — really and truly.

Had you closed your eyes for a moment while standing immediately before Christ upon the Cross, 
you would be where you are this day at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

DO, then, what you would have done ... and DO NOT DO what you would never have done.


THIS
is the proper disposition of the soul at every single Mass.


 



 

Complete Roman Martyrology in English

The Complete Martyrology in

 English

for Daily Reflection

Semen est sanguis Christianorum— The blood of Christians is the seed [of the Church], Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50

 

ROMAN MARTYROLOGY

Thursday July 27th In the Year of Grace 2017

Season after Pentecost


This Day, the Twenty-Seventh Day of July

At Nicomedia, the martyrdom of St. Pantaleon, a physician. For the faith of Christ he was apprehended by the emperor Maximian, subjected to the torture and burned with torches, during which torments he was comforted by an apparition of our Lord. He ended his martyrdom by a stroke of the sword.

In the same city, St. Hermolaus, priest, by whose instructions blessed Pantaleon was converted to the faith.

Also, the Saints Hermippus and Hermocrates, brothers. After many sufferings borne for the confession of Christ, they were condemned to capital punishment by the same Maximian.

At Nola, the holy martyrs Felix, Julia and Jucunda.

At Biseglia, in Apulia, the holy martyrs Maurus, bishop, Pantaleemon, and Sergius, who suffered under Trajan.

At Rome, Pope St. Celestine I, who had condemned Nestorius, bishop of Constantinople, and put Pelagius to flight. By his command the holy universal Council of Ephesus was also held against the same Nestorius.

In the country of the Homerites (Arabia), the commemoration of the holy martyrs, who were delivered to the flames for faith of Christ, under the tyrant Dunaan.

At Cordova, in Spain, during the persecution of the Arabs, the holy martyrs George, deacon, Felix, Aurelius, Natalia, and Liliosa.

At Ephesus, the birthday of the seven holy sleepers, Maximian, Malchus, Martinian, Denis, John, Serapion, and Constantine.

At Auxerre, the demise of blessed Aetherius, bishop and confessor.

At Constantinople, blessed Anthusa, a virgin. Under Constantine Copronymus, after being scourged and banished, she rested in the Lord.

At Cordova in Spain, during the Arab persecution, the holy martyrs George, a deacon, Aurelius and his wife Natalia, Felix and his wife Liliosa.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.


Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis. ("All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us", from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.

 



Roman Martyrology by Month

January February March April May June
July August September October November December

 

 

Why the Martyrs Matter
 


Each day
we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!).1

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come. What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Catholics living in partibus infidelium, under the scourge of Islam. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small, sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles 2  “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.


Joseph Mary del Campos
Editor, Boston Catholic Journal


Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised
De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.


 


INTRODUCTION TO THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY
 

by J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop of Baltimore


THE ROMAN MARTYROLOGY is an official and accredited record, on the pages of which are set forth in simple and brief, but impressive words, the glorious deeds of the Soldiers of Christ in all ages of the Church; of the illustrious Heroes and Heroines of the Cross, whom her solemn verdict has beatified or canonized. In making up this long roll of honor, the Church has been actuated by that instinctive wisdom with which the Spirit of God, who abides in her and teaches her all truth, has endowed her, and which permeates through and guides all her actions. She is the Spouse of Christ, without spot or wrinkle or blemish, wholly glorious and undefiled, whom He loved, for whom He died, and to whom He promised the Spirit of Truth, to comfort her in her dreary pilgrimage through this valley of tears, and to abide with her forever. She is one with Him in Spirit and in love, she is subject to Him in all things; she loves what He loves, she teaches and practices what He commands.

If the world has its "Legions of Honor," why should not also the Church of the Living God, the pillar and the ground of the truth? If men who have been stained with blood, and women who have been tainted with vice, have had their memory consecrated in prose and in verse, and monuments erected to their memory, because they exhibited extraordinary talents, achieved great success, or were, to a greater or less extent, benefactors of their race in the temporal order, which passeth away, why should not the true Heroes and Heroines of Jesus, who, imitating His example, have overcome themselves, risen superior to and trampled upon the world, have aspired, in all their thoughts, words, and actions, to a heavenly crown, and have moreover labored with disinterested zeal and self-forgetting love for the good of their fellow-men, have their memories likewise consecrated and embalmed in the minds and hearts of the people of God? If time have its heroes, why should not eternity; if man, why should not God? Thy friends, O Lord, are exceedingly honored; their principality is exceedingly exalted. Whom His Father so dearly loved, the world crucified; whom the world neglects, despises, and crucifies, God, through His Church, exceedingly honors and exalts. Their praises are sung forth, with jubilation of heart, in the Church of God for ages on ages.

The wisdom of the Church of God in honoring her Saints is equaled only by the great utility of the practice thus consecrated. The Saints are not merely heroes; they are models. Christ lived in them, and Christ yet speaks through them. They were the living temples of the Holy Ghost, in whose mortal bodies dwelt all the riches of His wisdom and grace. They were in life consecrated human exemplars of divine excellence and perfection. Their example still appeals to our minds and to our hearts, more eloquently even than did their words to the men of their own generation, while they were in the tabernacle of the flesh. Though dead, they still speak. Their relics are instinct with sanctity, and through them they continue to breathe forth the sweet odor of Christ. The immortality into which they have entered still lingers in their bones, and seems to breathe in their mortal remains. As many an ardent, spirit has been induced to rush to the cannons mouth by reading the exploits of earthly heroes, so many a generous Christian soul has been fired with heavenly ardor, and been impelled to rush to the crown of martyrdom, by reading the lives and heroic achievements of the Saints and Martyrs of Christ. Example, in its silent appeal, is more potent in its influence on the human heart and conduct than are words in their most eloquent utterances.

The Church knows and feels all this, in the Spirit of God with whom she is replenished ; and hence she sets forth, with holy joy and exultant hope, her bright and ever-increasing Calendar of Sanctity of just men and women made perfect and rendered glorious, under her unearthly and sublime teachings. In reading this roll of consecrated holiness, our instinctive conclusion is, precisely that which the great soul of St. Augustine reached at the very crisis of his life, the moment of his conversion If other men like me have attained to such sanctity, why not I? Shall the poor, the afflicted, the despised of the World, bear away the palm of victory, the crown of immortality, while I lie buried in my sloth and dead in my sins, and thus lose the brilliant and glorious mansion already prepared for me in heaven? Shall all the gifts, which God has lavished upon me, be ingloriously spent and foolishly wasted, in the petty contest for this worlds evanescent honors and riches, while the poor and contemned lay up treasures in heaven, and secure the prize of immortal glory? Shall others be the friends of God, whom He delights to honor, while I alone remain His enemy, and an alien from His blessed Kingdom?

It is a consoling evidence of progress in the spiritual life in this country to find the Martyrology here published, for the first time, in English, and thereby made accessible, in its rich treasures of Sanctity, to all classes of our population. It will prove highly edifying and useful, not only to the members of our numerous religious Communities of both sexes, but also to the laity generally. Every day has here its record of Sanctity; and there is scarcely a Christian, no matter how lowly or how much occupied, who may not be able to daily peruse, with faith and with great profit, the brief page of each day’s models of Holiness. These belong to all classes and callings of life; from the throne to the hovel, from the Pontiff to the lowest cleric, from the philosopher to the peasant, from the busy walks of life to the dreary wastes of the desert.

Let all, then, procure and read daily the appropriate portions of this Martyrology. Its daily and pious perusal will console us in affliction, will animate us in despondency, will make our souls glow with the love of God in coldness, and will lift up our minds and hearts from this dull and ever-changing earth to the bright and everlasting mansions prepared for us in Heaven!

Imprimatur,  J. Cardinal Gibbons, Archbishop Baltimore, Maryland 1916

   Printable PDF Version

______________________________

1   The Lapsi were early Catholics who renounced the Faith and either sacrificed to the Roman gods by edict from the emperor, or offered incense to them to escape Imperial persecution and death, and who later returned to the Faith when persecution subsided. However, Christ warns us, “Every one therefore that shall confess Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in Heaven. But he that shall deny Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father Who is in Heaven.” (St. Matthew 10.3-33)

2 St. John 13.15

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