Monthly Archives: October 2015

Lessons from Augustine 1

Regarding enemies within the Church’s own bosom:

From CITY of GOD, XVIII, chap. 51:

Because even when those outside do not rage and there seems to be, and really is, tranquillity, which brings great consolation especially to the weak, even so there are always some, inside indeed there are many, who by their unprincipled behavior torment the feelings of those who live devout lives. For such people cause the name of ‘Christian’ and ‘Catholic’ to be defamed.  And the dearer this name is to those who want to live a devout life in Christ, the more they grieve that evildoers within the church make that name less beloved than the hearts of the devout long for it to be. 

Damnation and the Eucharist

The priest prays a Very Important Prayer before receiving the Eucharist, and in their own way each lay person must pray something similar. It is the prayer that reception of the Eucharist not be for damnation.

Let not the partaking of Thy Body, O Lord, Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but let it, through Thy mercy, become a safeguard and remedy, both for soul and body; Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

But reception would be for damnation if one receives in the state of sin. No one is worthy in the sense of equal to the gift, for the gift is the God-man. However, one can be worthy in the sense of having been made a fit receptacle. Mortal sin is diametrically opposed to this “being made a fit receptacle”.

Hence, who receives the Eucharist in a state of sin receives it unto his own greater damnation.

Now then: Is it Seriously being considered that National Episcopates will have the power of consigning adulterers and those who engage in unnatural sex acts to an ever greater Damnation in their hands?

Letter to a Mason thinking about becoming Catholic

Dear Masonic Friend:

You asked for my honest and unabridged opinion. (That was a mouthful to ask for.)

You are and have been a Mason. You are thinking about becoming Catholic. But you still want to be a Mason.

In all love, I offer to you what I think is the truth.

  1. First, you ask whether you should be baptized as a Catholic, since when you were baptized as a child, it was in the Protestant Church.

If fact, you are already baptized, because you were baptized validly. If a baptism is valid, it cannot be repeated. The Catholic Church would never re-baptize you, if you were validly baptized.

Even though the person who baptized you was not Catholic, the baptism was in all likelihood valid. (After all, we are not talking about the Salvation Army or the Unitarians. We are talking about a mainline Protestant denomination.) In fact, anyone can baptize. All someone needs to do in baptizing is intend to do what Christ’s Church intends to do in the Sacrament. Hence, even an atheist can baptize, so long as he intends to do what the Church wants to do in the Sacrament.

Why should it be so easy to be baptized? Because without baptism, or the desire for it inspired by charity and rooted in faith, one cannot be saved. God wants the sacrament widely available, yet he does want seekers to find it. So, he makes it available and yet not equivalent to rain. One has to love, to desire, and to search for the True Faith.

 

  1. I think your real question was: How would I become a member of the Church?

For a baptized person to become Catholic involves, obviously, the true desire to be a member of the Catholic Church, to profess the faith in its entirety, to accept the teachings of the Church according to their degree of authority, and, obviously, ultimately to strive to love God with one’s whole heart and one’s neighbor as oneself. Then, one needs to speak to a priest and enter a formal process. Typically in most parishes, there is a process, about 9 months, of preparation for full communion, for reception of the already baptized into the Church. (Honestly, some classes are very good, some are wretched and banal. Depends on the priest and parish. If you wish, I can recommend books that are good.)

 

  1. As for your continuing to be a Mason, this is a problem.

The Catholic Church consistently teaches that membership in the Masons is an objectively grave sin. Why? Is the Church just arrogant here, or is she humbly defending the truth of Christ? I believe the latter.

The reason she condemns Masonry is that it is, in its essence, a naturalistic society. It denies that any one religion of the many that there are is or could be the true religion appointed by God. It “allows” you to believe in Christ – supposedly; it may use Christian symbols to some extent. But it also allows other religious professions that contradict Christianity. If Christianity says, “Only in Christ is there salvation,” no other religion does so. Every other religion in fact necessarily denies this proposition. Therefore, in that Masonry allows an internal contradiction at this level, it really doesn’t care at all about this level. In fact, it presents itself as the One Supreme Truth above the fray of contradictions. In short, it is telling you that your Christianity is only one part of your life, and a part that had best atrophy. It is making you betray Jesus Christ, whom you want to love and serve.

Another aspect of the problem is that Masonry also denies that there can be one special, supernatural revelation given to men by the true God. It denies that men can be called to an eternal life far exceeding all natural capacities, namely, eternally loving God and being united with him with an open, face-to-face vision.

In a nutshell, Masonry is opposed to the entire core of the Catholic Church and the religion and way of life that Jesus Christ offers to all men.

I can recommend the following readings on this issue of the gravely evil nature of Masonry:

1st, this readily understandable article by an orthodox Jesuit priest, Fr. Bradley.

2nd, this Encyclical by one of the greatest popes in the past 150 years, Pope Leo XIII. It is entirely on Masonry.

3rd, I could recommend other works from former Scottish rite masons—and others who claim to have access to inside knowledge about the principles evident at the highest levels of Masonry—if you wish. But these are lengthy and involved.

 

  1. Should you abandon Masonry? Yes, you should. I am convinced that Jesus Christ is true God and true man and that he instituted one Church for the salvation of all, the Catholic Church. Hence, I am convinced that Christ wills that every man, woman, and child embrace him as Savior and King and embrace the way of life he has given us, namely, full and vital membership in the Catholic Church. By “full and vital” I mean more than being a mere Catholic. I mean being Catholic in such a way as to live what one professes. Everyone falls in weakness, in this way or that. But to strive not to fall, to commit to confessing one’s sins and to starting again, keeping both eyes on the prize – these are ingredients of full and vital membership. At the end of the day, Christ will ask me whether I have been a hearer only, or a doer of His Word.

How on earth can one carry such a burden? Not by oneself. Not even by friendship. Rather, I trust in Christ’s strength, which I believe he pours out through the Sacraments of the Church (Eucharist and Confession being the regularly received ones). Yes, he gives his Holy Spirit through the Sacraments. I believe that he also gives special graces to all who are members of his Church. I believe that he guides me accurately as to the meaning of His Word and the contents of the natural law and decent morality through the teachings of his Church. Hence, I believe I could not be saved if I ever depart from her.

 

  1. I am convinced that no man will be judged for that which he could not avoid (what we call “innocent or invincible ignorance,” that is, being ignorant that something is true or necessary, yet with an ignorance for which one is not guilty. Example: poor child born in a ghetto who never hears about Jesus Christ and has an abusive father, brothers, and friends.)

Still, God speaks to us all the basic truths of natural law in our hearts. If we seek him, long for Truth, we will also hear his grace speak to us. He will lead us. He will not leave us ignorant for long.

 

  1. Of course, part of my conviction of the truth of the Church is that she is still around, despite having had some notorious and wicked popes, bishops, and priests. I believe he promised to found the Church on the pope as teacher of the faith, but I know he did not promise that all popes would be good Christians. When they teach infallibly, they give absolute guarantee as to the contents of His Word. When they teach day in and day out on key points of faith, they are reliable guides. Sometimes, however, some popes speak out of turn, offering their own opinion while not declaring something infallibly. At times, some of these opinions are erroneous. But the Church goes on and flourishes despite such weaknesses in her members.

 

  1. Honestly, at the present day the Church is suffering one of the worst crises in her history. Top 5 at least. Many (though not all) of her bishops and priests are lukewarm and uninspiring. In many places (but not all) her liturgy is rather boring and banal and unbecoming. Event the prayers themselves of the Novus ordo, which is of course valid and licit and can get us to heaven, do not compare in stark grandeur and in theological precision and in pastoral sobriety with those of the Extraordinary Form. Just one example: In the Novus ordo, I don’t believe we ever see the Dies Irae. But contemplating my own Death and Judgment is one of the first steps in the spiritual life, an abiding step… until death itself.

Further, many Bishops and priests do not preach the whole truth any more, for fear of offending.

And Many of us lay Catholics just want to watch football and eat popcorn, not really committing to love Christ above all and to give our bread to the poor.

On top of it all, at times, confusing and poorly stated and even misleading statements are coming out of or attributed to the Highest Places in the Church these days. And there is at the same time, effectively, often a loud silence about major issues of the day that need prophetic clarity and courage. Of course, not even a Pope, not even an ecumenical council (which implies also the pope), has any power whatsoever to change infallible teachings or to change Christ’s Scriptures, or his divine institutions, etc., etc. How is it, then, that the world is on edge awaiting such changes or at least the implementation of “pastoral” changes that imply doctrinal changes? It is as though in a family the siblings were raving at each other and declaring that total disorder contrary to family Tradition were about to be enshrined as new family policy, as though the neighbors were gloating because the once robust, united family seemed at the precipice of utter ruin…, while the mother and father seemed at best only to stand by.

In summary, things look pretty grim in many ways. Many priests only want to present the “soft side” of Catholicism, lure people into the Church, and then never mention the hard teachings of Christ, while collecting tithes.

But this is all solemn nonsense. It is scandalous. Why? Because it does not involve the presentation of the full and real truth with confidence before free and rational human beings that can judge for themselves “Life or Death, Blessing or Curse.”

In short, it is pusillanimous despair.

But on the contrary! Christ gives us strength to live his difficult commands. In the end, it is easier on the heart to obey Truth than to run and hide, clinging to my petty desires and possessions for fear of losing something as small as they. God wants my heart, and he gives me himself! My God! What an offer!

“What profit is it for a man to gain the whole world, and lose his very soul?” Terrible fate! On the other hand, to suffer for a few years on this earth, growing all the while in peace of heart and true brotherhood and in union with God even now, and in the age to come, the Eternal God himself forever—what little cost for so great a gain?

 

  1. So, what to do? If you are interested in truth, you should ignore the weaknesses of members of the Church, even those of bishops and popes, and embrace her as the spouse of Christ himself, which spouse of Christ is a mother that will nourish you, teach you, guide you, and even forgive you.

As for your decision: I cannot imagine how difficult and hard it would be to renounce membership in a society in which many members are probably good friends and decent people. However, at the end of the day, the key is what is the real aim and belief of the Masons? Is it the truth of Christ, supernatural revelation? Or is it a naturalizing man-centered belief?

I recommend you find a good priest who is truly zealous for the Lord and His Church, who can honestly and unabridgedly present the full teachings of the Church to you, perhaps slowly over some time, so you can really understand her.

It is my hope and prayer that you would find the Church to be the Institution of Christ on earth and join her, having renounced Masonry and like groups. I believe you will flourish when found in her bosom, having a great prize ahead of you and for your children as well. An exciting prize. For life following God is exciting. Christ our God says, “No one has left house, or father or mother, or brothers for my sake, who will not inherit a hundredfold in this life, and eternal life besides.”

Should Those in Sin be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist? (Part 4)

Let us pray that bad pastoral advice will not be taken and that the pastors of the Church will maintain in their pastoral practice the true teachings of Holy Mother Church. Let us pray that there is no schism over this matter. Let us pray that false hopes are made sober and yet the strength of God enables that sobriety not to despair.

For God can do what man cannot do. If man cannot obey the law without grace, yet “God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do” (Rom 8).

Every theory of justification and righteousness that avoids the perennial validity of the LAW is false and heretical. It is false to say that one is “just” even while one is not internally just, even while one fails to keep the commandments. That has been the Lutheran error.

Likewise, it is false to say that the Law no longer applies to us. That is the Gnostic error and the modern “there is no sin” error.

But against both of these errors: The wrath of God is revealed against all unlawfulness (Rom 1)

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked. For whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. For he who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption; but he who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” Gal 6:7f.

Since Christ shall never abandon his sheep, we must pray that the Church will weather this present crisis; that foolish advice and permissions, if (it is unthinkable) they should be enacted, would be ignored by the wise and that those who wish to be true pilgrims, not counting the cost against them, would repent of their evil past, find a way to get out of their situation of sin, take up a new way of life, the way of the cross, leaving behind the former things, and press on ahead in the loving embrace of God. Only thus would they be fit vessels for the Eucharist.

Only thus would they not regret inwardly as they receive outwardly the Bread of Life but they would receive inwardly as they receive outwardly the Bread of Life. This time, no whips and scorns from conscience, which does not deceive those who deceive it not! This time, truth and kindness shall have met. And the end of this way is life. Let us pray that there will be wise heroes to trod a true path, difficult though it be. For with Christ, all things are possible for me.

O Pastors of the Church, Despair not of the Sinner: Him were you sent really to heal. To him you were sent, not to lie, not to give false hope, vain hope, but to awaken from sin as from slumber, to invite to a journey of hope not death, eternity in beatitude not damnation.

Should Those in Sin be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist (Part 3)

Part 3

Now, even if such an apparently foolish decision were made, There remains a question.

Who that wanted to approach God would follow the permission?

It would not be recommendable. If a pastor were to counsel someone to take advantage of such a permission, would not the person who truly wanted to be right with God want, deep down, to quit his situation of sin and go to confession with the firm purpose of amendment before receiving the Eucharist? Then it would be a joy, the joy it should be, not a mixed thing, not an occasion of sadness, or worse, judgment.

Is it not lamentable that we have come to such a low state as this, entertaining the possibility that those living in sin should be admitted to the Eucharist? How does this solve things? Why should anyone tell people that it is “Ok” that they are in a state of sin or living in sin?

If we do this, we cover up the actual state of affairs for them. We repress their consciences, which go on whipping their confusion anyway. For the conscience always speaks, though man tells tales. And this is exactly why sinners who hear preachers / believers stating, “It is ok; it is not a sin” have reason to hate this preacher. For the preacher is trying to enjoy a cup of coffee with the sinner, while the sinner sips poison unto death. The preacher just wants to “be with someone in peace,” yes, with someone who is going to hell. And the sinner knows this. Thus, he has good reason to hate the preacher. Unless the preacher abandons the faith altogether. But to remain in the faith, supposedly on the journey to heaven, while letting the neighbor go to hell – how is that supposed to make the sinner feel better? What are you after, you preacher who preach lies? What is your prize? Where is your treasure? 

It is lamentable that we should strip the sinner of his dignity. For if we set the bar falsely for them, if we suggest that sinners are beneath Christian dignity, beneath the dignity of real sons and daughters, we strip them of their dignity. Why demean them with our pessimism?

We do do this, when we fail to say, “REPENT, FOR THE KINGDOM OF GOD IS AT HAND.” When we fail to preach truth, we imply, “You are not able to abide by the Law of God; let’s just set the law aside; don’t pay attention to it. If the sin is venial, this is bad enough; but if it is mortal, this is very terrible indeed. While they are on their way to death, their physical death, all the while dead in the first death of sin as they drag their bodies with them towards that physical death, we whisper in their ears, tickling them with what they want to hear while they live a false dream of sin without consequences. We tell them they are OK precisely in their sinful state, so that they go forth and plunge to their final death, the everlasting death of damnation.

How is this pastoral?

An Ancient Pagan Advising the Synod on the Family

Porphyry (AD 234–305) was a bitter enemy of the Christian faith.

One reason Christianity has enemies is that there are wicked people in the world, who oppose the message of conversion and repentance, who seek to revel in sins of the flesh or are strangled by pride – or both.

Another reason is that some don’t understand the Gospel truly, receive a version of Christianity that is opposed to right reason (which is in-alienable to man) and therefore reject it. In some respects, Porphyry falls in the latter camp. (This is not to deny that he might also, in other respects, belong in the other camp.)

Let us simply look at his diatribe against a Christian understanding of forgiveness. He cites Paul. He interprets Paul has preaching unconditional forgiveness, that is, a forgiveness that negates obedience to the law as a necessary condition for final well being. Let us read him:

“I ask, who wouldn’t prefer a life of corruption, based on the strength of these [promises]; who would not choose a life of evildoing and unutterable wickedness if he knew in advance that all would be forgiven him if only he believed and was baptized, confident in his heart that the judge of the living and the dead would pardon any offense he had committed. Such [promises] encourage those who hear them to sin; and the teaching of such a doctrine produces an attitude of disobedience. [Further] such a doctrine tends to supersede training in the virtue of obedience, so that doing what is right becomes indistinct and ineffective in relation to what is wrong. [The Christians] would bring us a society without law. They would teach us to have no fear of the gods. This arrogant saying says as much in asserting that the whole range of our wrongdoing can be washed away just by being baptized.”

Comment: Porphyry, a pagan, fails to grasp what is true in Christian forgiveness here. More on that anon. But some of his criticism has a point. He is critiquing also a bastard form of Christianity. That bastard form is an interpretation of forgiveness at odds with Christ, with God’s justice, with Truth. It also resembles the Lutheran and Reformed interpretation.

Among the errors in this aspect of interpretation of forgiveness is this: That Obedience to the law as a necessary condition of final salvation is negated, cancelled, by the forgiveness of God.

By contrast, Catholic dogma and the orthodox Tradition recognize that obedience to the law is not cancelled by the mercy of God. Rather, according to Catholic dogma: God’s mercy forgives past wrongdoing, truly transforms man now, and enables present righteousness and virtue unto a happy end. In short, God’s powerful mercy enables us to obey the very difficult commands of Christ. Because obedience out of love is in fact what is commanded, this yoke of difficulty is sweetness and this burden, bearable – but let us not fool ourselves that it is not demanding.

The heretic Marcion (2nd century) cancelled the law in light of God’s forgiveness. Some others, too, thought that Paul cancelled the law, even though he emphatically insisted he had not. Paul has long been misread.

But let us return to Porphyry’s objection to Baptism, whereby God’s grace invades hearts. Truly, God’s mercy indeed enables astounding changes in our lives. Sudden changes. Yes, his grace can invade our lives, heal our hearts, and we can evidence before others a profound change in our souls by our renewed conduct. Porphyry, thinking like the Pagan he was, despaired that this is possible. In this, he was once again like Martin Luther, who despaired that God could so heal the human heart that obedience to the commands is made possible and therefore also a final salvation contingent on that obedience is made possible. Luther denied it. Luther despaired. Then Luther found a way “out” of despair. (In fact, it was only a journey more deeply into despair.)

Let us examine Luther’s solution to his despair: PRESUMPTION. Not Pelagian presumption – the Pagan presumption that says, “I can do it. You can do it. If we each work hard enough.” That is the Pelagian presumption. It is a sin against God’s grace, and a sin of pride. For it is totally false that I can do it on my own.

On the other hand, Theological Presumption – to which presumption Martin Luther by his “solution” of justification sola fide succumbed – is worse than Pelagianism. Why, whereas Pelagianism ascribes to man what he cannot do and thus errs against man directly and indirectly sins against God’s grace by neglect, Theological Presumption ascribes something totally unjust to God’s own Mercy. What does it ascribe? A Mercy in counter-position to Justice. A Mercy in dialectical tension with Justice. A Mercy that would do something unfitting, namely, acquit what is guilty while guilty: A sheer pronouncement of forgiveness raining over the wayward while wayward. The sheer declaration, “You are righteous,” hanging over the sinner while sinner. This is false. While the sinner is sinner, he most emphatically is not righteous. Luther’s is an ideology of Divine Falsehood.

Further, Theological Presumption blasphemes against the Divine Mercy because it ascribes impotence to that Mercy. If it is impossible that I ever come to obey the commandments adequately, then GOD’S MERCY CANNOT DO IT. God’s mercy is too weak and paltry for Luther (Newman’s righteous judgment against Luther’s theory). But Paul declares the opposite: God has done in us what we could not do, the fulfillment of the Law (Rom 8).

Porphyry and Luther are in manifold agreement in terms of despair. Luther’s solution is Presumption. Porphyry thought that Presumption is the Christian solution. In fact, it is not. Paul has long been misread, as 2 Peter attests.

What does Porphyry fear in the Christianity he misreads? A lawless society. A society that invites vice instead of virtue, passiveness instead of active work, an arrogant society that would not heed the law. Why not add a society of suicide? “He’s in so much pain now, why not have him drink the cocktail and go to heaven?” Did I just say that the Euthanasia Culture is a bastard child of Theological Presumption, of “Justification by Faith Alone”? I did. It is not that those who embrace this theology have no insight and are not onto part of the truth. They are onto part of the truth. Namely, that God forgives and thereby opens up hope. But there are major problems and it is to these I am referring.

Again, how about this: “Their marriage is a permanent failure. It can never be healed. But they should just get a divorce. He can find another person that works better for him, and she for her. God will not hold the law against any of them.” Note: The persons cannot be healed. The relationship is pronounced dead. It is time to start again, not to heal the old. It is time for a re-creation that is not the salvaging of the old but the FIAT PRODUCTION of the new, shielded from Truth and Justice by the Lie of a “Justification by Faith Alone” theology. Did I just say that the Divorce Culture is a bastard child or such theology? I did.

What do the cultures of Euthanasia and Divorce contribute to society? Its downfall. What does the culture of permissiveness – hiding under the banner of a false Mercy – do for society? Invite anarchy.

Porphyry’s are exactly the concerns that Catholics had – and should have – about “Justification by Faith Alone” theology.

Now, if the “justification by faith alone” Dialectic of Mercy vs. Justice is evil and wicked – which it is – much worse is the total abolition of law itself, à la Marcionism, to which our own culture and some Catholic Bishops are now by implication turning.

The total abolition of law and justice differs from “faith alone” in that the “faith alone” theology at least retains the function of the law – in itself just – to accuse poor sinners so that they flee to God for refuge. Calvin adds, salutarily, that the law is at least a goal or teacher of what should be done. Luther in fact has this same goal in mind, though he hates to call it law. But back to the “faith alone” Dialectic. In its Most Important Function (according to “faith alone” theory), the Law Demands Absolute Perfection. All who fail to measure up to Absolute Perfection are considered damnable. Now, who can measure up? Therefore, the Law in this perverse “faith alone” approach Accuses Everyone. Now we come to a grain of truth: The Law thereby disposes the poor sinner to the sobriety necessary for the humility necessary for faith. Man is terrified by this accusation, thinking he may be damned. But he hears of the promise of mercy and forgiveness (another grain of truth.) Thus, he runs to God for shelter. (These grains of truth are inmixed with lies. First, the lie that the Law demands perfection. Second, the lie that God’s mercy does not demand the law but puts it aside. What we get here in this “faith alone” approach is that God is Himself both Evil and Good, a veritable Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Rather, God is the Abusive Father who demands and, on the other hand, the Sugar Daddy who never minds the rules.)

By contrast, Marcionism destroys the law utterly. For Marcion, the law is the creation of a foreign, evil God. Run to the good God and reject the evil God and his laws. “Faith alone” theory never went that far. … UNTIL:

Until these very days in which perhaps not “Faith Alone” theories but we, the bastard children of these theories, have taken up the diabolical logic of its banner and turned the Dialectic one more twist, with a surprising conclusion: We are now completely ignoring the law. Bypassing the law. Outlawing the law.

“You are OK,” we say to the consumerist sinner, so long as he donates. “It is not a sin,” we say to the young man who reads porn only to go on and ruin the lives of others when they need him most. “The Church used to think that was a sin,” says the confessor, “But thankfully, not now.” If pedophilia is a problem in the priesthood, has anyone thought of conducting an inquiry concerning the solitary sin, father of many a vice – father, indeed, of effeminacy and weakness before the parish council?

And for the married couples, the priest whispers, “Contraception is not a sin, at least if you don’t think it is a sin. You may do it, if you wish.”

Thus, everyone is in cahoots. John the Baptist is an Outlaw! He should be jailed for breaking the law. Because the Law itself – righteous law – is outlawed in this culture of “mercy”.

And today, just footsteps away from the Chair of St. Peter, some rebels are attempting to annihilate God’s Law by pseudo-pastoral guidelines that would in effect take away all reality of the law.

It is as though Man Himself, Eyeing the Fruit that Hangs from the Tree in the Center of the Garden, Want to “Know” Good and Evil. Man wants to impregnate Being with his own ideological interpretation. Man wants to call the evil good. (Perhaps tomorrow he will call the good evil, and outlaw marriage itself.)

All of this is totally anti-ecology.

If ecology rightly understood is good and prudent stewardship of the world, a lawless reading of the world and of morality is anti-ecological. Whereas nature has, in-scribed, the laws of God’s intelligent providence, some men set their paths towards desert waste, towards dung heaps that bear no fruit, pits of stench the traversing of which bring disease and death. Then, as though to conjure up a cure for their own sadness and misery – for their lack of identity, they make haste to defend their action: They declare what is death to be life, what is disease to be health, what is fruitless to be fruitful.

Yes, this is the last stage of the Dialectic – which in truth cannot bear a tension of polarities but rather tyrannizes against all goodness and truth once it has duped those who thought the tension could last and thus marched as useful idiots in its parades – the stage in which Man Declares the Law Null and Void.

Let us inspect: Once the Law is Null and Void … of what need is there for Mercy? None. And once the rule of law is overrun by pseudo-mercy, what prevents the Tyrant from taking the stage?

Thus, Satan tells a marvelous tale, a lengthy tale for many a century, the better with which to sweep down the stars of heaven with his own, a tale for a while full of tensions and dialectical balances, to disguise his ultimate end: The downfall of Holy Mother Church.

But for those who cling to Truth, to Tradition, to the Actual Teachings of the Magisterium—to which in fact all Catholics are called to cling because all are members of the Church Listening / Obeying / Believing, even if some are also, when and insofar as they actually engage their office, part of the Church Teaching / Ruling—and not to pseudo-pastoral advice whispered here and there, to the ultimate downfall of all things decent.

Let us—together with what is right and just in Porphyry’s work, in Nietzsche’s work (he called Paul the dis-evangelist for reasons similar to those in Porphyry’s critique), and in all responsible common sense—vomit up the foul lawlessness with which some would propose to taint the practices of Holy Mother Church.

Newman on the Antichrist

Newman has a marvelous several-part essay on ANTICHRIST. One can find it in the volume Discussions and Arguments.

He simply weaves together patristic and sound later thought together, all upon a Biblical foundation.

The First Thesis: The Antichrist is an analogous or polyvalent reality. Its chief referent is the final Terror to come, in the shape of One Real Man possessed perfectly by Satan. However, meanwhile, it signifies any local antichrist, such as Napoleon. He included Mohammed and Nero as other real instantiations of Antichrist.

Second Thesis: The coming of any antichrist always follows infidelity by pastors of the Church. Such a sequence is even found in Ancient, God-appointed Judaism. The Greeks sacked Jerusalem only after the infidelity of the Jews.

Let us read Two Snippets from Newman concerning the deeds and precedents of the Ultimate Antichrist. Newman thought that in his day, the days grew short for the final coming of Antichrist.

The Church of God on earth will be greatly reduced, as we may well imagine, in its apparent numbers, in the times of Antichrist, by the open desertion of the powers of the world. This desertion will begin in a professed indifference to any particular form of Christianity, under the pretence of universal toleration; which toleration will proceed from no true spirit of charity and forbearance, but from a design to undermine Christianity, by multiplying and encouraging sectaries. The pretended toleration will go far beyond a just toleration, even as it regards the different sects of Christians. For governments will pretend an indifference to all, and will give a protection in preference to none. All establishments will be laid aside. From the toleration of the most pestilent heresies, they will proceed to the toleration of Mahometanism, Atheism, and at last to a positive persecution of the truth of Christianity. In these times the Temple of God will be reduced almost to the Holy Place, that is, to the small number of real Christians who worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and regulate their doctrine and their worship, and their whole conduct, strictly by the word of God. The merely nominal {108} Christians will all desert the profession of the truth, when the powers of the world desert it. And this tragical event I take to be typified by the order to St. John to measure the Temple and the Altar, and leave the outer court (national Churches) to be trodden under foot by the Gentiles. The property of the clergy will be pillaged, the public worship insulted and vilified by these deserters of the faith they once professed, who are not called apostates because they never were in earnest in their profession. Their profession was nothing more than a compliance with fashion and public authority. In principle they were always, what they now appear to be, Gentiles. When this general desertion of the faith takes place, then will commence the sackcloth ministry of the witnesses … There will be nothing of splendour in the external appearance of their churches; they will have no support from governments, no honours, no emoluments, no immunities, no authority, but that which no earthly power can take away, which they derived from Him, who commissioned them to be His witnesses (pp. 107f).

The second text is even more incisive. Here, he submits that the Pretense of Religious Liberty, the Pretense of Toleration and Religious Neutrality,  will occasion / is occasioning the utter downfall of civilization and the rule of law and thus usher in Antichrist:

“And is there no reason to fear that some such Apostasy is gradually preparing, gathering, hastening on in this very day? For is there not at this very time a special effort made almost all over the world, that is, every here and there, more or less in sight or out of sight, in this or that place, but most visibly or formidably in its most civilized and powerful parts, an effort to do without Religion? Is there not an opinion avowed and growing, that a nation has nothing to do with Religion; that it is merely a matter for each man’s own conscience? – which is all one with saying that we many let the Truth fail from the earth without trying to continue it in and on after our time. Is there not a vigorous and united movement in all countries to cast down the Church of Christ from power and place? Is there not a feverish and ever-busy endeavour to get rid of the necessity of Religion in public transactions? for example, an attempt to get rid of oaths, under a pretence that they are too sacred for affairs of common life, instead of providing that they be taken more reverently and more suitably? an attempt to educate without Religion?—that is, by putting all forms of Religion together, which comes to the same thing;—an attempt to enforce temperance, and the virtues which flow from it, without Religion, by means of Societies which are built on mere principles of utility? an attempt to make expedience, and not truth, the end and the rule of measures of State and the enactments of Law? an attempt to make numbers, and not the Truth, the ground of maintaining, or not maintaining, this or that creed, as if we had any reason whatever in Scripture for thinking that the many will be in the right, and the {60} few in the wrong?”

 

Should those in Sin be Counseled to Receive the Eucharist (Part 2)

Part 2

If a pastor were to counsel someone living in sin to receive the Eucharist, how would that be good advice? How would it be pastoral? Would it not be the exact opposite of pastoral?

To pastor is to lead to Christ. If such advice leads to a sin against the Sacrament of the Eucharist, how could it be pastoral? Now, the Holy Spirit does not ensure that all pastoral advice will be good advice. Rather, if a priest is holy and wise, his advice is very likely to be good advice. Thus, those who seek holiness should solicit the counsel of priests who are holy and wise.

Sometimes pastors do give very damaging advice. For instance, if a priest were to tell a contracepting person, “Contraception is ok; it is not a sin,” this would be very damaging advice. It would cause the person to sin. Again, a confessor might tell a young man who masturbates, “It is ok; it is not a sin.” But such judgments are false. And the confessor is obligated to know they are false. Such judgments can lead a man to hell!

So, pastors can corrupt the lived lives of the faithful through their foolish counsel, even if their taught doctrine be not corrupt. Through their advice and counsel, they can lead astray. Let us pray that those in authority such as bishops and priests will grant only wise permissions and will do what must be done in terms of pastoral advice, thus providing the pilgrim flock with the Bread of Life and the Doctrine of Purity. This is Pope Francis’s prayer.

But if a pastor were to counsel one living in sin to receive the Eucharist, would he not fail to feed his flock and to guide it and guard it by not preaching the requisite conditions for the reception of the Eucharist? By pretending that sin is no longer sin. By pretending that a pastoral declaration, “You are ok” is enough to justify a man in God’s sight. But it is not enough. Sin remains sin, though we try to cover it with our declarations. Only God can erase sin. And he has instituted the Sacrament of Reconciliation for this purpose.

And the valid reception of that sacrament requires firm purpose of amendment. Otherwise, the man who approaches that sacrament, and intends to go on living in sin afterwards, is making a mockery also of this sacrament. Thus, he sins twice. And should he receive the Eucharist, three times.

If  wholesale pastoral permission were given to a group of people living in sin to receive the Eucharist, how on earth would such permission be for their eternal welfare? Would it not be an ecclesial corruption? Would it not be the abdication of the proper role of pastors? Would it not be to leave the flock to the very wolves, to the Lion who prowls about seeking whom to devour?

We must pray that so foolish a decision would not be made.