Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas From Christ The King, Sarasota 2011

Merry Christmas to all from Christ the King, Sarasota, FL! Words do not begin to describe the beauty of tonight's candle lit midnight Mass, so I thought I would share a few pictures I took instead.

Checking out Fr. James Fryar's antique missal before Mass.

The altar before Mass.
Fr. Fryar carries in the infant Jesus.
Fr. Fryar kissing the altar.

Breaking out the incense.

Reading the Epistle.
Incensing the Gospel.

The Consecration.

We at Christ the King are truly blessed to have something that few have today in the world. Indeed a Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Commentary on the Psalms: St. Bellarmine

I just bought myself a Christmas gift! Well, that is the excuse I am using for the purchase of my new Bellarmine commentary on the Psalms book. There is a wealth of spiritual guidance offered in this 380 plus page coffee table sized book. Each Psalm is expounded upon by one our great Saints of the Church in extensive commentary, perfect for sitting home at the desk for spiritual contemplation. This along with St. Augustine's commentary should be sufficient for years or perhaps even a lifetime of examining the Psalms. If you are still looking for Christmas gifts, this will make a nice one.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Podcast: A Legitimate Crusade To End The Death Penalty?

I have compiled much of what I have written and referenced concerning the death penalty in a new Podcast episode. It is titled, 'A Legitimate Crusade To End The Death Penalty?' It clocks in at over an hour and I have tried to present my position refuting the current crusade that the US Catholic bishops are making to abolish capital punishment. You can stream the podcast here or download it on iTunes from the CatholicChampion podcast channel. Just click the update option on your iTunes for the podcast and it will be downloaded to your computer. Comments are welcome here so don't be shy.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

James White, a 100 Denominations or 100,000 What’s the Difference?

James White, a 100 Denominations or 100,000 What’s the Difference?
Matthew J. Bellisario. 2011

    I saw the arch-heretic “Reformed” Protestant James White complaining about Catholic apologists using the 33,000 denomination number again for the number of Protestant sects in existence since the “Reformation.” I wrote an article a couple of years ago addressing this issue and I came to the conclusion that there were well over 100 plus Protestant denominations with significant doctrinal beliefs, which came about as a result of their personal interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures. I believe that by Catholics using this inflated number of 33,000, they are only causing problems for future conversions, because this number is not truly accurate. We can see why this is the case when we look at James White’s latest video where he cries like a baby over Michael Voris using a number of 40,000 Protestant denominations. Can anyone wine and complain so much as this droning, blathering windbag? How one can stand to listen to his rant on this video is beyond me. However, I am sorry to say, I would never use such an inflated number, because quite frankly, it is not accurate. What this does is give White and those wining Protestant apologists like him an easy smokescreen. White loves to gloat about the unjustified inflated number that these Catholic apologists use today in their apologetic works to demonstrate the failure of Sola Scriptura. Yet, I find it ironic that White never addresses the justified number of 100 plus (Going by a wide variety of names) Protestant sects that I can prove do exist. It is a fact these 100 plus Protestant sects all disagree with each other on a huge number of significant doctrinal beliefs. These include, how they are saved, if they can lose their salvation, if they are strictly predestined for heaven or hell, how they understand the sacrament of Baptism, how they interpret and understand the Last Supper, and the list goes on and on. How does James White deal with this enormous failure of the heresy of Sola Scriptura, which has produced well over 100 Protestant sects? You guessed it, he does not address the issue. He would rather focus on the inflated number that these apologists keep using.

The fact is, whether or not there are 100, or 100,000 Protestant sects makes no real difference in the end. Did Our Lord come to make 100 churches all teaching different core doctrines? No, He established one Church, not 100, not 33,000, not 40,000, not 100,000. So all James White does in his latest video is throw huge smokescreen over his man made doctrine by attacking the gross exaggeration that unfortunately all too many Catholic apologists use today. He does this rather than addressing the real insurmountable problem the “Reformers” have, which is that Sola Scriptura has been a cause of doctrinal division, not doctrinal unity. Did the early Church believe in Sola Scriptura? No. Did any of the early Church Fathers teach it? No. Oh sure you will see the Protestant pop-apologists like White take the Fathers out of context when the Fathers speak highly of Sacred Scripture, but the Fathers never taught the heretical doctrine that James White and his pop-apologist buddies teach today, which is that Scripture alone is the sole rule of the Christian faith. Jesus didn’t teach it, the apostles didn’t teach it, the Church Fathers didn’t teach it, and the Sacred Scriptures never teach it. So even while White is justified in refuting the gross exaggeration (Not wining incessantly about it) of how many Protestant denominations many Catholics claim there are, it really doesn’t help his overall argument concerning Sola Scriptura. White never really addresses the division this man made doctrine has fostered over the past 500 plus years. I would love for once to see James White actually deal with the problem of this huge Protestant division that has been caused largely, but not solely by Sola Scriptura, rather than use the exaggerations of these Catholic apologists to hide behind like a coward. 100 or 100,000 denominations, does it really matter? I agree that this exaggeration is not justified and I call upon Catholic apologists like Michael Voris to quit using these inflated numbers so that White and those like him will have less to hide behind. In the end, division is division, and division is not of the Holy Spirit, and Sola Scriptura is not of the Holy Spirit. Jesus said, "That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me." Who sent you Dr. White? Not Jesus, not the apostles and not Sacred Scripture. Deal with the fact that your man made doctrine is part of the cause of over 100 different Protestant sects, all claiming that they are the true Church and the true interpreters of Sacred Scripture. Deal with that rather than crying like a 5 year old for minutes on end about something that in principle doesn’t fix the pickle you are in.

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Traditional Catholic Understanding of Punishment

You have heard me say before that many in the Church hierarchy today are attempting to redefine moral theology to suit their modernist agendas. An assault is being waged against the natural law today within the Church, and the subject of legitimate punishment legislated by the state is often maligned and intentionally misconstrued by many in the Church today. Below is an excerpt from a Thomistic moral theology book published in 1895 by Rev. Charles Coppens, S.J., and the work is titled 'A Brief Textbook of Moral Philosophy'. Notice here how the Church had clearly defined punishment, and the primary and secondary reasons for it. Next observe how the Church understood capital punishment in regard to human dignity. It is clear that many of the bishops today do not have a clear understanding of the topic at hand or we would not see the misguided opposition to the death penalty that we see today by the bishops. Take a look below to familiarize yourself with how the Church up until recent times viewed punishment and the death penalty.

From 'A Brief Textbook of Moral Philosophy'

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Archbishop Dolan Redefining Human Dignity

The modernist crisis is alive and well within the Church hierarchy. In reading a recent article concerning Archbishop Dolan's teaching regarding human dignity and the death penalty, we can see what happens when the seminaries quit teaching Thomistic principles in moral theology. The archbishop nonsensically stated ,"“If even a man on death row has a soul, is a human person, an ‘is’ that cannot be erased even by beastly crimes he may have committed, then we ought not to strap him to a gurney and inject him with poison.” The Archbishop obviously does not understand that the death penalty cannot be against the dignity of the human person if carried out by a lawful authority. In fact it upholds it by sustaining the common good of society. If we read past documents by Saints and past Popes we all know that the death penalty does not in any way violate a person's "human dignity." Does the archbishop think himself wiser than St Thomas Aquinas, Pope Pius XII, or the entire Church of the year 1210 when it formally mandated that the Waldensians accept the use of the death penalty as a legitimate form of punishment? Did they think it contrary to human dignity? No.

St. Thomas Aquinas addressed this issue in depth long before Archbishop Dolan, and the Church has firmly stood by his point of view concerning this matter throughout the centuries. St. Thomas clearly views capital punishment as being in keeping with the fundamental principles of human dignity. If we read the ST 1-2.85 we can see how St. Thomas understands the effects of sin. He understands that even a criminal does not lose their fundamental dignity, which is that they are made in the image and likeness of God. This however never compelled St. Thomas to advocate abolishing capital punishment. What is true then is true now. Cultural variation does not change truth and Pope Pius XII told us this specifically in regard to capital punishment. (cf. Acta Apostolicae Sedis 47 (1955): 81-82.) The Archbishop here is clearly railing against 2000 years of the Church's voice repeatedly telling us that the death penalty does not in any manner violate human dignity. If it did, it would be malum in se, that is it would be evil in itself and it would never be justified as a licit moral act upheld by the Church in past centuries. When are the few Thomists that are left in the hierarchy going to challenge this kind of modernist theological rubbish? Is it not time that the seminaries and bishops honored Pope Leo XIII's wishes to restore Thomism to the Church?

"Among the Scholastic Doctors, the chief and master of all towers Thomas Aquinas, who, as Cajetan observes, because "he most venerated the ancient doctors of the Church, in a certain way seems to have inherited the intellect of all. The doctrines of those illustrious men, like the scattered members of a body, Thomas collected together and cemented, distributed in wonderful order, and so increased with important additions that he is rightly and deservedly esteemed the special bulwark and glory of the Catholic faith... But, furthermore, Our predecessors in the Roman pontificate have celebrated the wisdom of Thomas Aquinas by exceptional tributes of praise and the most ample testimonials. Clement VI in the bull In Ordine; Nicholas V in his brief to the friars of the Order of Preachers, 1451; Benedict XIII in the bull Pretiosus, and others bear witness that the universal Church borrows lustre from his admirable teaching; while St. Pius V declares in the bull Mirabilis that heresies, confounded and convicted by the same teaching, were dissipated, and the whole world daily freed from fatal errors;...the words of Blessed Urban V to the University of Toulouse are worthy of recall: "It is our will, which We hereby enjoin upon you, that ye follow the teaching of Blessed Thomas as the true and Catholic doctrine and that ye labor with all your force to profit by the same."...We think it hazardous that its special honor should not always and everywhere remain, especially when it is established that daily experience, and the judgment of the greatest men, and, to crown all, the voice of the Church, have favored the Scholastic philosophy.

Moreover, to the old teaching a novel system of philosophy has succeeded here and there, in which We fail to perceive those desirable and wholesome fruits which the Church and civil society itself would prefer. For it pleased the struggling innovators of the sixteenth century to philosophize without any respect for faith, the power of inventing in accordance with his own pleasure and bent being asked and given in turn by each one. Hence, it was natural that systems of philosophy multiplied beyond measure, and conclusions differing and clashing one with another arose about those matters even which are the most important in human knowledge. From a mass of conclusions men often come to wavering and doubt; and who knows not how easily the mind slips from doubt to error? But, as men are apt to follow the lead given them, this new pursuit seems to have caught the souls of certain Catholic philosophers, who, throwing aside the patrimony of ancient wisdom, chose rather to build up a new edifice than to strengthen and complete the old by aid of the new-ill-advisedly, in sooth, and not without detriment to the sciences. For, a multiform system of this kind, which depends on the authority and choice of any professor, has a foundation open to change, and consequently gives us a philosophy not firm, and stable, and robust like that of old, but tottering and feeble.
Taken from Pope Leo III, Aeterni Patris

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Excellent Article On Capital Punishment

Christopher Ferrara has written a great article regarding Capital Punishment in Crisis Magazine.

"Clearly, the Church has no authority to abandon the radical moral distinction between capital punishment of the guilty and the killing of an innocent. To reject that distinction is to undermine belief in divine justice itself, which demands the supernatural death of unrepentant souls for all eternity. It is manifestly impossible for Catholic doctrine on the death penalty to “develop” from an approbation based on revealed truth to  a condemnation based on the teaching of the last Pope. And, if we are not discussing the immorality of capital punishment in itself, when all is said and done it is not a question of “development” of doctrine, but only the debatable application of a morally legitimate penalty. Here Catholics, and civil authorities, remain free to make their own prudential judgments."
Christopher A. Ferrara (Can the Church Ban Capital Punishment)

Saturday, December 3, 2011

New Documentary on Archbishop Lefebvre

Coming in the very near future is a documentary on Archbishop Lefebvre. It looks to be very interesting. In the meantime if you are interested in learning more about him and the modernism he opposed in the Church, there are a few good books worth reading listed below the video.

Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography-
I am reading this now and it very well written. It is well over 600 pages so it is not for the light reader. 

Horn Of The Unicorn
For those who want a more abbreviated and headline type biography, this may be the book you want to start with.  

I Accuse The Council
Don't be put off by the title. This book summarizes the interventions that Lefebvre was involved in during the Second Vatican Council.  It makes for interesting reading.

They Have Uncrowned Him
This is his work detailing his thoughts on the history of modernism and how he perceived it to be creeping into the Church. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Savannah Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

The Savannah Cathedral of St. John the Baptist
By. Matthew J. Bellisario 2011

    I once again had the opportunity to visit the lovely city of Savannah Georgia. I spent the past weekend in the historic district and I was able to attend the Latin Mass on Sunday in the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist. I spent many hours walking around the scenic historical district and I could not help but ponder the many men and women who walked these very streets over the past 280 years or so before me. Savannah began as a settlement in 1733 by General Olglethorpe. In 1751 when Georgia became an actual colony of the Crown, Savannah was designated as the capital. There is a lot of history to be taken in when visiting the alluring town. If you are a book lover, there are several charming bookstores in the historic district which offer many books on Savannah’s rich history. My primary interest of course was the history of the Catholic Church, and how this splendid Cathedral arose from the hanging moss of a predominately Protestant town in the Southeast U.S.

    The Cathedral of St. John the Baptist seems to me to have been a miracle of sorts. Although the town was formally founded by English Protestants, Catholics were the first to actually arrive in the area under the Spanish monarchy. As early as the mid 1500s Spain had explored and set up missions in Florida, and Georgia, and into the 1700s there were at least 20 missions set up along the Georgia coast. There were many native converts, and there were Catholic martyrs as well. For example, five Franciscan missionaries lost their lives to an enraged native convert to Christianity who refused to accept the Church’s teaching on monogamy. The French Catholics in the late 1700s started the actual first Catholic recognized congregation of Savannah called St. John the Baptist. It was a long and hard road for Catholics to survive in the city. Many people often forget the harsh discrimination and persecution that Catholics faced in the early years of our country by the hands of the Protestants. It is a fact, in Savannah it was illegal to be a Catholic and reside in the city up until 1782, when the British finally departed the city after the revolution.

    Savannah originally fell under the Diocese of Baltimore. The first small wooden church of St. John was constructed between Liberty, Montgomery and State streets was built in 1800. It was later replaced by a brick church in 1839. In 1820 Savannah was moved under the Diocese of Charleston, and finally in 1850 Pope Pius IX granted Savannah her own Diocese under her first bishop, the Right Reverend Francis X. Gartland. Bishop Gartland used the brick church as his first Cathedral. He died in 1859 to the yellow fever while caring for the city's sick and dying. It was in 1873 with Savannah’s fifth bishop, the Right Reverend William H. Gross who laid the cornerstone for what was to become the new Cathedral of Savannah. In 1876 the Cathedral was dedicated and opened its doors for its first Mass.

    In 1896 the two spires were completed but tragedy struck in February of 1898 when the Cathedral caught fire and much of it was destroyed. Miraculously the Cathedral was rebuilt in under two years and in October of 1899 it reopened, however lacking in much of its interior decor. As the years went by the interior of the Cathedral began to take shape. In 1912 the Cathedral was finished with its murals, which were shipped from a New York studio. They are truly a sight to behold. In the 50’s and 60’s more murals were added as well as other structural improvements such as heating and air. In the mid 80s it was discovered that the building’s foundation was deteriorated and had to be repaired. Finally between 1998 and 2000 there were repairs made to the stained glass and the roof and the pillars of the nave received a gold leaf and marbleization. This is the building that we see today. There are few Catholic churches in the southern US that can compete with this Cathedral in size or beauty.

    As I walked down Abercorn street gazing through the Spanish moss, I could see her spires towering above the trees and houses from several blocks away. I imagined how it must have been in the early 1900s when families traveled by foot and carriage along the dirt and cobblestone streets to attend Mass on Sundays. They must have come from the far corners of the city to hear those wonderful words, “In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti.” Those were the very words I would hear as well since the Diocese offers the Latin Mass at the Cathedral every Sunday at 1PM. I arrived a little early and watched as the faithful emptied out of the Cathedral from the 11:30 Mass. I saw Bishop Hartmayer come down the steps to greet the people after Mass. I had the opportunity to stop over and kiss his ring and thank him for keeping the Extraordinary Form of the Mass available here at his Cathedral. It seems that the Latin Mass was begun at the Cathedral in 2007 under Bishop Boland. Is there a more fitting place to have it celebrated? It was truly an amazing experience to have gone to the Latin Mass in such a historically rich setting. As I kneeled on the floor during Mass I contemplated that I was truly a part of the history of this marvelous Cathedral. Although I was not physically there in the late 1800s or the early 1900s, I was there in spirit. As we all know, the Mass is not something that exists in time alone, it is eternal. And so I was there with all of those Catholics who came before me who sat under the same roof, gazed upon the same stained glass windows and heard the same Mass in Latin that I did. Unless you are able to go to Europe and experience the Latin Mass in one of those age old churches, this is truly a gem of the Southern United States for Catholics.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

What Can An Icon Tell Us?

What Can An Icon Tell Us?
Matthew J Bellisario 2011

    The world today is largely iconoclastic. The image of God and all that is His is despised by the secular culture. Sadly, even those who proclaim to be Christians often scoff at sacred imagery, not realizing that when they oppose it, they actually oppose Christ and His incarnation. Iconography is one constant affirmation of the incarnation by every ancient apostolic Church world wide. The Catholic, Orthodox and Oriental Churches share the praxis of using the sacred image in worship, while Protestantism largely rejects it. Why did the Church fight so hard to retain the use of sacred imagery against the heretics who sought to destroy it?

    The Church has always affirmed that the confrontation over sacred imagery was doctrinal to the core. Christ’s incarnation was at the center of the contest, but it goes even deeper. What good is sacred imagery aside from underpinning a core doctrine of the Church? It can be said that what was preached by the apostles, and then later written down in the Scriptures, is certainly amplified by sacred imagery. Not only do our ears hear, but the eyes see as well. We are taken in by the life of Christ in all of His glory when we embrace the gospel. As we participate in the Church’s liturgical worship, we realize that we as Christians are immersed in the life of Christ. It can be said that unless one has proper liturgical worship, then one cannot have a proper private prayer life or devotion to Christ.

    Christ in the liturgy, made present in the Eucharistic sacrifice, is the central focus of Christian worship. From that central point everything else revolves. Those who do not share in Christ’s liturgical sacrifice are seriously deficient in their worship of almighty God. The entire liturgical year engages the Christian in the very life of Christ. The sacred image illustrates this important fact quite well. Just how much can one sacred image tell us? I will look to one icon from The Holy Mother Of God Church in Conyers, Georgia to answer this important question. I will use the icon of the crucifixion to illustrate the depth of the sacred image. As we will see, the icon is much more that just
 an artistic Biblical snapshot of particular point in time. The sacred image transcends time. It brings to life the past, the present, the future, and ultimately eternity.

    When we engage this particular icon of the Crucifixion, we immediately see Christ, God made man, as the central figure of the image. Almighty God is the center, the Alpha and the Omega, the God-man repairing the breach between God the Father and the fallen human race. We see Christ above the tomb, conquering death. As the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom proclaims in the East, “By death He trampled death!” We do not have merely a past event remembered as a historical event, but we see here an eternal transcendence of Christ conquering death. Around the Saviour is the halo with the traditional symbols which appear to be an ‘O’ ‘W’ ‘N’. The symbols actually stand for “I Am Who I Am.” There is no question as to Who it is being depicted in the central figure of this particular icon. We then observe the head piece above Christ in which the Greek symbols etched into it abbreviate, (Iésous o Nazóraios o Basileus tón Ioudaión) or “"Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews."

    As we move out from the center of the image, side to side, we then observe the contrast of good and evil in mankind; those who will receive eternal life, and those who will receive eternal damnation. It is a contrast of life and death, light and darkness, man’s yes to God, and man’s no to God. To the right we see light and life, and to the left we observe darkness and death. If we observe closely, this reality is largely depicted by the good thief and the unrepentant thief on each side of Christ on the cross. We see on the right of Christ, the good thief’s soul being carried away to heaven by the angel, while on the left side of Christ we see the demon pulling the soul of the unrepentant thief down into the abyss of hell. Likewise we see the sun over the good thief and the moon over the unrepentant. One soul is bright and full of life, the other darkened.

    We then observe the traditional depiction of the Blessed Mother of God and Saint John the Evangelist at the foot of the cross, meditating on Christ’s sacrifice. Of course we see the halos around the Theotokos and St. John. Next to the Theotokos we see an inscription of the symbols which look like an MP-OP, which actually stands for ‘The Mother of God’, or ‘God Bearer’. This is yet another core doctrine of the Christian faith, and it is also observed by every ancient, apostolic Christian Church. We then are able to contemplate the words of Christ as He gave the Theotokos to St. John, and in turn to us as well, as a central part of our family. “Jesus saw his own mother, and the disciple standing near whom he loved, he said to his mother, "Woman, behold your son". Then he said to the disciple, "Behold your mother". And from that hour, he took his mother into his family.” Here it is illustrated that we have the communion of Saints in the bosom of the Church. We also witness the sorrowful Mother grieving for her child, and hence we reflect on the 5th sorrow of Our Lady’s Seven Sorrows. On the far left of Christ’s side we also see the soldiers gambling for Christ’s robe, while we see the rest of the figures of those contemplating Our Lord’s crucifixion to His right. This one icon has amply illustrated several core doctrines of Christianity.

    As we can see just from this brief explanation, there is a ton of theology packed into the sacred imagery of one icon. When you have an entire church adorned with many icons, as is common in most traditional Christian churches, you then have the entire gospel of Jesus Christ presented in sacred imagery! The central theological teachings of the Church are all presented in some form from within the sacred image. The icon is the gospel of Jesus Christ presented in a visual form, and that is why sacred imagery is so important to the Church. Those today in the Catholic Church who are iconoclastic, and wish to discard the sacred images from church architecture are tools of the devil, whether they realize it or not. For example, anyone who understands sacred imagery could never purchase an iconoclastic monstrosity like the ‘Crystal Cathedral’, which the Diocese of Orange has recently done. Do they realize that the Saints gave their lives to defend the sacred images? Yet today we still have heretics in the Church who oppose them with an obstinate and perverse attitude. Pray that these wretched tools of the devil may be converted to the true faith, or cast out of the Church. Iconoclasm is a heresy, and it should be opposed with as much vigor and tenacity as any other heresy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Orange Diocese Buys Monstrosity 'Crystal Cathedral' Monument to Modernism

It seems that the bankruptcy judge has ruled that the Catholic Diocese of Orange will get the monstrosity 'Crystal Cathedral' for a mere 57.7 million dollars! The LA Times gets it right when they write, "the Crystal Cathedral, a monument to modernism in faith and architecture..." And so we see what happens when we let modernism infect the Church, rather than amputating it. It grows and grows, and now 57.7 million dollars given to the Orange Diocese by Catholics will pay for a monument to the modernist heresy that has been ransacking the Church for years now.

An Orange County bankruptcy judge ruled Thursday that the Crystal Cathedral, a monument to modernism in faith and architecture, will be sold for $57.5 million to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange, which plans to consecrate it as a Catholic cathedral. (Nov 18th)
Link to entire article here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

My Visit to Conyers Georgia

The statue of the Blessed Mother at the Conyers site.

I am driving up to South Carolina over the weekend to visit my family for Thanksgiving. I decided to stop over at Conyers Ga to visit the Trappist monastery, the Ukrainian Catholic Church as well as the alleged apparition site. My first stop was the Trappist monastery, 'Monastery of the Holy Spirit', which was disappointing, but not unexpected. Their gift shop, which is quite large, carries a huge spectrum of books ranging from garbage like Elizabeth Johnson and Richard Rohr to good stuff like Fr. Faber's books published by TAN. They did have some nice icons and statues, but again, overall it was a disappointment. I did pick up a couple of loaves of fresh blueberry and apple bread. So all was not lost. That was about the extent of that visit. I then went on to the alleged apparition site where the Blessed Mother is said to have appeared. It appears that the bishop is now behind the movement to build a new Church for the site. I prayed for awhile at the site and went inside the house to the apparition rooms. I had no visions or extraordinary experiences, not that I would expect any, but I did have a nice period of quiet prayer and meditation. After spending about an hour there, I then went over to the Ukrainian Catholic Church, 'The Blessed Mother of God', which is around the corner from the site. The two properties are actually adjacent to each other connecting through the woods, or perhaps it is all one piece of property. I was very impressed with the little church, which puts most large multimillion dollar Catholic churches today to shame. The icons are incredible and they draw you into contemplation once you are able to take it all in. The entire gospel is depicted in sacred image, so you are immersed in the life of Christ. I was able to attend the Divine Liturgy at 4PM, and I was in heaven! It is amazing to contemplate what is actually happening when we attend the Divine Liturgy. We are actually stepping into the passion, death and resurrection of Our Lord! The entire liturgy was sung, and nothing was rushed or hurried. This was definitely the highlight of the trip. All in all it was good day, a personal pilgrimage of sorts. Here are some of the pictures that I took on my journey.

 The apparition room in the house.

The Blessed Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church, Conyers Ga.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What Happened to the Black Sheep Dog?

After all of the commotion that was made over Fr. Corapi a few months ago, it seems as if he has gone dark. His last post was Sept 30th, and he has yet to launch his weekly newsletter or finish up constructing his new website. He has put together a couple of videos, one being his own documentary, and then he kind of vanished. I just thought it odd that he remain quiet for so long. I was personally quite disappointed that he gave up on fulfilling his vocation to the priesthood, so I have not supported him since his departure. I am however curious enough to stop by his website just to see what he is up to. Either he is busy enjoying life, riding around on his motorcycle, or maybe he is preparing something else for his audience. It would be nice however if he was trying to reconcile with his order and fulfill his priestly vocation. Any thoughts?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Zero Tolerence?

Zero Tolerence?
Matthew J. Belisario 2011

    There is much talk today about the zero tolerance policy regarding accusations of child abuse towards Catholic clergy. Yes, we must have no tolerance for those who are in spiritual authority over their flock, who prey on young children. Many lives have been destroyed by these men. Rightly so, this kind of action should have zero tolerance within the Church. The most effective way to exercise this policy is certainly a matter of debate. There is a question however that we should be asking ourselves, which also pertains to this issue. What can possibly be some of the reasons for such a widespread problem like this among the clergy? I am not talking percentages here, for we could argue that the percentage of abuse cases compared to the clergy numbers are less that the Protestant sects. But it really does no good to boast of such a thing, for if we cannot best the largely secular Protestant groups, then we are in big trouble. Although we now have a zero tolerance policy for those who commit such acts, what about eradicating this problem at the root? In other words, it is all well and good to stop these men once they have been found out, and uncovered, but what of stopping them before they commit these acts? Are there ways to strike at the heart of the matter to effectively limit the types of individuals who would commit such crimes? I believe there is an indicator that can eliminate some of these men. A litmus test for orthodoxy is a most sure way to eliminate a large portion of these criminals. Unfortunately, there seems to be a laxity within the Church for eradicating heresy.

    Certainly I cannot claim that most heretics are abusers, but I would venture to claim that many abusers are certainly heretics. Many of the priests who committed such heinous crimes towards our youth are mostly acting homosexuals, and most do not recognize the Church’s teaching regarding sexual morality, and they even have taught against it. Many of these men openly challenge the exclusivity of marriage between men and women, or that sex outside of this marriage is entirely forbidden. They are the same men who challenge the male priesthood of Christ, the theology of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, etc. This was ushered in because the Church allowed heresy to go unchecked for so long that it took over the seminaries. The great Thomstic scholar Ralph Mcinerny once wrote concerning the scandals, “… the behavior in many seminaries has turned them into Augean stables. It is not enough to turn hitherto sheltered offenders over to the public prosecutor. The bishops have to get to the root of the problem. And the root of the problem is that many of our seminaries have been producing clueless clerics.” As we should all know by now, when heresy goes unchecked among the clergy, the laity will soon follow in large. As the laity became blinded by heresy, they tended to look past some of the abhorrent acts of clergy (liturgical abuse, bad catechesis, immodesty, etc), some even condoned their heretical theology, and embraced it with open arms. Yet, when the consequences of that heresy is felt, they only reacted to the symptom, not the disease.

    What we see in the modern media is also certainly worthy of condemnation. The modern Luciferian media loves to promote Catholic clergy who openly support heresy, yet when that heresy takes it logical course, which in part leads to the problems such as sexual abuse, they then cry foul, as if no one had any idea something like this was coming. This is like someone championing drinking themselves into serious excess, enjoying the high they get from the drink and the apparent fun that comes with it, and then complaining of the terrible hangover they have the next morning. This is how the world thinks, and people act this way everyday. This is to be expected for the average secularist, but unfortunately for us, many in the Church follow this same line of muddled, confused, and I might add, foolish thinking. They champion the sweet taste of heresy, the apparent freedom it brings with it, and yet loath the hangover of the abuse crisis that came the morning after. Of course, homosexuality and sexual abuse are not the only byproducts of heretical minds, but they are surely a byproduct. People act according to how they believe. We could write an entire thesis pertaining to the damage that heresy causes to those who are duped by it, but that is not within the scope of this brief article.

    If there is anything that deserves zero tolerance in the Church today, it is heresy. When a person in authority within the Church chooses to ignore or teach against certain doctrines of the Church, by their own will, such as is the state of many clergy today, what will keep them from choosing to act rightly towards their fellow man? If they choose to ignore God, what of men? Many today would probably be scandalized by the words of the great Saint Thomas Aquinas in the Summa Theologia, Secunda Secundae, Question 11, which concerns heresy. I cannot improve on his thought, so why try? In article three St. Thomas warns of the severity of heresy, and why it should never be tolerated. In fact, he compares the heretic to counterfeiters. “On their own side there is the sin, whereby they deserve not only to be separated from the Church by excommunication, but also to be severed from the world by death. For it is a much graver matter to corrupt the faith which quickens the soul, than to forge money, which supports temporal life. Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death. On the part of the Church, however, there is mercy which looks to the conversion of the wanderer, wherefore she condemns not at once, but "after the first and second admonition," as the Apostle directs: after that, if he is yet stubborn, the Church no longer hoping for his conversion, looks to the salvation of others, by excommunicating him and separating him from the Church, and furthermore delivers him to the secular tribunal to be exterminated thereby from the world by death.”

    These words of the great Saint may seem to be a bit outdated by many in the Church today. Many may claim that we have all advanced beyond the simple way of Aquinas and his medieval mentality. Has not modernity brought us beyond simple truths, and beyond the simple yes and no that Jesus himself spoke to his apostles? “But let your speech be yea, yea: no, no: and that which is over and above these, is of evil.” (Matthew 5:37) Or, could it possibly be that the modern mind has regressed compared to that of the medieval mind? I think that we must conclude that the later is the case concerning heresy. Modernity has brought to us all of the errors of the past in a highly compact and potent form. We could call it “heresy concentrate”, and when consumed, even in small quantities, it kills the souls of those whom consume it. Why then do many of those who are in the care of souls in the Church tolerate heresy? We see some of the horrific ramifications in the abuse crisis, which is loathed world wide, by both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. Many souls have left the Church or refuse to convert to Catholicism because of the crisis. What is more important than the salvation of souls? Is heresy not the natural enemy of salvation? Is it not also a breeder of scandal, and moral decay? Is the heretic not a carrier of a killer disease to the soul, which is passed on from person to person like so many physical diseases? Yet, so few are bold enough to speak out against these enemies of the faith, and it seems that fewer are wise enough to recognize what havoc such tolerance for it has brought upon us. Let us pray that our bishops and priests will oppose heresy in every form with zeal. Not only for the well being of our fellow man in the physical sense, but for that of his eternal salvation.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Assisi Meeting 2011 Summary

Here is a link to the video from the Assisi meeting. Some of the talks were given in English if you are interested. Here is a link to the Holy Father's address, which I must say was quite lackluster and largely void of any meaningful content when it comes to evangelization. No mention was given to Christ as being the only way to salvation, nor was any attempt made to convey the fact that the Catholic faith was the one true faith. World peace was of primary concern, and the Pope actually made a connection to the first Assisi meeting and the fall of the Berlin Wall a few years after. The Holy Father did call into question the violence that atheism has brought upon mankind, and dispelled the myth that religion is the source of most violence. Towards the end he makes reference to agnosticism. He blames "believers" as a partial reason for their inability to convert. "Their inability to find God is partly the responsibility of believers with a limited or even falsified image of God." Overall, in my opinion, there was just not much offered here other than an appeal for men of all religions to live peacefully with one another.  Below are a few excerpts from his address.

Twenty-five years have passed since Blessed Pope John Paul II first invited representatives of the world’s religions to Assisi to pray for peace. What has happened in the meantime? What is the state of play with regard to peace today? At that time the great threat to world peace came from the division of the earth into two mutually opposed blocs. A conspicuous symbol of this division was the Berlin Wall which traced the border between two worlds right through the heart of the city. In 1989, three years after Assisi, the wall came down, without bloodshed...

As a Christian I want to say at this point: yes, it is true, in the course of history, force has also been used in the name of the Christian faith. We acknowledge it with great shame. But it is utterly clear that this was an abuse of the Christian faith, one that evidently contradicts its true nature...

The enemies of religion – as we said earlier – see in religion one of the principal sources of violence in the history of humanity and thus they demand that it disappear. But the denial of God has led to much cruelty and to a degree of violence that knows no bounds, which only becomes possible when man no longer recognizes any criterion or any judge above himself, now having only himself to take as a criterion. The horrors of the concentration camps reveal with utter clarity the consequences of God’s absence.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tom Woods Weighs In On New Vatican Response To World Economics

The well spoken and well respected Catholic author and speaker Tom Woods has weighed in on the Vatican's recent statement regarding world economics. He wrote an article for NPR here, and on his website he has various links to other articles as well. The one link on his website to Phil Lawler's article is also quite interesting. Check them out and let me know what you think about the whole situation.

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Vatican and Economics

We have a new statement by the Vatican on world economics. Is this the Pope's idea, or the Vatican pontifical council's idea?

A Vatican document called for the gradual creation of a world political authority with broad powers to regulate financial markets and rein in the "inequalities and distortions of capitalist development."

The document said the current global financial crisis has revealed "selfishness, collective greed and the hoarding of goods on a great scale." A supranational authority, it said, is needed to place the common good at the center of international economic activity.

The 41-page text was titled, "Toward Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority." Prepared by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, it was released Oct. 24 in several languages, including a provisional translation in English.
(Full article here)

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Assisi "building of a better world" ??

Here is the latest on the Assisi debacle. In our age its no longer about spreading the gospel so that man may reach his eternal reward in heaven, its all about building a better world you know.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Christianity will be represented by 31 delegations, Judaism by the International Committee on Interreligious Consultation, the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and other international Jewish organisation. Other religions will be represented as well. Five Hindu leaders, 3 Jains, 5 Sikhs, 1 Zoroastrian and 1 Baha’i, 67 Buddhists and the heads of 16 delegations from 11 countries, including the People’s Republic of China. The president of the Confucian Association will come from South Korea, the president of the Taoist Association will come from Hong Kong, and two Shinto delegations will come from Japan. Representatives from four new religions will also be present. There will be 48 Muslims, from Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon, Algeria, Morocco, Iran, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Azerbaijan, Tajikistan, as well as some Western countries. Representatives of traditional religions will come from Africa, America and Asia as well as four invited non-believers. More than 50 nations will be represented.

These are the numbers of the ‘Day of reflection, dialogue and prayer for justice and peace in the world’ that will held in Assisi on 27 October, that were presented this morning in the Vatican. The theme of the Day, said Card Peter Kodwo Appiah Turkson, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, is “Pilgrims of truth, pilgrims of peace”. It aims “to show, with simplicity, that as religious men and men of good will, we want to offer our own articulated contribution to the building of a better world, whilst at the same time acknowledge the need to grow in dialogue and mutual esteem so as to improve the efficacy of our actions.”

At the initiative of Benedict XVI, this event is designed to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Assisi meeting (pictured) and is meant “to be a dream that continues, becoming more and more a reality. As everyone is with others, no one is against others. Marching from various points on earth, all nations come together as a one family.”

Read the entire story here

Friday, October 14, 2011

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Evangelize Those Outside the Church

I recommend listening to this sermon, and then think about all of the people you know who are outside the one true Church.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gesu Church Miami Florida

The Gesu parish in Miami Florida was founded in 1896. Earlier this year I took a road trip to Miami and took some pictures of it. I thought I would share some of them with you. As they say, they just don't make em like this anymore.