You Are Capable of Great Sanctity

Faithful Catholics: A Message of Hope

Dear Catholic Friend,

I am writing to you to give you a word of encouragement. So I would hope you take this in the fatherly way I want to address you, as one who is a priest of over 32 years and as spiritual director of dozens of people, a priest who very much has personal contact with many of the lay faithful and knows very well the deep concern – anxiety may be a better word – over the present situation in the Church. Take this as if I were in your presence, saying firmly and clearly and with great confidence: Be at peace! Pray more! Calm down and don’t lose heart!

St. Padre Pio, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

Padre Pio is quoted as saying, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry!” I want to aim that especially at people who write those anxiety-filled blogs and articles at the Church’s present situation, but certainly to all the Catholic faithful who are confused, bemused, or just plain angry. I certainly understand your concern; in fact, I share it but my consideration as to what to do is different. I conclude that we should pray more and complain less; besides you might recall the words of Psalm 95 which we priests and religious who recite the Divine Office have the joy of choosing as the invitatory psalm in our daily recitation of the breviary; specifically the verse that says: “Forty years I endured that generation. I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.’ So I swore in My anger, ‘They shall not enter into My rest.’”

What Are You Going to Do?

Let’s not try our Lord’s patience, rather let’s take this as an opportunity to establish a firmer faith, a more secure hope and a deeper charity. After all, what are you going to do? Leave the Church?! Wouldn’t the Evil One then have the victory over your soul?

Think of it!

Aren’t you one who loves that old title given to us at confirmation, “soldiers of Christ.” Well, then don’t walk off the field of battle. These are the times, I’m convinced, that St. Louis Marie de Montfort prophesied, the time of the great saints: “Towards, the end of the world . . . Almighty God and His holy mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, article 47). Take it a s a compliment that our father God finds you worthy of these times, that He finds you capable of great sanctity!

I write as one who gives direction to many souls and who is alarmed at the discouragement that has entered so many hearts. I hear it and see it a lot and I must confess that discouragement is not foreign to me, especially given the confusion spread even by those called to strengthen our faith. That being said, I want to tell you what I tell the souls entrusted to me: Pray more! Pray for an increase of faith, hope, and love and make it an apostolic prayer, said with missionary zeal for the sake of others. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, increase our faith, hope and love!” Not just once, but many times a day, pray this way and you will fulfill your duty as a good soldier of Christ.

Hang in There Friends!

I write this out of gratitude for all the Catholic faithful whose loyalty to Christ and His holy Church has inspired me throughout my life. Hang in there friends! Hang in there with greater faith, hope, and love. “The gates of Hell will not prevail!”

May holy Mary, the woman of great faith and mother of the Church, envelop you in Her most compassionate and immaculate heart. Peace!

Fr. William Moser

A Crisis For Saints

Faithful Catholics: Pray More and Complain Less,
A Message of Hope

Dear Catholic Friend,

I am writing to you to give you a word of encouragement. So I would hope you take this in the fatherly way I want to address you, as one who is a priest of over 32 years and as spiritual director of dozens of people, a priest who very much has personal contact with many of the lay faithful and knows very well the deep concern – anxiety may be a better word – over the present situation in the Church. Take this as if I were in your presence, saying firmly and clearly and with great confidence: Be at peace! Pray more! Calm down and don’t lose heart!

St. Padre Pio, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry.”

 

Padre Pio is quoted as saying, “Pray, hope, and don’t worry!” I want to aim that especially at people who write those anxiety-filled blogs and articles at the Church’s present situation, but certainly to all the Catholic faithful who are confused, bemused, or just plain angry. I certainly understand your concern; in fact, I share it but my consideration as to what to do is different. I conclude that we should pray more and complain less; besides you might recall the words of Psalm 95 which we priests and religious who recite the Divine Office have the joy of choosing as the invitatory psalm in our daily recitation of the breviary; specifically the verse that says: “Forty years I endured that generation. I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray and they do not know my ways.’ So I swore in My anger, ‘They shall not enter into My rest.’”

 

What Are You Going to Do?

Let’s not try our Lord’s patience, rather let’s take this as an opportunity to establish a firmer faith, a more secure hope and a deeper charity. After all, what are you going to do? Leave the Church?! Wouldn’t the Evil One then have the victory over your soul?

Think of it! Aren’t you one who loves that old title given to us at confirmation, “soldiers of Christ.” Well, then don’t walk off the field of battle. These are the times, I’m convinced, that St. Louis Marie de Montfort prophesied, the time of the great saints: “Towards, the end of the world . . . Almighty God and His holy mother are to raise up great saints who will surpass in holiness most other saints as much as the cedars of Lebanon tower above little shrubs.” (St. Louis Marie de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, article 47). Take it a s a compliment that our father God finds you worthy of these times, that He finds you capable of great sanctity!

I write as one who gives direction to many souls and who is alarmed at the discouragement that has entered so many hearts. I hear it and see it a lot and I must confess that discouragement is not foreign to me, especially given the confusion spread even by those called to strengthen our faith. That being said, I want to tell you what I tell the souls entrusted to me: Pray more! Pray for an increase of faith, hope, and love and make it an apostolic prayer, said with missionary zeal for the sake of others. “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, increase our faith, hope and love!” Not just once, but many times a day, pray this way and you will fulfill your duty as a good soldier of Christ.

 

Hang in There Friends!

I write this out of gratitude for all the Catholic faithful whose loyalty to Christ and His holy Church has inspired me throughout my life. Hang in there friends! Hang in there with greater faith, hope, and love. “The gates of Hell will not prevail!”

May holy Mary, the woman of great faith and mother of the Church, envelop you in Her most compassionate and immaculate heart. Peace!

Fr. William Moser
January 20, 2016

I am in a Fighting Mood . . .

Warning: The Devil is Prowling

My dear friends,

Please entrust these vital intentions to St. Joseph:  1) The holy Father’s visit to the United States, 2) the world meeting of families, 3) and most especially for the ordinary synod on the family.

I think its a good time to write and ask you to pray.  I know I have asked for lots of prayers in the past for which I am immensely grateful-BUT-this is a time in which there is need for constant prayer.  If I could put an infinite number of exclamation points behind this request for prayer and that you pray I would.  If we could push back evil, it will have to be with prayer, unceasing prayer.

I would ask that you pray for 3 specific events: 1) The Holy Father’s visit to the United States, 2)the World Meeting of Families, 3) and most especially for the Ordinary Synod on the Family in October.

Mortification

Please consider the other wing of the spiritual life and that which gives added punch to prayer:  mortification.   I would suggest some fasting of this type:  no seconds, no desserts,  no salt, etc.

Let’s be on the alert.  The “devil is prowling about” and we need to be aware of his presence and his evil work.  Let’s do more than be on the defensive though. Let’s pray, pray, pray. In the month of October, and perhaps beyond, let’s say extra rosaries.

I have told many people that I am in a fighting mood and I am full of hope because I know “the gates of hell will not prevail” against out mother, the Church!  The question is not whether or not we win.  Of course we do!!!  And big time.  It’s a matter of whether or not you want to be on the winning team.  We are praying that more people join us for the great victory.

Thanking you ahead of time for praying and praying and praying.  You can’t take this message of prayer and fasting seriously enough.

 

God bless you and thank you,

Fr. William Moser

Please pray, mortify, and share!

 

Memorare to St. Joseph

Daily prayer for the Synod on the Family:

Remember, O most chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, that never was
it known that anyone who implored your help and sought your
intercession were left unassisted. Full of confidence in your power
I fly unto you and beg your protection. Despise not O Guardian
of the Redeemer my humble supplication, but in your bounty, hear
and answer me.

Amen.

My Most Negative Reaction to a Homily Ever . . .

Is Clericalism Dead?

By Fr. William Moser:

On the occasion of the 25th anniversary of a priest of my diocese, I experienced the strongest and most negative reaction to a homily I can ever remember. I have heard lots of homilies, and lots of homilies that produced discomfort of one sort or another. So, what did this homilist say that caused me such concern? The priest-homilist had just deplored the evils of clericalism. Well, very good, you might think. O yes, very good, but not only did he fail to identify the true faults of clericalism – which, I admit, is a common problem – he announced that clericalism is virtually dead, a thing of the past by saying, and I will never forget this: “Thank God those days are over.”

My friends, those days are not over – far from it – if they will ever be over. This priest’s statement is grossly naïve at best and completely shallow at worst. I think, in fact, clericalism is far worse today than ever before. Therefore, I hope to help in an understanding of the nature of true clericalism and what is the only way to avoid it.

Clericalism is far from dead. Clericalism will probably be around as long as there are men and women. I say men and women deliberately because clericalism is not solely a fault among priests. It is a pervasive problem that affects priests, religious, and the lay faithful.

Clericalism

Is Clericalism Dead? by Fr. William Moser

 

 

So, What is Clericalism?

Clericalism means using one’s priestly office for some worldly advantage. It means being more concerned with the perks that come with the priestly state of life than being concerned with the responsibilities to be fulfilled. For instance, a priest or bishop who enjoys his title and vesture more than he likes to hear confessions or give counsel to the faithful is most certainly prone to clericalism.

This vice of clericalism is more commonly seen in a priest or bishop who fails to preach the full magisterium of the Church so as not to lose the good opinion of the people to whom he speaks. Jesus’ example is the cure. Jesus forthrightly faced the displeasure of His townsmen rather than hold back on the truth He preached. He faced the death of the cross in order to witness to the truth. A clericalist would have “prudently” avoided that calamity.

 

5 Ways the Laity Encourages Clericalism

Clericalism may seem to predominate among priests, but I think when one looks at things more carefully, it is far more common among the laity than it should be. Lay people even encourage clericalism. This can be seen in the easy applause and affirmation for the priest who tickles our ears and the disdain shown for the priest who faithfully preaches the truth. Lay people encourage this fault of clericalism when they threaten to withhold money or talent or their presence if certain things are said or not said from the pulpit; when they commend the priest who presents bad doctrine or who recommends bad or loose pastoral practices like giving holy communion to people who are living in sinful situations that are gravely wrong or scandalous.

Clericalists, be they lay people, religious, or priests, encourage those who defiantly place themselves above the divinely instituted and solemn authority of the Church Christ founded.

Clericalism is not dead; it has just been given new names and new forms. Clericalism makes itself appear, by dressing down, to be less so. But it only seems so, and is always false. For example, a priest who dresses down, that is, dresses in a layman’s outfit, is not necessarily less clerical than the priest who wears his clerical garb; he may even be more clerical. If he is known to be a priest but fails to live up to his priestly vocation and keeps the perks of his office, he is definitely a clericalist. If he abuses his priestly office with a lifestyle that is lavish or scandalous, he is definitely a clericalist.

A clerical priest is one who, whether in clerics or not, uses his position to maintain a comfortable lifestyle while avoiding his duties which often make him uncomfortable. Worse, he is always a priest who seeks the applause of the world and tickles the ears of the congregation. All the while he is not concerned about the faith of his congregation dying.

 

What is the Most Common Form of Clericalism among Priests?

Failing to preach the truth. Priests who avoid preaching the hard truths because they displease their parishioner are giving into clericalism.

 

What is the cure for clericalism? Jesus! Jesus never played to His audience. Jesus was always priestly. Jesus was willing to offer the sacrifice of the Holy Cross rather than give in to the demands of the crowd. Therefore, a priest who follows Jesus’ example is always willing to sacrifice himself rather than sacrifice the faithful for himself; that is, a true priest tells the truth and lives the truth and is not afraid to wear the sign of his state in life – whether cassock or clerical suit – in order, always and everywhere, to be available to people and to promote the truth.

So, really, being “anti-clerical” means being priestly because being priestly means being self-sacrificing, which is everything a clericalist is not.

Those who believe clericalism is dead because priests don’t dress up or who play to their audience haven’t really considered things too deeply. Clericalism will be alive as long as we have to battle wounded human nature, and, that my friends, will be with us until the end of time. The antidote to the dreadful illness of clericalism is the imitation of Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest.

The “Lawless One”

The Liturgy, Signs of the Times, Sulphur, Lawlessness & Disobedient Shepherds

by Fr. William Moser:

I’ve never been one who wants to ignore the law of God and His Church – even if at times I perceived them narrowly or legalistically.  As I grow older, and – please God! – more mature, I have come to love the law of God and His Church.  I even confess I love all the rubrics of the sacred liturgy.  Yes, all of them!  You see, I’m of an age – 57 – at which I have seen a lot of disobedience and dissent and downright disdain for the Church’s liturgical laws. Worse, I have seen disdain for ecclesiastical laws.  And, worse yet, I’ve seen disdain for divine law as proclaimed by the Word of God and the constant teaching of the Church.

So, I’m really wondering what’s going on these days, even within high ecclesiastical circles.  Jesus, perfect God and perfect man has warned us, with His fatherly heart, to read “the signs of the times.” (cf. Mt. 16:3).  As I’m wondering about this, and what’s going on in the Church and civil society, so much lawlessness and Godlessness and defiance – I come across that mysterious passage in the second chapter of St. Paul’s second letter to the Thessalonians, wherein St. Paul speaks of “the man of lawlessness … the son of perdition.” (cf. 2 Thess. 2:3)  Chills go up and down my spine as I read his further explanation:  “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work … and then the lawless one will be revealed … the coming of the lawless one by the activity of Satan will be with all power and with pretended signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are to perish, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” (cf. 2 Thess. 2: 7-10)

For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work. 2 Thess. 2:7

 

Sniffing Sulphur

Am I catching a whiff of sulphur these days? If St. Paul could say in his day that “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work,” (cf. 2 Thess. 2:7) what would he be saying in our day?  If these are not the last days (and I’m not suggesting they are – not at all) what will it be like in the last days?  No wonder people of those times would rather be dead and our Lord mercifully shortens those days!

 

There’s Hope

I am here observing and wondering, not proclaiming the last days.  Actually, I am writing to bring hope.  Hope for a more positive proclamation of the new evangelization, one that is not at all as it seems to be presented by some, as an announcement of change (notice those who shout ‘change!’ never define what it is, until its fateful consequences are upon us) or an abrogation of all laws, that is, all previous laws without consideration of their merit and wisdom.  I am actually writing to promote a new appreciation of law and law for a more secure and firmly established evangelization.

A scene from a movie comes frequently to mind.  It’s a wonderful point and counter-point argument between St. Thomas More and his son-in-law, Will Roper, in the perennial masterpiece, “A Man for All Seasons.”  Here’s that tense, but splendid dialogue when St. Thomas More is considering his possible dreadful fate:

Will Roper:  So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!

St. Thomas More:  Yes!  What would you do?  Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?

Will Roper:  Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!

St. Thomas More:  Oh?  And when the last law was down and the Devil turned ‘round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat?  This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?  Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of the law, for my own safety’s sake!”

So, I ask:  who can stand upright in the lawless winds that are blowing now?  Our country is planted thick with laws because of the prevalent disdain for God’s law.  If we don’t respect God and His laws, how on earth do we expect people to respect man’s laws?

 

Conforming to the World’s Way

This brings me to the place where we must be able to find respect for law:  the Church.  Alas! The Church (at least among some of her sons and daughters) seems to manifest a sign of conformity to the world’s ways instead of being “a sign of contradiction.”  I could amass a book full of examples.  Who is alive since the 1960s who doesn’t know about liturgical abuses, defiance of the Church’s basic morality, especially on the conception of new human life? Don’t forget the proud dissenters, lining up to show off – to any camera in sight – their latest heresies!  Oh, what Godlessness!  What … lawlessness!

 

Which is Worse?

Furthermore, there is the sight of so many shepherds defying God’s laws.  But, I’ll tell you what may be even worse, shepherds who never defend the faithful who are scandalized by such defiance.  They turn a blind eye to all manner of clerical deceit.  They are even annoyed by the faithful who complain about abuses when they have a right to hear the truth proclaimed and the Sacraments properly celebrated.   How many holy popes and bishops have counselled clergy to conform to the Church’s teaching and practice and to govern their people with truth and justice, but have found only deafness?

 

It is the Faithful Ones Being Punished

So, here we are in 2015 where dissenters are not disciplined, and note this well:  a Church wherein orthodox people, people who simply want to be faithful without any contention, are the ones who are punished.  What has happened?  What is that I smell?  A rat?  No, a bit of sulphur.  It’s the lawless one having his day.

 

What Will God Do Now?

You can ask friends of mine if you want, they will tell you I have never been confirmed in the idea that these are the last days.  Oh, I do get close.  I do wonder.  I am a realist and the sights and sounds of a world going insane gives me pause.  Here we are in a crazy world with omnipresent pornography, abortion on demand – almost demanded in many places – and what’s that I read lately? – of a school district offering transgendered education to our youth?  Sodom and Gomorrah were burnt to a crisp, but what will God do now?

Nevertheless, I hopefully hold on to the idea once proclaimed so confidently by St. John Paul II that there is going to be a “new springtime” in the Church.  He even said – God bless him! – he could see its first signs.  St. John Paul II wasn’t just a wistful optimist.  Need I remind you, this is a man who endured tyrannical communism?  He was not a naïve churchman kept carefully coddled in academic institutions.  St. John Paul II had the “smell of the sheep” as our present pontiff loves to say.

 

Thank You Homeschooling Moms

There are a lot of places I can point to as splendid examples of what that brilliant and beloved pope, St. John Paul II, observed.  Two quick examples are all that are needed for a quick review:  home schoolers – thank you homeschooling moms – you have done a wonderful but thankless task for the Church without support almost anywhere.  Another example, those wonderful young priests showing up and unabashedly and bravely ready to join the battle.  God bless you, young men!  Never give up, but above all, remember, we need holy priests, priests who love the Church – and her customs and her laws based on the apostolic and sacred Tradition she so lovingly upholds.

That brings me back to my point about the law.  Here, I want to suggest that, it’s most certainly an absolutely necessary support for the new evangelization.  None other than the great Cardinal, Raymond Burke, lights the way.  He did so at a previous synod of Bishops in Rome, on October 25, 2012.  Because it didn’t get the notice that it should have, I want to quote his words now:

“Among the most serious wounds of society today is the separation of legal culture from its metaphysical objective, which is the moral law.  In recent times this separation has been much accentuated, manifesting itself as a real antinomianism which claims to render actions which are intrinsically evil as legal, for example, abortion on demand, artificial conception of human life with the aim of carrying out experimentation on the life of a human embryo, the so-called euthanasia of those who have a right to our preferential assistance, legal recognition of same-sex unions as marriage and the negation of the fundamental right to conscience and religious liberty.

“This antinomianism embedded in civil society has unfortunately infected post-Council ecclesial life, associating itself regrettably with so-called cultural novelties. Excitement following the Council, linked to the establishment of a new Church which teaches freedom and love, has strongly encouraged an attitude of indifference towards Church discipline, if not even hostility ….

“Devoted to present-day evangelization, we have the task of laying the foundation for awareness of the disciplinary tradition of the Church and respect of the law of the Church.  How indeed will we be able to witness our faith in the world if we ignore or neglect the demands of justice within the Church?” (Cardinal Raymond Burke, Synod 2012).

 

Law Must be Respected and Loved

Renewing our respect for law in the way back on course, and the way forward in the “new springtime” ahead.  Law must be respected! Law must be loved! And, as our Lord would say, not one “jot or tittle” less!

Who better as models of this recovery of respect and love for the law can you find than St. Joseph and Holy Mary, our Blessed Mother, Mother of the Church?  In divine and civil law Joseph and Mary were models of respect!  The holy gospel of St. Luke reports:  “In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be enrolled ….  And Joseph also went up from Galilee … to be enrolled with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child.” (cf. Luke 2:1-6)  So, despite her advanced pregnancy and all the difficulties, Joseph and Mary followed the law.  Thus, they were good and law-abiding citizens.

Two other examples of their fidelity to the law of God will complete the picture as presented by the Word of God in written form.  Further along in chapter two of St. Luke’s gospel we read:  “And when the time came for their purification according to the law of Moses, they brought Him up to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord (as it is written in the law of the Lord, ‘Every male that opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord’) and to offer sacrifice according to what was said in the law of the Lord ….” (cf. Luke 2:22-24).  The other passage reports:  “And when they had performed everything according to the law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own city, Nazareth.” (cf. Luke 2:39).

Joseph and Mary are models of respect for the law of God and their own country.  May this respect, based on love, give us all a new respect for the law and propel us forward, into the new evangelization.  Let us leave the lawless one behind!

Holy Hypocrisy?

 The Danger of Separating Discipline from Doctrine: Permitting
Divorced and Civilly Remarried Catholics to Receive Holy Communion 

by Fr. William Moser

If the Church were to allow people to separate Church discipline from Church doctrine, the doctrine of faith from the practice of the faith – as is in the case of allowing the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Holy Communion– it would mean blessing hypocrisy; it would mean sanctioning that which our Lord Jesus strongly condemns.

 

What is Hypocrisy?

Jesus had some very strong things to say to hypocrites – very strong things indeed! Open your New Testament to the holy gospel of St. Luke and in chapter twelve you find Him saying: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” (Mt 12:3). Then turn to the holy gospel of St. Matthew in chapter twenty three, and you will find 7 “woes” cast at the hypocritical Pharisees. You get the idea that hypocrisy must be a very bad thing. So, what is hypocrisy? Hypocrisy means faking it essentially; it means making an appearance, feigning goodness while contradicting it in practice. The word hypocrisy is taken from the ancient Greek stage where actors put on a mask. On stage that is an appropriate thing to do, but in religion it is not.

Jesus strongly condemns doing religious things“to be seen by men.” (Mt 23:5). This covers the intention of not doing them sincerely when they are “hidden” from the eyes of others.

 

How Can We Contradict Our Lord?

It follows that hypocrisy is bad–very bad! Our blessed and divine Lord makes that abundantly clear. Then why is there all of this talk today about giving Holy Communion to people – even if by exception– who are living in various sinful states? Are we not in danger of blessing, ratifying, sanctioning what Jesus condemns? If our Lord, as a preface to His 7 “woes” cast upon the “Scribes and Pharisees,” says: “so practice and observe what they tell you, but not what they do for they preach, but do not practice.” (Mt 23:3). How can we contradict Him? He who is “the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8). Jesus tells us, His present day disciples, also to do the opposite of the “Scribes and Pharisees”— the opposite of putting on a show of religion: proclaiming our beliefs but not sincerely intending to practice our faith.

How is it possible to tell anybody living in sin— in a state that is contrary to the law of God— that it is okay to receive Holy Communion? And to do the opposite of what that communion with the divine signifies? Holy Communion signifies union with our Lord Jesus Christ in belief and practice. This is why our mother the Church provides the sacrament of penance; so that those who are aware of grave sin and who are ready to repent, may confess and be absolved before they receive Him Who is the fruit of the Eucharistic sacrifice. Someone who is living in sin, who will not separate himself from an occasion of sin (by cohabiting for instance) may not even be able to receive absolution because he says thereby–living in sin—he doesn’t intend to change.

 

We Cannot Separate Doctrine from Discipline

Therefore, it follows that we cannot separate doctrine from discipline. I would even go on to say that “being pastoral”— quite contrary to present day thinking – means putting doctrine into practice faithfully despite the difficulties; otherwise, we would be guilty of hypocrisy. Separating doctrine from practice means blessing hypocrisy, making it acceptable. “Woe” to those people who dare propose such a contradiction of our divine Lord, Jesus Christ!