“§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”
And, from the Catechism:
“Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:
– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.
To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it.
But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.”
— Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2476-2478
Keeping fraternal charity in the forefront of my mind is the perennial challenge … trying not to slip into judgemental thoughts … judge not lest you be judged … pay attention to that bit about “rash judgement” in the Catechism quote.
Vatican at night
Realizing that we are sinners, we must have a godly, and thus a deep, humble, sincere, perennial, and efficacious sorrow for our sins, a sorrow that forces us to quit the broad, rough road of sin and, with renewed spiritual strength, to advance in the way of God.
If we evade the stern obligation of repentance, we shall be lost. “Unless you shall do penance, you shall all likewise perish.” (Luke 13:3) Sorrow for past sin is the infallible means of avoiding future sin. Penitence is, then, the rock foundation of a virtuous life. We must clothe ourselves with the penitential garb here, if we would escape the terrors of the judgement hereafter. “If Thou, O Lord, wilt mark iniquities, Lord, who will stand it?” (Ps. 129:3 (RSV = Ps. 130:3)
I guess where I am is “do not let the goings on in the “real” world disturb my Faith life. Truth is Truth, no matter what the current fashion, and it is unchanging at least since the Risen Christ cooked the Apostles breakfast on the shore after their fruitless night struggling without Him.
Finis Gloriae Mundi, by Juan de Valdés Leal (1622–1690)
“Quid hoc ad aeternitatem,” as old Saint Bernard of Clairvaux used to mumble when faced with the usual parade of travail, what does it matter in the light of eternity?
“Brothers In Arms”, Dire Straits, from the album “Brothers In Arms”, 1985
Continued from the last post and the one before that and so on … can’t believe I am already doing part 6 … and I thank gentle reader for their patience and understanding as I try to chart a course through the reefs from scandal to peace.
It seems, on the face of it, that the logic of the Winnipeg Statement rises again in Amoris Laetitia, like the monster from the slab.
And, I continually discover that I am not alone, not the only one having these visions, these flashbacks and hallucinations concerning ducks. I read over on Father Hunwicke’s blog:
“(1) Bergoglians urge upon us “Amoris Laetitia” under the pretext that, with a culinary dash of Newman’s “Development” stirred into the pot and with a large dollop of subjective guilt reduced from “Mortal” to “Venial” (‘Here’s some I did earlier’), we can cook Communion for “Adulterers? NO!” until it is nicely tenderised into Communion for “Adulterers? YES!”.
Kardinal Christoph Schönborn bei der Neu-Einweihung des Papstkreuzes (Donaupark, Wien) am 16. Juni 2012
And, of course, this lays the way open for homosexuals, polygamists, paedophiles, polyamorists, therogamists, batrachophiles, and all the other categories that the Graf von Schoenborn and Fr Rosica may or may not have on their lists. … I’ve got a little list …
OK, Ko-ko (is there a Cardinal Ko-ko? in today’s Gilbert-and-Sullivan Vatican, there jolly well should be). Splendid. And all the basic work, all the heavy lifting, has already been done by Tucho in between ‘supermystic’ kisses (is there a Tucho in Gilbert and Sullivan?). What more could …
But this particular sleight of hand will not avail (as far a I can see) when these same Magisterial Minds turn their attention to the next nut that needs to be cracked: the priestly Ordination of Women.
Can anybody suggest how (again with appropriate assistance from Development and with their usual claims about the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit) they will chart their journey from “Womenpriests? NO!” to “Womenpriests? YES!?”
Father Thomas Rosica C.S.B. photographed by Chris Adamczyk, Manager, Marketing and Communications, Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation
In other words, what conjuring tricks, accompanied by the Graf’s sad but winning smile and Rosica’s air of patient condescension, will enable the Bergoglians to argue that the Ordination of Women is merely a natural and inevitable development springing fully-formed from the head of Ordinatio sacerdotalis?
(2) When Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman was faced by the protoBergoglian campaign at Vatican I to formulate the Petrine Primacy in a superhyperueberpapalist way, he characterized his contemporary Ultras as “An aggressive and insolent Faction”.
Perhaps we should resurrect this beautifully expressive phrase to describe our own dear and much-loved Ultras. And, ‘for short’, we could refer to them simply as “the Faction”.
One should never stray too far from Dr Newman.”
And sin entered into the world … the first humans believed the lie that they would become like god … and the knowledge of good and evil gave birth to an endless iteration of rationalization of how evil was not actually evil.
Evil is simply a difference of opinion, a misunderstanding; that whoever honestly chooses that course which seems right to him does so in good conscience. Now that sure sounds like a “Final Solution” moment to me.
Gerhard Cardinal Müller’s explanation, in the spirit of charity, urges caution and restraint. The Roman Catholic Church has come a long, long way, in human terms, all the human folly and antics notwithstanding.
Again I repeat the mantra “the Roman Catholic Church is not and never has been a product of the Roman Curia.” This becomes almost a prayer, a repeated prayer, a reassurance, an incantation against demons.
So, in the spirit of fraternal charity, I try to remember what I have been taught about the history of the Real Church, the Church founded by Jesus Christ … that “Paradisaical Church”.
I’m trying to remember, and to keep in mind, what I have been taught about the orthodox, paradisaical view of the origin, unity, and primal perfection of the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church as it began, before Satan, and the original sin of Clerical Pride and secular politics poisoned the well with the offal of human desires. I think I read the story of the next few paragraphs somewhere but I can’t remember where now. It reads with a lyrical simplicity which my writing often lacks.
Nothing in the history of mankind was smaller and more humble in its beginnings than the Kingdom of Heaven. It’s founder was born in a stable, in abject poverty. He grew up in poverty, and worked as a humble carpenter for the first 30 years of his life, unrecognized and completely unknown.
He completed his mission, the mission for which he came into the world, in only 3 years of preaching to poor people. His doctrine was so simple that even the unlearned peasants could understand it. His public life ended in his murder by the religious and civil authorities of his day.
When Jesus died the Church was established by a mere dozen ordinary men gathered about a humble peasant woman, Mary.
But this tiny core grew with such vitality that in only a few years it spread into all the countries of the vast Roman Empire, and so on into the whole world … even to the ends of the earth.
This was and is the Church of Jesus Christ … handed to the Apostles, the first bishops, to preach the gospel and spread the Catholic Church to the very ends of the earth.
And to conserve the truths received at the hand of Christ and pass them on “unadulterated” by fashion or opinion.
So, I have got a lot more thinking ahead of me, a lot more self examination. More thinking about “Obedience”. Obedience is the voluntary submission of my God given free will to the demands and commands of my superiors. More thinking about my failures and mistakes, my faults.
With respect to these failures, mistakes and faults, my daily errors, I instinctively try to excuse myself. My pride is unwilling to admit its mistakes and schemes. My pride wants to hide my mistakes under false pretexts, always trying to find some way to blame them on others, on the conduct of others, or on the circumstances of my life.
I believe that we find the will of God in the every day minutia and duties of our station in life, the daily duties which we are called to perform to the best of our ability and will. I believe that I give glory to God both by performance of these duties and by obedience to the commands of my superiors.
Calm day North Atlantic, 1976
In my military days I had no difficulties identifying my superiors, and for the most part no trouble obeying them, having internalized the familial hierarchy and the code of military conduct of my chosen tribe to the level of unthinking habit.
I had voluntarily brainwashed myself such that I rarely put a foot wrong. The habit of my daily life rarely fell out of line and then only in minor social matters, worthy of Captains Defaulters at times but never of anything serious requiring Court Martial.
But now, decades later, as my own boss, in my own business, I have no superiors says my ego. Where am I now required to give obedience to the commands of my superiors. When I think my own ideas and opinions are “superior” who reins me in? Where is the abnegation of self now?
When now do I struggle to obey without resistance or resentment, when do I struggle for a voluntary abnegation of self and of self determination? I am answerable to God and Jesus Christ and to no man (well, maybe to my wife sometimes but that’s another story).
I believe this, but I have great difficulty putting this into practice because without a human superior riding herd I acknowledge that I am very attached to my own opinion and my own understanding of my observations, my own judgement, the quality of my self, my self love.
I am not a religious, belong to no order, have taken no vows of obedience or otherwise. If my wife doesn’t object then who is my superior? And yet, in honesty, I have to recognize a “nominal” superior. As a self identified member of the Body of Christ, by baptism, and by active membership in the Roman Catholic Church my Superior is Jesus Christ, the head of the Body of Christ.
And his appointed representative on earth, his steward, if you will (with a nod and a wink to Gondor), is my superior by proxy, whether I like it or not. So Pope Francis is my superior, for now, until he passes on, or Christ comes again.
Hilaire Belloc, by Emil Otto (‘E.O.’) Hoppe, vintage bromide print, 1915
And what exactly has Pope Francis commanded and what does he command with respect to we the faithful? Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow creeps on this petty pace … I have to keep it ever before me … the Roman 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.
Your banner is five wounds! So too that must be our badge, our crest, our banner, if we would inherit Your kingdom!
Nothing but trials, pains, and insults … when Abraham sincerely offered to sacrifice his only son God promised him that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.
And God promised those descendants life IF those descendants followed His commandments, the Manufacturers instructions.
And, two thousand years on, Abraham’s descendants murdered God’s Son. So much for keeping the covenant. A couple of thousand years more and schoolyard bullying in the Vatican seems pretty small potatoes compared to murdering God’s Son.
So what about our trials, pains, and insults? What about our Fear Uncertainty and Doubt? What about our doctrinal controversies?
These trials and pains seem, at times, to be tailored to exactly those aspects of our life which we are most attached to, like our opinions, of others, and ourselves,
Among other things, “Amoris Laetitia” created controversy following its publication regarding whether or not Chapter 8 of the exhortation had changed 2000 years of the Catholic Church‘s sacramental discipline concerning access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist for divorced couples who havecivilly remarried.
All the “traditional” sins of the 60’s, sexuality, license, gender issues, married clergy, female priests, so on and so forth, really all the little peccadilloes which the “West Wing” of the (Liberal) Catholic Curia have been striving to “sanctify” since at least Vatican II in the 60’s.
It, the mess, or “lio” as Pope Francis is fond of excusing, is sort of like washing a pair of new paradigm jeans with your traditional whites … everything starts looking blue, and it sure looks intentional from here.
So what? So, I guess that is what Canon 212 is about …
I find myself wishing with Frodo: “I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo. “So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. ” All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us. (Gandalf, “Lord of The Rings”)
Medieval times, no web, no tweets, no 24 hour news, no social media, no problem.
Am I a throwback, an avatar from an earlier time, a man out of time, a 13th century man …
“Crux Fidelis”, Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles, from the album “Lent at Ephesus”, (2014)
Thinking a lot about Jesus Christ these days. Not so much upset about the politics and the economy as I once was.
All these happenings … they all seem so unimportant these days … a distraction … do they spark Joy? Does this (whatever I am doing, or saying, or reading) bring me closer to God?
“No one at Calvary was consulting a book.”
(And no one at Bethlehem, either. There were no missals yet.)
And Jesus ordained His apostles Priests, and charged them with passing on the truth and teaching the whole world … Any belief outside of what Christ taught is little more than human pride … pride healing the wounds of our self love, our self worship.
Sincerely believing our delusion d0esn’t make it any less delusional. We think we know but we actually don’t even know what we don’t know. Our sincerity may render us less culpable but sincerity confers no veracity on error. When discovering a different collection of “truth” than that with which we are familiar we must choose whether to reject it arbitrarily because it is unfamiliar, or we can choose to investigate the truth with “good will”.
The angels brought to the shepherds near Bethlehem a message of “peace to men of good will“. Our will is “good” when it is upright, docile, and resolute. Our will is upright when it is sincerely and entirely oriented toward good; our will is docile when it is always ready to follow every indication of God’s will; our will is resolute when it is prompt to adhere to the will of God, even though difficulties and obstacles arise, and sacrifices are required.
The Lord is continually urging us to generosity and abnegation in all the circumstances of our daily life, even in the smallest events. Only rarely in history is God’s will announced with great fanfare by heavenly hosts. Most often it comes to us quietly, in the silence, from unexpected sources and new discoveries, perhaps even new discoveries about things we feel we are very familiar with. And sometimes it is difficult because habit and the world resist change of any sort but especially change of cherished thoughts and certain beliefs.
6“If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.7Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come! (Mathew 18 – 6-7).
Christ either rose from the dead and everything He taught is the absolute unchangeable truth, or He did not and we are the biggest fools in history, we Christians. So what will it be? True believers of Truth, or the biggest fools in history? Christ gave us the first priests and the sacraments of his church. After the resurrection Jesus appeared to His disciples:
19On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”20After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.
21Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”22And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.23If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” (John 19 – 23).
What Christ is talking about in this passage is the Sacrament of Reconciliation, also known as Confession. And, in another passage we find according to the Gospel of John, the Pharisees, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, brought a woman charged with adultery before him. Then they reminded Jesus that adultery was punishable by stoning under Mosaic law and challenged him to judge the woman so that they might then accuse him of disobeying the law.
Jesus thought for a moment and then replied, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone at her.” The people crowded around him were so touched by their own consciences that they departed. When Jesus found himself alone with the woman, he asked her who were her accusers. She replied, “No man, lord.” Jesus then said, “Neither do I condemn thee: go and sin no more.” Forgiven … by Christ …
23If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.” Priests of Christ … in persona Christi… Forgiven … by Christ …
Forgiveness from a priest of Jesus Christ is necessary … In Persona Christi … if you (the priest “in persona Christi”) do not forgive them, they are not forgiven. We cannot “bestow grace on ourselves; it must be given and offered” and we cannot forgive our own sins, they must be forgiven by Christ … In Persona Christi …
it is uncomfortable to consider the Truth of this statement … to have to choose Christ’s instructions, Christ’s teachings, OR to choose our own pride, that is healing the wounds of our own self love.
To choose, as my mother did, to die “unshriven” … to refuse the last rites and the visit of the priest, because in her pride she refused to “confess her sins to some man” and God knew she was sorry for them, seems a little like treating sin and heaven like a lottery ticket – maybe she was right, but we are talking eternity here … we simply can’t know. Do we pass through the gates of death while spinning the lottery wheel of eternity?
Likewise, only God knows where we are at this moment of death; no human creature knows. Who but God knows whether we reach perfect contrition at the moment of death or even when the moment of death is. Is a decision of such moment a reasonable opportunity for gambling?
We don’t know and certainly there is no man alive or dead who could say with ANY degree of reliability what is or is not required for forgiveness and even more importantly whether we will be forgiven or if those who have gone before are forgiven. Is this something we want to just leave up to chance?
Can we be perfectly sorry for our sins many, many times before our death? Who knows but that one might be conscious enough of our dying and asked God’s forgiveness with perfect contrition and sorrow? What are the odds that WE are that fortunate perfect soul who expresses and realizes perfect contrition for our sins and hence receives God’s own absolution and forgiveness without the intervention of a priest?
I don’t know. No one knows. This is why we continue to pray for the souls of the deceased since they are our friends and loved ones? Go to Mass often and offer the Sacrament of the Mass for those souls. Commit the souls of our loved ones to the Virgin Mother Mary and ask for her deliverance.
Take advantage of all possibilities (sacramental and otherwise) to gain a Plenary Indulgence for the departed souls. And with all this, trust those souls to the merciful arms of the Sacred Heart.
We simply don’t know how God blesses us and the departed souls. So, to me, it would appear that it is a better bet to trust Christ’s own instructions and seek out a priest in the confessional when one is confessing one’s sins and seeking absolution and forgiveness.
In Roman Catholicism, the priest acts in the person of Christ in pronouncing the words that comprise part of a sacramental rite, in the Eucharist, Reconciliation, Marriage, Baptism, Last Rites, and so on.
For example, in the Mass, the Words of Institution, by which the bread becomes the Body of Christ and the wine becomes the Precious Blood. The priest and bishop act in the person of Christ the head in their leadership of the Church.
Pope Pius XII (1947)
Pope Pius XII (1947)1:
40. Only to the apostles, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood, in virtue of which they represent the person of Jesus Christ before their people, acting at the same time as representatives of their people before God….(the unbroken lineage from Peter over 2000 years down to us today)
68. The august sacrifice of the altar, then, is no mere empty commemoration of the passion and death of Jesus Christ, but a true and proper act of sacrifice, whereby the High Priest by an unbloody immolation offers Himself a most acceptable victim to the Eternal Father, as He did upon the cross.
“It is one and the same victim; the same person now offers it by the ministry of His priests, who then offered Himself on the cross, the manner of offering alone being different.”
Ecumenical Council Vatican II 1965
69. The priest is the same, Jesus Christ, whose sacred Person His minister represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is made like to the High Priest and possesses the power of performing actions in virtue of Christ’s very person.
Bishops of Vatican Council II (1964)2:
28. … Priests, although they do not possess the highest degree of the priesthood, and although they are dependent on the bishops in the exercise of their power, nevertheless they are united with the bishops in sacerdotal dignity.
By the power of the sacrament of Orders, in the image of Christ the eternal high Priest, they are consecrated to preach the Gospel and shepherd the faithful and to celebrate divine worship, so that they are true priests of the New Testament.
Pope Paul VI (1967)
Partakers of the function of Christ the sole Mediator, on their level of ministry, they announce the divine word to all. They exercise their sacred function especially in the Eucharistic worship or the celebration of the Mass by which acting in the person of Christ…
29. At a lower level of the hierarchy are deacons, upon whom hands are imposed “not unto the priesthood, but unto a ministry of service”.
Pope Paul VI (1967)3:
29. … acting in the person of Christ, the priest unites himself most intimately with the offering, and places on the altar his entire life, which bears the marks of the holocaust.
Pope John Paul II (1980)
Pope John Paul II (1980)4:
8. The priest offers the holy Sacrifice in persona Christi… Awareness of this reality throws a certain light on the character and significance of the priest celebrant who, by confecting the holy Sacrifice and acting “in persona Christi,” is sacramentally (and ineffably) brought into that most profound sacredness, and made part of it, spiritually linking with it in turn all those participating in the eucharistic assembly.
Typical Version of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997)5:
875: … No one can bestow grace on himself; it must be given and offered. This fact presupposes ministers of grace, authorized and empowered by Christ.
From him, bishops and priests receive the mission and faculty (“the sacred power”) to act in persona Christi Capitis; deacons receive the strength to serve the people of God in the diaconia of liturgy, word, and charity, in communion with the bishop and his presbyterate.
The ministry in which Christ’s emissaries do and give by God’s grace what they cannot do and give by their own powers, is called a “sacrament” by the Church’s tradition. Indeed, the ministry of the Church is conferred by a special sacrament.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Pope Benedict XVI (2007)
6: Celebrating the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday with the priests of Rome, Pope Benedict XVI said that priests should prepare themselves thoroughly to celebrate Mass and administer the sacraments, remembering that they act in the person of Christ.
7 as modified by Benedict XVI (2009)8: Can. 1008 By divine institution, some of the Christian faithful are marked with an indelible character and constituted as sacred ministers by the sacrament of holy orders. They are thus consecrated and deputed so that, each according to his own grade, they may serve the People of God by a new and specific title. Can. 1009 §1. The orders are the episcopate, the presbyterate, and the diaconate.
§2. They are conferred by the imposition of hands and the consecratory prayer which the liturgical books prescribe for the individual grades. §3. Those who are constituted in the order of the episcopate or the presbyterate receive the mission and capacity to act in the person of Christ the Head, whereas deacons are empowered to serve the People of God in the ministries of the liturgy, the word and charity.
The change in Canon Law introduced by Ominum in Mentum resolved a discrepancy between the applicability of in persona Christi Capitis (“in the person of Christ the Head”) to deacons as well as priests and bishops. With the new Motu Proprio, in persona Christi Capitis applies only to priests and bishops, and thenceforth to those on whom their successors have imposed hands, is granted the power of the priesthood.
So, any questions? Anyone? Anyone? Are we living in the best possible world, are all out humanist dreams realized and have we indeed reached the heights of virtual godhood as the secular humanist progressives would have us believe. Can we really learn everything we need to know about Jesus Christ from an article in National Geographic entitled “The Real Historical Christ”?
Is this world, this society, this culture of death actually the world of our fondest dreams or is missing out on the holy sacrament of Reconciliation and the sacrament of the Eucharist as taught by the scriptural Jesus Christ just possibly the greatest tragedy of the last 500 years? Christ gathers together and builds up … everything. Satan scatters apart and diminishes … everything.
42Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I have come here from God. I have not come on my own; God sent me.43Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say.44You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.45Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me!46Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me?47Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”(John 8 – 42-47).
Your call I guess … would you be the one to throw the first stone? I sure wouldn’t.
Christ didn’t say “Go and try to be good.” He said “Go and sin no more.”