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Opus Dei in slow descent? October 1, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Abortion, Basics, contraception, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, horror, priests, religious, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, shocking, Society.
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Opus Dei has quite a fearsome reputation among non-Catholics.  Perusing any bookstore with a decent (if dominated by progressives) selection of Catholic books will reveal at least a couple volumes comparing Opus Dei to the worst imaginings (for that is what they mostly were) of the Inquisition.  The poor lost soul Dan Brown certainly has had a great deal to do with that, but he selected Opus Dei for its supposedly fiercely orthodox nature to be the “bad guys” in his script because of their already existent reputation.  That is to say, he didn’t make the reputation, it preceded his works.

Opus Dei has generally been known for being “highly” conservative, doctrinally orthodox if solidly post-conciliar, and fervent defenders of the pope.  In fact, that last bit has, over the past few decades, been perhaps their defining characteristic.  It is such a profound characteristic that it has perhaps inspired priests in the order to bend over backwards to excuse actions that have troubled many faithful Catholics. Keep that last bit in mind as this post develops.

My own experience with Opus Dei has been limited if troubling.  There has been a proto-apostolate of Opus Dei in Dallas for a number of years.  I attended one of their meetings. It was in that meeting that the elder of the two priests, leading the discussion, proceeded to totally minimize some of Pope Saint John Paul II’s more disconcerting actions, like kissing the koran, and conveyed his belief that there are just scads and scads of people saved outside the Church.  There was another point that scandalized me, as well, but I can’t quite recall what it was (I recalled, last night at Mass – who says Grace doesn’t work! – he said there was nothing wrong with Assisi I and that it’s perfectly great to have buddhists offer their…whatever……on a Catholic altar).  Suffice it to say, I left the meeting somewhat less than impressed. I did not go back

I know other folks who have been involved in Opus Dei, and I got the impression from them that there has been a definite “drift,” to use a term of the day, away from the more orthodox views of the founder Saint Jose Marie Escriva, and towards a sensibility more in tune with the current outlook of most of the leadership in the Church.  That is to say, towards liberalism, and away from “conservatism” or hardcore defense of timeless beliefs.

In fact, I got a very small, possibly unintentional data point to that effect in a brief conversation with a man at my parish just this past weekend.  Then I saw this at Rorate, and my concerns over hyper-montanism in the Church ratcheted up yet another small notch (I add emphasis and comments):

In an article entitled “Life and the right to life are relative truths,” published in his blog “Nuptials of God” [Nupcias de Dios], the priest Joan Carreras, promoter of the “Catholic Bloggers with the Pope” initiative, and member of the Prelature of the Opus Dei, said that, “the stubborn defense of the right to life as if it were an absolute truth is not a realistic attitude and therefore is not based on the Gospel. It is plain and simple ideology.” The priest asserts that, “these days we are witnessing fundamentalist attacks on Catholics who exercise their political freedom in good conscience.

Father Joan Carreras starts his article by claiming that “there is only one absolute Catholic truth: ‘God so loved the world that he sent his only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life’ (Jn 3: 16).” [This is an extremely troubling statement. It is first of all quite nebulous.  We also see, once again and certainly in light of the very strong emphases given from the highest level of the Church, an inordinate reduction of the entire Gospel and all the New Testament down to God’s love and mercy.  But God is also our Judge, who will cast out the goats into everlasting fire.  That is entirely forgotten in all this, as is any recognition of sin.]  

He adds: “Other truths – including life and the right to life are relative. This is the only way to prevent the believers from falling into fundamentalism, no matter which.“…….. [Who has ever said the Church’s constant belief regarding the right to life, clear all the way back to New Testament Epistles and the Didache, both from the first century, is fundamentalism?  Who would argue that but a progressive with a major agenda to advance?]

…….He answers: “The explanation is to be found not only in the reality of sin and the darkness of consciousness that it raises, but also in the fact that the stubborn defense of the right to life as if it were an absolute truth is not a realistic attitude and, therefore, is not based on the Gospel. It is plain and simple ideology.“…… [I see in this a very marked tendency to ape the language of the Holy Father, even in the use of certain words.  But I would say this priest has gone well beyond anything the Holy Father has said on the subject, and into Kasperite territory regarding mean old fundy Catholics and enlightened progressives.  I have to wonder where such thoughts are coming from?  Knowing how closely tied Opus Dei has been to various pontificates, especially that of Saint JPII, I have to wonder if this is not the promotion of an opinion coming from someone high in the Curia, using a proxy to argue a ridiculous, unCatholic point?  I pray this is not from anyone in Pope Francis’ inner circle.  But this piece reads to me like something someone was commissioned, if you will, to write.]

……Given the fact that several bishops have indicated that they may not vote in the Spanish political parties represented in Parliament because they do not defend the right to life and are structures of sin, Fr Carreras accused the fundamentalists: “We are witnessing these days fundamentalist attacks on Catholics to exercise their political freedom in good conscience. Other Catholics tell them how they should or should not vote. Or require them to resign from their posts and to relinquish their leadership or activism in those major parties that have given up defending innocent life from the moment of conception until natural death.” [And what is wrong with any of that?  Does sin not exist, Father?  Do you not believe we have a grave duty to counsel others to abstain from sinful activity?  Does “political freedom” mean the freedom to sin without consequence?  What on earth is this?  Is this really Opus Dei?  If so, simply incredible. See how they blow in the wind!  Mind, there probably is a significant local political angle to this (the priest is perhaps desperate to keep the socialists from coming back to power in Spain) but even so, this is way, way beyond the pale.  It is almost unhinged.]

————-End Quote————–

I haven’t much time left today (sorry, I am crazy busy right now), but I find the above simply incredible.  Either this priest is a bizarre outlier or we are witnessing a kind of ultra ultra montanism that is becoming postively deranged.  I find it positively wicked, this constant attempt to pit Doctrine against Doctrine, all in the service of progressive politico-cultural agendas and, perhaps, perceptions of what is desired at the highest level of the Church.  What is this?  “God so loved the world that He finds no problem with people casting votes for baby-murderers?”  Defense of life is now an “ideology?”  Look in the mirror, Father!

It is amazing how quickly people and organizations are switching sides.  It certainly seems like a message has gotten out, perhaps not to us pewsitters but to those in positions of influence.  That message is very, very consistent, and it is equally troubling.  It is simply flabbergasting what is going on.   As Rorate notes, who would imagine that we would see Opus Dei priests be indistinguishable from the most liberal Jesuits.

Wow.  Are we in for it.  As that priest said yesterday in the video I posted, “we are deep into the Passion of the Msytical Body of Christ, the Church.”  Indeed.  I fear there is no bottom to what we may have to go through in the next decade or so.  It’s 1969 all over again.

Pray.  Stay close to Our Lady!

I guess my initial appraisal of Opus Dei was more accurate than I knew.





Anyone know about this book series on patristics? October 1, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, history, Interior Life, reading, Saints, Tradition, Virtue.
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Quite a while back, I found a book in a used book store that is apparently part of a very large series of books on the early Church Fathers. It contains translations of most all their writings into English.  The series is called Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers – Christian Church, and it encompasses a whole series totalling dozens of books.  I started digging into the first book I had, which contains all of Saint Athanasius’ writings which have come down to us, along with many from Pope Saint Gregory the Great.  That, alone, is one volume.  Amazon has other volumes.  Apparently, this series was reprinted maybe 30-40 years ago, after having originally been published by a Catholic publisher back in the late 19th century.  The author was apparently a renowned Catholic patristics scholar by the name of Eerdman.

I learned from a comment that the library composes 38 volumes in total.  So, these are just the kinds of books I’m interested in, despite their tremendous length, for it is in the early Fathers that we can best answer the errors of today.  All the errors of today, or virtually all of them, were argued against and shown to be false in the first 5 centuries or so of the Church.  That they keep coming back is just another testimony to man’s weakness and satan’s constant efforts to derail us from the Truth.

Having said that, even in the late 19th century, and especially among academics, modernism was already becoming quite widespread.  I don’t know if that could have crept into this series, at all, and I am certainly not well versed enough on the early texts to be able to tell if some subtle changes have been made, or twists in translation to advance some error. I doubt that is the case, but I really do not know for certain.

I know I have a varied and well-read group of readers.  If anyone is aware of this series, could they please leave a comment giving me their impressions on the books.  Comments especially appreciated from those with a strong background in the early Fathers!  I don’t know if that applies to Boniface, Noah, Eliot, or anyone else.

Here are some selected volumes available on Amazon.  Again, comments from anyone with a familiarity with this series would be most appreciated.


Here’s one that is really attractive to me: Chrysostom!

More Chrysostom!

I’m not trying to give a complete run down of the series, just enough examples so people will know what I’m talking about.  Apparently, the series is divided into three parts: anti-Nicene Father, Nicene, and post-Nicene.

I greatly appreciate any help you can provide!  These books are not real cheap (nor are they outlandishly high), but before I consider them further, I’d like to know more.

Another avenue would be if anyone knew anything about the publisher (Wm Eerdmanns) or the authors (Philip Schaff, DD, others).

Thank you very much!

Does tyranny reign in the Church? October 1, 2014

Posted by Tantumblogo in abdication of duty, Basics, catachesis, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Holy suffering, Papa, persecution, scandals, secularism, self-serving, the return.
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I read this brief quote below the other night, and felt very strongly that it very succinctly but accurately defined so much of what is going wrong in the Church today.  The Church has been on a long, slow slide ever since the French Revolution. There have been ups and downs since then, but the overall trend has been very negative.  Western Civilization took a disastrous turn towards the end of the 18th century, and while the Church fought that turn steadfastly for a century and a half, for the past half century the Church has more and more mirrored the disordered, destructive, fallen culture of which it is both a part, and ordained to stand aloof from.  As authoritarianism under the guise of a false liberty has spread in the culture, so has it in the Church.  See what you think:

When the Faith is fully lived, Truth and freedom to profess the Truth are the right of every man.  When the Faith goes down, authority, bereft of the Truth it exists to sustain, alone is left.  And this authority then becomes an absolute; authority without substance; authority without purpose; authority for its own sake.  Gradually freedom is replaced, under this regime, with tyranny.

Liberals make great hay out of their supposed open-mindedness and tolerance.  That is, until they meet any opposition, and then they become the most totalitarian, heavy handed authoritarians the world has ever seen.  This has been a constant feature of the political-cultural left since it came into being 200+ years ago.  There are too many examples to list: the bloodbaths of the French Revolution, all for the “good” of the people, the rivers of blood and rigidly enforced conformity of the Paris Commune, the revolts of 1848, all the communist states, all the fascist states…….all of them use such high-minded and flowery language regarding rights, freedoms, the “good” of the people, all the while they impose repressive regimes that would shock the most authoritarian monarch of the “bad old” Middle Ages.

As I mentioned above, this mentality, long resisted, has crept more and more into the Church in the past century or so.  Initially it was fought and suppressed, but it came roaring back not just to fight for authority in the Church, but to come to dominate that authority through co-option.  The example quoted above had to do with an early example of such egregious abuse of authority, abuses which would have outraged Catholics throughout most of the history of the Church.  That specific example had to do with the actions of an archbishop, and later cardinal, whose liberal bona fides were clearly proven when he stealthily sided with Planned Barrenhood to help legalize contraception in Massachusetts in the early 1960s.  While there are many debatable matters in that specific case, what is not debatable is that the accused had their rights trampled and there was abuse of canon law, the virtue of justice, and even reason throughout that sad imbroglio.

And we see the same ongoing today.  Religious orders are crushed on the flimsiest grounds of suspicion, with no ability to argue their case or right of appeal to the usual juridical structures in the Church.  Authority not grounded in the Truth of Jesus Christ and the firmest faith will always tend towards absolutism and will crush the rights of opposing minorities.  I am afraid we will likely see much more of this before things even begin to approve.  It will take a couple more generations to purge the reigning left wing orthodoxy from the Church – if we are that lucky.