Monthly Archives: September 2014

Hirelings Flee before Wolves

“But the hireling, and he that is not the shepherd, whose own the shee; are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and flieth: and the wolf casteth, and scattereth the sheep” (Jn 10:12).

Hirelings are not wolves, nor do they resist them. Hirelings merely seek their own. That is why they are not true shepherds. In times of peace, they look the same as true shepherds. When the going gets tough, they abandon the sheep.

How? À Lapide comments, citing Pope St. Gregory, The Great:

“ ‘Not by change of place but by withdrawing support.’ He flies, because he saw injustice and remained silent: He flies because he conceals himself by silence…. Hence Christ leaves it to be gathered by contrast that the good shepherd, when he sees the wolf coming, neither flies nor forsakes his sheep, but stands up for them and fights even to death, and in this way lays down his life for them…. [Gregory states,] ‘He who loves not the sheep but worldly gain, cannot stand firm when the sheep are in danger. For while he is aiming at honor, and rejoicing in worldly gain, he is afraid of exposing himself to danger, lest he should lose that which he love.”

What is a Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing?

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits” (Mt 7:15).

Wolf in Sheep's clothing

Perhaps the greatest Commentary on the Gospels, that of Cornelius à Lapide, states of this verse: False teachers

“teach that the way to heaven is not strait, but easy, and … thus send those who follow them not to heaven but to hell. They teach that we need not fast, nor go to confession, nor preserve virginity nor religious vows; they allow all sorts of liberty to the flesh, and take away all merit from good works” (vol. 1, p. 362).

It is clear why false teachers are wolves: They do not really love those to whom they preach. They hate them.

“But why do you say that? After all, they come in tenderness, with words of mercy and consolation.” The reason is: To love – really to love – is to will the good of the other. And what is my good? To gain what I want? To gain the world? No, to gain God! Thus, the only love that is true is that which runs to the end, that which wills the beloved’s salvation. Everything else is either immature or sham. Immature: For an adolescent thinks only of the present tenderness, not of love that takes root and endures. Sham: For the liar seeks to feed his own ego or belly, or perhaps something else, and he will take you with him to hell, as you praise him for covering your shameful nakedness with empty, powerless words.

But why sheep’s clothing? Because the false prophet feigns saintliness, gentleness. He appears gentle against a double backdrop. First, He does not appear in the rage of heathen, as an open heretic or Church enemy would. Nor does he accept the fatherly burden of genuine discipline, a task which is (most often, in this vale of tears) at first is resisted by those who know not how to love themselves but who feed on wine and women until their diet is husks for swine. The wolf in sheep’s clothing acts neither of these roles. He is not a foreign enemy but appears within the very bosom of the Church. He bears not the fatherly burden, the difficult path of righteous (just) mercy. True mercy demands, and yet makes possible, repentance with a firm resolve to amendment. Cruelty falls on either side of true justice. For it is cruel never to forgive one who repents or to make repentance more arduous than it needs to be. It is also cruel, perhaps more so, more insidiously cruel, more a mockery of Christ, to let the sinner remain in his sins, even though one has the powers by which the sinner might awake from his slumber. Thus, the clothing is just apparel; his tenderness is cruelty.

What are the trappings of sheep’s clothes? À Lapide states:

“The sheep’s clothing … are meant to conceal and veil their errors and heresies, first, under the plea of liberty of conscience; … 3. Under pretext of reforming the morals of the Church, especially those of the clergy and ecclesiastics; 4. By the simulation of meekness, simplicity, and piety; 5. By soft speeches, and a garrulous eloquence by which they cover their wolfish ferocity and cleverly insinuate themselves into the minds of their hearers, so as to infect and destroy them then with their errors, and to empty their purses and devour their riches. In order to serve their belly, they lose the souls of the sectarians and send them to hell, which is certainly a wolfish voracity and fierceness (ibid., p. 363).

À Lapide had in mind those who seek to feed their bellies. I suppose he had not a Marxist met. A Marxist! — The greatest perverse imitatio Christi the devil has yet constructed. To the idealistic, the Marxist is much more attractive than the obviously greedy Classical Liberal who grabs property at your expense, after you have labored and sweated in his vineyard and borrowed from his account or printing press.

Yet again, A Marxist! — Feignedly feeble of feet, a loser for whom everyone cheers, self-deprecatingly denigrating all standards of decency, … but from the beginning ferocious of appetite. Ferocious not for the belly…. And so, for what? For what? For Whales? The world? No, that was the Liberal’s aim. What then? Envy, perhaps? Pale-faced envy? Bloodless envy of those who fight for and acquire something real (albeit lowly), something you can get your hands on?

Yes, perhaps envy. Envy that perversely defines love as selfless. Yes. Nietzsche was right about that element of the Marxist. Weakness, pusillanimity that defines love as selfless. But real love is not defined in terms of its direction away from you, the lover! Imagine your beloved being thrilled that your love for her had nothing to do with your desire for happiness! A woman thrilled by a bore? Not likely. But the Marxists among us – no not the philosophical ones; the living ones – define love by its direction away from the lover. Thus they condemned eros a long time ago: “It is un-Christian,” they say.

So, they drag you down before your very Gospel, when you presume to say, “Zeal for your house shall consume me, O Lord.” Yes, when you stick to Truth as Truth, they call you an egoist. When you say that Dogma is true forever, they pronounce you judgmental, self-righteous.

But this is all sick, their diagnosis; their law of anti-eros. While eros is not identical with true love of the other, it is ingredient in real love.

The question in love is not its direction but its being genuine and having the right object. Do not run away from zeal when your zeal is for the Lord and his house! You were on your knees before Truth. You were not “dogmatizing” over helpless babes. You were adoring Truth, Loving Truth. Truth was above you. You bore witness to it. You worshipped him. You loved him. And now they are taking you out into the street – these deceitful Marxists – so that they can dispose of you once for all as an egoist who loves truth. Meanwhile, they continue with their sundry perversities in the dark. For every man who neither loves God nor loves Whales nor women nor lusts unnaturally, is probably a liar. Else, why does he plod along this vale of tears making things miserable for others at every party he attends?

Pure Marxism: Pure selfhatred. Most diabolical. But at first seemingly so sweet in contrast to the ugliness of the Liberal and the discipline of a loving father.

Heresy Organized

107 years ago, Pius X wrote Pascendi, an encyclical condemning Modernism. It is an astoundingly penetrating encyclical.

In fact, the account of Modernism is so coherently put together that some looked around for its counterpart in the “real world” of scholarship and couldn’t find anything like it. Thus, the charge that Pius made up this heresy. It was a “phantom heresy”.

But Pius was neither a Don Quixote nor naive about the world. That he was not naive is evident. That he was not a conspiracy nutcase should be evident from the subsequent unmasked forms of Modernism that arose later. But we also find testimony, rare but precious (and unsurprising), from one of the chief targets at the time, Alfred Loisy.

Loisy writes,

“The avowed Modernists form a fairly definite group of thinking men united in the common desire to adapt Catholicism to the intellectual, moral, and social needs of today” (Simples réflexions, p. 13). “

It is naive to think that heretics, especially those that are occult, do not organize. They do organize; they have organized; they are organizing.

We need a prayer such as that of Bp Alexander of Constantinople, that God would topple heresies. Our Lady, Crusher of Heresies, Pray for us.

Crusher of heresies

Death of Arius

In his excellent Essays on Miracles, Newman recounts the death of Arius, one of the greatest heretics the Church has ever known.

Emperor Constantine had converted to Christianity early in the 4th century. However, he began to take up with Arius’s errors, despite the teaching of the First Ecumenical Council (Nicaea, AD, 325). He allowed him and his supporters to return from exile. They returned to Palestine.

Then, Constantine pressured Bishop Alexander of Constantinople to allow Arius to return to the Church and become Bishop. He brought Arius to Constantinople for this purpose.

Alexander spent several days in prayer and fasting, having confined himself to a Church. Then, he emerged and was ordered to appear before Constantine. He was commanded to accept Arius. Alexander refused, leaving the emperor’s presence and going to a Church. He fell prostrate and beseeched Almighty God:

“If Arius communicates tomorrow, then let thy servant depart, and destroy not the righteous with the wicked. But if thou sparest thy church, and I know thou sparest it, have respect unto the words of the Eusebians, and give not thine heritage unto ruin and reproach; and take Arius away, lest if he enter into the Church his heresy seem to enter with him, and henceforth religion be counted as irreligion.”

Meanwhile, Arius had been pompously parading around the streets, protected by the imperial guard. At last, one could see him thinking, I shall be vindicated.

That every evening, Arius suddenly took ill, violently. Some say terror seized him. He felt the violent urge to relieve his bowels. So, he asked to be directed to an appropriate place. When he let his excrement go, his very bowels left his body as well, his intestines having flowed out his anus, together with his spleen.

Thus ended Arius, perhaps the greatest open heresiarch the Church has known.

May God deliver us from heretics, whether seen or unseen. If the heretics do not repent and amend their ways, may God expose their hidden treacheries and expel them and grant the clarity of Truth prevail over hearts so that, freed from the slavery of error, we may return to him in tears that lead to joy.

Organic Development of the Liturgy

I’ve been reading a fine text by Alcuin Reid entitled The Organic Development of the Liturgy. Cardinal Ratzinger reviewed this text with favor.

In chapter 1, Reid narrates a certain failed attempt to reform the Liturgy and draws an important lesson from it. Humanist Pope Leo X (d1521) wanted Breviary reformed. He wanted it simpler and less burdensome for the clergy. Two legitimate desires.

He commissioned Bishop Ferreri, who produced a highly stylized Latin text, which was approved by Pope Clement VII in 1523. This text was roundly criticized.

So, Clement appointed Cardinal Quignonez to produce another. Quignonez tried to go back to ancient practices, jettisoning countless marvelous the traditions that were added to it over the centuries, organically. He changed the distribution of the psalms, etc. In short, it was radically different; not an organic development.

In 1536 Pope Paul III approved and promulgated it. There it was, officially promulgated. But this too was widely criticized. It was so violent a development that it could not be called a development. It was eventually rejected by Pope St. Pius V of immortal memory. Here is the very poignant lesson Reid draws from this episode in Church history.

“The repudiation of this breviary by rescript of Paul IV in 1558, and its subsequent proscription by St. Pius V in 1568, is the pre-eminent demonstration in liturgical history of the priority organic development of the Liturgy enjoys over approbation by competent authority. The prudential judgment of Paul III promulgating this reform in 1536 was an error, finally corrected some five popes and thirty-two years later, in the light of the evident dissatisfaction of the faithful and at the prompting of scholars,” Alcuin Reid, The Organic Development of the Liturgy, p. 29.

This text speaks for itself. That Ratzinger received it favorably is significant; the same Cardinal who spoke of the problems connected with current practices of the liturgy as “banal”. For the only copy of his remarks that I can find in full, see here.

Matrimony – Part 39 (Obedience within Marriage)

Part 39 Obedience in Marriage?

That wives should be subject to their husbands is also clearly taught by the great pope Pius XI in his clear and masterful Casti Connubii. He declares,

 “26. Domestic society being confirmed, therefore, by this bond of love, there should flourish in it that “order of love,” as St. Augustine calls it. This order includes both the primacy of the husband with regard to the wife and children, the ready subjection of the wife and her willing obedience, which the Apostle commends in these words: “Let women be subject to their husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife, and Christ is the head of the Church.”[29]

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 39 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 38 (Obedience within Marriage)


Part 38 Obedience within Marriage?

Some would pretend that Paul did not say this, or that he did not mean it. They cite his opening verse: “Be subject to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Eph 5:21) as though it undermines what he teaches about headship. This is unfortunate, since it introduces chaos into the familial society. For, to eliminate proper leadership is to introduce chaos.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 38 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 37 (Obedience within Marriage)


Part 37 Obedience within Marriage?

There is a very important practical teaching that has woefully been neglected for over five decades. The Magisterium and Bishops and priests have been silent about this matter, much to the disruption of right order within the marriage.

The family is a society. It involves more than one rational agent. Plurality is part of the beauty of creation. But plurality is not good simply for its own sake, otherwise every example of plurality would be good. But chaos is an example of plurality. Ordered plurality is good; chaos is evil. A society without order is chaotic, tottering on collapse.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 37 (Obedience within Marriage)

Matrimony – Part 36 (As Sacrament of Christ)

Part 36 Marriage as Sacrament

Much of what we have discussed above regarded any marriage, sacramental or simply natural. In all that we have said, one read the realities in a twofold light: the light of nature and the light of revelation. The latter shows the heights to which Christ has elevated this sacrament.

Continue reading Matrimony – Part 36 (As Sacrament of Christ)

Rebuilding the Temple?

People sometimes wonder whether there may come a time in which an attempt is made to rebuild the Temple.

An attempt already was made. Under an Apostate Christian Emperor, Emperor Julian, the Apostate. In order to snub the Christianity he once confessed at least on his lips, he sought to rebuild the Temple. He threw lots of imperial money that way. Transferred Alypius from Britain to the Holy Land.

To no avail.

The pagan historian alive at that time, known for accuracy and learning, Ammianus Marcellinus, informs us that balls of fire burst forth from openings in the earth, so as to prevent the workers from finishing their job.

Christians at the time regarded this defeat as a fulfillment of a prophecy in Cyril’s Catechetical Lectures, written some ten to fifteen years earlier. Cyril had stated that when Antichrist comes, Not one stone shall stand upon another (15.15). From Christian accounts at the time, we gather that there was a great wind that made a mess of the equipment and that there was an earthquake. The earthquake apparently heaved up some of the foundation stones, causing the Temple to fall yet further into degeneration. Cyril’s pronouncement about Antichrist implied that Jesus’ announcement,  “Not one stone…” had yet to be fulfilled, as there were, at the foundations of the altar, yet standing certain foundation stones.

Gregory of Nazianzus, writing his 5th Oration (not one of his 5 theological orations), denounced Julian and recounted this very event. He delivered this oration the very year of the event itself. Ammianus wrote his account also that same year. Gregory thus exposed himself to utter ridicule if there were testimony contrary to his account.

All accounts were agreed that marvelous a marvelous event of nature prevented Julian from accomplishing his task. Thus, even today, the Temple does not exist. The Christians are right, John Henry Newman is right: This event was the hand of God (Essay on Miracles).

The Old Covenant is fulfilled only in the new, lives on only in the new, as transformed and not as still expectant of the Messiah to come. The divine appointment of the Temple has ceased. The only divinely appointed worship presently is that of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.