Saint Thomas Aquinas

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Criticizing the Pope?

There is much controversy today in the Catholic world when it comes to criticizing the pope. For example Michael Voris has attacked several Catholic news organizations who often voice their concern for the actions of Pope Francis. I think this erroneous mentality comes from the JPII generation who often saw liberals attacking John Paul II for upholding the Church's unchangeable doctrine. When they see so called "traditionalists" doing the same they like to put them in the same category, just on the other end of the spectrum, ultra- trad vs liberal. This mentality that one cannot be a good Catholic and publicly criticize the pope is an un-Catholic idea.

For one, many of these neo-Catholics such as Michael Voris who spend an immense amount of time attacking bishops across the globe are hypocritical. Voris goes on video tirades pointing out how bishops are not upholding Catholic teaching, when he knows full well who it is that these bishops were appointed by, and under whom they are subject to, the pope. So when he goes around openly criticizing these bishops, he is really telling the pope indirectly, "You are doing a lousy job of governing your flock!" The pope is openly supporting known heretics and putting them on pedestals to where they are putting forth their heretical theological ideas out there in the Catholic arena. Look no further than Cardinal Kasper or Cardinal Marx. Sorry, any pope before the Vatican II era would never have allowed this.

Now it may be one thing for Voris to keep quiet and not openly criticize the pope, but when he goes about making it his business to attack every Catholic organization out there such as The Remnant and Catholic Family News, he does himself a grave disservice to his credibility. He acts as if he is the only genuine Catholic "news" organization on the planet, and that he is the only legitimate voice "crying in the wilderness". This is not acceptable to me, and for this reason I do not watch to listen to anything Michael Voris has to say. In fact when I get emailed one of his videos I just hit the delete button. In the end he is unwilling to be genuine in his reporting and he fails to give his audience the big picture of the real issues at hand.

What are we to think about criticizing the pope? As in all things, prudence is required. Faithful Catholics do not revel in criticizing the pope. None of us ever want to question what he says or does and we want to praise him and point out the good that he brings to the faithful. However, when the pope says and does things that are potentially damaging to the Church, there comes a time when it does well to point them out. Catholics should not have a negative attitude, and pointing out things that are wrong are only done in order to point to a solution. If you have listened to my recent 3 part podcast called, 'The State of Grace' you will gain a fuller understanding of what I am referring to. We are facing above all else a spiritual war. One that begins and ends with our own souls.

State of Grace Podcast Part III: Conclusion

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

State of Grace Podcast Part 2: The Solution of the Rosary

Here is part 2 of the series.

Monday, May 4, 2015

State of Grace Podcast Part 1: The Problem

This is the first part in a podcast series titled 'The State of Grace.' In this first part we will look at our culture and the Church and what many of us consider the "problem" and what the underlying cause of it is. In the second part we will dive in deeper and propose a solution.

Monday, March 23, 2015

How Determined Are You?

Catholics who want to live the authentic spiritual life are up against terrible odds today as society continues to tear down anything good and virtuous. The below excerpt taken from 'The Soul of the Apostolate' gives us an idea of what it is going to take to live according to God's purpose. 

A man who is determined to acquire an interior life must take, for his ideal, unremitting domination of self and complete control over his environment, in order to act in all things solely for the glory of God. To achieve this aim, he must strive, under all circumstances, to keep united with Jesus Christ and thus to keep his eye on the end he has in view, and to evaluate everything according to the standard of the Gospel. Quo vadam, et ad quid? he keeps saying, with St. Ignatius. And so, everything in him, intelligence and will, as well as memory, feelings, imagination, and senses, depends on principle. But to achieve this result, what an effort it will cost him!

Whether he is mortifying himself or permitting himself some legitimate enjoyment, whether he is thinking or acting, at work or at rest, loving what is good or turning away in repugnance from what is evil, whether he is moved by desire or by fear, joy or sorrow, fear or hope, whether he feels indignation or is calm; in all things, and always, he endeavors to keep his course dead ahead, in the direction of God’s good pleasure. At prayer, and especially before the Blessed Sacrament, he isolates himself more completely than ever from all visible things, that he may come to converse with the invisible God as if he saw Him. Even in the midst of his apostolic labors he will manage to realize this ideal, which St. Paul admired in Moses.

Neither the troubles of life, nor the storms aroused by passion, will succeed in turning him aside from the line of conduct, he has laid down for himself. But on the other hand, if he does weaken for a moment, he pulls himself together at once, and presses forward with even more determination than before.

What a job! And yet it is not hard to understand how God rewards, even here below,
with special joys, those who do not flinch at the effort which this work demands.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Soul of the Apostolate- A Necessary Book to be Read.

If you have not read the book 'The Soul of the Apostolate' , it should be next on your spiritual reading list. You can read it for free at the online link above or get it from TAN. The "Heresy of Good Works" is more prominent now than ever. If there is no solidly formed spiritual life where one spends immense time in prayer and meditation, their works are worth absolutely nothing!

HERESY IN GOOD WORKS! Feverish activity taking the place of God; grace ignored; human pride trying to thrust Jesus from His throne; supernatural life, the power of prayer, the economy of our redemption relegated,at least in practice, to the realm of pure theory: all this portrays no merely imaginary situation, but one which the diagnosis of souls shows to be very common though in various degrees, in this age of naturalism, when men judge, above all, by appearances, and act as though success were primarily a matter of skillful organization....

To tell the truth, to hear these mighty men of works talking about their exploits, one might imagine that God Almighty, to Whom it is child’s play to create worlds, and before
Whom the universe is dust and nothingness, cannot get along without their cooperation. Imperceptibly, a number of the faithful, and even of priests and religious, follow this cult
of action to the point of making it a kind of dogma which inspires their attitude and all their actions, and leads them to throw themselves without restraint into a life of extroversion. “The Church, the diocese, the parish, the congregation, the work has need of me,” we can almost hear them say, “God finds me pretty useful.” And if no one dares come right out with such a piece of stupidity, nevertheless there exists, deep down in the heart, the presumption on which it is based and the lack of faith which fomented it....

Full steam ahead! And while the helmsman is admiring the rapidity of his progress, God sees that, since the pilot does not know his job, the ship is off the course and is in danger of being wrecked. What Our Lord is looking for, above all, is adorers in spirit and in truth. But these activistic heretics, for their part, imagine that they are giving greater glory to God in aiming above all at external results....

Sunday, March 15, 2015

How Far Gone Are We? Catholic Missions?

As we go through Lent we see some Catholic parish missions here and there, but there is something lacking. What is a Catholic parish mission supposed to look like? I ran across an old catechism that had parish mission pamphlets and cards in it by the Vincentian and Redemptorist Fathers. I went to the first evening of a mission at a typical Novus Ordo parish a couple of weeks ago, and while it was not a terrible evening of heresy, it surely did not resonate with the same message as these cards do. I scanned them so you can see how far we have fallen off the mark today in our typical Catholic parish. We are not even practicing the same religion as they were in 1924. (Click on each picture to make it larger)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Christ is Born! Merry Christmas to All!

Behold a new and wondrous mystery.

My ears resound to the Shepherd’s song, piping no soft melody, but chanting full forth a heavenly hymn. The Angels sing. The Archangels blend their voice in harmony. The Cherubim hymn their joyful praise. The Seraphim exalt His glory. All join to praise this holy feast, beholding the Godhead here on earth, and man in heaven. He Who is above, now for our redemption dwells here below; and he that was lowly is by divine mercy raised. (St. John Chrysostom)

Points to consider on Pope Francis and the media.

Points to consider on Pope Francis and the media.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Sliding Scale of Idiocy and the Rise of Socialism

The Sliding Scale of Idiocy and the Rise of Socialism

The mantra of today's average “thinker” is that there are no moral absolutes, absolutely! I can't tell you how many people I have come across who make this idiotic claim. Not only do not they not see the glaring contradiction in their statement, they assume that anyone who claims anything to the contrary to be a religious nut. How have so many people fallen into this denial of first principles?

Modern philosophy is certainly responsible for much of the confusion that plagues society today. Objectivity has been replaced with absolute subjectivity. In fact, our entire culture in the US at this point in time runs on a sliding scale of idiocy, where morality is measured on a sliding scale of convenience by whoever has the power to wield government policies. These policies are put in place to “advance” society and ultimately propel mankind to a utopian ideal. The popular means used to achieve this is widely known as socialism, and taken to its logical conclusion, communism.

The ugly face of socialism is alive and well today, and is the ideology of most of the major political figures in the US, including those who call themselves, “conservatives.” Their humanistic ideology puts man, not God as the center of everything. It also views man as ever changing and ever evolving. For those who have abandoned universal principles, formal and final causes, they have no where to run but to the tyranny of radical materialism, where man advances under his own power, and as he advances “truths” also advance and change. One who adopts this crippled mindset always arrives at the doorstep of atheism.

Many often wonder why socialist regimes usually seek to destroy religion. This has happened in every major culture that has adopted humanistic socialism. The USSR attempted to stamp out Christianity, and where it survived it was only a tool of the atheistic government, which used it as a means to pacify those who could not “advance” beyond the “superstitions” of old. We saw the same course in China, where the Catholic Church has been driven underground. It is a matter of fact that socialism goes hand in hand with the extermination of religion. Simply put, God cannot stand in the way of progress. If one understands the ideology of socialism then one understands that this ideology cannot advance with religion as a major player in society. For a true socialist, religion hinders mankind from moving forward.

{The Soviet Gulag} What happens when a culture adopts the sliding scale.
As socialism gains more control in the US, we see this same mentality evolving in our own backyards. The government grows and attempts to negate religion on all levels so it cannot have an influence on the American culture. Eastern religions and practices are not seen as threats since they do not hold to universal moral principles. The Catholic Church for example has been neutered in the US, and the government was all to happy to give handouts and concessions to the Church in order to eventually having it under its thumb. In the end the Catholic Church will only be allowed to exist under certain conditions doled out by the government, which will for all intents and purposes completely eliminates the Church's influence on society. Now we see that this sliding scale of idiocy has now crept into the Church. There are not many Catholic parishes left that have not been infected by the noxious ideology of modernism, to which socialism is a daughter. As a result the Church has not only been assaulted from the outside, but it crippled itself from the inside long before. We did not heed the warnings of the pre-Vatican II popes.

The sliding scale of idiocy is seen clearly by the actions of our president, who constantly changes his position on any number of moral issues, and social policies. Years ago when it was convenient, he applauded the idea of marriage being exclusively between a man and women. As the gay rights groups and the popular media have continued to soften the American public to the gay agenda, Obama now conveniently holds an opposing position. But this change of positions is not seen as a weakness, or dishonesty, which it most certainly is, it is seen by the blinded masses as “advancement.” Yet, what we ultimately see with the advancement of this subjective ideology is a tyranny that is worse than any Catholic monarchy of the middle ages. We have only to look at the results of atheistic socialism over the past century which has left a trail of innocent blood around the world that makes the entire “evil” history of Christian monarchs before it look like a day at the beach. All of this blood and yet, there is no utopia, there is no peace, there is no advancement of man beyond his technological advances, which by the way, has happened within the confines of an objective system of ones and zeros and not one ruled by subjective ideology. This is just another contradiction among the modernist, atheistic philosophical mentality.

Barack Obama spoke at a Democratic Socialists of America organized forum at the University of Chicago in early 1996.

What should we learn about today's sliding scale of idiocy? We should know by now that if you eliminate objective truth, God, and adopt a man-centered ideology, which views the advancement of man as an absolute subjective enterprise, you end up with a disaster on your hands. Contradiction brings chaos. Truth resides outside of man, not inside. Man is only advancing as his mind comes into conformity with what is real outside of him. We should rightly look upon those who say that there are no absolute moral principles as absolute idiots in regard to sociology. Once absolutes are traded for a sliding scale of morality, all bets are off. For the socialist ideology is an ideology based on a sliding scale of morality based on whatever is needed at the time to “advance” civilization. This includes mass murder, state control and the manipulation of societal behavior. We saw this with the Communist countries, which were nothing more than socialist ideals taken to their logical conclusions. Ask yourself a question. Why do you think the politicians are pushing class warfare on the American people? Why are violent madmen like Louis Farrakhan, Nelson Mandela and Che Guevara viewed as heroes by the left wing radicals? For them they are leading “advancement” at any cost, and by any means necessary.

{Marx}“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles."

What we see going on in Ferguson and throughout the country is an attempt to cause a class uprising to which the government can solve with socialist policies. Obama, Pelosi, Sharpton and Holder are some of the architects behind this subjective ideology. They understand that for the government to come in and save the day, and make our society more “perfect” that they must prod the American people into a class war. They want to see it happen. People dying in the street are “advancement” for them towards an intended goal. As their plan progresses you will see more violence, and more government control. You will also see an advanced campaign to finish off the Catholic Church. The next target will be the final destruction of the family by forcing the Catholic Church to adopt state controlled marriage, which will include forcing the Church to marry same sex couples.

Looking at the recent synod on the family, it should give us cause to worry that many bishops are caving into the idea that the Church's doctrine on marriage is up for grabs. At the very least many bishops are apathetic to same sex unions conducted by the State. What they don't realize is that by staying silent they are not protecting the Church, they are letting it fall deeper and deeper into the sliding scale of idiocy, which the government is pushing on society. We must admit that the time is here where the vast majority of Christians practicing their faith have now adopted a sliding scale of morality. By doing so they are being lulled into the socialist ideology, which must always be at odds with orthodox Christianity. Hence we have another contradiction. A “Christian” who does not hold to moral absolutes is indeed a walking contradiction.

What can be done to get the ship back on course? It is of course the job of the Catholic Church to win the hearts and minds of the people. In order for that to happen the Church has some house cleaning to do. In my opinion, it is time for the Catholic Church to dissolve all relations with the US government, which means giving up its tax-exempt status. This will be the only way for it to have a chance of staying out of the clutches of government policies, which seek destroy the very fabric of true morality and “advance” the cause of civilization. Without the Church and her objective, universal truths she brings to society, society will never truly advance., because it will not be in congruence with truth. Instead it will always return to a trail of blood and tyranny worse than the previous socialist experiment. What we have looming on the horizon God only knows. In order for society to be put back on a civil path, the Catholic Church must speak out against absolute subjectivism. It also must force those within her walls to abandon modern philosophical principles that lead to disastrous consequences. It must foster an environment to which scholasticism can grow freely in the grace of almighty God. The sliding scale of idiocy is a doorway to the inevitable all out assault on truth and beauty, Catholicism. It is the end of a truly humane, and charitable society and ultimately breeds contempt for ones fellow man.

In the face of such a threat, the Catholic Church could not and does not remain silent. This Apostolic See, above all, has not refrained from raising its voice, for it knows that its proper and social mission is to defend truth, justice and all those eternal values which Communism ignores or attacks. Ever since the days when groups of "intellectuals" were formed in an arrogant attempt to free civilization from the bonds of morality and religion, Our Predecessors overtly and explicitly drew the attention of the world to the consequences of the dechristianization of human society. With reference to Communism, Our Venerable Predecessor, Pius IX, of holy memory, as early as 1846 pronounced a solemn condemnation, which he confirmed in the words of the Syllabus directed against "that infamous doctrine of so-called Communism which is absolutely contrary to the natural law itself, and if once adopted would utterly destroy the rights, property and possessions of all men, and even society itself."

Pope Pius XI's lost words above should be engraved on our tombstones.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blessed Mart: Hand Painted Icons

Visit Blessed Mart online.
Shipping takes about two weeks from Bulgaria and the icons are packed well!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Brief Thought On The Immaculate Conception

On December 8th, 1854 Blessed Pius IX declared the following a non-negotiable teaching that must be accepted by anyone worthy of claiming the Christian name. 

“Wherefore, in humility and fasting, we unceasingly offered our private prayers as well as the public prayers of the Church to God the Father through his Son, that he would deign to direct and strengthen our mind by the power of the Holy Spirit. In like manner did we implore the help of the entire heavenly host as we ardently invoked the Paraclete. Accordingly, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, for the honor of the Holy and undivided Trinity, for the glory and adornment of the Virgin Mother of God, for the exaltation of the Catholic Faith, and for the furtherance of the Catholic religion, by the authority of Jesus Christ our Lord, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own: "We declare, pronounce, and define that the doctrine which holds that the most Blessed Virgin Mary, in the first instance of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege granted by Almighty God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the human race, was preserved free from all stain of original sin, is a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful."
Hence, if anyone shall dare -- which God forbid! -- to think otherwise than as has been defined by us, let him know and understand that he is condemned by his own judgment; that he has suffered shipwreck in the faith; that he has separated from the unity of the Church; and that, furthermore, by his own action he incurs the penalties established by law if he should are to express in words or writing or by any other outward means the errors he think in his heart. “

We should ponder these words concerning Our Blessed Lady’s Immaculate Conception. What does this definition mean for us practicing the Christian faith today? If we dig a little deeper we find a buried treasure, which opens for us an ocean of mercy and forgiveness, and even a spiritual freedom that goes beyond any natural freedom we may have. Contrary to modern belief, Our Lady is not a side dish along a main course, which we can choose to pass on to make more room for the main course. In fact, Our Lady is integrally a part of the main course, which is Jesus Christ Himself. 

Without the Blessed Virgin Mary’s sinlessness and her fiat to God’s plan of His Incarnation, salvation would not have come about. Far be it for one to dismiss the manner in which Christ chose to take on a human nature and bring salvation to mankind! Those who demean the role of the Blessed Mother in God’s plan should not boastfully claim the name Christian, for they are not. Why then is the Blessed Mother of God such an issue for many who call themselves Christian? The reason is they have been manipulated by diabolical disorientation. The Blessed Virgin Mary is prime target of the devil, and he labors to lead people away from her.

The devil, who desires to lead men to their eternal damnation, constantly seeks to undermine core tenets of the Christian faith. There are three main graces that satan and his minions try to deprive the human race. The first is the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, given to us in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The second is the papacy, since the pope signifies and promulgates the unity of the Christian faith. The third is the Blessed Virgin Mary, since sin has never touched her, and she represents the most complete assent of faith that any human being can accomplish. As a good friend of mine, a longtime priest of 50 years plus and an exorcist has said many times,  “The devil has deprived the Protestants of all three. They have no Mass, they deny the papacy and they deny Mary." The third target of the devil is what I will touch on here, the Blessed Virgin Mary. 

The Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception, in which she was conceived without sin, was a gift from God to His mother. Through this gift she brought Christ into the world, His Incarnation. Through her fiat she participated in man’s redemption. Early theologians of the Church referred to her as the ‘New Eve’, and to Jesus the ‘New Adam’. Saint Justin Martyr in the second century illustrates this idea. “(The Son of God) became man through the Virgin that the disobedience caused by the serpent might be destroyed in the same way in which it had originated. For Eve, while a virgin incorrupt, conceived the word, which proceeded from the serpent, and brought forth disobedience and death. But the Virgin Mary was filled with faith and joy when the Angel Gabriel told her the glad tidings.... And through her was he born…” We also look to St Ireneaus of Lyon who around the year 200 wrote the following, “Just as Eve, wife of Adam, yet still a virgin, became by her disobedience the cause of death for herself and the whole human race, so Mary, too, espoused yet a Virgin, became by her obedience the cause of salvation for herself and the whole human race.... And so it was that the knot of Eve's disobedience was loosed by Mary's obedience. For what the virgin Eve bound fast by her refusal to believe, this the Virgin Mary unbound by her belief.” 

There is a correlation here to Mary’s sinlessness and the fact that Eve also entered into existence without the stain of original sin. Although Eve started off with what we may refer to for lack of a better term, as “original grace” Eve chose to disobey God, and along with Adam plunged the human race into the darkness of original sin. Mary however is unique being that God chose to give her a special grace of avoiding the general fallen nature of the human race after the fall. She not only did not have original sin, she also never sinned because of God's special grace. She is the only human being that has remained pure from the stain of sin. St Ambrose of Milan, doctor of the Church wrote, “Mary, a Virgin not only undefiled but a virgin whom grace has made inviolate, free of every stain." For this the devil hates her more than anyone, since she was never touched by sin. Because of this very fact, she is above the devil and all of those in the angelic realm. She is indeed the Queen of Heaven and earth and the devil fears her because she does more to bring souls to God than any other.  She is also the one who crushes his head!
'Hodegetria' "She Who Shows the Way"

What then is Mary’s active role in our lives? What does her Immaculate Conception mean to us today? For one, she looks to help us gain the kingdom of heaven, and live a life of God’s fulfillment here on earth. She is God’s chosen instrument of special graces. We petition Our Mother in heaven for her prayers and intercession so that we may be open to doing God’s will and receive God's grace. We can also so look to her and follow her example of perfect obedience to Christ. Her intercession goes hand in hand with Christ’s plan for our salvation and she is our protector. When we ask for her intercession and give honor to her, we also give honor and glory to God, since He is the origin of her intercession. One cannot deny hailing her as “blessed” (Luke 1:48) without insulting God Himself. Although Our Lady has many titles, it is no coincidence that true Christians in the Catholic Church have always hailed her “Blessed” by calling her ‘The Blessed Virgin Mary.’ Why do Protestants deny her this title?

As we welcome the Feast of the Immaculate Conception we would do well to invigorate our love and petitions to Our Blessed Lady. As one without sin, she looks upon us with eyes of mercy and wants to guide us along the way to ultimate union with God. Our Blessed Mother is an integral part of every Christian’s spiritual life. There is no one the devil fears more outside of the God than the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is to her that we cling to as we continue to strive to live a Christian life in a culture that opposes God more and more as each day passes. Devotion to the Blessed Mother is a blessing from God and anyone trying to persevere in the spiritual life today would be a fool to try and do it without her. 

St Ephraim the Syrian who died in the year 373 wrote a prayer to which we should make our own. 

“O pure and immaculate and likewise blessed Virgin, who art the sinless Mother of thy Son, the mighty Lord of the universe, thou who art inviolate and altogether holy, the hope of the hopeless and sinful, we sing thy praises. We bless thee, as full of every grace, thou who didst bear the God-Man: we all bow low before thee; we invoke thee and implore thine aid. Rescue us, O holy and inviolate Virgin, from every necessity that presses upon us and from all the temptations of the devil. Be our intercessor and advocate at the hour of death and judgement; deliver us from the fire that is not extinguished and from the outer darkness; make us worthy of the glory of thy Son, O dearest and most clement Virgin Mother. Thou indeed art our only hope, most sure and sacred in God's sight, to whom be honor and glory, majesty and dominion, for ever and ever, world without end. Amen.”