Saturday, 4 July 2015

Dreams of Recusancy

Recently, in a British Catholic online mag, a discussion on the necessity for elite Catholic leaders was put forth by someone, imho, who missed the point of having leaders in the first place. There is in the West a leadership crisis, mostly brought on by the loss of noblese oblige and the tough Catholic immigrant blood which became, sadly, too watered down by "acceptance."

I am re-reading a book my mother bought me for Christmas in 1995, the year I returned to North America, with a very young son, to work out my life without a husband. I left England thinking that America would be friendly to me and son, a false dream of acceptance and community, which did not happen, except for a brief time in Alaska, and, ironically, Canada.

The book is on the great recusant houses in the country which was my spiritual home, where I taught, worked for the Church, got married, had my baby and experienced some of the greatest friendships I have ever made. Those days are gone, and my hopes for living in England have faded with the realities of the present politics against immigration. But, I still think someday I shall return somehow to the land of my spiritual brothers and sisters. How, I do not know.

However, I am a woman without a home here in the great plains of the Midwest, where I was born, and where my ancestors set up Catholic schools, a monastery and more, in happier days long ago. Now, the great houses of the noble recusants of England and Scotland create a longing in my heart for that type of courageous rebellion, silent but strong, against the evils of paganism, religious fanaticism, and secularism. We, in this country, do not have the great noble families, which intermarried and held the Catholic Faith as the most important heritage in their communities, risking life and fortunes for the pope, the Mass, the sacraments, and priests, intermarrying, sending sons to the great continental seminaries of Valladolid, Rome, Douai and Lisbon to become priests and martyrs.

We are approaching the same times, as I have noted here before, without the great houses. Malachi Martin in one of his novels imagined a house like Wardour, or Boscobel, in Windswept House. But, his book is and will always be a fictive creation of a clan center for Catholicism. Such things do not exist in this Protestant and apostate land. Too many of the new Catholics who are of "great families" are, in fact, practical heretics, in disobedience to Rome concerning many doctrines.

We, like most of the Catholic world, including Rome, lack leadership.

However, the houses haunt me. Names like Hendred House, Norbury Manor, Baddesley Clinton and Coughton Court resounded as I imagine the old families kneeling, like the great scene in Gone with the Wind, saying the rosary before the fire at night, while the young girls dream of some Catholic man in the households of Mapledurham or Stonor Park. Hundreds of years of Catholic occupancy kept some of the families alive in the Faith. I wonder if the "15" still meet in London and toast the Pope?

But, the point of this post is not the presenting of a romantic view of the past, but a stark view of the present. In all Catholic lands, leadership may be at the lowest ebb of the tide than at any time in history. One is hard put to name great orthodox Catholic leaders in England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland or America. Too many families have lost one of two generations to secularism and apostasy, or the worst plague of all, mediocrity, what Christ calls in the Book of Revelation, the "lukewarm". I fear a harder time for Catholics here in days to come than in the worst purging of the Roundheads. The reason is simple--we lack both clerical and lay leaders.

Sadly, American Catholic history has been that of a Church struggling since Day One in a Protestant land still rife with anti-Catholicism, which will rear it ugly head again very soon in real persecution. Whether this persecution lasts as long as the suppression of the Catholics in Great Britain, remains to be seen. I, for one, may never see the triumph of Catholicism again in this country, or any country, in my lifetime.

"This is not my country" has become a mantra for many of us on this side of the pond. Some of us saw the inevitable coming for a long time, especially those of us to whom God had given certain discernment and even a prophetic nature, but we were not heard. So be it. One moves on to the next stage of reality, coping with a culture which wants to destroy the Catholic Faith, as it will be seen again, as anti-American.

The sons and daughters of Gibbons, Keane, Ireland and those who fell into the false ideal of being American first and Catholic second, will survive physically. Whether they will spiritually is another matter. Those who have kept the remnant Faith may face hardships which no one wants to imagine.

There are no great houses here, no priest holes, no states which are so united as to form a legal confederacy against the Hydra tyranny of paganism and secularism. No, only small houses of the descendants of those who may even have come here for religious freedom. That is gone, truly gone.

Already, there is a test case in Macon, Georgia regarding Catholic schools. Already the Episcopalians have voted to have false "marriages" in their churches. Already, only the Evangelical Baptists, the Catholics and a handful of independent churches have kept the ancient teachings of Christ and the laws of nature sacred in their congregations. But, the rot has set into the Church. One only needs to ponder the weak responses of some bishops, and the non-response of the leading cardinal of this land.

I mourn the lack of great houses and great families. Like so many, my own family, with a fantastic Catholic heritage, including a great-grandfather who was a Knight of St. Gregory, is split with more siblings having left the Church than staying in--three to one, in fact. My generation and those following have witnessed the weakening of the Church from within, and now we must face the onslaught of legal constrictions from without.

Pray for us. As the Pope Emeritus said a long time ago, more than forty years ago now, the Catholic Church will be small scattered groups of the faithful in a sea of unbelief. May God raise us some new great houses, whether large or small, rich or poor, in these recusant times.

Friday, 3 July 2015

Riding the Beast


'He took me in spirit to a desert, and there I saw a woman riding a scarlet beast which had seven heads and ten horns and had blasphemous titles written all over it. The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet and glittered with gold and jewels and pearls, and she was holding a gold winecup filled with the disgusting filth of her prostitution; on her forehead was written a name, a cryptic name: 'Babylon the Great, the mother of all the prostitutes and all the filthy practices on the earth.' I saw that she was drunk, drunk with the blood of the saints, and the blood of the martyrs of Jesus; and when I saw her, I was completely mystified.'

This blog was established as a central hub linking various Catholic blogs under an umbrella group called The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma. Members of the Guild meet very sporadically to discuss Catholic issues and issues affecting Catholic bloggers. As a Guild, we do not exist for ourselves but for the chief mission of the Church which we understand to be the Salvation of souls which we hope to further through our writing. By writing, on our blogs and on this one, we hope to draw men and women to the love of God in His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.



Yet, as anyone who, even occasionally, visits Catholic blogs will realise - and I understand that they are not a great multitude, great alarm, even panic is being raised within the Catholic blogosphere over a new direction being taken in Rome which seems very much to strategically undermine the very mission of the Church this Guild seeks to further - evangelisation and the salvation of souls. Grave concerns continue to be raised over various statements and actions from Rome - and other important Sees - which are so numerous to mention, that it is perhaps not worth mentioning them again. Yesterday's newspapers are yesterday's rubbish, and all that rubbish adds up to a heap of landfill.

However, as a concerned Catholic blogger, one of a number, I cannot help but echo St John, author of the Book of the Apocalypse when I look upon what is going on within the Church and exclaim, '...and when I saw her, I was completely mystified.' There is a very real danger of the Catholic Church, under the eyes of the Successor of St Peter and the Successors to the Apostles becoming one, not with Jesus Christ, but a world order set implacably against Him, which serves not Him, but the interests of the world, the self, the flesh and even, yes, the Devil himself. This is the very opposite of the Kingdom of God.

A Marian apparition approved by the Church
The Catholic Church is today becoming as known for what is not said by its Hierarchy as it is for what is said. From most Irish Bishops and from most US Bishops, the sudden and dramatic capitulation of those countries to the same-sex marriage agenda, which wilfully seeks to destroy the very meaning and foundation of marriage, has drawn little in terms of a robust individual response from some vital Catholic heartlands. Worse than that, though, Catholics can only look on in horror at the Synod on the Family to take place this year.

Issues settled long ago are raised from their tombs. The once unthinkable embracing of mortally sinful lifestyles is now high on the agenda in the corridors of the Vatican in a project already known as much for its deceit as its daring. Far more terrible than the world's attacks on the Church - attacks which Benedict XVI sustained with great honour and dignity, are the attacks within the Church which we cannot any longer call 'self-inflicted wounds' but attacks upon the Person of Jesus Christ Himself.

Others far more informed and eloquent than I have discussed the reasons why such theories as gradualism must be rejected by Catholics. We can certainly accuse ourselves before God for our laxity, our lack of self-restraint, our weakness and our sins, but we can never accuse God of failing to come to our aid, for not being generous with His Grace, for whoever asks is given. If we wilfully set ourselves against God's laws we cannot complain to God, neither can we complain to the Church, that to keep God's law is too difficult or beyond us. When we examine ourselves, we can only blame ourselves. God is rich in mercy, it is so true - and cannot be repeated enough - but God is also just, holy and pure.

For the Catholic Church to fall deafeningly silent in the face of evil engulfing the World - whether that be the perhaps unprecedented persecution of Christians around the World - or the equally unprecedented destruction of human life in the womb, towards the end of life and the rampant and wholesale re-definition of marriage along the lines of sexual orientation - is, for Catholics faithful to the Church's Magisterium, a pain almost too much to bear. To watch this happen is to be like Our Lady and St John, watching Jesus be crucified, watching as the torrents of the world's sin washes over Him until He dies. It is precisely that - it is an agony for every priest and religious who loves Jesus and for every lay person who loves the Lord, but who know they can never love Him enough, never as He truly deserves.

For the Catholic Church to consider - to even think of - tying the Most Holy Eucharist - which we believe and are taught is the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, Son of Mary and Eternal Son of the Almighty Father - to a new 'pastoral' approach to sin that dispenses almost entirely with the sinner's need for repentance is an astonishing attack on the Body of Christ in the Sacrament of the Altar and the Body of Christ which is His Mystical Body, the Church.

For those who are enemies of the Church, these times are times of glee and celebration. For confused, lost, wandering souls who are seeking the truth, these are times in which the Church fails to point out the road to Eternal Life which must mean for those who seek it the imitation of Christ in taking up our Cross and following Him. So many people are so damaged and broken and long for Jesus yet they may not yet know it or realise that it is a relationship with Him that they truly desire. How much people long for the tender arms of the Immaculate Mother, who is so gentle, kind and patient towards those who know they need a Saviour and who is so happy to lead the lost soul to the merciful arms of her adorable Son. How many souls long to know that God is truly a Father, just, but faithful, loving and loyal, boundless in His compassion.

We must all pray very fervently for the Salvation of the World, for the conversion of sinners, even more so now than before, because the message of repentance, the message of Salvation is not easily heard by the men and women of today. With so much influence, in some cases, so much popular coverage in the media, the Church is failing to communicate that only a relationship with the Father, through the Son, in the power and unity of the Holy Spirit can satisfy the human heart. We cannot have happiness and embrace sin. We cannot have peace if we oppose God. We cannot overturn His laws, His commandments and remain in His love. We cannot embrace rebellion against our Creator without reaping what we have sown, the terrible retribution which we have stored up for ourselves by our own choices.

As Catholic bloggers, and as faithful Catholics, - those who believe the Gospel and do not reject the inner power of it - we cannot give into hatred of anybody, but also we cannot simply be spectators at the Crucifixion. We cannot merely watch while the Catholic Church become a woman that leaves completely mystified not just believers, but non-believers as well. We cannot but speak out if Catholic prelates propose that the Church becomes so complicit in the sins of its members by offering such profane solutions that it becomes 'a Mother of all the prostitutes and of all the filthy practices of the earth.' We must do what we can, by word, by deed, by example, to show forth Christ. The Church can preach a 'social gospel' and bring nobody to a relationship with the Lord. The Church can preach a gospel of 'ecological conversion' and insodoing, bring nobody to the Lord. The Church can preach a gospel of 'tolerance and dialogue' and yet bring nobody to the Lord Jesus.

Those with great influence and with great prestige within the Holy Church can, if they choose, ignore Jesus Christ's message as well as His warnings. They can even ignore the warnings of His Blessed Mother. For us, whether it brings us pain and tribulation, suffering, poverty, prison or hardship, silence is not an option. Being a Christian today may not be easy. It may not be as difficult as it was in the first century, but 'riding the beast' is - for those who dare to call God, Our Father, while it may look like the comfortable, convenient thing to do, a journey into the misery, not happiness, in this life and infernal Abyss in the next. Seek the Lord while there is still time. Do not give up the Holy Faith which has been handed down to you, even if an angel should preach to you some other Gospel. Pray for the Pope, pray for the Cardinals and Bishops, pray for the clergy and pray for the people of God. Be sober, be vigilant because your enemy, the Devil, prowls around seeking those whom he may devour. Whatever it costs us, let us follow Jesus to the end.


Monday, 29 June 2015

Prayers, please

I do not think my European brothers and sisters understand the difference between the passage of ssm here in America and the laws in Europe.

I suggest they read the comments of the bishops, archbishops, and cardinals, some of which are on my blog.

We are facing the beginning of the real loss of religious freedom here.

Prayers, please.

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Gradualism, the Instrumentum Laboris and Synod 15



I stated earlier in the blogpost on "What's at Stake at Synod? Everything!" that I would explain the heresy of Gradualism - apologies for the delay. Here is the explanation.

From the Instrumentum Laboris for 2015 Synod...

122. (52) Have you considered the possibility that the divorced and remarried have access to the sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Several Synod Fathers have insisted in favor of the current rules in force of the fundamental relationship between participation in the Eucharist and communion with the Church and its teaching on marriage indissoluble. Others spoke to welcome not generalized to the Eucharistic table, in certain specific situations and under strict conditions, especially when dealing with cases related to irreversible and moral obligations to the children who would suffer unjust suffering. Any access to the sacraments should be preceded by a penitential journey under the responsibility of the diocesan bishop. It should also be in-depth the issue, bearing in mind the distinction between the objective situation of sin and extenuating circumstances, given that "the imputability or responsibility for an action can be diminished or nullified" by various "psychological or social factors" (CCC, 1735). 
123. To address the above issue, there is a common agreement on the idea of ​​a journey of reconciliation or by penance, under the authority of the Bishop, to the faithful who are divorced and remarried civilly, who are in a situation of cohabitation. In reference to Familiaris Consortio 84, it suggests a process of becoming aware of the failure and the wounds produced by it, with repentance, verification of the nullity of marriage, commitment to spiritual communion and decision to live in continence. Others, by penitential mean a process of clarification and reorientation, after the failure experienced, accompanied by a priest appointed for this purpose. This process should lead the party concerned to a fair trial on their condition, in which even the same priest to mature its evaluation in order to make use of the power of binding and loosing adequately to the situation. In order to deepen about the objective situation of sin and the moral culpability, some suggest to consider the Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church concerning the Reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried faithful of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith ( September 14, 1994) and the Declaration on the admissibility of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (24 June 2000)

There is absolutely nothing wrong with admitting that you don't know what the Church teaches on an issue and therefore proceed to research, discern the content and convey the discoveries. However to pretend one does understand? Not bother with research? And then to 'best guess/wing it' and arbitrarily impose one's own taste and opinions only to portray it as Catholic teaching? This invokes huge scandal which can only be met with opposition.

It's not merely incompetence, ineptitude and mediocrity. It's sloth and bearing false witness! The worst recent example among virtually all Catholic commentators and journalists was during the Extraordinary Synod of 2014 during and after which there were hundreds of thousands of words written on Gradualism. Even detailed self-professed expositions and step-by-step guides to it.
Yet not one commentator had bothered to find out what Gradualism actually is.

So before I begin please understand I am not referring to a gradualist growth in understanding of doctrine e.g. Credal formulae after centuries of Christological infighting. Neither am I referring to Newman's essay on the development of doctrine. Nor the Ex Cathedra pronouncements on the Immaculate Conception and the Most Glorious Assumption of Our Lady or the declarations of Vatican I on Fideism and ultra-Rationalism. Nor am I referring to the 'gradualism' of affinity between religions as expounded in Lumen Gentium or Unitatis Redintegratio or incrementalist oecumenical endeavours e.g. the Joint Catholic-Lutheran declaration on justification.
 
Instead, I am referring to the proposed 'Gradualist' pastoral position on the quasi-compulsive sins of weakness (addictive sins) and the intrinsically morally disordered circumstances and consequences of mortal sin (e.g. how to deal with those living in adulterous/fornicating relationships and in ongoing states of mortal sin).

Gradualism is also know as 'Theology of Compromise", evidenced by quotes such as this...

"... I have developed a theory of compromise theology precisely because of the inadequacy of Catholic ethics to come to grips with sin-filled situations. Sometimes the presence of sin in the world will force one to do something which, if there were no sin present, should not be done" (Charles Curran, theologican silenced by CDF 25th July 1986).

This is counter to the 'Law of Graduality' to which St John Paul II refers in Familiaris Consortio 34 is the common-sense  perception of the gradual effects of a person's repentance and striving for holiness - how we gradually recover from sin and gradually move along the path to perfection.

Nobody can deny this is our Pastoral imperative - we are here to exact the seven corporal and seven spiritual works of mercy and the beatitudes among the faithful for subsidiarity, solidarity, justice and the common good. We are to love our neighbour and help lift them out of sin and assist them on the road to perfection as we gradually mutually stumble along the long journey home.

However, Cardinals Erdo, Baldisseri, Marx, Nichols and many others, as well as the later #Relatio and now the #Instrumentum laboris misrepresent this Law of Graduality and instead make it appear as if the law of Graduality also refers to 'Gradiuality of the Law' - i.e. the Principle of Gradualism -  a Gradualist stategy (actually a heresy) - which is ironically exactly what Pope St JPII condemns in Familiaris Consortio 34, as well as in the beginning of Evangelium Vitae but most specifically in Veritatis Splendor 68. This was a direct response to the Bishops of Synod 80 who wished active homosexuals, co-habiting couples and the divorced/civilly remarried to have access to the sacraments.

Gradualism refers to the formal/efficient causal 'Principle of Graduality' which is a pastoral strategy towards achieving perfection grounded upon two premises:

a) that God has not provided enough readily available grace for a sinner to immediately stop sinning and

b) The dignity of the human being is so diminished by sin that they cannot escape their sinfulness except by slowly diminishing the intensity and amount of their sins on a gradual incremental basis. This amounts to a sin-controlled diet - a pastoral personal sin-reduction fitness regime.

This amounts to a thinly disguised Jansenism - but viewed from the other end of the telescope - rather than the sinner being 'doomed' by their sin - it is instead 'unavoidable' that sinners will sin and continue to do so. This is a truth exemplified by quotes such as this...

 "Once one holds that the sin condition of the world forces us to do something that should not be done, there are no genuine moral boundaries. If it is believed that the human person is incapable of avoiding certain sinful actions, there is a simultaneous readiness to look for assistance from forces external to the human person. Technology and medicine, for example, can then be used in ways that replace authentic human sexual expression" (Toward a Theology of the Body, p. 102-3) [Sr Mary Prokes]

Gradualism is a fatalistic pessimistic principle that a 'less than Loving' God has not provided us with enough available "sufficient" grace to leave our sinful lives and not given us the capacity to not fall into sin. Therefore, we should be advised to remain in a limited sinful way and attempt to gradually reduce our sins and neither aspire to perfection nor to never sin - merely to diminish the amount of sins or the intensity or gravity of our sins. In this case, the sinner is to be treated more like a drug addict put on the 'methadone' of lesser sins rather than the alcoholic necessitating total abstinence or a gambler a total end to gambling.

In the 2000 years of Church Moral Teaching the psychologically astute and empathetic Church is fully aware just how disastrously counterproductive - calamitously futile - lethally aggravating and dangerous - this would be for the poor individual trying to repent of their sins and become holy. Gradualism, as a strategy, or as a principle for moral action, or pastoral intervention or counselling, is an heretical position.

Scripturally, it is a proven falsehood and a grave calumny against a beneficent God bestowing a plenitude of Grace and against human dignity. "My Grace is sufficient for you" (2 Cor 12:9)
Those who are children of God love his Son; those who love him can keep his commandments (Jn 14.23). God provides both the desire to do His will and the very free act by which one does it ( Phil 2.13) and the divine commands of Our Lord to "Be ye perfect" and "Go and sin more" as well as the parables of Luke 10-15, especially the rich fool, the parable of the pearl of great price and others.

It has been condemned by Church Fathers such as Sts Chrysostom, Ambrose, Jerome and most especially by St Augustine in 'De Peccatorum 2,6,7 when he says,

"A man, helped by God, can, if he will, be without sin" and “God, therefore, does not command what is impossible, but in commanding he also admonishes you to do what you are able, and to ask his help for what you are unable to do” (FEF 1795). Even the most hardened sinner is offered help enough to repent, if only the grace is accepted (see FEF 2097, 2232).

Continue through the history of the Church and Thomism calls it a grave heresy against both God and the human person. Suarez goes so far as to call in the great heresy against the Love of God - that He does not give us enough grace to escape from sin is a diabolical lie. It is anathematised in Session VI of the Council of Trent.

"But no one, however much justified, should consider himself exempt from the observance of the commandments; no one should use that rash statement, once forbidden by the Fathers under anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God does not command impossibilities, but by commanding admonishes thee to do what thou canst and to pray for what thou canst not, and aids thee that thou mayest be able." [DS 1536/804]

“If anyone says that the commandments of God are impossible to observe even for a man who is justified and in the state of grace: let him be anathema” [DS 1568/828]

In other words: "God does not command the impossible" and to suggest, as Gradualism does, that we cannot cease from continuing in our state of mortal sin, nor continue to commit mortal sins, nor can be in the present condition to repent from mortal sin is quite simply a lie!

It is condemned by St John Paul II in Veritatis Splendor 68 as follows...

..."In point of fact, man does not suffer perdition only by being unfaithful to that fundamental option whereby he has made "a free self-commitment to God".113 With every freely committed mortal sin, he offends God as the giver of the law and as a result becomes guilty with regard to the entire law (cf. Jas 2:8-11); even if he perseveres in faith, he loses "sanctifying grace", "charity" and "eternal happiness".114 As the Council of Trent teaches, "the grace of justification once received is lost not only by apostasy, by which faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin".115 "

A refutation of Gradualism is also inherent within the first 20 sections of Evangelium Vitae. Therefore, to pretend that the Synod is only 'positively re-framing' an age-old common sense understanding that throughout our lives we 'gradually' mature and become less sinful and more understanding and holy is a nightmarish lie!



The timeless understanding of the Church is not what is being proposed - this Gradualist principle strategy has poisoned every single part of the Mid-term Relatio's and the Instrumentum Laboris arguments and yet nobody seems to see that we have an heretical ideology invading Catholic Moral teaching and its applied ethics in pastoral activity. Everyone seems to be saying that gradualism means X, while they cannot see the real gradualist strategy Y in front of their eyes inherent in the Relatio's approach to every neuralgic moral issue. To such an extent one feels like running through the streets shaking every Catholic while shouting "Wake up!"

Gradualism is here and it must be prevented at all costs from being given backdoor access into Catholic moral teaching or any doctrinal anthropological position or given any deference in the consideration of how God bestows grace upon Creation and how we should pastorally engage with those in states of mortal sin.

Gradualism is a lie about the human condition and a lie about the God who loves us. Gradualism - i.e. we are poor sinners and must be left to keep on sinning just a little less and a little less badly every day is an inherent underlying premise within the Relatio and Instrumentum Laboris that disguises itself in the wrapping of 'mercy' when it is anything but. The Mid-Term Relatio even blatantly states "according to the principle of Gradualism", seemingly unaware that this is a condemned heresy actually being advocated in a Church document, one that poisons every aspect of it. It doesn't matter how tolerant, charitable, merciful or compassionate the Relatio's conclusions may appear - they are all grounded on a falsehood about God and human dignity and thus the whole principle and proposals for pastoral implementations are false too. The document, whatever good it may contain, is thus a deceit of epic proportions.

What's worse is we already have the chaos of the heresy of incrementalism leaving the Pro-Life movement in ruins where human lives are considered negotiable and exceptions and compromises are justified in order to rescue some lives by selling out other lives. We can quite aptly call this the Caiaphas principle.

What happens if a gradualist premise is permitted as a pastoral response to any moral or doctrinal neuralgic issue or crisis? If gradualism is justified once it - being like a virus - will be given free-rein to attack every other moral issue. Look how gradualism has distorted and perverted Natural Family Planning from being a critical recourse for a grave reason in the time of emergency and potential prevention of a moral evil - into a normative practice which may be engaged in by a couple for ANY reason whatsoever - it is backdoor contraception by omission! If Gradualism is permitted for instance in regard to the divorced and civilly remarried it would not be the promoters of Same-Sex marriage who destroyed the nature of marriage - but the rebellious ignorant hierarchy within the Catholic Church!

If Gradualism is given a precedent then the consequences are immense and horrifying to any Catholic who believes the Church proclaims the immutable truths of the Gospel. Humanae Vitae lies is the gravest of danger, for it was the pre-Humanae Vitae Vatican commission which endorsed the use of artificial contraception on gradualist grounds. And if Humanae Vitae falls so does every other aspect of Catholic moral teaching on life, love, sexuality and the family. Gradualism, or rather, those who endorse it,  has declared war upon us and we need to fight back and realise what a toxic pernicious evil it is - a lie which destroys everything around it.

To quote Germain Grisez:

"This solution to the problem of quasi-compulsive sins of weakness is rendered a Practical Impossibility by Pastoral counselling which tells people "Nobody expects you to just stop. All that's required is that you work at it: as long as you're trying, you can be sure what you're doing is a venial sin at most." 

Meanwhile, the Synod, as revealed in the Instrumentum Laboris, intends to give exactly this type of pastoral counselling! If you now have even a basic understanding of Gradualism - perhaps it might be a little more easy to understand what I describe in "What's at Stake at Synod? Everything!" You may also notice that #122 appeals to mitigating and diminishing (and even nullifying) conditions for reduction in culpability.

Therefore, let the whole Church understand that the Synod on the Family, as it stands, amounts to a full-scale, multi-pronged attack on the foundations of the Catholic Church and Her Infallible teachings, teachings which we have been taught to believe, if dismissed or rejected, leave souls, the sanctity and permanence of marriage and the institution of the family in the gravest of danger. We must arm ourselves with prayer and send 'flaming prayers' to Heaven as Bishop Athanasius Schneider has asked. We must arm ourselves, too, with Catholic truth so that we may give answer when deceits are placed before us during this time of anguish, so that when new winds of doctrine blow like a hurricane through the Church, we, and many others, are not blown away.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Why A Promised Land?

Growing up in a world haunted by the Cold War, aware of nations which had no religious freedom, where Catholics in certain eastern European countries were fired from university positions for being Catholic, and bishops lingered in prisons, I understood why the Hebrews of old needed a "Promised Land".

Daily, in the Benedictus, we read these lines pertaining to God and His People:  

....to remember his holy covenant
and the oath he swore to Abraham our father,
that he would give himself to us,
that we could serve him without fear
– freed from the hands of our enemies –
in uprightness and holiness before him,
for all of our days.


The words of Moses to Pharaoh come to mind as well:

Exodus 7:16 Douay-Rheims

16 And thou shalt say to him: The Lord God of the Hebrews sent me to thee saying: Let my people go to sacrifice to me in the desert: and hitherto thou wouldst not hear.


The reasons for the promise of land, a special place, for God's People could be summed up in two phrases: safety and purity of worship.

The Hebrews, like all religious groups, needed space to be safe from the many enemy tribes, whose cultures were, simple, "cultures of death".

The "culture of life" came from the covenant, the relationship with God the Father, who visited His People regularly through the patriarchs, prophets, and holy women of old. But, in order to live out the life of this relationship, the people needed a place of safety.


Religious freedom means the ability to worship and believe freely without fear of persecution or hindrance. Religious freedom was made possible by the taking of the Promised Land. God, in His Divine Providence, made a place for His People, and a place of preparation for the Incarnation. His Son came "in the fullness of time" to a particular people, a particular place, 

As Catholics, we are now facing an almost global uprising of rejection of both Christ and His Church. Like the Hebrews of old and even the Jews of today, we need a place in order to feel safe and worship freely as Christians.

Is there such a place? Many people have asked me, "Is there a safe haven?" 

We long for this place of safety and religious freedom in order to live out our relationship with God and His Church.  Like the great saints whose feast day we celebrate today, St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher, we face the same restrictions but in more subtle forms.

Let us pray for a promised land, a place of safety, a place of religious freedom, where the Laws of God and the natural law may be followed in the market place.

This dream of the ancients, and even of More and Fisher, seems to be slipping away into the past,

Yes, heaven is our true home, but as humans who live, work, play, rest on this earth, we need that place of safety and the freedom to praise God as we see fit.

Thursday, 18 June 2015

John Rao Launches Sacred Heart League to Un-Locke the Church and the World


Dr. John Rao, Associate Professor of History at St. John's University in New York City, and Director of the Roman Forum, has launched a new initiative to awaken Catholics to the full meaning of the doctrine of the Sacred Heart for the Kingship of Christ over individuals and society at large and the way in which John Locke and his teachings, so prevalent in the post-Vatican II Church, prevents this goal from ever being achieved.  Dr. Rao hopes to build on the work of William Blake (1757-1827) who attempted long ago in Britain: "To cast off Bacon, Locke & Newton from Albion's covering; To take off his filthy garments, & clothe him with Imagination."  Read about this new and important initiative here.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,
have mercy on us.

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

The Divine Office


As a member of the laity who took Blessed Pope Paul VI seriously, I have tried to pray daily some part of the Breviary. If I am on my monastic schedule, the exercise is much easier.

Blessed Pope Paul VI promulgated by Apostolic Constitution “The Divine Office Revised by Decree of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council" on November 1, 1970. In the "General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours", the call for the public saying of the office, as well as the private saying of it as mental prayer, was reiterated.  

Many people use Universalis, found here, http://www.universalis.com/

and some use this site,

http://divineoffice.org/liturgy-of-the-hours/how-to-pray-the-liturgy-of-the-hours/#sthash.IlHndOPv.iyNFnfZP.dpbs

I also recommend the Monastic Diurnal.




May all the laity turn in these times to the discipline of the Divine Office. This prayer of the Church makes the entire day holy.



Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Sadness at A Parting


When one is in love and the beloved decides to end the relationship, the rejected party must face a life without the love and security which the significant other brought into one's life.

Love creates a sense of well-being, acceptance, security, comfort. Even if the relationship is totally Christian and moral, the break-up can be extremely painful. One wants to be in love forever.

We all desire never-ending love.

My love affair with my own country has come to an end. I cannot find the essence of beauty which caused the love in the first place. I have lost that "first love".  As flags were waving in the breeze, and still do in some neighborhoods for Memorial Day last week, I walked down a leafy street sick at heart at the decay of a once great nation.

Yes, there still are brave hearts and great people here, but the turning of this nation from secular humanism, if not Christianity, from liberal, in the true sense of the word, ideals, to ideologies and paganism, has caused me to fall into a sadness. I cannot find but a remnant, very, very small indeed, of those Catholics who understand what is about to happen to our once great country.

The acceptance of the slaughter of the babes in the womb could be seen by some as the turning point from civilization to barbarism. Historically, a people who sacrifice their young for prosperity, like the Canaanites, the Carthaginians, and others, have been labelled "barbaric". No longer does it seem we are allowed to use this term for any activity.

Now, we are facing a decision which will contradict natural law, common sense, centuries of shared civilization, and the long teaching of Christ as promulgated by the Catholic Church.

What can we expect but chaos and the final decay of this great nation?

This nation will not be able to be called as one "under God". I would not be able to say this as it would amount to blasphemy, as well as hypocrisy. Perhaps, I say this for the last time, perhaps. Babes in the womb have been denied liberty and justice for all for decades, and now we are facing a nation which will pass judgement against God's law regarding same-sex relations. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reminds us of the four sins which cry out to God for vengeance.

1867 The catechetical tradition also recalls that there are "sins that cry to heaven": the blood of Abel,139 the sin of the Sodomites,140 the cry of the people oppressed in Egypt,141 the cry of the foreigner, the widow, and the orphan,142 injustice to the wage earner.143

One weeps at the parting of loves. I feel like a person without a country, but then, I must remember my true home is not here, but with God, and with His People. My real home is the Catholic Church.

"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

There is, truly, only one place where these words are true, and that is in God.

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.
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