Posts Tagged 'Catholic Church'

Our Moral Compass

Each of us has the power to make decisions, and the cumulative effect of those choices results in the goodness or badness of our society. Every action we take has an impact not just on us but on the world. All we need to do is look around us, pick up a daily paper, or watch the evening news to verify that there is much that is not right. A great deal of what is wrong is the result of the attitude and moral climate of our times. There are some who insist that this age has lost its ‘moral compass’.

As soon as we begin to speak of morality, there are those who object on the grounds that each person’s opinion is his or her own and equal to that of anyone else. For some, there can be no objective and commonly agreed-upon moral norm. For such persons, morality is an illusion. How many times have we heard that morality is a completely personal and subjective choice? This position is probably the most widespread and pernicious challenge to morality that our society has ever faced. The issue today in much of our public discourse – and certainly on talk shows – is: ‘Do values have any value?’

As Catholics, we recognize that there is more to life and human action than fleeting personal preference. Human existence is not a meaningless show of smoke and mirrors. Each one of us knows deep down at the very core of our being that there is such a thing as right and wrong – that, while the wrong choice may be alluring at the moment, it is a choice with lasting consequences. While individually we may not know the answer to every moral question, we are aware that there are answers – answers that oblige all of us.

There is right and wrong, human freedom, and the choice that each of us makes. At the core of human freedom is knowing and doing what we ‘ought’ to do rather than what we ‘can’ do. It is the voice of conscience that keeps reminding us what we ought to do even though there are enticing reasons to do otherwise.

Catholic morality is not only for Catholics. It is for everyone, because all are called to follow God’s law manifest in the natural moral order, revealed in the Ten Commandments, and made complete in Christ. Catholic morality is the authentic, central, and integral form of morality. It is the fullness of teaching on the human condition before God. Apart from faith in Christ, the great questions about the reality of feedom, the rationality of conscience, and the value of pursuing human good unselfishly cannot be fully answered. It is for this reason that we look to Jesus and listen to his Church.

Where do we go to know right from wrong in all of the myriad forms that moral issues appear today? Jesus has not left us orphans. The pledge of the Holy Spirit in the fourteenth chapter of John’s gospel is verified today as it has been for twenty centuries in the teaching office of the Church. In the many issues before us today, when decisions are presented with a range of good attached to each of the multiple choices, we need to listen to the sure and Spirit-led voice of the teaching office. It guides us in issues as complex and emotional as artificial insemination, physician assisted suicide, the massacre of the powerless, and the range of social justice, bioethical, and medical-moral dilemmas that manifest the complexity of the human condition.

It is true that morality is rooted in the natural moral order, because that order follows from God’s creation. But it is equally true that God chose to reveal the moral order in the old covenant, through the Decalogue, and in the new covenant through Christ. When the Church calls the faithful to specific moral teaching, it does so with the full weight and authority of Christ, who has empowered his Church to speak for him. At the same time, the Church presents cogent and compelling reasons for her teaching based on an appeal to human nature and the natural moral order that we all share.

Life is complex. Moral decisions are difficult. But we need not fear, because we have a sure moral guide. Christ reveals to us the way. He sends the Holy Spirit to guide us and he enlightens his Church in a way that we can with confidence and trust follow its teaching in matters of faith and morals.


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.

Her voice is the voice of God

Christ called unto Himself twelve men, His first disciples, the nucleus of His Church. They were not learned. We do not even know if all of them were literate. But they had higher gifts: Faith in and obedience to the Master. It was to secure and save these gifts that He worked His miracles. St. Augustine puts it well: ‘By His miracles He gained authority. By authority, He secured their Faith. By Faith, He drew the multitudes’ (Utility of Belief, XIV, 32). And conversely we might say: Without obedience, there would be no Faith. Without Faith, there would be no Church.

Authority and obedience, then, were soul and body to the infant Church. Without them, she could not have been born, much less lived and grown. She simply would never have existed at all. She would have been just one more school, with its scholars free to come and go at will. And its Master another Socrates or Plato, only much greater. But the Church is not a school. She is a Church. She does not teach only. She commands. Her doctrines are not opinions. They are revealed truths. Her members may not come and go. They must come and stay. If they leave, it is to their own ruin. And Christ is not another Socrates or Plato, but greater. Christ is God. If He were less than God, He would have failed. It is authority that makes the difference. He spoke as one having power. And that is why the Church will live forever. She has in her that which is Divine. Like her Founder, she speaks as one having power. Her voice is the voice of God.

God in His infinite wisdom and providence instituted the Church to last as long as there are men to be saved. To that Church He gave teachers and doctors, to whom He communicated His authority and the power of preaching and teaching. He chose in a special way a few, to whom He gave a special power not given to others – upon them He founded His Church – through them He spoke to the future generations. He did not write any book to perpetuate His doctrine, commandments and institutions. Alone, a written book is a dead thing. The dead cannot speak. Only the living can give life to what is dead.

Authority, then, is necessary for the life of the Church, because such is the order chosen by Christ. Such authority cannot be anything accidental or secondary. It is something substantial and essential in the life of that society, which the Son of God established upon earth. Without authority, there is no obedience – and without obedience, there is chaos, a religious confusion that spells the end of any society. That authority is God Himself. ‘The book which Christ wrote was the Apostles, a book written not in ink, but with the Holy Spirit, who gave to the Apostles all authority, all power and jurisdiction in the Church. He appointed them to rule, to teach and to sanctify the faithful’ (Franzelin, Script et Trad., Th. IV).

During the three years of His public ministry, Jesus spoke of the Church as something that was yet to come. But on the evening before His death, the hour was at hand, and He called it into existence. At the Last Supper, He instituted the two Sacraments which perpetuate the life of the Church itself and sustain it in its members – Holy Orders and the Blessed Eucharist (Luke 22:14, 19-20). After His Resurrection, He completed the Sacraments, imparted His authority to the Apostles, conferred the Primacy on Peter, and crowned the work by a promise that He Himself would be with them until the End of the World (Matt 28: 18-19, John 20: 21-23).

The impossible has happened. The Son of God has given His almighty power to eleven weak men: to bind and to loose, to rule and to guide, until the End of Time. The Apostles, then, are vested with the power and authority of Christ Himself. They are sustained in their great mission by the promise of Christ’s assistance and of the coming upon them of the Holy Spirit, to teach them all truth and preserve them from error (Matt 28:20, John 14:16, John 16:13). When Christ said to Peter and to Peter only, ‘Feed my lambs, feed my sheep’ , He conferred on him the supreme power of ruling over the people, the priests and the bishops of the Church. He fulfilled what He promised him before: ‘I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven – and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven’.

Behold, then, the Church of Christ – established by divine charter, endowed with divine life, sharing in divine immortality. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with a guarantee that they cannot fail and will not err, and in the company of the Master, who will never leave them, the Apostles go forth to preach and teach and baptize. The Church Christ founded was a Church with a Living Authority and will remain so to the end. The writings of the New Testament would come later, a proof – as the writings of the Old Testament had been a prophecy – that God had made good His word. These inspired writings of the Church would testify to that which already existed and which would have existed and been divine and true and everlasting even if the Apostles had never written a line.

Ultimately, the Church is what it is, not because Matthew, John or Paul or any other of its first members has written it, but because Christ commanded it. The Apostles had their authority and were using it, and the Church was doing its work … many years before a word of the New Testament was written.

Christ’s memorable words: ‘Behold I am with you all days even to the consummation of the world’ and ‘He shall give you another Paraclete, that he may abide with you forever’ and ‘you shall be witnesses unto me, even to the uttermost part of the earth’, etc., were addressed not only to the individual persons of the Apostles, but also to all those who were to succeed them in office (Timothy and Titus were consecrated Bishops by the Apostle Paul, Acts 20:28, Peter’s first letter to Corinthians, etc.). The commission, therefore, of teaching and giving testimony was not simply personal. It was given to the teaching Church, to an Apostolic Succession until the End of Time.

Thus has Jesus Christ established a perpetual Apostolic Succession to govern the Church in His name.

A Catholic England?

The Roman Catholic Church is a constant source of controversy, as the ongoing outrage over clerical sexual abuse shows. But the Church also inspires great devotion and loyalty. The Spectator recently hosted a very interesting debate under the title ‘England should be a Catholic Country again’ (The Spectator, 3 April 2010). I quote part of the passionate argument for the motion by Piers Paul Read:

‘A weak priest inspires contempt’, wrote Francois Renee de Chateaubriand in the early 19th century, ‘a vicious one excites abhorrence – but a good priest, meek, pious, without superstition, charitable, tolerant, is entitled to our love and respect’. As it was then, so it is now. There have been degenerate popes, corrupt bishops and, recently, paedophile priests. The abuse of children by priests excites a particular abhorrence, and the cover-up of these crimes by some bishops is as bad as anything that has occurred in the past.

However, the wickedness of a few priests should not obscure the selfless and often heroic ministry of the overwhelming majority who work tirelessly and with little recognition at the core business of the Catholic Church, the saving of souls, through the sacraments of baptism, confession and above all the Eucharist which lies at the heart of Catholic belief and worship. There are also the Church’s corporal works of mercy, such as feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, giving shelter to the homeless. And when it comes to these tangible expressions of that love of God and one’s neighbor, the Catholic Church, both now and in the past, has a record second to none.

The overwhelming majority left alone in their tireless work for our souls ...

The Church’s teaching on sexual ethics is, I suspect, a big stumbling block in today’s permissive society. Jesus makes it crystal clear to his disciples, by referring them to the first chapter of the Book of Genesis, that the heterosexual married couple is the aboriginal paradigm of humanity. ‘Have you not read’, he says to them, ‘that the creator from the beginning made them male and female, and that he said: This is why a man must leave father and mother, and cling to his wife, and the two become one body? They are no longer two, therefore, but one body’. How does this square up with today’s society? Clearly, not at all. We now have an institutionalization of sexual practices inimical to Catholic teaching – no fault divorce, gay adoption, same sex civil partnerships, etc., described by Pope Benedict as ‘pseudo forms of marriage that distort the Creator’s design and undermine the truth of our human nature’. The Catholic Church accepts that there is nothing sinful in being attracted to members of the same sex – it is involuntary. But a conflict arises when it comes to thoughts, words and deeds. Yet our politicians want to prevent Catholics from teaching an ethic on homosexuality which has existed since the beginning of history and is shared by all of the world’s religions. Nick Clegg has said that faith schools should be obliged by law to teach that there is nothing wrong with gay sex. Harriet Harman says that Catholic schools should be forced to employ teachers who reject Catholic teaching. David Cameron claims that ‘the Lord Jesus’ would favour the gay rights agenda. Elton John tells us that Jesus was in fact gay. How lucky we are to have so many Biblical scholars among our politicians and entertainers!

And there is birth control. People ridicule the Church’s teaching that every sexual act must be open to the transmission of life. At one time the Church of England shared that view but at the Lambeth Conference in 1930 it changed its mind. There are many church-going Catholics who refuse to accept it. Others assent to the teaching but find it difficult, if not impossible, to obey. But the dissociation of sex from procreation in the mindset of our culture has ramifications that extend far beyond the bedroom. It makes sex and end in itself. It raises expectations of sexual love that are rarely fulfilled. Partnerships are formed and then break up. There are fewer and fewer marriages and half of those that there are end in divorce. Recently the Conservative party has woken up to the damage done to England’s social fabric by the increasing number of broken homes. But think of what lies behind the cold statistics. Thing of the mute suffering of children when their parents part. There is much cant about protecting the rights of children but, as Pope John Paul II said, the right of a child to be brought up under one roof by its natural parents should be seen as one of the most fundamental of all human rights. And there is no doubt that it would be if children had the vote.


You may think that the link between people’s sex lives and the suffering of children is tenuous. Let me quote Matthew Parris, who so often puts things so well. ‘No man is an island’, he wrote. ‘There are ultimately no private acts. Everything we think, everything we say and do, however privately, shapes and influences us, our families and friends, and so touches the world outside. It is just fatuous to pretend that if a great many men are unashamedly making love to other men, however privately, that is without impact on the whole of society …’. What Matthew says about homosexuals applies equally to heterosexuals who embark on relationships where the love is tentative, probationary, conditional, not the wholehearted and fruitful giving of one’s entire person to the other which the Church teaches, and which we know in our hearts is the way love is meant to be.

The Catholic Church is not the preserve of the virtuous. A Catholic England would not be like Afghanistan under the Taleban. The Church is and has always been a refuge for sinners. We are a community of Prodigal Sons and Daughters. God loves the good and the bad alike. He understands human weakness. He forgives the sins of the repentant, and it is that confidence in God’s love, understanding and forgiveness, and the anticipation of an eternal destiny with God in heaven, that makes his yoke easy and his burden light.

There is no joy in the barren, selfish hedonistic individualism that defines our culture in the developed world today. It would greatly add to the sum of human happiness here in England if our country was Catholic once again.

His redeeming love

During His three years of public life, we find Our Lord preaching His gospel to the Jews, confirming it by miracles, and recruiting and forming a number of chosen followers among whom twelve take a prominent place. His fame spread throughout the whole country, He spoke as one having power and authority and His influence became so great, that the Pharisees and Scribes, fearing for their own position, began to plot against Him. But the Jews began to hope that He was the deliverer for whom they had waited so long. To understand their attitude we should remember that the tradition of a Redeemer to come had been confirmed and developed by a long line of prophets sent by God – but in the minds of an oppressed people, suffering under the foreign yoke of the Romans, it had taken on a more political colour. Among the Jews in the time of our Lord, there was a widely spread hope of a redeemer who would come as a king to free Israel from its subjection and restore the ancient kingdom of the Jews. The religious and political aspects of this redemption could be found mingled in varying proportions in many minds. Despite our Lord’s insistence upon the true nature of His kingdom, even His own chosen twelve apostles, who were so closely associated with Him, did not escape from the popular error. When Our Lord began to speak of His own death as a criminal on the cross, consternation took hold of them, so much so, that Peter, who was to be the head of His followers, remonstrated with His Master and earned a sharp rebuke from the lips of Christ.

The triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday seemed to lend colour to the Jewish hopes of national deliverance – the people acclaimed Him as their king and gave Him a public reception of such enthusiasm that it only needed a definite sign from Him to start a general movement for national deliverance.

To us, it might seem that this was the opportune occasion to seize temporal power as a means to building up a spiritual empire. Such was not our Lord’s plan, nor were these developments anything but an accidental result of His policy. All His work was directed quite differently. The kingdom of God, He preached, is within you (Luke 17:21). In fact, when one remembers who our Lord really was, and what infinite power was at His disposal, the whole wonder of His public life is not the marvelous works He actually did, but the many and more wonderful works which He could have done and did not do. And one gets the impression that, throughout all this period, His chief desire was to press on to the final stage of His life – that the works of His public ministry formed but a small part of His plan, a part perfectly performed, but still something that He seemed to have far less at heart than the final stage – the baptism wherewith He was to be baptized (Luke 12:50) – and to which He hurries on, if one may say so, with the impatience of a lover.

Our standards cannot be adopted to measure this period, of which certain things are noteworthy. He wrote nothing with His pen – He shared the work of preaching with His disciples and eventually left the whole of that ministry to them – great as were the works which He performed, His disciples were to do still greater – the one pre-eminence He seemed determined to reserve for Himself was that of suffering. Looking at His work as it appeared on the day of His death, it seemed to have been a complete failure. The crowds who had acclaimed Him on the previous Sunday, are replaced on Friday by a mob who clamor for His death. The thousands who heard Him and saw His wonderful miracles, and who were helped by Him and healed by Him, seem to have disappeared. At His death on the cross we find only His Mother, one of the apostles, a few faithful women – and in a crowd, a few of His followers, whose eminence, perhaps, gave them courage to be present. He Himself is branded as an impostor, disgraced as a criminal, and put to a death that carries with it the stigma of the deepest degradation.

All this is part of a plan, but the plan is one which shatters our standards of value. On that very end of our Lord’s life, which material standards condemn as a complete failure, the whole history of the human race hangs in eternal dependence. Since our Lord was God, since the Person who acted and suffered in the human nature of Christ, was divine, all His acts were of infinite value. Had God so willed, any single one of them, however small, would have been more than sufficient to satisfy for the sins of the world and to redeem all men. Yet God’s love had decided otherwise. For His own wise reasons, to help men to understand the enormity of sin, to win their confidence and their love, and to show them His own immense love and desire for their happiness, God had decreed that the salvation of the world would be purchased by the Passion and Death of His Son.


(I will not be at the computer throughout Holy Week. God bless you all).

His divinity

Only God could make the Christian Religion. To take millions of men who hate and fear and kill each other, to bring them to accept one Faith and to live under one law of love – this is to prove that Christ was God. His Church is Divine on its own merits. But there are other and greater reasons: the miracles and the prophecies of the Founder. No created agent can of himself perform miracles. They transcend the powers of nature and require the special intervention of God. For this reason, the Evangelist, St. John, having related some of the many miracles of Christ – culminating in the most glorious of them all, His Resurrection from the dead – concludes the twentieth chapter of his Gospel with this striking passage: “Many other signs also did Jesus in the sight of his disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written, that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God: and that believing, you may have life in his name” (John 20:30). The Gospel of St. John was written to prove that Jesus is God.

Prophecies are possible only to God. To predict future free events without supernatural aid is outside the pale of a created intelligence. Prophecies are in themselves miracles. For this reason, Jesus made use of prophecies to assert His divinity. The most terrible of all His prophecies was fulfilled only thirty-seven years after the Crucifixion (i.e., the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans under Titus in 70 A.D.) – and Jesus concludes it with these words: “Amen, I say to you, that this generation shall not pass, till all these things be done” (Matt. 24:34). For the awful truth that lay hidden in these words, read the history of Josephus on the fall of Jerusalem.

By His universal knowledge of creation, especially in the searching of hearts, Jesus showed that He was God. “Nathaniel saith to him: ‘Whence knowest thou me?’ Jesus answered and said to him: ‘Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee’.” (John 1:48). “And because he needed not that any should give testimony of man: for he knew what was in man” (John 2:25).

Innumerable texts in the Scriptures bear testimony to the divinity of the Child Jesus. His coming will be preceded by a universal peace. (Cf.Ps. 71). “His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come, the Prince of Peace” (Is. 9:6). At His birth “there was with the Angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God and saying: ‘Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of good will’.” (Luke 2:47).

Even the enemies of Christianity are compelled to admit that “the morality of Jesus Christ is the foundation of human civilization” (Strauss). Another unbeliever declares that “the moral teaching of Jesus is the most beautiful doctrine ever received: the Sermon on the Mount will never be surpassed” (Renan).

Christ’s  Passion and Death are worthy only of God made man. “For, let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men, and in habit found as a man. He humbled Himself, becoming obedient unto death, even to the death of the Cross. For which cause God also hath exalted Him, and hath given Him a name which is above all names: that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth: and that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father (Phil. 2:5).

Even His Heavenly Father gave visible testimony: “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 3:17 and Matt. 17:2). Nor did the earth fail to render homage to its Creator. At the moment of His death, “the veil of the temple was rent in two, from the top even to the bottom, and the earth quaked, and the rocks were rent. And the graves were opened, and many bodies of the saints that had slept arose, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection, came into the holy city, and appeared to many” (Matt. 27:51)

It was a terrible claim for a man to make: the claim to be God. But Christ made that claim and held to it till the end. And every incident in His life and death bears witness to its truth and justice.

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.

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Another beautiful day! Praise the Lord.

August 2019
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The most beautiful thing this side of heaven!


e-campagna: Io sto con il Papa


Dopo due millenni di studi, di ricerche e di esplorazioni scientifiche, la genesi del canto gregoriano resta un mistero irrisolto



The story of our salvation!

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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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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.

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.

Let your light so shine before men that, seeing your good works, they may glorify your Father in Heaven. (Matthew 5:16)

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 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”.