Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Cassocks at Catholic Universities

When I was in college at a northeastern Catholic university during the late '80's, with a large body of resident priests, there were two priests who still regularly wore their cassocks throughout the campus, and I admired them both as examples of diocesan priestly piety and dedication. I want to be like them! Just one of many reasons to love and wear the cassock.

Secularism is the Source of Terrorism

"[T]he world's profoundly religious cultures see [the] exclusion of the divine from the universality of reason as an attack on their most profound convictions. A reason which is deaf to the divine and which relegates religion into the realm of subcultures is incapable of entering into the dialogue of cultures." Pope Benedict XVI, Regensburg Address.

"This perception of Western civilization as an attack on all they hold sacred seems to be the principal motivating force behind Islamic terrorism, though the form that terrorism is taking is, paradoxically, shaped by the Western scientific-technological mindset..." Vincent Twomey Seton Hall Address, 2013, 11.

"...[T]errorism is ultimately based on [the Enlightened will to power] modality of man's 'self-authorization', not on the teachings of the Qur'an." Joseph Ratzinger, Christianity and the Crisis of Culture, 42 (i.e., 2005 Subiaco Address).

Our Western secular religion (which we deem inherently superior to theocratic world outlooks) blinds us to the dignity, unfathomable depths and immeasurable worth of the major religions of the world (including Christianity) and thus creates a blind spot in our relations with and our technological and political colonization of the cultures of the world's peoples and nations. This is an insurmountable obstacle in international dialogue with non-secularist peoples, which is also at play politically in our presumed benevolence in exporting our Western democratic model. Our rejection of God puts us out of touch with the world, even today. Not all of the world is an "Enlightened" world. So, we are not even in the conversation with the "unenlightened" world. Plinthos.

Persecution of Christians Crisis

Indian Government Praises Catholic Church Work for Poor

Stating that Christmas reminds us all to live up to the ideals and values preached and practiced by Jesus Christ, Naidu said Christmas is the festival of love, joy and sharing.

"It is a time to renew our commitment to love and serve our families, communities and society; to be just and transparent in our dealings; to promote social and economic inclusion of all; to promote lasting peace between people of different religions and cultures and to promote sustainable development," he added.

The Vice-President said every individual must revere his/her mother, mother tongue, birth place and motherland. Shri Venkaiah Naidu said it is the duty of every Indian to preserve and protect our culture.

"Let me once again clarify that religion is personal, while culture is a way of life," he added.

Lauding that the Catholic community is a peace-loving community and has been working with every Government, both at the Centre and in the States, to promote people’s welfare, the Vice-President said the Catholic Church in India has been effectively contributing to the nation building process in a number of ways.

“As you all are aware, education is the most important tool for transformation of the society through enlightenment and empowerment. Education is meant to bring out all the good qualities of head and heart in an individual by instilling the values of compassion, morality and ethics. It must help in building character, enhancing capacity, promoting good conduct and patriotism,” the Vice-President said.

Applauding the social and welfare activities of the Chruch, Naidu said the Catholic Church runs hospitals and other healthcare facilities in the remote areas of the country and serves millions of poor patients through its healthcare programmes.

"The Catholic communities in India along with the Christian community as a whole have been assiduously engaged in contributing their share to the building of a New India, which is united and strong," he said.

Naidu said the Feast of the birthday of Jesus – the Christmas – is a season of great joy and celebrations.

"During Christmas, the Christians express gratitude to God, greet one another with joy, peace and exchange gifts. Christmas is a joyful celebration of the Birthday of Jesus Christ and people all over the world, irrespective of caste, creed and nationality, celebrate Christmas with great joy and gaiety," he added.

“Jesus’ message is meant for all seasons, for all cultures, for all religions and for all nationalities. In fact, all religions preach love, peace, brotherhood and affection,” said Naidu.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Metaphysics is the Foundation of Science: Pope Benedict XVI

"Your mathematical 'religion' neglects the fundamental questions of freedom, love and evil.
" wish to replace God with 'nature', the question remains as to who or what this nature is. Nowhere do you define it and it therefore appears to be an irrational divinity which explains nothing. However, I would like especially to note that in your religion of mathematics three fundamental themes of human existence are not considered: freedom, love and evil.
"I am surprised that with a nod you set aside freedom which has been and still remains a fundamental value of the modern age. Love does not appear in your book nor does the question of evil. Whatever neurobiology says or does not say about freedom, in the real drama of our history it is present as a crucial reality and it must be taken into account. However, your mathematical religion knows of no answer to the question of freedom, it ignores love and it does not give us any information on evil. A religion that neglects these fundamental questions is empty."
Pope Emeritus Benedict response letter to Piergiorgio Odifreddi, National Catholic Register Blog, 26 Nov. 2013.

"Mathematics, as such, is a creation of our intelligence: the correspondence between its structures and the real structures of the universe--which is the presupposition of all modern scientific and technological developments, already expressly formulated by Galileo Galilei with the famous affirmation that the book of nature is written in mathematical language--arouses our admiration and a raises a big question.
"It implies, in fact, that the universe itself is structured in an intelligent manner, such that a profound correspondence exists between our subjective reason and the objective reason in nature.
"It then become inevitable to ask oneself if there might not be a single original intelligence that is the common fon of them both.
"Thus, precisely the reflection on the development of science brings us toward the creator Logos. The tendency to give irrationality, chance and necessity the primacy is overturned, also to lead our intelligence and our freedom back to it. Upon these bases it again becomes possible to enlarge the area of our rationality, to reopen it to the larger questions of the truth and the good, to link theology, philosophy and science between them in full respect for the methods proper to them and of their reciprocal autonomy, but also in the awareness of the intrinsic unity that holds them together."
Benedict XVI, Verona Address 19 October 2006

In Berlin Pope Benedict argues that respect for nature is based on the implicit acknowledgment of specific natures, including the nature of man. Again, metaphysics is the basis of science.
"How can nature reassert itself in its true depth, with all its demands, with all its directives? I would like to recall one of the developments in recent political history, hoping that I will neither be misunderstood, nor provoke too many one-sided polemics. I would say that the emergence of the ecological movement in German politics since the 1970s, while it has not exactly flung open the windows, nevertheless was and continues to be a cry for fresh air which must not be ignored or pushed aside, just because too much of it is seen to be irrational. Young people had come to realize that something is wrong in our relationship with nature, that matter is not just raw material for us to shape at will, but that the earth has a dignity of its own and that we must follow its directives. In saying this, I am clearly not promoting any particular political party – nothing could be further from my mind. If something is wrong in our relationship with reality, then we must all reflect seriously on the whole situation and we are all prompted to question the very foundations of our culture. Allow me to dwell a little longer on this point. The importance of ecology is no longer disputed. We must listen to the language of nature and we must answer accordingly. Yet I would like to underline a point that seems to me to be neglected, today as in the past: there is also an ecology of man. Man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will. Man is not merely self-creating freedom. Man does not create himself. He is intellect and will, but he is also nature, and his will is rightly ordered if he respects his nature, listens to it and accepts himself for who he is, as one who did not create himself. In this way, and in no other, is true human freedom fulfilled."
Reichstag Building, Berlin Address Thursday, 22 September 2011

On Creation and on God the Creator and the Sustainer of all: the "vertical" origin of things.
"...[T]here is no opposition between faith's understanding of creation and the evidence of the empirical sciences. Philosophy in its early stages had proposed images to explain the origin of the cosmos on the basis of one or more elements of the material world. This genesis was not seen as a creation, but rather a mutation or transformation; it involved a somewhat horizontal interpretation of the origin of the world. A decisive advance in understanding the origin of the cosmos was the consideration of being qua being and the concern of metaphysics with the most basic question of the first or transcendent origin of participated being. In order to develop and evolve, the world must first be, and thus have come from nothing into being. It must be created, in other words, by the first Being who is such by essence...
"Thomas Aquinas taught that the notion of creation must transcend the horizontal origin of the unfolding of events, which is history, and consequently all our purely naturalistic ways of thinking and speaking about the evolution of the world. Thomas observed that creation is neither a movement nor a mutation. It is instead the foundational and continuing relationship that links the creature to the Creator, for he is the cause of every being and all becoming (cf. Summa Theologiae, I, q.45, a. 3)."
"...To state that the foundation of the cosmos and its developments is the provident wisdom of the Creator is not to say that creation has only to do with the beginning of the history of the world and of life. It implies, rather, that the Creator founds these developments and supports them, underpins them and sustains them continuously."
Benedict XVI, 2008 Address to the Academy of Sciences on evolution.

"Scientific predictability also raises the question of the scientist's ethical responsibility. His conclusions must be guided by respect for truth and an honest acknowledgment of both the accuracy and the inevitable limitations of the scientific method...
"...[T]he scientific method itself, in its gathering of data and in the processing and use of those data in projections, has inherent limitations that necessarily restrict scientific predictability to specific contexts and approaches. Science cannot, therefore, presume to provide a complete, deterministic representation of our future and of the development of every phenomenon that it studies. Philosophy and theology might make an important contribution to this fundamentally epistemological question, by, for example, helping the empirical sciences to recognize a difference between the mathematical inability to predict certain events and the validity of the principle of causality, or between scientific indeterminism or contingency (randomness) and causality on the philosophical level, or, more  radically, between evolution as the origin of a succession in space and time, and creation as the ultimate origin of participated being in essential Being.
"At the same time, there is a higher level that necessarily transcends all scientific predictions, namely, the human world of freedom and history. Whereas the physical cosmos can have its own spatial-temporal development, only humanity, strictly speaking, has a history, the history of its freedom. Freedom, like reason, is a precious part of God's image within us, and it can never be reduced to a determinisitic analysis. Its transcendence vis-a-vis the material world must be acknowledged and respected, since it is a sign of our human dignity. Denying that transcendence in the name of a supposed absolute ability of the scientific method to predict and condition the human world would involve the loss of what is human in man, and, by failing to recognize his uniqueness and transcendence, could dangerously open the door to his exploitation."
Benedict XVI 2006 Address to the Academy of Sciences

In the Odifreddi Letter Pope Benedict references his 2009 Christmas address to the Roman Curia which proposes a sort of "The Court of the Gentiles" as a place of dialogue between believers and non-believers. Here is the relevant text from that speech referencing his trip to the Czech Republic and to Paris that year where he speaks of the need for all to keep open the question of God.
"[W]e, as believers, must have at heart even those people who consider themselves agnostics or atheists. When we speak of a new evangelization these people are perhaps taken aback. They do not want to see themselves as an object of mission or to give up their freedom of thought and will. Yet the question of God remains present even for them, even if they cannot believe in the concrete nature of his concern for us. In Paris, I spoke of the quest for God as the fundamental reason why Western monasticism, and with it, Western culture, came into being. As the first step of evangelization we must seek to keep this quest alive; we must be concerned that human beings do not set aside the question of God, but rather see it as an essential question for their lives. We must make sure that they are open to this question and to the yearning concealed within it. Here I think naturally of the words which Jesus quoted from the Prophet Isaiah, namely that the Temple must be a house of prayer for all the nations (cf. Is 56: 7; Mk 11: 17). Jesus was thinking of the so-called 'Court of the Gentiles' which he cleared of extraneous affairs so that it could be a free space for the Gentiles who wished to pray there to the one God, even if they could not take part in the mystery for whose service the inner part of the Temple was reserved. A place of prayer for all the peoples by this he was thinking of people who know God, so to speak, only from afar; who are dissatisfied with their own gods, rites and myths; who desire the Pure and the Great, even if God remains for them the 'unknown God' (cf. Acts 17: 23). They had to pray to the unknown God, yet in this way they were somehow in touch with the true God, albeit amid all kinds of obscurity. I think that today too the Church should open a sort of 'Court of the Gentiles' in which people might in some way latch on to God, without knowing him and before gaining access to his mystery, at whose service the inner life of the Church stands. Today, in addition to interreligious dialogue, there should be a dialogue with those to whom religion is something foreign, to whom God is unknown and who nevertheless do not want to be left merely Godless, but rather to draw near to him, albeit as the Unknown."

The essential: Search for God
"...[T]he basic attitude of monks in the face of the collapse of the old order and its certainties was quærere Deum--setting out in search of God. We could describe this as the truly philosophical attitude: looking beyond the penultimate, and setting out in search of the ultimate and the true.
"By becoming a monk, a man set out on a broad and noble path, but he had already found the direction he needed: the word of the Bible, in which he heard God himself speaking...
"What gave Europe's culture its foundation--the search for God and the readiness to listen to him--remains today the basis of any genuine culture."
Benedict XVI Address Paris, College of the Bernadines, Sept. 12, 2008

Finally, here is a quote from Pope Saint Pius X on the need to study the Summa Theologica of Saint Thomas Aquinas as the antidote to the modern rejection of metaphysics, the separation of faith and reason, and the denial of God--relativism.
"...[T]hat 'the philosophy of St. Thomas may flourish incorrupt and entire in schools, which is very dear to Our heart,' and that 'the system of teaching which is based upon the authority and judgement of the individual teacher' and therefore 'has a changeable foundation whence many diverse and mutually conflicting opinions arise...not without great injury to Christian learning' (Leo XIII, Epist, Qui te of the 19th June, 1886) be abolished forever, it is Our will and We hereby order and command that teachers of sacred theology in Universities, Academies, Colleges, Seminaries and Institutions enjoying by apostolic indult the privilege of granting academic degrees and doctorates in philosophy, use the Summa Theologica of St. Thomas as the text of their prelections and comment upon it in the Latin tongue, and let them take particular care to inspire their pupils with a devotion for it."
Pope Pius X, Doctoris Angelici, 29 June 1914
Cf. The Twenty-Four Fundamental Theses of Official Catholic Philosophy

On the philosophical quest for God, viz. metaphysics, we might also quote Pope Saint John Paul II
"[The] question 'Can (and how can) one come to the conclusion that God really exists?' ultimately concerns Pascal's distinction between the Absolute--that is, the God of the philosophers (the rationalist libertins)--and the God of Jesus Christ; and, prior to Him, the God of the Patriarchs--from Abraham to Moses. Only the God of Jesus Christ is the living God. As has also been stated in the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation Dei Verbum (no. 3), the first God mentioned above--the God of the philosophers--is the fruit of human thought, of human speculation, and capable of saying something valid about God. In the end, all rationalist arguments follow the path indicated in the Book of Wisdom and the Letter to the Romans--passing from the visible world to the invisible Absolute.
Aristotle and Plato follow this same, path, but in a different manner. The Christian tradition before Thomas Aquinas, and therefore also Augustine, was tied to Plato, from whim it nonetheless rightfully wanted to distance itself. For Christians, the philosophical Absolute, considered as the First Being or Supreme Good, did not have great meaning. Why engage in philosophical speculations about God, they asked themselves, if the living God has spoken, not only by way of the Prophets but also through His own Son? The theology of the Fathers, especially in the East, broke away more and more from Plato and from philosophers in general. Philosophy itself, in the Fathers, ends up in theology (as in the case, for example, in modern times, of Vladimir Soloviev).
Saint Thomas, however, did not abandon the philosophers' approach. He began his Summa Theologica with the question 'An Deus sit?'--'Does God exist?' (cf. I, q.2, a.3)...This question has proven very useful. Not only did it create theodicy, but this question has reverberated throughout a highly developed Western civilization. Even if today, unfortunately, the Summa Theological has been somewhat neglected, its initial question persists and continues to resound throughout our civilization...
"...Questioning God's existence is intimately united with the purpose of human existence. Not only is it a question of intellect; it is also a question of the will, even a question of the human heart (the raisons du coeur of Blaise Pascal). I think that it is wrong to maintain that Saint Thomas's position stands up only in the realm of the rational. One must, it is true, applaud Etienne Gilson when he agrees with Saint Thomas that the intellect is the most marvelous of god's creations, but that does not mean that we must give in to a unilateral rationalism. It is not good that his thought has been set aside in the post-conciliar period; he continues, in fact, to be the master of philosophical and theological universalism. In this context, his quinque viae--that is, him 'five ways' that lead toward a response to the question 'An Deus sit?'--should be read."
John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, New York: Knopf, 1994, 28-29, 31.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

On Sexual Predators in High Places

In the midst of the fall from glory of numerous politicians and Hollywood moguls it is good to be reminded of a 2013 quote of Pope Emeritus Ratzinger.

"...deviant behaviour should not be ostensibly presented as a filthy crime which only exists in the Catholic Church."

By now, this should be a fact which is obvious to all. But it should be repeated and it should be kept in mind!

Here is the fuller quote which ends on a very positive note regarding the immeasurable grandeur of the saints and the Christian culture produced by the Catholic Church.

"As for what you say about the moral abuse of minors by priests, I can, as you know, only note it with deep dismay. I have never tried to hide these things. That the power of evil penetrates even to this point in the interior life of the faith is, for us, a suffering which, on the one hand, we must endure, while on the other hand, we must at the same time do everything possible so that cases such as these never occur again. Nor is it a reason for comfort to know that, according to the research of sociologists, the percentage of priests guilty of these crimes is not higher than in those found in other similar professions. In any case, this deviant behaviour should not be ostensibly presented as a filthy crime which only exists in the Catholic Church.

"If we may not remain silent about evil in the Church, then neither should we keep silent about the great shining path of goodness and purity which the Christian faith has traced out over the course of the centuries. We need to remember the great and pure figures which the faith has produced — from Benedict of Nursia and his sister Scholastica, to Francis and Claire of Assisi, to Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, to the great saints of charity like Vincent de Paul and Camillo de Lellis, to Mother Teresa of Calcutta and the great and noble figures of nineteenth century Turin. It is also true today that faith moves many people to selfless love, to service to others, to sincerity and to justice. You cannot know how many forms of selfless assistance to the suffering are realized through the service of the Church and its faithful. If you were to take away everything that is done from these motives, it would cause a far-reaching social collapse. Lastly, neither should one keep silent regarding the artistic beauty which the faith has given to the world: nowhere is it better seen than in Italy. Think also of the music which has been inspired by faith, from Gregorian chant to Palestrina, Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven, Bruckner, Brahms, and so on."

Cf. Sexual Taboo Revenge: A Catholic Reflection on the Present Crisis in America

Friday, December 8, 2017

Most Blessed Among Women: The Immaculate Conception

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed [Mary] with spiritual blessings in heavenly places, in Christ: As he chose [her] in him before the foundation of the world, that [she] should be holy and unspotted in his sight in charity. Who hath predestinated [her] unto the adoption of [daughter] through Jesus Christ unto himself: according to the purpose of his will: Unto the praise of the glory of his grace, in which he hath graced [her] in his beloved son. In whom [she] also [is] called by lot, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things according to the counsel of his will. That [she] may be unto the praise of his glory...

Thus the second reading (ordinary form), of the Mass of the Immaculate Conception, which applies a fortiori to Mary, created by God without the stain of original sin, today.

Happy Feast of the Immaculate Conception!

Below, enjoy some Gregorian chant for the feast, and sing along!

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Christianity is the Catholic Church

"There is not...and never will be any reconciliation between Christianity and the experimental method. Christianity is the great church and nothing else is Christianity. To call anything else Christianity is to plunge into confusion and chaos; and it is an insult to Christianity. Christianity is a great thing, not a little one; one thing not many things; a rich thing not a poor thing; a majestic thing not a thing of shreds and patches. Christianity is Christianity at its noblest, truest, and most comprehensive, and that is the Catholic church. If you desire to be a Christian, join it. It will make no demands upon you that are more fearful than the demands made upon you by any peddling form of Christianity. It asks no greater sacrifice than Little Bethel or the Church of England; and it does not insult your intelligence by inviting you to become a member of a contradiction in terms."

M. Middleton Murry, God, 229. Quoted in Christopher Dawson, Christianity and the New Age, Manchester, NH: Sophia, 1985, 71.

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Fundamental Religious Problem

"The normal man has an obscure sense of the existence of a spiritual reality and a consciousness of the evil and misery of an existence which is the slave of sensual impulse and self-interest and which must inevitably end in physical suffering and death.

"But how is he to escape from this wheel to which he is bound by the accumulated weight of his own acts and desire?

"How is he to bring his life into vital relation with that spiritual reality of which he is but dimly conscious and which transcends all the categories of his thought and the conditions of human experience?

"This is the fundamental religious problem which has perplexed and baffled the mind of man from the beginning and is, in a sense, inherent in his nature."

Christopher Dawson, Christianity and the New Age, Manchester, New Hampshire: Sophia, 1985, 27-28.

Blessed Advent!

"Hay que"


Hay que andar por el camino
posando apenas los pies;
hay que ir por este mundo
como quien no va por él.

La alforja ha de ser ligera
firme el báculo ha de ser,
y más firme la esperanza
y más firme aún la fe.

A veces la noche es lóbrega;
más para el que mira bien
siempre desgarra un lucero
la ceñuda lobreguez.

Por último, hay que morir
al deseo y al placer,
para que al llegar la muerte
a buscarnos, halle que

ya estamos muertos del todo,
no tenga nada que hacer
y se limite a llevarnos
de la mano por aquel

sendero maravilloso
que habremos de recorrer,
libertados para siempre
de tiempo y espacio. ¡Amén!

Amado Nervo.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Jesus Christ Supersedes Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius

Before dying Mohammed said that he did not know the purpose of life.
Buddha said for his followers to follow the truth.
Confucius said: "I am not the way."

But Jesus said: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me." John 14:6

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Requiem Record

Monday, November 27, 2017

Sexual Taboo Revenge: A Catholic Reflection on the Present Crisis in America

Saint Kateri Tekakwitha, Virgin, "Lily of the Mohawks"

Enlightenment in education has sought to shed what was considered out-dated superstitions restricting sexual liberation.

"The area in which [radical enlightenment...the stated goal of education and the aegis under which the spirit of the times deliberately chooses to present itself] is most recognized...[in] the attempt to do away with the problem of sex and eros in the name of enlightenment, to turn it into a nonproblem by means of a knowledge devoid of taboos...[This] is only one (admittedly characteristic) symptom of an optimistic enlightenment that has, as its ultimate goal, liberation through knowledge."
Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1989 (an article originally published in 1975 under the title "Formation and Belief in our Time").

Fornication, adultery, and sodomy have all been decriminalized in the West, along with abortion. Contraception is promoted as a standard of healthy and responsible sexual license. "Consensual" fornication among minors (i.e. statutory rape) is all but decriminalized, with some weight given to the consent of the parents of the minors. Never mind about the related problems of ubiquitous prostitution and widespread pornography.

It is very important to note that precisely in this purposefully licentious environment of practically half a decade the problem of sex has come back to haunt us with a vengeance. And the problem was first felt in the Church. (Note in this regard the passage from a post two days ago: "Through the faith of the priest, doors open up all around for the people: it is really possible to believe, even today. All human believing is believing-with, and for this reason the one who believes before us is so important. In many ways this person is more exposed in his faith than the others, since their faith depends on his and since, at any given time, he has to withstand the hardships of faith for them. This is the reason why crises of the Church and of faith often make themselves felt sooner and more acutely among priests and religious than among the laity.")

Then there was some publicity about the epidemic problem of pedophilia in the schools and in school sports programs. Now, in the most recent exposures of these widespread crimes, Hollywood takes center stage in sexual abuse, and politicians are also being called out for their abuses.

The upshot is that sex in America is still a problem, and bigger than ever. Denial does not make it go away! Did we actually think that freeing people up (principally men--the biological penetrators) to do whatever they want sexually, the problem would go away? Lust does not take away lust.

In olden times a man making indecent suggestions to a woman (or to a man for that matter) would be charged with indecency in his attempted fornication or adultery (or sodomy). Not so today. All of that is open game today because those sins are considered o.k.. But that makes things very confusing because everything is made to hang upon a degree of consent rather than on a forbidden act. Not to belittle the gravity of real sexual abuse, but all of America is sexually abused by this novel and experimental permissiveness and licentiousness, which are failing us in every way. And the ones who suffer the greatest losses here are the weakest and the most vulnerable, the children in utero and extra utero, youth, and women.

The sexual laws (including marital laws) of a society are primarily supposed to defend the rights of mothers and children, that is why we call marriage matrimony from the Latin, the rights due to motherhood: the greatest safeguard against every form of abuse to women and children, including every manner of sexual sin. What is more, no sexual sins are healthy, and condoms are not healthy. They are dirty and they dirty and damage the body and the person very deeply.

Chastity is the remedy to lust. And holiness is the source of chastity. Jesus Christ and the Ever Virgin Mary and all the Saints are the masters of chastity, responsibility and respect.

May I here suggest that the State needs to consult the Catholic Church on how to remedy the present crisis which was created precisely because of the State's blatant rejection and mockery of the Church's time-honored and true societal norms regarding this aspect of the sanctity of the human body.

Cf. Fugite fornicationem: 1 Corinthians 6:15-20.
Condoms are Bad for Health
Homosexuality is Bad for Health

The Coat of Arms of the Gregorian Pontifical University, The Museum of Jesuit Treasures, Etc.

Jesus (IHS surmounted by the cross).
For the Greater Glory of God (A.M.D.G.)
1553 the founding of the Roman College, with the money given by Francis Borgia.
1583 the moving of the Roman College to the new site under the patronage of Pope Gregory XIII.
Seat of Wisdom (The Blessed Virgin Mary Seated on a Throne with the Child Jesus in her Lap, Blessing with his Right Hand).
For Religion and Good Arts (Culture).

N.B. There are a great collection of Jesuit treasures at the Chiesa di Gesú in what is called "La Sagrestia Nuova", the new sacristy, an upstairs series of rooms which includes a balcony looking out into the central nave of the church. The website says it is open to the public every Saturday, Sundays and Holy Days 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM, or by appointment at

At Saint Louis University there is a much more modest collection of Jesuit treasures related to the American missions.

And, last year, a part of the Roman College, the rooms of Saint Louis Gonzaga, were restored to their original splendor and opened again to the public. I would love to say Mass on that altar! To make reservations for a visit: Tel. 066974406 –

Saturday, November 25, 2017

"Donkey's Have Unwittingly Carried Kings"

Having seen "The Star" the movie last Thursday, that is how I would name it.

The movie is the Christmas story, the birth of Christ the King, the Son of God and Son of Mary.

The donkey, Boaz, is ambitious to participate in a royal caravan but is recruited to work for Mary and Joseph of Nazareth en route to Bethlehem. When he is finally able to get away and go with the caravan of the king he decides, because of his affection for the Blessed Virgin (because of her kindness to him), to return to help Mary, Jesus (in utero) and Joseph. The story is really about the conversion of a donkey by becoming generous, and thus, unknowingly, serving the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords!

There is also an element of mercy in that "Bo" saves the savage dogs of Herod when they are in dire danger, and those (would-be assassin dogs) also convert and join the throng in adoration of the newborn King in the manger.

One clear downside to the movie is the overtly effeminate bird Dave. Perhaps the bird should have been female rather than a "gay" (acting) bird.

Also, I would have preferred greater fidelity to the scriptural texts: e.g. "Hail, full of grace" is omitted as is "Gloria in excelsis Deo!" of the choirs of angels.

N.B. Decent Films Review of "The Star."

The Power of God and the Faith of the Priest: Ex Opere Operantis from Ex Opere Operato

"Power in the sense of the authority of Jesus Christ is power that arises from a relationship; it is power that is imparted in obedience and returns in responsibility. If this is true, then it follows that priests and correspondingly Christians in general must be people who live from and in a relationship--the relationship with God. The priest must be a believer, one who converses with God. If this is not the case, then all his activities are futile. The most lofty and important thing a priest can do for people is first of all being what he is: a believer. Through faith he lets God, the other, come into the world. And if the other is not at work, our work will never be enough. When people sense that one is there who believes, who lives with God and from God, hope becomes a reality for them as well. Through the faith of the priest, doors open up all around for the people: it is really possible to believe, even today. All human believing is believing-with, and for this reason the one who believes before us is so important. In many ways this person is more exposed in his faith than the others, since their faith depends on his and since, at any given time, he has to withstand the hardships of faith for them. This is the reason why crises of the Church and of faith often make themselves felt sooner and more acutely among priests and religious than among the laity. There is also the danger that a priest takes the world of faith for granted or that it irritates him, that he becomes tired of it, first like the younger brother in the parable and then like the older. When this happens, people in the world, especially those who have found their way back to faith after experiencing the emptiness of the world, can do for him what the homecoming of the younger brother did for the older. They have experienced the deserts of the world and rediscovered the beauty of the house which has become a burden for the one who stayed. In this way there is a mutual give-and-take in faith in which priests and lay people become mediators of the nearness of God for one another. The priest must also nurture the humility of such receiving in himself. He must not allow that pride to awaken in him which we detect in the older brother: this good-for-nothing who is now enjoying home knows nothing about the burden of faithfulness. In our situation this pride often appears as a kind of arrogance that is typical of a specialist: What do these believing people in the world even know about the questions of biblical criticism and all the other kinds of criticism? What do they know about the misuse of power in the Church and about all the misery that is part of the Church's history? The arrogance of the specialist in matters of faith is a particularly intractable kind of blindness that is part of every know-it-all attitude. The faith that rediscovers the fresh water of God's word in the desert of a world emptied of God, at the pigs' trough of entertainment sprees gone hollow, such a faith may be inferior to the specialist in terms of knowledge about biblical text criticism, but for discerning the real that can be drawn from this well it is often infinitely superior to him. There will always be the fatigue of the older brother, but it should not lead to that intransigence which is no longer capable of hearing the wonderful words of the father: Everything I have is yours. The priest has to believe before others, but he also must be humble enough again and again to imitate and to cooperate with their faith. He strengthens their faith, but he also constantly receives faith from them.

"By no means do we take it for granted when we say: We first let God's strength into the world by believing in him. The first 'task' a priest has to do is to be a believer and to become one ever anew and ever more. Faith is never simply there automatically; it must be lived. It leads us into conversation with God which involves speaking and listening to the same degree. Faith and prayer belong together; they cannot be separated. The time spent by a priest on prayer and listening to Scripture is never time lost to pastoral care or time withheld from others. People sense whether the work and words of their pastor spring from prayer or are fabricated at his desk. Above and beyond all activity, he must carry his congregation in prayer and into prayer and thus entrust it to God's power. Mutual give-and-take is certainly necessary here as well: praying always means praying with the whole praying Church, and hearing the Scriptures properly can take place only when listening with the Church."

Joseph Ratzinger, A New Song for the Lord: Faith in Christ and Liturgy Today, New York: Crossroad, 1997, 46-48. (From "God's Power--Our Hope", a lecture given in Dresden, 1987.)

Friday, November 24, 2017

Condemnation of the Errors of Martin Luther and His Excommunication

Exsurge Domine

Condemning the Errors of Martin Luther

Arise, O Lord, and judge your own cause. Remember your reproaches to those who are filled with foolishness all through the day. Listen to our prayers, for foxes have arisen seeking to destroy the vineyard whose winepress you alone have trod. When you were about to ascend to your Father, you committed the care, rule, and administration of the vineyard, an image of the triumphant church, to Peter, as the head and your vicar and his successors. The wild boar from the forest seeks to destroy it and every wild beast feeds upon it.
Rise, Peter, and fulfill this pastoral office divinely entrusted to you as mentioned above. Give heed to the cause of the holy Roman Church, mother of all churches and teacher of the faith, whom you by the order of God, have consecrated by your blood. Against the Roman Church, you warned, lying teachers are rising, introducing ruinous sects, and drawing upon themselves speedy doom. Their tongues are fire, a restless evil, full of deadly poison. They have bitter zeal, contention in their hearts, and boast and lie against the truth.
We beseech you also, Paul, to arise. It was you that enlightened and illuminated the Church by your doctrine and by a martyrdom like Peter’s. For now a new Porphyry rises who, as the old once wrongfully assailed the holy apostles, now assails the holy pontiffs, our predecessors.
Rebuking them, in violation of your teaching, instead of imploring them, he is not ashamed to assail them, to tear at them, and when he despairs of his cause, to stoop to insults. He is like the heretics “whose last defense,” as Jerome says, “is to start spewing out a serpent’s venom with their tongue when they see that their causes are about to be condemned, and spring to insults when they see they are vanquished.” For although you have said that there must be heresies to test the faithful, still they must be destroyed at their very birth by your intercession and help, so they do not grow or wax strong like your wolves. Finally, let the whole church of the saints and the rest of the universal church arise. Some, putting aside her true interpretation of Sacred Scripture, are blinded in mind by the father of lies. Wise in their own eyes, according to the ancient practice of heretics, they interpret these same Scriptures otherwise than the Holy Spirit demands, inspired only by their own sense of ambition, and for the sake of popular acclaim, as the Apostle declares. In fact, they twist and adulterate the Scriptures. As a result, according to Jerome, “It is no longer the Gospel of Christ, but a man’s, or what is worse, the devil’s.”
Let all this holy Church of God, I say, arise, and with the blessed apostles intercede with almighty God to purge the errors of His sheep, to banish all heresies from the lands of the faithful, and be pleased to maintain the peace and unity of His holy Church.
For we can scarcely express, from distress and grief of mind, what has reached our ears for some time by the report of reliable men and general rumor; alas, we have even seen with our eyes and read the many diverse errors. Some of these have already been condemned by councils and the constitutions of our predecessors, and expressly contain even the heresy of the Greeks and Bohemians. Other errors are either heretical, false, scandalous, or offensive to pious ears, as seductive of simple minds, originating with false exponents of the faith who in their proud curiosity yearn for the world’s glory, and contrary to the Apostle’s teaching, wish to be wiser than they should be. Their talkativeness, unsupported by the authority of the Scriptures, as Jerome says, would not win credence unless they appeared to support their perverse doctrine even with divine testimonies however badly interpreted. From their sight fear of God has now passed.
These errors have, at the suggestion of the human race, been revived and recently propagated among the more frivolous and the illustrious German nation. We grieve the more that this happened there because we and our predecessors have always held this nation in the bosom of our affection. For after the empire had been transferred by the Roman Church from the Greeks to these same Germans, our predecessors and we always took the Church’s advocates and defenders from among them. Indeed it is certain that these Germans, truly germane to the Catholic faith, have always been the bitterest opponents of heresies, as witnessed by those commendable constitutions of the German emperors in behalf of the Church’s independence, freedom, and the expulsion and extermination of all heretics from Germany. Those constitutions formerly issued, and then confirmed by our predecessors, were issued under the greatest penalties even of loss of lands and dominions against anyone sheltering or not expelling them. If they were observed today both we and they would obviously be free of this disturbance. Witness to this is the condemnation and punishment in the Council of Constance of the infidelity of the Hussites and Wyclifites as well as Jerome of Prague. Witness to this is the blood of Germans shed so often in wars against the Bohemians. A final witness is the refutation, rejection, and condemnation no less learned than true and holy of the above errors, or many of them, by the universities of Cologne and Louvain, most devoted and religious cultivators of the Lord’s field. We could allege many other facts too, which we have decided to omit, lest we appear to be composing a history.
In virtue of our pastoral office committed to us by the divine favor we can under no circumstances tolerate or overlook any longer the pernicious poison of the above errors without disgrace to the Christian religion and injury to orthodox faith. Some of these errors we have decided to include in the present document; their substance is as follows:
1. It is a heretical opinion, but a common one, that the sacraments of the New Law give pardoning grace to those who do not set up an obstacle.
2. To deny that in a child after baptism sin remains is to treat with contempt both Paul and Christ.
3. The inflammable sources of sin, even if there be no actual sin, delay a soul departing from the body from entrance into heaven.
4. To one on the point of death imperfect charity necessarily brings with it great fear, which in itself alone is enough to produce the punishment of purgatory, and impedes entrance into the kingdom.
5. That there are three parts to penance: contrition, confession, and satisfaction, has no foundation in Sacred Scripture nor in the ancient sacred Christian doctors.
6. Contrition, which is acquired through discussion, collection, and detestation of sins, by which one reflects upon his years in the bitterness of his soul, by pondering over the gravity of sins, their number, their baseness, the loss of eternal beatitude, and the acquisition of eternal damnation, this contrition makes him a hypocrite, indeed more a sinner.
7. It is a most truthful proverb and the doctrine concerning the contritions given thus far is the more remarkable: “Not to do so in the future is the highest penance; the best penance, a new life.”
8. By no means may you presume to confess venial sins, nor even all mortal sins, because it is impossible that you know all mortal sins. Hence in the primitive Church only manifest mortal sins were confessed.
9. As long as we wish to confess all sins without exception, we are doing nothing else than to wish to leave nothing to God’s mercy for pardon.
10. Sins are not forgiven to anyone, unless when the priest forgives them he believes they are forgiven; on the contrary the sin would remain unless he believed it was forgiven; for indeed the remission of sin and the granting of grace does not suffice, but it is necessary also to believe that there has been forgiveness.
11. By no means can you have reassurance of being absolved because of your contrition, but because of the word of Christ: “Whatsoever you shall loose, etc.” Hence, I say, trust confidently, if you have obtained the absolution of the priest, and firmly believe yourself to have been absolved, and you will truly be absolved, whatever there may be of contrition.
12. If through an impossibility he who confessed was not contrite, or the priest did not absolve seriously, but in a jocose manner, if nevertheless he believes that he has been absolved, he is most truly absolved.
13. In the sacrament of penance and the remission of sin the pope or the bishop does no more than the lowest priest; indeed, where there is no priest, any Christian, even if a woman or child, may equally do as much.
14. No one ought to answer a priest that he is contrite, nor should the priest inquire.
15. Great is the error of those who approach the sacrament of the Eucharist relying on this, that they have confessed, that they are not conscious of any mortal sin, that they have sent their prayers on ahead and made preparations; all these eat and drink judgment to themselves. But if they believe and trust that they will attain grace, then this faith alone makes them pure and worthy.
16. It seems to have been decided that the Church in common Council established that the laity should communicate under both species; the Bohemians who communicate under both species are not heretics, but schismatics.
17. The treasures of the Church, from which the pope grants indulgences, are not the merits of Christ and of the saints.
18. Indulgences are pious frauds of the faithful, and remissions of good works; and they are among the number of those things which are allowed, and not of the number of those which are advantageous.
19. Indulgences are of no avail to those who truly gain them, for the remission of the penalty due to actual sin in the sight of divine justice.
20. They are seduced who believe that indulgences are salutary and useful for the fruit of the spirit.
21. Indulgences are necessary only for public crimes, and are properly conceded only to the harsh and impatient.
22. For six kinds of men indulgences are neither necessary nor useful; namely, for the dead and those about to die, the infirm, those legitimately hindered, and those who have not committed crimes, and those who have committed crimes, but not public ones, and those who devote themselves to better things.
23. Excommunications are only external penalties and they do not deprive man of the common spiritual prayers of the Church.
24. Christians must be taught to cherish excommunications rather than to fear them.
25. The Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter, is not the vicar of Christ over all the churches of the entire world, instituted by Christ Himself in blessed Peter.
26. The word of Christ to Peter: “Whatsoever you shall loose on earth,” etc., is extended merely to those things bound by Peter himself.
27. It is certain that it is not in the power of the Church or the pope to decide upon the articles of faith, and much less concerning the laws for morals or for good works.
28. If the pope with a great part of the Church thought so and so, he would not err; still it is not a sin or heresy to think the contrary, especially in a matter not necessary for salvation, until one alternative is condemned and another approved by a general Council.
29. A way has been made for us for weakening the authority of councils, and for freely contradicting their actions, and judging their decrees, and boldly confessing whatever seems true, whether it has been approved or disapproved by any council whatsoever.
30. Some articles of John Hus, condemned in the Council of Constance, are most Christian, wholly true and evangelical; these the universal Church could not condemn.
31. In every good work the just man sins.
32. A good work done very well is a venial sin.
33. That heretics be burned is against the will of the Spirit.
34. To go to war against the Turks is to resist God who punishes our iniquities through them.
35. No one is certain that he is not always sinning mortally, because of the most hidden vice of pride.
36. Free will after sin is a matter of title only; and as long as one does what is in him, one sins mortally.
37. Purgatory cannot be proved from Sacred Scripture which is in the canon.
38. The souls in purgatory are not sure of their salvation, at least not all; nor is it proved by any arguments or by the Scriptures that they are beyond the state of meriting or of increasing in charity.
39. The souls in purgatory sin without intermission, as long as they seek rest and abhor punishment.
40. The souls freed from purgatory by the suffrages of the living are less happy than if they had made satisfactions by themselves.
41. Ecclesiastical prelates and secular princes would not act badly if they destroyed all of the money bags of beggary.
No one of sound mind is ignorant how destructive, pernicious, scandalous, and seductive to pious and simple minds these various errors are, how opposed they are to all charity and reverence for the holy Roman Church who is the mother of all the faithful and teacher of the faith; how destructive they are of the vigor of ecclesiastical discipline, namely obedience. This virtue is the font and origin of all virtues and without it anyone is readily convicted of being unfaithful.
Therefore we, in this above enumeration, important as it is, wish to proceed with great care as is proper, and to cut off the advance of this plague and cancerous disease so it will not spread any further in the Lord’s field as harmful thornbushes. We have therefore held a careful inquiry, scrutiny, discussion, strict examination, and mature deliberation with each of the brothers, the eminent cardinals of the holy Roman Church, as well as the priors and ministers general of the religious orders, besides many other professors and masters skilled in sacred theology and in civil and canon law. We have found that these errors or theses are not Catholic, as mentioned above, and are not to be taught, as such; but rather are against the doctrine and tradition of the Catholic Church, and against the true interpretation of the sacred Scriptures received from the Church. Now Augustine maintained that her authority had to be accepted so completely that he stated he would not have believed the Gospel unless the authority of the Catholic Church had vouched for it. For, according to these errors, or any one or several of them, it clearly follows that the Church which is guided by the Holy Spirit is in error and has always erred. This is against what Christ at his ascension promised to his disciples (as is read in the holy Gospel of Matthew): “I will be with you to the consummation of the world”; it is against the determinations of the holy Fathers, or the express ordinances and canons of the councils and the supreme pontiffs. Failure to comply with these canons, according to the testimony of Cyprian, will be the fuel and cause of all heresy and schism.
With the advice and consent of these our venerable brothers, with mature deliberation on each and every one of the above theses, and by the authority of almighty God, the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and our own authority, we condemn, reprobate, and reject completely each of these theses or errors as either heretical, scandalous, false, offensive to pious ears or seductive of simple minds, and against Catholic truth. By listing them, we decree and declare that all the faithful of both sexes must regard them as condemned, reprobated, and rejected . . . We restrain all in the virtue of holy obedience and under the penalty of an automatic major excommunication….
Moreover, because the preceding errors and many others are contained in the books or writings of Martin Luther, we likewise condemn, reprobate, and reject completely the books and all the writings and sermons of the said Martin, whether in Latin or any other language, containing the said errors or any one of them; and we wish them to be regarded as utterly condemned, reprobated, and rejected. We forbid each and every one of the faithful of either sex, in virtue of holy obedience and under the above penalties to be incurred automatically, to read, assert, preach, praise, print, publish, or defend them. They will incur these penalties if they presume to uphold them in any way, personally or through another or others, directly or indirectly, tacitly or explicitly, publicly or occultly, either in their own homes or in other public or private places. Indeed immediately after the publication of this letter these works, wherever they may be, shall be sought out carefully by the ordinaries and others [ecclesiastics and regulars], and under each and every one of the above penalties shall be burned publicly and solemnly in the presence of the clerics and people.
As far as Martin himself is concerned, O good God, what have we overlooked or not done? What fatherly charity have we omitted that we might call him back from such errors? For after we had cited him, wishing to deal more kindly with him, we urged him through various conferences with our legate and through our personal letters to abandon these errors. We have even offered him safe conduct and the money necessary for the journey urging him to come without fear or any misgivings, which perfect charity should cast out, and to talk not secretly but openly and face to face after the example of our Savior and the Apostle Paul. If he had done this, we are certain he would have changed in heart, and he would have recognized his errors. He would not have found all these errors in the Roman Curia which he attacks so viciously, ascribing to it more than he should because of the empty rumors of wicked men. We would have shown him clearer than the light of day that the Roman pontiffs, our predecessors, whom he injuriously attacks beyond all decency, never erred in their canons or constitutions which he tries to assail. For, according to the prophet, neither is healing oil nor the doctor lacking in Galaad.
But he always refused to listen and, despising the previous citation and each and every one of the above overtures, disdained to come. To the present day he has been contumacious. With a hardened spirit he has continued under censure over a year. What is worse, adding evil to evil, and on learning of the citation, he broke forth in a rash appeal to a future council. This to be sure was contrary to the constitution of Pius II and Julius II our predecessors that all appealing in this way are to be punished with the penalties of heretics. In vain does he implore the help of a council, since he openly admits that he does not believe in a council.
Therefore we can, without any further citation or delay, proceed against him to his condemnation and damnation as one whose faith is notoriously suspect and in fact a true heretic with the full severity of each and all of the above penalties and censures. Yet, with the advice of our brothers, imitating the mercy of almighty God who does not wish the death of a sinner but rather that he be converted and live, and forgetting all the injuries inflicted on us and the Apostolic See, we have decided to use all the compassion we are capable of. It is our hope, so far as in us lies, that he will experience a change of heart by taking the road of mildness we have proposed, return, and turn away from his errors. We will receive him kindly as the prodigal son returning to the embrace of the Church.
Therefore let Martin himself and all those adhering to him, and those who shelter and support him, through the merciful heart of our God and the sprinkling of the blood of our Lord Jesus Christ by which and through whom the redemption of the human race and the upbuilding of holy mother Church was accomplished, know that from our heart we exhort and beseech that he cease to disturb the peace, unity, and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so earnestly to the Father. Let him abstain from his pernicious errors that he may come back to us. If they really will obey, and certify to us by legal documents that they have obeyed, they will find in us the affection of a father’s love, the opening of the font of the effects of paternal charity, and opening of the font of mercy and clemency.
We enjoin, however, on Martin that in the meantime he cease from all preaching or the office of preacher.
{And even though the love of righteousness and virtue did not take him away from sin and the hope of forgiveness did not lead him to penance, perhaps the terror of the pain of punishment may move him. Thus we beseech and remind this Martin, his supporters and accomplices of his holy orders and the described punishment. We ask him earnestly that he and his supporters, adherents and accomplices desist within sixty days (which we wish to have divided into three times twenty days, counting from the publication of this bull at the places mentioned below) from preaching, both expounding their views and denouncing others, from publishing books and pamphlets concerning some or all of their errors. Furthermore, all writings which contain some or all of his errors are to be burned. Furthermore, this Martin is to recant perpetually such errors and views. He is to inform us of such recantation through an open document, sealed by two prelates, which we should receive within another sixty days. Or he should personally, with safe conduct, inform us of his recantation by coming to Rome. We would prefer this latter way in order that no doubt remain of his sincere obedience.
If, however, this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices, much to our regret, should stubbornly not comply with the mentioned stipulations within the mentioned period, we shall, following the teaching of the holy Apostle Paul, who teaches us to avoid a heretic after having admonished him for a first and a second time, condemn this Martin, his supporters, adherents and accomplices as barren vines which are not in Christ, preaching an offensive doctrine contrary to the Christian faith and offend the divine majesty, to the damage and shame of the entire Christian Church, and diminish the keys of the Church as stubborn and public heretics.}* . . .
* Webmaster comment: This added text in italics was obtained from a secondary source, translator Hans J. Hillerbrand, ed. “The Reformation in its own Words” (London: SCM Press Ltd., 1964), pp 80-84

There is also the further bull of excommunication the following year.

Decet Romanum Pontificem

Papal Bull of Excommunication of Martin Luther and his followers (Damnatio et excommunicatio Martini Lutheri Haeretici et Eius Sequacium)

Through the power given him from God, the Roman Pontiff has been appointed to administer spiritual and temporal punishments as each case severally deserves. The purpose of this is the repression of the wicked designs of misguided men, who have been so captivated by the debased impulse of their evil purposes as to forget the fear of the Lord, to set aside with contempt canonical decrees and apostolic commandments, and to dare to formulate new and false dogmas and to introduce the evil of schism into the Church of God—or to support, help and adhere to such schismatics, who make it their business to cleave asunder the seamless robe of our Redeemer and the unity of the orthodox faith. Hence it befits the Pontiff, lest the vessel of Peter appear to sail without pilot or oarsman, to take severe measures against such men and their followers, and by multiplying punitive measures and by other suitable remedies to see to it that these same overbearing men, devoted as they are to purposes of evil, along with their adherents, should not deceive the multitude of the simple by their lies and their deceitful devices, nor drag them along to share their own error and ruination, contaminating them with what amounts to a contagious disease. It also befits the Pontiff, having condemned the schismatics, to ensure their still greater confounding by publicly showing and openly declaring to all faithful Christians how formidable are the censures and punishments to which such guilt can lead; to the end that by such public declaration they themselves may return, in confusion and remorse, to their true selves, making an unqualified withdrawal from the prohibited conversation, fellowship and (above all) obedience to such accursed excommunicates; by this means they may escape divine vengeance and any degree of participation in their damnation.
[Here the Pope recounts his previous Bull Exsurge Domine and continues]
II We have been informed that after this previous missive had been exhibited in public and the interval or intervals it prescribed had elapsed [60 days]—and we hereby give solemn notice to all faithful Christians that these intervals have and are elapsed—many of those who had followed the errors of Martin took cognisance of our missive and its warnings and injunctions; the spirit of a saner counsel brought them back to themselves, they confessed their errors and abjured the heresy at our instance, and by returning to the true Catholic faith obtained the blessing of absolution with which the self-same messengers had been empowered; and in several states and localities of the said Germany the books and writings of the said Martin were publicly burned, as we had enjoined.
Nevertheless Martin himself—and it gives us grievous sorrow and perplexity to say this—the slave of a depraved mind, has scorned to revoke his errors within the prescribed interval and to send us word of such revocation, or to come to us himself; nay, like a stone of stumbling, he has feared not to write and preach worse things than before against us and this Holy See and the Catholic faith, and to lead others on to do the same.
He has now been declared a heretic; and so also others, whatever their authority and rank, who have cared nought of their own salvation but publicly and in all men’s eyes become followers of Martin’s pernicious and heretical sect, and given him openly and publicly their help, counsel and favour, encouraging him in their midst in his disobedience and obstinacy, or hindering the publication of our said missive: such men have incurred the punishments set out in that missive, and are to be treated rightfully as heretics and avoided by all faithful Christians, as the Apostle says (Titus iii. 10-11).
III. Our purpose is that such men should rightfully be ranked with Martin and other accursed heretics and excommunicates, and that even as they have ranged themselves with the obstinacy in sinning of the said Martin, they shall likewise share his punishments and his name, by bearing with them everywhere the title “Lutheran” and the punishments it incurs.
Our previous instructions were so clear and so effectively publicised and we shall adhere so strictly to our present decrees and declarations, that they will lack no proof, warning or citation.
Our decrees which follow are passed against Martin and others who follow him in the obstinacy of his depraved and damnable purpose, as also against those who defend and protect him with a military bodyguard, and do not fear to support him with their own resources or in any other way, and have and do presume to offer and afford help, counsel and favour toward him. All their names, surnames and rank—however lofty and dazzling their dignity may be—we wish to be taken as included in these decrees with the same effect as if they were individually listed and could be so listed in their publication, which must be furthered with an energy to match their contents.
On all these we decree the sentences of excommunication, of anathema, of our perpetual condemnation and interdict; of privation of dignities, honours and property on them and their descendants, and of declared unfitness for such possessions; of the confiscation of their goods and of the crime of treason; and these and the other sentences, censures and punishments which are inflicted by canon law on heretics and are set out in our aforesaid missive, we decree to have fallen on all these men to their damnation.
IV We add to our present declaration, by our Apostolic authority, that states, territories, camps, towns and places in which these men have temporarily lived or chanced to visit, along with their possessions—cities which house cathedrals and metropolitans, monasteries and other religious and sacred places, privileged or unprivileged—one and all are placed under our ecclesiastical interdict, while this interdict lasts, no pretext of Apostolic Indulgence (except in cases the law allows, and even there, as it were, with the doors shut and those under excommunication and interdict excluded) shall avail to allow the celebration of mass and the other divine offices. We prescribe and enjoin that the men in question are everywhere to be denounced publicly as excommunicated, accursed, condemned, interdicted, deprived of possessions and incapable of owning them. They are to be strictly shunned by all faithful Christians.
We would make known to all the small store that Martin, his followers and the other rebels have set on God and his Church by their obstinate and shameless temerity. We would protect the herd from one infectious animal, lest its infection spread to the healthy ones. Hence we lay the following injunction on each and every patriarch, archbishop, bishop, on the prelates of patriarchal, metropolitan, cathedral and collegiate churches, and on the religious of every Order—even the mendicants—privileged or unprivileged, wherever they may be stationed: that in the strength of their vow of obedience and on pain of the sentence of excommunication, they shall, if so required in the execution of these presents, publicly announce and cause to be announced by others in their churches, that this same Martin and the rest are excommunicate, accursed, condemned, heretics, hardened, interdicted, deprived of possessions and incapable of owning them, and so listed in the enforcement of these presents. Three days will be given: we pronounce canonical warning and allow one day’s notice on the first, another on the second, but on the third peremptory and final execution of our order. This shall take place on a Sunday or some other festival, when a large congregation assembles for worship. The banner of the cross shall be raised, the bells rung, the candles lit and after a time extinguished, cast on the ground and trampled under foot, and the stones shall be cast forth three times, and the other ceremonies observed which are usual in such cases. The faithful Christians, one and all, shall be enjoined strictly to shun these men.
We would occasion still greater confounding on the said Martin and the other heretics we have mentioned, and on their adherents, followers and partisans: hence, on the strength of their vow of obedience we enjoin each and every patriarch, archbishop and all other prelates, that even as they were appointed on the authority of Jerome to allay schisms, so now in the present crisis, as their office obliges them, they shall make themselves a wall of defence for their Christian people. They shall not keep silence like dumb dogs that cannot bark, but incessantly cry and lift up their voice, preaching and causing to be preached the word of God and the truth of the Catholic faith against the damnable articles and heretics aforesaid.
VI To each and every rector of the parish churches, to the rectors of all the Orders, even the mendicants, privileged or unprivileged, we enjoin in the same terms, on the strength of their vow of obedience, that appointed by the Lord as they are to be like clouds, they shall sprinkle spiritual showers on the people of God, and have no fear in giving the widest publicity to the condemnation of the aforesaid articles, as their office obliges them. It is written that perfect love casteth out fear. Let each and every one of you take up the burden of such a meritorious duty with complete devotion; show yourselves so punctilious in its execution, so zealous and eager in word and deed, that from your labours, by the favour of divine grace, the hoped-for harvest will come in, and that through your devotion you will not only earn that crown of glory which is the due recompense of all who promote religious causes, but also attain from us and the said Holy See the unbounded commendation that your proved diligence will deserve.
VII However, since it would be difficult to deliver the present missive, with its declarations and announcements, to Martin and the other declared excommunicates in person, because of the strength of their faction, our wish is that the public nailing of this missive on the doors of two cathedrals—either both metropolitan, or one cathedral and one metropolitan of the churches in the said Germany—by a messenger of ours in those places, shall have such binding force that Martin and the others we have declared shall be shown to be condemned at every point as decisively as if the missive had been personally made known and presented to them.
VIII It would also be difficult to transmit this missive to every single place where its publication might be necessary. Hence our wish and authoritative decree is that copies of it, sealed by some ecclesiastical prelate or by one of our aforesaid messengers, and countersigned by the hand of some public notary, should everywhere bear the same authority as the production and exhibition of the original itself.
IX No obstacle is afforded to our wishes by the Apostolic constitutions and orders, or by anything in our aforesaid earlier missive which we do not wish to stand in the way, or by any other pronouncements to the contrary.
No one whatsoever may infringe this our written decision, declaration, precept, injunction, assignation, will, decree; or rashly contravene it. Should anyone dare to attempt such a thing, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the blessed Apostles Peter and Paul.
Written at St. Peter’s, Rome, on the 3rd January 1521, during the eighth year of our pontificate.
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