Saint Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Saint Demetrius: Forgotten Saint of October 26th

One of my favorite Saints of the Church is Saint Demetrius of Thessaloniki. The Church celebrates his feast day on October 26th, but in the West he has been largely forgotten. The "Myrrh Bearer" as he is often called for the great miracles that have been worked through the veneration of his myrrh bearing relics, is a much loved Saint among the Greeks and Russians. Demetrius, Demetrios, or James in English is a warrior Saint. Often he is depicted with sword in hand or slaying the image of paganism with a spear on a red horse. I have two icons of him in my home one of each depiction.

St Demetrius slaying the pagan emperor.

Saint Demetrius was born in Thessaloniki around the year 260AD. He was from a well to do family and an only child. His family ensured that he received an excellent education, so he rose to the high ranks of the military and became known for his high acts of virtue. Even the ruler of his part of the empire, Maximian recognized his character and put Demetrius in charge of Thessaloniki as commander after his father died who held the position prior. Things did not go well for Demetrius when Maximian, under orders from emperor Diocletian, ordered the military to begin persecution of the Christians. Demetrius was asked to lead soldiers in the active persecution of Christians, to which he would not obey. In fact, when brought before Maximian to give an account of his refusal, he valiantly told him to his face that he too was a Christian and he would have no part in his diabolical plans. Maximian was enraged!

St Demetrius blessing Nestor before battle.

Demetrius was imprisoned and given a death sentence. While waiting to be executed, a good friend of his and fellow soldier, who's feast day is tomorrow October 27th,  Nestor came to see him in his confinement. Nestor, now also a Christian became enraged at Maximian's treatment of the Christians which involved sending many of them to be slain in the arena by a goliath sized vandal warrior named Lyaeus. Lyaeus was viewed as an invincible gladiator who often hurled his wounded victims onto a bed of spears to watch them writhe in pain until they expired. Nestor took up the challenge to face Lyaeus to spare other Christians having to face him. Demetrius spending his time in prayer encouraged Nestor in his dual and told Nestor that his faith in Christ would see him victory against the heathen, but that he would also suffer for Christ. Soon Nestor and the goliath entered the arena. Lyaeus mocked the much smaller Nestor and he tried to work up the crowd, but the watchers felt a certain pity for the underdog. Maximian looked on in bloodthirsty anticipation as Lyaeus charged. Nestor holding up sword in hand yelled, "O God of Demetrius help me!" Then with a swift move he used the giant's large size against him and knocked Lyaeus onto the bed of spears. The crowd surprised, started to cheer and many began to praise God. Maximian could not believe his eyes. His championed warrior was slain in an instant and in a rage he sent soldiers to have the imprisoned Demetrius run through with spears. Demetrius waited in prayer as Maximian's henchmen came with spears in hand. Nestor also met his fate when he Maximian ordered that he be decapitated. 

St Demetrius being murdered. 

Soon after Demetrius' execution his body emitted a myrrh-like substance and many miracles were wrought upon the faithful Christians who came to visit his tomb. He has been seen in many battles often protecting Thessaloniki from invaders. He is a much favored Saint still today among the Greeks and Russians, and he is often called upon to work great miracles in times of distress. You can read about him further in the Prologue of Ohrid. Pray for us St. Demetrius as we endure our persecution!

A nice icon of St Demetrius which can be purchased from Legacy icons. 


The Splendor and Glory of the Sacred Image: Video Part 4 Summary

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Splendor and Glory of the Sacred Image: Video Part I

Part 1 Video Series on 'The Splendor and Glory of the Sacred Image'.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Cardinal Burke Speaks on Marriage Synod

Thanks to Cardinal Burke for being a good shepherd!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Saturday, September 20, 2014

When Catholic Books Were... Catholic Books

One of my favorite places to go on the weekends are the Goodwill stores. Today I found a very nice copy of a Catholic book published in 1903 called 'The Beautiful Story of Catholic Faith' The book is in very nice shape and the one thing that I really like about it is, it has real Catholic teaching in it! What a surprise!

As many of you already know, much of what passes for Catholic literature today is hardly Catholic. This book focuses on the Holy Rosary. It has a history of the Rosary, meditations for adults and children and also goes over the basic truths of the faith. It even has one section in it titled, 'Why Am I Catholic? How to Convince Your Protestant Neighbor.'

There is a section of the book speaking of Protestants in general, which as we know often attack the Catholic Church, strongly opposes their errors. Unfortunately most of today's Catholic apologists have no where near the knowledge or spine to speak plainly as the Catholics of old have done.

"Protestants being thus impious enough to make liars of Jesus Christ, of the Holy Ghost, and of the apostles, need we wonder if they continually slander Catholics, telling and believing worse absurdities about them than the heathens did?... All these grievous transgressions are another source of their reprobation." 
Of course there are many Protestants who do not attack Catholics, but we must still be willing to evangelize them!

Friday, August 29, 2014

How To Avoid Hell! New Catholic Resource Website

There is a new website that you want to pass around called 'How to Avoid Hell.' Pass it around!

From the webpage...
"After spending many years reading Catholic books, watching videos and listening to talks I feel called to make a website that contains all of the best resources on living a life dedicated to Christ, and avoiding hell. At this point in time many people are being deceived and are living their lives in dedication to themselves and the evil one. Our Lord said plainly, "Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it." This site is aimed at making the narrow gate a little wider for those living in today's corrupt culture. The Catholic Church is the only Church established by Jesus Christ and is the only gate that leads to heaven. Enjoy the many articles, videos, lectures and linked resources, and may God bless and keep you always!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Help Save The Latin Mass In NYC- Keep Holy Innocents Open!

The Archdiocese of NY, headed by Cardinal Dolan, seeks to close a masterpiece of Catholic architecture that is thriving by offering the Latin Mass. Watch this video and sign the petition. There is a war going on for the soul of the Church. Here is your chance to step into the fight.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

'Intrumentum Laboris' Battle Lines Drawn: The Natural Law Is Under Fire

"The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord's flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking "men speaking perverse things" (Acts xx. 30), "vain talkers and seducers" (Tit. i. 10), "erring and driving into error" (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ's kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office."

Concerning the modernists...

"They recognize that the three chief difficulties for them are scholastic philosophy, the authority of the fathers and tradition, and the magisterium of the Church, and on these they wage unrelenting war."

(Pascendi Dominici Gregis) Pope Pius X given at St. Peter's, Rome, on the 8th day of September, 1907

So we find ourselves one hundred and seven years later, and St. Pius X appears to have been a prophet since we have reaped the whirlwind he said we would if his directions were not followed. We have been silent! If you have read the Catholic news sites you should have seen that a new document has made its way to the Vatican website. It is called, 'Instrumentum Laboris'. This new document contains the results of the world's synod of bishops as to the state of the Catholic Church and the challenges it faces in the modern world. It also gives us some of their proposed "remedies". The document specifically addresses the issue of marriage, the family and evangelization in the modern world. Although there are many troubling statements in the document, there is a very serious proposal concerning the Natural Law that we should be very concerned with. There is huge battle coming down the line within the Church which if lost, can have very dire consequences. It can change the way we teach and understand the Natural Law.

Although the modernists have made inroads over the past 50 years or so in distorting Church doctrine, dogma and liturgical practices, it has not had much luck in making headway against the Natural Law. It has been ignored yes, but the real assault has yet to be made. The very fact the Church not only proclaims God's voice concerning Divine Revelation, it also proclaims God's voice concerning creation and the Natural Law as well. This is emphatically stated for example in even modern Church documents such as 'Persona Humana' which states, “Furthermore, Christ instituted His Church as "the pillar and bulwark of truth. With the Holy Spirit's assistance, she ceaselessly preserves and transmits without error the truths of the moral order, and she authentically interprets not only the revealed positive law but "also . . . those principles of the moral order which have their origin in human nature itself"[7] and which concern man's full development and sanctification. Now in fact the Church throughout her history has always considered a certain number of precepts of the natural law as having an absolute and immutable value, and in their transgression she has seen a contradiction of the teaching and spirit of the Gospel.”

Faithful Catholics understand that the Natural Law cannot be changed, updated, modified or evolved. There is no philosophical framework that can be substituted for the scholastic method when it comes to explaining and teaching it. We should remember that Pope Pius IX condemned the following idea in his syllabus of errors, "The method and principles which have served the doctors of scholasticism when treating of theology no longer correspond with the exigencies of our time or the progress of science." For that reason also Latin has been traditionally used to teach and define concepts concerning the Natural Law along with the Thomistic paradigm. St Pius X tells us, "In the first place, with regard to studies, We will and ordain that scholastic philosophy be made the basis of the sacred sciences. It goes without saying that if anything is met with among the scholastic doctors which may be regarded as an excess of subtlety, or which is altogether destitute of probability, We have no desire whatever to propose it for the imitation of present generations (Leo XIII. Enc. Aeterni Patris). And let it be clearly understood above all things that the scholastic philosophy We prescribe is that which the Angelic Doctor has bequeathed to us..." Pope Pius X clealry understood what was at stake here.

With this in mind, there is only one way to understand the following terms in regard to the Natural Law: Act, potentiality, form, substance, matter, formal cause, final cause, teleology etc. The Natural Law has been defined and explained by these Aristotelian terms for centuries and they cannot be improved upon by other philosophical concepts or language. Even before St. Pius X's time, the Aristotelian Thomistic model has been the target for modern philosophers and theologians. For a general understanding of what has gone on over the centuries regarding philosophy and the war to destroy Aristotelian concepts, you really should read Dr. Edward Feser's book titled, 'The Last Superstition.' If you do not know what is in his book, you are seriously at a handicap when it comes to understanding the war on truth, reality, and the Natural Law. I know I keep promoting this book, but it is really that good. Buy it and study it.

All of this being said, this new document gives us a preview of where this council in October is heading in regards to the marriage questions that have been making headlines since Pope Francis took office. With the problematic statements of men such as Cardinal Kasper and others being floated about, many in the Church are now testing the waters to see if indeed the Natural Law can finally be hijacked by the modernists. Thankfully there has been some open objection to these ideas, Cardinal Mueller who is the head of the CDF and Cardinal Burke who is also in Rome, are two that come to mind. Aside from a few voices, the rest of the church crowd is running down the wrong road, including most Catholics who call themselves "orthodox." In fact, these are the ones you have to worried about. The open modernist heretics are easy to spot. Now however you have many well meaning catechists, theologians and popular apologists who are slowly leading many people into the mine field of modernism. That is a subject for another time. Let us not be distracted further from the immediate issue at hand.

The part of the new document that I want to point everyone's attention to is the part which concerns the Natural Law. Paragraphs 21-30 point out supposed problems with the Natural Law in the modern world, and it gives a few proposals on how to solve them. For one, the bishops apparently see problems with how the people of the world understand the Natural Law. For example, in paragraph 21 the document says, "In a vast majority of responses and observations, the concept of natural law today turns out to be, in different cultural contexts, highly problematic, if not completely incomprehensible." Really, you don't say? Maybe it is because none of the bishops have taught it in 50 years, maybe thats why! No, it is the modern culture's problem, not theirs. Its not that they completely dismissed over 100 years of papal statements telling them to teach Saint Thomas! It would not be "incomprehensible if they actually explained it. The document continues, "Many bishops' conferences, in many different places, say that, although the spousal aspect of the relationship between man and woman might be generally accepted as an experiential reality, this idea is not interpreted according to a universally given law. Very few responses and observations demonstrated an adequate, popular understanding of the natural law." Again, who's fault is that?

The documents continues on now giving us the sob story over new scientific discoveries, which as we know does nothing, absolutely nothing to detract or negate the Natural Law. "Today, in not only the West but increasingly every part of the world, scientific research poses a serious challenge to the concept of nature. Evolution, biology and neuroscience, when confronted with the traditional idea of the natural law, conclude that it is not “scientific." If anyone thinks this is problematic, then they do not understand the Natural Law. Science if anything has proven that the Natural Law concept is the only rational explanation of how the human mind comes into conformity with reality. It is then applicable to everyone at all times and all places and will never displaced by scientific discoveries. The natural sciences themselves can never have dominion over the Natural Law since the Natural Law is above that of the natural sciences.

Paragraph 25 through 29 point out some legitimate problems in the Church concerning the Natural Law. That there are problems concerning people's understanding, or being aware of the concept of the Natural Law is not surprising. That is what happens again when you do not teach something and subvert it for 5 or more decades. But the bishops synod's proposal to remedy these problems are what are extremely alarming and should concern us. Instead of trying to correct the problem by returning the Thomistic "traditional" model that every Pope up until John XIII called for, they instead now look to employ the same methods that got us all in this situation in the first place. Lets modernize everything! Change the language, reread everything and redefine it! Great idea!

Paragraph 30 proposes, "The language traditionally used in explaining the term “natural law” should be improved so that the values of the Gospel can be communicated to people today in a more intelligible manner." The word improved here should be substituted for change! How are they going to improve anything when they have no clue as to what the Natural Law is in the first place? They do not want to improve anything. What language are they even referring to? They going to try and get rid of the scholastic terms and framework that are needed to explain the Natural Law in the only intelligible manner possible. You cannot "improve" upon the "traditional" "language."

Why not use the same modern watered down language and ideas that were used to distort the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the rest of the Sacraments? It will do wonders to understanding marriage and the Natural Law! If you are asking yourself that question, you have got it right! In the document they explicitly tell us what they want to do! "...this proposal insists on using language which is accessible to all, such as the language of symbols utilized during the liturgy. The recommendation was also made to engage young people directly in these matters." This is certainly a recipe for disaster! You cannot use symbols as substitutes for complex concepts. Why don't we just all go back to using hieroglyphs instead of written text? Anytime these moderns get their hands on anything, they destroy it. I can promise you the same will happen once they overhaul the language concerning the Natural Law. They are going to change the entire framework, not simply improve the language. Notice how they specified that the language is the one "traditionally" used, that they want to do away with! This includes Latin and the entire scholastic system. This simply cannot be done, and the faithful should be crying out as loud as possible that it not be done!

The final proposal is also an incredibly horrifying one, "...respondents propose bringing the issue to public discussion and developing the idea of biblical inspiration and the “order in creation,” which could permit a re-reading of the concept of the natural law in a more meaningful manner in today’s world..." Do we not see how they have reread the Bible over the past 50 years or more? They have already destroyed any meaningful understanding of the Scriptures for most people, and now they are going to use more of the same methods to "reread" the Natural Law? These proposals should be taken notice of. Of course I will have people come by the blog and say the document does not hold any real weight, which is of course true. But just because it has no "official" weight not mean that it is not forecasting what is coming down the pipe that can result in tangible horrific results.

Can we allow such proposals to overhaul the Natural Law go unchallenged? Who could permit such suggestions to be taken seriously? In the past no one would have thought many of the things that have happened in the Church could have happened, and yet the faithful sat back and let it happen. Well, these proposals are on the Vatican website for all to see. Some may say I am making too much of this, but I do not think so. This is a very serious matter. Am I the only one who thinks it is a bad idea to start making changes to the "traditional" language and "improving" it to appeal to the "modern world"? Pass this post around and let us make sure that we make it clear to the Vatican that the faithful will not accept an overhaul of the Natural Law we will not accept a new language, a new "rereading" of Scripture and we will not accept anything less than the Thomistic language and principles that explain the Natural Law so clearly and beautifully! Let us head the words of St Pius X in 'Doctoris Angelici'.

"The chief doctrines of St. Thomas' philosophy cannot be regarded as mere opinions—which anyone might discuss pro and con, but rather as a foundation on which all science of both natural and divine things rests. If they are taken away, or perverted in any way, then this necessarily follows: that the students of sacred studies will not perceive even the meaning of those words whereby the divinely revealed dogmas are uttered by the teaching of the Church."

Don't kid yourself, the storm is coming!