Life in a small town

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.

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“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]

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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.

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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.

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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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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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