Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Our Lady's Assumption

The Assumption- Titian

In a word, it is certain that no creature can obtain for us miserable sinners so many mercies as this good advocate, who is honored by God with this privilege, not only as his beloved handmaid, but also as his true mother. (St. Alphonsus Liguori, The Glories of Mary)

Over the years I have leaned more and more on the Blessed Mother of God to bring me closer to her son, Jesus. The Rosary has been a daily devotion for many years now and I believe this devotion has brought me great consolation. For example, I believe Our Lady brought me to Poland through this devotion for a spiritually enriching pilgrimage. I personally honor the Blessed Mother under several of her titles including Guadalupe, Fatima, Good Success, Lourdes and Czestochowa to name a few.

Why does the Church put such an emphasis on her Feast of the Assumption? Although the Church has believed and celebrated the Assumption, also known as the Dormition of the Mother of God since the earliest years, it was only solemnly defined in 1950 by Pope Pius XII. "We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory."  It is one of the four Marian dogmas of the Church. The first being that she is the Mother of God, second, she is a perpetual virgin, that is before, during, and after the birth of Christ. Third she was immaculately conceived without sin, and finally that she was assumed into heaven. Why is this feast important for us to believe?

For one, it is a foreshadowing of what awaits us in eternal life. Although we do not have a glorified body after we die, Mary does have her glorified body in heaven, like we will someday. Pope Pius XII wrote regarding the general law that we must wait for our bodies n heaven until the final judgement, "God wished that the Blessed Virgin Mary be exempt from this general law. For she, by a completely singular privilege, conquered sin in her Immaculate Conception, and thus was not liable to that law of remaining in the corruption of the grave, nor did she have to wait for the end of time for the redemption of her body." So as we live out our days on earth we hope for the same as Our Mother enjoys now.

Secondly, we know must conquer our own sin with the help of God's grace. What is the best way to accomplish this feat? It is through the Blessed Virgin who awaits us to ask for her help. She being the best of mothers is always waiting and willing to help us. So we learn that she is in a glorified state in heaven waiting as our intercessor. St. Alphonsus Liguori once said, "Whoever asks and wishes to obtain graces without the intercession of Mary, attempts to fly without wings..." Knowing that Our Blessed Mother listens for our petitions in heaven also brings us hope in the promises of Christ. She is the mediatrix of all grace, and so we see great graces coming to us that bring us closer to her son. No one can really call themselves Christian in the true sense without a devotion to our mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her Assumption lets us know how highly God holds her in relation to man's salvation, and also lets us know that we should also regard her as such. Let us honor her day today and ask for her petitions as we participate in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass today. Happy feast day to Our Lady!

Consecrate yourself to Our Lady today!

Solemn Act of Consecration by St Kolbe

O Immaculate, Queen of heaven and earth, Refuge of sinners and our most loving Mother, God has willed to entrust the entire order of mercy to You, I, an unworthy sinner, cast myself at Your feet, humbly imploring You to take me with all that I am and have, wholly to Yourself as Your possession and property. Please make of me, of all my powers of soul and body, of my whole life, death, and eternity, whatever pleases You. If it pleases You, use all that I am and have without reserve, wholly to accomplish what has been said of You: “She will crush your head”, and “You alone have destroyed all heresies in the whole world.” Let me be a fit instrument in Your immaculate and most merciful hands for introducing and increasing Your glory to the maximum in all the many strayed and indifferent souls, and thus help extend as far as possible the blessed Kingdom of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. For, wherever You enter, You obtain the grace of conversion and sanctification, since it is through Your hands that all graces come to us from the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

V. Allow me to praise You, O most holy Virgin.

R. Give me strength against Your enemies.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Akin and Co. Redefine Punishment to Fit Catechism Change

It is amazing to see how far a pop apologist will go to defend the in-defensible. As we know Francis just changed the Catechism concerning the use of the death penalty. The new Catechism entry is now saying that Capital Punishment is no longer able to be used because it is an attack against human dignity. The passage reads,

 The death penalty
“2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. 
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. 
Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption. 
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
The accompanying letter sent out by Cardinal Ladaria tries to tell us that this change is in perfect alignment with past magisterial statements. Ladaria wrote,

“a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.” This refers to the fact that in the past the state’s penal sanctions were understood principally as administering justice (including divine justice) to wrongdoers, but today the Church understands them principally as seeking to protect society and (hopefully) rehabilitate the offender."
In light of this Jimmy Akin and others have bought into Ladaria's redefining of punishment saying that it is not primarily used for administering justice, which as we know cannot be changed by its very nature. Even the Catechism says it cannot, and conflicts with Ladaria's explanation. If we read earlier in the Catechism in 2266, which everyone seems to have forgotten, it says clearly that punishment's primary aim is redressing the disorder caused by the offense.

2266 The efforts of the state to curb the spread of behavior harmful to people's rights and to the basic rules of civil society correspond to the requirement of safeguarding the common good. Legitimate public authority has the right and duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation. Punishment then, in addition to defending public order and protecting people's safety, has a medicinal purpose: as far as possible, it must contribute to the correction of the guilty party.

As we know the death penalty, otherwise known as Capital Punsishment has always and can only be used to redress the crime caused by the past action of the criminal, which is the administration of justice. It can only be used for that purpose, since the guilty party will not live to see rehabilitation. The Church has sanctioned such a punishment for that purpose and thus it cannot be against the dignity of the human person. Ladaria's use of the phrase "to protect society" like the Catechism's use is ambiguous, since an act of justice can also be seen as protecting society, and not merely a physical protection from a possible aggressor.

The only way Ladaria and the pop-apologists get away with buying into this change is by redefining the primary aim of punishment. Punishment by its very nature must always look to the past first to redress the crime, and then secondarily to the possible rehabilitation of the criminal and protection from possible future aggression by the criminal. It cannot work any other way, otherwise you might as well start punishing people for something they may or may not do in the future, which of course is non-sense. Sorry, thinking Catholics who actually follow the consistent teaching of the Church, grounded in solid scholastic philosophy would never buy into this. This cannot hold water and is a huge theological strikeout.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Saint Dominic: Icon of Truth and the Rosary

Saint Dominic has done great things for me! He has found me two jobs and given me numerous opportunities for spiritual growth. I am also in the Dominican third order as a result of him, which is also very spiritually rewarding. The Dominicans have traditionally been known as defenders of truth. Starting with its founder, Saint Dominic Guzman, truth and the conversion of sinners has been the focus of the order. Dominic is known for his famous encounters with the Albigensians who were spreading heresy throughout France. He could not stand by silently while people were being led away from the Catholic faith, so he started to travel on foot to refute the heresy and bring people back into the Church. He would spend hours using his wisdom talking with the Albigensians, resulting in converting many back to the faith. His boldness to speak the truth should inspire us.

We also have the Most Holy Rosary as a result of St. Dominic. It was the Blessed Mother herself who gave us the Rosary through him. Sr. Lucia once said "My impression is that the Rosary is of greatest value not only according to the words of Our Lady at Fatima, but according to the effects of the Rosary one sees throughout history. My impression is that Our Lady wanted to give ordinary people, who might not know how to pray, this simple method of getting closer to God.". Saint Dominic is an icon of truth and the instrument of the Most Holy Rosary. We should model St. Dominic by praying the Rosary daily and by preaching the truth when we are given the opportunity. Happy feast day of St. Dominic!

Monday, August 6, 2018

Catechism of Trent VS New Catechism: Death Penalty Inadmissible?

I hear the neo-Catholics saying that the current Catechism is infallible therefore anyone who goes against Francis' new condemnation of Capital Punishment is going against a doctrine of the Church. However, they paint themselves in a corner. If the new Catechism cannot err, that means that the old Catechism of Trent cannot err. Notice one clearly says the death penalty is a legitimate, "lawful" punishment in lieu of the crime committed. The other says that this long held idea is no longer admissible. 

In case you are one of those who may be wringing their hands over the meaning of "inadmissible" it means simply, "not able to be allowed or considered". The Latin in case you were wondering is "non posse admitti." This means, "not to be able to be admitted." No beating around the bush here, it means you can't do it! I don't care if that word has not been used before, it means what it means! All of this microscopic examination of the term cannot change what it means. More importantly, why can't it be done according to Francis?, "because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person." This would make the act never permissible, or as he has worded it, never admissible, inadmissible. Again, we know this cannot be otherwise the Roman Catechism of Trent would have been teaching a heresy by saying that it was a legitimate act supported by the Church and Sacred Scripture. Could the Church have been supporting acts against human dignity for 2000 years? If you believe that,... 

Catechism of Trent
Execution Of Criminals
Another kind of lawful slaying belongs to the civil authorities, to whom is entrusted power of life and death, by the legal and judicious exercise of which they punish the guilty and protect the innocent. The just use of this power, far from involving the crime of murder, is an act of paramount obedience to this Commandment which prohibits murder. The end of the Commandment­ is the preservation and security of human life. Now the punishments inflicted by the civil authority, which is the legitimate avenger of crime, naturally tend to this end, since they give security to life by repressing outrage and violence. Hence these words of David: In the morning I put to death all the wicked of the land, that I might cut off all the workers of iniquity from the city of the Lord.

New Francis Catechism

The death penalty
“2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good. 
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state.
Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.

So what are we to make of these two contradictions? Simply put, the Trent Catechism bases its teaching on the perennial teaching of the Church substantiated by things like Sacred Scripture, the Church Fathers, Councils and the like. The Trent Catechism does this clearly. This new entry by Francis does not base its teaching on anything other than Francis himself and his perceived idea of a "development of doctrine" which contradicts perennial Church teaching. See the source provided by Francis, himself. "FRANCIS, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5." Which one seems more credible?

Friday, August 3, 2018

How to Spot a Modernist!: My Top 4 Indicators

And thus Modernism has reached its goal. It set out to reconcile Catholicity with the spirit of the age, and it has done so with a vengeance. ('Modernism and Modern Thought' by Father Bampton SJ)

If it is not clear by now, let me clarify for you. The Church in our time has been overrun by modernists. This includes a large number of priests, bishops, theologians and yes laypeople. Due to poor formation, even many well-meaning priests, bishops and theologians frequently fall into modernist errors. Most Catholics at this time in the Church are unaware of anything the Church taught or said before 1962. When is the last time you have seen a theologian refer to the Canons of Trent? Have you heard any modern theologians refer to the encyclicals of Pius X like 'Pascendi'? The only theological works cited by modern popes, bishops, priests and theologians are those written after the 1960s, specifically the documents of Vatican II. You would think the Church didn't exist before the Second Vatican Council. As we know much of the theology that has been passed on to us since this time has been ramshackle at best and downright heretical at its worst.

All of the popes for the better part of 100 years, until the reign of Pope John XXIII who incorrectly prophesized a sunny and warm horizon for the Church, warned us about the noxious errors of modernism. No one listened! In this day and age we need to avoid modernists at all costs, and refute their errors when we are given the opportunity. Modernism is easy to spot if you know what to look for. There are many, but let me give you my top 4 indicators of what to look for to spot a modernist. If you have others feel free to comment in the combox.

1. Aggiornamento /Updating- They think the Church needs to constantly update her teachings to adapt to the modern culture. They do not believe that old theological definitions are immutable, and thus they always need to be updated. If you hear someone speak in such terms, you can bet your bottom dollar you are reading or listening to modernist. Pope Pius X warned us about this. The Jesuit priest Fr. Bampton writing in 1913 sums this up well, “To the Catholic, Dogma is something fixed, precise, something stable and immutable; to the Modernist, Dogma is "a tentative and provisional formula.” When you hear someone saying that dogmatic definitions are to be avoided, that they are inadequate and must be replaced by an “encounter”, look out. Theological definitions are how we come to understand God and are able to have a relationship with Him, they are not obstructions. This is how God communicates to us on an intellectual level, so that we can exercise our freewill to love Him as He has revealed Himself to us. This idea that we need to constantly update theology and liturgy is the first indicator that you should look for.

2. Development of Doctrine- They proclaim a perverted idea of “The development of doctrine.” Anyone using this term should be scrutinized closely, because most have no clue as to what it really means. Yes, there can be a legitimate development of doctrine. One that comes to mind is the deeper understanding of the Real Presence in the Eucharist over time, leading to the defining of Transubstantiation at Trent. So we came to understand more fully how the person of Christ is present in the Eucharist. Notice the substantial teaching of the Church never changed, it just brought us to a deeper understanding of the immutable reality of Jesus Christ being truly present. A false notion of the development of doctrine would be Francis’ recent attempt to hornswoggle us with his new teaching on capital punishment. More specifically his new theological position that the death penalty is an assault on human dignity. This is obviously something that is opposed to 2000 years of Catholic teaching. Most Catholics however have no idea, since the bishops over the past 40 years have done nothing but attack the death penalty largely based on the deceptive scheme known as “The seamless garment.” If you have read the CDF letter that accompanied Francis’ Catechism change, you can clearly see through the modernist smokescreen of a supposed legitimate development of doctrine. A change is not a development, a development is understanding an immutable truth more fully. Something cannot be against human dignity today, while it was a perfectly moral and just action the day before. Is it possible for Johnny to add his two apples to Mary’s two and have five apples today, when yesterday we had four when Johnny and Mary each brought two apples? I think not. This is my second indicator of a modernist, they proclaim that a change is really just a development.

3. Biblical Chicanery- A majority of them think that Jesus’ words and miracles are only stories based on approximations of early Christian communities. They often dismiss miracles with naturalistic explanations. For example, they will propose that Jesus did not really multiply the loaves and fish, it was only community sharing, and that was the real miracle. They will say that Jesus didn’t really say there was a narrow gate and there are few that enter. They propose that it was something made up later, and if He did say something like this, it was only a threat discourse. He said it just to scare everyone into paying attention to Him. He would never advocate eternal damnation. In other words, many of them read the Bible in a naturalistic, secular manner, rather than in the constant Tradition of the Church. Some do so in a more nuanced manner, others in a very open manner. For example, if you hear someone tell you that Adam and Eve are not literal figures, that they are only mythological figures in Scripture to depict a theological lesson, then you are dealing with a modernist. A true Catholic would say that Adam and Eve were real people to which original sin came into the world, through real concrete sinful act. So my third indicator is looking for people who play fast and loose with the Sacred Scriptures.

4.    Resistance to Thomism- Modernists do one of two things with St. Thomas Aquinas. They either despise him, or they try and hijack him. Modernists do not like true Thomistic theology. It is because it is based on reality and immutable truths. So they defer to modernist theologians of our time that are rooted in false philosophical principles such as those of Kant and Heidegger for example. Watch out for those who mock Thomism. If they say Thomism is dry and outdated and closed in on itself you should see a this as a red flag. On the other hand, if they are smart enough to realize that bashing St. Thomas is a dead giveaway to their modernist tendencies, they will try and hijack him. They will cherry pick something out of the Summa and twist it to mean something that St. Thomas would never have imagined. Amoris Laetitia comes to mind in which some theologians foolishly claimed it was completely "Thomistic". This incorrect use of Thomas is usually accompanied by some proclamation of a "development of doctrine". Look for the two of them served up on a theological cold plate side by side.

There are several other indicators that I could list, but I think these are the top four that are easy to spot. The key is to listen closely to what they say, and what they avoid saying.

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, and We, therefore, declare that all the ordinances of Our Predecessor on this subject continue fully in force, and, as far as may be necessary, We do decree anew, and confirm, and ordain that they be by all strictly observed. In seminaries where they may have been neglected let the Bishops impose them and require their observance, and let this apply also to the Superiors of religious institutions. Further let Professors remember that they cannot set St. Thomas aside, especially in metaphysical questions, without grave detriment. (St. Pius X, Pascendi)

The Papal Posse Address Francis and the Death Penalty

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Game Changer by Francis? Death Penalty Now Officially Condemned?

Today August the 2nd, will go down in history as the day Pope Francis tried to bind the Church to a false teaching, which says that the death penalty is no longer admissible as a legitimate form of punishment. Of course we know that a Pope cannot change this teaching since it goes against the perennial teaching of the Church as well as the natural law. Many Popes before him such as Pius XII have taught emphatically that it is and always will be a legitimate form of punishment. It is interesting that this change only uses one source as a foot note, which is his address concerning the "new evangelization" on  11 October 2017. Notice he cannot come up with anything throughout Church history to substantiate this heretical teaching, so he quotes himself from less a year ago. Hardly a robust foundation for this theological proposal. This change was also accompanied by a formal letter to all bishops by Cardinal Ladaria. 

Up until this point Francis' theologically problematic statements have been arguably communicated in a non-binding manner or ambiguously. That is, he said them in interviews or informal letters, or in a manner that could be manipulated easily. This however seems to be a game changer.  I am interested to hear the opinion of reputable Thomistic theologians on this one. Does this not change the game when a Pope tries to bind Catholics to a heresy using a vehicle such as the Catechism? Granted every word in the Catechism is not infallible, but to my knowledge there has never been an outright heretical teaching in a Catechism such as this one. This teaching actually concerns the moral action of what a Catholic can and cannot support. As we know there is nothing intrinsically evil, or anything against human dignity concerning the proper use of Capital Punishment. Going through the CDF Francis has now actually changed Catechism #2267 to clearly and unambiguously outlaw the legitimacy of the death penalty. Leaving aside the poor wording of the 1997 text, below is the text from the 1997 Catechism, and below it is the new heretical Francis 2018 version. The question is, is any upstanding Cardinals or bishops going to stand up and do anything about this? Are they all going to sit back and let this happen? What happens when a Pope tries to actually bind the faithful to a heresy? These days are strange indeed! I will update this post as more theological opinions come out on this. See below for links. 

2267 Assuming that the guilty party's identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.
If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people's safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.
Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm - without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself - the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity "are very rare, if not practically nonexistent."68
New Francis Version
2267. Recourse to the death penalty on the part of legitimate authority, following a fair trial, was long considered an appropriate response to the gravity of certain crimes and an acceptable, albeit extreme, means of safeguarding the common good.
Today, however, there is an increasing awareness that the dignity of the person is not lost even after the commission of very serious crimes. In addition, a new understanding has emerged of the significance of penal sanctions imposed by the state. Lastly, more effective systems of detention have been developed, which ensure the due protection of citizens but, at the same time, do not definitively deprive the guilty of the possibility of redemption.
Consequently, the Church teaches, in the light of the Gospel, that “the death penalty is inadmissible because it is an attack on the inviolability and dignity of the person”,[1] and she works with determination for its abolition worldwide.
[1] Francis, Address to Participants in the Meeting organized by the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, 11 October 2017: L’Osservatore Romano, 13 October 2017, 5.
[01209-EN.01] [Original text: Italian]
Dr Peter Kwasniewski's thoughts.

Dr. Ed Feser's Response

More by Ed Feser

Cardinal Dulles' Dubia

Thomistica: Responses

Pope Pius XII, Pray For Us!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Leaving the Church? Not So Fast!

The Church alone, being the Bride of Christ and having all things in common with her Divine Spouse, is the depository of the truth. (Saint Pius X)

One of the worst sins a man can commit is to have been a practicing Catholic and then to have left the Catholic faith. To have known the truth and have abandoned it is worse than those who have never known it. So we must urge those who have left the Church to come back. There are a variety of reasons that people use to justify having left the Church. For some its sheer pride, others from scandal in the Church, some become apathetic, others think that any church is as good as another and leave for perceived greener pastures. Still others believe their sins are bigger than God's forgiveness. Whatever the reason one justifies their abandonment of the one true Church Christ established on this earth, it is not a valid one. Lets take a brief look at each of these excuses and expose their fallacy.

1. Pride: Pride is the root of the loss of faith. One who does not believe any longer what Christ teaches through His Church is not pleasing to Him. Pride is the first on the list because it is ultimately what drives any of the excuses one uses to leave the Church. As we know, the author of lies, Satan, is the instigator of pride. He uses any way possible to get people to buy into an excuse to abandon the Catholic faith. Pride is an intellectual arrogance, which we often times cannot see ourselves. We are often blinded by it and need God's grace to see it. This can happen in a variety of ways, most often by someone God sends to deliver His message. The remedy for pride is humility. One must pray for humility and practice it as a virtue to overcome pride. Humility is seeing and accepting truth as it is, on God's terms, not our own. Since God teaches Himself through His Church, humility accepts this truth and submits. Everything God teaches through His Church is so that we may love Him and our fellow man. Pride is always at the root of one leaving the Church.

2. Scandal: We have all heard it before. Ex-Catholics complaining that since there are horrible public sinners in the Church that they have left because of it. The horrible sins of bishops and priests, especially those involving children are certainly cause of grave scandal. These sins are certainly the most understandable reasons for people leaving the Church. Yet, we cannot let the sins of others determine whether or not we will serve God on His terms. Yes, we may have to pull our children out of Catholic schools, even recognizing public schools are also corrupt. We may have to avoid listening to bad spiritual advice or even put up with liturgical abuses. Even this however we must endure, since Christ Himself endures much more suffering than we, and yet He still remains.  Although scandals are at all time high for the Catholic Church in our day, we cannot leave the Church because of them. Instead we should endure and look to our own sins so we can come closer to Christ and bring others with us. We know that Christ takes the sin of scandal seriously because He refers to it in Scripture. Our faith in Christ however must be stronger than the scandals we encounter. Catherine of Siena once wrote, “Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.”

3. Apathy: Many Catholics have grown cold to the faith and just stopped going to Mass. This is a very serious condition that Christ calls lukewarmness. “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth." (Rev 3:15-16) These people still believe in God but they have grown lukewarm. Thus they pray little and have stopped going to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. They have essentially ceased striving to please God. Apathy is truly a killer of souls. This also ties into the idea that one church is as good as another. Many Catholics falsely believe they can please God by worshiping Him their way instead of His. So they think that hopping the fence and going to a Protestant church is fine. They do not consider that they have cut themselves off from the grace God desires to give them through the Holy Sacraments of the Church. They no longer go Confession or receive His Most precious Body and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist. In turn they cut themselves off from God's love and grace, rejecting His mercy, which offends Him greatly. St. Catherine again offers us sound advice, "We've been deceived by the thought that we would be more pleasing to God in our own way than in the way God has given us."

4. My Sins are Too Great!: I have heard people say that they have been so bad throughout their lives that God could never forgive them! They say that the church would catch fire if they dared enter. What they do not realize is that this offends God more gravely than any other sin, it is the sin of despair. These people reject the mercy of God. This prideful mentality will lead one to eternal damnation. The mercy of God is greater than any sin man can commit, provided we truly repent of the sin, vowing to never commit it again. This is where the Sacrament of Penance, or Confession comes into play. We go directly to Christ as He acts through the person of the priest in the confessional. This is the ordinary manner which Christ has given for the forgiveness of sins committed after Baptism. One cannot simply make a personal prayer to God asking for forgiveness without the grace of the Sacrament. This obviously does mean that one should not make an act of contrition before one goes to confession. It does mean however that one should always have the intention of going to confession whenever they commit a serious sin, as well as fulfilling their obligation to go every year. The idea here is that no matter what sin we have committed it is never a valid excuse to abandon God and His Church. I learned a valuable lesson on Christ's mercy on my recent pilgrimage to Poland. You can read about it here. Don't let pride get in the way of God's mercy.

I will close with a story about Saint Padre Pio.

Someone complained to Padre Pio of being excessively distressed by sins he had committed. Padre Pio replied: “That which you feel is pride; it is the demon which inspires you with this sentiment, it is not true sorrow.” The penitent replied: “Father, how can you then distinguish what comes from the heart and is inspired by Our Lord, and that which instead is inspired by the devil?” “You will distinguish it,” replied Padre Pio, “always by this: The spirit of God is a spirit of peace, and also in the case of grave sin, it makes us feel tranquil sorrow, humble, confident, and this is due precisely to His mercy. The spirit of the demon, on the contrary, excites, exasperates, and makes us in our sorrow feel something like anger against ourselves, whereas our first charity must be to ourselves, and so if certain thoughts agitate you, this agitation never comes from God, who gives tranquility, being the Spirit of Peace. Such agitation comes from the devil.”

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

On Saint Dominic!

Taken from The Dominican Life by Ferdinand Donatien Joret 1883-1937

He was great amongst men. What was the nature of his greatness ? Greatness of temporal power? Greatness of intelligence and genius? Greatness of virtue and sanctity ? To which of these three orders of greatness which Pascal has taught us to distinguish does the greatness of St. Dominic belong? Temporal power descended to him by right of birth. On the summit of Caleruega his grandfather had built a fortress for the protection of the countryside against the raids of the Moors. The Senor de Guzman ruled the village which grew up at the foot of this castle. Dominic might, like his father, have sallied forth at the head of his men on a crusade against the Moors, who were ravaging the south of Spain, or he might have imitated his friend, Simon de Montfort, the commander of the crusade against the Albigenses who infested the South of France. There were actually some religious amongst those who shared with Simon the direction of the crusade. Several of them were advanced to bishoprics. Powers and honours of this kind Dominic refused consistently to the end, in spite of much pressure. After he had founded his Order he attempted more than once to pass on to another his office of Superior General. He despised "worldly greatness," and all that resembled it.

Dominic is great with that higher greatness which is greatness of spirit. Before he was born, his future was foreshadowed to his mother, Jane of Aza. In a vision she seemed to see that she had given birth to a dog, which proceeded forthwith to run about with a torch in its mouth to give light to the world. As a young man he one day appeared to his mother with a bright star shining in his forehead. Others, especially Sister Cecilia, afterwards saw that star, and it became a tradition. Fra Angelico, in his representations of our Father, never failed to place the star on his brow as his special attribute.

How fully these portents were realized, history can tell us. Pierre Larousse in his great dictionary describes St. Dominic as having been the first European Minister of Public Instruction. It is indeed a fact that, by his own efforts and by those of his sons scattered over Europe and even beyond its borders, he made provision for the instruction of the world.

Only it was primarily religious knowledge that he was concerned to impart, at a time when Christendom was foundering on the shoals of ignorance and heresy. Others trusted only in the force of arms to bring the Albigenses back to the Catholic truth. He tried to do so by reasoning in public conferences and private interviews. The first time he met a heretic, in the person of the innkeeper who was his host at Toulouse, he spent the whole night convincing him of his error. When the sun arose, another light had risen, dispelling darkness from that soul. In that famous night the vocation of Dominic was revealed his vocation as a Preacher and as founder of the Preachers. The spiritual sons he was to form to his own likeness were to be " champions of the faith and the lights of the world " according to the prophecy of the Pope who approved his Order.

The most magnificent eulogy ever pronounced upon our Patriarch was delivered by the Eternal Father Himself to St. Catherine of Siena, and may be read in her celebrated Dialogue. " Dominic," said God the Father, " has taken on him the office of the Word, of My only-begotten Son. ... He was a light which I gave the world through the intervention of Mary." On another occasion God told her : "I have two sons : I have begotten the one by the generating act of My nature and the other by a free and loving adoption." And in one of her visions the saint beheld St. Dominic emanating from the heart of the Eternal Father as the Word proceeded from His lips. ... She was able to contemplate them both. St. Dominic's very face resembled that of Our Lord. No doubt it was not the bodily face of the Holy Patriarch, now in his tomb, that St. Catherine saw, but the countenance of his soul, if I may so express myself. By a special divine favour, the spiritual features of the holy Patriarch were revealed to her in a manner calculated to impress her imagination, o "My only-begotten Son," said the Eternal Father, " devoted His whole life, all His acts, His teaching and His example to the salvation of souls. Dominic,
my adopted son, had directed all his mind and all his efforts to saving souls from the snares of error and vice : that was the chief object which led him to plant and to train his Order. Therefore I tell you that in all his acts he may be compared to My Begotten Son."

Indeed I do not know that any man has ever come nearer than St. Dominic to the greatness which is manifested in the life of the Incarnate Word. Read the sworn deposition supplied for the process of his canonization. I will give a few verbatim quotations selected from amongst them. Delator animarum, Delator maximus anima rumthsit (The greatest informer of souls) is how one witness after another describes our Blessed Father. Delator salutis generis humani (The informer of salvation to the human race), says William of Montferrat, one of those who had been admitted to his special intimacy. His burning zeal extended to the entire human race. His charity embraced the faithful, the unbelieving, and even lost souls, said Brother Ventura. As he thought about them, he shed many bitter tears. Their sins tortured him peccata aliorum cruciabant eum. (the sins of others tortured him)

Nearly the whole night long he used to pray in church pernoctans in oratione, (continued all night in prayer) and at times would utter cries of agony which recalled those of Gethsemane. " Saviour, have pity upon Thy people ! " " What will become of sinners ? " On their behalf he scourged himself till the blood ran, after he had used the discipline for himself : and then he would return to the charge and lash his body a third time for the souls in Purgatory. Afterwards he would resume his prayers, leaning his forehead against the altar when sleep overtook him.

Daily in the Convent he delivered moving exhortations to his brethren. Every tempted soul found a consoler in him. When he was amongst strangers, either as the guest of a humble household or in the palace of some prelate or prince, his conversation always turned upon the love of God and the vanity of the world. To .every person he met as he tramped the roads he longed to convey the gospel message. One day, when he had as fellow-wayfarers foreigners whose language he did not know, his missionary zeal was rewarded by a celestial miracle which enabled him to make himself understood
by all. Even while he was walking he would study the Sacred Scriptures which he carried in his knapsack, or he would meditate, gesticulating as though he were talking to an unseen interlocutor ; above all he meditated with love on Him Whose work of redemption he was carrying on.

" Go on ahead," he would say to his friars, " and let us think about God." Imitating the example of Jesus, he spoke only of God or to God, and he wished this practice to be incorporated as a rule in the Constitutions of his Order.

That was St. Dominic's way of life one which enabled him to identify himself in a sense with that Christ Who is revealed by the gospel as dwelling eternally in the intimacy of the Father and as being incessantly concerned for the salvation of the human race which He incorporates into Himself, member by member. With no less reason than the great Apostle could St. Dominic say : "I live, now no longer I, but Christ liveth in me." He was indeed well named Dominicus ; that is to say, " the Lord's man." Even as Sunday is preeminently the Lord's day amongst the days of the week, so also is Dominic pre-eminently " the Lord's man " amongst his fellow-men. Therefore all Christians owe a great respect to St. Dominic something of the religious respect which we render to Christ Himself, since the great saint so closely resembles Him.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

The Vatican and Katy Perry

How much more scandal can we handle? As most of you know Katy Perry among other misfits spoke at the Vatican recently. I could not have summed up the situation better than this video. Thanks for the video Michael!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Pittsburgh: Another Example of the Failed "New Evangelization"

Get ready for more church closings, this time its Pittsburgh. We keep hearing the US bishops telling us how we need higher doses of their "New Evangelization" that was supposedly unveiled at Vatican II. Yet we see that again the proof is in the pudding when it comes to the number of Catholics practicing the faith today compared to the pre-Vatican II church in the US. We hear ad-nauseum about how the rigid US Church before the Council was lacking in so many things, yet where are we now? The rigid Church had nearly a 75% Mass attendance rate, we are now somewhere around 30%.

The modern US Church loves to brag about all the converts we are making, all the while ignoring the many who leaving the Church on the bottom end. Its like an upside down funnel. What a great achievement! For every convert we make we lose six! How much more of this "New Evangelization" can we stand before there is nothing left? If you notice, they failed to keep families involved in the Church by watering down the faith so bad, no one sees a need to come anymore. There are also those who have left for Protestant denominations where they "feel" their needs are being met. The list of course goes on and on.

For those of us who are still trying to live by the Catholic faith that has been passed on to us for 2000 years, we reject the failed idea of this "New Evangelization" we keep hearing about here in the US. We despise these new barren churches and watered down blasphemous liturgies that don't inspire but rather tear down those trying to practice the faith.  I am convinced that this is not the evangelization program that is being practiced in other countries like Poland. In my recent trip to Poland, I saw proof that that Church everywhere has not followed the "New Evangelization" program that we hear about here in the US. They did not tear down their churches or wreckovate them like we did here in the US. They did not water down their teachings like we did here in the US. They do not chat it up before Mass like we do here in the average US parish. There is not only a 30 minute or 1 hour time slot for confessions once a week like we have here in the US. Hence they are not closing down churches like we are doing here in the US.

What is to be learned by looking at the Church in Poland? Without getting into the liturgy war, of which I am a firm proponent of the Tridentine Mass: if we quit screwing around with the faith and retain our catechesis, and have a reverent Mass in a beautiful inspiring church, we can make converts and retain those who are already Catholic. We need not get with the times, we don't need an updating of our churches and we certainly do not need the new theology that is being crammed down our throats every place we go. While Poland is not a utopia, it is at this point one of the only beacons of hope that proves we can retain our tradition despite the so called "spirit of Vatican II" and its "New Evangelization". In my opinion if the rest of the western world has its way, it would have them follow in the same footsteps that the rest of the declining western Church has sadly followed. Pittsburgh can now boast about one of their churches now being used as a brewery. While being a fan of craft beer, this is simply something that should never happen. Isn't it amazing that we cannot get people to come to the greatest event on earth, the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but we can get them to church for a pint of beer? How much more of this "New Evangelization" can we stand? Pittsburgh is just another example of the failed Catholic Church in the US, and it seems that if we do not change course we are going to see more closings in the future.