Christ stilling the waves

The Trumpeteer

  • The Assumption

    I think it was St.John Paul who said that “Before the Church is Petrine, it is Marian”, which is, for all John Paul’s holiness and philosophic brilliance, somewhat wide of the mark, but then so much in contemporary Catholicism is wide of the mark these days, and now with the unthinkable commission that has been set up to look at the diaconate for women, the Catholic Church is drifting further and further away from her Patristic and Apostolic moorings.

    There never were women deacons in the early Church, as far as I know, but there were deaconesses. The whole problem of language has been capsized by the gross subjectivity of our present age where you cannot have a feminine difference in describing a vocation or a job; not that you have to. You have actors and actresses, sculptors and sculptresses, but you do not have doctors and doctoresses, and of course you have teachers which covers both sexes. However, in the ancient world you did have priests and priestesses. The question that I would ask is why there had to be women priests? I suspect the answer is that even the mad cap proponents of women priests realized that priestesses were pagan and about sex. However the zeitgeist, which is about equal opportunities for women seems to be, in the final analysis, not about equal opportunities, but an attempt by many women to overturn the curse laid upon Eve, as a result of the Fall. It means that the fight of many feminists is a fight against God, and a flight from Mary Assumed into Heaven. The Glory of the Assumption simply casts the whole female priesthood and diaconate into the shade. The Glory of Mary is glory for women.

    Women wanting to be priests is actually nothing to do with the priesthood; it is more about women wanting to be men. It is all part and parcel of the horrific transgender lunacy, which is greeted by politicians, intellectuals, and that very dubious character, the media celebrity, as a sign of progress. What pray is progress? Why does a man want immortality by becoming part of a machine? Presumably such a deluded person wants false or, one might say technological immortality, though such a term is open to correction, as technology is changing all the time, and perhaps it will become something different as well. What he or she does not want, is immortality on God’s terms.

    Adam and Eve sacrificed immortality when they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the only way back to immortality was through the Redemption. This we know was achieved by Christ on the Cross, and the Cross thus became the key that opened the gates of Heaven. We too must tread the Royal Road of the Cross, which is a road whose stones are made up of humility, utter service, and infinite love. The road to Hell is paved with what appears to be jewel-like stones that flash in the false light of Satan’s brilliance. The paving stones are called “my rights, finding myself, becoming the person I want to be, trampling over any opposition to my needs, self-affirmation, self- worth, and the most dazzling stone of all, “transgenderism”. The road to Hell is named after Satan’s cry of rebellion “I will not serve”. Only two human beings loved, served, and suffered perfectly, Jesus Christ who is also God and his Mother Mary.

    Christians these days do not sufficiently take into account what infinite suffering Christ had to undergo to save us. The knowledge of the price of our redemption, if we could fully appreciate it, would kill us. What marks so many Western Christians, be they Catholic or Protestant, is not only a loss of the sense of sin, but a blasé attitude, a defiantly casual attitude to Christ’s passion that is truly staggering and is beautifully realized in Satan’s very broad road to Hell. I used to get fed up when I was mixing with many religious, both female and male, who spent their time extolling one another’s gifts, and subtly inviting a commendation of their own, but where was the sorrow at the sufferings of Christ, who had given the gifts, and whose only return was our sins and our remarkable pride?

    The utter humility of God, lauded by angels at the birth of Christ, magnified at the Transfiguration, blazed across Time and Eternity at the Resurrection, finds its climax at the Ascension, and final fulfilment at the last Judgment. For, not only women, but for men there is a similar triumph, and that is the triumph of Our Lady, when she is assumed into Heaven. In contrast to Satan’s brag “I will not serve” Mary’s response to Gabriel is “Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to his word”. Mary knew that she could not save herself. She saw herself as the slave of God, an utter nothing. What God wanted, she wanted with all her heart. It was his will that mattered, no other.

    It is this knowledge that we cannot save ourselves, which shows us that, like Mary, we can only get to Heaven, by accepting salvation from Christ Jesus, The God Man. He resurrects, but we are resurrected by him, and the most beautiful resurrection is that of Our Lady, who was assumed body and soul into Heaven. Just as Adam falls into a deep sleep and Eve is born from his side, so Mary falls asleep and is born up to Heaven on storm of glory amid countless hosts of angels. We cannot save ourselves, we cannot become the person we would like to be, and we cannot change sex or become immortal, only God can do such things, and he has better things to do than change people’s sex. We are only important for one reason that God in his love has made us out of nothing, and redeemed us because he loves us infinitely, and that the masterpiece of his creation is Mary, Mother of God, and our Mother. If we hold onto her hand she will draw us up to Heaven in her great train of glory, as she was drawn up to Heaven by the almighty and all powerful arm of her most beloved Son.

    Read more...
  • A time for prayer, reflection and a temporary goodbye

    We are moving over the next few days.

    As far a we know we will not have easy access to the internet for a while. Therefore this site may not be updated regularly.

    However, we will be keeping it open, and sometimes we may find a way to add an article. It will still be a way to contact us if you need one, as we will still regularly go somewhere to check our e-mails.

    But this must be a time for prayer for all of us. A time to take in and reflect on all the disturbing things that are happening both within and outside the Church. But most of all a time to worship God, both silently and in our very lives. After all, it is for this that we were created, to love and worship God, and to do His will.

    So set your eyes on Christ, pick up your cross, and follow the narrow way which He calls us to follow, the Way that leads to salvation and eternal happiness.

    May the Peace of Christ be with you, and please continue to pray for us.

    Sr. Colette

    Read more...
  • A Bishop, An Historian, And A Journalist Console The Confused Catholic

    As The Confusion grows greater and greater within the Church, and the Pope seems to encompass in his person and actions the impending tragedy of King Lear, the naïve optimism of a St. John XXIII, the political recklessness of King Charles I of England, and the utter stubbornness of his charmless son, James II, the following letter of the great Bishop Athanasius Schneider on how to deal with the present monumental crisis is of great consolation to the Faithful. This letter which was sent to Christopher Ferrara, the editor of The Remnant Magazine, which is noted for its erudition, and common sense is accompanied by an article by Christopher Ferrara himself, which is passionate, and fair. To finish with I have also attached from Rorate Caeli an article about Pope Leo XIII’s attempt to gain concessions from The Third Republic of France at the end of 19th Century, and which backfired on him, and on the whole Catholic Church for over a century. These three reflections give a very good understanding for, not only the concerned Catholic, but for concerned Christians, who wish to see God honoured in spirit and in truth. The three writers in clear and pleasant prose tell it as it is.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider Replies to The Remnant’s Open Letter on Amoris Laetitia Featured

    Written by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider

    May 26, 2016

    Dear Mr. Matt:

    Thank you for your greetings. I wrote an answer to The Remnant‘s Open Letter, which I send to you in the attachment and you can publish. God bless abundantly you and your apostolate for the Catholic faith. With cordial greetings in Jesus and Mary,

    + Athanasius Schneider

    Dear Mr. Christopher A. Ferrara:

    On May 9, 2016 you published on “The Remnant” website an open letter to me regarding the question of the Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia”.

    As a bishop, I am grateful and at the same time encouraged to receive from a Catholic layman such a clear and beautiful manifestation of the “sensus fidei” regarding the Divine truth on marriage and the moral law.

    I am agreeing with your observations as to those expressions in AL (“Amoris laetitia”), and especially in its VIII’s chapter, which are highly ambiguous and misleading. In using our reason and in respecting the proper sense of the words, one can hardly interpret some expressions in AL according to the holy immutable Tradition of the Church.

    In AL, there are of course expressions which are obviously in conformity with the Tradition. But that is not what is at issue here. What is at stake are the natural and logical consequences of the ambiguous expressions of AL. Indeed, they contain a real spiritual danger, which will cause doctrinal confusion, a fast and easy spreading of heterodox doctrines concerning marriage and moral law, and also the adoption and consolidation of the praxis of admitting divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, a praxis which will trivialize and profane, as to say, at one blow three sacraments: the sacrament of Marriage, of Penance, and of the Most Holy Eucharist.

    In these our dark times, in which Our Beloved Lord seems to sleep in the boat of His Holy Church, all Catholics, beginning from the bishops up to the simplest faithful, who still take seriously their baptismal vows, should with one voice (“una voce”) make a profession of fidelity, enunciating concretely and clearly all those Catholic truths, which are in some expressions of AL undermined or ambiguously disfigured. It would be a kind of a “Credo” of the people of God. AL is clearly a pastoral document (i.e., by its nature of temporal character) and has no claims to be definitive. We have to avoid to “make infallible” every word and gesture of a current Pope. This is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and of the whole Tradition of the Church. Such a totalitarian understanding and application of Papal infallibility is not Catholic, is ultimately worldly, like in a dictatorship; it is against the spirit of the Gospel and of the Fathers of the Church.

    Beside the above mentioned possible common profession of fidelity, there should be made to my opinion, by competent scholars of dogmatic and moral theology also a solid analysis of all ambiguous and objectively erroneous expressions in AL. Such a scientific analysis should be made without anger and partiality (“sine ira et studio”) and out of filial deference to the Vicar of Christ.

    I am convinced that in later times the Popes will be grateful that there had been concerning voices of some bishops, theologians and laypeople in times of a great confusion. Let us live for the sake of the truth and of the eternity, “pro veritate et aeternitate”!

    + Athanasius Schneider,

    Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana ■

    This letter appeared in the May 31, 2016 print/E-edition of The Remnant. To see what else you missed, subscribe today.

    Monday, June 6, 2016

    The Undertaker Pope: A Brief Study of an Infallibly Politically Correct Pontificate Featured

    Written by Christopher A. Ferrara

    In the fourth year of his pontificate, Francis continues to deliver regular payloads of explosive off-the-cuff remarks that delight the media and shock the Catholic faithful. It would be easy at this point simply to ignore these spectacles, but then one would be ignoring a key element of the manner in which Francis is attempting to realize his “vision” of the Church. As Francis himself has insisted, his “magisterium” includes an endless stream of informal speech in various venues: “I’m constantly making statements, giving homilies. That’s magisterium. That’s what I think, not what the media say that I think. Check it out; it’s very clear.”

    For Francis, “magisterium” and “what I think” are one and the same thing. What Francis thinks—and speaks incessantly—generally serves the ends of political liberalism and state power while confirming the Church’s post-Vatican II demotion to a mere religious constituency under the secular sovereign. In this regard witness, for example:

    • Francis’s warm relations with socialist dictators;

    • his lauding of pro-abortion and pro-“gay” politicians;

    • his abuse of the papal office as a platform for globalist enviornmentalism (thus advantaging the same transnational corporations he professes to deplore);

    • his refusal to intervene in opposition to the legalization of “gay marriage” because “the Pope belongs to everybody, he cannot enter the concrete, domestic politics of a country. This is not the Pope's role”;

    • his demand—flatly contradicting his professed abstention from domestic politics—for universal abolition of the death penalty (while declining to demand the abolition of abortion), open borders in Europe and America, and policies of environmental regulation and wealth redistribution;

    • his conspicuous failure to identify government policy, particularly in socialist countries, as a primary cause of the poverty he attributes entirely to the greed of the wealthy.

    As a mere social constituency alongside other religions and organizations, the Church cannot have any pretension to moral authority over the State, much less a divine mandate to make disciples of all nations. The Church is reduced to pleading for the State’s toleration of her existence. In his study of the Enlightenment as “the rise of modern paganism,” Peter Gay observes that “political absolutism and religious toleration [are] the improbable twins of the modern state system…” Francis accepts this intolerable paradox. To a greater or lesser extent so did his post-conciliar predecessors, as the “opening to the world” became an abject surrender to the spirit of our secular age. But never has that surrender been expressed with the brutal bluntness Francis exhibits.

    Most recently, for example, in an exclusive interview granted to the French magazine La Croix, Francis declared: “States must be secular. Confessional states end badly. That goes against the grain of History.” In only three short sentences Francis spouts a series of liberal platitudes suitable for inclusion in a modern version of Flaubert’s satirical “Dictionary of Received Ideas” (many of Flaubert’s own ideas having become the received wisdom of our time).

    An entire book could be written in answer to these bromides of liberal orthodoxy. Suffice it to say that the confessional state did not “end badly” simply because it was a confessional state, as if that were some fatal defect in its original constitution. From the Edict of Thessalonica in 380 to the fall of the House of Hapsburg at the end of World War I, the Catholic confessional state existed in one form or another as the basic model of political society. The modern state system, on the other hand, imposed on Christendom by force and violence, is undergoing the death throes of a neo-pagan empire after less than three centuries, as even Benedict XVI candidly acknowledged in his2010 address to the Roman Curia.

    The confessional state has “ended badly” only when it was undermined or overthrown by revolutionary cadres of Protestant, Masonic, deist, atheist, socialist, Communist and Nazi enemies of the Church, beginning with Luther’s revolt in the 16th century. The “grain of history,” therefore, is nothing more than the long trail of blood left in the wake of satanic violence against altar and throne that has claimed endless millions of victims over the past three hundred years. As John Adams put it in one of his letters to Thomas Jefferson, written in 1823: “It is melancholy to contemplate the cruel wars, desolations of countries, and oceans of blood, which must occur before rational principles and rational systems of government can prevail and be established.” This is not even to consider the hundreds of millions of victims of legalized abortion, now a virtual sacrament in the one-world universal Church of Toleration that administers the civic religion of post-Christian nation-states, or what Sidney Mead (in reference to the United States) called “the cosmopolitan, universal theology of the Republic.”

    Moreover, in certain Latin American countries, such as the Dominican Republic, Catholicism has never ceased to be the religion of the State, accorded juridical privileges and protections as such. And, as we see with the recently adopted Christian constitution of Hungary, even today, in the context of mass democracy, restoration of a confessional state remains viable, mutatis mutandis, if only the popular will is engaged in the project of restoring it. The example of Hungary confirms the truth of Romano Amerio’s observation in Iota Unum: “Faith in Providence thus proclaims the possibility that the world might rise and be healed by a metanoia which it cannot initiate but which it is capable of accepting once it is offered.”

    No such offer will ever come from Francis, however, who gives no sign of being aware of the suicide of the West by way of the social apostasy of post-Christian polities. For him, rather, the sociopolitical status quo represents a happy ending to the history of Christendom, which he seems to view as a long and sordid tale of woe. As he told La Croix: “I believe that a version of laicity accompanied by a solid law guaranteeing religious freedom offers a framework for going forward.” Francis has nothing to say against the earthly supremacy of the “mortal god” of Hobbes’s politics, the State before which the Church as a body is powerless, the Roman Pontiff is a mere organizational spokesman dutifully keeping his proper place, and the individual Catholic is confined to the ever-smaller ghetto of his individual conscience while civilization at large descends into an abyss of total depravity.

    Indeed, Francis blithely confirms the supremacy of the modern Hobbesian sovereign, whose will determines even questions of right and wrong. Thus, in the same interview, he gave the following answer to the reporter’s question about how Catholics should approach such issues as euthanasia and “same-sex marriage”:

    In a secular setting, how should Catholics defend their concerns on societal issues such as euthanasia or same-sex marriage?

    Pope Francis: It is up to Parliament to discuss, argue, explain, reason [these issues]. That is how a society grows.

    However, once a law has been adopted, the state must also respect [people’s] consciences. The right to conscientious objection must be recognized within each legal structure because it is a human right. Including for a government official, who is a human person. The state must also take criticism into account. That would be a genuine form of laicity.

    Here we have something new even by post-conciliar standards: a Pope who simply assumes that the State has the authority to enact measures that contravene the divine and natural law, provided only that it “take criticism into account” and allow Catholics to demur conscientiously from whatever evil outcome the State mandates once its lawmakers “discuss, argue, explain [and] reason.” This, says Francis, is how society grows! If only it were a joke.

    As Hobbes declared in the preface to his De Cive: “there are no authentical doctrines concerning right and wrong, good and evil, besides the constituted Lawes in each Realme and government; and… the question whether any future action will prove just or unjust, good or ill, is to be demanded of none, but those to whom the supreme [power] hath committed the interpretation of his Laws.” Even Hobbes would be pleased with a Pope such as Francis, the first in the history of the Church to concede supreme power to the legislature even in matters of morality so long as subjects whose conscience objects to particular immoral laws are not personally compelled to carry them out.

    But Francis does not stop at confirming the Church’s subordination to temporal power. He wishes as well to encourage the resurgence of Islam, as if to hasten an all but irreversible process of civilizational suicide. Thus in the La Croix interview, speaking of ISIS, he blithely proposes—as he has done repeatedly—a moral equivalence between jihad and the divine commission: “It is true that the idea of conquest is inherent in the soul of Islam. However, it is also possible to interpret the objective in Matthew’s Gospel, where Jesus sends his disciples to all nations, in terms of the same idea of conquest.” That opinion would be contemptible coming from anyone. Coming from one who holds the title Vicar of Christ, however, it is nothing short of ecclesiastical treason. Which prompts the question: By what epochal intrigues did someone who is practically a nemesis of the Church ascend to the position of its earthly head?

    Further on, Francis clearly implies that terrorist attacks in European capitals are to be blamed on immigration policy: “Coming back to the migrant issue, the worst form of welcome is to ‘ghettoize’ them. On the contrary, it’s necessary to integrate them. In Brussels, the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they grew up in a ghetto.” Here Francis echoes a shibboleth of the Seventies liberalism in which his thought is steeped: poverty, not the freely willed acts of morally accountable agents, is the “root cause” of crime. Now no less than a Pope declares that the “root cause” of terrorism is a lack of “integration.”

    But what would Francis have the cities of Europe do to achieve this “integration”—bus “migrants” into non-Muslim neighborhoods and demand that they be given apartments? Evidently, it has not occurred to Francis that Muslims prefer to live in Muslim neighborhoods, where the violent radicals among them find neighborly aiders and abettors who hide them from the police and dance in the streets when they set off another bomb or mow down another crowd with assault rifles. As even the New York Times is forced to admit, it is precisely within these “ghettos” that “migrants” are establishing Muslim-controlled “no go” zones wherein civil authorities are virtually powerless and sharia law obtains. Only Christians and other non-Muslims are expected to remain subject to state power; any attempt by them to secede internally into insular communities would be met with force.

    Respecting “integration,” Francis radically undermines his own position without seeming to notice the umpteenth self-contradiction in his welter of opinions: “I am thinking here of Pope Gregory the Great, who negotiated with the people known as barbarians, who were subsequently integrated.” This depiction of the conversion of pagan Europe invites laughter. The integration of the barbarian peoples was not accomplished by “negotiation” but by their baptism and incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ and the universal liturgical polity that was the social matrix of Europe’s emerging Christian culture and ultimately the Holy Roman Empire, which endured for more than a thousand years, from the coronation of Charlemagne in 800 to the abdication of Francis II in 1806 following the French Revolutionary Wars.

    But this is precisely the sort of integration the infallibly politically correct Francis rejects out of hand. Speaking of his own prior reference to the “Christian roots” of Europe, Francis makes sure to strip the reference of any suggestion of a reconstitution of Christendom, affirming yet again the subordination of Church to State:

    We need to speak of roots in the plural because there are so many. In this sense, when I hear talk of the Christian roots of Europe, I sometimes dread the tone, which can seem triumphalist or even vengeful. It then takes on colonialist overtones…. Yes, Europe has Christian roots and it is Christianity’s responsibility to water those roots. But this must be done in a spirit of service as in the washing of the feet. Christianity’s duty to Europe is one of service…. In other words, service and the gift of life. It must not become a colonial enterprise.

    In other words, the Church has a duty to serve Europe, washing the feet of the EU’s high and mighty rulers, but Europe has no duty to serve the Church. No, that would be “triumphalism” and “colonialism”—sins of which the State, of course, can never be guilty vis-à-vis the Church. Far from the mind of Francis is the contrary teaching of Saint Pius X, promulgated precisely in opposition to the French “laicist” government with which Francis is so comfortable:

    That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error. Based, as it is, on the principle that the State must not recognize any religious cult, it is in the first place guilty of a great injustice to God; for the Creator of man is also the Founder of human societies, and preserves their existence as He preserves our own. We owe Him, therefore, not only a private cult, but a public and social worship to honor Him…. [T]his thesis inflicts great injury on society itself, for it cannot either prosper or last long when due place is not left for religion, which is the supreme rule and the sovereign mistress in all questions touching the rights and the duties of men. Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.

    But that was then, and this is Francis: a Pope according to the needs of the worldly powers who praise him as no Pope in history has ever been praised by the Church’s adversaries.

    The Church’s willing subjugation to the modern nation-state, born in violent revolution, has been a matter of historical development ever since Leo XIII’s policy of Ralliement respecting the Third Republic—a disastrous failure Pope Saint Pius X attempted to rectify by reasserting the Church’s supreme prerogatives in the affairs of men (cf. Vehementer nos), as did Pius XI in his teaching on the Social Kingship of Christ (cf. Quas Primas and Ubi Arcano Dei). But not even during a post-conciliar epoch marked by the generalized surrender of churchmen to the zeitgeist have we seen a Pope willing to serve as the veritable pontifical undertaker at the funeral of the Church Militant, glibly reciting a few last words at the graveside in superficial remarks to reporters that he insists are “magisterium.” Check it out!

    How is it possible that a conclave could have placed such a spectacularly unsuitable man on the Chair of Peter? Perhaps one way of coping, at least psychologically, with this farce of a papacy is to take into account the unique circumstances that brought it about. Only a few days ago, Monsignor Georg Ganswein, who serves as personal secretary to the one and only “Pope Emeritus” in Church history, presented a book entitled “Beyond the Crisis in the Church: The Pontificate of Benedict XVI.” In the course of the presentation Ganswein made remarks—surely not without Benedict’s knowledge and consent—which confirm Benedict’s view that his renunciation of “the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, successor of Saint Peter” was somehow not a total divestiture of the office of the papacy as such.

    According to Ganswein, while “there are not two Popes” as a result, there is nevertheless “a sort of exceptional state willed by heaven” according to which “the papal ministry is no longer what it was before…” Rather, Benedict “has profoundly and lastingly transformed it” such that “he has not abandoned the office of Peter [but] has instead innovated this office” so that there is “de facto a broadened ministry—with an active member [Francis] and a contemplative member [Benedict].”

    Antonio Socci notes the resulting conundrum: either Benedict has created a “momentous turning point which in fact involves a radical mutation of the papacy, which today has become a collegial organ (but this is impossible according to Catholic doctrine)” or else “this discourse [by Ganswein] brings into view the ‘nullity’ of the renunciation by Benedict XVI.” Indeed, if Benedict’s view of what he has done is false, if he had no power to alter the divinely instituted Petrine office by renouncing it on the understanding that he would nonetheless remain a “contemplative member” of it, then how could the validity of that qualified renunciation not be called into question?

    I propose no answer to the question. Only history will provide the answer. Meanwhile, however, one can only wonder whether the unprecedented circumstances surrounding the elevation of Cardinal Bergoglio to the papacy are in some mysterious way related to the unexampled recklessness of his reign, so pleasing to the world that sings his praises.

    "The ralliement of Leo XIII: a pastoral experience that moved away from doctrine" - by Roberto de Mattei

    Roberto de Mattei

    Corrispondenza Romana

    March 18, 2015

    The 1905 Separation, the complete failure of Leo XIII's policy of ralliement:

    "The Separation: 'Let us separate - I will keep your assets.' "

    Leo XIII(1878-1903) was certainly one of the most important Popes in modern times, not only for the length of his pontificate, second only to Blessed Pius IX’s, but above all for the extent and richness of his Magisterium. His teaching includes encyclicals of fundamental importance, such as Aeterni Patris (1879) on the restoration of Thomist philosophy, Arcanum (1880) on the indissolubility of marriage, Humanum genus (1884) against Masonry, L’Immortale Dei (1885) on the Christian constitution of the States and Rerum Novarum (1891) on the question of work and social life.

    The Magisterium of Pope Gioacchino Pecci appears as an organic corpus, in continuation with the teachings of his predecessor Pius IX as well as his successor Pius X. The real turning point and novelty of the Leonine pontificate, by contrast, is in regard to his ecclesiastical politics and pastoral approach to modernity. Leo XIII’s government was characterized in fact, by the ambitious project of reaffirming the Primate of the Apostolic See through a redefinition of its relationship with the European States and the reconciliation of the Church with the modern world. The politics ofralliement, that is, of reconciliation with the French, secular, Masonic Third Republic, formed its basis.

    The Third Republic was conducting a violent campaign of de-Christianization, particularly in the scholastic field. For Leo XIII, the responsibility of this anticlericalism lay with the monarchists who were fighting the Republic in the name of their Catholic faith. In this way they were provoking the hate of the republicans against Catholicism. In order to disarm the republicans, it was necessary to convince them that the Church was not adverse to the Republic, but only to secularism. And to convince them, he retained that there was no other way than to support the republican institutions.

    In reality, the Third Republic was not an abstract republic, but the centralized Jacobin daughter of the French Revolution. Its program of secularization in France was not an accessory element, but the reason itself for the existence of the republican regime. The republicans were what they were because they were anti-Catholic. They hated the Church in the Monarchy, in the same way that the monarchists were anti-republican because they were Catholics who loved the Church in the Monarchy.

    The encyclical Au milieu des solicitudes of 1891, through which Leo XIII launched the ralliement did not ask Catholics to become republicans, but the instructions from the Holy See to nuncios and bishops, coming from the Pontiff himself, interpreted his encyclical in this sense. Unprecedented pressure was exercised on the faithful, even going as far as making them believe that whoever continued to support the monarchy publically was committing a grave sin. Catholics were split into two currents of the “ralliés” and the “réfractaires”, as had happened in 1791, at the time of the civil Constitution for clergy. The ralliés accepted the Pope’s pastoral indications as they attached infallibility to his words in all fields, including those political and pastoral.

    The réfractaires who were Catholics with better theological and spiritual formation, on the other hand, resisted the politics of ralliement, retaining that, inasmuch as it was a pastoral act, it could not be considered infallible and thus could be erroneous. Jean Madiran, who did a lucid critique of ralliement (in Les deux démocraties, NEL, Paris 1977), noted that Leo XIII had asked the monarchists to abandon the monarchy in the name of religion in order to conduct a more efficacious battle in defense of the faith. Except that, far from fighting this battle, with the ralliement, he effected a ruinous policy of détente with the enemies of the Church.

    Despite Leo XIII and his Secretary of State Mariano Rampolla’s endeavor, this policy of dialogue was a sensational failure and unable to obtain the objectives it proposed. The Anti-Christian behavior of the Third Republic increased in violence, until culminating in Loi concernant la Séparation des Eglises et de l’Etat on December 9th 1905, known as “the Combes law” which suppressed all financing and public recognition of the Church; it considered religion merely in the private dimension and not in the social one; it established that ecclesiastical goods be confiscated by the State, while buildings of worship were given over gratuitously to “associations cultuelles” elected by the faithful, without Church approval. The Concordat of 1801, that had for a century regulated the relations between France and the Holy See, and that Leo XIII had desired to preserve at all costs, fell wretchedly to pieces.

    The republican battle against the Church, however, encountered the new Pope along its way, - Pius X, elected to the Papal throne on August 4th 1903. With his encyclicals Vehementer nos of February 11th 1906, Gravissimo officii of August 10th of the same year, Une fois encore of January 6th 1907, Pius X, assisted by his Secretary of State Raffaele Merry del Val, he protested solemnly against the secular laws, urging Catholics to oppose them through all legal means, with the aim of conserving the traditions and values of Catholic France. Faced with this determination, the Third Republic did not dare activate the persecution fully, so as to avoid the creation of martyrs, and thus renounced the closing of the churches and the imprisonment of priests. Pius X’s politics without concessions, proved to be far-sighted. The law of separation was never applied with rigor and the Pope’s appeal contributed to a great rebirth of Catholicism in France on the eve of the First World War. Pius X’s ecclesiastical politics, the opposite of his predecessor’s, represents, in the final analysis, an unappealable historical condemnation of the ralliement.

    Leo XIII never professed liberal errors, on the contrary, he explicitly condemned them. The historian, nevertheless, cannot ignore the contradiction between Pope Pecci’s Magisterium and his political and pastoral stance. In the encyclicals Diuturnum illud, Immortale Dei e Libertas, he reiterated and developed the political doctrine of Gregory XVI and Pius IX, but the policy of ralliement contradicted his doctrinal premises. Leo XIII, far from his intentions, encouraged, at the level of praxis, those ideas and tendencies that he condemned on the doctrinal level. If we attribute the significance of a spiritual attitude to the word liberal, of a political tendency to concessions and compromise, we have to conclude that Leo XIII had a liberal spirit. This liberal spirit was manifested principally as an attempt to resolve the problems posed by modernity, through the arms of diplomatic negotiation and compromises, rather than with the intransigence of principles and a political and cultural battle. In this sense, as I have shown in my recent volume Il ralliement di Leone XIII. Il fallimento di un progetto pastorale (Le Lettere, Florence 2014), the principal consequences of ralliement, were of a psychological and cultural order more than a political one. To this strategy the ecclesiastic “Third Party” was called upon, which throughout the 20th century tried to find an intermediate position between modernists and anti-modernists who were contending the issue.

    The spirit of ralliement with the modern world has been around for more than a century, and the great temptation to which the Church is exposed to, is still [with us]. In this regard, a Pope of great doctrine such as Leo XIII made a grave error in pastoral strategy. The prophetic strength of St. Pius X is the opposite, in the intimate coherence of his pontificate between evangelical Truth and the life of the Church in the modern world, between theory and praxis, between doctrine and pastoral care, with no yielding to the lures of modernity.

    [A Rorate translation by Contributor Francesca Romana]

    Read more...
  • The Age of Kali

    THE AGE OF KALI

    Corruption is in the world through lust says the Apostle Peter (2Pet. 1:4); lust for wealth, lust for power, lust for fame, lust for knowledge, and above all, the lust of sexual desire, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes (1 Jn. 2:16).

    We live in the age of Kali, when sexual sin abounds. Modesty, Chastity, Virginity, and Purity have all but been banished from the western world. Immodesty, sensuality, nudity, and promiscuity are in the ascendant; bikinis, bare legs, bare arms, bare mid-rifts, bosoms and cleavages, low tops, tight trousers, short skirts, and tattoos give ample witness to the new paganism. One doesn’t need strip clubs, and peepshows, and porn mags, and adult films, because sensuality pervades the culture; in the media, in the schools and universities, in the work-place, on the streets, in parks, on beaches. And this easily wanders into our thoughts, and dreams, without us consciously desiring it, giving the Devil his opportunity.

    Sex is widely promoted by the media, and schools too have their compulsory “sex education”. “Sex is the mysticism of a materialist society” as Muggeridge acutely observed. We must all ensure that we have “good sex” and very importantly “healthy sex”, and lots of sex, even apparently well into our 70’s (Octogenarian sex anyone?). Because without a fully developed sex life we can’t be properly integrated human beings. So it goes.

    But this is an illusion. For the age of Kali is the age of illusion. She performs the dance of death, which brings destruction and chaos. She is the dark one who wears her necklace and belt of shrunken severed heads. The problem with sexual desire outside its proper God-given context of marriage and the procreation of children is that it is essentially selfish; it is only, at the end of the day, about self-gratification, and all too easily unleashes the darker side of human nature (Alas the Marquis de Sade was an honest man.)

    It is precisely because of the breakdown of the Christian moral order that the “permissive society” has come about. The Christian clergy are, by and large, indifferent to this. Indeed, through their cowardice they have contributed considerably to its success. And so there abounds fornication, marital breakdown and divorce, pornography and erotica, homosexualism, transgenderism (a form of transvestitism), contraception, abortion, “in vitro fertilization”, paedophilia and rape. This is the dismal reality of the “permissive society”, the illusion of sexual freedom. And if people are currently ending up in prison for under-age sex and paedophilia, know for certain that one day in the not too distant future it’ll be perfectly legal and totally acceptable. Already the LGBT are hard at work lobbying for “man-boy” love. Hey, sex is good for children, don’t you know, as long as it’s with “a responsible caring adult”. I tell you it’s coming our way. Yet do Christians take a stand when the LGBT are invited into Church schools, Catholic and Anglican? Do they make any meaningful challenge to the sexualisation of children through “sex education classes”? In a word, No! Courage and moral conviction are at an all-time low. The record of bishops here is just as abysmal as the record of bishops in Nazi Germany, both Catholic and Protestant, when faced with the moral challenge. Generally, silence and acquiescence. Apart from their role as bureaucrats (their primary concern) they are effectively useless. “Put not your trust in princes….for there is no help in them (p.145: v 2)

    The flesh lusts against the Spirit, says St. Paul (Gal 5:17), and both are contrary to each other. The lusts and desires of the flesh, and the fulfilling thereof, make us children of wrath (Eph. 2: 3). Two laws are at war within us, says the Apostle; the law of God and the law of sin. Only God’s grace through the Crucified One can deliver us from the law of sin; and the Virgin Mary’s prayers. For it is the Age of Mary, when those who would fight for purity must seek refuge with, and fight with Mary.

    The Devil is the original “cross-dresser”, He is Kali, the Dark One, who leads souls to their doom, as she performs her naked, or near naked dance, which is the dance of death.

    Sensuality and selfish desire will become more and more demonic, and will wreak awful havoc in human life, riding tandem with the industrial genocide of babies in the womb, “abortion”. People will become increasingly dehumanized through “sex, drugs, rock’n’roll” and media pulp, thereby releasing a veritable tsunami of supernatural evil. The world will be infested with demons, and all forms of sin against God and human life will characterize society and will be tolerated and practiced as being the most normal thing in the world, stimulating the vilest passions and unleashing a barrage of crime never before experienced. The holy estate of marriage will virtually cease to exist. For this is precisely the Devil’s aim: the destruction of marriage and the family through fornication, divorce, homosexualism, contraception, IVF and abortion. The State will take over all aspects of life, from the “production” and indoctrination of children, to the definition of morality and truth, to the euthanasing of the old, the sick, and the “non-productive”. Aided by a Devil pleasing feminist movement, the LGBT, a cultural Neo-Marxism, and a degenerate Christianity, the State will replace the family and will set itself up in the place of God. Fornication, which embraces all forms of sexual sin, will lead, as it always has done, to idolatry.

    The world has heard the Gospel and refused it. It has returned to its own vomit, the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2Pet. 2: 22). The Christian churches in the West have lost or are losing the faith once delivered to the saints (Jude 3). They are the Church of Laodicea in St. John’ vision (Rev 3: 14-22): spiritually blind, bankrupt, naked, and lukewarm. They will be spat out of Christ’s mouth unless they repent, return to zeal and “buy white garments” (rediscover their purity). The recent decision by the Church of Scotland to endorse sodomite and lesbian clergy reveals the desperate state of things. Other churches, including the Roman Church, are going or have gone the same way. The phallus has replaced the Cross, the flesh has triumphed over the spirit. Soon enough, the Abomination of Desolation, the ultimate blasphemy, will be set up in the midst of so-called Christian congregations who, knowingly or unknowingly, will engage in explicit worship of Satan; all in the name of “dialogue”, or “aggiornamento”, or “diversity” or “pluralism” or “development of doctrine”, or “ a new anthropology” (The Roman Catholic Bishop of Northampton’s recent nonsense) and other such slogans. Indeed, the age of Kali is the age of illusion.

    What can true Christians do against all this? 1) Hold fast to the Holy Scriptures as the infallible Word of God. 2) Pray the Psalms and the Rosary daily. 3) Fast regularly and live simply. 4) Stop watching T.V. (I don’t say films, because some films are good, but be discriminating!). 5) Take responsibility for their own faith, instead of relying on the clergy. 6)“Be sober, be vigilant, because the Devil prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for whom he may devour” (1Peter 5: v.8). And above all 7) “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world…..For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world” (1 Jn 2: 15-16)

    “Whosoever is a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4: v.4)

    Damon Jonah Kelly

    Read more...
  • The Majesty of The Trinity and The Dire State of The Church

    I think that it is very easy, too easy to become despondent in these terrible times. We look to the World and see that madness and badness prevail. If sixty years ago we were told that people would be having sex changes (a pure delusion anyway as the chromosones do not change!), and there would be homoexual marriages and people would be marrying animals (There is at least one occasion where this happened when an Israeli woman married her pet dolphin.) and scientists would want to put all the intelligence of a person onto a machine and, so to speak, put the person’s intellect and soul into a machine, or robot we would be utterly disbelieving at such maniacal rubbish. Then we now know of these vast concentration camps in the U.S., which are being prepared for various groups of untrainable people, who appear to be Christians, and other undesirables.

    Added to all this Dr. Anca-Maria Cernea in her very fine talk, given at the Rome Life Forum on May 7th , convincingly points out that the Western World has been devastated by Cultural Marxism for some time now, and the main proponent for this has been the notorious Frankfurt School. Dr. Cerea has this to say about the Frankfurt School:

    The Frankfurt School started in Frankfurt, Germany, but later metastasized to the U.S.A. It I also known a the “Critical School”, or “Critical Theory”, and it leads directly from Lenin to the present “gay rights” and to “gender ideologies, from Georg Lukacs, through Wilhelm Reich, Herbert Marcuse and many others, to…Judith Butler’ gender ideology.

    The authors of the Frankfurt School concentrate their effort on the destruction of Western culture – by just criticizing, “unmasking”, discrediting, deconstructing every piece of it, but without proposing any explicit utopian in replacement; they just respond to the call of their founder, Georg Lukacs: “Who will save us from Western Civilization?”

    As Lukcacs was Jew, I suppose his hatred was directed not only against the Christian West but against his own Jewish heritage, from which of course Christianity sprang. Though I think Dr. Cernea, in her article, has not taken into account Russia’s conversion, which she does not seem to believe has begun, the core of her talk is utterly correct. One cannot thank her enough for it.

    Terrible indeed, though the times are, God is in charge of his Church and ultimately all will be for his greater glory. Again and again we must reflect on one great truth, which I go on about relentlessly; God did not have to create us. The Trinity is perfect in itself. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are blissfully happy with each other, if one can use such terminology. However, the Trinity, in a mighty outpouring of love, decided to create the angelic hosts, the Universe, and then finally Man. The Trinity intended Man to share in the glory of God, and when Man sinned sent the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, Jesus Christ to save Man, and share his glory with all the redeemed.

    Christ is THE HEAD OF THE CHURCH. Unfortunately, with the best of intentions, Pius IX by declaring the Infallibility of the Papacy a dogma inaugurated what is being described by some as papolatry. This was bound to happen. So we must always remind ourselves that we are part of the mystical body of Christ, The Church, and that Christ’s very blood flows through our veins, which is true because we receive Christ’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in Communion. That is why it is of the greatest importance that one day all Christians who are not Catholic, Orthodox, or belonging to the Oriental Churches, may receive Communion. Unity will come about, I believe, through the direct action of God. I cannot see it happening through endless meetings and commissions. Certainly the recent lunacy in the Catholic Church would only lead to false unity.

    The Trinity dwells in each baptized Christian, through baptism, and this is a stupendous truth that is rarely taught. There is endless rubbish taught about the Holy Spirit, which seems in the Charismatic way of things, simply to do with healing, as if the main task of the Spirit to sanctify is of little importance, and where Christ is there simply to make life nice for us. It is time that we read the Gospels and see what Christ demands, namely that we take up our Cross and follow him to Calvary.

    The Glory of the Trinity, should be before our eyes daily, for this is the highest truth of our Faith. Nowhere does one have a better glimpse of The Trinity than in the Gospel of John from Chapter 14 to 17. There one will begin to understand the depths and the heights of this the most supreme truth of all.

    Our Lady is the Mirror of the Trinity, and in these troubled times let us take on the message of Fatima and remember that one of Lucia’s great visions was of the Trinity, and the Fatima prayer to the Trinity is of great importance in these times. Here it is:

    Prayer to the Most Holy Trinity

    "Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, I offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifference with which He Himself is offended. And, through the infinite merits of His most Sacred Heart, and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners."

    *This prayer was taught by an Angel named the Angel of Peace to the children at Fatima. The Angel knelt down beside them and made them repeat three times as quoted above, both before and after he/she gave the Sacred Host and Precious Blood of Christ to them. The Angel said, "Take and drink the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, horribly outraged by ungrateful people! Make reparation for their crimes and console your God." (Ibid., pp.64-65)

    And to give us more hope in these truly tragic times here is an article by Father Brian Harrison who recently wrote it for that excellent website OnePeterfive :

    Alice von Hildebrand sheds New Light on Fatima

    Introductory commentary by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S.

    Owing to a lack of clarity and specificity in Chapter 8 of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia(AL), mutually contradictory views are circulating as to what it means for Catholics living publicly in objectively sinful relationships. Has the present Holy Father broken with his predecessors, who never permitted any of these folks to receive Holy Communion? Some say Yes, some say No. The distinguished German Catholic philosopher Robert Spaemann, a friend of Pope Benedict XVI, has not hesitated to affirm in a recent interview that with the promulgation of AL, “chaos [has been] raised to a principle by the stroke of a pen”, and that “the consequences are already foreseeable: uncertainty and confusion, from the bishops’ conferences to the small parishes in the middle of nowhere.”

    This critical situation invites further reflection on the message of Our Lady of Fatima, as we begin this Friday (May 13, 2016), the 100th year since her first appearance to the Portuguese shepherd children. Back in 1980 the one surviving visionary, Sister Lucy, wrote an important letter to Monsignor (now Cardinal) Carlo Caffarra. After Pope John Paul asked him to begin a new Pontifical Institute for studies on marriage and the family, Caffarra wrote to Sister Lucy, simply requesting her prayers for this venture. He has recently made known his surprise at receiving “a very long letter with her signature. . . . In it we find written: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Don’t be afraid, because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be contended and opposed in every way, for this is the decisive issue.’ And then she concluded: ‘however, Our Lady has already crushed its head.’”

    This reassurance is encouraging, because fifteen years after Sister Lucia wrote that letter, Cardinal Luigi Ciappi (1909-1996), personal theological adviser to five popes, made a stunning disclosure about that part of the Fatima secret that the Vatican has never released (and which is evidently referenced by the enigmatic word “etc.” in the published part of Our Lady’s message). His Eminence, one of the few persons who had seen the complete secret, wrote in a 1995 letter to Professor Baumgartner of Salzburg: “In the Third Secret it is predicted, among other things, that the great apostasy in the Church will begin at the top.”

    Such a shocking prophecy would explain why Sister Lucy herself confessed to being traumatized by it, why Pope John XXIII decided not to publish it on schedule in 1960, and why Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani of the Holy Office, in answer to a reporter’s question, stated acidly that the Third Secret had been relegated “to the bottom of the Vatican archives – and that’s where it deserves to stay!” (A priest who as a young man was living in Rome in 1960 has told me he distinctly recalls reading these words of the cardinal in a newspaper report.) As the Church’s top doctrinal watchdog, Ottaviani might well have judged that such an appalling message might unsettle the faith of many Catholics in the See of Peter, the ‘Rock’ on whom Christ built his Church.

    The foregoing observations should help to set in their context the following testimony from Dr. Alice von Hildebrand, whom I have been privileged to know for about twenty years. It provides clear corroboration of what Cardinal Ciappi said about the secret, but was made known to her and her late husband, the renowned philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand, a full thirty years before Ciappi wrote his letter to the Austrian professor. In a private email at the beginning of May Dr. von Hildebrand told me about this 1965 conversation in Florence. I asked her whether she would allow this to be made known to a wider audience, and after consulting with her spiritual director, she replied that he had given her permission to do so. (Msgr. Mario Boehm, whose testimony she records here, was a leading member of the editorial staff of the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano during the 1930s and 1940s, when the editor-in-chief was Count Giuseppe Dalla Torre. Boehm retained high-level contacts in Rome after his retirement.)

    Dr. von Hildebrand added that it would be good for this account to be accompanied here by that of another similar conversation she and her husband had in the 1960s with the former communist agent Bella Dodd. I personally find these testimonies linked to the Fatima message deeply consoling at this time of increasing confusion and profoundly disturbing change emanating from the highest levels of Church authority. For they indicate that Heaven has not only foreseen this great crisis, but has forewarned us, in order to reassure Catholics that, whatever may happen in the immediate future, Christ is still the unassailable Head of his Church, and that the Immaculate Heart of his most holy Mother, Queen of the Holy Rosary, who to Satan is as “terrible as an army set in battle array”, will triumph in the end.

    Dr. von Hildebrand, in her 90s, now finds some difficulty in writing by computer, so I have slightly edited her original email for greater clarity. She has approved the following version and graciously given her permission for it to be posted on the OnePeterFive website:

    (email to Fr. Brian Harrison dated May 6, 2016):

    Dear Father,

    I think the following two conversations, which I recall very well from the 1960s, are of particular interest now, in these deeply troubled times half a century later. For they apparently corroborate Cardinal Ciappi’s testimony that part of Our Lady’s Fatima secret was the shocking prediction that the great apostasy in the Church would begin “at the top.”

    The first conversation was In June 1965. We were in Florence in the house where my husband was born, and where I spent my first sabbatical. My husband invited a priest named Msgr. Mario Boehm, whom he had met in Rome shortly after his conversion, and who had been one of the top editors of L’Osservatore Romano for many years. The topic of Fatima came up. My husband raised the question, “Why was the third secret of Fatima not revealed?” For the Holy Virgin had said it should be shared with the faithful in 1960.

    Don Mario: It was not revealed because of its content. My husband: What was so fearful about it? Msgr. Boehm (as a well-trained Italian) did not say that he had read it, but intimated that the content was fearful: “infiltration of the Church to the very top”. It shattered us but confirmed my husband’s fear that the way Vatican II was interpreted was going to expose the Church to terrible dangers. Alas, this fear was well founded.

    The second conversation is one with Bella Dodd that I have already spoken about on previous occasions. We met her in the Fall of 1965 and she visited us here at New Rochelle, NY, where I still live, either in 1966 or 1967. She had been an ardent communist from her student days at Hunter College – a hotbed of communism. (That is why I was systematically persecuted there, as recounted in my book, Memoirs of a Happy Failure.) Bella had sown the seeds of this diabolical philosophy at Hunter, but converted in 1952 under the guidance of Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Let me repeat the conversation between her and my husband:

    DvH: I fear the Church has been infiltrated.

    Bella: You fear it, dear Professor; I know it! When I was an ardent communist I was working in close contact with four cardinals in the Vatican working for us; and they are still very active today.

    DvH: Who are they? My nephew Dieter Sattler is a German stationed at the Holy See.

    But Bella, who was under the spiritual guidance of Archbishop Sheen, declined to give him this information.

    The only recourse we have now is prayer, and the firm conviction that the gates of hell shall not prevail. St. Matthew ch. XXIV has warned us.

    In union of ardent prayers.

    I am, dear Father, respectfully yours in Christ,

    Alice von Hildebrand

    Read more...
  • CLERICAL BLINDNESS, POP STARS’ MADNESS AND THE HEROISM OF THE LEPER KING

    There seems to be a sense that not only is the Pope out of contact with the Catholic Church, as it displays itself in the West these days, but so also this appears to be true of much of the Western Clergy and the Westernized clergy wherever they may be, whether it is in Africa, Asia, or even South America which never quite seems to be the West. The Clergy seem to function as professionals, and whether they be parish priests, or accademics, or missionaries, there seems to be this reliance on secular sages, whose knowledge is perhaps more poisonous than they realize. The great Satanic rebellion carries on a pace. You will find it in retreat centres, and religious psychotherapeutic centres, where Man is at the centre. You will find it in Universities, and Notre Dame in the United States in particular seems especially enslaved to sensual knowledge, and putting on obscene theatrical performances. The well dressed clergyman, often a religious, and the power dressing nun with qualifications as long as your arm are a tired species who cannot inspire anyone, especially the you. I remember, when I had to look after the Catholics on the Scottish island of Mull, talking to a charming South African Italian lady, who hardly darkened the door of the Church I might add, rhapsodizing about her wonderful American Franciscan friends whom, if my memory served me correctly, she met not being aware that they were friars, as they were in ordinary clothes, and who were so charming and normal and entertaining. It is all nonsense. You would have preferred these friars to be half crazed and like St. Francis denouncing the evils of the times.

    The Church today is sitting far, far, too lightly with the world. She should simply leave the United Nations to get on with propagating its filth and start up something of her own. If she wishes to be really radical, she could use the Vatican as a training ground for a new military order determined to bring true justice to the world, and root out all the evil. She must start telling men to be real men, who will defend their families and the rights of Christians. She should insist that men should be given a wage that means that women do not have to go out and work. She should tell women to stop thinking about careers, but think hard about what a vocation mean be it religious, medical, or educational, but not about the evil world of big business and banking. Men should be taught to be strong, chaste, and manly. They too should think hard about God is calling them to.

    Priests should look like priests and return to wearying the cassock. Religious especially religious sisters can wear the veil again, and they cannot complain that it is uncomfortable a) because surely that is penance and a work of saving souls, and b) Moslem women can wear the veil and it causes them no physical harm so why should the sisters complain. Also women can return to wearing a head covering in Church. It has never been rescinded as far as I know. Also and this is the tragedy, how many men and women who have entered religious life in the last 40 or so years have been virgins. In the old days women, who had been sexually immoral found it difficult to find orders to join. In that sense there was a disparity with the men, who did not have such a problem. The question is have women let the side down? In one sense they have, precisely because of the pill, but also men have failed aswell, who since the Fall seem to have taken the serpent’s place and have done more than seduce women in the last 150 years, they have seduced them with knowledge, and the wrong kind of education.

    Turning to the liberal agenda there is always health and education on the lips of every middle class liberal, and in the manifestoes of every politician. However this is very odd, as the best medicine will not be coming from the ordinary health services, or the utterly evil pharmaceutical companies but from herbal medicines, homoeopathy, and the like. The sirens of education and a career have had in not a few instances a de feminizing and terrible sexualizing effect on women. A woman is only so successful if she can take on a man and beat him at his own game. However it is somewhat one way thing. Men cannot join the Girl Guides, but women can become Scouts. There is in the whole feminist agenda a settling of scores, and a spirit of vengeance, and men are the losers, and we men have ourselves partially to blame. God made Adam and Eve to be perfectly complementary, but men have used women and abused them, and the vengeance has been sustained and savage, and then lunacy has come to our aid in the form of the whole “Gay Marriage” and Trans Gender madness. For now no-one will know who they are. And this is what modern education, with its idolizing of science, sociology, psychology, and anthropology has done for us.

    Pol Pot and the Khymer Rouge made everyone into numbers. This of course was nothing new; it had been done in the Concentration Camps and in Maoist China, but there was a terrible logic to the lunacy, but now who are the mothers, and whose children are whose, with women being mothers to other women’s children. This is what comes of education and science. For if science and education are not pursued under the guidance of God, Satanic pride takes hold and a hellish madness sweeps all before it. Tired of obedience to God, the Enlightenment worshipped the Goddess Reason, and now bows down before terrifying effigy of the Satanic Goat, whose insignia are the horns and the phallus. How depressingly contemporary it all is.

    And so people bow down before talentless pop stars, whose only talent very often seems to be sexual girations on stage, and being photographed in trashy and immoral magazines. The bridge between these tragic contenders for a place in hell is psychology, which meets up on the other side with so many contemporary religious who are almost as obsessed with sex as the poor pop stars. The river over which this bridge of madness straddles that sweeps like Catherine of Siena’s river under the true bridge, namely Christ, is celebrity a new name for vainglory. Everyone wants their gifts acknowledged be they pop stars, religious or priests, of humility there is little. When you see priests, and religious trying to be pop stars, you cringe with embarrassment, and want to tell them that the young will not be taken in.

    The Pope for all his common touch is out of touch with the young. I do not see them warming to him as they did to John Paul II, and Benedict. What they young want is heroes. They want Arthur, though they should want Alfred, and they want the camaraderie of the knights of the Round Table, they want knights in shining white army, and if every woman is honest she would love the true devotion of a truly Christian knight. The Tristan’s and the Lancelot’s of this world pale before a Parsifa,l a Lohengrin, or a Galahad. However all of these heroes are eclipsed by the real hero, that great King of Jerusalem, the legendary Leper King Baldwin IV, whose courage was dauntless, whose integrity was matchless, and whose people crowned him when he was only 15, not because he was young and they could control him, but because they loved him and would die with him and for him.

    Nothing could be more inspiring and more moving than reading about how Baldwin with Prince Reginald, with only 500 knights, and a few thousand infantry, managed through brilliant tactics, to defeat the great Saladin and his far superior army of 30,000 at the battle of Mont Guiscard in 1177. And note that Baldwin’s leprosy was by then quite advanced. In 1182 Baldwin won another extraordinary victory, but let us hear about this from the author Joseph Cummins:

    In July of 1182, Saladin was poised once again to invade Jerusalem. He began by laying siege to a castle in southern Galilee. Baldwin went to intercept him and a battle ensued on July 15, near the town of Le Forbelet. It was a chaotic, bitter fight in a sun so hot that many died of sunstroke. No-one knows how many troops Saladin had, but the Christians, with seven hundred knights, were outnumbered once again. Nonetheless, they managed to rout Saladin’s forces and send them back across the Jordan. Baldwin was present on the field, despite his illness and the fierce heat, directing troops. He then set off on a remarkable foray, riding three hundred kilometres to attack the Muslim fortress of al-Habis Jaldak, successfully laying siege to it, and forcing its inhabitants to surrender.

    All the while, Baldwin was seen not only as the unifying force in his kingdom, but as an almost Christlike figure, one who by his suffering had earned the right to lead his people. Yet it was apparent that, possibly due to the strain of this latest campaign, the king’s illness worsened, as William of Tyre recorded:

    The leprosy…became much worse than usual. He had lost his sight and the extremities of his body became completely diseased and damaged, so that he was unable to use his hands or feet [Yet] although hi body was weak and powerless, he was strong in spirit, and made superhuman effort to disguise his illness and shoulder the burdens of kingship (Joseph Cummins; History’s Great Untold Stories Obscure Event of Lasting Importance,Murdoch Books Pty Limited 2006; p.229)

    And so we look on at a crumbling, grey and depressingly clerical church, and oddly far more clerical than before Vatican II, because now bishops, and even the Pope sport briefcases, and they look like drab business men, and yet do we not hunger to have that bravery such as was shown by this wonderful King, who dies at 24, loved by his people. Why? Because in the medieval mind at this period the two most lecherous groups among humanity were considered to be lepers and kings in that order of gravity, and here was a leper king who was chaste and who was phenomenally brave.

    In Western Civilization built on Christian foundations we see her peoples drowning in sex, and a Church that seems unable to champion chastity. Here then is a chaste warrior, who half a century later will find his spiritual and kingly successor in the greatest of all Christian kings, St. Louis of France. Democracies, plutocracies, oligarchies, republics, and city states do not produce such men as these. Christ’s kingship must be seen again in heroes like Baldwin and Louis. The Pope seems quite at a loss, a man out of his depth, seemingly aware only of the liberal left wing 20th century, whose only real claim to greatness is its technology, its spirit of rebellion in every facet of life, and its comfort. None of these things produce heroes, except thankfully and exultantly martyrs who oppose such evils. The glory of the 20th century is her Christian martyrs, but do I hear their feats lauded from the pulpits. No! all I hear is the social Gospel, and the call to love one’s neighbour, laudable but not enough. The reason why St. Elizabeth of Hungary, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Joseph Benedict Cottolengo, Don Bosco, and Mother Teresa created such charitable institutions was, not because they had a policy for stamping out poverty throughout the World, but because they loved God, and saw him in the suffering and responded to him in those who suffered, the ill, the poor, the Galley slaves and the orphans, widows, and prisoner.

    Terrible Familiarity has indeed bred contempt and mor, for it seems to have cast a pall over clerical relationships so that courtesy flees and bonhomie creates an atmosphere of anxiety. If the bishop is on Christian name terms with his priests, and they with him, will he be able to control them. “Discretion is the Better part of valour”, but there is no discretion and precious little valour in the world or the Church today. Vainglory abounds and “My needs” and “my gifts” must take first place, and so Satan’s pride has seduced his witting and unwitting acolytes, and his terrifying charm and empty promises have enslaved them.

    And so we leave these foolish pop stars, and film stars, and mindless celebrities trying to cross the bridge of psychology who then find themselves bumping into priests and religious and the educated lay Catholic, and the social activist Catholic, and the “anything goes” Catholic. Irritated, both sides begin to jostle each other, and then push and shove each other, and then become angry, until hatred raw and vicious breaks out, and a terrible bloody fight begins. The bridge, not one of the sturdiest, for modern psychology is anything but sturdy, begins to heave under the strain, and shudder, and crack, and then in one giant roar collapses and the huge fighting rabble falls into the river of death, madness and despair. May God indeed show us mercy in this year of Mercy, where there seems to be little mercy, but much revenge, cruelty and depravity hidden under the revolting guise of “caring” and “political correctness”. It is then time to turn to that greatest devotion of the 20th and 21st centuries, The Divine Mercy, and as Jesus asked us through his messenger of Divine Mercy, St. Faustina devotion to his Mercy is immensely powerful;

    At three o’clock, implore My mercy, especially for sinners; and, if only for a brief moment, immerse yourself in My Passion, particularly in My abandonment at the moment of agony. This is the hour of great mercy for the whole world. I will allow you to enter into My mortal sorrow. In this hour, I will refuse nothing to the soul that makes a request of Me in virtue of My Passion. (St. Faustina’s diary no.1320)

    Let us pray that Mercy descends in great torrents upon the Church on this The Great Feast of Pentecost, so that the almost lifeless body, which is our Beloved Church will resurrect and once again become resplendent with Beauty, Truth and Charity, and may true unity with our great Sister Church, the Orthodox Church soon be realized in a storm of glory that will truly convert the world to Christ.

    Read more...
  • The Crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    Yet another excellent article by Bihop Athanasius Schneider. If you think we are publishing a lot of his writing and interviews it is because 'he is worth it'! In this article he collects together quotes which are well worth pondering over.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) --

    The doctrines of rationalism, naturalism, anthropocentrism shape the frame of mind of the world today. Since the French Revolution they have conquered almost all sectors of public life and have invaded in progressive stages large areas of the Church’s life. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing an apostasy in the civil society, which resembles a direct and quasi-apocalyptic revolt against God Himself and against the divinely established order of the natural law.

    In former times crises of faith, even when they had an almost universal reach, were nevertheless limited to a specific truth of faith (as for example Arianism in the 4th century). In times of enormous moral offences the sin was not justified theoretically, under the pretext of may be “pastoral” reasons or under the pretext of the mercy or tenderness of God, as one can hear often in our days. In those times, one had known that sin was sin and one has called a spade a spade. In our days, however, the dogmatic, moral and liturgical relativism reached unprecedented proportions inside the Church. In such times some ground-breaking and clear words of the Supreme Magisterium from modern times (19th and 20th centuries) reveal themselves being truly prophetic. In a situation, which is marked by obfuscation and in which the faithful receive not rarely an insipid spiritual nourishment on behalf of a culture of arbitrariness, such words of the Magisterium of our modern times have the effect of a healthy strong country bread and of a fresh sigh of relief. Indeed, they contain the true spirit of the Gospel and of the Apostles, and fill our mind and our soul with a heavenly unction and gives us a supernatural certainty and firmness.

    Extracts from the First Vatican Council (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    The immutability of the Catholic faith

    “There came into being and spread far and wide throughout the world the doctrine of rationalism or naturalism,—utterly opposed to the Christian religion, since this is of supernatural origin,—which spares no effort to bring it about that Christ, who alone is our lord and savior, is shut out from the minds of people and the moral life of nations. Thus they would establish what they call the rule of simple reason or nature. The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just, and to overthrow the very foundations of human society.

    “With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings (Hebr. 13: 9) and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which Holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith.

    The obedience of faith

    “Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their Creator and Lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.

    “Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

    “Hence, all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions, which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

    “For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed, is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained, which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding (cf. Vincentius Lerinensis, Commonitorium, 28).

    “In the performance of our supreme pastoral office, we beseech for the love of Jesus Christ and we command, by the authority of him who is also our God and savior, all faithful Christians, especially those in authority or who have the duty of teaching, that they contribute their zeal and labor to the warding off and elimination of these errors from the Church and to the spreading of the light of the pure faith.” (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    Extracts from Pope St Pius X (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus, 1903)

    War is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God

    “To eliminate all vain delusions, We say with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. A sacrilegious war is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, ‘The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things’ (Ps. 2: 1.) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. 21: 14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.

    “Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath employed everywhere in persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between man and the Divinity! While, on the other hand, and this according to the same apostle (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 3) is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. ‘He sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God’ (2 Thess. 2: 2).

    “We shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. ‘No one,’ the Apostle admonishes us, ‘can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3: 2). It is Christ alone … true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, ‘neither does anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him’ (Math. 11: 27). Hence, it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care – to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ. When We say to God We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of materialists has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.

    “The duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon all bishops consists in bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society. But, if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time – the substitution of man for God. This done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the Gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth. We will use all our industry to attain it.

    “An insufficient and defective religious instruction has as the result for a great many the loss of the faith. For it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance in the doctrine of faith prevails, the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity. And this is why Christ commanded the Apostles: ‘Going forth teach all nations’ (Math. 28: 19).

    “The times we live demands action – but action which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage. Such luminous examples given by the great army of soldiers of Christ will be of much greater avail in moving and drawing men than words and sublime dissertations. … Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented in the right disposition, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, – it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society. It will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion; and We, in demanding that same liberty, are defending not only the sacred rights of religion, but are also consulting the common weal and the safety of nations. For it continues to be true that ‘piety is useful for all things’ (1 Tim. 4: 8) – when this is strong and flourishing ‘the people will’ truly ‘sit in the fullness of peace’ (Is.32: 18).” (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus from October 4, 1903; numbers 4-5;8-9;12;14)

    Extracts from Pope Pius XII (Encyclical Summi pontificatus, 1939)

    The dethronement of Christ

    “At the head of the road which leads to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of the present day stand the nefarious efforts of not a few to dethrone Christ; the abandonment of the law of truth which He proclaimed and of the law of love which is the life breath of His Kingdom.

    “In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation.”

    The denial of the moral law destroys the unity of Europe

    “The present age by adding new errors to the doctrinal aberrations of the past, has pushed these to extremes, which lead inevitably to a drift towards chaos. Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge.

    “The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay.”

    The exclusion of God from the public life

    “The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified ‘there was darkness over the whole earth’ (Math. 27: 45); a terrifying symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: ‘There was darkness when they crucified Jesus’ (cf. Math. 27: 45).

    “Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ’s love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man’s estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; ‘they became vain in their thoughts’ (Rom. 1: 21).

    “With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the darkening in men’s minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the prosperity of States.

    “The ‘Catholic Church, the City of God, whose King is Truth, whose law love and whose measure eternity’ (Saint Augustine, Ep. 138 Ad Marcellinum, 3, 17), preaching fearlessly the whole truth of Christ and toiling as the love of Christ, demands with the zeal of a mother, stands as a blessed vision of peace above the storm of error and passion awaiting the moment when the all-powerful Hand of Christ the King shall quiet the tempest and banish the spirits of discord which have provoked it.

    “Do you, too, pray, you whose courageous profession of the Faith entails today hard, painful and not rarely, heroic sacrifices; pray you, suffering and agonizing members of the Church, when Jesus comes to console and to heal your pains, and do not forget with the aid of a true spirit of mortification and worthy practice of penance to make your prayers more acceptable in the eyes of Him, that He in His mercy may shorten the days of trial and that thus the word of the Psalmist may be verified: ‘Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses’ (Ps. 106: 13).

    “And you, white legions of children who are so loved and dear to Jesus, when you receive in Holy Communion the Bread of Life, raise up your simple and innocent prayers and unite them with those of the Universal Church. The heart of Jesus, Who loves you, does not resist your suppliant innocence. Pray every one, pray uninterruptedly: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5: 17)”. (Encyclical Summi pontificatus from October 20, 1939; numbers 21-22; 28-32; 110; 113-114)

    A great bishop of our days, the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, made some very striking affirmations which confirm perfectly the prophetic voice of the Supreme Magisterium already in the 19th century (Pius IX and First Vatican Council) and of the first half of the 20thcentury (Pius X and Pius XII).

    Extracts from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    “The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit Sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I am Who am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who am not.’ Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first ‘red.’ Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as ‘the Prince of this world,’ whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion? The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter-church, which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.” (Communism and the Conscience of the West).

    “If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church, which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. If the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.” (Preface, Radio Replies)

    “The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell.” (Moods and Truths)

    “Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.” (Old Errors and New Labels)

    Read more...
  • The Crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    Yet another excellent article by Bihop Athanasius Schneider. If you think we are publishing a lot of his writing and interviews it is because 'he is worth it'! In this article he collects together quotes which are well worth pondering over.

    Bishop Athanasius Schneider: The crisis of the Faith in the Church today

    May 9, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) --

    The doctrines of rationalism, naturalism, anthropocentrism shape the frame of mind of the world today. Since the French Revolution they have conquered almost all sectors of public life and have invaded in progressive stages large areas of the Church’s life. At the beginning of the 21st century, we are witnessing an apostasy in the civil society, which resembles a direct and quasi-apocalyptic revolt against God Himself and against the divinely established order of the natural law.

    In former times crises of faith, even when they had an almost universal reach, were nevertheless limited to a specific truth of faith (as for example Arianism in the 4th century). In times of enormous moral offences the sin was not justified theoretically, under the pretext of may be “pastoral” reasons or under the pretext of the mercy or tenderness of God, as one can hear often in our days. In those times, one had known that sin was sin and one has called a spade a spade. In our days, however, the dogmatic, moral and liturgical relativism reached unprecedented proportions inside the Church. In such times some ground-breaking and clear words of the Supreme Magisterium from modern times (19th and 20th centuries) reveal themselves being truly prophetic. In a situation, which is marked by obfuscation and in which the faithful receive not rarely an insipid spiritual nourishment on behalf of a culture of arbitrariness, such words of the Magisterium of our modern times have the effect of a healthy strong country bread and of a fresh sigh of relief. Indeed, they contain the true spirit of the Gospel and of the Apostles, and fill our mind and our soul with a heavenly unction and gives us a supernatural certainty and firmness.

    Extracts from the First Vatican Council (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    The immutability of the Catholic faith

    “There came into being and spread far and wide throughout the world the doctrine of rationalism or naturalism,—utterly opposed to the Christian religion, since this is of supernatural origin,—which spares no effort to bring it about that Christ, who alone is our lord and savior, is shut out from the minds of people and the moral life of nations. Thus they would establish what they call the rule of simple reason or nature. The abandonment and rejection of the Christian religion, and the denial of God and his Christ, has plunged the minds of many into the abyss of pantheism, materialism and atheism, and the consequence is that they strive to destroy rational nature itself, to deny any criterion of what is right and just, and to overthrow the very foundations of human society.

    “With this impiety spreading in every direction, it has come about, alas, that many even among the children of the Catholic Church have strayed from the path of genuine piety, and as the truth was gradually diluted in them, their Catholic sensibility was weakened. Led away by diverse and strange teachings (Hebr. 13: 9) and confusing nature and grace, human knowledge and divine faith, they are found to distort the genuine sense of the dogmas which Holy mother Church holds and teaches, and to endanger the integrity and genuineness of the faith.

    The obedience of faith

    “Since human beings are totally dependent on God as their Creator and Lord, and created reason is completely subject to uncreated truth, we are obliged to yield to God the revealer full submission of intellect and will by faith. This faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, the Catholic Church professes to be a supernatural virtue, by means of which, with the grace of God inspiring and assisting us, we believe to be true what He has revealed, not because we perceive its intrinsic truth by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself, who makes the revelation and can neither deceive nor be deceived.

    “Consequently, the situation of those, who by the heavenly gift of faith have embraced the Catholic truth, is by no means the same as that of those who, led by human opinions, follow a false religion; for those who have accepted the faith under the guidance of the Church can never have any just cause for changing this faith or for calling it into question.

    “Hence, all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions, which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.

    “For the doctrine of the faith which God has revealed, is put forward not as some philosophical discovery capable of being perfected by human intelligence, but as a divine deposit committed to the spouse of Christ to be faithfully protected and infallibly promulgated. Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained, which has once been declared by Holy Mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding. May understanding, knowledge and wisdom increase as ages and centuries roll along, and greatly and vigorously flourish, in each and all, in the individual and the whole Church: but this only in its own proper kind, that is to say, in the same doctrine, the same sense, and the same understanding (cf. Vincentius Lerinensis, Commonitorium, 28).

    “In the performance of our supreme pastoral office, we beseech for the love of Jesus Christ and we command, by the authority of him who is also our God and savior, all faithful Christians, especially those in authority or who have the duty of teaching, that they contribute their zeal and labor to the warding off and elimination of these errors from the Church and to the spreading of the light of the pure faith.” (Constitutio dogmatica, Dei Filius de fide catholica, cap. 4)

    Extracts from Pope St Pius X (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus, 1903)

    War is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God

    “To eliminate all vain delusions, We say with emphasis that We do not wish to be, and with the Divine assistance never shall be aught before human society but the Minister of God, of whose authority We are the depositary. The interests of God shall be Our interest, and for these We are resolved to spend all Our strength and Our very life. A sacrilegious war is now, almost everywhere, stirred up and fomented against God. For in truth, ‘The nations have raged and the peoples imagined vain things’ (Ps. 2: 1.) against their Creator, so frequent is the cry of the enemies of God: ‘Depart from us’ (Job. 21: 14). And as might be expected we find extinguished among the majority of men all respect for the Eternal God, and no regard paid in the manifestations of public and private life to the Supreme Will – nay, every effort and every artifice is used to destroy utterly the memory and the knowledge of God.

    “Such, in truth, is the audacity and the wrath employed everywhere in persecuting religion, in combating the dogmas of the faith, in brazen effort to uproot and destroy all relations between man and the Divinity! While, on the other hand, and this according to the same apostle (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 3) is the distinguishing mark of Antichrist, man has with infinite temerity put himself in the place of God, raising himself above all that is called God; in such wise that although he cannot utterly extinguish in himself all knowledge of God, he has contemned God’s majesty and, as it were, made of the universe a temple wherein he himself is to be adored. ‘He sits in the temple of God, showing himself as if he were God’ (2 Thess. 2: 2).

    “We shall never, however much we exert ourselves, succeed in calling men back to the majesty and empire of God, except by means of Jesus Christ. ‘No one,’ the Apostle admonishes us, ‘can lay other foundation than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ’ (1 Cor. 3: 2). It is Christ alone … true God and true man: without whom nobody can know God with the knowledge for salvation, ‘neither does anyone know the Father but the Son, and he to whom it shall please the Son to reveal Him’ (Math. 11: 27). Hence, it follows that to restore all things in Christ and to lead men back to submission to God is one and the same aim. To this, then, it behoves Us to devote Our care – to lead back mankind under the dominion of Christ. When We say to God We do not mean to that inert being heedless of all things human which the dream of materialists has imagined, but to the true and living God, one in nature, triple in person, Creator of the world, most wise Ordainer of all things, Lawgiver most just, who punishes the wicked and has reward in store for virtue.

    “The duty that has been imposed alike upon Us and upon all bishops consists in bringing back to the discipline of the Church human society. But, if our desire to obtain this is to be fulfilled, we must use every means and exert all our energy to bring about the utter disappearance of the enormous and detestable wickedness, so characteristic of our time – the substitution of man for God. This done, it remains to restore to their ancient place of honor the most holy laws and counsels of the Gospel; to proclaim aloud the truths taught by the Church, and her teachings on the sanctity of marriage, on the education and discipline of youth. We will use all our industry to attain it.

    “An insufficient and defective religious instruction has as the result for a great many the loss of the faith. For it is not true that the progress of knowledge extinguishes the faith; rather is it ignorance, and the more ignorance in the doctrine of faith prevails, the greater is the havoc wrought by incredulity. And this is why Christ commanded the Apostles: ‘Going forth teach all nations’ (Math. 28: 19).

    “The times we live demands action – but action which consists entirely in observing with fidelity and zeal the divine laws and the precepts of the Church, in the frank and open profession of religion, in the exercise of every kind of charitable works, without regard to self-interest or worldly advantage. Such luminous examples given by the great army of soldiers of Christ will be of much greater avail in moving and drawing men than words and sublime dissertations. … Oh! when in every city and village the law of the Lord is faithfully observed, when respect is shown for sacred things, when the Sacraments are frequented in the right disposition, and the ordinances of Christian life fulfilled, – it will also contribute largely to temporal welfare and the advantage of human society. It will be clear to all that the Church, such as it was instituted by Christ, must enjoy full and entire liberty and independence from all foreign dominion; and We, in demanding that same liberty, are defending not only the sacred rights of religion, but are also consulting the common weal and the safety of nations. For it continues to be true that ‘piety is useful for all things’ (1 Tim. 4: 8) – when this is strong and flourishing ‘the people will’ truly ‘sit in the fullness of peace’ (Is.32: 18).” (Encyclical E supremi apostolatus from October 4, 1903; numbers 4-5;8-9;12;14)

    Extracts from Pope Pius XII (Encyclical Summi pontificatus, 1939)

    The dethronement of Christ

    “At the head of the road which leads to the spiritual and moral bankruptcy of the present day stand the nefarious efforts of not a few to dethrone Christ; the abandonment of the law of truth which He proclaimed and of the law of love which is the life breath of His Kingdom.

    “In the recognition of the royal prerogatives of Christ and in the return of individuals and of society to the law of His truth and of His love lies the only way to salvation.”

    The denial of the moral law destroys the unity of Europe

    “The present age by adding new errors to the doctrinal aberrations of the past, has pushed these to extremes, which lead inevitably to a drift towards chaos. Before all else, it is certain that the radical and ultimate cause of the evils which We deplore in modern society is the denial and rejection of a universal norm of morality as well for individual and social life as for international relations; We mean the disregard, so common nowadays, and the forgetfulness of the natural law itself, which has its foundation in God, When God is hated, every basis of morality is undermined; the voice of conscience is stilled or at any rate grows very faint, that voice which teaches even to the illiterate and to uncivilized tribes what is good and what is bad, what lawful, what forbidden, and makes men feel themselves responsible for their actions to a Supreme Judge.

    “The denial of the fundamentals of morality had its origin, in Europe, in the abandonment of that Christian teaching of which the Chair of Peter is the depository and exponent. That teaching had once given spiritual cohesion to a Europe which, educated, ennobled and civilized by the Cross, had reached such a degree of civil progress as to become the teacher of other peoples, of other continents. But, cut off from the infallible teaching authority of the Church, not a few separated brethren have gone so far as to overthrow the central dogma of Christianity, the Divinity of the Savior, and have hastened thereby the progress of spiritual decay.”

    The exclusion of God from the public life

    “The Holy Gospel narrates that when Jesus was crucified ‘there was darkness over the whole earth’ (Math. 27: 45); a terrifying symbol of what happened and what still happens spiritually wherever incredulity, blind and proud of itself, has succeeded in excluding Christ from modern life, especially from public life, and has undermined faith in God as well as faith in Christ. The consequence is that the moral values by which in other times public and private conduct was gauged have fallen into disuse; and the much vaunted civilization of society, which has made ever more rapid progress, withdrawing man, the family and the State from the beneficent and regenerating effects of the idea of God and the teaching of the Church, has caused to reappear, in regions in which for many centuries shone the splendors of Christian civilization, in a manner ever clearer, ever more distinct, ever more distressing, the signs of a corrupt and corrupting paganism: ‘There was darkness when they crucified Jesus’ (cf. Math. 27: 45).

    “Many perhaps, while abandoning the teaching of Christ, were not fully conscious of being led astray by a mirage of glittering phrases, which proclaimed such estrangement as an escape from the slavery in which they were before held; nor did they then foresee the bitter consequences of bartering the truth that sets free, for error which enslaves. They did not realize that, in renouncing the infinitely wise and paternal laws of God, and the unifying and elevating doctrines of Christ’s love, they were resigning themselves to the whim of a poor, fickle human wisdom; they spoke of progress, when they were going back; of being raised, when they groveled; of arriving at man’s estate, when they stooped to servility. They did not perceive the inability of all human effort to replace the law of Christ by anything equal to it; ‘they became vain in their thoughts’ (Rom. 1: 21).

    “With the weakening of faith in God and in Jesus Christ, and the darkening in men’s minds of the light of moral principles, there disappeared the indispensable foundation of the stability and quiet of that internal and external, private and public order, which alone can support and safeguard the prosperity of States.

    “The ‘Catholic Church, the City of God, whose King is Truth, whose law love and whose measure eternity’ (Saint Augustine, Ep. 138 Ad Marcellinum, 3, 17), preaching fearlessly the whole truth of Christ and toiling as the love of Christ, demands with the zeal of a mother, stands as a blessed vision of peace above the storm of error and passion awaiting the moment when the all-powerful Hand of Christ the King shall quiet the tempest and banish the spirits of discord which have provoked it.

    “Do you, too, pray, you whose courageous profession of the Faith entails today hard, painful and not rarely, heroic sacrifices; pray you, suffering and agonizing members of the Church, when Jesus comes to console and to heal your pains, and do not forget with the aid of a true spirit of mortification and worthy practice of penance to make your prayers more acceptable in the eyes of Him, that He in His mercy may shorten the days of trial and that thus the word of the Psalmist may be verified: ‘Then they cried to the Lord in their affliction: and he delivered them out of their distresses’ (Ps. 106: 13).

    “And you, white legions of children who are so loved and dear to Jesus, when you receive in Holy Communion the Bread of Life, raise up your simple and innocent prayers and unite them with those of the Universal Church. The heart of Jesus, Who loves you, does not resist your suppliant innocence. Pray every one, pray uninterruptedly: ‘Pray without ceasing’ (1 Thess. 5: 17)”. (Encyclical Summi pontificatus from October 20, 1939; numbers 21-22; 28-32; 110; 113-114)

    A great bishop of our days, the Venerable Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen, made some very striking affirmations which confirm perfectly the prophetic voice of the Supreme Magisterium already in the 19th century (Pius IX and First Vatican Council) and of the first half of the 20thcentury (Pius X and Pius XII).

    Extracts from Archbishop Fulton Sheen

    “The Antichrist will not be so called; otherwise he would have no followers. He will not wear red tights, nor vomit Sulphur, nor carry a trident nor wave an arrowed tail as Mephistopheles in Faust. This masquerade has helped the Devil convince men that he does not exist. When no man recognizes, the more power he exercises. God has defined Himself as ‘I am Who am,’ and the Devil as ‘I am who am not.’ Nowhere in Sacred Scripture do we find warrant for the popular myth of the Devil as a buffoon who is dressed like the first ‘red.’ Rather is he described as an angel fallen from heaven, as ‘the Prince of this world,’ whose business it is to tell us that there is no other world. His logic is simple: if there is no heaven there is no hell; if there is no hell, then there is no sin; if there is no sin, then there is no judge, and if there is no judgment then evil is good and good is evil. But above all these descriptions, Our Lord tells us that he will be so much like Himself that he would deceive even the elect–and certainly no devil ever seen in picture books could deceive even the elect. How will he come in this new age to win followers to his religion? The pre-Communist Russian belief is that he will come disguised as the Great Humanitarian; he will talk peace, prosperity and plenty not as means to lead us to God, but as ends in themselves. . . The third temptation in which Satan asked Christ to adore him and all the kingdoms of the world would be His, will become the temptation to have a new religion without a Cross, a liturgy without a world to come, a religion to destroy a religion, or a politics which is a religion–one that renders unto Caesar even the things that are God’s. In the midst of all his seeming love for humanity and his glib talk of freedom and equality, he will have one great secret, which he will tell to no one: he will not believe in God. Because his religion will be brotherhood without the fatherhood of God, he will deceive even the elect. He will set up a counter-church, which will be the ape of the Church, because he, the Devil, is the ape of God. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content. It will be a mystical body of the Antichrist that will in all externals resemble the mystical body of Christ.” (Communism and the Conscience of the West).

    “If I were not a Catholic, and were looking for the true Church in the world today, I would look for the one Church which did not get along well with the world; in other words, I would look for the Church which the world hates. My reason for doing this would be, that if Christ is in any one of the churches of the world today, He must still be hated as He was when He was on earth in the flesh. If you would find Christ today, then find the Church that does not get along with the world. Look for the Church that is hated by the world, as Christ was hated by the world. Look for the Church, which the world rejects because it claims it is infallible, as Pilate rejected Christ because he called Himself the Truth. If the Church is unpopular with the spirit of the world, then it is unworldly, and if it is unworldly, it is other-worldly. Since it is other-worldly, it is infinitely loved and infinitely hated as was Christ Himself.” (Preface, Radio Replies)

    “The world may disagree with the Church, but the world knows very definitely with what it is disagreeing. In the future as in the past, the Church will be intolerant about the sanctity of marriage, for what God has joined together no man shall put asunder; she will be intolerant about her creed, and be ready to die for it, for she fears not those who kill the body, but rather those who have the power to cast body and soul into hell.” (Moods and Truths)

    “Tolerance applies to the erring, intolerance to the error … Architects are as intolerant about sand as foundations for skyscrapers as doctors are intolerant about germs in the laboratory. Tolerance does not apply to truth or principles. About these things we must be intolerant, and for this kind of intolerance, so much needed to rouse us from sentimental gush, I make a plea. Intolerance of this kind is the foundation of all stability.” (Old Errors and New Labels)

    Read more...
  • The Great Tragedy of A Collapsing Church

    I do not believe that, in the history of the Church we have had a Pope quite as strange as Pope Francis, and even odder, a Pope who is in the process of apparently dismantling the Church. I am sure that he thinks he is simply renovating it, restoring it or, given his schoolmasterly tendency, simply reforming it. He is a like some blinkered German professor utterly carried away with an idea, which everyone is saying, won’t work, and no matter what the cost, he will take no advice, because he is right, and he will continue to the bitter end, and I fear it will be truly bitter. Now if what is happening at present in the Church were an Ealing Comedy of the late 40’or early 50’s, or the Thin Man series with Myrna Loy and Dick Powell in the 30’s, or nearer the mark, Frank Capra’s film version of “You can’t take it with You” it might have a certain charm, but the tragedy being played out before our eyes is one of high ranking clergy indulging in duplicity, craftiness and goodness knows what else, under the bizarrely benign view of the Pope

    Given the extraordinary behaviour of some Cardinals, bishops, and priests at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which resulted in Cardinal Pell slamming his fist on the table and demanding that the rights of the Synod Fathers be heard, which the steering committee headed by Cardinal Baldisseri were riding rough shod over, the Pope’s behaviour was even more extraordinary when he wanted to keep those texts in the final document of the 2014 Synod, which the Fathers had voted against. This is a typically Jesuit way of doing things; a heavy hand and absolute and unquestioning obedience on behalf of the subject. (This recalls the rather strange tale of Fr. Roger Charles, an English Jesuit who was forbidden, by the General of the Jesuits, to publish his book on the Jesuits’s failure, in recent times, to keep their Fourth vow of obedience to the Pope. Nothing could be as strange or ironical as this!)

    In a very disturbing article for OnePeterFive, Maike Hickson reports something so mad that one is left reeling. I will quote the section which is about Hans Kung.

    Therefore, it is important to report on the second important event of the last week: the encouragement of the progressivist, Father Hans Küng, who was removed in 1979 from his teaching position as a Catholic theologian under Pope John Paul II for his heterodox teaching. For now, it seems, his hour in the spotlight has at last come. As the National Catholic Reporter first reported, Hans Küng has now received a personal letter from Pope Francis in which he is encouraged to discuss – and thereby effectively to question – the Dogma of Papal Infallibility itself! This story has now been reported also by the official Vatican website in German, on Radio Vatikan, as well as by the official website of the Swiss bishops. The pope’s encouragement comes in response to an open letter to the Holy Father written by Küng in March of 2016. In it, he requested an open discussion of this settled dogma. He also explained rather explicitly why he wanted to question this Dogma: namely, because Papal Infallibility is now is a barrier that makes impossible the further reforms of the Church in many other fields. Küng wrote:

    The themes [of reform that came up in recent times]were: agreements among the different confessions; mutual acceptance of the offices and of the celebrations of the Last Supper; questions of divorce of marriage and of the ordination of women; concerning forced celibacy [sic]and the catastrophic lack of priests; and, finally, and especially, concerning the leadership of the Catholic Church.

    This proposed agenda for further reforms shows that the essential parts of the Catholic Faith are already under attack by the notably heterodox Swiss theologian. And now, it seems, he continues his assault with the support of the Vicar of Christ, who has been put in his office for the express purpose of defending the irreformable Deposit of Faith!

    I can only conclude from this that at best Pope Francis never really agreed with John Paul II, and worse did not like him. As Hans Kung was so unpleasant about John Paul II, and Benedict XVI, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, then one can only presume that Pope Francis feels the same way as Hans Kung. Why should we be interested in the musings of an heretical Octogenerian revolutionary like Kung. In fact why we should we be interested in any of these Octogenerian revolutionaries, Cardinals Daneels, Kasper, and Murphy O’Connor to name but a few? They are yesterday’s men though they know it not. Admittedly you have younger Cardinals who are following their lead like Cardinals Schonborn and Nichols, but do any of these men really understand or love the Church?

    Also if the Pope accepts Hans Kung’s plans for the Church and the Papacy, and Pope Francis decides that he is not infallible, then surely he has taken the carpet from underneath his feet, and his successors’ for that matter. When one denies something that has been held with at times exaggerated enthusiasm as a Cardinal Manning and other ultramontanists then the reaction will be every bit as dreadful, when the Tridentine Mass went out and the the New Mass came in. All Hell will indeed be let loose. The Papacy above all, precisely because of its great claims to supernatural sovereignty, has to exercise the greatest, prudence, and discretion. Benedict XVI was a model in this regard. Pope Francis is rather like a man who has won the lottery, and its “spend, spend, spend.” There must be some Catherine of Siena waiting in the wings to help this man, who has so many wonderful qualities, but is, as far as I can see, getting dreadfully carried away, and losing all sense of proportion and proportion is what we so desperately need at present.

    It is of great important to realize that what we are witnessing is a re-run of Vatican II. At the beginning of the Council Cardinals Ottaviani and Siri and the orthodox prelates were caricatured as reactionaries. Cardinal Suenens led the supposedly new dynamic Church, but I should say Enlightened because He, Yves Congar, and Kung saw themselves as French revolutionaries, and it was these men along with the sadly very flawed but lovable Helder Camara, who led the progressive wing of the Church, and who won the day (I remember when I was a liberal Catholic, and only just 20 years of age going in 1972 to hear Helder Camara talk in London. I really did think he was a saint, but to say he was a maverick is an understatement. When he was ordained as a young man, he was a fervent Nazi, and after the war he was ardently pro-Communist, and then insanity seems to have set in. Francesca Romana in an article in April 2015 in Rorate Coeli leaves one aghast with the following: “The restless Archbishop also asked loudly for the sacerdotal ordination of women. Addressing a group of bishops during the Second Vatican Council, he asked with insistence: “Tell me, please, if you can find any effectively decisive argument that impedes the admission of women to the priesthood, or is it [just] a male prejudice?”

    And it didn’t matter that the Second Vatican Council subsequently precluded this possibility. According to Camara. “We must go further than the conciliar texts where it is in our competence to interpret them”. Yet, the yearning didn’t stop there. In a conference held in the presence of the Council Fathers in 1965, he stated: “I believe that man will artificially create life, and will arrive at the resurrection of the dead and (…) will achieve miraculous results of reinvigoration in male patients through the grafting of monkey’s genital glands.”) One is left either crying or laughing at such unbelievable insanity, surely a gift for comics, but this was the man who was the supreme net worker during the Council. I do wonder sometimes if many of the higher clergy lose all sense of humour, when the mitre is placed on their heads. So with people like Kung and Camara one can see why Ottaviani, Siri, and the tragic Marcel Lefebvre were so concerned. So in many ways a new Church was forged, God willing it was not the false Church foreseen by Blessed Anna Catherine Emmerich.

    Today we see in Cardinal Muller another Ottaviani, and in Cardinal Burke another Siri, and they like their forebears are honourable, good and holy men, but they have no battle plan, for the left is always revolutionary and wanting change, and it knows how to organize, and it does it brilliantyl. These Cardinals, Archbishops and their entourage want to forge a Church according to their designs, taste and dictates, and it is a great shame that there is no Catherine of Siena to call them to order, no Hildegard of Bingen, to rebuke, and no Bridget of Sweden to thunder. We need strong women who will call the men, and the feminists to order, if they do not then most of the Church will wither away into heresy, and the Church will be very small indeed!

    The Fathers of the Church interestingly see the descendants of Cain as suffering under his curse. They live farther away from Eden, which could still be seen in those early days. The descendants of Seth are under a blessing and live close to Paradise, and it is they whom the majority of the Fathers see as being “The Sons of God.” What leads to the downfall of the descendants of Seth is that the men of this race lust after the daughters of Cain, and then the daughters of Seth become wanton and lust after the sons of Cain, and the result of all this is The Universal Deluge.

    And so yet again we find ourselves moving towards unbelievable catastrophe, and we are being led into it by Cardinals, bishops, religious, and that terrifying specimen, the modern liberal laywoman theologian, who sadly, walking in the footsteps of Eve, is hungry for knowledge, usually the wrong type of knowledge, and as with all the liberal endeavours its principle actors are charming, urbane, utterly reasonable, incredibly persuasive, and totally and disastrously wrong.

    We must pray for the Pope, who may or may not know what he is doing. As Peter failed and denied his Lord, there is no reason that Pope Francis will be immune from doing the same. He is after all in a grand tradition, and some of the disastrous popes have, in many ways, been admirable men like Urban VI, and Paul IV, but they have blundered their way during their time of office; they are after all only human. Let us pray that the Pope listens to wise and holy people for if he does not then truly we will find ourselves acting in drama so terrifying and awe inspiring that we will need all the courage that we can muster.

    However moving away from the contemporary crisis in the Church, let us cast our eyes to the Mount of Olives all those centuries ago, and with Our Lady, the Apostles, and all the disciples, which includes those wonderful women disciples, hear Christ’s majestic words reverberate down the ages. Let us feel the strength of his glorious Divinity fill us with his Divine Grace, and let us do all we can to come to the aid of the Church, our Mother who suffers so much from the infidelity of so many of her children, and let us exercise that great virtue of Hope, in which we are in such grave need, in these perilous and truly terrifying times.

    “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth.” And when he had said this, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold two men stood by them in white robes, and said “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.” (Acts 1: vv.7-11)

    Since the Ascension Jesus, as Christ and Lord, God and Man is everywhere in this World and throughout the Universe. He is King of All Creation, and he is omnipotent. He has everything in hand, despite appearances to the contrary, and he will laugh his enemies to scorn, so pray that we will be among his friends.

    Read more...
  • Global Insanity and The Wisdom of Bishop Athanasius Schneider

    We are living in times, not of global warming but, as far as I can see, global insanity. This insanity is, for the most part affecting the West, and by the West, I mean Western culture be it in Western Europe, North and South America, Australasia, or in certain parts of Africa and Asia. It is all those parts of the World that have been infected by the Enlightenment, and the Enlightenment’s most important goal, which is the perfecting of Man by philosophical, educational, and economic means. This gave birth to Darwinian evolution, Marxism, and Freudian psychology. These three weapons have unleashed the most terrible damage possible, name the destruction of scriptural truth.

    What has happened to Scripture over the last nearly 200 years has been so serious that it cannot be underestimated. It is no longer seen as The Word of God, but as an historical document. What has been jettisoned, especially with the opening chapters of Genesis has been the literal meaning of the text. This secret weapon of the Devil has wreaked the most horrifying spiritual carnage in the Catholic Church.

    The Bible is no longer seen as something living, the very words of God to Man, but as something to be studied. The Western World has become an observer of God, a commentator on him. It is Man who has become a sophisticated, an almost sneering analyst of the Divine.

    For some time now, The Catholic Church has been firstly taken in by pseudoscience, modern psychology, and modern Democracy. As Democracy originated in a slave society, namely Athenian Society, it is highly questionable whether it is the preferred form of government. The Church seems to be cowed by so much of Western Culture, or is she simply mesmerized by it? Precisely because there is now an uncertainty with regard to the literal meaning of Scripture and a ridiculous reverence for modern scripture scholarship by so many in the Church, including Popes; the Church has lost her compass. The great bark of Peter is heading towards the reefs of modern thought, which are no more than passing fashions but, if believed, are deadly to the souls of millions.

    Just when the Church needs a Leo the Great, a Gregory the Great, a Hilderband or an Innocent III at the helm, she finds herself guided by an uncertain pilot. Pope Francis, who on one level, is forceful and decisive, on another is not. That the Holy Father had forgotten footnote 351, is truly extraordinary, and makes him sound like so many politicians trying to get out of a tight squeeze. I think that we should look at the quotes relating to what might become one of the most famous footnotes in history:

    Frank Rocca (Wall Street Journal): Thanks, Holy Father. I see that the questions on immigration that I had thought to ask you have been asked and answered by you very well. If you permit me, I’d like to ask you another question about an event of recent days, which was your apostolic exhortation. As you well know, there has been much discussion about on one of the many, I know that we’ve focused on this a lot…there has been much discussion after the publication. Some sustain that nothing has changed with respect to the discipline that regulates access to the sacraments for the divorced and remarried, that the Law, the pastoral praxis and obviously the doctrine remain the same. Others sustain that much has changed and that there are new openings and possibilities. For a Catholic who wants to know: are there new, concrete possibilities that didn’t exist before the publication of the exhortation or not?

    "Pope Francis: I can say yes, period. But it would be an answer that is too small. I recommend that you read the presentation of Cardinal Schonborn, who is a great theologian. He was the secretary for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, and he knows the doctrine of the faith well. In that presentation, your question will find an answer.

    Jean-Marie Guenois (Le Figaro): I had the same question, but it’s a complementary question because you wrote this famous ‘Amoris Laetitia’ on the problems of the divorced and remarried (footnote 351). Why put something so important in a little note? Did you foresee the opposition or did you mean to say that this point isn’t that important?

    Pope Francis: One of the recent popes, speaking of the Council, said that there were two councils: the Second Vatican Council in the Basilica of St. Peter, and the other, the council of the media. When I convoked the first synod, the great concern of the majority of the media was communion for the divorced and remarried, and, since I am not a saint, this bothered me, and then made me sad. Because, thinking of those media who said, this, this and that, do you not realize that that is not the important problem? Don’t you realize that instead the family throughout the world is in crisis? Don’t we realize that the falling birth rate in Europe is enough to make one cry? And the family is the basis of society. Do you not realize that the youth don’t want to marry? Don’t you realize that the fall of the birth rate in Europe is to cry about? Don’t you realize that the lack of work or the little work (available) means that a mother has to get two jobs and the children grow up alone? These are the big problems. I don’t remember the footnote, but for sure if it’s something general in a footnote it’s because I spoke about it, I think, in ‘Evangelii Gaudium.’

    Thanks a lot, I feel calm with you. Now, they will give you something to eat!"

    I leave you dear reader not only to reflect on this startling part of the Pope’s interview from the Island of Lesbos, the irony of which seems lost on most people and turn to that great bishop, Athanasius, who like his namesake speaks truth in the following critique, which comes to us via Voice of the Family, which did such sterling work at the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

    Official English translation of Bishop Schneider’s reflection on Amoris Laetitia

    Amoris Laetitia , Athanasius Schneider , Catholic , Pope Francis

    Voice of the Family, with the kind permission of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider, is delighted to share with our readers his approved translation of his reflection on Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

    “Amoris laetitia”: a need for clarification in order to avoid a general confusion

    The paradox of the contradictory interpretations of “Amoris laetitia”

    The recently published Apostolic Exhortation “Amoris laetitia” (AL), which contains a plethora of spiritual and pastoral riches with regard to life within marriage and the Christian family in our times, has unfortunately, within a very short time, led to very contradictory interpretations even among the episcopate.

    There are bishops and priests who publicly and openly declare that AL represents a very clear opening-up to communion for the divorced and remarried, without requiring them to practice continence. In their opinion, it is this aspect of sacramental practice, which, according to them, is now to undergo a significant change that gives AL its truly revolutionary character. Interpreting AL with reference to irregular couples, a president of a Bishops’ Conference has stated, in a text published on the website of the same Bishops’ Conference: “This is a disposition of mercy, an openness of heart and of spirit that needs no law, awaits no guideline, nor bides on prompting. It can and should happen immediately”.

    This opinion was further confirmed by the recent declarations of Father Antonio Spadaro S.J., after the Synod of Bishops in 2015, that the Synod had established the “foundations” for the access of divorced and remarried couples to communion by “opening a door” that had still been closed during the previous Synod in 2014. Now, as Father Spadaro alleges in his commentary on AL, his prediction has been confirmed. There are rumours that Father Spadaro was a member of the editorial group behind AL.

    The way to abusive interpretations appears to have been paved by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn himself, who said, during the official presentation of AL in Rome, with regard to irregular unions, that: “My great joy as a result of this document resides in the fact that it coherently overcomes that artificial, superficial, clear division between ‘regular’ and ‘irregular'”. Such a statement suggests that there is no clear difference between a valid, sacramental marriage and an irregular union, between venial and mortal sin.

    On the other hand, there are bishops who claim that AL ought to be read in the light of the perennial magisterium of the Church and that AL does not permit access to communion for divorced and remarried couples, not even in exceptional cases. This statement is fundamentally correct and desirable. In fact, the content of every Magisterial text must, as a rule, be in its content consistent with the former teachings of the Magisterium of the Church, without any break.

    It is no secret, however, that divorced and remarried couples are admitted to Holy Communion in a number of churches, without their being required to practice continence. It must be admitted that certain statements in AL could be used to justify an abusive practice that has already been going on for some time in various places and circumstances in the life of the Church.

    Certain statements of AL are objectively vulnerable to misinterpretations

    Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has invited us all to make a contribution to reflection and dialogue on the sensitive issues surrounding marriage and the family. “The thinking of pastors and theologians, if faithful to the Church, honest, realistic and creative, will help us to achieve greater clarity” (AL, 2).

    If we analyze certain statements of AL with intellectual honesty within their proper context, we find ourselves faced with difficulties when trying to interpret them in accordance with the traditional doctrine of the Church. This is due to the absence of the concrete and explicit affirmation of the doctrine and constant practice of the Church, founded on the Word of God and reiterated by Pope John Paul II, who said, “However the Church reaffirms her practice, which is based upon Sacred Scripture, of not admitting to Eucharistic Communion divorced persons who have remarried. They are unable to be admitted thereto from the fact that their state and condition of life objectively contradict that union of love between Christ and the Church which is signified and effected by the Eucharist. Besides this, there is another special pastoral reason: if these people were admitted to the Eucharist, the faithful would be led into error and confusion regarding the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage. Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who … are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that … they take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (Familiaris Consortio, 84).

    Pope Francis had not established “a new general norm of Canon Law, applicable to all cases” (AL n. 300). He says, however, in note 336: “This is also the case with regard to sacramental discipline, since discernment can recognize that in a particular situation no grave fault exists”. Obviously referring to the divorced and remarried, the Pope says in AL, no. 305 that, “because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” In note 351, the Pope clarifies his statement by saying that “in some cases, this may include the help of the sacraments”.

    In the same chapter VIII of AL, n. 298, the Pope speaks of the divorced involved in “a second union consolidated over time, with new children, proven fidelity, generous self giving, Christian commitment, a consciousness of its irregularity and of the great difficulty of going back without feeling in conscience that one would fall into new sins. The Church acknowledges situations “where, for serious reasons, such as the children’s upbringing, a man and woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate””. In note 329, the Pope cites the document Gaudium et Spes of the Second Vatican Council; unfortunately, he does so in an incorrect fashion, because in the passage in question, the council refers only to valid Christian marriage. The application of this statement to divorced persons may cause the impression that a valid marriage is to be equated to the union of divorced persons, if not in theory, then in practice.

    The admission of divorced and remarried persons to Holy Communion and its consequences

    Unfortunately, AL contains no verbal quotes of the principles underlying the moral teaching of the Church in the form in which they are formulated in no. 84 of the Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio and in the encyclical Veritatis Splendor of Pope John Paul II, particularly on the following topics of paramount importance: “fundamental choice” (Veritatis splendor, nos. 67-68), “mortal and venial sin” (ibid., n. 69-70), “proportionalism, consequentialism” (ibid., no. 75), “martyrdom and universal and unchanging moral norms” (ibid., no. 91 et seq.). However, a verbal quote from Familiaris Consortio n. 84 and of some of the most significant affirmations in Veritatis splendor would render AL unassailable by heterodox interpretations. General allusions to moral principles and to the doctrine of the Church are certainly insufficient in a controversial matter that is both sensitive and of fundamental importance.

    Representatives of the clergy and even of the Episcopate are already affirming that according to the spirit of Chapter VIII of AL, the possibility that in exceptional cases, the divorced and remarried may be admitted to Holy Communion without being required to live in perfect continence cannot be excluded.

    If we accept such an interpretation of the wording and spirit of AL, we must, if we want to be intellectually honest and respect the law of non-contradiction, also accept the following logical conclusions:

    • The sixth Divine Commandment, which prohibits any sexual act that does not take place within a valid marriage, would no longer be universally valid, but would admit exceptions. In the present case, this would mean that the divorced could practice the conjugal act and even be encouraged to do so to help them maintain “mutual fidelity”, cf. AL, 298. There could therefore be “fidelity” in a lifestyle that directly contradicts the express will of God. However, to encourage and legitimize acts that are and will always be, as such, contrary to the will of God, would mean to contradict Divine Revelation.

    • The words of Christ himself: “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) would no longer apply always and to all spouses, without exception.

    • It would be possible, in a special case, to receive the sacrament of Penance and Holy Communion while intending to continue one’s direct violations of God’s commandments: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” (Ex 20, 14) and “What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mt 19, 6; Gen 2, 24).

    • The observance of these commandments and of the word of God would, in such a case, be a matter of theory rather than of practice, and would, therefore, lead the divorced and remarried into “deceiving themselves” (James 1:22). It would, therefore, be possible to believe perfectly in the divine nature of the sixth Commandment and in the indissolubility of marriage without however acting accordingly.

    • The divine word of Christ: “Anyone who divorces his wife and marries another woman commits adultery against her; and if a wife divorces her husband and marries another man, she commits adultery” (Mark 10, 12) would no longer be universally valid, but would be subject to exceptions.

    • A permanent, deliberate and free violation of God’s sixth Commandment and of the sacredness and indissolubility of true and valid marriage (in the case of divorced and remarried couples) would no longer be always a grave sin, that is to say, a direct opposition to the will of God.

    • There could be cases of serious, permanent deliberate and free violation of one of the other commandments of God (e.g. in the case of a lifestyle of financial corruption) in which the person concerned could be granted access to the sacraments due to mitigating circumstances, without such access being made contingent upon a sincere resolution henceforth to abstain from such acts of sin and scandal.

    • The permanent and infallible teaching of the Church would no longer be universally valid, particularly the teaching confirmed by Pope John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio, n. 84 and by Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, 29, according to which the precondition for admission to the sacraments of the divorced and remarried is perfect continence.

    • The observance of the sixth Commandment of God and of the indissolubility of marriage would become an ideal that is not attainable by all, but only by a kind of elite.

    • The uncompromising words of Christ commanding men to observe the commandments of God always and in all circumstances, and even to take upon themselves considerable suffering in order to do so, in other words, to accept the Cross, would no longer be valid as absolute truth: “And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. For it is better that youlose one of your members than that your whole body be cast into hell” (Mt 5, 30).

    Admitting couples living in “irregular unions” to Holy Communion and allowing them to practice acts that are reserved for spouses in a valid marriage would be tantamount to the usurpation of a power that does not belong to any human authority, because to do so would be a pretension to correct the Word of God himself.

    The danger of the Church’s collaboration in spreading the “plague of divorce”

    Professing the eternal doctrine of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Church teaches: “The Church, since she is faithful to her Lord, cannot recognize the union of people who are civilly divorced and remarried. “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” (Mark 10:11-12). The Church manifests an attentive solicitude toward such people and encourages them to a life of faith, prayer, works of charity and the Christian education of their children. However, they cannot receive sacramental absolution, take Holy Communion, or exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities as long as their situation, which objectively contravenes God’s law, persists” (Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, 349)

    Living in an invalid marital union and constantly contradicting the commandment of God and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage signifies not to live in the truth. To declare that the deliberate, free and habitual practice of sexual acts in an invalid marital union could, in individual cases, no longer constitute a grave sin is not the truth, but a serious lie, and will therefore never bring genuine joy in love. Consequently, to grant permission to such persons to receive Holy Communion would be a bluffing, a hypocrisy and a lie. The Word of God in Scripture is still valid: “He who says ‘I know him’, but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him”(1 John 2: 4).

    The Magisterium of the Church teaches us about the universal validity of the Ten Commandments: “Since they express man’s fundamental duties towards God and towards his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2072). Those who claimed that God’s commandments, including the commandment “Thou shalt not commit adultery” admit of exceptions and that, in some cases, people should not be held accountable for the fault of divorce were the Pharisees and, later, the Christian Gnostics of the second and third centuries.

    The following statements of the Magisterium are still valid because they are part of the infallible Magisterium as expressed by the universal and ordinary Magisterium: “The negative precepts of the natural law are universally valid. They oblige each and every individual, always and in every circumstance. It is a matter of prohibitions which forbid a given action semper et pro semper, without exception. … are kinds of behaviour which can never, in any situation, be a proper response. … The Church has always taught that one may never choose kinds of behaviour prohibited by the moral commandments expressed in negative form in the Old and New Testaments. As we have seen, Jesus himself reaffirms that these prohibitions allow no exceptions: “If you wish to enter into life, keep the commandments… You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness” (Mt 19:17-18)” (St. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, 52).

    The Magisterium of the Church teaches us even more clearly: “A good and pure conscience is enlightened by true faith, for charity proceeds at the same time “from a pure heart and a good conscience and sincere faith” (1 Tim 1: 5; cf. 3: 9; 2 Timothy 1: 3; 1 Peter 3 21; Acts 24, 16)” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1794).

    In the event of a person committing objectively sinful moral acts in full awareness of the sinfulness of such acts, freely and deliberately, and with the intention of repeating such acts in the future, it is impossible to apply the principle of imputability for a fault because of mitigating circumstances. The application of the principle of imputability to such divorced and remarried couples would constitute hypocrisy and a Gnostic sophism. If the Church were to admit such people to Holy Communion even in a single case, it would contradict its own doctrine, give public testimony against the indissolubility of marriage and thus contribute to the spreading of the “plague of divorce” (II Vatican Council, Gaudium et spes, 47).

    In order to avoid such an intolerable and scandalous contradiction, the Church, in its infallible interpretation of the divine truth of moral law and of the indissolubility of marriage, has, for two thousand years, steadfastly observed the practice of admitting to Holy Communion only those divorced who live in perfect continence and “remoto scandalo”, without any exception or exceptional privilege.

    The first pastoral task that the Lord entrusted to His Church was to teaching, the doctrine (cf. Mt 28, 20). The observance of the commandments of God is intrinsically linked to doctrine. For this reason the Church has always rejected any contradiction between doctrine and practical life, referring to such contradictions as “gnostic” or as the heretical Lutheran theory of “simul iustus and peccator”. There should be no contradictions between the faith and the daily life of the children of the Church.

    When dealing with the observance of the express commands of God and the indissolubility of marriage, we cannot speak of opposing theological interpretations. If God says, “thou shalt not commit adultery”, no human authority could say “in some exceptional cases or for a good purpose you can commit adultery”.

    The following assertions of Pope Francis are very important; the Pope speaks about the integration of the divorced and remarried in the life of the Church: “This discernment can never prescind from the Gospel demands of truth and charity, as proposed by the Church. … The following conditions must necessarily be present: humility, discretion and love for the Church and her teaching. … There can be no risk that a specific discernment may lead people to think that the Church maintains a double standard” (AL, 300). These laudable statements in AL, however, remain without concrete specifications on the question of the obligation of the divorced and remarried to separate or at least to live in perfect continence.

    When it is a question of the life or death of the body, no physician would express his opinions in an ambiguous manner. The doctor cannot tell the patient: “You have to decide whether or not to take the medicine in accordance with your conscience, while at the same time respecting the laws of medicine”. Such behaviour on the part of a doctor would very likely be considered irresponsible. And yet, the life of our immortal soul is more important, since it is on the health of the soul that its fate for eternity depends.

    The liberating truth of penance and of the mystery of the Cross

    To say that remarried divorcees are not public sinners in the Church is a pretence of wrong facts. The true condition of all members of the Church militant on earth, moreover, is that of sinners. If the divorced and remarried say that their voluntary and deliberate acts against the sixth commandment of God are not always sinful or, at least, do not constitute major sins, they are deceiving themselves and the truth will not be in them, as St. John says: “If we say,’We have no sin,’ we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say, ‘We have not sinned,’ we make him a liar, and his word is not in us”(1 John 1: 8-10).

    The acceptance on the part of the divorced and remarried of the truth that they are sinners and even public sinners will not deprive them of their Christian hope. Only the acceptance of reality and truth will enable them to take the path of a fruitful penitence according to the words of Jesus Christ.

    It would be very beneficial to restore the spirit of the early Christians and of the time of the Fathers of the Church, when there was a living solidarity with public sinners on the part of the faithful; however, this solidarity was based on the truth. There was nothing discriminatory in such solidarity; on the contrary, the whole Church participated in the penitential progress of public sinners by prayers of intercession, tears, acts of expiation and acts of charity for their benefit.

    The Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio teaches that “even those who have strayed from the Lord’s command and are still living in this state (divorced and remarried) may obtain from God the grace of conversion and salvation, if they persevere in prayer, penance and charity “(n. 84).

    During the first centuries, public sinners were integrated into the praying community of the faithful and were instructed to kneel, with arms raised, to implore the intercession of their brothers. Tertullian gives us this moving testimony: “The body cannot rejoice when one of its members is suffering. It must suffer and strive for recovery in its entirety. When you stretch out your hands towards the knees of your brothers, it is Christ that you touch, it is Christ that you implore. Similarly, when they weep over you, it is Christ who sympathizes” (De paenitentia, 10, 5-6). St. Ambrose of Milan found similar words: “The whole church took upon herself the burden of the public sinner, suffering with him through tears, prayers and pain” (De paenitentia 1, 81).

    It is true, of course, that the forms of the penitential discipline of the Church have changed. However, the spirit of this discipline must remain alive in the Church at all times. Today, priests and bishops relying on certain statements of AL are beginning to imply to the divorced and remarried that their condition does not render them public sinners from an objective point of view. They tranquillize them by stating that their sexual relations are not a grave sin. Such an attitude does not correspond to the truth. They are depriving the divorced and remarried of the possibility of a radical conversion to the obedience of God, letting these souls live in an illusion. Such a pastoral approach is very easy, cheap and costs nothing. There are no tears, prayers and intercessory works inspired by brotherly love to be offered for the benefit of the divorced and remarried.

    In admitting the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, even in exceptional cases, without asking them to stop performing acts contrary to the sixth commandment of God, and also presumptuously declaring that their manner of life is not a serious sin, we take the easy way out by pushing aside the scandal of the cross. Such pastoral care of the divorced and remarried is ephemeral and misleading. To all those who advocate this cheap and easy way out for the divorced and remarried, Jesus is still addressing the words, ‘Get thee behind me, Satan! Thou art an offence unto me because your thoughts are not those of God, but of men!’ What Jesus said to his disciples was that “If anyone would be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross and follow me” (Mt 16: 24-25).

    Regarding the pastoral care of divorced and remarried couples, we must rekindle in our day the spirit of following Christ through the truth of the cross and of penance, which alone can bring lasting joy, avoiding ephemeral pleasures that are ultimately misleading. The following words of Pope Gregory the Great are not only truly applicable to our current situation, but also shine a bright light on it: “We must not become too attached to our earthly exile, the conveniences of this life must not make us forget our true homeland lest our spirit become drowsy in the midst of these amenities. For this reason, God combines his gifts with visitations or punishments, to ensure that everything that delights us in this world becomes bitter for us and the soul is filled with the fire that always rekindles in us the desire of heavenly things and enables us to progress. This fire makes us suffer with pleasure, crucifies us gently and fills us with a joyful sadness” (In Hez., 2, 4, 3).

    The spirit of the genuine penitential discipline of the early Church always remained alive in the Church at all times, until today. We have a shining example of it in the Blessed Laura Vicuna del Carmen, born in 1891 in Chile. Sister Azocar, who took care of Laura, recalled: “I remember that the first time I explained the sacrament of marriage, Laura fainted, probably because she understood from my words that her mother was living in mortal sin as long as she remained with that gentleman. During that time in Junín, only one family lived in accordance with God’s will.” Therefore, Laura multiplied her prayers and penances for her mother. She received her first communion on June 2, 1901 with great fervour; she wrote the following resolutions: “1. I want to love and serve you all my life, oh my Jesus; for this, I offer you my soul, my heart and my whole being. – 2. I prefer to die rather than offend you by sin; so I want to distance myself from anything that could separate me from you. – 3. I promise to do my best, even if I have to offer great sacrifices, that you may be ever more known and loved, and to repair the offences inflicted upon you daily by men who do not love you, especially the ones you receive from those who are close to me. – Oh, my God, grant me a life of love, mortification and sacrifice!” But her great joy was clouded by seeing her mother, present at the ceremony, not receiving communion. In 1902, Laura offered her life for her mother who was living with a man in an irregular union in Argentina. Laura multiplied her prayers and sacrifices for the true conversion of her mother. A few hours before she died, she called her mother to her bedside and said to her, “Mother, I am going to die. I have asked Jesus for this and my prayers have been heard. Almost two years ago, I offered my life for the grace of your conversion. Mother, will I not have the joy of seeing you repent before I die?” Her mother, shocked and overwhelmed, made the promise: “Tomorrow morning I will go to the church and I will go to confession.” Laura caught the eye of the priest attending her and said: “Father, my mother has just promised to abandon this man; bear witness to her promise!” Then she added: “Now I can die happy!” With these words, she expired on 22 January 1904 in Junin de los Andes (Argentina), at the age of 13, in the arms of her mother, who rediscovered her faith and put an end to the irregular union in which she had been living.

    The admirable example of the life of the young girl now known as Blessed Laura is a demonstration of the seriousness with which a true Catholic treats the sixth commandment of God and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage. Our Lord Jesus Christ commanded us to avoid even the appearance of approving an irregular or adulterous union. The Church has always faithfully preserved and transmitted this divine command in its doctrine and practice, without any ambiguity. With the offering of her young life, Blessed Laura certainly did not intend to represent one of several possible different doctrinal or pastoral interpretations. One does not offer one’s life for a possible doctrinal or pastoral interpretation, but for an immutable and universally valid Divine truth. This truth has been demonstrated by a large number of saints who offered their lives, beginning with Saint John the Baptist to the simple faithful today whose name only God knows.

    The need for “Veritatis laetitia”

    Fortunately, there can be no doubt that AL contains theological affirmations, as well as spiritual and pastoral guidelines of great value. However, realistically speaking, it is insufficient to say that AL should be interpreted according to the traditional doctrine and practice of the Church. If an ecclesiastical document – which, in our case, is neither definitive nor infallible – is found to contain elements likely to give rise to interpretations and applications that could have dangerous spiritual consequences, all members of the Church, and especially the bishops, as the fraternal collaborators of the Supreme Pontiff in effective collegiality, have a duty to report this and respectfully request an authentic interpretation.

    In questions concerning Divine Faith, the Divine commandments and the sacredness and indissolubility of marriage, all members of the Church, from the simple faithful to the highest representative of the Magisterium, must join in the effort to keep intact the treasure of faith and practice. In fact, it was the Second Vatican Council that taught: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One (cf. 1 Jn 2: 20.27), cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples’ supernatural discernment in matters of faith when “from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful” (St. Augustine, De Praed. Sanct. 14 27), they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth. It is exercised under the guidance of the sacred teaching authority, in faithful and respectful obedience to which the people of God accepts that which is not just the word of men but truly the word of God (cf. 1 Thess 2: 13). Through it, the people of God adheres unwaveringly to the faith given once and for all to the saints (cf. Jude 3) penetrates it more deeply with right thinking, and applies it more fully in its life” (Lumen gentium, 12). The Magisterium, for its part, is “not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been transmitted” (II Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, 10).

    It was the Second Vatican Council that encouraged all the faithful and especially the bishops to express their concerns and observations without fear, for the good of the Church as a whole. Servility and political correctness have introduced a pernicious evil into the life of the Church. The famous bishop and theologian of the Council of Trent, Melchior Cano O.P., said these memorable words: “Peter does not need our lies or flattery. Those who close their eyes to the facts and indiscriminately defend every decision of the Supreme Pontiff are those who contribute most to undermining the authority of the Holy See. They destroy its foundations instead of strengthening them.”

    Our Lord has taught us clearly what constitutes true love and the true joy of love: “He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me” (John 14, 21). When he gave man the sixth commandment and ordered him to observe the indissolubility of marriage, God gave it to all men without exception, not just to an elite. Already in the Old Testament, God said: “This commandment which I have given you today is certainly not beyond your strength and reach” (Deuteronomy 30, 11) and “If you want to, you shall keep the commandments to remain faithful to his will” (Ecclesiasticus 15, 15). And Jesus said to all, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.” Which commandments? And Jesus answered, thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not commit adultery” (Mt 19: 17-18). From the teaching of the apostles, we have received the same doctrine: “For to love God is to keep His commandments. And His commandments do not weigh heavily upon us” (1 John 5: 4).

    There is no true, supernatural and eternal life without keeping the commandments of God: “I command you to observe his commandments. I have set before you life and death. Choose life!” (Deuteronomy 30, 16.19). There is therefore no real life and no real, genuine joy of love without truth. “Love consists in living according to his commandments” (2 John 6). The joy of love is the joy of the truth. The authentically Christian life consists in the life and in the joy of truth: “Learning that my children live in the truth, there is nothing that brings me greater joy” (3 John 4).

    St. Augustine explains the intimate connection between joy and truth: “I ask them all whether they do not prefer the joy of truth to that obtained by lies. And they do not hesitate over this question any more than over the question of happiness. For the happy life is the joy of the truth, we all want the joy of the truth” (Confessions, X, 23).

    The danger of general confusion with regard to the indissolubility of marriage

    For some time already, we have seen, in some places and environments of the life of the Church, the tacit abuse of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion without requiring them to live in perfect continence. The unclear statements in Chapter VIII of AL have given a new dynamism to the declared advocates of the admission of divorced and remarried couples to Holy Communion in special cases.

    We now observe the phenomenon of the abuse beginning to spread even more in practice, since those in favour of it are now feeling justified to some extent. There is also obviously some confusion with respect to the interpretation of the relevant assertions in Chapter VIII of the AL. This confusion is increased by the fact that everyone, both supporters of the admission of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion and their opponents, are saying that “The doctrine of the Church concerning this issue has not changed”.

    Taking due account of historical and doctrinal differences, our situation shows some parallels and analogies with the general confusion caused by the Arian crisis in the 4th century. At that time, the apostolic and traditional faith in the true divinity of the Son of God was secured by means of the term “consubstantial” (“homoousios”), dogmatically proclaimed by the universal Magisterium of the Council of Nicaea I. The profound crisis of faith, accompanied by an almost universal confusion, was caused mainly by the refusal or avoidance strategies to use and profess the word “consubstantial” (“homoousios”). Instead, the clergy and mainly the episcopate began to propose alternative expressions that were ambiguous and imprecise, such as, for instance, “similar in substance” (“homoiousios”) or simply “similar” (“homoios”). The formula “homoousios” adopted by the universal Magisterium of that time expressed the full and true divinity of the WORD with so much precision that it left no space for equivocal interpretation.

    In the years 357-360, almost the entire episcopate had become Arian or Semi-Arian as a result of the following events: in 357, Pope Liberius signed one of the ambiguous formulations of Sirmium, in which the term “homoousios” was eliminated. Furthermore, the pope, in a scandalous move, excommunicated St. Athanasius. St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only bishop who dared to rebuke Pope Liberius severely for these ambiguous acts. In 359, the parallel synods of the Western episcopate in Rimini and that of the Eastern episcopate in Seuleukia had accepted fully Arian formulas that were even worse than the ambiguous formula signed by Pope Liberius. Describing the confusion of those times, St. Jerome said: “Everyone was surprised to realize that they had become Arians” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et arianum se esse miratus est”: Adv Lucif, 19).

    Arguably, in our time, confusion is already spreading with regard to the sacramental discipline for divorced and remarried couples. There is therefore a very real basis for the assumption that the confusion may reach truly vast proportions, if one fail to propose and proclaim the following formula of the universal and infallible Magisterium: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples” (S. John Paul II, Familiaris Consortio, 84). This formula is unfortunately and incomprehensibly missing in AL. However, the apostolic exhortation inexplicably contains the following statement: “In such situations, many people, knowing and accepting the possibility of living “as brothers and sisters” which the Church offers them, point out that if certain expressions of intimacy are lacking, it often happens that faithfulness is endangered and the good of the children suffers” (AL, 298, n. 329). Such a statement leaves the impression of a contradiction with regard to the perennial teaching of the universal Magisterium, as formulated in the cited passage from Familiaris Consortio 84.

    There is an urgent necessity for the Holy See to confirm and re-proclaim the cited formula of Familiaris Consortio 84, perhaps in the form of an authentic interpretation of AL. This formula may be seen, to some extent, the “homoousios” of our days. The lack of such a formal and explicit confirmation of the formula of Familiaris Consortio 84 from the Apostolic See could contribute to major confusion with regard to sacramental discipline, with the subsequent gradual and inevitable repercussions on doctrinal questions. This would lead to a situation to which it would be possible, in the future, to apply the following statement: “Everyone was surprised to find that divorce had been accepted in practice” (“Ingemuit totus orbis, et divortium in praxi se accepisse miratus est”).

    Confusion in sacramental discipline with regard to divorced and remarried couples, with its inevitable doctrinal implications, would contradict the nature of the Catholic Church, such as it was described by St. Irenaeus in the second century: “The Church, having received this preaching and this faith, although scattered around the world, keeps them carefully as though inhabiting a single house, and she believes in an identical manner, as though she had only one soul and one heart, and she preaches, teaches and transmits in a unanimous voice, as though having only one mouth” (Adversus haereses, I, 10, 2).

    The See of Peter, that is, the sovereign Pontiff, is the guarantor of the unity of the faith and of apostolic sacramental discipline. Considering the confusion regarding sacramental practice in respect of the divorced and remarried, and the many differing interpretations of AL amongst priests and bishops, one may consider justified the call on our beloved Pope Francis, the Vicar of Christ, the “sweet Christ on earth” (St. Catherine of Siena), to order the publication of an authentic interpretation of AL, which must necessarily contain the explicit proclamation of the disciplinary principle of the universal and infallible Magisterium concerning the admission of divorced and remarried couples to the sacraments, according to the formulation in Familiaris Consortio 84.

    In the great Arian confusion of the 4th century, St. Basil the Great made an urgent appeal to the pope of Rome, asking him to give though his word a clear direction, so as finally to ensure unity in the thought of faith and charity (cf.. Ep. 70).

    An authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See would bring to the entire Church (“claritatis laetitia”) the joy in clarity. Such clarity will ensure the joy in love (“amoris laetitia”), a love and a joy that would not be “according to the minds of men, but to the mind of God” (Mt 16, 23). And this is what counts for the joy, the life and the eternal salvation of the divorced and remarried, and of all men.

    + Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan

    ________________________________________

    Read more...

You are viewing the text version of this site.

To view the full version please install the Adobe Flash Player and ensure your web browser has JavaScript enabled.

Need help? check the requirements page.


Get Flash Player