Thursday, March 05, 2015

Pope Francis: "It is a mortal sin to discard the elderly..."

"The eclipse of the sense of God and of
man inevitably leads to a practical materialism, which breeds individualism, utilitarianism and hedonism. Here too we see the permanent validity of the words of the Apostle: "And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a base mind and to improper conduct" (Rom 1:28). The values of being are replaced by those of having. The only goal which counts is the pursuit of one's own material well-being. The so-called "quality of life" is interpreted primarily or exclusively as economic efficiency, inordinate consumerism, physical beauty and pleasure, to the neglect of the more profound dimensions-interpersonal, spiritual and religious-of existence.

In such a context suffering, an inescapable burden of human existence but also a factor of possible personal growth, is "censored", rejected as useless, indeed opposed as an evil, always and in every way to be avoided. When it cannot be avoided and the prospect of even some future well-being vanishes, then life appears to have lost all meaning and the temptation grows in man to claim the right to suppress it.

Within this same cultural climate, the body is no longer perceived as a properly personal reality, a sign and place of relations with others, with God and with the world. It is reduced to pure materiality: it is simply a complex of organs, functions and energies to be used according to the sole criteria of pleasure and efficiency. Consequently, sexuality too is depersonalized and exploited: from being the sign, place and language of love, that is, of the gift of self and acceptance of another, in all the other's richness as a person, it increasingly becomes the occasion and instrument for self-assertion and the selfish satisfaction of personal desires and instincts. Thus the original import of human sexuality is distorted and falsified, and the two meanings, unitive and procreative, inherent in the very nature of the conjugal act, are artificially separated: in this way the marriage union is betrayed and its fruitfulness is subjected to the caprice of the couple. Procreation then becomes the "enemy" to be avoided in sexual activity: if it is welcomed, this is only because it expresses a desire, or indeed the intention, to have a child "at all costs", and not because it signifies the complete acceptance of the other and therefore an openness to the richness of life which the child represents.

In the materialistic perspective described so far, interpersonal relations are seriously impoverished. The first to be harmed are women, children, the sick or suffering, and the elderly. The criterion of personal dignity-which demands respect, generosity and service-is replaced by the criterion of efficiency, functionality and usefulness: others are considered not for what they "are", but for what they "have, do and produce". This is the supremacy of the strong over the weak." (Pope John Paul II, Evangelium Vitae, No. 23).

Supremacy of the strong over the weak. This is the Molochian Gospel. It is a "gospel" advanced by President Barack Obama who has said that, "We are God's partners in matters of life and death" - see here.

During his weekly General Audience, Pope Francis said that: “It is a mortal sin to discard our elderly. The elderly are not aliens, we are them, in a short or in a long while; we are inevitably them, even although we choose not to think about it...

If we do not learn to look after and to respect our elderly, we will be treated in the same way. A society where the elderly are discarded carries within it the virus of death...

The quality of a society can be judged by the way it includes its older members. This is a particular challenge for our Western societies, marked on the one hand by ageing populations and on the other by a cult of youth, efficiency and profit which tends to discard everything not considered productive or useful… In showing concern for our elderly, we strengthen the social fabric and ensure the future of our young.”

I have spent time visiting the elderly in nursing homes.  And there is nothing more sad than witnessing those who long for a visit from their loved ones and who often spend their days in tears waiting for family who cannot or will not find the time to spend with them.

Our culture has become selfish and self-absorbed.  The elderly and the disabled are made to feel that they are a burden.

But as Henri Nouwen has said, "The elderly are our prophets, they remind us that what we see so clearly in them is a process in which we all share. . . . Their lives are full of warnings but also of hopes."

The way we respond to the elderly will determine our own future.


Tuesday, March 03, 2015

Deacon Ryan Duns: Archbishop Nienstedt comes across as homophobic

In a Blog post addressing a letter written by Archbishop John Nienstedt to a mother explaining the Church's teaching regarding homosexual acts and the reception of the Holy Eucharist, Deacon Ryan Duns, the Jesuit seminarian who believes that "gay marriage" might be a movement of the Holy Spirit, said that the Archbishop's letter, "..serves only to reinforce the belief that the Catholic Church is a homophobic institution more concerned with obedience than human flourishing." See here.

In his Encyclical Letter Deus Caritas Est (God is Love), Pope Benedict XVI writes, "It is characteristic of mature love that it calls into play all man's potentialities; it engages the whole man, so to speak. Contact with the visible manifestations of God's love can awaken within us a feeling of joy born of the experience of being loved. But this encounter also engages our will and our intellect. Acknowledgment of the living God is one path towards love, and the 'yes' of our will to his will unites our intellect, will and sentiments in the all- embracing act of love. But this process is always open-ended; love is never 'finished' and complete; throughout life, it changes and matures, and thus remains faithful to itself. Idem velle atque idem nolle —to want the same thing, and to reject the same thing—was recognized by antiquity as the authentic content of love: the one becomes similar to the other, and this leads to a community of will and thought. The love-story between God and man consists in the very fact that this communion of will increases in a communion of thought and sentiment, and thus our will and God's will increasingly coincide: God's will is no longer for me an alien will, something imposed on me from without by the commandments, but it is now my own will, based on the realization that God is in fact more deeply present to me than I am to myself. Then self- abandonment to God increases and God becomes our joy (cf. Ps 73 [72]:23-28)." (No. 17).

Jesus gave us this new Law of Love.  He said, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." (John 14:15).  And through the centuries many have demonstrated their love for Him by obeying His commands, even unto martyrdom. Others have followed Him indifferently or have turned away from Him entirely, abandoning that faith which is the pearl of great price.

Those Catholics who are agitating for "gay pride" and even same-sex "marriage" have embraced a false notion of "freedom."  For such people, there can only be true freedom if they are permitted to engage in homosexual acts or marry a member of the same-sex.  And anyone who resists this immoral agenda which embraces a counterfeit notion of freedom is denounced as a "hater" and a "bigot" or as one who fosters "prejudice."

Clearly Deacon Duns has set himself in opposition to the Church's authentic teaching regarding homosexual acts and has little interest in the truth that the Eucharist is properly the Sacrament of those who are in full communion with the Church (CCC, 1395).

Should this confused individual, who has shown contempt for Church teaching and a faithful Bishop of Christ's Church, be ordained to the priesthood?

Is this What passes for a sound candidate today?

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Here is what the Archdiocese of Boston wants for the priesthood...

In a Blog post which may be found here, Deacon Ryan Duns argues that same-sex "marriage" could actually be beneficial to society.

Deacon Duns quotes from Louis Dupre, who said that,  "The quality of a civilization may be measured both by the complexity of its ingredients and by the harmony of their order. The more diverse elements it succeeds in integrating within a harmonious and unified balance, the greater its potential and, usually, its achievements are." (Louis Dupré, Passage to Modernity, 29).

Then this confused soul writes, "...the Supreme Court's decision to overturn the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) has yielded simultaneously great rejoicing from some, much hand-wringing from others. From Twitter to Facebook, blogs to news sites, the Court's actions were debated and discussed, celebrated and denounced. Mike Huckabee tweeted that 'Jesus Wept' and the USCCB called it a 'tragic day for marriage and our nation.' The New Ways Ministry website likens the experience to 'justice rolling down like a river,' washing away what Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg referred to in March as 'skim-milk marriage.'

I find the above quote from Louis Dupré particularly helpful this morning as I reflect on yesterday's events. For, to my mind, a new question begins to emerge and demand response: if gay marriages are considered equal and of the same standing as heterosexual marriages, will this contribute to or detract from the harmony of society? Can this so-called marriage equality contribute to unification or will it result in further fracturing?

In their press release, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops rightly stresses 'the common good of all, especially our children, depends upon a society that strives to uphold the truth of marriage. These decisions are part of a public debate of great consequence. The future of marriage and the well-being of our society hang in the balance.'

Yesterday's SCOTUS decision is hardly the final word on the issue of marriage. As the USCCB asserts, it is 'part of a public debate of great consequence.' Indeed, it may be better to see these decisions less as offering the definitive word on marriage than on opening up a space for new words to spoken. The words to be spoken can come only through the lived witness of same-sex couples living lives of love and commitment that contribute to, rather than detract from, the common good of our nation.

Pope Francis has managed in three months to capture the attention of a skeptical world and an increasingly jaded flock. The credibility of his words arises from his actions and it's hard to deny that the Holy Father is active. His is a faith that works, his works are born of faith.

In the months and years ahead, a great burden will continue to be shouldered by those same-sex couples in the United States willing to commit themselves to one another. Great attention will be focused upon them and many Christian communities will remain skeptical of their relationships' ability to witness to the values of God's Kingdom. Gay and Lesbian Christians must now accept the shadow of the Cross falling long upon them. Many will deny that God's Spirit can be active in their commitments. It is only through the testimony of their lives, the witness of fidelity and love, that they have any chance in changing the hearts and minds of others.

In the Acts of the Apostles, the Pharisee Gamaliel offered the following counsel concerning the nascent movement growing around the claim that Jesus had been raised from the dead:
"...in the present case, I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; because if this plan or this undertaking is of human origin, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them - in that case you may even be found fighting against God." (Acts 5:38-39).

I accept that, whether we like it or not as a faith community, a new path has been opened up to citizens of our nation. My prayer is that marriage will continue to be the glue that holds the fundamental unit of our society together: the family. Whether same-sex couples can contribute to the common good in and through their witness of socially sanction and legally protected fidelity, we must wait and see. We must, all of us, keep our hearts and eyes and ears open so that if we begin to see the movement of God's Spirit, we can respond with joy and gratitude. Should the trace of God's life not be found, should only greater disharmony and rancor reign, we will find confirmation of our received Tradition's wisdom."

Got that?  According to this Deacon of the Boston Archdiocese, waiting to be ordained while my own vocation to the priesthood is thrown into the garbage heap because I accept, defend and promote the Church's perennial teaching, especially in the area of sexual morality, God has allowed "a new path" to be opened up - one that permits homosexual and lesbian sex and even sacramental marriage - and we should all keep our hearts and minds open in order to discern "the movement of God's Spirit."

Isn't it amazing how people will strain to rationalize sin (especially those sins they are engaging in themselves)? But homosexual acts may never be approved of.  They are intrinsically evil acts.  They cry to Heaven for vengeance.

These intrinsically evil acts are not the result of the movement of the Holy Spirit but the movement of the Evil spirit.  They are the fruit of the demonic spirit.

Because I accept and promote the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which teaches authoritatively that, "...In the sanctorum communio, 'None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.'  'If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.  Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.'  'Charity does not insist on its own way.'  In this solidarity with all men, living or dead, which is founded on the communion of saints, the least of our acts done in charity redounds to the profit of all.  Every sin harms this communion." (CCC, 953), my vocation is relegated to file 13.

Paragraph 817 of the Catechism assures us that "ruptures that wound the unity of Christ's Body...do not occur without human sin."

Granted that when an evil act, such as a homosexual act, is done in public, the resulting scandal compounds its intrinsic evil.  But an intrinsically evil act does not become good or neutral simply because it is performed in private.  The evil nature of the act remains unchanged.  Pope John Paul II, in his Encyclical Letter Veritatis Splendor, explains that, "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." (No. 81).

Pope John Paul II insists that, "No damage must be done to the harmony between faith and life: the unity of the Church is damaged not only by Christians who reject or distort the truths of faith but also by those who disregard the moral obligations to which they are called by the Gospel (cf. 1 Cor 5: 9-13).  The Apostles decisively rejected any separation between the commitment of the heart and the actions which express or prove it (cf. 1 John 2: 3-6).  And ever since Apostolic times the Church's Pastors have unambiguously condemned the behavior of those who fostered division by their teaching or by their actions." (Veritatis Splendor, No. 26).
Deacon Dun's vocation is accepted, nurtured and encouraged.  Mine is rejected.

The difference: I stand with Jesus Christ and the Church He founded.  I'm not a spiritual whore.  I won't promote sodomy for the sake of being accepted. I refuse to sell my soul for a bowl of porridge.

For what does it profit a man to gain the entire world...you know the rest!

Related reading here.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Cardinal Sean O'Malley: Where is your clear and emphatic opposition to a sin that cries to Heaven for vengeance?

As noted here, "Immaculate Heart of Mary School of Still River, MA has withdrawn its marching band and float of Saint Patrick from this year’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade after learning that a small homosexual activist group will be allowed to march while publicly identifying its homosexuality.

The school is compelled by the teachings of the Catholic Church to pull out. According to the Principal, Brother Thomas Dalton, 'Catholics are forbidden to sponsor or even participate in an event which openly promotes unnatural and immoral behavior. The Church will never accept nor condone same sex marriage and the homosexual life style.'

For 25 years the school has participated in the parade dedicated to Saint Patrick and believes that to have a float with his representation leading a group openly promoting and proud of its homosexual identity would draw down the ire of this great patron of the Boston Archdiocese. 'Saint Patrick stands with Saint Paul in condemning the sin of sodomy,' stated Brother Dalton. 'The name of Saint Patrick should be dropped from the parade as he would have nothing to do with the likes of it today.'

The director of the Band, Br. Peter Bracket stated, 'All the Band members and their parents—although greatly disappointed in not being able to march—are fully supportive of the School’s decision. We have to remain loyal to Church teachings which states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, promulgated by Saint John Paul II, that ‘homosexual acts are acts of grave depravity’ and ‘are intrinsically disordered…Under no circumstances can they be approved.’ (#2357)'

Brother Peter Bracket is right. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its document entitled Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons, warns that even where homosexual unions have been legalized, "clear and emphatic opposition is a duty." (No. 5). This important document stresses that, "any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws" and even any "material cooperation on the level of their application" must be avoided. "In this area," states the document, "everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection."


Considerations makes it abundantly clear that, "The Church teaches that respect for homosexual persons cannot lead in any way to approval of homosexual behavior or to considerations of homosexual unions." (No. 11). In other words, there can be no doubt that all Catholics have a moral duty to oppose the homosexual agenda.

The good folks at Immaculate Heart of Mary School in Still River, Massachusetts understand this.  What a shame that Cardinal Sean O'Malley does not.

The Catholic community in and around Boston deserves an authentic shepherd who understands that opposition to all sin - AND ESPECIALLY SINS THAT CRY TO HEAVEN FOR VENGEANCE-  is a duty of each and every Catholic.

The faithful deserve wheat.  And they suffer from a Cardinal who offers only chaff.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The battle lines have now been drawn

Years ago, when Pope John Paul II still reigned, Michael Brown over at Spirit Daily contacted Father Albert Roux of the Marian Movement of Priests because of a story he was writing on Father Stefano Gobbi.

Fr. Roux  emphasized that: "The Blessed Mother keeps saying that when the Pope [John Paul II] dies the Church will be projected into a dense darkness and it's going to be a great confusion, where people will be dropping out of the Church...There is a man of iniquity who is supposed to be entering the Church. To me that is the anti-christ and his false prophet, and my understanding is that the false prophet will be a false pope who will empty the Church of her spirituality and her doctrine, and will create the abomination of desolation by declaring that the Gospels are not historical and that the divinity of Christ is questionable and the Eucharist is just a symbol. Then he's going to raise the anti-christ, which is going to happen before Jesus's return...

The anti-christ can not come on the public scene until John Paul dies. Something is holding the anti-christ from coming out and I believe this is the papacy of John Paul II. John Paul is not afraid of anyone and he would face up to the anti-christ and unmask him publicly and [the anti-christ] would lose his clout. He would be humiliated, and Satan is not about to let this happen, so he's got to wait till John Paul dies for the anti-christ to appear on the public scene....

I think the United Nations is preparing for the anti-christ's coming to the public scene. He's going to govern the world through the United Nations. Now is the time that Jesus is separating the goats from the sheep. What He's going to do is send Mary to advise and to send events for us to make decisions when we face them. Either we stand on the right hand of Jesus or the left hand side. When Jesus comes in glory He's going to destroy His enemies and then He's going to recreate the earthly paradise  that Adam and Eve had. Those on the right hand side will go into this new promised land." See here.      

Is there not a real sense that the two camps of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of Antichrist are now entering a time of final battle?

It was Archbishop Fulton John Sheen who warned that,"We are living in the days of the Apocalypse - the last days of our era...The two great forces of the Mystical Body of Christ and the Mystical Body of Antichrist are beginning to draw up the battle lines for the catastrophic contest."

And that was more than forty years ago. The battle lines have now been drawn. The catastrophic contest begins in earnest at the upcoming Synod.  The Man of Sin waits for his prophet to prepare his entrance into the Church.

When he enters, the man-God will eventually abolish the Mass and demand that worship which belongs to God alone.

Which side dear reader will you fall on?  Be warned: the fate of your soul depends upon the answer to that question.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Father Thomas Rosica and the leaven of infidelity

In an interview with Professor Gregory Baum for "Salt and Light TV," Father Thomas Rosica told the notorious dissident, “I’ve certainly admired very much your theology, your writings but also your love of the Church, your love of Christ, and you helped to keep alive not only the spirit of the Second Vatican council, but also the authentic teaching of the Council … you remain a faithful, deeply devoted Catholic, love Jesus, the Church, the Eucharist.”

Lifesite News has reported, "Liberal Catholic press-people have recently touted a man some call Canada’s leading dissenter since the 1960s - former Catholic priest Gregory Baum - because of his role as an expert, or peritus, to the Canadian bishops at Vatican II.  Baum, an advocate of homosexual ‘marriage’ and sex outside of marriage and contraception, was lauded by Fr. Thomas Rosica of Salt and Light TV, Michael Swan of the Catholic Register and also given free reign in the pages of the Scarboro Foreign Missions magazine.

Had he merely publicly rejected Catholicism, Baum would not have been as grave a danger to the Church and especially its moral teachings.

Despite the automatic excommunication he incurred for marrying an ex-nun while still a priest, Baum continued to speak lovingly of Jesus and the Gospels as he repudiated many of the principles of faith and morals revealed by Christ and in Sacred Scripture.  One of the tools of repudiation was the dissenting Catholic New Times newspaper co-founded by Baum and other dissenters in 1976 and eventually prohibited from one diocese after another.

Such two-facedness led one of Baum’s contemporaries, canon lawyer Monsignor Vincent Foy, to consider Baum as having “done more than any person to harm the Church in Canada…"

This is the disturbed soul which Father Thomas Rosica has publically lauded.  What would that suggest about Dr. Rosica?

Vatican II, in its' Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests (Presbyterorum Ordinis) No. 4, tells us that: "The People of God are joined together primarily by the word of the living God. And rightfully they expect this from their priests. Since no one can be saved who does not first believe, priests, as co-workers with their bishops, have the primary duty of proclaiming the Gospel of God to all. In this way they fulfill the command of the Lord: "Going therefore into the whole world preach the Gospel to every creature" (Mk 16:15), and they establish and build up the People of God. Through the saving word the spark of faith is lit in the hearts of unbelievers, and fed in the hearts of the faithful. This is the way that the congregation of faithful is started and grows, just as the Apostle describes: "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ" (Rom 10:17).


To all men, therefore, priests are debtors that the truth of the Gospel which they have may be given to others. And so, whether by entering into profitable dialogue they bring people to the worship of God, whether by openly preaching they proclaim the mystery of Christ, or whether in the light of Christ they treat contemporary problems, they are relying not on their own wisdom for it is the word of Christ they teach, and it is to conversion and holiness that they exhort all men."

According to the Council, the task of priests is "not to teach their own wisdom but God's Word." And this task is of no less importance for the priest than his offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice. Both of these are inseperably linked to each other: "The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ - Head of the Church - before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 1552).

For this reason, priests have the very serious obligation to teach the faithful under their care that it is never licit to have sexual relations outside of marriage; that a Catholic cannot (having been validly married in the Church) after divorce, marry another or otherwise pretend that sexual relations with another individual are somehow "marital"; that "formal cooperation in an abortion constitutes a grave offense" and that '"the Church attaches the canonical penalty of excommunication to this crime against human life" (CCC, 2272); and that "every action which, whether in anticipation of the conjugal act, or in its accomplishment, or in the development of its natural consequences, proposes, whether as an end or as a means, to render procreation impossible, is intrinsically evil.." (CCC, No. 2370, citing Humanae Vitae, No. 14).

The Church proposes these (and other teachings) as true and it does so in the name of Christ. The priest is not to question them. He is not to ignore them or neglect them out of a false sense of "compassion" or "charity." It was Pope Paul VI who said that, "To diminish in no way the saving teaching of Christ constitutes an eminent form of charity for souls." (Humanae Vitae, No. 29).

Pope John Paul II reiterated these words in Familiaris Consortio, No. 33. We are reminded in Lumen Gentium 14 of the Second Vatican Council that: "He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a "bodily" manner and not "in his heart." All the Church's children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged."

When a priest ignores or neglects his duty, his task, of serving the Word of God with fidelity, he fails to persevere in that charity described by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II as a charity which diminishes in no way the saving teaching of Christ. And he will be the more severely judged (Luke 12:48).

But so many priests have neglected their duty to proclaim the Gospel to all.  And the Church is now reaping the fruit of this infidelity.  Even though Canon Law states quite clearly that, "The Christian faithful have the right to receive assistance from the sacred pastors out of the spiritual goods of the Church, especially the word of God and the sacraments" (Canon 213), there has been a dearth of sound catechesis.  The People of God have not been formed by sound instruction based on Church doctrine and Church Tradition.  When was the last time (if ever) you heard a homily in your local parish citing the Catechism of the Catholic Church or papal documents?  Were it not for EWTN, you might never hear such authentic preaching.

And this is nothing short of shameful.  For such a foundation is vital.  Where it is absent, people will assume that they have the right to form their conscience according to their own opinions, their own whims.  The Catechism teaches us that, "Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened.  A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful.  It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator.  The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings." (1783).

Those priests who remain silent while their people crave truth and direction are betraying their vocation.  And they will be (as Lumen Gentium 14 reminds us), the more severely judged.  As will every Catholic who knowingly rejects the authoritative teachings of Christ's Church.  Truly the words of Hosea apply to our own time:

"Sons of Israel, listen to the word of Yahweh, for Yahweh indicts the inhabitants of the country; there is no fidelity, no tenderness, no knowledge of God in the country, only perjury and lies, slaughter, theft, adultery and violence, murder after murder.  This is why the country is in mourning, and all who live in it pineaway, even the wild animals and the birds of heaven; the fish of the sea themselves are perishing."

And to the priests:

"But let no man denounce, no man rebuke; it is you, priest that I denounce.  Day and night you stumble along, the prophet stumbling with you, and you are the ruin of your people.  My people perish for want of knowledge.  As you have rejected knowledge so do I reject you from my priesthood; you have forgotten the teaching of your God, I in my turn will forget your children.  Many as they are, all of them have sinned against me, they have bartered their glory for shame.  They feed on the sin of my people, they are all greedy for their iniquity.  But as with the people, so let it be with the priest: I will make them for their conduct, I will pay them out for their deeds.  They will eat but never be satisfied, they will play the whore but still be sterile, because they have deserted Yahweh to give themselves up to whoring." (Hosea 4: 1-11).

The Church is in crisis because priests like Father Thomas Rosica continue to genuflect before the world in their zeal to serve the Prince of this world.

Pray for these confused clerics.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Signs of the Times: Increasing enmity toward Israel

In an article which may be found here, Rabbi Benjamin Blech writes:

"Controversy surrounds the Prime Minister of Israel’s forthcoming appearance on Capitol Hill.

Invited by Republican House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress about the threat of Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed this opportunity to share his country’s existential concern as the Iranian regime comes ever closer to achieving the capability of fulfilling its avowed goal of the total annihilation of Israel. But the White House has made known its displeasure. A growing number of Democratic lawmakers said they would boycott his talk. Vice President Joe Biden, who as president of the Senate would normally oversee Netanyahu’s address, said he would be out of town. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said she hoped the speech 'doesn’t take place.'

Why all this animosity toward the leader of a long-standing ally, the only democracy in the middle east, to whom President Obama has long pledged his unswerving loyalty? Because the administration has made clear its fury at a supposed breach of protocol. The White House insists it was not consulted before the invitation was given. That breach of etiquette, it stoutly maintains, trumps any benefit Congress might gain from the insights of the Prime Minister of the country to be most immediately and severely affected by the present negotiations being concluded with Iran.

Remarkably, this is not the first time the issue of protocol lies at the heart of an Iranian threat to destroy the Jewish people. There is biblical precedent. Eerily echoing today’s story, the Book of Esther recounts the first recorded instance of attempted genocide against Jews in the ancient empire of Persia, today known as Iran. When, more than two millennia ago, Mordecai learns of Haman’s plot 'to destroy, to slay and to exterminate all Jews, young and old, children and women, in a single day' (Esther 3:13), he prevails upon his adopted daughter Esther, now Queen, to intercede.

But Esther is afraid. If she were to approach her husband to appeal Haman’s decree, she would be breaking royal protocol. 'All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces are well aware,' Esther responds to Mordecai, 'that if anyone, man or woman, approaches the king in the inner court without being summoned, there is but one law for him: that he be put to death, except for the person to whom the king shall extend the gold scepter so that he may live. Now I have not been summoned to come to the king for the past thirty days' (Esther 4:11).

Nonetheless, the Book of Esther tells us that after begging the Jews to pray and fast on her behalf, Esther chose to disregard protocol in the face of possible extermination of her people. Esther succeeded in averting the evil decree. As a result, Jews to this day around the world celebrate the Festival of Purim.

In Jewish tradition, the Purim story marks the commemoration of a different kind of miracle. In its unfolding, it is a miracle of coincidences so statistically improbable that they together speak to us of the hidden hand of the divine in human events. For that reason the book of Esther is the only one in the entire Bible in which God’s name is not to be found even once. Here God hides His face - but is as much involved as when He split the sea before the Jews fleeing the Egyptians. For Jewish commentators it is the message of the famous – and ironically anonymous – adage that “Coincidence is merely God’s way of choosing to remain anonymous.”

And so perhaps the most remarkable serendipitous aspect of Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech is that it is scheduled for the very day before Jews will be observing the Fast of Esther and Purim this year, to recall a time when a heroic Queen decided that the survival of her people took precedence over protocol."

The day is fast approaching when the nations will align themselves against Israel.

Ezekiel 38

A Prophecy Against Gog

1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of [a] Meshech and Tubal; prophesy against him 3 and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of [b] Meshech and Tubal. 4 I will turn you around, put hooks in your jaws and bring you out with your whole army—your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. 5 Persia, Cush [c] and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, 6 also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you. 7 " 'Get ready; be prepared, you and all the hordes gathered about you, and take command of them. 8 After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war, whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety. 9 You and all your troops and the many nations with you will go up, advancing like a storm; you will be like a cloud covering the land. 10 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On that day thoughts will come into your mind and you will devise an evil scheme. 11 You will say, "I will invade a land of unwalled villages; I will attack a peaceful and unsuspecting people—all of them living without walls and without gates and bars. 12 I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land." 13 Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages [d] will say to you, "Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?" ' 14 "Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? 15 You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. 16 You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, O Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I show myself holy through you before their eyes.
17 " 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Are you not the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel? At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. 18 This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign LORD. 19 In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. 20 The fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground. 21 I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign LORD. Every man's sword will be against his brother. 22 I will execute judgment upon him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. 23 And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the LORD.'

Ezekiel 39

1 "Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am against you, O Gog, chief prince of [e] Meshech and Tubal. 2 I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. 3 Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. 4 On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. 5 You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign LORD. 6 I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the LORD.
7 " 'I will make known my holy name among my people Israel. I will no longer let my holy name be profaned, and the nations will know that I the LORD am the Holy One in Israel. 8 It is coming! It will surely take place, declares the Sovereign LORD. This is the day I have spoken of. 9 " 'Then those who live in the towns of Israel will go out and use the weapons for fuel and burn them up—the small and large shields, the bows and arrows, the war clubs and spears. For seven years they will use them for fuel. 10 They will not need to gather wood from the fields or cut it from the forests, because they will use the weapons for fuel. And they will plunder those who plundered them and loot those who looted them, declares the Sovereign LORD.
11 " 'On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east toward [f] the Sea. [g] It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog. [h] 12 " 'For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. 13 All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I am glorified will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign LORD. 14 " 'Men will be regularly employed to cleanse the land. Some will go throughout the land and, in addition to them, others will bury those that remain on the ground. At the end of the seven months they will begin their search. 15 As they go through the land and one of them sees a human bone, he will set up a marker beside it until the gravediggers have buried it in the Valley of Hamon Gog. 16 (Also a town called Hamonah [i] will be there.) And so they will cleanse the land.' 17 "Son of man, this is what the Sovereign LORD says: Call out to every kind of bird and all the wild animals: 'Assemble and come together from all around to the sacrifice I am preparing for you, the great sacrifice on the mountains of Israel. There you will eat flesh and drink blood. 18 You will eat the flesh of mighty men and drink the blood of the princes of the earth as if they were rams and lambs, goats and bulls—all of them fattened animals from Bashan. 19 At the sacrifice I am preparing for you, you will eat fat till you are glutted and drink blood till you are drunk. 20 At my table you will eat your fill of horses and riders, mighty men and soldiers of every kind,' declares the Sovereign LORD. 21 "I will display my glory among the nations, and all the nations will see the punishment I inflict and the hand I lay upon them. 22 From that day forward the house of Israel will know that I am the LORD their God. 23 And the nations will know that the people of Israel went into exile for their sin, because they were unfaithful to me. So I hid my face from them and handed them over to their enemies, and they all fell by the sword. 24 I dealt with them according to their uncleanness and their offenses, and I hid my face from them. 25 "Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will now bring Jacob back from captivity [j] and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. 26 They will forget their shame and all the unfaithfulness they showed toward me when they lived in safety in their land with no one to make them afraid. 27 When I have brought them back from the nations and have gathered them from the countries of their enemies, I will show myself holy through them in the sight of many nations. 28 Then they will know that I am the LORD their God, for though I sent them into exile among the nations, I will gather them to their own land, not leaving any behind. 29 I will no longer hide my face from them, for I will pour out my Spirit on the house of Israel, declares the Sovereign LORD."


Footnotes:
Ezekiel 38:2 Or the prince of Rosh ,
Ezekiel 38:3 Or Gog, prince of Rosh,
Ezekiel 38:5 That is, the upper Nile region
Ezekiel 38:13 Or her strong lions
Ezekiel 39:1 Or Gog, prince of Rosh,
Ezekiel 39:11 Or of
Ezekiel 39:11 That is, the Dead Sea
Ezekiel 39:11 Hamon Gog means hordes of Gog.
Ezekiel 39:16 Hamonah means horde .
Ezekiel 39:25 Or now restore the fortunes of Jacob




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