Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Catholic Champion Comes to an End!- A New Website Begins!

One door closes and a new one opens! After over 10 years of blogging, I have been inspired to close down Catholic Champion! Since there are pictures and other information that people may want to download I will leave the site up for a several weeks. After that, it will be unavailable to the public. You can always contact me for any pictures or articles you may want.  I hope I have helped readers to learn more about the Catholic faith over the years and I hope that none of my writings have contained any error or have caused any scandal to anyone. Over the years the content of this blog has gone through many changes, beginning with basic apologetics and then moving to more traditionally focused content. I believe that now is the time to end one era and begin another. 

Image result for curtain closing and opening

I have been inspired to start a new website called Dominican Trad. On this website, I will be focusing on Dominican theology and spirituality with an emphasis on traditional Catholicism. I hope to help others live the Catholic faith in this unprecedented age of apostasy with traditional Dominican articles and traditional Catholic resources. I hope you will join me on this venture in the future and pass the new site along to others. 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Aquinas and Cut and Paste Apologetics

One of the many things that I hear today's Catholic pop-apologists doing that drive me crazy is using the Summa Theologica as an encyclopedia to support their arguments. They do this without having studied the Summa as a whole, nor have they studied Thomas's other works or the interpretation of reliable commentators on his works. This falls into the same "cut and paste" apologetics mentality when quoting the Church Fathers. They simply do not study the context of these writings nor the theological approach used in these writings.

I was listening to a recent debate/discussion between Trent Horn and Tim Gordon today. Hats off to Tim Gordon on the debate. Unfortunately, I listened to Mr. Trent Horn quote the Summa Theologica out of context in his defense of the recent condemnation of the death penalty by Pope Francis. It was quite clear that he had no idea as to other texts of St. Thomas on the same subject, nor did he understand Thomas' use of the common good, or "human dignity" which Thomas never uses in the same context used today.

For one, Thomas' use of the common good was not confined to the physical protection of the public. In addition, Mr. Horn claimed that St. Thomas thought that man lost his human dignity when Thomas makes reference in justifying the death penalty. Horn emphatically says he disagrees with Thomas! But if Mr. horn understood what Thomas was actually saying, would he disagree?  It is important to understand that Thomas does not refer to "dignity" as it is being used by today's theologians. Thomas refers to dignity not in relation to the imago dei (the image and likeness of God), which obviously cannot be lost, but in relation to the civil society by the crime the person committed! This is a huge difference since human dignity is often used in reference to man being created in the image and likeness of God. This is just one example of today's Catholic apologists quoting Aquinas out of context, and it really irks me.

I want to make a quick list here concerning today's pop-apologists using the Summa Theologica, or any of Thomas' works for that matter, as reference books to look up topics and quote from them as if each topical entry stands on its own. There are some basic things to know about Aquinas in general before quoting passages from his works such as Summa Theologica.

1. If you use the Summa Theologica as a theological encyclopedia, you have no business quoting from it. This is a huge mistake. Instead of reading the text as it was intended to be read, from the beginning to the end, people open up the index and simply look for the topic they are interested in. This poses a serious problem. As they say, an error, in the beginning, is an error indeed! Saint Thomas' writings do not afford us the luxury of repetitive summary that modern publications often use. Once Saint Thomas has set up an important point, he often makes no mention of it again, and simply builds upon that principle throughout the work. This happens many times throughout the Summa Theologica. So one cannot go into the Summa and simply start cutting out passages without having first understood core principals of the theology that Saint Thomas laid out in earlier parts of the work, or even in his other works. Thomas also assumes a certain knowledge that his readers of the time will have just as modern authors assume some knowledge of their reading audience.  
2. If you have not studied Thomas in Latin or have at least gone to educated commentators on Thomas who understand Latin then you are prone to quote Thomas out of context. Trust me, I have been there!
3. If your only knowledge of Thomas' works is the Summa Theologica, then please do not ever quote from it! You have no business doing so.
4. If you have never studied metaphysics and learned the first principles in Aristotelian philosophy then you have no business quoting Aquinas. Put some effort into learning how Thomas thinks. 
5. There is a reason that many theologians spend their lives studying the works of Aquinas. His works are not like reading modern theological authors who are writing in our own language. Nor are his writings to be understood by using today's assumed theological terminology. When we read a word in Thomas' writings only a fool would assume to think that it always means what it means in today's modern languages. This means that it takes either studying Latin along with medieval theology or referencing theologians who have done the homework for you. Don't make a fool out of yourself. 
Although I love St. Thomas Aquinas and his writings, I am very careful before I quote any of his works. Since I am by no means an expert on Aquinas, before I use a quote I always look to reliable commentators to see how they understand it. I also make an effort to read from multiple Thomistic sources, not just the Summa Theologica. Please do not abuse Aquinas' writings. It takes much study and work to aptly make use of them. Aquinas is worth much more than today's cut and paste methods.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Beware of the John Henry Newman "Experts"!

As expected, there are many people trying to capitalize on the canonization of John Henry Newman. "Newman experts" are coming out of the woodwork everywhere. There are two types of Newman predators, monetary and theological. There are several authors that were just waiting in the wings with their Newman books so that they can make money off the canonization. The others are going to use Newman as a tool to promote their bad theological ideas under the disguise of his 'development of doctrine.' I would be very careful about buying or reading any new books on Cardinal Newman. I personally will intentionally avoid any of them. Although a brilliant mind and a prolific writer, I am not a huge fan of Newman's theology. I have the books below and find that they are well written and quite enough for my own interest. If I were to recommend some books on him, they would be the ones listed below.

Apologia pro Vita Sua- John Henry Newman

Selected Sermons- John Henry Newman

An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine- John Henry Newman

John Henry Newman: A Biography- Ian Kerr

Newman: His Life and Spirituality- Louis Bouyer

The Rule of Our Warfare: John Henry Newman and the True Christian Life- John Hulsman

Lead Kindly Light: The Life of John Henry Newman- Michael Davies

The Life of John Henry Cardinal Newman- Wilfrid Ward (out of print, look for it used)

Friday, October 11, 2019

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Our Lack of Holiness Has Brought Us Chastisement!

"...as it is written: That eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, what things God hath prepared for them that love him. But to us God hath revealed them, by this Spirit. For the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, but the spirit of a man that is in him? So the things also that are of God no man knoweth, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world, but the Spirit that is of God; that we may know the things that are given us from God. Which things also we speak, not in the learned words of human wisdom; but in the doctrine of the Spirit, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the sensual man perceiveth not these things that are of the Spirit of God; for it is foolishness to him, and he cannot understand, because it is spiritually examined. But the spiritual man judgeth all things; and he himself is judged of no man."
(1st Corinthians 2:9-15)

Any Catholic who is trying to live the Catholic faith with total fidelity to her teachings finds themselves baffled by a world and a Church governed by the totalitarian regime of relativism. Why is it that a large portion of the Church's hierarchy now question clear and simple truths of the faith? The natural law along with Church doctrine, faith and morals is being undermined in a concerted effort as never before. It is no surprise to find many outside the Church mocking and questioning the Church's teaching on contraception, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, and the like, but quite another when we find traitors among us inside the Church who do the same.

It is an important question to ask why we now find ourselves in what seems an almost hopeless situation. Of course we know that the Church will withstand this storm as she has done the many others throughout history. However, I think it is important to look at the very nature of the origin of the crisis we now face rather than the symptoms, if we are going to contribute to the well being of the Church. Yes, we have seen the watering down of doctrine and liturgy devolve further into outright denial of absolute truths of our faith. We must ask what preceded these abominable attacks on the faith. 

Many of us love to harken back to the pontificates of Pius IX, Pius X, Leo XIII and Pius XII among others. We love the clearness of their teachings and their boldness in opposing the noxious errors of modernism. We often perceive the later pontificates of Pope John XXIII, Paul VI and the current pontificates as allowing modernism to flourish in the Church by various degrees. If only this was the simple story that explains everything! It is not quite this simple. The failings of various pontificates in whatever degree they may be does not totally account for our perilous situation.

If the only requirement of the papacy and the accompanying hierarchical structure of the Church was to teach the faith clear and precise, would we now find ourselves in this situation? Although we know of the undeniable infiltration of the Church by Masonic and other evil influences is a reality, is this the sole cause of the dire straights we find ourselves in today? Does the barque of Peter find itself on the cusp of going over the Niagra Falls loosing many souls aboard only due to poor catechesis? 

It is a fact that the papacy and the bishops of the world did a fairly decent job of preserving the Catholic teachings well into the 1950's. This however did not prevent the crisis we find ourselves in which quickly came to light a mere 10 to 15 years after this so called golden age. How can something this horrific have developed in such a short time in the hierarchy? The fact is, it was present under the surface for years before in the form of spiritual lukewarmness. Although the teachings of the Church was being taught fairly well prior to the 60s, Catholics were not truly living them.

It is my belief that a lack of holiness among Catholics, laymen and clergy included preceded the tearing down of Catholic theology. Under the surface of the golden age a garden of sin was being cultivated at a rapid pace. If the faith was being lived in its fullness by a majority of Catholics, modernism would never have taken hold in the Church. Clergy were already abusing the young and although they were on the surface teaching the Catholic faith, they were not living it. The average Catholic lay person was living a very similar life to the secular public in the 1950s. A false perception of holiness only for the clergy had already taken hold, despite Church teaching to the contrary. 

The reason we find ourselves in the dire straights of heresy and apostasy is because a large portion of Catholics were not and are still not living the Catholic faith. They are not living in a state of grace, in a life of prayer that is pleasing to God. Just knowing the true Catholic faith is not enough, dare I say it becomes one's own millstone when one knows it and does not live it. Most Catholics did not and still do not take the call to holiness seriously. They do not pray and make sacrifices, nor do they speak out against the grotesque sins of the age as we are obligated to do under the virtue of prudence. Instead a lukewarmness pervades the Church like a spiritual specter of the black plague, killing souls instead of bodies at an unprecedented rate. "I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. I would thou wert cold, or hot. But because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth.(Rev 3:15-16)

It is time to call on Catholics both laity and clergy to teach the truth as it has been handed down to us by Christ and His apostles, but also to help each other live a life of holiness to which all of these teachings direct us. We must direct our lives to one end only, and that is God almighty. We should not turn the Catholic faith into a lifeless theological study where you check off the required boxes. We study theology in order to love God more, to enter into a mystical relationship with the Holy Trinity. Nothing other than this end is acceptable. For those of you who have read my blog over the years, you know that I am not downplaying learning the Catholic faith, as I have promoted many traditional theological and spiritual works many times. As we study however we must put our faith into true action led by the Holy Trinity.

Here are a ten things to consider in your efforts to help rectify the problems in the Church. Are you ultimately part of the problem, or part of the solution?

1. Do you primarily pray only when you have a problem, or only a few times a week at home? 

2. Do you spend more time watching television or doing other things of natural pleasure than you do praying? 

3. Are you one who spends more time on the internet complaining about the problems in the Church and fighting with your fellow Catholics than you do praying and performing acts of penance such as fasting? 

4. Do you spend more time supplying your ego with knowledge in reading books rather than reading for your spiritual edification and growth towards holiness?

5. Do you spend more time in serious sin than in a state of grace? 

6. Do you frequent the Sacraments as mere dry mechanisms and not with a holy fear of the divine grace that comes through them?

7. Does your weekly spirituality only consist of attending your Sunday obligation of the Holy Mass? 

8. Do the pleasures of this world succeed in pulling your attention away from God for lengthy periods of time minimizing your interior life with God? 

9. Do you put theology or spirituality above one another as if they are separate entities to be studied or followed? 

10. Do you separate theological truths from the lived application of holiness that God calls us to, and do you refuse to stand up in faith for the Church where God calls you to do so? 

10.5 . Does everything you do in private or in public done with true charity, which is only possibly done in a state of grace?

If you answered any of the first 10 questions in the affirmative, you are part of the problem not the solution. If you answered no to the final question than those times when you did not act in charity, you were part of the problem. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but none of us unless you are a true Saint has not been part of the problem. If you find yourself lacking in your spiritual life now is the most efficacious time of your life to rectify it. I believe that those who live a life of holiness in our age will be among the greatest Saints of the Church! 

There is no substitute for prayer, spiritual study, the cultivation of the interior life and the holiness that proceeds from these actions. We are all called to holiness, and unless we lead a life of holiness, even though we may believe and teach rightly what the Church hands on to us, we will continue to find ourselves in the horrific situation we find ourselves in today.  Right doctrine is a must, but insofar as it leads to right living, cultivating holiness in the spiritual life in the unity of the Holy Trinity. Otherwise the teachings of the Church are only only falling upon lukewarm dead souls. 

I will end with these requests of Our Lady at Fatima, which are largely being ignored by most Catholics. 

"The sins of the world are very great ... If men only knew what eternity is, they would do everything in their power to change their lives. "

"I am the Lady of the Rosary, I have come to warn the faithful to amend their lives and ask for pardon for their sins. They must not offend Our Lord any more, for He is already too grievously offended by the sins of men. People must say the Rosary. Let them continue saying it every day.

"Sacrifice yourselves for sinners and say often, especially when you make some sacrifice, 'O my Jesus, this is for love of You, for the conversion of sinners, and in reparation for the offenses committed against the Immaculate Heart of Mary. ' "

"Pray, pray a great deal and make many sacrifices, for many souls go to Hell because they have no one to make sacrifices and to pray for them. "

"Fly from riches and luxury; love poverty and silence; have charity, even for bad people."

Sister Lucia said, "... there is certainly a great need for this renewal. If it is not done, and taking into account the present development of humanity, only a limited number of the human race will be saved."

Monday, September 23, 2019

Book Recommendation: Love for the Papacy and Filial Resistance to the Pope in the History of the Church

Book Recommendation: Love for the Papacy and Filial Resistance to the Pope in the History of the Church

For those who are concerned about the direction Pope Francis is taking the Church today, this book is for you. In the first part of the book Roberto de Mattei does a great job of showing historical circumstances in which those in the Church legitimately opposed various popes for different reasons. This includes 19 essays which cover historical events such as Pope Honorius who was called out as a heretic by the Cardinals of the Church and Pope John XXII who was also a known heretic. There are also other interesting essays such as the one on Pope Leo XIIIs poor decisions on how he delegated the Church's relationship with secular society, which Pope Pius X later reversed. The second part of the book consists of four lectures and a postscript which offer a terrific defence of the papacy while maintaining a proper critical response to a pope when he is in error. The book is not just a critical look at the present papacy, but offers hope that God will bring the Church through this crisis as He has done many other times in the history of the Church. The author calls all men of good faith to remain in the Church and fight for the papacy! I can't recommend this book enough. This book is mandatory reading for all Catholics.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Fr. Matthew's Homily on Schism

I would encourage everyone to watch Fr. Matthew's homily on schism! Thanks for the inspiration!

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Francis' New Global Humanism Pact!

Is there anything remotely Catholic with this upcoming global educational pact that Francis is leading?

Link here! Read the entire website!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Pope Francis Asks For Open Criticism, Here is Mine!

The Pope has asked for open criticism. I encourage all faithful Catholics to express yours! For the little its worth, here is mine!

The "New Evangelization": It Simply Doesn't Work!

Wake up! The New Evangelization along with Catholic Lite is not working. What's wrong with tradition?

Monday, September 2, 2019

Tyniec Poland:One day in the life of a monk

In April of 2018 I made a pilgrimage to Poland and Tyniec monastery was one the places I visited. I came across this video that explains its history as well as the life to the monks today. Check it out!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

One Video You Need To Watch

If there is one video you watch this month, watch this one! The time is now to save your souls and the souls of others.

Friday, August 23, 2019

EWTN World Over - 2019-08-22 - Vigano One Year Later

Watch this important episode where the Papal Posse looks at the Vigano testimony and the state of the Church one year later.


Tuesday, August 20, 2019

The Traditional Catholic Generation Is Almost Gone! Seek Them Out While You Can!

We hear faithful Catholics often talking about waiting for the bad generation to die off, who are typically liberal. What we don't often talk about is how those faithful Catholics of the same generation who were trained in Thomistic philosophy and theology are also going to be gone very soon. There are less and less clergy who are still alive who were ordained with the Latin Mass. I have been blessed to know a couple and I am grateful for the wealth of knowledge they have given me. As much as I value reading, there is no substitute for receiving the tradition first person, handed on directly from those who were living the Catholic faith, fueled by solid Thomistic theology.

Finding ourselves in very confusing times in the Church, I try and hand on what they taught me, often using the same explanations and examples that they gave me. The fact is, there are many young men and women who desire to live the traditional Catholic faith, yet even well read they are deficient in their theological and philosophical knowledge. Books alone are not enough. If you are a faithful Catholic not old enough to remember what the Church was like before Vatican II, seek out a faithful priest who is, and learn from them while you can! The living traditional Catholic generation is almost gone, seek out their wisdom while there is still time.

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Yes, Aquinas's Theology Has Been Officially Endorsed By the Church Over Others!

Contrary to popular opinion these days of the many theologians who claim the Church has never endorsed a particular school of theology, the theology of Saint Thomas has been officially endorsed by the Church on more than one occasion. In fact, if you truly believe in the Church's defined dogma of Transubstantiation at Trent, then you must hold to the Thomistic theological view. With the continuing loss of faith concerning this dogma, I thought it would be an opportune time to put this paper out. In my opinion, we need to see more theological works with sourced documentation in the Catholic blogosphere, so here is my small contribution. This post is an expanded version of a term paper I wrote a couple of years ago. All sources are listed at the end of the paper. It's quite long so you may want to print this one out! Keep the faith and pass it along. God bless!

Transubstantiation and the Necessity of Thomistic Theology

Matthew J. Bellisario
Oct 19, 2017

 "The chief doctrines of St. Thomas' philosophy cannot be regarded as mere opinions—which anyone might discuss pro and con, but rather as a foundation on which all science of both natural and divine things rests. If they are taken away, or perverted in any way, then this necessarily follows: that the students of sacred studies will not perceive even the meaning of those words whereby the divinely revealed dogmas are uttered by the teaching of the Church."
(Pope Pius X, Doctoris Angelici, June 29, 1914)

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Punishment: Is Revenge or Vengeance Justified?

The childish definition of vengeance as understood by today's liberals. 

According to many anti-capital punishment enthusiasts today, revenge is one of the primary motives to reject capital punishment. Revenge is usually childishly equated with Charles Bronson in a Death Wish Movie or some other Hollywood fantasy. Is there is distinction between revenge and vengeance? Why do the two terms seem to be used interchangeably? Is all form of revenge or vengeance always immoral? Are they always an offense to human dignity? 

To answer this question we must define the terms. If revenge is defined as an individual carrying out his form of vigilante justice, then yes we could say that it is immoral. However, if we look at the term revenge in its traditional sense, along with the term vengeance, we see that it can have a positive and negative connotation depending on its application. For Catholics it is important to be grounded in a sensible theological framework such as Thomism. Below I have taken a passage of the Summa to demonstrate how the Church's most enlightened theologian viewed vengeance in the context of punishment.

Vengeance consists in the infliction of a penal evil on one who has sinned.  Accordingly, in the matter of vengeance, we must consider the mind of the avenger.  For if his intention is directed chiefly to the evil of the person on whom he takes vengeance and rests there, then his vengeance is altogether unlawful: because to take pleasure in another's evil belongs to hatred, which is contrary to the charity whereby we are bound to love all men.  Nor is it an excuse that he intends the evil of one who has unjustly inflicted evil on him, as neither is a man excused for hating one that hates him: for a man may not sin against another just because the latter has already sinned against him, since this is to be overcome by evil, which was forbidden by the Apostle, who says (Romans 12:21): "Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil by good."
If, however, the avenger's intention be directed chiefly to some good, to be obtained by means of the punishment of the person who has sinned (for instance that the sinner may amend, or at least that he may be restrained and others be not disturbed, that justice may be upheld, and God honored), then vengeance may be lawful, provided other due circumstances be observed. (Summa Theologiae II-II.108.1)

If we understand these terms properly, then we can clearly see that any legitimate form of punishment involves vengeance to some degree in its lawful sense. If a person is imprisoned it is a vengeful act carried out by a legitimate government to punish a wrongdoer. This would include any kind of imprisonment, fines or anything which causes the criminal to suffer. If we understand this then no Catholic can reject Capital Punishment based on the idea that it is immoral revenge or vengeance. The punishment is not being carried out in the form of vigilante justice, and thus is not sinful if carried out by a legitimate authority. Pius XII wrote in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1955, pp 81-2 the following which upholds the perennial idea of the vengeful purpose of punishment. He says it will never be outdated and always will have a lasting value. Contrast this to what we hear today.
Medicinal and Vengeful Penalties
In our speech of 3 October 1953 at the VI International Congress of Criminal Law, and also on this occasion,  we detected the fact that many, perhaps the majority of civil jurists reject that penalty; we added, however, to considerations and arguments adducted in evidence was given perhaps greater importance and strength than they actually have. We also noted that the Church in theory and in practice has maintained the double species of penalties (medicinal and vengeful) and that this is more in line with the sources of the revelation and the Traditional doctrine teaches about the coercive power of legitimate human authority. The assertion given is incorrect which says that we can say that these sources only contain ideas which are conditioned by historical circumstances and therefore they cannot be given a general and always lasting value.

Father John Hardon S.J. also referred to this passage in his defense of Capital Punishment. I recommend reading his entire article.
The Church holds that there are two reasons for inflicting punishment, namely "medicinal" and "vindictive." The medicinal purpose is to prevent the criminal from repeating his crime, and to protect society from his criminal behavior. The vindictive is to expiate for the wrongdoing perpetrated by the criminal. Thus reparation is made to an offended God, and the disorder caused by the crime is expiated. 
Equally important is the Pope's insistence that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture of Christianity. Why? Because the Church's teaching on "the coercive power of legitimate human authority" is based on "the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine." It is wrong, therefore "to say that these sources only contain ideas which are conditioned by historical circumstances." On the contrary, they have "a general and abiding validity." ( Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1955, pp 81-2).

In summary then, no right thinking person can reject Capital Punishment based on the rejection of the principle of vengeance or revenge, if understood properly. If one does so, they must reject every form of punishment. There very nature of punishment contains the principle of vengeance.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Cardinal Walter Brandmüller Calls Working Amazonian Synod Document Heretical!

I have been reading reactions over the past week or so to the working document, or the (Instrumentum Laboris) for the October 2019 Pan-Amazonian synod. Most Catholics who actually believe what the Church teaches about paganism and modernism have been very critical of the document. Some of the most striking tones of the document are the one praising witchdoctors and the like as being holy men who unlike westerners take care of the environment. There is also references to changing doctrine and finding a place in the Church hierarchy for women, and much more which all hit high on the heresy meter. For a change a Cardinal has come out and called this working document heretical. Cardinal Walter Brandmüller has done what few Cardinals other than Cardinal Burke have done, and that is call a spade a spade. Check out the entire document here. Things are going to heat up as we head towards this diabolical synod. 

It is to be stated now with insistence that the Instrumentum Laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical.
Inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned, or misunderstood, one also now has to speak, additionally, of apostasy. 
This is even more justified in light of the fact that the Instrumentum Laboris uses a purely immanentist notion of religion and that it considers religion as the result and form of expression of man's own spiritual self-experience. The use of Christian words and notions cannot conceal that these are being merely used as empty words, despite their original meaning.
The Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod constitutes an attack on the foundations of the Faith,  and in a way that has not heretofore been thought possible. Thus it must be rejected with all decisiveness. (Cardinal Walter Brandmüller)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Cardinals and Bishops Offer Doctrinal Correction to Church Authorities!

Finally we have a document issued by some bishops and cardinals of the Church offering a sober defense of the Catholic faith, which is being challenged by the highest authorities in the Church. Read it here in full.

Signatories of the declaration include: Cardinal Raymond Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop emeritus of Riga, Latvia; His Excellency Tomash Peta, Archbishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan; Jan Pawel Lenga, Archbishop-Bishop emeritus of Karaganda, Kazakhstan; and Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana.

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Theologians Charge Pope Francis As Heretic!

Another historic moment in the Church has come to pass. Several prominent theologians have decided that enough is enough, and have leveled the charge of heresy at Francis. After watching and reading many of his many statements over the years that contradict Catholic teaching, this course of action at least speaks the truth of traditional teaching of the Church. The group of theologians include reputable names such as Fr Thomas Crean, OP,  Fr John Hunwicke, Peter Kwasniewski, PhD, and Fr Aidan Nichols, OP among others. The theologians call on the bishops to consider their claim and then take canonical action directly to Francis so that he may retract his heresies, or give up the papal chair. We will see how much traction this gets if any. How many bishops are willing to sacrifice to step and push this course of action? The seven accusations in the twenty page open letter are listed as, 

Image result for pope francis
We accuse Pope Francis of having, through his words and actions, publicly and pertinaciously demonstrated his belief in the following propositions that contradict divinely revealed truth (for each proposition we provide a selection of Scriptural and magisterial teachings that condemn them as contrary to divine revelation; these references are conclusive but are not intended to be exhaustive.)

I. A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.[Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18: “If anyone says that the commandments of God are impossible to observe even for a man who is justified and established in grace, let him be anathema” (DH 1568). See also: Gen. 4:7; Deut. 30:11-19; Ecclesiasticus 15: 11-22; Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Heb. 10:26-29; 1 Jn. 5:17; Zosimus, 15th (or 16th) Synod of Carthage, canon 3 on grace, DH 225; Felix III, 2nd Synod of Orange, DH 397; Council of Trent, Session 5, canon 5; Session 6, canons 18-20, 22, 27 and 29; Pius V, Bull Ex omnibus afflictionibus, On the errors of Michael du Bay, 54, DH 1954; Innocent X, Constitution Cum occasione, On the errors of Cornelius Jansen, 1, DH 2001; Clement XI, Constitution  2. Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17: AAS 77 (1985): 222; Veritatis splendor 65-70: AAS 85 (1993): 1185- 89, DH 4964-67.] 

II. A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action. [Council of Trent, session 6, canon 20: “If anyone says that a justified man, however perfect he may be, is not bound to observe the commandments of God and of the Church but is bound only to believe, as if the Gospel were merely an absolute promise of eternal life without the condition that the commandments be observed, let him be anathema” (DH 1570). See also: Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Heb. 10:26-29; 1 Jn. 5:17; Council of Trent, session 6, canons 19 and 27; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17: AAS 77 (1985): 222; Veritatis splendor, 65-70: AAS 85 (1993): 1185-89, DH 4964-67.] 

III. A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act ofobedience. [Ps. 18:8: “The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls.” See also: Ecclesiasticus 15:21; Council of Trent, session 6, canon 20; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, ASS 20 (1887-88): 598 (DH 3248); John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 40: AAS 85 (1993): 1165 (DH 4953).]

IV. Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right, or requested or even commanded by God.
[Council of Trent, session 6, canon 21: “If anyone says that Jesus Christ was given by God to men as a redeemer in whom they are to trust but not also as a lawgiver whom they are bound to obey, let him be anathema”, DH 1571. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 2: “If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that this is not forbidden by any divine law, let him be anathema”, DH 1802. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 5: “If anyone says that the marriage bond can be dissolved because of heresy or difficulties in cohabitation or because of the wilful absence of one of the spouses, let him be anathema”, DH 1805. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 7: “If anyone says that the Church is in error for having taught and for still teaching that in accordance with the evangelical and apostolic doctrine, the marriage bond cannot be dissolved because of adultery on the part of one of the spouses and that neither of the two, not even the innocent one who has given no cause for infidelity, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other, and that the husband who dismisses an adulterous wife and marries again and the wife who dismisses an adulterous husband and marries again are both guilty of adultery, let him be anathema”, DH 1807.
See also: Ps. 5:5; Ps. 18:8-9; Ecclesiasticus 15:21; Heb. 10:26-29; Jas. 1:13; 1 Jn. 3:7; Innocent XI, Condemned propositions of the ‘Laxists’, 62-63, DH 2162-63; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus,  3. On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; Leo XIII, encyclical letter Libertas   raestantissimum, ASS 20 (1887-88): 598, DH 3248; Pius XII, Decree of the Holy Office on situation ethics, DH 3918; 2 nd Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 16; John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 54: AAS 85 (1993): 1177; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1786-87.]

V. It is false that the only sexual acts that are good of their kind and morally licit are acts between husband and wife. [I Corinthians 6:9-10; "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." Jude 1:7; "As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication, and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire." See also: Romans 1:26-32; Ephesians 5:3-5; Galatians 5;19-21; Pius IX, Casti connubii, 10, 19-21, 73; Paul VI, Humanae vitae, 11-14; John Paul II, Evangelium vitae, 13-14.] 

VI. Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object. [John Paul II, Veritatis splendor 115: “Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts”, DH 4971.See also: Rom. 3:8; 1 Cor. 6: 9-10; Gal. 5: 19-21; Apoc. 22:15; 4th Lateran Council, chapter 22, DH 815; Council of Constance, Bull Inter cunctas, 14, DH 1254; Paul VI, Humanae vitae, 14: AAS 60 (1968) 490-91; John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 83: AAS 85 (1993): 1199, DH 4970.] 

VII. God not only permits, but positively wills, the pluralism and diversity of religions, both Christian and non-Christian. [John 14:6; "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." Acts 4:11-12; "This is the stone which was rejected by you the builders, which is become the head of the corner. Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved." See also Exodus 22:20; Exodus 23:24; 2 Chronicles 34:25; Psalm 95:5; Jeremiah 10:11; 1 Corinthians 8:5-6; Gregory XVI, Mirari vos, 13-14; Pius XI, Qui pluribus, 15; Singulari quidem, 3-5; First Vatican Council, Profession of Faith: Leo XIII, Immortale dei, 31; Satis cognitum, 3-9; Pius XI, Mortalium Animos, 1-2, 6].

Monday, April 15, 2019

Notre Dame Disaster: Symbol of Falling Western Christendom

As we have witnessed over our lifetimes, Christendom is in fact dying. As Christendom continues to surrender the guiding light of humanity, the teaching of Christ, to man's own immoral devices we see Notre Dame burn. Notre Dame, literally meaning "Our Lady" is now literally burning to the ground. As of this time the cause is unknown. What we do know is that this Church is not only one of the most famous churches of Christendom, it is 'the' most famous one named after Our Lady, The Blessed Virgin Mary who is the most pure symbol of true femininity and the family, but also the perfect model of the Christian.

Modern man has indeed divorced himself from God. Modernism is now man's "god" which in reality makes each person his or her own god. One of the most pronounced attacks has been on the family, which began with attacks on true femininity. Modern man's disdain for the raising of families and stay at home mothers has all but silenced the wedding bells which are truly the foundation of humanity. Thus, we see the Church at a time where she does not lead the world and in many cases has surrendered to the world. Many in the Church have watered down Christ's teaching on marriage and the family. Western civilization has traded its Christian heritage for a counterfeit.

The symbolization is clear as we watch Notre Dame in Paris burn to the ground. Sure we see people on the news decrying how we have lost a symbol of French culture, blah, blah blah. "It is a world heritage site!" But they all miss the point here. The very symbol of everything beautiful that came forth from Christendom is now largely in flames. Yes, they may save many of its treasures. They may even be able to rebuild it in some form. They will not however not be able to rebuild the faith that brought that beautiful church originally up from the ground to the heavens. It is the Catholic faith that made that Christian icon and not anything else. Christendom gave us Notre Dame and it belongs to Christendom. It does not belong to the world. It is a symbol that counters the spirit of the world. It surely does not belong to a bunch of museum preserving organizations! It is the one true faith that God is calling us to rebuild. Without that Catholic faith, we would have had no Notre Dame. The reality it seems is that without the Catholic faith we lose Notre Dame. Chew on that reality for awhile!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Why Is It Really Called the Mass? Sacrifice

A temple without an altar of sacrifice is non-existent among primitive peoples, and is meaningless among Christians. And so in the Catholic Church the altar, and not the pulpit or the choir or the organ, is the center of worship, for there is re-enacted the memorial of His Passion. Its value does not depend on him who says it, or on him who hears it; it depends on Him who is the One High Priest and Victim, Jesus Christ our Lord. (Sheen, Calvary and the Cross)

There is a reason why Catholics traditionally called the liturgy 'The Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.' Why do we not hear that term anymore? I recently read an article over at Aleteia about why the Mass is called the Mass. I found it baffling how the author quoted Aquinas' explanation of the word Missa but quoted it out of context, stressing over the course of the article that the Mass is named primarily for us as going out into the world as a mission, "to be sent, or dismissed," The emphasis with modern Catholics always seems to be on the dismissal element when it comes to Ite, missa est. This however misses the essential point of calling the liturgy 'The Mass' as well as missing the point in "being sent." Aquinas' focus is on sacrifice! This shows how far modern Catholics have strayed from the sacrificial dimension of the Mass, which is its very essence! Ite, missa est is literally translated as “Go, it has been sent.” At one point this term was linked only with the concluding prayer of the Mass meaning "dismissal." But as the term in the West gradually began to adopt Missa or Mass as representative of the entire liturgy, it took on a much deeper meaning.  Let's first look at what Aquinas says about it,

The priest does not pray that the sacramental species may be borne up to heaven; nor that Christ's true body may be borne thither, for it does not cease to be there; but he offers this prayer for Christ's mystical body, which is signified in this sacrament, that the angel standing by at the Divine mysteries may present to God the prayers of both priest and people, according to Apocalypse 8:4: "And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God, from the hand of the angel." But God's "altar on high" means either the Church triumphant, unto which we pray to be translated, or else God Himself, in Whom we ask to share; because it is said of this altar (Exodus 20:26): "Thou shalt not go up by steps unto My altar, i.e. thou shalt make no steps towards the Trinity." Or else by the angel we are to understand Christ Himself, Who is the "Angel of great counsel" (Isaiah 9:6: Septuagint), Who unites His mystical body with God the Father and the Church triumphant.
And from this the mass derives its name [missa; because the priest sends [mittit] his prayers up to God through the angel, as the people do through the priest. or else because Christ is the victim sent [missa] to us: accordingly the deacon on festival days "dismisses" the people at the end of the mass, by saying: "Ite, missa est," that is, the victim has been sent [missa est] to God through the angel, so that it may be accepted by God. (III, Q83, A4)

Notice how Christ's sacrifice is emphasized here in the context of the mystical body. Aquinas tells us the victim, Christ, has been sent as a sacrifice 'victim' to God. He thus puts the emphasis here on the reality of the end of the Mass completing the perfect sacrifice to God the Father. "It has been sent." The "It" being Christ's sacrifice. Of course at the end of the Mass we are called to go out and evangelize, to go and make disciples. Aquinas rightly says that we need to make the consecration "fruitful." But as to why the Mass is truly called the Mass, that was never the real point here for Aquinas. The author over at Aleteia puts the emphasis in the wrong place, that is on the original prayer at the end of Mass pointing to us being sent, which however true that may be, is not why the Mass is called the Mass. Yes, I know we hear this all the time by priests today after Mass, right? The reality is that it's called the Mass because it is the sacrifice of Christ who is perfect and accepted by God. The sacrifice is finished, let us go. In other words when they began using this term as a designation for the entire liturgy the word took on a deeper hidden meaning only known to Christians. The theological emphasis was be focused on the right place, that is the sacrifice of Christ, Christ being sent to the Father. Without that, we have no mission, we cannot be sent. This realty does not obscure our mission to go and be sent, it gives it its true meaning.

The Catholic liturgical theologian Nicholas Ghir explains clearly this term in the context of the liturgy. It is clear that Ghir puts the emphasis on Sacrifice in the context of liturgy.

...the dismissal prayer, namely, is conceived, supported and based in a manifold way. At one time by the subject of the day's celebration of the Sacrifice, at another by the celebration of the Sacrifice, again by participation in the Sacrificial Banquet, and also by all these motives combined. The goods and gifts implored are of most various kinds. They comprise all that may be beneficial to our welfare and salvation for time and for eternity. Chiefly do we pray for a plenteous outpouring, as well as for the preservation, of all the fruits of the Sacrifice and of the Communion celebration. What is more opportune at this moment than the ardent desire, that the Sacrificial Body and Blood of Christ, which we have received, may "as the vine bring forth a pleasant odor, the fruit of honor and riches" (Eccl. 24, 23), of virtue and sanctity unto perfection ! The Post-Communions are always recited by the priest in the plural number, that is, for all and in the name of all who have taken part in the Mass, either by actual (sacramental) Communion, as was generally the case in ancient times, or at least by Spiritual Communion, which should never be omitted by those who unite in the Sacrifice. (Ghir, The holy sacrifice of the mass; dogmatically, liturgically and ascetically explained)
Finally, if we look to Archbishop Fulton Sheen we can see how he clearly understands both realities, yet is always sure to put the emphasis first on sacrifice. He compared the term Ite, missa est  to "It is finished."-John 19:30, the work of salvation is finished. This clearly emphasizes Christ's sacrifice. However, Sheen beautifully takes Christ's sacrifice and calls us to join it to our lives. This is where the mission truly derives. We should not be telling people that ite missa est as the root to the name 'Mass' as merely the call to our mission, or for us to be sent, or dismissed. The term does not stand on its own. It is deeply tied to the sacrifice of Christ, which we never hear about from todays theologians or priests these days. Today we are given a watered down explanation divorcing the dismissal prayer from the essence of the altar. I am not implying that the author of the article does not believe that the Mass is a sacrifice. However, in his article on this topic its not mentioned once! He calls it the "celebration." It is time to reemphasize proper Catholic theology. Are we called to go out into the world at the end of Mass, yes! But this is not possible without first and primarily acknowledging how it is possible that we can go forth. It is only possible in that we are grafted into the cross of Christ! The Mass is literally His Sacrifice! This is why it is called the Mass.

He has finished salvation, we have not yet applied it to our souls. He has finished the Temple, but we must live in it. He has finished the model Cross, we must fashion ours to its pattern. He has finished sowing the seed, we must reap the harvest. He has finished filling the chalice, but we have not finished drinking its refreshing draughts. He has planted the wheat field; we must gather it into our barns. He has finished the Sacrifice of Calvary; we must finish the Mass. (Sheen, Calvary and the Mass) 

Thursday, April 4, 2019

The Lyceum: Fighting for Catholic Education

On Wednesday, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will file a powerful groundbreaking lawsuit against a local Ohio sexual orientation gender identity (SOGI) non-discrimination law that some say may become the most significant religious freedom case since Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission (2018). This lawsuit aims to protect a small Catholic school from stifling LGBT laws that cut to the heart of religious education. Read the rest of the story here.

Thursday, January 24, 2019

The Rights of The State: The Myth of Migration

Catholic teaching has always been clear about the right of the state, or a country. It is based on the natural law and has a right to its existence and independence just as an individual has its own right to existence and independence. No state has a right to destroy another state's independence by any means, including sending mass amounts of people across its borders. Just as an individual can protect itself from harm from another, so can the state. It has a duty to do so for the sake of its common good. This is why countries across the globe have immigration laws.

What constitutes an attack on a sovereign state? Many things, such as all out war, sedition, treason or any societal upheaval by foreign states or individuals. That means if other nations outside a sovereign state send a number of people to cross its borders which cause societal upheaval, then the state has the obligation to protect its social order and stop them from coming in. Despite what we are hearing from many in the Catholic hierarchy today, there is not any Catholic teaching that says a state must let everyone across its borders. To do so presents many risks to those already residing in the state who have rights. Just look at France, the UK and Germany. Social unrest exists because of poor immigration policy. If you compare them to Hungary and Poland there is a clear difference in their social order. Poland has chosen to act for the common good of its society, while France has clearly not done so.

A country's citizens have a right to their own property, health, freedom to worship God and a right to act in charity by their own freewill. Letting hoards of people across the border without conditions as many are calling for, is to put citizens at risk for disease, crime and other disruptions to society. The state has the duty to enact legislation that is best for the entire common good of the country to protect its citizens rights. This is Catholic teaching. Catholicism has always taught that one must have a love for country and that it "is a virtue akin to piety or love of parents." (Right and Reason 437) So contrary to what we have been hearing out of the Vatican these days, patriotism or rightly ordered nationalism is not evil. Yes, patriotism or nationalism can go too far if one takes the state to be above the common good of its citizens. So an exaggerated nationalism that hates all foreign people would obviously be immoral. The state exists for promoting the common good for the social order of man. This does not mean however that the state must be involved in every aspect of the common good. The Church teaches the ideal of subsidiarity, which means that whatever the lowest level of society that the issue can be addressed at, should be done at that lowest level. The national state for example does not have to provide free food or free healthcare for everyone. This can be done at a local level, traditionally by the Church. 

What about migration? Migration implies a continuous geographic moving of people or animals. As great as this is for birds, this is not how man was created to live. Man is created to live in a stable society, not as wondering nomads akin to locusts devouring the earth as it moves across the globe. This means that people should strive to live in one state or country and adopt its social order. When a person chooses to live in another country other than the one of his or her origin it is called immigration. That means that the individual chooses to adopt the societal conditions of the state they have chosen to immigrate. It would be immoral for the state to allow people to enter into its society who do not want to adopt to its societal way of life. It is also immoral for a person to come into another country and choose to oppose its general societal governmental structure. This is anti-patriotism and this is a vice according to Catholic teaching. This obviously includes those obstinate individuals who come from Islamic states who attempt to overthrow the US judicial system for their own Sharia law. Those politicians and judges who are allowing this are committing grave evil.

What about immigration laws? There is nothing wrong with allowing people to immigrate into a country guided by proper regulation that is ordered to the common good. For example, immigrants must not have untreated infectious diseases that can harm the current society. Criminals must not be allowed to enter. That being said, the majority of people who want to move out of Mexico for example, are legitimately looking to improve their way of life and should be able to apply to come into the US. Currently the US has laws on the books make it expensive and difficult for people to immigrate. A state has the right to make its own laws as it sees fit to protect the common good. I personally believe the current laws can and should be changed to make it easier and less expensive for upright immigrants to come into the country. The problem is that the current political parties in power want to use these people as political weapons to keep them in power and malign their political opponents.

In closing, every sovereign state has a right to its independence and its own common good. A state is not obligated to let unchecked hoards of foreigners to come over its borders for a variety of reasons already presented above. Patriotism is not bad, its a virtue, and we as patriots should look for ways to make our society better including allowing upstanding immigrants to come into the country under a reasonable regulation. One may ask, what about charity and feeding the poor. This can and is being done outside our borders on a daily basis. Of course there is nothing wrong with doing it on our own soil provided it is done morally and orderly. If possible a society should help the poor. This however must not be forced on people by the state as Socialism and Communism attempt. There is no law given by God that says a state has to let everyone across its borders to feed them or provide them with medical care using its citizens money. The Church in its mission has always fed the poor and provided medical assistance to the poor in most countries across the globe.  This is done by man's freewill and through charity as God intended. "For the poor you have always with you: and whensoever you will, you may do them good..." (Mark 14:7)

Main source: Right and Reason- Austin Fagothey 1967

Saint Benedict feeding the poor.