Archive for the 'Objective truth and solid certitude' Category

Catholic Tradition

Many protestants and Christian sects reject Catholic Tradition but with time some of them have admitted some of the traditions – such as Lutherans, Episcopalians and Evangelicals. They are all governed by a certain supreme authority – The Queen of England is the head of the Anglican Church, the King of Prussia was at the head of the Reformed Lutherans, and there is scarcely a non-Catholic denomination in which some sort of ‘board of directors’ is not vested with a supreme authority in its administration. Many denominations reject all Catholic Traditions on the grounds that they are subject to corruption. When any doctrine, they claim, is carried on for generations – from father to son – necessarily so many legends and myths arise that little truth is left.

This is an affirmation on their part that the Church is not infallible. What, according to them, happened to the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete? Had they believed that the Church is infallible, they would not have forgotten so soon the assistance promised to the Church by Christ.

They forgot that, strictly speaking, all Revelation, whether contained in the Scriptures or in other documents, on monuments, on the walls of the catacombs, in usages, and so on, were all written down and transmitted to posterity. The Apostles wrote that part of Revelation which is contained in the Scriptures, while their disciples wrote what the Apostles preached, taught or instituted in the Church, but which had not been written by the Apostles.

It is a mistake to speak only of an oral tradition carried on from generation to generation through the help of word of mouth. For Tradition, in the first place, is not ‘oral’ in the sense that it is maintained and propagated ‘only’ through man’s lips. It is oral in the sense that in the beginning it was received by the Faithful from the Apostles themselves, not in writing, but through their preaching, teaching or institutions, established in the Church by the same Apostles. What the apostles did not write, but preached, taught or instituted, was afterwards written by their immediate disciples, and sometimes by the disciples of these immediate Apostolic disciples (the Church Fathers). Therefore Tradition is ‘oral’ not in the sense that it was never written, but in the sense that ‘what in the beginning was not written’ by the inspired authors was written ‘afterwards’ by their disciples. What the disciples heard or were taught by the Apostles and not committed to the Scriptures, they afterwards laid down in writing. Tradition is ‘oral’ as distinguished from that part of Revelation which was written by the Apostles – namely, Scripture. For what the Apostolic disciples afterwards wrote, as heard, learned or as instituted by the Apostles, is what we call, properly speaking, Tradition.

The Apostles, who were the ‘ancients’ and legislators of the Church, instituted certain days of the week or certain seasons of the year as time of penance, of joy or of rest, to be observed by all. Abstinence from meat on Friday, fasting in Lent, the Sunday observance instead of Saturday, Easter Joys, the ceremonies of Holy Mass, etc., were instituted by the Apostles as a help to the Christian to save his soul and as an ornament to divine worship. All these things were a part of the routine of the Church. All accepted them as a matter of course and as a part of the daily life of the Church. Hence, there was no necessity on their part to write them down – they preached and taught the Faithful what they must do as members of the Church of Jesus Christ. It was therefore natural that what the Apostles did not write, their disciples, in order to refresh their memories, as well as to transmit it to other generations, did write,  according to the warning of St. Paul, ‘to teach others also’ (2 Tim 2:2). ‘Hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle’ (2 Thess 2:14).

Traditions, therefore, according to St. Paul, are of two kinds, written and unwritten. The written are the Scriptures, because tradition means anything that is delivered or transmitted to others. In this case, the Scriptures are traditions, although improperly so called. The unwritten are all those other Traditions which are not contained in the Scriptures, but which, as the Apostle says, his disciples received through his preaching. They are properly called ‘Traditions’.

As both kinds of Traditions – received, as the Apostle says, ‘through my preaching’ (properly called Traditions) ‘and through my Epistle’ (The Scriptures, improperly called Traditions) – come to us from the Apostles, both are to be accepted, both are to be believed, both must be lived up to because, according to the command of the Apostle, we must hold both.

The written Traditions, or the Scriptures, contain the greater part of Revelation. But it is not less true that what the Apostles preached, taught or instituted in the Church, but did not write, are a very important part of the Deposit of Faith. They were written by their disciples.

Therefore, the objection collapses, that Traditions, being oral, become corrupted in the course of time. Tradition, strictly speaking, is not oral. It was only such in its first proclamation. All Traditions have been written, if not by the Apostles, certainly by the  Church. As pastors and doctors, or as writers of the Church, the first Christians wrote what they heard or learned from the Apostles, or what was practiced in the Church. They wrote not as inspired writers, but simply as common teachers or believers who had nothing else in view but to defend and protect the Deposit of Faith. God, in His Providence, induced those men to write, to be witnesses of that Faith which is always old and always new, feeble and still strong. Although written in the documents of old, Tradition is still better written in the hearts of the Faithful and deeply engraved in the religious practices and belief of the Church.

What a presumption it was on the part of the Protestant Reformers (and still is on the part of many Christian denominations and sects) to claim that they knew better than the Fathers what the government and doctrine of the Church had been during the first three centuries! The Fathers were men of great learning and piety. They enlightened the Church and glorified the Faith with their great works. They were the great men of their times, writing first-hand about their contemporaries. And they testify that, besides the Scriptures, which they saved from oblivion and total loss, there is also in the Church another ‘Rule of Faith’ and that is the Church herself, to which Christ and the Apostles delivered the Deposit of Faith.

Unity of the Faith

There are many reasons which show the necessity for an authoritative tribunal if the words of the Apostle ‘One Lord, one faith’ (Eph 4:5) are to be realized in every age and in the uttermost parts of the world.

Human nature is and always will be the same. Man is inclined to be independent in his views and tries to force his ideas on others, until he is shown to be evidently wrong. Nor does he sometimes stop even then. He persists in his error and resists the known truth, thus sinning against the Holy Spirit.

There will always be scandals in the Church, but Christ said ‘Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come, but nevertheless, woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh’ (Matt 18:7). God, however, permits this evil, that the faith of the elect may be strengthened. ‘Power is made perfect in infirmity’ (2 Cor 12:9).

This is especially true of our own times. All manner of literature floods the world. There are too many people who consider themselves the judges of everyone and of everything. Teachers of all kinds raise their chair of pestilence in every corner of our cities and villages. Perhaps the grand old Church is still there, or it has just made its appearance. Its doors are open. But most people pass by and go to hear those who suit their passions and inclinations. New fads are the order of the day. Wind and pride are sown in their hearts. Very little is left of the old and eternal truths, which Christ and the Apostles proclaimed to the world. ‘For there shall be a time, when they will not endure sound doctrine – but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears, and will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables’ (2 Tim 4:3).

Thus is Christianity divided and subdivided. The books of Revelation are made the anvil of centuries, on which every Christian is allowed to pound at his own pleasure. Should not such a condition of things open the eyes of all Christians and make them realize the necessity of a living tribunal, to which Christ has committed the sacred right and duty of keeping intact, at any cost, the Deposit of Faith? ‘Preach the word, be instant, in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke, in all patience and doctrine’ (2 Tim 4:2).

But the world does not want Christ. Nations and societies are governed by their own laws. Living judges are appointed to interpret a dead-letter code of laws or by-laws, and their decisions are final and binding. The same treatment is not accorded the Church by those same children of the world. Are not perhaps the Scriptures and the laws made by man equally a dead letter in themselves? The Scriptures are indeed the Word of God but at the same time, they need living interpreters. If the laws of man, made by man and for man, need living and authoritative inter-preters for their enforce-ment, how much more does the Word of God need interpreters to explain it without error and enforce it with authority?

If the Scriptures are clear to understand, why did Martin Luther and his imitators make new catechisms of Christian doctrine? Why are libraries filled with innumerable books of interpretations, explanations and commentaries? Above all, why are there any churches where the Scriptures are explained, if the Scriptures are sufficient? And if there should be a church, why so many churches, of so many denominations, in every city and in every town?

If there is a clear statement in the Scriptures which all Christians should endeavor to put into execution, it is certainly the desire which Christ expressed in His prayer to the Eternal Father on the eve of His Passion and Death, ‘That they all may be one, as thou, Father, in me, and I in thee – that they also may be one in us’ (John 17:21).

What else do such words mean than that all Christ’s followers should first of all have the same faith? – ‘One Lord, one faith, one baptism’ (Eph 4:5).

Unfortunately, there are too many controversies which agitate and divide Christianity. How are they to be settled? If there must be a judge, can it be the Scriptures? Can the Scriptures speak and pronounce the sentence in such unmistakable terms that both litigants know who is right and who is wrong? Well did the old Roman wisdom proclaim more than 2000 years ago: ‘No one is judge in his own case’. Hence, it was not to the Scriptures, but to Peter and his successors that Christ said ‘confirm thy brethren’ (Like 22:32). Tertullian declared that ‘Religious controversies should not and cannot be settled only by the Scriptures because, not only does the Apostle forbid such disputes among Christians, but also because they bear no fruit. Avoid foolish questions (Titus 3:9) and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. For they are unprofitable and vain. What good will it do if what you will defend shall be denied – or on the contrary, what you will deny shall be defended? You will certainly lose nothing but your voice in the contention – you will gain nothing but bile from the blasphemy ‘ (Tertull. Prescript, XV). And he comes to the following unanswerable conclusion: ‘We must not have recourse to, nor constitute a fight on the Scriptures, in which victory is uncertain or none at all but the order of things required to be first proposed, and what is now only to be disputed: To whom belongs the Faith itself, whose are the Scriptures? By whom, and through whom, and when, and to whom was the authority to teach delivered, by which men are made Christians? For where the true Christian discipline and doctrine are shown to be, there will also be the truth of the Scriptures and of their interpretation and of all Christian Tradition’ (Tertull. C. XIX).

A living, infallible tribunal is therefore essential and necessary to keep intact, not only the Deposit of Faith and to propose it without error, but also to keep everywhere and at all times the Unity of the Faith, which is so essential in the Religion of Christ.

Are we sure?

Our certitudes communally and individually within the Church derive from objective historical facts and not from mere philosophical theory.

There is a threefold linking that is the basis of our security:

  1. The Christ-event grounds its own reality and certitude. ‘The risen Jesus manifests Him-self to his disciples and thus creates in them an experiential certitude regarding his Resurrection – this certitude then finds expression in the Christian keryg-ma’ (Juan Alfaro ‘Theology and the Magisterium’)
  2. The apostolic community, the early ecclesia, enjoys a primary and privileged position in mediating this Christ-event to the entire world. This first Christian community experienced the risen Lord and received an abundance of his transforming Spirit. They had no doubts about their proclamation, for it was rooted in what they could not possibly deny: their day by day experience of Jesus of Nazareth culminating in his Passion and death and crowned by the staggering experience of his risen life. ‘For this reason, the apostolic Church is normative for the Christian faith of every age, not simply because it is not possible to come in touch with the Christ-event except through the testimony of the apostolic Church but also and above all because the apostolic Church came into being through a privileged grace and revelation of Christ’ (Alfaro)
  3. Within this early Church were conceived and from her womb were born the New Testament writings. These compositions were authored by her members and attested to by the whole community under the guidance of her leaders, the Apostles and their successors. Thus the New Testament and the apostolic Church are interlinked as normative for all later ages. They in turn are tied in with the unshakable Christ-event. The Spirit of the risen Jesus, who transformed the apostolic community on Pentecost, also inspired the Scriptures and continues to dwell in the Church which Jesus founded. This risen Lord through his Spirit is the radical ground of our certitude, for he caused the Resurrection, inspired the New Testament and dwells in the pilgrim Church.

The Catholic Church, this ecclesial community in unbroken continuity from the first century to the twenty-first and beyond, cannot betray its indwelling Lord for He is with her until the end of time (Mt. 28:20). She cannot teach error, for ‘when the Spirit of truth comes, He will lead you to the whole truth’ (Jn. 16:13).

Human beings cannot have a more secure source of certitude.

Reason

To the ‘enlightened’ of recent centuries, the Catholic Church was the great enemy of reason, progress, liberty – wrapped in her dark robes of medieval superstition, she sought to enslave men with her dogmas and decrees, despising the goodness of raw nature (!)

Romanelli - The meeting of the countess Matilda with Anselm of Canterbury in the presence of Pope Urban II

From our vantage in the twenty-first century, when for the first time large numbers of people seem incapable of recognizing, much less assenting to, the ironclad results of a valid syllogism or the normalcy of heterosexual love, it is sweetly ironic that the Catholic Tradition is increasingly the only bastion and defender even of nature’s integrity and of the luminosity of reason properly employed. Even while I recognize that rational argument is a dying art with a steadily diminishing potential audience and that the appeal to reason can never be an exclusive means of approach or the last word because, as Pascal observed, ‘the heart has reasons of which reason knows nothing’, still, I have often thought that our day and age is exactly the right time for a major revival of intelligent apologetics. And, it seems to me, we need to hit the books and begin studying anew the great theological apologists of our incomparable Tradition, both for the deepening of our own Faith and for the missionary work the Church rightly calls each of us to undertake.

 

The stakes are higher than ever: not Faith alone, but reason too is besieged. Christian Faith is ridiculed as utterly irrational, when in reality, as the best minds have seen for the past 2,000 years, it is supreme and sovereign Reason – God’s Reason. Our own minds can begin to discern this beautiful reasonableness if only we will make the effort. We owe it to our Lord and to ourselves to prize and nurture the gift of reason as we do the gift of Faith, so that we can be sane within and talk sanity to a world hell-bent on going mad.

Blaise Pascal's desk

So, where to start? I would like to introduce (or, for some, re-introduce) two towering figures in the history of Catholic Theology and apologetics: Saint Anselm and Blaise Pascal – one medieval, one modern – both committed to explaining and defending the mysteries of our Holy Religion through a judicious use of the God-given gift of reason. Unlike St. Augustine or St. Thomas Aquinas, each of whom wrote so much that the official editions of their works run to dozens and dozens of volumes, Anselm and Pascal wrote relatively little – their major religious writings amount to about one modest volume apiece. Since we moderns, surrounded by the constant distraction of emails, cell phones, Twitter, and who knows what else yet to come, simply do not read as much as our forebears (a tragic decline on which the Antichrist is heavily relying in his endgame strategy), this relative brevity is a mercy and an incentive to buy those single volumes and set about reading them. Even so, their works are tough going at times and perseverance is called for. Those seven demons mentioned by Our Lord would, of course, prefer to see the room of our minds ‘empty, swept, and garnished’ with the latest fads and fictions, but we know better than to yield to their desires.

 

In reading Anselm and Pascal (and, needless to say, Augustine, Aquinas, Leo XIII, Benedict XVI, or any Catholic master worth reading), you will furnish your mind with solid truth that no demons, or their unwitting human captives, can gainsay.

Church asking for forgiveness?

Are Church Authorities morally obliged to publicly beg for forgiveness for the sins committed by our ancestors in the Faith?

To ask for forgiveness for sins committed centuries ago is definitely open to misunderstandings and misinterpretations. But all Catholics of good faith should agree on two facts: first, that not only individual Catholics, but Catholics in positions of authority have, in the course of history, sinned gravely against Justice and Charity. To refuse to admit this sad fact is not a valid Catholic stance: Truth must be faced. But it must also be said emphatically that this in no way impugns the Holiness of the Church as Bride of Christ, for every sin committed by members of the Church is explicitly condemned by the Gospel that the Saviour gave us. The worst enemy of Christ will never find a single word in His teaching advocating violence, injustice and brutality. In other words, those who have sinned against their ‘enemies’ (atheists, heretics, etc.) have branded themselves as bad Catholics.

Secondly, can one obtain forgiveness by confessing to descendants of victims the sins committed by our ancestors against theirs? Can one objectively ask and obtain forgiveness for the sins of others, even if these others are related to us by Faith, or by blood? A sin is always an individual offense, There is only one case in which all of us are guilty of the same sin: the Crucifixion of our Saviour, the King of the Jews. In this unique case, nostra culpa (our fault) is also very specifically mea culpa (my fault). There is only one exception: His Holy mother, a young Jewish Virgin.

But is it not true that when grave evils have been committed by people close to us, it should affect us more deeply than if they were committed by people of other faiths, other countries, or different blood? The answer is ‘yes’. Granted that there should be a feeling of solidarity with people related to us – however, we should make a clear distinction between asking publicly for forgiveness for the faults committed by our ancestors and officially condemning their actions. These should be publicly anathematized, denounced, rejected, detested. By officially condemning horrors committed in the past, the Church exonerates Herself from the sins of her unworthy children, whose evil deeds are condemned by the Gospel. In other words, the Church – while condemning the sins of Her children – should publicly de solidarize Herself from sinners who betray her Holy Teaching.

We all know or have heard about fathers who declare that ‘he is no longer my son’, ‘I disown him because of what he has done’. But to disown him (that is to condemn his evil deeds) does not free a parent from the obligation to pray for him and to love him in Christ, in spite of his sinfulness.

This public condemnation would achieve what ‘asking for forgiveness’ intends to do – and at the same time it eschews possible misunderstandings, that is, the misinterpretation given by the news media that ‘the Church now finally acknowledges Her sins and therefore She cannot claim to be Holy and to have the fullness of Truth’!

It is the strict duty of the teaching Church to condemn heresies. This cannot be repeated enough in an age of ‘dictatorial relativism’ where every error is viewed as a legitimate ‘point of view’, an age in which Truth is viewed as ‘divisive’ and ‘opinions’ as a bridge of peace between people.  The word anathema sit has rightly been used by St. Paul and in Councils, and I do not hesitate to write that these condemnations were ‘charitable anathemas’. They intended to warn God’s children of the poison of heresy. But has this justified condemnation always been coupled with charity for the person whose views have been rightly condemned? Charity and Truth essentially belong together. Some people can be ‘ferocious’ in their defence of truth. Fanatics are always Pharisaical, and unfortunately this danger is still very much alive. To proclaim Truth without love is to inject a subtle poison into its message. This is why Christ forbade a devil to proclaim that He was ‘the Christ, the Son of the Living God’ – the devil had spoken the Truth with hatred in his heart.

Should we expect Jews today to ask Christians for forgiveness for having persecuted them at the beginning of Christianity as related in the Acts of the Apostles? Are Anglicans to beg us for forgiveness for the murders of St. John Fisher, St. Thomas More, Edmund Campion and hundreds of others?

Moses transmitted to the Chosen people the Divine Message. He could not prevent them from adoring the golden calf. Let us not forget that one can only ask for forgiveness for the harm done to oneself – directly or indirectly, but one cannot repent for sins one has not committed and obtain absolution from men. God alone can forgive sins – hence the scandal that the words of Jesus triggered in the Jews when He declared: ‘Thy sins are forgiven thee’ –  He was, in fact, declaring his Divinity.

Hail, full of Grace!

Ever since the acceptance by English-speaking Catholics of the so-called Jerusalem Bible, over thirty years ago, an extremely large number of them have espoused the error of the Protestants regarding Our Lady.

The error in question goes back over 400 years when, about 1526, William Tyndale, a Franciscan priest, brought out his own English version of the New Testament. It was so full of errors, that St. Thomas More wrote that looking for falsehoods in Tyndale’s bible was like looking for water in the sea. But this particular error of his became so firmly entrenched that it has gone on into the 20th and 21st centuries in Protestant bibles. It has now so tickled the intellects of many Catholic scholars and churchmen, that they too have inserted it into so-called Catholic bibles. It is that crass doctrinal error and great dishonour to Our Lady, by which She, from being accorded her singularly special relation to God, as being full of grace, is reduced to being one of many, as being only highly favoured.

Champaigne - Hail, full of Grace!

This has come about by adopting the Jerusalem Bible as the Catholic Bible, in which, as in several Protestant bibles (The King James Authorised Version RSV; the Ecumenical Edition – Collins, 1975; and The New English Bible – Oxford University Press, 1970) it is recorded that the Angel Gabriel’s greeting words, the words of God to Mary, were: “Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.” [Lk 1:28]

How this is a dishonour to God and a detraction from His Most Holy Mother is, in part, very simply explained by the words of St. Thomas More. As recorded in The Lives of the English Martyrs (Dom Bede Camm O.S.B., Burns & Oates, 1910, Vol. 1, p.162), the Saint wrote of Tyndale’s heretical bible: “He changeth grace into favour whereas every favour is not grace in English, for in some favours there is little grace …”

Pesellino - Madonna with childAlthough the above simple answer may more than please and satisfy the truly pious, it is most unlikely, however, that it will satisfy the Greek scholars. These are the people who whenever they are confronted by some Protestant biblical innovation, immediately rush off to consult their Greek versions of the Scriptures. For them, as indeed for all, therefore, there is a more systematic explanation of Our Lady being called full of grace, based on the Greek Bible. This explanation comes from a well known scholar:

“The Angel Gabriel, addressing the Virgin of Nazareth after the greeting, chaire ‘rejoice’, calls her kecharitomene, ‘full of grace’. The words of the Greek text, chaire and kecharitomene are deeply interconnected: Mary is invited to rejoice primarily because God loves her and has filled her with grace in view of her divine motherhood! … The expression ‘full of grace’ is the translation of the Greek word kecharitomene, which is a passive participle. Therefore to render more exactly the nuance of the Greek word one should not say merely ‘full of grace’ but ‘made full of grace’, or even ‘filled with grace’, which would clearly indicate that this was a gift by God to the Blessed Virgin.” (Pope John Paul II, General Audience, 8 May 1996, L’Osservatore Romano, English Edition).

Dolci - Mary with the Infant JesusCould anything be clearer? Could anyone who call themselves Catholic and claims the love of Our Lady, continue to disparage Her as only highly favoured whom God has honoured with the unique title full of grace (our Blessed Lord excepted)? The Pope’s explanation shows clearly what the truth is.

We ought to remember that Our Lady, though only a human being and less than an atom compared to God, is nevertheless not just like another ordinary woman. The true words of god, Hail Mary, full of grace, announced Her uniquely special relation to Him. She would be the only human person who would rightly refer to God, the eternal, the infinite and uncontainable, as My Son.

The true words, full of grace, placed Her in a class of Her own as regards sanctity, a fact recognized by the Church for many centuries by according to Her the worship of hyperdulia. Her sanctity is greater than that of all the angels and saints in heaven, now and to come, taken together.

Murillo - child JesusFull of grace means, in other words, that She had, from the moment of Her Immaculate Conception, a participation in God’s Own Divine Nature, sufficiently full to be the Mother of God. This, though not infinite, was greater than the rest of creation put together! The false Protestant claim that God called her only highly favoured, would reduce this exalted dignity of the Mother of God to that of other ordinary women: highly favoured, but not full of grace.

This horrendous detraction is now found in the Liturgy of the one and only true Church of God, of which She is the Mother.

Thus, we read in the new Lectionaries of the Catholic Roman Church, for the new Mass (but not in the Traditional Latin Mass) for the great Feasts of the Immaculate Conception and Assumption of Our Lady, that God through the Angel Gabriel, called Her, so highly favoured. The same occurs in many Masses of Our Lady on Saturday and also in the Mass of the fourth Sunday of Advent (Year B).

We should be convinced that in the realm of doctrines this detraction is as great a crime as it would be to say that our Blessed Lord only spoke figuratively when He said: Except you eat the flesh of the son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. (St. John 6:54).

This is because every word of Holy Scripture is the word that God, not man, has revealed, even though a man was the instrument to write down the Divine revelation. God, again by means of another of his instruments, a Dogmatic Council of His Church, has, Himself, declared this fact. L.L. Swindle - Jesus and His MotherThus the Solemn Definition of the Council of Trent (1545-63) confirmed infallibly that the Latin Vulgate version of the Bible is perfectly free from all error in matters of faith or morals, a genuine source of revelation and a faithful expression of the written word of God. As far as we Catholics are concerned, the effect of that Council’s definition of the composition and the contents of the Bible, is well expressed by the Catholic Encyclopaedia: The great constructive Synod of Trent had put the whole sacredness and canonicity of the whole Traditional Bible forever beyond the permissibility of doubt on the part of Catholics.”

Consequently, bearing in mind the scholarly translations of the original texts of the Scriptures, it follows that the greeting of Her true children to Our Lady has always been and will always be, “Hail, full of grace”.

Scarcely two heads who agree together

Theology by BalooEvery now and then I browse through a large religious book shop which carries both Catholic and Protestant titles together with a number of oriental contributions. In a recent visit to the shop I made a point of noticing content from the particular vantage point of disagre-ement among authors. Conflict abounds. Secularist tendencies oppose funda-mentalist, and vice versa. Liberation theologians reject the work of non liberationists, and again vice versa. Feminists are at odds with non feminists. Christology from above differs from Christology from below as does a ‘creation-centred spirituality’ from Trinitarian centred. Theology messScripture studies are beset with the mutually contra-dictory positions of extreme critics on the left to evangelical critics in the middle and fundamentalist writers on the right. Papalist forces contend with anti-papalist. There are hundreds of shades of Protestant thought, many of them incompatible with one another as well as with Catholic theology.  In the area of concrete gospel living there is activism as opposed to mysticism and individualistic tendencies at odds with communitarian.

For anyone interested in objective truth and solid certitude the experience is depressing in the extreme.

Theology by C & H

We can find the same phenomena if we examine the thousands of papers read each year in philosophical and religious meetings. We cannot disagree with Pope Benedict when he remarks that philosophy has been ‘utterly torn in shreds’ to the point that its ‘practitioners understand one another less and less, there being found among them scarcely two heads who agree together’.

Theologians are hardly in a better situation. We must ask how disciplines so torn apart in their very membership can expect to command respect in other academic communities and among the simple faithful.

Mutual rejection among so many scripture scholars and theologians is one matter. Rejection of an authoritative Magisterium is quite another – even though the latter clearly promotes the former. Serious and moderate scholars have begun to note that much of current doctrinal rejection is not mere academic investigation. It implies a loss of faith, in most cases. These are hard words, no doubt, but they merit attention.

Theology by PinnockChristopher Derrick is plain: “There has been a widespread loss of faith among the Catholic scholars; many of those concerned are unwilling to face the fact of their loss and therefore desire most urgently (and at any cost in intellectual absurdity) that Roman Catholicism should somehow trans-mogrify itself into something in which they still do believe – into a vague pan-Anglican Christianity, perhaps, or some kind of social welfare humanism, garnished with a topping of Catholic terminology”.

According to St. Thomas the person who embraces heresy regarding one article of faith has, regarding all the other articles, not faith but only ‘an opinion according to his own will’.

Theology by Hagar

This phenomenon is nothing new in the history of the Church. Newman’s struggles with nineteenth-century ecclesiastical liberalism present many points of contact with our struggles of today. The main difference is that the ecclesiastical left today is far more extreme than it was in his day, whereas the right today is less extreme.

We are all familiar with the confusions and doubts extensively spread among the faithful by dissenting theologians and their disciples today.  These doubts entail enormous pastoral problems.  Only when we realize how the New Testament requires unhesitating certitude about Jesus and His message as proposed by the Church will we be able to appreciate the extent of the damage dissent has done among our people. When confusion and doubt are viewed through naturalistic eyes, they may appear to be of minimal concern, but when they are seen through the eyes of the Lord and his Apostles, they assume gigantic proportions.


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INDIFFERENTISM is a mortal sin; a condemned heresy. That's the Catholic view of the matter. INDIFFERENTISM paves the way to MORAL RELATIVISM. I have been accused of the opposite of ‘Indifferentism’, which is defined as ‘Rigorism’, and the charge is not without some merit. I believe in a rigorous following of Church doctrine and in strict accuracy in proper Catholic catechesis, and I openly attack watered-down Catholic doctrine and catechesis whenever and wherever I encounter it. Many friends scold me saying that for me it’s either my way or the highway. But here’s the thing … it’s not my way; I didn’t make up all (or any of) the rules of Catholicism. I’ve been told “you’re too rigid in your doctrine,” as if it were my doctrine. When it comes to Catholic catechesis, there is only one Church teaching, and it is represented in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I’m prepared to defend any item in it, against any opponent. I draw the line at ‘indifferentism’ and ‘moral relativism’. All belief systems are not the same. The ones who push it the most are the ones who seek to replace it with something less. Again, indifferentism paves the way to moral decay. Don’t let it seep into your thinking. May you please God, and may you live forever.

“Oremus pro beatissimo Papa nostro Benedicto XVI: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.”



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Don't consider abortion ...


... give a child the chance to tell you how much life is appreciated



WARNING!!! This blog is heretic repellent ...


MODERN CATHOLICS SEE THE CHURCH AS AN ‘OLD-FASHIONED’ DISCRIMINATORY INSTITUTION OF WHICH THEY ARE ASHAMED – A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC WILL DIE TO DEFEND IT.

MODERN CATHOLICS WOULD JUST AS SOON LEAVE THE CHURCH FOR A TRENDY ALTERNATIVE IF THEY DON’T GET THEIR WAY – A TRADITIONAL CATHOLIC WILL REMAIN UNTIL THE END OF TIME.


THE CHURCH MILITANT NOW, MORE THAN EVER, NEEDS STRONG WARRIORS.




The Catholic Church doesn’t need progressives, Nor does it need Reactionary Conservatives - It badly needs Catholic Traditionalists that practice faith, hope and charity. So don’t be shy! Come forward.

“When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward - in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed and will not prevail against it. All the empires and the kingdoms have failed because of this inherent and continual weakness, that they were founded by strong men and upon strong men. But this one thing - the historic Catholic Church - was founded upon a weak man, and for that reason it is indestructible. For no chain is stronger than its weakest link.”
(G.K. Chesterton)



Anno Sacerdotale

Pope Benedict XVI has declared a “Year for Priests” beginning with the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on June 19, 2009. The year will conclude in Rome with an international gathering of priests with the Holy Father on June 19, 2010.
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Quest'anno sia anche un'occasione per un periodo di intenso approfondimento dell'identità sacerdotale, della teologia del sacerdozio cattolico e del senso straordinario della vocazione e della missione dei sacerdoti nella Chiesa e nella società.
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Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)
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In Domino laudabitur anima mea.





"That sense of the sacred dogmas is to be faithfully kept which Holy Mother Church has once declared, and is not to be departed from under the specious pretext of a more profound understanding."- Pope Leo XIII, Testem Benevolentiae

Nessuno di noi entrerà in Paradiso senza portare con sé un fratello o una sorella. Ciascuno di noi deve uscire dalla folla e reggersi sulle proprie gambe, fiero di essere un Cattolico e capace di testimoniare la sua Fede.
Ci stiamo comportando come se la Fede Cattolica fosse un affare privato. Questo non è affatto vero. Penso che potremo andare molto, molto lontano, se riusciremo a convincere tutti i Cattolici a farsi carico della salvezza del mondo intero.
Il mondo ha bisogno di essere salvato e deve essere ciascuno di noi a farlo.




Cantate …


Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra. Cantate Domino et benedicite nomini Ejus. Annuntiate de die in diem salutare Ejus.

Causa nostrae laetitiae




“We can believe what we choose. We are answerable for what we choose to believe”.
(John Henry Newman)



Pueris manus imponit

Iesus vero ait eis - Sinite parvulos, et nolite eos prohibere ad me venire - talium est enim regnum caelorum.




“There is another essential aspect of Christianity: the interior, the silent, the contemplative, in which hidden wisdom is more important than practical organizational science, and in which love replaces the will to get visible results”.
(Thomas Merton)



Lo Spirito Santo


Uno dei Suoi nomi è "Consolatore"!




Confession

Confession heals, confession justifies, confession grants pardon of sin. All hope consists in confession. In confession there is a chance for mercy. Believe it firmly. Do not doubt, do not hesitate, never despair of the mercy of God. Hope and have confidence in confession.




“Almeno sei volte durante gli ultimi anni mi sono trovato nella situazione di convertirmi senza esitazione al cattolicesimo, se non mi avesse trattenuto dal compiere il gesto azzardato l'averlo già fatto”.
(G.K. Chesterton)



"Whatsoever I have or hold, You have given me; I give it all back to You and surrender it wholly to be governed by your will. Give me only your love and your grace, and I am rich enough and ask for nothing more."

(St. Ignatius of Loyola - Spiritual Exercises, #234)



"Mia madre è stata veramente una martire; non a tutti Gesù concede di percorrere una strada così facile, per arrivare ai suoi grandi doni, come ha concesso a mio fratello e a me, dandoci una madre che si uccise con la fatica e le preoccupazioni per assicurarsi che noi crescessimo nella fede".
J.R.R. Tolkien scrisse queste parole nove anni dopo la morte di sua madre.






Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)




“Beati sarete voi quando vi oltraggeranno e perseguiteranno, e falsamente diranno di voi ogni male per cagion mia. Rallegratevi ed esultate perché grande è la vostra ricompensa nei cieli”.