Friday, April 27, 2012

A Bishop of Vatican II Speaks

Archbishop Thomas Morris was a bishop at the second Vatican Council. An interview he gave in 1992 has been republished, and he had some interesting things to say about the council. I have copied a few of his thoughts that caught my attention. The entire interview is found here.
I was relieved when we were told that this Council was not aimed at defining or giving final statements on doctrine, because a statement of doctrine has to be very carefully formulated and I would have regarded the Council statements as tentative and liable to be reformed.
The first session in 1962 was on the liturgy. I had heard in discussions that the choice of the liturgy schema as the first one was inspired — or engineered perhaps — by the North Europeans. They’d scored many such points against the Roman Curia who were supposed to be managing things.

The beginning of the liturgy schema created an atmosphere where there was a lot of agreement and a certain amount of advance enthusiasm. One of the things that arose was the use of Latin. The post-Conciliar practices went far beyond what was decided and voted on as part of the decisions of the Council.

Just to take a couple of examples: it was contemplated that the Latin language would continue to be the main language of the liturgy, but there could be limited or occasional use of the vernacular.

I and most of my colleagues in Ireland had a very high regard for the Catholicism of our own people. They came to Mass on Sunday in big numbers, believing what the Mass is and wanting to honour God. They brought their children to Mass. They took part in the only way they knew: they possibly said their beads or read the Key of Heaven. But many of the liturgical pundits were writing off that kind of piety. They wanted people to be more authentically liturgical and saying your Rosary during Mass was out. I didn’t like that.

Another matter was altars facing the people. They were only permitted, not obligatory, and I don’t think it was contemplated they would become as common as they have. Immediately after the Council, the fashion developed of tearing out the altars and putting up altars facing the people in just about every Church. Saying Mass with your back to the people was rather reprobated in the Council opinions. Communion in the hand, that was grasped at by the nuns and it spread from them.

I feel that, at a lot of points, the implementation of the Council decisions has gone beyond the Council. Earlier on there was a phrase going around: ‘the Spirit of Vatican II’. I think the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ meant the misuse of Vatican II to bolster up some idea of one’s own. I think the implementation of the Council has been very uneven throughout the world. A lot depended on what was there before the Council. You don’t change the practice in a diocese overnight just because there’s been a Council.

As to the interpretation of the Council, the theologians are the ones who encourage trends and develop theories and if they don’t defend the essentials, then the essentials are in great danger. After all, it has been the theologians who have led the Church astray in so many cases and so many countries.

But the over-influence of the Council isn’t as great now as it was a dozen years ago. We used to all claim the support of Vatican II for our own pet ideas, but I don’t think we do that now as much as we used to. The Council is history now.

The Council was meant to bring the Church up to date — aggiornamento. But it hasn’t percolated down sufficiently to the ordinary folk and it hasn’t been taken up with sufficient enthusiasm by hierarchies. It was a brave attempt but I don’t think it succeeded in doing that.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cardinal Mercier’s Book Prescription for the Catholic Household

Cardinal Mercier’s Book Prescription for the Catholic Household

    I have been reading through the great Cardinal Mercier’s book simply titled, ‘Modernism.’ It is a relatively short work at about 70 pages. In it however, aside from pointing out the errors of modernism, he gives a short instruction on what books he thinks that Catholics should read and study as a minimum for any Catholic household. I had often wondered if it was true, that Catholics before Vatican II were taught that they should never read the Bible. While some may have been taught such things, this instruction by the Cardinal proves that this was not the case everywhere. I thought I would share this short part of the book with you. Catholics in general are not known for being readers, especially when it comes to their faith. This little list would not make a bad starter kit for those who don't have a Catholic library.

Protect with vigilance the treasure of your faith, without which nothing will profit you for eternity. Perfect your religious instruction.

It is an astonishing fact that in proportion as the youth grows to manhood, he considers it almost a question of honour to develop his physical forces, to increase the measure of his knowledge, to strengthen his judgment, enrich his experience, to polish his language and refine his style, and better inform him self on the march of events. Man has at heart the perfection of his profession, and is there a lawyer, magistrate, doctor, or merchant who would not blush if forced to admit at forty that for the last twenty years he had added nothing to his store of knowledge?

And is it not a fact that if Catholics of twenty, thirty and forty years of age were interrogated, they would have to confess that since their First Communion they had not studied their religion, and perhaps have even now forgotten what they then learned? In these troubled times I understand the conquests of unbelief, and I deplore them; but what seems more difficult to explain is that a believing, intelligent man, conscious of the value of that rare gift of Faith, is content to ignore what he believes, why he believes it, and what the solemn vows of baptism pledged him to, towards God and his neighbour.

Every well educated man should have in his library a Catechism, if not to learn by heart, at least to study the text. The one most highly recommended is the Catechism of the Council of Trent, an admirable work in its clearness, precision and method, in which by the order of the Fathers of the Council of Trent, a commission of distinguished  theologians was charged to condense the substance of faith and morals and the  institutions of Christianity.

To instruct himself in the reasons for his belief the well-informed Catholic should have, beside his Catechism, a manual of the dogmatic teachings of the Church, and the principal Pontifical Encyclicals addressed to our generation, those of Leo XIII, of glorious memory, and the Encyclicals of Pius X.

All Catholics should have in their house holds, if not the integral text of the Bible, at least the New Testament, that is, the four Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. And they should have, moreover, a history of the Church and an apologetical treatise. But to keep alive and nourish his piety every Christian should possess a Roman Missal, and a treatise on the liturgy that will explain the  ceremonies of the Mass and the principal manifestations of religious worship in the Church.

The Imitation of Christ, Bossuet’s Meditations on the Gospels, and The Introduction to a Devout Life, by St. Francis of Sales, and, in addition to these, several lives of the Saints that represent to us the practical application of the teaching of the Gospel: these books form together at a very modest outlay the minimum religious library of a Christian family. Every family, however humble, ought to have several books of piety.

I have sometimes glanced at the libraries of friends following liberal careers, and noticed books of science, of literature, and profane history; but how often one searches in vain for any religious literature. Is it then surprising that minds so poorly equipped are easily taken in by an audaciously formulated objection: they are then horrified, and appeal to apologetics for help.

Apologetics have without doubt their place in the Church, and oppose a defence to every attack. When one is ill the physician is called in, but hygiene is more potent than the doctor. Study for choice the statements and proofs of Catholic doctrine, penetrate yourself with its teachings and meditate on them, get to know the history of the Church, and learn her apostolic labours.

Taken from 'Modernism' By Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines 
Translated from the French 1910 

FSSP Priest Battles Planned Parenthood With The Mass

Father Joseph Hearty of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter celebrated the Latin Mass in front of Planned Parenthood recently! Very cool. (Link to article)

“If we can pray the rosary, why not offer the Mass, why not use the Mass and the Eucharist as a means of fighting this tragedy,” he said. “Why not use the most powerful means that we have?”
As it turned out, the idea energized the local pro-life community far beyond what organizers had expected. Fr. Hearty planned for thirty attendees at his first Mass on March 3rd, and got a hundred...
Providentially, an empty parking lot right across the street from the Planned Parenthood owned by a pro-life couple was big enough to accommodate the crowd.
As a member of the traditional Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, Fr. Hearty celebrated the traditional Latin Mass, known as the Tridentine Mass. Diocesan priests have also gotten in on the action, though, with six different Masses offered in the parking lot during the Forty Day campaign in English and Spanish. All six Masses were well attended, averaging between fifty and a hundred persons.

Friday, April 20, 2012

The Vatican Finally Speaking Up On the Women Relgious?

You have probably heard about the new document released by the CDF addressing problems with the women religious orders today. It is no secret that many nuns are responsible for spreading heresy throughout the Church in our age. After VCII the habits came off and high heels, skirts and slacks replaced them. Along with the visible change of appearance came their widespread heresies. This document titled, 'Doctrinal Assessment of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious' published by the CDF is worth a read. It is refreshing to see the CDF now addressing this serious issue in a concrete manner.


...the Assessment reveals serious doctrinal problems which affect many in Consecrated Life. On the doctrinal level, this crisis is characterized by a diminution of the fundamental Christological center and focus of religious consecration which leads, in turn, to a loss of a “constant and lively sense of the Church” among some Religious. The current doctrinal Assessment arises out of a sincere concern for the life of faith in some Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life. It arises as well from a conviction that the work of any conference of major superiors of women Religious can and should be a fruitful means of addressing the contemporary situation and supporting religious life in its most “radical” sense—that is, in the faith in which it is rooted.
Addresses given during LCWR annual Assemblies manifest problematic statements and serious theological, even doctrinal errors. The Cardinal offered as an example specific passages of Sr. Laurie Brink’s address about some Religious “moving beyond the Church” or even beyond Jesus. This is a challenge not only to core Catholic beliefs; such a rejection of faith is also a serious source of scandal and is incompatible with religious life. Such unacceptable positions routinely go unchallenged by the LCWR

The Cardinal spoke of this issue in reference to letters the CDF received from “Leadership Teams” of various Congregations, among them LCWR Officers, protesting the Holy See’s actions regarding the question of women’s ordination and of a correct pastoral approach to ministry to homosexual persons, e.g. letters about New Ways Ministry’s conferences. The terms of the letters suggest that these sisters collectively take a position not in agreement with the Church’s teaching on human sexuality. It is a serious matter when these Leadership Teams are not providing effective leadership and example to their communities, but place themselves outside the Church’s teaching.

The Cardinal noted a prevalence of certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith in some of the programs and presentations sponsored by the LCWR, including theological interpretations that risk distorting faith in Jesus and his loving Father who sent his Son for the salvation of the world. Moreover, some commentaries on “patriarchy” distort the way in which Jesus has structured sacramental life in the Church; others even undermine the revealed doctrines of the Holy Trinity, the divinity of Christ, and the inspiration of Sacred Scripture.

After the currently-ongoing Visitation of religious communities of women in the United States is brought to a conclusion, the Holy See should intervene with the prudent steps necessary to effect a reform...The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will examine the various forms of canonical intervention available for the resolution of the problematic aspects present in the LCWR.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Famous Vatican II Moments-Ottaviani's Microphone

The story of Cardinal Ottaviani having his microphone turned off by the liberal bishops during the Second Vatican Council has been told by many who attended the Council. Every time I hear or think about it, it makes my blood boil. Another account posted on Rorate Caeli today gives you an idea of what kind of mean spirited people were trying to, and eventually, for all intents and purposes, did take over the Council. In fact, the bishop who was involved in silencing the good Cardinal that day was one of the overseers who helped present the names of the bishops and theologians who would later draw up the new schemas. As you may or may not know, Ottoviani was one of the those who wanted to keep the earlier drafted documents, which opposed the "new theologians". Can you imagine, a whole group of assembled bishops, laughing and mocking their fellow bishop after shutting off his microphone? Is that the what many consider the "Spirit" of the Second Vatican Council to be?

Account taken from Rorate Caeli.

Whenever I think about the Council, I said, I always have one image in my mind: an aging Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, now blind, about age 80, limping, the head of the Holy Office and so the chief doctrinal officer of the Church, born in Trastevere to parents who had many children, so a Roman from Rome, from the people of Rome, takes the microphone to speak to the 2,000 assembled bishops.
And, as he speaks, pleading for the bishops to consider the texts the curia has spent three years preparing, suddenly his microphone was shut off. He kept speaking, but no one could hear a word. Then, puzzled and flustered, he stopped speaking, in confusion. And the assembled fathers began to laugh, and then to cheer...

"Yes," Gherardini said. "And it was only the third day."

"What?" I said.

"Ottaviani's microphone was turned off on the third day of the Council."

"On the third day?" I said. "I didn't know that. I thought it was later, in November, after the progressive group became more organized..."

"No, it was the third day, October 13, 1962. The Council began on October 11."

"Do you know who turned off the microphone?"

"Yes," he said. "It was Cardinal Lienart of Lille, France."

Why The SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre Are Important to the Church

Why The SSPX and Archbishop Lefebvre Are Important to the Church
Matthew James Bellisario 2012

    We have to see whether or not the SSPX issue will be resolved positively. According to recent news articles, this will be decided in the very near future. I believe that having the SSPX recognized as being in full communion with the Holy Father is extremely important, for more than the obvious reasons. This article may be a bit controversial, but I am going to give my thoughts on the matter. Again, this is my personal opinion, so feel free to weigh in on the matter in the comments section. Lets keep it civil please!

    The SSPX as whole is often been misrepresented by many folks who have done little to no research regarding their history. Most of the news columnists or average Novus Ordo Catholics go off of cheap headlines or brief comments, while never actually investigating for themselves who Archbishop Lefebvre was, or why he lived the life that he did. The brilliant theologian, recognized by Pope Pius XII as being one of the most faithful, has been the object of slander and false accusations. I am not here to justify his ordinations, that is for canon lawyers and ultimately God to decide whether or not he was sinful in that action. I will not debate that topic here, for it really does not pertain to my thoughts here in this article. If you are one who is going to judge the entire life and theology of Archbishop Lefebvre off one event, then what I say may not be of any relevance to you. I believe there are some facts that need to be understood regarding the great archbishop and the society that he founded to comprehend why this issue is so important to the Holy Father today.

    Fact number one: Archbishop Lefebvre or the SSPX was never formally accused of any doctrinal heresy. We can document the clear fact that the faith being taught before the Second Vatican Council is exactly the same faith the Archbishop taught after it. He was at the Council and was one of the theologians who weighed in on the schemas presented at the Council. It is also a fact that the Mass he continued to celebrate was never outlawed or abrogated by the Church, at least on paper. As we know, although there was no formal declaration outlawing its use, aside from the Society and a handful of others, it was at least in practice close to extinction. Ultimately we have him to thank for keeping the Latin Mass alive in its practice today. My point here is that those who argue that Lefebvre was somehow in doctrinal error are sadly mistaken, and in doing so they slander his good name.

    Fact number two: Vatican II and its documents have still not been clarified by the Church in many respects. The documents of Vatican II are in my opinion, and the opinion of many reputable orthodox theologians, the most ambiguous documents ever produced by the Church. In my opinion, the ambiguity and their “this but that” approach to explaining the faith have been, according to history thus far, a complete failure. Even our present Holy Father has a hard time trying to present this “hermeneutic of continuity” to the Church. Just the very fact that we need a "hermeneutic of continuity" scheme to be presented by the Holy Father should reveal to us that this is the case. The recent SSPX dialog has proven that many of the novel ideas and teachings taken by many mainline Catholics today have still not been formally settled. One of these problematic areas for example is the popular teaching regarding ecumenism floating around in the Church today. Since the Second Vatican Council most clergy in the Church have failed to teach clearly what the Church taught before the Council, which is that there is no way that the Church knows for anyone to be saved outside the visible Church. Sure, we can recognize that God can make exceptions regarding someone’s culpability, their ignorance, etc. But Christ Himself never revealed to the Church any other possible means of salvation other than through Him and the visible Church he built upon Saint Peter. As a result of this fact, those in the Church before the Council had always evangelized according to this understanding. Not so today, the invincible ignorance clause is now the rule. You may have heard of the term, 'Ecumenism of the Return'? That means that the Church's ecumenism was always deems to be for the return of those outside the visible Church to return to it. This is not what is largely being taught today. In fact, Cardinal Kasper who virtually ran the ecumenism branch of the Vatican regularly opposed this idea. "Today we no longer understand ecumenism in the sense of a return, by which the others would ‘be converted’ and return to being ‘catholics.’ This was expressly abandoned by Vatican II.” Was this clearly abandoned by Vatican II? I don't think it was, but this idea is being proclaimed by the highest positions in the Church with little to no opposition. The SSPX has consistently spoken up about this error, as well as many others, and rightfully so. My point here is, that Vatican II and its documents and how they will play out in the life of the Church is still not a settled issue, and the SSPX has been, and will hopefully continue to drive discussions regarding these matters, so these problems can be resolved. It appears to me that few in the Church today have the courage to present these problems in any formal capacity.

    Fact three: the SSPX seminaries are one of the few that teach according to the methods established by every Pope of the modern age prior to John XXIII. It is a documented fact that under Pope John XXIII and Paul VI, almost every command given by Popes Pius IX through Pius XII regarding the heresy of modernism were for all intents and purposes eradicated from the life of the Church. Everyone admits this fact including the then Father Ratzinger who has written about his experience at the Council. He admits that those at the Council sought to largely ignore the warnings and commands of these prior Popes as being extreme or “one sided.” For example here are a couple of quotes taken from Ratzinger’s account of the Council. "We shall have occasion later to show in more detail how the anti-modernistic neurosis which had again and again crippled the Church since the turn of the century here seemed to be approaching a cure" "Thus the Church was freed from the "hierarchical narrowness" of the previous hundred years" and "...the Church decisively and uncompromisingly detached itself from the growing error of the "modern undoubtedly went about this with excessively one sided zeal." These are serious charges made against a line of over 100 years of formal papal declarations commanding the Church not to accept modern philosophical principles into theological circles. Along with this command this papal line commanded that the seminaries teach according to Thomistic principles in order to avoid a modernist catastrophe in the Church. I have written about this in a prior article. The point I am making here is that the strict guidelines for seminaries given by all of these popes were abandoned, and I might add, all of the the prophesies given by these popes all came true after these principles were abandoned. Now, to my knowledge, only the SSPX and FSSP have seminaries that follow all of those strict teaching protocols implemented by those papal documents. Since this is the case, the SSPX seminaries will be a most welcome tool to reform other seminaries.

    Fact four rides on the back of the prior. The SSPX never accepted the noxious “new theology” that was allowed to permeate the Church after the Council. It is a fact that the theologians who largely rebelled against the first constructed schemas for the Council, were theologians who had been put under formal interdict by prior Popes. For example, the convoluted theology of Yves Congar along with many other modernists, was explicitly condemned by Pope Pius XII. Congar and the theologian “prison inmates” like him became the “guards” at Vatican II. Overnight we had theologians who’s ideas had been formally condemned by the Church, being the overseers of the new schemas of the Council. Many probably do not know that almost all of the schemas for the Council were completed, or at least had been outlined before the Council ever started. Those schemas, which were written in the same vain as those of the prior popes, were all completely trashed in favor letting these new theologians rewrite them all. In the end you had a smorgasbord character to all most of the VII documents, because these modernists would write up the document and then the orthodox bishops would fight to keep in some of the old theological wording as well. That is one of the reasons for the “this and that” leitmotif of the documents. Archbishop Lefebvre wanted nothing to do with all of this ambiguity, and continued to follow the entire line of Popes who told him not to accept the ideas proposed by these new theologians. Do any Catholics ever think to investigate why the ‘Oath Against Modernism’ was done away with? This modernist heresy was so serious that Pope Pius X made all clergy swear by their souls that they would never accept the principles of modernism, ever! The entire Church hierarchy swore formally to the opposition against modernism to the peril of their souls! That is pretty serious in my opinion. In practice, much of the "new theology" bouncing around at the Second Vatican Council was formally condemned prior to it. This is not hard to prove. Congar even admits that the theology he was condemned for was the same theology that he brought to the Council documents. After Pope Pius XII went to his happy reward, the prison cells were opened up and the inmates almost took over the town! They at least had free reign to do as they pleased at the Council, up to a point, in which I believe the Holy Spirit intervened to keep their heresies from being dogmatically proclaimed. That is why the debate is still going on within the Church over the Council. My main point here is, the theology being taught by the SSPX, is what was taught prior to the Council, not the confusion and ambiguity that came after it.

    I will conclude by saying that if the SSPX can have a more formal influence on the Church and her theological practice, we will see the problems that followed the Second Vatican Council resolved much quicker than with them being considered to be on the outside fringes of the Church. Theologically the Society has never been charged with formal heresy. Sure they have been asked to accept all of the “teachings” of the Church and the Second Vatican Council, but what does that mean exactly? Are these new teachings that they must now accept? If so, what did Vatican II change? It has been said that Vatican II changed nothing doctrinally to what came before it, if that is the case then there should be no issue with the Holy See recognizing the orthodoxy of the SSPX, for Lefebrve never taught anything contrary to the dogmatic teachings of the Church prior to the Council. If the SSPX is now in error then we should all be informed as to what that error is, exactly. That means we need clear condemnations of a false belief that the SSPX holds to, that is not orthodox. I maintain that Vatican II and her documents have yet to be formally dealt with in the manner that they need to dealt with. There are many questions that must be answered, and if the SSPX can bring these issues to the forefront in a more concrete manner, we will all as faithful Catholics be better off for it. For those who have not read into the life of Archbishop Lefebvre, you should do so if you are interested in this whole discussion. Again, these are my thoughts on this matter at this point in time. Feel free to weigh in, in the comments section. If you are interested in reading about this issue I have listed some books below that will be worth reading. There is more to all of this than the surface level rhetoric floating around in the mainstream Catholic press. If the SSPX were just some insignificant, radical, traditionalist fringe group, as so many mainstream Catholics have been labeling them, the Holy Father would not be taking their theological opinions so seriously.

Marcel Lefebvre: The Biography

A Bishop Speaks

I Accuse the Council

Michael Davies Revolution Set

Silence Speaks

Rhine Flows Into the Tiber

Theological Highlights of Vatican II

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Two Protestants Fighting Over Jesus and Long Hair

Just when you think you have seen it all, now you have two of the most arrogant and bombastic Calvinist Protestants fighting over Jesus and long hair. What a couple of jokers. Settle down girls, someone might get hurt.

Is Long Hair Shameful? 

It May Be Time to Celebrate! SSPX in?

It looks like the tides are changing, and the "Vatican II only" crowd is really going to be ticked off over this. It looks like the SSPX has reached an agreement and are now considered to be in full communion with Rome! Now we will have some bishops who are going to speak out and put the pressure on the others to do the right thing! Lets hope this is accurate news!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

James White: Sola Scriptura and Other Authorities

James White: Sola Scriptura and Other Authorities

    I wanted to make a brief comment on the recent post put up by the pretended “Reformer” apologist James White regarding Sola Scriptura. White explains that for him, Scripture is not the only “authority” for him or his “church,” but that there are other authorities he follows for his doctrines such as the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith. He then continues on to say that Scripture is the only “infallible” rule of authority regarding doctrine. White opines, “It is necessary to recognize that Sola scriptura speaks to the Scripture's role as the sole infallible rule of faith for the church, not the sole rule of faith period. Any church that is confessional in its expression and practice would be in violation of this less than accurate definition of Sola Scriptura. For example, my own church utilizes the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith as an accurate and sufficient representation of our doctrinal beliefs. And yet, it could be argued that we are using this as a source of authority, which would violate the inaccurate definition of Sola Scriptura.”

    If you look closely at what White is saying, you can see the fallacy very easily. For one, if you press Dr. White on the London Confession, he will only claim that everything in it comes from Scripture. In other words, this other “authority” is not really an authority at all, but a summarization of what he and those who think like him, think Scripture means. In other words its a written interpretation of what they think the Scriptures mean, yet for White, it is not “infallible” in its claim to do so. In other words, White is saying that the Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith he has, but he does not know what they mean for certain. This violates every rule of logic, and ends up going in an endless circle of probabilities. The man-made doctrine of Sola Scriptura in regards to James White and his claims, is nothing more than a good guess on the doctrine presented by God in His Written Word. The London Confession of which he speaks is regarded as an “authority” for him, but only an uncertain “authority.”

    I would elaborate a bit further on this if I had the time. For now let us ask the important question regarding Divine Revelation, which gives us all Christian dogma and doctrine. The first question is, if you are going to follow an “authority” which is not guaranteed to present God's doctrine in certain terms, what good is it? If we contrast this circle of probabilities with the infallible “authority” in which Christ gave us to present Himself and His Divine Revelation infallibly, we can see that we have two completely different modes of thought regarding the certainty of doctrine, despite the idiotic claims of some Protestants like James Swan and his buddies. These two paradigms are of a completely different nature. One deals in certainty, the other in probabilities.

    Let us examine one doctrine to demonstrate the difference. Let us look at John chapter 6 regarding Jesus’ words concerning His Body and Blood. The Catholic Church being a divine institution is infallible in her authority to proclaim what Jesus taught regarding His Body and Blood. Remember, the Church taught this doctrine before Scripture (The New Testament) was even written. So the Church infallibly communicated this doctrine from Christ by Oral Tradition. The teaching is that Christ gives Himself to us literally, in His complete Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist. The Church then of course also infallibly recognizes the New Testament Scriptures, which are also infallible, because they are a product of the infallible Church as God’s Written Word given within His Church, not outside of it. So we have an infallible means, the Church, to know the infallible end, God’s Word, Oral and Written, or if we break it down further, Christ Himself. James White however has no infallible means to know the infallible end which he seeks. He rightly claims that Scripture is infallible, but he is also claiming that he can never know for certain what it means. This same comparison can be made for all core doctrinal beliefs of the true Christian faith.

The Catholic Church is not confused in teaching what Christ teaches on Baptism, yet the Protestant heretics are divided on what Scripture means concerning Baptism, and we can go on and on concerning salvation, justification, sanctification, marriage, sexual morality, etc. In order for an authority to be worthy of being followed concerning our salvation and the teaching of God’s Divine Revelation, it must be certain, that is it must be infallible, otherwise it is quite worthless. Probability will not suffice in regard to Christ's teaching to mankind, and it makes no logical sense to believe that Christ gave us an infallible written text with no infallible means to communicate it to man infallibly, which is precisely what James White is telling us. So, if White is going to hold that he follows this man-made London Baptist Confession as an authority, but claims that it is not an infallible authority, why even bother? It is nothing more than man-made probability in regards to what mere men think Scripture means. If the Church is not the infallible bulwark which Christ built to communicate His infallible teachings, then all you have is a mere probability. Where will you put your faith? In man’s fallible means of uncertain creeds or “confessions”, or in Christ and the infallible Church in which He gave us? Do you believe that God communicates Himself to mankind infallibly in both the means and the end? That is, Christ being the end, and the means, the Church in which He communicates Himself. For the Catholic, we have Christ who is God, His infallible Word, which He gave to us first by Oral Tradition. Later some of this Tradition was given in Written form, the New Testament. It is all being infallibly communicated by Christ through those whom He sent within the Church in which He gave us. Therefore, there is nothing regarding the authority or teaching given to us by Christ that is uncertain for Catholics, it is all certain, or infallible. Contrast this to White's belief and you have two completely different mindsets regarding God's truth.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The War of the Vendee DVD Review

I recently watched the new DVD release of 'The War of the Vendee.' The movie covers the history of the region in France where devout Catholics assembled to oppose the terrors of the French Revolution. This movie is unique in many respects. First and foremost, it is boldly Catholic, which is obviously unique in the movie industry. This is refreshing, since recent movies like 'The Way' with Martin Sheen, do not depict a strong Catholic character. Everything about this movie is Catholic, and I like that. Secondly, it is a movie in which the cast consists of all Catholic youth. The Catholic faith of the cast and the director is what really drives the film, and this makes it a joy to watch, as long as you let the film stand on its own terms. Let me explain further.

First, do not expect to see a Catholic version of 'Braveheart.' Yes, the cinematography is done beautifully, and the film colors are bright and lucid. The sound quality is also excellent. The special effects however are of a low budget. The canon fire is subdued and the musket fire is not bold or thundering as in many modern war films. So don't expect to see the battle sequences of 'The Patriot' or something of that caliber. The battle sequences are more tongue and cheek, and while casualties are depicted, they are not very graphic in nature. For a group of kids, the acting is not bad, but again, do not expect Hollywood here. These are kids trying to memorize scripts. Some are more talented in their acting than others, but don't let that discourage you.

What also makes this movie unique, is that the entire family can watch it together and enjoy it. There is no profanity or graphic gory violence. The memory of what happened to Catholics during the Revolution is worth keeping alive, and I am glad that this movie sought to do just that. It depicts a clear battle between good and evil, and it is done with the intention of giving glory to God. The director and writer of the movie, Jim Morlino compares the film to a 90 minute prayer, and I think that defines it well. I think the DVD is worth owning and it will make a good family evening at the movies. It has over 60 minutes of extra features including one that explains the history of 'The War of the Vendee,' which was a severe Catholic persecution, one which has been buried in the history books of France, and long forgotten. Remember to take the movie for what it is, and then sit back and enjoy it!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter From Christ the King!

Here is another reason why I love being Catholic, and why I like living in Sarasota, Florida. These are some of the pictures I took at the Easter Vigil. Happy Easter!.. Christ is risen, indeed He is risen!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Protestant/Jewish/Unitarian Debate on the Divinity of Christ

If you are sucker for watching debates then you may enjoy these videos. The first is a more formal debate between two Protestants on one side affirming the divinity of Christ, and a Jewish Rabbi and a Unitarian scholar on the other rejecting the divinity of Christ. After the formal debate, a discussion occurs between the two sides and follows a series of questions offered to the entire panel, with about a 4 minute back and forth discussion over each of them. The final video consists of audience question and answers. I wish Thomistic Catholic scholars would engage in debates or discussions like these more often. 

New Documentary On Exorcism 'The Exorcist in the 21st Century'

A new documentary is being released this month filmed by a company in Norway. The film covers the Spanish exorcist Father José Antonio Fortea. Father Fortea has published at least one book as well as an interview film on the subject in recent years. The film looks like it is of quality production and will be interesting to see. I am not sure when it will be on DVD for purchase or where it will be shown in the US.

The Exorcist in the 21st Century takes the viewer into the unknown and sinister world of exorcism in the Catholic Church.  We meet one of the few exorcists in Europe, the Vatican approved José Antonio Fortea. He travels around the world on a mission to enlighten the masses about demonic possession. Constanza, a Colombian woman, is desperately looking for Fr. Forteas help. She claims to have been possessed by demons for nearly 15 years and she goes through a ritual of exorcism before she sees the Spanish exorcist as a last hope for spiritual liberation. The film follows both their journeys and gives a unique insight into one of the world most secret and mystical rites – the catholic ritual of exorcism.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Meditating on Good Friday with St. Francis de Sales

But could God not have provided the world with a remedy other than that of His Son's death? Certainly, He could have done so, and by a thousand other means. Could He not have pardoned human nature with absolute power and pure mercy, not invoking justice or the intervention of any creature? Doubtless He could, and who would have dared to question or criticize Him? No one, for He is Sovereign Master and can do all He wills. Besides, if He had wanted some creature to undertake our redemption, could He not have created one of such excellence and dignity that, by its deeds or sufferings, it could have satisfied for all our sins? Assuredly, and He could have redeemed us in a thousand other ways than that of His Son's death. But He did not will to do so, for what may have been sufficient for our salvation was not sufficient for His love; and to show us how much He loved us, this divine Son died the cruelest and most ignominious of deaths, that of the Cross.

The implication in all this is clear: since He died of love for us, we also should die of love for Him; or, if we cannot die of love, at least we should live for Him alone. [2 Cor:5:14-15]. If we do not love Him and live for Him, we shall be the most disloyal, unfaithful and wretched creatures imaginable. Such disloyalty is what the great St. Augustine complained about. "O Lord," he said, "is it possible for man to know that You died for him and for him not to live for You?" And that great lover, St. Francis, sobbed, “Ah! You have died of love and no one loves You!"

    He died, then. But although He died for us and was lifted up on the Cross, those who refuse to look upon Him will surely die, for there is no other redemption but in this Cross. O God, how spiritually beneficial and profitable is a consideration of Your Cross and Passion! Can we contemplate our Savior's humility on the Cross without becoming humble and having some affection for humiliations? Can we see His obedience without being obedient? Certainly not! No one has ever looked upon Our Lord crucified and remained dead or sick. On the other hand, all who have died have done so because they were unwilling to gaze upon Him, just as the Israelites died who were unwilling to gaze upon the serpent that Moses had raised upon the pole.
(Taken from Saint Francis de Sales' Lenten Sermons)