Saturday, August 31, 2013

My "Syllabus" of Errors!

This gentleman in the video has only scratched the surface when offering his take on "ambiguities" in the Documents of Vatican II. In order to understand what the Holy Spirit accomplished working in and through the Second Vatican Council, now only beginning to be fully implemented, he would do well to read the work of a famous peritus in attendance. For the years 1965-1978, when the forces of neomodernism had infiltrated the Church, the best interpretation is that of Paul VI. For one interested in the history of the Church since Vatican II, read The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Liberal Catholics, Conservative Catholics, and Holy Catholics

In Smoke, I wrote of two modifications of "Catholic" in popular parlance these days:

Lest we forget, there were indeed reform-minded Council Fathers who responded to Pope John’s vision of the Church growing in spiritual riches as a fruit of the Council under the guidance of the Holy Spirit in the hope that the faithful might through grace be aided in turning hearts and minds toward heavenly things. Given what has been said thus far, it should not surprise the reader that many “liberal Catholics” view the pontificate of John Paul II as too “conservative,” and out of touch with the modern world, while the traditionalists view the writings and teachings of the Holy Father as modernist!

Dr. Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture has rightly linked Pope Francis's view of Vatican II as synonymous with those of his predecessors, who were in attendance.

More Dancing with the Dragon

Elizabeth Scalia has written of a recent much-publicized event:

“…..That poor Miss Cyrus is suffering from a case of disorientation is a guess I am hazarding after watching her performance, during which she demonstrated a case of diminished proprioception — an inability to perceive where she was, in space, which caused her to upend herself repeatedly, head-to-ground and bottom-to-sky — as well as an unfamiliarity with the proper placement of the tongue, which is within one’s mouth.
Seriously, the so-called dancing may have been vulgar but the incessant appearance of Cyrus’ waggling blue tongue was what I found both fascinating and completely repellent. Within the boring, Hunger-Gameseque fiasco that showcased a pop-music scene melodically played-out and utterly exhausted with its BDSM images (even as it keeps flogging us with them) Cyrus’ tongue was the thing that creeped me out. Gene Simmons’ long and over-exposed licker unfurled itself with a sense of irony; we all got the joke. Cyrus’ tongue made me wonder if there was an exorcist in the house, and it made me feel disinclined to condemn her, because she seems so very much in need of prayer — of deliverance of some sort, and right-orientation. (italics mine)
In today’s liturgies, we recall the Passion of Saint John the Baptist. Our gospel reading presents his beheading, ordered reluctantly by a king who made a rash and public promise to a young girl whose first-century twerks had moved him and his crowd of guests. Having lost his head in the excitement of an illusory performance, the King had no choice but to take John’s head, too, in order to save face.
In this month’s issue of Magnificat Magazine, Heather King writes of this day: “Then, as now, people were butchered for a trifle; an obscene dance, the whim of a call girl.” And — as it turns out — the need for a man in power to prove himself by reluctantly ordering a drastic, irreversible action.
The story just seems to speak to our times, doesn’t it? A young, poorly-educated girl worth, it is said, approximately $150 Million dollars, performs lewdly before a crowd of elites and the world loses its head over it, unable or unwilling to look away or to stop discussing it. Men in power, meanwhile, speak rash words and then hope they may be blurred and re-interpreted, or re-ordered.
All of that should offer us some reassurance that there is nothing new under the sun, that as it is, it ever was, and so what seems like an unprecedented time of disorder in the world is pretty much standard-operating-procedure for the human animals.
But do we feel reassured? So little of what is before us is authentic; so much of it is only meant to distract and disorient. So many pundits and educators and politicians know what is true, and right and real, but — like Herod to Salome, before the crowd — they have lost their heads and made firm pronouncements, and now they must follow through, regardless of what is lost, regardless of how dark the world becomes, for the sake of human pride.
In Dogma and Preaching, here is what Pope Benedict XVI wrote about today:
The task set before the Baptist as he lay in prison was to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God’s obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead, of discovering God precisely in the darkness of this world and of his own life, and thus becoming profoundly blessed. John even in his prison cell had to respond once again and anew to his own call formetanoia…in order that he might recognize his God in the night in which all things earthly exist. Only when we act in this manner does another — and doubtless the greatest — saying of the Baptist reveal its full significance: “he must increase, but I must decrease” (Jn 3:30). We will know God to the extend that we are set free from ourselves.
After reading that this morning (again, thanks to Magnificat), I envisioned Saint John sitting in prison, in the darkness, learning where God might be found, even there. Although he was respected by the King, his fate was nevertheless sealed by a human need to save face, and the unknowing actions of a privileged young girl. So I asked him to pray for the sake of a privileged young girl in need, and for the rest of the world, which is too often held hostage to mediocre men and women who have spoken rashly and feel compelled to deliver, to yes, save face amid the disorder.

Because God always respect our integrity, our free will, He never forces us to do good nor to abandon evil choices. Rather, He sends us His grace and truth. As mentioned in my first chapter, it is the enemy who seeks to breach the integrity of the human person, and effect the ruin of souls....

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Best Abortion Book Ever!

Monica Migliorino Miller is the Director of Citizens for a Pro-life Society and the associate professor of Sacred Theology at Madonna University. She is an established author, most recently having published Abandoned; The Untold Story of the Abortion Wars, which no less a personage than Dinesh D'Souza has written:

 "Quite simply, this is the best book ever written on abortion. Beautifully written, this is about the consequences of Roe v. Wade, as seen through the eyes of one woman, who tells a clear and compelling story with passion but without fanaticism. On a subject that is often heavy and depressing, this is a hard-hitting yet compassionate and moving book. Honestly, I wouldn't have thought such a narrative could be done, only now it has been done." 

I would like to make you aware of a National Day of Remembrance for aborted Children. Click here for more info.

Sunday, August 18, 2013


As a Catholic educator I have observed over the years that, due to the ever-increasing secularization of American culture, many baptized Catholics appear not to live the life of discipleship, wherein it is not they who live, but Our Lord who lives in them. Why? As a result of sin, and its instigator, the devil. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Para.. 1237)
If ever there was one who believed in the devil’s existence, it was Our Lord, who called him “the ruler of this world.” We must remember, however, that while the spirit of anti-Christ has been with us since the dawn of history, our enemy is no more than a rebel angel whom God permits to test us. The Father never wills evil, but He does permit Satan to tempt us, just as he allowed the passion of His Son, through which He showed that regardless of the demonic action, God always attempts to bring a larger good out of our enemy’s apparent conquests.
The primary spiritual combat zone here is the human will; because God always respect our integrity, our free will, He never forces us to do good nor to abandon evil choices. Rather, He sends us His grace and truth. As mentioned in my first chapter, it is the enemy who seeks to breach the integrity of the human person, and effect the ruin of souls. And it must also be said that the contemporary polarization in the church discussed in the second chapter is a clear attack by the Evil One.  As Basil Cardinal Hume has observed: “I suspect that it is a trick of the devil to divert good people from the task of evangelization by embroiling them in endless controversial issues to the neglect of the Church’s essential role, which is mission.” Thus, in this spiritual combat, trials will come, but God knows they are edifying for us, for they disclose the nature of the enemy and our own need for salvation and growing in relationship with Him.
So it is that because of the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, many Catholics do not practice their faith to the point of standing out from those who are ignorant of Christ. In approaching the vexing questions of modern society, too many Catholics take positions based on a liberal-conservative spectrum, rather than on the teachings of Jesus Christ which come to us via His church. Only genuine conversion, metanoia, the fruit of evangelization, will change this reality, allowing Catholics to experience the joy of faithful discipleship. No ideology may substitute for real personal conversion. In essence, metanoia means to question one’s own way of living, to start to see life through God’s eyes, and turn away from conformity to this world. Genuine conversion predisposes us not to see ourselves as the measure of all things, but to a humility that trusts ourselves to God’s love, which becomes the measure of all things. This was the central teaching of Vatican II: a renewed call to the faithful to strive after holiness, which means doing the Father’s will in all things, empowered by His grace.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The End of Fortress Catholicism?!

John Gehring in the Post editorializes:

 Something unexpected and extraordinary is happening in the Catholic Church. Pope Francis is rescuing the faith from those who hunker down in gilded cathedrals and wield doctrine like a sword. The edifice of fortress Catholicism – in which progressive Catholics, gay Catholics, Catholic women and others who love the church but often feel marginalized by the hierarchy – is starting to crumble.

I, as one endlessly pointing out the fruitlessness of using adjectives to describe Catholics, could not resist the following, penned by Pat Archibold of the NCR (NOT Reporter!!)

Proof of Liberalism in the Pope:
  1. "It is true that the Muslim world is not totally mistaken when it reproaches the West of Christian tradition of moral decadence and the manipulation of human life."
  2. "It is deplorable that homosexual persons have been and are the object of violent malice in speech or in action. Such treatment deserves condemnation from the church's pastors wherever it occurs."
  3. "Many people today lack hope. They are perplexed by the questions that present themselves ever more urgently in a confusing world, and they are often uncertain which way to turn for answers. They see poverty and injustice and they long to find solutions. "
  4. "Yet if we refuse to share what we have with the hungry and the poor, we make of our possessions a false god. How many voices in our materialist society tell us that happiness is to be found by acquiring as many possessions and luxuries as we can! But this is to make possessions into a false god. Instead of bringing life, they bring death."
  5. "The authority of the pope is not unlimited;"
  6. "The cardinals have elected me, a simple and humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. The fact that the Lord can work and act even with insufficient means consoles me, and above all I entrust myself to your prayers."
  7. “It is theologically and anthropologically important for woman to be at the center of Christianity. Through Mary, and the other holy women, the feminine element stands at the heart of the Christian religion.”
  8. “If in my life I fail completely to heed others, solely out of a desire to be 'devout' and to perform my 'religious duties', then my relationship with God will also grow arid. It becomes merely 'proper', but loveless.”
  9. “Listen to the voice of the earth...”
  10. "the prevalence of a selfish and individualistic mindset which also finds expression in an unregulated capitalism"
So, yes, the Pope is a Liberal! I must let Archibold have the last word:

"….it is time we face the facts. It is clear that he is a radical departure from previous Popes, in particular his predecessor.

In fairness, I must note that there might be one small problem with my analysis. So small I hesitate to even bring it up. Every quote above is from Pope Benedict. Every one.

The poor we will always have with us...

Katrina Fernandez has an insightful observation on the papal style of Pope Francis vs. his predecessor as depicted in the social media:

See… the ravings of someone spiritually starving. All this focus on eschewing expensive finery for the sake of the poor. The poor. You know what, as a member of the poor, I can earnestly say that financially poverty is less detrimental than spiritual poverty. Financial poverty won’t kill me like spiritual poverty will. And to be perfectly honest, I find it all rather condescending. Poor people being offended by beautiful chalices and awe inspiring church architecture. Pfffft.

The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy teaches that “the Liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; it is also the font from which all her power flows,” and necessary for catechizing the faithful that Christ Jesus may fully work in them in transforming them. If this is so, and it is, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger got it right when he noted that “the disintegration of the liturgy” is behind the crisis of faith that confronts the Church at present, for when man falls from worshipping God in the way that He wants to be worshipped “in favor of the powers and values of this world,” he loses his freedom, and returns to captivity through loss of the moral law which governs true humanity.
The Cardinal wrote that worship, i.e., the right kind of relationship with God, is the indispensable ingredient for truly human existence in the world, as it “allows light to fall from that divine world into ours.” He spoke too of a danger in worship concerned only with the interests of the community — a horizontal phenomenon — and not the primacy of celebrating the paschal mystery of Christ properly understood. Authentic liturgy is about God responding to man and revealing how man can worship him, a vertical phenomenon. The speculation of the liturgists in “the Spirit of Vatican II” notwithstanding, this in turn means true liturgy does not depend solely on human participation, imagination or creativity, but requires, in Cardinal Ratzinger’s words, “a real relationship with Another, who reveals himself to us” and transforms our lives. Sacrosanctum Concilium makes this point best:

Rightly, then, the liturgy is considered as an exercise of the priestly office of Jesus Christ. In the liturgy the sanctification of the man is signified by signs perceptible to the senses, and is effected in a way which corresponds with each of these signs; in the liturgy the whole public worship is performed by the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ, that is, by the Head and His members.

 So, then, Katrina, you may be poor, but you are indeed rich in spiritual insight!

Divide et impera!! (Screwtape to Wormwood...)

In The Smoke of Satan I offered the following viewpoint:

"The schema of “liberal” (progressive, left) vs. conservative (traditional, right) which followed upon the close of Vatican II is wholly inadequate for explaining the present-day crisis of faith within the Church of Jesus Christ, though it is most unfortunate that usage of these terms persist among many Catholics and in the media today". 

 That many Catholics today persist in evaluating the Vicar of Christ on earth in human-concocted political, philosophical, ideological terms is demonstrated by many of the articles in the dissenting publication, the National Catholic Reporter.Of late John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has written:

 ….Francis seems to be re positioning the church in the political center, after a fairly lengthy period in which many observers perceived it to be drifting to the right.
Veteran Italian journalist Sandro Magister recently observed, "It cannot be an accident that after 120 days of his pontificate, Pope Francis has not yet spoken the words abortion, euthanasia, homosexual marriage," adding that "this silence of his is another of the factors that explain the benevolence of secular public opinion."
Yet Francis has imposed no such gag order on himself when it comes to other political topics, such as poverty, the environment and immigration. It's telling that for this first trip outside Rome, Francis chose the southern Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, a major point of arrival for impoverished African and Middle Eastern immigrants seeking to reach Europe. The pope called for greater compassion for these migrants, chiding the world for a "globalization of indifference."
While the trip played to generally rapturous reviews, the anti-immigration right in Europe was outraged. Erminio Boso, a spokesman for Italy's far-right Northern League, said: "I don't care about the pope. … What I'd ask is that he provide money and land for these extra-communitarians," referring to undocumented immigrants.
The shift to the center also seems clear in ecclesiastical terms. In Rome, the perception is that power brokers associated with moderate positions, such as Cardinal Oscar Rodríguez Maradiaga of Honduras, coordinator of the commission of cardinals, are on the ascendant, while those linked to neoconservative or traditionalist stances, such as Cardinal Raymond Burke of the United States, head of the Vatican's supreme court, are in decline.
The church may not veer sharply in its political allegiances, but there seems a clear preference for the social Gospel over the culture wars.

Notice the NCR Headline in the link above? 

Pope Francis is unsettling -- and dividing -- the Catholic right

Division within Christ’s Church is a clear attack by the evil one. Satan’s strategy here is the time-honored one of divide et impera - divide and conquer. Remember, too, Jesus words to the Pharisees: “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste, and no city or house divided against itself will stand.” Quite simply, no ideology, no matter how sincerely embraced, may substitute for personal conversion .

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

“I believe I am addicted to porn”

In 1972 Pope Paul VI stated of the Devil:

....He is the malign, clever seducer who knows how to make his way into us through the senses, the imagination and the libido....

I am fond of citing contemporary examples of how the Holy Spirit Guided Paul VI in his many true predictions concerning the reality of spiritual war in contemporary society:

From the First Things Blog:

Few of us can imagine or understand the depravity of Ariel Castro’s heart. Castro is the Cleveland man who recently was arrested for kidnapping, raping, and imprisoning three women for over a decade. He impregnated the women he held captive and beat one of them until she miscarried. Ariel Castro is obviously sick, obviously broken, obviously enslaved by the forces of chaos and evil in a way that few of us have ever witnessed.

Ariel Castro belongs in prison. Last week, he was sentenced to serve more than one thousand years. But despite the depths of his depravity, when Castro stood shackled in a Cleveland courtroom, he confessed a common American problem. “I believe I am addicted to porn,” he said, “to the point where I am impulsive, and I just don’t realize that what I am doing is wrong.”

Pastors everywhere have heard those words before. Probably many times. Pornographic addiction is powerful, destructive, and all too typical. Ariel Castro’s addiction is no excuse for his actions, but it points to a deep and sobering reality: Free, anonymous, and ubiquitous access to pornography is quietlytransforming American men and American culture. If you are uncomfortable with your own use of pornography, visit here.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sexual Freedom

In my third Chapter I wrote, concerning Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae:

Pope Paul VI wrote of four evils that would result from a disobedience to Church teaching set down in his encyclical:

  • That widespread contraceptive practice would lead to “conjugal infidelity and the general lowering of morality.”
  • Men… would “lose respect” for women and no longer care for their physical and psychological enjoyment.
  • The contraceptive mentality would “place a dangerous weapon…in the hands of those public authorities who take no heed of moral exigencies.”
  • Contraception would lead humans into thinking they have unrestricted authority over their bodies.

It is easy to show from the historical record that the Holy Spirit had guided the heart and mind of Paul VI to see clearly the consequences of the intrinsic evil of contraception. Jesus, “the Way, the Truth, and the Life,” teaches that the truth sets us free. Pope Paul VI was the Lord’s herald in Humanae Vitae, and so understanding and assimilating its teaching is the key to human freedom in our sexually befuddled world.
The fulfillment of Pope Paul’s predictions has been recounted in numerous theological studies. All show convincingly the negative fruits in the areas of abortion, divorce, family disintegration, wife and child abuse, STDs and illegitimate births. These studies also show the dehumanization of women as males were released from accountability for their sexual aggression. And, as pro-life Catholics know all too well, population control is part and parcel of current United Nations policy debates vis-à-vis developing nations. Finally, the studies also reveal in vitro fertilization, cloning, genetic engineering and embryonic stem cell research for what they are: the fruits of the contraceptive mentality. I avidly recommend these studies to the reader, for I have found no shortage of Catholics intellectually dishonest in spouting off on our topic not having read these studies in light of Humanae Vitae and the tradition of the Church. At the very least, the Church which Jesus established, in teaching that contraception is “shameful and intrinsically vicious,” stands with Him as a “sign of contradiction” in our present culture’s moral climate. 

July 25th marked the 40th anniversary of one of the most controversial papal documents in history: Humanae Vitae, which reaffirmed the traditional Christian teaching on the immorality of contraception. Here I include, in honor of this prophetic encyclical Christopher West's reflections. Read, and join the group that is having the best sex:  Heterosexual married couples living chastity!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

St. Ignatius, Pope Francis, and the Devil

I have written a book about Paul I's vision that the Devil is a reality that should be taken more seriously by the Church today. In this video, following yesterday's celebration of St Ignatius, let us reflect on the Holy Father Pope Francis' mission as Vicar of Christ which supports completely what I have written of Paul VI's "Smoke of Satan" homily!