Holy Matrimony Podcast

A podcast on Holy Matrimony, treating the following:

1. The superiority of Virginity to the State of Matrimony.

2. The Three Blessings / Goods of Sacramental Marriage.

3. Sacramental Analysis of Marriage

4. Causal Analysis of Marriage

5. Consequent and related teachings

A Dialogue on Hell

    • You told me hell is a terrible doctrine. Indeed it is. Why did you say this?
      • Because no one would be evil forever.
    • So what are you doing about the future?
      • I’ve left Christianity. If they believe in hell, in evil forever, to hell with them.
    • Any higher hopes?
      • No. I’m making my way. Trying to be decent.
    • What if someone wants something more from you. Your wife?
      • Look, I bring home enough money. I treat her with respect. I have my own time then. I need some space.
    • What if you were for more?
      • Damn it! I’ve got myself and it’s enough that I’ve done things for my wife and kids. Get out of it. Get out of it. Get out of here.
    • You, good Sir, have opened this abode of yours – forever. A man cannot decide just for the here and now. You thought he could. That is necessarily to decide “only for this and now.” You have chosen your time. Since you however carry on, for a man’s soul cannot be killed, that snippet of time you seized as yours: This shall be yours. And this alone. And as it does not correspond to the aspirations of your heart, it shall tire you out, relentlessly. Day in. Day out. Always yearning for the Real, you shall have – yourself! Relentless time beating ever the same dismal note upon pained ears. Relentless pushing of the ground upon your sense of touch, as you lay supine, weary, rolling, tossing in your bed of pain. Relentless dim light upon eyes both straining and strained. The stench of fetid flesh rising. The deadening silence wailing.
      • This is nonsense. I shall not live. I shall not live; I shall die! I am a mortal man. Nothing survives after death. I take great solace in this, in the face of your dire warnings about meaning and transcendence. All nonsense! I am but dust, and unto dust shall I return.
    • Tell me, good Sir. Do you know what a “circle” is?
      • What? I have had little interest in circles since high school. What has this to do with the topic at hand?
    • We shall see in a moment.
      • Well, then, if you must: Yes, I know what a circle is. It is a line equidistant from a point.
    • And what is a line?
      • Length without breadth.
    • Without any breadth?
      • None.
    • Have you seen such a thing?
      • Never. Couldn’t. No drawn or constructed circle could be perfectly circular.
    • Then, it strikes me as a fancy of your imagination.
      • No it is no fancy. For I could not imagine a circle.
    • Why not?
      • I would point out, first, that a circle could not be visible to my eyes, for the line tracing a circle is breadthless. And that which is breadthless admits no light, being without surface. But a thing is visible only through light.
      • Then, I would note that my imagination as it were “piggy-backs” on my senses. I can imagine only that which I can picture. And I can picture that which has dimensive spread, for I picture a thing as colored, but that which has no dimensive spread has no color. Therefore, everything I picture has dimensive spread, but a circle’s line has no such dimensive spread. For by dimensive spread I mean not simply extension but extension with breadth. But the line is breadthless. If everything I picture has dimensive spread but a circle’s line has none, I cannot imagine the circle – that is, the line tracing the circle’s figure.
    • Indeed. You have saved me time and labor. Now, how can what cannot be pictured by known?
      • It is conceived, not pictured.
    • So you can conceive what you cannot picture?
      • I just have.
    • You have a power, then, that transcends the limits of imagination, a power whose object cannot be represented adequately in any physical medium?
      • What of it?
    • Let us call this a pure power.
      • A what?
    • A pure power. By contrast, a mixed power is a power the existence of which consists in a corporeal instrument; further, the exercise of such a power is the act of said instrument. My eye requires matter, and in the right disposition. My heart likewise. I cannot see without that matter. Should the eye be plucked out, I could not see. Should the matter dissolve, I should be blind.
    • By contrast, a pure power has an existence distinct from any corporeal instrument. And its act is not the act of a corporeal instrument. It is a sheer power, if you will.
      • Then, yes. If I can know a circle the way I take it that I do know it, then I know by a power that is a pure power.
    • We have, then, a refutation of your earlier thesis. For that which can fall apart is that which is composed. That which is not composed cannot fall part. For to fall apart is for elements ingredient to a whole to fall away from unity. The eye is composed of matter in a certain arrangement. So, too, the heart. The eye can decompose into its constituents. So too, the heart. These are composed; these can decay.
    • But say there was something that just was a certain form. Say there were a sheer “form”. For instance, not a circle in clay or steel or wood. Just “circularity itself”. Not a heart in this matter (my chest) or that matter (your chest) but just a “heart itself”. Of course, it is impossible for there to be a “pure heart” but just say there were. Better to suppose: Think of pure circularity. Not the circularity of this wood or that clay; just circularity itself. You can separate circularity from this clay, by molding the clay if it is wet or breaking it if it is dry. You can separate bricks and lumber in a house, thus ‘dissolving’ the form. Why? Because the form of a house, the form of a circle in clay, is just the shape of matter. Hence, such forms depend on matter to be. But could you separate “circularity” from “circularity”?
      • Of course not. What would it mean?
    • Indeed, that which is a sheer form cannot be separated from itself.
      • Yes.
    • You, then, my friend, are a deep mystery. For you have a capacity which transcends the physical world. A capacity to conceive. You can act cognitively in a way that no corporeal instrument could possibly act. Now, nothing can act beyond its essence. So, if you have a power to achieve an act that no corporeal instrument can accomplish, there is something about your essence that transcends the limits of the corporeal. Your essence involves a principle of being that is not merely the “arrangement” of matter. Your essence involves a principle of being which is in-corporeal. A principle of being that yields a “pure power”. In short, a pure form.
    • Now, how can we separate such a form from itself? How can it decompose? It cannot. It simply is if it is. It will not fall into nothingness. It is immortal. You shall not die. You shall die; you shall live! Despair not O Wicked Man; There is yet hope of God’s grace and your conversion

Dogmatic Moral Teachings

It is often said that the Church has never issued a dogmatic formulation on moral teaching. That most of her teaching is by the ordinary magisterium.

Two remarks. First, the second is true, the first is false. Most importantly, however, there are SCORES of infallible teachings on morals. E.g. masturbation is intrinsically evil, etc. Literally SCORES of infallible teachings on morals. The ordinary magisterium, teaching on a matter of faith and morals over a period of time, with moral unanimity, indeed teaches infallibly.

Second, Lyons I issued this declaration:

“Concerning fornication, which an unmarried man commits with an unmarried woman, there must not be any doubt at all that it is a mortal sin…” D 453.

This is a clear declaration of the Extraordinary Magisterium.

O Leo XIII – You Reigned Resplendently

Listen and rejoice at the clear and true words of the Great Leo XIII, from Sapientiae christianae:

14. But in this same matter, touching Christian faith, there are other duties whose exact and religious observance, necessary at all times in the interests of eternal salvation, become more especially so in these our days. Amid such reckless and widespread folly of opinion, it is, as We have said, the office of the Church to undertake the defense of truth and uproot errors from the mind, and this charge has to be at all times sacredly observed by her, seeing that the honor of God and the salvation of men are confided to her keeping. But, when necessity compels, not those only who are invested with power of rule are bound to safeguard the integrity of faith, but, as St. Thomas maintains: “Each one is under obligation to show forth his faith, either to instruct and encourage others of the faithful, or to repel the attacks of unbelievers.”(12) To recoil before an enemy, or to keep silence when from all sides such clamors are raised against truth, is the part of a man either devoid of character or who entertains doubt as to the truth of what he professes to believe.

Can the Catholic Church Gain from non-Catholic churches?

This is a most important question. And one the answer to which will surprise people on all sides.

For, one group will say, “Of course the Catholic Church can gain. She is not the full Church of Christ anyway. There are many churches of the Church of Christ that are not Catholic and which therefore can teach the Catholic churches.”

Another group will say, “If the Catholic Church is the very Church founded by Jesus Christ, then she can gain nothing from non-Catholic churches.”

To answer this question, we must begin with some basics. First of all, the second group states a truth of dogmatic authority in its “if” clause: The Catholic Church most certain is the very Church founded by Jesus Christ. There is a “full identity” here; hence, no distinction at all.

But second, this does not mean that the Catholic Church can gain nothing from non-Catholic churches. Why not?

We must distinguish the essence of the Church – the ingredients of which I refer to as her intensive plenitude, e.g. her sanctifying power, her governing power, his teaching power, her holiness, catholicity, etc. – from her “lived life”. The “lived life” of the Church refers to the quality of the lives of her individual members, the quality of the theological reflection at some given age in some given place, the quality of the relations among the members, the quality of the liturgy, etc. The “lived life” of the Church may suffer in one age or another. There come times when Catholics do not live their faith well, run through the motions of the liturgy, do not study theology and philosophy, do not love the poor, do not order the temporal order to Christ the King, etc. For instance, before St. Francis, the Italians were far from the way of Christ and his Church. St. Francis brought about a renewal. At the times of the Protestant objections, many Catholics including priests were not living holy lives ordered to Christ the King. At different times in the Church’s history, liturgical reforms were made that were not so edifying. For example, the reform of the Divine Office in the early 16th century. It was a badly done reform; the Church eventually went back to her prior practice.

When we make these distinctions between the essence and the lived life, we can further reflect on our non-Catholic brothers and sisters. We can ask ourselves, “Is it possible that a Greek Orthodox liturgy is more beautiful than the liturgy as practiced in many Catholic parishes?” Now, I think just about anyone who assists at an Orthodox liturgy will agree: “Yes, they do liturgy better than do many Catholic parishes.” Thus, we can ask, “Can the Orthodox teach us how to do liturgy better?” I think surely everyone will now agree: “Yes, they most certainly can.”

Let’s continue. We can even ask more incisively: “Does the Orthodox liturgy itself – not just in its practice – not give us an objectively more beautiful presentation and more comprehensive catechetical portrait of our faith (excepting of course the Roman primacy and certain other crucial truths, such as some Marian dogmas) than that given in the Novus Ordo? Here, I contend the answer is, “Yes, it surely does.”

But someone will object: If you say that, you are questioning the validity of the Novus Ordo. Answer: No I am not. One can hold – and on grounds – that some liturgy is more adequate an expression of the Eternal Faith than another liturgy. Adequate here would be judged in terms of the comprehensive and articulate expression of the Church’s faith and in terms of the goal of liturgy, the pointing of man to God in fitting religious worship. Of secondary concern, but not of no concern, would be the “accessibility” of the liturgical reality. This is a concern, but it is of secondary importance.

Now, a full evaluation of the matter would be complex. It would involve analysis of the precise prayers, the order, the movements, the vestments, etc., of the liturgies. How well do the prayers convey, substantially, the faith of the Church? That Christ died for our sins to snatch us from the fires of hell! That Christ is God and man! That the Holy Trinity accepts the sacrifice of Christ our High Priest. That through the liturgy we are sanctified and ushered towards glory. That we must repent of our sins. That the saints are in heaven with us as we pray. That we rely on them. Etc. Now at the liturgies of John Chrysostom, the congregation sings again and again to God implorying his mercy and repenting of sin. Sanctification in light, removal of darkness. These are stressed. Christ as God and man. These are stressed. The liturgy is accessible though transcendent and even foreign. It lifts us up to worship.

Is that level of richness present expressively in the Novus Ordo? Is the saving sacrifice of Christ as abundantly expressively present in the Novus Ordo as in the Greek Orthodox liturgy? What of his holy Godhead, his exalted humanity, his kingly power and rule, etc.? These are serious questions. Of course, the one same sacrifice of the Mass is present; that is not in question.

Let’s return to our opening question: Can the Catholic Church gain from non-Catholic churches. The answer is indeed surprising. The answer is yes, contrary to what some, who love Tradition, may think. Yet paradoxically, this answer does not mean a dilution of Tradition, contrary to the misguided and the rebels. It means that we must be insightful enough to realize that the current “lived life” of the Church may be very sick, just as it was at the time of St. Francis. She may, in her members and expressed life, need to undergo an authentic reformation. And sometimes non-Catholic churches can point the way towards a healthier lived life.

Further, as should be evident by now for the reader, the Ordinary Form of the liturgy might stand to gain from consideration of the Extraordinary Form. The Novus Ordo may stand to gain from consideration of the Mass of many ages. The prayers, the gestures, the movements, the vestments, the sequences; the deep theology of the Cross, the battle of sin and grace, the transcendence of God, etc. Could it be that in an age in which we focus on the secondary concern – accessibility – we have lost sight of the primary concerns of liturgy? Could it be that accessibility thus stressed has eclipsed the Theo-centric character of liturgy?

The questions are double edged. Chiefly and immediately, they target the bad performances of the Novus Ordo. That is the chief ill of the day. For it is evident that the transcendence of God is not infrequently eclipsed by the very character of the way the Mass is celebrated. Balloon masses, etc. These are utterly banal; an insult to the human person. But secondly, and less forcefully but not without all force, the foregoing questions may well target the Novus Ordo itself. Not as anything illicit much less invalid. Not as anything false. Indeed, not. But rather as, perhaps, something less comprehensively expressive of the faith as would be desirable. See, e.g., the concerns of Siri, Ottaviani, even J. Ratzinger, et alia.

Final objection: But even to raise such questions is disobedience.

Final retort: Do you accept Paul VI’s missal? (He answers: Yes.) What are its roots? (Vatican II). You’re correct, though of course the normal interpretation of Vatican II might be different from what the texts themselves stipulate. For instance, the next never said that Latin should go on holiday. By the way, I got that expression from Cardinal Arinze. But back to my retort: What are the roots of Vatican II? (The liturgical movement of the 1900s). And was that movement suggesting a change in the then current liturgy? (Yes.) So it is not per se rebellious to suggest a change? (Well, hmm. I guess not.) No indeed. It must be done with tact and respect, loyalty to Rome and to the Great Tradition, and with an eye on the eternal glory of God and the salvation of souls.

Again and on a different note: Can a community of reformed Christians teach the Catholic Church anything? Indeed yes. How zealous many are! How deeply immersed in the bible. And yes how thoughtful. No, not all evangelicals are “fundamentalists” without brains. Many are very thoughtful. Indeed, I heard Denis Prager on the radio yesterday talking with a group of Christians who are scientists arguing scientifically for the perspective of an ordered, divinely ordered, world. This is excellent. And much needed. How much of the bible and history do Catholics know? Do they know how to go to a disaster area and lend a hand? Do they challenge the culture or just go along with it? Well, our evangelical brothers and sisters can teach us considerably on this score.

By the way, none of this is new to God’s plans. Who was it who told Moses how to organize the people in the desert? Not Aaron. Not Moses himself. No. His non-Jewish father-in-law! The bible is filled with surprises such as this.

The point is, we must measure our standards not by current practice alone but by the weight of Tradition, Divine Transcendence, etc. It just is a fact: Many people are currently bored with the current parochial practice of Catholicism.

If man is deep and built for transcendence, we will become relevant in the measure to which our lived Catholicism becomes deep and transcendent (not fickle and flighty), radically theo-centric (not anthropocentric), Godward (not manward), accessible yet difficult and wonderful (not conquerable, banal and forgettable).

Is the Bible Inspired and Inerrant in All its Parts?

Yes. But someone will object: Vatican II does not teach that. Vatican II only states:

“We must acknowledge that the books of Scripture, firmly, faithfully and without error, teach that truth which God, for the sake of our salvation, wished to see confided to the sacred Scriptures” (Dei verbum, art. 11).

The objector comments: The council only teaches that a certain body of truth made it into the Scriptures for the sake of our salvation. Hence, the scriptures have errors in them, but also the basic truth. In short, they have inerrant truth, but also errors.

What are we to make of this objection? Sadly, scores of theology professors adhere to this very understanding. But there is no ground for this position.

A key hermeneutical rule is that a more precise and clear statement interprets a less precise and unclear statement. Now, Vatican I, Leo XIII, and other popes teach clearly that the books of Sacred Scripture are “sacred and canonical” in all their parts. Why? Because they were written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (Dei Filius, chap. 2).

Leo XIII had to make this teaching even clearer in his marvelous Providentissimus Deus:

“For all the books which the Church receives as sacred and canonical, are written wholly and entirely, with all their parts, at the dictation of the Holy Ghost; and so far is it from being possible that any error can co-exist with inspiration, that inspiration not only is essentially incompatible with error, but excludes and rejects it as absolutely and necessarily as it is impossible that God Himself, the supreme Truth, can utter that which is not true” (art. 20).

Benedict XV backs him up in Spiritus Paraclitus:

“St. Jerome’s teaching on this point serves to confirm and illustrate what our predecessor of happy memory, Leo XIII, declared to be the ancient and traditional belief of the Church touching the absolute immunity of Scripture from error: So far is it from being the case that error can be compatible with inspiration, that, on the contrary, it not only of its very nature precludes the presence of error, but as necessarily excludes it and forbids it as God, the Supreme Truth, necessarily cannot be the Author of error” (art. 16).

Before Vatican II, some rebels were already rejecting these teachings. Thus, Pius XII had to reiterate it in Divino afflante Spiritu:

“When, subsequently, some Catholic writers, in spite of this solemn definition of Catholic doctrine, by which such divine authority is claimed for the “entire books with all their parts” as to secure freedom from any error whatsoever, ventured to restrict the truth of Sacred Scripture solely to matters of faith and morals, and to regard other matters, whether in the domain of physical science or history, as “obiter dicta” and – as they contended – in no wise connected with faith, Our Predecessor of immortal memory, Leo XIII in the Encyclical Letter Providentissimus Deus, published on November 18 in the year 1893, justly and rightly condemned these errors and safe-guarded the studies of the Divine Books by most wise precepts and rules” (art. 1).

The case is closed. The papal teaching firmly and clearly establishes that the Scriptures are inspired and inerrant in all their parts. There is not one part of Scripture that is not inspired. They are all inspired. Hence, he goes against the Teaching of Holy Mother Church who contends otherwise.

But the objector returns: what about Vatican II? It doesn’t state that clearly.

The answer: We must interpret the unclear by the clear.

It goes without saying, though perhaps one must say it, that one must interpret the Scripture properly. The ancient fathers and the Magisterium are our surest guides in this matter.

Anti-Neo-Modernists: To Be (and be united) or To Be Disunited (and cease to be)?

Hamish Fraser offers here a brilliant strategy for overcoming the neo-modernist stranglehold. He identifies the problem of the anti-neo-modernist camp. On the one hand, Traditionalists, who appreciate the weaknesses in the Novus Ordo Missae. On the other hand, the conservative Catholics, who understand loyalty to the pontiff to imply acceptance of the Novus Ordo Missae as entirely excellent and adequate to the Tradition.

These camps have important differences. Fraser is a Traditionalist. However, he contends that it is the division of the camps that the neo-modernists exploit and that is the strength of this anti-Catholic subversion of the Tradition. Hence, his urgent and articulate call to mitigate the divisions. To collaborate. To come together.

I consider myself to have been in the conservative camp and to be making my way to the Traditionalist camp. Fraser points to the lack of authentic appreciation of Tradition among conservatives, and lack of charity among Traditionalists.

Whether one agrees or disagrees with the specifics, I think many can be edified by Fraser’s brilliant analysis of the situation. I am thinking that he delivered this speech in the mid to late 1970s.

He called above all for the re-instatement of the Mass of All Times. He died in 1986. However, the labors and strategies he undertook and developed paid off in Benedict XVI. We need a new H. Fraser, who combines learning and diplomacy. We must organize. We must communicate. We must also know with whom we communicate. Someone or some group must strategize. Yes, our enemies are principalities. However, these work through men. And we must rely on God’s mercy and truth and power, on his holy angels, on charity and wisdom, and on human cunning compatible with charity and wit.

He also notes the decay of the family. Back then! He argues, since families are self-policing, a nation with healthy families is largely self-policing. The converse: A society with unhealthy families is a society without self-policing. The result is chaos. But man hates chaos. Hence, he seeks order. If not through law and order, through police enforcement. hence, we are heading towards a police state. How penetrating and yet sober a mind.

See This Video

Can Charity Excuse Injustice?

Short answer: No.

Augustine brings this question up in his City of God. But let’s precise the question, for as stated it is sloppy.

Can I do acts which at least look charitable, and thus be excused my neglect of the divine or natural or ecclesial law?

This is the question Augustine is after in his great tome. The answer is a resolute “No!” Why?

Well, when you love someone, you seek to do their will, if that will is upright. God’s will is always upright. And his will is expressed in these various laws: Divine positive law, natural law, and ecclesiastical law.

At least divine and natural law are always “prudent”. It might be that some ecclesiastical law is less prudent than desirable. That is possible. It does not thereby become null. Take any change in ecclesiastical law that takes place. You could argue that the situation of 200  years ago justified law X and the situation now justifies law Y. However, laws Y and X are quite distinct. Yet, the situation gradually shifts. So, on the supposition the change is called for, we could say that the situation (past or present, we leave up for grabs) and the law surely, at some point, was not ideal (less than prudent). But at any rate, it remains law.

Back to the point: God expresses his will through all these laws. Now, then, for me to neglect one of these major laws is to neglect God almighty. How then can I really love whom I neglect? Whose express will I offend? Indeed, I cannot.

But then what about all those soup kitchens I helped out? What about raking the leaves for my neighbor? Yes, and what about feeling really pained at the sight of a little boy being excessively yelled at and scolded by his obviously negligent parents? These are all decent human acts and responses. However, I cannot be doing them out of true charity if indeed I am breaking God’s law by contraceptive intercourse, by eating meat on Fridays in Lent, by masturbating, by failing to do my family duties while working extremely long hours without necessity (because it is more peaceful there), by getting wildly drunk and driving home, by shooting into the woods without certainty that noone is there, etc.

Thus, we give the lie to the myth in Dostoevsky’s great novel, Brothers K. The myth that he propounds is that if I only did one unselfish deed in my whole life, then I shall be saved (provided I allow others to be saved by it also). This is pure nonsense. Nicely romantic. But nonsense.

There is one condition of salvation for the freely acting: Having died in the state in which I love God intimately and above all things (i.e., in charity). And that presupposes hope in God, not in my deeds. And that presupposes faith in him. And all of these imply the desire to be a member of the one and only Church instituted by Jesus Christ–the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic, and Roman Church. This desire can exist in several forms: Real delight in being a member, explicit desire of those seeking membership, or finally, an implicit desire of those who seek to carry out God’s laws whenever they are made manifest to them. Hence, the demand that we go out and evangelize, so as to awaken those who sleep but long for all the saving graces Christ bestowed on his Church.

Another Alleged Papal Interview. More Confusion

Scalfari is once again writing things that cause confusion in the Catholic world. He reports yet another interview with Pope Francis. Scalfari claims the following…

 What about those with no faith? The answer is that if one has loved others at least as much as himself, (possibly a little more than self) the Father will welcome him. Faith is of help but that is not the element of the one who judges – it’s life itself. Sin and repentance are part of life [and include]: remorse, a sense of guilt, a desire for redemption and the abandonment of egoism.

Those who have had the fortune of meeting Pope Francis, know that egoism is the most dangerous enemy of our species. Animals are egoistic because they are prey to their own instincts, the main one being their own survival. On the other hand, man is moved also by conviviality and so feels love for others, and for the survival of the species to which he belongs. If egoism overpowers and suffocates his love for others, it darkens the divine spark within him and he is self-condemned.

What happens to that lifeless soul? Will it be punished? How?

Francis’ answer is very clear: there is no punishment, but the annihilation of that soul. All the others will participate in the bliss of living in the presence of the Father. The annihilated souls will not be part of that banquet; with the death of the body their journey is ended and this is the basis for the missionary work in the Church: to save the lost souls. And this is also the reason why Francis is a Jesuit to the core.

Once again, we are left with Scalfari’s own word. Now for a theological assessment of the opinions Scalfari puts on Pope Francis’s lips.

First, “If one has loved others at least as much as himself… the Father will welcome him.” Well the statement is totally ambiguous. The condition of salvation is to die in grace. No one who dies without sanctifying grace in his soul is saved. Period. This grace entails, as its proper effect, a habitual orientation to love God out of charity for his own sake, and in consequence to love the self and the neighbor in God. Now, love is always oriented to a good. I can love the bowling club partner by willing his success. Perhaps I will his success more than my own. But what is the “good” I will? Bowling success. Is that getting me into heaven? Absurd. In short, loving my neighbor “more” than myself or “at least as much” does not identify the proper condition of salvation. In fact, outstanding doctors of theology state that I have a duty to love myself more than my neighbor. That is right, more. They say the order of love is as follows: Love God first of all, your own soul next, your neighbor’s soul next, your neighbor’s body next, and your own body last. That would be the proper order of a loving mother for her children. And why self love in terms of spiritual goods first? Because I do not will my neighbor to have a good unless I appreciate, love, that good too. Moreover, unless I love God and love my loving God, I would not consider it a value to will for my neighbor. Hence, good love of neighbor requires good love of self. In sum, Unless I love my neighbor in God, and because of God, I cannot get into heaven. Thus, the statement as it comes from Scalfari by no means indicates a sufficient condition of salvation.

Second, charity cannot exist without faith. So, if I am  not a believer, I cannot have the charity I need to have be saved. I must be converted to the one true God in faith in order to have charity so as to please him. Heb 11.

Third, what does “that [faith] is not the element of the one who judges” mean? It is an absurd statement. God does not have or need faith. Of course. Yet, God does demand faith of the soul. See Heb 11; Rom 3-4; Council of Trent, Session VI. If anyone says the opposite, anathema sit.

Fourth, “There is no punishment but only annihilation”. This is heresy. Everyone who dies without sanctifying grace goes straight to hell. And the soul cannot be punished in hell if it doesn’t exist. Whoever says the opposite states heresy.

Scalfari is leading people away from the truth of Catholic faith. It is lamentable that he carries on like this without being rebuked. Well, a Catholic must form his or her faith and conscience not from the whims of rumor but from the solid teaching of Scripture and Tradition.