Saturday, December 27, 2014
Throughout my years in Catholic education I have known many persons who desire to have sex with people of the same sex, i.e., homosexuals. I count them among my friends. Some of them struggle, in response to a relationship with Christ, to live lives of chastity, as does anyone who takes the teachings of Jesus Christ seriously. I have read extensively on the homosexual orientation, and have followed the ministry of Courage in earnest. That is why I find this piece af great value for anyone struggling with this particular disorder (and we all struggle with some disorder or another, unless we are perfect). What is of value in a disordered condition? Read and find out the truth.
Tuesday, December 23, 2014
What follows are some key points from an article by Msgr. Charles Pope on the state of marriage today…
|Msgr. Charles Pope|
When Jesus uttered his unequivocal insistence that marriage was between one man and one woman in an indissoluble bond, many were stunned and scoffed. Indeed, his disciples retorted: If that is the case of a man with his wife, it is better never to marry! Jesus went on to repeat His teaching while also affirming that never to marry was a positive, not negative role (Matt 19:11ff).
To understand what Jesus taught is thought-provoking in a climate where so many marriages fail. In a culture as troubled as ours, the “education/catechesis” remedy will have only imperfect results. Deeper cultural changes and healing are needed for marriage to recover statistically.
Msgr. Pope posits that we live in a time when men and women have an extremely high ideal for marriage: that it should be “wonderful, romantic, joyful, loving, and happy”. if there is any ordeal, they want out. But there is no ideal marriage, only real marriage. Why? Who really entrs the sacrament? A man and a woman with fallen natures, living in a fallen world, governed by a fallen angel, have entered the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony. Indeed, the sacramental grace of Holy Matrimony is necessary not because things are perfect, but because they are oftentimes hard. How many know that marriage is meant to sanctify but, like baptism, its graces gradually unfold, and only to the degree with which the couple cooperates with God’s work.
Real marriage takes a lifetime of joy and tests, tenderness and strain, worries and growth in order for a husband and wife to call each other to the holiness that God gives. These realities are opportunities to grow and to learn what forgiveness, patience, and suffering are really all about. To put it bluntly, if we don’t learn to forgive we are going to go to Hell (e.g., Mt 6:14-15). Marrigae as such is the real one, full of joy, love, hope, and tenderness, but also sorrow, anger, disappointment, and stresses.
Msgr. further stresses that the notion of an ideal (happy, fulfilling, blissful) marriage is seen through the lens of our culture’s hedonistic extremism. If one’s ideal is not met, then many sense a need to end a less-than-ideal marriage in search of one that meets what will prove impossible.
So, in the Church’s Pre-Cana programs but also in the work of helping personal formation, we need to teach that unrealistic expectations are damaging. People must become more realistic concerning their ideals, turning away from the smoke of hedonism and instant gratification. Cutting and running from the imperfect marriage is not the final solution. As we well-know, one imperfect marriage produces another and perhaps yet another.
Msgr. Pope emphasizes that he does not sit in judgment over those who have divorced, but merely points out the fact that in the past:
"….we tended more to stick things out, to work through some of our differences and to agree to live with others of our differences. Life was more seen as hard, a kind of exile to endure on our way to our true homeland and to true happiness. Surely we looked to some joys here on earth, but we had more of a sense of the passing quality of all worldly things, whether good or bad. We would do well to regain something of this more sober appreciation that life here is a mixed bag; it’s going to have its challenges. Marriage is no exception. And though we may idealize it, we should be aware that we are setting ourselves up for resentments and disappointments if we do not balance it with the understanding that marriage is hard because life is hard...."
Of course there are many other problems that contribute to the present high divorce rates. But here is one often unnoticed cause: “many expect an ideal marriage, and if there is any ordeal, they want a new deal.” In a world with adults behaving like this, the children get the raw deal. Let us become more aware of these reflections by this wise pastor of souls.
Sunday, December 21, 2014
In Catholic teaching, angels have a rational intellect, intelligence, as do we, (though much more immense) but not bodies, as do we. What of the fallen angels? There exists a dark kingdom, using this same intelligence and power to prevent the spread of God’s kingdom. In the Gospel we read:
And the devil took him up, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time, and said to him, “To you I will give all this authority and their glory; for it has been delivered to me, and I give it to whom I will. If you, then, will worship me, it shall all be yours.”
Of course Jesus avoids the temptation, but we tend to overlook the fact that Our Lord does not contradict Satan’s assertion of power. With some restrictions, the power is there. Thus the life we live on earth includes extraordinarily intelligent, gifted, influential and murderous demons. How else to fully explain all of the evil that the inquiring mind seeks explain?
In my book I recount the tale of Pope Leo XIII’s vision of Satan, which gave rise to the prayer said after all low masses prior to Vatican II:
Saint Michael, the Archangel, defend us in battle; be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into Hell, Satan and all the other evil spirits, who prowl throughout the world, seeking the ruin of souls. Amen
It thus shouldn't surprise us that the Vicars of Christ on earth have discerned diabolical opposition, given that they are the successors to the one to whom Our Lord said:
“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”
My book offers a comprehensive account of Pope Paul VI’s warning about the “smoke of Satan” in the Church. These pages have noted that Pope Francis has offered many recent remarks ascribing the persecution of Christians to the devil, urging: “Let us renounce Satan and all his works and seductions because he is a seducer.”
Stop and think on the tremendous advantages that Satan has in his mission of subverting the Church—the tireless assistance of human cronies bent on annihilating Christianity in the larger culture, sometimes aided by well-meaning Christians, concerned for the Church to be relevant to all who are “of the world”.
In The Smoke of Satan in the Temple of God I break down down Paul VI’s prophetic voice concerning the Church’s need to be defended from the Devil. It is my view that currently sex may have pride of place as the principal way He invades the Body of Christ. Recall that the Blessed Mother in the 1917 visions to Sister Lucy, Francisco and Jacinta Marto pointed to “sins of the flesh” as the main cause of souls ending up in hell—fornication, adultery, sodomy, pornography, the abortions caused by those seeking to avoid the consequences of sex, or the use of abortifacients for purposes of “safe sex,” etc.
In Genesis God commands us to procreate, embedding the sexual instinct in our nature, a command coming from within! God really wants to “fill the earth,” and thus secular attempts to reduce procreation in ways that block God’s plan, amount to an abominable offense against God Himself.
As I discuss at length in Smoke, the dissent that followed Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae on contraception set the stage for the widespread sacking of papal authority in matters of faith and morals. Even today priests at Mass think that preaching about Catholic teaching on contraception, divorce, sodomy, etc. would reduce their numbers in the pews. Do you suppose that silence on these mattes helps or hinders Satan in his desire?
What to do? Recall the warning of God about enmity from a woman, and about Satan’s head being crushed, in Genesis 3:15? Here are some of Our Lady of Fatima’s tactics in crushing the head:
Look, my daughter, at my Heart, surrounded with thorns with which ungrateful men pierce at every moment by their blasphemies and ingratitude. You at least try to console me; and say that I promise to assist, at the hour of death, with the graces necessary for salvation, all those who, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months, shall confess, receive Holy Communion, recite five decades of the Rosary, and keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary, with the intention of making reparation to me.
For those of us hoping for salvation in spite of a world descending into the bog, here is one solid solution to the spiritual befuddlement already mentioned. Would anyone disagree that the plea for reparation to Mary’s Immaculate Heart has gone unheard?
In my fifth chapter, relying on an eyewitness account, I take up the story of the Immaculate Heart Sisters of Los Angeles, whose program of updating after Vatican II was guided by the psychologist Carl Rogers (d. 1987), and exemplified a paradigm for many other orders. Many religious deserted traditional spiritualties and ministries in favor of politics, environmentalism, and secular feminism. Such irony! Sisters dedicated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart became innovators seeking changes far removed from the intentions expressed by Our Mother, when the surest weapon against the onslaughts of Satan is confidence in, imitation of, and devotion to she who is far ahead of the strategies and nefarious designs of those fallen angels. I am writing to say that this weapon still offers us the assurance of defeating the current subtle strategy of a superlatively evil Mastermind. OREMUS.
If I were a female, and I am not, but if I were, and were Catholic, I would take seriously this read concerning what happens when the rights of God are violated. I have written of these violations before, here. Let us pray that this snare of the prince of this world may not celebrate the 60th birthday of "the pill."
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Recently I overheard students complaining about the homily of our chaplain, who in his homily for the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception offered his prediction that someone in our all-female student body would become a religious sister someday. No doubt many of them hear the call of "the world", and are taken by what is fashionable in the secular social media, perhaps a super model or stylist for one. I find myself hopeful that he is correct, and the reason for this has much to do with the following story.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
Haven't been blogging for awhile, as I am still recovering from a bout with my annual attack of bronchitis.... In this day and age of half-truths, spin-meistering, and dis-ingenuousness, I am always heartened by intellectual honesty, hence, I am glad to pass on this article in which a separated brother recounts how relying on Scripture alone for one's life as a disciple is never enough. The debate on the necessary means of salvation (the bible, faith, grace) is not, as it often seems between Protestants and Catholics, an "either-or" matter, but a "both-and...."
Sunday, December 7, 2014
Fr. Barron is a frequent "visitor" to this blog. In this interview, he discusses volume three of the Jesus of Nazareth Trilogy of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI:
“Just as the genealogies break off at the end, because Jesus was not begotten by Joseph, but was truly born of the Holy Spirit from the Virgin Mary, so it can now be said of us that our true “genealogy” is faith in Jesus, who gives us a new origin, who brings us to birth ‘from God.’”
-from Jesus of Nazareth: The Infancy Naratives
I have read the first volume, but anxiously await arrival of two and three- perhaps a little Christmas gift to self? In discussing the book, Fr. Barron responds to the question of the historicity of the narratives, which too many Catholics, under neomodernist suasion, disregard these days....
Saturday, December 6, 2014
Friday, December 5, 2014
Within the Church today the twin heresies of universalism and indifferentism are prevalent- make no mistake about it. Many Catholics think it doesn’t really matter what religion you belong to because God is all-loving and would never send anyone to hell and besides, didn’t Jesus die to save the whole world, so we’re all going to go to heaven right after we die right?
This not right and it is certainly not Catholicism.
The traditional teaching is still true, which says that not only is death real, but so is judgement, the hope of heaven and the threat of hell. So Advent is therefore a good time to face facts. Christ is coming, but it may not be the happy party of the popular imagination, for Our Lord is the Good Shepherd, but he is also the Righteous Judge who said, “No one comes to the Father but by me.”
Universalism is false. Some people will not be saved. “Broad is the path that leads to destruction. Narrow is the way that leads to life and few there be that find it.” (Mt. 7:13)
As we prepare for the Lord's coming this season of Advent, we would do well to reflect on Christ's words at the last supper: “Take this, all of you, and drink from it, for this is the chalice of my blood, the blood of the new and eternal covenant, which will be poured out for you and for many for the forgiveness of sins....