Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Lessons from Tornado Country

Yesterday, I spent a few minutes in the basement as a tornado warning was in effect in my area of residence. Another friend, in a nearby Midwest state, spent time in his storm shelter, caught between two tornado warnings.

Now, there are two ways people in these parts respond to tornado warnings, which mean either that tornados have actually touched ground nearby (the real definition of a tornado) or have been spotted in the air.

Some people, like me, obedient the to guidelines of NOAA, get ready and go into the basement, or, like my friend, go into a shelter.

Some people, like two other friends of mine, who grew up, as I did, in "tornado alley", go and sit on the swing on their front porch and watch the sky.

My two bold swinging friends do not believe they will be carried away by winds or beaten by large hail storms. Perhaps they do not care if they die and go to h, h, or p at this time. I want to live a bit longer.

What came to my mind were the attitudes of so many Catholics who, instead of obeying rules, or learning why rules are important, watch the skies rather laconically, and hope for the best.

Prudence, which is practical wisdom, demands certain responses to serious situations. As the CCC quotes, "a prudent man looks where he is going".  This phrase always reminds me of the Victorian children's book, Der Struwwelpeter.  In the book, there is a character which reminds me of my two fearless friends.


The Story of Johnny Head-in-Air
As he trudged along to school,
It was always Johnny's rule
To be looking at the sky
And the clouds that floated by;
But what just before him lay,
In his way,
Johnny never thought about;
So that every one cried out
"Look at little Johnny there,
Little Johnny Head-In-Air!"

Running just in Johnny's way
Came a little dog one day;
Johnny's eyes were still astray
Up on high,
In the sky;
And he never heard them cry
"Johnny, mind, the dog is nigh!"
Bump!
Dump!
Down they fell, with such a thump,
Dog and Johnny in a lump!
Dog and Johnny in a lump!

Once, with head as high as ever,
Johnny walked beside the river.
Johnny watched the swallows trying
Which was cleverest at flying.
Oh! what fun!
Johnny watched the bright round sun
Going in and coming out;
This was all he thought about.
So he strode on, only think!
To the river's very brink,
Where the bank was high and steep,
And the water very deep;
And the fishes, in a row,
Stared to see him coming so.








One step more! oh! sad to tell!
Headlong in poor Johnny fell.
And the fishes, in dismay,
Wagged their tails and swam away.
There lay Johnny on his face

There lay Johnny on his face,
With his nice red writing-case;
But, as they were passing by,
Two strong men had heard him cry;
And, with sticks, these two strong men
Hooked poor Johnny out again.
Oh! you should have seen him shiver

Oh! you should have seen him shiver
When they pulled him from the river.
He was in a sorry plight!
Dripping wet, and such a fright!
Wet all over, everywhere,
Clothes, and arms, and face, and hair:
Johnny never will forget
What it is to be so wet.


And the fishes, one, two, three,
Are come back again, you see;
Up they came the moment after,
To enjoy the fun and laughter.
Each popped out his little head,
And, to tease poor Johnny, said
"Silly little Johnny, look,
You have lost your writing-book!"
Silly little Johnny, look



Now, it is fair to say that growing up in tornado country makes one a bit blasé.

However, I am not indifferent to storm warning, or tornado warnings, when the siren blares and the NOAA radio shouts out "get to shelter".

Perhaps the lesson today is that we should not let ourselves become too complacent about our surroundings, our culture, even our civilization. Two dear friends of mine lost everything in Katrina. One told me it was the best thing that ever happened to his family, as it gave them all a perspective that the only thing which really mattered were Mom, Dad, and the kids.

The other one got up and started her business immediately, not letting the loss overcome her energy and talents. But, both went and left the coming eye of the storm in plenty of time to avoid being killed.

1,833 people died in Katrina, including the uncle of a friend of mine who refused to leave, having made it through Camille, when only about 300 people perished. He stayed in the second floor of his house but was drowned by the thirty-nine foot wave  coming off the Gulf.

The storm of anti-Catholicism has been growing off the shores of Britain in a new manner. Anti-Catholicism in England is still muted under a sort of indifference, and like the two friends stated, sitting on the front porch, the sky does not seem "that bad". But, the vote in Ireland has changed the atmospheric pressure. Those who are paying attention need to plan how to meet the winds of evil which have been gathering and which will try to destroy the Catholic Church. Do not kid yourselves, we are in for a tornado.


Saturday, 2 May 2015

The SSM Debate

Caravaggio's Beheading of St. John the Baptist-in St. John's Co-Cathedral, Valletta, Malta

Over on the Catholic Herald website, is an engaging debate on the ramifications of ssm. Now, what is missing in most of the comments being made seems to be a misunderstanding of three principles-one, the question of civil rights; two, the agenda of those pushing for ssm; the larger movement of culture away from Christian morals.

I refuse to use the word "values" as morals are not values. Morals for the Catholic are God's standards, given to each human being as natural law, by the fact that one is human, and, also, enshrined in Revealed law, the Ten Commandments. We also have the clarification of both in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the long teaching of the Church in the past 2,000 plus years. If one is confused as to the moral teaching of the Church on one of the four sins which cries out to God for vengeance, one only has to look at the many sources from the Teaching Magisterium of the Church.

The first point: Civil rights are given to men and woman as part of the dignity of being human. A "right" is given in the name of justice. Positive, or Divine Law set the rules for what is a right and what is not. The right to fair wages, fair trials, property and so on, are given because of the dignity of human beings, as creatures of God.

Sin, which is beneath the dignity of all men and women, has no rights. Therefore, such things as child molestation, rape, graft, embezzlement murder and so on have no right, and a state has a duty to protect civilians from criminal activity.

The problem is modern times has been the movement to give sin rights. Adultery now has a right, as most Protestant denominations follow civil law in recognizing marriage after divorce, without an annulment. For the Catholic, this situation does not require justice, but repentance. Abortion is legal, but unjust, an intrinsically evil sin, as is sodomy. Those wanting ssm want to change society and make it God-less.

Sadly, the secular society accepts serious sins, which merit damnation for some people, as rights. The thinking of some judges is that law is what a government decides, not God.

We live in post-Christian societies, with laws even the ancient pagan societies did not accept.

Second point: few on the CH site recognize the huge agenda of those pushing for ssm. This agenda goes back to Gramsci and his efforts to undermine Christian morality in order to promote the communist nation-state system. One can read the numerous posts I have on Gramsci on my blog.

How interesting it is that in the published letters of Gramsci from prison, and I have all the volumes, that his first note reminds his readers that the Catholic Church, even at that early date, was the only group of people who understood what was the real agenda of the Communist Manifesto. Gramsci saw clearly that the popes in his era "got it"--the awareness of the agenda to create a God-less, Church-less society. This is the current agenda of those pushing for ssm. Make no mistake about it. There is an agenda.

Third point: those who hate Christ and His Church have been pushing for societies which are against the Church since the persecutions in Jerusalem, which cause St. John to take Our Lady to Ephesus and which witnessed the martyrdom of St. James, and others. The Church has always had enemies, as those in darkness, who choose darkness, hate the light. They hate Christ, they hate us.

Many of those making comments on the CH website do not or do not want to see the big picture-which is the demise of Western Civilization, which was created by the Catholic Church, and the beginning of chaos and persecution for Catholics.

St. John the Baptist was beheaded for reminding Herod that he was living in adultery. 'Nuff said.

Friday, 24 April 2015

From Today's Divine Office


Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? Now the sting of death is sin, but let us thank God for giving us victory over sin through our Lord Jesus Christ, alleluia.

Lessons Learnt from Commemorating the Centennial of the Armenian Genocide



A hundred years ago, a genocide began which eliminated 1.5 million Armenian Christians through forced migration, torture and massacre.  The world was fixated on the Great War in Europe and the many lives lost to were practically ignored Armenia was far away as well as the vigorous denials by the Turks,

One man at the time who did not turn a blind eye to the atrocity was Mehmet Celal Bey, a Turkish official who is known in some circles as the Ottoman Oskar Schindler.




The Armenian Supreme Patriarch Kerekin II canonized the 1.5 million victims of the Armenian Genocide as martyrs.  Even today, the topic of the Armenian Genocide inspires tumult and vigorous denials from Turks.  Pope Francis stated: The first genocide of the 20th century was that of the Armenians."   The Turkish Foreign Ministry immediately shot back that Pope Francis' remarks were one-sided. When that demarche proved insufficient, Ankara summoned the Vatican ambassador for an explanation and later recalled Turkey's Ambassador to Rome.   The Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu noted: "Religious authorities are not the places to incite resentment and hatred with baseless allegations."  Turkey's position is that the 1.5 million victim figure is disputable and that any deaths were due to World War I.

Even after 100 years, denial is not just a river in Egypt.

The Centennary of the Armenian Genocide is instructive as the world currently is seeing a massacre of Christians by Muslim extremists, like ISIS, Boko Haraam and Al Shabaab, and much of the so called civilized world is non-plussed by the atrocity and believes that it does not affect them. Or our feckless leaders acknowledge the horrific event but never name the perpetrators (radical Islamism) or do not acknowledge the identity of the victims (Christians or Jews).






 

Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Bit on Justifying Georgemas


British Great War Recruiting Poster 

According to the Gregorian calendar, April 23rd is the Feast of St. George (or Georgemas).  The Orthodox also admire the attributes of St. George but follow the Julian calendar which marks the feast on May 6th.  St. George born in Syria Palestrinia in the late Third Century who served as an officer in the Roman army that guarded the Emporer Diocletian, but who was martyred for not renouncing his Christian faith.  The emperor tried to bribe George to renounce his faith and tortured him, but to no avail. Before he was decapitated, St. George gave all of his wealth to the poor.

St. George is one of the most venerated saints in the Catholic Church, among Anglicans, Orthodox, East Syrian churches. Even Muslims revere this honorable military man. In the Twelfth Century a legend was attached to St. George about slaying a dragon.  The standard Orthodox icon of St. George depicts him slaying a dragon with a woman in the background.





The dragon is generally understood as being both Satan and the monster from his own life (Diocletian). The woman in the background is Alexandra, the wife of Emperor Diocletian. Crusaders credit an appearance of St. George. This was probably legend which traveled back with the Crusaders from the Holy Land and was embellished in courtly Romance retellings.

***
St. George is the patron saint of England yet it is not a public holiday in England. The reasons why celebration of Georgemas is muted are cultural, historical and now tinged with political correctness.



St. George was neither English nor roundly associated with England, even though King Edward III formed the Order of the Garder under the patronage of St. George in 1348.  The Reformation played a part as Protestants did not care much for saints' days. In addition, celebration of St. George's day has been in decline since the Act of Union between England in Scotland completed in 1707.  In today's world,  the Daily Telegraph reports that many English people are concerned that national symbols like St. George can be considered racists,


Aside from the fact that many pubs in England are named after George and the dragon, it makes one wonder why this legend matters. Modern man is quick to dismiss myths (unless it is anthropogenic global warming), but this is short sighted. Myths convey essential truths although the romantic story elements may not be exact.

***

The reason that St. George matters so much to the English is that the legend reinforces characteristics which the English admire and seek to emulate.  St. George is a knight who exemplified chivalry. St. George and the dragon also champions the little guy as well as the triumph of good over evil.  The versions which depict him making the sign of the cross depict deep dedication to principles (if we dare not declare faith).  These romanticized virtues along with the more verifiable versions of his hagiography make St. George a man worthy (bank holiday or not) for Englishmen to emulate.



SEE MORE at DC-LausDeo.US 

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Letter to All Priests and Seminarians in Great Britain

Dear Holy Clerics,

Events in the Church in America today bring many of us lay people to our knees. Speaking with an American deacon this morning, I realized that I had to respond to the pain felt in the more traditional community of the Church.

I write to you, Dear Priests, with great sorrow. I write because the laity need you to embrace the Cross, accept a new level of suffering, and become saints.

If you have been ordained, you have a huge and historical task to perform in these turbulent times.

You already have been made into an alter Christus, another Christ, in the place of Christ in the lives of hundreds, if not thousands of lay people.

If you are still in the seminary, you are contemplating becoming Christ in the world, offering up the great Sacrifice, that of the Body and Blood of Christ.

Today, sadly accepting the fate of Bishop Finn, I thought of writing to you, Holy Priests and Seminarians, with a plea from an ordinary lay woman in the pew, who is grateful to God for being in a lowly position in life.

You, as priests, will never be in a lowly position. Your lives will be scrutinized by all, and you will and do now, have high standards to meet before God and the civil laws of the lands. The just laws cannot be ignored. God's laws must be followed to the last dot and tittle. Christ tells us this Himself: 

Matthew 5:18-- For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth pass away, not one letter, not one stroke of a letter, will pass from the law until all is accomplished.

This means several things for you, Holy Men of God. The first is that you must no longer pursue the middle course of comfort, but embrace the hard road to perfection. Only saints will be able to lead us lay people into the times to come. Only those who are trying to be perfect will be able to withstand all the powers of the world, the flesh, and the devil. No stain of even venial sin, much less mortal sin, can be tolerated in the new necessity for holiness among priests.

The second is that you cannot be unaware, which may mean that you must surround yourselves with saints to support you in holiness in your ministries.

In days past, one could get by being a clergyman living in a lifestyle which resembled that of most of us, not pursuing mortification or perfection. You, Dear Brothers in God, have much more responsibility now, than ever, to become heroic saints. Then, you will be able to lead us in becoming saints.

Today, I thought of how to respond to the sad news of Bishop Finn's necessary resignation. He made a mistake, he broke a law, he overlooked something, which should not have been overlooked. 

In order to be a saint, one must be vigilant and think of all the ramifications of each action, each day. One must rely totally on Christ, and His Mother Mary, to bring to mind all the important details of life, to reflect, to act in prudence and justice.

If you, Dear Priests, are asked to become a bishop, and your life has not been perfect, refuse. If you, Dear Seminarians, have not yet decided to become saints, do it now, today, realizing that the Church does not need merely good men, but excellent men.

We, the laity, promise to pray for you daily to become saints. We shall aid you in doing so by prayer and by our own feeble efforts to become holy ourselves.

The Church will be undermined by the less than perfect.

This is the Age of Saints and Martyrs.

Be one and you may become the other.

Let me join my prayers with yours for Bishop Finn. May he find forgiveness and peace in a lowly place, the place we are all eventually saved, that of complete humility and abjection.

Please, please, Dear Priests and Seminarians, be not just good, but perfect.
  
May Our Lady Queen of Apostles guide you daily to her Son.


Sincerely,


Supertradmum, mother of a seminarian, sister in Christ.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Very Important Post on Who Can Make a Spiritual Communion

This clarifies some confusion in the Synod.

Voice of the Family welcomes the recent comments by His Excellency Archbishop Stanisław Gądecki, Archbishop of Poznań and President of the Polish Episcopal Conference, explaining why the divorced and “remarried” do not possess the correct dispositions to make an act of spiritual communion.
The Archbishop’s intervention was reported by Corrispondenza Romana (translation Rorate Caeli) as follows:
“The divorced and remarried cannot make spiritual communion” , Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, President of the Polish Episcopal Conference affirmed in an intervention at the Convention “What God joined together…” Marriage, Family and Sexuality in the Context of the Synod of Bishops 2014-2015” which took place on April 14 that the Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski University in Warsaw. Archbishop Gadecki, who stood out during the Synod of Bishops in 2014 for his defense of Catholic morality, wanted to respond to those, such as Cardinal Kasper who sustain that if the divorced and remarried can receive spiritual communion, they can also receive the Sacrament. The use that is made of the term “spiritual communion” in order to justify the admittance of the divorced and remarried to the Sacraments is absolutely improper, explained Archbishop Gadecki. Spiritual communion refers, in fact, to people in a state of grace, who, on account of a physical impediment, cannot receive Communion (as happened for example, in the part of Poland occupied by the Soviets after the Second World War).
On the contrary, it cannot refer to those who are forbidden to receive the Eucharist on account of a moral impediment they can freely remove, by abandoning the situation of sin they are in. All those who are in a state of God’s grace can make a spiritual communion. Those who are in a state of sin, can pray, attend Mass, develop their relationship with God, but this relationship cannot be defined as spiritual communion.
The Archbishop’s words are important because, as noted above, Walter Cardinal Kasper has tried to use confusion over this issue to further his proposal that the divorced and “remarried” should be admitted to the sacrament of Holy Communion. In his speech to the consistory of cardinals in February 2013 Cardinal Kasper asserted, basing himself on recent ecclesiastical documents, that this question was already settled and that the divorced and “remarried” were able to make acts of spiritual communion. From this he was able to draw the following conclusions:
How can he or she then be in contradiction to Christ’s commandments? Why, then, can’t he or she also receive sacramental communion? If we exclude divorced and remarried Christians, who are properly disposed, from the sacraments and refer them to the extrasacramental way of salvation, do we not then place the fundamental sacramental structure of the Church in question?
A similar argument was introduced into the relatio synodi of the Extraordinary Synod. In paragraph 53 we read:
Some synod fathers maintained that divorced and remarried persons or those living together can have fruitful recourse to a spiritual communion. Others raised the question as to why, then, they cannot have access “sacramentally.”
Voice of the Family explored this question in our analysis of the final report of the synod. We wrote:
In paragraph 53 the drafters try to find an opening for the admission to Holy Communion of the divorced and “remarried” by asserting that there are synod fathers who find it difficult to understand the difference between spiritual communion and sacramental communion. The traditional understanding of the Church is as follows:
(1) If a person receives Holy Communion with the correct dispositions they receive both sacramentally and spiritually.
(2) If a person receives Holy Communion, but is not correctly disposed, they receive sacramentally but not spiritually; that is to say, they physically eat the Body and Blood of the Lord but do not receive an increase of sanctifying grace, rather “he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself.” (1 Cor 11:29)
(3) Finally, a person who is correctly disposed to receive Holy Communion, but is not able to do so physically, receives spiritually but not sacramentally when they make an act of spiritual communion. A person who willfully persists in a state of mortal sin is thus not able to make a spiritual communion in the proper sense of the term. Therefore a person who is divorced and “remarried” is not able to receive the sacrament of Holy Communion, or able to make a spiritual communion, until they repent of their sin.
The erroneous view that a person who is in unrepentant mortal sin can make an act of spiritual communion, in the proper sense of the term, is perhaps responsible for the confusion among bishops expressed in paragraph 53.
If this position is correct, and we are convinced that it is, then the argument of Cardinal Kasper and the insinuation of the relatio synodi are shown to be groundless. We strongly recommend the excellent article “Is Spiritual Communion for Everyone?”  by Paul Jerome Keller O.P, which explains the traditional position in depth.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

A Man for Our Times

St. Benedict lived in a time of complete chaos. The central government of Rome had been destroyed. Vandals struck at the old trade routes, and attacked the ports, ruining trade and ending the lucrative merchant houses. People were without basic needs.

Roads became the haunts of robbers and villains. Lending businesses, mints, and storage houses were plundered.

The law and order which prevailed under Roman Rule fell into disuse, with only some local governors maintaining order with their own local militias and their own charismatic personalities or virtuous reputations.

Morality sunk to new lows. The Christians fled the large cities and urban areas for the first time and went into the country, creating the Christian Diaspora which made Europe Catholic,

In the midst of all of this, a young man was born to a local government official, a young man who would change the course of both material and physical history. In 480, to a classical family, Benedict entered this world he would change.

From his journey with God, he became the inventor of Western monasticism, and Catholic education. Not only did the Benedictines preserve the ancient Greek and Roman texts of all subjects, but they carried on and Christianized the Trivium and Quadrivium.

The Rule of St. Benedict created common sense ways of not only perserving the Faith, but passing it on to future generations, in the silent hard work of Laborare et Orare.

Out of chaos came order. Out of gross immorality came sanctity. Out of ignorance came learning.

Seeking God in prayer, work and learning became the hallmarks of the Benedictine way.

Benedictine's genius is the way for us today.

Years ago, in my twenties, I fell in love with Bernard of Clairvaux, who I call the Saint of Love. From there, I studied and learned the Rule of St. Benedict. One can never exhaust this Rule.

The ways of St. Benedict can be considered our way forward in chaos, as we are in chaos.

When Benedict stood in the hills of Nursia, and finally, at Monte Cassino, he looked at the order he, through grace, has brought back into the world. We are standing on those same hills, but staring at chaos wondering what to do.

From the Cheviot Hills, to the  Pennines, to the Yorkshire Dales, to the  Peak District, to the Lake District, to the North York Moors, to the  Shropshire Hills, to the the Cotswolds, to the Chiltern Hills, to the North Downs, to the North Wessex Downs, to the Mendip Hills, to Exmoor and to Dartmoor, one can look down and see the chaos St. Benedict witnessed. But, he did something, and we can do the same.

I highly suggest in these dire times which will get worse doing three things.

One, move close to Farnborough, or Buckfast or Colwich or Ryde or Tyburn. 

Two, enter into, as much as possible, the Divine Office at these places.

Three, if you are single, ask to join the monasteries. If you are called to the lay life, or too old to join, become an Oblate.

Destroy the chaos in yourselves and outside of yourselves. Renew England with the Rule of St. Benedict.

Think that the Pope Emeritus was instructing us by choosing the name of Benedict for his own. 

Choose Benedictinism. Remember that England became Catholic because of Pope St. Gregory the Great, St. Augustine of Canterbury and St. Laurence, plus other Benedictines, who brought the Faith to the Island.

Remember St. Anselm who renewed the seminaries and re-introduced the trivium and quadrivium to the seminaries. Remember the Benedictine martyrs.




Blessed John Beche, Abbot of Colchester, 1 December 1539
Blessed Hugh Faringdon, Abbot of Reading, 14 November 1539 
Blessed Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury, 15 November 1539
Blessed John Rugg, 15 November 1539
Blessed John Thorne, 15 November 1539 
St. John Roberts, 10 December 1610
St. Alban Bartholomew Roe, 21 January 1642
Blessed Mark Barkworth, 27 February 1601
Blessed George Gervase, 11 April 1608
Blessed Maurus Scott, 30 May 1612
Blessed Philip Powell, 30 June 1646

Blessed Thomas Pickering, 9 May 1679 (Benedictine lay brother)

Become a Benedictine and save England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

And, pray for me, this little Benedictine soul, so that someday I may return to the Isle, Mary's Dowry.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

On Justice


Justice, one of the Cardinal Virtues, may be the virtue sinned against in the Synod, and in our parishes daily.

Out of Justice comes giving God what is His due in worship, piety, devotions, penances and mortifications, piety towards one's parents, truthfulness, faithfulness, generosity towards God and others, giving others their due according to natural law and natural rights, and most importantly, obedience.

The virtue of obedience emanates from justice. Those who are hypocrites in the Church and in society lack obedience, lack justice.

Those who fall into following false seers or superstition sin against the virtue of justice, as they do not give to the Church obedience, and they do not give God proper worship, which is His due.

Those who are rebellious against the authority of the Church in matters of contraception and irregular marriages, lack justice, towards God, His Church and others.

Lying is a sin against justice, as well as a running away from suffering. Yes, practicing justice can hurt, as it means "dying to self".

Too many Catholics live unjust lives, towards God and their neighbors. Most of the rebellion in the Church, specifically with regard to the happenings at the Synod. grows out of disobedience, the lack of the practice of justice.

Since all Catholics are given this virtue in baptism and have this virtue strengthened in confirmation, as well as in the receiving of the Eucharist, one must ask why the lack of justice seems so obvious

Mortal sin binds up the virtues and puts them in a virtual prison. Only repentance, confession, grace can free and operate the virtues, such as justice, again.

I write this on Holy Saturday noting the myriad ways in which priests and bishops have fallen into disobedience regarding liturgical norms. I think of heretical sermons, and false statements concerning Church teaching. But, I also think of the laity who lack piety, do not give due worship to God in Church by being reverent and modest, and who ignore the poor and the lonely.

Such are the sins against justice within the Church...and there are more.

Such are the sins against the very virtue which has been given to all the baptized...and there are more.

Practice make perfect with regard to the virtues. Practice justice. Pray in your daily examination of conscience to see how you may be sinning against justice. Reparation for sin and for the punishment due to sin involves the practice of justice.

This method of an examen is a tried and true way of the Jesuits and Dominicans--thinking of the virtues and the sins against these virtues.

More later....

Friday, 3 April 2015

On Redemptive Suffering; On Good Friday

Servant of God, Fr. John Hardon S.J.: "Love wants to suffer for the Beloved... Love wants to expiate the sins that have so deeply penetrated mankind. Love wants to make up for the lack of love among those who sin. Love wants to relieve the debt of suffering that sinners owe to God. Love wants to give God what sinners are depriving Him of by their sins."




Wednesday, 1 April 2015

What's at Stake at the Synod? Everything!

By PAUL PRIEST.

We are not equal - God isn't a democrat - in just the same way as there is a hierarchy of ranks among the angels there is a hierarchy of human souls and their perfectibility - it's known as Predilection. God loves us all infinitely and calls us to fulfill our created perfectibility - but some are created to be more - to do more [remember the parable of the sower? 30, 60, a hundredfold?]

God loves them more because they are created to be more lovable because they have a vocation to be more... I know it doesn't sound fair but He's God: We're not - we have our place in His divine plan as either tiny cogs or hard-working pistons or massive power-wheels - whatever that position we were made for it - and can achieve perfection within it and be fulfilled with absolute joy and happiness in being everything we were called to be. God made us so we ultimately wouldn't ever wish to be anything but ourselves in our perfection in our part of His Divine plan [this is why envy - wanting to be another - is the greatest sin against oneself]

Finally on this point it must be noted that in regard to Predilection how we repent from and amend for our sins will also be variant - for some it will be easy and lengthy - for others it will be more grueling and intermittent.

Now, secondly we have to understand what the Holy Spirit is about - for most of us the Holy Spirit keeps us in existence, He inspires our intellects with truth, beauty and the notion of the good - which motivates our will to carry out this inspiration freely towards the good - this is what Love is. The Holy Spirit provides us with Sufficient Grace to never sin - He provides our intellects and consciences to be aware of the Good, the True and Beautiful - and we can conform to this and be truly free. Remember the only thing we are ever free to do is to do good - sin is always a denial of our freedom and actually traps us and makes us less free.

Alternatively, we can hoodwink ourselves into thinking happiness may be achieved through another route - a short-cut - an easy way - and hence we lie to ourselves and our God and our created reality and the rest of creation and we commit sin - and in the process we as temples of the Holy Spirit in whom we live, move and have our being - abuse and defy the Lord, the Giver of Life with our lies and sin. These are the only two things we can say we possess - every other thing comes from God, is worked by God and returns to God - every other thing is Grace of which we are unworthy but in which we we happy receivers can and should boast.

Normatively, the Holy Spirit works through Sufficient Grace, but there are times where through an extraordinary act of predelictive Love, the Holy Spirit acts upon us with what's known as efficient Grace - unstoppable, unpreventable grace which compels us towards an act.

There's an old Fulton Sheen story of a wayward alcoholic actress who accepts his invite to see the Church on the proviso he would not ask her to go to Confession - he kept the promise in his own way for as they were touring the Church he opened the confessional door and threw her inside.

Divine Providence decrees that God does this to some of us in extraordinary circumstances. God does not work against our wills - but instead He takes over with Efficient grace to ensure something happens. Think the Conversion of St Paul and other profound conversion stories. Think Miracles. Think the imposition of the knowledge of God upon the Prophets or all who lived and believed during the Incarnation or the appearance of the Sacred Heart or Our Lady. Think of the Promises of Christ regarding Papal Infallibility and the inability of the Gates of the Underworld to prevail against the Church. All this is Efficient Grace - unpreventable, unthwartable - it has nothing to do with the arbitrary, discretionary choices within human free will. God just does it!

Sometimes God uses efficient Grace upon us to actuate His will. Otherwise, it is sufficient grace where we are at the helm of our wills - the Holy Spirit inspires our intellects and carries out our wills - but we choose - we decide. The Holy Spirit does not treat us like puppets or cosmic chess pieces - He limits himself to inspiration of the intellect to motivate the will - we choose whether to conform to that will or not. Hence in matters of the Church the Holy Spirit may inspire - but the Pope and his Brother Bishops and clerics and religious act according to their own either conformed or refusenik wills. The Holy Spirit does not choose a Pope - Cardinals choose a Pope. The Holy Spirit does not appoint Bishops - The Pope does. The Holy Spirit does not gerrymander or rig Synod or Oecumenical council votes - The Pope and Bishops vote.

Now, there is only one real argument against the existence of God - all the others fall apart when rationally confronted with reality but one remains - one so confrontational that it compelled Ivan Karamazov to refuse to participate and return his invitation to belong to God's creation: The problem of Evil and there is only one rational response:

"How else can evil be allowed to exist, save for a greater good?"

God permits evil - He permits sin. Yes - nothing happens but what God wills - but there is a profound difference between what God wished [His Antecedent will] and what God permits [through which He will actuate a greater good] - i.e. His Consequent Will. God's antecedent will was for none to fall, for all to share Heaven in their created perfection with Him for eternity - for all to be saved. God's consequent will - because angels fell, because we fell, because we continue to sin and because ultimately some of us will not wish eternity with Him if the price means dying to our selfish vices - is axiomatically very different from God's original antecedent will.

Therefore when anything happens - we are absolutely forbidden from the presumption that what God's consequent will has permitted remotely conforms to that which His antecedent will desired.
Just because something happens - be it some remarkably fortuitous or ostensibly miraculous event or a revolution or a restoration or discovery or victory over an evil aggressor in war, or alternatively the horror of war and famine and personal tragedies or holocausts upon Jews, Chinese, Russians, the Unborn, our euthanised sick and unwanted, or the ravages of Spanish flu or AIDS or ebola we cannot attribute to God's antecedent will. In fact, we are absolutely prohibited from ever presuming it is part of God's antecedent will [eg Divine vindication/reward or Divine retribution]. It is merely the case that what happens is what God permits. Nor can we surmise His will from the ostensible benefits or the blatantly obvious ravages of what God permits. We are guaranteed that God's resolution of it all is assuredly a greater Good.

Now comes the big crunch question: What in the name of all sanity has any of this to do with the impending Synod on Marriage and the Family? It's about the proposed reception of Holy Communion for civilly divorced and remarried Catholics and active homosexuals, isn't it? That the ongoing mortal sin of adultery and fornication should not be a barrier from being one in communion with one's neighbours? By appealing to mercy and tolerance and the notion of integration and unity and even [ironically] appealing to the notion of solidarity that no-one is isolated or alienated or ostracised? That we all be one?

What has any of this to do with God's sufficient grace or the Holy Spirit not treating us like puppets or God's antecedent and consequent will? Well the answer is quite simple: It has EVERYTHING to do with it! Primarily you have to understand how the world has been contaminated in two ways over the past two centuries - and how this ideological contamination has infected the mind-frame of those within the modern Church.

The first is easily recognised and understood contamination is Evolutionism. This is not meant in the limited biological sense regarding certain developments within certain species, but universal development of everything - absolute ever-fulfilling progressivism summed up by "things can only get better" or rather the promise that "things only do get better"  This is a serious error. For further reading look at the writings of Teilhard de Chardin, Emile Mersch and Karl Rahner and a host of moderns to understand this notion of everything evolving to some ineffable ethereal omega point where we all become so like God we collectively usurp His role in some Buddhist nirvana of everything and nothing.

Secondly we have to get a bit philosophical - and although I'll skip the background of the whole metaphysical potency/act problem in presocratics through stoical pantheism and enlightenment naturalism and pantheism - [which Aristotle and Aquinas perfectly refuted and dealt with], we end up with the nightmare philosophy of Hegel which like a virus has infected every socio-cultural and political ideology of any wing and flavour - be it nazism or Stalinism, capitalism or revolutionary Marxism, libertarianism or totalitarianism.

Now I suppose yet again you're asking - what has Hegel to do with the Synod? Please bear with me for a few more minutes before I tell you. Hegel's philosophy is grounded in two main principles:

The Dialectic - This rests upon the premise that there is no actual truth or understanding of reality, that there cannot be as there is division and dissension and alienation. Therefore all is merely a movement towards a more truthful understanding through a position of compromise and unity between the extremes and tensions of all aspects of reality. In this paradigm, one takes two seemingly opposing positions and seeks the underlying truth within both to synthesise this thesis and antithesis into a higher thesis - which in turn is still imperfect and has opposition through an antithesis and must again be synthesised into a higher thesis into infinity as the process continues.



Now how can we be certain this process works and we won't be misguided or misdirected throughout this? Ah, but that's impossible because there is a 'universal spirit' within reality that seeks this unfolding, flourishing, unifying. coalescing synthesis of the dialectic. The principle at work here is that a spirit is leading ever onward and upward in all spheres of reality towards a universal holism - this spirit is known as The Geist. The Geist ensures the validity and integrity of the ideological system itself and its ultimate destiny in perfection. This, resting not on objective truth but something very tenuous can easily morph into something similar to all our 'utopianisms' of reichs, or a communist world-state, or universal randian liberty, or the integrationist wonderland of the multiculturalist or the feminist or the eco-warrior? We are enslaved to the machinations and functions of the Geist - we are part of a system which is inseparable from this unstoppable force leading humanity towards its inevitable destiny.

Now are you beginning to see where I'm coming from? The development of Doctrine? It being the will of the Holy Spirit ? In this world view, we are mere pawns and puppets of this Divine Will - this movement of this religious geist - the Holy Spirit - towards this evolving ever-re-flourishing progressive end.

In such a spiral,  or vortex, we are to seek an end to division and synthesise into uniformity and unity via a compromise dialectic which will placate and satisfy - where tolerance and 'mercy and charity' dwell - via acceptance of all and the elimination of alienation and ostracism. For we are all equal in the sight of God and none are loved more or less - and equality indicates sameness and uniformity and homogeneity where dissociating divisive factors like difference or independence or non-confomity are anathematised.


The Synod's proposed 'theology of mercy', the Kasperite position, is going to be grounded upon what I call "three great heresies and a lie". The first two heresies are going to be promoted at every opportunity in order to introduce a third with which the Church has been contaminated for centuries and which has manifested itself in three forms of a heresy against God's sufficient grace {Neo-Pelagianism/Molinism- then Jansenism- then Gradualism}. Rebel Bishops sought to impose at the Synod on the Family 35 years ago, but were halted in their tracks by Pope St John Paul II in Familiaris Consortio.

The first heresy is quite obvious:

That everything that happens within the Church conforms to the antecedent will of God - that God wished this for the Church from before creation - and that all movements of the Holy Spirit are manifestations of this Church progression - forward ever forward - we cannot go back - all is development and what God planned.

Of course, we have absolutely no idea whether it does or not. By such time, we will have dispensed with the holy doctrines and the integrity of the Church's discipline, which has been guided by the Holy Spirit. In truth, we are not open to the innermost mysteries of the Divine plan - but it would be the gravest presumption to not believe that the mass exodus out of the Church - that its secularisation and desacralisation - and its loss of the apologetic, its cultural identity and the falling away of so many are not merely what God permits in His consequent will - and were never part of His antecedent. But this naive ludicrous Hegelian optimism that it's all happened because it's what God always wished is a heresy.

The second heresy is simple. It is the idea that we are but pawns and puppets of the Holy Spirit in our wills - our Bishops and clerics and bodies of our reformist laity by their very existence and every thought, word and deed is all subsumed into the system by which the Holy Spirit moves them all towards the desired end. Of course this is a heresy - the Holy Spirit inspires our intellect - and we accept or reject and act accordingly - free will - our choice! We may do good and conform with the Holy Spirit's inspiration - but we can just as easily renege and defy and choose to sin.

Thus these two heresies will be promoted at every opportunity to lay the groundwork for the third. This is the heresy that you can guarantee through the major soundbites and buzzwords from the lips of all those who seek to change Catholic teaching via a perversion of its pastoral implementation by simply desiring it. This will be one of Lebensraum:

"We must allow the Holy Spirit space to reform the Church"

The third heresy is quite confusing, which is probably why during the last Extraordinary Synod there was almost universal ignorance of what the heresy entailed among Catholic journalists, commentators and media representatives who all spoke at great length while claiming great understanding about it, but every last one of them got it wrong.

In Familiaris Consortio Pope St John Paul II refers to the law of gradualism - an easily recognisable phenomenon - our gradual progression through the consequences of our sin after our repentance and absolution we are still weak , weary and scarred and that it will take us a while to gradually heal.

BUT Pope St John Paul II rejects absolutely the heresy known as the Principle of Gradualism.
 I could go into this heresy at great length and explain its intricacies and consequences and the way it destroys the very fabric of the notion of grace and God's love for us and the integrity of the human person, but all you really need to know about it is that quite simply it denies God's sufficient grace to immediately repent of all sin or sinfulness - and the sufficient grace to not sin again.



In other words, using this 'principle' God does not provide sinners with the grace which will prevent them from being able to stop sinning or to not start sinning again. The underlying great lie in it all is 'God doesn't love us enough to get us out of our mess" Therefore, in this heretical viewpoint, all sinners cannot be expected to stop sinning immediately - they must be treated with compassion and understanding to be weaned off from their sinfulness - go on a sin-controlled diet - enter into a sin-reduction spiritual fitness plan, like methadone as replacement for heroin. It cannot be expected for severe or long-term sinners to immediately stop their sins - it is simply 'not possible' for them.

In other words the underlying message of this heresy is that when it comes to repentance and turning away from sin - GOD COMMANDS THE IMPOSSIBLE. This is a diabolical lie. The lie is that God has not provided the sufficient grace - therefore they cannot do it.

Now you see this is where the heresy comes undone and, incidentally, many Church fathers, St Augustine & the Council of Trent absolutely repudiate and refute Gradualism.

The heresy is not going to be very palatable to the collective faithful when it comes to the conclusion that God commands the impossible from sinners. This heresy has its ultimate conclusion that:

We sin and can't stop: and it's God's fault.

Hence the Gradualists - of which Kasper and his cronies are mere successors - have to now insert a lie into the equation. It's irrational - yes it's mendacious - yes it is the actions of anti-intellectual scoundrels, but this is what the Gradualists do if a heresy gives you the principle you want but not the conclusion you desire. You simply change the conclusion.


In order to retain this "Principle of Gradualism" they have to twist the argument on its head. It is not that God commands the impossible. How could He? He's a merciful, tolerant, forgiving, ever-loving and always charitable and inclusive God? It's not God that's demanding the impossible from these poor sinners trapped in their sinful ways needing slow, pastoral assistance and reassurance to slowly reduce their sinfulness. It's not God who is lacking in Love and Mercy.

NO - IT'S THE CHURCH!

It is the Church which is cruel and uncharitable and merciless and intolerant with its hyper-proscriptive alientating legalism and Donatism - its judgmentalism upon the sinner [actually it's judging the sin but they're on a roll here]. It is the Church's heartless, calcified, rigorist legalism which is to blame and this is NOT WHAT GOD WANTS!

We are therefore not walking in God's ways. We are not living according to His Gospel and the values of His kingdom. We are standing in the way of His message of welcoming love which calls all sinners to Himself. Remember the ludicrous tag-line to the film "Love Story"? "Love means never having to say you're sorry". Well gradualism considers God's love means 'we have nothing to ever say sorry about'

In other words when Our Lord said, "If you love Me you will keep My commands" He never really meant we had to do it! That's Donatism - that's heartless legalism. Haven't both Donatism and legalism been recently condemned by our Bishops Conference and Pope Francis?

Do you see what's at stake now? Have a little think about the ramifications of a single gradualist principle being inserted in any moral adjudication on pastoral practice and praxis within Holy Mother Church - even to something as seemingly remote as using it to justify the slow reception of people still in mortal sin to reception of the sacraments. A single gradualist principle sets a moral precedent which may subsequently be applied to any and every aspect of Catholic moral teaching and its pastoral applications.

In other words the entirety of moral and pastoral theology - contaminated with the lethal virus that sin is something with which we have to deal with, to negotiate with, compromise with, excuse and slowly wean people off from and lead people away from, becomes a hellish nightmare of counter-productive self-contradicting heterodoxy, lie, fallacy and heresy-in-itself.

Catholic morality in one fell swoop would collapse and fall dead in the water - not merely ineffectual but directly counterproductive - but lethally destructive and toxic! Now, if you wish any further clarifications or explanations please ask in the combox - but I've already spent way too long writing and taken up far too much of your time.

God bless you all - but please pray long and hard for the upcoming Synod, pray the gradualists do not get a foothold, please read some of the Synod committees, especially the French and the English one led by Burke, as they trounce Gradualism underfoot. For if the Gradualists were to succeed? The price would be too high for us all....
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