Life in a small town

The Fourth Sunday of Advent … A Prayer of Consecration …

A Prayer of Consecration to Merciful Love:

Merciful Father, relying on the prayers and example of Abraham and Mary, my father and mother in faith, and of St. Thérèse, my sister in the way of humble confidence, I choose, this day, with the help of your grace, to strive with all my heart to follow the Little Way.

And so, I firmly intend to fight discouragement, do little things with great love, and be merciful to my neighbor in deed, word, and prayer.

I aim to keep before my eyes my poverty, weakness, brokenness, and sin, trusting that my littleness and contrite heart will attract your Merciful Love.

I choose to remain always little, not relying on my own merits but solely on yours, dear Lord, and those of the Blessed Mother.

Finally, I believe, my God, that you can and will make me into a saint, even if I won’t see it, even if I have to struggle all my life against vice and sin, even if I have to wait until the very end.  This blind hope in your mercy, O Lord, is my only treasure.

And now, to confirm my resolve and to console you for so much rejection of your mercy, I OFFER MYSELF, THROUGH THE HANDS OF MARY IMMACULATE, AS A VICTIM OF HOLOCAUST TO YOUR MERCIFUL LOVE.

I ask you to consume me incessantly, allowing the waves of infinite tenderness shut up within you to overflow into my soul, and that I may thus become a martyr of your love, O my God, and a gift of mercy to so many others.

I ask all this in Jesus’ name.
Amen.

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

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Life in a small town

Self Centered … a Self Centered Church? (part 3)

So here is the unexpected part three – due to the length of part 2, I decided to make it three parts and just include the DECLARATION OF TRUTHS in this post. I really don’t expect anything in this post to be popular or politically correct, in fact some of the stated truths would have many in my family stone me in the public square or perhaps burn me at the stake. Anyway, Truth is what it is despite the dictates of fashion and of the thought police of our social media jungle.

I  will now restate here the recent 40 point Declaration of Dogmatic Truths which Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and a number of others have published in light of the current confusion of this pontificate and lack of clear direction and instruction from the Vatican. The Roman Catholic Church of the Living God must continue to be the bulwark of “Truth”, no matter what the pressures of fashion and the opinions of the world.

We are not the United Nations, and the U.N., the captains of fashion, industry, philanthropy, New Age Environmentalism, and Gender Ideology do not dictate the direction of Church doctrine and teaching, or at least they should not and it should be transparently clear that they do not.  The Church should not be “waiting tables” at the behest of worldly agendas and fashionable priorities like environmentalism, social justice, ecumenicism and heterodox religious inclusivity.

These Truths, the 2000 year old Magisterium of the Church, are part of what defines what it is to be Roman Catholic. I do not know what any person may be, good, bad, or indifferent, but absent belief in these 40 points of dogmatic Truth, whatever a person may be they are not Catholic, no matter what their private and public qualifications and position or state in life may be. This list of Truths is intended to address certain errors spreading in the church in our day. This 40 point Declaration of Dogmatic Truths has been published by the 5 Bishops named below on May 31, 2019.

“The Church of the Living God—The Pillar and Bulwark of Truth” (1 Tim 3:15)

May 31, 2019
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Cardinal Janis Pujats Archbishop emeritus of Riga
Tomash Peta Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
Jan Pawel Lenga Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda
Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
Bishop Athanasius Schneider initiated and was one of the main contributors in the editing process of this Declaration.

DECLARATION OF TRUTHS:

1. Relating to Some of the Most Common Errors in the Life of the Church of Our Time

THE FUNDAMENTALS OF FAITH

The right meaning of the expressions “living tradition,” “living Magisterium,” “hermeneutic of continuity,” and “development of doctrine” includes the truth that whatever new insights may be expressed regarding the deposit of faith cannot be contrary to what the Church has always proposed in the same dogma, in the same sense, and in the same meaning (see First Vatican Council, Dei Filius, sess. 3, c. 4: “in eodem dogmate, eodem sensu, eademque sententia”).

2. “The meaning of dogmatic formulas remains ever true and constant in the Church, even when it is expressed with greater clarity or more developed. The faithful therefore must shun the opinion, first, that dogmatic formulas (or some category of them) cannot signify truth in a determinate way, but can only offer changeable approximations to it, which to a certain extent distort or alter it; secondly, that these formulas signify the truth only in an indeterminate way, this truth being like a goal that is constantly being sought by means of such approximations. Those who hold such an opinion do not avoid dogmatic relativism and they corrupt the concept of the Church’s infallibility relative to the truth to be taught or held in a determinate way” (Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae in defense of the Catholic doctrine on the Church against certain errors of the present day),

THE CREED

3. “The Kingdom of God begun here below in the Church of Christ is not of this world whose form is passing, and its proper growth cannot be confounded with the progress of civilization, of science, or of human technology, but it consists in an ever more profound knowledge of the unfathomable riches of Christ, an ever stronger hope in eternal blessings, an ever more ardent response to the love of God, and an ever more generous bestowal of grace and holiness among men. The deep solicitude of the Church, the Spouse of Christ, for the needs of men, for their joys and hopes, their griefs and efforts, is therefore nothing other than her great desire to be present to them, in order to illuminate them with the light of Christ and to gather them all in Him, their only Savior. This solicitude can never mean that the Church conforms herself to the things of this world, or that she lessens the ardor of her expectation of her Lord and of the eternal Kingdom” (Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Solemni Hac Liturgia [Credo of the People of God], 27). The opinion is, therefore, erroneous that says that God is glorified principally by the very fact of progress in the temporal and earthly condition of the human race.

4. After the institution of the new and everlasting covenant in Jesus Christ, no one may be saved by obedience to the law of Moses alone without faith in Christ as true God and the only Savior of humankind (see Rom 3:28; Gal 2:16).

5. Muslims and others who lack faith in Jesus Christ, God and man, even monotheists, cannot give to God the same adoration as Christians do, that is to say, the supernatural worship in Spirit and in truth (see Jn 4:24; Eph 2:8) of those who have received the Spirit of filial adoption (see Rom 8:15).

6. Spiritualities and religions that promote any kind of idolatry or pantheism cannot be considered either as “seeds” or as “fruits” of the divine Word, since they are deceptions that preclude the evangelization and eternal salvation of their adherents, as it is taught by Holy Scripture: “the god of this world has made blind the minds of those who have not faith, so that the light of the good news of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, might not be shining on them” (2 Cor 4:4).

7. True ecumenism intends that non-Catholics should enter that unity which the Catholic Church already indestructibly possesses in virtue of the prayer of Christ, always heard by His Father, “that they may be one” (Jn 17:11), and which she professes in the Symbol of Faith, “I believe in one Church.” Ecumenism, therefore, may not legitimately have for its goal the establishment of a Church that does not yet exist.

8. Hell exists, and those who are condemned to hell for any unrepented mortal sin are eternally punished there by divine justice (see Mt 25:46). Not only fallen angels but also human souls are damned eternally (see 2 Thess 1:9; 2 Pet 3:7). Eternally damned human beings will not be annihilated, since their souls are immortal, according to the infallible teaching of the Church (see Fifth Lateran Council, sess. 8).

9. The religion born of faith in Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Son of God and the only Savior of humankind, is the only religion positively willed by God. The opinion is, therefore, wrong that says that just as God positively wills the diversity of the male and female sexes and the diversity of nations, so in the same way He also wills the diversity of religions.

10. “Our [Christian] religion effectively establishes with God an authentic and living relationship which the other religions do not succeed in doing, even though they have, as it were, their arms stretched out towards heaven” (Paul VI, Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi, 53).

11. The gift of free will with which God the Creator endowed the human person grants man the natural right to choose only the good and the true. No human person has, therefore, a natural right to offend God in choosing the moral evil of sin, the religious error of idolatry, blasphemy, or a false religion.

THE LAW OF GOD

12. A justified person has sufficient strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, since all of the commandments of God are possible for the justified. God’s grace, when it justifies the sinner, does of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin (see Council of Trent, sess. 6, Decree on Justification, c. 11; c. 13).

13. “The faithful are obliged to acknowledge and respect the specific moral precepts declared and taught by the Church in the name of God, the Creator and Lord. Love of God and of one’s neighbor cannot be separated from the observance of the commandments of the covenant renewed in the blood of Jesus Christ and in the gift of the Spirit” (John Paul II, Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 76). According to the teaching of the same encyclical, the opinion of those is wrong who “believe they can justify, as morally good, deliberate choices of kinds of behavior contrary to the commandments of the divine and natural law.” Thus, “these theories cannot claim to be grounded in the Catholic moral tradition” (ibid.).

14. All of the commandments of God are equally just and merciful. The opinion is, therefore, wrong that says that a person is able, by obeying a divine prohibition—for example, the sixth commandment, not to commit adultery—to sin against God by this act of obedience, or to morally harm himself, or to sin against another.

15. “No circumstance, no purpose, no law whatsoever can ever make licit an act which is intrinsically illicit, since it is contrary to the Law of God, which is written in every human heart, knowable by reason itself, and proclaimed by the Church” (John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 62). There are moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law which include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid certain kinds of action, inasmuch as these kinds of action are always gravely unlawful on account of their object. Hence, the opinion is wrong that says that a good intention or a good consequence is or can ever be sufficient to justify the commission of such kinds of action (see Council of Trent, sess. 6, Decree on Justification, c. 15; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, 17; Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 80).

16. A woman who has conceived a child within her womb is forbidden by natural and divine law to kill this human life within her, by herself or by others, whether directly or indirectly (see John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 62).

17. Procedures which cause conception to happen outside of the womb “are morally unacceptable, since they separate procreation from the fully human context of the conjugal act” (John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 14).

18. No human being may ever be morally justified in killing himself or causing himself to be put to death by others, even if the intention intention is to escape suffering. “Euthanasia is a grave violation of the law of God, since it is the deliberate and morally unacceptable killing of a human person. This doctrine is based upon the natural law and upon the written word of God, is transmitted by the Church’s Tradition, and taught by the ordinary and universal Magisterium” (John Paul II, Encyclical Evangelium Vitae, 65).

19. Marriage is by divine ordinance and natural law an indissoluble union of one man and one woman (see Gen 2:24; Mk 10:7–9; Eph 5:31–32). “By their very nature, the institution of matrimony itself and conjugal love are ordained for the procreation and education of children, and find in them their ultimate crown” (Second Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 48).

20. By natural and divine law no human being may voluntarily and without sin exercise his sexual powers outside of a valid marriage. It is, therefore, contrary to Holy Scripture and Tradition to affirm that conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other can sometimes be morally right or requested or even commanded by God, although one or both persons is sacramentally married to another person (see 1 Cor 7:11; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 84).

21. Natural and divine law prohibits “any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means” (Paul VI, Encyclical Humanae Vitae, 14).

22. Anyone, husband or wife, who has obtained a civil divorce from the spouse to whom he or she is validly married, and has contracted a civil marriage with some other person during the lifetime of his legitimate spouse, and who lives in a marital way with the civil partner, and who chooses to remain in this state with full knowledge of the nature of the act and with full consent of the will to that act, is in a state of mortal sin and therefore cannot receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity. Therefore, these Christians, unless they are living as “brother and sister,” cannot receive Holy Communion (see John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio, 84).

23. Two persons of the same sex sin gravely when they seek venereal pleasure from each other (see Lev 18:22; Lev 20:13; Rom 1:24–28; 1 Cor 6:9–10; 1 Tim 1:10; Jude 7). Homosexual acts “under no circumstances can be approved” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2357). Hence, the opinion is contrary to natural law and divine revelation that says that, as God the Creator has given to some humans a natural disposition to feel sexual desire for persons of the opposite sex, so also He has given to others a natural disposition to feel sexual desire for persons of the same sex, and that God intends that the latter disposition be acted on in some circumstances.

24. Human law, or any human power whatsoever, cannot give to two persons of the same sex the right to marry one another or declare two such persons to be married, since this is contrary to natural and divine law. “In the Creator’s plan, sexual complementarity and fruitfulness belong to the very nature of marriage” (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, June 3, 2003, 3).

25. Unions that have the name of marriage without the reality of it, being contrary to natural and divine law, are not capable of receiving the blessing of the Church.

26. The civil power may not establish civil or legal unions between two persons of the same sex that plainly imitate the union of marriage, even if such unions do not receive the name of marriage, since such unions would encourage grave sin for the individuals who are in them and would be a cause of grave scandal for others (see Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions between homosexual persons, June 3, 2003, 11).

27. The male and female sexes, man and woman, are biological realities created by the wise will of God (see Gen. 1:27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 369). It is, therefore, a rebellion against natural and divine law and a grave sin that a man attempt to become a woman by mutilating himself, or even by simply simply declaring himself to be such, or that a woman may in like manner attempt to become a man, or to hold that the civil authority has the duty or the right to act as if such things were or may be possible and legitimate (see Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2297).

28. In accordance with Holy Scripture and the constant tradition of the ordinary and universal Magisterium, the Church did not err in teaching that the civil power may lawfully exercise capital punishment on malefactors where this is truly necessary to preserve the existence or just order of societies (see Gen 9:6; Jn 19:11; Rom 13:1–7; Innocent III, Professio fidei Waldensibus praescripta; Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent, p. III, 5, n. 4; Pius XII, Address to Catholic Jurists, December 5, 1954).

29. All authority on earth as well as in heaven belongs to Jesus Christ; therefore, civil societies and all other associations of men are subject to His kingship so that “the duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2105; see Pius XI, Encyclical Quas Primas, 18–19; 32).

THE SACRAMENTS

30. In the most holy sacrament of the Eucharist, a wonderful change takes place, namely of the whole substance of bread into the body of Christ and the whole substance of wine into His blood, a change which the Catholic Church very fittingly calls transubstantiation (see Fourth Lateran Council, c. 1; Council of Trent, sess. 13, c. 4). “Every theological explanation which seeks some understanding of this mystery must, in order to be in accord with Catholic faith, maintain that in the reality itself, independently of our mind, the bread and wine have ceased to exist after the Consecration, so that it is the adorable Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus that from then on are really before us under the sacramental species of bread and wine” (Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Solemni Hac Liturgia [Credo of the People of God], 25).

31. The formulations by which the Council of Trent expressed the Church’s faith in the Holy Eucharist are suitable for men of all times and places, since they are a “perennially valid teaching of the Church” (John Paul II, Encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia, 15).

32. In the Holy Mass, a true and proper sacrifice is offered to the Blessed Trinity, and this sacrifice is propitiatory both for men living on earth and for the souls in Purgatory. The opinion is, therefore, wrong that says that the sacrifice of the Mass consists simply in the fact that the people make a spiritual sacrifice of prayers and praises, as well as the opinion that the Mass may or should be defined only as Christ giving Himself to the faithful as their spiritual food (see Council of Trent, sess. 22, c. 2).

33. “The Mass, celebrated by the priest representing the person of Christ by virtue of the power received through the sacrament of Orders and offered by him in the name of Christ and the members of His Mystical Body, is the sacrifice of Calvary rendered sacramentally present on our altars. We believe that as the bread and wine consecrated by the Lord at the Last Supper were changed into His body and His blood which were to be offered for us on the Cross, likewise the bread and wine consecrated by the priest are changed into the body and blood of Christ enthroned gloriously in heaven, and we believe that the mysterious presence of the Lord, under what continues to appear to our senses as before, is a true, real, and substantial presence” (Paul VI, Apostolic Letter Solemni Hac Liturgia [Credo of the People of God], 24).

34. “The unbloody immolation at the words of consecration, when Christ is made present upon the altar in the state of a victim, is performed by the priest and by him alone, as the representative of Christ and not as the representative of the faithful. (…) The faithful offer the sacrifice by the hands of the priest from the fact that the minister at the altar, in offering a sacrifice in the name of all His members, represents Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body. The conclusion, however, that the people offer the sacrifice with the priest himself is not based on the fact that, being members of the Church no less than the priest himself, they perform a visible liturgical rite; for this is the privilege only of the minister who has been divinely appointed to this office. Rather it is based on the fact that the people unite their hearts in praise, impetration, expiation, and thanksgiving with the prayers or intention of the priest, even of the High Priest Himself, so that in the one and same offering of the victim and according to a visible sacerdotal rite, they may be presented to God the Father” (Pius XII, Encyclical Mediator Dei, 92).

35. The sacrament of Penance is the only ordinary means by which grave sins committed after baptism may be remitted, and by divine law all such sins must be confessed by number and by species (see Council of Trent, sess. 14, can. 7).

36. By divine law the confessor may not violate the seal of the sacrament of Penance for any reason whatsoever; no ecclesiastical authority has the power to dispense him from the seal of the sacrament and the civil power is wholly incompetent to oblige him to do so (see Code of Canon Law 1983, can. 1388 § 1; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1467).

37. By virtue of the will of Christ and the unchangeable Tradition of the Church, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist may not be given to those who are in a public state of objectively grave sin, and sacramental absolution may not be given to those who express their unwillingness to conform to divine law, even if their unwillingness pertains only to a single grave matter (see Council of Trent, sess. 14, c. 4; Pope John Paul II, Message to the Major Penitentiary Cardinal William W. Baum, on March 22, 1996).

38. According to the constant Tradition of the Church, the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist may not be given to those who deny any truth of the Catholic faith by formally professing their adherence to a heretical or to an officially schismatic Christian community (see Code of Canon Law 1983, can. 915; 1364).

39. The law by which priests are bound to observe perfect continence in celibacy stems from the example of Jesus Christ and belongs to immemorial and apostolic tradition according to the constant witness of the Fathers of the Church and of the Roman Pontiffs. For this reason, this law should not be abolished in the Roman Church through the innovation of an optional priestly celibacy, either at the regional or the universal level. The perennial valid witness of the Church states that the law of priestly continence “does not command new precepts; these precepts should be observed, because they have been neglected on the part of some through ignorance and sloth. These precepts, nevertheless, go back to the Apostles and were established by the Fathers, as it is written, ‘Stand firm, then, brothers and keep the traditions that we taught you, whether by word of mouth or by letter’ (2 Thess 2:15). There are in fact many who, ignoring the statutes of our forefathers, have violated the chastity of the Church by their presumption and have followed the will of the people, not fearing the judgment of God” (Pope Siricius, Decretal Cum in unum in the year 386).

40. By the will of Christ and the divine constitution of the Church, only baptized men (viri) may receive the sacrament of Orders, whether in the episcopacy, the priesthood, or the diaconate (see John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, 4). Furthermore, the assertion is wrong that says that only an Ecumenical Council can define this matter, because the teaching authority of an Ecumenical Council is not more extensive than that of the Roman Pontiff (see Fifth Lateran Council, sess. 11; First Vatican Council, sess. 4, c. 3, n. 8).

May 31, 2019
Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta
Cardinal Janis Pujats Archbishop emeritus of Riga
Tomash Peta Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
Jan Pawel Lenga Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda
Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana
1 Bishop Athanasius Schneider initiated and was one of the main contributors in the editing process of this Declaration.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

That’s the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth.

Cheers

Joe

Freedom of Worship does not actually mean that all worship is equal or the same.

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Life in a small town

Self Centered … a Self Centered Church? (part 2)

It is a truth, learned from life experience, and years at sea, that safe and accurate navigation requires a reliable point(s) of reference outside of oneself by which to judge one’s distance and progress towards or away from some objective, some destination, goal, or even in some cases some risk or danger. To navigate everything with only reference to oneself leaves one dangerously muddled and hopelessly lost.

St. Peter Julian Eymard

To me these days, what seems to be significantly lacking outside of the Catechism is a clear unequivocal statement of the dogma and principles which the Church Militant, the Holy Roman Catholic Church, Christ’s Church, and Christ’s Mystical Body in this world, stands for and teaches in this world for over 2000 years now. Fortunately Bishops Schneider, Cardinal Burke and several others have taken a giant stride to blow away the bureaucratic smoke and mirrors which are being employed to obscure what is going on rather than to promote transparency and clarity of thought in our church’s current dealings with worldly matters.

This goal, of posting a clear re-statement of doctrine and dogma , that is our Roman Catholic “articles of faith”, resulted in a much longer post than usual, in fact this post ended up more than twice as long as many of my average pontifications, so I decided to split it into two with the prologue in this post and the 40 points in part 3, the next post, the distilled wisdom of the 40 Doctrinal, or Dogmatic Truths, our Roman Catholic “articles of faith”, which the Roman Catholic Magisterium has developed and preserved over the course of 2000 years of study, discussion and debate by some of the brightest folks in human history.

First I want to reference St. Peter Julian Eymard to illustrate that there is nothing new under the sun. The current crop of apostates are simply re-inventing a wheel which has appeared in various forms and costumes over the last two millennia, and which apostasies and heresies really got rolling with the Reformation beginning in 1517 when a German monk, Martin Luther, decided to “do it his way”, as retold in Frank Sinatra’s popular song.

The next big push was  the French Revolution, a watershed event in modern European history that began in 1789 and ended in the late 1790s with the ascent of Napoleon Bonaparte. During this period, elite French political dissidents, military leaders, philosophers, and academics used their nation’s citizens to raze and redesign their country’s political and religious landscape, uprooting centuries-old institutions such as absolute monarchy, the feudal system, and the Catholic Church.

As with all revolutions, it failed to achieve its goals and degenerated into a chaotic bloodbath with the various factions murdering each other with great abandon. The French Revolution played a critical role in shaping modern secular nations by showing the international political world the power inherent in “Love of Self”.

Sermon on the Mount -Carl Bloch 1890

But, back to Peter Julian Eymard. He was born in La Mure d’Isère in southeastern France, Peter Julian’s faith journey drew him from being a priest in the Diocese of Grenoble in 1834, to joining the Marists in 1839, to founding the Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament in 1856. So, a few pointed words from St. Peter Julian Eymard :

CHRISTUS imperat. Christ commands. No king has command over the whole universe; one earthly king has another equal to him in power. But God the Father has said to Jesus Christ: “I will give Thee all the nations for Thy inheritance.” And Our Lord told His lieutenants when He sent them throughout the world: “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go and teach ye all nations, teaching them to keep all that I have commanded you.

He issued His commands from the Cenacle. The Eucharistic tabernacle, which is a prolongation or replica of the Cenacle, is the headquarters of the King of kings. All those who fight the good fight receive their orders from there. In the presence of the Eucharistic Jesus all men are subjects, all must obey, from the pope, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, down to the least of the faithful.

CHRISTUS ab omni malo plebem suam defendat. May Christ defend His people from all evil. The Eucharist is the divine lightning-rod that wards off the thunderbolts of divine justice. As a tender and devoted mother presses her child to her bosom, puts her arms around it, and shields it with her body to save it from the wrath of an angry father, so Jesus multiplies His presence everywhere, covers the world and envelops it with His merciful presence.

Divine Justice does not know then where to strike; it dares not. And what a protection against the devil! The blood of Jesus which purples our lips makes us a terror to Satan; we are sprinkled with the blood of the true Lamb, and the exterminating angel will not enter. The Eucharist protects the sinner until time for repentance is given him. Ah! Were it not for the Eucharist, for this perpetual Calvary, how often would not the wrath of God have come down upon us!

And how unhappy are the nations that no longer possess the Eucharist! What darkness! What a confusion in the minds! What a chill in the hearts! Satan alone rules supreme, and with him all the evil passions. As for us, the Eucharist delivers us from all evil. Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat; ab omni malo plebem suam defendat!”
—St. Peter Julian Eymard

from the book by: Bishop Athanasius Schneider,  ‘Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age ‘ . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

So, something to think about. In every century, sin and a focus on worldly priorities has been painfully real in the life of the Church. St. Peter Julian Eymard, St. Catherine of Sienna, St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of The Cross, St. Therese of Lisieux, to name just a few, all faced corruption and serious division and even heresy in the church of their time. It is easy to give in to despair, and to speak so strongly of human failings that people may forget Jesus Christ and His immense and self-sacrificing love, as his death on the cross and his gift of the Eucharist make evident. We lose our Christocentric focus and both leaders and the led turn inward to focus on the self and the troubles of the mundane.

Holy Scripture says. “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin. He that hath no guard on his speech shall meet with evils.” (Prv 10, 19 – 13,3). This seems especially apropos of our current visible situation in the Episcopate across the world. Lots of words, lots of long winded position papers and working papers and summary documents in the flavour and nature of “BS baffles brains” with which I became so familiar when working in the secular bureaucracy.  Lots of words, and does anyone ever read all these words in context?  I quote again from “Christus Vincit”:

On a global scale, the deepest crisis in the Church is the weakening of the supernatural. This is manifested in an inversion of order, so that nature, temporal affairs, and man, gain supremacy over Christ, over the supernatural, over prayer, over grace, and so on. This is our problem. As Jesus Christ said, “Without Me, you can do nothing” (Jn 15:5). The whole crisis in the Church, as seen after the Council, was manifest in an incredible inflation of frenetic human activity to fill the void or the vacuum of prayer and adoration, to fill the void created through the abandonment of the supernatural. Which is a void that can never be filled…”

and

“… efforts to fill this void have been tried, for example, in continual Church meetings and gatherings at different levels and in different forms—continuous synods. This is oftentimes busy work with a very pious mask. It is a waste of money; it is a waste of time that could be used for prayer and for direct evangelization — under the pretext of a so-called “synodality.” There is only one parallel in the history of the Church to such excessive episcopal meetings, and that is the fourth century, precisely when the Arian heresy was dominant and reigning. They would gather together and hold meetings, and in those times St. Gregory of Nazianzus said: “I am resolved to avoid every meeting of bishops, for I have never seen any synod end well, nor assuage rather than aggravate disorders” (Ep. 130 ad Procopium). Nowadays St. Gregory would be called a pessimist and would probably be disciplined for his uncooperative spirit.”

and

I will tell you a story. Once I participated in a meeting for the Asian bishops in Manila. They prepared a very long document, and so I said, “We have to shorten this document by half and, even then, no one will read it.” And the bishops were laughing. In my private conversations with several bishops, they acknowledged honestly that up to now they actually did not read the documents produced at these meetings, even though they received them. … One of these meetings lasted one week and produced a document, which, at least in our region, no one has read.

Later we got the financial report for this meeting. The meeting cost $250,000 from church funds. Imagine! Basically, it was $250,000 thrown to the wind. … The continuous meetings and assemblies of bishops: they are spending so much money, it’s incredible. If we would reduce drastically the frequency of these meetings, we could give millions of dollars every year to the poor around the world. To me, this is a sin that churchmen are committing today.

Even setting to the side for a moment the problems with these excessive meetings, which are ultimately a manifestation of Pelagianism and undermine the supernatural—to say nothing of the problem of the almost continuous stream of doctrinally ambiguous documents they produce—I believe it is sinful to spend so much money, which we could give to the poor in our world. 

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

Indeed, “In the multitude of words there shall not want sin”.

Peter Julian and the many other Saints throughout the history of our church, knew that the Eucharist was key to helping Catholics live out their baptism and preach by word and example the Good News of Jesus Christ. In our day, this desert journey since Vatican II, the loss of the sacred, loss of faith, and loss of belief in the Real Presence and even the loss of understanding of the true purpose of the Holy Mass is a immense tragedy, perhaps even one of the worst crisis in the history of our church.

Onward to the next part, the 40 points of clarity …

Cheers

Joe

Freedom of Worship does not actually mean that all worship is equal or the same.

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Self Centered … a Self Centered Church? (part 1)

Self Centered … that is to say “Centered on Self”, as in the “Anthropocentric”  thing, the preoccupation of all modern humanity but also pretty prevalent throughout history as well. I am thinking that anything smacking of the “Anthropocentric”  thing pretty much guarantees to be taking away from God. And absent God it is pretty easy to fall into the “Anthropocentric”  thing.

I have come to believe that being “self” centered always comes at the expense of being God centered.  That is to say, anything with even a taste of Anthropocentrism necessarily takes away something from God. So, I am thinking about a church that is “self centered” and about how that focus would manifest itself in the real experience of “church”?

I have written about this before, here,  and here, and other places, in relation to understanding the behaviour of a Catholic congregation as soon as the Mass is ended and the preponderance of evidence is for a significant loss of faith in the Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy eucharist.

If one truly believes in the Real Presence then our particular church and tabernacle cannot be anything other than GOD’s residence in this world … a small part of heaven rendered sacred, become the Holy of Holies of our earthly Temple by the Real Presence. And if we believed, would we act in this manner, this sudden devolution into social gathering or card party, like a picnic or BBQ  with everyone exchanging news and views and talking louder and louder and uproarious laughter and so on.

Would we act like this if we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of an audience with Her Royal Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, found ourselves suddenly on the floor of the house of parliament in session with His Royal Highness King Justin the 1st presiding? I somehow really doubt that we would, we would be overawed and respectful.

How can we act so differently in front of the Absolute Lord and Creator of the entire Universe, who is so far above these worldly notables as to render them no more than sand fleas on some grand beach somewhere warm. Unless of course that we do not actually believe that He is really there … and that is not Catholic … we are not Catholic … if we reject one of the primary tenets of Catholic dogma.

And this  is the result of 50 years of Novus Ordo, with its emphasis on “fellowship” and a gathering around the table for a “family meal” … and with this “Mass” as theatre in the round and the priest as “Master of ceremonies” , the Toast Master if you will … and 50 years on we have completely de-sacralized the holiest sacrifice, the re-presentation of our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary.

That, the re-presentation of our Lord’s sacrifice on Calvary,  is what the Holy Mass is supposed to be, not a fellowship gathering. That heresy, that sacrilege, came in with Luther and especially with Calvin. The Lord was out of the centre, shuffled off to the side so as not to interfere with fellowship, for a long time even the tabernacle was moved off to the side on some specious argument that in Rome it was done this way and it was all “In the Spirit of Vatican II”.

And then the sacred language of our faith was utterly replaced by the vernacular and most of the Collects ceased to be about supplication and begging for forgiveness for our sins, ceased to be about being unworthy and begging for mercy, and changed, morphed, into asking God to bless us for our good intentions … no mention of guilt or sin any more … going on 50 years and there is a reason that no one goes to confession now … and no one believes in the Real Presence.

The whole focus of the Mass changed from one of supplication and offering prayers asking for forgiveness with the priest at the front, all of us together facing God in the Holy of Holies and what have we now? Everything that rendered the Mass sacred, conducted in a reverential way as an offering to God has been rendered a mundane Sunday brunch with pancakes and sausage afterwards.

I believe that it’s because Catholics no longer feel they are guilty of anything. They seem to feel that they “deserve” heaven for eternity because they are “nice”, “tolerant”, “good” people. We have ceased to be Roman Catholics and become Roman Protestants, like every other of the 900 or so Protestant denominations … just a breath and a step away from one world “christian” church, a loose association of social clubs for people who like to feel superior and like to go to meet their friends every Sunday. It’s really all about “fellowship”, isn’t it, really all about us.

The modernist understanding of “anthropocentric” involves a big category error, perhaps THE big error, a huge trap, which virtually all modernist secular authorities fall into, along with their acolytes and believers, namely most of our polite western population and perhaps most of the rest of the world. This ERROR is founded on the presumption that there is no god, that god is just a silly superstition and that Anthropocentrism is a model of reality.

But the Truth is RADICALLY different. Is it not wondrously strange how just removing god from the picture turns a really bad thing into a good thing? Man as the centre and meaning of all things, as the pinnacle of meaning and the purpose of the universe? It was not always so universal a belief. Even the Wickedpedia, in the midst of gushing about man at the centre still acknowledged Maimonides.

*****

“Maimonides, a scholar of the Torah who lived in the 12th century AD, was noted for being decidedly anti-anthropocentric. Maimonides called man “a mere ‘drop of the bucket'” and “not ‘the axle of the world'”.[16] He also claimed that anthropocentric thinking is what causes humans to think that evil things exist in nature.[17] According to Rabbi Norman Lamm, Maimonides “thus deflate[d] man’s extravagant notions of his own importance and urge[d] us to abandon these illusions.”[16]

*****

In Canada, the CBC is, for all intents and purposes, the headquarters and agency responsible for all secular humanist socialist propaganda in this fine country, the pablum for the masses as they “speak for Canada”. And in keeping with their mandate, in the 1985 CBC series “A Planet For the Taking”, Dr. David Suzuki , whose doctorate, incidentally, is in genetics, not divinity, explored the Old Testament roots (superstitions) of anthropocentrism and how it shaped our view of non-human animals. Some Christian Protestant proponents of anthropocentrism base their belief on the Bible, such as the verse 1:26 in the Book of Genesis:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

The use of the word “dominion” in the translation of the Genesis verse is controversial. Many Biblical scholars, especially Roman Catholic and other non-Protestant Christians, consider this to be a flawed translation of a word meaning “stewardship”, which would indicate that mankind should take care of the earth and its various forms of life.

*****

But these secular modernist views are only viable within a framework which denies the existence of GOD … the acceptance of the idea of “no god” is a prerequisite to the modernist worldview. And we find that in these days, even our church is moving to a man centered worldview, an Anthropocentric view of reality. The signposts seem clear, our church is moving in a direction which leads to prioritizing the things and concerns of “this world” over the things of eternity.

We are now seeing many signposts on the road towards a secular relativist church.  From Bishop Schneider’s book: ” … (in the) words of Archbishop Fulton Sheen, which he wrote in 1948 and which are strikingly relevant and significant for the current situation:

“[Satan] will set up a Counter-church, which will be the ape of the Church. It will have all the notes and characteristics of the Church, but in reverse and emptied of its divine content….

The False Prophet will have a religion without a cross. A religion without a world to come. A religion to destroy religions. There will be a counterfeit Church. Christ’s Church will be one, and the False Prophet will create the other. The false Church will be worldly, ecumenical, and global. It will be a loose federation of churches and religions, forming some type of global association, a world parliament of Churches. It will be emptied of all divine content; it will be the mystical body of the Antichrist. The Mystical Body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the False Prophet. Satan will recruit him from our bishops.”

Schneider, Bishop Athanasius. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

And also, quoting again from “Christus Vincit” by Bishop Athanasius Schneider:  “Cardinal Robert Sarah, in his recent book Le soir approche et déjà le jour baisse [The Day is Now Far Spent], speaks about the shattering reality and mystery of Judas in the ranks of the clergy.

The first chapter of his book is entitled, “Alas, Judas Iscariot,” where we read the following words: “The mystery of betrayal oozes from the walls of the Church…. We experience the mystery of iniquity, the mystery of betrayal, the mystery of Judas…. The evil of an efficacious activism has infiltrated everywhere…. We seek to imitate the organization of large companies. We forget that only prayer is the blood that can irrigate the heart of the Church….

The one who does not pray anymore has already betrayed. Already he is ready for all the compromises with the world. He is walking on the path of Judas.” However, even in midst of so many clerical Judases inside the Church today, we have to maintain always a supernatural vision of the victory of Christ, who will triumph through the suffering of His Bride, who will triumph through the suffering of the pure and little ones in all ranks of the members of the Church: children, youth, families, religious, priests, bishops, and cardinals.

When they remain faithful to Christ, when they keep unblemished the Catholic faith, when they live in chastity and humility, they are the pure and little ones in the Church. The following words of St. Paul, which aptly apply to individual souls, apply in much the same way to the Church, and to the Church of our days in particular: “If we suffer with him, we shall also be glorified with him” (Rom 8:17).

Schneider, Bishop Athanasius. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

*****

So I guess that is plenty for this post, perhaps too much. Next post is reserved for the clearest statement of Catholic Dogma, in a mere 40 points, that I have ever read, and most certainly clearer than anything of recent memory originating from the Vatican.  See you there if you are still interested …

Cheers

Joe

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The Distractions of Self Centered Existence …

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Today is the Feast of Our Lady Of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. On December 9, 1531, Juan Diego, an Indian convert to the faith, was walking to a nearby village so that he could attend Mass.  On his way, a woman appeared to him amidst the sound of celestial music.  She announced to him: I am your merciful Mother, to you and to all mankind who love me and trust in me and invoke my help. Therefore, go to the dwelling of the Bishop in Mexico City and say that the Virgin Mary sent you to make known to him her great desire.

Though Juan Diego did not accomplish this at first, he eventually followed the instruction of the Virgin of Guadalupe in subsequent apparitions and brought fresh roses from the mountain top to the bishop as a sign that the Virgin wanted a shrine built there. Its an interesting read with significant unanswered questions for doubters.

Anyway, it is easy to be distracted by all the “Anthropocentric” propaganda drowning us every day, and by all the hub-bub and noise of every day life in our polite society. We get distracted and take our eyes off the prize and a lot of bad stuff falls upon us as a result. I have been writing and thinking about the apparent tide of bad behaviour we see all around us every day. It must be important, right?

You just have to take a short look at various news feeds, one of the latest being reactions to a Trump “War Room” tweet depicting Trump as the evil villain Thanos snapping his fingers and making the Dems disappear.

There are so many layers of innuendo and implication in that little clip that it staggers the mind (sort of) from Trump as archvillain. “Noun. (plural archvillains) A supreme villain; the most evil or powerful villain” And Trump’s team thinks this is a good idea?

Whatever … I always sort of saw George Soros in that role but whatever, where did I leave my coffee cup anyway. And right across the spectrum of idiocy to the even more bizarre implication that somehow Democratic Party stalwarts are Avengers style “Superheroes” …  really?  Joe Bidden as Ironman? Nancy Pelosi as Scarlet Witch??? Just who thinks this sort of stuff up? And will there be a sequel?

Smokin’ up may be legal in Canada now but they aren’t even close in the good ol’ U.S.A. eh?  We have two groups of politicians/rock stars,  apparently rabidly insane in their contempt for the other side, trapped in an eternal pissing contest that no one can ever win, enlisting virtually all the media giving hundreds of hours of coverage in support of their various points of view meanwhile our society is busy killing 150,000 people a day and calling it “health care” and the killing doesn’t even make a 5 second sound byte on a hundred hit a day news feed … just not relevant, right?

And Canadian political leadership?  Just a Vegas joke that fell so completely flat and got the comedian fired and dumped in the harbor … Oh right, no harbors close to Vegas … lots of empty sand though. Canadian leadership would be sickening if it wasn’t so totally pathetic … “Canadian Leadership” is an even more pathetic oxymoron than the old canard “Military Intelligence”.  And to all appearances our church in Rome is descending into similar secular chaos.

Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be Thy Name. Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done … on earth as it is in heaven. What is one to do … well there is not very much that we little ones can do in this world. We have it on good authority however that we can pray, and faith and sincere prayer can move mountains and trees and much else besides and if we don’t understand what is going on around us, well, welcome to the front lines. There never was a front line trooper who had an inside track on the big picture.

But God has been speaking through the centuries steadily and clearly through the Magisterium and Our Lady, preparing the Church for the great hour of her own “passion, death, and resurrection” that would see the return of Jesus. But not in the flesh! No! Jesus already came in the flesh. He is returning, rather, to establish His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven. I have had the great good fortune to be following an interesting blog for a few months now and here is what he has to say about the Divine Will.

I will leave you to his tender mercies and tell you that there is much there worth reading but especially his latest series on the Divine Will.

Cheer

Joe

its all so crazy making …

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The Real Presence, Body & Blood, Soul & Divinity …

*Image: Christ the King (a.k.a. The Almighty or God the Father)by Jan van Eyck, c. 1425 [St. Bavo’s Cathedral, Ghent, Belgium]. This is the Deisis (representation of Christ in majesty), central panel in the inner section of the Ghent Altarpiece

So here is some more thinking and observation from Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” (which book has largely informed this post). He is talking about “interfaith” meetings held in Kazakhstan.

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“During an interreligious meeting in Kazakhstan, in which I participated, we spoke about the most holy realities of each religion. An Imam said that, for Muslims, the holiest thing is the book of the Koran in Arabic letters, and he stressed this by saying it would be an act of sacrilege were someone to dare to touch the Arabic Koran with unwashed hands.

Hearing this statement, I suddenly thought about scenes of the reception of Holy Communion in the hand, lacking almost any clear sacral sign and surely without washing hands immediately before. Such scenes do occur in the vast majority of the Catholic churches all around the world.

I then imagined a hypothetical scene. If one day this Imam were to visit a Catholic Church, and Holy Communion was being distributed in the hand to faithful who are approaching the altar in a quickly moving queue, he would ask: “What is this little piece of white bread?”

The Catholic would answer him: “It is Christ.” The Muslim would say: “This is surely only a sign or a symbol of Christ.” The Catholic would answer him: “No, it is not a symbol or a sacred object. The Lord Jesus Christ is really present there.”

The Muslim will continue to say: “That can’t be. Christ must be only spiritually or symbolically present.” The Catholic will answer: “No, Christ is really, truly present with the substance of His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity.”

The Muslim will respond: “Then this little piece of bread must be, according to your faith, your God and the Holy of Holies for you.” The Catholic would answer: “Yes, what looks like a little piece of bread is really our living God personally in His human Body and Blood, and not an object like your Koran.”

Finally, the Muslim would say: “The fact that you treat your God and the Holy of Holies in such a banal manner tells me that you don’t believe He is really present there. I am unable to agree with you that you really believe what you are saying.”

Schneider, Bishop Athanasius. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age . Angelico Press. Kindle Edition.

*****

In this speculative vignette we have a summary of what I see as the complete demystification and desacralization of our western Roman Catholic Mass, now, since Vatican II, almost exclusively celebrated in the modernist “Novus Ordo” form. We Roman Protestants have willfully abandoned belief in the Divine Presence. We have abandoned Divine Worship in favour of a “social gathering of fellowship”. We and our priests have mostly abandoned the sacraments and the grace flowing from Christ through these manifestations of his love for us in the world.

We have witnessed a steady fifty year march to desanctify the Holy of Holies in keeping with the Modernist direction moving to syncretism, the belief that all religions are the same and are all about us rather than a unique gift of Truth handed down from our Creator. Somewhere along this downward trail we have joined our Protestant brethren and have ceased to believe in the Divine Presence, and even in the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

We are steadily moving towards a “One World Religion” to go with our UN mandated “One World Government”. Did anyone notice just when the Vatican started answering to George Soros and the United Nations? Anyone? Did anyone notice just when the “Vicar of Christ” started teaching more about worldly social values and conservation and nature and global warming and started ignoring the eternal Truths of Jesus Christ and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church as handed down from the Apostles these last two thousand years or so? Anyone?

As Robert Cardinal Sarah writes, “The Day is Now Far Spent”. We are rather like Malcolm Crowe in “The Sixth Sense” (1999 movie) wandering along through all these confusing and troubling events around us and all the time we are the dead … short days ago we lived, loved, and were loved, and now we lie in the green fields of the Lord, facing eternity, unprepared and unrepentant. It is not too late to wake up, not too late …

But God does not give up: Now Watch Him Work.

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

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So What Now … My Church and My Nation … Wither goest thou?

Serendipity … random chance in action? Via The Lepanto Institute  I found a new and interesting  blog-site yesterday here.

The Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1571

By way of an intro here are a few gems from the blog in which he quotes from books I have read and also from an author and a book I have never heard of before …

First, a couple of writers with whom I am very familiar, C. S. Lewis, and T. S. Eliot :

C.S. Lewis

“Perhaps I am asking impossibilities. Perhaps, in the nature of things, analytical understanding must always be a basilisk which kills what it sees and only sees by killing. But if the scientists themselves cannot arrest this process before it reaches the common Reason and kills that too, then someone else must arrest it.”C. S. Lewis, The Abolition of Man, 1945.

and

T.S. Eliot

“The World is trying the experiment of attempting to form a civilized but non-Christian mentality. The experiment will fail; but we must be very patient in awaiting its collapse; meanwhile redeeming the time: so that the Faith may be preserved alive through the dark ages before us; to renew and rebuild civilization, and save the World from suicide.”T. S. Eliot, Thoughts After Lambeth, 1931.

and then a new writer (for me) who I have never heard of but looks very promising :

Padre Julio Meinvielle, 1905-1973

“The error of the Progressives resides in rejecting the necessity of working for the implantation of a Christian social order. In doing so they are obliged to accept the lay city, Liberal, Socialist, Communist. The root of their error and their deviation from Christian progress lies in seeking the alliance of the Church with modernity.”Fr. Julio Meinvielle (1905-1973) From the Kabala to Progressivism.

So, my disquiet with the current situation in our church, and my equally strong misgivings with the state of society and our culture of death, dismemberment and disregard for responsibilities both personal and national (witness Boy Justin’s NATO Summit efforts so far this week and this term) here in the frozen north, that is Canada and the direction Canada seems to be heading. What is one to do? Aided by my reading of many other’s comments in various blogs and so on, my thoughts are moving in a definite direction.

The Angelus, JEAN FRANÇOIS MILLET (Museo_de_Orsay, 1857-1859)

Rhetorically speaking, is it OK to make like a medieval peasant, to choose the “Benedict Option” as some have advocated, and either not know or not care who is the current National Leader, and who is Pope, to not worry about the directions of church and state, but to remain faithfully and cheerfully ignorant of the day-to-day pronouncements that come  down from our betters in Ottawa, and Edmonton, and from the Vatican?

Must a Catholic read and understand all the latest encyclicals and exhortations and synodal papers and all the latest progressive malice and pronouncements vomiting forth from the mealy mouths of our political and bureaucratic masters in their tower of power somewhere isolated from the realities of day to day citizens, one of whom recently committed suicide on the steps of the legislature?

Or can we just keep re-reading the Scriptures and the Catechism and the Fathers and the Doctors (and maybe the occasional private revelation) until such time as God sorts this all out? I don’t think that average Catholic lay people are obliged to follow any of this stuff. Priests do this, and then they teach appropriately, or at least are supposed to.

But lay people are not obliged unless, of course, they are teachers, and so on. Catholic lay people have vocations to live in the world. Their obligations are few: obey the 10 Commandments, follow the commandments of the Church, obey the laws that they are taught pertain to them, stick to the demands of their state in life, perform works of mercy, etc.

This is really not that difficult. People are not obliged to go chasing after the latest news in prurient curiosity. As a matter of fact, that might wind up being a sin called curiositas, especially if it endangers one’s faith and distracts from one’s state in life through which the will of God is made manifest in our lives.

It is just because our church is Christ’s church that I disagree with any “serious considerations” of heading away from our One Holy Catholic and Apostolic church towards one of the  Orthodox confessions or some conservative Evangelical congregation, or even some new age Pentecostal “feelings over objective Truth emotional consolation” because all those options also clearly lack the indefectability promised by Christ as in : “and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it”. This specious tack, of abandoning the church in her hour of crisis, smacks of “taking my toys and going home” when the going gets tough and real sacrifice and pain and love is required to hold to the Truth in the storm.

Albert J. Knock

This is rather like the “force of character” which Albert J. Knock was alluding to when he wrote: “The line of differentiation between the masses and the Remnant is set invariably by quality, not by circumstance. The Remnant are those who by force of intellect are able to apprehend these principles, and by force of character are able, at least measurably, to cleave to them. The masses are those who are unable to do either.”  Running to another pasture is not the mark of a member of the Remnant.

I think it possible that a belief in the Indefectability of the Church is challenged by a Pope who seemingly formally teaches error, promotes the sycophantic heterodox and abets pedophiles, and is generally distastefully left  or progressive or modernist leaning. It’s the fact that the Pope is fairly clearly formally teaching error or at least is allowing the teaching of error that has really challenged my own Faith for the last few months, or even years, since shortly after Jorge Mario Bergoglio was crowned “Francis”.

But, there is no where else to go, as St. Peter confessed…except into the pit of our passions and emotions where Truth is most definitely not.  So we must suffer this cross where God has put us and push on with the history of the Papacy in mind and our Faith in Jesus Christ in the forefront. Okay. There it is. The age-old teaching, “Outside the Church there is no salvation.”

It was not the Second Vatican Council that dropped that teaching; it was others speaking in the ubiquitous and very suspicious “spirit of that council”.  I have written many times before about “The Spirit of Vatican II” as towards the end of this post . “By the “Spirit of Vatican II” is meant the teaching and intentions of the Second Vatican Council but interpreted in a way that is not limited to a literal reading of its documents, or even going so far as  interpreting in a way that contradicts the “letter” of the Council.”

One needs only look at Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s “Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age” (which book has largely informed this post) to find the most well-known and disastrous statements, “In The Spirit of Vatican II” about “Humanae Vitae” (a famous council document) which were the Winnipeg Statement (Canada), the Königsteiner Erklärung (Germany), and the Maria Troster Erklärung (Austria).

I think those bishops and bishops’ conferences whose predecessors issued these fatal statements fifty years ago “In the Spirit of Vatican II” have to publicly retract these ‘Statements” and make reparation for these egregious misinterpretations of the council’s intentions which led to so much grief. Head in the sand ignoring of the evil will not make it go away nor will it be forgotten in eternity. I hope that it will some day be acknowledged and atoned for.

The more I look back at things that were introduced under the “In The Spirit of Vatican II” umbrella, looking back on my own youthful rejection of the church because of these massive progressive changes, this apparent denial of Truth, the more I begin to believe that “In The Spirit of Vatican II” was coined as a code phrase, a way for the Modernists and liberal secular progressives in the corpus of the church to say, “We couldn’t get the Pope to agree, but this is our REAL purpose. We couldn’t get the Pope to agree, but we’re going to do it anyway. So there.” I think I must have read something like this in someone’s blog post somewhere.

But I made my own choice back then, and I am responsible for that choice, and the subsequent wasted years. And, like me, the faithful left in droves because they rightly or wrongly felt that they didn’t leave the church, the church left them. And now, 50 years on, we have a Modernist in the chair of Peter … now the Pope agrees … Quo Vadis my church?

Looking back on that teenager who thought he knew what was going on and was so sure he was right in his opinion that he wasted 20 years, and God never gave up on him … I promise … Never Again! So what recourse do we laity have if any Pope were to espouse heresy?

Female priests, listened to proponents of that 15 years ago in Deanery meetings, denial of the Divinity of Christ, denial of Christ’s Body in the Eucharist, see it every week in Mass as the line hurries forward to grab the host and run. Do we merely fast and pray and turn the other cheek smug in the knowledge that God’s Will be done…or, as I recently read somewhere, is it St. Michael butt-kicking pro-active time? Apologies for the blunt truth, but I don’t know how to sugar coat it, or, from another angle, is this just my self-righteous pride talking?

John of the Cross writes about the dark night of suffering and abandonment … does everyone seeking spiritual growth and union with God have a dark night of suffering when all seems lost and there is temptation to despair? I rather think that there is no way forward that does not involve gong through some sort of spiritual dark night. And we lay people are much more free to choose our path, unconstrained as we are by vows and rules of obedience, so we have to choose carefully.

First, I figure that lay people have more options than Bishops and especially priests who operate under vows of obedience. These are, so far, hypothetical, all these alleged heresies. The Church is indefectible, always remember this, much worse has occurred in history and may well occur again. When those times arrive, make sure your soul is clean and you are doing penance. Get to confession often … at least monthly … we all really need confession.

From scripture, carved on a slab of wood hanging on my kitchen wall: “But if it seem evil to you to serve the Lord, you have your choice: choose this day that which pleaseth you, whom you would rather serve, whether the gods which your fathers served in Mesopotamia, or the gods of the Amorrhites, in whose land you dwell: but as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”
-Joshua 24:15 (Douay-Rheims)

And Simon Peter answered him: Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.
-John 6:69 (DR)

Cheers

Joe

Domine, quo vadis?

My Lord, wither goest thou?

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Its Friday!

Grab a coffee and have a GREAT day.

I am just realizing, with some amount of envy, that when you’re actually, really, retired, every day is Friday and you don’t NEED coffee to survive.

I can always dream … for a day when the economy returns and I can sell out and really retire.

 

Thinking of the coffin, the earthly endpoint, as a metaphorical Blue Bin for my earthly possessions.

Cheers

Joe

 

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1 December 2019 – First Sunday of Advent …

Winter is upon us in our little town, a dead truck abandoned in front of our place and minus 17 degrees Celsius yesterday AM while getting ready for church.

I find myself thinking a lot about how dire is the state of the world and the state of our church, and the state of our country these days.

Looking out from my library window over the vast panorama of my domain I find myself surprised at agreeing with David Warren, not at the agreement, but rather at what we are agreeing about.

We are agreeing about one of the few bright lights in the darkness of the Dead Marshes of our 21st century Canadian wasteland looking eastward towards the pass of Cirith Ungol and 24 Sussex Drive, the lair of Prime Minister Shelob.

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As David recently wrote: A sign of the times, as it were. At any given moment, approximately half of the (American) population is baiting the other half, or vice versa. There are (legions of) Internet sites devoted to supplying verbose ammunition to the respective sides …

Scenic view from the living-room windows and homes of my idolatrous Atheistic extended  family along the Ottawa River somewhere in Eastern Ontario. Pray for them all …

In Canada of course, it is different. This is because our Thanksgiving falls earlier in the autumn.

Another (big) difference is that one side seems to have succeeded in cutting off the other’s ammunition supply, so that if you are a “conservative” — and nearly half the population is, up here, too — you tend to be very peaceful.

(Israelis know better) … “The Israelis are also, about half-and-half, “liberals” and “conservatives,” but behave differently from us, because both sides know that if Israel loses just one major skirmish, they must all either escape, or be annihilated.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be the first time in history this had happened to them.” … “An old Jew once told me, that when he was young, he would see graffitoes declaring, “Jews to Palestine!” Now he was old, the signs read, “Jews out of Palestine!”  … 

(and) What has Trump to do with this, you ask? Apart from the fact that there are a surprising number of Jews in his family, and his entourage?  (This is the surprising agreement) … Well, I feel affection for him, and anxiety. The hatred directed at him, and all he stands for, constantly from the Left, has taken on the murderous, bigoted quality.

(Like the Israelis) If he loses one election, or one significant legal decision, his whole Party is finished; the jackals will be all over the Republicans. That’s how he has come to command the loyalty, even of people like me, who disagree with many things he says, and regret some of his policies.

For Merican Thanksgiving this year, after considering the matter from numerous angles, I would like to thank God, for Trump. In a time of real darkness, and civilizational despair, he has become, paradoxically, a point of light. I think that’s why the devils hate him so.

He is among those who still understand that Norman Rockwell poster, as it was before the caption was added. Which was sentimental, corny, and good. For as I would paraphrase:

“Stand beside him, and guide him, through the night with a light from above.”

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Paul Corrects Peter

Yesterday’s 2nd reading was from Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and we find:

11And this, knowing the season, that already it is time for you to awake out of sleep: for now is salvation nearer to us than when we first believed. 12The night is far spent, and the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 

13Let us walk becomingly, as in the day; not in revelling and drunkenness, not in debauchery and licentiousness, not in quarrelling and jealousy. 14But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof . (Romans 13.11-14)

Truly, truly we live in times of almost universal revelling and drunkenness, debauchery and licentiousness, quarrelling and jealousy. Don’t believe me?  Just look about you at our movies, our news, our politics, our social lives, our families. Sad, sad, so sad.

And Popes have been making mistakes and errors more or less serious since the very first Pope, St. Peter.

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Fr Hunwicke

From another perceptive blogger who I follow regularly … Fr. Hunwicke writes:  Here is an extract from a very fine Advent homily given by Pope Benedict XVI in 2008:

“The cry of hope of Advent expresses all the gravity of our condition, our extreme need for salvation. Which is to say that we await the Lord not as some beautiful decoration to a world already saved, but as the only way of liberation from mortal danger.”

What was so noteworthy about this is that it represented a turning away from the semi-Pelagianism which characterised the post-Conciliar selection of Advent Sunday collects; Benedict instead turned back to the authentic tones of the Sunday collects which they replaced.

Three of these … did a moderately unusual thing in the Roman Corpus of collects: they began with an imperative verb for their first word. This, in turn, was taken from psalm 79/80: ‘Excita potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos facias nos‘ … a cry from Israel to her God to come and save His vineyard; a psalm full of a sense of dereliction and of pressing supplication. …

Here is the translation which the good old English Missal gives for the collect of Advent I: Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come: that by thy protection we may be found worthy to be set free from the dangers of our sins which beset us; and to be saved by thy deliverance.

Compare this with (my translation) the OF collect: Grant, we beseech thee, almighty God, this will unto thy faithful people, that, running with good works to meet thy Christ as he comes, they may be set at his right hand and be worthy to hold fast the kingdom of heaven. … 

Lorenzo Bianchi says this about the newer selection of Sunday Collects in the post-Conciliar Missal:  ‘A Pelagian turn of thought becomes apparent: which does not show itself in a failure to speak about grace, but in the way it is separated from a realistic consideration of the human condition; and the manner in which the grace of Jesus Christ is made into an optional extra: just an unnecessary ornament … [in the Advent Sundays and Christmas collects of] the new Missal … sin does not appear, or even expressions explicitly linked with this concept … [instead] we find phrases which, making no mention of the fragility of the human condition, tend to bring to the fore the aspect of man’s commitment’.

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Pope Francis

We, in our inordinate self love have forgotten sin, explicitly forgotten our own sins … and brushed aside our desperate need for Christ’s grace as unneeded ornamentation.

This vanity lies at the root of the evil settling over our land and our church like a noxious vapour from the bowels of Mount Doom.

Gone are the days of sin … we are no longer sinners … and perhaps our church is no longer Catholic … In this time of judgement by subjective conscience, and the Sincretism of all religions are equal, and the pagan rituals involving the idol “Pachamama”.  

Dark days indeed … we enter a prolonged era of a sort of UltramontanistPapolatry“, where none dare speak out against the current incumbent of the Chair of Peter.

BUT! No matter the evil, no matter what may come to pass, whatever lies before me going to keep on singing and never give up.

Here is another opinion: November 27, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Popular blogger Father John Zuhlsdorf bluntly told a reader considering leaving the Catholic Church because of Pope Francis that doing so could lead to his eternal damnation. “No. And NO! And HELL NO!” the priest wrote on his Fr. Z blog.  And Zuhlsdorf was equally blunt that leaving the Catholic Church would be a failure of courage: “Fast. Give alms. Pray. But don’t be a coward,” he wrote. … “Look, friend, popes come and popes go,” explained Zuhlsdorf, who is based in Madison, Wisconsin.“Only one thing is clear about popes, and the Romans get this right: Muore un papa se ne fa un altro … A pope dies, you make another. We make another until Christ returns. Somehow that’s the way Church will always be even if we don’t like the choice.”
Gonna sign off for now with a YouTube link of a worship song we have been recently leading in church … this is one a lot of folks sing loud and with enthusiasm … we are not alone …
“And on that day
When my strength is failing
The end draws near
And my time has come
Still my soul will
Sing Your praise unending
Ten thousand years
And then forevermore
Forevermore”
Cheers
Joe

From generation to generation … take up the torch … 10,000 years and then forever more.

Never give up … never surrender … Ten thousand years and then forever more …
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Thoughts on Thanksgiving, November 28th, 2019 …

Oh Earth Oh Earth Return”, Bill Douglas, (1996)

So, thinking about the black hole of nothingness to which we are led by the “no god, random chance, biochemical process, evolution, moral relativism” paradigm at the heart of our modern culture, our culture of Material Naturalism, and Secular Humanism, I find my whole being screaming out a huge NO! to that culture of hopeless chaotic death. I live and breath and think in this world here.

I have been complaining lately of the things I see as being wrong with the world and I have forgotten momentarily to maintain a steadfast thankfulness to God for all His blessings and benefits … So I challenge my readers to take a moment, every morning, to think about ten things which we are grateful for, and then think about why we are grateful and to whom we are grateful.

“I am not worthy of the least of all the mercies, and of all the truth, which Thou hast showed unto Thy servant.” Gen. xxxii. 10.

In that vein, on this Thanksgiving Morning I am just going to post the Thanksgiving Proclamation, 3 October 1789   without commentary but with gratitude and thanksgiving for the thousands of blessings which we all take utterly for granted every day while we are focused on what is wrong in the moment.

I start with being grateful for my moment, and being able to think these thoughts, which I do not believe are the result of some chemical process rooted in random evolutionary chaos.

So without further ado:

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By the President of the United States of America. a Proclamation.

Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor—and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me “to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.”

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be—That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks—for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation—for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his Providence which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war—for the great degree of tranquillity, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed—for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted—for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

Freedom From Want, Norman Rockwell (created January 6, 1941–March 6, 1943)

and also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions—to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually—to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed—to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shewn kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord—To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and us—and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New-York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.

Go. Washington

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And from yet another important and famous President in a later time of great distress and trial we have Abraham Lincoln’s Thanksgiving Proclamation. This is the proclamation which set the precedent for America’s national day of Thanksgiving. During his administration, President Lincoln issued many orders similar to this. For example, on November 28, 1861, he ordered government departments closed for a local day of thanksgiving.

Sarah Josepha Hale, a 74-year-old magazine editor, wrote a letter to Lincoln on September 28, 1863, urging him to have the “day of our annual Thanksgiving made a National and fixed Union Festival.” She explained, “You may have observed that, for some years past, there has been an increasing interest felt in our land to have the Thanksgiving held on the same day, in all the States; it now needs National recognition and authoritive fixation, only, to become permanently, an American custom and institution.”

Prior to this, each state scheduled its own Thanksgiving holiday at different times, mainly in New England and other Northern states. President Lincoln responded to Mrs. Hale’s request immediately, unlike several of his predecessors, who ignored her petitions altogether. In her letter to Lincoln she mentioned that she had been advocating a national thanksgiving date for 15 years as the editor of Godey’s Lady’s Book. George Washington was the first president to proclaim a day of thanksgiving, issuing his request on October 3, 1789, exactly 74 years before Lincoln’s.

The document below sets apart the last Thursday of November “as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise.” According to an April 1, 1864, letter from John Nicolay, one of President Lincoln’s secretaries, this document was written by Secretary of State William Seward, and the original was in his handwriting. On October 3, 1863, fellow Cabinet member Gideon Welles recorded in his diary how he complimented Seward on his work. A year later the manuscript was sold to benefit Union troops.

*****

 

Washington, D.C.
October 3, 1863
By the President of the United States of America.
A Proclamation.

Abraham Lincoln, photograph Mathew Brady

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.

In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.

Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.

Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and one voice by the whole American People.

I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.

And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the United States the Eighty-eighth.

By the President: Abraham Lincoln

William H. Seward,
Secretary of State

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May you have a peaceful and blessed Thanksgiving

Joe

Sunrise on The Last Day

 

 

 

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Render Unto Caesar …

Aki, Inner Thoughts, Rodrigo Rodriguez

So the last few posts since the elections I have been moaning about the world going to hell and how do I make sense of “The World”, the world that is clearly not turning out the way I thought it should. A combination of scripture and meditations and stepping back from my own opinions and desires lets me see things better, always keeping in mind that eternity matters, this world does not. Often my readings for daily meditations allude to the will of God being made manifest in the actions and orders of our “superiors”.

Alberta NDP Education Minister David Eggen (since deposed).

In religious life, within an order of religious in a monastery or in the priesthood it resembles the military in that it is not a democracy, vows of obedience include obeying orders and decisions which we may personally disagree with.

Outside of such societies we have come to feel that our own opinion is more important than anyone else’s but we still have our “superiors”, our bosses, executives of corporations, politicians, bureaucrats who wield much power, all in an ever increasing range or scope of authority the further up the food-chain a person gets.

Of course within the ever increasing “scope” of government authority we also suffer from inevitable “scope creep” as those who find themselves in positions of power struggle and push to increase their power in their various “silos” of responsibility … some would call this corruption but is an every day commonplace in our culture and much worse in other countries. The question I have is do those these persons make manifest the will of God in our lives?

“The Tribute Money” 1612-1614, painting by Peter Paul Rubens.

“19And the chief priests and the scribes sought to lay hands on him the same hour: but they feared the people, for they knew that he spoke this parable to them. 20And being upon the watch, they sent spies, who should feign themselves just, that they might take hold of him in his words, that they might deliver him up to the authority and power of the governor.

21And they asked him, saying: Master, we know that thou speakest and teachest rightly: and thou dost not respect any person, but teachest the way of God in truth. 22Is it lawful for us to give tribute to Caesar, or no?

23But he, considering their guile, said to them: Why tempt you me? 24Shew me a penny. Whose image and inscription hath it? They answering, said to him: Caesar’s. 25And he said to them: Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s.

26And they could not reprehend his word before the people: and wondering at his answer, they held their peace.” (Luke 20: 19-26)

So the Gospel outlines clearly the position of the Christian toward civil authority. “Render therefore to Caesar the things, that are Caesar’s: and to God the things that are God’s” (cf Luke 20, 25). There is no opposition between the rights of political power and the rights of God, since “there would be no power unless it were given from above” (cf John 19, 11): political authority, legitimately constituted, comes from God and must be respected as a reflection of the divine authority.

This is precisely the reason why every Christian is bound to fulfill all the duties of a good citizen, and, consequently, must obey political authority, unless its orders are opposed to the law of God.  In that case it would no longer represent divine authority, because God cannot will anything bad or evil being the supreme Good. As St. Peter says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5, 29). In telling us to give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, Jesus teaches us to give to the State all that falls under its jurisdiction, that is everything concerning the temporal order and the public good.

But He does not stop there, He says also “Give to God what is God’s”. If the coin which bears the  image of Caesar should be restored to Caesar, then there is much greater reason to restore our soul to God since our soul bears the image of God. This is to say that we owe Him everything, because we received everything from Him. And this carries further, it is the duty and purpose of every human being to restore our souls to God since He is the creator of all of us and everything in the world. We restore our soul to God by putting our will in the service of His will.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with the media in the foyer of the House of Commons following the release of an ethics report (on his conduct). December 20, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld ORG XMIT: ajw105

But if we find ourselves in a political system (as so many of us do) whose orders are opposed to the law of God then that civil authority would no longer represent divine authority, because God cannot will anything bad or evil being the supreme Good. Such a political system would manifestly not be concerned with temporal order and the public good but rather the well-being of its “friends” at the expense of its citizens. What does one do in that case, well … obviously, as St. Peter says, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5, 29).

What does that look like in real life in our modern polite Canadian society?  We read in Luke 17: “1And He said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come. But woe to him through whom they come! 2It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones”.

And then we have The Book of Wisdom in the Catholic Bible, which has this to say about that:

1 Listen therefore, O kings, and understand; learn, O judges of the ends of the earth. 2 Give ear,you that rule over multitudes, and boast of many nations. 3 For your dominion was given you from the Lord, and your sovereignty from the Most High; he will search out your works and inquire into your plans. 4 Because as servants of his kingdom you did not rule rightly, or keep the law, or walk according to the purpose of God, 5 he will come upon you terribly and swiftly, because severe judgment falls on those in high places.

6 For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy, but the mighty will be mightily tested. 7 For the Lord of all will not stand in awe of anyone, or show deference to greatness; because he himself made both small and great, and he takes thought for all alike. 8 But a strict inquiry is in store for the mighty.

Pope Francis and the Amazon Synod controversy …

9 To you then, O monarchs, my words are directed, so that you may learn wisdom and not transgress. 10 For they will be made holy who observe holy things in holiness, and those who have been taught them will find a defense. 11 Therefore set your desire on my words; long for them, and you will be instructed. (Wisdom 6. 1-11)

So, mercy for the lowly, “For the lowliest may be pardoned in mercy” but dark days ahead for the mighty … and the realization that there is nothing that we, in our lowliness, can do about the great tides of misfortune in our time nor for the most part is there anything we can do about even the little misfortunes and sufferings of life.

It seems that as we age and become more aware of the inadequacy of our efforts to hold back the wheel of time, to prevail as the body and the mind and our energies decline, it seems that it becomes easier and easier to understand that we are miserable and powerless on our own. A moment’s inattention can lead to a world of hurt and as we age the odds are more and more stacked against us.

We are less and less able to make a material change in our lives for the better and certainly we come to appreciate how little we can affect the “polite society” all around us and the decisions and events which once we though we knew better about. Letting go of everything outside our “circle of control” is hugely liberating. Realizing just how small that circle of control really is is bracing and at the same time can be hugely depressing.

And in this new place of depression and perhaps despair, it becomes easier to understand the sufferings of life as the Will of God designed to purify us and strip us of everything we thought we loved about ourselves, thus making room for love of God to enter into our lives which, up to now, were so filled up with love of self. This progression is the “Dark night of the soul” written about by mystics like John of the Cross, but written  for “Every-man”. The more successful we are the easier it is to think highly of ourselves, to “take credit” for everything in our lives which is actually just a gift. The lowlier we are the easier it is to appreciate what a screw-up we are, how miserable we are, and how much we are in need of God’s Love and God’s help.

So, in our total inadequacy, far from taking the initiative, as Father Gabriel says “… we are reduced to accepting with love, to enduring with patience and humility all that God disposes for us. God generally purifies souls through the ordinary circumstances of life. In the life of every Christian there is always a measure of suffering sufficient to effect the purification of the soul. These are the sufferings which God himself chooses and disposes in the way best suited to the different needs of souls; but, unfortunately, few profit by them because few know how to recognize in the sorrows of life the hand of God who wishes to purify them. 

Illness, bereavement, estrangement, separation from dear ones, misunderstandings, struggles, difficulties proceeding sometimes from the very ones who should have been able to give help and support , failure of works that were cherished and sustained at the price of great labor, abandonment by friends, physical and spiritual solitude, — these are some of the sufferings which are met with more or less in the life of every man, and which we will find in ours” if we live long enough.

We have to accept and understand that all these things are willed or permitted by God, in his plan to purify us to the inmost fiber of our being.  Additionally we must not stoop to blaming others, to blaming the malice of man, or examine the justice of events, but see only the hand of God working to chisel us into a closer resemblance to himself through these trials. We have to accept with patience and constancy, especially constancy, all these trials and tribulations which God sends us from within or without, spiritual or corporeal, great or small.

Sometimes we find it easier to accept heavy trials which obviously come directly from God, such as illness and bereavement, than the myriad daily lighter trials where other people enter into and for which we feel much greater revulsion. The immediate actions of our fellow humans, especially if their malice factors in, makes it more difficult for us to recognize the divine hand in our lives. And in our self love it is very easy to fall into sin by attributing all kinds of malicious motives to folks who have no clue that we even exist except in a general statistical way. How could they possibly do that … they must be screwing with us intentionally, right? Whole categories are malicious enemies, right? Republicans, right?  Democrats, right? Liberals, right? Socialists, right? Gays, right? Bureaucrats, right? You get my drift?

Saint John of the Cross says: “Thou must know that those are no more than workers whom God has placed there only that they might work upon and chisel at thee by mortifying thee. and some will cut at thee through words … others in deed … others by their thoughts, neither esteeming nor feeling love for thee … and thou must be subject to them in all things, even as an image is subject to him that fashions it and to him that paints it, and to him that guilds it.”

Our challenge, the challenge to our faith, is to see in every person a messenger from our Lord Jesus, charged by our Lord to exercise our soul in virtue, particularly in what we lack most. Remember those 10 mile runs in boot? Designed to build strength, and perseverance, both traits that recruits are usually particularly lacking in. This is just another 10 mile run … all these trials and tribulations are just another series of exercises to build up our soul in what we are most lacking.

Instead of rebelling and becoming angry  because of lack of consideration or even injustice we have to bow our heads humbly and accept it all as suitable treatment for our faults and bad inclinations. After decades of talk, this is where “the rubber meets the road”, it is with this realization that “death of self” truly begins. Peace and understanding is truly only found in humble acceptance, to understand in our heart that “this world” truly doesn’t matter. All that matters is God’s will.

Cheers

Joe

As we used to say … “Embrace the suck!”

 

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