Life in a small town

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.

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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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Life in a small town

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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Life in a small town

Canadian Elections and Paul: Romans 1-28 …

Oh well, I guess we will just keep swimming, eh?

So, I have waited a few days to let the emotions settle before commenting on our recent election results and the likely outcomes. I have been predicting exactly this election result for a couple of months now.

To say that we frozen chosen out here on the western plains are bitterly disappointed would be an understatement, and there is a apparently deep groundswell of resentment for being cast as the “Bad Boys” in all the election rhetoric heard through various Canadian MSM media outlets.

As well we note a large sense of being abused, and taken advantage of by all the “low information voters” in those assorted little “People’s Republics” east of the Manitoba border who universally depend on spending other people’s money for all the government benefits they enjoy and for which they reward the commies by re-electing them like nodding donkeys. The scam is called “transfer payments” and the purpose is to fund all the government controlled benefits in “have not” provinces out of the levy extracted from the defined “have” provinces … of which there apparently is only 1, namely Alberta.

Yves-François Blanchet

Unless, of course, the donkeys are French, and then they are voting for a party which has as it’s foundational platform the breaking up of Canada as a nation and the creation of the “New” country of Quebec. And now the French-fry’s in Quebec city are demanding even more, under the guise of some climate change carbon footprint scam.

I was born and grew up there (Montreal), a proud offspring of the “Quiet Revolution of Jean Lesage and all his descendants. Our family eventualy migrated to Ontario as part of the Anglo “Refugee” tide of the late 60’s. It is sad that the Quebeckers can’t truly be called “French Surrender Monkeys” because they have never had to surrender anything since the Plains of Abraham, the Anglos have been in servile support of “The Frogs” from tit to tit for well over a century no matter what the flavor of PC political BS which our various governments offer up in their ass-covering dances on the media.

The truth experienced from the inside is that the Quebeckers in their self proclaimed  “Maitre Chez Nous” program revealed that at heart they are the worst bigots in the history of Canada. The popular term of the day amongst Anglos was “Franco-Nazis. A more accurate depiction would be difficult to imagine.

The Ideology of the Bloc Quebecois is comprised of equal parts of Quebec nationalism, Quebec autonomism, Quebec sovereigntism, Regionalism, Republicanism, Environmentalism, and Social democracy. A better encapsulation of the philosophy of “Me First! And screw everybody else every way you can!” would be difficult to find in our political landscape these days.

Interestingly enough, there is a beautiful silver lining to the campaign by the Bloc, and by their provincial counterpart the Parti-Quebecois because of all the fallout back in the nineties surrounding the famous “Quebec Referendum”. We lucky few in the West now have a constitutional path to separation thanks to the desperation of the Federal Liberals.

Jean Chrétien, 1995 Prime Minister of Canada

Back in the day, under Papa Doc Trudeau (Justin’s dad?) of unlamented Petro-Can (70’s and 80’s) fame …  and our famous “National Energy Program” (early 80’s). So in the 90’s the Canadian Supreme Court, at the behest of the Federal Liberals under Jean Chretian, (who inherited the prime minister’s office from Papa Doc Trudeau), set the ground rules for how a province can legitimately file for divorce from Canada. Read about the famous “Quebec Referendum” here.

At the time of course they only imagined Quebec leaving … “the times they are a’changing”.  The Quebec Referendum failed by a fraction of a percent and the lines were exclusively drawn along language lines. The West today has absolutely no language lines to divide us and there is a unifying universal feeling that we are just being “badly screwed over” by the East. “Rapine, Pillage, and Plunder” comes to mind.

The East just doesn’t get it … and they don’t want to because to consider how the West feels about them forces the East to acknowledge what a huge part of their normal lives depend on everything flowing out of the west into the eastern coffers.  How will a universally hated Federal Liberal government appeal to the alienated West?

How will Eastern Canada deal with the visceral antipathy felt here in the West towards Quebec and Ontario? Nobody here cares spit about the Maritimes, because everybody in the Maritimes with even a little get up and go is already here in  Alberta, working for a living., not suckin’ off the Federal Government tit like their friends and relations “back home”. Do any of you Easterners have a rational answer to that question?  Anybody? Anybody? Bueller? Bueller?

The BBC recently reported “With 34 seats, Alberta takes up only about 10% of Canada’s parliament, the House of Commons. But economically, the oil-producing province contributes 17% to the country’s GDP. Then there are the equalization payments, the money that “have not” provinces receive from the federal government. Alberta contributes billions a year to the federal tax pool because of its strong economy, but has not received a payment since 1965.

That remained true even when Alberta was hit with its worst financial crisis in decades. Between 2014-16, an overabundance of supply caused the worldwide price of oil to plummet, which led to the loss of more than 100,000 jobs in the province and a full-on recession.

Peter Downing

That has left many Albertans feeling anxious and ignored, says Peter Downing, former soldier, ex-RCMP officer and creator of right-wing agitprop, and he has a new mission — the champion of Alberta separatism.

Since 2016, the economic recovery has been fragile, especially as several pipeline projects hang in limbo thanks to opposition from Eastern jurisdictions. That has left many Albertans believing that there is nothing for them in being part of Canada except to keep on getting screwed.

“We’ve always been okay to help other parts of the country when they’ve been in need,” Downing says “But when we’ve been in need, we’ve been nothing but kicked all the way around.”

Western separatism has a long history in Albertan politics, and it has seen a resurgence in popularity — not that that translates into political power — in the years since Justin Trudeau was elected, and as the energy-rich province faces difficulty getting resources to market and pipelines built.

While there’s already an independence party, Downing, who has started Wexit Alberta, is hoping to bring together the disparate elements, the frustration, and combine them to create a functioning party apparatus. Downing, who has done his time as a creator of inflammatory right-wing political advertising, has been on a speaking tour of Alberta, discussing Wexit — as in Brexit, not We-Exit — and its quest for party status.

So, yea, I am a little twisted right now about being screwed yet again for the umpteenth time by Eastern Canada and our sick “First Past The Post” electoral system that consistently sees communists running the show with only 30% of the popular vote.

Right now in the wake of yet another screwin’ by the East I have to work hard to keep reminding myself that we still have much to be grateful for here in Alberta, a quick glance at world news reinforces this, for example: would I rather be doing business in Lebanon, or Venezuela? So here, to share my quest for peace, is an iconic image from my Bing Desktop slideshow:

Sunrise in Alberta, October 2019, just keep swimming, Joe …

The other fact that makes this all bearable is the reality that this world doesn’t matter. This world only matters to the Policy makers, the “movers and shakers”, the Atheist killers, in Eastern Canada. What really matters is Eternity.

I am reading an excellent new book these days (when am I not reading, right?). It is named “Christus Vincit,  by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, based on 3 interviews with Diane Montagna, who I have posted about here.  In this absorbing interview, Bishop Athanasius Schneider offers a candid, incisive examination of controversies raging in the Church and the most pressing issues of our times, providing clarity and hope for beleaguered Catholics. Here is a brief quote from the introduction:

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In his inaugural encyclical E Supremi, St. Pius X remarked that so serious was the gathering storm of error at the beginning of the twentieth century that he would not be surprised to hear that the Antichrist was already on this earth. The same pope would go on to describe Modernism as the synthesis of all heresies and the herald of the end time.

The Church Fathers do not fail to give us a spiritual interpretation of the famous words of Our Lord: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken” (Mt 24: 29).

The tribulation, St. Augustine tells us, will precede the great falling away. “These things shall be ‘after the tribulation of those days,’ not because they shall happen when the whole persecution is overpast, but because the tribulation shall be first, that the falling away may come after” (Ep. 199, 39).

The “Sun,” Christ, will be obscured in the hearts of men, and the “Moon,” the Church, will no longer win men’s hearts by her beauty. “In that ungoverned fury of wicked persecutors, the Church shall not be seen.” The “stars,” members of the Church who seemed reliable touchstones of orthodoxy, will fall from the true faith and the moral life. “Many, who seemed to be shining in God’s grace, shall give way to their persecutors, and shall fall, and even the stoutest believers shall be shaken,” St. Augustine tells us.

And yet, like the fall of the rebel angels from heaven, it is a sign of the coming triumph of Christ (Lk 10: 18). Whether Our Lord’s words do refer to our days or not, their resonances in the experience of Bishop Athanasius Schneider and so many others are undeniable, and his insights into the apocalyptic challenges facing Christ’s flock in these days count as essential reading for those truly alive to the signs of the times.

Schneider, Bishop Athanasius; Montagna, Diane. Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (Kindle Locations 75-89). Angelico Press.

*****

St. Paul always has something useful and incisive to say and his words ring true just as much today as they did way back then.

Paul:  Romans 1-28
1Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God— 2the gospel He promised beforehand through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures 3regarding his Son, who as to his earthly life a was a descendant of David, 4and who through the Spirit of holiness was appointed the Son of God in power by His resurrection from the dead: Jesus Christ our Lord.

Paul Corrects Peter

5Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake. 6And you also are among those Gentiles who are called to belong to Jesus Christ.

7To all in Rome who are loved by God and called to be his holy people:

Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul’s Longing to Visit Rome

8First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. 9God, whom I serve in my spirit in preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness how constantly I remember you 10in my prayers at all times; and I pray that now at last by God’s will the way may be opened for me to come to you.

11I long to see you so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong— 12that is, that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith. 13I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters,  that I planned many times to come to you (but have been prevented from doing so until now) in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had among the other Gentiles.

14I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome. 16For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. 17For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last,  just as it is written: “The righteous will live by faith.”

God’s Wrath Against Sinful Humanity

18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles.

24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.

26Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. 27In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error.

28Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. 29They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, 30slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; 31they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. 32Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

*****

Saint Teresa of Avila by Peter_Paul_Rubens

St. Teresa of Avila, the celebrated Carmelite nun, mystic and Doctor of the Church wrote a little prayer in the 16th century. It’s called St. Teresa’s Bookmark because, according to tradition this great saint carried it around in her prayer book, where it was found after her death in 1582.

So, if the events of today are driving you crazy, this prayer below, known as St. Teresa’s Bookmark, can help you calm down. When you wake up at 2 O’clock in the morning is your stomach all tied up in knots with worries? Is your mind racing like a hamster in a cage going around and around on a wheel?

Give yourself a break! Take a deep breath. St. Teresa’s Bookmark can give you some much needed peace and perspective on things!

Let nothing disturb you,
Let nothing frighten you,
All things are passing;
God only is changeless.
Patience gains all things.
Who has God wants nothing.
God alone suffices.

this world does not matter, all that matters is eternity. and in the same vein, here is a parting poem:

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.
It cannot be that any happy fate
Will me befall
Save as Thy goodness opens paths for me
Through the consuming vastness of the sea.

Thy winds, O God, so strong,
So slight my sail.
How could I curb and bit them on the long
And saltry trail,
Unless Thy love were mightier than the wrath
Of all the tempests that beset my path?

Thy world, O God, so fierce,
And I so frail.
Yet, though its arrows threaten oft to pierce
My fragile mail,
Cities of refuge rise where dangers cease,
Sweet silences abound, and all is peace.

Winfred Ernest Garrison, 1874 – 1969

Cheers

Joe

Thy sea, O God, so great,
My boat so small.

 

 

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The Real Presence of our Lord and Redeemer in this world … the Arian Crisis rises again.

It appears to me that our modernist roman church is experiencing a “Paradigm Shift”.  We are witnessing, perhaps, the resurrection of Arianism, in modern vestments. Remember, nothing new under the sun … Arianism was a new Paradigm,  Pelagianism was a new Paradigm,  Jansenism was a new Paradigm, Albigensianism (Cathar) was a new Paradigm, Islam was a new Paradigm, the Reformation was a new Paradigm, Modernism was a new Paradigm. and each in its day was sincerely believed by its founders.

Our revisiting of the Arian crisis is slipping by in stealth mode as a new model world religion. It has become a simple question of Faith. I have come to the conclusion that “The Real Presence” is an article of Faith, not to be proved, because I lack the intellectual horsepower to come up with any “Proof” which would satisfy the demands of Progressive Modernism and it’s followers. It is a mystery. So I am not going to try to prove it. It is really quite simple and enormous at the same time. We either believe what Jesus taught us, … all of it, … or we don’t, and that pretty  much sums up one’s entire vision of reality and the direction of our lives.

This has been The – Prime – Question, the most important choice any human ever makes,  as long as there have been human beings made in the image and likeness of GOD living on the planet. We either choose to believe and trust GOD, or we choose not to and go looking for our own answers, and those answers have given us the world we live in and experience every day, and how has that turned out so far?

I have touched on the idea of the Real Presence lightly in some previous posts, in the context of the behaviour of nominal Catholics when in the Presence and in church in general, this is the problem of “Smorgasbord Catholics”. I have also touched on it in the context of Apostasy, in that the belief in the Real Presence is a cardinal tenet of the Catholic faith.  I suppose that looking at our current religious reality through the lens of Apostasy easily leads one to the view that there are few “Catholics” left in the West, and perhaps only slightly more “Christians”.

So what is Apostasy? Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of tenets of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia (“ἀποστασία”) meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion. Apostasy has been described as “a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, the beliefs of Christianity, sometimes excused as “going with the flow” and “not rocking the boat”.

For current examples of apostasy we need look no further than our local parish and ask the question about how folks “feel” about the Real Presence of Christ, Body Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist. Another example would be the belief in the need for a regular approach (monthly?) to the sacrament of Reconciliation or Confession for forgiveness of sins lest we eat and drink damnation upon ourselves by receiving the Eucharist while being not in a state of grace occasioned by not having attended confession and therefore having mortal sins on our soul.

So, first, to believe in the Real Presence, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, and secondly, to eat and drink this Body and Blood worthily, that is without sin upon you and in a state of grace. 1 Corinthians 23-32 is in every bible of every Christian denomination. Christian Truth is either all true, or none of it is for any sect. It is either all true, or is just another long running con game practiced by various gangs throughout history.

If that vision of Christianity is the actual truth then the World’s claim that Christianity is evil is true … it is all just “relative” … “I’m OK, your OK” and whatever you feel is good is good as long as it is what you want. And we are just as evil as the world. Many of us who have made a commitment to follow Christ and have drunk deeply from his redemptive hand have trouble receiving all the goodness of God because we always know who we still really are.

So, this is where my head is right now, I am thinking about just what is it that makes us “Catholic”, or not? And I am going to restate some truths, some cultural truths, or precepts that are at least 4 millennia old in the Judeo-Christian tradition, namely my Worldview, which from where I sit seems to be a view which make sense of ALL the events in our world, leaving none to be fixed at the expense of other people.

While some of these personal tenets of belief seem modern, this Tradition is as old as any on earth. These truths are the basic Judeo-Christian precepts related to reality and the existence and operations of evil in the world that Jesus and the early Hebrews, prophets and so on, going back all the way to Abraham, taught:

  • We are all living in a fallen world (nature and humanity are in a fallen state).
  • Evil began when Satan, originally an angel who was created by God for good, wanted to take God’s place (the very thing with which he tempted Eve—“you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5).
  • Satan is God’s enemy but not equal to God.
  • Satan took one-third of the angels with him in his rebellion. There are not two equal forces in the universe, but rather a King, and a rebel … this is a civil war, not a battle between equals. Where we find ourselves is living in that part of the universe controlled by the rebels and their followers, “the world”.
  • We are involved in a spiritual war between Good and evil—a war not for or against people but against the spiritual powers that humans choose to serve for Good or ill.
  • We are always serving one or the other—good or evil;  nothing is static and there is no neutral demilitarized zone.
  • Unable to affect God, Satan seeks to recruit and infect human beings, whom God loves, by using humankind with their weak free will for his rebellion.
  • Humans are made in God’s image and are special to God. The demons, the rebels, prowl throughout the world seeking the ruin of souls and prey upon souls through their desires and appetites.
  • Though designed to be good, humans are given free will, which allows the possibility that human beings will choose, of their own free will, to do evil.
  • The laws by which all of creation was made prevail, both physical laws and human ones, and breaking them incurs consequences. Bad choices have bad results and “your sins have kept good from you” (Jeremiah 5:25).
  • Nature also groans and is affected by evil in part due to the sins of man.
  • There is far more good than evil in the world and far more chance that we will live today rather than die. This tends to obscure the consequences of bad choices.
  • God works so that evil tends to destroy itself—falling into the pit it digs for others.
  • Evil is irrational. Evil “rationalizes” evil conduct in the interest of self love and concupiscence. In reality, it makes no more sense to be offended by Scriptural and Moral Truth than to be offended by gravity or the nuclear processes at work in the sun.
  • There are authorities (in heaven and on earth), and the moral condition of those authorities influences those under their authority.
  • There is an ultimate divine justice in eternity. We are not made for this world, our citizenship is in heaven for eternity unless we choose to reject and repudiate our citizenship through self love.

All of these precepts are covered in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, but are also drawn from history and the Judeo-Christian Tradition. There is a Divine Plan and we are a part of it, “wherefore, my dearly beloved, (as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but much more now in my absence,) with fear and trembling work out your salvation.” (I think that last bit is the Apostle Paul the Evangelist)

*Image: Blind Leading the Blind by James B. Janknegt, 2016 [private collection]

The Real Presence is Truth. We, each and every one of us are faced with a choice. GOD doesn’t “send” anyone anywhere. We choose our path in life. The “easy way out” isn’t. Unless one doesn’t believe in the divinity of Christ, unless our choice is to believe that Jesus Christ is the “son of God” only in the same way that we are all sons and daughters of God.

This would be a rebirth of the oldest heresy, the zombie heresy which keeps coming back from the dead century after century. That is the Arian heresy and looking at what is going on around us in the world and in the church these days it becomes a much more focused vision when looked at through the Arian lens. the blind leading the blind is bad enough but what about the blind leading the faithful who can see?

We, as a church and as a faith, have been in crisis many times in history. The examples are legion … but let us only look just now at the one prime example of a time of great error namely the Arian crisis. In a very real way the apostasy we are witnessing today has it’s roots in the Arian crisis … which has never really gone away … Real Presence or just a memorial to a good man?

I will get to that time of ERROR and CONFUSION in a moment but first  we need to clarify an often misunderstood but important term. “indefectible” is a term so misunderstood that it is often cited by non Catholic Christian sects as “proof” that the Catholic  church is guilty of telling whoppers and as proof that it is NOT the True church founded by Jesus Christ.  We cannot let the confusion of our present days distract us from the words of Jesus Christ Himself.  We have it on his authority that the Catholic Church is “indefectible”.

The “indefectibility” of the Church means that the hierarchy and the faithful, and thus, the sacramental and social life of the Church, will always remain intact somewhere. The indefectibility of the Roman Catholic Church is the church teaching that it will endure to the end of the world and never become corrupt in faith, authority, morals, or sacraments.

  • “In the process of testing such formulations, the Church has moved cautiously, but with confidence in the promise of Christ that it will persevere and be maintained in the truth (cf. Mt 16.18; Jn 16.13). This is what is meant by the indefectibility of the Church . . . “
  • “The apostolic tradition in the Church cannot undergo any essential corruption because of the permanent assistance of the Holy Spirit which guarantees its indefectibility.”
  • “This is the meaning of indefectibility, a term which does not speak of the Church’s lack of defects but confesses that, despite all its many weaknesses and failures, Christ is faithful to his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it [the Catholic Church].”
  • “By this term is signified, not merely that the Church will persist to the end of time, but further, that it will preserve unimpaired its essential characteristics. The Church can never undergo any constitutional change which will make it, as a social organism, something different from what it was originally. It can never become corrupt in faith or in morals; nor can it ever lose the Apostolic hierarchy, or the sacraments through which Christ communicates grace to men. The gift of indefectibility is expressly promised to the Church by Christ, in the words in which He declares that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

Some of the scriptural verses the Catholic Church uses to support “indefectibility” are:

  • Daniel 7:13-14, “I kept looking in the night visions, And behold, with the clouds of heaven One like a Son of Man was coming, And He came up to the Ancient of Days And was presented before Him. 14 “And to Him was given dominion, Glory and a kingdom, That all the peoples, nations, and men of every language Might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion Which will not pass away; And His kingdom is one Which will not be destroyed.”
  • Matthew 16:18, “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades shall not overpower it.”
  • Matthew 28:18-20, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
  • Luke 1:33, “and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; and His kingdom will have no end.”
  • 1 Timothy 3:15, “but in case I am delayed, I write so that you may know how one ought to conduct himself in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth. 16 And by common confession great is the mystery of godliness.”

So our current smoke and turmoil is nothing new. Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace … I have to keep it ever before me … the Catholic Church is not and never has been a product of the Roman Curia. As Hilaire Belloc famously said: “The Catholic Church is an institution I am bound to hold divine—but for unbelievers a proof of its divinity might be found in the fact that no merely human institution conducted with such knavish imbecility would have lasted a fortnight.” -Hilaire Belloc.

Oh me of little faith.  A prayer … O Jesus Christ, Son of the eternal Father, our Lord, true King of all things! “What didst Thou leave in the world for Thy descendants to inherit from Thee? What didst Thou ever have, my Lord, save trials, pains, and insults?” Indeed You had only a beam of wood to rest upon while drinking Your bitter cup of horror. Those of us, then, who desire to be Your true children, and not to renounce their inheritance, must never flee from suffering.

We know that “indefectibility” cannot mean everywhere, otherwise the fall of north Africa to the Moslems, or the schism of half of Europe during the Protestant revolt, would never have been possible. We know that it cannot be nowhere, as if the Church would disappear into an invisible ideal to be rediscovered later—as Protestants often believe happened to the Church from about 300 to 1500 AD.

The reason so many people are renewing their study of the Arian crisis is that there were indeed times during that terrible trial when very few bishops and priests were really Catholic, as compared with a vast number on the heretical side.

Quoted from Church Militant:  “In 2014, the outspoken prelate, Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan, remarked in an interview with Church Militant that the Catholic Church was in Her fourth great crisis. He identified the present crisis as “relativism reigning inside the Church,” exhibiting itself through “doctrinal, moral and tremendous liturgical anarchy.”

So many faithful Catholics are scandalized at the action and inaction of members of the Church’s hierarchy. It’s easy to say the Church weathered the storms of crisis before, and She will survive this one just as Her Spouse promised in the Gospel: “the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it.”

There is, however, a confusion that has set upon the Mystical Body of Christ. In fact, confusion is one of the hallmarks of the Church’s various crises. The fourth century saw the rise of the pervasive heresy of Arianism — a vicious denial of Jesus Christ as God. Right now it seems common sense: “Of course Jesus is God! How could any Christian say otherwise?” But from the end of the apostolic age in the early second century and into the fourth century, it was a doctrine the Church enunciated to clear up the confusion of the time.

Athanasius made a famous quip about “You have the buildings, but we have the faith,” because most of the physical churches were in the hands of Arians or semi-Arians.”

So, it comes down to Faith … The Real Presence of our Lord and Redeemer in this world is a Truth which one either chooses to believe or chooses to disregard and the choice is made manifest in the realities of our daily lives and the society in which we find ourselves.

Cheers

Joe

The path less traveled …

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The Inner Struggle

Nothing good to say?

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, 1225-1274

St. Thomas maintains: ‘Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers’ (S. Thomas, Summa theologiae, II-II, quaest. 3, art. 2, ad 2).

To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe. […] Nothing emboldens the wicked so greatly as the lack of courage on the part of the good.

Or, in a more modern vein “all that is required for evil to prosper is for good men to do nothing.”

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals

The history of the Church teaches us that “truth is not necessarily found with the majority,” but rather in the “minority which has truly lived and witnessed to the faith,” Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, one of the four ‘dubia’ cardinals, said today in Rome.

Speaking at the symposium ‘Catholic Church: Where are you heading?,’ Cardinal Brandmüller said “when Catholics en masse consider it legitimate to remarry after divorce or use contraception … this is not a mass witness to the faith, but a mass departure from it.

Food for thought then … when is it bad to refrain from attesting to the Truth?

Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Rome, April 7, 2018 Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

Bishop Athanasius Schneider in Rome, April 7, 2018, Diane Montagna/LifeSiteNews

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, in Rome, April 7, 2018, quoting an encyclical from 1890, said: “Christians are, moreover, born for combat, whereof the greater the vehemence, the more assured, God aiding, the triumph: “Have confidence; I have overcome the world (Jn 16:33). […] The chief elements of this duty consist in professing openly and unflinchingly the Catholic doctrine, and in propagating it to the utmost of our power” (Encyclical Sapientiae Christianae, January 10, 1890).

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII

Pope John XXIII taught: “All the evils which poison men and nations and trouble so many hearts have a single cause and a single source: ignorance of the truth—and at times even more than ignorance, a contempt for truth and a reckless rejection of it. […]

Anyone who consciously and wantonly attacks known truth, who arms himself with falsehood in his speech, his writings, or his conduct in order to attract and win over less learned men and to shape the inexperienced and impressionable minds of the young to his own way of thinking, takes advantage of the inexperience and innocence of others and engages in an altogether despicable business.”

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman

Blessed John Henry Newman’s 1859 essay On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine. emphasized the laity’s role in matters of doctrine, and sought to distinguish what is a true sensus fidei (sense of the faith) of believers and what is not.

“In the history of the people of God, it has often been not the majority but rather a minority which has truly lived and witnessed to the faith,” he said. “The experience of the Church shows that sometimes the truth of the faith has been conserved not by the efforts of theologians or the teaching of the majority of bishops but in the hearts of believers.”

Cheers

Joe

Church Militant …

Having a majority does not automatically confer “truth” and “good” and “just” upon any particular sociopolitical direction of a society or group. Can we still tell the difference between right and wrong, or is our moral compass broken irreparably?

 

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