Sunday, September 29, 2013

The US Bishop's Big Fantasy: The Great Renewal of the Mass After Vatican II (A Wonder To Our Eyes)

What I find to be a wonder to my eyes is the fantasy that the US bishops are living under regarding the state of the liturgy in the Church today. The US bishops just released a document praising the renewal efforts of Vatican II concerning the Mass. For them everything is peachy, and according to them, more of this "renewal" must continue. Let me comment on a couple of things in regard to their new document ironically titled, 'Stewards of Tradition.' As we know, there is nothing traditional about any of the liturgical changes made by Pope Paul VI after Vatican II. In fact, the very act of concocting a new Mass ad-hoc by committee is against the very nature of liturgical tradition. I am going to boldly cover some of the points in the document and classify them as "fantasies," since that is exactly what they are. Forgive me for my sarcasm, but now and then I think it is needed to get the point across.

Fantasy #1 from the document: There has been increased spiritual vigor and ongoing renewal.
"We want to underscore that the reforms in the Liturgy, which were the result of the Council's deliberations and decisions, are for nothing less than the increased spiritual vigor and ongoing renewal of the Church. It was judged that the visible rites of the Church had to undergo reform for the sake of interior renewal of the faithful."
This claim is nothing more than a figment of their imagination since less than 30% of all Catholics go to Mass on Sunday, and the vast majority of the ones that do go have no idea what the Mass is. There has been no interior renewal of the faithful on any large scale if we are going to use numbers of faithful Catholics as the criterion. As the old lady in the Wendy's commercial used to say, "Where's the beef?" Prove it!

Fantasy #2 from the document: The Abundant Fruits
"As we give thanks for the great work of reform of the Liturgy and renewal of the Church that has borne such abundant fruits, we must also continually strive to deepen this renewal that was begun under the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit."
After reading this we must surely ask ourselves, what abundant fruits, and what continual renewal are they speaking of? We can't take anymore of the bad medicine they have been serving up for the past 40 years. This is another case of the emperor's new clothes. The US bishops write it so it must be true, right? Do they live in the same universe that we do? Where have they lead the Church over the past 50 years? What fruits are they speaking of? Are they proud of the fact that they have let the vast majority of their flock run out of the Catholic Church? Are they proud of the fact that vast the majority of Masses said throughout the country are a disaster, and few lead anyone to contemplate the Sacrifice of Christ? Lets take a look at these fantastical "fruits" of which they speak.

The abundant fruits..

Priests ordained in 1965 in the US- 994. In 2013, 511 ordained. Thats almost a 50% decrease since that great renewal got underway! Great job! I know its not their fault right? Its the modern culture that we should blame, not the watering down of the faith to the point where it doesn't matter to anyone anymore!

How about the total number of diocesan priests in the US? In 1965 we had 33,925. In 2013, 26,558. Wow that is a great renewal isn't it? It is if you are on Satan's team who is trying desperately to destroy the Church. Then it could be seen as an accomplishment! There are supposedly almost twice as many self identified Catholics in the world today as there were in 1965, and this is the track record the bishops have? The real numbers tell us that few are practicing the faith!

Fantasy #3: The "evolution" of liturgical teaching was a good thing.
" is important to recall that the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy was the fruit of the evolution of the Church's teaching on the Liturgy, especially from the early years of the last century. The reformed Liturgy was the result of extensive historical scholarship and reflection on pastoral needs, and it was carried out by the specially-created Consilium under the direction of the Sacred Congregation of Rites (later to become the Congregation for Divine Worship) and Venerable Pope Paul VI."
The word they used should be "revolutionary" rather than "evolutionary." The "extensive scholarship" that they speak of has essentially destroyed the meaning and understanding of the Mass. Go ask the average Catholic what the Mass actually is in its essence. 90% of them would not be able to tell you that it is sacrifice! That is what this "evolution" has given us. Anyone who has the audacity to tell us as Catholics that the Church never really understood the Mass up until Vatican II has no respect for the Saints or tradition of the Church whatsoever. Do they really know more than their predecessors? Judging by the facts of Mass attendance and the mis-education of those who do go to Mass, their claim is objectively false. They are correct in stating that it was the Consilium that carried out the reforms of the Mass. Many wish to dismiss the Consilium, but one cannot wish it away and live in a fantasy land wishing it never existed, and deny the fact that Paul VI went along with the vast majority of the nonsensical ideas that it sought to implement. The Vatican II document did not implement anything. It was used as one of the vehicles to give us a new Mass.

Fantasy #4: Pope Pius X and Pius XII began what was carried out after Vatican II.
The first example is from the pontificate of Pope St. Pius X, who, in his 1903 landmark statement on music in the Liturgy, Tra le sollecitudini, stated that the purpose of the Liturgy is "glorifying God" and "the sanctification and edification of the faithful." St. Pius X also made the concept of liturgical participation a matter of papal teaching: "…the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this [true Christian] spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church." This 1903 motu proprio emphasized that music sung by the assembly (in addition to music sung by a choir) was an important means of participation in the Sacred Liturgy. Tra le sollecitudiniclearly set a standard for subsequent magisterial documents.
The second example is that of Pope Pius XII, who indicated that the Roman Missal "needed both to be somewhat revised and also to be enriched with additions" (Discourse to the Participants in the First International Congress of Pastoral Liturgy at Assisi, 22 September 1956: AAS 48 (1956), p. 712). Pope Pius XII undertook some revision himself in a particular way with the restoration of the rites of Holy Week and the Easter Vigil (1951-56). Two of this Pope's many encyclicals—Mediator Dei. . .(1947), on the Sacred Liturgy, and Mystici Corporis Christi. . . (1943), on the Church as the Mystical Body of Christ—were highly influential on the thinking that undergirded the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, and, in fact, were valuable building blocks for its drafting.
How can anyone seriously make the claim that these documents of Popes Pius X and XII are of the same leitmotif as what was implemented after Vatican II? In fact, if you read those documents closely, you will find that they are opposed to many of the exact changes that were carried out by the "reform!" Hey, anyone remember Pope Pius XII saying, "Thus, to cite some instances, one would be straying from the straight path were he to wish the altar restored to its primitive tableform; were he to want black excluded as a color for the liturgical vestments; were he to forbid the use of sacred images and statues in Churches; were he to order the crucifix so designed that the divine Redeemer's body shows no trace of His cruel sufferings; and lastly were he to disdain and reject polyphonic music or singing in parts, even where it conforms to regulations issued by the Holy See." What do we have now? Read Mediator Dei for yourself! It spoke of nothing even close to what was done after the Second Vatican Council. It is amazing that they can release a document like this while keeping a straight face. They are taking for granted that no one has even read these documents, and that we should just take their fantastical ideas as being the truth.

Fantasy #5 : Their Proposed Foundational Principles of Liturgy Redesigned!

Under the section titled, 'Foundational Principles' is where the rubber meets the road! I will not quote it all here, I suggest you read it for yourself. In the first paragraph where it lays out principle #1, 'The Presence of Christ in the Liturgy,' there is not ONE mention of Christ being sacrificed anywhere! How can this be? There is talk of Christ being present yes, but not how He presents Himself. In reading the entire document, there is not ONE mention of Christ being Sacrificed on the altar! I will harp on this again as I continue.

The next principle is 'Liturgical Participation.' Here they praise all of the extra practices that the laity take part of in the Mass, yet little is mentioned about prayer! It is all about zeal and "active" participation. What about the different manners of prayer and contemplation that the laity have always been encouraged to engage in? No mention of that! Maybe its because no one can spend two seconds in contemplation at the average Novus Ordo Mass because the "active participation" has distracted everyone from the Sacrifice that is taking place on the altar! No even knows its taking place, and if you did know you are distracted by the inappropriate music, gestures, jokes at the homily, and the lay people prancing all through the sanctuary. Rather than the Mass, you would have thought you were at a live airing of the Johnny Carson Show.

The next principle is titled, 'Proclamation of the Word.' Of course the old argument we always hear about the greatness of the Novus Ordo, is that we now have so many more readings! The US bishops claim that we as Catholics now have a greater understanding of the Biblical texts because of this! Really? And how would we gauge that claim? Do the Biblical texts now follow the Mass more closely than the previous Latin Rite Missal? Do they add more depth to understanding the liturgical year? Any claim to that effect is a most ridiculous one. The readings in the Old Mass follow much more closely to the liturgical calendar than the new Mass. Also, you can read all of the Scripture you want at Mass, but when few understand what it really means, it really doesn't amount to much. Read it Latin, read it English, it doesn't really matter. After all, you are mostly likely to hear nonsense like the book of Genesis was just a myth, and Adam and Eve never really existed! What an improvement to Biblical scholarship. Having three readings and three cycles changing all of the time was really a game breaker! How the Church and the Mass survived the previous 2000 years is a wonder.

The final principle is 'Inculturation and the Liturgy.' This part is worth quoting, "Translation of liturgical texts into vernacular languages, for example, has been a monumental success, making the words of the Liturgy more understandable to those present. We should continue to consider ways in which the Liturgy can be legitimately adapted to the various cultures of our people." First of all the first translations were lousy, and having it celebrated in the vernacular was not a success. No one understands the Mass better now because it is said in the vernacular. Few even know what the Mass is! How can this be a success? They think that making the Mass more identifiable to the pagan cultures is a great achievement! The US bishops just wrote an entire document on the Mass and never ONCE mentioned the Sacrificial nature of the Mass! This should indeed be an amazement to our eyes! We are so used to this garbage that it doesn't even phase us anymore. While we should be outraged and insist upon proper catechesis from the bishops, we just watch as the shirt unravels before us until we have nothing left to wear. We now think it is normal to feel that draft upon our backs when the wind blows.

The document then ends with a creative idea that the Mass is an 'Art and Craft,' and then tells us to 'Live What We Celebrate'. The bishops here do make reference to using beautiful things in the Mass like Sacred Vessels, etc. They then moved onto sacred music and I noticed that nowhere did the bishops speak of the pride of place of Latin anywhere concerning music. Instead they wrote, "The development of a repertory of vernacular music for the Liturgy over the past fifty years is a gift for which we are grateful and which we continue to promote." Are we not tired of that horrible Pollyannish drivel that passes for sacred music? Where is the chant which was held in such high esteem in their highly praised document Sacrosantum Concilium? "...steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin..." So we must ask ourselves if there was any true renewal of the liturgy thus far following Vatican II. Are the US bishops really the "Stewards of Tradition?" I think not. I am not buying what they are selling us! Thanks for all that has been done. It is indeed a wonder to our eyes!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Few Who Are Saved?

The notion that most people are going to be saved and go to heaven because they are simply good people, is a false one. As we know, man must have supernatural grace in order to be saved, which comes through Jesus Christ, and His Church. Those who do not have this supernatural grace will not be saved. There are many ways to go to hell, the gate to it is wide, and the gate to heaven is narrow and few find it. Many Catholics today lead people to believe that there may not be any people in hell, and that we can reasonably hope that every man will be saved. In fact, the modernist theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar championed this idea which definitively contradicts Sacred Scripture, and the testimony of the Saints. Christ answers the question clearly when He is asked, 'Lord, are they few that are saved? But he said to them: Strive to enter by the narrow gate; for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.' (Luke 13:23-24)

Other modernists such as Fr. Robert Barron continue to promote this false idea that few are in hell.  Notice in the video how he casually insults St. Augustine's and St. Thomas Aquinas' view of hell, and champions von Balthasar's, who by the way got his false ideas from a Protestant heretic Karl Barth. It is amazing that Fr. Barron holds himself and Balthasar's theological conclusions over the great Doctors of the Church! Can we as Catholics reasonably hope that all people will be saved? The answer is clearly no. We know absolutely from Sacred Scripture and the testimony of the Church and her Saints, that not all people will be saved. That is a fact, so to hope for an opposite outcome from that which Jesus and His Saints have told us is simply insane. Fr. Barron says that we do not know if humans are in hell, when in fact we do know they are there, just not who is there. There is a big difference between the two! There are many reasons why the Church has failed to evangelize in our modern age and one of them is that Catholics simply do not believe anyone will go to hell. Read below what Jesus and His Saints have to say about the matter and compare it to the modernists in the Church today. Who are you going to believe?

'Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God.' 
Saint Paul (1 Corinthians 6:9-10)

'Behold how many there are who are called, and how few who are chosen! And behold, if you have no care for yourself, your perdition is more certain than your amendment, especially since the way that leads to eternal life is so narrow.'  
St. John of the Cross

'The saved are few, but we must live with the few if we would be saved with the few. O God, too few indeed they are: yet amongst those few I wish to be!' 
St. Alphonsus Maria de Liguori

'The more the wicked abound, so much the more must we suffer with them in patience; for on the threshing floor few are the grains carried into the barns, but high are the piles of chaff burned with fire.' 
Pope St. Gregory the Great

'Not all, nor even a majority, are saved. . . They are indeed many, if regarded by themselves, but they are few in comparison with the far larger number of those who shall be punished with the devil.' ...'Beyond a doubt the elect are few.'
St. Augustine

'The number of the elect is so small - so small - that were we to know how small it is, we should faint away with grief. The number of the elect is so small that were God to assemble them together, He would cry to them, as He did of old, by the mouth of His prophet, "Gather yourselves together, one by one" - one from this province, one from that kingdom.' 
St. Louis Marie de Montfort

'That those who walk in the way of salvation are the smaller number is due to the vice and depraved habits imbibed in youth and nourished in childhood. By these means Lucifer has hurled into Hell so great a number of souls, and continues thus to hurl them into Hell every day, casting so many nations from abyss to abyss of darkness and errors, such as are contained in the heresies and false sects of the infidels.' 
Venerable Mary of Agreda

'What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that!' ...'I do not speak rashly, but as I feel and think. I do not think that many bishops are saved, but that those who perish are far more numerous.' 
St. John Chrysostom, Doctor and Father of the Church

'Shall we all be saved? Shall we go to Heaven? Alas, my children, we do not know at all! But I tremble when I see so many souls lost these days. See, they fall into Hell as leaves fall from the trees at the approach of winter.' 
St. Jean Marie Baptiste Vianney, the Cure of Ars

'Ah, how many souls lose Heaven and are cast into Hell!' 
St. Francis Xavier

'So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to Hell! So many people falling into hell!' 
Blessed Jacinta of Fatima

'Since their eternal happiness, consisting in the vision of God, exceeds the common state of nature, and especially in so far as this is deprived of grace through the corruption of original sin, those who are saved are in the minority. In this especially, however, appears the mercy of God, that He has chosen some for that salvation, from which very many in accordance with the common course and tendency of nature fall short.' 
St. Thomas Aquinas, Doctor of the Church

'Get out of the filth of the horrible torrent of this world, the torrent of thorns that is whirling you into the abyss of eternal perdition. . . This torrent is the world, which resembles an impetuous torrent, full of garbage and evil odours, making a lot of noise but flowing swiftly passed, dragging the majority of men into the pit of perdition.' 
St. John Eudes

O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Thy mercy. Amen.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

This Is What We Get!

After all of the commotion and bantering about concerning what I consider to be the most imprudent interview a Pope has ever given, we are now going to see the whirlwind that is coming behind it. Now many bishops and priests are going to be more lax than ever before, if you can imagine that! Although you would probably be hard pressed to hear a sermon about the immoral acts of abortion, contraception or sodomy in most parishes over the past 50 years, which is why we are in the state we are in, you are probably going to be targeted now by "fellow" "Catholics" for even talking about them. It is clear the liberal clergy and laity alike are taking this open door for all it is worth. You think the Church was weak before in not combatting evil in the world? You haven't seen anything yet! The permissive tone of the last 50 years just got more permissive. According to Archbishop Dolan, we should not even address these issues in a negative tone. Really? Lets look at a video and then some recent comments by laity and clergy in light of the Pope Francis' latest interview. The video is very telling. The theology coming from these guys sounds like certain Protestant sects. I do not think I am over reacting here. See for yourself.

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James Salt, executive director of national nonprofit Catholic United, said he was “overjoyed,” adding that he’s eagerly anticipating how conservatives will respond.

“Pope Francis is saying what every faithful lay Catholic knows: to be effective in the modern world, the Church must refocus on what Christ actually taught us: to proclaim God’s love and good news for the poor, the vulnerable and the forgotten,” Salt said in a statement. “For too long, right-wing activists have distorted and co-opted Catholic teaching to suit their agendas. Pope Francis put a stop to that today.”

The real message, according to Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, is that the church must "rediscover that the door to a person's soul passes through his heart."

"The pope is still Catholic," said Wenski, who met with his priests to discuss the interview. "He has not made any reversals of church doctrine, and he cannot. However, I think what the pope is doing is pushing the reset button. He is saying we can make all the cerebral arguments we want about the issues of the day, but those arguments fall on deaf ears or get misinterpreted if we don't first try to reach the person through the heart."

“Pope Francis is re-articulating church teaching," said Archbishop Gregory Aymond, of New Orleans. "But he’s doing it with heart. He’s doing in a way that reaches out to people. He’s calling us to explain church teaching, to be patient with people, to walk with them in their questions and ambiguities. And if they reject the teaching, to still be there for them as companions in the Lord. Pope Francis is not dialing back on the issues. I think he’s dialing back on how we teach the issues. And how we call the people — not out of fear, but in openness of heart.”

Officials at the diocese of Harrisburg, Pa., agreed.

“He talks about Church ministers as merciful, like the Good Samaritan, who washes, cleans and raises up his neighbor not as detail oriented bureaucrats,” read a statement from the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pa. “The Gospel message that Jesus Christ loves you and has saved you should be primary.

U.S. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who as head of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has taken a lead role in voicing the U.S. church's opposition to contraception and gay marriage, said Francis’ interview confirmed what has already been apparent.

“… [T]hat he is a man who profoundly believes in the mercy of a loving God, and who wants to bring that message of mercy to the entire world, including those who feel that they have been wounded by the Church,” Dolan said in a statement issued Thursday. “As a priest and bishop, I particularly welcome his reminder that the clergy are primarily to serve as shepherds, to be with our people, to walk with them, to be pastors, not bureaucrats! It is becoming more evident every day that we are blessed with a Pope who is a good shepherd after the heart of Christ.”

On Friday, Dolan, while appearing on “CBS This Morning,” said Francis’ words sent shock waves throughout the church.

"Every pope has a different strategy," Dolan said. ''What I think he's saying is, 'Those are important issues and the church has got to keep talking about them, but we need to talk about them in a fresh new way. If we keep kind of a negative finger-wagging tone, it's counterproductive.”

The Vatican's senior communications adviser, however, insisted Friday that Francis was not questioning the papacies or priorities of his predecessors.

"The pope is not condemning his predecessors," Greg Burke told The Associated Press. "What he is saying is 'We've spent a lot of time talking about the boundaries. We've spent a lot of time talking about what is sin and what's not. Now let's move on. Let's talk about mercy. Let's talk about love.'"

Read more:

“Breaking news, Pope Francis: There is already a profound theology of women," said Sister Maureen Fielder, a Catholic nun and longtime advocate of women’s ordination in the Catholic Church.
“There are libraries of feminist theology just waiting for you, and others, to dive in.”

Under previous popes, liberal Catholic nuns, politicians and theologians were castigated by church leaders, said John Gehring, a writer and advocate at the group Faith in Public Life. Now “the air is starting to clear,” he said.

“Pope Francis is rescuing the Catholic Church from those grim-faced watchdogs of orthodoxy who in windowless rooms reduce Catholicism to a laundry list of nos,” Gehring said.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

An Interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke- Quite A Different Tone..

There was recently an interview with Cardinal Raymond Burke posted on the Wanderer in which he addresses the issues of the day. Quite a different tone than what we have heard from others.

Excerpt From Interview..

Q. Things seem to be declining at an accelerating rate in our country. For example, it is shocking how quickly things happened in Minnesota. A year ago it seemed almost certain that a November ballot referendum would constitutionally define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Despite a heroic effort by Archbishop John Nienstedt and many other Church leaders, it failed. Just four months later a law was enacted making Minnesota the 12th state to legalize so- called same- sex marriage. How did we get to this point? Aside from prayer and fasting, what can the faithful do?

A. First of all, I would underline the need for much prayer and fasting. The alarming rapidity of the realization of the homosexual agenda ought to awaken all of us and frighten us with regard to the future of our nation. This is a work of deceit, a lie about the most fundamental aspect of our human nature, our human sexuality, which after life itself defines us. There is only one place these types of lies come from, namely Satan. It is a diabolical situation which is aimed at destroying individuals, families, and eventually our nation.

How did we get to this point? The fact that these kinds of “ arrangements” are made legal is a manifestation of a culture of death, of an anti- life and anti- family culture which has existed in our nation now for some time. We as Catholics have not properly combatted it because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention. I can say this because I was the bishop of two different dioceses.

After fifty years of this, we have many adult voters who support politicians with immoral positions because they do not know their Catholic Faith and its teaching with regard to same- sex attraction and the inherent disorder of sexual relations between two persons of the same sex. Therefore, they are not able to defend the Catholic Faith in this matter.What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity. Charity means speaking the truth, especially the truth about human life and human sexuality. While we love the individual, we desire only the best for one who suffers from an inclination to engage in sexual relations with a person of the same sex. We must abhor the actions themselves because they are contrary to nature itself as God has created us.

The virtue of charity leads us to be kind and understanding to the individual, but also to be firm and steadfast in opposing the evil itself. This confusion is widespread. I have encountered it many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not “ politically correct.” But we cannot be silent any longer or we will find ourselvesin a situation that will be very difficult to reverse.

Thoughts on Pope Francis' Interview- No Worries?

Some of the statements made by Pope Francis during the past couple of months have been disconcerting. The lack of importance given to critical moral issues of our time like abortion,etc, are certainly startling to me, and to many others. I read the entire interview this morning that he gave, which is posted on the America National Catholic Review website. I would suggest reading the entire interview before coming to conclusions about what he said and did not say. The media always steps overboard on these matters. There is however in my opinion, things to be concerned about regarding the good of the Church and his statements. An article recently posted by Catholic author James Larson may shed some light on the current situation. Keep praying and keep the faith!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

A Few Thoughts on Faith and Salvation

Hebrews 11:5-6

5 By faith Henoch was translated that he should not see death: and he was not found because God had translated him. For before his translation he had testimony that he pleased God. 6 But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God must believe that he is: and is a rewarder to them that seek him.

Vatican I dogmatic decree.. infallible..

1. If anyone says that
the one, true God, our creator and lord, cannot be known with certainty
from the things that have been made,
by the natural light of human reason:let him be anathema.

2. If anyone says that
divine faith is not to be distinguished from natural knowledge about God and moral matters, and consequently that
for divine faith it is not required that revealed truth should be believed because of the authority of God who reveals it:let him be anathema.

Cardinal Manning, Pope Pius IX's right hand man at the Council wrote...

1 And God indeed, having winked at the times of this ignorance, now declareth unto men, that all should everywhere do penance. Because He hath appointed a day wherein He will judge the 'world in equity, by the Man whom He hath appointed, giving faith to all, by raising Him from the dead? (Acts xvii. 30, 31.) These were the words of St. Paul to the Athenians, when their philosophers called him a ' word-sower' and a' publisher of new gods,' because he preached to them Jesus and the resurrection from the dead. This was his meaning: God, in times past, shut His eyes to the idolatries and polytheism of men. Those times are past now, for God has manifested Himself to the world. He has made B Himself known, and has therefore commanded all men everywhere to do penance—that is, to believe in Him, and to repent of their sins—under pain of eternal judgment; for He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world by that Man, whom He hath appointed to be the Judge of the living and the dead; and for this end He has given faith—that is, a witness and an illumination to believe His word by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. In this declaration, the Apostle distinctly asserts the sovereignty of God as the Creator, and as the Judge of all mankind; His sovereignty over man both in body and soul, over the intellect in all its faculties, over the will in all its powers. As Maker and Lord, God has dominion and sovereignty over man, whom He made to His own image and likeness ; and man being of a rational, a moral nature, is therefore a responsible being. 

Last year, the Council of the Vatican made a decree in these words: ' Forasmuch as God is the Creator, and the Lord of all things, therefore man altogether depends upon Him; and every created intellect is subject to the Uncreated Truth, and owes to it a perfect obedience both of reason and of will. Attached to that Decree are these two canons: ' If any man shall say, that the reason of man is so independent of God that God cannot command faith, let him be anathema.' And again: ' If any man shall say, that the act of faith in man is not free, let him be anathema;' and this enunciates the subject of which I purpose to speak: The sovereignty of God over the intellect, that is, the rights of God over the rational creatures He has made. He requires of them a perfect obedience of their rational and moral nature ; and holds them responsible to render that obedience. The way in which God requires the obedience of the rational nature of man is by faith.

That is, there is in every man a moral sense, or instinct, or judgment, or testimony to right and wrong, which rebukes him when he does wrong, which sustains him when he does right. There is therefore an inward light, whereby the human reason may perceive the moral law of God; and if so, then every man has within him a testimony to know that he has an intellectual and moral nature; and if he has an intellectual and moral nature, he has a soul—that is, the image of God—within him, and that image has an immortality. They, then, who, amidst the lights of nature, do not know God, or the distinctions of right and wrong, or that they have a soul which is immortal and responsible, are guilty for that ignorance. To be ignorant of these things is sin, because such ignorance is vincible. The lights of nature are sufficient to prove these things, and they who are ignorant of them are willingly ignorant of them; that is, ignorant through their own will, and therefore culpable before God; and for that culpable ignorance will have to give account at the last day.

Manning, Henry Edward, 1808-1892. The fourfold sovereignty of God (Kindle Locations 70-78). London : Burns, Oates.