Monday, September 25, 2017

Thirteen Reasons I Wear the Cassock Rather Than the Clerical Suit

1. Catholicitas. It is a garment which has more universal relevance, e.g. across the globe (in the Middle East and Far East, and myriad primitive communities throughout the world men still wear gowns and not just trousers) and across the ages.

2. Traditio et pluralitas. It is more akin to the folk attire of every land and people, before the modern and ubiquitous suit. I wear the cassock in the name of tradition, all good traditions, and legitimate cultural diversity.

3. Missio. It is a sign of heaven. For example, a 10 year old boy on main street in my urban neighborhood stood looking up at me in cassock and panama hat and said in awe: "You look like an angel." "Are you an angel?" "No, I'm a Catholic priest. God bless you."

4. Vocatio. My earliest hints toward a priestly vocation came at the age of five, seeing my parish priest, Msgr. Jones, in his cassock, and in the youthful use of the red cassock and white surplice of the altar boys. The cassock beckoned the young boy to be a priest!

5. Exemplo pontificum. The Roman Pontiff does it always and everywhere, and is expected to do so. Why should anything less be expected of the lowest cleric? Notice that the religious orders which currently have vocations rightly and habitually wear their habits. The normative habit of the diocesan priest is the cassock. (Directory for the Life and Ministry of Priests, 1994, 66.) If you wear it people will love it (if they love you) and expect you to wear it.

6. Ius ecclesiæ. "The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric." No one else should have anything to say about it! That is the law of the Church. Priests are entirely free to use the cassock whenever and wherever they wish. Lex libertas! (NCCB, recognitio on complementary legislation for Canon 284, 1999.)

7. Utilitas. The cassock is quick to put on, e.g. for emergency night calls it takes 30 seconds to put it on over whatever you are wearing! Or, when I have to go to help the priest celebrant distribute communion at Mass (as is my specific priestly duty) the surplice fits nicely over it. It makes for lighter travel, viz., it is easier to wear it for travel, than to pack it.

8. Versabilitas. It can be both formal and casual, depending on how and with what you wear it.

9. Securitas. In urban America it is safer than the suit which smacks more of secular wealth and lifestyle. I have been in my cassock in urban ministry in America for decades and have never had any conflict.

10. Apostolicitas/Claritas. The cassock more clearly identifies the cleric with the Churches within the apostolic succession (Catholic/Orthodox), avoiding being confused for Protestant clerics. It is a sign of the true Church.

11. Consolatio fidelium. It is loved by the faithful and despised by the haters of religion.

12. Humilitas. In a post-Christendom world eccesiastical attire is hardly a sign of triumph (i.e. triumphalism is historically out of the question!), it is a sign of worldly defeat, a sign of the Cross: the only real triumph which is that of the Cross, right worship, and service.

13. Reverentia. The cassock is more spiritual than the suit because it better disguises the form of the body and is more associated with the sacred rituals. It doubles as a liturgical garment, a garment of prayer. Also, there are many distinctively priestly garments which go exclusively with the cassock: e.g. biretta, saturno, cape, ferriola.

The cassock martyr!

The Catholic Children Speak: Correctio filialis de hæresibus propagatis (The Filial Correction of Pope Francis for the Propagation of Heresies)

A 25-page letter signed by 40 Catholic clergy and lay scholars was delivered to Pope Francis on August 11th. Since no answer was received from the Holy Father, it is being made public today, 24th September, Feast of Our Lady of Ransom and of Our Lady of Walsingham. The letter, which is open to new signatories, now has the names of 62 clergy and lay scholars from 20 countries, who also represent others lacking the necessary freedom of speech. It has a Latin title: ‘Correctio filialis de haeresibus propagatis’ (literally, ‘A filial correction concerning the propagation of heresies’). It states that the pope has, by his Apostolic Exhortation Amoris laetitia, and by other, related, words, deeds and omissions, effectively upheld 7 heretical positions about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments, and has caused these heretical opinions to spread in the Catholic Church. These 7 heresies are expressed by the signatories in Latin, the official language of the Church.

This letter of correction has 3 main parts. In the first part, the signatories explain why, as believing and practising Catholics, they have the right and duty to issue such a correction to the supreme pontiff. Church law itself requires that competent persons not remain silent when the pastors of the Church are misleading the flock. This involves no conflict with the Catholic dogma of papal infallibility, since the Church teaches that a pope must meet strict criteria before his utterances can be considered infallible. Pope Francis has not met these criteria. He has not declared these heretical positions to be definitive teachings of the Church, or stated that Catholics must believe them with the assent of faith. The Church teaches no pope can claim that God has revealed some new truth to him, which it would be obligatory for Catholics to believe.

The second part of the letter is the essential one, since it contains the ‘Correction’ properly speaking. It lists the passages of Amoris laetitia in which heretical positions are insinuated or encouraged, and then it lists words, deeds, and omissions of Pope Francis which make it clear beyond reasonable doubt that he wishes Catholics to interpret these passages in a way that is, in fact, heretical. In particular, the pope has directly or indirectly countenanced the beliefs that obedience to God’s Law can be impossible or undesirable, and that the Church should sometimes accept adultery as compatible with being a practising Catholic.

The final part, called ‘Elucidation’, discusses two causes of this unique crisis. One cause is ‘Modernism’. Theologically speaking, Modernism is the belief that God has not delivered definite truths to the Church, which she must continue to teach in exactly the same sense until the end of time. Modernists hold that God communicates to mankind only experiences., which human beings can reflect on, so as to make various statements about God, life and religion; but such statements are only provisional, never fixed dogmas. Modernism was condemned by Pope St Pius X at the start of the 20th century, but it revived in the middle of the century. The great and continuing confusion caused in the Catholic Church by Modernism obliges the signatories to describe the true meaning of ‘faith’, ‘heresy’, ‘revelation’, and ‘magisterium’.

A second cause of the crisis is the apparent influence of the ideas of Martin Luther on Pope Francis. The letter shows how Luther, the founder of Protestantism, had ideas on marriage, divorce, forgiveness, and divine law which correspond to those which the pope has promoted by word, deed and omission. It also notes the explicit and unprecedented praise given by Pope Francis to the German heresiarch.

The signatories do not venture to judge the degree of awareness with which Pope Francis has propagated the 7 heresies which they list. But they respectfully insist that he condemn these heresies, which he has directly or indirectly upheld.

The signatories profess their loyalty to the holy Roman Church, assure the pope of their prayers, and ask for his apostolic blessing.


His verbis, actis, et omissionibus, et in iis sententiis libri Amoris laetitia quas supra diximus, Sanctitas Vestra sustentavit recte aut oblique, et in Ecclesia (quali quantaque intelligentia nescimus nec iudicare audemus) propositiones has sequentes, cum munere publico tum actu privato, propagavit, falsas profecto et haereticas:

(1) “Homo iustificatus iis caret viribus quibus, Dei gratia adiutus, mandata obiectiva legis divinae impleat; quasi quidvis ex Dei mandatis sit iustificatis impossibile; seu quasi Dei gratia, cum in homine iustificationem efficit, non semper et sua natura conversionem efficiat ab omni peccato gravi; seu quasi non sit sufficiens ut hominem ab omni peccato gravi convertat.”

(2) Christifidelis qui, divortium civile a sponsa legitima consecutus, matrimonium civile (sponsa vivente) cum alia contraxit; quique cum ea more uxorio vivit; quique cum plena intelligentia naturae actus sui et voluntatis propriae pleno ad actum consensu eligit in hoc rerum statu manere: non necessarie mortaliter peccare dicendus est, et gratiam sanctificantem accipere et in caritate crescere potest.”

(3) “Christifidelis qui alicuius mandati divini plenam scientiam possidet et deliberata voluntate in re gravi id violare eligit, non semper per talem actum graviter peccat.”

(4) “Homo potest, dum divinae prohibitioni obtemperat, contra Deum ea ipsa obtemperatione peccare.”

(5) “Conscientia recte ac vere iudicare potest actus venereos aliquando probos et honestos esse aut licite rogari posse aut etiam a Deo mandari, inter eos qui matrimonium civile contraxerunt quamquam sponsus cum alia in matrimonio sacramentali iam coniunctus est.”

(6) “Principia moralia et veritas moralis quae in divina revelatione et in lege naturali continentur non comprehendunt prohibitiones qualibus genera quaedam actionis absolute vetantur utpote quae propter obiectum suum semper graviter illicita sint.”

(7) “Haec est voluntas Domini nostri Iesu Christi, ut Ecclesia disciplinam suam perantiquam abiciat negandi Eucharistiam et Absolutionem iis qui, divortium civile consecuti et matrimonium civile ingressi, contritionem et propositum firmum sese emendandi ab ea in qua vivunt vitae conditione noluerunt patefacere.”

Translation and notes


By these words, deeds, and omissions, and by the above-mentioned passages of the document Amoris laetitia, Your Holiness has upheld, directly or indirectly, and, with what degree of awareness we do not seek to judge, both by public office and by private act propagated in the Church the following false and heretical propositions:

1). 'A justified person has not the strength with God’s grace to carry out the objective demands of the divine law, as though any of the commandments of God are impossible for the justified; or as meaning that God’s grace, when it produces justification in an individual, does not invariably and of its nature produce conversion from all serious sin, or is not sufficient for conversion from all serious sin.'

2). 'Christians who have obtained a civil divorce from the spouse to whom they are validly married and have contracted a civil marriage with some other person during the lifetime of their spouse, who live more uxorio with their civil partner, and who choose to remain in this state with full knowledge of the nature of their act and full consent of the will to that act, are not necessarily in a state of mortal sin, and can receive sanctifying grace and grow in charity.'

3). 'A Christian believer can have full knowledge of a divine law and voluntarily choose to break it in a serious matter, but not be in a state of mortal sin as a result of this action.'

4). ‘A person is able, while he obeys a divine prohibition, to sin against God by that very act of obedience.’

5). 'Conscience can truly and rightly judge that sexual acts between persons who have contracted a civil marriage with each other, although one or both of them is sacramentally married to another person, can sometimes be morally right or requested or even commanded by God.'

6). 'Moral principles and moral truths contained in divine revelation and in the natural law do not include negative prohibitions that absolutely forbid particular kinds of action, inasmuch as these are always gravely unlawful on account of their object.'

7). 'Our Lord Jesus Christ wills that the Church abandon her perennial discipline of refusing the Eucharist to the divorced and remarried and of refusing absolution to the divorced and remarried who do not express contrition for their state of life and a firm purpose of amendment with regard to it.'


Here are, for these seven propositions, the references that were included in the letter to the cardinals and patriarchs:

1. Council of Trent, session 6, canon 18: “If anyone says that the commandments of God are impossible to observe even for a man who is justified and established in grace, let him be anathema” (DH 1568). See also: Gen. 4:7; Deut. 30:11-19; Ecclesiasticus 15: 11-22; Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Heb. 10:26-29; 1 Jn. 5:17; Zosimus, 15th (or 16th) Synod of Carthage, canon 3 on grace, DH 225; Felix III, 2nd Synod of Orange, DH 397; Council of Trent, Session 5, canon 5; Session 6, canons 18-20, 22, 27 and 29; Pius V, Bull Ex omnibus afflictionibus, On the errors of Michael du Bay, 54, DH 1954; Innocent X, Constitution Cum occasione, On the errors of Cornelius Jansen, 1, DH 2001; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17: AAS 77 (1985): 222; Veritatis splendor 65-70: AAS 85 (1993): 1185-89, DH 4964-67.

2. Mk. 10:11-12: “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if the wife shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery”. See also: Ex. 20:14; Mt. 5:32, 19:9; Lk. 16:18; 1 Cor. 7: 10-11; Heb. 10:26-29; Council of Trent, Session 6, canons 19-21, 27, DH 1569-71, 1577; Session 24, canons 5 and 7, DH 1805, 1807; Innocent XI, Condemned propositions of the ‘Laxists’, 62-63, DH 2162-63; Alexander VIII, Decree of the Holy Office on ‘Philosophical Sin’, DH 2291; John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 65-70: AAS 85 (1993): 1185-89 (DH 4964- 67).

3. Council of Trent, session 6, canon 20: “If anyone says that a justified man, however perfect he may be, is not bound to observe the commandments of God and of the Church but is bound only to believe, as if the Gospel were merely an absolute promise of eternal life without the condition that the commandments be observed, let him be anathema” (DH 1570). See also: Mk. 8:38; Lk. 9:26; Heb. 10:26-29; 1 Jn. 5:17; Council of Trent, session 6, canons 19 and 27; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et paenitentia 17: AAS 77 (1985): 222; Veritatis splendor, 65-70: AAS 85 (1993): 1185-89, DH 4964-67.

4. Ps. 18:8: “The law of the Lord is unspotted, converting souls.” See also: Ecclesiasticus 15:21; Council of Trent, session 6, canon 20; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; Leo XIII, Libertas praestantissimum, ASS 20 (1887-88): 598 (DH 3248); John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 40: AAS 85 (1993): 1165 (DH 4953).

5. Council of Trent, session 6, canon 21: “If anyone says that Jesus Christ was given by God to men as a redeemer in whom they are to trust but not also as a lawgiver whom they are bound to obey, let him be anathema”, DH 1571. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 2: “If anyone says that it is lawful for Christians to have several wives at the same time, and that this is not forbidden by any divine law, let him be anathema”, DH 1802. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 5: “If anyone says that the marriage bond can be dissolved because of heresy or difficulties in cohabitation or because of the wilful absence of one of the spouses, let him be anathema”, DH 1805. Council of Trent, session 24, canon 7: “If anyone says that the Church is in error for having taught and for still teaching that in accordance with the evangelical and apostolic doctrine, the marriage bond cannot be dissolved because of adultery on the part of one of the spouses and that neither of the two, not even the innocent one who has given no cause for infidelity, can contract another marriage during the lifetime of the other, and that the husband who dismisses an adulterous wife and marries again and the wife who dismisses an adulterous husband and marries again are both guilty of adultery, let him be anathema”, DH 1807. See also: Ps. 5:5; Ps. 18:8-9; Ecclesiasticus 15:21; Heb. 10:26-29; Jas. 1:13; 1 Jn. 3:7; Innocent XI, Condemned propositions of the ‘Laxists’, 62-63, DH 2162-63; Clement XI, Constitution Unigenitus, On the errors of Pasquier Quesnel, 71, DH 2471; Leo XIII, encyclical letter Libertas praestantissimum, ASS 20 (1887-88): 598, DH 3248; Pius XII, Decree of the Holy Office on situation ethics, DH 3918; 2nd Vatican Council, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, 16; John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 54: AAS 85 (1993): 1177; Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1786-87.

6. John Paul II, Veritatis splendor 115: “Each of us knows how important is the teaching which represents the central theme of this Encyclical and which is today being restated with the authority of the Successor of Peter. Each of us can see the seriousness of what is involved, not only for individuals but also for the whole of society, with the reaffirmation of the universality and immutability of the moral commandments, particularly those which prohibit always and without exception intrinsically evil acts”, DH 4971. See also: Rom. 3:8; 1 Cor. 6: 9-10; Gal. 5: 19-21; Apoc. 22:15; 4th Lateran Council, chapter 22, DH 815; Council of Constance, Bull Inter cunctas, 14, DH 1254; Paul VI, Humanae vitae, 14: AAS 60 (1968) 490-91; John Paul II, Veritatis splendor, 83: AAS 85 (1993): 1199, DH 49707. 1 Cor. 11:27: “Whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.” Familiaris consortio, 84: “Reconciliation in the sacrament of Penance, which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who, repenting of having broken the sign of the Covenant and of fidelity to Christ, are sincerely ready to undertake a way of life that is no longer in contradiction to the indissolubility of marriage. This means, in practice, that when, for serious reasons, such as for example the children's upbringing, a man and a woman cannot satisfy the obligation to separate, they ‘take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples’.” 2nd Lateran Council, canon 20, DH 717: “Because there is one thing that conspicuously causes great disturbance to holy Church, namely false penance, we warn our brothers in the episcopate, and priests, not to allow the souls of the laity to be deceived or dragged off to hell by false penances. It is certain that a penance is false when many sins are disregarded and a penance is performed for one only, or when it is done for one sin in such a way that the penitent does not renounce another”. See also: Mt. 7:6; Mt. 22: 11-13; 1 Cor. 11:28-30; Heb. 13:8; Council of Trent, session 14, Decree on Penance, cap. 4; Council of Trent, session 13, Decree on the most holy Eucharist, DH 1646-47; Innocent XI, Condemned propositions of the ‘Laxists’, 60-63, DH 2160-63; John Paul II, Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1385, 1451, 1490.

The Shepherd Should Not "Smell Like the Sheep": Christi bonus odor

It is "the good fragrance of Christ" which the shepherd should have, ever acquire, and emit. Cf. 2 Cor. 15.

In fact, a shepherd who smells like the sheep needs to wash, for he is dirty!

Preach the Word which you have received in the Catholic faith and beware of ambiguous concepts with unclear provenance!

Cf. Lambs among wolves.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Virgo virginum præclara

Haydn Stabat Mater Haydn Stabat Mater 53:36

Virgo vírginum præclára,
mihi iam non sis amára,
fac me tecum plángere.

Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,
passiónis fac consórtem,
et plagas recólere.

Fac me plagis vulnerári,
fac me Cruce inebriári,
et cruóre Fílii.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Hymnal Heresies 2

"The Church's one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord." Wrong.

Jesus Christ is not the only foundation of the Church. Saint Peter is the one foundation of the Church, Jesus Christ built the Church upon him and named him the rock saying you are Rock and on this Rock I build my Church... 

Tu es Petrus, et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam meam...
συ ει πετρος και επι ταυτη τη πετρα οικοδομησω μου την εκκλησιαν  Matthew 16:18

Jesus Christ is not the foundation of the Church at all. Christ is the Founder, not the foundation. He made Saint Peter, i.e., the Papacy, the foundation, which means the sure ground. Everything else is unsure ground. With the power of the keys to heaven and of "binding and loosing" (Matthew 16:19) which "binding and loosing" power Christ also gives to the apostolic college (the college of bishops). (Matthew 18:18) The Pope and the Bishops of the Catholic Church have the authority from Christ to teach the truth.

That Catholic principle is consonant with the epistle from today's OF Mass: 1 Timothy 3:14-16.
"The Church of the living God is the pillar and foundation of truth." Again, the Church is the foundation of truth, not Christ, not the Word, not the Bible, not faith alone or grace alone but the Church. And not the Church alone because the Church by her very nature is communion and she includes union with Christ being His Spouse, she includes the hierarchy: bishops, priests and deacons (cf. 1 Tim. 3: 1-13 is on the qualities of a bishop and a deacon), the communion of the saints and communion in the sacraments and the Bible is one of her most cherished Mass books, developed by Her.

Cf. Heretical Lauda Sion Translation (That would be "Hymnal Heresies 1")

Spain's Gender Ideology Law: "Totalitarianism, Integrism and Insecurity"

"Gender ideology is today a type of  'secular religion', with dogmas, sanctions, censures and tribunals. It wants to impose itself as the educational model without respecting the rights of parents to educate our own children upon the foundation of our own convictions and principles." --Carlos Salvador

Sí que vamos a coincidir con los proponentes en la necesidad de legislar contra todo lo que sea injusto, y desde luego nosotros también nos rebelamos contra aquellas actitudes que amparan discriminaciones indeseables y condenables contra cualquiera. Pero sinceramente, poco más. Esta propuesta contiene demasiadas formulaciones que entran en colisión con derechos constitucionales reconocidos y aceptados por todos, que nos generan muchas reservas. Y las apunto esquemáticamente:

1. Los nuevos derechos de unos pocos, entendidos como derechos absolutos en la ley, sin límites, darán lugar a abusos e injusticias.

2. El grado de subjetivismo va a generar una enorme inseguridad jurídica, señorías.

3. La nula referencia a las leyes de la Biología, que en esta ley parecen ocultarse intencionadamente, creará más conflictos de los que pretende resolver.

4. Se elimina el derecho a la presunción de inocencia a los acusados por actos de discriminación. Señorías, un derecho que hoy conservan hasta los terroristas de ISIS. Esto es un disparate.

5. Así, la sobreprotección de algunos colectivos consagra, señorías, ciudadanos de primera categoría y de segunda, y por tanto la ley genera desigualdad.

6. La ideología de género, señorías, es hoy una especie de “religión laica”, con dogmas, sanciones, censura y tribunales. Se quiere imponer como modelo de educación sin respetar el derecho de los padres a educar a nuestros hijos sobre la base de nuestras propias convicciones y principios.

7. Más aún, la sobreprotección de unos pocos también restringe algo fundamental en democracia, que es la libertad de expresión. Probablemente esto sea lo más grave.

Y termino: nos generan desde luego muchas dudas la literatura sobre artículos que hablan de competencias de comunidades autónomas y la modificación de 20 leyes, con una sistemática desde luego muy mejorable.

Y por último: la ley, señorías, lo ha dicho su proponente, beneficiará a un determinado lobby de presión privado. Es SU ley. Y por tanto acoge las aspiraciones legítimas de ese determinado colectivo, pero no la defensa del interés general. Por tanto, esos deseos de integralidad y transversalidad se vuelven, a nuestro juicio, integrismo y totalitarismo. Nosotros no vamos a hurtar el debate, no vamos a votar a favor, pero desde luego presentaremos todo tipo de iniciativas para eliminar los excesos que contiene la ley, buscar una legislación más centrada y más respetuosa, y desde luego para defender el derecho a la educación, la igualdad, la libertad de expresión, la presunción de inocencia y las competencias de las comunidades autónomas.

Nada más, muchas gracias.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

The Primacy of Freedom

Freedom to commit: capacity to say yes, yes to Christ;
and capacity to say no, no to the devil.

Joseph Ratzinger does not attempt to develop a system of thought, because he holds that there is no way to come up with a world formula, because the world includes the mystery of freedom. He gives an explanation of this in the context of answering Karl Rahner's attempt at a world synthesis by the following spiritual formulation: "He who...accepts his existence...says...Yes to Christ." (PCT,* 167)

The problem here is "mere facticity". (Ibid.) Christianity is not mere facticity but conversion. (PCT, 171) Man's greatness is outside of man and outside of this world; and, miraculously, in man, in the Person of Christ.

"'[T]he real problem with Rahner's synthesis' the fact that 'he has attempted too much. He has, so to speak, sought for a philosophical and theological world formula on the basis of which the whole of reality can be deduced cohesively from necessary causes.' Such a concept is evidently contrary to the mystery of freedom." Twomey Pope Benedict XVI: The Concience of our Age: A Theological Portrait, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2007, 42

"Science recognizes today that there can be no world formula, since even in the realm of nature, as Jacques Monod has pointed out, there is more than mere necessity. 'A fortiori, there can be no spiritual world formula--that was also Hegel's basic error.' (PCT, 169). At the root of this problem is Rahner's understanding of freedom, which, according to Ratzinger, 'is proper to idealistic philosphy, a concept that, in reality, is appropriate to the absolute Spirit--to God--but not to man.'" (PCT, 169-70). Ibid., 42 n7.

*PCT: Joseph Ratzinger, Principles of Catholic Theology, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1987.

Cf. "By...freedom...Christ has set us free." In other words. the freedom of Christ is the source of our freedom.  ...fratres non sumus ancillae filii sed liberae qua libertate nos Christus liberavit. Galatas 4:31
This passage of scripture is typically translated "for freedom" rather than "from freedom." Probably to avoid the ambiguity of meaning away from freedom. No, rather, the context is that of child-bearing. Your mother is a free woman, not a slave. Therefore you are born from freedom. Your source is freedom. Since freedom is your mother, your source, you were made out of freedom, then your nature is freedom. It is a reference to the birth in Christ Jesus, by His blood, in baptism.

Monday, September 18, 2017

"Heaven is Other People"

Restoring religion from the level of habit to the level of truth

"I did not make you for the dungeon. Arise, and Christ shall give you light!" The ancient Church used these words of Christ to Adam as a baptismal hymn, as the believing Church's summons to the candidate. Thus it expresses the fact that Easter, the victory in which Jesus Christ breaks down the walls of alienation and leads us out into the open air, is to be heard continually in the sacrament of baptism. In this sacrament he takes us by the hand; in it, Truth speaks to us and shows us to the way to freedom...entering into the light of ...truth and, as believers, overcoming the darkness of truth's absence...

We must acknowledge, however, that faith is seriously weakened and threatened within the Church. Even we in the Church have lost courage. We feel it to be arrogance or triumphalism to assume that the Christian faith tells us the truth. We have picked up the idea that all religions are the product of history, some developing this way and others that, and that every person is as he is because of the accident of birth. Such a view reduces religion from the level of truth to the level of habit. It becomes an empty flux of inherited traditions which no longer have any significance. But this view also eliminates a crucial affirmation from the Christian faith, namely, Christ's "I am the Truth" --and hence the Way, hence also the Life. There is a great temptation to say, "But there is so much suffering in the world!--let's suspend the question of truth for a while. First let's get on with the great social tasks of liberation; then, one day, we will indulge in the luxury of the question of truth." In fact, however, if we postpone the question of truth and declare it to be unimportant, we are emasculating man, depriving him of the very core of his human dignity. If there is no truth, everything is a matter of indifference. Then social order swiftly becomes compulsion, and participation becomes violation. The Church's real contribution to liberation, which she can never postpone and which is most urgent today, is to proclaim truth in the world, to affirm that God is, that God knows us, and that God is as Jesus Christ has revealed him, and that, in Jesus Christ, he has given us the path of life. Only then can there be such a thing as conscience, man's receptivity for truth, which gives each person direct access to God and makes him greater than every imaginable world system.

"I did not make you for the dungeon." In this Easter hour let us ask the Lord to visit the dungeons of this world; all the prisons which are hushed up by a propaganda which knows no truth, by a strategy of disinformation, keeping us in the dark and constituting our dungeon. Let us ask him to enter into the spiritual prisons of this age, into the darkness of our lack of truth, revealing himself as the Victor who tears down the gates and says to us, "I, your God , have become your Son. come out! I have not created you to be in prison for ever. I did not make you for the dungeon." In his play No Exit, Jean Paul Sartre potrays man as a being who is hopelessly trapped. He sums up his gloomy picture of man in the words, "Hell is other people". This being so, hell is everywhere, and there is no exit, the doors are everywhere closed.

Christ, however, says to us, "I, your God, have become your Son. Come out!" Now the exact opposite is true: heaven is other people. Christ summons us to find heaven in him, to discover him in others and thus to be heaven to each other. He calls us to let heaven shine into this world, to build heaven here. Jesus stretches out his hand to us in his Easter message, in the mystery of the sacraments, so that Easter may be now, so that the light of heaven may shine forth in this world and the doors may be opened. Let us take his hand! Amen.

Behold the Pierced One, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 1986, 126-128.

10 Tips to Start the School Year Well

Some advice from Saint Josemaría on how to get the most out of the new school year.

1. Don't put off your work until tomorrow. (The Way, no. 15)

2. You should always avoid complaining, criticising, gossiping... (Furrow, no. 918)

3. Drop that craze for foundation-stones, and put the finishing touch to just one of your projects. (The Way, no. 42)

4. Add a supernatural motive to your ordinary work and you will have sanctified it. (The Way, no. 359)

5. When you parcel out your time, you need also to think how you can make use of the odd moments that become free at unforeseen times. (Furrow, no. 513)

6. Do what you ought and concentrate on what you are doing. (The Way, no. 815)

7. Sometimes one needs to have smiling faces around. (Furrow, no. 57)

8. Holiness does not consist in doing more difficult things every day, but in doing them every day with greater love (notes from his preaching, cited by Ernst Burkhart and Javier Lopez, Vida cotidiana y santidad en la enseñanza de san Josemaría, Madrid 2013, vol. II, p. 295.)

9. A sincere resolution: to make the way lovable for others and easy, since life brings enough bitterness with it already. (Furrow, no. 63)

10. Remember this and never forget it: even if it should seem at times that everything is collapsing, nothing is collapsing at all, because God doesn’t lose battles. (The Forge, no. 332)

Nunc cœpi!

And one more thing:  It is hard for thee to kick against the goad.
Acts 26:14

Friday, September 15, 2017

New Age Spirituality is a Response to Total Relativism

[New Age] is...a consciously antirationalist response to the experience that "everything is relative"...The way out of the dilemma of relativism is now sought, not in a new encounter of the "I" with the "Thou" or the "We", but in overcoming subjective consciousness, in a re-entry into the dance of the cosmos through ecstasy. As in the case of Gnosis in the ancient world, this way believes itself to be fully in tune with all the teachings and the claims of science, making use of scientific knowledge of every kind (biology, psychology, sociology, physics). At the same time, however, it offers against this background a completely antirationalist pattern of religion, a modern "mysticism": the absolute is, not something to be believed in, but something to be experienced. God is not a person distinct from the world; rather, he is the spiritual energy that is at work throughout the universe. Religion means bringing my self into tune with the cosmic whole, the transcending of all divisions..."That self, which hitherto wished to subject everything to itself, now wants to dissolve itself in 'the whole." Objectifying reason, New Age thinking tells us, closes our way to the mystery of reality; existing as the self shuts us out from the fullness of cosmic reality; it destroys the harmony of the whole and is the real reason for our being unredeemed. Redemption lies in breaking down the limits of the self, in plunging into the fullness of life and all that is living, in going back home to the universe. Ecstasy is being sought for, the intoxication of infinity, which can happen to people en masse in ecstatic music, in rhythm, in dance, in a mad whirl of lights and darkness. Here it is not merely the modern way of domination by the self that is renounced and abolished; here, man--in order to be free--must let himself be abolished. The gods are returning. They have become more credible than God. Aboriginal rites must be renewed in which the self is initiated into the mysteries of the universe and freed from its own self.
There are many reasons for the renewal of pre-Christian religions and cults that is being widely undertaken today. If there is no truth shared by everyone, a truth that is valid simply because it is true, then Christianity is merely a foreign import, a form of spiritual imperialism, which needs to be shaken off just as much as political imperialism. If what takes place in the sacraments is not the encounter with the one living God of all men, then they are empty rituals that mean nothing and give us nothing and, at best, allow us to sense the numinous element that is actively present in all religions. It then seems to make better sense to seek after what was originally our own than to permit alien and antiquated things to be imposed on us. But above all, if the "rational intoxication" of the Christian mystery cannot make us intoxicated with God, then we just have to conjure up the real, concrete intoxication of effective ecstasies, the passionate power of which catches us up and turns us, at least for a moment, into gods, helps us for a moment to sense the pleasure of infinity and to forget the misery of finite existence. The more the pointlessness of political absolutisms becomes obvious, the more powerful will be the attraction of irrationalism, the renunciation of everyday reality.

Take from Truth and Tolerance, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2003, 126-129, the original article being "Relativism: The Central Problem for Faith Today" Address to the Presidents of the Doctrinal Commissions of the Bishops' Conferences of Latin America, Guadalajara, Mexico, May 1996, 115-137 in the present volume.

Pro-France Traditionalist Rapper

Goldofaf was savagely attacked with a hammer at a Paris Cafe last year. Not sure of his present status.

C'est du rap biz
T'es arrivé les mains dans les poches
Dans ma France, mon pays
Qui nourrit toi et tous tes proches
Pourtant tu as la rage
Et tu profites de ton rap,
Remplis d'insolence
Pour faire passer ton message
Pseudo politique
Tu dénonces une société qui serait traître,
Xénophobe et raciste à ton égard
Tu voudrais qu'on ait pitié
Dans ta musique tu t'plains
Comme si tu étais dominé
Ou bien même traité comme un chien
Arabe délaissé
Si tu comptes me faire pleurer
Soit disant pris pour cible
Considéré comme une victime
Mais ça ne marche pas avec moi
Si t'es pas content d'être là
Tu dégages en Tunisie
Moi c'est comme ça que je le vois
Tu prends le bateau à Marseille
Retrouver tes origines
Dans ce pays que tu aimes
Jusqu'à ce que tu comprennes
Qu'en tant qu'immigré
Tu n'as pas à critiquer
Quand tu insultes la France
Tu craches sur tout son passé
L'histoire vécue par nos ancêtres
Forgée par des conquêtes
Pour préserver nos valeurs
La Culture du Sacré-Cœur
Défendons notre héritage
Pourri par c' gouvernement
Régi par des sauvages
Ruiné par une bande de délinquants

Eh approche
Ecoute, bats toi aussi si t'accroches
Rejoins nous toi et tes proches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Si ça te dit de défendre ta terre
Prépare toi à faire la guerre
L'état payera très cher
C'est gravé dans la roche
On lâche pas, on s'accroche
Attention, elles s'approchent
Les flammes de nos torches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Au service du combat qu'on mène
Dévoués pour le pays qu'on aime
De Bretagne en Lorraine
C'est gravé dans la roche

Vive la France frère
Qui sombre dans le malheur
Souvenir des longues guerres
Hommage à nos prédécesseurs
Mon pays et ma Foi
Chaque jour il me faut les servir
Ils font parti de moi
Plutôt mourir que les trahir
Sachons affronter nos problèmes
Toujours fidèle à nous même
A nos traditions
Création d'une civilisation
Quand je pense à nos héros tenaces
Qui ont versé leur sang
Pour défendre notre race
Même pas reconnus maintenant
Des milliers de personnalités
Toujours avec cette devise
Honneur - Fidélité
Pour la fille aînée de l'Eglise
Clovis et Sainte Jeanne d'Arc
Saint Louis et le Maréchal
Qu'est-ce qu'ils diraient aujourd'hui
Voyant mourir leur patrie
Vendu par c' système maçonnique
Une droite une gauche pourries
J'dénonce les politiques
Ceux qui sont partis à la chasse
Du fric et du profit
Contre eux manifestons en masse
Empêchons que la France s'efface
Remettons chaque chose à leur place
Avortement Mariage homo
Encore d'autres lois immorales
Imposées par des salauds
Drogue, satanisme et porno
Nos familles ont besoin de renfort
Pour mes enfants j'veux un monde beau
J'lutterai jusqu'à la mort
Encore et encore toujours plus fort

Eh approche
Ecoute, bats toi aussi si t'accroches
Rejoins nous toi et tes proches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Si ça te dit de défendre ta terre
Prépare toi à faire la guerre
L'état payera très cher
C'est gravé dans la roche
On lâche pas, on s'accroche
Attention, elles s'approchent
Les flammes de nos torches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Au service du combat qu'on mène
Dévoués pour le pays qu'on aime
De Bretagne en Lorraine
C'est gravé dans la roche

Français, lève-toi!
Face au système réagis
Tu es maître chez toi
L'état biiiiiiiiiiip t'a menti
Qui que tu sois dans ce pays
Lève toi et engage toi
Aujourd'hui, je t'en supplie
Car la France a besoin de toi
Ta nation t'appartient
Elle fait partie du bien commun
Un bien naturel à l'homme
Que le seigneur nous donne
Halte à la dénaturalisation
Un véritable piège à la con
C'est l'heure de passer à l'action
Pour l'avenir de notre France
Pour lutter contre la décadence
Pour défendre la loi naturelle
Pour l'esprit fraternel
Pour lutter contre la pauvreté
Pour la droiture et la pureté
Faisons preuve de sagesse
Et récupérons nos richesses
Pour l'épanouissement d' nos enfants
Condamnés à vivre
Comme des moutons obéissants
Entraînés à la dérive
Finissons en dès maintenant
Avec ce système dégradant
C'gouvernement crapuleux
Combattons le de notre mieux
Il nous a tout pris
Nous a vendu et nous a salis
L'avenir nous appartient
Luttons tous ensemble pour demain
Contre cette vermine capitaliste
Et l'hypocrisie socialiste
Levons le glaive nationaliste
Et bataillons le mondialisme

Eh approche
Ecoute, bats toi aussi si t'accroches
Rejoins nous toi et tes proches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Si ça te dit de défendre ta terre
Prépare toi à faire la guerre
L'état payera très cher
C'est gravé dans la roche
On lâche pas, on s'accroche
Attention, elles s'approchent
Les flammes de nos torches
C'est gravé dans la roche
Au service du combat qu'on mène
Dévoués pour le pays qu'on aime
De Bretagne en Lorraine
C'est gravé dans la roche

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blessed Father Stanley Rother: The First American Born Martyr to be Beatified September 23rd

There is a murdered American priest who is about to be beatified. He was an alumnus of my alma mater Seminary: Mount Saint Mary's Seminary, Emmitsburg, MD. I remember his picture on the wall and something of his story.

On a July night in 1981, three men entered a 15th century catholic mission in a small Guatemalan village and brutally murdered the priest. Father Stanley Rother knew he was in danger but stayed because “A shepherd doesn’t run.” Father Rother grew up on a farm near Okarche, Oklahoma. He is the only Catholic martyr born in the United States and is on a path to being recognized as a saint.

September 23 is the beatification. is the website, with a good video of his life.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

"The YouTube Heresies"

Father Barron indicates and answers four common fundamental misunderstandings of the critics of faith.

1. What believers mean by God.
2. How the Bible is to be read.
3. The relationship between religion and science.
4. The relationship between religion and violence.

Science is based on two metaphysical (pre-scientific) premises, beliefs
1. That the world is not God.
2. That the world is intelligible.
These two premises are theological assumptions that come from the belief in creation and thus a creator God. "Creation is the theological assumption behind the emergence of the sciences."
If you do not assume intelligibility you will not go to meet the world with your inquisitive intelligence.

Father Barron suffers from a common Neocon blind-spot, viz. the failure to acknowledge that the Latin liturgy is normative according to the Second Vatican Council. SC 36, 54, 101
His contradiction in that regard is evident in his dismissal of the question about it in the post-talk Q & A. As he said with classical Catholic literature being the Catholic equivalent to the very high-caliber academic material of all other areas of education, so we must say that the Catholic equivalent to the excellence in the performing arts and in school sports programs is, in the Western world, the Traditional Latin Liturgy, no question!

N.B. 99. All who pray the divine office, whether in choir or in common, should fulfill the task entrusted to them as perfectly as possible. This refers not only to the internal devotion of mind but also to the external manner of celebration.
   It is, moreover, fitting that whenever possible the office be sung, both in choir and in common.
   100. Pastors of souls should see to it that the principal hours, especially Vespers, are celebrated in common in church on Sundays and on the more solemn feasts. The laity, too, are encouraged to recite the divine office, either with the priests, or among themselves, or even individually.
Then 101 says Latin is the proper tongue for it!
Plinthos: Where in the world is this done! Vatican II's deadest letter! No one will even dare to attempt it, in the fear of being labelled and rejected as an backward anti-modern.

Fact is, dumbed down Liturgy is a clear manifestation of anti-clericalism.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Asian Mysticism, Myth and Primitive Religion are Unhistorical => Relativism

"Christianity 'is essentially faith in an event', whereas the great non-Christian religions maintain the existence of an eternal world 'that stands in opposition to the world of time. The fact of the eternal breaking into time, which gives it duration and turns it into history, is unknown to them.' (Daniélou)+ This trait of being unhistorical is something mysticism shares as well with myth and with primitive religions, which according to Mircea Éliade are characterized by 'their revolt against concrete time, their nostalgia for a periodical return to the mythic time of origins.'" Ratzinger, Truth and Tolerance 40.

"The experience upon which all else depends in mysticism expresses itself only in symbols: the heart of it is the same in all ages. It is not the exact time of the experience that matters but its content, which signifies a transcending and relativizing of everything temporal. But the divine calling that the prophet knows has come to him can be dated; there is a here-and-now about it, a story is beginning from it: a relationship has been established, and relationships between persons have a historical character--they are what we call history." Ibid., 39-40.

+Daniélou, The Lord of History, Chicago: Longmans, Green, 1964, 109.
"The first characteristic of Christianity is belief in an event, the resurrection of Christ, which represents an incursion of God's action into the historical process, a radical change in the conditions of human life, an absolutely new thing...The great non-Christian religions know of an eternal world over against the world of time; but they know nothing of an irruption of one into the other, giving substance and form to the flux of time, making it into history.
"Greek thought furnishes examples, in the Platonic theory of ideas, and in the Stoic theory of eternal recurrence. But I am more concerned now with living religious systems. Mircéa Eliade has noted the 'revolt' of primitive religions 'against concrete, historical time, their nostalgia for a periodical return to the mythical time of the beginning of things'. (The Myth of Eternal Return [trs. Trask, 1955], p. ix.) The aim of primitive ritual is to get away from the small change of common life into the single eternity of first things: it is the 'abolition of time through the imitation of archetypes and the repetition of paradigmatic gestures...'"

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Worldly Wisdom is Saved and Furthered by the Logos Made Flesh

"19. No thought is more likely to come across and haunt the mind, and slacken its efforts under Natural Religion, than that after all we may be following a vain shadow, and disquieting ourselves without cause, while we are giving up our hearts to the noblest instincts and aspirations of our nature. The Roman Stoic, as he committed suicide, complained he had worshipped virtue, and found it but an empty name. It is even now the way of the world to look upon the religious principle as a mere peculiarity of temper, a weakness, or an enthusiasm, or refined feeling (as the case may be), characteristic of a timid and narrow, or of a heated or a highly-gifted mind. Here, then, Revelation meets us with simple and distinct facts and actions, not with painful inductions from existing phenomena, not with generalized laws or metaphysical conjectures, but with Jesus and the Resurrection; and "if Christ be not risen" (it confesses plainly), "then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain." Facts such as this are not simply evidence of the truth of the revelation, but the media of its impressiveness. The life of Christ brings together and concentrates truths concerning the chief good and the laws of our being, which wander idle and forlorn over the surface of the moral world, and often appear to diverge from each other. It collects the scattered rays of light, which, in the first days of creation, were poured over the whole face of nature, into certain intelligible centres, in the firmament of the heaven, to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness. Our Saviour has in Scripture all those abstract titles of moral excellence bestowed upon Him which philosophers have invented. he is the Word, the Light, the Life, the Truth, Wisdom, the Divine Glory. St. John announces in the text, "The Life was manifested, and we have seen It.

"20. And hence will follow an important difference in the moral character formed in the Christian school, from that which Natural Religion has a tendency to create. The philosopher aspires towards a divine principle; the Christian, towards a Divine Agent. Now, dedication of our energies to the service of a person is the occasion of the highest and most noble virtues, disinterested attachment, self-devotion, loyalty; habitual humility, moreover, from the knowledge that there must ever be one that is above us. On the other hand, in whatever degree we approximate towards a mere standard of excellence, we do not really advance towards it, but bring it to us; the excellence we venerate becomes part of ourselves—we become a god to ourselves. This was one especial consequence of the pantheistic system of the Stoics, the later Pythagoreans, and other philosophers; in proportion as they drank into the spirit of eternal purity, they became divine in their own estimation; they contrasted themselves with those who were below them, knowing no being above them by whom they could measure their proficiency. Thus they began by being humble, and, as they advanced, humility and faith wore away from their character. This is strikingly illustrated in Aristotle's description of a perfectly virtuous man. An incidental and unstudied greatness of mind is said by him to mark the highest moral excellence, and truly; but the genuine nobleness of the virtuous mind, as shown in a superiority to common temptations, forbearance, generosity, self-respect, calm high-minded composure, is deformed by an arrogant contempt of others, a disregard of their feelings, and a harshness and repulsiveness of external manner. That is, the philosopher saw clearly the tendencies of the moral system, the constitution of the human soul, and the ways leading to the perfection of our nature; but when he attempted to delineate the ultimate complete consistent image of the virtuous man, how could he be expected to do this great thing, who had never seen Angel or Prophet, much less the Son of God manifested in the flesh?

"21. At such pains is Scripture, on the other hand, to repress the proud self-complacency just spoken of, that not only is all moral excellence expressly referred to the Supreme God, but even the principle of good, when implanted and progressively realized in our hearts, is still continually revealed to us as a Person, as if to mark strongly that it is not our own, and must lead us to no preposterous self-adoration."

"The Influence of Natural and Revealed Religion Respectively," in Sermons Preached Before the University of Oxford Between 1826-1843, John Henry Newman, London: Longmans, Green and Co., 1896, 26-29.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Spiritual Relativism is Actually Just Another Form of Dogmatism

It has no meaning. That is the point! No LOGOS!

When people today say "I am spiritual but not religious" what they often mean is that they believe in religious experience but they are not ready to make truth claims based on that. That it is just a matter of feeling and opinion (Kant). That it is all, therefore, ultimately, the same.

"The man of today...feels repelled by Christianity's claim to absolute validity, which, in view of so many historical relativizations that are well known to him, seems to him little worthy of credence; and he feels much better understood and more attracted by the symbolism and spiritualism of someone like Radhakrishnan, who teaches the relativity of all religious expression that can be articulated and the ultimate validity of that spiritual experience alone which can never be adequately expressed, an experience that (though, indeed, coming in stages) is everywhere one and the same.

"As obvious as such a choice may appear, it depends on drawing a premature conclusion. For it is only in appearance that Radhakrishnan stands, in contrast to the partisan position of the Christian, for an openness to all religion that is above any partisanship; the truth is that, like the Christian, he takes as his starting point the doctrine of an absolute value, to be precise, the one that holds a key place in his religious system and that seems for Christianity (for any kind of genuine monotheism whatever) no less an arrogant assumption than does the absolute claim of the Christian for his own way. For he teaches the absolute value of imageless spiritual experience, to which all else is relative; the Christian denies that mystical experience has sole validity and teaches the absolute value of the divine call that has been made audible in Christ. To force upon him the absolute value of mysticism as the only element ultimately valid is no less arrogant an imposition than offering the absolute value of Christ to the non-Christian."

Truth and Tolerance, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2004, 30-31

Jesus Christ alone is the LOGOS: meaning, in the flesh! και ο λογος σαρξ εγενετο! ΚΑΤΑ ΙΩΑΝΝΗΝ 1:14

"...[T]he biblical 'mysticism' is not a mysticism of images but of words and...its revelation is not contemplation by man but the world and the act of God. It is not primarily the discovery of some truth; rather, it is the activity of God himself making history. Its meaning is, not that divine reality becomes visible to man, but that it makes the person who receives the revelation into an actor in divine history." Truth and Tolerance, 42.

...The God of Abraham, God of Isaac, God of Jacob...

Cf. The "I'm Spiritual but not Religious" Error.

Apathy is a Daughter of Indifferentism, Two Different Sins Which Destroy Man and Society

Religious indifferentism, precisely defined by the Church, is “the identification of all religions, based on a purely formal and symbolic concept of religion, which is always ready to regard the content of religion merely as a mutable manifestation and never as an authentic content.” Das neue Volk Gottes, Joseph Ratzinger, Düsseldorf: Patmos, 1969, 350.

In other words, indifferentism, which claims all religions are basically the same, means that all religions are pure myth, that they have no real truth content. That their claims of truth are really false.

Nietzsche is representative of the post-Kant deconstructionists who say that the honest and true motivation, therefore, is to be rid of what they hold is the sham of all religion and pursue the true and do the good altruistically, just because it is right. There is a double problem with this proposal of modernity: how to ultimately know what is true and right (who decides what the absolute standards are?) and what do you do with the fact of evil (the fact that man is free to choose "evil", however you define it)?

The relativists say that men can be good without God but they cannot tell us what is good or what is evil without reference to him and they do not have the sufficient motive for doing good and rejecting evil which is love, personal responsibility, with the ultimate Person, Who, in the end, rewards the good and punishes the evildoer, i.e. makes all things right. Without that relationality of the creature (man) before his Creator (God) there is ultimately no responsibility, when the world does not give you any hope of justice. Where does one turn in the face of great evil to stand firm on what is true and right? Martyrdom! God! Man relies on God! Man will give his life for the truth which is the source of the meaning of his existence. It was this truth which ultimately prevailed against the false utopia presented by the atheist Communism of the Soviet regime. All of the ghettos of America are formed upon the same systemic apathy produced ultimately by the denial of God and of His morality, the only true way to live as men.

"There cannot be a free society among citizens who habitually lie, who malinger, who cheat, who do not meet their responsibilities, who cannot be counted on, who shirk difficulties, who flout the law-or who prefer to live as serfs or slaves, content in their dependency, so long as they are fed and entertained..."

"...Liberty is not the freedom to do what you wish; it is the freedom to do what you ought. Human beings are the only creatures on earth that do not blindly obey the laws of their nature, by instinct, but are free to choose to obey them with a loving will. Only humans enjoy the liberty to do-or not to do-what we ought to do.

"It is this second kind of liberty—critical, adult liberty—that lies at the living core of the free society. It is the liberty of self-command, a mastery over one’s own passions, bigotry, ignorance, and self-deceit. It is the liberty of self-government in one’s own personal life. For how, James Madison once asked, can a people incapable of self-government in private life prove capable of it in public? If they cannot practice self-government over their private passions, how will they practice it over the institutions of the Republic?"  Michael Novak Templeton Prize Address, 1994

P.S. Carlo Invernizzi Accetti in his book Relativism and Religion, (2015, 96-97) equivocates indifferentism and apathy in making his claim that moral "apathy" does not result from secular humanism, but that secular humanism does in fact have standards of conduct, viz. that each person must decide which type of conduct is God and which is the devil for him. That is what he calls democratic responsibility! Each person must take the responsibility to decide for himself what is representative of God and what of the devil. Again, the obvious problem is a complete denial of the reality of evil and man's capacity to do evil, real evil. Authors like Accetti, in line with Karl Marx himself, seem to live in a bubble where there is no sexual perversion, no abortion, no otherwise cold-blooded murder, no infidelity, no malicious violence, no terrorism. They create a fictitious world which is not inhabitable by men, a veritable monster which steamrolls the individual person and his rights in the name of  a fictitious "responsibility" to decide in a mythical ontological and moral vacuum. A tyranny of anarchy where every man must make everything up on his own, re-invent a world for himself. Meanwhile, they all move to the suburbs because the urban centers of American have been rendered uninhabitable by their form of "responsibility" to decide what is right. NO! Peaceful worlds need laws, laws which apply to all men. Commandments of God, eternal truths!

The fact is that the denial of religious truth is a denial of God and therefore of absolute truth. And if there is no supra-temporal source and goal of human knowing how can you speak, ultimately, of right and wrong? Any serious conversation about right and wrong must have a universal breadth, i.e. over and above all individuals. Deny that, then anything goes: moral apathy.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Relativism is a False Humbug Religion

In the history of religion primitive experience gives way to mythical religions which are superseded in three ways: mysticism (based on firsthand experience with the divine), monotheism (based on a divine call), and enlightenment (based on reason).

"Even the third of the entities we found, which we called 'enlightenment', referring to the move to an attitude based on a strictly rationalistic conception of reality, has its own absolute value: the absolute value of rational ('scientific') knowledge. When science becomes the dominant element in a view of the world (and this is just what we mean by 'enlightenment' here), this absolute value becomes exclusive; it develops into the theory that scientific knowledge is the only valid knowledge and becomes a denial of the absolute value of religion, which is in itself on a different level of reality. In that case, the believer, or even someone who practices religion, will have to point to the limitations of this absolute claim. It moves within the limits of certain categories, within which it is strictly valid; but to maintain that it is only within these categories that man can know anything at all is an unfounded presupposition, which in any case is shown by experience to be untrue. But we must bear in mind that this third way is only indirectly involved in a decision about religion; the real questions concerning relations between religions arise between the first and the second way ('mysticism' and 'monotheistic revolution')."

Truth and Tolerance, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2004, 31-32.

Cf. We Are All Learners: "Faith Cannot be Presupposed!"
Freedom Comes From Truth, Michael Novak 1994 Prize Lecture

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"A Moment of Silence" Prayer Cannot Include Everyone

Because some people are praying for god (or the devil as the case may be) to kill and destroy us and to show and enable them to do the same, for example.

Not all religion is benign! Not all prayer is good. It depends on the content and the direction (to whom it is oriented and for what purpose). The Church does not sanction every prayer, even every internal prayer. Some people actually worship the devil.

Some prayer is bad, and some may be at least banal. It is an sacrilege, therefore, to open up the prayer of the faithful: "and for the prayers which we hold in the silence of our hearts,...Lord hear our prayer." People might be praying for every manner of evil, in collusion with the devil. The Church cannot join her prayer and worship to that.

The Church, in her prayer, e.g. the Pater Noster, is very specific for what and to Whom she prays. She is not vague, ambiguous or sloppy in her intention or in her orientation. Her prayer does not include everything, only what is good, and right and true, and she makes that explicit, through Jesus Christ our Lord!

"We can pray with each other only if we are agreed who or what God is and if there is therefore basic agreement as to what praying is: a process of dialogue in which I talk to a God who is able to hear and take notice. To put it another way: shared prayer presumes a shared understanding of the addressee and thus likewise of the inner action directed toward him."
Truth and Tolerance, Joseph Ratzinger, San Francisco: Ignatius, 2004, 108.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

A German Shepherd: January 2013 Italian Documentary on Papa Ratzinger by Lucio Brunelli

With Andrea Tornielli and Sandro Magister, et alia.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Biblical Realism and Why the Catechism of the Catholic Church Excluded the Exegetes

The Catechism trusts the biblical word. It considers the Christ of the Gospels as the real Jesus. And it is convinced also that all of the Gospels speak to us of this same Jesus, that all of them, each one in its specific way, help us to know the true Jesus of history, who is the Christ of faith. This has invited furious attacks upon it: the Catechism--they say--has forgotten an entire century of exegesis; it knows nothing of literary genres, history of forms and history of redactions; it has remained in the "fundamentalist" interpretation of the Bible. It is enough to read the chapters on the Bible and its interpretation to see that these claims lack sense (nos. 101-141). The Catechism gathers, without making a show of a critical tool, the truly sure results of modern exegesis. I propose for that the chapter on the name of Jesus and the three principle christological titles Christ, Kyrios (lord) and Son, [nos. 430-455] which I consider one of the richest and profoundest texts of our book.

But the multi-layered and plastic nature of the image of Jesus of the Gospels, which we know from the new scientific investigation, does not obligate us to reconstruct another Jesus, leaving the texts aside and starting from a combination of presumed sources, who it is claimed would be purely historical, thereby erasing the image of Jesus of the Gospels as a product of the faith of the community. Furthermore there would have existed according to the communities a plurality of Christs, which cannot be mixed. However, it is not clear how from this minimum of historical reality and of these conflicting community creations the common christological faith which has transformed the world could suddenly arise.

Recently, the great Jewish intellectual Jacob Neusner has energetically opposed these reconstructions and the cheapening of the Gospels which they assume. I do not have space here to examine his arguments one by one; I cite only his statement of purpose, in which he summarizes his well founded decision: "I write for believing Christians and believing Jews; they know Jesus by way of the Gospels". That is exactly the position of the Catechism; a book which transmits the faith of the Church and does not want to canonize private theories cannot take another starting point. This has nothing to do with fundamentalism, because a fundamentalist reading excludes every type of ecclesial mediation and only gives value to the letter in itself. When, in his book on Jesus,  Neusner says that he cannot enter into discussion with historical Jesus, product of the imagination of the erudite, because such fabricated historical figures would be many and quite varied, he thereby calls attention to a problem more and more clearly noticed by the scientific exegesis itself. The current of canonical exegesis which is gaining traction in America firmly insists that the first duty of all interpretation is to understand the given text as such. It cannot free itself from this duty undoing the text into its supposed sources and ultimately occupy itself only with them. Naturally, exegesis can and must also investigate the internal history of the texts and from there study its development. But its true fundamental duty cannot disappear because of that, that is, to delve into the text itself, as it now exists, as a whole and for what it wants properly to affirm.

He who, from faith, reads the Scripture as Bible, must take a further step. By its very nature, the historical interpretation, will never be able to go any further than mere hypothesis. In reality, none of us was present then: only the natural sciences realize the reproduction of phenomena in the laboratory. The faith gives us contemporaneity with Jesus. Faith can and must embrace all of the historical knowledges (conocimientos), being enriched thereby. But the faith makes us know something which is more than an hypothesis; it gives us the right to put ourselves into the hands of the revealed word as such...

When I ask myself what is the cause that our churches are emptying, that the faith is silently extinguishing, I would like to reply that the central motive is the process of emptying of the figure of Jesus, along with the deist formulation of the concept of God. The substitute for Jesus which is offered, more or less romanticized, is not enough. It lacks reality and closeness. The Jesus of the Gospels, whom we come know again in the Catechism, is contemporary, because He is the Son, and is accessible because he is human. His human history is never purely past; all of it is taken up in him and in the community of his disciples as present and it touches me.

"The Gospel and The Catechism" (February 1994) Speech given by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger before the Pontifical Commission of Latin AmericaSer cristiano en la era neopagana, Joseph Ratzinger, Madrid: Encuentro, 1995, 82-84 (plinthos translation from Spanish)

Cf. The Term "Fundamentalism" Confuses Religious Contents"Biblical Interpretation in Crisis", 1988 Erasmus Lecture.
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