There were three plenary councils held in Baltimore for the benefit of spreading the Gospel more effectively in the United States. The first council was held in 1852, followed by a second in 1866 and a thrid and final held in 1884. There are a few decrees that I think are worth looking at from these councils. They should serve as a reminder as to where the hearts and minds all Catholic laymen and clergy alike should lie. The liberal mentality of many today who call themselves Catholic did not hold sway over the Catholic Church in the US in the 19th century. Thankfully we are starting to see the pendulum swing back in the direction of this orthodoxy. It is my prediction that those who remain in rebellion against the Church will soon leave her, or soon convert. The days of riding the fence are almost over. The Catholic Church's teaching has always been clear and easy to understand despite those who choose to turn everything into "gray matter." For those who rebel against the Church's teaching and yet call themselves Catholic, these statements by the councils of Baltimore are for you. I have added a couple of thoughts on these and I have bold typed some statements that caught my attention.
First Plenary Council of Baltimore (1852)
1. The Fathers profess their allegiance to the pope as the divinely constituted head of the Church, whose office it is to confirm his brethren in the Faith. They also declare their belief in the entire Catholic Faith as explained by the ecumenical councils and the constitutions of the Roman pontiffs.
Ah, maybe we can learn from this first decree, no? That means quit rebelling against the Pope and the Catholic faith, which is infallibly handed to us from Christ. That means accepting all the Church's teachings not just ones that you have determined to be to your own liking.
21. The faithful are exhorted to enter into a society of prayer for the conversion of non-Catholics.
This means that other religions are not salvific. That means that not everyone who calls themselves a "Christian" is going to be saved.
Second Plenary Council of Baltimore (1866)
Title i, Concerning the Orthodox Faith and Present Errors, declares the Catholic doctrine (cap. i) on Divine revelation and the one Church of Christ; (ii) the nature and necessity of faith; (iii) the Holy Scripture; (iv) the Holy Trinity; (v) the future life; (vi) the pious invocation and veneration of the B.V. Mary and the saints. (vii) The seventh chapter in which the present errors are discussed treats of (a) the dissensions among the Protestant sects and of zeal for their conversion.
The Fathers warn their flock against the teaching that one religion is as good as another provided one be honest and just to his neighbour. They call this a plague, spreading under the guise of charity and benevolence. (c) Unitarianism and Universalism. These theories the first denying the divinity of Christ and the other eternal punishment, tend to the rejection of the supernatural in religion.
(d) Transcendentalism and Pantheism. These are the systems of men, who having dethroned God, make a deity of man. (e) Abuse of magnetism. The faithful are warned that magnetism is often employed for superstitious and illicit purposes, namely, to forecast the future by means of female "mediums". (f) The hallucinatiom and dangers of spiritism. There is little reason to doubt that some of the phenomena of spiritism are the work of Satan.
It is noteworthy that the leaders of this system deny either implicitly or explicitly the divinity of Christ and the supernatural in religion.
Title xi, Of Books and Newspapers.-(i) Parents should guard their children against bad books. The bishops desire that textbooks in Catholic schools and colleges should be purged of everything contrary to faith. (ii) Of the dissemination of good books. (iii) Prayer books should not be published until officially revised. (iv) Newspapers are frequently injurious to good morals. When a Catholic newspaper has a bishop's approbation, this means only that he judges that nothing will be published against faith or morals in its pages. He does not make himself responsible, however, for all that the paper contains.
Wow, how far have we fallen from these standards in the US! I think we should start purging, no?
Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1884)
Title iii, Of Divine Worship.-(i) Of celebrating Mass twice on the same day. (ii) Of uniformity in feasts and fasts. In future in all dioceses of this country there are to be the following six feasts of obligation and no others: The Immaculate Conception, Christmas, Circumcision of Our Lord (New Year's Day), Ascension, Assumption, and All Saints' Day. No new dispositions are made as to fast days. (iii) Of the Lord's Day. The faithful are to be exhorted to observe it properly. (iv) Of sacred music. Profane melodies are forbidden. The music should accord with the sacredness of time and place. Psalms are not to be curtailed at Vespers. The Mass must not be interrupted by the length of the choir-singing.
Title vii, Of Christian Doctrine.-(i) Of the office of preaching. (ii) A commission is appointed to prepare a catechism for general use. When published it is to be obligatory. (iii) Of prayer books. (iv) Of books and newspapers. While objectionable writings are to be condemned, Catholics should oppose them also by orthodox newspapers and books.