While I was researching some things yesterday for the post on the support the “Always Our Children” program has received from Bishop Farrell, I found a video in which a protestant “minister” at Focus on the Family, of all things, argued that people should not make too big a deal out of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, as they are just one of many sins that people fall into. Since we are all sinners, and virtually everyone mortally so, we should not condemn too harshly those who fall into this particular sin.
On the surface, that argument seems to make a great deal of sense. We are all sinners, and every one of us has deserved eternal death through our sins. We should have mercy and compassion on those who fall into grave sin, praying they repent and confess their sin and never commit any again. To do anything else would not be Christian, right?
But there are several problems with this approach. The sins of Sodom and Gomorrah, in the present context, are in most cases not like other sins. This is not because they are intrinsically worse in terms of the evil they involve, but they are worse because, for the first time in history since the founding of Christendom, we have individuals going around who literally define themselves according to the sin they commit. They claim they and their sin are one, that the sin is inseparable from their identity, and, even more terribly, they believe that their sin is not, and that far from realizing their need to repent of this sin and abstain from it, they embrace it as so core to their being that they utterly reject even the thought that they could possibly change even slightly.
In fact, many of the practitioners of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are so attached to their sin, they would rather see their relationships with mother and father, sister and brother, friend and cousin destroyed rather than accept even the least bit of criticism of it, or any counsel advising them to change their ways. This is a root cause for the approach the “Always Our Children” group has adopted – out of fear of losing contact with their loved one entirely, they have more or less adopted the rationalizations of the “gay” lobby whole hog. Anyone who proclaims the Truth of Jesus Christ and His Church raises such painful mental stress they must be shut up at all costs. Thus, the treatment some have received at these local group sessions.
We have not seen, to date, thank God, groups of thieves, or murderers, or adulterers, or gossips, or the pathologically envious, running around declaring their sin is such a core part of their being that God must give them a pass for their sin, because “He made them that way.” In this way the devotees of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are, for the most part, unique (there are some who do struggle with this sin, and try to overcome it, but I am speaking of those who embrace it fully, to the extent of trying to re-write Scripture and Tradition to find excuse for their sin).
This is a most dangerous trend, and there are indications that it is spreading. There presently exist “fat advocacy” groups who argue that being morbidly obese is not unhealthy, who basically reject the idea that gluttony is a form of moral degradation. But the devotees of the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are much more dangerous, touching as they do on that most powerful of human drives. The arguments they put forth could easily be accepted by others attached to sins of the 6th and 9th Commandments, further destroying the tattered remains of the Christian moral order. As such, their advocacy for their sin represents a grave threat to the moral well-being of others – a further marker that this particular sin, in this particular place and time, is not simply one among many. About the only sin I can think of that has similarly tried to upend Truth in order to justify the sin, is divorce and remarriage. Those two evils have probably precipitated the present rise of “liberated sodomy” more than anything else.
It is also spreading in the sense that already millions of people have become convinced that the sin of sodomy/”lesbianism” are not sins at all, because they have accepted the false and self-serving arguments of those who have fallen into these sins. This can be witnessed in the outlook of the “Always Our Children” groups here locally, where “outreach” has transmogrified into unthinking support, and even advocacy.
None of this is to say that those who have not fallen into these sins are somehow superior to those who have. Nothing could be further from my purpose. All have sinned, and all have deserved death. St. Paul and our Blessed Lord make this clear. Thus we all have infinite need of the salvific Grace that only comes from faith in Jesus Christ and the Church He founded. This is not about standing on a statue of superiority condemning others.
What it is about, is making plain that we are dealing with a unique threat to the entire moral order and millions of individual souls. We do ourselves no favors by downplaying the unique danger of the “gay” rights lobby and self-serving, soul-crushing arguments they put forth. Of course these individuals should be approached with love – and I would argue that those who have the strength of faith and character to stand in a group of hostile people and tell them the Truth, that sodomy is wrong and always has been, that the inclination is disordered, etc ., are the ones practicing true love and true mercy. No one wins by souls falling into hell like so many snowflakes, and Our Lord could not be more clear that these sins absolutely DO send people to hell.
I’ve gone about a thousand words, so now I invite your comments. Any approach to anyone in any sin must be a fine balance between charity and truth. But we do ourselves no favors – nor those who fall into this sin as with any other – by hiding the Truth and failing to make necessary distinctions. At this point in time, the behaviors associated with the sins of Sodom and Gomorrah are really unique in the history of Christendom and represent an existential threat to the remains of the Christian moral order.
I guess I would sum up saying, in order to deal with a problem, you have to first understand it. Minimizing it or pretending it is not unique is not a help, in the long run.
Saint Alphonsus on Humility May 26, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, reading, Saints, sanctity, Tradition, Virtue.
Saint Alphonsus on humility, or, more specifically, the kind of humility we should be have if we would advance in virtue and be saved. Saint Alphonsus says we should seek out humiliations and rejection by others in order to grow in perfection. A tall order, perhaps the most contrary thing to our nature imaginable, but one supported by many other Saints. I guess one way to put this into perspective would be to ask, what price eternity?
From The Holy Eucharist, pp. 361-2:
But it is not enough, in order to be humble, to have a lowly opinion of ourselves, and to consider ourselves the miserable beings that we really are; the man who is truly humble, says Thomas a Kempis, despises himself, and wishes also to be despised by others. [It’s a goal, not necessarily a command!] This is what Jesus Christ so earnestly recommends us to practice, after his example: “Learn of me, for I am meek and humble of heart” (Mt xi:29). Whoever styles himself the greatest sinner in the world, and then is angry when others despise him, plainly shows humility of tongue, but not of heart. St. Thomas Aquinas says, that a person who resents being slighted may be certain that he is far distant from perfection, even though he should work miracles. The divine Mother sent St. Ignatius Loyola from Heaven to instruct St. Mary Magdalene of Pazzi in humility; and behold the lesson which the Saint gave her: “Humility is a gladness at whatever leads us to despise ourselves.” Mark well, a gladness; if the feelings are stirred with resentment at the contempt we receive, at least let us be glad in spirit.
And how is it possible for a soul not to love contempt, if she loves Jesus Christ, and beholds how her God was buffeted and spit upon, and how He suffered in His Passion! Then did they spit in his face and buffeted Him; and others struck His face with the palms of their hand (Mt xxvi:67). For this purpose our Redeemer wishes us to keep his image exposed on our altars, not indeed representing Him in glory, but nailed to the cross, that we might have his ignominies constantly before our eyes; a sight which made the Saints rejoice at being vilified in this world. And such was the prayer which St. John of the Cross addressed to Jesus Christ, when He appeared to him with the Cross upon His shoulders: “O Lord, let me suffer, and be despised for Thee!” My Lord, on beholding Thee so reviled for my love, I only ask of Thee to let me suffer and be despised for Thy love.
St. Francis de Sales said, “To support injuries is the touchstone of humility and of true virtue.” If a person pretending to spirituality practices prayer, frequent Communion, fasts, and mortifies himself, and yet cannot put up with an affront, or a biting word, of what is it a sign? It is a sign that he is a hollow cane, without humility and without virtue. And what indeed can a soul do that loves Jesus Christ, if she is unable to endure a slight for the love of Jesus Christ, who has endured so much for her? Thomas a Kempis, in his golden little book of the Imitation of Christ, writes as follows: “Since you have such an abhorrence of being humbled, it is a sign that you are not dead to the world, have no humility, and that you do not keep God before your eyes. He that has not God before his eyes, is disturbed at every syllable of censure that he hears.” Thou canst not endure cuffs and blows for God; endure at least a passing word.
As I said, there is little that could be more contrary to human nature than bearing with slights and insults with complete humility – but it is the example our Blessed Lord gives us. I pray for the strength to deal with contradiction with much greater equanimity and peace of soul. That’s not something I’m very good at.
This Faith of ours, because of our fallen natures, may be simple, in a sense, but it is certainly not easy. May God have mercy on us and patience with us in our struggles towards perfection, from which I feel a long, long ways.
John Salza against sede-vacantism May 25, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, error, General Catholic, Papa, Restoration, Society, SSPX, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
10 years ago, when I was first becoming an active, committed Catholic (or trying to), I found the books of John Salza to be immensely useful. His “Biblical Basis” series was an excellent resource to help bring me from erroneous protestantism to a solidly formed Catholicism.
Since then, Salza and I have both become committed trads, him probably more so than me. Salza is now definitely in the SSPX camp, and doesn’t have too many kind words for the Ecclesia Dei communities. So while you could say I disagree with him on some points now, I remain very thankful to him for the role his works played in my conversion to a more robust practice of the Faith. I still think he’s one of the best, most thorough, most orthodox Catholic writers around. I have a great deal of respect for his views.
I say the above to provide a bit of context of where I’m coming from with respect to the videos below. They contain an interview of Mr. Salza by Brother Andre Marie of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary on the brother’s Reconquest internet radio show. In general, I found Salza’s analysis below spot on. At any rate, he is a serious scholar of theology and ecclesiology and is worth listening to, even if you don’t agree with every conclusion he makes. I would also note the irony of Salza appearing on this particular radio show, with this particular host, since the Slaves are often lambasted as “Feeneyites,” seemingly every trad-group’s favorite whipping boy. That’s something I admit I’ve never quite understood (I get the root error, but they profess to no longer maintain it). So here you have an SSPX-supporter dashing sede vacantism on a “Feeneyite’s” radio show!
A reader had asked me to summarize the content below. I wish I had the time today to do so, but I’m just about out. It took me 4+ hours to finish the post below, as I had so many interruptions (how can that nasty old work ever get in my way like that!?). For those who cannot watch the below for technical reasons, or because they don’t want to invest the nearly two hours, I’ll try to work on a summary, but these guys cover a lot of ground, including much of the 710 page content of Salza’s book on this subject (which I have not read)! That is to say, summarizing this long interview would be no easy task. But, I’ll see what I can do.
The interview, in two parts:
If you have comments on the interview, I’d love to see them. Thanks and God bless you!
add a comment
Just a reminder, you should have switched back from the Regina Caeli to the Angelus on the Saturday before Trinity Sunday. Sorry for the lateness of my reminder, but better late than never, I suppose.
Also, the Novena for the Feast of the Sacred Heart starts today, Wed. May 25:
I have two versions, one from Fisheaters and another that is from St. Margaret Mary Alocoque. First:
O most holy Heart of Jesus, fountain of every blessing, I adore Thee, I love Thee and with a lively sorrow for my sins, I offer Thee this poor heart of mine. Make me humble, patient, pure and wholly obedient to Thy will. Grant, good Jesus, that I may live in Thee and for Thee. Protect me in the midst of danger; comfort me in my afflictions; give me health of body, assistance in my temporal needs, Thy blessing on all that I do, and the grace of a holy death. Within Thy Heart I place my every care. In every need let me come to Thee with humble trust saying, Heart of Jesus help me.
Now, what many already pray daily, if you are like me:
I.O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, ask and you will receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you.” Behold I knock, I seek and ask for the grace of……(here name your request)
Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
II.O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, if you ask anything of the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” Behold, in your name, I ask the Father for the grace of…….(here name your request)Our Father…Hail Mary….Glory Be To the Father….Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
III. O my Jesus, you have said: “Truly I say to you, heaven and earth will pass away but my words will not pass away.” Encouraged by your infallible words I now ask for the grace of…..(here name your request)Our Father….Hail Mary….Glory Be to the Father…Sacred Heart of Jesus, I place all my trust in you.
OSacred Heart of Jesus, for whom it is impossible not to have compassion on the afflicted, have pity on us miserable sinners and grant us the grace which we ask of you, through the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, your tender Mother and ours.
Say the Hail, Holy Queen and add: St. Joseph, foster father of Jesus, pray for us.
— St. Margaret Mary Alacoque
Diocesan TLM in San Antonio still available?? May 24, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Admin, Domestic Church, family, General Catholic, Interior Life, Latin Mass, Liturgy, Tradition.
Dear readers, I may be in San Antonio this coming Memorial Day weekend. I have heard in the past that the diocesan TLM at St. Pius X parish has become irregular, or may not be offered very weekend? The parish website did not say anything to that effect, but I know I have seen comments stating such here on my blog, and not that long ago.
Can anyone confirm whether the 12:10 pm Sunday TLM will be offered at St. Pius X on May 29? Really, that’s not the best time, and I’m contemplating the 10a at the other alternative.
Thank you in advance for your help. God bless you.
LMS Chairman: Sacrosanctum Concilium a self-contradictory document unsuited for guiding liturgical reform May 24, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, disaster, episcopate, error, General Catholic, Latin Mass, Liturgy, secularism, the struggle for the Church, Tradition.
Joseph Shaw, chair of the Latin Mass Society in England, has penned a piece for Rorate Caeli noting the massive contradictions that riddle the Vatican II Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium. What can be said about Sacrosanctum Concilium can be said about every document of Vatican II, which is that they are less clear pronunciations on the Doctrine of the Faith for all ages, than they are the transcripts of a very heated debate that took place at particular place and time, and which was never resolved. Thus, aspects of other documents of Vatican II seem bizarrely out of date.
I have long argued that the documents of VII are documents at war with themselves, filled with rather banal declarations of orthodoxy weakened with caveats that permitted the entry of mass amounts of destructive novelty. Or, vague statements permitting endless novelty “corrected” by weak endorsements of the constant belief and practice of the Faith. It reads like a debate in which the orthodox, unable to articulate the Doctrine of the Faith cogently, fought a rearguard action of damage limitation. Their efforts were largely unsuccessful, almost entirely because the conciliar popes sided overwhelmingly with the progressives, and so we have what we have today, a Church riven by discord, but with the progressives firmly in command. One could even argue that the documents of Vatican II are so riven with self-contradiction that they create an environment in which endless debate will be the inevitable result. Feature or bug?
Shaw makes some very good points, and demonstrates how both SC, and the conciliar and post-conciliar popes, have at various times endorsed both liturgical orthodoxy and dangerous innovation, which are well worth reading and considering. I’ll skip over those, and note his general summaries, which correspond very closely with my own thinking (which means he must be right, of course):
Liturgical conservatives and progressives argue endlessly about this. Their argument will never be resolved, both because Sacrosanctum Concilium was and the subsequent magisterium has been self-contradictory, but also because neither side in the debate is willing to be honest about the historical facts. I am sorry to be harsh, but having read the output of both sides of the debate over a number of years, it is time it was said.
First, Sacrosantum Concilium: how is it self-contradictory? It makes few concrete suggestions, but it does make some. It calls for wider use of the vernacular (63); the removal of ‘useless repetition’ (34), and a more ‘lavish’ presentation of the Scriptures in the readings, arranged over a ‘prescribed number of years’ (51). It leaves further details to local initiative and an official commission. On the other hand, it says (23):
There must be no innovations unless the good of the Church genuinely and certainly requires them; and care must be taken that any new forms adopted should in some way grow organically from forms already existing.
It is perfectly obvious that the this double condition is not satisfied by the concrete suggestions the document itselfmakes. There is no precedent in the liturgical tradition of the Church, in any Rite, for a multi-year lectionary, and to suggest that such a thing could grow ‘organically’ out of a single-year lectionary is obviously absurd. There is no precedent for a mixing of Latin and the vernacular in the liturgy, or for the liturgy to be translated into dozens of vernaculars for different countries. The principle militating against ‘useless repetition’ is entirely foreign to the Church’s liturgical tradition. And none of these changes could possibly, in advance, be said to be required ‘genuinely and certainly’ by the good of the Church.
From this fundamental self-contradiction, you can draw any conclusion you like. Perhaps the ‘general principle’ of section 23 should control our interpretation of the specific examples of reforms; perhaps it is the other other way around. The fact is, there is no coherent programme of reform in Sacrosanctum Concilium. Let’s not engage in make-believe. It is a compromise document with provisions pointing in different directions.
It was, however, interpreted by those appointed to interpret it, and the Novus Ordo Missae was signed off by Pope Paul VI. So what liturgical style are we guided towards by the official documents, documents of the ‘living magisterium’ as the conservatives like to call them, which accompanied and followed the promulgation of the new missal?…….
……..We need to face the fact: the magisterium’s own interpretation of Sacrosanctum Concilium is a moving target. It was quite different in the 1970s than it was by the mid 1990s. Who knows where it will be in ten years?
…….Those seeking, in Conciliar and post-conciliar documents, guidance on liturgical principles, with a view to the way Mass should be celebrated, and perhaps with a view to future reform, should stop right here. There is no single, coherent, vision of the liturgy in these documents. There is, instead, a debate. In the end, one side of this debate must win, and the other side must lose. [It’s been heavily back and forth since the 60s, as Shaw indicates in text not excerpted. The modernists dominated from the 60s through the 80s, but then the conservatives gained a stronger position in the 90s and 00s, not that much changed, practically speaking.]
I would like to appeal to the ‘reform of the reform’ writers, and to the progressives on Pray Tell and elsewhere: stop accusing each other (and traditional Catholics) of contradicting authoritative documents and the ‘real’ principles of Vatican II. On this subject, arguments from authority will get us nowhere.
The only way to think with the Church on the liturgy is to take a longer view: to look at what the Church has done, not over a few decades, but over millennia. The very idea of doing this, of course, contradicts the claim that everything up to 1965 was bad. But it is that idea, rather than an honest appraisal of the modern liturgical documents considered here, that is really troubling for the doctrine of the indefectability of the Church. If the Church was wrong up to 1965, why pay any attention to what she has said since then?
If you read through the entire piece, do you also come away with the impression that Shaw is recommending this: since Vatican II and the post-conciliar leadership have been blatantly contradictory on the Liturgy since 1965, we should mostly ignore their pronouncements and go back to the Church’s ancient understanding of the Mass and other Sacraments?
If so, that’s certainly something I can agree with. Not so much “rejecting” Vatican II, which has always been a meaningless canard, since the documents contain thousands of statements which can be twisted to say just about anything one wants them to, but ignoring the heterodox, novel portions therein. I’ve always favored the Japanese term mokusatsu, “to kill with silence.”
In fact, Shaw’s take is pretty sympathetic. A stronger stand would be that revolutionaries planned and/or hijacked a council, and targeted the Liturgy as their prime means of remaking the Faith. In other words, different religion.
All I know is, I plan on never assisting at a Novus Ordo again. I’m going to be in San Antonio next weekend. If there is no diocesan TLM, I’m going to St. Joseph’s.
I’m reading a very good book containing St. Francis de Sales writings against the protestants of the Chablais from the 16th century. These pamphlets were combined into book form under the title The Catholic Controversy. St. Francis is a very thorough writer whose pamphlets tend to be quite complex. As such, they are not easy to condense to blog post length. I’ve been meaning for weeks to try to share some of this content with you, but I’ve had a hard time finding excerpts of appropriate length that would still be understandable.
Deo Gratias, I believe I’ve found some in the chapters on protestant butchery of Sacred Scripture in order to justify their false beliefs. This is quite key, and really shocking, in that protestants who claim to rely on Scripture as the sole rule of Faith, in fact excluded many books (for reasons that are false, as St. Francis clearly demonstrates) specifically because they contained matters of belief they refused to accept! That is to say, they did not start out honestly examining Scripture and somehow found that books present in the Canon of Scripture since the 4th century were somehow false or “apocryphal,” quite the contrary, they started with false beliefs and then modified Scripture to only support those beliefs. Furthermore, in addition to excluding various Old Testament books, they also edited the content of others that they retained, even including the New Testament.
With that background, the great Doctor of the Church, St. Francis de Sales (my emphasis and comments):
What likelihood is there that the Holy Spirit has hidden Himself from all antiquity, and that after 1500 years he has disclosed to certain private persons the list of the true Scriptures? For our part we follow exactly the list of the Council of Laodicea, with the addition made at the Councils of Carthage and Florence. Never will a man of judgment leave these Councils to follow the persuasions of private individuals. Here, then, is the fountain and source of all the violations which have been made of this holy rule; namely, when people have taken up the fancy of not receiving it save by the measure and rule of the inspirations which each one believes and thinks he feels. [One of satan’s most effective traps, getting pious souls to assert their own judgment over that passed on by the Church Fathers. So much destructive has man’s pride in his own intellect – or, worse, his feelz – wrought!]
Now, how can an honest soul refrain from giving the rein to the ardor of a holy zeal and form entering into a Christian anger, without sin, considering with what presumption those who do nothing but cry Scripture, Scripture, have despised, degraded, and profaned this divine Testament of the eternal Father, as they have falsified this sacred contract of so glorious an alliance! O ministers of Calvinism, how do you dare to cut away so many noble parts of the Bible?! You take away Baruch, Tobias, Judith, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, the Machabees, why do you thus dismember the Holy Scripture? Who has told you that they are not sacred? There was some doubt about them in the ancient Church but was there not doubt in the ancient Church about Esther, the Epistle to the Hebrews, those of St. James and St. Jude, the Second of St. Peter, the last two of St. John, and especially of the Apocalypse? Why do you not also erase these as you have done those [that is, the books of Scripture they excluded] ?
Acknowledge honestly that what you have done in this has only been in order to contradict the Church. You were angry at seeing in the Machabees the intercession of the Saints and prayers for the departed; Ecclesiasticus stung you in that it bore witness to free will and the honor of relics. Rather than do violence to your notions, adjusting them to the Scriptures, you have violated the Scriptures to accommodate them to your notions; you have cut off the holy Word to avoid cutting off your fancies……Open your heart to the Faith and you will receive that which your unbelief shuts out from you. Because you do not will to believe what they teach, you condemn them; rather, condemn your presumption and receive the Scripture………. [de Sales has it right. Protestants are loathe to admit it, though]
[We now switch subjects from excluding books from the Canon of Scripture, to deliberately flawed biblical translations]
…….Your fine church has not contented itself with cutting off from the Scripture entire books, chapters, sentences, and words, but what it has not dared to cut off altogether it has corrupted and violated by its translations…….In our age, behold arise a thick mist created by the spirit of giddiness, which has so led astray these refurbishers of old opinions formerly current, that everybody has wanted to drag, one to this side, one to that, and always according to the inclination of his own judgment, this holy and sacred Scripture of God…….[in this way] as soon as we are assured that the ordinary edition [The Latin Vulgate] of the Church is so out of shape that it must be built up again anew, and that a private man is to set his hand to it and begin the process, the door is open to presumption……[Upon which, all of protestant opinion is built]
[After demonstrating how protestants mistranslated key bits of Scripture, for instance, Lk xxii:20, trying to pretend that Christ’s Sacrifice was only spiritual or allegorical by changing the words of Scripture]……You see something, then, of the violence and profanation your ministers do and offer to the Scriptures; what think you of their ways? What will become of us if everybody takes leave, as soon as he knows two words of Greek, and letters in Hebrew, thus to turn everything topsy turvy? I have therefore shown you what I promised, that this first rule of our faith has been and still is most sadly violated in your pretended church, and that you may know it to be a property of heresy thus to dismember the Scriptures, I will close this part of my subject with what Tertullian says, speaking of the sects of his time: “This heresy” [of the gnostics],” says he, “does not receive some of the Scriptures; and if it receives some it does not receive them whole…..and what it receives in a certain sense whole, it still perverts, devising various interpretations…….” [earlier in the book, de Sales demonstrated how virtually every major heresy of protestantism was simply the recreation of some ancient heresy. There is nothing new under the sun, or Son]
Thank you Lord for sending us great Saints like St. Francis de Sales, to refute the errors of heretics and shine the light of Truth on their errors. His words are so apropos to our own time, too, when so many in the Church have fallen into protestant errors.
St. Francis later goes on to attack vernacular translations of the Bible as prone to causing division and confusion, in addition to the fundamental problem of translations serving as sources of error. You can imagine what he would think of the vernacular Mass, then!
The testimony of a Doctor like de Sales is all the testimony I need to find vernacular Mass severely wanting.
I also fully endorse his practice of ecumenism – converting protestants by the tens of thousands. One wonders what kind of place St. Francis de Sales would find in the Church today?
Gueranger: beware becoming a false Catholic May 20, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in Basics, catachesis, different religion, error, General Catholic, Interior Life, Liturgical Year, mortification, secularism, Spiritual Warfare, the struggle for the Church, Tradition, Virtue.
From Dom Prosper Gueranger The Liturgical Year* vol. 9, an insightful description of the decay of Catholicism in the lives of millions. The trends visible in nascent form them have become omnipresent in our own day, forming a huge portion of that phenomenon many call the crisis in the Church. Gueranger notes the source of this mass apostasy: an immense intellectual pride stemming from what Ann Barnhardt aptly terms diabolical narcissism. If the dangers confronting souls were great in Gueranger’s day, they are orders of magnitude worse today. Not only does the world present us with too many dangers and traps to count, even our very Church, in the form of so many lay people, clergy, and bishops, now present numerous errors and falsehoods as “truth.” We must exercise great caution in what we expose ourselves if we hope to avoid falling into grave sin or worse:
The Holy Ghost creates faith within our souls, and by faith we obtain life everlasting; for faith is not the intellect’s assent to a proposition logically demonstrated, but a virtue which proceeds from the will vivified by Grace. [Beautiful] Nowadays, faith is rare. Pride of intellect is at its height, and docility to the Church’s teachings is far from being general. A man calls himself a Christian and a Catholic, and yet he has his own views upon certain subjects, which he would very reluctantly give up, were they to be condemned by the only authority on earth which has power to guide us in what we are to hold or reject in matters pertaining to faith. [Our situation today is a thousand times worse! The only authority on earth which has power to guide has itself fallen into saying, and even teaching, incredible things, things which would shock Gueranger to the core and probably cause him to doubt the ultramontanist views he so famously held. Faithful souls navigate a world and Church so filled with dangers we are the proverbial rich men seeking the eye of a needle to pass through. That is how narrow our way has become.]
He reads dangerous, sometimes even bad books, without thinking of inquiring if the laws of the Church forbid such books. [And we have far more to be concerned about today that just bad books] His religious instruction has been of a very meager kind, and he seems to wish it to remain so, for he takes no pains to come to a solid and perfect knowledge of his religion; the result is, that his mind is filled with the fashionable prejudices of the world he lives in, and, on more than one point, he may depend upon his having imbibed heretical notions. [Notions which, all the more horrifically, are often promoted in the Church as “truth!” Even more, the faithful soul may encounter – will encounter – numerous authorities in the Church who will tell him he positively ERRS by holding to the constant belief and practice of the Faith!] He is looked upon as a Catholic; he satisfies the exterior obligations of his religion, either because of his early training, or because the rest of his family do so, or because he feels more satisfied to do than to omit them; and yet – how sad it is to say! – he is not a Catholic, for his faith is gone!…….
……..In this our age, darkness is prevalent. Even false lights are seen to rise up, and mislead millions. [Even, most incredibly, within the Church herself] We repeat it: faith – that faith which brings us to God and saves us from His judgment – is now rare. O Divine Spirit, deliver us from the darkness of the times in which our lot has been cast! Humble the pride of our minds. Save us from that false religious liberty, which is one of the idols of our generation, and which keeps men from the true faith. We wish to love, and possess, and keep within us, the glorious light; we wish to merit, by the docility and child-like simplicity of our faith, to enjoy the full cloudless vision of this divine light in Heaven.
I haven’t much to add to that. While I don’t see the Church and world as entirely black, that literally everything is terrible, it is awfully, awfully bleak. We must tread with great caution. Perhaps the premier vice of faithful souls is a tendency to pride, to think we’ve got it figured out even if all those poor million other slobs are just wandering around in the darkness. But really, if we are doing right, the very best we’re doing is cooperating with Grace, and probably poorly at that.
I try to always remember, even if I follow every jot and tittle of the Doctrine of the Faith, I am an unprofitable servant. I do only what is required of me.
*- I can no longer find the link to the site that had all of Liguori’s Liturgical Year in .pdf form. I have found some sites with partial uploads but not the entirety. Has that site gone away, or am I simply missing it? Your help appreciated. God bless you.
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…..thus, all the protestant sects, all the other religions, are proved false from the get-go in their total lack of miracles in support of their claims.
Did Luther work any miracles? Absolutely not. Beza? No. Malanchton? Heck no. Cranmer? You’ve got to be kidding. Wesley? Yeah, right. Calvin, so desperate to prove his false religion, actually sunk to the level of bribing a man to appear dead, so that he might pretend to raise him back to life. God will not be mocked, however, and the man Calvin brought in to try to fool souls instead actually died, and of course Calvin could not raise him.
What of Mohammad, or Buddha, or Shiva or Ganesha? No, no, no, and no. Buddha actually eschewed miracles, Mohammad’s only pretended miracle was witnessed by no one, and the foundations of the Hindu religion also do not speak of miracles in any kind of real, verifiable sense.
Do I even need to mention laughably false “religions” like scientology or new age? Not only no miracles, but negative proof through their uniformly destructive influence on the lives of poor lost souls. Then there were all the false sects along the way in the past 2000 years, the Manicheans, the Gnostics, the Marcionites, etc…….all of these were proved false by the absence of divine proof in the form of miracles.
Judaism was of course rife with miracles, but it has been superseded by the New Covenant.
Which brings us to Jesus Christ and the Church He founded, the Catholic Church. Christianity spread like wildfire in its inception, in spite of a very hostile environment, largely on the basis of mass testimony of the miracles Christ worked while incarnate (miracles witnessed by, in total, tens if not hundreds of thousands) AND the continuous miracles of His Apostles. Some of these are recorded in Acts of the Apostles, many more followed in generations to come in the lives of numerous Saints.
The ancient Christian churches – those that date back to the original Apostles – are the only ones that were founded by a Divine Source and whose early history was filled with divine, miraculous proof. The unity of that early Church has been sadly sundered by error and schism, first by Nestorians and Monophysites and then by Eastern imperial pride and ambition, so that only the Catholic Church remains – wounded though she may be – still blessed with that original divine assent and continually in union with her founding spirit.
But that Church does continue on today, and while the schismatic churches may make claims to miracles, only the Catholic Church has continued with a line of publicly verifiable miracles almost up to this very day. Certainly, one of the greatest miracles ever, the Miracle of the Sun, occurred within living memory. This is simply a further attestation to the Divine founding and continued blessing of the Church, in spite of all the efforts of insider revolutionaries over the past 50 years or so.
This post probably got longer than it needed to be, but the takeaway is: Christ’s miracles prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the Truth of the Christian Faith, and continued miracles prove the Catholic Church to be the One True Faith to this day. None of the protestant sects can even remotely claim this.
This post inspired by a good sermon I heard last night.
Liguori on Resolution towards Perfection May 18, 2016Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, catachesis, General Catholic, Glory, Grace, Holy suffering, Interior Life, mortification, Restoration, Saints, sanctity, Spiritual Warfare, Tradition, Virtue.
From Saint Alphonsus Liguori’s The Holy Eucharist is a treatise on remedies against lukewarmness in the Faith and steps to take in the path to perfection. The five steps are:
- The desire of perfection
- The resolution to attain it
- Mental prayer
- Frequent Holy Communion
The segment below deals with Resolution towards perfection, as the title of the post indicates:
The second means of perfection is the resolution to belong wholly to God. Many are called to perfection; they are urged on towards it by grace, they conceive a desire of it; but because they never really resolve to acquire it, they live and die in the ill-odor of their tepid and imperfect life. [I should insert my picture here] The desire of perfection is not enough, if it be not followed up by a stern resolve to attain it. How many souls feed themselves on desires alone, but never make withal one step in the way of God! It is of such desires that the wise man speaks when he says: Desires kill the slothful (Prov xxi:25). The slothful man is ever desiring, but never resolves to take the means suitable to his state of life to become a saint. He says: “Oh, if I were but in solitude, and not in this house! Oh, if I could but go and reside in a monastery, I would give myself entirely up to God!” And meanwhile he cannot support a certain companion; he cannot put up with a word of contradiction; he is dissipated among many useless cares; he commits a thousand faults of gluttony, of curiosity, and of pride; and yet he sighs out to the wind: “Oh, if I had but!” or “Oh, if i could but!” etc. [Am I the only one to whom this sounds uncomfortably familiar?]
Such desires to more harm than good; because some regale themselves upon them, and in the meantime go on leading a life of imperfection. It was a saying of St. Francis de Sales: “I do not approve of a person who, being engaged in some duty or vocation, stops to sigh for some other kind of life than that which is compatible with his actual position, or for other exercises unfitted for his present state; for it merely serves to dissipate his heart, and makes him languish in his necessary duties……
……..The first resolution [on the path of perfection] must be to make every effort, and to die rather than commit any deliberate sin whatever, however small it may be. It is true that all our endeavors, without the divine assistance, cannot enable us to vanquish temptations; but God wishes us on our part frequently to use this violence with ourselves, because then he will afterward supply us with His Grace, will succor our weakness, and enable us to gain the victory. This resolution removes from us every obstacle to our going forward, and at the same time gives us great courage, because it affords us an assurance of being in the Grace of God. St. Francis de Sales writes: “The best security we can possess in this world of being in the Grace of God, consists not indeed in feeling that we have His love, but in a pure and irrevocable abandonment of our entire being into His hands, and in the firm resolution of never consenting to any sin, either great or small.” This is what is meant by being of a delicate conscience…….[Which quote simply obliterates protestantism and post-conciliar “Catholicism,” with its focus on emotion and feelings. Feelings can lie. Emotion is rarely a reliable guide. Reason and submission to the Truth, by concrete act, is the only way to demonstrate our faith.]
…….St. Teresa said: “Because we do not come to the conclusion of giving all our affection to God, so neither does He give all His love to us.”
I pray you found this useful. I rather prefer posting this kind of material of late, rather than the more controversial stuff. I still do it, but not with the fervor I did even a few months ago. As much as I oppose this pontificate and the direction it is taking the Church, I can’t get over a certain discomfort in doing so. I rather prefer to try to spread the Truth more positively, by this method, than negatively, by opposing the smashed debris of errors surrounding the leaking and listing Barque of Peter these days. I sorely pray God would have mercy on His Church, whatever remnant remains, and take away this affliction from us, but it may not be His will to do so.
So I pray for the strength to endure it. This material also hopes with that.