The Inner Struggle

A Modern Diversion … The Long Defeat …

“En Priere”, Bill Douglas, from the album “Kaleidoscope”, (1993)


The Church Militant

I recently started re-reading a wonderful little book which I had first read almost 20 years ago called ” Theology For Beginners”, by Frank Sheed.

It is a gem, truly belonging in that category of books known as  “You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It”.  Next I plan to read “Theology and Sanity” by the same author.

I have come across these books on my top shelf at this particular time not by accident but by Divine Providence via my spiritual director. They are a much needed replenishment of all the necessary resources to remain steadfast in the pursuit of “Truth” and to find the “Why” of the world in these rather chaotic times.

These days are interesting times for Catholics of all stripes in our church, the Church Militant, and we, the lay faithful, are in desperate need of a theologically sound “Sheet Anchor“.  That sheet anchor, for our purposes, is the Catechism of The Catholic Church, and the combined works of Frank Sheed.  So what about that chaos I mentioned … well … how about church as hockey brawl?

The Pope himself often calls for an outspoken and fearless dialogue between all members of the Church in matters concerning the spiritual good of souls. In the controversial Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia itself, the Pope himself speaks of a need for “open discussion of a number of doctrinal, moral, spiritual, and pastoral questions.


Guys! Get with the program!

Again, the Pope publicly invites fearless dialogue. He solicits the thinking of pastors and theologians, “if faithful to the Church“. Honest, realistic and creative dialogue will help us to achieve greater clarity.

Furthermore, relationships at all levels within the Church must be free from a climate of fear and intimidation, as Pope Francis has repeatedly requested in his various pronouncements. And saying it must make it so, right?

And yet … and yet … it would seem to be the case, upon reading the myriad reports, blogs, newspapers and assorted church focused media accounts of what currently transpires in Rome and elsewhere, that these generous pronouncements by the Holy Father only actually apply to those whose views align with the Pope’s views.


His Eminence Walter Brandmüller, President emeritus of the Pontifical Commission of Historical Sciences, His Eminence Raymond Leo Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, His Eminence Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop emeritus of Bologna (Italy), and His Eminence Joachim Meisner, Archbishop emeritus of Cologne (Germany)

It seems, on the face of it, that “if faithful to the Church” really is just Newspeak for “Agrees with what the Pope wants as explained by HIS Cardinals”. We the lay faithful are daily witness (courtesy of our wired 21st century) to the unusually violent and intolerant reactions on behalf of some bishops and cardinals against the calm, articulate, and circumspect plea of the Four Cardinals.

Among such intolerant reactions one could read affirmations such as: the four Cardinals are witless, naive, schismatic, heretical, and even comparable to the Arian heretics.

This very public exercising of fear, slander and intimidation and maligning the character and credentials of the Cardinals who disagree with the Pope is reported daily in detail.

Such apodictic merciless judgments reveal not only intolerance, refusal of dialogue, and irrational rage, but demonstrate also a surrender to the impossibility of speaking the truth, a surrender to relativism in doctrine and practice, in faith and life.

The above-mentioned clerical reaction, (by the “Pope” camp), against the prophetic voice of the Four Cardinals parades ultimate powerlessness before the eyes of the truth. Such a violent reaction has only one aim: to silence the voice of the truth, which is disturbing and annoying the apparently peaceful nebulous ambiguity of these clerical critics”. (November 23, 2016, + Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana)

Father Hunwicke, over at “Father Hunwicke’s Mutual Enrichment” in the course of one of his latest blog posts makes a brief allusion to Montanism, also known as the Cataphrygian Heresy and the New Prophecy. I would imagine that most of us have never heard of it.


Quintus Florens Tertullian, c.160-c.225, church father and theologian

Montanism was a heretical movement founded by the prophet Montanus that arose in the Christian Church in Phrygia, Asia Minor, in the 2nd century.  … He appeared at Ardabau, a small village in Phrygia, in the year 156 according to Epiphanius, or if we follow Eusebius, in 172.

Subsequently Montanism flourished in the West, principally in Carthage under the leadership of Tertullian in the 3rd century. It had almost died out in the 5th and 6th centuries, although some evidence indicates that it survived into the 9th century.

So we read that he (Montanus) fell into a trance and began “prophesy under the influence of the Spirit“. Claiming to be the voice of the Holy Spirit, he announced the fulfillment of the New Testament promise of the Pentecost and the imminent Second Coming of Christ.

The essential principle of Montanism was that the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, whom Jesus had promised in the Gospel according to John, was manifesting himself to the world through Montanus and the prophets and prophetesses associated with him.

This did not seem at first to deny the doctrines of the church or to attack the authority of the bishops. The church acknowledged the charismatic gift of some prophets. It soon became clear, however, that the Montanist prophecy was new.

True prophets did not maintain that the words they spoke were the voice of the (Holy) Spirit. It also became clear that the claim of  Montanus to have the final revelation of the Holy Spirit implied that something could be added to the teaching of Christ and the Apostles and that, therefore, the Church had to accept a fuller revelation.

“Aki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner thoughts”, (2006)

Quoting Father Hunwicke: “They have got me thinking. By “they” I mean the Hypersuperueberpapalists who seem to me to constitute one of the most problematic heretical groupings currently at work in the Church Militant. They keep on about the Holy Spirit; how He desires us to accept constant surprises; how He speaks to us through the very lips of the Roman Pontiff … particularly the present one.”


Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell

Following on from that we have another example in Cardinal Farrell, newly appointed by the Pope both as a cardinal and the head of the Vatican’s new centralized office for laypeople, who says he considers the pontiff’s apostolic exhortation on family life inspired by the Holy Spirit and plans to make it his department’s guiding document”.

Cardinal-designate Kevin Farrell said: “he has a hard time understanding why some bishops have reacted negatively to Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love.”)”.  “I honestly don’t see what and why some bishops seem to think that they have to interpret (is “asking for clarity” the same as “interpreting” or is cardinal-designate Farrell indulging in a little duplicitous word play?) this document,” said Farrell, the head of the new Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life and who was announced as one of 17 prelates selected by Francis to join the church’s elite College of Cardinals.

I believe that the pope has spoken,” said the cardinal-designate (“so let it be written, so let it be done“), referring to news last month that Francis wrote a letter praising a group of Argentine bishops who had drafted concrete guidelines about circumstances in which divorced and civilly remarried couples might eventually be allowed to receive Communion.

001-the-long-defeat-2(I note in passing that the Pope (significantly) did NOT praise the Bishops of Western Canada who also came out with a set of guidelines at the same time but which set hewed closer to traditional church teachings in the relevant areas. To be fair the Western Bishops guidelines focused more on dealing with pastoral issues surrounding Canada’s new laws legalizing Euthanasia (aka Killing Old People, Handicapped People, and Stupid or Ugly people). Still more of the chaos I mentioned earlier.)

I think that’s very important that they have discussion,” said the cardinal-designate. “But at the same time I think it’s very important that we all understand that this is the Holy Spirit speaking.” “I think that the document Amoris Laetitia is faithful to the doctrine and to the teaching of the church,” said Farrell, referring next to a 1981 exhortation on family life written by one of Francis’ predecessors: “It is carrying on the doctrine of  Familiaris Consortio of (Saint) John Paul II.  I believe that passionately.

Basically this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us,” the cardinal-designate continued. “Do we believe that the Holy Spirit wasn’t there in the first synod?” he asked. “Do we believe he wasn’t in the second synod? Do we believe that he didn’t inspire our Holy Father Pope Francis in writing this document?

So, just a couple of observations:

1. “Basically this is the Holy Spirit speaking to us” (and the rest of Farrell’s  Holy Spirit verbiage above) sounds an awful lot like: “The essential principle of Montanism was that the Paraclete, the Spirit of truth, whom Jesus had promised in the Gospel according to John, was manifesting himself to the world through Montanus and the prophets and prophetesses associated with him”.


2. Regardless of what the cardinal-designate believes, if one actually reads both documents, it is crystal clear that “Amoris Laetitia” repudiates and completely overturns critical parts of “Familiaris Consortio“.

I am positing that the new cardinal designate for the new centralized office for laypeople, that is, the new “Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life“, doesn’t really understand or appreciate lay people as much as he claims. Possibly he is speaking extemporaneously (Papal precedent of course) and hasn’t thought this one through yet,

OR he is intentionally misrepresenting Familiaris Consortio   (unlikely, since I believe he is sincere)

OR he is only slightly familiar with “Familiaris Consortio” and doesn’t consider that any mere lay person might detect and hold him accountable for errors implicit in his last statement regarding “Familiaris Consortio“,

OR.  This is all part of the newly composed initiation ritual for newly minted members of the order of “Hypersuperueberpapalists” now consolidating their power in Rome.

Or what the heck else is he trying to say?????  Anyway, pray, pray, pray, daily rosary and everything else you can possibly do – how about checking out “Flame of Love”  and, as always, hang onto the sheet anchor … and use it, often …


Yet whatever gains I had, these I have come to regard as loss because of Christ. More than that, I regard everything as loss because of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For His sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and I regard them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the Law, but one that comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness of God based on faith. I want to know Christ and the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings by becoming like Him in His death, if somehow I may attain the resurrection from the dead! 
[Phil 3:7-11]


 So at the end here is a link to a simply awesome post at another blog sourcing the “long defeat”. Read the whole post, it is well worth every minute spent .

“He has dwelt in the West since the days of dawn, and I have dwelt with him years uncounted . . . and together through ages of the world we have fought the long defeat.”

well, I guess that is enough of a bedtime story for tonight …AAWWWWWH!!!



001-the-long-defeatWe fight the long defeat because results are not as important as our Father’s delight. We fight the long defeat because we are not the authorities over “success.” We fight the long defeat because the final victory is coming.


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