What is Infinitely More Important for Lent?

Annual Lenten Reminder

By Fr. John Hollowell, On This  Rock:

Going to Mass EVERY weekend is INFINITELY more important than giving up something for Lent.

The Church NOWHERE requires Catholics to give up anything throughout Lent.

The Church does say that it is a grave sin to not attend weekend Mass (exceptions of illness/caring for someone who is ill/dangerous or overly burdensome travel etc.)

Sadly, some ignore the commandment concerning weekend Mass but would run through a brick wall in order to keep their Lenten pledge.

Don’t get me wrong – it is good to have zeal for a Lenten commitment, but it makes no sense if the more basic apparatus of the Faith is not in place as well.

It doesn’t make any sense to say “I’m giving up sweets for Lent even though the Church doesn’t require it, but I go to Mass once a month even though the Church says Sunday/Saturday pm Mass is what I am to build my life around.”

Said yet another way: don’t give up anything for Lent until you have first committed to going to Mass every weekend of Lent.

 

Clarifiers:

1) I’m not saying “do something positive instead of giving something up for Lent” I’m saying go to Mass every Sunday before worrying about doing something for Lent.

2) Also, this isn’t me “judging” anyone. Neither is this me saying I’m better than anyone. This is me pointing out an ACTION that is problematic and in need of correcting in order for a person to find true happiness. I share this out of love – weekly Mass is critical for a person to find peace.

 Bishop Scharfenberger: Warning to Politicians, Material Cooperation in Abortion is a Mortal Sin

Bishop Scharfenberger Abortion Is NOT Health Care

The following is a statement by Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger:

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger

Bishop Edward B. Scharfenberger

The public policy issue of defunding Planned Parenthood was the subject of demonstrations and counter-demonstrations across the country this weekend, including here in the Capital Region. Without question, Planned Parenthood provides some morally unobjectionable health services to women. However, this statement is not unlike saying that a man who beats his wife sometimes gives her flowers. Planned Parenthood is the unquestioned number one provider of abortions in our country. This is the primary “product” for which it is known. Abortion is not health care; it is the intentional killing of a unique human person in his or her mother’s womb. This is a scientific fact that has nothing at all to do with religion or religious belief.

Consistent with this scientific fact, the Catholic Church clearly teaches the objective truth that abortion is a grave moral evil, and that material cooperation in abortion is a mortal sin.

Politicians: Let This Be Your Warning

When individuals, particularly those in political office, gloss over or ignore the core issue of whether or not taxpayers should be funding the world’s largest abortion business by citing Planned Parenthood’s other services, they are engaging in obfuscation that is, at best, confused and, at worst, dishonest.  And when such individuals publicly hold themselves out to be Catholic, their local bishop has a responsibility to offer correction, both for the well-being of the individuals’ souls and to avoid scandal among the Catholic faithful.

Catholic Politicians: Renounce Their Public Support for Planned Parenthood

Such is the unfortunate case that I, as the Bishop of Albany, find myself in today. In a local protest over the weekend advocating for the continued public funding of Planned Parenthood, three Catholic politicians – one federal, one state, and one local – not only participated but spoke passionately on behalf of maintaining such funding. And while any judgment of these individuals’ hearts or souls is left only to God, I am entrusted with the solemn duty of reminding them of the unambiguous teaching of our faith on the matter of abortion, informing them that it is inappropriate and confusing to the faithful to hold yourself out publicly as a Catholic while also promoting abortion, and challenging them to embrace the Gospel of Life and to renounce their public support for Planned Parenthood.

My prayer is that these and other elected officials will come to see the truth that abortion harms women and babies, and that they courageously fight to defend the right to life of every human person from the moment of conception until natural death.

When Can Catholics Disagree on Social Teachings?

Conscience and Disagreements on Social Teachings 

Such positions are often referred to as part of the Church’s social teaching, which can be very misleading. Some confessors, myself included, increasingly encounter devout Catholics who ask if they are guilty of sin because they disagree with bishops or the pope on issues such as U.S. immigration policy, Obamacare, the death penalty, etc. My response is to assure them that they are not guilty of sin for such disagreements. But they have a duty to be informed on such issues and to respect the opinions and persons of those with whom they disagree, including Church leaders.

In Catholic social teaching, fundamental moral and social principles are binding. They then have to be applied to complex practical problems. In concrete cases, the principles are more remote than the first principles of the natural law. And when it comes to their application, we are generally not dealing with the same kind of certitude that we find when primary moral principles are applied to personal moral acts.

To suggest that political positions taken by a bishops’ conference – based upon their reading of practical situations related to economic policies, the environment, immigration policies and such things – are equivalent to doctrinal pronouncements binding on Catholic conscience is quite misleading.

For instance, if a Bishops’ Conference says that building a wall is a bad idea, or – as a couple of individual bishops have written – is an irrational or useless policy, these are political positions plain and simple. They are not doctrinal pronouncements, and they definitely do not bind in conscience. They simply represent the political opinion of this or that bishop or this or that conference on a particular social, political, or economic issue. Catholics are totally free to reject them if, after careful consideration, they find them lacking.
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Judge Gorsuch with President Trump and Mrs. Gorsuch

John L. Allen Jr., a respected journalist who generally writes for a couple of liberal Catholic publications, wrote about Judge Neil Gorsuch, newly nominated by President Trump for the Supreme Court: “Considered a reliable conservative on most issues, Gorsuch seems likely to align with the Catholic Church’s positions [my italics] on many matters but create possible heartburn on others.” Allen is referring here to what he calls social teaching issues, and he lumps together abortion and religious freedom on the positive side, and the death penalty and immigration on the “heartburn” side. The assumption here, unfortunately, is that all these positions are morally grounded in ways that have the same moral weight and degree of certitude in their application. That’s a mistaken assumption.

Allen would probably not say that the bishops’ positions on matters like immigration, healthcare, and the death penalty are as equally grounded in magisterial teachings as are the bishops’ positions on abortion and religious freedom. The latter positions are clearly based upon magisterial teaching that is irreformable and exceptionless in application. The former are, at most, based on their specific understanding of how certain social principle should be applied in a particular and very complex situation. In short, these are political positions, like being for or against some criminal sentencing policy, or for or against government control over heath care.

When Allen says that Judge Gorsuch’s previous immigration and death penalty decisions disagree “with both the Vatican’s and the U.S. bishops’” views, and identifies these positions as “the Catholic Church’s positions,” what can he possibly mean? These positions are not magisterial positions as such, and do not claim to be doctrinal or necessary applications of Catholic social teaching – that is, positions of the whole Catholic Church, which is what is implied.

The fact is that Allen can only be speaking about the political positions of the U.S. Bishops’ Conference (and not even of each and every bishop), and the political position of Pope Francis and some of his Curia, but hardly the position of the universal Church. To speak of “the Catholic Church’s positions,” then, is totally misleading since it excludes from “the Catholic Church” all those Catholics who have their own political position on an issue where they are not bound in conscience.

You can, for instance, support the death penalty, if you judge that there is no effectively practical way of safeguarding the common good. Even St. John Paul II’s proposed development in the Magisterium – that the death penalty be used as rarely as possible – allows for such prudential judgments.

Moreover, the moral duty of judges, including Catholic judges, assuming they are not dealing with an issue that is governed by an absolute, exceptionless moral principle, is to interpret and apply the law accurately and fairly according to the intention of the legislature that created the law. Their job is not to agree with some political positions, not even their own, but to be faithful to the law itself. If the law cannot be faithfully applied without violating the judge’s conscience, then the only moral recourse is resignation.

So the “positions” of the loosely defined “Catholic Church,” which really amount to some leaders in the Catholic Church, are not necessarily relevant and are non-binding on the Catholic faithful. Such positions should be considered – as should other positions and a broad range of factors – in forming our consciences. But to suggest that they are in fact binding on Catholics who have come to informed disagreement is not theologically sustainable.

“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.”

St. Louis Archdiocese Will NOT Comply with Oppressive Bill 203

Archbishop Carlson Draws the Line, Says he is Outraged

ST. LOUIS – Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Archbishop of St. Louis, released the following statement in response to the St. Louis Board of Aldermen passing Board Bill 203:

The passage of Board Bill 203 by the St. Louis City Board of Aldermen is a terrible moment for a city with such a proud history. A history that includes the Dred Scott case which determined the legality of personal freedom. As a city resident and the leader of the oldest organized religion in the region, I am outraged that the City of St. Louis Board of Aldermen has now enshrined into law an ordinance which creates a “sanctuary” for the despicable practice of abortion. In other words, the laws of the City of St. Louis now actively protect and promote the killing of unborn children, children who, like those who denied Dred Scott his humanity, will be denied their humanity and very existence.

By approving Board Bill 203, the City of St. Louis has chosen to continue down a path of promoting death, repression, resentment, division, and selfishness instead of promoting life, unity, charity, freedom, and goodness. This horrible piece of legislation will now force city residents to be unwilling participants in the abortion business by requiring business owners and individuals to tacitly approve any “reproductive health” decisions made by their employees or tenants.

As Catholics, we know that all life is a gift from God and our parents, and must be protected at any cost. Sadly, legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed by the Supreme Court in 1973. Now, some of our St. Louis politicians have made a protected class out of “reproductive health,” which is merely a politically correct euphemism for abortion. If these politicians are concerned about women and children, I challenge them to state so directly and stop hiding behind cheap rhetoric.

Let me be perfectly clear: the Archdiocese of St. Louis and its affiliated agencies and ministries will not comply with Board Bill 203. We will take legal action to defend our religious liberty, and the constitutionally-protected right of religious liberty of businesses, individuals, and other non-faith-based organizations who will be hampered as this oppressive law is imposed upon them.

As I have followed the debate about Board Bill 203 in the Board of Aldermen, one critical point has been overlooked: the lives of the babies in their mother’s wombs that are in peril. The passage of this vile bill has been mistakenly heralded as a success for women by misguided organizations like NARAL and Planned Parenthood. The passage of this bill is not a milestone of our city’s success. It is, rather, a marker of our city’s embrace of the culture of death.

It is my hope and prayer that the City of St. Louis will someday soon rediscover the greatness that awaits if we would simply act in the interest of supporting life, in all its forms, from conception until natural death; to this vision I am committed. I welcome anyone, from any faith background, color, creed, or nationality, to join me in supporting, promoting, and protecting children, women, families, and life itself. In this invitation, I echo the words of Pope St. John Paul II: “Life will be victorious!”

Discover the Light of Christ and the Catholic Church

Let us Remember, the Church is Necessary for Salvation

By Fr. Robert Fromageot, FSSP, Feast of Candlemas

Feast of Candlemas

At the beginning of the Candlemas liturgy, the faithful receive their candles from the hands of the priest, the choir sings as often as necessary the Canticle of St. Simeon, and use the following appointed text for the antiphon (or refrain): Lumen ad revelationem gentium, et gloriam plebis tuae Israel.  The same text is intentionally alluded to in the first sentence of Vatican II’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church (“Lumen gentium cum sit Christus…” — “Since Christ is the light of nations…”), so that the document could be entitled Lumen Gentium.  Christ indeed is the light of the world, and anyone who follows Him “will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (Jn. 8:12).  As we shall see, what is stated in this conciliar document is given liturgical expression in the feast of Candlemas.

So, Christ (the Messiah) is the Light of the world and our glory.  For as faithful Catholics, we have been “grafted into the good olive tree” (Rom. 11:24) of Israel through our faith in Christ our Redeemer.  But the opening sentence of Lumen Gentium directs our attention to the consequence of this truth: “Since Christ is the Light of the world, this Sacred Synod, gathered together in the Holy Spirit, eagerly desires, by proclaiming the Gospel to every creature, to bring the light of Christ to all men [emphasis mine], a light brightly visible on the countenance of the Church.”  With this goal of evangelization in mind, the Council fathers desire “now to unfold more fully to the faithful of the Church and to the whole world its own inner nature and universal mission.”  In other words, understanding the nature and role of the Church is intimately linked to evangelization: Bringing the light of Christ to all men entails bringing them into the Church.  The reason is that “[God] planned to assemble in the holy Church all those who would believe in Christ.”  Accordingly, “full unity in Christ” is achieved only through the Church of Christ, which is none other than the Catholic Church.  Thus, the Church of Christ, established on Peter, is not an extraneous or superfluous part of God’s plan of salvation.  On the contrary, it is an essential component of His plan.

In §14, Lumen Gentium states categorically: “Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, [this sacred Council] teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation.  Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation.  In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism (Mk. 16:16; Jn. 3:5) and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church.  Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, cannot be saved.”

The next paragraph (§2) briefly summarizes God’s plan of creation, salvation, and history.  It describes our own time in history as follows: “In the present era of time the Church was constituted and, by the outpouring of the Spirit [emphasis mine], was made manifest.  At the end of time it will gloriously achieve completion, when, as is read in the [Church] Fathers, all the just, from Adam and ‘from Abel, the just one, to the last of the elect’ [Gregory the Great, Homilies on the Gospels], will be gathered together with the Father in the universal Church.”

This outpouring of the Spirit took place fifty days after the Resurrection, on the Jewish feast of Pentecost.  On that day the Holy Spirit fell upon the whole Church gathered in the upper room.  Naturally, we commemorate this watershed event on Pentecost Sunday.  But today, as we approach the end of the tempus “per annum” (literally, the time through the year) that began after Pentecost, the Feast of Candlemas — as celebrated in the usus antiquior (a.k.a., Extraordinary Form) — complements the Feast of Pentecost as one bookend complements another.  Thus, it gives liturgical expression to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit into our hearts and, with God’s grace, our own presentation in the “holy temple of God’s glory” and the consummation of history, when the universal Church and the Church Triumphant will be one and the same.

More precisely, Candlemas accomplishes this with four of the five prayers used to bless the candles and the use of these blessed candles at special moments during the Mass.  Taking up the blessing prayers, let us review how in various ways they associate the light of these candles with the operation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts.

Prayer 2: the flame of the candle is linked to the fire of the Holy Spirit, that “being worthily inflamed with the holy fire of Thy most sweet charity, we may deserve to be presented in the holy temple of Thy glory” — the Church Triumphant and eventually “the universal Church.”

Prayer 3: as candlelight dispels the darkness of the night, so we pray that “our hearts, illumined by invisible fire (that is by the splendor of the Holy Spirit), may be free from the blindness of all vice.”  And with the “eye of our mind having been cleansed,” we pray that we “may be able to discern what is pleasing to [God] and profitable to our salvation; so that after the perilous darkness of this life, we may deserve to attain to never-failing light.”

Put another way, vice and other dark perils are incompatible with the light of Christ dwelling within us and will prevent our attaining eternal life, where the darkness of sin does not exist.  In the words of Lumen Gentium, though “the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation”, he “is not saved…who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity.  He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a ‘bodily’ manner and not ‘in his heart.’  All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ.  If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.”

Prayer 4: as the candles provide us with outward light, we pray that “the interior light of the Holy Spirit may never be wanting to our minds.”

Prayer 5: as Simeon, illumined by the light of the Holy Spirit, recognized Christ when He was presented in the temple, we pray to be so enlightened and taught by the same Holy Spirit that we too may likewise truly acknowledge and faithfully love the Lord Jesus.

As to the use of candles, before Mass we process with them because we are called to walk in the light of life — in “newness of life”.  During the Mass, we also hold them when the gospel is sung — the Evangelium; i.e., Good News, or Gospel, because the Gospel bears witness to Christ our Light, who is the fullness of divine revelation, the “heir of all things, by whom also He made the world” (Heb. 1:1).  Finally, we hold them from the Sanctus through the Canon, since the Spirit bears witness to Christ (Jn. 15:26) our paschal sacrifice.  Moreover, an older rubric directed that the candles be held even when receiving Holy Communion, since the Holy Spirits seeks to unite us to one another through Christ, with Christ, and in Christ, who is wholly contained (i.e., with His Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity) under the sacramental species of bread and wine.  But given the implicit danger involved, it is understandable that the current rubric should favor the pragmatic over the significant.

Let us strive to make these prayers our own, that the fire of the Holy Spirit may always be enkindled within our hearts, so that we may always thrive as living members of His Body.  In this way, may we ourselves, by word and example, reflect Christ our glory, revealing and attracting others to the Light of the World so that, in accordance with God’s eternal plan, they too may share in the divine life and enjoy full Catholic unity — here on earth and forever in heaven.

Discover God’s Mercy with Marriage

Marital Fidelity and God’s Fidelity 

In this light, Paul was able to declare that the creation of the human race as male and female, husband and wife, was patterned on the union of Christ and the Church. The reality of marriage thus inseparably joins the distinct divine works of creation and salvation. Because God created humanity both in the image of the Trinity and in the image of Christ and the Church, the meaning of the cosmos can be found only in the transformation of the children of Adam and Eve into the adopted children of God, united forever with him in that new creation which is the Wedding Feast of the Lamb and his bride, the Church.

This exalted vision of marriage is the exact opposite of a mere “ideal.” It is the nitty-gritty reality and foundation of our existence as human beings. Our physical bodies, differentiated as male and female and united in the procreative union of husband and wife have been fashioned to reflect the fruitful union of Christ and the Church. Our emotional life and its coordination with our spiritual capacities for knowledge and love are the very basis by which we are enabled to give ourselves and receive one another in the totality of our person, body and soul, within the relations of family, friendship, and marriage.

We would not have this particular physical, emotional, and spiritual structure unless God created us to be capable of personal union with others and, by grace, of union with himself. For this reason, every person is a living witness to the mystery hidden in our body-soul existence, and in the conjugal union of marriage. As individuals and married couples we are embodiments of God’s nuptial plan revealed in Jesus. It is encoded in our DNA.

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In Genesis, the union of Adam and Eve is ordered to their sharing of life and labor as cooperators in God’s works of creation and salvation. Similarly, in the New Testament the union of Christ and the Church makes his disciples sharers in his life and saving work as members of his body and bride. When Jesus returns, this participation in the divine life will unite redeemed humanity to the Trinity in eternal joy.

The beauty of this nuptial plan would be shattered were God to be unfaithful to his purpose declared in creation and in Christ. Having fashioned us for union with himself, were God now to alter his will, our existence and that of the whole cosmos would be frustrated to an unimaginable degree. It would, quite simply, make existence Hell because we would never be united to him who is our origin and our goal, our love and our hope, our life and our all.

These marital realities form the foundation of covenant theology in the Scriptures. God is unfailingly faithful in his generous, wise, and loving work of drawing humanity to himself. Neither Israel nor the Church has any claim on him rooted in their own actions, certainly not in the face of sin. He is the faithful spouse; we are the adulterers.

Yet his fidelity expresses an infinite mercy that calls us to conversion and to sharing his life through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit by which he comes to dwell in us and we in him. For that purpose, the Word took flesh and returned to the Father by way of the Cross. He is the faithful spouse who purifies his bride and brings her home. This unwavering fidelity led Paul to assert: “If we are unfaithful, he remains faithful, for he cannot deny himself.” (2 Tim 2:13)

Only on the basis of Christ’s fidelity, poured into our heart by the indwelling of the Trinity, can we hope to remain faithful. Humanly speaking this is impossible, but “with God all things are possible.” (Mt 19:26)

In the present crisis regarding marriage, those who say it is sometimes impossible for Christians to remain faithful to the vow made to a spouse and to God (such as when the marriage is irreparably broken or has been replaced by a second union) have forgotten the meaning of Christ, the human person, marriage, and the cosmos, which all declare the glory of God and his fidelity. This is no development of doctrine or relaxing of Church discipline. It is the complete overthrow of the Christian vision of God and human existence.

Were there a single case in which fidelity to a spouse or to God was impossible for a Christian, this would mean that God’s fidelity had failed. Perversely, infidelity in that instance would be rooted in God’s infidelity of withdrawing his grace and/or misleading us through Jesus and the Church’s false teaching regarding the obligations of the Gospel.

Far from being realistic and merciful, the suggestions being made are heartless and cruel abstractions that imply that Jesus’ fidelity is not always available to us. This makes a mockery of those who have lived chastely, after a broken marriage, in fidelity to their earthly and heavenly spouses. The proponents of these theories must name a case in which God and Christ are unfaithful before they presume to permit a Christian to be unfaithful in the slightest matter. That is the concrete, real, personal truth of the Gospel.

Mercy will not be found in exchanging the beauty of marriage for a lifeless illusion. It will be found, as it ever has been, by allowing Jesus to draw us to himself on the Cross and learning that with him we can be faithful even unto death.

 

“This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2017. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.”

Those Ambiguous Parts of Amoris Laetitia

By Fr. Robert Fromageot, FSSP:

As you know, thanks to the interpretive flexibility in the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia, some dioceses are adopting the novel policy of allowing the civilly divorced and remarried faithful full access to the sacramental life of the Church, while other dioceses are holding fast to the perennial practice of the Church. Last September, as a result of the harm such contradictory approaches are causing, four cardinals (Carlo Caffarra, archbishop emeritus of Bologna; Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta; Walter Brandmüller, president

Amoris Laetitia and the Dubia

emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences; and Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of Cologne) submitted five questions (known as dubia) to the Holy Father and to Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Such questions are called dubia because their purpose is to seek clarification from the Holy See about some matter about which there exists some doubt. In this case, the five dubia are designed to elicit clarification from the Vatican regarding precisely those ambiguous parts of Amoris Laetitia which are being used as the basis for the above mentioned novel pastoral approach.

For example, in paragraph 301 of AL, we read that the “Church possesses a solid body of reflection concerning mitigating factors and situations.” Later, it concludes: “hence it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.” Accordingly, the third dubium asks: “After Amoris Laetitia (301), is it still possible to affirm that a person who habitually lives in contradiction to a commandment of God’s law, as for instance the one that prohibits adultery (Matthew 19:3-9), finds him or herself in an objective situation of grave habitual sin (Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, ‘Declaration’, June 24, 2000)?” Canon 915 declares that those who “obstinately persev[ere] in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy Communion.” The “Declaration” argues that this canon is applicable to faithful who are divorced and civilly remarried. Moreover, it declares that, since the minister of the Eucharist has no means of judging another person’s subjective imputability, “grave sin” is to be understood objectively. Therefore, the judgment implicit in Canon 915 (i.e., the judgment the minister of the Eucharist is expected to make) concerns a person’s objective life situation, not whether he is in a state of mortal sin. The latter determination belongs to the subjective realm, where mitigating factors may very well reduce, even eliminate culpability.

 

No Answer

So far neither Pope Francis nor the prefect of the CDF have answered the five dubia. This choice to remain silent is not without precedent. In the 7th century Pope Honorius I preferred to withhold judgment so as not to offend those who adhered to the heresy known as monothelitism (the idea that Christ possessed only one natural will). In a private letter he wrote to Sergius I, Patriarch of Constantinople — and a monothelite — he writes: “That our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son and Word of God, by whom all things were made, is Himself one, operating divine and human things, the sacred writings plainly show. Whether, however, on account of the works of the Humanity and Divinity, one or two operations ought to be proclaimed and understood, these things do not belong to us; let us leave them to the grammarians, who are accustomed to display to the young their choice derivations of words.

It was left to a subsequent Council and Pope to condemn monothelitism and censure Pope Honorius for leaving the meaning of terms to grammarians and thereby failing to exercise his Petrine authority and “illumine this Apostolic Church with the doctrine of the Apostolic tradition,” preferring instead to let it (while immaculate) “be stained by profane betrayal.” Similarly, it may be left to Pope Francis’ successor to answer these dubia and bring Amoris Laetitia out of the shadows of ambiguity into the light of clear magisterial teaching so that it can no longer be used as a basis to oppose the constant pastoral policy of the Church regarding civilly remarried divorcés.

For those who have imbibed the antinomian zeitgeist, laws like Canon 915 represent a serious inconvenience. And anyone who appeals to law in defense of the perennial teaching of the Church is likely to be accused of being no better than a self-absorbed promethean neo-pelagian, a rigid Pharisee who trusts only in his own powers and feels superior to others because he observes certain rules and remains intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. Let us be willing to endure such epithets and refuse to join the ranks of those who, in their zeal to include adulterers in the sacramental life of the Church, craftily ignore the law and denigrate what it means to be a living member of the Body of Christ. In the words of Scripture, let us not be “led away with various and strange doctrines” (Heb. 13:9). On the contrary, let us “stand fast and hold the traditions which [we] have learned” (2 Thes. 2:14). And let us pray for our shepherds, especially Pope Francis.

It is the Smoke of Satan

Fr. Dwight Longenecker

By Fr. Dwight Longenecker, Standing on My Head:

There are many problems in the Catholic Church that might be thought to be the ‘smoke of Satan’ entering the church, but for my money one thing, above all others, has been the successful work of Satan, which has undermined the church, emasculated her ministry, sabotaged the aims of the Holy Spirit and captured a multitude of souls.

It is the modernist re-interpretation of the Catholic faith. The reductionist results of modern Biblical scholarship and the infiltration of a modernist, rationalistic and materialistic mindset meant that the supernatural was assumed to be impossible, and therefore the Bible stories (and also any supernatural elements of the faith) had to be ‘de-mythologized.’ Everything supernatural within the Biblical account and within the lives of the saints and within the teaching of the church were assumed to be impossible and had to be ‘re-interpreted’ so they would make sense to modern, scientifically minded people.

So the feeding of the five thousand wasn’t a miracle. Instead the ‘real miracle’ was that everyone shared their lunch. Everything had to be questioned and ‘re-interpreted’ in such a way that it could be accepted and understood by modern people. So when we call Jesus Christ “God Incarnate” what we really mean was that he was so fully human, and that as he reached his potential as a man that he shows us what divinity looks like. When we speak of the Blessed Virgin we mean she was ‘a very good and holy Jewish young woman.’ When we speak of the ‘Real Presence’ we mean that we see the ‘Christ that is within each one of us.”

I hate this crap.

It’s the smoke of Satan, and it’s virtually triumphant within the mainstream Protestant churches, and sadly,  the modern Catholic Church in the USA is riddled through with the same noxious heresy. The reason it is so obnoxious and disgusting is because priests and clergy of all sorts still use all the traditional language of the liturgy, the Scriptures and the creeds, but they have changed the meaning of it altogether. They never actually stand up and say that they have changed the meaning, and that they no longer believe the faith once delivered to the saints. They don’t discuss the fact that they have not only changed the meaning, but robbed it of meaning altogether. Instead they still stand up week by week and recite the creed as if they think it is true, but what they mean by ‘true’ is totally different from what their people mean.

So Father Flannel stands up on Easter Day and says, “Alleluia! Today we rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead.” His people think he really believes that Jesus’ dead body came back to life by the power of God and that he went on to live forever. In fact what Father Flannel really means is that “in some way the beautiful teachings of Jesus were remembered and continued by his followers long after his tragic death.” The people don’t know why Father Flannel’s Catholic life is so lightweight and limp and they don’t know why his style is so lacking in substance, and they go on in their muddled way thinking that he really does believe the Catholic faith when, in fact, he doesn’t at all.

Priest Has No Message

Consequently, Fr Flannel doesn’t really have much of a message at all. He doesn’t believe any of the gospel except as some sort of beautiful story which inspires people to be nicer to each other. All that is left of his priesthood, therefore, is to be a nice guy to entertain people with inspirational thoughts and get everyone to be nicer to one another and try to save the planet.

The poor faithful have swallowed this stuff for two or three generations now, and they don’t even know what poison they’re swallowing because the lies are all dressed up in the same traditional language the church has always used. It’s like someone has put battery acid into a milk bottle and given it to a baby, and never imagined that there was anything wrong with doing so–indeed thought it was the best thing for baby.

The faithful don’t know why their church has become like a cross between a Joan Baez concert and a political activism meeting. They don’t understand why they never hear the need for confession or repentance or hear about old fashioned terms like ‘the precious blood’ or ‘ the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord and Savior” The fact of the matter is Father Flannel doesn’t really think that sort of thing is ‘helpful’.

This is why evangelization of the American Catholics in the pew is probably the most difficult task of all. They don’t know what they don’t know. For three generations now they have been given watered down milk and been told it was wine. They actually think that Catholic lite is what it’s all about, and are astounded to think that there are some of us who think that they have actually been fed a version of Christianity that is scarcely Christianity at all.