What Obi Wan Kenobi had to say about the liturgical reform December 19, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
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Good friend and blog reader SB gave me A Bitter Trial a while back, and I just got around to reading it. This book relates the correspondence Catholic convert and famous author Evelyn Waugh had with John Cardinal Heenan, primate of England, regarding the liturgical revolution instituted after Vatican II, and how much pain it caused both men. Waugh, Heenan and others were responsible for the unique “Agatha Christie” exemption, allowing the continued offering of the TLM in England for some years after the Council.
Many know that Alec Guinness, one of the greatest actors of the 20th century, was a Catholic convert, too. In fact, A Bitter Trial notes that Englishmen were converting to the Church at the rate of 12,000 per year in the 1930s and 40s, but after the post-conciliar changes, the rate of conversions collapsed along with everything else. Many non-Catholics in the early 20th Century saw the Church for what she was – the last bastion of Truth in a culture that seemed determined to commit suicide. But that bastion evaporated with the changes of the 1960s.
Guinness was another of this group of English artists less than impressed with the liturgical renewal. In fact, he thought it stank:
Much water has flowed under the Tiber’s bridges, carrying away splendor and mystery from Rome, since the Pontificate of Pius XII…….the banality and vulgarity of the translations which have ousted the sonorous Latin and little Greek from the Liturgy…….handshaking and embarrassed smiles or smirks have replaced the older courtesies……..
While dismayed by the liturgical revolution, Guinness did hold out hope, provided souls came to worship God and not the pagan idols of modernism:
But so long as the God who is worshiped is the God of all ages, past and to come, and not the Idol of Modernity, so venerated by some of our bishops, priests, and miniskirted nuns
Pretty smart commentary. Guinness was no fool. And I do him no favors calling him Obi Wan. He despised the role (but loved the money – he got a percentage). For me, he will always be Colonel Nicholson, fanatically building a bridge to be used against his own army to show up his Japanese oppressors:
Or Prince Faisal:
No better combination than Guinness and Lean. Ever watch Smiley?
Saint Bonaventure on the Visitation December 15, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Liturgical Year, Our Lady, Tradition, Virtue.
While the liturgical Feast of the Visitation does not occur during the season of Advent, it is most assuredly an event that figures in with the anticipation of the Savior and our salvation which Advent heralds. Thus, Dom Prosper Gueranger included this study of the Visitation by Saint Bonaveture in his volume from The Liturgical Year covering Advent. I found it very edifying, I pray you do, too:
After this, Our Lady, pondering the words spoken unto her by the angel concerning her cousin Elizabeth, resolved to visit her, that she might congratulate with her and render her service. She, therefore, together with Joseph her spouse, set out from Nazareth for the house of Elizabeth, which might perhaps be fourteen or fifteen miles distant from Jerusalem. Neither the roughness nor the length of the journey discouraged her; but she walked with haste, forasmuch as she wished to be little seen in public. She was not like other mothers, burthened by her Child, nor was it to be thought that the Lord Jesus would be a burthen to His Mother. See, therefore, how the Queen of Heaven and earth takes this journey alone, with none but her spouse Joseph; not riding, but walking; neither is she escorted by troops of soldiers and barons, nor attended by handmaids and fine ladies. Her train is poverty, humility, modesty, and the beauty of all virtues. The Lord Himself, too, is with her; and He verily hath a numerous and honorable suite, but it is not that of the world, vain and pompous.
Now, when she had entered the house of Elizabeth, she greeted her saying: “Hail! my sister Elizabeth!” But she, exulting, and full of joy, and inflamed by the Holy Spirit, rises and most tenderly embraces Mary, exclaiming for joy: “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb! And whence is this to me, that there should come unto me the Mother of my Lord!” For as soon as the Virgin had greeted Elizabeth, John, in his mother’s womb, was filled with the Holy Ghost, as was likewise the mother. Nor was it that the mother was filled and then her child, but contrariwise, the child was filled first, and he communicated the Spirit unto the mother. The babe effected nought in Elizabeth’s soul, but he merited that the Holy Ghost should do a work in her soul, because the grace of the Divine Spirit had descended into him with greater abundance, and he was the first to receive the grace. And as Elizabeth had perceived the coming of Mary, so did john perceive the coming of Jesus. Therefore was it that he leaped for joy, and she prophesied. See the virtue of Our Lady’s words, when by their utterance the Holy Ghost was conferred; for so replenished was Mary with Him, that, by her merits, He filled others also with Himself. Upon this, Mary made answer unto Elizabeth, saying: “My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior.”
So it is by Our Lady’s very words that immense Grace was and is transferred, that caused John the prophet to stir for the first time and to fulfill his role as he who makes straight the way of the Lord.
Dom Gueranger also writes thus in the entry for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception:
….Mary therefore existed, in the divine decree, before creation began. This is the reason of the Church’s having, from the earliest ages, interpreted this sublime passage of the sacred volume of Jesus and of Mary unitedly, and ordering it and analogous passages of the Scriptures to be read in the assembly of the faithful on the solemnities or feast of the Mother of God. [that foregoing is in reference to the Epistle for the Immaculate Conception, Wisdom VIII] But if Mary be thus prominent in the divine and eternal plan; if, in the sense in which these mysterious texts are understood by the Church, she was, with Jesus, before every creature; could God permit her to be subjected to the original sin, which was to fall on all the children of Adam? She is, it is true, to be a child of Adam like her Divine Son Himself, and to be born at the time fixed; but that torrent, which sweeps all mankind along, shall be turned away from her by God’s Grace; it shall not come near to her; and she shall transmit to her Son, who is also the Son of God, the human nature in its original perfection, created, as the apostle says, in holiness and justice.
I bring this up, because both Scripture and the most ancient Tradition point to the Blessed Mother as the woman referred to throughout Scripture, and especially in Genesis, she who will crush the serpent while he snips at her heel. A local priest in a sermon yesterday noted that protestants try to say that the Hebrew text for Genesis makes reference to a male as being the one who will crush the serpent (meaning the Christ), and not a female. But the original Hebrew was written in an androgynous manner – it was only much latter that sexes were assigned to nouns used in Hebrew. So, this claim falls apart, and since the original Scripture is unclear, we have to turn to Tradition, which predates Scripture in so many cases, anyway.
Thus occurred to me this point during the sermon, which I am surely a long time getting to: on this as on so many other points, the Catholic position on various doctrines rejected by protestants is not unsupported by Scripture, it is not some wild claim completely devoid of any Scriptural support, what has happened is that the protestants have rejected the Catholic interpretation for their own. This goes to show, yet again, that “private interpretation” of Scripture, the so-called bedrock of protestantism, is just MY opinion on Scripture, and rejecting YOURS or the Church’s or whatever. Luther himself made this clear when he castigated in violent terms and persecuted to the utmost of his ability those who disagreed with HIS interpretation of Scripture. We can see, then, in private interpretation of Scripture a clear trend towards the doctrinal chaos we see today, and also towards many other errors: indifferentism, self-serving alterations to universal beliefs held for millenia, democratization of the church (Calvinism/presbyterianism, where leaders are elected based on what the people want to hear taught at a particular moment), and all the rest.
Private interpretation has always been a lie, a fabulous selling point to dupe people into rejecting the “hard” bits of Scripture or Tradition they do not favor, and twisting words to tickle their own ears and create a church and a God of their own making.
And, incredibly, there have been many influential voices in the Church for the past 50 years or so (like Yves Congar) telling us the protestants got it right. Even today, such opinions are quite numerous.
More reasons to reject the Reformation: Patristic Scriptural Exegesis December 12, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Bible, catachesis, Christendom, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Saints, Tradition, Virtue.
I am totally out of time, but reader skeinster sent me this great link earlier in the week and I have been meaning to get to it. Do read the below, but also go to Shameless Popery and read the rest, especially the grounds of argument used by the early Church Fathers to form the Canon of Scripture:
Catholic beliefs are often rejected by “Bible-only” Protestants on the grounds that they are “extra-Scriptural Traditions.” This accusation typically misses the mark: on teachings like the priesthood, or the Eucharist, or regenerative baptism, it’s not that the Church is deriving these views from a source other than Scripture. It’s that she sees support for each of these doctrines within Scripture itself.
Protestants might disagree with those Biblical interpretations, but that’s still what we’re dealing with: Biblical interpretations, not doctrines derived from other sources. So even if you were committed to sola Scriptura, you could still arrive at virtually everything that the Church teaches, so long as you read the Bible through the eyes of the early Church.
This reframes the debate in an important way: it’s no longer primarily a question of whether we base doctrines off of Scripture and Tradition or Scripture alone. Rather, the question is primarily about whether we will base doctrines off of your interpretation of Scripture or the interpretation of Scripture held by the early Christians (and indeed, by the Church, and by an unbroken chain of two thousand years’ worth of Christians).
This also exposes a divide within modern Protestantism between two different kinds of “sola Scriptura,” one that many Catholics (and not a few Protestants) are ignorant of. This distinction is sometimes termed “Tradition 0” v. “Tradition 1.” Whereas “Tradition 0” gives no weight to Tradition, “Tradition 1” will side with the traditional interpretation of Scripture much of the time. The Calvinist scholar Alistar McGrath describes “Tradition 0” as a danger result of the Radical Reformation:
During the sixteenth century, the option of totally rejecting tradition was vigorously defended by representatives of the radical Reformation. For radicals such as Thomas Müntzer and Caspar Schwenkfeld, every individual had the right to interpret Scripture as he pleased, subject to the guidance of the Holy Spirit. For Sebastian Franck, the Bible “is a book sealed with seven seals which none can open unless he has the key of David, which is the illumination of the Spirit.” The way was thus opened for individualism, with the private judgment of the individual raised above the corporate judgment of the church. Thus the radicals rejected the practice of infant baptism (to which the magisterial Reformation remained committed) as non-scriptural. (There is no explicit reference to the practice in the New Testament.) Similarly, doctrines such as the Trinity and the divinity of Christ were rejected as resting upon inadequate scriptural foundations. What we might therefore term “Tradition 0″ rejects tradition, and in effect places the private judgment of the individual or congregation in the present above the corporate traditional judgment of the Christian church concerning the interpretation of Scripture.
So Tradition has no real regard for the early Christians, and its adherents are comfortable trusting in their own modern, individual interpretations, and rejecting all of Christian history, if need be. That this approach is a disaster should be self-evident, given that it almost immediately resulted in prominent Protestants denying the Trinity and the Divinity of Christ. Instead, McGrath argues for “Tradition 1,” the position that he ascribes to Luther, Calvin, and most of the better-known Reformers:
As has been noted, the magisterial Reformation was theologically conservative. It retained most traditional doctrines of the church – such as the divinity of Jesus Christ and the doctrine of the Trinity – on account of the reformers’ conviction that these traditional interpretations of Scripture were correct. Equally, many traditional practices (such as infant baptism) were retained, on account of the reformers’ belief that they were consistent with Scripture. The magisterial Reformation was painfully aware of the threat of individualism, and attempted to avoid this threat by placing emphasis upon the church’s traditional interpretation of Scripture, where this traditional interpretation was regarded as correct. Doctrinal criticism was directed against those areas in which Catholic theology or practice appeared to have gone far beyond, or to have contradicted, Scripture. As most of these developments took place in the Middle Ages, it is not surprising that the reformers spoke of the period 1200-1500 as an “era of decay” or a “period of corruption” which they had a mission to reform. Equally, it is unsurprising that we find the reformers appealing to the early church fathers as generally reliable interpreters of Scripture.
According to McGrath – and the Reformers – Tradition 1 Protestantism is all about restoring the Church to the faith of the Church Fathers (on at least most issues: they leave the door open to ignore the Church Fathers as suits them, as the bolded parts of McGrath’s description suggest).
It’s to these Protestants that St. Edmund Campion addresses the sixth of his Ten Reasons. Whereas Campion’s fifth reason (which we examined Friday) shows the impossibility of Tradition 0 Protestantism, his sixth reason shows that Tradition 1 Protestantism leads to one of two conclusions: the Catholic Church, or special pleading (that ends up being indistinguishable from the disastrous Tradition 0).
Now go to Shameless Popery and read St. Edmund Campion’s rebuttal of these protestant errors. Just a taste:
There are two reasons that a Tradition 1 Protestant could justify ignoring and contradicting the consensus of the Church Fathers. The first of these is that the Fathers’ beliefs are derived from extra-Scriptural Tradition. Campion begins his argument by establishing that the Church Fathers are deeply devoted to Sacred Scripture, and that, while they’re not “Bible only” Christians, their beliefs are based overwhelming off of Scripture:
If ever any men took to heart and made their special care, as men of our religion have made it and should make it their special care, to observe the rule, Search the Scriptures (John 5:39), the holy Fathers easily come out first and take the palm for the matter of this observance. By their labour and at their expense Bibles have been transcribed and carried among so many nations and tongues: by the perils they have run and the tortures they have endured the Sacred Volumes have been snatched from the flames and devastation spread by enemies: by their labours and vigils they have been explained in every detail. Night and day they drank in Holy Writ, from all pulpits they gave forth Holy Writ, with Holy Writ they enriched immense volumes, with most faithful commentaries they unfolded the sense of Holy Writ, with Holy Writ they seasoned alike their abstinence and their meals, finally, occupied about Holy Writ they arrived at decrepit old age.
Some quick points to refute protestant errors regarding Scripture December 12, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, Christendom, disaster, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Latin Mass, sadness, scandals, Society.
Father Pastor at Mater Dei gave a really good sermon last night on a topic he excels at: apologetics. He says he used to teach apologetics and it shows. In a brief sermon, there were several great points made regarding protestant errors in understanding and using Sacred Scripture. I will list them and expand a bit on each below:
1. A common protestant claim one hears, typically in the South where Catholics are not numerous and where protestant errors have gone unchallenged for centuries, is that Catholics “added” books to the Bible. That’s a neat rhetorical trick. Actually, the Canon of Scripture accepted by ALL non-protestant Churches (including the Orthodox, Copts, Nestorians, etc) was settled by Pope St. Damasus in ~AD 326 and remained universally unquestioned until 1520, when Martin Luther realized that certain Old Testament books contained truths that obliterated protestant errors and thus had to be excluded. Casting about for a reason to do so (he also wanted to exclude some New Testament books, like Saint James, but no even remotely valid reason could be found), he settled on using the JEWISH canon of Old Testament Scripture that was developed at a meeting in Egypt after the destruction of Jerusalem in AD70. Thus, protestants deleted books from the Bible that had been accepted by all of Christendom for over 1000 years, and under very flimsy pretexts.
2. However, the Jews based their selections on the prime criteria of whether or not they could find a copy in Hebrew for each of the various OT books. Thus, several were excluded, and the Book of Daniel was butchered with a significant part removed from the Jewish “canon,” because a Hebrew copy could not be found. Protestants accepted this Jewish canon through and through, including the truncated Book of Daniel – which just happened to include portions which showed the deplorable state into which the Jewish religion and state would sink prior to the arrival of the Messiah.
3. Interestingly, a copy of Daniel was found in the caves of Qumran after WWII that WAS in Hebrew and was complete. It matches the Catholic version, derived from the Septuagint.
4. Revealing of intent: neither the protestants nor the Jews have updated their copies of Daniel since this finding. They continue to use the truncated version, by and large.
5. Even more interestingly, all of the direct quotes made by Our Savior Jesus Christ of Scripture are based on the Septuagint version.
6. So we have a situation where protestants chose to quote the Jewish version of the Old Testament, compiled in the period after the destruction of their temple and the Levitic priesthood, when basically an entirely new religion had to be cobbled together. Catholics (and the other ancient Churches) use the same version of the Old Testament quoted by Our Savior. The canon of Scripture was compiled by great Saints, whose sanctity proved their inspiration and made their compilation infallible. The protestant reformers were not saints by any stretch and were men fighting an ideological battle as much oriented towards worldly power and influence as it was towards concern for souls.
7. So which would you choose, a version compiled by Saints, universally accepted for 1200 years and in accord with the Words of Christ, or the version which aligns with rebellious Jews who had rejected the Messiah, seen the destruction of their own religion, and were casting about for ways to reformulate that religion and maintain their positions of influence?
I will state again that it was no coincidence that the books of Scripture Luther most wanted to exclude – Maccabees, James – make plain both the importance of works as efficacious of Grace and the idea of prayers for the dead and the sufferings of Purgatory, both of which were the prime theological concepts Luther was working to undermine and obliterate. The fact that the Jews at Jamnia had done basically the same thing provided a good pretext to make use of their own deformations of the OT canon.
That would make about the 6th person I know who felt called to embrace the Church through experience at the Traditional Latin Mass. Via Pertinacious Papist, a happy story but one that also contains much salutary discussion of how the two Latin Rites appeal – or don’t – to those outside the Church (emphasis from link, I add comments):
The Catechism and the Second Vatican Council say that the Mass is “the source and summit of the Christian life.” The claim seems odd to most of us today. Americans usually think religion has to do with spirituality, which we see as personal and rather vague, with moral commitment, whether defined as “family values” or as “social justice,” or with joining a community of mutual concern, acceptance, and support. Even if we accept in theory that the religion to which we claim to adhere is something much more definite, it goes against the grain to treat the definite part as more than decorative. After all, doctrine divides, and we’re all pragmatists, so why emphasize that side of things?
If you look at religion that way a worship service becomes something like a lecture, pep rally, self-help meeting, or social get-together. [Is that not an apt description for many Masses as they are offered in the Church today?] Other people do those things at least as well as Catholics, so why bother with Catholicism? [Exactly the sad calculation millions of souls have already made in leaving the Church] Why not go with something even more modern and American than the New Mass as presented in the average suburban parish? Why not do praise and worship at a megachurch?
The Traditional Mass made it clear that the Mass is something different from all that. The formality, the silences, the use of an ancient language, the orientation and gestures of the priest, the indifference to popularity—all those things meant the Mass wasn’t anything like an ordinary meeting. It wasn’t about the people present, and at bottom it wasn’t even their doing. To the contrary, those present evidently understood what was going on as awe-inspiring, mostly invisible, and dependent on someone other than themselves. There was no other way to make sense of how they were acting.
So the Traditional Mass made it clear that there’s a basic dimension in Catholic Christianity, the reliable concrete presence of God, that I couldn’t find anywhere else. [And that factor right there was key in several people I know converting to the Faith through the experience of the TLM. At present, there is are souls to pray for, a Hasidic Jewish couple that is contemplating converting to the One True Faith. Such conversions are so rare as to be unheard of. Please pray for them] That realization clarified what the Church is—she is the way God maintains a visible presence in the world—and the necessity of becoming part of her for those who want to live a complete life. [Not to mention the vital need to be in visible communion with the Church to obtain eternal salvation]
…….The Mass, in which God becomes present to us in the most concrete way imaginable, is an extreme case of His mercy. The Traditional Mass makes it as evident as possible what is going on when it is celebrated. That feature helps people recognize and accept what is offered, and eliminates the barrier to mercy that arises when the nature of the Mass is obscured. [That’s a great point, and one I had not well considered before. I do think it true that contrary to what many people might think, the mercy of God may be more clearly expressed in the TLM than in the NO. I know the NO has the reputation being less austere and “hard” than the TLM but that doesn’t mean it conveys the sense of God’s mercy as well]
In the divine mercy it is God who defines the way and makes the first move. That means that we don’t form the Mass, it forms us,
Which leads to another benefit of the Traditional Mass: it helps the Church see herself as a whole, as the same always and everywhere, and it unites the Church on earth with the Church in heaven in a special way. Relics of the saints help us feel their presence and communion as a reality. The Traditional Mass is a relic of the saints whose images are in the niches and on the walls, and who surround us when it is celebrated, because so many of them worshiped through the same Mass or something close to it when they were visibly here among us…….
The New Mass looked to me like it had been produced less by saints and the sensus fidei fidelium than by an interdenominational committee of credentialed experts and then modified in accordance with the demands of particular communions. … it seems to me that the Traditional Latin Mass helps believers and the Church, because it helps believers see what the Mass and Church are all about. It helps people see the Mass as more than an ordinary assembly and the Church as more than a collection of individuals with varying tendencies and idiosyncrasies. So it helps the Church reach people with what she has to offer. It also helps the Church see herself as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, and so helps focus her on her nature and mission. What could be better, or more Catholic, than all that?
Given the testimony above and that of some others I know, it’s rather comical (in a sad way) to consider that the TLM is the ecumenical Mass the NO was always sold as being. It doesn’t appeal to everyone, but those it does appeal to tend to find it irresistible.
I was speaking to a friend the other day at lunch about the Novus Ordo and the TLM. Both of us go out of our way to assist only at the TLM whenever possible. I have not been to a NO in over a year. I cannot say I miss anything about it.
However, both of us agreed that a very good, reverent, Latin Novus Ordo played a big part in helping to prepare us to experience the TLM and find that experience rewarding. It was a great step along the way, and I will ever be thankful for the priest who offered that Mass then and still does today. He has suffered a great deal for his faithfulness to the intent of Sacrosanctum Concilium and the Council Fathers, offering a Mass much closer to the vision of the vast majority of bishops at Vatican II than the Mass offered in most parishes today.
Nevertheless, when I went back to that Mass about a year ago, it was just not the same. I’ve moved on. The rest of my family felt the same way. But what a grace it was for us for a time.
Via Pertinacious Papist – hardly a traditionalist source – a video of a group of followers of the deceased “Bishop” Tony Palmer meeting with Pope Francis within days of the Synod wrapping up. All of these individuals represent various protestant sects.
I will forewarn those who do not like critical assessments of the actions of the current Pope, they may not be comfortable with this post. I internally debated for a long time just posting the video without comment in order not to offend, but I fear that the video is so difficult to watch that the vast majority of readers would not get much of the content, so I decided to provide an assessment of the content. I apologize in advance to the extent that this post troubles anyone.
As I said, the video below is painful to watch, for several reasons, not least of which is the slow manner of speech and the constant interrupts for the translator (and you can argue about how accurate the translation is until the cows come home, I can tell some of the key words, it’s not that far off). Pope Francis says, more or less, all Christians are essentially equal due to our common baptism – even if some protestant sects hold very different views regarding the role of baptism in the economy of salvation (justification by faith alone argues implicitly that baptism is not necessary for salvation, contrary to Our Blessed Lord’s plain revelation, yes I understand there may be exceedingly rare exceptions but water baptism is the normal vehicle for inclusion in the Body of Christ – some protestants argue it is not necessary)- and that pointing out the vast doctrinal differences between the various sects and Churches and the fact that one may risk damnation by absorbing protestant errors, errors denounced constantly for 4 centuries, is doing the work of the devil. I am not opining, I am simply repeating what Pope Francis says in the video below:
Pope Francis’ declaration regarding an invisible community of baptized believers is diametrically at odds with the statements of Pope Pius XII: Hence they err in a matter of divine truth, who imagine the Church to be invisible, intangible, a something merely “pneumatological” as
they say, by which many Christian communities, though they differ from each other in their profession of faith, are united by an invisible bond.”
Pope Francis says doctrinal differences between the Church and all the separated groups are for theologians to figure out: meanwhile, the great project of ecumenism must move forward. What does that say for his appreciation of the impact the false doctrines of the sects, decried and opposed for centuries by the Church and Her many Saints, has on the salvation of souls? Did not Saint Peter say we had to accept the Faith whole and entire, or that we were not within the Church?
I could add more by reminding how at odds Pope Francis’ statements appear to be with the constant belief and practice of the Faith, and how he is at least tacitly attacking the lives of too many great Saints to list by making such a declaration. Just off the top of my head: Saint John Chrysostom, Saint Augustine, Saint Hilary of Poitiers, Saint Jerome, Saint Teresa of Jesus, Saint Peter Canisius, Saint Thomas Aquinas, Saint Alphonsus Maria de Liguori……all Doctors of the Church……..Saint Vincent of Lerins, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Justin Martyr, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Saint Francis Xavier, Pope Saint Pius X…….I could go on for a very long time.
I could also add how Pope Francis frequently only has invective and criticism for Catholics, especially the most faithful Catholics, but seems to have nothing but praise and understanding for protestants, and especially the more pentecostal types of protestants. I know some fear Pope Francis may cause a huge boost in membership for the Society of Saint Pius X, but I fear far more the great windfall this pontificate may mean for the more conservative sects.
Many great popes, like Pope Leo XIII, have proven without a doubt that protestant bodies are not churches but are sects. Their ecclesiastical bodies are so deficient in so many regards they are not part of the Church of Christ – their ordinations are not valid, they do not confect the Blessed Sacrament if they make the attempt, they have no valid apostolic succession, they are full of errors that lead souls dangerously astray from the Church Christ founded – again, this could be a very extensive list. There was something of a kerfuffle when, after they agreed to ordain women “priests” and tolerated the US Episcopal embrace of sodomite simulation of marriage, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was not seated with the Orthodox and other recognized (if schismatic) Churches at the 2011 Assisi ecumenical confab held by Pope Benedict, but was instead seated with the numerous evangelical-type sects. So even Pope Benedict, who certainly held to post-conciliar views of ecumenism, recognized that simple baptism does not mean an ecclesiastical body makes a Church.
Here are some direct quotes for those who cannot make out the audio (I had little difficulty, I just found it very boring and upsetting):
We are sinning against the will of Christ, because we are looking only at the differences. But we all have the same baptism, and baptism is more important than the differences. We all believe in the Father, in the Son, and in the Holy Spirit. We all have within the Holy Spirit who prays, “now” for us, the spirit who prays in us. [So then having the Blessed Sacrament, or not, makes no difference? What of John 6? What of Matt 16:18-20?]
And everyone must know that there is also a father of lies, the father of all divisions, the “anti-Father,” the devil who gets in and divides, divides… Tony talked about this a lot, about this going forward and walking, walking together in what unites us. And that the Lord Jesus with his power may help us so that what divides us may not divide us too much. [And I will believe the sincerity of the protestants towards the ecumenical project when they stop calumniating the Church founded by Jesus Christ and stop going all out to steal away tens of millions from the bosom of the Church]
I don’t know, it’s crazy… Having a treasure and preferring to use imitations of the treasure. The imitations are the differences, what matters is the treasure. [Some might say……many Saints did say……that it is exactly protestantism that is the imitation, while the Church is the treasure.]
There is so much more I could point out. But I don’t like being in this position any more than some of those who may read this. This is a tragedy of incomprehensible proportions.
I post this because it is highly relevant to the ongoing revolution in the Church and to address errors put forth by the most influential person in the Church. I also post this because it highlights the question that has been foremost in my mind for at least a year: Is Pope Francis glad that I became Catholic? Would he prefer or recommend – if I still were not – that I not become Catholic? Did I make a mistake in becoming Catholic?
Good post: The Paramagisterium November 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Ecumenism, error, foolishness, General Catholic, priests, religious, scandals, secularism, self-serving, sickness, Society.
I really like the way the author of this post at catholicism.org has conceptualized the way in which formal Doctrine has been attacked and undermined since Vatican II: the paramagisterium. That’s a brilliant word summing up a sometimes difficult to explain phenomenon, the manner in which prelates and even popes may weaken Doctrine while never formally changing it, something that has afflicted the Church to a huge degree in the past several decades. Paramagisterium also describes not only what many in the Church hierarchy seek, but how they go about achieving it, often in concert with forces outside the Church, many of which are openly hostile to orthodox Christianity.
First, I’ll quote a section describing the author’s definition of “paramagisterium” (I add emphasis and comments):
One undeniable hallmark of Catholic dogma has always been its clarity. The Church, as a good teacher, does not guide her children in halting speech. She is not vague or ambiguous. Indeed, to teach infallibly and thus bind the faithful under pain of grievous sin would absolutely require clarity. Since it is manifestly contrary to reason for a teacher to demand assent of the intellect to something ambiguous or vague, how can Christ’s faithful be bound in conscience to believe something ephemeral or given to a multiplicity of contrary interpretations? [Ahem, Guadium Et Spes, cough, Nostra Aetate, hack, Dignitatis Humanae, choke. These documents are so often either unclear, self-contradictory, or apparently at odds with the prior Magisterium that we are now told it takes post-doctoral studies in systematic theology to begin to understand them]
The infallible magisterium of the Catholic Church is limited in its exercise, clearly recognizable when invoked, and serious in its expression. But these marks of Catholicity are all but lost in our day when a “paramagisterium” operates seemingly to supplant the authentic magisterium of the Church.
These thoughts came to mind upon hearing the news that Libreria Editrice Vaticana has published the book, Interviste e conversazioni con i giornalisti (“Interviews and Conversations with Journalists”), a collection of interviews with Pope Francis.
The author then outlines what the paramagisterium is and how it works by focusing on one very clear doctrinal belief of the Church – capital punishment – and how the constant belief and practice of 2000 years has been steadily attacked and eroded over the past 50 years or so:
For purposes of illustration, I would like now to consider a concrete subject upon which the paramagisterium has spoken frequently and loudly, even to the point of confusing some very good Catholics — especially champions for the pro-life cause. I speak of capital punishment.
Writing for Crisis Magazine some time ago, Christopher A. Ferrara asked the question “Can the Church Ban Capital Punishment?” He replied in the negative for very weighty reasons. In brief, the entire tradition of the Church advanced and defended the right of the State to administer the death penalty, not only as a means to protect the citizenry from a repeat offense, but also for reasons of justice, deterrence, expiation, and even the spiritual welfare of the guilty, whose frightful sentence could lead to his conversion, as it did over the years for many of the condemned. [I have argued the same on this blog. While there may be valid prudential reasons to oppose the use of the death penalty in a given state at a given point in time (which reasons are of course arguable, see below), one cannot say that the Church is categorically opposed to the death penalty, that the Church teaches that its use is immoral, or that, God forbid, Church Doctrine has been “changed” by the less than careful statements by some recent pontiffs on this subject.]
Ferrara quotes the Catechism of the Council of Trent:
Again, this prohibition [of killing] does not apply to the civil magistrate, to whom is entrusted the power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which he punishes the guilty and protects the innocent. The use of the civil sword, when wielded by the hand of justice, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the commandment is the preservation and sanctity of human life, and to the attainment of this end, the punishments inflicted by the civil magistrate, who is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend, giving security to life by repressing outrage and violence.
…….What a lot of Catholics probably do not know is that Vatican City State and the other Papal States themselves formerly used the death penalty.
In the nineteenth century, there existed in Rome the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato (“Saint John Beheaded”), whose members did penance for those we now call death-row inmates. For them, part of being Christian also meant looking out for the spiritual welfare of the condemned. The Papal States were quite interested in man’s supernatural end, too. For this reason, execution days in Rome were days of prayer and penance. Saint Vincent Pallotti used to work with the archconfraternity of San Giovanni Decollato, and never complained that the popes, one of whom was Blessed Pio Nono, were “violating human dignity.”
There are some who oppose capital punishment purely for prudential reasons, and in the present context. They believe that the modern state is so evil, so given to usurp rights that are not its own, and so callous towards human life in general (e.g., abortion), that it ought not to wield the sword. This position is not at variance with Church teaching, but it is certainly debatable. [Being based on prudential arguments, of course it’s debatable.]
Granted, the State does not have to resort to capital punishment. The question is may it do so. And the answer is yes.
But there is a new body of teaching today, part of the paramagisterium, which has it that the death penalty is an intrinsic violation of the dignity of the human person. We hear it from bishops, priests, and pious lay faithful engaged in the pro-life movement. The logical question presents itself: If this is so, why did Christ’s infallible Church, for the entirety of her history, teach and act otherwise until the late twentieth century? This cannot be justified as a legitimate “development of doctrine,” because these individuals negate capital punishment in principle and based upon fundamental anthropological truths that the Church has either not known or overlooked until the ascendancy of personalist philosophy in the twentieth century. [And personalism of a certain sort, not necessarily that of Dietrich von Hildebrand, but that of Karol Wojtyla – rather a different view of personalism]
Capital punishment is but one issue upon which we see confusion generated by the paramagisterium. Others would include evolution (no, it’s not a teaching of the Church!), Christ’s Social Kingship, Limbo, Biblical inerrancy, and, of course, sex. Lastly, the very nature of the Church herself, her necessity and divine constitution are constantly assailed by the paramagisterium. [Dang right. And don’t forget the manner in which NFP is promoted, often as a moral obligation!, in that list, nor ecumenism/interreligious dialogue]
Certainly this paramagisterium has been immensely aided by the press carefully picking and choosing which papal statements or quotes from bishops it will publicize. But at the same time, it must be noted that statements by recent pontiffs often serve as
virtually the sole “doctrinal” support for Catholic acceptance of things like the evolution of species, even if those statements were often lacking in clarity (as stated above) and non-binding on conscience themselves. They are often just enough to muddy the waters or convince well meaning people that the popular “modern” sentiment is acceptable from the point of view of the Church.
Cardinal Koch: Fall of Communism “not all positive” because revival of Greek Catholicism has hampered ecumenism November 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Ecumenism, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, history, Holy suffering, sadness, secularism, self-serving, the return.
You have got to be kidding me. On the surface, Koch’s statement might seem relatively innocuous (even if counter to the sensus fidei of most Catholics who understand the destruction of the Soviet Empire as a good thing), but given the history of horrible persecution, suffering, and abuse the “Uniate” and Orthodox Churches suffered under communism, it seems incredible to lament the passing of the old communist regime:
“The changes in 1989 were not advantageous for ecumenical relations,” Koch told Vatican Radio. “The Eastern Catholic churches banned by Stalin re-emerged, especially in Ukraine and Romania, and from the Orthodox came the old accusation about Uniate churches and proselytism.” [It was so much easier under the old regime, he seems to say! “We could just dial up the Kremlin and demand a bishop show up at our Council and they would be there and say whatever we wanted! No back-tracking, no mussing around, things are much more difficult today, it’s almost like these Orthodox and Uniate guys believe in all this Jesus stuff! That makes ecumenism so much harder!”]
“Uniate” refers to eastern churches with Orthodox-style liturgies that recognize the pope as their spiritual leader.
Pope Francis will meet Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew in Istanbul late this month. The Orthodox spiritual head supports more cooperation with Rome, but cannot ignore the wary Russians, who make up two-thirds of the world’s 300 million Orthodox.
Koch, who spoke a week after the 25th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s fall, and on the same day as Czechs marked the start of their democratic revolution, noted that talks on closer ties between Catholic and Orthodox theologians were suspended between 2000 and 2006 because of tensions between the two sides. [One major concern the Orthodox have – Lord knows the preponderance of fault is on their side – is on the tendency towards liberal worldliness they perceive in the Church today. Relations improved under Benedict because they saw the Church as heading in a better, more traditional direction. I bet the brakes are hot now.]
“There are always setbacks, but I’m convinced we can make more progress,” the Swiss-born cardinal said. [Always ill-defined…..”progress”. Oh yay]
Persecution of Christians in the Middle East has brought Catholics, Orthodox and Protestants there together, he said, but the Ukraine crisis has heightened tensions among churches.
“We’ve repeatedly heard major complaints from the Russian Orthodox,” he said. “This is unfortunate because churches are supposed to be a factor for unity and reconciliation.”
Metropolitan Hilarion, the number two man in the Moscow Patriarchate, used his guest presentation to a Vatican synod on the family last month to accuse the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church of trying to poach believers from Orthodoxy. [What a joke. The Orthodox persecute the living crud out of the Ukrainian Catholics and Catholics of all stripes every chance they get. They constantly proselytize Catholics while getting the government to try to prevent the Catholics from evangelizing Orthodox. They almost behave as if they do not have the courage of their convictions, if one looks at the degree to which they rely on the state to run interference for them.]
Folks, Catholic/Orthodox relations have been incredibly complex and difficult for over 1500 years. Forgive me if I am dubious that the likes of men as Cardinal Kurt Koch or his hangers on are of a mettle to overcome this very thorny problem. The Orthodox Churches are very screwed up, mixing in equal parts nationalism with religious fervor and, maybe even more, anti-Catholicism. If there is one force that binds the many, constantly warring Orthodox Churches together it is their anti-Catholicism. I used to dream about “progress” in Catholic-Orthodox relations several years ago, when my knowledge of Church history was much weaker, now I pretty much just leave it in the hands of God and pray for the conversion of individual souls. I don’t see a reunion happening by human agency at all, it could only occur through a huge movement of Grace, a basically miraculous event.
What I do fear, and what has already occurred several times in the past, is that Greek Catholics will be thrown under the bus and made to suffer for some perceived or promised ecumenical “gain.” The only gains the other side will permit are those which profit them and they would like nothing more than to see that little island of Catholicism in their Orthodox sea crushed. So pray for the Church in Ukraine, it is under heavy pressure and will probably need our support. For one thing many of our bishops really don’t care for the Greek Catholics because they do not use the Novus Ordo and are thus suspect of having a different religious identity.
h/t reader CH
Great story about chaplain of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles November 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Ecumenism, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Latin Mass, manhood, priests, sanctity, Tradition, true leadership, Virtue.
I don’t know how much pub this story has gotten in orthodox Catholic circles but it’s a good one. A priest recently assigned as chaplain for the great order of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of the Apostles in Missouri spends his time off walking around town in cassock and saturno, evangelizing souls he meets. What great witness:
Most afternoons, the Rev. Lawrence Carney can be found walking around St. Joseph. Dressed in black, carrying a crucifix and rosary, he can be hard to miss.
“The name of St. Joseph being one of the three of the Holy Family, a nun and I thought this would be a good town to allow me to walk around and pray,” the Rev. Carney says. “I think God has lots of ideas in mind for this idea of walking around and being a visible sign of the church, as kind of a missionary.”
The Rev. Carney moved to St. Joseph from Wichita, Kan., in January, where he had served as a pastor with the Diocese of Wichita.
“I was invited by the Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles to be their chaplain,” the Rev. Carney says. “From there, I asked if I could live in a city and pray the rosary around the town and meet people along the way. If they wanted to talk about God, I would help them.” [The prayers of holy nuns are so vital to the success of priestly apostolates. The collapse in women’s religious life has wounded the Church more than we can know in this life. I know one very holy priest who believes very strongly that every good priest requires what he calls “a little girl” or two praying in a convent somewhere for his sanctity and the success of his apostolate. I think he’s right.]
The Rev. Carney spends part of his day with the nuns of Benedictines of Mary, Queen of Apostles in Gower, Mo., saying Mass and praying. Afterward, he returns to St. Joseph to walk, pray and attend Mass at St. Patrick’s Church, where he is staying.…..
…….While he walks in St. Joseph, the Rev. Carney prays the rosary and talks to people he meets.
“A lot of time, people want me to pray for them, for their general intentions, sicknesses or conversion. And then I teach them how to pray,” he says. “They ask about God and Jesus and Mary.” [Wonderful evangelization right there]
He doesn’t have a set route, but he enjoys visiting the soup kitchen and listening to people. While he walks, he carries a crucifix in his right hand and a rosary in his left, an act he calls “fishing.”
“One guy came up to me and said, ‘What are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m fishing. The crucifix is my hook, my rosary is my line. Allow me to put the rosary around your neck.’ He allowed me, and I said, ‘You’ve just been caught by Jesus,’” the Rev. Carney says. [Corny, but cool]
Later, he saw the man again while walking.
“A month later, I walked by, and there was like 20 kids and they all wanted to ask me, talk about questions of God. This young man just runs out of his house and says, ‘Father Carney, I want a rosary.’ I gave him a rosary. I blessed it and taught him how to pray it,” he says…….
……He wears a sacramental black robe, called a cassock, which represents the tunic the priests wore in the Old Testament. He also wears an Italian hat called a saturno, which means “half a Saturn.” It helps keep the sun out of his eyes and protect his face from sun damage.
“We stick to tradition. This hat was required by all clerics who lived in Rome. It was against the law not to wear one until several decades ago. It’s very fitting to the priesthood because it’s what we used to wear all the time,” he says.
There is quite a bit more at the link. I think it fair to say that the coverage is quite positive.
So this is what comes of giving visible witness to our Faith through the wearing of clerical garb in public. I am always so pleased to see priests dressed as priests in public. Of course, I strongly favor the cassock and other traditional wear as being most well ordered and most evocative of our Faith. This priest’s experience seems to stress that being identifiable as a priest in public stirs people’s minds and imaginations and may have an impact beyond quantifying. I really endorse this kind of witness.
The walking is also brilliant, you can’t evangelize very well from a car, but on foot, the interactions are much more personal. I really pray bishops give priests time in their schedules to perform these kinds of ad hoc apostolates, they may not have an immediately visible return but they could have enormous impact over time. I’d say this kind of mission is of more benefit to souls than the myriad meetings priests seem to spend half or more of their time sitting in. Or even less edifying activities. I knew one priest who, from his constant talking about different TV shows including many daytime ones, obviously spent a great deal of time watching the tube.
May God support and protect Father Carney.
More data on the collapse of the Church in Latin America November 18, 2014Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, demographics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, horror, paganism, sadness, scandals, secularism, Society, SOD.
Probably most of my readers, if not all, read Rorate Caeli, but there was some very disheartening material posted there recently regarding the continuing collapse of the Church in Latin America. As Rorate notes, this collapse cannot be blamed on ongoing secularization nearly to the degree that it can be in the “advanced” nations of North American and Europe. The Church in Latin American was, in 1970, quite strong, cohesive, and going through (perhaps concluding is a better word) a period of great renewal that started well before the Council. But ever since the mid-70s the Church in Latin America has been in free-fall on a scale that outpaces even the collapse of the Faith in some Western European countries. There hasn’t been a period since the protestant revolt when so many have fallen away so fast in a given region.
Another difference between the secularization of countries like Canada, France, Germany, Spain, etc., and the Latin American countries, is that, for the most part, in the former countries people have tended to fall out of religious practice entirely, they have become atheist or agnostic. In the Latin American countries, religious practice remains very strong, but a huge portion of the Church has found the “product,” if you will, so lacking in the post-conciliar environment that they have sought spiritual sustenance even in the separated and heretical sects. And as the data shows, they have done so in great numbers, tens of millions, over the past 4 decades:
I have to look no farther than my own backyard to see witness of this phenomenon. In my home zip code, the population is something like 70% Hispanic, many recent immigrants. There is only one Catholic parish to serve both this and several other zip codes containing tens of thousands of Hispanic families, while one literally cannot drive a block without finding some Hispanic-oriented evangelical sect, many small, but some quite large, serving tens of thousands of former Catholics. It breaks my heart to have to see this every day. And my observation over the past year-plus is that this trend is accelerating dramatically, with new evangelical sects popping up almost weekly.
Even more devastating is the deep anti-Catholicism many of these former Catholic souls have imbibed. There is a little restaurant I frequent on occasion, and the owners are recent Hispanic immigrants who are now evangelical. They were quite warm to me when they saw me reading my Bible in their restaurant, but when they found I was still Catholic they became less so. Even more, there is anti-Catholic propaganda in their restaurant, not obvious, but there. I have tried to engage with the owners but due to my poor Spanish speaking skills (especially when it comes to technical topics – I read much better than I speak) and their self-assured hostility, I have made precious little progress. When souls make a conscious choice to reject the Faith they were raised in, it is very rare for them to return. Please pray for these and millions of other souls falling away from the Church like snowflakes.
It is easy for the scale of this tragedy to get lost in the cold reality of numbers. Each one of these souls falling away from the Church is an incalculable loss both to the souls themselves and to the Mystical Body of Christ. What we are witnessing is a tragedy that is beyond human reckoning, but with widespread erroneous understandings of notions like “ecumenism” and “universal salvation” even at the highest levels of the Church, there is little sense of crisis in response to data like this. To the extent many in the Church are concerned about this ongoing hemorrhaging of souls, the concern is only worldly: what will this mean for Church income, what will this mean for parish closures, how will we run a Church without priests? There is little or no sense of urgency in dealing with this crisis: quite the opposite, so many in the Church and especially the hierarchy seem to be doing all they can to exacerbate the crisis?
These souls are falling away, by and large, because they felt spiritually starved. I know a good number of former Catholics who left for the exact same reason. All the changes being discussed – Communion for adulterers, the gifts of sodomites, institutionalizing the travesty of US-style annulment mills, etc., etc. – none of this will attract souls back to the Faith. The opposite is actually true, and I’ve seen comments all over the web to confirm this: souls already outside the Church or leading sinful/heretical lives will only feel confirmed in their errors by all these destructive novelties, and, even more, they feel that a Church that can be so wrong on so much for so long has nothing to offer them.
That is the true tale of the Church in Latin America over the past four decades: a Church without substance feeding worldly pablum to starving souls who then depart en masse. This is so contrary to how the Church conducted Herself for centuries it is simply staggering. The last five decades have proven, without doubt in my mind, that this “openness” to the world is destructive of the Faith and the good of souls. The case of the Church in Latin America is a very strong argument that the collapse in the Faith is not something that just happened to the Church, but is a result of the deliberate direction the Church has taken.