Saturday, June 30, 2012
Thursday, June 28, 2012
Here is a cogent look at the Supremes' decision....
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
In my second chapter I recount Benedict XVI's recollections in The Ratzinger Report the origins of the journal Communio, also mentioned by Fr. Mark Barron of Catholicism fame in this look at the role played by Fr.Yves Congar at the Second Vatican Council.... For more on the division discussed in Fr. Barron's piece, plan on getting my book!
….Pope Benedict XVI has seen the need to recover the inseparable connection between the Mass and evangelization, for we evangelize to bring the sheep into the fold of the living God in the Eucharist, an experience which in turn compels us to accept our mission as disciples and evangelize. Would that an awareness of our present condition would spawn a recovery of the vibrant liturgical and evangelical spirituality of the early Christian disciples, who remarked often of their dependency on the Mass for their existence!
Evangelical proclamation of the Gospel invites the believer to be in relationship with God; hence, the importance of prayer — personal, popular, and above all liturgical prayer. Only in experience of God’s life does the reality of His existence dawn on the believer. Thus, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the most sublime prayer of the Church, emphasis should be placed on God and His action in the sacrifice, not on ourselves. Pope Benedict has noticed an error with regard to current liturgical celebration, i.e., approaching it so as to make ourselves understood, which produces banal liturgy. The Holy Father has said also that it is not the personality of the priest which matters, but his faith, which makes Our Lord transparent. In the Mass, God acts, and we respond to His divine action, and in this way evangelization and liturgical prayer go hand in hand, wherein evangelization is the guide to communion with God, bringing the believer into communion with Him. John Paul II’s reflection here is prescient:
The Church never ceases to relive his death on the Cross and his Resurrection, which constitute the content of the Church's daily life. Indeed, it is by the command of Christ himself, her Master, that the Church unceasingly celebrates the Eucharist, finding in it the "fountain of life and holiness", the efficacious sign of grace and reconciliation with God, and the pledge of eternal life. The Church lives his mystery, draws unwearyingly from it and continually seeks ways of bringing this mystery of her Master and Lord to humanity-to the peoples, the nations, the succeeding generations, and every individual human being-as if she were ever repeating, as the Apostle did: "For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified". The Church stays within the sphere of the mystery of the Redemption, which has become the fundamental principle of her life and mission.
After a bout with eye surgery, I have completed final edits for The Smoke of Satan. The goal is to publish by the end of July. The book will be available on Amazon.com, and Barnes and Noble.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Sunday, June 24, 2012
In psychoanalytic thought, libido (from the Latin: desire, lust) is the psychic and emotional energy associated with man’s instinctual biological drives (sexual desire). Though theoretically held in check by the ego and super-ego, in Freudian thought libido understands man as a sexual animal whose happiness derives from the unrestrained libido. The virtue of chastity in Freudian logic could only end in illness and unhappiness. Such thinking became normative in the United States in the 1960s, and it was not long before “the greatest of natural mysteries,” the marriage act, was reduced to an openly discussable “fun activity.”
Paul VI offered libido as one way Satan, the “malign, clever seducer” undermines man’s sexual morality with his “sophistry.” The Devil’s strategy here, as the Pope cautioned, is “eminently logical.” He approaches man with what amounts to a false reason in his mind, which, if dwelled on, can influence the will by rousing him to do something evil which seems to be good. Deceit is basic to his strategy. By way of one example, if one is gifted with a superior intellect, Satan will tempt to pride and sins of the mind….
If one is worldly and hedonistic, Satan enters with temptations of the flesh. One hears often that the “liberation” of the human libido began in earnest in the United States in the “sexual revolution” of the 1960s. Americans, troubled over repressive attitudes toward human sexuality, hoped for a revolution that would free them from outdated moral and social constraints. It resulted not in liberation but in license and a host of societal sexual crises. Since the onset of the sexual revolution, we have had to face an ever-increasing array of sexual problems. One has only to think of the tremendous increase in the number of post-1960s illegitimate births and abortions, sexually transmitted diseases, opposition to censorship of pornography (especially on the Internet), and the resulting sexual addiction (in some extreme instances resulting in murder). Consider too the tremendous blows to marriage and the family done by adultery, the battle over the homosexual lifestyle in the United States, Canada and Europe (now to the point of the redefinition of marriage under the law); the increasing incidences of sexual harassment, child pornography on the Internet, Internet predators, date rape, and of course, the divorce rate....
Also, in light of this I often use the phrase "sexual befuddlement" to describe the culture's predicament when it comes to the truth and meaning of human sexuality. Where will it all end?
On a lighter note, it seems a local well-known writer offers a glimmer of hope in a column of this morning...
Friday, June 22, 2012
In The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God, Timothy Wallace presents to the reader—a synthesized, truthful, and most of all—easily graspable account of the state of the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. It is to be lamented that many Catholics are unaware of the assault taking place against the Church in this age. While they can look out and witness the effects, they remain in the dark regarding the symptoms. Wallace accomplishes a great service to these individuals by providing a comprehensive, yet completely accessible account of the historical and philosophical movements that influenced a generation of Catholic thought and practice in the fields of, among other things, sexual ethics, liturgical worship, religious life, catechesis, and the episcopacy. After laying out the symptoms, Wallace also discusses the key to discovering the true teaching of the Council—which is found in documents themselves and in particular, the thoughts of two individuals who were part of the Council from the very beginning—Joseph Ratzinger and Karol Wojtyla. Thus, this is also a book of hope—one that promises that while the smoke of Satan may seem to pervade the Church for a time, it will ultimately be blown out by the renewed faith and hope of the Church’s members—who accept the challenge to be light where darkness may prevail.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
this event at the oldest Catholic institution in the U.S. proves him correct....
Wednesday, June 20, 2012
I am one of the generational Catholics schooled in the Faith by the teaching of the Baltimore Catechism prior to Vatican II, which the postconciliar religious education establishment had branded as defective pedagogy; my quarrel with them is not over their contention concerning the style of teaching, but rather their view that the truths of the Catholic faith on the existence and nature of God, the creation and Fall, the Incarnation and Redemption, and the Church set down in the Baltimore Catechism were defective as well.
I am grateful to Our Lord, (and a plug here for my Guardian Angel), my mother and the Sisters of Notre Dame De Namur for instilling in me a clear sense of the transcendent, “absolutely other” Triune God of revelation as I was growing up in the 1950s. I have made mention of my childhood religious formation in the preface; my gratitude stems from the Father’s gifts of the workings of baptismal grace, a mother who “knew how to mother” in a Catholic family, and devout religious sisters who taught me the fundamentals of the Deposit of the Faith. I believe all of this shielded me against the onslaught of neomodernist religious education “professionals” who led my catechist formation in the 1970s.
Monday, June 18, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
As a long time fan of Jimmy's, I wish to share (as he requests) his recent piece in which he offers an "interview" in which he poses questions that are answered in the writings of Bl. John Paul II:
Thank you, Your Holiness, for joining us for this "interview." Please allow me to begin with a very direct question: Why should anyone go to hell? Isn't God an infinitely good and merciful Father to all of us? Why would he impose such a punishment on his children?
God is the infinitely good and merciful Father. But man, called to respond to him freely, can unfortunately choose to reject his love and forgiveness once and for all, thus separating himself for ever from joyful communion with him.
It is precisely this tragic situation that Christian doctrine explains when it speaks of eternal damnation or hell.
It is not a punishment imposed externally by God but a development of premises already set by people in this life.
The very dimension of unhappiness which this obscure condition brings can in a certain way be sensed in the light of some of the terrible experiences we have suffered which, as is commonly said, make life "hell."
In a theological sense however, hell is something else: It is the ultimate consequence of sin itself, which turns against the person who committed it.
It is the state of those who definitively reject the Father's mercy, even at the last moment of their life.
How is hell described in the Old Testament?
To describe this reality Sacred Scripture uses a symbolical language which will gradually be explained.
In the Old Testament the condition of the dead had not yet been fully disclosed by Revelation.
Moreover it was thought that the dead were amassed in Sheol, a land of darkness (cf. Ez 28:8; 31:14; Jb 10:21f.; 38:17; Ps 30:10; 88:7, 13), a pit from which one cannot reascend (cf. Jb 7:9), a place in which it is impossible to praise God (cf. Is 38:18; Ps6:6).
What does the New Testament add to our understanding of hell?
The New Testament sheds new light on the condition of the dead, proclaiming above all that Christ by his Resurrection conquered death and extended his liberating power to the kingdom of the dead.
Redemption nevertheless remains an offer of salvation which it is up to people to accept freely.
This is why they will all be judged "by what they [have done]" (Rv 20:13).
By using images, the New Testament presents the place destined for evildoers as a fiery furnace, where people will "weep and gnash their teeth" (Mt 13:42; cf. 25:30, 41), or like Gehenna with its "unquenchable fire" (Mk 9:43).
The Book of Revelation also figuratively portrays in a "pool of fire" those who exclude themselves from the book of life, thus meeting with a "second death" (Rv 20:13f.).
Whoever continues to be closed to the Gospel is therefore preparing for "eternal destruction and exclusion from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might" (2 Thes 1:9).
One passage that has often been interpreted as referring to hell is the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man. Recently, some have thought that the Rich Man is merely in purgatory. Does his example show us purgatory or does it depict hell?
All this . . . narrated in the parable of the Rich Man . . . explains that hell is a place of eternal suffering, with no possibility of return, nor of the alleviation of pain (cf. Lk 16:19-31).
Both the Old Testament and the New Testament images of hell are very concrete. Are we to understand them literally, seeing that they pertain to a reality that lies beyond this life?
The images of hell that Sacred Scripture presents to us must be correctly interpreted.
They show the complete frustration and emptiness of life without God.
Rather than a place, hell indicates the state of those who freely and definitively separate themselves from God, the source of all life and joy.
This is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church summarizes the truths of faith on this subject:
"To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called 'hell'" (CCC 1033).
"Eternal damnation", therefore, is not attributed to God's initiative because in his merciful love he can only desire the salvation of the beings he created.
In reality, it is the creature who closes himself to his love.
Damnation consists precisely in definitive separation from God, freely chosen by the human person and confirmed with death that seals his choice for ever.
God's judgment ratifies this state.
But can any creature of God really go to hell? Can anyone say "no" to God to definitively that he is ultimately lost?
Christian faith teaches that in taking the risk of saying "yes" or "no", which marks the human creature's freedom, some have already said no.
They are the spiritual creatures that rebelled against God's love and are called demons (cf. Fourth Lateran Council, DS 800-801).
What happened to them is a warning to us: it is a continuous call to avoid the tragedy which leads to sin and to conform our life to that of Jesus who lived his life with a "yes" to God.
What about the people we see around us who seem to die without God? Can we affirm that they are in hell, or must we be more cautious in our assessment?
Damnation remains a real possibility, but it is not granted to us, without special divine revelation, to know which human beings are effectively involved in it.
The idea of hell-and especially some of the biblical images associated with it-seem very frightening. Should we be alarmed by this teaching?
The thought of hell--and even less the improper use of biblical images--must not create anxiety or despair, but is a necessary and healthy reminder of freedom within the proclamation that the risen Jesus has conquered Satan, giving us the Spirit of God who makes us cry "Abba, Father!" (Rm 8:15;Gal 4:6).
This prospect, rich in hope, prevails in Christian proclamation.
It is effectively reflected in the liturgical tradition of the Church, as the words of the Roman Canon attest: "Father, accept this offering from your whole family ... save us from final damnation, and count us among those you have chosen."
Thank you, Your Holiness.
Friday, June 15, 2012
In the nineteenth century, as we have seen, the Church was confronted by the forces of modernism — positivism, rationalism, liberalism, socialism, and communism among others, all condemned by Pius IX’s Syllabus of Errors. In response, Pius issued the summons for Vatican Council I to settle the questions of papal primacy and some revisiting of canon law to better meet the challenges posed by modernism. Regarding the liturgy, the Council confined itself to a confirmation of the Tridentine reforms, that the Church might maintain the dignity of liturgical worship. Thus it was not until the twentieth century liturgical movement that we observe the reformist impulse which gave rise to Vatican II’s Sacrosanctum Concilium. The movement’s purpose was to draw the faithful more nearer to God through a more profound attachment to the Liturgy. Dom Alcuin Reid sees as its foundation stone the wish of Pope St. Pius X:
Filled as We are with a most ardent desire to see the true Christian spirit flourish in every respect and be preserved by all the faithful, We deem it necessary to provide before anything else for the sanctity and dignity of the temple, in which the faithful assemble for no other object than that of acquiring this spirit from its foremost and indispensable font, which is the active participation in the most holy mysteries and in the public and solemn prayer of the Church.
The liturgical movement originated in an attempt to restore the liturgy to its ancient principles. Though it is difficult to discern principles of liturgical reform in the time of the formation of the Liturgy in the Early Church, Dom Alcuin has shown that the Liturgy was a living, developing entity, an “organism…capable of further growth,” a traditional principle of true liturgical reform.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
It is right to continually give praise to the Father that He gave us His Son to redeem us from our prideful natures, the “original wound.” In the end we are not saved by Our Savior’s dynamic words, but by His passion, death and resurrection. But Christ’s obedient self-sacrifice must be responded to by repentance and conversion on our part. As Peter Kreeft has written, this new life in Christ “comes into us by faith, through us by hope, and out of us by the works of love…but many Catholics think we’re saved by good intentions, or being nice, … or doing a sufficient number of good deeds.”
And what does true discipleship, our new life in Him, save us from? Hell. Unless we are saved from the kingdom of darkness by faith through grace working in love, this state of hell will become stronger and in time everlasting: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”
In our day, when some modern theologians tell us that people may find their way even if we fail to announce Jesus as the Way, let us not forget Vatican II’s teaching on the conditions necessary for our salvation:
Those also can attain to salvation who through no fault of their own do not know the Gospel of Christ or His Church, yet sincerely seek God and moved by grace strive by their deeds to do His will as it is known to them through the dictates of conscience. Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life. But often men, deceived by the Evil One, have become vain in their reasonings and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, serving the creature rather than the Creator. Or some there are who, living and dying in this world without God, are exposed to final despair. Wherefore to promote the glory of God and procure the salvation of all of these, and mindful of the command of the Lord, "Preach the Gospel to every creature", the Church fosters the missions with care and attention.395
Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Sunday, June 3, 2012
….as both Vatican II and The Catechism remind us, “Sexuality affects all aspects of the human person in the unity of his body and soul.” It is not simply biological, as the separatist position says, for we are a unity of body and soul. John Paul II has always written of marriage as a total self-donation of our bodies and wills, wherein husband and wife can give their very selves to the other. Sexual intercourse between the whole person of the spouses brings about this self-donation in the most intimate way humanly possible. I am mystified as to why Catholics do not see this teaching as much more exciting than the separatist view of sex, except to say that for the reasons which appear in these pages, Catholics have hardened their hearts to the teachings of Jesus Christ in and through His Church, which sees the fertility of the husband and wife as a gift from God and the end (telos) of marriage where children are the fruit of the conjugal love, the total giving of self of husband and wife. In this, husband and wife procreate; it is God who creates a new and immortal soul at each conception, a reality of which Vatican II sought to remind the faithful:
All should be persuaded that human life and the task of transmitting it are not realities bound up with this world alone. Hence they cannot be measured or perceived only in terms of it, but always have a bearing on the eternal destiny of men.