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Just who really are the Pharisees in the Church today? April 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, Papa, persecution, scandals, secularism, Society, SOD, the struggle for the Church.
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To borrow a phrase from our leftist friends, to be a Pharisee, one must have both an unyielding adherence to man-made tradition, and the power to enforce that adherence. As 1 Peter 5 notes below, after demonstrating the falsity of many of the all-too-convenient claims of faithful Catholics being Pharisaical, it’s not the faithful Catholics, by and large, wielding the power.  It’s not the faithful Catholic pastors who get banished to the far peripheries of the diocese because they add a little Latin to their Novus Ordo Masses, or focus a bit “too much” on Confession.  I’m out of time for the day, but some good thoughts along those lines below.  Do read the whole thing:

Although it is common in today’s antinomian world to condemn anyone who supports a tradition or rule as “Pharisaical,” this clearly was not the point of Christ’s warning. Instead, he condemned only those who support traditions that lead people away from a relationship with God, i.e., those who “make void the word of God.”

So who today is advocating man-made traditions that deny people access to God’s grace? Who teaches as doctrine the precepts of men? Imagine the following scenarios, and see if any of them seem all-too-familiar:

  • A parish offers the Sacrament of Confession for only a half-hour each Saturday, at an inconvenient time, and makes no announcements promoting Reconciliation. The defense is that “no one goes anymore” and the priests are too busy.
  • Requests for more traditional hymns to be sung during Mass are turned down with the response that “the songs we sing now are the songs our parishioners have always enjoyed the most.”
  • Communion is advocated for the divorced and remarried, with the argument that to withhold it would be to violate the Church’s great tradition of “welcoming.”
  • When an effort is made to institute a new marriage preparation program that includes substantial Church teaching, the existing volunteers resist on the grounds that the current program is “how we have always done it.” [Or……not.  When Armand Ochoa, former Bishop of El Paso, took over the Diocese of Fresno, one of his earliest acts was to obliterate the very strong marriage prep classes that had been developed in that diocese, insisting that they be reduced to a pale 4 hour shadow of their former depth.  It’s all about will to power, and claims of “tradition” are just a convenient excuse to dismiss legitimate desires of the faithful by an ideologically entrenched bureaucracy]
  • A priest who decides to withhold the Eucharist from a publicly same-sex couple is quickly removed and told that his actions show a “lack of pastoral sensitivity” and make the Church appear judgmental.
  • A parishioner suggests to the pastor a door-to-door campaign to try to bring people into the Church, but is turned down on the grounds that “Catholics don’t do that.” Additionally he is told that “proselytization” isn’t in keeping with ecumenism.

In each case, people are being directed away from the truth found in Christ and His Church, away from healing and reconciliation, away from a lasting relationship with Christ – and the reasons given amount to no more than “that’s how we do it now.” In other words, these are our “traditions.” The New Pharisees of today downplay Catholic doctrine, minimize the importance of the Sacraments, ridicule traditional Catholic devotions, scoff at Catholic moral teachings, and diminish the uniqueness of the Catholic Church. The man-made traditions they’ve instituted over the last 40 years have become encrusted in the life of the average Catholic parish, even though, as I wrote recently, there is no evidence that any of these programs or practices actually draw people into Christ’s Church. The evidence, in fact, is overwhelming that it draws people away from Christ and his Church. In other words, “For the sake of their tradition, they have made void the word of God!”

———End Quote——–

I’m sure you could come up with your own list.  Requests are made to mix in just a little more Latin in Sunday (or weekday) Masses, but you are told “the Church is moving in a different direction.”  Or you are told in the Confessional that having 4 children “is enough,” and you can safely contracept.  Or ask for a sermon on porn……that would make too many people uncomfortable.  At all costs, the status quo must not be challenged, entrenched sin must not be confronted.  And this, we are told, is “mercy.”

It’s been said many times by many other people, but the only unforgivable sin in so many quarters of the Church today seems to be to have an open attachment and preference for the Catholic Faith, the way it was always practiced and believed.  It’s incredible, but far too true.  And that is because orthodox Catholicism has almost always been inherently countercultural, and there is nothing most leaders in the Church today desire more than to be accepted by the prevailing cultural “elite.”  Thus orthodox Catholics become not, as Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote nearly 50 years ago, a bishop’s or priest’s pride and boast, but thorns in the side to be dismissed as cranks unable to get with the new program.

That is also, of course, what occurs after an institution undergoes a revolution – adherents to the old paradigm represent the largest threat to the new order of things. That is why revolutions tend to deal so savagely with those die-hards of the ancien regime.  When viewed through the lens of post-revolutionary consolidation, the actions of the large majority of Church leaders suddenly seem much more sensical- from their point of view.  The only surprising aspect of this whole drama acted out over the past 50 years is the willful blindness of many, many otherwise quite faithful Catholics, who refuse to contemplate even the possibility that a revolution has occurred.

And if you want to endure calls of Pharisaism, of being a mean ol’ judgmental nasty “trad,” then challenge them on that point.  Make sure you have your foxhole dug good and deep, however, for the return fire will be intense.

Good night.


More von Hildebrand on the errors of leftism and their effects April 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, Christendom, General Catholic, paganism, persecution, sadness, secularism, self-serving, Society, the struggle for the Church.
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Last week I posted some excerpts from Dietrich von Hildebrand’s My Battle Against Hitler, excerpts which exposed in detail the underlying philosophical errors of liberalism/leftism.  Today, more of the same, with an emphasis on one of leftism’s core errors – its exaltation of the state or community above the individual – and the destructive effects that has had on our culture for well over 200 years now.  Consider this a companion piece to the post from last week:

The individual person is superior to all natural communities not only in an ontological sense but also because only he can become the bearer of moral values and (more importantly) a vessel of grace, albeit only through a completely gratuitous gift of God.  Natural communities other than mankind – the state, the nation, the class, etc. – have a longer lifespan than the individual, but they are, in the last analysis, merely mortal, whereas the individual person is immortal.  God is glorified more by a single Saint than by any state qua state, or any other natural community, no matter how perfect it may be.  It follows that we must utterly reject every instrumentalization of the individual person which measures his value according to his usefulness to a natural community such as the state – such as we find, for example, in every form of Spartanism. [how often do we hear people referred to by the government-media complex as “consumers,” “workers,” “commuters,” etc – just another cog in the machine, just another data point, revenue source, or cost center to be accounted for?]

…….For liberal individualism, the human being becomes lonelier in proportion to the increasing sublimity of the realm of values to which he relates.  In his depths, he is alone……[Interesting statement.  I think so many souls do feel lonely and cut off from humanity, leading a barren, self-pleasing but ultimately depressingly empty existence]

……there is a very great danger of instrumentalizing the person, once his function as a member is considered to be more important than his being as an individual person.  [Which trend should be obvious in the world today.  It is so obvious, in fact, that I believe it quite likely literal slavery will be reinstated at some point in my lifetime]

The central foundation for every living “consciousness” of community, and for a new awakening of life out of a “we” (such as we find in the Church’s Liturgy), is a very profound respect for the individual person, his eternal worth, and his inalienable rights, together with a clear insight into the terrible sin that lies in every instrumentalization of the person and his being, which occurs when the person is seen primarily as a mere means for the production of non-personal goods. [or other nefarious ends, such as military service aimed at territorial expansion, ideological conformity, etc]

Every form of leftism (which is most clearly seen in Bolshevism and National Socialism) is a logical consequence of liberalism’s failure to recognize the true essence and value of the person. But such leftism goes far beyond what existed in liberalism, since it intensifies the individualistic error and disvalue.  Leftism is the great and terrible danger of our times.  Irrespective of the guise under which it presents itself, this poison must not be allowed a role in the construction of a genuine community.  

No less important than the revitalization of the consciousness of community is a renewed understanding of the objective hierarchy of communities: first the Church as corpus Christi mysticum (Mystical Body of Christ), then mankind, then the nation, then the state, and so no.  The due consideration of this objective hierarchy is more important than all the autonomy of the individual natural communities. The idolization of a community, which permits its autonomy to run rampant and is typical of all forms of nationalism and all idolatry of the state, demolishes the real spirit of community- that is, of genuine and objective community.  [Which is why the left has always viewed the Church as its deadliest, most inveterate enemy. The left hates the Church for the role she is due – at the highest level of human society – and desires to usurp her position, transferring the highest allegiance and duty to the state, not the Church. By and large, the left has utterly triumphed in this regard, but they are still not satisfied.  They want the Church completely gone, and a large part of the most radical left would rather die wearing the hijab than see the Church returned to a position of prominence.  That is, they hate far more than they love.]

……..There can be no doubt that the hallmark of the present epoch is an “anti-personalism” [cum leftism] – one of the most terrible aberrations of the human spirit – and that it is not only non-Catholic, but (whether consciously or not) extremely anti-Catholic.  This anti-personalism which finds its dreadful and unambiguously consistent expression in communism and Nazism, is also present in a slightly more hidden form in many other contemporary attitudes – in the cult of the new age, in the idol of the “new objectivity,” in the idolization of the state, and so on.  [Essentially…..in every left wing trend or passion]

———-End Quote———–

I have gotten a great deal out of reading von Hildebrand on this subject.  His writings help make more cohesive and comprehensive thoughts I have had on this subject for some time.

Long story short: leftism is a sin.  The Church once knew that very, very clearly, but since those windows were opened………not so much.

Having said that, I did speak with a trusted local priest recently about von Hildebrand and his personalist philosophy, as I was not entirely comfortable with some of von Hildebrand’s occasional shots at Thomism.  The priest described von Hildebrand as a very holy man (which I certainly agree with), but one who held a philosophy that “simply doesn’t work.”  He said the same of JPII, Edith Stein, and one more I cannot recall.  He suggested I read Garrigou-Lagrange, which I certainly plan to do, eventually.  Nevertheless, just a little datapoint, I know some good souls feel von Hildebrand represented “personalism done right” but this priest was of the opinion that getting too far from Thomism is always problematic, and that such is a problem that has afflicted various religious communities like the Jesuits and Franciscans, who have gone too far doing just that. That’s not to say that Dominicans are free of their own parochialism!

He did make a funny joke – or I thought it was.  He said that the parochialism of the various schools/religious orders – Thomist Dominicans, Duns Scotus Franciscans, etc – made the fights between Longhorns and boomer sooner, Auburn and Alabama seem like nothing.


Will refusal to accept federal aid soon be the defining characteristic of an orthodox Catholic college? April 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Holy suffering, martyrdom, paganism, persecution, sexual depravity, sickness, Society, Spiritual Warfare, true leadership, Virtue.
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I believe it may well be.  Wyoming Catholic College outside Lander, WY has announced they, like the much more secular (but still very good) Hillsdale College in Michigan, will forego any federal aid of any kind, including student loans and grants.  WCC consciously made this decision to avoid the compromises receipt of federal aid has inevitably demanded of Catholic entities, as we see all too often with regard to Catholic Charities and CRS (the latter using the demands of the federal government to promote contraception and never, ever propagandize for the Faith as an argument for why it routinely does both):

This winter, Wyoming Catholic College’s board voted unanimously to reject government funding in a bid to protect religious freedom, the New York Times reported.

The college opened in Lander, a small town of 7,500, in 2007, and doesn’t even occupy its permanent campus yet, but that didn’t stop it from refusing federal dollars.

“[The refusal] allows us to practice our Catholic faith without qualifying it,” Kevin Roberts, the college’s president, told the Times. “It’s clear that this administration does not care about Catholic teaching.”

The estimated loss to Wyoming Catholic: $650,000 annually in loans and $250,000 in Pell grants students could have used to pay tuition costs.

Wyoming Catholic students would have become eligible for federal aid once the school finished gaining its accreditation, the Times noted.

But students and board members alike told the Times the loss was worth it if it meant the federal government could not impose religious freedom-infringing rules on the college.

The vast majority of Catholic universities, from more liberal institutions such as Notre Dame to more conservative colleges including the Franciscan University of Steubenville, do accept federal student aid — and the imposition of federal rules that comes with it.

Wyoming Catholic College joins a tiny number of holdouts against federal interference that includes Virginia’s Christendom College and Michigan’s Hillsdale College.

Good for them, all of them. With the growing persecution against orthodox Christian beliefs, which encompasses the ceaseless demands of the pro-sodomy lobby to obliterate Christian opposition to their sinful lifestyle, more and more demands will be made of any Church-related entity that does accept federal aid to acquiesce to demands of this lobby, up to and including pretending marriage can be “redefined” by the state to include people of the same sex.  Already almost every major Catholic institution makes at least some accommodation with the sexular pagan overculture, be it in the form of having professors on staff that reject Church Doctrine on contraception, providing contraception and/or abortion through medical plans, actively promoting and distributing contraceptive use, regarding divorce with a wink and a nod, or any of a number of other items.  It’s the death of a thousand cuts, and it has rendered formerly hallowed institutions like Notre Dame and the vast majority of religious orders into pawns for the diabolical re-ordering of society away from its roots as Christendom.

And in the future, the demands will only grow.  Now that we have seen plainly what the sexular paganists have planned for observant Christians and especially, the “prize of prizes,” the Catholic Church, it won’t be even a few years before receipt of federal aid becomes contingent on tacitly accepting and even actively extolling the most radical aspects of the sexular pagan agenda, including the voracious appetite of those lost in the sins of Sodom for affirmation and glorification.  Soon, very soon, I fear the mark of an even relatively orthodox Catholic college will be whether it receives federal funding or not.

Which leads to a question: Christendom and now Wyoming Catholic College reject any form of federal aid, are there any others that do so?  Does anyone know the status of Thomas Aquinas, Magdalene, or the College of St. Thomas More.  I know UD accepts federal aid, and I believe Benedictine in Atchison, KS does, as well.  If anyone has knowledge of any particular school, please share in the comments.

We’re soon to be back to the catacombs, at least figuratively, unable to participate in increasing numbers of activities that should be due any decent citizen in a truly free society.  This is the depth to which this nation has sunk: Catholic colleges have to refuse federal aid because of the diabolical compromises that such aid would entail.  A priest a few nights ago told me that we have utterly, decisively lost the culture war, the war for this country.  There is no political solution for the morass we are in.  There aren’t enough faithful, moral people around which to build a political coalition.  All that we can do now is pray we remain faithful and to reach out and aid (and convert) those who we can, even as we watch the forces arrayed against us grow in might and determination to see us gone.

I have only been blogging for a little over 5 years, and yet it is amazing how far and how fast things have sunk in that time.  When I first started blogging, the California Prop 8 amendment that had defined marriage as between a man and a woman had been passed, and was then being debated in the courts.  Now it’s almost laughable to think that such could be under consideration in a state like that today.  We have witnessed the most amazing collapse in moral standards at least since the implosion of the 60s in the past 5 years.  And it shows no sign of slowing down.

Ecumenism I can get behind: Pope Francis addresses Turkish 1915 genocide against Armenian Christians April 13, 2015

Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, disaster, Ecumenism, episcopate, General Catholic, horror, martyrdom, Papa, persecution, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, unadulterated evil.
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Whatever one may think of ecumenism/interreligious dialogue in general, probably my greatest problem with the way it has been conducted over the Armenian_woman_kneeling_beside_dead_child_in_fieldpast 50 years is that it has been built on a web of distortions and even outright misrepresentations.  We see this in many of the ongoing dialogues with the various sects and other religions, but it has been most marked of late with respect to islam.  We are told how peaceful and wonderful islam is, the great spiritual fruit it provides to its followers, in spite of their explicit rejection of Jesus Christ as 2nd Person of the Trinity, the claim is even made that by some that muslims need not convert!  Atrocities are glossed over as the Church constantly apologizes for the mote in its own eye, while ignoring the beam in its neighbor islam.

Well, Pope Francis interjected some badly needed honesty in this dialogue with islam when he accurately termed the Turkish mass pogroms against Armenian Christians, many Catholics, that took place a century ago a genocide, which it certainly was. Turkey, as a result, has recalled its ambassador Morgen53to the Holy See.  Boo-hoo:

Speaking at a Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican to mark 100 years since the Armenian killings, the pope spoke of the massacres in the context of the contemporary persecution of Christians in the Muslim world—a subject that has become an increasingly prominent and urgent theme in Pope Francis’ public statements.

Armenians say that as many as 1.5 million Armenians were systematically killed during World War I in today’s eastern Turkey, which was then part of the Ottoman Empire.

Many countries officially recognize the killings as genocide. But Turkey contests Armenian claims about the scale of losses; it argues that hundreds of thousands actually died in warfare and famine, and that many Turks were also killed by Armenians. Turkey argues that the question of genocide should be left to historians rather than politicians. [The historians have answered the question.  It was a genocide, aided and abetted by Imperial German staff officers serving with the Ottoman Empire during WWI]

Pope Francis said Sunday that “it is necessary, and indeed a duty” to “recall the centenary of that tragic event, that immense and senseless slaughter whose cruelty your forbears had to endure…Concealing or denying evil is like allowing a wound to keep bleeding without bandaging it.”

A little more background:

The evidence is overwhelming that the Ottoman Turks systematically organized the deliberate deaths of up to 1.5 million Armenians. Government documents, photos, testimony from survivors prove that Turkey wished to rid itself of its Christian minorities, largely because they believed that the Armenians and others were siding with Russia against Turkey in World War I. They also needed a convenient scapegoat for the losses suffered on the battlefield.

The greatest number of killings occurred on horrific death marches of hundreds of miles where the Turks drove women, children, and old people (most of the young men had already been massacred) into the Syrian desert. There was no food or water given to the victims along the way — again, by design.

Few recognized historians take Turkey’s side — that the deaths were regrettable but not part of an organized effort to kill all Armenians. And Turkey is fanatical about the subject. After Pope Francis identified the Armenian massacres as genocide, Turkey angrily recalled its ambassador to the Vatican.

In the service of geopolitical interests, the Obama administration in 2010 blocked an effort by the House of Representatives to label the Armenian Morgenthau336pogroms a genocide.  Turkey threatened dramatic sanctions against the US if the effort were approved.

The genocides (for there was more than one) conducted against Christians in what is now Turkey were remarkably successful.  In 1914 about 15% of the population of Turkey was Christian, today that number is 0.1%.  Many describe the campaigns against the highly educated and successful Greek Orthodox of the far western regions of Turkey of the early 1920s as something akin to a genocide, as the Greek Christian was driven from the land and many died.  This despite the fact that there had been Christians in Turkey since the 1st Armenianmothermourningcentury.  Today, one of Christianity’s most ancient ancestral homes, places where St. Paul evangelized to great success, are now totally denuded of any Christian presence.

Post-conciliar ecumenism/inter-religious dialogue is primarily a worldly effort designed to achieve worldly aims.  It is not about saving souls, or arriving at the “truth,” which has been revealed through the Church, anyways.  It is about satisfying the demands of secular shibboleths and advancing a certain kumbayah notion of the world.  As such, it has been surrounded by a bodyguard of lies since its 106inception.  Lies about things like the Armenian genocide, but that’s just one example out of far too many to list.  It’s not that I am demanding that past atrocities all be listed in detail, but what I am saying is that “dialogue” that fails to take into account the true nature of various sects and religions as well as their recent history (up to an including today) is a dialogue based on a fantasy and is really advocacy for a certain indifferentist end, and not a true spirit working in the Church and people of faith to arrive at some happy common ground.  Could any work be blessed by God that finds lies and the ignoring of uncomfortable truths such an essential part of its modus operandi?