Does Satan Really Exist?

It’s Time to Fight for Your Church and Your Country!

By Fr. Daniel E. Doctor:

Jesus said, “I have observed Satan fall like lighting from the sky.”  Most modern progressive Catholic thinkers would say, that Jesus was using some very colorful language to make His point about evil and its existence but – He did not mean this literally.

So the question remains, does personal evil really exist?

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I mean the modern Catholic, who is uneducated in their faith, would say; that isn’t the devil just some story or tool invented by the Church to control people?  You know to make us afraid so we will follow blindly whatever the Church says – so the popes, bishops and priests could control us?

Can’t all those stories in the Bible about Jesus casting out demons be explained away by modern psychology and its understanding of psychological disorders – or religious fanatical behavior?  Aren’t Hell and the devil just childhood stories told around the campfire, to entertain us with a little bit of fear?  Or maybe just the reoccurring plot – of too many horror movies?

Didn’t the Second Vatican Council with its new modern liberal mindset bring us out of a backward medieval belief system to make us modern progressive thinkers capable of realizing that hell and Satan are just the products of ignorance, superstition, or an over active imagination?

Well, lets think about this for a moment.  Here is what Gaudium et Spes, one of the Second Vatican Council documents has said; “The whole of man’s history has been the story of our combat with the powers of evil, stretching, so our Lord tells us, from the very dawn of history until the last day. Finding himself in the midst of the battlefield, man has struggle to do what is right, and it is at great cost to himself, and aided by God’s grace, that he succeeds in achieving his own inner integrity” (Gaudium et Spes, 37).

Some Catholics maybe surprised in this day and age, that the existence of evil, the devil as well as hell, are all truths of our Catholic Faith. All one has to do is pick up a copy of the Catechism and look it up and you will find that the Church officially teaches – from paragraph #1033 through paragraph #1037 – that evil does exist, that there is a person, a fallen Angel to be exact, who wants nothing more than to destroy humanity and if that is not possible then at least to get as many people away from God, away from salvation to spend eternity in hell with him.

Pope Paul IV, taught that “evil is not merely a lack of something, but an effective agent, a living spiritual being, perverted and perverting.   A terrible reality – mysterious and frightening – who goes about acting in a way contrary to the teaching of the Bible and the Church.”

Of course there is the New Testament, which alone refers to the devil and his wickedness nearly 300 times as a warning to us of his presence and activity in our world.

This leads us to the Gospels, where Jesus talks more about the devil and evil then anything else except His divinity.  We also heard in today’s Gospel, that the disciples were overjoyed because – demons were subject to them through the Holy Name of Jesus.  This power of the name of Jesus was given not only to the disciples but to the whole Church to fight against and overcome any and every evil in this world.   This power is the authority of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, built on the authority of Jesus Christ Himself, which causes the gates of hell to tremble.

What we learn from the New Testament, is that the main purpose of Jesus’ ministry was to destroy the works of the devil and to bring about the Kingdom of God, which will destroy the Kingdom of Satan. Christ came to cast out, bind up and deliver humanity from its slavery to sin and death as well as from the chief works of the devil – called vices.  According to the Old Testament, the devil gets his foot hold in this world and in our lives through things like fortune-tellers, soothsayers, charms, diviners, and spells as well as when we consult with ghosts and spirits or seek oracles and revelations from the dead.  In our day and age, He still uses these things including horoscopes, the new age movement, Gnosticism, moral relativism, or even more explicitly through Satanism and the worship of the devil.

Everyday we see his evil played out right in front of our eyes and then we ignore what we see and the underlying cause.  We fail to recognize that there is a very real enemy, who likes to remain hidden, while he plots our destruction and doom.  This evil is increased with the destruction of Fatherhood, marriage and traditional family life. In the increase in war, murder, and suicide.  The devastation of our youth through drugs and sexual addiction.  The massive diffusion by the media of corrupting errors and sinful practices.  And most especially in our day, with the ruinations of our religious freedoms and those individuals who bravely speak up for them.

Satan’s progressive and the new modern family

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Nowadays, objective evil is displayed out in the open – all of which are meant to destroy us – caused by a malicious Angel who wants nothing more than to eradicate us from the face of the earth.   Satan has gone so far as to attack humanity at its source with the sin of abortion, birth control, embryonic stem cell research, and cloning – as well as using the cumulative forces of this world’s sinfulness to redefine life and marriage as we know it and calling it – progress and the new modern family.  Nothing can escape from the rebellious forces of hedonism and secularism in their violent march throughout the world trying to force us to believe that sinfulness and evil rebellion against our Creator and His definition of morality is normal and warranted.

We have come so far that not to follow this march of evil to our own destruction is to be portrayed as crazy, abnormal or ignorant. We have come so far that good is bad and evil is really good. Good people are boring and evil people are fun. We defend the criminal and imprison the lawful. Our daily poor example to our children teaches them that magic and fairy tales are real and that God, His angels and Saints, do not exist – but somehow all humans and dogs go to heaven. No wonder our world is so confused and ignorant of what God really says and teaches.

So it goes without saying, with all certainty, that those of us who want to be truly holy and virtuous, who want to wholeheartedly embrace the Catholic Church’s authentic teaching and mission to save souls, will live a very difficult life.  One full of challenges and at times real sorrows, but at the same time, a life of immense blessings and graces, which all those who follow Christ enjoy for all eternity.

If we really want to be God’s saints and His holy people, we need not fear what is coming or what is already here, we need not fear the other sheep or those wolves among us dressed up like them – for God will not be mocked or made a fool of – in the end all will be revealed and He does not deal lightly with the devil or his unrepentant companions,  be they angelic or human.  That is why He created hell, just for them.

We are in the midst of a war – a war between good and evil – and the worst thing you can do in any combat situation is to believe that you’re not in one and that this fight has nothing to do with us. This, sadly, has been the mindset of us humans, us Christians, and us Catholics, for far too long.

Pope Leo XIII stated it boldly, “Catholics are born for combat!”  So, we the people must become we the Saints. We must once again become the Church Militant – soldiers and warriors of Jesus Christ. The devil certainly knows that his time is short and that it would be even shorter should the One, Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church ever take the call to spiritual warfare and authentic holiness seriously.

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The Liturgy of the Hours for the Martyrs states; “We are warriors now, fighting in the battlefield of faith, and God sees all we do; the Angles watch and so does Christ. What honor and glory and joy, to do battle in the presence of God, and have Christ approve our victory.”  Let us arm ourselves in full strength – with Rosary in hand; and prepare ourselves – through Eucharistic Adoration for the ultimate struggle with blameless hearts, true faith, and unyielding courage.

The venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen taught, “Christ demands fire – he demands zeal for His followers.”  In the scriptures, Christ commands us to go out and preach the gospel, to live virtuous holy lives, to convert the nations – and to cast out evil.  When we pray the “Our Father,” we ask God to deliver us from evil – this is the normal daily petition said in the Church’s greatest prayer.

Don’t we think that maybe it is time for us to make this petition part of our daily actions and not just part of our prayers?

Praying for the deliverance from evil, working for its destruction, is at the very center of our Catholic faith because when we act this way we recognize that only God can truly save us from the power of the devil, who enslaves us with sin and evil. So be at peace, be unafraid, as St. Paul tells us, “we bear the marks of Christ on our bodies” through baptism and the Holy Eucharist, as we are being“sent out into the world as lambs among wolves” where “the harvest is rich and the laborers are few”  where “the world is crucified to me and I to the world.”  So rejoice because “your names are written in Heaven” and “as a mother comforts her child – so God will comfort you.”

It is time, my brothers and sisters, to get up and fight for your Church and your country before both are gone!!

Not in Stores! Original Design.

Honestly, Have You Considered the Fruits of Contraception?

Written in Charity,  with the Goal of Dialogue.  Please Share and Discuss! 

By Community in Mission:

In our culture’s current self-examination on sexual harassment and sexual abuse, we would also do well to ponder how the “contraceptive mentality” has contributed to the many sexually related problems of the day. This view insists that there is no necessary connection between sex and having children; it separates what God has joined. This has led to a whirlwind of confusion about the nature and purpose of sexual intimacy as well as about marriage and family. Many treat sex lightly and frivolously; they falsely think that sex can be without consequences. As we have seen played out in the recent news, many men no longer see women as wives, mothers, and persons to be respected, but as sexual objects to be exploited.

Two generations have passed since the publication of the boldly pastoral and prophetic encyclical Humanae Vitae, which upheld the ancient ban on the use of artificial contraception. Perhaps no teaching of the Church causes more scoffing (even from Catholics) than our teaching against artificial contraception: Unrealistic! Out of touch! Uncompassionate! Silly! You’ve got to be kidding!

The Lord Jesus had an answer to those who ridiculed Him in a similar way:

“To what can I compare this generation? They are like children sitting in the marketplaces and calling out to others: ‘We played the flute for you, and you did not dance; we sang a dirge and you did not mourn.’ For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they say, ‘He has a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking, and they say, ‘Here is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’ But time will prove where wisdom lies (Matt 11:16-18).

Indeed, times does prove where wisdom lies. Some fifty years after acceptance of contraception set in, how are we doing? Perhaps it is best to review some of the “promises” that advocates of contraception made and then review the prophecies of Pope Paul VI. Then let’s review the record and note the “fruits” of contraception.

The Promises of the Contraception Advocates:

  • Happier marriages and a lower divorce rates, because couples will be able to have all the sex they wanted without the “fear” of pregnancy.
  • Lower abortion rates because there will be far fewer “unwanted” children.
  • Greater dignity for women because they will no longer be “bound” by their reproductive system.
  • A more recent promise: reduction in sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and AIDS.

The concerns and predictions of Pope Paul VI (in Humanae Vitae):

  1. Consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity (HV # 17)
  2. A general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. (HV # 17)
  3. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection. (HV # 17)
  4. Who will prevent public authorities from…impos[ing] their use on everyone. (HV # 17)

So who had the wisdom to see? Was it the world or the Church? Let’s consider some of the data:

  1. The divorce rate did not decline; it skyrocketed. Divorce rates soared through the 1970s and beyond until nearly 50 percent of marriages were failing. In recent years the divorce rate has dropped slightly, but this may be due more to the fact that far fewer people get married in the first place, preferring instead to cohabitate and engage in a kind of serial monogamy, drifting from one relationship to the next. The overall divorce rate currently hovers in the low 40 percent range. Advocates of contraception today claim that divorce is a complicated matter, which is certainly true, but they cannot have it both ways: at first claiming that contraception will be a “simple” fix to make marriages happier and then, when they are proved so horrifyingly wrong, claiming that divorce is “complicated.” Pope Paul VI, on the other hand, predicted rough sailing for marriage with the advent of contraception; it looks as if he was right.
  2. Abortion rates did not decline; they skyrocketed as well. Within a few years, the pressure to make abortion more available led to its “legalization” in 1973. It has been well argued that far from decreasing the abortion rate, contraception actually increased it. Because contraception routinely fails, abortion has become the contraception of last resort. Further, just as the Pope predicted, sexual immorality has become widespread; this also has led to higher rates of abortion. It is hard to compare promiscuity rates between periods because people don’t tend to tell the truth when asked about such things. But one would have to be very myopic not to notice the huge increase in open promiscuity, cohabitation, pornography, and the like. All of this bad behavior, made more possible by contraceptives, also fuels abortion rates. Chalk up another one for the Pope’s and the Church’s foresight.
  3. Women’s dignity is a difficult thing to measure, and different people have different yardsticks by which to measure it. Women do have greater career choices today, but is that the true source of a person’s dignity? Dignity certainly involves more than one’s economic and utilitarian capacity. Sadly, motherhood has taken a back seat in popular culture. And, as the Pope predicted, women have been hypersexualized as well. Their dignity as wives and mothers has been set aside in favor of the sexual pleasure they offer to men. Many modern men, no longer bound by marriage for sexual satisfaction, use women and discard them on a regular basis. Men “get what they want” and it seems that many women are willing to supply it rather freely. In this scenario, men win. Women are often left with STDs. They are often left with children they must support and raise alone. And as they get older and “less attractive” to men, they are often alone. I am not sure that this is dignity. Have women really benefited under this new morality, which contraception helped to usher in? I think the Pope wins this point as well.
  4. As for preventing/reducing STDs and AIDS: again, big failure. STDs were not prevented, nor did they decrease. Infection rates skyrocketed through the 1970s and 1980s. AIDS, which appeared on the scene in the 1980s continues to show terribly high rates. Where is the promised deliverance? It seems that contraceptives do not prevent anything. Rather, they encourage the spread of these diseases by encouraging the bad behavior that causes them. Here, too, it looks as if the Church was right and the world was wrong.
  5. Add to this list of effects the high rate of teenage pregnancy, the devastation experienced by single parent families, and even increasing poverty. The link to poverty may seem a stretch, but the bottom line is that single motherhood is the chief cause of poverty in this country. Contraception encourages promiscuity. Promiscuity often leads to pregnancy at a young age. Youthful pregnancy often leads to single motherhood (absent fathers). Single motherhood often leads to welfare dependence and poverty. In our inner cities today, over 80 percent of homes are headed by single mothers. It is the single best predictor of poverty.
  6. Declining birth rates, fueled by contraception, are devastating cultures. Europe as we have known it is simply going out of existence. (I have written on that before here: Contraception is Cultural Suicide!). Europe’s future is as a Muslim continent; Muslims typically have much larger families. Likewise, here in the United State, the birth rate in white and African-American communities is below replacement level. Thankfully, our immigrants are largely Christian and share our American vision. For the Church, the declining birthrates are resulting in the closing of parishes and schools, and a reduction in vocations to the priesthood and religious life. We cannot sustain what we have on a population that is no longer replacing itself. Immigration has insulated the Church from this to some extent, but the decline in Mass attendance has eclipsed the growth from immigration and we are starting to shut down a lot of our operations.

Conclusion: Time will prove where wisdom lies. What have we learned over these decades of contraception? First, we have learned that it is a huge failure in meeting its promises; it has backfired, making things worse rather than better. Marriage, families, and children have all taken a huge hit. Bad behavior has been encouraged and all the bad consequences that flow from it are flourishing. Most people seem largely uninterested in this data. Hearts have become numb and minds have gone to sleep. I hope that you will consider this information thoughtfully and share it with others. Time has proven where wisdom lies. It is time to admit the obvious.

 

My Two Encounters with our Blessed Mother

My Serious Lacking of a Relationship with the Mother of Jesus

By Fr. Chris Pietraszko, Fr. Pietraszko’s Corner:

When I was in seminary, I had developed a scholarly affection for the Church’s teaching on Mary.  Having been involved in apologetics through social media, I was capable of understanding and comprehending why Mary was honoured with great intensity within the Catholic tradition.  Protestant objections did not phase my faith in the Catholic Dogma around Mary.  However, I always felt as if something was nonetheless lacking with my understanding, as if I had this nagging sensation that my understanding lacked depth.  At best, my relationship with Mary was ideological, and even then, I hadn’t yet crystallized my theological understanding of her importance.  This still continues to develop in my on-going study of the Catholic faith.

But what was more seriously lacking was my relationship with Mary and therefore Jesus.  It was somewhat of an embarrassing thing to admit, especially to my brother seminarians who seemed to be rather devout in their relationship with Mary.  Their perpetual praying of the rosary, images of her on their wall, and many other external behaviour and demonstrations of affection towards her.  Every time I witnessed their faith in Christ through Mary I found myself perplexed, knowing that I understood what they meant by it all, and its importance, but being unable to tap into this type of devotion.  For me, a devotion to Mary was correlated with holiness and a sincere love of the Catholic Faith.  However, there was a failure to integrate Mary into the heart of my worship of God.  And to admit that I had failed in this regard made me feel as if I was a bad seminarian, and somehow a fraud to the Catholic Tradition.  While these feelings were discouraging, they nonetheless were grounded in something nonetheless true:  I had yet to know from the heart our Blessed Mother.

My spiritual director seemed excited at the prospect of my exploration of a relationship with Mary, utilizing the Ignatius Spiritual exercises and deep meditation from the Word of God.  The thing about these silent retreats is that graces are difficult to escape, especially if our conscience is well formed.  We must be honest with our spiritual director, and we must faithfully obey him as we would obey Christ in our spiritual exercises.  Here I had put myself into the desert of my own ignorance and sought to discover the magnifying glass which teaches me about her Son.

My First Encounter with the Mother of God

As I spent time in quiet meditation, I began to imagine myself walking on the coast of a lake, with Mary.  She pointed towards the waters, and asked me:  “What do you see?”  I responded, “Waves.”  She smiled and then in a spirit of instruction stated:  “The light doesn’t pass through the waves, so you cannot see to the bottom of the lake.  You cannot see what is at the bottom.”  I immediately understood what she was implying, the waves represented my fears, anxieties, and worldly concerns.  As soon as this realization dawned upon me, the waters calmed and rays of light broke through the surface of the water, and now I could see through it, as though the water magnified and clarified the surface of the lake.  This was not an experience that gave me any feeling of peace, but rather it challenged me to seek out inner-peace that comes from a deeper surrender to God’s own will.  I was left challenged by our blessed mother.

Mary never made it about her.  She did not point to me, nor to herself.  Rather she sought to facilitate a situation where the very Light of the World would penetrate the depths of what He sought.

My second encounter with our Blessed Mother involved me arriving at a somewhat run-down house.  My imagination seems to be a powerful tool that the Holy Spirit can use in prayer.  It was not led by me or my own imagining, but seemed instead to be like a movie flashing before my eyes, nonetheless I remained an active participant within it.  And as I walked towards this house, I saw Mary holding two garbage bags.  She was asking for help, and looking at me.  She had apparently been cleaning up the house, but expected me to assist her.  The garbage smelt terrible, at least that is how I had seemed to react to it.  Jesus than entered the scene, and I became an observer of their interactions with each other.  Jesus grabbed the garbage bag from his Mother, and I held onto another bag.  Jesus put it into a garbage can and gestured to me to do the same.

“Your house is now clean!”

annunciation2Jesus stated to me – and I with a gesture of surprise realized immediately that the garbage that stunk, were representative of my own personal sins.  Mary was there to help me clean the house.  It brought me back to a rather embarrassing moment when I was a child.  My room was often a mess, and when it would become more than an hour-job to clean my parents would help me clean it.  That sounds generous of them, but keep in mind, for me it was humiliating.  They would see everything I had shoved under my bed, and item by item I would receive either a frown or a lecture.  My parents were not unreasonable in the way they went about helping me clean my room.  But the humiliation of seeing the fruits of sheer laziness was challenging to experience.  That exact feeling came into my heart when I realized that Mary had been looking through all of my sins, and was intent on throwing them out of my house, which as now you realize, represented my soul.  Mary brought them to light, she in a sense magnified the truth about my sin, and ultimately had me cooperate with Christ in throwing them into the garbage can, where they would be forgotten, forgiven.

Mary without harshness and nonetheless firm resolve sought to purify my soul out of love for me.  She was willing to inspect, touch, and discuss my sinfulness.  Not with harsh condemnation, but rather with a desire to liberate my stinky soul and make it into a place where both Jesus, Mary and I could eat a meal together in enjoyment.

After these encounters with our blessed mother, I realized I had a lot to ponder and allow to sink in.  However, the consolation I sought, that I saw on so many faces of my brother seminarians continued to lack in my own prayer to Mary.  I was getting somewhat frustrated.  At this point, most of what Mary had done for me was instruct me.  But I had not yet interiorized these encounters on the level of my own affect.

It wasn’t until a very dry period of prayer, where I experienced no image or scene to facilitate a deeper understanding.  With reluctance and frustration I then began to pray a specific prayer my Spiritual Director encouraged me to pray:

Loving mother of the Redeemer,
gate of heaven, star of the sea,
assist your people who have fallen yet strive to rise again.
To the wonderment of nature you bore your Creator,
yet remained a virgin after as before.
You who received Gabriel’s joyful greeting,
have pity on us poor sinners.

While I was praying this particular prayer, my spirit was entirely overcome with incredible peace.  It was as if every muscle in my heart relaxed as if it had been tensed up for years.  Everything in my body rested, and an incredible peace overcame me.  Without ignorance, I knew at that moment my soul had not only nominally received our Blessed Mother by adoption, but in truth and spirit.  Just as St. John took Mary into his own home, now Mary was welcome in my own soul.  Yet the peace I felt was from none other than Jesus Himself.  It was as if the two dined in my soul, and yet it was the result of Mary’s “yes.”  Jesus had proposed this encounter, Mary said “Yes” and the saviour was more abundantly born within my soul.

Ever since this experience I understood at a deeper level the entangled relationship that happens between the Saints, God and the living.  God collaborates with the Saints.  They reach out to us, more often than we realize, yet it is all provoked and suggested by God.  God makes His will contingent on the “yes” of others.  Although they could all say no, and God could more directly reach out to us, this simply isn’t how God’s providence organizes matters.  You see, he seeks to weave the community together in and through Him.  In theological language we might say that God’s grace is all-sufficient, but our cooperation is nonetheless necessary.  On its own, man cannot cooperate with God without His help, his proposal, and therefore His grace.  But by his will, he wants us to not only cooperate in our own salvation, but in the salvation of others.  You see, Jesus gave his Church a mission, and that mission is to baptize others, preach, and bind and loose.  As the Father sent Jesus, so He sends us!

All of this is answered perfectly by Mary, and thus becomes the supreme example of how to “respond” to Jesus.  Mary is not the initiator of graces, that belongs to God alone, but she is always the first-responder to God’s proposal, our great advocate.  All the terms that are often said of God can be attributed to Mary, not because she is equal to God, but rather that as a result of cooperating with God, she has become more concretely His hands and feet by grace.

This theological distinction is so key in understanding our relationship with Christ.  IF we love Christ, we are not going to ignore his designs.  Rather we are going to love what he loved and hate what he hates.  Christ seeks to use the faithful response of others to bring about our salvation.  Consider the paralytic man who was lowered to the feet of Jesus.  It was because of their faith that his sins were forgiven.  Think of Lazarus, who was resurrected by Jesus but unbound by the crowd.

Mary therefore becomes a living icon of the Church herself.  She is that benevolent mother who opens her arms to Christ for the sake of Him and the whole world.

I am currently traveling to Fatima for the first time, where Mary concretely reached out to the Catholic Church and all of humanity to remind us of the serious need to remember judgment and the dangers of damnation.  She cares for us – and she gave this message to children.  100 years later, I suppose the question is:  have we listened?  If not – have we ignored our Mother who was sent by Christ Himself to speak with us?  IF we ignore her, we ignore Him who sent her.

Your 2018 Catholic Calendars, A Time Sensitive Offer

Attention Lovers of Our Catholic Faith:

Back by popular demand, the Courageous Priest family-run apostolate has been graced with the opportunity to share with you the 2018 Madonna Wall Calendar showcasing the works of 18th century French artist William Adolphe Bouguereau.  The new masterpiece this year is Catholic Iconography.

What Makes These Calendars So Special?

I fondly remember hearing a Dominican Sister of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist say that when you see true beauty, it turns your heart to the Heavenly Father’s House. Well, that is what these Catholic calendars have done.

First of all, without a doubt, they turn the heart to Heaven.

  • They are about our Catholic Faith. But, honestly, when you open the package the typical response is a heartfelt “WOW!” The quality of this calendar is rare.
  • You can really see the quality and professionalism. Remember the time when you were on vacation with your loved ones and you witnessed the most talented artisan creating the most remarkable craft?  It is like that.

You will love these!  These Catholic calendars honor both the new and traditional liturgical calendars, which mostly means Saints removed from the old calendar are recognized on this one. Without a doubt, I personally believe God the Father honors both liturgical calendars. It is such a good feeling to see powerful saints, like St. Philomena and St. Christopher, back in their proper places on the calendar. It’s just like rekindling a good friendship lost long ago.

These calendars also include the daily readings making it a spiritual work horse.

As our “Thank You” to you . . .

Your entire family, living and deceased, will be included in the 900 Christmas Mass Novena beginning on Christmas Eve which is offered by the Seraphic Mass Association.  Yes, that is correct, 900 Capuchin Masses including you in their special Mass intentions.

Testimonials!

“I absolutely love the calendar – the Pictures are just beautiful! Glad I bought it ! Thanx” – Patti W.

“Dear John and Regan, the calendar arrived today and it is everything said and more. Thank you” – Walter B. from Florida

“Can’t wait for my 2 calendars! I am so excited.” – Brian K. Australia

“The beautiful calendar arrived yesterday. It is everything you promised and then some. Some 22 years ago I discovered William Bouguereau and his gently beautiful paintings. Softness which comes from love of The Lord and of Our Blessed Mother is in all of his works. I am delighted that you have made a whole collection of his paintings available in the calendar. What a lovely way to start each new day…and a new month.” June S. from Idaho

“Your beautiful calendars arrived today. The pictures, as you said, are good enough to frame.” – Denise O. from Missouri


How much is it?

Your typical professional-quality calendars range from $14.95 to $21.95 with a higher than expected shipping and handling cost. Yes, you can find some for less, but we are asking you to help support the Courageous Priest family run apostolate. We don’t ask for donations, but we do ask for your purchase. We want it to be a fair price, so we are offering it for $14.95 plus shipping and handling. We hope that is fair enough.

To be honest, this a crazy big event for us.  We have sold a whopping 1500+ calendars.

20% Off for a Limited Time Only

This lovely calendar is perfect for the home or office and makes a great gift for Christmas or any occasion.   We are having people contacting us so they can order more for their loved ones.   So, here is what we are going to do for you.  When you buy 3 or more calendars you receive 20% off. Can you believe we had one generous soul order 50!  Please note that the 20% discount will be discontinued in December 1st.

Click HERE to support Courageous Priest and Buy the 2018 Madonna Calendar

or

Click HERE to Buy 3 or more at 20% Off

Please remember to enter the number of calendars you want.


Click HERE to support Courageous Priest and Buy the 2018 Iconography Calendar

or

Click HERE to Buy 3 or more at 20% Off

Please remember to enter the number of calendars you want.


 

Important: International Orders will be sent a PayPal invoice to cover additional shipping cost.  Give it a try, if you don’t agree with the extra shipping charges you can cancel the order.  To keep things simple, please pay the invoice in three days.   After that, we will automatically cancel the order with no hard feelings.

Do you want to mix and match? Just call 314-833-8371 and we will take care of it.

By the Way, We Have a Guarantee.

We Guarantee Your Satisfaction  – Buy it Risk-Free. You either absolutely love it or return it with a no-questions asked full refund. We want you 100% satisfied.

So, there you have it. Would you please do Courageous Priest and yourself a favor and buy this before the introductory low rate ends October 31rst.  We cannot tell you how much we greatly support your generosity.

May God, who is rich in Mercy, bless you.

John Quinn
Founder, Courageous Priest

P.S.  Please don’t wait. The early-bird special ends December 1st.  All orders will arrive before Christmas. Go ahead and please click on the links above. For questions or to order by check, please call 314-833-8371.

P.P.S. And don’t forget about the the 900 Christmas Mass Novena your family will be automatically enrolled.

P.P.P.S.   Don’t forget your friends and family. Over half of our purchases are going to loved ones.  And 20% off is hard to find on calendars before Christmas. The 20% off is for a limited time only.

Sharon from North Carolina said.

“After having just received one of your exquisite calendars of the Blessed Mother with the artwork of Bouguereau. We knew we’d enjoy having 5 more to give as gifts.”

 

Mary G

“I just purchased 8 calendars…..thank you!!! They look so beautiful! Gave these as gifts last year and they were a big hit. Doing the same this year. Thanks and
God Bless you and your families!!”

Married Couples, Listen up . . .

Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, Fr. Z’s Blog:

I’m tired of the whine from certain homosexualists and their agenda, to the detriment of concerns of people to adhere to God’s plan and nature and many other serious concerns which we face as a Church and society.

I was alerted today to a post at the blog of a priest, Fr. David Nix.  He posted an “Open Letter” to priests written by a married couple… a realmarried couple.  I reproduce it here.  My emphases.

Open Letter to our spiritual Fathers

Dear Fr. ___________,

I am so very thankful that you have given your life to be our spiritual father. I am grateful for the gifts you make available to us in the sacraments. We know you work tirelessly to keep everything balanced and running smoothly. For that, we are thankful. But we have to be honest and share our concerns and frustrations: We have heard more about the LGBTQ community and the acceptance of that more than we have ever heard about our own marriage.

Father, we struggle with communication, we struggle with infertility, we struggle with forgiveness over infidelity, we struggle with finances, we struggle with contraception and Natural Family Planning, we struggle with in-laws, we struggle with so much and yet feel so alone.

Please Father, give us some hope and encouragementlet us know what we are supposed to do. Please don’t have your answer be “you can get an annulment.” We don’t want to get out of our marriage; we just need you to let us know that sacrifice and suffering are part of marriage. Most of us have not heard what God’s plan for marriage is, yet we have heard that everyone is arguing about what constitutes a sacramental marriage.

It feels like we have been abandoned and left to figure it out in our own. As we strive to live God’s plan, we are burdened with what the society tells us. The culture screams its message, but the silence of the Church is at times louder than the screams.

Help us Father—for we know not what to do.

Love and blessings,
Your Sons and Daughters

We are entering into a dire stage of spiritual warfare over souls.

War is by nature messy and chaotic.  It is easy for officers to get distracted by tactics on a hill and lose sight of strategy on a front.  We priests and bishops must stay clear-eyed, smart, and faithful for everyone’s sake.

However, we need the support of lay people.  We need you to encourage and to fast and pray for us.  You have to make acts of reparation for our faults and defects.

In this coming battle, we priests will grow weary under the assaults from the agents of Hell and their earthly operatives.  So will you.

In this coming battle, the Church’s perennial teaching and the sacraments will be for us priests like the stone upon which Moses sat during the battle against the Amalekites, while you good lay people must stay on either side of us, like Aaron and Hur, holding up our weary arms so that the sword of Joshua shall prevail.

According to Sr. Lucia, the visionary of Fatima, Our Lady foretold that

“final battle between the Lord and the kingdom of Satan will be about marriage and the family. Do not be afraid, … because anyone who works for the sanctity of marriage and the family will always be fought and opposed in every way, because this is the decisive issue.”

Married Couples.  Listen up.

It is not possible to squeeze everything into a blog post, or even a book, but here are a few words from my heart and experience.

First, please know that we priests understand that you face problems every day that might make a lot of us priests curl up in ball in a dark room.  However, you have the vocation to face those problems as married Catholics.  Just as we priests must call upon the graces that come from Holy Orders when we are in the thick of it, so to must you call upon the graces that come from matrimony and confirmation.

You have difficulties.  These difficulties are your road to heaven.   Remember always that your primary calling as married Catholics is to help your spouses get to heaven.  Hence, you must chose daily to embrace the life of your spouse with charity, the sacrificial love which seeks, first, the true good of the other.  This is what Christ modeled for his Spouse the Church while enduring His Passion and death.  Embrace the pains and make the choice for sacrificial love. To love is to choose.  Choose to love. You can choose love even when feelings or appetites or temptations push and pull.

Choose, as a couple, to love God more than you love each other.  Only when God is the true king of your two hearts, can your one married heart beat properly.  Only when you love God first, can you love and treat each other and your children properly.

Stay close to the sacraments.  That means that you have to make good and regular examinations of your consciences and then GO TO CONFESSION.  Go together.  Go separately.  GO!  Don’t allow mortal sin to cloud your intellect and weaken your will or give a chink for the Devil to pry at.  Hence, also use sacramentals.  The Devil really hates them.

Make your home, however grand or humble, into your “domestic church”.  Just as a church should be filled with beautiful reminders of heaven and the saints and angels, so too should your home.  Just as a church should be filled with prayer, so too should your dwelling place. Traditionally, church buildings will have over their doors inscriptions like, “House of God and Gate of Heaven”.  This, too, is your ideal. Pray at meals.  Pray when you rise and rest.  Especially say the Rosary together, perhaps holding hands.  The other side of prayer is silence.  

Be humble in consideration of your vocations and your own human abilities.  However, be confident that, as the Father’s adopted chosen children in Christ, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the Trinity whose love your lives reflect will give you every grace you need to fulfill your vocations in obedience to His commands and the commandments of the Church.  God’s commands and will are not mere “ideals”, which some today falsely claim cannot be attained by everyone.  They can be and are realized, and have always been attained through the millennia, by people just like you.  God doesn’t impose anything that is impossible.

Finally, some quick points.

We could all avoid a lot of sins and a lot of conflict by keeping our mouths shut more often.  Weigh your words.

Be cheerful.  Joy is a Fruit of the Holy Spirit.  When you cannot detect or show joy, that’s probably a sign that you have spiritual maintenance to do.  This joy is not the blithering gaiety of the foolish: risus abundant in ore stultorum.

Speak well of and kindly to each other.

Read Scripture.  Read especially Ephesians about spouses.  Pay close attention to Paul’s wise admonition, “Let not the sun go down upon your anger.”

Ask your Guardian angels to help you in every conflict.

In charity, you must strive always make the sacrifice needed for the other’s true good.

Thank God – on your knees – for the gift of the vocation of marriage.  Really.  Get down on your kneesand say, “Thank you, God, for giving me my vocation and my spouse.”  Never forget that you two are one flesh now.  You are you and you are also “we”.

Be who are are, and never think again about being anything else until the day you draw your last breath.

Eat meals together, at a table.  Talk.  And then let there be silences.

When you look at your spouse and at your children, consciously remind yourself that each one is a gift.  And if you do not, in sorrow, have children, remind yourself that God knows you better than you know yourselves and that He doesn’t allow burdens without giving the strength to bear them.  You may have another path when it comes to children.

Anything worth doing well in life requires suffering, patience and practice.  You have to practice being married, by living marriage.  You will be under attack, so you must plan your tactics for when you being to suffer, and you will suffer.  Embrace your crosses.

Listen to the good advice of older people.

When real trials come or sudden frustrations strike, say what Job said and say it with a smile: “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”

Breaking News, The Wrath of God is Being Revealed

The Revelation of the Wrath, Romans 1 – Is It a Prophetic Interpretation of Reality for Our Times?

By Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission:

Scripture is a prophetic interpretation of reality. That is, it tells us what is really going on from the perspective of the Lord of History. An inspired text, it traces out not only the current time, but also the trajectory, the end to which things tend. It is of course important for us to read Scripture with the Church, and exercising care, to submit our understanding to the rule of faith and the context of Sacred Tradition.

With those parameters in mind, I would like to consider Romans 1, wherein St. Paul describes the grave condition of the Greco-Roman culture of his day. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he prophetically interpreted the times of the first century A.D. Although the text speaks specifically to those times, it is clear that our modern times are becoming nearly identical to what was described.

St. Paul saw a once-noble culture in grave crisis; it was in the process of being plowed under by God for its willful suppression of the truth.

Let’s take a look at the details of this prophetic interpretation of those days and apply it to our own. The text opens without any niceties and the words rain down on us almost like lead pellets.

I. The Root of the Ruin  The text says, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness.

As the curtain draws back, we not eased into the scene at all. We are confronted at once with the glaring lights of judgment and the fearsome word “wrath.” Note that the wrath of God is called a revelation. That is to say, it is a word of truth that reveals and prophetically interprets reality for us. The wrath is the revelation!

It’s quite astonishing, really. It directly contradicts to our modern tendency to see God only as the “affirmer in chief,” whose love for us is understood only in sentimental terms, never in terms of a strong love that insists on what is right and true, on what we need rather than what we want.

What is the wrath of God? It is our experience of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God. The unrepentant sinner cannot endure His presence, His holiness. For such a one, there is wailing and grinding of teeth, anger, and even rage when confronted by the existence of God and the demands of His justice and holiness. God’s wrath does not mean that He is in some simplistic sense angry, emotionally worked up. God is not moody or unstable. He is not subject to temper tantrums as we are. Rather, it is that God is holy and the unrepentant sinner cannot endure His holiness; the sinner experiences it as wrath.

To the degree that God’s wrath is in Him, it is His passion to set things right. God is patient and will wait and work to draw us to repentance, but his justice and truth cannot forever tarry. When judgment sets in on a person, culture, civilization, or epoch, His holiness and justice are revealed as wrath to the unrepentant.

What was the central sin of St. Paul’s (and our own) time? They suppress the truth by their wickedness (Romans 1:18). It is the sin that leads to every other problem.

Note this well: those who seek to remain in their wickedness suppress the truth. On account of wickedness and a desire to persist in sin, many suppress the truth. The catechism of the Catholic Church warns,

The human mind … is hampered in the attaining of such truths, not only by the impact of the senses and the imagination, but also by disordered appetites which are the consequences of original sin. So it happens that men in such matters easily persuade themselves that what they would not like to be true is false or at least doubtful (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 37).

St. Paul wrote this to St. Timothy:

For the time will come when people will not tolerate sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear (2 Tim 4:3).

Isaiah described this:

They say to the seers, “See no more visions”; to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right; tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions” (Isaiah 30:10).

Yes, on account of a desire to cling to their sin and to justify themselves, people suppress the truth. While this human tendency has always existed, there is a widespread tendency for people of our own time in the decadent West to go on calling good, or “no big deal,” what God calls sinful.

When we do this, we suppress the truth. Now, as then, the wrath of God is being revealed. On account of the sin of repeated, collective, obstinate suppression of the truth, God’s wrath is being revealed on the culture of the decadent West.

II. The Revelation that is Refused  The text goes on to say, … and since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse (Romans 1:19-20).

Note that God the Holy Spirit and St. Paul attest that the suppression of the truth is willful; it is not merely ignorance. While the pagans of St. Paul’s day did not have the Scriptures, they are still “without excuse.” Why? Because they had the revelation of creation. Creation reveals God and speaks not only to His existence, but also to his attributes, to His justice and power, to His will and the good order He instills in us and thus expects of us.

All of this means that even those raised outside the context of faith, whether in the first century or today, are “without excuse.”

The Catechism also couches our responsibility to discover and live the truth in the existence of something called the conscience:

Deep within his conscience man discovers a law which he has not laid upon himself but which he must obey. Its voice, ever calling him to love and to do what is good and to avoid evil, sounds in his heart at the right moment. … For man has in his heart a law inscribed by God. … His conscience is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths. … Moral conscience … bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. …. [Conscience] is a messenger of him, who, both in nature and in grace, speaks to us behind a veil, and teaches and rules us by his representatives. Conscience is the aboriginal Vicar of Christ (CCC #1776-1778).

Because of the witness and revelation of the Created order, and on account of the conscience present and operative in all who have attained the use of reason, those who suppress the truth are without excuse. They are suppressing what they know to be true.

It has been my experience in my many years as a pastor working with sinners (and as a sinner myself) that those I must confront about sin know full well what they are doing. They may have suppressed the still, small voice of God; they may have sought to keep His voice at bay with layers of rationalization; they may have also collect false teachers to confirm them in their sin and permitted many deceivers to tickle their ears. Deep down, though, they know that what they do is wrong. At the end of the day they are without excuse.

Some lack of due discretion may ameliorate the severity of their culpability, but ultimately they are without excuse for suppressing the truth.

So there is also the revelation of creation, the Word of God (which has been heard by most people today), and the conscience. Many people today, as in St. Paul’s time, refuse revelation. They do so willfully in order to justify wickedness; they are without excuse.

III. The Result in the Ranks – The text says, For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but became vain in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like a mortal human being and birds and animals and reptiles (Romans 1:21-23).

This should seem very familiar. In St. Paul’s day, and even more so in ours, a prideful culture has set aside God, whether through explicit atheism and militant secularism or through neglect and willful tepidity. Today, God has been pushed to the margins of our proud, anthropocentric culture. His wisdom has been forcibly removed from our schools and from the public square. His image and any reminders of Him are increasingly being removed by force of law. Many people even mock His Holy Name, mentioning His truth only to scorn it as a vestige of the “dark ages.”

Faith and the magnificent deposit of knowledge and culture that has come with it has been scoffed at as a relic from times less scientific than our own much more “enlightened” age.

Our disdainful culture has become a sort of iconoclastic “anti-culture,” which has systematically put into the shredder every bit of Godly wisdom it can. The traditional family, human sexuality, chastity, self-control, moderation, and nearly all other virtues have been scorned and willfully smashed by the iconoclasts of our time. To them, everything of this sort must go.

As a prophetic interpretation of reality, the Scripture from Romans describes the result of suppressing the truth and refusing to acknowledge and glorify God: … they became vain in their thinking and their senseless minds were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools (Romans 1:21).

Yes, there is a powerful darkening effect that comes from suppressing the truth and refusing the wisdom and revelation of God. While claiming to be so wise, smart, advanced, we have collectively speaking become foolish and vain; our intellects grow darker by the day. Our concern for vain, foolish, passing things knows little bounds today. Yet the things that really do matter: death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell, are almost never attended to. We run after foolish things but cannot seem to exercise the least bit of self-control. Our debts continue to grow but we cannot curb our spending. We cannot make or keep commitments. Addiction is increasingly widespread. All of the most basic indicators indicate that we have grave problems: graduation rates, SAT scores, teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, abortion rates, divorce rates, cohabitation rates. The numbers that should be going up are down and the numbers that should be going down are up.

Although we claim to be so wise and smart today, we have become collectively foolish. Even our ability to think of solutions and to have intelligent conversations has decreased, since we cannot seem to agree on even the most basic points. We simply talk past one other, living in our own smaller and increasingly self-defined worlds.

If you think that the line about idolatry doesn’t apply today, you’re kidding yourself.People are fascinated by stones and rocks, and by all sorts of syncretistic combinations of religions, including the occult. This is the age of the “designer God,” when people no longer tolerate the revealed God of the Scriptures, but believe instead in a reinvented one—who just so happens to agree with everything they think. Yes, idolatry is alive and well in this age of the personal sort of hand-carved idol that can be invoked over and against the true God of the Scriptures.

And people today congratulate themselves for being tolerant, open-minded, and non-judgmental! It is hard not see that our senseless minds have become dark, our thoughts vain, and our behavior foolish.

Our culture is in the very grave condition that this Scripture, this prophetic interpretation of reality, describes. There is much for which we should be rightfully concerned.

IV. The Revelation of the Wrath – The text says, Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error (Rom 1:24-27).

In this passage the “wrath” is revealed. The text simply says, God gave them over to their sinful desires. This is the wrath; this is the revelation of the total incompatibility of unrepented sin before the holiness of God and the holiness to which we are summoned.

In effect, God is saying, if you want sin and rebellion, you can have it. It’s all yours. You’ll experience the full consequences of your sinful rebellion, the full fury of your own sinful choices. Yes, God gave them over to their sinful desires.

It seems that God has also given us over in a similar way to our sinful desires today.

Note that the first and most prominent effect is sexual confusion. The text describes sexual impurity, the degradation of their bodies, shameful lusts, and the shameful acts of homosexual relations. The text also speaks of “due” penalty for such actions, probably disease and other deleterious effects that result from using the body for purposes for which it is not designed.

Welcome to the 21st century decaying West.

Many misunderstand what Romans 1 is saying. They point to this text as a warning that God will punish us for condoning and celebrating homosexual acts. But Romans 1 does not say that God will punish us for this; it says that the widespread condoning and celebrating of homosexual acts is God’s punishment; it is the revelation of wrath. It is the first and chief indication that God has given us over to our stubborn sinfulness and to our lusts.

Let us be careful to make a distinction here. The text does not say that homosexuals are being punished; some may mysteriously have this orientation but live chastely. Rather, it is saying that we are all being punished.

Why? For over 60 years now the decadent West has celebrated promiscuity,pornography, fornication, cohabitation, contraception, and even to some extent adultery. The resulting carnage of abortion, STDs, AIDs, single motherhood, absent fathers, poverty, and emotionally damaged children does not seem to have been enough to bring us to our senses. Our lusts have only become wilder and more debased.

Through the use of contraception, we severed the connection between sex, procreation, and marriage. Sex has been reduced to two adults doing what they please in order to have fun or share love (really, lust). This has opened the door to increasingly debased sexual expression and to irresponsibility.

Enter the homosexual community and its demands for acceptance. The wider culture, now debased, darkened, and deeply confused, cannot comprehend the obvious: that homosexual acts are contrary to nature. The very design of the body shouts against it. But the wider culture, already deeply immersed in its own confusion about sex and now an increasing diet of ever-baser pornography that celebrates both oral and anal sex among heterosexuals, has had no answer to the challenge.

We have gone out of our minds. Our senseless minds are darkened, confused, foolish, and debased. This is wrath. This is what it means to be given over to our sinful desires. This is what happens when God finally has to say to a culture, if you want sin you can have it—until it comes out of your ears!

How many tens of millions of babies have been aborted, sacrificed to our wild lusts?How deep has been the pain caused by rampant divorce, cohabitation, adultery, and STDs? Yet none of this has caused us to repent.

In all of this, The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness. Notice again, homosexuals are not being singled out; The wrath is against all the godlessness and wickedness of those who suppress the truth. When even the carnage has not been enough to bring us to our senses, God finally says, enough, and gives us over to our own sinful desires to feel their full effects. We have become so collectively foolish and vain in our thinking and darkened in our intellect that as a culture we now “celebrate” homosexual acts, which Scripture rightly calls disordered. (The word St. Paul uses in this passage to describe homosexual acts is paraphysin, meaning “contrary to nature.”) Elsewhere, Scripture speaks of these as acts of grave depravity that cry to Heaven for vengeance.

But as the text says, Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1:32). This is darkness; this is wrath.

This is the result of being given over to our sins: a deeply darkened mind. The celebration of homosexual acts is God’s punishment and it demonstrates that He has given us over.

V. The Revolution that Results – The text says, Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy (Romans 1:28-31).

The text states clearly and in very familiar terms the truth that when sex, marriage, and family go into the shredder, an enormous number of social ills are set loose.

This is because children are no longer properly formed. The word “bastard” in its common informal usage refers to a despicable person, but its more “technical” definition is an illegitimate child. Both senses are related. This text says, in effect, that when God gives us over to our sinful desires, we start to act like bastards.

Large numbers of children raised outside the best setting of a father and a mother in a stable traditional family is a recipe for the social disaster described in these verses. I will not comment on them any further; they speak for themselves.

VI. The Refusal to Repent – Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them (Romans 1:32).

Here, too, is the mystery of our iniquity, of our stubborn refusal to repent no matter how high the cost, how clear the evidence. Let us pray we will come to our senses. God has a record of allowing civilizations to come and go, nations to rise and fall. If we do not love life, we do not have to have it. If we want lies rather than truth, we can have them and we will feel their full effects.

Somewhere God is saying,

When I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or command locusts to devour the land or send a plague among my people, if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. Now my eyes will be open and my ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place (2 Chron 7:14-15).

Oremus!

Shocking! 84% of Catholics Reject that Satan is a Person and Hell Exists

The Church is Ready to Capsize!

By Fr. Daniel Doctor,

The Roman Catholic Church, that is the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church is the Bride of Jesus Christ.  This Church was established by Christ Himself to be the sole means of salvation for
all of humanity. As Catholics, we know of no other way to salvation except through the sacramental system established by Christ and given to His Apostles.

Why is the Catholic Church in Near Chaos and Confusion?

Careful analysis of recent studies and polls taken among Catholics reveals that an overwhelming majority of U.S. Catholics simply do not believe in the Devil, or sin, or it’s logical consequences – eternal damnation in hell.  As we can see, with any kind of an reasonable observation of that the outcome, is that the Church is in a state of near chaos and confusion over what She teaches and what She does not teach.  The overriding reason for this is because bishops, the clergy, teachers and parents, have completely failed in their duties to transmit the Faith to each of the successive past four generations.  And there are huge consequences for this failure.

Pray for Our Church

A lack of a belief in the Devil, sin, or hell makes it very awkward for all of us during the Easter Liturgy, when it comes to the renewing of baptismal promises.  When the priest asks the people, “Do you reject Satan?” . . .  “Who Father? We don’t believe in him anymore.  Silly priest, asking us such stupid questions . . . believing in such archaic things . . . .”

What most of us were not taught – is that the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Faith is an integrated belief system, where one teaching is dependent on every other teaching, creating a whole and concise theology.  Rejection of the Devil as a personal evil, or sin, or even hell, does incredible theological damage to the whole of the Catholic Faith. In fact, like any teaching we like to change, reinterpret, or ignore, the entire faith is undermined and in some cases can even be destroyed.

Consider for a moment, if there is no personal evil like the Devil, Satan, or Lucifer, then much of Catholicism simply disintegrates. Who was it exactly that St. Michael the Archangel fought against?  Or is St. Michael merely symbolic as well? And if he’s symbolic, then are all angels also just symbols? If the Devil is not real, then who tempted our first parents in the garden, which caused the Fall? Who tempted Christ in the desert? Whose head will Mary, our Mother crush? Who did the Saints warns us against? And if all these things didn’t really happen, or will not happen,  then why would we need a Savior?

St. Teresa of Avila, the great Doctor of the Church said, “we need to focus on the things that Jesus saved us from.”  But if sin and hell are not real, and devil and His fallen Angels are just symbols, then why do we need a Savior?  A Savior, who saves us from what?  Therefore, we rob the cross of Jesus Christ of all its meaning.  And Jesus was simply a fool, a poor misguided individual who died on a cross for no good reason.

Jesus Christ told us plainly in scriptures that Hell was created “for the devil and his angels.”  But if these persons are symbolic, does that mean Hell is too? And if Hell is symbolic, why wouldn’t Heaven also be symbolic? The two are intimately related to each other, as we come to understand when we study “The Four Last Things.”

The other consequence if there is no Hell, then there is no justice, and if there is no justice there is no God.  This would also mean that if there is no justice, then humanity does not possess free will.  For justice is the natural end of free will, that individuals at the end of their life are given what they deserve, their due.

I Am Completely Dumbfounded

I am, like many young priests today are, completely dumbfounded that it is possible that 4 out of every 5 Catholics in America, over 84%, reject the Church’s Dogmatic teaching that Satan is a personal evil being and that hell and sin exist.  In fact, Catholics reject the belief in the Devil more than any other religious group in the country!  In fact, belief in the Devil was almost as rare
among Catholics as it was among those who had no religious affiliation or belief.

For years now, I have been saying, and a lot of other priests too, that the number of authentic Catholics, real Catholics, who actually embrace all the Church’s teachings, is somewhere less than 10%
of the roughly 70 million baptized U.S. Catholics.  But the sad fact is, it is closer to 5%.  Polls and surveys continue to reveal and confirm this fact more and more.  When it comes down to it, there is an overwhelming number of Catholics in the U.S., including most of the bishops and priests, that are simply not Catholic anymore or at least not Catholic in any meaningful way.

We are now in the fourth generation, going on the fifth, that has grow up in an environment within the Church of deconstruction or flat out denial of the authentic faith. The average Catholic, does
not understand the integrity of the Church’s teachings, or even that Her teachings are interdependent on each other.  And sadly, not too many Catholics are really saying a word about this terrible situation.  Nor are many Catholics even declaring that these Dogmatic teachings are Divinely revealed Truths, not made up by men, but revealed by Jesus Christ Himself, while He was on earth.

Nearly everyone has compromised with this evil, most certainly those who are bishops and priests.  But the great Saints of our Catholic Faith forcefully taught us that we never compromise with
evil or heresy.  Most of the ordained simply will not state the Truths of the Catholic Church anymore because they know if they do, a large portion of the few remaining Catholics who are still coming to church will get up and leave, or stop donating.

The vast majority of Catholics simply do not accept, believe, or practice the Faith anymore.  The results of this can be clearly measured in the lack of priestly ordinations, the increasing number of
priests leaving active ministry, the number of priests who have been exiled, punished, and persecuted for speaking the Truths of the Catholic Faith, the closing of parishes, schools, hospitals, and other Catholic institutions, forced collaboratives, the clustering of parishes, and the constant moving of priests.  This is also seen in the burnout among the clergy because of the increased workload and the lack of any true support system from their Bishops or the people of God.  But all of this that is occurring in the church today, is giving to those of us who pay attention a much more truthful picture of reality of the Catholic Church in America.

I feel so sorry for the number of Catholic families that this present situation has caused.  It means that all of us, most especially parents and priests, must become more pro-active, more aggressive in learning the true Catholic Faith and holding firm to it.  And then teaching this authentic faith to the next generation as well as to the current generation that has lost their faith.

I am here to tell you, and you can believe me or not, but there is a real active evil person, working every day to destroy us and our children. The same is true for so many young adults who are unprepared to counter or even believe in the diabolical, the true evil of this world, which has intensified greatly over these past few years.  This evil has gone unchecked by Faithful Catholics as well as the Church’s hierarchy.

We must, like the Saints, who have gone before us, learn the Catholic faith that we so casually say we believe in.  We must stand up for the Doctrine She has wonderfully taught for over 2,000 years and practice it wholeheartedly.  When we take the time to study and learn the true Faith, this is meant to energize our prayer life.  Do we as Catholics even have a prayer life anymore?  Are we developing a prayer Life?  The relationship with God, that the Church asks us?  This education in the Faith is meant to help us fall in love with the Catholic Church, Her teachings, and give us the strength and courage to oppose the Devil.  I can assure you, as a Roman Catholic Priest, the Devil is absolutely real.

For as St. Peter, our first Pope, taught us in his letters, “Stay sober and alert. Your opponent the devil is prowling like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, solid in your faith.”

If you feel, like I and a whole bunch of other people do, that things are spinning out of control in our world, and most especially in the Church today,  you’re right.  The underlying reason is because the Church is in a state of near chaos and confusion.  As Pope Benedict stated recently, “ready to capsize” this is all brought about by the Church’s chief enemy the Devil, and he is real.  Be assured, we have not arrived at this place in history by accident.  There is an intelligent evil being behind all of this work, bent on our destruction and the destruction of our Lord’s Catholic Church.

We must rededicate ourselves, as good Catholics, to knowing and studying the Faith.  This way, we can resist and fight with all our might against the evil that has plagued us for far too long.  Part of the answer to this problem involves setting aside time to study the Faith, to be enraptured by its glories and mysteries, its blinding truth.  This cannot happen if we don’t make the effort to learn our wonderful Faith, and then follow through with our good intentions.

There is no way to fight against the Devil other than to love God more. And we cannot love what we do not know. Knowledge of the Faith is absolutely crucial for any spiritual growth, and we need to get back on our knees and beg God to deliver us from the sinful evil of this current generation, and the filth, greed, lust, and heresy that has entered our church.

We are not alone in this fight.  We have never been alone. God, His Holy Mother, the Angels, and all His Saints, the whole of Heaven, watches and encourages us to get involved in this fight for the
salvation of souls, as well as for the liberty and exultation of Holy Mother the Church, our only known source of salvation.  For as St. Thomas Becket, a martyr for the Faith so wisely taught us, as well as the testimony of so many Saints, without real effort no one ever wins the crown of everlasting life.

Wild Grapes are all Around Us!

By Fr. Stephen V. Hamilton,

In Scripture the vineyard is always an image for the gathering of God’s People. As the Prophet Isaiah himself says, the vineyard is Israel. Later, upon Israel’s failure to recognize and accept Jesus as the awaited Messiah, the vineyard is the Church as the fulfillment of the gathering of God’s People, open to anyone who will produce the fruit of the kingdom. By faith and baptism we are called to be members of Jesus’ Body and we are called to belong to the only Church he himself established: the Catholic Church.

But we are not called to belong to the vineyard of the Church for the purpose of our own praises or to simply be members, as if in a club. Rather, taking the plain lesson of the Scriptures, we are called to belong to Jesus and to his Church in order to produce the fruit of God’s Kingdom.

The obvious question for us then is:

Will we produce the fruit of God’s kingdom?

Will we be a crop of “wild grapes” or will we produce the fruit of holiness and virtue that are signs that we are the cultivated and beloved vintage of God’s kingdom?

Two recent pictures I came across in the news serve as images to me that our world has us surrounded by wild grapes, bad fruit. The first is a picture from some mass protest. A man associated with an organization promoting the abandonment of Christianity is pictured. The organization claims Christianity and false beliefs about Jesus (things like Jesus is God) are responsible for many of the world’s problems. The kicker is this: the man is holding a sign reading “If Jesus returns, kill him again.” Let that sink in. “If Jesus returns, kill him again.”

The second picture is from one of the recent hurricanes whose force ripped ships loose from their moorings. I think the image of a boat ripped from its anchor, tossed about, and causing untold damage as it thrashes and beats against everything in its vicinity is an apt image of our world at this time. Christians and historic Christian lands have abandoned the true faith. In other cases, the label “Christian” remains but the substance is not the Gospel but rather a nonsensical, irrational “tolerance” that betrays the real point: that nothing is really so true as to stake your life on it, except of course for anything that it is fashionable to tolerate. And the wild grapes are wider than the abandonment of Christianity. Other religions and even non-religious people seem to have lost the ability to reason and have become unhinged from the foundation of truth, tossed about like a boat torn from its anchor.

So Many Wild Grapes!

Radical extremist Islam has a well-documented trail of blood demonstrating its violence. Yet it is not uncommon to find that secular elites can’t bring themselves to admit that, at the very least, this does present a problem for the whole of Islam that it must address in an authoritative way if it can be permitted for even a second to be called the religion of peace. The wild grapes of our world don’t stop with throwing off the moorings of Jesus, the Bible, and the Church. They even throw off clear undeniable facts in order to self-define and self-identify who and what they are, who they are with, who they marry and more. Most children learn from an early age and certainly by sixth grade science class that the reproductive system bespeaks the truth of male and female relationships. Not anymore. And there goes marriage too. Now not even the body gets to speak with any finality because despite the truth of genetic make-up modern man can claim to be the other sex and even alter his physical truth. But of course, it’s people like you and me who are the unscientific ones, believing all sorts of crazy fantasy. The irony is actually deeper than the intellectual force of these unhinged arguments.

What Must Catholics Do?

Wild grapes are all around us. We are foolish if we think we can sit back and be generally nice and they won’t overtake us and choke us off like wild vines always do against choice vines. So, let me ask again: Will we produce the fruit of God’s kingdom? The world needs disciples, and the Lord requires disciples, to be witnesses of truth and to produce the fruit of God’s kingdom. This is sorely needed in our time. There are many necessary responses to the crises of our time. I don’t pretend to know them all and I can’t overload you with many of them. But I do want to highlight one that has power and one that has historically been our uniquely Catholic response. It is invoking daily the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary who brought Truth in the flesh to this world, her Son Jesus Christ! October is a month typically dedicated to one particularly strong and valuable spiritual practice – a spiritual weapon even – the Holy Rosary. October is dedicated to the Rosary because of the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary (October 7), which is itself directly related to the memorial of how navies from Christian empires defeated invading Islam at the Battle of Lepanto in 1571. Since the Christian navies were largely outnumbered by the Islamic navies the Pope called upon all of Christian Europe to pray the Rosary for success in the battle. The Christian victory was considered miraculous and attributed to Mary’s intercession. The pope then established an annual feast day called Our Lady of Victory, which later has come to be called the feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. In our modern age we can tend to forget that we are in battle. Most definitely we must be clear that each disciple is in personal spiritual battle to produce the fruit of God’s kingdom and to deny Satan and his kingdom. But we are also in a battle external to ourselves. A battle for culture. A battle for the meaning of human sexuality, marriage, and the family. The Rosary is a weapon we would be foolish to ignore. It will change you personally. It will also impact the world around us in ways we cannot foresee.

I am not giving strong direction to learn and pray the Rosary as if it is the only prayer a Catholic should say. There are many ways to pray and we each need to pray in various ways. But I am saying that we should not ignore the Rosary. If prayed as it is intended, it is a type of meditation and it places us before the mystery of God’s saving plan for us, even as it invokes the Blessed Mother for our needs. In the 1950s Pope Pius XII released a document promoting the recitation of the Holy Rosary. But the title of that document might surprise you. The document on praying the Rosary is called Ingruentium Malorum, which in Latin means “In the face of approaching evils.” Pius XII’s description of the conflicts, the bloodshed, and the attempts to undermine the faith even of children in the 50s might make you think the document was written today. In this 100th anniversary year of Mary’s appearance at Fatima we cannot express surprise that one of the visionaries reported that the final battle between Satan and the Church would be over marriage and family life. But Mary, being the fulfillment of the woman in Genesis who crushes the serpent’s head, is a powerful intercessor in this battle.

We Should Pick Up Our Rosaries.

Pick up a pamphlet from church that teaches its recitation. Go online for resources to learn how to pray it. Use it at home in your family. Pray at least some part of it even if you can’t keep small children’s attention for the whole Rosary. From personal experience I can tell you that if you have a drive of at least about 14 miles (that’s from Edmond to the Cathedral, by the way!), you have time to get a Rosary in. Do not leave this weapon sheathed and dull. The Rosary will change you. It will aid your personal battles. It will help you produce the fruits of God’s kingdom. And, in so doing, it will help you be a valuable part in the battle for the soul of our world.