Sunday, April 24, 2016

The Pope Francis Genius

Inclusion. He works on the presumption that everyone is in earnest and seeking what is right and true, even while they may be wrong and in sin.

That is a very good and Christian starting point, to presume good will with all men and to be untiringly long-suffering and forgiving and as helpful as possible in introducing them to Jesus Christ in His Catholic Church.

All popes, cardinals, bishops, priests and Catholic laity will do well to work that way to get out of themselves and go to the masses of humanity who apparently have no use or knowledge of Christ in the Catholic faith.

That is my reaction to the Denzinger Bergoglio blog, an exhaustive doctrinal resource to answer the confusions caused by this papacy. I do indeed, however, find that blog to be too damning.

Friday, April 22, 2016

The Modern Rejection of Logos is the Root of our Present Confusion/Relativism

Universität Tübingen: Origin of  Professor Ratzinger's Introduction

The Medieval Masters of Thought recognized logos--the thought of God--as the necessary and absolute foundation of all reality and meaning and truth. Man's participation therein is therefore contingent, transitory and limited.

The historical approach (with it's way prepared by Descartes and fully developed in Kant) contradicts this, beginning with Giambattista Vico (1668-1744), who proposed, against the scholastic equation "Verum est ens" ("Being is truth"). "Verum est factum".

"That is to say, all that we can truly know is what we have made ourselves. It seems to me that this formula denotes the real end of the old metaphysics and the beginning of the specifically modern attitude of mind...

"For the ancient world and the Middle Ages, being itself is true, in other words apprehensible, because God, pure intellect, made it, and he made it by thinking it. To the creative original spirit, the Creator Spiritus, thinking and making are one and the same thing. His thinking is a creative process. Things are, because they are thought. In the ancient and medieval view all being is therefore what has been thought, the thought of the absolute spirit. Conversely, this means that since all being is thought, all being is meaningful, "logos", truth. (This statement is of course only fully true of Christian thinking, which with the idea of the creatio ex nihilo attributes to God the material too; for the ancient world this remained the a-logical element, the universal matter alien to the divine, thus also marking the limit to which reality could be comprehended.)

"It follows from this traditional view that human thinking is the re-thinking of being itself, re-thinking of the thought which is being itself. Man can re-think the logos, the meaning of being, because his own logos, his own reason, is logos of the one logos, thought of the original thought, of the creative spirit that permeates and governs his being.

"In contrast to this, from the point of view of the ancient world and the Middle Ages the work of man seems contingent and transitory. Being is thought and therefore thinkable, the object of thought and of knowledge, which strives after truth. The work of man on the other hand is a mixture of logos and the a-logical, something moreover that with the passage of time sinks away into the past. it does not admit of full comprehension for it is lacking in logos, in thoroughgoing meaningfulness. for this reason ancient and medieval philosophy took the view that knowledge of human things could only be "techne", manual skill, but never real perception and hence never real knowledge. Therefore in the medieval university the artes, the arts, remained only the first step to real knowledge, which reflects on being itself. This standpoint is still clearly evident at the beginning of the modern era in Descartes, who expressly disputes history's claim to be knowledge. The historian, he says, who claims to be familiar with Roman history knows in the last analysis less about it than a cook in Rome did, and to understand Latin means no more than possessing the same ability as Cicero's maid. About a hundred years later Vico was to turn the Middle Ages' criterion of truth, redefined once again here in Descartes, on its head, thus giving expression to the fundamental revolution which marks the arrival of the modern spirit. This was the start of the attitude that introduces the "scientific" age, in which we are still living.

"Let us try to think about this a little further, since it is fundamental to our question. To Descartes the only thing that seems an absolute certainty is the purely formal intellectual certainty purged of the uncertainties of the factual. Nevertheless there are signs of the approach of the modern period in the fact that he models this intellectual certainty on mathematical certainty and elevates mathematics to the position of prototype of all rational thinking. But whereas here the facts still have to be excluded if one desires certainty, Vico advance the diametrically opposite thesis. Following formally in Aristotle's footsteps, he asserts that real knowledge is the knowledge of causes. I am familiar with a thing if I know the cause of it; I understand something that has been proved if I know the proof. But from this old thought something completely new is deduced: if part of real knowledge is the knowledge of causes, then we can truly know only what we have made ourselves, for it is only ourselves that we are familiar with. This means that the old equation of truth and being is replaced by the new one of truth and factuality; all that can be known is the "factum", that which we have made ourselves. It is not the task of the human mind--nor is it within its capacity--to think about being, but about the factum, what has been made, man's own particular world, for this is all we can truly understand. Man did not produce the cosmos and its bottommost depths remain opaque to him. Complete, demonstrable knowledge is attainable only within the bounds of mathematics and in the field of history, which is the realm of man's own activities and can therefore be known by him. In the midst of the sea of doubt which threatened to engulf man at the beginning of the modern period after the collapse of the old metaphysics, the factum was here discovered as the dry land on which man could try to build a new existence for himself. The dominance of the fact began, that is, man's complete devotion to his own work as the only certainty."

Introduction to Christianity, Joseph Ratzinger, New York: Herder and Herder, 1970, 31-33.

Father Ratzinger in the same book proposes sixteen principles for right (Christian) thinking.

1. Amen, which includes the meanings truth, firmness, firm ground, ground, and furthermore the meanings loyalty, to trust, entrust oneself, take one's stand on something, believe in something; thus faith in God appears as a holding on to God through which man gains a firm hold for his life. Faith is thereby defined as taking up a position, as taking a stand trustfully on the ground of the word of God..."If you do not believe, than you do not abide." "If you do not believe (if you do not hold firm to Yahweh), then you will have no hold" (Isaiah). 39

2. Belief operates on a completely different plane from that of making and "makability." It cannot be "laid out on the table." Essentially, it is entrusting oneself to that which has not been made by oneself and never could be made, and which precisely in this way supports and makes possible all our making...The penetrating "perhaps" which belief whispers in man's ear in every place and in every age does not point to any uncertainty within the realm of practical knowledge; it simply queries the absoluteness of this realm and relativizes it, reminding man that it is only one plane of human existence in general, a plane that can only have the character of something less than final. 40

3. Belief does not belong to the realm of what can be, or has been made, but to the realm of basic questions which man cannot avoid answering and the answer to which can by its nature occur only in one form. Belief...There is a realm which allows no other answer but that of entertaining a belief, and no man can completely avoid this realm. Every man is bound to have some kind of "belief." 41

4. Believe is...a way of taking up a stand in the totality of reality, a way that cannot be reduced to knowledge and is incommensurable by knowledge; it is the bestowal of meaning without which the totality of man would remain homeless, on which man's calculations and actions are based, and without which in the last resort he could not calculate and act, because he can only do this in the context of a meaning that bears him up...Without the word, without meaning, without love he falls into the situation of no-longer-being-able-to-live, even when earthly comfort is present in abundance. 42

5. Meaning that is self-made is in the last analysis no meaning. Meaning, that is, the ground on which our existence as a totality can stand and live, cannot be made but only received. 43

6. To believe as a Christian...means affirming that the meaning which we do not make but can only receive is already granted to us, so that we have only to take it and entrust ourselves to it. 43

7. Christian belief is the option for the view that the receiving precedes the making--[without reducing the value of the making]. 43

8. That what cannot be seen is more real than what can be seen. It is an avowal of the primacy of the invisible as the truly real, which bears us up and hence enables us to face the visible in a clam and relaxed way--knowing that we are responsible before the invisible as the true ground of all things. 43

9. [It] is not a blind surrender to the irrational. On the contrary, it is a movement towards the logos, the ratio, towards meaning and so towards truth itself, for in the final analysis the ground on which man takes his stand cannot possibly be anything else but the truth revealing itself. 44

10. The Christian act of faith intrinsically includes the conviction that the meaningful ground, the logos, on which we take our stand, precisely because it is meaning, is also truth. (The Greek word logos displays in its range of meanings a certain correspondence with the Hebrew root 'mn ["Amen"]: word, meaning, intelligence, truth are all included in its semantic range.) Meaning or sense which was not truth would be non-sense. 45

11. The tool with which man is equipped to deal with the truth of being is not knowledge but understanding: understanding of the meaning to which he has entrusted himself;...only revealing itself in "standing": seizing and grasping as meaning the meaning which man has received as ground...[I]t is a characteristic of understanding that it is continually outstripping our capacity to apprehend and reaching out to a recognition of the way in which we are comprehended. 46-7

12. It is personal! The most fundamental feature of Christian faith or belief is its personal character. Christian faith is more that the option in favour of a spiritual ground to the world; its central formula is not "I believe in something", but "I believe in Thee". It is the encounter with the man Jesus, and in this encounter it experiences that meaning of the world as a person. 47

13. Jesus' life from the Father, in the immediacy and closeness of his association with him in prayer and indeed face to face, he is God's witness;...he is the presence of the eternal itself in this world. In his life, in the unconditional devotion of himself to men, the meaning of the world is present before us; it vouchsafes itself to us as love which loves even me and makes life worth living by this incomprehensible gift of a love free from any threat of fading away or any tinge of egoism. The meaning of the world is the "You", though only the one that is not itself an open question but the ground of all, needing itself no other ground. 48

14. Faith is the finding of a "You" that bears me up and amid all the unfulfilled....unfulfillable...hope of human encounters gives me the promise of an indestructible love which not only longs for eternity but guarantees it. Christian faith lives on the discovery that not only is there such a thing as objective meaning, but this meaning knows me and loves me, I can entrust myself to it like a child that knows all its questions answered in the "You" of its mother. Thus in the last analysis believing, trusting and loving are one, and all the thesis round which belief revolves are only concrete expressions of the all-embracing about-turn, of the assertion "I believe in You"--of the discovery of God in the countenance of the man Jesus of Nazareth.

15. Darkness. "Are you really He?" (John the Baptist's question from prison to Jesus) The believer will repeatedly experience the darkness in which the negation of unbelief surrounds him like a gloomy prison from which there is no escape, and the indifference of the world, which goes its way unchanged as if nothing had happened, seems only to mock his hope. 48

16. We have to pose the question "Are you really He", not only through honesty of thought and because of reason's responsibility but also in accordance with the intrinsic law of love, which wants to know more and more him to whom it has given its "Yes", so as to be able to love him the basic faith confession: "I believe in You, Jesus of Nazareth, as the meaning (logos) of the world and of my life." 49

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Ratzinger Kasper Battle of Half a Century, Enter Pope Francis

Since the 1960's Walter Kasper has been diametrically opposed to the Joseph Ratzinger's cristal clear Catholic logical categories. In the wake of his Ratzinger's book Introduction to Christianity, Kasper accused Ratzinger of Platonism, i.e. basing his Christian outlook on the visible/invisible world distinction.

"Man's natural centre of gravity draws him to the visible, to what he can take in his hand and hold as his own. He has to turn round inwardly [what the Bible calls 'con-version'] in order to see how badly he is neglecting his own interests by letting himself be drawn along in this way by his natural centre of gravity. He must turn round to recognize how blind he is if he trusts only what he sees with his eyes. Without this change of direction, without this resistance to the natural centre of gravity, there can be no belief."
Introduction to Christianity, New York: Herder and Herder, 1970, 25.

"Kasper questioned Ratzinger's starting with the Platonic dialectic visible/invisible. He proposed an alternative: a historical-oriented theology, starting from the human being's concrete interwoveness with nature, society, culture and history. Different theological consequences would flow from such a starting point, he said. The meaning that we seek would then be mediated to us only through our concrete, historical encountering of the world and of people, or else not at all; and the result would be a far greater taking seriously of the concrete problems of people."
Joseph Ratzinger's Theological Ideas, James Corkery, SJ, New York: Paulist Press, 2009, 70.

Here we can see the philosophical undercurrents operative in a the Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia wherein the "ideal" world of the ten commandments, though acknowledged, is deemed unrealistic and therefore bracketed in favor of a purportedly more humane concession. The problem is more fundamental than theology. It is a problem of logic. What is wrong is wrong, no matter how you look at it or try to sugar coat it. Everyone has reasons for the sins he commits, but that does not make it right.

"The debate over the identification of the God of the philosophers with the God of the Bible was important to Ratzinger's early teaching in the field of fundamental theology. It would seem that Ratzinger attempts to avoid both the impersonal approach of Neo-Scholasticism and irrational voluntarism. The historical precedent for Ratzinger's identification fueled his renewed aprroach: for Joseph Ratzginger, the true God must be both rational and personal in ways that distinguish him from the product of pure speculation and the objects of superstition. He must be the God of Reason and the God of Faith if love and truth are to be united as the New Testatment teaches...For Ratzinger truth is not the product of human labor or consensus; rather it is something that can be unveiled--revealed--and discovered. Reason is the means by which human beings discover what God has revealed and come to understand the truth and to appropriate and apply it to their lives."
The Logos as Reason, Word, and Love in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger, John J. Lynch, 2014, 28-29.

Faith and Morality are United in the Truth of God

"Faith's praxis depends on faith's truth, in which man's truth is made visible and lifted up to a new level by God's truth. Hence, it is fundamentally opposed to a praxis that first wants to produce facts and so establish truth. By holding on to the Creator, faith's praxis protects the creation against such a total manipulation of reality. By looking to the example of Jesus Christ, faith recognizes fundamental human values and rescues them from all manipulation. It protects man by protecting creation; the apostles' successors have an indestructible commission to maintain apostolic teaching and make it present.

"Since grace refers to both the creation and the Creator, apostolic exhortation (as a continuation of Old Testament admonitions) is involved with human reason. Contrary to appearances, the flight into pure orthopraxy, as well as the attempt to banish substantive morals from the realm of faith (with the teaching authority that is an integral part of the realm of faith), turn reason into a heresy.

"In the one case reason's ability to recognize truth is denied, and the renunciation of truth is elevated into a method; and in the other case faith is lifted out of the realm of reason, and rational considerations are not admitted as being possible components of the world of faith. Either faith is declared to be irrational, or reason is made out to be unbelieving--or both."

Principles of Christian Morality, Joseph Ratzinger (et alia), San Francisco: Ignatius, 1986, 70-71.

N.B. The above are the philosophical roots of The Proportionalism of Amoris Lætitia.

Ratzinger cites H. Küng's contention that Judeo-Christian morality has it's source in the cultures in which it first appeared, i.e. it is not from heaven but simply attributed by men to a divine authority. There is a fundamental difference of perspective here: man-made truth vs. truth really given and entrusted to man from God, accepted, promoted and defended on divine authority. The difference is between Theism and Atheism! Ibid., 49n. 

Prince's Quest for the Supernatural: Requiscat in pace!

"Let's Go Crazy" is a testimony to "The After-World"
And to the insurmountable difficulties of "this life" and, ultimately, the problem of death.

The organ music introduction to this song is a superb allusion to Jesus Christ and hope beyond this world in Christ.

Jesus Christ is the answer!

May almighty God have mercy on his soul, through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life

Electric word life
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else
The after world

A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything'll Be Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

'Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the after world
In this life
You're on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy, punch a higher floor

If you don't like the world you're living in
Take a look around you
At least you got friends

You see I called my old lady
For a friendly word
She picked up the phone
Dropped it on the floor
(Ah, ah) is all I heard

Are we gonna let the elevator
Bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Let's look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

We're all excited
But we don't know why
Maybe it's 'cause
We're all gonna die

And when we do (When we do)
What's it all for (What's it all for)
You better live now
Before the grim reaper come knocking on your door

Tell me, are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!

Let's go crazy
Let's get nuts
Look for the purple banana
'Til they put us in the truck, let's go!

C'mon baby
Let's get nuts

Let's go crazy

Are we gonna let the elevator bring us down
Oh, no let's go!
Go crazy

I said let's go crazy (Go crazy)
Let's go, let's go
Let's go

Dr. Everything'll be alright
Will make everything go wrong
Pills and thrills and daffodils will kill
Hang tough children

He's coming
He's coming

Take me away!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Results of the History of Philosophy are an Access to the Ground of Reality

The "results" of the history of philosophy do not consist in a catalogue of formulae which can be totted up into a final sum. Instead, they are a series of raids on the deep places of being, carried out according to the possibilities of their own time. The history in which these explorations were made remains a living history, not a dead prehistory. As philosophizing continues, Plato, Aristotle, Thomas do not become prehistory: they remain the originating figures of an enduring approach to the Ground of what is. In their way of thought, and its access to the Origin, a certain aspect of reality, a dimension of being, is caught as in a mirror. None of them is philosophy or the philosopher. It is in the multivalent message of the entire history, and its overall critical evaluation, that truth is disclosed and with it the possibility of fresh knowledge.

Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life, Joseph Ratzinger, Washington, DC, CUA Press, 1988, 23-24.

Monday, April 18, 2016

"Morality" without Truth

Sounds alot like "who am I to judge."

No intellectual charity!

Without Jesus Christ there is no Truth! The origin of the relativist problem is the attempt to eliminate the name of Jesus.

What is at play here intellectually is not open-mindedness at all but rather the moral categories determined by the organs of political correctness. It is a relativism determined by the group (e.g. national sentiment). All of those interviewed would certainly agree (I hope) that child molestation is wrong, but simply because our society happens to say so for the present moment. As soon as "everyone" thinks differently, they will follow suit. Scary!

Dictatorship of relativism. What is unacceptable is to contradict what popular opinion has been determined as acceptable or unacceptable.

So, whoever can manipulate and control popular sentiment rules the day!

N.B. The comments are superb! I love this one from 11 hours ago by Shadowhero387!

"So, as a 6'5" Chinese 7 year old girl enrolled in elementary can i use the little girl's room with all the other girls?"

Shall we call it "erotic theology?" This is what happens when sexual morality is roundly denied and derided. The philosophy follows the libido! If we are not ruled by the Truth we become ruled by our passions! But beware, hatred and lust are very ugly passions, they will not let you live in peace!

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Conditions for Papal Infallibility and Abstaining from Communion

The pastoral response of faithful Catholics to the present confusion about communion should be to voluntarily desist from frequent communion as acts of reparation to make up for the ubiquitous sacrilegious communions. Part of the reason we are in this mess is the misguided idea that everyone has to receive communion at every Mass! Another measure that might be freely taken is for individuals and religious communities and seminaries and diocese to re-institute the midnight fast, in reparation, yes, but also to give the non-communicants at Mass an alibi for abstaining.

Faithful Catholic priests should begin to preach the virtue of abstaining from worthy communion in reparation for the many unworthy communions in the Church today and the abuse of the ubiquitous pressure for everyone to receive at Mass.

The Conditions for Papal Infallibility

The condition of the Infallibility is that the Pope speaks ex cathedra. For this is required:

a. That he speak as pastor and teacher of all the faithful with the full weight of his supreme apostolic authority; If he speaks as a private theologian or as the bishop of his Diocese, he is not infallible;

b. The he have the intention of deciding finally a teaching of Faith or Morals, so that it is to be held by all the faithful. Without this intention, which must be made clear in the formulation, or by the circumstances, a decision ex cathedra is not complete. Most of the doctrinal expressions made by the Popes in their Encyclicals are not decision ex cathedra.

Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, Ludwig Ott, Rockford: Tan, 1974, 287.

Surely the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith must come out with a clarification on this for the good of the faithful!

Thursday, April 14, 2016

The "Vienna Praxis" The interpretative key to Amoris Laetitia: Total Relativism

"Amoris Laetitia" and practical consequences - The pastor of Biella

(Rome) The Post-Synodal Exhortation Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis, with its conclusions from the two Synods of Bishops in 2014 and 2015 about marriage and the family, has plunged the Catholic Church into a big mess and is showing the initial practical impact.

The papal document has led to a major disagreement in the interpretation. The Pope's closest confidants celebrate the letter as "most important document of the last 1000 years" (Cardinal Walter Kasper). After an initial disappointment, the progressive church circles have awakened to the "revolutionary" implications (Alberto Melloni, School of Bologna). The "conservative" [Catholics] try desperately to explain Amoris Laetitia in relation to the official Magisterium of the Pope and interpret it as a "personal" and therefore non-binding statement by Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Cardinal Raymond Burke). Traditional Catholics who do not ignore the debate at stake, speak of a "catastrophic document" (Roberto de Mattei). A perfect mess to the external observer.

Rarely has the Catholic Church shown herself so fractious and disunited on how to understand and implement a papal document. The confusion concerns the whole Church. It ranges from the very top to the very bottom. How to proceed regarding the divorced and remarried? And also with others people who live in an irregular relationship?

The priest Don Luca Mele wrote the Pope on Twitter: "Be a little more clear: Can I absolve them or not? Do I have to give them the Communion or not? Thank you!"

The Case of the Piedmontese town of Biella

The pastor of the town of Biella (45,000 inhabitants) in Piedmont, the land from which the ancestors of Pope Francis hail, yesterday in the local newspaper read that he should know that he is "to admit remarried divorcees to communion". The explosiveness therein lies in the subtitle of the newspaper report: "Following the publication of Amoris Laetitia by Pope Francis". In other words, the pastor of the town had previously disagreed.

The German-speaking bishops let it be known in advance: If Rome would not guarantee communion to public adulterers, they would act alone. From the "leeway" (ZDF) left by the papal document, a "single-handed" approach is not needed. The "revolution" lies in that there is no longer a general rule. The categorical no of the Catholic Church to communion for public adulterer is replaced by a myriad "case by case" solution. This method applied by Amoris Laetitia to the so-called "divorced and remarried", taken a step further, could be equally applied to homosexuals and other groups of people and situations. [Cf. Der Wiener Praxis (disobedience) of Cardinal Schönborn and Pope Francis' attack upon the Papal Authority].

The "faithful to Rome" part of the Church which was formed under Pope John Paul II in response to the post-conciliar upheaval, is left mesmerized. Since 2013, some have contented themselves by adopting more progressive stances in the name of "loyalty to Rome". The rest stares at the pope like a rabbit at a snake. He ought to confirm the brothers in the faith and pasture the flock and protect it from the wolves. The eventuality that he himself could lead the Church astray, was excluded as a possible category of thought.

Now, in the opinion of the attentive observer, this part of the Church acts as if paralyzed and some things might begin to dawn on it that it might begin to question the very notion of the legitimacy of the future of the Papal office.

The Catholic Church seems thus to face complex new upheavals as late effects of the as yet undigested Vatican II and the unforeseen forces it has unleashed.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


That should be a fine response to the ideologically motivated no bullying (brainwashing) campaign of late (which has effectively silenced any dissent on faggotry).

It should be a sign in every decent public place and home, to counter and eliminate the present ubiquitous lewd conduct which is being flaunted in our faces.

In other words, we will not tolerate public displays of homosexual affection and/or affectation (or any other form of lewdness, for that matter).

This came to mind during my daily parish Mass today as I considered aloud with the parishioners how I would react if a couple of self-avowed homosexual men came and sat arm-in-arm in the front row of the chapel during Mass. Not only would I be bound to refuse them communion! I would be absolutely compelled by every form of common decency and pastoral charity to have them expelled from the assembly, before I could begin or proceed with that Mass. Because their action would be at least equivalent to public nudity, for example. Entirely unacceptable.

Exemplary in this regard is the official statement of the Catholic Bishops Conference regarding a homosexualist US Ambassador imposed by Obama. Their message is exactly that: "We will not tolerate faggotry, i.e. the foreign imposition of lewdness (of any form) in our nation and among our people."

This matter has everything to do with the new Apostolic Exhortation (cf. Chapter 8) and Pope Francis' "who am I to judge" campaign, which condones every form of obstinate mortal sin (especially sexual sins) as acceptable and pleasing to God. I don't see how honest Christians and pastors of souls can ignore this matter any longer. The war is on. Decency must be defended, for the sake of the innocent (especially women, youth and children, who are the most vulnerable and defenseless in the matter of sexual immorality): it is matter of charity.

This also brings to mind the capital crime for which Socrates was falsely charged and condemned: the corruption of the young. Apology 24b The corruption of youth is indeed a capital crime and must be countered, as Christ Himself has said:

"But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea." Matthew 18:6

Cf. "The effeminate" in Sacred Scripture.

P.S. In this regard there are a number of high ranking clerics in the Catholic hierarchy who do indeed have quite the effeminate air, which, in the very least, gives a very bad impression regarding the manliness of Christ and of the Gospel. Metaphysical confusion (i.e. regarding the very nature of things) is the most fundamental confusion of all. Esto vir!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Amoris Laetitia's Proportionalism Papal Scandal of the Highest Order!

Having now read eight of the nine chapters of the new Apostolic Exhortation, I would roundly refuse the imprimatur because chapter eight is classic proportionalism! Scandalo!

"Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end." AL 305

What I learned in moral theology is that the moral act has three parts: object, intention, circumstances. If one of the three parts is bad, the whole act is bad! No exceptions! An act which is objectively wrong, e.g. deliberately killing an innocent person, cannot be made right or condoned or used as a gradual step in the life of virtue at all by any good intention or circumstance. What the pope is teaching here (inconsistent with the magisterium of the Church) is moral heresy! He says that persons knowingly and willingly in objective mortal sin can be subjectively in the state of sanctifying grace!

Is this the first instance in the history of the Church that a Pope sets out to teach heresy? How is that related to the doctrine of infallibility? I would say that this isolated exposition of Pope Francis is merely presented as his opinion and entirely out of consonance with the consistent teaching of all of his predecessors. Therefore, it lacks the necessary conditions for ordinary infallibility (repeated teaching in accord with the Tradition). He is simply wrong! He is a priest, a bishop, who has erred in his teaching. That's all. Let's not lose any sleep over it.

Veritatis Splendor 81. In teaching the existence of intrinsically evil acts, the Church accepts the teaching of Sacred Scripture. The Apostle Paul emphatically states: "Do not be deceived: neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor sexual perverts, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor 6:9-10).

If acts are intrinsically evil, a good intention or particular circumstances can diminish their evil, but they cannot remove it. They remain "irremediably" evil acts; per se and in themselves they are not capable of being ordered to God and to the good of the person. "As for acts which are themselves sins (cum iam opera ipsa peccata sunt), Saint Augustine writes, like theft, fornication, blasphemy, who would dare affirm that, by doing them for good motives (causis bonis), they would no longer be sins, or, what is even more absurd, that they would be sins that are justified?".134

Consequently, circumstances or intentions can never transform an act intrinsically evil by virtue of its object into an act "subjectively" good or defensible as a choice.

Cf. The Catechism of the Catholic Church 1749-1761.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Amoris Lætitia Magisterial Teaching: A Family is One Man, One Woman and their Children: Image of Creator God

The word of God tells us that the family is entrusted to a man, a woman and their children, so that they may become a communion of persons in the image of the union of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Begetting and raising children, for its part, mirrors God’s creative work. The family is called to join in daily prayer, to read the word of God and to share in Eucharistic communion, and thus to grow in love and become ever more fully a temple in which the Spirit dwells. AL 29.

...No one can think that the weakening of the family as that natural society founded on marriage will prove beneficial to society as a whole. The contrary is true: it poses a threat to the mature growth of individuals, the cultivation of community values and the moral progress of cities and countries. There is a failure to realize that only the exclusive and indissoluble union between a man and a woman has a plenary role to play in society as a stable commitment that bears fruit in new life. We need to acknowledge the great variety of family situations that can offer a certain stability, but de facto or same-sex unions, for example, may not simply be equated with marriage. No union that is temporary or closed to the transmission of life can ensure the future of society. But nowadays who is making an effort to strengthen marriages, to help married couples overcome their problems, to assist them in the work of raising children and, in general, to encourage the stability of the marriage bond?  AL 52

[Regarding gender ideology and artificial reproductive technologies] It is one thing to be understanding of human weakness and the complexities of life, and another to accept ideologies that attempt to sunder what are inseparable aspects of reality. Let us not fall into the sin of trying to replace the Creator. We are creatures, and not omnipotent. Creation is prior to us and must be received as a gift. At the same time, we are called to protect our humanity, and this means, in the first place, accepting it and respecting it as it was created. AL 56

Marriage is the Cross

The sacrament [of marriage] is a gift given for the sanctification and salvation of the spouses, since “their mutual belonging is a real representation, through the sacramental sign, of the same relationship between Christ and the Church. The married couple are therefore a permanent reminder for the Church of what took place on the cross; they are for one another and for their children witnesses of the salvation in which they share through the sacrament”.  AL 72

...Christian marriage is a sign of how much Christ loved his Church in the covenant sealed on the cross, yet it also makes that love present in the communion of the spouses. By becoming one flesh, they embody the espousal of our human nature by the Son of God. That is why “in the joys of their love and family life, he gives them here on earth a foretaste of the wedding feast of the Lamb”. AL 73

In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, “as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family”. It is unacceptable “that local Churches should be subjected to pressure in 275 Cf. Bull Misericordiae Vultus, 12: AAS 107 (2015), 407. 276 Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2358; cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 76. 277 Ibid. 191 this matter and that international bodies should make financial aid to poor countries dependent on the introduction of laws to establish ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex”. AL 251

I have to say, after reading the Exhortation, that it is a huge mistake to politicize this Magisterium. Everyone should read this document and benefit from it. It is an examination of conscience for everyone before God for the good of the family today, proposed by our Chief Shepherd on earth. Woe to me if my biases keep me from listening and seeking the truth, especially in the bark of Peter!

P.S. Comparing the Spanish and English versions, it is not clear to me in what language this document was originally drafted. The English translation seems much more fluent than the Spanish which often comes off as quite clumsy.

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Amoris laetitia confusion.

Below is a very confusing opening paragraph of the new Apostolic Exhortation, watering down Catholic teaching and discipline! At the very least it means that the Exhortation itself makes no claims at infallibility! It should be read the way you read any popular opinion, but we all have to "seek solutions better suited to [our cultural context]." Frankly, what I have found to be the best pastoral approach during this Pontificate is to ignore Pope Francis' confusing vague generalizations and documents as much as possible!

3. Since “time is greater than space”, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. For “cultures are in fact quite diverse and every general principle… needs to be inculturated, if it is to be respected and applied”.

Concluding Address of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (24 October 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 26-27 October 2015, p. 13; cf. Pontifical Biblical Commission, Fede e cultura alla luce della Bibbia. Atti della sessione plenaria 1979 della Pontificia Commissione Biblica, Turin, 1981; Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World Gaudium et Spes, 44; John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Redemptoris Missio (7 December 1990), 52: AAS 83 (1991), 300; Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (24 November 2013), 69, 117: AAS 105 (2013), 1049, 1068-69.

N.B. It is not at all clear where the Holy Father is getting his "time is greater than space" principle, which, in any case, is not at all obvious or particularly enlightening in the context. It appears he is trying to make the case for relativity based on historical change. "Times change, so the Church's teaching should change with the times." There are clear statements from Christ which contradict this: viz. "heaven and earth will pass away but my Word will not pass away."

Having said that, we are loyal sons of the Church, and, as such (to whom this Exhortation is specifically addressed) I shall read it and obey and promote everything in it that I can, in respectful homage and deference to the Magisterium of the Church, for the greater glory of God, exaltation of Holy Mother the Church and for the salvation of souls.

Amoris Laetitia and the Inadequate Confusion of the Social Gospel

Mormon Easter Message Above Could Easily Have Been Given by Pope Francis' Social Gospel.

The Specific Difference Between Catholicism and all the rest, however, is Right Worship. We know Whom we worship and how.
We Worship Jesus Christ, the Eternal Word of God, and
Holy Mass is the summit and source of  that worship and of the entire Christian life and activity.

That is why Catholic doctrine is essential to Catholic/Christian/human social activity. Because of the holy Catholic Rites of the thrice holy God!

N.B. Robert Royal (The Catholic Thing) on Amoris Laetitia (“The Joy of Love”)
the new Apostolic Exhortation on the Family

Priests are not mere social workers (nor are Christians for that matter), we are apostles of Jesus Christ, to worship (and to bring all men to the glory of the worship of) God the Father with Him, in Him and through Him, Jesus Christ our Lord, i.e. God.

There is only one God, Jesus Christ, with the Father and the Holy Spirit; it is the Christian duty to bring Him to the world and the world to Him.

The enemies of Catholicism (and of Christ) neglect and deny the spiritual works of mercy.

N.B. Confusion is not Catholic!

A confusing teacher is a bad teacher!
Reject confusion in all it's forms!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Reasons for Credibility of the Catholic Faith (According to Saint Augustine)

"There are many things that most properly keep me in the bosom of the Catholic Church; to say nothing of the most genuine wisdom...let me therefore omit mention of this wisdom" (for this argument, which for Augustine was extremely strong, was not accepted by his opponents). 
  • [The most genuine wisdom]
  • "The consensus of peoples and races keeps me in the Church, as does
  • The authority based on miracles, 
  • Nourished by hope, 
  • Increased by charity, 
  • Strengthened by its ancient character; likewise 
  • The succession of the priests, from the very see of the apostle Peter, to whom the Lord entrusted the care of His sheep after the resurrection, down to the episcopate of today; finally, 
  • The very name of the Catholic Church keeps me in her, because it is not without reason that this Church alone has obtained such a name amid so many heresies.
(Saint Augustine Contra ep. Man. 4, 5: PL 42, 175).

Qué le sujeta a la Iglesia Católica
Dejando de lado la purísima sabiduría a cuyo conocimiento sólo llegan en esta vida unos pocos espirituales, de modo que la conocen sin duda alguna, pero, por ser hombres, sólo en una pequeñísima parte —a la multitud le otorga la máxima seguridad no la agudeza de la inteligencia, sino la simplicidad de la fe—; aun dejando de lado, repito, esta sabiduría que vosotros no creéis que se halle en la Iglesia católica, hay muchas otras cosas que me sujetan justamente en su seno. Me sujeta el consenso de los pueblos y las naciones; me sujeta su autoridad incoada con milagros, nutrida con la esperanza, acrecentada con el amor y asentada con la antigüedad. Me sujeta la sucesión de sacerdotes desde la misma cátedra del apóstol Pedro a quien el Señor confió, después de su resurrección, el pastoreo de sus ovejas, hasta el episcopado actual. Me sujeta finalmente el mismo nombre de «católica» que no sin motivo sólo esta Iglesia obtuvo entre tantas herejías. Así, no obstante que todos los herejes quieren llamarse católicos, cuando algún forastero pregunta dónde se reúne la católica, ninguno de ellos osa indicarle la propia basílica o casa. Por tanto, esas cadenas del nombre cristiano, tan numerosas y tan fuertes, sujetan en la Iglesia católica al hombre de recta fe, incluso si por la lentitud de nuestra inteligencia o por los méritos de nuestra vida aún no se manifiesta la verdad en todo su resplandor. Entre vosotros, en cambio, entre quienes no existe ninguna de esas realidades que me inviten y me sujeten, no se oye otra cosa que la promesa de la verdad; verdad que si se manifiesta tan a las claras que no quepa la duda ha de ser antepuesta a todas aquellas realidades que me mantienen en la católica. Pero si sólo se promete y no se muestra, nadie me apartará de aquella fe que ata mi alma a la religión cristiana con tantos y tan poderosos lazos.

Est Deus “et causa subsistendi, et ratio intelligendi, et ordo vivendi”
(S. AUGUSTINI De civitate Dei 8, 4: PL 41, 228)

“...causa constitutae universitatis, et lux percipiendae veritatis, et fons bibendae felicitatis” 
(Ibid. , 8, 10, 2:PL 41, 235)


Monday, April 4, 2016

Jubilee Logo Ugly Confusion

Happy Incarnation Day!

Again below I copy the Chalcedon definition of the hypostatic union:
unum eundemque Christum Filium dominum unigenitum, in duabus naturis

  • inconfuse,
  • immutabiliter,
  • indivise,
  • inseparabiliter...
Quite the contrast with the Year of Mercy logo conflation of Christ with Adam, a monster of siamese twins joined at the head/eye. I maintain that art which needs explanation is bad art! Just like preaching which is ambiguous is bad preaching. Confusion does not come from God!

So, following the saintly fathers, we all with one voice teach the confession of one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ: the same perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, the same truly God and truly man, of a rational soul and a body; consubstantial with the Father as regards his divinity, and the same consubstantial with us as regards his humanity; like us in all respects except for sin; begotten before the ages from the Father as regards his divinity, and in the last days the same for us and for our salvation from Mary, the virgin God-bearer as regards his humanity; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, only-begotten, acknowledged in two natures which undergo no confusion, no change, no division, no separation; at no point was the difference between the natures taken away through the union, but rather the property of both natures is preserved and comes together into a single person and a single subsistent being; he is not parted or divided into two persons, but is one and the same only-begotten Son, God, Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as the prophets taught from the beginning about him, and as the Lord Jesus Christ himself instructed us, and as the creed of the fathers handed it down to us.

....It is opposed to those who attempt to tear apart the mystery of the economy into a duality of sons; and it expels from the assembly of the priests those who dare to say that the divinity of the Only-begotten is passible, and it stands opposed to those who imagine a mixture or confusion between the two natures of Christ; and it expels those who have the mad idea that the servant-form he took from us is of a heavenly or some other kind of being; and it anathematises those who concoct two natures of the Lord before the union but imagine a single one after the union.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Year of Mercy Piligrimage Newark, New Jersey Saturday April 23, 2016

Year of Mercy

Join us for the grace filled event


Walk 2.5 miles pilgrimage praying and singing the Holy Rosary through Branch Brook Park, Newark in Cherry Blossom season.

Cross the Holy Door 
of the
with sincere contrition and prayers
for the
Holy Father
in order to gain the
Year of Mercy
plenary indulgence
Pope Francis.

Attend a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form (Latin) at the High Altar.

  • Meet at 8:00 AM at Heller Parkway parking lot, Branch Brook Park Drive
  • Crossing of the Holy Doors of Mercy at 9:30 AM (possibility for Confessions)
  • Solemn High Mass at 10:00 AM

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Saint Augustine's Proof of Wisdom, Truth and God

Saint Augustine On Free Will (De Libero Arbitrio), II, 32-37, 39.

32 Augustine. Number seems of little value to men, and wisdom precious, because they can count numbers more easily than they can acquire wisdom. Do not be surprised at this, for you see that men regard gold as more precious than the light of a lamp, though it is absurd to value gold in comparison. But they honor more highly a thing much lower because even a beggar lights his lamp, and only a few have gold. I do not suggest for a moment that wisdom is found lower when compared to number, since it is the same; but it demands an eye capable of discerning it. Light and heat are perceived, fused together, so to speak, from one fire, and cannot be separated from each other; yet heat is communicated to what is put near the fire, while light is diffused far and wide. So too the power of understanding which wisdom contains, heats what is closer to it, such as a rational soul, but does not affect what is more distant, such as bodily things, with the warmth of wisdom; it only shines on them with the light of number. Perhaps this is obscure to you, but no analogy from a visible thing can be made applicable in every respect to what is invisible. Only notice this point, which is sufficient for our problem and is apparent even to more lowly minds such as our own. Although we cannot be clear whether number resides in wisdom or is derived from wisdom, or whether wisdom itself is derived from number or resides in number, or whether both terms can be shown to refer to the same thing, yet it is certainly plain that both are true, and true unchangeably.
33 Therefore you would by no means deny that there exists unchangeable truth, containing all those things which are unchangeably true. You could not call this yours or mine or any man's, but it is present and offers itself in common to all who behold unchangeable truths, like a light which in a wonderful fashion is both secret and public. No one could say that anything which is present in common to all who have reason and understanding belongs to the nature of one individual. You remember, I think, our discussion a little while ago about the bodily senses. We decided that the common objects of the sense of sight or of hearing colours and sounds, for instance, which you and I both see at the same time do not share the nature of our eyes or ears, but are common objects of perception. So you would certainly not say that what you and I perceive in common, each with his own mind, shares the nature of the mind of either of us. You could not say that what the eyes of two people see at the same time is the eyes of either of them; it is something else to which both of them direct their sight.
Evodius. That is manifestly true.
34 Augustine. Do you think that this truth, about which we have been talking for such a long time, and in which, though one, we see so many things, is higher than our minds, or equal to them, or lower? If it were lower, we should make judgments about it, not in accordance with it. We make judgments about bodily things because they are lower; we often say not only that such and such is true of them, but also that it ought to be. Similarly, not only do we know that our souls are in a particular state, but often that they ought to be. And in the same way we judge about bodily things, and say, It is not so bright as it ought to be, or not so square and so on; and of souls, that is not so ready as it ought to be or not so gentle or not so vigorous according to the nature of our character. In making these judgments we follow the principles of truth within us, which we see in common. No one ever makes these the object of a judgment. When a man says that the eternal is superior to the temporal, or that seven and three are ten, no one asserts that it ought to be so, but, knowing it is so, we rejoice to make the discovery without scrutinizing and trying to correct it. If this truth were on an equality with our minds, it would itself be subject to change. Sometimes our minds see it more clearly, sometimes less clearly, and as a result they admit themselves to be subject to change. The truth, however, abiding in itself, gains nothing when we see it more clearly, and loses nothing when we see it less clearly, but, whole and sound, it gladdens with its light those who are turned towards it, and punishes with blindness those who are turned away from it. Again, we judge about our own minds according to the truth, though we can by no means judge about the truth itself. We say, 'our mind understands less than it ought,' or, 'it understands as much as it ought.' But the mind ought to understand more in proportion as it approaches, and clings to, the unchangeable truth. Hence if the truth is neither inferior to nor equal to our minds, it can only be higher and more noble.
35 I had promised, you may remember, to show you something higher than our mind and reason. This thing is truth itself. Embrace it if you can, and enjoy it; and “delight in the Lord, and He will give thee the requests of thy heart.” What more do you ask than to be happy? What is happier than the man who enjoys the firm, unchangeable, most excellent truth? Men declare they are happy when they embrace the fair bodies, ardently desired, of wives and even of harlots, and can we doubt of our happiness in the embrace of truth? Men declare they are happy when with parched throats they reach an abundant and healthful spring of water, or when they are hungry and discover a dinner or supper, richly furnished. Shall we deny our happiness when we are given the food and drink of truth? We often hear men declare they are happy if they lie amid roses and other flowers, or enjoy the sweet smell of ointments. What is more fragrant, what more delightful, than the inspiration of truth? Do we hesitate to call ourselves happy, when so inspired? Many place their lives' happiness in song, in the music of lyre and flute: when these are missing, they count themselves wretched; when these are present, they are transported with joy. When the truth, tuneful and eloquent in its silence, falls noiselessly, as it were, upon our minds, shall we seek elsewhere for a happy life, and not enjoy that which is so sure and so near at hand? Men take delight in gleaming gold and silver, in glittering gems and colors, in the light itself which our eyes perceive in fire upon the earth, or in the stars, the moon, or the sun; men take delight in the splendor and graciousness of these things. When neither poverty nor trouble keeps them from such enjoyment, they count themselves happy and for these things they wish to live forever. Are we afraid to set the happiness of life in the light of truth?
36 Since the supreme good is known and grasped in the truth, and since that truth is wisdom, let us see in wisdom the supreme good, and grasp and enjoy it. The man who enjoys the supreme good is indeed happy. The truth shows men all the things which are truly good, and each man, understanding these according to his capacity, chooses for his enjoyment one or several of them. Among those who choose an object to look at in the light of the sun and who take pleasure in the sight, some may possess strong, healthy, vigorous eyes, and these men are perfectly ready to gaze at the sun itself, which also illuminates other objects in which weaker eyes take pleasure. So too a strong, vigorous, mental gaze, when it sees with certainty many unchangeable truths, turns to the truth itself in which all things are shown; to this it clings as though forgetful of all else, and in it enjoys all things together. For whatever is delightful in other truths, owes its delightfulness to the truth itself.
37 Our freedom consists in submission to the truth, and it is our God Himself who frees us from death, that is, from the state of sin. For truth itself, speaking as a man with men, says to those who believe in Him: “you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples, indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” The soul enjoys nothing with freedom unless it enjoys it securely. No one, however, possesses securely those goods, which he can lose against his will. But no one loses truth and wisdom against his will, for no one can be separated from them physically. That which we call separation from truth and wisdom is a perverted will, which loves lower things. No one wishes for something against his will. We have, therefore, in the truth a possession which we can all enjoy equally and in common; there is nothing wanting or defective in it. It receives all its lovers without stirring their envy; it welcomes all, and is chaste with each. One man does not say to another: go back and let me come; take away your hands and let me embrace it. All cling to it; all touch it at the same time. It is a food which is never divided; you drink nothing from it which I cannot drink. When you share in it, you make nothing your private possession; what you take from it still remains whole for me too. I do not wait until you surrender the inspiration it gives you before I can be inspired; no one ever takes any part of it for his private use, but it is wholly common to all at the same time.
39 If I showed there was something above our minds, you admitted you would confess it to be God, provided there was nothing else higher. I accepted your admission, and said it was enough that I should show this. For if there is anything more excellent, it is this which is God, but, if there is nothing more excellent, then truth itself is God. Whichever is the fact, you cannot deny that God exists, and this was the question we set ourselves to debate. If you are influenced by what we have received on faith through the most holy teaching of Christ, namely, that there is a Father of Wisdom, remember that we have also received this on faith that Wisdom, begotten of the eternal Father, is His equal. We must ask no further questions about this, but hold it firmly by faith. God exists, and He exists truly and supremely. We not only hold this, I think, by our faith as certain, but we also attain to it by a sure, though very feeble, kind of knowledge. This suffices for the question we have undertaken, and enables us to explain the other matters connected with it. Or have you any objections to raise?
Evodius. I accept this with a joy past belief, which I cannot express to you in words. I declare it to be most certain. My inner voice declares this, and I desire to be heard by the truth itself, and to cling to it. This I grant to be not only good, but the supreme good, and the source of happiness.

N.B. This text is one of the Augustine texts in the 1925 Philosophy Reader (Philosophisches Lesebuch) by Joseph Ratzinger's professor Gottlieb Söhngen. The above translation is here.

Lunar Cycles and the Roman Martyrology

Since February I have added the recitation of the Roman Martyrology to my '62 daily Divine Office, I have the book but it has been hard to figure out the day of the moon in the lunar cycle. Here is an easy way to know, it is on your regular wall (solar) calendar!

Every normal calendar indicates the new moon, which will always be the day before your luna prima.

And remember that the martyrology always is anticipatory, so that, for example, you will recite the martyrology of Friday, 8th of April (Sexto Idus Aprilis, Luna Prima) on Thursday, 7th of April.

In other words, the martyrology always commemorates the Luna Prima on the New Moon (the previous day)!

Today we recite the Luna Vicesima Quinta of Sunday, 3rd of April (Tertio Nonas Aprilis).

There are 29.5306 days in a lunar cycle.

Friday, April 1, 2016

One Little Cloistered Nun Who Took on the Corrupt Catholic Bishops and Won


Catalyst October Issue 2005, Essay
by William Donohue
Like most Catholics, I know Mother Angelica through EWTN (Eternal World Television Network). Now, thanks to Ray Arroyo’s inspiring portrait of her, I know her much better. The subtitle of Mother Angelica accurately reads, The Remarkable Story of a Nun, Her Nerve, and a Network of Miracles. Yes, it is all that and more—it is a gripping tale of a woman who suffered greatly yet always managed to beat the odds.

Now there's an heroic American woman!
A true feminist, exemplifying true female virtues!
Put her on our currency, e.g. the $20!
Born Rita Rizzo, and reared in Canton, Ohio, Mother Angelica experienced poverty, a broken home, maltreatment, multiple physical ailments, jealously, back stabbing, betrayal—she was even shot at—but nothing could stop her determination. It does not exaggerate to say that the object of her determination never had anything to do with her—it always had to do with God.
In her lifetime, Mother established the Poor Clare Nuns of Perpetual Adoration and gave birth to the Franciscan Friars of the Eternal Word and the Sisters of the Eternal Word. She built the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, as well as the largest shortwave network in the world and the world’s first Catholic satellite network. Not bad for a high school graduate who had everything going against her.
Her father was abusive, both physically and verbally, and eventually abandoned her (he tried to reconcile with her later in life). It took such a toll on her that she wondered why God would ever subject a little girl to such a miserable family. It also meant that she missed out on what other kids were used to, so much so that one of her cousins would later say of her, “She was an adult all her life. She never had a childhood.”
The nuns she met in school were anything but kind. Their opposition to divorce unfortunately led them to oppose the children of divorce, and this was something the young Rita couldn’t bear (the priests her mother encountered were just as condemning). Some family members were just as cruel, including an uncle who verbally beat up on her mother so badly that Rita literally threw a knife at him.
Yet there were miracles. There was the time when, at age eleven, she was crossing a street only to see two headlights staring her right in the face. She thought she was dead. Incredibly, she was able to jump high enough that she avoided being hit. The driver called it “a miracle,” while Rita and her mother dubbed it a graceful “lifting.”
Her stomach ailments were so bad that she was forced to wear a corset. The doctors tried to help, but to little avail. Then she met a stigmatic, Rhoda Wise, and that’s when things began to change. One day, when she was 20, a voice told her to get up and walk without the corset, and she did just that. Immediately, her suffering was relieved. Her doctor, of course, insisted it had to with his treatments, but Rita knew better.
Her mother wasn’t too happy when she learned that Rita had decided to enter a Cleveland monastery. After all, she had first been abandoned by her husband, and now her daughter was leaving her as well. But in time she would come to accept it. As for Rita, her failing knees (and the five stories of steps she had to traverse at the monastery), led to her being dispatched back home to Canton.
After nine years in the cloister, Sister Angelica took her solemn vows. Her legs and her back were so twisted she could hardly walk (she wore a body cast), leading her to beg God to allow her to walk again in exchange for a promise: she would build a monastery in the South. What she wanted was a “Negro apostolate,” a cloistered community in service to poor blacks. After undergoing spinal surgery, and after being rebuffed initially by her bishop, she got her way; approval was given to build a monastery in Birmingham. Then came to the hard part—coming up with the bucks to pay for it.
In 1959, the year before she became Mother Angelica, she spotted an ad in a magazine for fishing lure parts. She decided that the nuns would go into the fishing-lure business, thus was St. Peter’s Fishing Lures born. In 1961, Sports Illustrated honored her with a plaque for her “special contribution to a sport.” Remarkably, this half-crippled nun with no business experience was able to garner national attention for her entrepreneurial acumen. It was just the beginning.
Building a monastery in the South in the early 1960s, especially one that would service African Americans, was not exactly a popular enterprise. It didn’t take long before local opposition mounted, even to the point of violence: Mother Angelica was shot at one night by one of the protesters (he barely missed).
Amidst what seemed like eternal struggles to keep the revenue coming, Mother started the Li’l Ole Peanut Company. Score another hit: By the end of 1968, she paid off all the monastery debt. Over the next decade, she would write books and give talks, managing to walk with an artificial hip.
In 1978, her life was forever altered when she was introduced to a TV studio in Chicago. Instantly, she got the bug: she had to have one of her own. Then came the first of many disappointments dealing with the bishops. When she contacted them about a Catholic TV show, none replied. Undeterred, she secured funding from New York philanthropist Peter Grace, and in 1981 got a young lawyer and Catholic deacon, Bill Steltemeier, to craft a civil corporation called the Eternal Word Television Network. Bill would remain a loyal and talented ally throughout the tumultuous times to come.
When word reached Rome that a cloistered abbess was traveling the country in pursuit of her broadcasting dream, she ran into trouble with both American bishops and Vatican officials. But thanks to Cardinal Silvio Oddi, head of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, she prevailed.
It was never easy. Every time Mother Angelica thought she was in the clear, another bishop would raise objections to her venture. Indeed, the bishops tried to outdo her by launching their own effort, the Catholic Telecommunications Network of America (CTNA). It was clear from the beginning that Mother Angelica was seen as a threat: EWTN had a traditional orientation and CTNA took a modernist stance. EWTN won. CTNA collapsed.
It was not easy for the bishops to watch their own creation flounder while EWTN won the admiration of Pope John Paul II. Adding to their chagrin was their inability to get Mother Angelica to switch to a new interfaith satellite network. As to her own operations, Mother Angelica did not take kindly to those clerics who questioned her authority to showcase some bishops, but not others. “I happen to own the network,” she instructed. When told that this would not be forever, she let loose: “I’ll blow the damn thing up before you get your hands on it.”
In 1989, a report by the bishops complained that EWTN rejected “one out of every three programs submitted by the bishops conference.” The bishops and Mother Angelica were clearly on a collision course: she had no tolerance for the theological dissidence that was tolerated by many bishops and their staff. The last straw came when the bishops conference sent a show to be aired featuring a cleric promising female ordination under the next pope.
The dissent, whether voiced by the Catholic Theological Society of America, or by feminist nuns who favored gender-neutral language in the Catholic Catechism, distressed Mother badly. She even had to endure being lobbied to push for “inclusive” language in the Catechism by the likes of “conservatives” such as Cardinal Bernard Law of Boston. That he failed should surprise no one.
Mother was more than distressed—she was angered beyond belief—when a woman portrayed Jesus doing the Stations of the Cross at World Youth Day in Denver, 1993. “Try it with Martin Luther King,” she said on the air. “Put a white woman in his place and see what happens.”
She was not prepared for what happened next. The reaction of leading bishops to her outburst was swift and vocal. Archbishop Rembert Weakland, who like Law would later be forced to resign in disgrace, blasted her for what he labeled “one of the most disgraceful, un-Christian, offensive, and divisive diatribes I have ever heard.” He had nothing to say about the incident that provoked her.
The bishops weren’t finished with her. In retaliation, they recalled priests who had been assigned to work at EWTN, and attempts were made to get EWTN thrown off diocesan TV channels around the country.
Just when it seemed things couldn’t get any worse, Mother Angelica and Roger Cardinal Mahony locked horns. In 1997, she accused the Los Angeles archbishop of questioning the Real Presence: “In fact,” she said, “the cardinal of California is teaching that it’s bread and wine before the Eucharist and after the Eucharist.” She added that she would not obey an Ordinary like him if she lived there, and hoped that those who did would no longer provide him with their assent.
That was it. Mahony exploded. But while demanding that Rome punish Mother Angelica—and this went on for years—Mahony’s archdiocese was home to “a cavalcade of dissenters and anti-Vatican agitators.” This is the stuff that drives orthodox Catholics mad.
While she survived in the end, Mother Angelica had to ward off attempts by the bishops to take control of EWTN (one archbishop allegedly told her that certain bishops “want to destroy you”). To make sure this would never happen, Mother Angelica resigned from the network in order to save it: the bishops would have no lien on a purely autonomous, lay-run, civil entity.
Twenty years ago, Ben Armstrong of the National Religious Broadcasters aptly dubbed her, “the Bishop Fulton Sheen of this generation.” Cardinal J. Francis Stafford was also right when he observed that “Mother Angelica represented the plain Catholic, who is 90 percent of the Church.” Let it also be said that she overcame all kinds of adversity, and she did it all—and continues to do it all—for Jesus.
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