Saturday, February 28, 2015

Read the Documents!

The Fifth Passage all Catholics should understand:

5) “But the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (Dei Verbum, #10).
Fr. Hans Kung and Pope Benedict XVI

Unfortunately, following the council an "alternative magisterium" was allowed to ferment. When asked by Vittorio Messori in his famous interview with Cardinal Ratzinger about the fact that he once was associated with some theologians who have since run afoul with the CDF, the Cardinal’s reply sheds much light on this “spirit of Vatican II”:

It is not I who have changed, but others. At our very first meetings I pointed out two prerequisites to my colleagues. The first one: our group must not lapse into any kind of sectarianism or arrogance, as if we were the new, the true Church, an alternative magisterium [emphasis added] with a monopoly on the truth of Christianity. The second one: discussion has to be conducted without any individualistic flights forward, in confrontation with the reality of Vatican II with the true letter and the true spirit of the Council, not with an imaginary Vatican III. These prerequisites were increasingly less observed in the following period up to a turning point—which set in around 1973—when someone began to assert that the texts of Vatican II were no longer the point of reference for Catholic theology ….that the Council still belonged to the traditional, clerical moment of the Church and that it was not possible to move forward very much with such documents [emphasis added]. They must be surpassed.

It is important to understand the part played by neomodernism in bringing about this division within the ranks of the “new theology.” As I discuss in my book, it was the establishment of “an alternative magisterium on the part of theologians who viewed the Vatican II documents as inadequate who demonstrated the pride warned against by Cardinal Ratzinger. I believe it consistent with Catholic teaching to see in the apostasy of this “anthropocentric society” the work of “the hidden enemy who sows errors and misfortune in human history.”

Friday, February 27, 2015

Dancing With Mr. D: Banning Reparative Therapy in Illinois

I have long believed that most Americans accept as truth many falsehoods about the homosexual orientation, and have bloged here abut individuals who have reordered their sexual orientation. The examples, both male and female, are numerous. SO- to add to the disussion, why shouldn't we be more tolerant towards efforts at reparative therapy?

The organization, The Restored Hope Network, believes, as do I:

"In this time of history, when gender and sexual confusion is reaching new heights in all aspects of public and private life, our network of ministries stands on the beauty of God’s life-giving Word.  We are not afraid to discuss with empathy and understanding issues central to the human soul--sexual and relational issues.   Yet we hold up the power of God to redeem individuals and families from sin’s control, even in the area of homosexuality."

Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Shepherd Guards His Flock

Salvadore Cordileone
I have been chronicling Archbishop Cordileone's defense of the Faith in these pages here and here. We must remember that Our Lord guaranteed that the gates of hell would not prevail, but that hell would not cease trying to do so for a time until He brings all things into one in His person. Here is a bishop who, following the teachings of the Second Vatican Council on the job description of a bishop, understands this, draws courage from this. I like the following comment on the news article:

"Your Grace,  I applaud your courage.  Our church and schools are built on the teachings of Christ and the Magisterium.
If faculty members do not want to teach theses beliefs, I suggest they leave their “personal” beliefs at the door.  Or find a public or private school to teach in whose values are not strictly Catholic."

Friday, February 20, 2015

Read the Documents!

The Fourth passage from The Documents of Vatican II Catholics should know:

4) “But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope’s power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head. This power can be exercised only with the consent of the Roman Pontiff” (Lumen Gentium, #22).

Nevertheless, after the close of the Council, when the hierarchy began to interpret the meaning or application of the documents of Vatican II, many among her knowledge class dissented from such magisterial teaching, effecting a controversy over the legitimacy of Church decisions and thus a crisis of authority, the net result of their heresy. In the face of what amounts to episcopal lethargy, such false, pernicious teachings were permitted an audience in high places within the hierarchy, several bishops themselves having been seduced by such opinions. De facto, the audience granted the “culture of dissent,” divided the sheep, thus sinking the credibility and viability of the Gospel message for much of the modern world, in Paul VI’s thinking a sign of the diabolic. Read More

Thursday, February 19, 2015

LIBIDO REDUX: The Porn Version of Cinderella

As pornography begins to step into mainstream culture, Christine Niles, Psychologist Dr. Peter Kleponis, and Mark Houck  break down the dangers of its use, including several lesser known issues such as the psychological costs and the growing problem of porn marketed to women. They know their stuff, believe me.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dancing With Mr. D: 50 Shades of Sham

To spell it out for a morally challenged culture, Patti Armstrong interviewed Fr. Patrick, an exorcist, along with three members of his deliverance team about the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon. 

Read the Documents!

The third reflection in the series on why Catholics must know the real Vatican Council II:

3) “The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #116).

Here's why.

Monday, February 16, 2015

The Seven Big Myths About Marriage on Vimeo

A very provocative view of marriage: highly recommended in this time of cohabitation on steroids--

The Seven Big Myths About Marriage on Vimeo:

'via Blog this'

A Bishop Bishops!

Recently the San Fran Chronicle noted:

"No one can quarrel with Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone’s determination to ensure that his rigid interpretation of church doctrine is taught at four Catholic high schools. Families can decide whether they want their children to learn certain “truths” that are not necessarily accepted by many practicing Catholics, such as the belief that civil law should ban same-sex marriage, contraception is “intrinsically evil,” abortion is always wrong and reproductive technology is a 'grave evil.'"

The bishop takes his job seriously, as Vatican II teaches that he do. The council charged bishops with the following: All bishops are bound to foster and safeguard the unity of the Catholic faith and safeguard and teach with a love of the Body of Christ, especially the poor, the suffering and those persecuted. Primacy is given to their preaching of the gospel, warding off whatever errors might threaten their flocks. Bishops’ teaching as such are to be revered by their sheep, who must give assent to their bishops’ decisions in matters of faith and morals, and especially to thePope’s authority, even when he is not speaking “from the chair of Peter.” The worldwide college of bishops infallibly proclaims Christ’s doctrine when, preserving communion amongst themselves and with Peter’s successor, “in their authoritative teaching concerning matters of faith and morals, they are in agreement that a particular teaching is to be held definitively and absolutely.” Their decisions must be adhered to with the loyal, obedient assent of faith on the part of Catholics. Thus, the infallibility promised the Church is present in the college of bishops when, with the Holy Father, they exercise the Church’s magisterium. When the Holy Father, or the bishops united with him, define a doctrine, they do so in conformity with divine revelation, to which the faithful must also give assent of faith (though this does not indicate new public revelation as concerns the Deposit of Faith). Nice going, Archbishop. Read more.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Read the Documents!

In my book I note that one catalyst for writing it was that when I actually read the documents of the Second Vatican Council, I was surprised to learn that what I had been told they said, and what they actually said were not one and the same. Thus, it is with great pleasure that I welcome Jared Silvey's article for Crisis. Silvey states: 

"it is good for Catholics to familiarize themselves with what the council actually said in its official promulgations. While not everyone has the leisure to read through the hundreds of pages of conciliar material, there are certain passages which should be highlighted, in part because they counter attempts by those who try to ground their dissent in the council and its supposed “spirit.” 

This is precisely why I wrote my book, so I would like to reflect on his choice of passages fron the VII documents:

1)  “Regulation of the sacred liturgy depends solely on the authority of the Church, that is, on the Apostolic See and, as laws may determine, on the bishop…. Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, #22).

 My bet is that whomever was responsible for the event in the photo above was in woeful ignorance of this passage, all the while claiming "Vatican II changed our approach to liturgy," or words to that effect. This development resulted from the failure of those bishops who, perhaps because they felt intimidated by the liturgical “experts,” allowed them to propagate teachings at odds with Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Council’s document on the Sacred Liturgy. In effect, the bishops allowed the imposition of newfangled liturgical “reforms” on their flocks, resulting in a liturgy which has proven spiritually destabilizing in many cases. The question which continues to puzzle is, why such poor shepherding? If the maxim lex orendi, lex credendi is true, and it is, then the lack of resemblance between what the Church teaches concerning the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and the reality of what is taking place in its celebration in parishes in the United States today warrants that we come to understand those developments in the Liturgical Movement under the influence of modernist thinking, and their impact on the Church. Read more.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

At War With the Pope?

I continually must remind myself that I am a Catholic first, and an American second, something difficult to do for my boomer generation, raised as we were in the school of American exceptionalism by the greatest generation. So it is with great interest that I now observe a gentleman by the name of Damon Linker taking on the Holy Father here in matters he has pronounced on recently. The article may be summarized thus: (If you check out the links in the Damon article, his evidence for the war is sparse)He begins with a piece from Ross Douthat about internal Church issues regarding divorce and Communion. Next he cites four more pieces, two of which were actually defending the pope and only one of which went beyond subject-specific criticism in personally criticizing the Holy Father himself. This entry created such an uproar that Reno felt it necessary to publish his own criticism just bring peace to the dialogue. 

It appears the progressive ideologues envision a standoff between American conservatives and the Pope, especially as a soon-to-appear encyclical on the environment is predicted to  “deepen conservatives’ mistrust” of the Pope. The political Right’s perception seems to be that Francis’ public policy pronouncements on economics and the environment are a “complete disaster,” indicating he has “allied himself with the far left and has embraced an ideology that would make people poorer and less free.” 

First, recall the Pope’s “Who Am I to Judge?” remark. Then recall too that Evangelii Gaudium on first read contains harsh words for capitalism and trickle-down economics. With his pronouncement on the environment, are American Catholics in the position of having to choose between Francis and the Republican Party? If so, as a faithful Catholic who is pro-life, and opposed to people who desire sex with people of the same sex being allowed to wed, where does that leave me?

With the release of an encyclical that will challenge the climate-change deniers, American political conservatives seem to have reached a moment of decision: Should they side with the party or the pontiff?

Robert George is committed to the strategy of explaining away the difficulties — of telling Catholic Republicans that there’s no need to choose, because GOP principles and Catholic social teaching still coincide. The only obstacle here is that, "increasingly, they don’t — as more and more Catholic Republicans are coming to understand,: The battle has commenced- whose side will you be on? 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Put On the Armor of Christ

In St. John’s gospel, Our Lord calls Satan “ruler of this world,”teaching that the salvation he would bring us as God’s gift involved the destruction of Satan’s power in this world. Just before His passion, Jesus told the apostles that an eternal fire awaited Satan and his angels. Sacred Scripture teaches that The Prince of Darkness will be allowed by God to test us for a time, but in the end will be “thrown into the lake of fire and sulphur where the beast and the false prophet were, and they will be tormented day and night for ever and ever.”  Thus, in Catholic teaching, the reality of spiritual warfare, though often dismissed, is something the Church Militant here on earth must be prepared for. Paul Thigpen offers a manual for preparation in the video above. Very experienced, he!

Now for a little catechesis on today;s Gospel by Fr. Longenecker:

Then they came to Capernaum,
and on the sabbath Jesus entered the synagogue and taught.
The people were astonished at his teaching,
for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.
In their synagogue was a man with an unclean spirit;
he cried out, “What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are—the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said,
“Quiet! Come out of him!”
The unclean spirit convulsed him and with a loud cry came out of him.
All were amazed and asked one another,
“What is this?
A new teaching with authority.
He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey him.”
His fame spread everywhere throughout the whole region of Galilee.
The Gospel reading is taken from the Gospel of Mark. Here we read about Jesus' activity in Capernaum, a place that apparently becomes the functional headquarters of his Galilean ministry. 

The crowds were astonished at his teaching for he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes. The Greek word here translated "authority" can also mean "power". Jesus teaches with "power"--a kind of power not associated with the scribes. 

This power is demonstrated by Jesus' action of casting out a demon, described here as an "unclean spirit". The term is used for fallen angels in 1 Enoch 6-11. The exorcism leads some to describe Jesus as offering a "new" teaching. What exactly is "new" about his teaching though is unclear. 

Some have suggested that Jesus is said to not teach like the scribes do because he does not refer to the opinion of other respected teachers; he bases his teaching on his own authority. Something similar may be seen in Jesus' exorcism. Adela Yarbro Collins notes that Mark's portrait of Jesus' exorcisms may be contrasted with what is found in the exorcistic practices described in the Dead Sea Scrolls, particularly the fragment identified as 4Q560.
This text is evidence for the practice of exorcism in the cultural context of the historical Jesus. The means is verbal, as in Mark, but the exorcist in 4Q560 adjures the demon “by the Name of Him who forgives sins and transgression” (4Q560 1:4) whereas Mark’s Jesus does not call upon the name of God as he casts out demons. (Mark, p. 167)
In fact, whereas other exorcisms seemed to be performed only through the use of various incantations, Jesus' simple response immediately drives him out: Quiet! Come out of him! In fact, the Greek term,phimōthēti, actually can be translated, "Be muzzled!" All of this further underscores Jesus' unique power.

In fact, elsewhere in the New Testament Jesus is described as explaining how he casts out demons "by the finger of God" (Luke 11:20). The language here recalls the Exodus. Upon seeing the plagues wrought by Moses, the Egyptian magicians concede, "This is the finger of God."

Before being sent out, the demon identifies Jesus as "the Holy One of God". This scene sets in motion a major motif that is well-recognized in the Gospel of Mark: the "messianic secret". Demons appear to recognize that Jesus is the Messiah and yet Jesus does not want the truth of his identity revealed. Why? The most likely answer is that Jesus is concerned that his messiahship will be misconstrued and therefore his mission misunderstood. Jesus has not come as a political messiah. His victory is not primarily to be achieved militarily but spiritually. 

The enemy Jesus comes to conquer is Satan. Jesus' exorcistic ministry is a sign of this. Mark portrays Moses in terms that identify him as the fulfillment of Deuteronomy 18; Jesus is the "prophet like unto Moses" who brings about a New Exodus. He does not deliver his people from Pharaoh, but from Satan. 

And he does all of this by virtue of his unique divine power. 

One last element I'd like to mention. Interestingly, the unclean spirit calls Jesus, "the Holy One of God". Notably, that is actually not the term used for Moses; it is actually evocative of the language used for the high priest, Aaron. For example, see Psalm 106:16, which describes how some men of Israel were jealous of "Aaron, the holy one of the Lord". Numbers 16:7 also describes Aaron as the "holy one" chosen by God. 

Jesus is the true priest. This Sunday, as we celebrate the liturgy of the eucharist, we reflect on the way his power drives out demons--and we encounter that power through the Church's worship. Let us go to him, confident that he will free us from the power of the evil one through the sacrifice he has made of himself.