Saturday, December 30, 2017

Catechetical Basics: The Sacraments Explained

The theology of the Sacraments much like other points of theological teaching are under assault in the Church today. The Sacraments are often trivialized or taught to be mere signs of communal membership within the Church. Often heretical theologians, RCIA team members or DREs in parishes teach that certain Sacraments such as that of Penance only were developed later in the Church communities. Thus they come to ridiculous conclusions that one can receive forgiveness of mortal sins by going to Mass and participating in the penitential rite. I have heard this myself in the confessional as well as in the classroom. Why are these pernicious errors so prevalent in the Church today?

Catechesis is at an all time low in the Church and I would argue that the clergy and laity have not been this ignorant since the Black Plague killed off the educated clergy in the 14th century. There are a few basics concerning the Sacraments that I wanted to document here for those who may stumble across them on the Net searching for a basic outline. If anyone were to contradict any of these basic teachings of the Church listed below, they would be in error and they should be resisted. Below is a simple outline which can be used as a tool to further examine the Sacraments more in depth. I used mostly the wonderful work of Arthur Devine, 'The Sacraments Explained' to compile this outline. I recommend this work for anyone who wants an in depth understanding of the Sacraments. Reprints, used copies and free Epubs can be found online. As I have mentioned before, the Canons and Decrees of the Council of Trent should be required reading for anyone teaching the faith. 

There are three essential attributes that apply to all of the Sacraments. 
1. They are outward visible signs of a reality. We see these signs in the performed rite of the Church such as the sprinkling of water in Baptism. These are required as the Church prescribes to be valid. 
2. The were all divinely instituted by Jesus Christ Himself, without exception. This is a dogma of the Catholic faith. All seven Sacraments come from Christ and were all known and performed by the apostles by His command. Thus they are all necessary and none are superfluous. 
3. They contain in themselves by their own virtue and power, ex opere operato (literally: "by the very fact of the action's being performed"), the power of life giving grace. This means that the Sacrament itself is a channel of divine grace given for the salvation and sanctification of all men. They are not mere external signs of membership to a community and contain in themselves the production of grace in virtue of the power given to them by God. The Sacraments themselves then are instruments of grace. 

The Sacraments in number. 
There are seven Sacraments of the Church, no more and no less. The Councils of Trent and Florence are clear that they are as follows.. Baptism, Confirmation, The Holy Eucharist, Penance, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders, and Matrimony. 

Character on the soul. 
Certain Sacraments impress a character on the soul while the others do not. The Sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders impress a character on the soul and thus can only be received once. 

Sacraments of the living and the dead. 
Sacraments of the living are those supposed to be living in a state of grace and thus supply an increase of grace in the person who receives them. They are Confirmation, The Holy Eucharist, Extreme Unction, Holy Orders and Matrimony. 

Sacraments of the dead are those who are spiritually dead and are said to give grace to give life to those in such a state. These are Baptism and Penance. Those who have yet to receive Baptism or those in mortal sin who have not gone to the Sacrament of Penance should not receive any of the other Sacraments until they have done so. 

Proper matter and form make a Sacrament valid. 
1. The matter of the Sacrament is the sensible thing used such as water for Baptism. 
2. The form is the manner in which the Sacrament is performed in the words of the rite itself. Some are essential some are not. Certain words are essential in each Sacrament in order for it to be valid. These signify the grace or power to be conveyed as such distinguishing it from the other Sacraments. For example, in the case of Baptism for example the words, ""N___, I baptize thee in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost." 
3. The matter and form go together as a whole thus the water is poured while the Baptismal formula is pronounced. Each Sacrament has its proper rite to which these two go together as a whole and should be followed as prescribed by the Church in the appropriate rite. 
4. Any substantial change in either the matter or form invalidates the Sacrament. 
5. Whenever a reasonable doubt exists as to their validity the Sacrament can be repeated conditionally. 

The proper administrator of the Sacraments. 
1. The primary minister of the Sacraments is Christ, the secondary is the minister who confers or administrates the Sacrament physically in the name of Christ by His authority. 
2. There are ordinary and extraordinary ministers. The ordinary is that who has the authority to do so according to the general law established by the Church. The extraordinary is one who ministers outside the general law due to necessity. 
3. There are two conditions required for a minister to validly administrate the Sacraments, 1) That they have power given to them by God to so so, 2) To have the intention of doing what the Church does. Each Sacrament has different laws concerning ministers. For example, Holy Orders can only be administrated by bishops, no exceptions, while Baptism could be administrated by a lay person in time of necessity. 

The Canons of Trent on the Sacraments in General- Session 7

Canon 1. If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law were not all instituted by our Lord Jesus Christ, or that there are more or less than seven, namely, baptism, confirmation, Eucharist, penance, extreme unction, order and matrimony, or that any one of these seven is not truly and intrinsically a sacrament, let him be anathema.

Canon 2. If anyone says that these sacraments of the New Law do not differ from the sacraments of the Old Law, except that the ceremonies are different and the external rites are different, let him be anathema.

Canon 3. If anyone says that these seven sacraments are so equal to each other that one is not for any reason more excellent than the other, let him be anathema.

Canon 4. If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law are not necessary for salvation but are superfluous, and that without them or without the desire of them men obtain from God through faith alone the grace of justification, though all are not necessary for each one, let him be anathema.

Canon 5. If anyone says that these sacraments have been instituted for the nourishment of faith alone, let him be anathema.

Canon 6. If anyone says that the sacraments of the New Law do not contain the grace which they signify, or that they do not confer that grace on those who place no obstacles in its way, as though they were only outward signs of grace or justice received through faith and certain marks of Christian profession, whereby among men believers are distinguished from unbelievers, let him be anathema.

Canon 7. If anyone says that grace, so far as God's part is concerned, is not impaired through the sacraments always and to all men even if they receive them rightly, but only sometimes and to some persons, let him be anathema.

Canon 8. If anyone says that by the sacraments of the New Law grace is not conferred ex opere operato, but that faith alone in the divine promise is sufficient to obtain grace, let him be anathema.

Canon 9. If anyone says that in three sacraments, namely, baptism, confirmation and order, there is not imprinted on the soul a character, that is, a certain spiritual and indelible mark, by reason of which they cannot be repeated, let him be anathema.

Canon 10. If anyone says that all Christians have the power to administer the word and all the sacraments, let him be anathema.

Canon 11. If anyone says that in ministers, when they effect and confer the sacraments, there is not required at least the intention of doing what the Church does, let him be anathema.

Canon 12. If anyone says that a minister who is in mortal sin, though he observes all the essentials that pertain to the effecting or conferring of a sacrament, neither effects nor confers a sacrament, let him be anathema.

Canon 13. If anyone says that the received and approved rites of the Catholic Church, accustomed to be used in the administration of the sacraments, may be despised or omitted by the ministers without sin and at their pleasure, or may be changed by any pastor of the churches to other new ones, let him be anathema.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Join the Fight in San Jose! Pray the Rosary Dec 30th, 2017

If you can't be there in person offer up your Rosary at home to fight the Satanic assault against Our Lord.

In San Jose, in the Cesar Chavez Park, the usual "Christmas in the Park" trees and decorations were joined by displays of LGBT, anti-American and Satanic inspiration - even a goat-head atop a Christmas tree!

In response, we must show Our Lord, Our Lady and St. Joseph that we love them and won't let these anti-Christmas displays go unanswered!

Join an act of reparation: Rosary, Christmas Carols, Divine Praises and Consecration to Jesus through Mary. 

Bring friends to the Rosary: tomorrow, Dec. 30, 12 Noon at the Cesar Chavez Park Intersection between South Market Street and Park Ave., San Jose, CA 95113

Thursday, December 28, 2017

St. Catherine of Siena Letters and Anthology Books

Saint Catherine of Siena is one of my favorite Saints. If you take her work the 'Dialogue' along with her collection of letters there is not much in the way of spirituality and theology that is not covered. Catherine was no nonsense and her letters provide the reader with a unique spiritual insight into the lives of people from every walk of life. Catherine writes to "popes, cardinals and bishops, royalty and public officials, family and friends and disciples, and an assortment of others, including allies and opponents, a mercenary captain, a prostitute, a homosexual, and political prisoners." Suzanne Noffke, O.P. is the preeminent scholar on Saint Catherine and she provides the translations of her letters along with a brilliant 'Anthology' which allows you to look up important theological and spiritual topics in the four volumes of letters as well as the Dialogue and her Prayers. Be sure to have a copy of Nofke's translation of the Dialogue and her translation of her prayers so you can reference the passages. For example, in the Anthology if you look up the Sacrament of Confession there are seven letters referenced, one prayer referenced and three passages from the dialog referenced. The text is cited and where to find the entire letter or passage is noted so you can read the quotation in context.

These books are a bit pricey but worth every penny. You may have to make an effort to look at every avenue online to obtain all six books at a reasonable price. In general Amazon has most of them but some are over priced. Try and go to the publisher ACMRS to see which ones they have. The 385 letters are published in four hardback volumes. The Anthology is published in two volumes. The binding is nice and they are a set that can be passed on to your children. So far no paperback versions exist. These books will offer you a lifetime of enjoyment as well an extensive reference point for perennial theological and spiritual insight. I would not waste time in getting them since they seem to be harder to come by as time goes on and I am not sure if they are all still in print.

All Six Volumes

Anthology Volume One
Letters Volume One

All Six Volumes

Noffke's Translation of the Dialogue

Noffke's translation of the prayers.

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

New Page...'Read it!'

Being a book fanatic I have added a new page to the website that offers a list of ongoing recommended books. Under the header you will see now the 'Home' page and the new 'Read It!' page. Please check back often to see what new titles have been added. Feel free to comment and recommend books that you think should be added! Also look down the sidebar for more detailed reviews and recommendations. Happy reading!

Read it!

Monday, December 25, 2017

Christ is Born, Glorify Him! A Merry Christmas With Sacred Music!

Learn about Sacred Christmas music and hear it sung by one of the world's finest choirs, Harry Christopher's 'The Sixteen.' Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 24, 2017

When the World Lost the Sacraments: The Church and the World Today

 I would propose that the loss of grace through the loss of the proper reception of the Sacraments in the Church over the past 50 or so years has helped to put modern cultures across the globe over the edge into the immoral abyss of hell.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Christmas Presents Us With A Question: Do You Welcome Him Or Reject Him?

Advent is coming to a close and Christmas is almost here. With the coming of Christ in the Incarnation, the world has been changed. No other person in the history of the world has had as much impact on the world as Jesus Christ. There is of course a reason for this, He is the creator of it! With the coming of Christ comes also a responsibility for each and every person. Will the love of Christ be the focus of one's life or will the world be the focus of one's life? As we know wherever the love of man is directed, there his time and his heart will also be found. Does our relationship with Christ come first in our lives or does something else preoccupy us? The Incarnation of Jesus Christ brings mercy to the world, yes, it's the good news! But it also brings forth a mandatory response from each person to accept or reject His mercy. The choice is ours. Which side are you on? This question beckons us this Christmas season. As the world falls deeper and deeper into an anti-Christian abyss, will we ourselves fall into it? Or will we look instead into the abyss of mercy and love of Jesus Christ? As we see the merciful infant Jesus bring forth love and grace to all mankind, are we prepared to welcome Him or reject Him? Is our lamp lit and burning or is it found to be without flame? This is the message we need to share with our friends and loved ones this Christmas season.

Building Your Reference Library: Dogmatic Theology

As most people know, I am a book fiend. I would rather keep wearing my old clothes, skip haircuts and not eat than not purchase a great book. In order to research theological topics it is important to have a wide selection of reliable doctrinal and spiritual writings from which to choose. I try and stay with traditional reprints when it comes to dogmatic theology, which I am focusing on in this post. Listed below are several traditional resources that I consider to be of great value in a home library. These can be used to teach family catechism and most questions that arise concerning dogmatic theology can be answered by referring to these books. Yes, these books are not cheap, but they are an investment in your faith! At least that is the excuse I use! 😉 In my opinion no one should be teaching RCIA without using these resources. They are all steeped in the theology of Trent heavily influenced by Aquinas.

1. Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology - Complete set of 12 Volumes in Six Books
The original publication was in 12 separate volumes. Loreto has re-issued the complete set of 12 volumes in six books. The six books may be purchased individually or as a set.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Favorite Books Read In 2017

Books, books and more books! As the year comes to a close I wanted to put forth a recommended book list. Listed below are some of the books that I have read this year that I would recommend you get your hands on. They are in no particular order. Happy reading!

1. The Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena.
This book really needs no introduction. It is one of the most prolific spiritual and theological writings in the history of the Church. This book is largely composed of Catherine's accounts of God the Father speaking to her during her locutions. This one book that can be read over and over, even on a yearly basis. I have a feeling that St. Catherine and God the Father would be considered rigid by today's standards!

2. Catherine of Siena: Spiritual Development. by Thomas McDermott
There are many lessons to be learned if one takes their time to read and meditate on the passages in this book which quotes primarily from Catherine's Dialogue, her Letters and Sacred Scripture. There are also comparisons to the teachings of some of the Church Fathers and Saints as well. The book is well written and thoughtfully laid out. It is repetitious at times but in a pleasant way that keeps reemphasizing the spiritual themes that permeate Catherine's life and her work. This allows you to internalize her thought and hopefully grow in the love of God.

3. Christian Spirituality in Catholic Tradition. by Jordan Aumann
I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in knowing where the many spiritual practices we know of today originated from, and how there came to be different emphasis on spiritual practices depending on the time it was needed in the Church. Every major spiritual school of thought is covered.

4. Faith Comes From What is Heard. by Lawrence Feingold
This 600 plus page book is packed with a ton useful information. The book focuses on the Church and how Divine Revelation is passed on to the faithful. Topics covered include, The primacy of Peter, the Magisterium, Sacred Tradition, Sacred Scripture, Biblical typology, Exegesis of Scripture, apostolic succession and more.  

5. Noble Beauty, Transcendent Holiness by Peter Kwasniewski
This book is not for the faint of heart. The Mass of Paul VI is put under scrutiny and compared to the traditional Latin Mass. I don't have to say more since readers of this blog know where I stand on the liturgical changes after Vatican II.

6. Saint Dominic by Sister Mary Jane Dorcy
Saint Dominic is my favorite Saint and he has done wonderful things for me! This is a great biographical account of his life.

7. The Political Pope. by George Neumayr
Its sad to say that a critical book compiling the life of Pope Francis would make the list, but tough times call for tough measures. This book is also not for the faint of heart. The author does a good job of recounting the events of Pope Francis before he was pope and after. Don't expect fanciful prose here, just the documented facts.

8. Christ's Fulfillment of Torah and Temple. by Matthew Levering
If you desire to understand Biblical typology then this book is for you. Using Thomas Aquinas, Levering describes how the Old Testament is prefigured, transformed and fulfilled in the New Testament. This book should be in the hands of all those who take Scripture study seriously.

9. Participatory Biblical Exegesis. by Matthew Levering
This is the second book this year I read by Levering. Once again Levering offers us a true understanding of Biblical exegesis according to the Church Fathers and the theologians of the Middle Ages such as Aquinas. Levering understands the benefits and limitations of historical criticism and seeks to retrieve and restore medieval Biblical exegesis into modern Catholic Biblical scholarship.

10. Reflections. Ascent of Mt Carmel. by Marc Foley
This spiritual work is sure to prick your conscience as the author takes you on a guided trip through St John of the Cross' profound spiritual work. Pick it up daily and reflect on where your spiritual life is lacking and put into practice the recommendations given.

11. The Power of Silence. by Cardinal Robert Sarah
This writing emphasizes the importance of spending time in silent prayer. With all of the media we are bombarded with on a daily basis, the good Cardinal offers some inspiration to make time to sit in silence with God.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

The Necessity of Baptism (What About Baptism by Blood and Desire?)

After recently encountering some Catholic websites, it seems that some simply do not understand the sacrament of Baptism. Unfortunately most Catholics today are poorly Catechized and are thus confused even on some of the basic teachings of the Church. What grade school children understood at a basic level in years past adults today do not understand. As we know Christ calls all men to be Baptized in order to receive salvation. "Going therefore, teach ye all nations; baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." (Matthew 28:19) Through this Sacrament all guilt and temporal punishment due to sin is removed and a divine imprint is made upon the soul making one able to receive the other Sacraments. Ordinarily this entry of the Christian into the Body of Christ happens through water Baptism. There are however two other means in which adults can possibly receive some of the effects of the Sacrament, minus the imprinting of the character of the Sacrament. These are Baptism by Blood and Desire. I must state that according to reliable Catholic theological manuals such as The' Pohle-Preuss Manual of Dogmatic Theology', they define the level of authoritative teaching of the Church concerning each of these as follows.

NFP and Artificial Birth Control, Whats the Difference?

"..reason attests that there are objects of the human act which are by their nature “incapable of being ordered” to God, because they radically contradict the good of the person made in his image. These are the acts which, in the Church’s moral tradition, have been termed “intrinsically evil” (intrinsece malum); they are such always and per se, in other words, on account of their very object, and apart from the ulterior intentions of the one acting and the circumstances (Veritatis splendor, no. 80, 1)

A question has been asked in one of my comboxes so I thought it would be best to answer in a separate post. The question is as follows, 

Rhythm method is not a sexual act but neither is taking birth control. Both of these thing come from the same intent of heart to be non procreative. They both are not full proof but originate from the same desire. How can the church be ok with the premise of stopping life but only be ok with one method. In everything I have studied I have concluded that it is either 100% wrong to prevent life by any measure or if I admit that the church is smarter than I and that preventing life is ok by them then I have to believe that contraception is ok(absent of abortive ones) as long as you are open to life and share the marital act with your spouse. I have been researching this for almost a year and this is what I have concluded to hear your response would be welcoming and hopefully enlightening.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Praying the Rosary to the Interior: Purification of the Church (February 2, 2018)

We hear and see Catholics around the country complaining about the state of the Church today. Here is a chance to actually do something about it! A movement is beginning spread among Catholics in the US that is inspired by Catholics in Poland praying the Rosary together for the Church and their country. On February 2, 2018, which is the day celebrating the double Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also called Candlemas), there will occur throughout the United States the gathering of faithful in their parish churches to pray the Rosary for the intention of the Purification of the Church, and the Triumph of the Light of Christ over all sin and error. This event is titled 'Rosary To The Interior'.

I personally have been a promoter of the Rosary, and I believe that it has kept me grounded through many trials and tribulations. The Rosary is a powerful prayer that has had much success in the life of the Church against evil. Catholics united in praying the Rosary have produced many miracles throughout history including stopping the invading hordes of Islam across Europe. If you have any doubts as to the importance of the Rosary, I highly recommend that you pick up a copy of 'Champions of the Rosary.' Once you begin reading it you will not want to put it down. I believe this book will inspire you to pick up the Rosary often. That being said, this event on February 2nd offers us a chance to pray together in an effort to purify the Church in our own country. Lets unite on this occasion to do something significant for our Church and country. Below is the letter that was sent out explaining what the 'Rosary To The Interior' is all about. Put this date on your calendar!

Be inspired by the Rosary!

Rosary To The Interior: For the Purification of the Church

On February 2, 2018, which is the day celebrating the double Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple and the Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary (also called Candlemas), there will occur throughout the  United States the gathering of faithful in their parish churches  to pray the Rosary for the intention of the Purification of the Church, and the Triumph of the Light of Christ over all sin and error.

The Salvation of the Jews: Fulfillment and Transformation of the Old Covenant

Since the Church claims that the Old Covenant has never been revoked, does this mean that today's practice of Judaism is salvific? I will answer this question and more though the intriguing prophetical figure of Elijah!

This presentation is presented in both video format as well as written format. I will be examining the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in the New, using the prophet Elijah as the figure to deliver this teaching of the Church. I have broken this into two videos and the text follows, which includes all of my referenced sources.

Part I

Part II

The Prefigurement of Christ in the Prophetical Figure of Elijah
Matthew J Bellisario 2017

“Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For amen, I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall not pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” (Matthew 5:17-18)

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Realizing the Narrow Gate Part III: The Apostles, Saints and Conclusion

This is the third and final part of the series 'Realizing the Narrow Gate' where I discuss the loss of oppostio in the modern Church.

“Sin robs us of life and gives us death. It robs us of light and gives us darkness, because it dims the mind’s eye and keeps it from seeing either the sun or the dark. I mean here the dark of self-knowledge, in which we discover and see the dark sensuality that is always rebelling and fighting against our Creator. And if we do not see our own darkness we cannot know the love and light of divine goodness.” St Catherine of Siena

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Realizing the Narrow Gate Part II: The Middle Ages and Christ in the New Testament

This is the second video in the series, 'Realizing the Narrow Gate', in which I discuss the imagery of juxtaposing good and evil in the Church.

For evil men have no hope of things to come, and the lamp of the wicked shall be put out. Prov24:20

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Realizing the Narrow Gate Part I: Pope John XXIII's Paradigm Shift

This video is the first part in a series addressing the loss of the juxtaposition between good and evil in the Catholic Church. This introduction looks at the shift in thinking during the pontificate of Pope John XXIII, specifically in his opening address to the Second Vatican Council.

Vatican Wreckovation of the Nativity Scene- Will Nothing Be Spared?

Is nothing sacred anymore? Edward Pentin has tweeted out these pictures of this year's Vatican nativity scene. Will nothing be left untouched by the Francis regime? Apparently now the corporal works of mercy have been merged into the traditional arrangement.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Amoris Heretical Interpretation Now Official? Updated with Links To Articles

Has the interpretation that a person having relations with someone other than their spouse can in some cases take Holy Communion official? This is what the latest news coming out of the Vatican is saying. Any comments, ideas, thoughts?

Father Brian Harrison responds..

Dear Friends,

Today we have heard grievously troubling news from Rome: the publication in Acta Apostolicae Sedis of Pope Francis' approval of a 2016 letter of a group of Argentinian bishops, raising their controversial doctrinal position to the status of "authentic magisterium".

Some, including Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, have recently been reported as saying that the Buenos Aires bishops' letter is itself capable of a traditional, orthodox reading on the vital point - i.e., that it was still ambiguous about whether divorced and invalidly remarried Catholics could "in certain cases" receive the sacraments even without a commitment to practice continence. That is something the existing  magisterium (e.g., John Paul II in Familaris Consortio #84, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, nos. 1650 and 2390,  and canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law) has insisted can never be permitted.

But on looking again at the key sections 5 and 6 of the Buenos Aires bishops' letter, I cannot see any ambiguity. Below I have reproduced the relevant text, so you, dear reader, can judge for yourself. (I have checked this translation with the original Spanish and found it accurate.) These bishops are saying that although "unrestricted" access to the sacraments cannot be granted to all divorced and invalidly remarried Catholics, Amoris Laetitia "opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist" for some people in that situation, that is, in "particular cases" where "one arrives at the recognition" that they have diminished responsibility and culpability. (We are left wondering who, exactly, is supposed to do the "recognizing" here: priest confessors? penitents themselves? a consensus of both parties?)

Excerpt from the Buenos Aires Bishops’ Letter of September 5, 2016, on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitita, Chapter 8:

5) When the concrete circumstances of a [divorced and invalidly remarried] couple make it feasible, especially when both are Christians with a journey of faith, it is possible to propose that they make the effort of living in continence. Amoris Laetitia does not ignore the difficulties of this option (cf. note 329) and leaves open the possibility of receiving the sacrament of Reconciliation when one fails in this intention (cf. note 364, according to the teaching of Saint John Paul II to Cardinal W. Baum, of 22/03/1996).

6) In other, more complex circumstances, and when it is not possible to obtain a declaration of nullity, the aforementioned option [i.e., a commitment to continence] may not, in fact, be feasible. Nonetheless, it is equally possible to undertake a journey of discernment. If one arrives at the recognition that, in a particular case, there are limitations that diminish responsibility and culpability (cf. 301-302), particularly when a person judges [or "considers" - Spanish considere] that he would fall into a subsequent fault by damaging the children of the new union, Amoris Laetitia opens up the possibility of access to the sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist (cf. notes 336 and 351). These in turn dispose the person to continue maturing and growing with the aid of grace. [emphasis added above]

7) However, it is necessary to avoid understanding this possibility as an unrestricted access to the sacraments, or as though any situation might justify it.

Now, today we have been told officially in the Holy See's official record, the Acta Apostolicae Sedis that the Supreme Pontiff Francis teaches, by his letter of approval to the said bishops, that this position is now "authentic magisterium".

So Pope Francis is not proposing it as infallible teaching, which would require our definitive, irrevocable assent. Nevertheless, all teachings proposed as "authentic magisterium" are supposed to require our "religious assent of mind and will". That is, we're to accept them as almost certainly true, or morally certain (and so, if we're priests and/or theologians and/or catechists, preach and teach them confidently to our people without fear of being in error). But since the same Catholic magisterium has already for two millennia required us (I would say infallibly by virtue of the ordinary and universal magisterium,  but at the very least "authentically") to believe the opposite of what the present Holy Father says, I find myself unable in conscience to just flick a switch in my mind and give my religious assent to his novel doctrine. For it's a doctrine that has been constantly and energetically rejected by the present Holy Father's predecessors in the See of Peter. Moreover, I find the argumentation being given for the supposed continuity of this new doctrine with Catholic tradition quite implausible and fallacious (see and, and I have further hesitations about the strength of a doctrine that was originally formulated in nothing more than two mere (and unclear) footnotes to the papal exhortation in question (AL notes 336 and 351).

Oremus pro Sancta Matre Ecclesia!

Fr. Brian W. Harrison, OS, STD
St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.

Links to articles on the fallout!

Lifesite Confusion Explodes

Interview – Roberto de Mattei Discusses the Escalating Church Crisis

Edward Pentin Article

Kasper Responds

Pro-Life Leaders Pledge Fidelity

Peter Kwasniewski's Dialog of the Two Monks

The World Over Responds

Bishops in Kazakhstan Respond

Friday, December 1, 2017

Are All Religions a Unifying Force?

Pope Francis in his address in Bangledesh Nov 30th says the following,

Although my visit is primarily addressed to Bangladesh’s Catholic community, a privileged moment will be my meeting tomorrow in Ramna with ecumenical and interreligious leaders. Together we will pray for peace and reaffirm our commitment to work for peace. Bangladesh is known for the harmony that has traditionally existed between followers of the various religions. This atmosphere of mutual respect and a growing climate of interreligious dialogue enables believers to express freely their deepest convictions about the meaning and purpose of life. In this way, they can contribute to promoting the spiritual values that are the sure basis for a just and peaceful society. In a world where religion is often – scandalously – misused to foment division, such a witness to its reconciling and unifying power is all the more necessary.

Once again we see Pope Francis peddling this idea of this supposed unifying power of various religions. Although many religions share some similarities in their moral beliefs, they are far from unifying. By the fact that these different religions profess to have their own set of "truths" or philosophies, they are in contradiction to one another. There is no common good to truly be found outside of Jesus Christ. We can only go so far with the natural law. Even with the light of the natural law these other religions teach things that are contrary to the natural law. Pope Francis seems to think that this religious diversity is a good thing that can bring some type of unity to a culture or society. This of course is contrary to reason. This can be seen by the very fact that this diversity never leads to a stable society.

This ecumenical interreligious "mission" has to stop. How is Pope Francis calling those that are in the dark forces of diabolic religions and cults such as Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism to Christ?  He is in Bangladesh where 90% of the population is Muslim! How is that a diverse harmony of religions? How is their "spiritual values" a sure basis for a just and peaceful society? The answer is, it isn't. Islam's "spiritual values" are toxic to any culture, because it promotes falsehoods against God! Catholicism is less than 1%! What is he doing about that? Where is the call to the conversion to Christ in his addresses? There aren't any. There is not even a hint of it. It is all about making a worldly utopia, which is never going to happen. That being said, nothing is going to even improve without the light of Christ. There is no unifying good that comes from a diversity of religions which is why Christ called us to preach the Gospel to all nations.

Pope Pius IX wrote in his encyclical Qui Pluribus the following truth,

 15. Also perverse is the shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs, a theory which is greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial.