Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sign the Letter of Support for Pope Benedict XVI

For background on the controversy, read Fr. Euteneuer's excellent response here. And the Holy Father's statement on condoms here.

The conduct of the media, in particular, has been offensive. And only serves to confirm what Professor James Hitchcock, in his excellent work entitled "Catholicism and Modernity" (New York: Seabury Press, 1979, p. 86), had to say: "The media's alleged commitment to 'pluralism' is at base a kind of hoax*. The banner of pluralism is raised in order to win toleration for new ideas as yet unacceptable to the majority. Once toleration has been achieved, public opinion is systematically manipulated first to enforce a status of equality between the old and the new, then to assert the superiority of the new over the old. A final stage is often the total discrediting, even sometimes the banning, of what had previously been orthodox."

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection." (Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, No. 17).

* See here for example.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Portuguese Bishop Ilidio Leandro gives grave scandal

The Bishop challenged Pope Benedict XVI's stance on condoms and, in so doing, has given grave scandal. As Dr. Germain Grisez explains, "Advising people whose sexual activities might transmit disease to reduce the risk by using condoms is seldom if ever a case of permissibly counseling the lesser evil. Publishing such advice or offering it indiscriminately gives scandal, for the advice encourages the choice of intercourse with a condom by some who are not already determined to engage in illicit sexual behavior or are determined only to engage in a specifically different immorality...Moreover, using condoms may not lessen the harmful effects of habitual behaviors which risk transmitting disease, for even if the risk is reduced in particular instances, in the long run it may not be less and may even be greater. Condoms fail; habitually unchaste people are not likely to have the self-discipline needed for consistency in taking precautions; and the illusion of safety negates one motive for discontinuing the dangerous behavior."

"Scandal is an attitude or behavior which leads another to do evil. The person who gives scandal becomes his neighbor's tempter. He damages virtue and integrity; he may even draw his brother into spiritual death. Scandal is a grave offense if by deed or omission another is deliberately led into a grave offense." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, No. 2284).

"Scandal takes on a particular gravity by reason of the authority of those who cause it or the weakness of those who are scandalized. It prompted our Lord to utter this curse: "Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.' Scandal is grave when given by those who by nature or office are obliged to teach and educate others. Jesus reproaches the scribes and Pharisees on this account: he likens them to wolves in sheep's clothing." (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2285).

Not only has this renegade Bishop caused grave scandal by advising others that it's permissible to use condoms to "reduce the risk" of disease, but he also gives scandal by publically opposing the Holy Father on this matter.

This Bishop should be removed from his office immediately.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saint Benedict Center New Hampshire: Engaging in deception?

"I am not and never have been involved with SBC's 'Catholic America Tour'. That website page is misleading." -Fr. Brian Harrison, O.S., in a comment left at this Blog pertaining to a website page of the SBC cult in Richmond, New Hampshire which listed him as part of its "Catholic" America Tour.

Why would the SBC cult list Fr. Harrison as a participant in its "Catholic" America Tour? According to Fr. Harrison, he is not and never has been involved with that project. And the website page has since been removed. Was this an attempt by SBC cultists to achieve some legitimacy?* Were they intentionally engaging in deception?

* The "Saint Benedict Center" is not a Catholic organization. The following letter written by Fr. Edward Arsenault, Moderator of the Curia for the Diocese of Manchester to Mrs. Terri O'Rorke, makes that fact abundantly clear:

"I write to you in reply to your letter dated May 24, 2007. I share your concern about the ongoing controversy and difficulties with the Saint Benedict Center. As you know, the Saint Benedict Center has no permission or authority to exercise any Ministry on behalf of the Roman Catholic Church in New Hampshire. Bishop McCormack has and will continue to do all that he can to encourage people to refrain from participating in any of the spiritual exercises at the Saint Benedict Center.

For my part, I will continue to make it clear that Saint Benedict Center has no affiliation with the Roman Catholic Church in any way. Please know that I will continue to pray for you and all those who are affected by difficulties that have been created by the Saint Benedict Center."

Related reading here and here.

Louis Villarrubia, known by his followers as "Brother" Andre Marie, was questioned about the Holocaust. That interview is recounted here.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Bishops take stand against Reiki at convents and retreat centers citing "danger of malevolent forces."

Michael Brown has warned of the dangers of Reiki in the past. So have I. In fact, as I mentioned in this post written back in 2005, the La Salette Missionaries have offered Reiki at their Center for Christian Living in Attleboro.

And as this website explains, Patricia Warren, who has been voted "most recognized Reiki Master in Massachusetts," by Spirit of Change Magazine, has developed the "Touch of Compassion" - a "Christian Approach" to Hands on Healing, which she offers at Ruah Spirituality Institute, Adelynrood Conference Center, La Salette Center for Christian Living, and numerous Episcopal and Unitarian churches.

Ms. Warren apprenticed with Guru Sewak Singh Khalsa and practiced reflexology and energy massage while studying kundalini yoga, numerology, meditation and the Sikh religion. She has also studied Transcendental Meditation and hatha yoga.

The Ruah Spirituality Institute is, in reality, a New Age organization which offers Centering Prayer, Reiki, and "Eco-Spirituality." According to the Institute's website (go here), it will be offering An Evening with James Carroll, the former Catholic priest and Boston Globe columnist who has come under fire for his anti-Catholic views and his revisionist history regarding the record of Pope Pius XII. See this Catholic League article for example.

Two quotes regarding anti-Semitism...

"Mark well, we call Abraham our Patriarch, our ancestor. Anti-Semitism is irreconcilable with this lofty thought....Anti-Semitism is inadmissible; spiritually, we are all Semites."

-Pope Pius XI to Belgian Pilgrims, September 6, 1938.

"...I accept fully the teachings of Vatican Council II about the Jewish people and, with the Church, I condemn and repudiate anti-Semitism. However, since the Council did not attempt [to] define what precise views, expressions and attitudes are to count as being 'anti-Semitic,' there is clearly a certain 'grey area' there."

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

U.S. Marine Cpl. Mike Ouellette....Semper Fi

A 1999 graduate of Memorial High School, Mike Ouellette, 27, was killed Sunday in southern Afghanistan.
We Shall Keep the Faith
by Moina Michael,
November 1918
Oh! you who sleep in Flanders Fields,
Sleep sweet - to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith With All who died.
We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.
And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We'll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.

Fr. Brian Harrison responds...

Father Brian Harrison left two comments at this Blog which I will address in this post. In his first comment, he writes, "Please allow me to respond to these attacks. I had never read till now the February 2004 article by E. Michael Jones that was quoted in 'Catalyst,' and it is certainly not true to say that I do not find his theological position, as quoted here, 'problematic.'"

Actually, my Blog post did not constitute an "attack" on Father Harrison. But since Father has portrayed himself as some sort of "authority" on E. Michael Jones and has defended him while asserting that, "Mike Jones principal 'crime' has been to publish extensive historical studies arguing that Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers have again and again been major players in the various revolutionary movements of the last two millennia aimed at preventing, subverting and overthrowing the dominance in European civilization of Christian values and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches," it's fair to say that he apparently does not find E. Michael Jones' views to be problematic. This because Jones' views have been well-documented.

Father Harrison acknowledges this in his first comment writing, "...I have often expressed to Jones and Sungenis my concern and disapproval about certain things they have said about Jews, especially anything that tends to come across as a sweeping negative generalization about that people as a whole." And what of Jones' belief that "Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers" have been "major players in the various revolutionary movements of the last two millennia aimed at preventing, subverting and overthrowing" Christian values and Catholic and Orthodox Churches? That sure comes across as "a sweeping negative generalization" about the Jewish people to me.

He then writes, "As regards the St. Benedict Center in New Hampshire, I had no knowledge of anything its spokespersons had ever said on Jewish issues when I spoke at their conference (on a quite different topic) back in August 2007. If indeed SBC representatives have made statements accusing 'the Jewish People' as such of 'corrupting' influences, conspiracies, or whatever, then I totally repudiate such views." But "Brother" Andre Marie of the SBC has said that the Jewish People undermine public morals and Douglas Bersaw has denied the Holocaust, referring to it as a "fraud" and the Jewish People as the "Synagogue of Satan." If Father Harrison is really opposed to such views, then why is he part of the SBC's 2009 "Catholic America Tour"? See here. And if Father is really opposed to such conspiracy theories, why has he defended the conspiracy theories of E. Michael Jones which portray "Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers" as being behind 2,000 years of plots to overthrow the Catholic and Orthodox Churches and Christian values?

Father Harrison concludes his first comment writing, "...I accept fully the teachings of Vatican Council II about the Jewish people and, with the Church, I condemn and repudiate anti-Semitism. However, since the Council did not attempt [to] define what precise views, expressions and attitudes are to count as being 'anti-Semitic,' there is clearly a certain 'grey area' there. That should be a matter of calm and respectful debate among Catholics, not harsh mutual condemnations."

This is what Vatican II said, "...in her rejection of every persecution against any man, the Church, mindful of the patrimony she shares with the Jews and moved not by political reasons but by the Gospel's spiritual love, decries hatred, persecutions, displays of anti-Semitism, directed against Jews at any time and by anyone." (Nostra Aetate, No. 4). Anti-Semitism expresses itself in many and varied ways. For example, through denial of the Holocaust or "sweeping negative generalizations" such as those issued by SBC representatives or E. Michael Jones and Robert Sungenis.

In his second comment, Father Harrison writes, "Once again Mr. Melanson, I ask space to defend myself - this time from the grave charge of unorthodoxy that you level against me."

Apparently Father has difficulty being honest. Something he should work on this Lent. In the post he refers to, I wrote, "Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney have initiated a discussion thread at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website with an article written by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., and entitled "Can an 'implicit faith' in Christ be sufficient for salvation?...The answer is: yes." I then proceeded to present the Magisterial teaching of the Church relative to the subject and added, "Theologians such as Fr. Brian Harrison are not 'pastors' within the Church. They have not been given the mission from the Lord Jesus to instruct the faithful in 'all that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith' (Dei Verbum, No. 8). This mission has been entrusted exclusively to the Magisterium of the Church.." (See here).

If Father Harrison has a problem with this statement, perhaps it is because he considers himself to be some sort of ersatz Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith? If this is the case, I submit that dishonesty isn't the only thing he should work on this Lent.

Related reading: Robert Sungenis vs. Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades: A Chronology

Additional reading: E. Michael Jones and the Jews

Monday, March 23, 2009

New Order Emerging: Preparation for the reign of Antichrist

Religious Preparation: Both Intellectual and Moral

(For the Reign of Antichrist):

"But how shall he deprive the world of Christianity and have himself adored as God? Alas, it is only too true that the minds and hearts of men are admirably disposed for revolution and consequently ready to accept and bear the cruel yoke of such a tyrant.

Revolution as the word itself implies means a subversion, but a subversion of all that is true, good, beautiful, and grand in the universe. It is the subversion of religion, representing its dogmas as myths and its moral teachings as tyranical. It is the subversion of authority. Licentiousness under the name of liberty becomes the order of the day; each one is invested with the right to govern himself.

It is the subversion of reason: and do we not find leading minds in some of the most enlightened nations denying the principle of contradiction and maintaining the absolute identity of all beings?

Revolution is therefore essentially destructive, and it becomes cosmopolitan by the action of secret societies scattered throughout the world. Is it not true to say that the 'mystery of iniquity' is prepared in secret revolutionary dens?

But it does not suffice to destroy; it is absolutely necessary to build up again. The world cannot subsist long in a vacuum. It must have a religion; it must have a philosophy; it must have an authority. Revolution will furnish all these.

What frightful immorality must follow in the train of this shameless prostitution of religion! Never has the threefold concupiscence made greater ravage among mankind. And this is the religion sought and hoped for as the cherished boon of the aspirations of our modern free thinkers.

To our Christian philosophy, the honor of humanity's revolution will substitute a babel of extravagant and absurd ideas. Instead of a mild and efficient authority consecrated alike by Church and state, despotism* and anarchy will rise up and contend for the shreds of religious liberty and human policy...if the state of perversion continue for a while longer, he [Antichrist] will find the world prepared to receive and serve him." (Rev. P. Huchede, History of Antichrist, pp. 13-14, Tan Books).
Francis Cardinal George has already spoken of an emerging despotism while Cardinal Pell has warned that secularism is becoming totalitarian (see here). Meanwhile, some Catholics would have us believe that our present-day society is really no more evil than society was in days gone by (see the comments section of this post for example).
Related reading here and here.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

And speaking of Father Brian Harrison....

Fr. Brian Harrison, in a letter defending Robert Sungenis and E. Michael Jones from charges of anti-Semitism (the entire text may be found here), writes: "Now, Mike Jones' principal 'crime' has been to publish extensive historical studies arguing that Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers have again and again been major players in the various revolutionary movements of the last two millennia aimed at preventing, subverting and overthrowing the dominance in European civilization of Christian values and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches."

But while Father Harrison doesn't view E. Michael Jones' views as problematic, others would disagree. For example, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights had this to say in the July-August 2004 edition of The Catalyst:


Recently, an article by E. Michael Jones in the February 2004 edition of his magazine, Culture Wars, came to our attention. What begins as a review of Roy Schoeman's book, Salvation Is From the Jews, ends up as an anti-Semitic rant playing fast and loose with Catholic theology. It should be unequivocally condemned.

The first important point to note is that there is nothing in Roy Shoeman's book that would lead one to Jones's conclusions; Schoeman is a Jewish convert to Catholicism, and his book, published by the mainstream Ignatius Press, has won praise from reliably level-headed Catholics. The problem lies with Jones, who uses his review of the book to engage in a freewheeling polemic against Jews.

At the outset, Jones's history is skewed: "The overwhelming majority of Jews didn't just ignore Christ, they actively sought his death." While it is undeniable that some Jews did seek Christ's death, declaring that an "overwhelming majority" did is just unwarranted. This, however, is not the worst of what Jones has to say.

According to Revelation 3:9, Jones says, Jews who do not accept Christ are the "synagogue of Satan." "In other words, the group which was called by God to prepare the way for the Messiah, rejected the Messiah and in doing that, became over the course of the ensuing centuries, a group that defined itself as anti-Christian." Not believing Christ was the Messiah does not entail defining oneself as anti-Christian; that assumes that Jews see so little of value in their own religion that they must define themselves against Christians. Furthermore, it paints Jews with a broad brush, ignoring regional differences as well as individual traits. That is the very definition of prejudice.

Jones goes on: "The Jews who reject Christ now prepare the way for the coming of the anti-Christ every bit as much as the faithful Jews prepared the way for the coming of the real Christ. The Jews, because of their favored position and because of their rejection of Christ, now have a special role to play in the mystery of iniquity and its history on earth." This sounds like dispensationalist theology, an umbrella term for various Protestant systems of biblical interpretation that, among other things, severely separates God's plan for the Jews from His plan for the community of believers. It posits that Jesus failed in His mission to the Jews, and the Church was formed more or less as a "Plan B." It is the basis for the Left Behind series of novels, and is anything but Catholic. Unaccountably, Jones faults the Catholic Schoeman for not mentioning any of this.

See Jones's next statement: "If salvation comes from the Jews who prepared the way for Christ and accepted him when he came, what comes from the Jews who rejected Christ? The answer is clear: what comes from this group is the opposite of salvation, namely, the work of Satan culminating in the arrival of the Antichrist." Jones's conclusion just does not follow from his premises. Again, Jones is attempting to pass off dispensationalism as Catholic doctrine. Jones has the gall to add, "The answer is not only clear; there is no other possible answer to this question."

Jones claims that through much of Christian history, "What happened was precisely the Jewish participation in iniquity which their pertinacious and ongoing rejection of Christ made a necessity." He adds that "the logic is inescapable." Clearly, logic is not Jones's strong suit. Is Jones asserting that there can be no righteous non-Christians? No, he is saying something even more ridiculous: that there is something inherent in the Jewish people that makes them unique instruments of evil. If that is not anti-Semitism, then nothing is. He even outrageously blames the Jews themselves for the Holocaust and pogroms: "Messianic politics has been a recipe for disaster… and the Nazi attempt to exterminate the Jews was a reaction to Jewish Messianism (in the form of Bolshevism) every bit as much as the Chmielnicki pogroms flowed from the excesses of the Jewish tax farmers in the Ukraine."

Jones takes on the tone of a conspiracy theorist, noting "the Jewish/Bolshevist takeover of Russia and large segments of Eastern Europe, which in turn set up the mechanism of reaction against that reign of terror, namely, National Socialism under Hitler. That in turn led to the creation of the state of Israel, and the rise to power of the Jewish media elites in the United States, which in turn led, after over 50 years of antagonizing Islam to 9/11 and the current spate of never-ending wars in the Middle East." In keeping with the dispensationalist tendency to interpret prophecy in terms of current events, Jones comments, "So it looks more and more like Armageddon every day now. The outline of human history seems to be taking on a more and more biblical configuration with each passing day…." In the context of "Paul Wolfowitz's plan to march through the middle east; George Bush's recent over the top messianic speeches in England, or Ariel Sharon showing up at the Temple Mount and inaugurating the intifada," Jones concludes, "The contemporary Synagogue of Satan, whether in America or Israel, now poses the greatest threat to world peace."

The Catholic League condemns Jones's anti-Semitism and repudiates his efforts to justify it in the name of Catholic theology. One thing is clear: there are many choice terms one can use to describe Jones's view of salvation history; "Catholic" is not one of them.

Apparently Father Harrison doesn't see it that way. For him, there is absolutely nothing problematic about arguing that "Jewish activists, intellectuals and financiers" have been plotting for 2,000 years to prevent, subvert and overthrow Christian values and the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Small wonder he appeared recently at the Saint Benedict Center in Richmond, New Hampshire. I'm sure he found a hearty welcome there. After all, it was Louis Villarrubia ("Brother" Andre Marie) who suggested that the Jewish People undermine public morality. And it was Douglas Bersaw ("Brother" Anthony Mary) who referred to the Holocaust as a "fraud" and the Jewish People as the "Synagogue of Satan."

For more on E. Michael Jones go here. And for background on the anti-Semitism of Robert Sungenis go here.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Implicitum votum

"Nor does Divine Providence deny the helps necessary for salvation to those who, without blame on their part, have not yet arrived at an explicit knowledge of God and with His grace strive to live a good life. Whatever good or truth is found amongst them is looked upon by the Church as a preparation for the Gospel. She knows that it is given by Him who enlightens all men so that they may finally have life." (Lumen Gentium, No. 16).

Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney have initiated a discussion thread at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website with an article written by Fr. Brian W. Harrison, O.S., and entitled "Can an 'implicit faith' in Christ be sufficient for salvation?"*

The answer is: yes. Let's hear from Avery Cardinal Dulles on the subject: "The Magisterium of the Church has gradually clarified its position regarding the possibilities of salvific faith for the unevangelized. From patristic times until our own century the axiom 'Outside the Church no salvation' was often stated in terms that seemed to make explicitly Christian and Catholic faith an absolute condition for salvation. For example, the Council of Florence in its Decree for the Jacobites (1442) asserted: '[The Holy Roman Church] firmly believes, professes, and preaches that none of those who exist outside of the Catholic Church - not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics - can become sharers of eternal life; rather, they will go into the eternal fire 'that was prepared for the devil and his angels' [Mt 25: 41] unless, before the end of their lives, they are joined to that same Church.' (DS 1351).

This position was nuanced in the mid-nineteenth century. In an allocution given on the occasion of the definition of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin in 1854, Pope Pius IX reminded the assembled bishops of the error of thinking that Catholics 'can well hope for the eternal salvation of all those who have in no way lived in the true Church of Christ.' But then he added that God in his justice and mercy will never impute guilt to those who innocently err. We must not presume to judge the limits of invincible ignorance, 'taking into account the great variety of peoples, lands, native talents, and so many other factors.'

In an encyclical of 1863 the same pope again repudiated the extremes of rigorism and latitudinarianism. He wrote:

'It is once again necessary to recall and censure the very serious error in which some Catholics are unfortunately involved, that of believing that it is possible to attain eternal life although living in error and in a state of alienation from the true faith and from Catholic unity. This view is utterly contrary to Catholic teaching. You know also that people who are invincibly ignorant of our holy religion, provided that they sincerely keep the precepts of the natural law, who are prepared to obey God, and who live honorable and upright lives, can, by the efficacious power of the light and grace of God, attain eternal life; for God, who fully beholds, scrutinizes, and knows the minds, hearts, thoughts, and dispositions of all, in his supreme mercy will by no means permit anyone who is not guilty of voluntary fault to suffer eternal punishments.'

Under Pius XII the salvation of 'nonbelievers' was discussed in connection with the necessity of belonging to the true Church in order to be saved. The encyclical Mystici corporis (1943), after declaring that the Catholic Church alone is the Mystical Body of Christ, spoke of the possibility of belonging to it not by formal membership but 'by a kind of unconscious desire and intent' (inscio quodam desiderio ac voto, DS 3821). The pope seemed to imply that this latter type of belonging, even though it did not give the full benefits of incorporation in the visible organization of the Good Shepherd, might suffice for salvation in the case of persons inculpably ignorant of the true faith.

In 1949 the Holy Office, in a letter to the Archbishop of Boston, declared that an 'implicit intent' (implicitum votum) could suffice, provided that it was accompanied by supernatural faith and perfect charity (DS 3870-72). These texts, while not dealing directly with the kind of faith required for salvation, implied that explicit faith in Christ and the Church would not be necessary in the case of the unevangelized....

As late as the mid-twentieth century Leonard Feeney , S.J., and his followers at St. Benedict Center in Cambridge, Massachusetts, proclaimed that no one could be saved without joining, or explicitly intending to join, the Roman Catholic Church. Feeney's pessimistic position was, however, rejected by the Roman Congregation of the Holy Office, which asserted, as already mentioned, that a merely implicit desire to join the Catholic Church, if accompanied by faith and informed by perfect charity, could suffice." (The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith, pp. 259-260, 262).

Fr. Brian W. Harrison has no authority to contradict the Teaching Magisterium of the Church. Neither do the followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney. As Richard B [a Catholic apologist from the Worcester Diocese] explained at the Holy Cross Cardinal Newman Society website:

"Theologians are not in any way the Teaching Magisterium. Fr. Feeney or any of his followers are in error to think that they can, in any measure, take on the charism of the Teaching Magisterium and thereby proclaim what the dogma [Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus] is all about...Only Peter, by himself alone, or with the Bishops, who are one with Peter, have the charism to proclaim the content of this dogma."

Well said Richard. This situation is very serious. Followers of the late Fr. Leonard Feeney who are defending his rejected interpretation of the dogma are continuing to sow the seeds of dissent from the Church's authentic teaching on the subject. This situation needs to be addressed in a meaningful way by Church authorities.

Related reading here and here.

* The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its 1990 Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, distinguishes clearly between questions which theologians may raise about authoritative but noninfallible teachings (nos. 24-31) and dissent from such teachings (nos. 32-41). The document judges that questioning can be compatible with the "religious submission" required (see Lumen Gentium, No. 25), but it firmly and unequivocally rejects dissent from such teachings as incompatible with this "religious submission" and irreconcilable with the theologian's vocation. Dissent from infallibly proposed teachings (such as the Church's understanding of the dogma "Outside the Church no salvation") is a fortiori excluded. This teaching is outlined quite clearly in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which Pope John Paul II says, "..is a statement of the Church's faith and of Catholic doctrine, attested to or illumined by Sacred Scripture, the Apostolic Tradition, and the Church's Magisterium." (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, No. 3). In this same Apostolic Constitution, Pope John Paul II states that the Catechism "..is the result of the collaboration of the whole Episcopate of the Catholic Church." (No. 2).

Theologians such as Fr. Brian Harrison are not "pastors" within the Church. They have not been given the mission from the Lord Jesus to instruct the faithful in "all that serves to make the People of God live their lives in holiness and increase their faith" (Dei Verbum, No. 8). This mission has been entrusted exclusively to the Magisterium of the Church, i.e., the Pope and those Bishops who remain united with him.

Dei Verbum of the Second Vatican Council teaches that, "the task of authentically interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed." (No. 10).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Signs of the times...

The 1990 prophecy (see here for full text):

"In four years there will arise a new evil the likes of which mankind has never before encountered. It will arrive almost imperceptibly, with few people noticing the depth of its evil, for it will appear to have beneficial and convenient aspects. It is an evil comparable to abortion -- that is to say, that even if evils as great and widespread as abortion were to be eliminated, this is enough of an evil that it would present mankind with an enormous challenge. This evil is being allowed as a test because of the prayers inspired by Mary to put off chastisements. How mankind responds to this new evil will determine the extent, length, and severity of the first chastisements. These chastisements will differ according to regions, and like the great evil, will not always or usually be immediately noticeable for what they are. In the period also will be a warning that involves not fire from the sky but fear of fire from the sky, and strange loud rumblings. This, according to mankind's response, will then be followed by another chastisement, or the inevitable onset of the change of era. Your era is ending. Soon the world will not be the world you know. I am not speaking of a barren world, or one depopulated, but of the end of your technological era. Many inventions of mankind will be broken down and there will be more of a peasant attitude and way of life everywhere. After this breakdown of false society will come persecution of Christians and also a new world order. The anti-christ will be on earth trying to affect the new world order. Hardly anyone will notice the extent of his influence until afterwards. He will not be of tremendous visibility until he is accomplished. That is to say, he will not rule, control, and be at all obvious to the world at the peak of his influence. He will not be unlike a figure such as Marx, except his ideas will be more immediate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Forces promoting contraception are leading an all-out attack against the Holy Father and the Church

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection." (Pope Paul VI, Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae, No. 17).

Related reading here.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Worcester Telegram & Gazette: A generous letters-to-the-editor policy?

The Worcester Telegram & Gazette runs the following notice relative to its letters-to-the-editor policy:

We publish letters expressing all shades of opinion because we feel a special obligation to allow readers to comment on our editorials and news coverage. We invite constructive criticism and welcome suggestions. The Telegram & Gazette has a generous letters-to-the-editor policy. Most letters meeting our guidelines appear in print. These guidelines are:

We welcome letters sent to the newspaper by e-mail. To be published, such letters must have as their subject, “Letter to the Editor.” Others will not be received.

Letters must be no longer than 250 words. Letters that exceed this maximum will be returned to the writer to shorten.

We do not publish second-hand material as letters: reprints and quotations, letters written for other publications, addressed to other people or "open letters." We do not print letters that have appeared in other newspapers. In most cases, we do not publish letters from outside our circulation area. We do not publish letters considered too personal to be of general public interest. That also includes routine thank-you notes to individuals or organizations. We do not publish letters written in verse or essay form.

At times, when we believe a given topic has been exhausted, we call a halt to further comments.

We do not publish letters that we believe come under libel laws. Material can be libelous if it holds a private person or organization up to hatred, contempt, suspicion of wrongdoing, scorn or ridicule. We review letters about active court cases carefully.

We do not publish hate mail or letters that are obviously offensive to good taste. We do not publish letters that are unsigned, unverifiable or unintelligible. Political endorsements and letters concerning federal, state and municipal elections and votes have specific deadlines announced in advance.

Letters must be signed with the writer's full name. Initials and nicknames are not acceptable. Writers must include a complete home address and a handwritten signature, plus a daytime telephone number for verification purposes. We limit an individual to one published letter in two months.

On school projects, we ask that the name of the instructor be included. One letter writer may be selected to represent the class and note will give the number of letters received.

These guidelines have been crafted to given a maximum number of writers the opportunity to be represented in our letters to the editor columns.

Now my good friend JayG, a Socratic gadfly from Worcester County, submitted the following as a letter to the editor of the T&G:

Some think that Love at First Sight is primarily between a man and a woman, but I’d argue that Love at First Sight actually happens primarily in a delivery room – when parents first see their newborn child.

Eighteen year old Sycloria Williams was not expecting Love at First Sight back in 2006, when she went to abort her 23-week old fetus at the Hialeah Woman’s Health Center outside Miami. But when she delivered a live baby instead of a dead one, a baby that autopsy reports say had filled her lungs with air, Williams had a change of heart. I suppose it’s fair to call a fetus that was delivered and actually breathed a baby, not a fetus, but Williams simply called her daughter Shanice.

Owner Belkis Gonzalez saw this change of heart as bad for business, so he cut Shanice’s umbilical cord without clamping it, threw her in a biohazard bag, and tossed her out. I suppose it’s fair to call this murder, but the State of Florida has opted only to call this practicing medicine without a license.

Jay G

This was the editor's reply:

Date: Monday, March 16, 2009 6:18 AM
From: letters@telegram.com
To: jayg
Subject: Re: Letter to the Editor
Size: 7 KB

Sorry, the Telegram & Gazette cannot print a letter of such a personal issue.
Susan Mulrooney

The murder of a child is a personal issue? How so? Does Ms. Mulrooney honestly expect anyone to buy that load of bovine scatology? Bernard Goldberg was right, "..the majority of journalists in big newsrooms slant leftward in their personal politics, especially on issues like abortion, affirmative action, gay rights, and gun control; and so in their professional role they tend to assume those positions are reasonable and morally correct. Bias in the news stems from that.." (Arrogance, p. 4). Like JayG, I encountered this bias when I submitted an Op-Ed piece to the T&G several months ago relative to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts and its decision in Goodridge v. Department of Public Health (see here). I received no response whatsoever (even after several queries to the appropriate editor). Obviously, when it comes to issues such as abortion, homosexuality and same-sex "marriage," the Telegram & Gazette isn't really interested in a free and open exchange of ideas. There is nothing "generous" in that newspaper's letters-to-the-editor policy or its Op-Ed policy unless you march in lockstep with its liberal ideology.

Interestingly, while the Telegram & Gazette will not publish letters that it believes "come under libel laws" and states that, "Material can be libelous if it holds a private person or organization up to hatred, contempt, suspicion of wrongdoing, scorn or ridicule," it seemingly made no attempt to hold one of its own reporters (Richard Nangle) to the same professional standards as he covered the case of Catholic activist Larry Cirignano - see here.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Zeal for your house will consume me

Readings from the Third Sunday of Lent:

Reading 1Ex 20:1-17 or 20:1-3, 7-8, 12-17

In those days, God delivered all these commandments: "I, the LORD, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow down before them or worship them. For I, the LORD, your God, am a jealous God, inflicting punishment for their fathers' wickedness on the children of those who hate me, down to the third and fourth generation; but bestowing mercy down to the thousandth generation on the children of those who love me and keep my commandments. "You shall not take the name of the LORD, your God, in vain.For the LORD will not leave unpunished the one who takes his name in vain. "Remember to keep holy the sabbath day. Six days you may labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD, your God. No work may be done then either by you, or your son or daughter, or your male or female slave, or your beast, or by the alien who lives with you. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them; but on the seventh day he rested. That is why the LORD has blessed the sabbath day and made it holy. "Honor your father and your mother, that you may have a long life in the land which the LORD, your God, is giving you. You shall not kill. You shall not commit adultery. You shall not steal. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. You shall not covet your neighbor's house.You shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male or female slave, nor his ox or ass, nor anything else that belongs to him."

Responsorial PsalmPs 19:8, 9, 10, 11

R. (John 6:68c) Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

The law of the LORD is perfect,refreshing the soul; The decree of the LORD is trustworthy,giving wisdom to the simple.
R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.
The precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the command of the LORD is clear, enlightening the eye.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

The fear of the LORD is pure, enduring forever; the ordinances of the LORD are true, all of them just.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

They are more precious than gold, than a heap of purest gold; sweeter also than syrup or honey from the comb.

R. Lord, you have the words of everlasting life.

Reading II 1 Cor 1:22-25

Brothers and sisters: Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are called, Jews and Greeks alike, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.

Gospel Jn 2:13-25

Since the Passover of the Jews was near, Jesus went up to Jerusalem. He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves, as well as the money changers seated there. He made a whip out of cords and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen, and spilled the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables, and to those who sold doves he said,"Take these out of here, and stop making my Father's house a marketplace." His disciples recalled the words of Scripture, Zeal for your house will consume me. At this the Jews answered and said to him,"What sign can you show us for doing this?" Jesus answered and said to them, "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews said, "This temple has been under construction for forty-six years, and you will raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body. Therefore, when he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they came to believe the Scripture and the word Jesus had spoken. While he was in Jerusalem for the feast of Passover, many began to believe in his name when they saw the signs he was doing.But Jesus would not trust himself to them because he knew them all, and did not need anyone to testify about human nature.He himself understood it well."

The Lord God has commanded us, "You shall not kill." There are nine words in Hebrew for taking a life (I have addressed this in a previous post). The word used in Exodus 20: 13 for "Thou shalt not kill" is ratsach, a strong verb used to indicate an intentional and unjustified act of murder. And yet, the murder of innocent unborn children continues. The Gospel reading tells us that after Jesus cleansed the Temple, the Apostles remembered the words of Scripture, "Zeal for your house will consume me."

Zeal for your house will consume me. Let's reflect very carefully on these words as we ponder the Word of God in 1 Corinthians 3: 16-17: "Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy."

Zeal for your house will consume me. The blood of the innocents cries out to the Living God as surely as it did when Cain murdered his brother Abel. If our society does not repent of its crimes, if it does not turn away from murdering the innocent and destroying God's Temple, then Jesus will fashion "another whip."

Revelation 18:10

For many years I have been warning that our economy is soon to collapse. A terrible economic chastisement is coming upon us. Our Lady has repeatedly warned us (see here), but we have been too proud to listen. We have accumulated for ourselves false teachers who ensure us that a loving and merciful God would never chastise His people. How quickly we forget that the ancient world was destroyed by the flood and that the five cities of Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed by fire.

The handwriting continues to progress on the wall of the secular world (see here). Our Lady does not want us to become fearful or discouraged at the sin and darkness which continues to spread: "Do not stop to consider the ever thickening darkness, the sin which has been set up as the norm of human action, the suffering which is mounting to its peak and the chastisement which this humanity is preparing with its own hands." (November 5, 1977, locution to Fr. Gobbi of the Marian Movement of Priests). But neither does she want us to be blind to the reality of our present situation.

Related reading here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Cardinal Pell: Secularism is getting totalitarian...

Cardinal George Pell of Australia has correctly noted that, "Some secularists seem to like one way streets..Their intolerance of Christianity seeks to drive it out not only from the public square, but even from the provision of education, health care and welfare services to the wider community. Tolerance has come to mean different things for different groups." His Eminence has also said that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights correctly articulates the proper relationship between the individual, the family and the association and the state.

This was precisely the point I was making in my response to the persecution of Father Alphonse de Valk at the hands of the Canadian Human Rights Commission which may be found here.

This dictatorship of relativism seeks to impose its immoral agenda on Christians in the name of "tolerance." But this "tolerance" is a sham. It is simply an attempt to make an idol out of a false conception of freedom. Again, our Holy Father explains that, "..what clearly stands behind the modern era's radical demand for freedom is the promise: You will be like God...The implicit goal of all modern freedom movements is, in the end, to be like a god, dependent on nothing and nobody, with one's own freedom not restricted by anyone else's...The primeval error of such a radically developed desire for freedom lies in the idea of a divinity that is conceived as being purely egotistical. The god thus conceived of is, not God, but an idol, indeed, the image of what the Christian tradition would call the devil, the anti-god, because therein lies the radical opposite of the true God: the true God is, of his own nature, being-for (Father), being-from (Son), and being-with (Holy Spirit). Yet man is in the image of God precisely because the being-for , from, and with constitute the basic anthropological shape. Whenever people try to free themselves from this, they are moving, not toward divinity, but toward dehumanizing, toward the destruction of being itself through the destruction of truth. The Jacobin variant of the idea of liberation...is a rebellion against being human in itself, rebellion against truth, and that is why it leads people - as Sartre percipiently observed - into a self-contradictory existence that we call hell. It has thus become fairly clear that freedom is linked to a yardstick, the yardstick of reality - to truth. Freedom to destroy oneself or to destroy others is not freedom but a diabolical parody. The freedom of man is a shared freedom, freedom in a coexistence of other freedoms, which are mutually limiting and thus mutually supportive: freedom must be measured according to what I am, what we are - otherwise it abolishes itself."

In the name of "tolerance," the New World Order seeks to impose its rebellion from truth on all. It will not tolerate any dissent, any disagreement. Coercion is an acceptable tool in a dictatorship. Soon, the New Order will use violence to achieve its goals and not just coercion and propaganda. In the end, every dictatorship must rely on violence in its vain attempt to hold onto power.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Survey: New Hampshire residents losing their religion

"Sixty-two percent of New Hampshire adults identified themselves as Christians last year, the American Religious Identification Survey for 2008 reported. This is a 23 percent decline from 1990, when 85 percent of adults called themselves Roman Catholics, mainline Protestants and other Christians...Northern New England now surpasses the Pacific Northwest as the most irreligious region of the country, according to the survey...The survey, released on Monday, reports 29 percent of New Hampshire adults say they have no religion." (For full article, click on title of this post).

This fact imposes a burden on those of us who claim to be disciples of Christ. The Council Fathers tell us that, "..the laity are called in a special way to make the Church present and operative in those places and circumstances where only through them can it become the salt of the earth. Thus every layman, in virtue of the very gifts bestowed upon him, is at the same time a witness and a living instrument of the mission of the Church itself, 'according to the measure of Christ's bestowal...For all their works, prayers, and apostolic endeavors, their ordinary married and family life, their daily occupations, their physical and mental relaxation, if carried out in the Spirit, and even the hardships of life, if patiently borne - all these become 'spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ' (1 Pt 2:5). Together with the offering of the Lord's Body, they are most fittingly offered in the celebration of the Eucharist. Thus, as those everywhere who adore in holy activity, the laity consecrate the world itself to God." (Lumen Gentium, Nos. 33, 34 of the Second Vatican Council).

What are we waiting for? Haven't we been told that the Lord Himself will demand an account of the talents He has given us (Mt 25: 14-30). Do we really want to be among those who are relegated to the "darkness outside" because we succumbed to fear or apathy? Blessed Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer was right when he said, "There is but one fatal illness, one deadly mistake you can make: to settle for defeat, not to know how to fight with the spirit of a child of God. If this personal effort is lacking the soul becomes paralyzed and languishes alone, and is incapable of bearing fruit. Such cowardice on man's part puts pressure on Our Lord to utter those words addressed to him by the paralytic at the pool of Bethsaida, hominem non habeo! - I have no man to help me. What a pity if Jesus does not find in you the man or the woman he expects."

A 7 year-old girl named Heather McNamara has shown great courage and determination not to settle for defeat. Surely we can follow her example and show courage in the spiritual realm? Blessed Miguel Pro, S.J., did. His crime? Celebrating the Holy Mass. His punishment? Execution. The above photograph shows Blessed Pro just moments before he was gunned down. He extended his arms and proclaimed, Viva Christo Rey! - Long live Christ the King!
His love overcame his fear. He did not settle for defeat. He conquered his executioners with faith. hope and love. In the eyes of the world, he suffered defeat. But where is he now? And where are his executioners? Who really won the victory? You know the answer.

Monday, March 09, 2009

A further word from David Wilkerson...

"Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,
for He who promised is faithful."
Hebrews 10: 23

Not one of us has the power to save or justify himself. Each one of us is completely dependent on God's mercy and grace. It is imperative that we trust in the God Who wants to save us (1 Timothy 2:4) and that He will provide for our needs (Philippians 4: 19) as we cope with life's challenges.

Why is it so easy for us to forget this? There are so many reasons really. One significant reason is that we have come to distrust others. The media saturates us with horrible stories of crime and human suffering, we witness corporate fraud and CEO's making themselves rich at the expense of others; politicians who only seem interested in lining their own pockets and not in truly representing their constituents. Others may hurt us through their words or actions.

So many times others have told me, "I don't trust anyone." Or, "I just don't know who to trust anymore." And the common good suffers. St. Paul tells us, "Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4: 6, 7)

There is so much cynicism. So much fear. Many no longer trust in the God-Man because they have lost their faith in their fellow man and as a result find it so hard to honestly believe that there is Someone waiting to grab them as they make that leap of faith into the dark unknown which awaits. But we can, with the help of God's grace, overcome this fear and anxiety. Few of us have suffered as much as Margot and Anne Frank did at the hands of others. These two sisters - and other family members - were discovered in their hiding place by the Nazis. They were sent to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. After seven months Anne Frank, whose diary would be acclaimed the world over, would die of typhus within days of the death of her sister Margot. She was fifteen years old. And although she and her family were treated so harshly by others, this precious girl wrote in her diary, "Despite everything, I believe that people are really good at heart."

Let's pray with St. Ignatius of Loyola (the Founder of the Society of Jesus - the Jesuits):

"O Christ Jesus, when all is darkness
and we feel our weakness and helplessness,
give us the sense of Your presence,
Your love, and Your strength.
Help us to have perfect trust in Your
protecting love and strengthening power,
so that nothing may frighten or worry us, for,
living close to You, we shall see Your hand,
Your purpose, Your will through all things."


Sunday, March 08, 2009

God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations...

Pastor David Wilkerson is only speaking the truth when he says, "God is judging the raging sins of America and the nations...He is destroying the secular foundations." I was in prayer to the Holy Spirit this morning when I opened up the Scriptures twice. My eyes fell on this passage from Revelation 18: 10-17:

'Alas, alas, great city,
Babylon, mighty city,
In one hour your judgment has come'

The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn for her, because there will be no more markets for their cargo: their cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple silk, and scarlet cloth; fragrant wood of every kind, all articles of ivory and all articles of the most expensive wood, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and wheat; cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human beings.

'The fruit you craved
has left you.
All your luxury and splendor are
never again will one find them.'

The merchants who deal in these goods, who grew rich from her, will keep their distance for fear of the torment inflicted on her. Weeping and mourning, they cry out:

'Alas, alas, great city,
wearing fine linen, purple and
adorned [in] gold, precious
stones, and pearls.
In one hour this great wealth has been ruined.'"

And then I broke open in prayer to Psalms 49 and 50. Psalm 49 [Confidence in God rather than in Riches]:

"Hear this, all you peoples! Give ear, all who inhabit the world,
You of lowly birth or high estate, rich and poor alike.
My mouth shall speak wisdom, my heart shall offer insight.
I will turn my attention to a problem, expound my question to the music of a lyre.

Why should I fear in evil days, when my wicked pursuers ring me around,
Those who trust in their wealth and boast of their abundant riches?
One cannot redeem oneself, pay to God a ransom.
Too high the price to redeem a life;
one would never have enough
To stay alive forever and never see the pit.
Anyone can see that the wisest die,
the fool and the senseless pass away too,
and must leave their wealth to others.
Tombs are their homes forever,
their dwellings through all
though they gave their names
to their lands.
For all their riches
mortals do not abide;
they perish like the beasts.

This is the destiny of those who
trust in folly,
the end of those so pleased with their wealth.
Like sheep they are herded into Sheol,
where death will be their shepherd.
Straight to the grave they descend,
where their form will waste away,
Sheol will be their palace.

But God will redeem my life,
will take me from the power of Sheol.
Do not fear when others become rich,
when the wealth of their houses grows great.
When they die they will take nothing with them
their wealth will not follow them down.
When living, they congratulate themselves and say:
'All praise you, you do so well.'
But they will join the company of their forebears,
never again to see the light
For all their riches,
if mortals do not have wisdom,
they perish like the beasts."

Psalm 50:

"The Lord, the God of gods,
has spoken and summoned the earth
from the rising of the sun to its setting.
From Zion God shines forth,
perfect in beauty.
Our God comes and will not be silent!
Devouring fire precedes,
storming fiercely round about.
God summons the heavens above
and the earth to the judgment of his people.."

Pastor Wilkerson sees this. He says that fires, "..will engulf the whole megaplex [New York City], including areas of New Jersey and Connecticut. Major cities all across America will experience riots and blazing fires.."

Don't expect our secular leaders [or even, sadly, many of our leaders within the Church], to acknowledge the gravity of our present situation. Many of these are too busy counting their money or enjoying a life of ease and prosperity as they follow the "gospel" of riches. Almighty God has already told us of their fate.

The only stimulus package we need is the one adopted by the people of Nineveh. They repented. Sackcloth and ashes is what we need. Not bailouts and earmarks.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

State of Connecticut trying to take control of parishes?

Statement of the Diocese of Bridgeport Connecticut relative to proposed legislative bill # 1098/2009:

This past Thursday, March 5, the Judiciary Committee of the Connecticut State Legislature, which is chaired by Sen. Andrew McDonald of Stamford and Rep. Michael Lawlor of East Haven, introduced a bill that directly attacks the Roman Catholic Church and our Faith.

This bill violates the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. It forces a radical reorganization of the legal, financial, and administrative structure of our parishes. This is contrary to the Apostolic nature of the Catholic Church because it disconnects parishes from their Pastors and their Bishop. Parishes would be run by boards from which Pastors and the Bishop would be effectively excluded.

This bill, moreover, is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.

The State has no right to interfere in the internal affairs and structure of the Catholic Church. This bill is directed only at the Catholic Church but could someday be forced on other denominations. The State has no business controlling religion.

The Pastors of our Diocese are doing an exemplary job of sound stewardship and financial accountability, in full cooperation with their parishioners.

For the State Legislature — which has not reversed a $1 billion deficit in this fiscal year — to try to manage the Catholic Church makes no sense. The Catholic Church not only lives within her means but stretches her resources to provide more social, charitable, and educational services than any other private institution in the State. This bill threatens those services at a time when the State is cutting services. The Catholic Church is needed now more than ever.
We reject this irrational, unlawful, and bigoted bill that jeopardizes the religious liberty of our Church.

Friday, March 06, 2009

La Salette Attleboro: The Pax Christi/COR Connection

As I mentioned in a previous post, the La Salette Center for Christian Living in Attleboro, Massachusetts will be offering a Lenten Series of discussions led by Father John Sullivan, M.S., and members of Pax Christi. This is particularly troubling since Pax Christi is a member organization of Catholic Organizations for Renewal (COR).

COR offers the following Mission Statement at its website: "Catholic Organizations for Renewal is a coalition of Catholic groups, inspired by Vatican II, to further the reform and renewal of the Catholic Church, and to bring about a world of justice and peace, reflecting the sacredness of all creation." Sounds pretty harmless right? Until one scrolls down a little further and reads that COR held "alternative events" to World Youth Day (Denver, August of 1993) and boasts, "The COR/Denver initiative enabled the national media not only to cover the papal events but to report responsible Catholic disagreement with the pope on many issues, including women's ordination, gay/lesbian rights, and sexual morality." (See here).

And so we can see that COR's idea of justice and peace is in fact nothing more than rebellion from the teaching of the Church. The great Cardinal Newman spoke of the shadows of the Antichrist which are created within the Church by such traitors to Holy Mother Church:

"It is a miserable time when a man's Catholic profession is no voucher for his orthodoxy, and when a teacher of religion may be within the Church's pale, yet external to her truth. Such has been for a season the trial of her children at various eras of her history. It was the state of things during the dreadful Arian ascendency, when the flock had to keep aloof from the shepherd, and the unsuspicious Fathers of the Western Councils trusted and followed some consecrated sophist from Greece or Syria. It was the case in those passages of medieval history when simony resisted the Supreme Pontiff or when heresy lurked in the universities. It was a longer and more tedious trial while the controversies lasted with the Monophysites of old and with the Jansenists of modern times. A great scandal it is and a perplexity to the little ones of Christ to have to choose between rival claimants upon their allegiance, or to find a condemnation at length pronounced upon one whom in their simplicity they have admired. We, too, in this age have our scandals, for scandals must be. It is a great gain when error and false teachers are exposed, for then they cease to deceive the simple." (The Idea of a University, pp. 360-361).

Any Catholic retreat center which allows professors, lecturers or retreat leaders (or whatever title they might happen to go by) to attack and or undermine the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church, is not really concerned about promoting justice and peace. You see, Catholics have a right in justice to Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity (read Veritatis Splendor, No. 113). Such rebellion from the teaching of Christ's Church does nothing to promote peace. On the contrary, dissent from Church teaching only serves to promote discord and division within the Church.

COR supports the Women's Ordination Conference: See here.

Related reading here.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Deadened to the horror of abortion...

Archbishop Charles Chaput recently told Lifesite News, "It seems that we have become deadened to the horror of abortion." Full article here. Too many Catholics (and other Christians) have been too apathetic for too long. Evil has become institutionalized. In this week's Catholic Free Press, Joan Fenno Grammel of Fitchburg (a former correspondent for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette) wrote, "I have to begin this letter with my feelings of dismay at seeing so much being made in The Catholic Free Press of a person who is promoting the murder of unborn babies and yes, even born babies. When Obama, who is that person, was in the Senate did he not vote in favor of partial birth abortion? Another name for this is infanticide, the murder of a baby...When I found out that fifty percent of all Catholics voted for Obama in the November election I cringed to think that the faith that I have always lived by and love was ignored by the Catholics who don't have the 'guts' to stand up for the gift of life that Almighty God has chosen to give all of us..." Well said. I called Ms. Grammel to thank her for her letter to the editor witnessing to the sacredness of life and the apathy which is only serving to accelerate the moral death of our once-great nation.

It was Dr. James Brendan Smith, in an article published by The Maryfaithful, who said that, "Unless the overwhelming majority of our citizens have a change of heart, and the courage and strength to implement it, our once-Christian country will sccumb to the final agony of moral death in which we find ourselves today. The greatest evil of our time is not in the vocal and widely publicized minority who openly defy the laws of God as well as those of our country, but the silent millions who, by their silence, permit these evils to be perpetrated....Our goals are comfort, convenience and pleasure. Let someone else shoulder the responsibility [of opposing these evils], and let principles be damned. We have allowed ourselves to be so hopelessly misled that we now condemn, ridicule, and penalize virtue, while rewarding evil. We have decided that our plan for the universe is better than God's so, while priding ourselves on the scientific achievements which prolong life, we suppress the natural forces that produce life. In our pitiable self-righteousness we abolish capital punishment for the arch-criminal convicted of horrible atrocities but we murder innocent, defenseless infants in their mother's wombs. We consigned the principles given to us by Almighty God Himself, on which our Church and our country were founded, to the most remote recesses of our minds.."

Ours is a termite society being prepared today for the control and direction of the coming Antichrist. Gone is the Cardinal Virtue of Fortitude which resists the difficulties of mind and body while seeking, defending and promoting the truth and holiness of the Gospel. Am I being an alarmist here? Is Archbishop Chaput? Hardly. Many years ago (when times were much, much better than they are today), Pope St. Pius X said, "In our time more than ever before the greatest asset of the evilly disposed is the cowardice and weakness of good men, and all the vigor of Satan's reign is due to the easygoing weakness of Catholics. Oh! If I might ask the divine Redeemer, as the prophet Zachary did in spirit: 'What are those wounds in the midst of Your hands?' the answer would not be doubtful. 'With these I was wounded in the house of those who did nothing to defend Me and who, on every occasion, made themselves the accomplices of My adversaries.' And this reproach can be levelled at the weak and timid Catholics of all countries." (Beatification of Joan of Arc, December 13, 1908).

Reflect on this. And when you are brought to tears, do penance and pray for the Holy Spirit's Gift of Fortitude.

Monday, March 02, 2009

For the time will come when people stop listening to the truth...

"Erit enim tempus, cum sanam doctrinam non sustinebunt, sed ad sua desideria coacervabunt sibi magistros, prurientes auribus. Et a veritate quidem auditum avertent, ad fabulas autem convertentur." (2 Timothy 4: 3-4).

And that time is now. New Age philosophies are spreading throughout the Church. Homosexuality and lesbianism are celebrated. Even in a Catholic parish. Intoxicated with their own knowledge and learning, those who have succumbed to friendship with the world tell us that we must leave behind the "old complexes" and reject "backward thinking" so that we may evolve into more "civilized" beings who may then build an earthly paradise. These misguided souls are not interested in knowledge for the sake of truth, but for power and possession.

It was Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand who warned that,"..a much worse consequence of the idol of learning is the killing of common sense, which is being undertaken on a widespread scale in grammar schools, high schools, and colleges. One forgets the great source of wisdom which lies in our immediate contact with being, and how pernicious it is to replace the resulting world view, with instruction which draws its nourishment from doubtful psychological and sociological theories, and false, flat philosophies. Every immediate, true experience in which the voice of being speaks to a person, is much more interesting than the questionable theories he has adopted concerning the world and life. Thus it is that a simple, unlettered man, when he speaks about the world and his life, is much wiser, much truer, and more genuine than all the half-educated people who simply repeat the stupid theories expounded by their professors. The statement of a simple person may be clumsily expressed; it may be incomplete, and even contain errors. But it will always have a kernel of truth, always the freshness of a genuine contact with reality, and be free from the arrogant presumption of establishing a valid theory in the sense of looking 'behind the scenes' of reality, and being able to 'explain' everything. The dangerous error of the cult of teaching and learning reaches its climax in the ambition to improve, modify, or even replace natural, immediate, organic contact with the world and life, by an artificial contact based on so-called 'scientific' theories." (The Devastated Vineyard, pp. 85-86).

We are commanded, "Do not love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, sensual lust, enticement for the eyes, and a pretentious life, is not from the Father but is from the world. Yet the world and its enticement are passing away. But whoever does the will of God remains forever." (2 Timothy 2: 15-17).

Who will be able to resist the Antichrist when he reveals himself? - which could be at any time now. As I mentioned in a previous post, Romano Guardini has provided us with the answer:

"One day the Antichrist will come: a human being who introduces an order of things in which rebellion against God will attain its ultimate power. He will be filled with enlightenment and strength. The ultimate aim of all aims will be to prove that existence witout Christ is possible - nay rather, that Christ is the enemy of existence, which can be fully realized only when all Christian values have been destroyed. His arguments will be so impressive, supported by means of such tremendous power - violent and diplomatic, material and intellectual - that to reject them will result in almost insurmountable scandal, and everyone whose eyes are not opened by grace will be lost. Then it will be clear what the Christian essence really is: that which stems not from the world, but from the heart of God; victory of grace over the world; redemption of the world, for her true essence is not to be found in herself, but in God, from whom she has received it. When God becomes all in all, the world will finally burst into flower."

Those who believe in their own intellectual prowess will succumb to the lie. They will be seduced by the Antichrist. Already we see the spirit of Antichrist seducing so many as they scramble to find teachers who will tickle their ears and tell them what they want to hear. But their end is destruction.

Meditation: Proverbs 3: 5-8. As a child, I took this Scripture as my own motto.

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence rely not;
In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes, fear the LORD and turn away from evil;
This will mean health for your flesh and vigor for your bones."

Sunday, March 01, 2009

La Salette Attleboro: The Spiritual Sickness Continues...

The La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Massachusetts will be offering a Lenten Series led by Fr. John Sullivan, M.S. and members of the dissent group Pax Christi*. Pax Christi seems to have found a home at this La Salette Shrine. Even more disturbing, however, is that the shrine will be conducting a series of book discussions on "Open the Doors" by Joyce Rupp.

Why is this so disturbing? Because, as this Blog post explains so well, Joyce Rupp can hardly be described as Catholic. We read:

Although the names have changed , the old Gods are back. There existed in antiquity a temple, it was called the Pantheon of the Gods. It is being rebuilt, the false Gods are being reawakened just as the true God is being put to sleep. This Pantheon was like a great ecumenical super dome. In it were found not just the God's of the Romans but also the deities that the Empire had aquired through it's contact with the rest of the Pagan world. All were found acceptable, all were authentic as all were real. The reason that they could co-exist was because none of these Gods claimed he was the only God. The modern political system of 'Big Tent' inclusivity follows a similar pattern where all relative philosophies are on the inside while the objective ideas of men who actually believe in anything are today relegated to the cold outside.

Jesus Christ was not crucified for claiming to be any old God, indeed the Emperor himself along with Alexander the great before him claimed that title. It was because Christ claimed to be true God that he could not be accomodated into the Pantheon. Those same dark idols are being raised again, readily worshipped and sacrificed to by a re-paganised people who again like the pagans of old see Christ as their only obstacle. Indeed this is the same motivation of the masonic New order who encourage the worship of all Gods but the one true God as manifested by our lord and saviour Jesus Christ. In their own words 'Masonry while religious is not a religion, but within it's precepts and professions are contained the truths and universal morality of all recognised creeds and religions.' Although as previously mentioned some of the names have changed, their cults are visible and the same sacrifices are being demanded and freely offered from a new generation. Athena/Ishtar is being worshipped as Goddess by an evergrowing legion of predominantly young girls drawn into the booming Wiccan earth mother religion and New-Ageism. Unfortunately a concerted attempt is being made to co-opt our blessed lady into this abomination.

Knock shrine has chosen to stock material by the self proclaimed spiritual midwife and 'nun' Joyce Rupp. Author Rupp claims to have learnt a lot from Eagle Crux a native American spiritualist and feels that she resonates with mystical islamic sufism. She tells us that everything is made of stardust including ourselves and that stones have as much right to be here as we have, infact more so because they have been here longer. Her books include how to draw sacred mandela dancing circles and even have the rites for the blessing of the sexual organs! On Ireland she says that the Irish love of learning was first fostered by the wise druids and in the same article goes on to extoll New-Ageism as valuable and that some in the church are envious of it because it draws people toward spiritual growth. Here is an exerpt from 'Cosmic Dance' which so sadly had a big promotion by the management of the bookshop a while ago. 'Different from me , thousands of them. Holding hands, kissing, arms around each other, stretching me beyond the safe world of heterosexuality. A gathering of lesbians challenging me to enter a world I never visit'"

In a previous Blog post, I made mention of the fact that the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro had offered a retreat by "Sister" Karol Jackowski, a practicing witch.

This calls for prayer.

*As explained here, Pax Christi is both a leftist organization and nationally-recognized dissent group. Pax Christi has strong ties to another well-recognized dissent group - Call to Action. As explained here, Bishop Fabian W. Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, has described the Call to Action movement [of which Pax Christi is part and parcel] as one which is, "..often disguised as a sincere effort to 'renew' the Catholic Church" but which masks "a hidden agenda and poison fruit which the noisier dissenters never tire of offering to their unsuspecting victims."

As Elizabeth Drennan notes in her excellent article:"The CTA [Call to Action]/lesbian pro-abortion Feminist's Prayer to the Four Great Spirits is also part of RENEW 2000 materials (Called to Lead, book 2). In this prayer/exercise, participants stand in a circle, arms outstretched, and pray to the "Great Spirits of the Four Directions, North, South, East, and West" and "to the Great Spirit of All That Is Below" — which is actually in the text of RENEW 2000, along with its author's name: Diann Neu, the lesbian-feminist CTA speaker. Alarmingly, the idea of prayer to the "four directions" which Neu teaches RENEW 2000 participants is also an intrinsic part of WICCA (witchcraft) worship of the goddess, Gaia, according to WICCA web sites."

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