Capital punishment – consistent with dignity for life March 6, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, Flightline Friday, fun, General Catholic, Interior Life, Papa, scandals, secularism, Society.
Capital punishment is one of many matters when chaos reigns in the minds of even faithful Catholics trying to understand what the Church believes and requires. It’s really very simple – the Church knows the state has the power of the sword, including the taking of life in both war and peace. Recent pronouncements even by popes cannot change this fact. Popes may argue that there are now means to avoid capital punishment, but that doesn’t even come close to saying that it is immoral for the state to take a life. Nor does it say souls cannot support capitol punishment.
In fact, growing Church opposition towards, or concern over, capital punishment, even at the highest levels, could be another sign of the steady invasion of worldliness into the Church. To someone who believes this life is the be all and end all of existence, it seems a terrible thing, an impermissible thing, to take another life, no matter what. But to one who views this life as just a brief interlude prior to our eternal destiny in Heaven or hell, offering a soul a way to expiate for the enormous sin he has committed in taking a life by willingly offering his own in return (in cooperation with Grace, of course) could be the factor that results in a damned soul be converted and saved, or quickens its flight to Heaven.
I thought the priest provided a lot of good review, and raised a couple of considerations I had not entertained before:
After listening to the above (and I did not listen to it all, I fell asleep last night and did not have time today!), one thing I thought was: the window opened at VII sure must have been a big one.
And it’s your lucky day, no Flightline Friday today:
Sucker! There’ll always be a Flightline Friday. Bwahaahaahaaaaa!
So the below from a San Francisco secular publication – and think on what that implies- is actually intended as searing satire, but with some minor editing I think portrays the situation regarding the controversy over Archbishop Cordileone’s efforts to restore a tiny modicum of doctrinal integrity to Catholic schools there perhaps better than the author intended. Leaving aside the author’s clumsy attempts to balance his commentary by throwing in a frankly silly and unconvincing portrayal of Archbishop Cordileone as some kind of hyper-traditional ogre, I think it tells us about all we need to know:
San Francisco parents of children enrolled at local Catholic schools were recently shocked to discover that their children are attending schools run by Catholics. [This does raise a point. Around the country, the percentage of nominally Catholic children attending Catholic schools has been falling for decades as the schools open enrollment to non-Catholics in order to make up for the plummeting attendance of actual, you know, Catholic children. Doing so raises the specter of a hostile reaction when attempts are made to enforce doctrinal conformity. The fact that we see so few controversies like this tells us quite clearly that doctrine in Catholic schools is rarely given much emphasis, and that heresy and error are rampant.]
The discovery was made after the local Archbishop, an official of the Catholic Church, sent letters to local teachers employed by the Catholic Church, reminding them of some of the things that the Catholic Church believes in. Those things offended many San Francisco parents, who say they were horrified to discover that the church which they have asked to educate their children might be influencing the way their kids think.
“I had no idea this was really a Catholic school,” said San Francisco mother of two Benita Bentley. “I thought it was just an extremely ironic public school. You know: ‘look at us, we’re so Catholic.’ Like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.” [This may be parody, but it’s spot on. I would not doubt some people actually think this]
Local father Greg T., who self-identifies as gayer than you, said that he finds the idea that the Catholic schools are Catholic to be offensive.
“I strongly object to the hateful, oppressive, messages the Catholic church has been constantly sending out for the last 2,000 years,” he said. “So when I entrusted my children to them, I expected better. To find out that the Church which has never accepted me doesn’t accept me … well, obviously I’m going to sign a petition.”
Parents say that the letter sent by the Archbishop, which reiterated that the Catholic church objects to abortion and sex of any kind outside of marriage, among many other things, was “judgy” and “might make people protesting the Catholic church feel that it is not welcoming.” They have signed a petition asking the Archdiocese to change its positions, or at least never mention them where other people could hear about it. [And that’s the point. Don’t convict me of my sin, you unmerciful cretin]
San Francisco father Jon Davidson, who contributes to a local atheist blog, was among the petition’s organizers. “Honestly, I don’t know what’s worse: for the Catholic church to believe in God in their own schools, and expose my child to it … or for the God they believe in to have opinions about things. Either way, this is a violation. I don’t know how this happened. We were all completely blindsided.”
But it’s not just parents who are upset. Local teachers at area Catholic schools say they can’t believe they are being asked not to dispute Catholic doctrine.
[The best part….] “No other employer would punish an employee for publicly protesting their product to their customers,” said mathematics teacher Wilma Marker, who says she finds the Catholic church to be “vile, reprehensible, and come with an excellent benefits package.” [The last bit being so important]
“I disagree with everything they stand for, and use all my summer vacations to undermine their cultural authority, but other than that it’s a great fit,” she added. “I just need them to shift a bit on their doctrines and principles. You know, so I’ll feel comfortable.” [Said 90% of the membership of the LCWR]
I really get the impression the author was just nailing the hypocrisy of so many people who leech off the Church for their quite comfortable livelihoods (and awesome benefits packages) or for its (far too secularized, but academically generally excellent) schools, but chickened out at the end and put in some parody about Archbishop Cordileone. That parody, as I said at the top, was weird and unconvincing, so I just left it out. I think the author really wanted to go after the hypocrisy of the parents and teachers involved, but was afraid of the response, and so made the attack “balanced” by throwing in a forgettable paragraph on Cordileone.
What is sad is that Catholic schools are so emblematic of the utter collapse of catechesis the Church has experienced since the Council. Of course, many of us believe that collapse was anything but accidental and was the deliberate intent of revolutionaries from within who desired to change the Church from an institution of God to one centered on fallen man. But that would be a whole ‘nuther blog post, so I’ll leave it at that.
I am gratified that Archbishop Cordileone has stuck to his guns, so far.
Celebrate Easter like the rabbits you are March 4, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, Domestic Church, family, foolishness, fun, General Catholic, Papa, silliness, Society.
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Hey, a priest tweeted it, so it must be OK.
Good resource on divorce, annulments, and like matters March 4, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, disaster, episcopate, error, foolishness, General Catholic, persecution, Sacraments, sadness, scandals, secularism, self-serving, Society, Virtue.
A commenter some weeks ago offered to send me a report prepared by the organization Mary’s Advocates on the matters of the Church’s current handling of divorce, separation, and annulment. I had seen a bit of material from Mary’s Advocates before, and knew they approached these subjects from an orthodox Catholic perspective. I received the report several weeks ago, and I would like to thank Mary’s Advocates for sending it. It is a really valuable resource. Unfortunately, it’s much too detailed and informative to cover in a blog post, but if you are interested, you can see it all online here.
Mary’s Advocates is a group of Catholics dedicated to defending both the sanctity of the Sacrament of Marriage as well as the rights of married people confronted with a spouse seeking separation, divorce, and/or annulment. I think it fair to say that Mary’s Advocates sees great problems and gross injustices in the present manner in which the Church (in this country in particular) handles divorce and subsequent annulments. I think it also fair to say that Mary’s Advocates sees in these proceedings frequent injustices, and grave ones at that, against spouses who want to remain faithful to their marriage even after their spouse has “moved on.” Too often in the Church in this country, the doctrinal and “pastoral” approach is oriented towards regularizing divorce proceedings by obtaining annulments, and encouraging the abandoned spouse to similarly “move on.” This can be a crushing blow to spouses who recognize their marriage as valid from the start and who reject (or strongly doubt) the validity of the decrees of nullity almost always granted when requested (and almost always overturned by Rome when a spouse has the gumption to appeal their case to the Roman Rota).
Mary’s Advocates had hoped their report and broader concerns would get a hearing at the Extraordinary on the Family this past October. Of course, the focus of the Synod was predominately in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, this news report on their hopeful efforts last fall sheds a lot of light on the group and its aims:
Rev. Chuck Zmudzinski, a canon lawyer, has recommended the observations offered by Mary’s Advocates. He hopes that they succeed in their efforts to find Catholics bishops willing to speak up for the rights of spouses who want to protect their marriages from divorce and uphold the validity of their marriages in nullity proceedings conducted by church tribunals.Mary’s Advocates quoted Fr. Zmudzinski as pointing out “the possibility that the Church is actually promoting divorce by ignoring the canonical requirement that a spouse obtain the bishop’s permission before approaching the civil forum for a decree of separation or divorce.” [This is a huge source of scandal. So often, the way the Church in the US handles divorce today actually encourages it, because instead of the Church doing everything in its power to prevent the dissolution of marriages, they basically stand back and let the spouses separate and divorce, demanding a civil decree of divorce before annulment will even be considered (a positive encouragement of divorce, right there), and then, after the marriage is already shattered, try to find grounds for why it was invalid in the first place. At each step, the bias is towards normalizing, and not opposing, divorce]In the Observations’ introduction, Bai Macfarlane of Mary’s Advocates writes, “From a layperson’s point of view, there is a notable difference between the pastoral care described in the Catechism and the Canon Law, in contrast to the prevalent pastoral practice in the United States. Simply put, many of the faithful believe that divorce is a morally neutral occurrence, and many diocesan staff personnel seem to agree—separation of spouses, the break-up of marriages, and divorce are things that ‘just happen.’” See Observations here.[I think that a pretty accurate description]Macfarlane also wrote “Chanceries appear to have no system to assist bishops in weighing the special circumstances of a marriage before a spouse files for divorce or separation in the civil forum. This weighing of circumstances is required by canon law as described herein. Numerous faithful do not know or do not care that forcing divorce—outside of specifically limited circumstances—is immoral, contravenes the moral law, and is a grave offense against the natural law.” [Well, decades of handling the epidemic of Catholic divorce (with among the highest rates of any religious body in the US) with a wink and a nod have certainly helped encourage the perception of divorce as “morally neutral.” The entire setup of the annulment system in most dioceses conveys the strong impression that all marriages are only conditionally valid until the spouses are separated by death. This is an intolerable situation for the Sacrament to endure]She went on to say, “… For those who withdraw from marriage for no morally legitimate reason, if bishops would authoritatively instruct them of their obligation to restore common conjugal life, then a number of families could be saved from no-fault divorce. The person deserting the marriage could choose to work with those experienced in helping marriages, rather than hiring divorce lawyers.”……. [That’s the approach one would think the Church would take, if the prime interest was in maintaining the sanctity of the Sacrament and not seeing souls devastated. It would take a huge shift in emphasis and pastoral concern for this to occur, however. For one, most bishops very strongly convey the notion that meeting with lay people (save for insiders/major donors) on any kind of a regular basis is among their lowest priorities. Second, many bishops are so rarely in their dioceses (or are reported by the chancery staff to be so rarely in their diocese) that logistics for this kind of effort would be quite difficult. It would require bishops be “at home” much more often, which many, like Blaise Cupich, are loathe to do. It should be noted, however, there are a handful of bishops who do perform such vital pastoral care]…….In the Mary’s Advocates Observations, a ruling by the Vatican Signatura (or high court) about the so-called Denial of the Right of Legitimate Defense in marriage annulment proceedings is discussed, while the tribunals that appear to have violated church law are also listed. Mary’s Advocates finds that when a spouse who has no morally legitimate reason for separation, forces a divorce on his or her family, the Catechism teaches that said person has committed an immoral, grave offence against nature. Judges in the Civil Law forum, thanks to no-fault divorce, do not inform parties of their obligation to keep their marriage vows. Mary’s Advocates asks whether those forcing unjust divorce should be corrected officially by the Church: “A diocesan hands-off policy with respect to separation and divorce gives scandal to everyone because everyone, understandably, concludes that there is nothing wrong with leaving one’s spouse.”
What does the Church teach about Origins (Creation)? March 4, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, Bible, catachesis, Christendom, episcopate, error, General Catholic, paganism, Papa, sanctity, Society, the struggle for the Church.
A priest the other night handed out a nice summary of some (most?) of the major magisterial statements regarding the Creation of the world and mankind, evolution, and allied topics. The list ultimately comes from the Kolbe Center so it’s definitely strongly on the side of literal understandings of Genesis I-X and the creation history contained therein.
I am desperately short of time today, so I’ll just jump right into it. Below in bullet point fashion is a recounting of major magisterial statements made on these subjects along with the source:
God created everything “in its whole substance” from nothing (ex nihilo) in the beginning (Lateran IV; Vatican I)
Genesis does not contain purified myths (Binding statement from Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1909)
Genesis contains real history – it gives an account of things that really happened (Pius XII)
Adam and Eve were real human beings – the first parents of all mankind (Pius XII)
Polygenism (many “first parents” generally required by evolution) contradicts Scripture and Tradition and is condemned (Pius XII; 1994 Catechism)
The “beginning” of the world included the creation of all things, the creation of Adam and Even and the Fall (Jesus Christ Mark X:6 Pope Innocent III, Blessed Pius IX Ineffabilis Deus)
The body of Eve was specially created from a portion of Adam’s body (Leo XIII). She could not have originated via evolution.
Various senses are employed in the Bible, but the literal obvious sense must be believed unless reason dictates or necessity requires (Leo XIII -Providentissimus Deus)
Adam and Eve were created upon an earthly paradise and would not have known death if they had remained obedient (Pius XII)
After their disobedience of God, Adam and Eve were banished form the Garden of Eden. But the Second Person of the Trinity would subsequently pay the ransom for fallen man (Nicene Creed)
Original Sin is a flawed condition inherited from Adam and Eve (Council of Trent)
The universe suffers in travail ever since the sin of disobedience by Adam and Eve (Romans 8, Vatican I)
We must believe any interpretation of Sacred Scripture that the Fathers taught unanimously on a matter of faith and morals (Council of Trent, Vatican I).
All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24 hour days (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church).
The work of Creation was finished by the close of Day Six, and nothing completely new has since been created – except for each human rational soul at conception (Vatican I).
St. Peter and Christ Himself in the New Testament confirmed the global Flood of Noah. It covered all the then high mountains and destroyed all land dwelling creatures except eight human beings and all kinds of other creatures aboard the Ark (Unam Sanctam, 1302).
The historical existence of Noah’s Ark is regarded as most important in typology, as central to Redemption (1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent).
Evolution must not be taught as fact, but instead the pros and cons of evolution must be taught (Pius XII, Humani Generis).
Investigation into human “evolution” was allowed in 1950, but Pope Pius XII feared that an acceptance of evolutionism might adversely affect doctrinal beliefs.
Commenting on the last bit, that has certainly seemed to have happened, with even sources of reputed orthodoxy like Fr. Robert Barron referring to Adam and Eve as “theological poetry.” John Paul II made other statements regarding the study of evolution that were even more broad and tending towards at least the acceptance of study of that theory and allusions made to “evolution describing the manner in which God created the world.” So, as in so many other areas, the presence stance of the Church viz a viz evolution is not as clear as one might hope. It would seem to difficult to reconcile many of the doctrinal items above with many modern approaches in the Church to the subject.
Evolution is one of those topics, however, that I do not lose a lot of sleep over. I basically disbelieve the claims of this theory in their entirety, as I do the most commonly accepted views of modern cosmology (one of the major tenets of which, the Big Bang, which has been promoted as complete irrefutable fact, may have just been dealt a fatal blow, at least as it has been understood and promoted for the past 50 years). And so I’ll do post on the subjects when I find something that might be interesting or helpful, but it’s not a huge point of emphasis for me. I really don’t understand Catholics who just struggle mightily over the subject, trying all kinds of ways to reconcile belief in evolution with much of the Doctrine of the Faith. And I know a number of people who do just that. But to me, is belief in evolution going to get me to Heaven? Not at all. If the conservative, “safe” position with respect to my salvation is to doubt or deny evolution, then that’s where I’m going to lean, and pretty strongly. That’s not to say I disbelieve all science, how could I, I’m an engineer, it’s just that I don’t get hung up on things that aren’t that vital to my salvation, and I recommend you don’t either.
I have been following the efforts of a fairly sizable number of children of same-sex couples to give a more representative view of the downside of the often idyllic picture painted of same-sex “parents.” With the culture praising same-sex couples (or groups, as it often turns out) to the skies, sometimes even going to the excess of pretending these perverse pairings are superior to a natural mother and father, these children are an important contrary voice to the dominant cultural narrative. It is still quite unbelievable to me that we have sunk so far so fast, and yet here we are, in the year of our Lord 2015, having to state what has been obvious throughout human history: children having a married mother and father is the natural, normative family construct ordained by God and proven by thousands of years of experience. Such is the insanity, the selfishness, and the disregard for children today that at least a bare majority of people have seemingly forgotten this fact.
In our rush to arrogate diabolical “rights” to adults, from divorce on demand to contraception to abortion to pretensions regarding the perverse, it is the children we have most often left holding the bag. Pray God may sanity be restored before it is too late.
Some commentary below from a woman raised by multiple (yes, that’s right) “moms:”
When you emphasized how important the voices of children with gay parents are, you probably anticipated a different response. You might have expected that the children of same-sex unions would have nothing but glowing things to say about how their family is “just like everyone else’s.” Perhaps you expected them to tell you that the only scar on their otherwise idyllic life is that their two moms or two dads could not be legally married. If the children of these unions were all happy and well-adjusted, it would make it easier for you to deliver the feel-good ruling that would be so popular. [And I think that is exactly right. Kennedy, on these key cultural questions, has almost always sided with the popular elite opinion. It just won’t do to be removed from the Georgetown cocktail party set!]
My parents’ divorce has been the most traumatic event in my thirty-eight years of life. While I did love my mother’s partner and friends, I would have traded every one of them to have my mom and my dad loving me under the same roof. This should come as no surprise to anyone who is willing to remove the politically correct lens that we all seem to have over our eyes.
Kids want their mother and father to love them, and to love each other…….
……. I see how important the role of their father is and how irreplaceable I am as their mother. We play complementary roles in their lives, and neither of us is disposable. In fact, we are both critical. It’s almost as if Mother Nature got this whole reproduction thing exactly right. [Or, that God created us male and female, and ordained by Divine decree the proper orientation of human relations for the best outcome of our natural and supernatural lives. Anything contrary to that ordering is disordered at least, and diabolically sinful at worst]
…….Talk to any child with gay parents, especially those old enough to reflect on their experiences. If you ask a child raised by a lesbian couple if they love their two moms, you’ll probably get a resounding “yes!” Ask about their father, and you are in for either painful silence, a confession of gut-wrenching longing, or the recognition that they have a father that they wish they could see more often. The one thing that you will not hear is indifference.
What is your experience with children who have divorced parents, or are the offspring of third-party reproduction, or the victims of abandonment? Do they not care about their missing parent? Do those children claim to have never had a sleepless night wondering why their parents left, what they look like, or if they love their child? Of course not. We are made to know, and be known by, both of our parents. When one is absent, that absence leaves a lifelong gaping wound. [My experience with children of divorce, even in the case where they were already adult when the divorce occurred, has been one of utter shock and trauma for the children involved. It was absolutely devastating. My college roommate and close friend had his parents divorce at the end of our freshman year. It was a total shock, as was the revelation of his father’s very long term infidelity. It shattered him. He descended into alcoholism for a solid year, has a very twisted view twisted (and selfish) view of women, and still bears the scars. Younger children often bear the wounds less outwardly, but even more deeply. I absolutely hate divorce. I see how it affects adult lifelong friends to this day. All of them have scars. I pray to God more parents would think of their children rather than of themselves in these situations.]
…..If it is undisputed social science that children suffer greatly when they are abandoned by their biological parents, when their parents divorce, when one parent dies, or when they are donor-conceived, then how can it be possible that they are miraculously turning out “even better!” when raised in same-sex-headed households? Every child raised by “two moms” or “two dads” came to that household via one of those four traumatic methods. Does being raised under the rainbow miraculously wipe away all the negative effects and pain surrounding the loss and daily deprivation of one or both parents? [When its associated with a massively well-funded and incredibly powerful political clique, apparently so] The more likely explanation is that researchers are feeling the same pressure as the rest of us feel to prove that they love their gay friends. [Or simply don’t want their lives and careers ruined for arriving at the “wrong” conclusion]
There is much more at the link. Check it out.
The first casualty of the leftist cultural-political agenda is the truth. They have to batter the truth either to death or at least abject silence in order to advance so many of their cherished agenda items. Thus, the truth about abortion, divorce, contraception, perverse relations, serial fornication, on and on, has to be flushed down the memory hole and consigned to an ever growing list of unmentionables. But the extreme left has always had to do this to mask their true agenda. Communists, fascists, and all the other many manifestations of leftism have always had to brutalize the truth and keep it carefully hidden away, so that they can get that cherished 50%+1 of people to endorse their next atrocity.
It is amazing how disconnected from its ostensible Christian heritage/founding this nation has become. We are a culture of lies, lies bearing the stench of death and misery.
And yet we all know, marriage between those lost in the sins of sodom and gomorrah will be recognized as “valid” and “equal” in all 50 states by this summer. There are no words to convey the tragedy of the former Christendom in its present state.
Non sequitur – My man Earl Campbell March 3, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, awesomeness, fun, manhood, silliness, Society, true leadership.
I wish I could still eat his sausage. I used to love it. But I developed a pretty severe allergy to a preservative used in a lot of mass market sausages and had to give it up. It’s sodium ethrythorbate or something like that. Anyway, how could I not like the man? Country boy, UT alum, incredible football player at every level, loves country music, had a vicodin addiction and overcame it……..the poor man can barely walk today but he has kept his humility, frankness, and glimmer of joy.
Some pretty good highlights in the below:
Remember those Walt Garrison commercials? Earl made one, too. Warning, there is a bikini girl at the end, and some in the distance throughout. Were these national, or only ran in Texas and maybe some other nearby areas? Another reason to like Earl:
I’d say Earl was a much better running back that Ricky Williams. He’s certainly a better man.
Was he a better player then Vince Young? At the pro level, absolutely, but in college……not so sure. Vince was amazing. He was like a man playing against boys:
That soundtrack started awesome and finished horrible.
Yeah, every once in a while the orange blood comes out.
More Catholic greatness from Quito March 3, 2015Posted by Tantumblogo in Art and Architecture, awesomeness, Basics, Christendom, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, sanctity, Society, Tradition, Virtue.
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I posted several days ago about a site containing numerous photos of a recent pilgrimage to Quito, Ecuador and Our Lady of Good Success. Photos are still being updated, as you see below. It is so edifying to see the depth of faith and willing sacrifice endured by Catholics – a few rich, but most not even close – to build such gorgeous sacred “spaces.” Contrast to today, when we are so wealthy, and congregations so large, a really outstanding church could be built were the will only there. But not only is there little will to build a timeless testament to our glorious Faith (expedients in other directions being preferred), even when funding is more than adequate, modern theological preconceptions and artistic preferences tend to result in a church that is more utilitarian than uplifting, more expedient than reverent. There are rare exceptions, of course.
But enough speechifying, just enjoy the beautiful churches and art. I did not take the time in this case to figure out which church was which, or which convent or whatever. If you want to know more, go check out the pilgrimage site.
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Some very interesting Scriptural exegesis below from Dom Prosper Gueranger. Yesterday, in the Traditional Mass, the Epistle for the Monday of the Second Week of Lent was from Daniel IX, as below. The exegesis below applies to the Jews, certainly, but also to the Church, in Her perfection of Judaism. The quote from Daniel is a lamentation after sin, a begging of forgiveness for unfaithfulness:
In those days, Daniel prayed to the Lord, saying: O Lord our God, who hast brought forth thy people out of the land of Egypt with a strong hand, and hast made thee a name as at this day: we have sinned, we have committed iniquity, O Lord, against all thy justice. Let thy wrath and thy indignation be turned away, I beseech thee, from thy city Jerusalem, and from thy holy mountain. For, by reason of our sins, and the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are a reproach to all that are round about us. Now, therefore, O God, hear thy supplication of thy servant, and his prayers: and show thy face up on thy sanctuary which is desolate, for thy own sake. Incline, O my God, thy ear and hear; open thine eyes and see our desolation, and the city upon which thy name is called: for it is not for our justifications that we present our prayers before thy face, but for the multitude of thy tender mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, be appeased; hearken, and do; delay not for thy own sake, O my God; because thy name is invocated upon thy city, and upon thy people, O Lord our God.
Now Dom Prosper places the above in a Catholic context:
Such was the prayer and lamentation of Daniel, during the captivity in Babylon. His prayer was heard; and, after seventy years of exile, the Jews returned to their country, rebuilt the temple, and were once more received by the Lord as His chosen people. But what are the Israelites now? What has been their history for the last
1800 2000 years? The words of Daniel’s lamentation but faintly represent the sad reality of their present long chastisement. God’s anger lies heavily upon Jerusalem; the very ruins of the temple have perished; the children of Israel are dispersed over the whole earth, a reproach to all nations. A curse hangs over this people; like Cain, it is a wanderer and a fugitive; and God watches over it, that it become not extinct.
The rationalist is at a loss how to explain this problem; whereas the Christian sees in it the punishment of the greatest of crimes. But what is the explanation of this phenomenon? The light shone in darkness; and the darkness did not comprehend it! If the darkness had received the light, it would not be darkness now; but it was not so; Israel, therefore, deserved to be abandoned. Several of its children did, indeed, acknowledged the Messias, and they became children of the light; nay, it is through them that the light was made known to the whole world. When will the rest of Israel open its eyes? When will this people address to God the prayer of Daniel? They have it; they frequently read it; and yet, if finds no response in their proud hearts. Let us, the Gentiles, pray for the Jews – the younger for the elder. Every year there are some who are converted, and seek admission into the new Israel of the Church of Christ. Right welcome are they! May God in his mercy, add to their number; that thus all men may adore the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob, together with Jesus Christ, His Son, whom He sent into this world.
While the above stands as an interesting if quite contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy form of exegesis (it was not contrary at all when written, nor for quite some time after that), I think it is also very relevant to the Church today. “The light shone in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it!” Does anything better describe our world today? But what is far more troubling, is that the searing billion candle-watt beacon of the past that was the Church has been dimmed down to a wimpy 40W bulb. It is so much harder for souls to find the light, as the light itself, in its human element, has been greatly dimmed. We have, for some reason, put bushel baskets over our candlesticks, and they no longer cast light for all to see.
And, I think we can glean from the above how God may respond if the Church continues to hide the Light she has been divinely commissioned to hold aloft to the world. No, there will never be a “replacement” for the Church, there will be no “new new covenant,” but we can read in The Apocalypse and some of the Old Testament prophets what happens when the Church shirks her duty towards the end of the world. Are we in that time? It is really difficult to tell, Our Lord did tell us to watch for signs and wonders, but He also said we would know not the day nor the hour. Not that it really matters – we will all be called to our own judgment in God’s good time, regardless.
Irrespective, as I said, it is interesting to contrast the very traditional view of the Jews presented by Gueranger above, and modern approaches to Judaism these past several decades. They are almost night and day in their differences. And, of course, we have seen even more outreach to Jews and statements of fraternity, equality, and liberty of late. Certainly, another quite substantive break with the past.
But we’ve had plenty of those. So what’s one more piled on all the others?
As a way of rebuttal to the claims of Bishop McElroy reported in the previous post, about “primacy of conscience” even trumping the Doctrine of the Faith, I present the very providential sermon below, which extrapolates from the closely defined Dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus to examine not only who may be saved, but also the common excuses of souls to reject Church belief. I draw particular attention to ~9:00 – 11:00, wherein the priest quotes both Scripture and one of the greatest Scriptural exegetes ever (Cornelius a Lapide’), to show the error of asserting the primacy of a badly formed conscience over the Doctrine of the Faith:
That is why it is so dangerous for an authority figure in the Church to tell souls that they must obey their conscience no matter what. To his credit, in the piece quoted in the previous post, he did say that souls should give the Doctrine of the Faith pre-eminence, but he still left a huge “out,” if you will, by saying that if you just somehow (I know not how) cannot reconcile your conscience to the Doctrine of the Faith, you must obey your conscience. He even noted that people would be tempted to abuse such knowledge, that their personal preferences could easily masquerade as the pangs of conscience and lead them astray. But he badly failed to note the culpability they would bear should that be the case.
Given that we swim in an amoral sewer, it is so very easy for us to absorb dangerous, damning beliefs. Even more, to the extent that there is still some sense of Christianity about in the culture, it is generally a gravely distorted sense, full of protestant errors and self-serving “theology” in the form of “prosperity gospel” and all the rest. Thus to advise souls that they can, in conscience, deviate from those beliefs binding on conscience for all Catholics (such as abortion being in all places and at all times intrinsically, mortally sinful) without at the least clearly stating the grave peril of doing so is at the very least a serious dereliction of duty, and could even rise to the level of sinful malfeasance.
Another quite timely portion of the sermon assails the error that says the Doctrine of the Faith can be disregarded as a pretext towards reforming the Faith and morals always held by the Church. Is this not exactly what we see happening with these Synods on the family, which seek to obviate the Doctrine of the Faith through ostensible “pastoral” solutions? I found this quote highly relevant: “And they approach, wolves in sheep’s clothing, by the simulation of meekness, simplicity, or piety. They propose themselves as the model of humility. And the whole time, they are seeking to destroy souls.”
By hook or crook. The far more dangerous man to souls is not that man given over to satan’s control who, like masons, perhaps, acknowledge they are trying to pry souls away from One True Faith, but that man who is convinced he is a loyal son of the Church, who is only trying to bring the Church forward into modern times and to help propagate the Gospel. The former may have pangs of conscience that limit their activities, but the latter, so assured that they are on the side of goodness, truth, and right, will have no check for their actions. This is a close analogue to the political arena, where, as C.S. Lewis noted, the progressive convinced he is doing good by his invasion of personal rights and assault on morals and decency, will never let up, whereas the one who knows he does such things for very bad reasons might have some limit to the ends to which he will stoop. Of course, the political-religious analogy overlaps quite closely, where those who seek to remodel the Church in man’s own image are generally quite progressive politically, as well.
“If you love me, keep my commandments.” “Not everyone who says Lord, Lord will be saved, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven, shall be saved.”
“My Church” is only mentioned by our Lord once in Sacred Scripture, in St. Matt XVI:18 “Upon this rock I will build My Church.”
This is really just a top-notch and very valuable sermon. The priest explodes so many of the modern myths regarding “universal salvation,” salvation outside the Church, etc. He notes, quite rightly, that while salvation outside the Church may be theoretically possible, it is not terribly likely. We hear phrases like “invincible ignorance” and they sound so reasonable to so many, who probably have loved ones outside the Church and actively want to believe that they will be saved, while not having to do anything to proselytize them that might cause strain or make them uncomfortable. But as the priest notes, if there are souls actively searching for God and His Church who have never heard the Gospel, God will make Himself and His Church known to them. But how many people in the world today are truly ignorant of the person of Jesus Christ, His message, and His Church? This is not 1600.
Anyway, just a very good and timely sermon. I pray it somehow finds its way to Bishop McElroy and he hear it with an open and humble heart. We may look on a man such as that as someone who has abrogated his duty and does very bad things, but he is another soul made in the likeness of our Creator and he will face his particular judgment, a very severe one given the exalted office Our Blessed Lord has seen fit to give him. Each soul falling into error and outside the Church, really, is an incalculable loss not just for them personally but for the entire Body of Christ. As Saint Paul says, when one glories, we all glory, and when one suffers, we all suffer. We must pray for the conversion of men such as this who have come to accept these very dangerous, even blatantly false ideas as good and true.