Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Can A Non-Catholic Be A Martyr?

Can A Non-Catholic Be a Martyr?

The Council of Florence, in the Bull on Union with the Copts:

[The Sacred Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that no one existing outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans but also Jews, heretics and schismatics can become partakers of eternal life, but shall go into the eternal fire, which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless before the end of their lives they join themselves to her, and that the unity of the Church body is so necessary that only for the Christian soldier that remains in her do the church’s sacraments profit for salvation, and fasts, almsgiving and the rest of pious works and exercises produce eternal rewards, and that no one, however much alms he has give, and even if he has shed his blood for the name of Christ, can be saved unless he remain in the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church.[3]

Recently, a certain Pope has suggested that we share an "ecumenism of blood" with those who are separated from the true faith. He went so far as to say that he feels like saying something many would consider a heresy. If someone were to consider it a heresy, it might be because it is. 

In asking ourselves these questions, we must not consider our feelings and our sentiments. The faith while it involves to a certain degree feelings, is certainly not a faith of feelings. It is one of truth. We know the things that Christ has revealed and we apply them to living. So, I do not have the right to condemn anyone to hell, nor does the pope or anyone else for that matter have the right to elevate someone who is separated from the means of salvation to sainthood. We can only operate in this life based on that which God has revealed to us for our salvation. Separation from the Church is a grave matter. The reasons for which while they may vary, are not ours to judge. That is the work of an individual's conscience. Upon their death, that will be sorted out when they are judged either sheep or goat, by God. In any event, the Church does not have the authority in practice to bind something that contradicts that which is revealed by God. Union with and membership in the one true Church are necessary for salvation. Outside of that you are sitting at the roulette table. This is primarily because we know of only one way to remain in union with Christ, sanctifying grace. I have written about this time and again. Apart from the infusion of sanctifying grace there is no true virtue of faith, hope, or charity. Those virtues are made real through union with the divine life. That union was revealed through the Church, the body of Christ, and more particularly faithful reception of the life giving, sanctifying, nature elevating, love of Christ's divine life in the sacraments. Apart from that, God may save souls, that is entirely up to Him, but we are not free to altar the faith, in order to be "inclusive." Pray, fast, mortify yourself, the homoheresy is devouring the Church from within. 

Pray the Rosary Daily!
Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have mercy on us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Succumbing To Darkness

"In 1248 it happened at Paris that a cleric was to preach before a synod of bishops; and while he was considering what he should say, the devil appeared to him. "tell them this alone, " the devil said. "The Princes of infernal darkness offer the princes of the Church their greetings. We thank them heartily for leading their charges to us and commend the fact that due to their negligence almost the entire world is succumbing to darkness." Excerpt from Guide to St. Thomas Aquinas by Josef Pieper

With the recent vote in Ireland a once devoutly Catholic country, to normalize relationships ordered to sodomy, rather than marital love, I think we can say that the world is succumbing to darkness. The absence of a life in union with Christ in prayer and sacrifice tends to drive a culture to collapse. When there is an absence of prayer at the highest level of the Church, there is an absence of union with Christ. A genuine disconnect from the mind of Christ and the absence of the Holy Spirit soon follows. We now know that many bishops neither believe the Church's teaching on Marriage, nor nature's truth as it regards marriage. Cardinal Kasper for example seems to think that there can be debate about what marriage actually is:

"when we debate about marriage and family, we have to listen to the people that live this reality. There is a sensum fidelium. It cannot be decided only from the top, from the hierarchy of the Church, especially you cannot quote old texts from the past century, we have to observe today's situation, make a discernment of the Spirit, and reach concrete results. I believe this is the Pope's approach, while many others depart from the doctrine and use then a more deductive method.”

The recently appointed Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is really not clear on the Church's teaching on same sex unions, sodomy, or true marriage:

"We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift....This is not to denigrate committed love of people of the same sex. This too should be cherished and supported, which is why church leaders are slowly coming to support same-sex civil unions. The God of love can be present in every true love."

We find ourselves just after a Synod having this discussion in a different place and time, yet the Church finds herself enjoying the same problems as she did in 1248. Sinners and Saints some vying for holiness others to hard hearted to concern themselves with the Cross of Christ. There is no arguing the point, that the loudest and most powerful voices in the Church today are the heretics. They were then as well. It took the holy contemplation of a saint, who was not a saint at the time, St. Thomas Aquinas to shut them down and to give to the Church the gift of his work. He took on the heretics directly rebuking their arguments. But he did not simply rebuke them, he prayed, he prayed for them. It was not simply a question of victory, rather, it was a question of truth and the conversion of hearts. The Homoheresy is in full swing in the Church. It will not be defeated by slick videos and mainstreaming  Catholicism. It will be defeated by holiness of life. It will be defeated by prayer, mortification, fasting, and sacrifice. Darkness cannot outlast the light. Our hearts can be hard even if we are telling the "truth." Be certain that you are compelled not by the desire to win but, by the desire for truth, conversion of heart, and charity to prevail.

"And they watched Him, to see whether he would heal him on the sabbath, so that they might accuse him.  And he said to the man who had the withered hand, "Come here." And he said to them, "is it lawful on the sabbath to do good or to do harm, to save life or to kill?" But they were silent. And he looked around at them with Anger, grieved at their HARDNESS OF HEART, and said to the man, "Stretch out your hand." He stretched it out and his hand was restored." Mk. 3: 2-5

Are we not today confronted by so many Churchmen who seem to share this same hardness of heart toward the gospel? Do we not suppose that Jesus looks at them with anger, grieved by their hardness of heart? At times it certainly does seem like the darkness is closing in. The hierarchy of the Church is calling for the blessing of same sex union in some countries and regularizing them as "marriage" in others. While the vatican and the bishops of those countries either have little to say or are pushing the agenda themselves. That is the definition of darkness. But Christ is the light that conquers that darkness. He gives us a good reminder in the gospel of John:

"I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to GOd. And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them......Nevertheless I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the counselor will not come to you: but if I go, I will send him to you. And when He comes, he will convince the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin, because  they do not believe in me: of righteousness, because I go to the Father, and yo will see me no more: of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged." 

Christ is the light and the light conquers the darkness. The ruler of this world is "judged." IN other words, victory is Christ's. Does that mean we do not have to do anything, just set it on cruise and let the Holy Spirit do all of the work? No! You have to be holy. Dig into your prayer life, do your spiritual reading, and frequently receive the sacraments. Ask Christ how you are called to be holy during this time of the darkness in the Church. Pray about it. I guarantee you St. Thomas did. He did not spend his days worrying or fretting over what might happen as a result of those bishops and priests who as a result of their hard hearts neither believed the true faith, nor preached it. He simply, prayed, worshipped, sacrificed, and lived the faith, oh yeah and levitated in the chapel where Jesus spoke to him from the cross. He was holy!  Which led to his repudiation of those in his time, even the hierarchy.

Even if it seems that the world around us is succumbing to darkness, let us not be overtaken by it ourselves. Do not collapse because of Card. Kasper and Ratcliffe, they are dopey and they simply do not believe the faith of the Church. Their hardness of heart, has Christ looking upon them in anger as I write this. Take a couple of deep breaths and remember that. And then repudiate them every chance you get, with goodness, truth, and beauty! Let your life and your words, be a loud and resounding witness to the gospel. Live it in courage! Be holy, trust in Christ's salvific work, embrace the suffering of the Cross, and then do what you are called to do publicly to witness to the truth of the faith in charity. Calling those hard hearted pharisees to conversion! Be not afraid! Be Holy, Not Worldly.

Pray the Rosary Daily!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us!

Friday, May 8, 2015

Islam: The Mark of A Fool

 What follows is the truth about Islam as written by THE DR. of the Church. St. Thomas Aquinas.
That It Is not A Mark Of Levity To Assent To The Things That Are Of Faith, Although They Are Above Reason.

Now those who believe this truth, of which reason affords a proof, believe not lightly, as though following foolish fables (2 Pet 1:16). For Divine Wisdom Himself, Who knows all things most fully, deigned to reveal to man the secrets of God’s wisdom: and by suitable arguments proves His presence, and the truth of His doctrine and inspiration, by performing works surpassing the capability of the whole of nature, namely, the wondrous healing of the sick, the raising of the dead to life, a marvelous control over the heavenly bodies, and what excites yet more wonder, the inspiration of human minds, so that unlettered and simple persons are filled with the Holy Ghost, and in one instant are endowed with the most sublime wisdom and eloquence. And after considering these arguments, convinced by the strength of the proof, and not by force of arms, not by the promise of delights, but-and this is the greatest marvel of all-amidst the tyranny of persecutions, a countless crowd of not only simple but also of the wisest men, embraced the Christian faith, which inculcates things surpassing all human understanding, curbs the pleasures of the flesh, and teaches contempt of all worldly things. That the minds of mortal beings should assent to such things, is both the greatest of miracles, and the evident work of divine inspiration, seeing that they despise visible things and desire only those that are invisible. And that this happened not suddenly nor by chance, but by the disposition of God, is shown by the fact that God foretold that He would do so by the manifold oracles of the prophets, whose books we hold in veneration as bearing witness to our faith. This particular kind of proof is alluded to in the words of Heb 2:3-4 Which namely, the salvation of mankind, having begun to be declared by the Lord, was confirmed with us by them that heard Him, God also bearing witness by signs and wonders, and diverse miracles and distributions of the Holy Ghost.

Now such a wondrous conversion of the world to the Christian faith is a most indubitable proof that such signs did take place, so that there is no need to repeat them, seeing that there is evidence of them in their result. For it would be the most wondrous sign of all if without any wondrous signs the world were persuaded by simple and lowly men to believe things so arduous, to accomplish things so difficult, and to hope for things so sublime. Although God ceases not even in our time to work miracles through His saints in confirmation of the faith.

On the other hand those who introduced the errors of the sects proceeded in contrary fashion, as instanced by Mahammed, who enticed peoples with the promise of carnal pleasures, to the desire of which the concupiscence of the flesh instigates. he also delivered commandments in keeping with his promises, by giving the reins to carnal pleasure, wherein it is easy for carnal men to obey: and the lessons of truth which he inculcated were only such as can be easily known to any man of average wisdom by his natural powers: yea rather the truths which he taught were mingled by him with many fables and most false doctrines. Nor did he add any signs of supernatural agency, which alone are a fitting witness to divine inspiration, since a visible work that can be from God alone, proves the teacher of truth to be invisibly inspired: but he asserted that he was sent in the power of arms, a sign that is not lacking even to robbers and tyrants. Again, those who believed in him from the outset were not wise men practiced in things divine and human, but beastlike men who dwelt in the wilds, utterly ignorant of all divine teaching; and it was by a multitude of such men and the force of arms that he compelled others to submit to his laws.

Lastly, no divine oracles of prophets in a previous age bore witness to him; rather did he corrupt almost all the teaching of the Old and New Testament Books to his followers, lest he should thereby be convicted of falsehood. Thus it is evident that those who believe his words believe lightly.

~Summa Contra Gentes, Bk. 1, Ch. 6

For we have not by following artificial fables, made known to you the power, and presence of our Lord Jesus Christ; but we were eyewitnesses of his greatness. ~ 2 Peter 1:16, Douay Rheims

How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation? which having begun to be declared by the Lord, was confirmed unto us by them that heard him. [4] God also bearing them witness by signs, and wonders, and divers miracles, and distributions of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will. ~ Hebrews 2:3-4, Douay Rheims

Pray the Rosary Daily
Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

"Keeping Your Head Down," Is it Prudent? II

As I said in the previous blog, prudence is the cardinal virtue that orders our human actions. It directs us to the just measure as it regards all of our choices and activity. From time to time, supernatural prudence will even aid the theological virtues of faith, hope, and charity. We see prudence at commonly at work in our lives in three specific instances.

The first instance is the avoidance of sin. If we are paying attention, to our life and making a daily examination of conscience, prudence will point out to us the causes and occasions of sin. So, for example, can a seminarian confront his rector without sinning? Of course, he can, does he risk being penalized. However, if the seminarian's response is charitable and honest, his concern ought not be with the outcome. He ought not be bound up in how the rector will respond. While it is a consideration, he has no control over it. He has control over his fidelity. Prudence governs his honest conversation. Modernism is a real thing. It is not going to go away without conflict. I offer Padre Pio's humble submission to authorities who would not allow him to say mass publicly. Or how about Christ's response to the scribes and the Phrarisees? He called them "blind vipers and white washed tombs." Was he acting imprudently, because they would not respond well?

The second instance in which we notice prudence is it's aid to our increase in virtue. The more prudent we become, the more capable we are of judging right action in each moment of our day. The more capable we become, the more holy our actions and our lives. Perhaps, remaining silent in the face of injustice within the Church is a legitmate choice for some. Maybe they love to argue and seek out confrontation. As a result, they need to temper that desire by saying no to it from time to time. Or perhaps, there is too much anger to actually have a civil discussion with Mr. Unjust Rector. Growth in virtue happens when we rightly confront evil in a manner that is holy and pleasing to God. Sometimes,  calling the rector a "blind viper" is actually a virtuous action. It is difficult to judge in different situations which whether justice or mercy is to be practiced, whether recollection or apostolic zeal. Nevertheless, prudence aids us in making the right decision. 

The final way that we see prudence in our lives is in our apostolic works. Whether we are evangelizing, or teaching, or simply trying to be holy in the middle of the world. Prudence implies that from time to time you are going to have to say no. The work of an evangelist or a priest or a husband, cannot always and everywhere be "positive." It will never be without conflict. Family life often includes a disagreement. My wife and I are madly in love. However, from time to time, we disagree about something and one or the other of us has to say no. How we do that is governed by prudence. 

The Church it seems to me is experiencing the fruit of "keeping your head down." We are a Church of bishops and priests that seem to hate any type of conflict, especially if it is public. Yet, our relationship to the Church is both private and public. I am in the world. Until, that changes, until Bishops and priests are willing to stand up and be persecuted unjustly for the truth in charity, I will continue to remind them of St. Paul's words. "I have been Crucified with Christ, It is no longer I who live, but, Christ who lives in me." 

Pray the Rosary Daily!
Be holy, not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy On Us!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

"Keeping Your Head Down" is Not A Virtue

Recently this article "Seminarians asked to Stand for Holy Communion." was posted in a group which I am in on facebook. The discussion that followed was to say the least disappointing. The classical understanding of virtue seems to have been buried long ago. I will here, with shovel in hand attempt to unearth it. I admit that I do so at the risk of irritating fine Catholics. Some of you may love Fr. Z, I know I do. However, his response:

"Your best response? Shut up. Smile. Stand for Communion. And the next day? Shut up. Smile. Stand for Communion … until you get ordained."

To say the least it was disappointing. We are entering into a very strange time in the Church. The election of Pope Francis, the subsequent revival of liberation theology, the disastrous synod, and the emboldened actions of the homoheretics/modernists, have caused even the traditional folks to run for cover. My sense is that everyone is hoping that if we run for cover now, this will all blow over soon. My opinion is that the recent exit of Bishop Finn in the diocese of Kansas City, is evidence that simply "keeping your head down," may no longer be enough.

In the the virtual world, several very holy and orthodox priests, priests who are friendly to tradition, suggested that to do otherwise was tantamount to acting like "Rambo." If I recall Rambo fought against evil, and won? While, it seemed like a bad analogy to me and was certainly not meant to inspire, I chose to think of heroic virtue. Nevertheless, it was used to paint a picture, better, a caricature of anyone who dare stand up to evil, call it was it is, and refuse to accept that "keeping  your head down," "smiling," and keeping your mouth shut, in the face of a tyrannical evil are in fact virtuous. It occurs to me that the classical understanding of virtue is not being conveyed by any of these priests. Perhaps, a closer look at the virtue it would seem they are all talking about, our good friend prudence.

In classical theology, it is difficult,  near to impossible to list every moral virtue as there can be a virtue lurking wherever there is a good moral habit. Each of us has what is referred to as natural virtue. That is virtue that is a result of our nature, the ability to do and to choose good simply because we are rational. We can have a natural prudence that governs our actions. However, here we (hopefully) are talking about the supernatural gift of prudence. The great spiritual work, "Spiritual Theology," refers to it as:

"a special virtue infused by God into the practical intellect for the right government of one's actions in view of the supernatural end. By reason of origin, infused prudence is given by God with sanctifying grace. By reason of extension or application, infused prudence governs the supernatural order. By reason of the formal motive, infused prudence operates under reason enlightened by faith and informed with charity." Jordan Aumann

Prudence is the virtue by which we make choose our human actions. Not randomly, not because we have made up a truth and want to order ourselves to this new idea we have created in our minds. No! That is for the Kantian idealists! Rather, we know that there is objective truth that governs the universe, and we know that that objective truth is outside of the universe and greater than the universe. It is what we would call our supernatural end, it is God. The gift of grace that God gives to increase in us the virtue of prudence, is always ordered toward Him. When we are choosing our actions, prudence helps like an archer directing his arrow to the bullseye, to direct our actions to our end, namely God. Prudence is governed then by reason, it is given greater strength and vision by supernatural faith, and it manifests itself most fully when it is informed by the supernatural charity. 

The virtues are not compartmentalized. We do not simply access prudence when we need to make a decision on whether to act or not to act. Rather, each virtue informs the other and works in harmony with one another. However, prudence is the virtue that governs all of the the others. As St. Thomas says "prudence is right reason applied to action." In other words, supernatural prudence elevates our ability to make good human choices rightly ordered to the will of God. 

Let us go back to are initial dilemma. Can refusing to "keep your head down" or refusing to simply "shut-up and smile" be considered virtuous? Certainly! If we have divine faith, and we believe that our supernatural end resides in our union with Christ in the eucharist. In other words, we believe that He is God incarnate, as is the Eucharist, then it is likely the choice we make may be ordered to that good. Our response need not include a 12 inch blade with a serrated edge on one side. Rather, it can be a charitable resistance. Of course, those seminarians fear removal of from the seminary for failing to respond as directed. The request of their superior is both unjust and unfounded. If we recall that disagreeing is not disliking, we need not act in anger, rather, we can rest both in peace and in joy knowing, that when we kneel and receive on the tongue we are acting within the parameters of Redemtionis Sacramentum which says: 

“…it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling…”(91) and “each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue…” (92)

While then Cardinal Ratzinger in his book Spirit of the Liturgy states:
“It may well be that kneeling is alien to modern culture — insofar as it is a culture, for this culture has turned away from the faith and no longer knows the one before whom kneeling is the right, indeed the intrinsically necessary gesture. The man who learns to believe learns also to kneel, and a faith or a liturgy no longer familiar with kneeling would be sick at the core. Where it has been lost, kneeling must be rediscovered…” (p. 194)

The virtuous man has as his end at all times his salvation. Christianity is the religion of the Cross. Which signifies persecution. Persecution for an unwillingness to acquiesce to the weak will and infidelity of a culture and a Church which have turned away from God. The lack of faith in the Church will not be overcome by a lack of virtue in men. While men are free to "keep their head down" I cannot help but wonder, if they do it in regards to the worship of Christ, where will it end. Our freely chosen actions are formative. If we convince ourselves that we are virtuous by walking away from a conflict directly involving the Incarnation, suffering, death, and resurrection of Christ Himself, where does it end? The Church herself says that it is illicit to deny anyone holy communion who wishes to kneel. Is it not a sign of the infection that is destroying the Church from within? The argument is that these priests will be ordained and then they will change everything? Really? When? If they have convinced themselves that the virtue of prudence is waiting to act until all of the conditions are right, when will they act? I know far to many priests who think that the virtue of prudence is something like acting only when it will not cause the collection plate to shrivel up to much. Perhaps, prudence is acting in fidelity to Christ, when we know the truth, and doing so with charity, regardless, of how it may be perceived by the world. Regardless, prudence is in fact taking action, the right action in the right manner. It is not simply doing nothing. 

As near as I can tell the priests giving advice in the thread experienced even much worse conditions during their time in seminary. And they just "kept their head's down." By their logic, the Church should be flourishing today. Perhaps it is time for men of a more traditional mind to consider the FSSP. I am pretty sure you can receive while on your knees and you certainly do not have to "keep your head down." 

Pray the Rosary Daily!
Be Holy, Not Worldly!
Sacred Heart of Jesus, Have Mercy on Us!