Where is the Church? | 1P5

This is simply a reprint of what was posted today at One Peter Five. I thought it worth reading for Catholics especially but also for all Christians who are experiencing similar problems. In fact, I recently read that the largest growing religion in the US today in a recent Pew Poll is Wicca. Now that says something doesn’t it? Thank Steve Skojec for allowing us to reprint his post here by visiting his wonderful site. __ Scoop

Steve Skojec July 12, 2018

Yesterday, I asked a question on my Facebook page that has been on my mind:

Does the proposition, “The Catholic Church as we know it no longer exists” seem like an overreach? I think we’ve reached a point where we have to re-define our terms.

Dozens of comments later, I can’t say that I have an answer I’m satisfied with.

As I explained in a followup to my post, the reason I’m asking is because of the dawning realization I’ve been coming to that reporting on this or that scandal in the Church is not simply a case of exposing corruption or documenting outliers but merely observing the day-to-day status quo.

Only holiness and positive developments are outliers now. Bad stories are the norm; good stories are much harder to find.

The actual Catholic Church — the one that leads people to eternal salvation and nourished countless saints — is in what appears to be a devastating retreat. Go the average traditional chapel and — if they’re an Ecclesia Dei community, at least — you’ll often hear that they just can’t pay attention to what’s going on in Rome. It’s counterproductive, they’ll tell you. And that’s probably true. But the bunker mentality leads, in a way, to isolation and atomization.

Meanwhile, reports filter in about orthodox Bishops and Cardinals who have been forbidden to speak in various dioceses or who think that what is happening in Rome has become severe to the point of apostasy. Yet these same men will not allow any of these reports to be put on the record, such is the obsequiousness cultivated toward the papacy.

And through it all, the laity are left perusing the headlines, trying to find the proper mental gymnastics to explain things away. Each day’s news is like a renewed assault on the Catholic sensibility. I’ll give you a taste of what I have open in my internet browser at the moment.

From Phil Lawler, quoting the pseudonymous priest “Diogenes” circa 2005:

The Washington Times reports that “the U.S. Catholic bishops will sidestep the issue of whether gay men should become priests at their semiannual meeting,” which began today at the Chicago Fairmont.

And why, boys and girls, was it a foregone conclusion that the bishops would “sidestep” the issue? Because the question of whether gays should be ordained cannot be addressed without first addressing a considerably more explosive question: the number of bishop-disputants who are themselves gay and have a profound personal interest that there be no public examination of the connections between their sexual appetites, their convictions, and their conduct of office.

Thirteen years later, as the fallout from the McCarrick scandal continues to unfold, we’re left to wonder why nothing has changed.

From Rod Dreher, at The American Conservative:

One former priest who left the priesthood in disgust over the constant gay sex among other priests, and the adamant refusal of his bishop — who is today a cardinal — to do anything about it, wrote me, using his name, and providing details. He says this cardinal was part of a gay clique before he became a bishop, and therefore had no reason to act on the information he (this priest) and others provided him — including information about a gay priest whose sexual crimes landed him behind bars. I’m going to ask that former priest if he’s willing to go public, and name names. I’ve heard rumors about this cardinal, but never details like this. He needs to have a #MeToo moment.

From Julia Meloni, at LifeSiteNews:

October’s youth synod is about finishing the old business of the St. Gallen mafia. It will mark four years since Archbishop Bruno Forte crafted a manipulated synodal report on the “precious support” found in same-sex relationships – released the very day that two Italian political parties backed homosexual unions.

Pope Francis approved the text before it was published, and his homily that day excoriated” doctors of the law” – an “evil generation” – for resisting the “God of surprises.” Archbishop Forte, meanwhile, declared to the media that “describ[ing] the rights of people living in same-sex unions” is a matter of “being civilized.”

From Diane Montagna, at LifeSiteNews:

The demographic collapse of the West in recent decades was planned in order to create the necessary conditions to usher in a New World Order, and the authors of this collapse are now influencing the Vatican at the highest levels, the former president of the Vatican bank has said.

Speaking at the first international conference of the John Paul II academy for human life and the family, Italian economist and banker Ettore Gotti Tedeschi said efforts to decrease the world’s population by globalist elites have set in motion a series of predictable and intended economic, geo-political, and social catastrophes meant to “persuade” people around the world to accept a global “political vision” that would eliminate national sovereignty and institute “gnostic environmentalism” as its “universal religion.”

[…]

According to Gotti Tedeschi, the “greatest enemy” of the New World Order is the family because it provides “education, autonomy and independence” from the state. Its second enemy is the Catholic Church, he said, and yet these gnostic prophets are “rewriting genesis in the halls of the Vatican.”

From Dorothy Cummings McLean, at LifeSiteNews:

The Vatican has dropped a criminal investigation against Libero Milone, a Catholic layman they hired to audit their finances. This despite the fact that in September the Vatican chief of police, Domenico Giani, told Reuters that there was “overwhelming evidence” against the former Auditor General.

Now, however, Edward Pentin of the National Catholic Register has reported that “the separate inquiry conducted by the Vatican promoter of justice with Milone’s lawyers came to the conclusion that no evidence existed to support the accusations that had been lodged against him.”

Pentin also cited an unnamed source who had told the Register on July 5 that Milone had “apparent apparently stumbled upon certain and clear abuses of funds, and they could no longer wait to remove him.”

How about this, from Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, also at LifeSiteNews?

A group of Catholic clergy and theologians, including two bishops, have signed an ecumenical declaration with Anglican clergy published on the Vatican website that affirms the possibility that the Catholic Church might create a “female diaconate” in the future, which would imply a contradiction of Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Church’s 2000-year tradition.

Or this, from Andrea Tornielli at Vatican Insider, confirming (in my mind anyway) a report we made last year about the re-visitation of Humanae Vitae in the hopes of finding loopholes:

Paul VI, in October 1967, during the first Synod of Bishops held in the Vatican, had the Cardinal Secretary of State ask for an opinion on contraception in view of the publication of the encyclical. Only 26 of the 200 bishops present produced a written response. Of these, most said they were in favor of some opening to the pill, while 7 were against. But Pope Montini, who had already removed the subject from the Council discussion and had listened to the opinions of a commission of experts (the majority of whom were in favor), did not believe that there was any reason to change the position held up to that moment by his predecessors and promulgated a few months after his Humanae vitae, which came out in July – fifty years ago – lacking however the chrism of infallibility, as some would have liked.

This is one of the new elements that emerges from the research of Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, author of the book “La nascita di un’enciclica. Humanae vitae alla luce degli Archivi Vaticaniˮ (Birth of an encyclical. Humanae vitae in the light of the Vatican Archives) published by Libreria Editrice Vaticana; a search in the light of never consulted before documents, which allowed to reconstruct the genesis of the encyclical, its various drafts, the corrections made by Paul VI.

[…]

The news of the Pope’s desire to consult all the members of the synodal assembly is very important – Marengo points out- because one of the most repeated accusations, after the publication of Humanae vitae, was that the Pope had decided in solitude, in a non- collegial way”.

Perhaps most striking, among the assortment of stories in front of me, are the words of Michael Brendan Dougherty, who writes in the pages of National Review:

There is an undeniable psychological tension between my religious belief that I cannot have hope for salvation outside the visible, institutional Church and my honest conviction that of all the institutions and societies that intersect with my life, the Church is by far the most corrupt, the most morally lax, the most disillusioning, and the most dangerous for my children. In that tension, personal prayer will dry up like dew at noon. [emphasis added]

This cross-section of ecclesiastical news, and the reaction to it, is far from comprehensive, but it tells us a great deal.

In the Facebook discussion, some mentioned the notion of a faithful “remnant”, as so often comes up in conversations like these. My response was to say: talking in vague terms about a Remnant is fine, but what does that mean? Where is it? How does that play out in the lives and families of those trying to simply stay on the path to salvation? How do we raise kids in this without them becoming bitter or giving up on what seems a quixotic refusal to let go of something dying?

How do we boil down what the Church truly is, in her essence, and separate that from what we get in almost every parish we walk into? Just saying “I’m Catholic” could mean virtually anything in 2018, and that’s a problem for us.

So I ask again: where is the Church? What does it consist of when 95% of parishes and bishops and priests and laity are actually not, in any substantive sense, Catholic?

What does it mean when the handful of orthodox bishops in the Church — those very few who give us hope — would prefer to endure unjust persecution rather than stand their ground and fight on behalf of the faithful?

I think paring down the bloat and getting to the lifeblood of what the Church is, and where we find it, is actually where people are going to find some hope. It may feel like going through the motions for a while. But as Michael Dougherty also writes:

Where do I find hope? I find it in the faces of other young Catholics. The families at my parish who make real sacrifices for the Faith. I find it in the young writers such as Sohrab Ahmari , B. D. McClay, and Matthew Schmitz who still convert and fall in love as I did. … Even if sometimes my personal piety dries into dust and nothingness, the bell rings at Mass, my knee drops to the floor, and if nothing else, this gesture testifies objectively to the reality that Christ is present in the Eucharist, that Christ is Lord. Hopefully for now, that’s all I need to know.

This, as the interminable winter in the Church stretches on, is where I think more of our time could be well spent. Preserving the beloved things. Finding green shoots poking up through the ice. Reminding each other that despite all appearances, hope is not lost.

I plan to dedicate more of my time in the coming months to such pursuits.

I will spend more time with books. I will attempt to find more time for prayer, and in gratitude. I will seek out the true, the good, and the beautiful. I will, I hope, find a way to recharge somewhat, and seek healing for my battle-weary soul.

This means that you may see a bit less of me here for a while, or that my contributions will take different forms, as I seek to prioritize quality over quantity. In the mean time, the work we do here will continue with the help of those capable soldiers ready to carry the standard.

We know that the Church continues, but she is being reduced to a fraction of what she once was. This is a hard truth, but one we must come to terms with. What choice have we but to press on?

Where is the Church? Its treasures are scattered, but they are present in those who hold to and keep the faith. We need to find each other in the darkness, and gather our light.

“Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.” (John 6:69)

 

So it seems that we are not alone. Not by a longshot.

Original Post is here: https://onepeterfive.com/where-is-the-church/

Are We Getting Shorter?

 

We often discuss the downslide of our civilization and our humanity here. I am in awe of the fact that the older generations seemed to be larger than life is today. From the founders of this great nation to the generation that fought for freedom in the First and Second World War, we seem to not be able to fill their shoes. Seems we are becoming little people, with little minds, little courage, little in the way of moral values and,  of course, little feet. 

Of course, we stand on the shoulders of giants so we have that going for us. It makes us feel far bigger and greater than those before us but if the truth be told we have become lesser men over the centuries and few of us can stand up to the preceding generations.

It seems peculiar to me then, that we seem to esteem ourselves and speak of ourselves in superlatives because we have, of course, the use of things like cell phones, computers etc. that were the products of the work done by our forefathers in science.

The same can be said about the loss of stature of great religious leaders and saints like Padre Pio, the evangelist Billy Graham, the contemplatives like St. John of the Cross or Teresa of Avila. And what about great teachers totally dedicated to the faith such as Abp. Fulton Sheen?

Yet, over and over, we seem to want to diminish the worth of those who went before us and to argue with them (conveniently since they can’t respond and show off the ignorance of these new upstarts) and at times even make fun of their antiquated ideas. Nobody seems to imagine that perhaps, just perhaps, they had it right and we are the ones that are foolish enough to want to turn theology and social norms upon their respective heads.

I admit it, folks. My feet (size 11) are too small to fit into my late father’s size 8 loafers. And perhaps I misunderstood what Randy Newman was singing about in his strange hit song, Short People, back in the 70’s. Maybe he was pointing out how diminutive we have become and we seem to be getting shorter and smaller and less rational as the years go by.

The Origin of the debate on Purgatory between Catholics and Orthodox

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I’ve recently enjoyed a few of Craig Truglia’s post on the debate of purgatory between Catholics and Orthodox on his blog Orthodox Christian Theology. One of the issues that bugs me is when someone attempts to tell me what I actually believe in accords with my faith. For example, when an evangelical attempts to tell me that Catholics worship Mary—what dumbfounds me is that people who worship gods don’t deny worshiping those gods!

As I’ve read Craig’s post on purgatory, I’ve felt at times he’s doing something of the nature of telling me what my faith’s beliefs are in regards to purgatory.

Craig writes, “Augustine’s Purgatory is clearly different. The fire, which he speculates and admits is possibly “doubtful,” burns the dross of our passions that was not worn off by our repentance in our worldly lives “in proportion as they have loved with more or less devotion the goods that perish.” Augustine viewed the process as “quick.” As we shall see in Parts II and III, this has much more in common with the modern Orthodox elucidation of what happens after we die than the dominant Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory.”

The strange thing is that my understanding of purgatory is actually very similar to what he presents as Augustine’s viewpoint. Of course, no surprise to the many readers on AATW, I’ve got an Augustinian soft spot, so it’s no surprise I would agree right? However, it doesn’t appear that I’m the only Catholic who has this notion on the topic of purgatory. In 2011, Pope Benedict XVI in a general audience on the topic of purgatory wrote:

“Catherine’s thought on purgatory, for which she is particularly well known, is summed up in the last two parts of the book mentioned above: The Treatise on purgatory and the Dialogues between the body and the soul. It is important to note that Catherine, in her mystical experience, never received specific revelations on purgatory or on the souls being purified there. Yet, in the writings inspired by our Saint, purgatory is a central element and the description of it has characteristics that were original in her time. 

The first original passage concerns the “place” of the purification of souls. In her day it was depicted mainly using images linked to space: a certain space was conceived of in which purgatory was supposed to be located. 

Catherine, however, did not see purgatory as a scene in the bowels of the earth: for her it is not an exterior but rather an interior fire. This is purgatory: an inner fire.”

http://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xvi/en/audiences/2011/documents/hf_ben-xvi_aud_20110112.html

It’s interesting that when I look at more traditional Catholic websites about the above quote, they charge the Pope with a development of modernism, but does the history of purgatory hold out? The earliest known debate on the topic of purgatory between East and West took place in 1230 A.D. between a Franciscan friar and a Greek Bishop Bardanes of Corfer. In the debate it appears that the Greek Bishop misunderstood the Franciscan’s explanation on “the fire” point of purgatory and connected it to an irrational fear of universalism from Origenism, not realizing a proper distinction between the two concepts.

In fact, as evidence to indicate that the above statement by Pope Benedict XVI is not a development, in 1267 Pope Clement IV issued a profession of faith which was adopted in 1274 at Lyons II. The formula, as explained by Fr. Aidan Nichols:

So far as Purgatory is concerned, the ‘Clementine formula’ abstains from any reference to fire, though it does use the term “purgatorial”, in its Greek form. Those who die in charity, truly repentant but without as yet making satisfaction for their sins, whether commission or omission, by worthy fruits of repentance, will, so the formula maintains,  be purged after death, poenis purgatoriis seu cathartiis, “by purifying or cathartic pains.”[1]

It’s interesting to note that at the start of Craig’s initial post of his series, I asked him whether he knew that if Dante’s work influenced the more physical imagery of purgatory in the middle ages. Now, after examining the papal profession of faith in the 13thcentury, as well as noting that the first use of the word “purgatorium” occurs in the writings of Hildebert of Lavardin dating anywhere from 1056-1135 A.D.; it appears one can reason that either Dante’s work in the 14thcentury either influenced the cultural perception or the cultural perception of that particular time period influenced him. [2] However, the Augustinian viewpoint was still within the frameworks of Pope Clement IV profession of faith.

Further Reflections on the topic may be needed, such as the development of the sacrament of Confession in regards to the penance preceding absolution to the development of it in the future. However, I believe the topic needed a better examination of the development of theology within a historical timeline.

[1]Aidan Nichols O.P., Rome and the Eastern Churches, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 293.

[2]Ibid, 295.

NCR’s New French Revolution

Nuns

Yesterday, Philip Augustine alerted me to the following quote from one of the National Catholic Reporter’s favorite writers; Michael Sean Winters.

Michael Sean Winters of National Catholic Reporter

“Normally, when I get into a debate with a conservative friend and we are at an impasse, with no hope for resolution, I try to ease the tension with levity, and say, “Well, when the revolution comes, I will put in a good word for you and your family.” To my friends in the Republican political and legal establishment who have not stood up to Trump: When the revolution comes, you are on your own, and I will be clamoring not for mercy but for a seat next to the guillotine, where I can do my knitting.”

Michael Sean Winters, National catholic Reporter, 3 July, ARSH 2018

You have a very perverse sense of humor, if one can call it humor at all, Mr. Winters. Only a blood-thirsty enemy of God and a believer in the atrocities perpetrated by the French during their French Revolution could find anything to laugh about in such a statement. It is straight out of a handbook of Freemasonry and their desire to extinguish all Catholics from the face of the world. 

But, of course, you would still consider yourself a Catholic, I’m sure, having changed the Church into the Church of Satan and would perhaps find yourself in good company whilst you do your ‘knitting’ along with all the enemies of Truth, justice, love of neighbor and love of God. What will you be knitting I wonder; perhaps an asbestos suit might be appropriate?

And has the National Catholic Reporter no shame at all? We all know that they are filled to the brim with heresiarchs, but this goes far beyond their normal heresies, like those which Fr. James Martin likes to profess on a daily basis. This has turned the corner from heresy into outright evil and apostasy from the faith. It is a disgrace that your publication continues to blaspheme the word Catholic by using it as part of its name.

And to the readers of this filth, disguised as religion, are you merely peeping Toms or do you read it because you believe it? I find it rather sad that your publication is still in existence in this day and age . . . though it is the perverse nature of this age that makes you relevant. For it is publications such as this that has distanced the Church from God, divided the faith into orthodox and heterodox camps and continues to fan the flames of outright revolution within the Catholic Church.

Have you no shame? But that is a rhetorical question. For if you did both Fr. Martin and Michael Sean Winters would have never been read within your pages. I’m sure dismissing Mr. WInters would be out of the question so I will not even entertain the possibility that you have any sense of decency left in your yellow tabloid.

War

Summer in the ancient world was the traditional season for war: the Mediterranean Sea and roads were passable, farms could spare manpower, and clear weather conditions allowed scouts and officers to get better glimpses of enemy positions. Now, with the summer upon us, it seems appropriate to think about warfare on earth and in the heavenly places.

The enemy

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

-Ephesians 6:12

This famous Pauline verse is noteworthy for a number of reasons: it indicates a hierarchy among the powers of darkness; it indicates that they have not been destroyed by the Cross, but await their final judgment; and it shows us that the real battle must be won by spiritual means, not weapons of wood and steel. The enemy is a master of psychology and influence: he gains his victories not by ostentatious displays of miraculous power, but by appealing to human weakness and vanity. Satan’s deception of Eve in the Garden of Eden is recorded as an object lesson for humanity in the perils of temptation and speculation.

The term “Satan” is not found in the Garden story of Genesis 3: the identification of the Serpent with Satan occurred much later and features in the Book of Revelation: “And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him” (12:9). A variety of terms are used to describe the enemy, revealing different aspects of his character and methods of war.

As the Dragon, Leviathan, and Rahab, he represents chaos, a force at enmity with God’s cosmic order. The story of creation in Genesis 1-2, written as a polemic against the mythologies of Israel’s neighbours, details how God created the world in an orderly fashion, subduing the chaotic waters, the abode of the sea dragon. The salutary lesson in all of this is that chaos is not to be desired – it fails to satisfy anyone and leaves misery in its wake. In our current Western culture, where cultural Marxism and postmodernism have created so much misery, the chaos-order motif helps Christians to realise the ultimate source of this upset. Looking a priori at our analytic concepts, we should realise that we must return to order, sensing that the return of Jesus, amongst other things, is for the purpose of restoring order to the world.

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

-John 8:44

As the father of lies, Satan knows how to deceive and manipulate us. He can appear “as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). He can mix truth with lies so as to make an attitude or course of action seem righteous, when it is in fact a deviation, great or small, from the true path. He is content to play long games: to draw us little by little away from the truth over a long period of time until, one day, the aggregate of those small steps is a great journey.

The remedy

Christ said, “I AM the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, except through Me” (John 14:6). As followers of Christ, we belong to the Kingdom of Light, and light banishes the darkness, revealing the facts. But we are also free agents: what we choose to expose ourselves to will influence us. Prayer in a spirit of humility, of openness to the Lord’s illumination, as Scoop reminded us recently, is the way to keep the darkness from our hearts and minds. The closer we stand to Christ the Lantern, the more light we shall have.

What do we want?

Reflecting on the religious and political matters we discuss at AATW, I find myself asking, “What do we want?” In the Bible, we are instructed to bring our needs and the thoughts of our hearts to God in prayer. We are not guaranteed positive answers to our requests, because our requests are not always in line with the Kingdom. Nevertheless, prayer is part of our relationship with God: people who know and love each other deeply share their lives with each other. Our cynicism and disappointments over the years have made it harder to share our hopes and desires at times: but now is the time to be forthright. We are seeing a change, a return of God’s favour, and we must press in, praying for God to raise up godly leaders to govern our nations, and that He will direct them to enact just policies and laws. So, dear reader, what would you like to see in your country and in the Church? Here are a few of my prayers.


Restoring freedom of speech in the UK

I pray that God will lead Parliament to repeal either in their entirety or parts of the Public Order Act 1986 and Contempt of Court Act 1981. I pray that there will be no more arrests of street preachers, online commenters, and public officials for sharing genuine Christian principles as a prophetic witness in this land. I pray that there will be true, fair, informative public debate about what Christianity really means, and why Jesus is the hope of nations. I pray that we will have careful, thoughtful, and productive discourse about our wider national and economic problems and what we can do as individuals and as a nation to bring education, finance, policing, territorial matters, and healthcare in line with biblical ethics in a way that leaves people with genuine liberty.


Sanctity of life

I pray that in the UK and USA abortion will once again become illegal, except such rare occasions as are permitted under the Catholic doctrine of double effect, and that there will be proper frameworks to enable practitioners to identify when that principle applies without leaving room for its abuse. I pray that churches, communities, and entrepreneurs will find ways of effectively using resources to support mothers and families who find themselves unable to care for their children, and that the state will be guided not to hinder this work by imposing rules and regulations on counsellors, caregivers, and other agents of mercy.


Financial misfeasance

I pray that through changes in the culture of financial and non-financial institutions, and through legislation, where appropriate, the UK and US will see true banking reform that honours the principles of transparency, good faith, fiduciary duty, fairness, and self-restraint. I pray that through the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, our nations will find the courage and wisdom to master money, and not to let it be our master.

Virility is Waning in the World, the Church, the Priesthood, the Mass and the Education of Boys

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Virility comes from the Latin word ‘vIr’ which means man. Virility then is described in dictionaries as that which is marked with manliness or “marked by strength or force”.

We see evidence all around us with gender confusion, the acceptance of gay lifestyles, the morphing of the feminine into masculine role play and a host of other slippery slopes that seems to bombard us like shells exploding in a besieged citadel which clouds the air, confuses and disorients us.  Our lives get more difficult after many years of warfare and we become, for a lack of a better expression, battle fatigued. 

To some extent the world has always been the domain for such evils  but since the advent of Christ, His Church has been our refuge from the fog of war which is always raging outside its doors. It was a haven for the injured, the confused, the sorrowful, the suffering and the war weary soldiers that seek nothing short of peace; a peace that this world cannot offer.

I offer for your discernment two articles published today on the internet as background for what I am writing; for I think they give us a strong indication of the state of things at present and they provide a worthy foundation which desperately needs to be built upon should we want to preserve this refuge. For if we are serious about preserving the Church then we must continue to encourage and attract our boys to the auspicious duties of the priesthood and promote its manliness. For there is nothing more attractive to young men and boys than virility especially when it is coupled with a life of holiness.

Sermon by Father Konrad zu Loewenstein, FSSP about the essentials of the Faith that are not being taught or even talked about anymore in our Churches

https://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2018/07/original-sin-sermon-for-4th-sunday.html#more

Vesting in Lavender by Anthony Esolen about the lack of virility in the priesthood and the manliness that was once a presumed character of the priest

https://www.thecatholicthing.org/2018/07/05/vesting-in-lavender/

Rather than repeat what is stated in these two articles, perhaps it would be best if I simply open the discussion, should one want to participate, in what we, mere laymen in the Church, can do to aid in the recovery of virility and vitality that seems to be missing.

I might suggest, in short, some of the following:

  1. Better education and examples of manliness and its self-sacrificial nature in our search for holiness
  2. Restoring the sanctuary of our Mass to the consecrated men who need to lead the way in exemplifying this life in both word and deed
  3. Instilling our boys by providing them a rite of passage from boyhood to manhood and the privilege that is being offered them to even set their foot inside the sanctuary reserved for the Holy Sacrifice
  4. Taking a stance, whether popular or not, to fix those things that are broken; such as our hymns, our nonchalant attitudes and our outrage at clerics who do not live up to the expectations of their office
  5. Changing our focus from the politics of the world to the attaining of Heaven and the avoidance of Hell
  6. Insistence that our priests teach, even the hard lessons of the faith, rather than taking the easy route of constantly stroking the egos of the laity
  7. Returning to the obedience of Faith

There are many other things here which could be said and I am starting to think that men, above all, need to step up and start mentoring, either by example or by lecturing young boys (perhaps as a part of the youth programs in our parishes) about what it means to be a man: a real man. But one thing that I am fairly certain of is that the virility of life in the Church is under attack and if we want the Church to survive then we must fight to restore it.

The Mission Statement

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242 years ago a mission statement was issued. They didn’t use that fad term of course but, that’s exactly what it was. it was a mission statement for a revolt, indeed it was a mission statement for a Second English Civil War. It carries meanings for us all right down to the present day. Here it is.

In Congress, July 4, 1776.

The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America, When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.

He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.

He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.

He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.

He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.

He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.

He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.

He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.

He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.

He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.

He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:

For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:

For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:

For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:

For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences

For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:

For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:

For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.

He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.

He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.

He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.

He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.

Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.

We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.

What did it all mean on that long ago 4th of July? Nothing, not a damned thing, it was just a revolt of part of the middle class in an unimportant colony.

But, through heartbreaking efforts and sacrifices they made their high-flown words good, against the greatest empire of the age, plus its hired mercenaries.

Thus was formed the United States of America and even more, the Free World itself.

Because from this mission statement came not only the American Revolution but, the French Revolution, the Russian Revolution, and the very quiet revolution in Great Britain itself as the common man took on the roles and responsibility that had belonged to the knights and squires of the country.

Thus was lit the fire of the torch of liberty, never extinguished since.

I’m sure that my readers in the Anglosphere will note that our grievances all were about the traditional rights of English freemen. That is the reason that the revolt was cast against King George III, who was more German than English, rather than the Parliament.

In fact, if British readers read the center section of the Declaration, what Americans call “The Bill of Particulars”, they will find many of the same offenses against liberty that drove Brexit as well.

Nor is it to say that even in that day that the colonists were bereft of friends in England, William Pitt the Elder, and Adam Smith (whose Wealth of Nations was published that year also) come to mind.

Thus was fired the torch of Liberty that has lighted the path for us, the descendants of Rebels, and Rebels still, from that day to this, nor will we willingly see it change in the future, for if the torch is extinguished there will only be the darkness of tyranny.

I have not the words to describe my love of America but, luckily others do. Here is an excerpt from Cassandra of  Villainous Company,  who phrases it better than I could dream of doing.

We were the First. We are the guardians of the flame. Not perfect beings, but in all the world the only ones, it seems, still naive enough, still brave enough, still daring enough to put our money where our mouths are. We are the only ones who are still willing to defend the dream with our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor.

Not all the time. Not in every single instance, because that is impossible. And honest liberals will admit that: in a universe with limited resources, choices must be made. But where we can, where it aligns with our interests and with the interests of the rest of the world: yes.

Our own Revolution was not without blemish. Innocent men were tarred and feathered. Families torn asunder. People bled, and suffered and starved. There was even [shudder] terrorism. But it lit a flame that has burned brightly for over 200 years. There are signs that this is happening in the MiddleEast: Arabs are looking at election day in Iraq and Afghanistan and demanding democratic reforms in Egypt and Lebanon and Kuwait. The fire in men’s (and women’s) hearts is spreading.

We would like certainty. We would like painless progress. We would like closure. We will not get any of those things.

On July 4th we must ask ourselves, what do we believe? Our military – brand new immigrants who enlist before the ink is dry on their visas – believe in those words so strongly that they will lay down their lives to spread the fire of democracy. They also believe (as I do) that their purpose is to serve American foreign policy aims, no matter how abstract and long-term they may seem. No matter how difficult to explain to the American people. No matter how frustrating in the short term.

What kind of world will we bequeath to our grandchildren? It may be that long before we know. But our actions today will have an incalculable effect on that far-off tomorrow. And if our policy is not firmly grounded in the spread of those long-ago words:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…

…then I wonder if we shall not be the first Americans who fail to pass the blessings of liberty on to the next generation?

“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph. is for good men to do nothing.” – Edmund Burke.

Happy Birthday, America. May you always be great. May you remain a nation of thinkers, of dreamers, of believers, of doers; striving always towards our ideals without despising the imperfect means we use to achieve them.

But most importantly, may you never give in to cynicism and despair. In life as in sports, ninety nine percent of success lies in simply showing up.

Do read her entire article here. It may well be my favorite blog post of all time.

Hey listen, the band is playing our song, this was our first National Anthem during the War of Independence.

The world knows that where that flag flies, there is liberty.

Happy Birthday, America,

Press on, Continue the mission!

False Irenicism; the peace that is no peace at all

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Nothing is so foreign to the spirit of ecumenism as a false irenicism, in which the purity of Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded. __ Decree on Ecumenism (Unitatis Redintegratio), Chapter II, Section 11

We seem to be living in an age of ‘false irenicism’ where we have witnessed the false peace between Catholicism and rival religions, ideologies like Communism, Marxism, Freemasonry and movements for a loosening of all moral constraints which have been catered to and even embraced by many Church leaders. Has nobody noticed that ‘Catholic doctrine suffers loss and its genuine and certain meaning is clouded’? Is this the Spirit of Vatican II or the spirit of the world and of this corrupt age that we now try to live in? 

Communism is praised by our Pope and the dictators of Communist regimes are embraced while traditional Catholics are maligned and removed from Vatican posts. Interfaith Communion is taking place without any retribution and the Pope has condoned Communion for those who are still living in a state of mortal sin. Homosexuals are courted like a political party might court a constituency while open borders are demanded at the expense of human life and livelihoods without any concern for existing law and its enforcement; laws that have been on the books for a very long time. Why now? Why so much political maneuvering from a Church that was founded to save souls not to open up national borders and preach man-made global warming? Is this the way to the peace of the Gospels? 

The Pope and other global leaders now pay lip service to Islam and the God of the Muslims and declare that Mohammadism is a religion of peace. Really? Is this the same Church that has been fighting this false religion for over 1300 years? The same peoples that martyred many a good Catholic in the past? What has changed? Is it that they changed or that we have changed? And if we have changed what does that make of us but hypocrites who sacrificed our lives in the past to protect the traditions and teachings of the faith from corruption or outright abandonment and defeat? 

False irenicism is all about us and we are drowning in it. Never before has Catholic doctrine suffered such loss. And does anyone care a wit about how clouded and obscure they have made of our genuine and certain meanings concerning the teachings of the Faith? They are indifferent because they have never learned the faith or they have utterly lost the faith in order that they might pursue politics and social activism. It is far more important for a Catholic in good standing to be politically correct than to be morally correct. It is better to pronounce that good is evil and evil is good than to confront the world on their journey to a temporal and worldly utopia of their own making. The age of globalism has arrived; the New World Order prevails.

Christ made it clear that the Gates of Hell would not prevail in the end but He never said that the Global elite might not prevail for a time. The Church and the world itself is under siege by the most malignant dictator of all which is satan himself; the worldly prince of this world, who already mortally wounded, fights like there may be no tomorrow. Perhaps we might recognize this last gasp of a dying tyrant for what it is and finish the job rather than attempt to appease him. For this serpent was a liar from the start and is the father of all lies and it appears at least that many are falling under his sway.

It is also worth noting the words written by Sr. Lucia, a seer at Fatima: ‘The final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about Marriage and the Family.’ Don’t be afraid, she added, because whoever works for the sanctity of Marriage and the Family will always be fought against and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue. Then she concluded: ‘nevertheless, Our Lady has already crushed his head’.

Can anyone doubt that marriage and family are not in the crosshairs. If you do doubt this, one need only look to the preparations for the Family Youth Synod which are coming up: https://www.crisismagazine.com/2018/st-gallen-mafias-lgbt-youth-synod

The masks are coming off all around us and many are simply baffled that nobody sees what is plainly before their eyes: there is no peace between good and evil and what is being taught has developed from an ecumenism which has embraced ‘false irenicism’.

The Apocalyptic Vision

I am currently working my way through 1 Enoch, a non-canonical book (save in the Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo Church) that greatly influenced the writers of the New Testament. It appeals to my interest in the intertestamental period, a time when the nation of Israel underwent significant changes in culture and governance. This period of flux and development prepared the world to receive the Gospel: the transmission of Jewish ideas in formats intelligible to Gentile cultures was crucial to the work of the Apostles.

Among these ideas was the apocalyptic vision, a view of the world that divided time into “this age” and “the age to come”. This age is characterised by the suffering of the righteous and the prosperity of the wicked, while the age to come will witness the vindication of the elect and the condemnation of the ungodly. Hope lies at the centre of this message, but also a grim realism, consonant with the wisdom literature found in the Tanakh and Deuterocanon.

Both man and the spiritual world are at fault for the present state of the world in the apocalyptist’s vision. Man rebelled against God in the Garden of Eden, while the spiritual beings left their proper abode and copulated with human women, to whom they gave spiritual secrets that continue to be employed by their demonic offspring, the spirits of the Nephilim, whose bodies were destroyed by the Flood and warfare (e.g. the conquest of Canaan, which destroyed a post-deluge generation of giants, as the Israelites cousins in Edom had done).

This age will see a final battle between the forces of darkness and the forces of light, before the Son of Man executes the Last Judgment. Drawing on 1 Enoch and other sources, John the Revelator tells us that the imprisoned Watchers will be released from Tartarus to inflict suffering on humanity before they face their own judgment, at which they will be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 9 and 19-20). The demonic spirits currently at large in the world will finally be removed and the righteous will have the peace and prosperity they have longed for.

Amidst these various cataclysms and judgments is the restoration of Israel. 1 Enoch was most likely written by a variety of authors during the intertestamental period (mostly 2nd century BC). For these authors, the restoration of Israel had not occurred. Although the Jews were back in their land, not all of them were, there being a great diaspora. Secondly, the land of Israel itself was subject to foreign rulers. The kingdom had not been restored: Messiah ben David had not yet appeared. The Jews of Jesus’ day had disagreements over precisely who the Messiah would be, but two things are noteworthy. 1 Enoch presents the Messiah as a spiritual figure, no mere man; the “two powers in heaven” doctrine was not declared heresy by the Rabbinic leadership until the second century AD, and this was likely in response to Christianity, not as an organic development of Judaism. Second Temple Judaism was, by and large, very comfortable with the two powers doctrine, so far as we can tell from the sources.

Apocalyptic thinking is ubiquitous in the New Testament; it is not confined to Revelation. Although most churches do not consider 1 Enoch to be canon, that decision is, in a sense, irrelevant (especially in light of the widespread acceptance of 1 Enoch by the Early Church). The fact is, 1 Enoch is alluded to, or its doctrines used, throughout the New Testament – not merely in Jude. To the extent that the NT accepts Enochic material, vel sim, it provides us with an important matrix of ideas for understanding the problem of evil and the hope we have in the coming of Jesus.