Saint Thomas Aquinas

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Mother Angelica Has Done Her Part. What About You?

EWTN celebrated the life of Mother Angelica at this years Family Celebration in Birmingham, Alabama. Thankfully I was able to spend some time there on Saturday and Sunday attending some of the talks. This Sunday afternoon Fr. Wade Menezes and Raymond Arroyo gave some great talks on Mother Angelica's life and the work she had done with EWTN. Many converts like myself watched Mother Angelica's shows and took away from them many practical lessons on how to live the Catholic faith. Many of us are grateful for how much she has done for us by giving us a great Catholic media outlet. I think that few of us realize how much she did for us and the Church over the final 15 years of her life when she lived out of the public eye.

Raymond's talk was very interesting because he gave some insight into the contemplative life of Mother. Since most of us equate her with her television appearances it is easy for us to forget that she was a cloistered contemplative nun. Although much her public life was known for getting the network off the ground and putting solid Catholic programming together Mother spent much of her time conversing with God. In fact, in her final 15 years she spent most of that time suffering in the after affects of a stroke, where she could not speak most of the time. This is where Raymond points out that this is where Mother was actually the most effective, and in fact may have carried out her most important work. She suffered greatly during this time, yet she grew closer to Christ and spent much of the time praying for the continued success of the Network.

The lesson I learned here is that I always tend to equate "success" with doing material things, and quickly forget that we only fulfill our part by doing God's will. This can only be done first by much prayer no matter what state or situation He has given to us. It is human nature to always be thinking that when our situation becomes ideal we will then do something. It is easy to say "When I retire I will pray more" or "When I get around to it I will learn more about my faith." We sometimes overlook the fact that prayer and contemplation is expected of us no matter where we may be in our life. Our job or other affairs often distract us from our participation in the prayer life of the Church. Mother Angelica has taught us to be courageous in our faith by engaging both the physical and the spiritual. It was actually her spiritual life that allowed her to build EWTN. When Mother was not able to continue being physically involved with EWTN she humbly accepted her physically debilitated state and sought to continue her efforts in the manner and situation God put her in. Although her efforts were no longer visible, God was doing amazing things behind the scenes. So we too must do our part no matter what situation we may find ourselves. Before we are truly able to do the will of God, we must first of all be men and women of prayer. I give thanks to God for that little Italian nun who with great tenacity taught us how to love God and seek to carry out His will. Mother did her part and then some. What about you?

EWTN will soon be airing all of the talks that were held at the Family Celebration this weekend. Grab a copy of Raymond's new book to read about Mother's final years.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

The Five Marvels of the Incarnation

The Five Marvels of the Incarnation
By Denis the Carthusian

The writings of Denis the Carthusian are among my favorite writings to read. It is one of the books I chose to keep with me during my move to Alabama. It was no small task for me to pick five small plastic containers of books to remain with me, while the rest of library went into storage. Denis’ Spiritual Writings were one of the books that made it into one of my bins. Denis was born at the very beginning of the 1400s, and was one of the most popular spiritual writers of his time. In section 48 of the book he writes on the Incarnation of Christ, and he speaks of some of the marvels of the Incarnation. It is through Christ's Incarnation that we are able to enter into the beatific vision in eternity, which was closed off prior. There are five of these "marvels" Denis presents and I wanted to post them up here for anyone who wants to contemplate them. I think they are worth meditating on for spiritual enrichment. Each one of them are so rich and deep that you can meditate on them for some time. 

“The first marvel is that despite the infinite distance and disproportion between the uncreated and uncircumscribed Word of God and uncircumscribed humanity, the two came together in one Person.” This is certainly something to ponder that a God who is so far above us bridged this insurmountable gap.

“The second marvel is that out of two natures complete in act and essence, a single person emerges.” As we know, Christ has a human nature and a divine nature, but is a divine person. Yet, neither of his two natures are diminished in any way, as Denis says here, they are complete in their act and essence.
“The third marvel is that human nature in Christ maintained its own proper actions and passions, although it subsisted not in a human, created person but in a divine person.” Here we see that in Christ even though He has a true human nature, it was united not in a created person as a normal human being, but in a divine person.

“The fourth marvel is an eternal, unchangeable and perfect Person, is truly generated in time, and without any change in Himself, or any assimilation of something new into His own nature.” This mystery has always been hard for us to understand. Christ took on His human nature in time through His Incarnation yet remains unchanged in His Person.

“The fifth marvel is that a Virgin conceived and bore a child without the loss of virginity; a thing that never happened before.” Here we see the importance of Marian devotion being attached to Christ’s Incarnation. Indeed it was a miracle that she conceived Our Lord and was a Virgin before, during and after the birth of Jesus Christ. 

Overcoming Apathy, the Killer of Souls and Destroyer of Civilization

Overcoming Apathy, the Killer of Souls and Destroyer of Civilization

I have written articles on apathy and how it is probably the most spiritually dead state we can be in. Apathy, or what is also known as lukewarmness is what Scripture warns us about in Revelation 3:16 "But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, not hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.” As I said in an earlier article, those who think they can just meander about being “good” enough, are a large portion who will find themselves in hell. It will not be just the Hitlers and Stalins who find themselves there.

There is more to be said on this subject which is of the utmost importance. The loss of souls due to apathy will not only be the loss of souls of those who practice it, but those who will be left cold to the faith due to their apathy. An apathetic Church leaves souls unconverted. We can see the results of an apathetic Church in our own time and culture. We have let the death peddlers assault society without any resistance. We have let the horrors of humanity such as abortion, contraception, euthanasia, sodomy, murder, greed, corruption, and list goes on, take over our because those in the Church have grown lukewarm.

This lukewarmness brings with the greatest chastisements, including being left to our own devices. It is no secret as to why western civilization is being hurled into moral chaos. It is because we have become apathetic to God and have turned our backs on everything that made our civilization great. The family has self-destructed on the drug of apathy. Our people have put personal luxury and pride above human life and the family. The myth of overpopulation is still going on unopposed and the lies concerning women’s healthcare is not being exposed for the fraud that it is. When error and evil goes unopposed it is a sure sign of an apathetic Church. 

In order for the culture to change, we must win the hearts and minds of the people, and that can only be done by the flame of divine charity, a faith that burns bright. This includes not only the bishops, priests and religious, who should be preaching the truth and defending the Church’s teachings, but also the laity in the pew. We also have to do our part. There are many more of us than there are clergy so we bear a large burden as well. What can we do as laity to help turn the tide of apathy? I will give a list of seven things that we can do that will aid us in accomplishing our part.

1.      We must live a life of holiness- This means we must stay in a state of grace and grow in supernatural virtue. The army cannot be effective without supernatural grace. St Catherine of Sienna once wrote, “what a dangerous thing is sin in the soul!... So let us wake up from this sleep of senseless apathy!”

2.       We need to frequent the Sacraments- In order to accomplish the first goal, we must go to confession and receive Holy Communion regularly. We should make it to confession at least twice a month if not weekly. We should try and make it the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as often as we can in addition to our Sunday obligation. Through these Sacraments we receive great strength to persevere in our heavenly mission.

3.       We need to persevere in prayer and meditation- In order to remain close to God we need to spend at least 15 to 30 minutes a day in prayer. Praying a minimum of one decade of the Rosary along with meditation and other prayers should be a minimum. Be creative in using time throughout the day to pray, such as when you drive, or in between chores, etc. Take a minute a pray the Angelus or other prayers during the day. When possible, go before the Blessed Sacrament in prayer and meditation.

4.       We must love the truth and hate sin- Charity is the mechanism that embraces the love of truth.     Charity is the love of God in us. As we stand in the midst of the battle for souls only the love of truth arms us for battle. Like-wise this same charity gives us a hate for sin. We cannot continue to act as if people promoting sin as virtue is OK. True charity consists in admonishing the sinner so they can change their lives. This is often one of the most difficult things for Catholics to do in the midst of such harsh opposition. We must however keep our gaze on Christ so that we may have the courage to do this. St Catherine of Sienna said it best, “When we remember the holy cross we come to love virtue and hate vice.”

5.       We must study our faith- In order for us to be equipped mentally it is good that we spend some time in the study of our faith. There are many avenues open to us in our day. We can listen to talks online, watch Catholic programming such as EWTN and YouTube videos. There are also thousands of good books to read. I would suggest reading the Catholic classics to begin. There is also no substitute for reading Sacred Scripture, both for theological knowledge as well as nourishment for the soul.

6.       Have a strong devotion to Our Blessed Mother and the Saints- Devotion to Our Lady is not an option for a true Christian. Everyone who loves the Son, Christ, also in turn loves His mother. Our Lord has given us His Holy Mother and all of the Saints a task in aiding us here in the battle for souls. This is a divine family which we are a part of. This is something the heretic is never able to comprehend, falsely accusing us of idolatry. This of course is due to their adulterous abandonment of Christ’s Church. Let us have great devotion to Our Lady and the Saints to which God Himself has given us as heavenly helpers to rescue souls.

7.       Stand up for the truth- We must remember that a soul on fire for Christ will never remain silent when opposed with evil opposition. This of course must always be accompanied by the virtue of prudence, and the gift of charity, but we have remained silent long enough. First we must fraternally correct those in the Church who are opposed to her teachings. We cannot remain silent to those in the Church who regularly support abortion, sodomy or contraception for example. We need to make our voices heard to both laity and clergy who insult Christ and His Church by promoting evil. It is not enough at times for us just to hold on to our faith in secret, there comes a time when God calls us to be lions for the faith. If we are going to stop the destruction of civilization and the mass destruction of souls, the Church must take the first step in opposition to the anti-life organizations. This can only be done if we have holy people in the Church who love the truth she proclaims. Those traitors in the Church must be corrected in charity, so that we can begin to rebuild the Church, and henceforth civilization. Again, a great deal of prudence is needed and we must act according to God's will and not our own. We can start in our own families where have the authority to correct. When speaking to others in our parish, we need to act in charity and always proclaim the teaching of Christ when given the appropriate opportunity.  We as the laity however do have the right to be given the proper teaching of the faith, and we need to do a better job of being vigilant in this matter. 

These seven things should put us on the path to overcoming apathy in the Church. This must be our first and foremost duty as Catholics. Although we can indeed have an impact on the world around us, we can be much more effective if we are able to first strengthen the Church and awake it from its apathetic state. Then as a Church we can be effective in fighting the evils of our day. The longer remain apathetic, the worse the chastisements will be, and the harder it will be for us to restore the faith in society. 

Monday, August 29, 2016

Have We Lost the Essence of the Mass?

Have We Lost the Essence of the Mass?


I have lived in several places and traveled to many places over the past 13 years I have been a Catholic. As a result I have attended many Masses in many places in the US, and some abroad over the same time span. In my experience, those many Novus Ordo Masses that I have been to have not proven to be celebrated worthily as if they were primarily a Sacrifice. Only the traditional Latin Masses and the Eastern Liturgies have demonstrated to consistently resemble this fact in their reverence and execution. What is the reason for this? Have we lost the fact that the Mass is primarily a sacrifice?

I am not one of the deniers who believes the Novus Ordo is invalid, I am however firmly convinced that the Church did not make one of her best decisions by making the Novus Ordo liturgy the “Ordinary Form.” I believe the experiment was a colossal failure and the Church will once again at some point in time move back to the old Roman Rite. I don’t think this is a stretch to think that this could happen. In celebrating the Sacraments over the centuries, the Church has realized at several points in time when she has made not the best decisions in the way they were celebrated. For example, the Church eventually figured out that executing the Sacrament of penance in public was not a good idea, and changed it to be said in private.

The Liturgical practices have been unique in that with the exception of the Novus Ordo, they were established by the apostles and have grown and changed gradually and organically throughout time. The Novus Ordo, concocted ad hoc by a group of supposed “experts” is the only Liturgy of this ad hoc pedigree the Church has ever produced. I do not believe that it is a coincidence that it is the only liturgy that does not put forth a Sacrificial, penitential tone in its prayer form. It is also the only liturgy to celebrated ad populum, taking the focus off of the altar and the sacrifice and refocusing it on the community. Thus, over the years we have seen that in its execution, the clergy and laity in a general sense do put forth a sacrificial, penitential tone in their actions. They treat the Mass more like a community gathering than that of the Most Holy Sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
If we read theological works written on the Mass prior to the Second Vatican Council, we see that the Mass was always referred to as the “Holy Sacrifice.” For example, in the work, “The Unchangeable Church” written in 1909, the very first sentence in chapter XXXI on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass says, “Sacrifice is an external act of supreme religious worship given to God alone.” Then it continues, “The Mass! What is the Mass? The Mass in one word is the very same sacrifice as that of the cross.” If that is the case, then why is that no longer the theological focus of most of today’s theologians? The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the most important action that anyone can participate in, this side of heaven. The Council of Trent reiterates, “that no other work can be performed by the faithful so holy and divine as this tremendous mystery. Wherein the life-giving Victim, by which we were reconciled to the Father, is daily immolated on the altar by priests.”

In the Novus Ordo, we have a wholesale change in the prayer form compared to the Tridentine Liturgy. The Novus Ordo seems to be more focused on the communal aspect of the Mass, which is a valid aspect, yet it has never been a primary theological focus by theologians throughout the centuries, and for good reason. It is because the Mass in its essence is a sacrifice. Theologians now miss this point because they have also lost the traditional theological tradition of the scholastics, which understood what it was to define a thing and its essence. Again, the Mass is in its essence a Sacrifice, not a communal gathering. You can actually celebrate a Mass with only the priest. But, even in recognizing the communal aspect, theologians today still miss an important point. They miss the fact that we are assembled primarily to give praise, thanksgiving and to obtain graces and blessings from God, not to celebrate one another or the community. They also miss the point that when the laity are present, they are also participating that same sacrifice with the priest in a unique way. All those present in some way make the great offering of sacrifice with him, “Pray, bretheren, that your sacrifice and mine may be acceptable to God.” That is why the laity along with the priest leading them face the altar of sacrifice.

The Application of the Mass

When we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, we give adoration to God, we thank Him for what He has given us and we petition him to give us the grace to remain faithful to Him so that we may do His will, and not our own. Also, there are three “fruits” in which the Mass produces. The first is a general fruit in which everyone participates, which is the celebration by the priest for the entire Church. Then there are special intentions in which the Mass is said for one or more people, to which special graces are passed. Finally there is a special fruit in which the priest himself participates. The Mass delivers special graces in each of these aspects. So the Sacrifice of the Mass bears special graces and fruits in each of these intentions. It must be pointed out that it is through the Sacrifice itself that this communal aspect is made possible so that the praise, thanksgiving, and the graces given are to be made pleasing to God. This is not to say that private prayer and devotion is not pleasing to God, but that as a Church in her liturgical celebration, only the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is the legitimate means of obtaining these special graces where we give a sacrificial thanksgiving and receive these special blessings directly from God.

The Four Debts

The great St. Thomas Aquinas gives us a proper look at the debts which we owe to God that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass infinitely pays. “The first is to praise and honor the infinite majesty of God, which is infinitely worthy of all praise and honor the creature can give Him. The second is to satisfy for the many sins committed against Him. The third is to thank Him for the many favors received from Him. The fourth is to supplicate Him as the giver of all good gifts.” We seem to forget the idea that original sin has created a rupture between us and God. Divine Justice demands that these debts, for lack of a better term, are satisfied. Christ’s sacrifice is the only infinite means of satisfying an infinite God. Thus we see how the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass satisfies Divine Justice. This is important is we are to understand the gravity of the Mass in which we regularly participate.

The Passion and Death

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is also in reality an active celebration of the Passion and Death of Christ. There could be no sacrifice without a victim and a priest. Even the actions of the priest in the Tridentine Mass represent certain parts Christ’s passion and death. For example, the priest going to the altar represents Christ going to Mt Olivet. The priest saying the Confiteor represents Christ falling down and sweating blood. The priest offering the bread and wine represents Christ being scourged, and so on. I have rarely read anything post Vatican II that even refers to such things. Many will argue that some of these things developed over time in the Latin Mass and so the Novus Ordo will develop as well. This however is not the point. The point is, the traditional Rite had at its core the penitential and sacrificial nature built into its DNA from the beginning. The fact is, we don’t know exactly how the first Masses were said. We do know that what was passed down to us in the Roman Rite can be traced back to its origins in the apostles and that as it developed it was not diminished, but perfected over the years organically. This simply cannot happen with the Novus Ordo.

Our Redemption

Many will ask why other religious services including Protestant services cannot be pleasing to God. Many post Vatican II theologians wanted the Novus Ordo to be more appealing to Protestants. This scheme however did not result in any new converts, and in fact diminished the fact that the Mass was indeed very different from a Protestant service. The reason is that Christ Himself deemed to give us  His Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as the valid true way of celebrating our redemption. This was made possible through His Sacrifice on Calvary. It is this same sacrifice that is made present in the Mass which is not and cannot be made present in any other form of worship. “In a word: the bloody sacrifice was the instrument of redemption, and the unbloody sacrifice puts us in possession of it; the one opened to us the treasury of merits of Christ our Lord, the other gives us the practical use of that never-failing treasury.” (The Unchangeable Church) It is important to realize this fact, and that any other form of liturgical worship in other heretical groups are not pleasing to God. So we must understand the uniqueness of this Holy Sacrifice and it should be instantly recognizable in its execution. Any attempt to make the Mass more like a Protestant service only damages the faith of Catholics and obscures its essence. 

A Treasure to Behold

When we are at Mass then, we should put ourselves at the foot of the cross. We should act like we are at the foot of the cross with Our Blessed Mother and the Saints.  We should treat it is as a treasure. The music should make it clear that it is a sacred treasure. Would we approach the cross on Calvary dressed like we are going out on the town for a night of leisure with casual piano music playing as if we were in a ballroom? Do we ever think of how we may be profaning the sacred altar where Our Lord is being offered for our sins? We should think well on the presence of Christ present in the priest who is offering the Mass, the victim of Christ Himself in the Mass, and the great majesty of who it is being sacrificed. If this reality is not enough to give us pause in how we act at Mass, then nothing will.

Graces Obtained

It is through this Holy Sacrifice that we obtain special graces. Every moment of our existence depends on God and God alone. Every “good” that we do is done with His grace. The Mass strengthens us and allows us to unite ourselves to Christ in a unique manner. We receive tremendous spiritual graces such as sorrow for sin, the ability to overcome temptation and the nurturing of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It gives us the grace to become saints. We receive special blessings and we participate in the Church’s mission to evangelize lost souls. The Mass also brings with it material blessings such as the health of our bodies, avoiding war, famine and other pestilences. We receive more graces than we can imagine by reverently participating at each Mass. St Bernard of Clairvaux once wrote, “More is gained by a single Mass, than by distributing all of your goods to the poor, or going to pilgrimages to all of the most holy shrines in the world.”

The Dying, Death and those in Purgatory

Do we ever think to pray for those souls close to death or those suffering the pains of Purgatory while we are at Mass? If you have in your possession any of the traditional prayer books, they all have prayers that you can pray before during and after the Mass. If you notice, there are always prayers to obtain graces for those that will die that day, the dead, and for those souls in purgatory. The Mass merits graces for those souls as well. We petition God that we and others may have a holy and peaceful death. We also are able to obtain graces to shorten our time in Purgatory, or avoid it altogether. One priest I recently had a conversation with pointed out the vast difference in a funeral Mass between the Tridentine Rite and the Novus Ordo Rite. The Tridentine Rite focuses on obtaining graces for the soul of the departed so that graces can be obtained to shorten that person’s time in purgatory. So the funeral Mass is not primarily to celebrate the life of the departed as it seems to be at the Novus Ordo. We can do that at a wake. It is primarily aimed at obtaining special graces for the departed soul. In other words, we should see the focus again on the penitential and sacrificial rather than the communal.

The Most Holy Eucharist

There are two miracles that take place at every Mass. The first is that at consecration, the wine and bread become the Precious Body and Blood of Christ and that the accidents, or appearance of the bread and wine remain. This is known as Transubstantiation. We still see the appearances of bread and wine, which should not remain once their substance is changed, but Christ is now truly present in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. This is who we truly receive at Mass in Holy Communion. So we now have yet another important gift in the treasure of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Christ Himself, giving Himself to us in all of His being. The Eucharist itself should also be regarded as a Sacrifice as Trent clearly states. This is another important reason on why no other religious service through any denomination can be pleasing to God, Christ Himself instituted the Eucharist and Christ is present “truly and substantially” (Trent). St. Paul also states that partaking in other religious ceremonies is, “the table of devils.” (1 Cor 10) The Eucharist is also a means of Christ uniting Himself with us. He is the “life giving water” and our spiritual nourishment. It is a precursor to our eternal unity with Him when we pass from this life. In this life he makes us stronger as we unite to Him in our sufferings, trials and even triumphs. The Church calls the Holy Eucharist the source and summit of our Christian lives. We should treat it as such in all of our actions during the Mass.

Conveying The Reality

With this truth and reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass before us, how can it be that so many in the Church today act as if it is just a communal celebration? Was there a change in theology with the institution of the Novus Ordo? No change is found in any of the Vatican II documents on the liturgy, yet it is clear that the ambiguity of the documents allowed an entire theological attitude change for much of the faithful and the clergy. Anibale Bugnini the chief creator of the Novus Ordo wrote in his memoirs, “The path opened up by the Council will surely bring a radical change in the very appearance of traditional liturgical assemblies,..." This is exactly what happened. Appearances convey reality. The Mass no longer remained focused on the Holy Sacrifice, and the uniformity established in the liturgical norms of the past that were meant to convey the true reality were done away with. It was the intention of Bugnini to do away with this traditional thinking on the Mass by freeing it from past uniformity. By his own admission Bugnini tells us this clearly on page 42 of his memoirs, "This principle represents a momentous departure from past practice. For centuries the Church willed that all worship in the Roman Rite should everywhere show perfect uniformity. The two liturgical reforms which history has recorded - that of the eighth century and that promoted by the Council of Trent in the sixteenth century- had precisely that aim... Social, religious, cultic and cultural considerations, and indeed the entire psychological climate, have changed radically in our day." This is why there are so many options in the Novus Ordo and why the rubrics are not as tight. It is more dependent on the priest and the particular community the Mass is being celebrated at than the reality of Christ being the Sacrifice. It is my hope that the proper sacrificial and penitential reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass will be restored and that in due time the Church will realize that the Tridentine Mass best exemplifies this reality. I hope in my day that the Church will restore it to the ordinary celebration in the Roman Rite. In my opinion, the experiment of the Novus Ordo liturgy has failed to uniformly convey adequately the reality of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.  

Primary Source

The Unchangeable Church Vol II 1909 John Duffy

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Apathy, Chastisements and the Selling of our Souls

I've heard it said that the idea of selling one's soul is a myth. It is something that comes from tale and lore of past times that have long been surpassed by the advancement of modern man. In this day and age some deny they have a soul. Yet, who can deny that there is an animating life to the body which contains a unique personality attached to unique actions identifiable to each person, and when that animating force leaves, despite the body remaining, there is a loss of that unique personality? It is not my intention to prove the existence of the soul in this post. It is my intention to show that those who believe they have a soul can actually sell it, and that many people are doing this every day without even realizing it.

One of the most self destructing behaviors of modern man is his lukewarmness towards God. The majority of people in this country, and even across the globe still believe that a God or Creator exists.  Most still believe they have a soul that will continue on after it separates from the body. Most believe that that depending on how they live they will inherit some type of eternal bliss or some form of punishment. Those identifying themselves as being Christian however seem to assume that heaven is a given for them, and that only the Hitlers, Stalins and other unsavory characters are destined for eternal damnation. The idea of sin for them has been lost. This idea combined with the heresy that promotes a false sense of eternal security, has caused the loss of countless souls. Most Christians today seem to forget the words of Christ Himself, "Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves." (Matthew 7:13-15)

One of the worst chastisements from God is not material chastisements as many talk about today. This seems to be the focus of many Christians. As we see our country and Western civilization turn from its Christian moral foundation, many who are trying to remain faithful to Christ look to prophesy and tend to focus on material chastisements that are to come in the future. I am not denying the reality of material chastisements, but what seems to be lost is the sense of the spiritual chastisement that the material rests upon. In other words, God sometimes uses material means to awaken the souls of men who are mired in the cesspool of sin. He allows the consequences of sin to awaken the sinful slumber of man. However, the worst punishment is when God allows men to remain blinded by their sin to ruination of their eternal souls.

As we progress towards a world that denies the reality of absolute moral truths, we are seeing what a great spiritual chastisement looks like. Across the world much of humanity acts as if God does not exist, yet most will pay lip service to Him. Worse, many act as if they are their own gods, denying the existence of evil and sin. A portion of our population believes it has now "progressed to the point of calling good evil, and evil good. "Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter. Woe to you that are wise in your own eyes, and prudent in your own conceits." (Isaiah 5:20-21) As a result we are seeing the loss of souls at an exponential rate, including many who call themselves Christian. If we recall the vision of hell the children of Fatima were shown by Our Lady, they said that the they saw souls falling into hell at such as volume that it almost resembled a snowstorm.

Why are all of these people falling into hell after their earthly lives have ended? Was it because they were like Hitler or Stalin? Was it because they murdered or were armed bandits of some sort? Were they the lowest of the bunch? Are there so many of these types of villanous people that hell could be flooded with them on a daily basis? I don't think so. A large portion of them are those who are apathetic to God. They are the average man or women living material focused lives. They are those who continue to live in sin without seeking the life giving grace and love of God. They are those living in adultery, those living in impurity, those who steal just a little bit, those whose greed leads to usury and defrauding workers of their wages, those who have told that little white lie, those whose pride causes the loss of charity for one another, those who abuse themselves in drink, those who speak ill of their neighbors, those who are complicit with evil and the list goes on. In other words, these people falling into hell are the average Joe Schmoes who have committed average sins for which they have not repented.

As society turns apathetic to God, God has let us have our way. Thus, the vision of the children at Fatima of people falling into hell was a vision of a spiritual chastisement. God leaves man in his apathetic ways to the ruination of his soul. "Wherefore God gave them up to the desires of their heart, unto uncleanness, to dishonour their own bodies among themselves.  Who changed the truth of God into a lie; and worshipped and served the creature rather than the Creator..." (Romans 1:24-25)Yet, what are to think of material chastisements? I think that the material chastisements are less of a punishment for they can be tools used by God to get the attention of those who are apathetic to Him. Some may say that this presents a cruel God that was invented by the Jews as is presented in the Old Testament. What many fail to see is that man's sins are the primary cause of many material chastisements. Wars, murder, the spread of many diseases, physical and emotional trauma, depression etc. are caused by man's own immoral choices. They are caused by man himself living outside the grace of God. It is my belief that when these consequences of sin are lessened by God that this is a more severe punishment. When God allows the consequences of sin to remain, man can often find his way back to God. It is a way that God leaves His fingerprints, or a bread trail so that man can find his way back to Him. When God removes the bread trail, then the real disaster begins. This is where we find ourselves today. Many of us live in the soft circumstances of sin.

Today man lives apathetic to God with all the luxuries of life, at least here in the US and most of Western civilization. Most of us are fat and happy and have a good meal on our plates each evening and a warm bed to sleep in. Just look at the average American who is overweight and overeats and enjoys the fruits of life. Many of these people however are living in a state of unrepentant sin and suffer no real consequences for them. Many take anti-depressants to deaden their conscience, or lose themselves in a bottle of wine or in empty chatter. In essence, the end result is in man selling his soul to the devil. A person who lives in a state of sin without the grace of God will not inherit the kingdom of heaven. That means that not only will the Hitlers and Stalins of the world suffer the loss of their souls to eternal ruin, but those who live average lives apathetic to God. Those who say they believe in God but never give Him the worship that is due to Him, and who do not seek His loving grace as He has revealed it to them, will join the ranks of the Hitlers and Stalins. Are we to run to the Church out of fear for losing our souls?

A fear of God is a good thing if it is properly understood. The fear of God goes hand in hand with the love of God. God the Father loves us so much that he Sacrificed His only begotten Son. He is not a cruel God, but one that loves and deserves our love, for He loved us first. We should then set our eyes upon the cross if we are to set our souls free from the hands of sin and the evil one. Gaze and meditate upon a crucifix. We are held in chains by sin until we gaze our eyes upon the loving Savior Jesus Christ. For those who seek Him, we find ourselves in a time of great mercy, while those who do not will perish in their sins as a frog dies in a slowly boiled pot. Christ calls us from the cross to His one and only Church, the Catholic Church. He calls us to be baptized, and to receive the Holy Spirit by giving ourselves to Him wholly. We not only give Him the honor and worship that is due to Him in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but He sustains us by His love in the Most Holy Sacrament of His Body Blood, Soul and Divinity. He also calls us when we fall into sin to the Sacrament of Confession so we can reconcile ourselves to the Holy Trinity by repenting of our sin. We can either sell our souls to the devil or we can let Christ free our souls by His most pure Sacrifice on the cross. Indeed we "preach Christ crucified." (1 Cor 1:23)

Yes the material chastisements must come. When they do come this will be a sign of great things to follow. Many will turn to God when they see the horror of sin manifested in material ways. As long as we lay in the slumber of sin, things will become progressively worse. This is the year of mercy and indeed God offers us great graces for those who seek them. For those of us who are practicing the faith, let us not think we are above anyone, lest we too shall die in our pride. We have not sacrificed enough for others as Our Lady has asked of us. We have not prayed enough and we had not loved our brothers and sisters enough. Do we have true charity in our souls? "If I speak with the tongues of men, and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal.  And if I should have prophecy and should know all mysteries, and all knowledge, and if I should have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And if I should distribute all my goods to feed the poor, and if I should deliver my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." (1 Cor 13:1-3) So let us also who practice the Catholic faith live in the love of God so that others may come to love Him, lest we also end up selling our souls.

Let St. Catherine of Sienna's words penetrate our hearts, "...dearest brother! Sleep no longer in the death or mortal sin. I tell you, the ax is already laid to the root of the tree. Pick up the shovel of holy fear of God and let the and of love guide it. Come! Shovel our of the filth of your soul and body!... Run back to your creator. Open your souls eye and see how great is the fire of His charity, that He has put up with you and hasn't commanded the earth to open and swallow you, or the wild beasts to devour you! On the contrary, the earth has shared its fruits with you, the sun its warmth and light, and the sky its movement, so that you might live, giving you a bit of time that you might be able to change your ways. And this he has done for love alone." (Letter T21/G306)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Book Recommendation: Nothing Superfluous

If there is one book you read this year on the Mass, this is it. Father James W. Jackson, FSSP has penned a marvelous explanation of the the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Everything is explained down to the vestments, and everything has a meaning, sometimes more than one. For example, did you know that in the Mass all seven gifts of the Holy Spirit are prayed for? Did you ever wonder why five crosses are carved onto a newly consecrated altar? What about those strict rubrics we have in the ancient Rite, and what do they mean? Get the book to find out. The book clocks in at 352 pages and contains a nice glossary.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Mother Angelica RIP April 20, 1923 - March 27, 2016

Mother Mary Angelica of the Annunciation
April 20, 1923 - March 27, 2016

Today at 5PM, Easter Sunday, Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN has passed away in the Lord. Arguably one of the most influential figures of American Catholicism and beyond, will long be remembered for the founding of EWTN along with her wit, humor and wisdom which she often displayed on her television show, 'Mother Angelica Live'. Mother founded EWTN in 1980 and went live on August 15th, 1981. The network now reaches 250 million viewers in 140 countries and is the largest religious media network in the world. It is a fitting day for Mother to pass away into the arms of the Lord on this Easter Sunday. She is one of the few bright lights to have graced the television airwaves in our time.

Mother was born in Canton, Ohio, entered The Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration in 1944, and later founded a new house for the order in 1962, in Irondale Alabama, a suburb of Birmingham. EWTN headquarters is now at that location. While traveling in Bogata in 1995, she had revelation to build a shrine honoring Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. In 1996 this inspiration was realized when groundbreaking began in Hanceville Alabaman where The Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament was founded. The sisters moved there in 1999. For many years she hosted her show, 'Mother Angelica Live' which has never truly been replaced. In 2000 she handed over control of EWTN to a board of laymen and in 2001 she suffered a stroke. Throughout Mother's life she suffered from various illnesses and health issues, yet always demonstrating courage in carrying her cross for Christ.

I have not had the privilege to meet Mother, but I have enjoyed the many fruits she has given us from her efforts to bring the Gospel over the airwaves of EWTN. After my conversion to the Catholic faith EWTN was on my television all hours of the day. I have also had the pleasure of visiting both the shrine and EWTN headquarters and they have always been memorable experiences. Although I believe her to be a Saint, say a prayer for her repose over the coming days. Her funeral will be on Friday April 1st. EWTN will be running a series of programs honoring her memory. To learn more about her incredible story, grab a copy of her biography.

Monday, February 8, 2016

A Traditional Catholic View of the Presidential Candidates: Part II Hillary Clinton

Anything but honorable.


The Democratic Party of today is nothing like the Democratic Party before the great depression, that is the era before the New Deal and FDR. The Democratic Party has gradually drifted further and further towards liberal progressivism since that time, to what we see now under the Clinton/Obama regimes.  Looking at this from an American political vantage point in relation to my Catholic faith, there is little in common with the ideology of the modern Democratic Party and that of my Catholic political and moral positions. That being said, what is now considered to be a conservative Republican today is far from the conservative positions of a Barry Goldwater or even a Ronald Reagan for that matter. I will address American conservatism in my upcoming posts, which focus on the Republican candidates.

Before examining Hillary Clinton’s qualifications for president, I want to make clear that the very positions of the modern Democratic platform are contrary to everything I believe to be advantageous to the common good of society. I cannot support this view from either a Catholic position or even from a traditional American conservative position. In the conservative American political context this means that a larger, controlling, socialistic government is in opposition to the common good of society. It also means that there are certain moral principles, which are derived from the natural law, which government cannot transcend. The progressive mindset is the opposite. Their ideology for example, promotes the murder of innocent human life in the womb, and the false notion of social justice such as the promotion of the redefinition of marriage. These are examples of strains of an immoral disease that need to be treated before they infect the whole body, which is coming quickly. This can only be done by a political entity that is willing to treat the noxious disease of a tyrannical government hellbent on promoting moral corruption. Is there a party that will fight the political entity which seeks to enshrine by law, moral decay? Or are the two parties now heading in the same direction? That question will not be answered in this post. What I will say is that the Democratic Party has now essentially progressed into a pseudo-socialist party. This is readily seen by the trial balloon sent up under the personality of Bernie Sanders, which just 15 years ago would have been blown out of the sky by the American public. Today that is not the case. I personally oppose any notion of liberalism or socialism as being an authentic engine that should fuel the American political establishment. A country run under the ideology of American liberalism is doomed to fail. This immediately puts me at odds with any of the DNC candidates, including Hillary Clinton. Be that as it may, I want to assess Hillary Clinton individually as I have done thus far with Donald Trump. 

Assessment of Hillary Clinton

I will be bold enough to say that there is no one more corrupt in the American political system that I know of than Hillary Clinton. Virtue is no friend to this conniving, huckster of a woman. The list of scandals tied to her and her husband is legion. Hillary and Bill’s name and legacy have been associated with scandal ever since their political birth in Arkansas. Here is a small list of some of them. It would take a book to cover them all in any detail.

1993- Travelgate: The Clintons take presidential office and fire everyone in the travel office and replace them with their buddies and then lie about why they fired them. It was proven that Hillary lied about it and the Clintons were investigated. They were found to have fired the employees for good no reason and had to reinstate them. Why did they do this? There were millions of dollars to be had from putting their buddies in control of it.

1994- Whitewater: The Clintons and their real-estate ventures were investigated for fraud. The Whitewater venture was co-owned by friends of the Clintons, the McDougals. Hillary as First lady was subpoenaed for it. Amazingly the documents, which were subpoenaed, were lost or stolen. What is more coincidental is that the man who supposedly had the documents, Vince Foster turned up dead during the investigation. Eventually Susan McDougal took the fall for Hillary, but was conveniently pardoned by Hillary’s crooked partner in crime, her husband Bill. The investigation lasted nearly four years and cost us taxpayers nearly 150 million dollars.

Filegate: The Clintons illegally requested FBI background reports on nearly 1000 Republican officials. Hillary was investigated in 1996 for this but was able to escape by having their security director take the fall for it. He was forced to resign.

Chinagate: The Clintons in exchange for political favors lined their pockets with campaign donations from their China connections. The DOJ investigated and stated that people within the Whitehouse knew about it. They dodged this one as well.

The Clinton Pardon Party: Before leaving office Bill Clinton pardoned 450 criminals many of them serving time for drug trafficking, terrorism, kidnaping and other horrible crimes. Hillary’s was involved with some of her friends receiving pardon favors. One for example who had been charged for tax evasion was pardoned and coincidentally Hillary received money from the person who was pardoned. Hillary received over $500,000 from one drug trafficker who was later pardoned by Bill. The Clinton pardon party was so despised that even the former Democratic president Jimmy Carter called the pardons disgraceful.

Senategate: Hillary in her NY senate race was fined $50,000 for under reporting campaign donations.

2012 Benghazi: Hillary covers up the investigation on the attack. Then testified that she had submitted all the documents that she had for the investigation. Almost two years later another 40 documents had been uncovered and we still do not know if we have them all.

The Clinton Foundation: A “foundation” totally corrupt with so many conflicts of interest we can't count them all. Money is mysteriously being funneled to her campaign pot through “donations” to the foundation. It is illegal to take large amounts of money from individuals for a campaign, but not so through a “Foundation.” Very convenient. In Haiti the Clinton were ripping the poor impoverished people, "Haitian activists protested outside of the Clinton Foundation in New York over the loss of “billions of dollars” that was meant to help rebuild after the devastating 2010 earthquake." Just remember, she is for the poor right?

Current- Emailgate: Hillary is found to have had classified information stored on her home email server which is clearly forbidden under federal law. So far she has also managed to dodge this one as well. I have to wonder who is covering for this woman.

I could go and on with one Hillary scandal after another. Her political career is littered with them. Honesty is not in her vocabulary. She has taken Saul Alinski’s advice to heart, and as long as the end she desires is achieved, the means are of no consequence to her. Saul Alinsky once wrote, “To say that corrupt means corrupt the ends is to believe in the immaculate conception of ends and principles.” I believe Hillary has taken on the very essence of this quote. In case you do not know, she wrote her senior thesis in 1962 on Alinski and she was sympathetic to the character of this immoral monster.


Where does Hillary stand on moral issues such as abortion? In 2009 she won the Margaret Sanger award from Planned Parenthood. That should give you an idea as to how pro-abortion she is. Margaret Sanger is another one of Hillary’s heroes. It is not surprising to find that she admired so many deplorable, 10th rate characters over the course of her life. As far as abortion goes she has stated, “I am and always have been pro-choice, and that is not a right any of should take for granted. There are a number of forces at work in our society that would try to turn back the clock and undermine a woman’s right to chose, and [we] must remain vigilant.” I find it alarming that one who supports the efforts of “social justice” and “human rights” finds it deplorable that anyone would seek to defend the life of an innocent child, who has every much as right to life as the mother does. Hillary also defends partial birth abortion if it means saving the life of the mother. Yet as we know, mothers who love their children would at any time sacrifice their own lives for the life of their beloved children. Not according to Clinton, who selfishly says of partial birth abortion, “Of course it’s a horrible procedure. No one would argue with that. But if your life is at stake, if your health is at stake…” This mentality is insulting to all of the heroic mothers who gave their lives in childbirth so their precious children could live, even if it was without them. Finally on her website she has as reason #13 of why she should be elected in bold type, it says “Hillary will defend Planned Parenthood and women’s health care from Republican attacks.” Hillary is a pro-abortion as they come.

Before I move on, I want to address the error that the liberals are perpetuating concerning “women’s health.” For one, health is strictly defined as restoring a proper working order to the human body. Therefore any procedure, treatment or “medication” that would stop or impede the body from functioning properly cannot be classified as healthcare, period. Therefore, contraception, which objectively stops a women’s body from working properly according to the natural order cannot be considered healthcare. Nor can the killing of a baby in mother’s womb be classified as healthcare. These acts simply do not meet the definition of healthcare. They are instruments of deformation and thus they cannot be funded under any healthcare program. I will not get into distinctions in this post concerning ectopic pregnancies, double effect, etc. The point here is that the majority of abortions and contraceptive acts are being done in effort to deform or stop a women’s body from operating according to its natural end. Therefore Hillary’s statement here rings hollow to any right thinking person not swept away in the fantastical liberal chicanery, which attempts to call night day, and day the night. Indeed the emperor does not have new clothes. Lets stop pretending he does.

I still remember this cover from when I was a kid.
Her View of Government

As all liberals, Hillary holds to the fantasy of government being the solution to all of society’s problems. This is one of the egregious errors of the crippled liberal mind today. The liberal’s ego is so blinded by pride that they think their government programs can build a utopia. There is nothing more dangerous than an ideology, which seeks to create a government designed to control and dictate to its people on a grand scale in order to implement policies, which are designed to create the “perfect” society. This eventually results in unjust attacks on a person's liberty, such as the ones we see by liberals today. We are seeing an increase of an attack on free speech in many liberal countries for example. If one speaks negatively about the vice of homosexuality in certain places you can be prosecuted. Wherever liberal policies are put in place injustice and loss of liberty will follow in its wake. Hillary and Obama for example, do not want the private sector to be involved in healthcare. Instead they want their government to control and run it. In order to do this however, they must calculate a way to take your hard earned money to pay for it. What is worse, if you decide you do not want their healthcare, they make it illegal for you not to have it. Once they have done taken away all of your options they have you cornered under governmental control.

This type of action is a clear usurpation of the US Constitution, but this has not stopped the liberal juggernaut. This leads up to my next point, which is the very likely possibility of this demented lady appointing more asinine liberty bashers to the US Supreme Court. This cements in place another seat of power they can use to pass laws so they can "legally" steal more of your money and force you to buy more government services you don’t want. And they will implement it under the façade of just taxation. The liberals can’t count the ways to spend your hard earned money. Clinton says on her website that community college should be tuition free for everyone. Guess what? You are going to pay for it. There is no question about it, Hillary stands for big government, big taxation, less personal freedom and ultimately social disorder. Watch out as the vultures will eventually come home to nest in the stench-ridden vomit that spews into the streets of American towns and cities across this country that flow forth from the bowels of American liberalism. The face of this American liberalism is Hillary Clinton and the Democratic party. 

For the Working Class?

The next myth I want to address is the myth that the Democrats are for the working class people. How many times have we heard Obama and Hillary talk about the middle class being taxed too much? Guess what? Under Obama the middle class taxes have gone up, not down. For example, the “affordable” healthcare act contains 20 different tax increases on the middle class. You just have not seen them yet! The tax credits the middle class once had were taken away under the Obama presidency, we have seen that. For example a person making $50000.00 a year saw $1000.00 of his disposable income be snatched up by the greedy talons of Obama’s despotic regime in 2013. Hillary has praised Obama and the programs he has implemented over his 8-year reign and she says she will continue on in his footsteps. We keep hearing the myth that the Democrats are for the working class, yet their actions tell us a different story. The only reason a Democrat will help a poor person is to buy a vote. They steal from the working class and enslave them with their own money! Not only is the working class individual paying more taxes, so are small business owners. The fact is, their big government ideology ensures that the middle class will never having a chance of keeping more of their hard earned money. This is just another example of the Janus faced character of Hillary’s political party and the liberal ideology that fuels it. 

The Verdict

Could I as a practicing Catholic ever vote for a Hillary Clinton? I think you can deduce that the answer is a resounding hell no. For that matter no American who believes in anything the founding fathers set up for our country would ever support such chicanery. Our country simply cannot afford another presidential term under Democratic Party rule. There is not much left standing after 8 years under the Obama regime. The vultures are circling overhead waiting for the complete demolition of the American way of life so they can feed on our dead carcasses, and Hillary is just the person to give them a perfect feeding ground. 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

A Traditional Catholic View of the Presidential Candidates: Part I Donald Trump-Updated 9-30-16


After watching coverage of the presidential debates, the general media coverage of the candidates, and after reading news stories covering the various candidates, I have come to a sad conclusion. The conclusion is that America little to offer in the quality of political candidates running for president. We have turned into a vice ridden country which tolerates moral degeneration and as a result we tolerate vice ridden political representatives. Since a large portion of America tolerates vice as a norm of human behavior we should not be surprised that we produce no good fruit on the political vine. I believe that this toleration of vice goes even further to a celebration of vice. "Vice is the new virtue" should be the slogan of the vast majority of the candidates and many of their supporters. There is no whisper of virtue among the lips of a Hillary Clinton or a Donald Trump. Although varying in degrees of immorality, I believe neither are fit to serve the American people as models of virtue, intellectual prowess or pillars of wisdom, and thus do not objectively qualify as presidential material. These two candidates appear to be at this point in time, the two most popular among their parties. A shame indeed. 

In this series of posts I will examine each of the major candidates running for president. I will attempt to judge them all by the same criteria. I have no allegiance to any party or ideology. These blog posts may upset some readers, for that I apologize in advance. But, I think that much needs to be said in light of the upcoming election cycle concerning faithful Catholics. First I will state that these are my opinions based on my personal observations and nothing more. I do not intend to tell anyone who to vote for. I am giving you my opinion on the viability of these candidates based on a specific criteria, and damn the torpedoes. I am unapologetic in being a faithful Catholic first, and a proud American second. In other words, God comes before any political or nationalistic leanings. I also do not view the American political system as the pinnacle of all political systems. I do however have to operate within these imperfect confines due to my place in time and history. 

I want first and foremost to examine these candidates in light of their propensity to virtue or lack of it as they demonstrate on a day to day basis. I will judge the consistency of their stances on what I consider as a faithful Catholic to be critical moral issues. As they say, one cannot have politics without morality. These issues include but are not limited to abortion, "gay marriage", euthanasia, just war, etc. I personally find these issues to be of critical importance in determining a viable candidate. For example, one who cannot defend the innocent life of a baby in the womb is not going to lose a nights sleep over any of the other vices that pass for virtue today. Stealing, lying, cheating, slandering, are all just tools of the trade for an immoral sub-defective politician. At the end of each post I will give my thoughts on whether I would vote for the candidate in the primary and in the presidential election, and under what circumstances I would do so.

Assessment of Donald Trump

On this first post I want to look at one of the most surprising and interesting candidates running. He is the master of reality TV, the golden haired billionaire, also know as the 'Trumpster' it is none other than the amorphous, raucous candidate from New York, 'The Donald' Trump. While I can appreciate his sarcastic and amusing non-politically correct wise cracks, I cannot stand behind someone who has no real convictions other than a popularized slogan of "making America great again." What does that even mean? Does it mean building a wall across the Mexican border? Does it mean stopping abortion on demand? Does it mean putting freedom back in the hands of the average American? Who truly knows? His positions on these have changed over the course of his career. I am not saying that people cannot change their positions over the course of their lives. What I can examine is how a person has demonstrated throughout his or her life, virtue. I think that one can talk a good game, but when it comes to leading people, a demonstration of the virtuous life must precede one's words. In Aristotle's terms, a good lyre plays the right notes at the right rhythm, and is known to be a good lyre player because he demonstrates it by his actions, not just because he says he is a good lyre player.

In my opinion, Donald Trump has demonstrated over his life up to this presidential race a great lack of virtue. For one, he has been "married" three times. He has children from all three of them. The man is arrogant, shows no sign of humility and I guess it is easy for him to mistake himself for King Solomon. Why not add in a few concubines while he is at it to top it all off? A man of great character indeed! A man who cannot keep a commitment to his wife should now be trusted with a country of millions? I won't stop there. What does Trump really believe? How many times can a man contradict himself on public television? Only the master of contradiction himself, Obama can relate to such Janus faced shenanigans. Do we really want another president who cannot remember, nor cares what he said from one day to the next? I want to bring up a list of moral questions for which Trump has given definitive answers on, such as the atrocity of abortion on demand.

For one, he has been strongly pro-choice his entire life. This is well documented. Just before running on the Republican ticket he declared that he was a newly converted pro-lifer. Convenient indeed. I personally do not buy it. There are far too many strong statements made by him in the past such as saying that he would not ban partial birth abortion, that give me pause not to trust him in any matters of grave moral importance. Even after answering the question whether or not he was pro-life, he qualified his yes by stating, "with caveats, life of the mother, incest, and rape.” For the sake of argument, even if I were to give him the benefit of the doubt on this matter, what are we to think about his views on God? Trump after being asked recently if he asks God for forgiveness for anything wrong he has done emphatically stated, "I am not sure I have. I just go on and try to do a better job from there. I don't think so," ... "I think if I do something wrong, I think, I just try and make it right. I don't bring God into that picture. I don't." This is unfortunately a typical anti-intellectual response from Trump, which I detest. I just can't take the guy seriously most of the time.

This is his view of God? How can one who says they believe in God, and who claims to be a Christian, (Presbyterian) make such an absurd statement? One must ask what Trump really believes, because someone who claims to love the Bible and who claims to be a Christian is mocking our Lord Jesus Christ by saying that he keeps God out of the picture when it comes to forgiveness. With this mentality it is not hard to understand why arrogance secretes from the very pores of his body such as when he said, "When someone crosses you, my advice is ‘Get Even!’ That is not typical advice, but it is real life advice. If you do not get even, you are just a schmuck! When people wrong you, go after those people because it is a good feeling and because other people will see you doing it. I love getting even." Again, this mentality is far from a virtuous disposition. As far as I am concerned, rather than running for president, Trump needs to figure out what he really believes concerning God because he does not demonstrate that he really believes in anyone other than himself.

I want to now take a look at his aggrandizement of material wealth. It is easy for Americans to get caught up in this mentality, since many of us aspire to attain more wealth ourselves. Trump is supposedly worth 4 billion dollars. He loves to talk about how much money he has made and how rich he is, as if this was the zenith of all virtue. “The beauty of me is that I’m very rich” Trump once stated.  The trouble is that the aggrandizement of wealth is not one of the virtues. Who knows of the vice-ridden deals he had to make with the mob to get his business bargains done, his towers built, etc. Who built skyscrapers in New York and New Jersey without dealing with the mob? Those who know the business well say no one has, particularly in the era when he struck his deals. This experience may help him in the sleazy environment of American politics, but is that what we as Americans are aiming for in realm of virtue among our political establishment? Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with being successful or even having wealth in and of itself, but Trump's campaign is clearly run on this mentality that material wealth is king, and that he is the master of it.

Will Trump despite his colossal bank account still be able to be bought by special interests? This may indeed separate him from the other candidates and make him more insulated from lobbyists. I think this is a good thing, and I will not deny that this is a positive attribute concerning the specific issue of the special interest lobby influence on Trump. The trouble is, this in and of itself does not guarantee that Trump would make any better political decisions than anyone else who was being influenced by the lobby. I can substantiate this position because as I have stated above, he lacks virtue. He does not possess the needed attributes like humility, prudence, knowledge or the wisdom required to hold such a high office, and make prudent decisions. I have heard Catholics say that because he is a successful billionaire that this somehow qualifies him to be president. Just because you can build a business does not automatically qualify you to lead others from a high position of political office. If the aggrandizement of wealth at any expense is now considered to be a Catholic virtue then I guess you have an argument for Trump regarding his financial position. 

The Verdict

Republican Primary:  Trump is not on the top of my list for the Republican nomination for presidential candidate. I put him towards the bottom. He would not be my nominee at the voting box in the Republican primaries. I do not think he is very smart, and I do not think he has any true moral convictions for which he would stake his life or career on. He does not come across to me as an authentic man of integrity. I do not view him as a particular well spoken individual. He is certainly not an intellectual. I would favor Rand Paul for example, over Trump in the primary. Unfortunately Rand now appears to be out of the race so that will narrow my options. I will have to pick from one of the others.

Presidential Election: Lets me close this post by posing the question we all have to answer. Would I vote for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders in the presidential race? Grudgingly, reluctantly, I would pull the lever for him with head in hand, making a face palm, over a Hillary Clinton or a Bernie Sanders. What makes him a better choice than either of these two? I have a strong distaste for those who openly support a socialistic ideology and the monumental immorality that emanates from supporting such an ideology. Not to give away my forthcoming posts, but this disqualifies the two Democratic candidates. I will examine both of them closer in my upcoming articles.

What about voting for Trump? After all, I just got through telling you about how bad I think he is. So let me explain the casting of my reluctant, face palm vote for him over the Democrats. Despite Trump's inconsistency and lack of clarity on moral issues such as abortion, and his lack of demonstration for virtue, I do not think he would further many of the socialist causes that are being shoved down our throats by the Democrats. I do not think he would show further support for groups such as Planned Parenthood for example, and it is even possible that he may try to cut them from the government subsidy. Even if he is inconsistent with his stand on abortion, I do not think he would be hellbent on passing further legislation to increase abortion funding. I do not think he would further the "gay" agenda, or take any keen interest in taking away more freedom from the American people. 

I also think he would be more likely to appoint better Supreme Court justices than either of the two Democrats. It is at least better odds at the craps table in regard to the upcoming Supreme appointments. We know where a Hillary or Bernie stands on that. The last thing America needs is for the Supreme Court to be stacked with more liberal appointees. The question of Trump's foreign policy is one that is not very clear to me, and to be honest, this is one of the unknowns that bothers me. Trump comes off to me as kind of a loose canon and I wonder how he would fare in dealing with the many challenges of world affairs. How would he be any different than Clinton or Sanders in this respect? I am honestly not too sure, but I would again roll the dice. Knowing what I know about the corruption of a Clinton or the madness of a Sanders, I do not think he would pose any more danger to our country. 

This closes my first post in this series, giving you some of my brief thoughts on the viability of Donald Trump as a presidential candidate. I would sum up my thoughts on voting for Trump in the presidential election with a quotation from St. Thomas More, "What you cannot turn to good, you must at least make as little bad as you can." I would love to hear your thoughts.

Update: 2-8-16
As I have said in this post, you just can't tell where Trump really stands on anything. In a recent interview he was asked, “When President Trump is in office can we look for more forward motion on equality for gays and lesbians?” His answer? “Well, you can,” Trump answered. ” And look, again, we’re going to bring people together, and thats your thing and other people have their thing. We have to bring all people together and if we don’t we’re not going to have a country anymore.”

So I stand corrected in my statement above where I said I did not think he would advance the homosexual agenda. This makes it even harder to vote for him over the Democrats since this makes his stance on critical moral issues closer to theirs. This makes the odds of rolling the dice on him much less favorable. As more cracks begin to appear in his moral judgments, the likelihood of him getting a vote from me becomes slimmer. If he is just saying this to get votes, then this again proves the immense lack of virtue in his character. I think this guy is now the worst candidate on the Republican ticket by far. He is no conservative even by American political standards to be sure. Lets be sure he does not get the nomination. As I learn more I will continue to update this post. So check back often.

Update: 7-22-16
So, the Donald has become the Republican candidate. It has been over 5 months since my last update, and many things have once again changed. Am I overly excited that Trump is the nominee? No. Has his demeanor changed throughout the race? Not much. He is still as bombastic as ever, and his position continues to change on issues day by day. That being said, is he a better candidate than Hillary? I reluctantly have to answer in the affirmative. If Hillary gets in office we know what we are going to get, more of the same. She will nominate liberal supreme court justices, and the right to bear arms is the next target, among other things. Simply put, Hitlery Rotten Clinton is the probably the most evil person to ever run for president.

Will Trump nominate good supreme court justices? Its hard to say, but in this case, the devil you don't know is a better gamble than the devil you do know. The left wing radicalism that is entrenched in the White House has got to go out with this election. Unfortunately the only way that is going to happen is to vote for Trump. So at this point in time, I am back leaning in that direction. My disgust for Hitlery is the driving force for a vote for Trump, not my enthusiasm for Trump. What a sad day it is that this is the best America has to offer for candidates. 

Update: 9-30-16
This is my latest update in the election season. Although Trump has been far from being my favorite "conservative" candidate, it seems that if we are to avoid a Clinton disaster, Trump must be my choice in the election. There is simply too much evil that will be done under a Clinton presidency that would most likely not be implemented under a Trump presidency. After much deliberation I am going to vote for Trump.