Monday, April 24, AD 2017


I can’t believe that I forgot that April 23 was Talk like Shakespeare Day.  Fortunately, Father Z did not:


Today, I suddenly realized, is…


shakespeareYes, it is the birthday of the Bard.

In the past I have encouraged you to talk like Shakespeare.

To help you, I have offered videos and some suggestive words.  I hope you remember them.

I also, to enkindle in you a true zeal for this moment – which can spill over into tomorrow because, hey, why not? – I even posted a scene from a little known play called…

A Most Tragikal Hystory of Obama I

I found another little known piece (I dashed off) which might bring you to beg the Muse for … the… thing muses give.

The Trumping of the Shrew

Dramatis personae:
Lord Trump: President of these USA
Lord Sean: Baron of Spicer – Secretary of Press
Lord Bannon: Earl of Breitbart – Counselor
New York Times
Lord Sessions – Attorney General
Hillary Clinton
Crowd – Outside

O for a network pundit that would salve
the anxious outcome of elections tense,
a stage for wonk debates, senators to prate,
and congressmen to guide th’ electorate.
So has the ruddy Donald, hair swept up,
defied th’ establishment and, in his wake,
has claimants one by one discomfited,
brought down in vanquishment and loss.
But pardon, sponsors all, for we halt now
your pandering for sales with this stock gang
of mainsteam media elites, who press
in conference for POTUS now to hear.
List! List! O list if ever you
did county love and office high respect.
For Donald, hair in place, has enteréd
a statement now to make, with many quips
to batter newsies where they stand or sit,
because their daily coverage is for….

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Father Dan and the Three Days of Darkness

Tuesday, February 28, AD 2017




Father Z gives us further evidence, if any were needed, that leftist clerics are flourishing under this pontificate:

The priest involved is one Daniel P Horan, OFM whom the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter) coos over: “Daniel Horan is one of those hip young priests that the new evangelization dreams of”.

Look… I’m all for prudent and reverent stewardship of the “environment”, although I insist that we human beings are part of that “environment” even as we are at its pinacle. Heck, I can echo the Ancient Mariner and say:

Farewell, farewell! but this I tell
To thee, thou Wedding-Guest!
He prayeth well, who loveth well
Both man and bird and beast.

He prayeth best, who loveth best
All things both great and small;
For the dear God who loveth us,
He made and loveth all.

But that slop in that video borders on impious sentimental omphaloskepsis.

As for Horan, in a video wherein he sets out his version of Amoris laetitia he uses this image as an introduction:


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8 Responses to Father Dan and the Three Days of Darkness

  • Sodomy maybe a sexual act for one individual, as is masturbation, but sodomy is assault and battery of the other individual. Every individula involed in all of this is not pursuing his Happiness and will not find his destiny until he or she begins following the TRUTH. Simply said: These goings on are a waste of time, energy and Who the person is, his or her very existence. I would hate to have to spend time in hell for all the time I have wasted on earth.

  • “He prayeth best, who loveth best
    All things both great and small”

    I like Belloc’s riposte

    “The streptococcus is the test
    I love him least of all.”

  • Where is the Three Days of Darkness? Did I miss it in the article? Please don’t make me play that video!

  • Mary De Voe.

    C.S. Lewis squarely defines this sinful activity; “There are only two kinds of people in the end: Those who say to God, Thy will be done, And to those to whom God says, in the end, Thy will be done,’ All that are in Hell choose it.”

    Continuous prayers and fearlessness in the face of culture is one way to help them find Truth. God does the hard work, but our small part is required.

    Have a blessed Lenten journey.
    Peace my friend.

  • Philip Nachazel: Thank you, Philip, for your blessings. I can never get enough blessings. Only giving blessings makes a difference. Jesus spent three days in the tomb. Christ’s followers are never alone.
    Have a blessed Lenten journey to you too, Philip, my friend.

  • Some demons only can be beaten through prayer and fasting.

    St. Paul’s Epistle 1 Timothy 4:1 is about false teachers: in latter times some people will abandon the Faith; they will obey lying spirits and follow the teachings of demons; such teachings are spread by deceitful liars whose consciences are dead.

  • The guilt trip from hell using the Holy Mass as a prop. St. Francis’ Brother Sun and Sister Moon was a canticle of praise to God for creation. St. Francis was never ordained a priest and would not use the Holy Mass as a vehicle for blaming people for climate change. ” a climate change, we have caused…” People as pollution ought to bring about the human being’s extinction. Does this man not know that divine Providence will provide?

The Church Militant

Wednesday, March 18, AD 2015


 My children, we are here to conquer or die. In death or in victory, you will win immortality.

Don Juan of Austria to his sailors and troops prior to the battle of Lepanto



One of the more distressing aspects of contemporary Catholicism is the transformation from the Church Militant to the Church Mushy.  Catholicism did not survive for twenty tumultuous centuries by being a religion for lukewarm cowards.  Father Z explains what the Church Militant is for the benefit of poorly educated, in the Faith, Catholics who probably comprise a majority of the members of the Church these days:


I post this because our dear Michael Sean Winters had a little nutty about my use of this term over at the Fishwrap (aka National Schismatic Reporter).

All of you Catholics who are reading this, even if you mostly identify with the dissenters at the Fishwrap, are members of the Church Militant, the Ecclesia Militans.

“Militant” is a scary word for libs (keep that paper bag handy) because it looks like the English word “military” (which must be a bad thing to belong to).

Militant comes from Latin milito, “to be a soldier, to perform military service”.  Note, “service”.

As a Catholic who is militans, “militant”, that means that we dedicate ourselves with obedience and zeal to the role we are given in life through our calling and through our talents and good inclinations, our vocations in life.  It means that we are also prepared to fight the enemy wherever and whenever threats to the salvation of our own souls and our neighbor’s souls present themselves.  It means working together as units and not as individuals merely.   It means good conditioning and through drills in knowing well our Catholic Faith and practicing virtues and discipline in the use of the Sacraments.  It means submission to the Church’s teaching authority and her duly ordaining pastors.  It means fidelity, loyalty and even a willingness to die.

I now urge the Fishwrap types to have at hand a paper bag they can breathe into.

The Church Militant is made up of the living, we who are still on pilgrimage through this vale of tears, as the Salve Regina describes our earthly life.  The whole Church can be described as having three main kinds of membership, namely, those who are still alive here on Earth, those who are in an earthly sense dead but who live in Heaven (the Church Triumphant) and those who have died but who are, during their time of purification in Purgatory, awaiting their entrance into Heaven (the Church Suffering or Penitent).  These three are united, in one Holy Church, in a common “communion of saints”, even though we of the Church Militant often aren’t very saintly.

Church Militant is a common and traditional way to describe the living members of the Church.  For example, find it used as a hinge pin in the Catholic Encyclopedia.  Even though the Catechism of the Catholic Church 954 doesn’t explicitly use the terms Militant, Suffering and Triumphant, the concepts are clearly there when it describes the membership of the Church:

The three states of the Church. “When the Lord comes in glory, and all his angels with him, death will be no more and all things will be subject to him. But at the present time some of his disciples are pilgrims on earth. Others have died and are being purified, while still others are in glory, contemplating ‘in full light, God himself triune and one, exactly as he is”‘

That paragraph in the CCC quotes Lumen gentium 49; Mt 25:31 (which describes the separation of the blessed from the damned); 1 Cor 15:26-27 (which describes the ultimate triumph of God at the end of things); and the Council of Florence (1439) in DS 1305.  I will add that LG 43, on religious institutes, uses the phrase “militia Christi” to describe the support given by religious families to Church.

The old Catechism of St. Pius X uses the tripartite division, describing the Church Militant as the Church to which we actually belong.  Of course, you have to know that “actually” means “now”, and not loose English “really”.

In the Baltimore Catechism, in its explanation of the articles of the Creed, we find a great description

“The communion of saints:”

There are three parts in the Church. We have, first, the Church Militant, i.e., the fighting Church, made up of all the faithful upon earth, who are still fighting for their salvation. [The catholic Left, the Fishwrap types, are going to hate that description because of the implication that not everyone is saved (except for those meanies who don’t want to redistribute wealth or approve of sex with just about any carbon-based life form] The Holy Scripture tells us our life upon earth is a warfare. [Get that bag if you need it!  Then check 1 Tim 6:12: “Fight the good fight of the faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”  Then check 2 Cor 10: 3-5: “For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”  Yes.  We have enemies.] We have three enemies to fight. First, the devil, who by every means wishes to keep us out of Heaven-the place he once enjoyed himself The devil knows well the happiness of Heaven, and does not wish us to have what he cannot have himself; just as you sometimes see persons who, through their own fault, have lost their situation trying to keep others out of it. [The devil has earthly agents, even within the Church.  Think of, for example, the horrid example of priests who harm children and also writers in the catholic media who consistently deceive souls and undermine the faith and good discipline of the Church by promoting dissent.]

Our second enemy is the world. This does not mean the earth with all its beauty and riches, but the bad people in the world with their false doctrines; [See above.] some telling us there is no God, Heaven, or Hell, others that we should pay no attention to the teaching of the Church or the laws of God, and advising us by word and example to resist our lawful superiors in Church or State and give free indulgence to our sinful passions. [I have the impression that the catholic Left’s agenda is mainly focused on sex. When they perceive that something is a threat to their own desires, they attack it.  Of course they will attack any traditional expression of the Faith, because worship and doctrine are inextricably intertwined.]

The third enemy is our own flesh. [See above] By this we mean our concupiscence, that is, our passions, evil inclinations, and propensity to do wrong. When God first created man, the soul was always master over the body, and the body obedient to the soul. After Adam sinned, the body rebelled against the soul and tried to lead it into sin. The body is the part of our nature that makes us like the brute animals, while the soul makes us like to God and the angels.

When we sin, it is generally to satisfy the body craving for what it has not, or for that which is forbidden. Why did God leave this concupiscence in us? He left it, first, to keep us humble, by reminding us of our former sins, and, secondly, that we might overcome it and have a reward for the victory. [Yes, its a war and, as Christians, we are soldiers on the march.]

The Devil is not a myth, friends, and Hell is real.

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18 Responses to The Church Militant

  • A link for three reasons:
    One, it actually explains the term in a very short but fair manner;
    Two, it’s got an awesome picture to illistrate the notion that the “trope” is about;
    Three, I love the opening quote:
    The Church Militant takes this observation to the natural conclusion, a Catholic (or Catholic-like) superpower that is very heavily armed. This can be played in any number of ways- Light isn’t always good, and even when it is, Good is not always nice, and even when it is, Good isn’t soft.

  • My son loves this song
    So no doubt Mr. Winters (is that him in the photo? He’s so purdy.) considers it a form of child abuse.

  • stoopid html typing fingers!
    this song

  • By the way, thanks for the El Cid clip. That was a formative movie for me in many ways, from Dungeons and Dragons in Jr. High, to Medieval Studies grad work.
    Sadly, Latin broke me.

  • “And firstly We urge and exhort you concerning the preparation and welfare of the clergy. For the clergy are like an army” (cf par.5)
    Leo XIII:
    No mention of field hospital here.

  • Perhaps Don Juan inspired Wm Barrett Travis in his Letter From The Alamo, 1836: “I will never surrender or retreat. Victory or Death.” Hopefully, full of hope, for us of the Ecclesia Militans it will be both, victory and death. Don, thank you for all the research and for all your writing. Ernst, do like I did some few years ago-get a First Year Latin book and a beginner Latin grammar andstart over! Guy McClung, San Antonio

  • The title of a boardgame about the Alamo sums up my feelings on that battle:

    Victory in Death!

  • hyperventilating. The Church Militant is accompanied by the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering, the one Body of Jesus Christ. Since atheism has neutered our culture and has taken the mention of saints, heaven or hell, and God out of our vernacular ( I am surprised that Jesus Christ Who remains in our Church as the Real Presence, is not mentioned, because we need Jesus on the altar if only to remind us of our humanity) as in Sherlock Holmes (Saints preserve us!), Winters has already expired but does not know it.

  • I don’t want to be the jerk here, and I’m sorry if that’s what I’m doing.

    Winters was wrong to react to the phrase “Church Militant” as an endorsement of the military. Father Z says so. It seems to me that it’s equally wrong to make that mistake from a pro-military standpoint as from an anti-military. The point that I think needs to be emphasized is that St. Joan of Arc and St. Therese of Lisieux were equally heroic members of the Church Militant.

    I love Lepanto. Love it. I love the defense of Vienna (twice) and the reconquest of Spain. I’m an Armenian, and I’m proud of our history.

    In 1936, Joseph Pieper wrote a short book about the virtue of fortitude. He lived in Germany at the time, and was writing in response to the Nazi propaganda that portrayed courage as aggressive. Pieper emphasized that fortitude can be active, as on the battlefield, or passive, as on the sick bed. (Fortunately for us, the publisher who received the manuscript ordered 6 more books, and 35 years later completed his final virtue book, on charity.)

    To me, the key quote from Father Z is this:

    The tripartite description of the Church doesn’t exclude other ways of describing our membership. We aren’t either/or in this. We can say that we are both the Church Militant and, say, the People of God, or even the Ecclesia Docens et Discens, the Teaching and the Learning Church, referring to the hierarchical teaching office and those who exercise it and those who are formed by the same. We can use all sorts of ways to describe the Church, and, when they are balanced with each other, we have a far richer view of who we are and what we are called to.

  • . It seems to me that it’s equally wrong to make that mistake from a pro-military standpoint as from an anti-military.
    No, because there’s a massive difference in the assumptions involved; one is passive, and actually hostile to the idea of actively resisting wrongs. The other is, at worst, misunderstanding by over-limiting– being too literal, thinking resistance has to be visible. “Active support” of the Church can be as simple as, oh, praying and fasting– something that nobody even sees.
    Of course, mistaking “I can spot it” for “it’s important i– as I’m pretty sure Donald can vouch with evidence– a tactical mistake that folks make in real military situations as well. 😉

  • “Winters was wrong to react to the phrase “Church Militant” as an endorsement of the military. Father Z says so. It seems to me that it’s equally wrong to make that mistake from a pro-military standpoint as from an anti-military.”

    Well, it is high time for someone in the Church hierarchy to be pro-military. To take the examples you list below, Pius V did not just ask Catholics to pray the Rosary and hope that the Turkish fleet would spontaneously sink. He formed a fleet that actually went in on a (gasp!) preemptive strike and sank them. The defenders of Vienna did not simply pray for the Turks to magically vanish. They manned the walls and threw themselves into the breaches while Christendom organized relief armies that drove the Turks from the city. The Reconquista was certainly bolstered by prayer, but was carried out on the points of sword and lance. The pacifism that has infected the Church over the past few decades (and of which abolition of the death penalty is a part) has left the Church a pathetic, toothless lion, where at a time when Christians are being murdered with impunity and religious freedom is under attack, our leader is diligently working on an encyclical on the pressing issue of climate change. God help us.

  • Oh – for all to start each new day accompanied by the power of the heavenly sound of strength in the pipe organ and horses’ hooves!
    For this addition to ‘favorites’ category, thank you.
    After all, it’s the devil with lies and temptations that give reason for the Church termed as such.
    ‘When we sin, it is generally to satisfy the body craving for what it has not, or for that which is forbidden. Why did God leave this concupiscence in us? He left it, first, to keep us humble, by reminding us of our former sins, and, secondly, that we might overcome it and have a reward for the victory.’

  • I’m sick and tired of the Church of “Nice”, because it isn’t nice, it’s pathetically pacifist.

    Charles Martel, El Cid, King Alfonso the Avenger, Don Juan of Austria, Queen Isabel the Catholic, the Marques of Cadiz, Hernan Cortez, John Sobieski and the Hussars weren’t wimps, crying for peace at all costs. Neither was Pius XII. It is a terrible thing that the Church has forgotten how to deal with Islam. You punch it in the mouth. You step on it. You kick dirt on it. You make damn sure Islam knows it has been beaten and send it back with its tail between its legs. THAT is how you deal with Islam because if you act differently Islam will do these things to YOU.

    Jesus Christ’s admonition to love your enemy and turn the other cheek can work fine when it’s a personal problem, and even so for missionaries (the present day United States had numerous such martyrs stretching from New York State, the Southeast and the Southwest) but nations must defend themselves from evil and fight for the freedom to worship Christ.

    Just out of dumb luck I found a streaming website, Dramafever, that is carrying the first two seasons of the Spanish-produced miniseries about Queen Isabel the Catholic. There is fiction in the series and more nudity than there needs to be (which is none) but it is fascinating and entertaining. There are English subtitles.

  • It has occurred to me that since the Church Militant must do battle against the devil, the world and the flesh, any objection against the Church Militant would have to come from the devil, the world and the flesh.

  • Ah, but one of the Devil’s favorite tricks is to say he’s doing his bad stuff in the name of something good, so– sorta like that scene in The Last Battle with the guy who’d done only good in the service of the devil-god– someone may even believe that they are whole-hearted, hardline opponents of the Church Militant, while they are actually good and loyal servants of her.

  • In the life of young Maximilian Kolbe, while studying in Rome, he pondered the hatred that caused men to wave banners at St. Peters depicting Satan crushing the head of St. Michael the Archangel. These men were Freemasons.

    Kolbe envisioned an army defeating Satan….Militia Immaculata. On October 17th 1917 his approval was granted and the Knights of the Immaculata prepare for battle every day. Spiritual exercises will lead the soul to selfless heroic acts of charity. Dare do I say that members would lay their life down if needed to defend Holy Church and Holy priests. St. Maximilian Kolbe is our model.

  • Foxfier: “…a tactical mistake that folks make in real military situations as well.”
    I really enjoy your clarity, Foxfier. Obliterating the Church Militant obliterates Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of laying down His Life and taking His Life up again and self-defense of all persons including oneself, the Armed Forces, the military as you have pointed out. Peace will not just happen, but must be caused by self-sacrifice, by the Church Militant.

Gator’s Back on the Menu

Friday, February 20, AD 2015




Father Z advises us of this taste treat for our Lenten repasts:



I have posted on this in the past, but repetita iuvant as we say in Latin.


Someone sent me a copy of a letter written by the Archbishop of New Orleans to a member of his flock about eating alligator during Lent.  The answer is “yes”.  You may eat alligator during Lent.

This is old news to readers of this blog, of course.  Last year I posted this, which ought to have settled the whole thing:

QUAERITUR: Abstinentia de carne lacertina aut crocodrillina

Ex lectoris e-pistulis extractum:

Reverendo patro Ioanni Zuhlsdorfo discipulus C. salutem et commemorationem in precibus suis. Gratias meas, sivis, ob opum tuam tibi agere volo. [Acceptae.] Mihi, catholico iuveni et discipulo in collegio liberalum artis et liberalum (aut impudicarum) mentum, scripturae tuae magnam auxilium fuerunt. Mox Ludovicianam meabo. Quaeritur: Sineturne corpus alligatoris feria VI in Quadregesima sine violando abstinentiam Quadragesimae edere?

Ossificatus manualista impoenitens respondeo de paginis Compendii Theologiae Moralis (Sabetti-Barrett) n. 331, :

Nomine carnis veniunt omnia animalia in terra viventia ac respirantia, ut communiter admittunt theologi ex regula tradita a S. Thoma vel, ut S. Alphonsus innuit, n. 1011, animalia quae sanguinem habent calidum; vel illud quod consuetudo regionis ut carnem habet; vel, si nec consuetudo praesto sit, dubium solvi potest considerando mentem Ecclesiae in sanciendo delectu ciborum, ut comprimendae ac minuendae carnis concupiscentiae per salutarem abstinetiam consuleret; examinetur, an huiusmodi animal simile sit aut dissimile iis quorum esus interdictus est et an illius carnes humano corpori validius nutriendo et roborando idoneae dignoscantur; et si ita appareat, ista caro inter vetitas est ponenda. Benedict XIV., De syn. dioec., lib.11, c. 5, n. 12. Haec quatuor multum deservient omni dubitationi solvendae.

Ergo, crocodrilli et lacertae inter reptilia sunt et amphibia.

Edi ergo possunt feriis sextis et tempore Quadragesimae

Omnibus tamen diebus ab eis edimur!

So, there you have it.

You can eat alligator and crocodile on Fridays of Lent.

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17 Responses to Gator’s Back on the Menu

  • The Catholic Church has cast a fairly broad net as to what is acceptable in Lent. Basically, “if it swims in water, it is ripe for the slaughter”–seal, manatee, gator. Even strictly terrestrial fare such as tortoises (since they look like turtles) was fair game. I, personally, will stick to cod, flounder and tilapia, but then I am a sentimentalist.

  • Does the gator know that it shouldn’t eat you for Lent?

  • If not Pinky the Gator should be reminded of that fact.

  • If in Prairieville, LA, go to Sammy’s. They have the best fried alligator appetizer around.

  • If I am ever down there Phillip I will be sure not to miss the gator-pertifs!

  • Mary De Voe asks; “Taste like chicken?”

    No. Gator-bait has a remarkable similarity in texture and flavor to chicken. Gator texture is a cross between adolescent seal pups and snail-darter’s. The flavor of Gator is mistakenly close to American Snowy Owl….which, mind you, you must abstain from on Fridays during Lent.
    Bon appetite! 🙂

  • Because of the Global Warming and the unusual advance of Snowy Owls to southern states, Rome has granted a dispensation on the white birds for Fridays. This has NOT been confirmed by EOTT.

  • Philip, does gator come in cans? I think I will pass. God bless.

  • I was obnoxious last night. Trying to hard to be cute. Pearls is an eatery near home, Elk Rapids Mich. I’ve eaten their appetizer, gator, and it was so-so.
    Once was enough.
    Canned Gator? Why not?
    Take care.

  • The Other Andrew B:
    I understood that manatee–a mammal–was once scientifically considered a fish because of the Catholic Portuguese explores having/desiring to eat it on Fridays. Then again, lobster was considered stripped bass bait and hardly was aesthetic enough to eat on Fridays. Some changes are good. I suppose.

  • The Other Andrew B:
    I understood that manatee–a mammal–was once scientifically considered a fish because of the Catholic Portuguese explorers having/desiring to eat it on Fridays. Then again, lobster was considered striped bass bait and hardly was aesthetic enough to eat on Fridays. Some changes are good. I suppose.

  • Creole turtle soup is delicious. The true version is made from terrapin, which I’ve only had access to once. Usually I use veal or pork stew meat. It is never made from sea turtle. I’ve had fried gator and cooter (turtle) in LA and FL. Both appetizers are a novelty. Since it’s like chicken I guess it takes white wine though an Abita beer is better.

  • I’ll stick to peanut butter. Less pentitential for me than eating fish — even with lots of ketchup. Yup, I wriggle out of that sacrifice ; )

  • I sometimes feel guilty on Lenten Friday’s loving fish more than anything, maybe I should try gator-
    – does it pair well with doppelbock ?

  • I am sure gator pairs well with everything.

Father Z’s Internet Prayer

Sunday, August 3, AD 2014




Some years ago Father Z wrote an internet prayer:

A prayer before logging onto the internet:

Almighty and eternal God, who created us in Thine image and bade us to seek after all that is good, true and beautiful, especially in the divine person of Thine Only-begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of Saint Isidore, Bishop and Doctor, during our journeys through the internet we will direct our hands and eyes only to that which is pleasing to Thee and treat with charity and patience all those souls whom we encounter. Through Christ our Lord.   Amen.


Here it is in the original Latin:

Oratio ante colligationem in interrete:

Omni­potens aeterne Deus, qui secundum imaginem Tuam nos plasmasti et omnia bona, vera, et pulchra, praesertim in divi­na persona Unigeniti Fi­lii Tui Domini nostri Iesu Christi, quaerere iussi­sti, praesta, quaesumus, ut, per intercessionem Sancti Isidori, Epi­scopi et Doctoris, in peregrinationibus per interrete, et manus oculosque ad quae Tibi sunt placita intendamus et omnes quos conveni­mus cum caritate ac patientia accipiamus. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Go here to read how Father Z came to write the prayer.

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2 Responses to Father Z’s Internet Prayer

  • Regarding the Latin version of the prayer, it is a convention that the personal pronoun when used for the Deity is not capitalized in Latin, although it was in English until fairly recently.

  • Thank you, John Nolan: “Regarding the Latin version of the prayer, it is a convention that the personal pronoun when used for the Deity is not capitalized in Latin, although it was in English until fairly recently.”
    The Romans never capitalized any word, nor did the Romans use punctuation. They wrote letters that ran into words…maybe.
    The removal of the capital letter to write God’s name removes the capital letter to write all men’s names. ..but when you do it to them, you will hear them holler like stuck pigs…and they will use your tax money to effect their literary carnage.


Thursday, March 13, AD 2014

Jesuit Inquisition



Father Z bring us a disturbing development from across the pond:


I want everyone to know about this.

This was posted at the blog Protect The Pope, which was run by Deacon Nick Donnelly.

Diocese of Lancaster’s statement about Deacon Nick Donnelly BY M DONNELLY, ON MARCH 13TH, 2014 The Bishop’s office of the Diocese of Lancaster has kindly sent Nick the statement they issued to the press about him and Protect the Pope which is copied below.

“After learning that a notice had been placed upon the Protect the Pope website on 7 March saying: ‘Deacon Nick stands down from Protect the Pope for a period of prayer and reflection’ the Bishop’s Office at the Diocese of Lancaster was able to confirm that Bishop Campbell had recently requested Deacon Nick Donnelly to voluntarily pause from placing new posts on the Protect the Pope site.

Meanwhile, it was also confirmed that the Bishop asked Deacon Nick to use this pause to enter into a period of prayer and reflection on the duties involved for ordained bloggers/website administrators to truth, charity and unity in the Church.

Deacon Nick has agreed to the Bishop’s request at this time”.

I, for one, can imagine that a lot of pressure was exerted on the Bishop of Lancaster to have gone to such an extreme as to command a cleric under his charge not to think aloud in public.

I see now, however, that “M Donnelly” is posting at the blog.  I take it that this is Missus Deacon.  Good for her.

Go get ‘em.

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4 Responses to Disturbing

  • This is the first I have heard about that situation. As Deacon Nick took an oath to his bishop, I suppose he has to follow orders. Father Z has pointed out that a bishop can make a priest’s life a living hell – and the same would go for a deacon.

    As our bold, intrepid, fearless and beloved Mr. McClarey is no more a clergyman than I – I encourage Mr. McClarey to continue to boldly go where shrinking violets, Clown Mass participants, crazier than thou radtrads and Mark Shea dare not tread.


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  • “This is the first I have heard about that situation. As Deacon Nick took an oath to his bishop, I suppose he has to follow orders.”

    Penguins Fan,

    I may be wrong, but I think the bishop asked for his voluntary agreement because he cannot require it. However, prudence dictates the deacon’s cooperation, at least for a time. Refusing could easily be misconstrued as disobedience by his enemies.

    OTOH, I suspect you’re corect that the bishop can exert much pressure on the deacon. I will add: as much that has been placed upon the bishop by the forces of evil.

    I wonder if this sort of thing derives from liberals attempting to ride what they perceive as Francis’ coat tails into striking devastating blows agains orthodox Catholics, both conservative and traditionalists.

    Might be good for the two camps to remove the daggers from their mouths and begin to find common ground.

Persecution of Friars of the Immaculate Continues

Saturday, December 14, AD 2013

Friars of the Immaculate

The persecution, I do not think that is too strong a word for it, of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate continues apace.  Go here to Rorate Caeli to read the infuriating details.  Here are Father Z’s thoughts:




The Commissar appointed by the Prefect of the Congregation for Religious, has imposed seemingly draconian restrictions and changes on the Friars.

I can’t say I know the inner dynamics of this controversy.  My sense is that the Friars had some serious internal problems.  By the time this all escalated to the point of intervention by the Holy See, I suspect an intervention was needed: they couldn’t handle it on their own, which is not unsurprising for young institute.

That said, having read a little about the interventions made by the Holy See’s Commissar, Fr. Volpi, I must say I find them disturbing.

Fr. Finigan has made some good comments.  He has his own blog but he has closed his combox.  My emphases and comments™:

The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been going through a trying time recently. This seems to be getting worse. Rorate Caeli posted yesterday several documents relating the Franciscans of the Immaculate, including correspondence from Fr Volpi, the appointed Commissioner for the Institute. [I don’t see that “Commissar” is too far off the mark.]

[NB] We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. [Ohhhh, yes.] Occasionally [read: rarely] there has been some intervention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in rare cases an individual has been suspended from teaching in the name of the Church. We all remember the furore over the polite and carefully worded report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The negotiations with the SSPX broke down over the nuance of an expression concerning the level of acceptance of Vatican II.

In the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (who have not contradicted magisterial teaching on faith or morals) [Unlike countless weirdos of one religious order after another who have plagued the Church with their heresy and destroyed the faith and vocations of who know how many…] their superior has been removed, their seminary has been closed, and their members [get this…] are now to be asked to take an oath agreeing that the modern Roman rite is an “authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church.[The first thing that popped into my mind as I read this was “Oath of Supremacy”.] I hope that I am not being intemperate in describing this as rather harsh. [as opposed to … draconian, cruel, drastic, oppressive, severe, brutal, extreme?] I certainly don’t recall others, whether liberal or traditionalist [Oh, Father!  Never a liberal!] being asked to swear to such a specific question of fact. [Let’s imagine the Congregation imposing an oath on the Jesuits not to challenge the legitimacy of the Extraordinary Form or the legitimacy of what Bl. John Paul II called the “legitimate aspirations” of the faithful.] There are after all library shelves full of books by liturgical radicals arguing precisely the opposite: that the Novus Ordo was a a liberation from the encrusted barnacles of tradition and the opening of a bright new future for creative liturgy. Will they be administered an oath in which they must swear that it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition? [Rem acu.]

It would be reasonable to require those in communion with the Church to accept that the modern rite is, in itself, a valid rite for the celebration of the Eucharist. (Otherwise you would have to say that the Masses of Blessed John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis were all invalid.) [Pay attention…] The question of whether it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church is surely a legitimate matter for debate within the wider discussion of the hermeneutic of continuity or rupture. Famously, Cardinal Ratzinger described it as a “banal on the spot product”: are we not allowed any longer to agree with him?  [Oh, dear Father.  You are now veering close to official bad-think.  You are making… and I can barely bring myself to say it… distinctions.  There! See what you’ve done?]

Actually, I think that the oath could be taken in good conscience anyway – the expression is capable of a range of interpretations without even the need for any mental reservation. Certainly the modern rite has many elements that have always been in the Roman liturgy, and has, broadly speaking, a traditional Roman structure with readings, offertory, canon, and communion in the traditional order. It is authentic in being valid for the celebration of the Eucharist, in being promulgated by a Pope and in being legitimate to use. [A person could still say that the Novus Ordo is valid, and even a legitimate expression of the Roman Rite, without ceding that it is as expressive as the older form.]

Please pray for the Franciscans of the Immaculate at this time of trial. Pray especially to Our Lady, Mediatrix, Auxiliatrix, Advocatrix and Co-redemptrix. Pray also to St Maximilian Kolbe.

I will say what I have said before.  Some of you won’t like this.

Right now liberals think they have the big mo.  They will – even in an antinomian way – work to oppress those who simply want to make use of the lawful, universal legislation in Summorum Pontificum.  They will seek to forbid anyone from making reference to the vision Benedict XVI provided and then established with provisions that have juridical force.  They will try to build a wall between Francis and Benedict, as repress those who want the older forms in the name of some new “spirit of Francis”.

Therefore, I urge you to three things.

First, tread carefully.  When you seek the implementation of, or continuation of, or expansion of the use the provisions of Summorum Pontificum, put your most cheerful and happiest foot forward.  You can lose what you have gained.

Second, do not give up.  This is the time to press forward.  Keep working for your legitimate aspirations.  What Benedict set down is not any less needed today than it was a year ago.  It is even more needed.

Third, when there is an opportunity in the parish to get involved with some project involving corporal works of mercy, be the first to volunteer and get involved.

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19 Responses to Persecution of Friars of the Immaculate Continues

  • In my 50 years, I have seen the Catholic Church pull off its own version of a train wreck. Shortly before I entered Catholic school, the altar rails were torn out, Latin was abolished and the Baltimore Catechism was trashed. It was replaced by felt banners, guitars, and second graders as I was told to stand on the side altar and sing “Great Things Happen when God mixes with Man”. I kid you not, the parish priest gave permission for Terry Jacks’ lame “Seasons in the Sun” to be sung during a Mass. Later we got the laity on the altar reading Scripture, Communion in the hand, and Haugen/Haas/Dan Schutte and the St. Louis Jesuits. Throw in Liberation Theology, the Nuns on the Bus, Notre Dame giving obumbler an honorary doctorate………..

    Did anybody crack down on THAT? NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Whatever problems the FFI faced, Cardinal Aviz and Father Volpi have almost destroyed the order.

    My opinion is that Pope Francis developed a bad view of Traditionalism due to Richard Williamson being in Argentina. Well, we aren’t all Richard Williamson and Pope Francis would do well to remember that.

    I miss Pope Benedict.

  • I feel obligated to point out in all charity and in accordance with the Magisterium (as most recently articulated by Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI) that the apparent reference to Mary as co-redemptrix is not doctrinally valid. This does not materially affect the rest of post.

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  • Ken: “I feel obligated to point out in all charity and in accordance with the Magisterium (as most recently articulated by Blessed John Paul II and Benedict XVI) that the apparent reference to Mary as co-redemptrix is not doctrinally valid”
    The Blessed Virgin Mary would not accept any adulation or praise that was not exactly correct. Assigning to Mary any act of redemption could be only through Jesus, as Mary is only human.

  • Persecution??? What is there about the vow of obedience that you do not understand???
    Pride rears its ugly head once more……! The smell of moth balls in the so called Traditional orthodox church is overwhelming. Doctrinal ignorance and the desire for “the good old days” among those who profess this stance is a disgrace. The Church does not need another shameful schism, Marcel Lefebvre was enough ,thank you. Then add the Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests…..well it’s hell open to Christians…..too much to take. Our Holy Father is bringing the emphasis of the Church back to what Jesus and yes, Saint Francis preached and shown us by example ” blessed are the poor in heart….there is the kingdom of heaven.”
    When Francis was told rebuild my church there was no debate, no question, no doctrinal quibbling…..he did what he was told.
    Leave all of your fiddle backs, maniples and shanty lace surplices back in the ecclesiastical museum where they belong PLEASE.

  • Thank you Frank for that fine example of the tolerance extended by many within the Church to those of us who have the temerity to recall the astounding fact that the Church did not spring into existence in 1965.

  • Although I most frequently participate in this blog-chat, one thing that concerns me in all the various discussions of substantial and sometimes not so substantial matters in St Blogsphere, is the use of excessive or even inflammatory language. I use a very easy ‘rule of thumb’ [or at least attempt to]: is this particular post, or response etc adding light on a subject or just more darkness; is it adding warmth (in the best sense-not the gushy political correct kind) or just smoke. The Communion of the Church is what is essential; this communion based on the full teachings of the Church, the full sacramental life of the Church, and communion with the Apostolic Governance of the Church [Pope and bishops in union with the pope]-and the deepest dimension and soul of it all, Charity-Agape, the very Presence of the Holy Spirit in the soul of the Church, with the Eucharist as the heart, and Christ as its head.

    The topic “‘what is really happening to or with the Friars of the Immaculate Conception” is an important issue. Why? Because the underlying issues are not what language they are or desire to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass in, nor in which form of the Roman Rite [Extraordinary or Ordinary form] they celebrate the Sacrifice. The underlying issue is the Communion of the Church in both the aspect of the full sacramental life of the Church and full communion with the governance of the Church-communion with the pope and bishops in communion with him.

    The issue seems to center around whether they believe/view/see the Ordinary Form as a valid, licit and genuine expression of the Roman Rite. It is not talking about any prohibition of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form [that has been dealt with once and for all, thankfully, by Pope Benedict XVI. When a group of Italian bishops sought Pope Francis to undo Pope Benedict’s rule, he not only declined to change anything but told them that it was here to stay (my translation lol). So, that is not the issue.

    I am not any expert on this situation, but I do know how to ‘interpret’ Church documents. If the Friars are being asked to sign ‘an oath’ concerning the Ordinary Form there must have been, in their internal dispute, some statements concerning not preferences of one Form of the Roman Rite or the other, but the validity of one of those forms-in this case, the Ordinary Form. That strikes at the fundamental communion with the full sacramental life of the Church-stating in so many words, that a very large portion of the Catholic Church is not even celebrating the true Sacrifice of the Mass, nor receiving the Sacrament of the Body Blood Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. if one takes a step back and sees it in this light, the perspective on this thing changes, and changes drastically.

    It is time for our liturgical wars to end. Would any one of us state the Liturgy in the Melkite, Byzantine, Maronite churches is invalid because of the language they use, whether they use leavened or unleavened bread, of in this case whether they celebrate Mass behind or without an iconostasis? I bet we wouldn’t. There are two forms of the Roman Rite. The Roman Rite is only one of several rites [Roman, Ambrosian, Anglican usuage:(Sarum rite)] within the Latin rite. Many of our arguments are not based on essentials, as important as these issues are. To maintain one form of the Roman Rite is not valid, or is not a legitimate expression of the Roman Rite does strike at the essentials and breaks Communion in an extremely fundamental way.

    BTW while it is accurate to say that “Co-Redemptrix” has not been solemnly defined by the Magisterium of the Church it nonetheless is part of the patrimony of the Church. No less than the Second Vatican Council in Lumen Gentium spoke of Mary as Advocate, Auxiliatrix, Adjutrix, Mediatrix [see LG 61]

  • It is not talking about any prohibition of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form [that has been dealt with once and for all, thankfully, by Pope Benedict XVI. When a group of Italian bishops sought Pope Francis to undo Pope Benedict’s rule, he not only declined to change anything but told them that it was here to stay (my translation lol). So, that is not the issue.

    Uh huh.

  • Frank Gentile, you are speaking of things which you do not understand. That much is clear.

    Botolph, the only group I know of that calls itself Catholic and dismisses the Mass of Pope Paul VI is the SSPX. The stink about the FFI began when certain friars were mad about the other friars developing a preference for the Extraordinary Form.

    Given the hostility in much of the Church hierarchy to the EF, Fr. Volpi’s actions do not surprise me. Sadden me, anger me, definitely, but I am not surprised.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I am sorry to say that I do indeed know not every member of the hierarchy was happy with Pope Benedict’s Summorum Pontificem [Hope I spelled that right]. But none are ‘making’ parishes with the Extraordinary Form to take such an oath—and to be honest, that would be a horrendous travesty.

    I was being a bit careful how I approached the subject. I am aware that the SSPX has grave questions, and in some cases doubts about the Ordinary Form. To be honest I do not want to in any way cause more friction and division than we already have. However, from what I have read (and it is more than the info from Fr Z) there were three splits among the Friars. They were founded and began with what we now term as the Ordinary Rite. When Pope Benedict’s ruling came forward some desired to have the Extraordinary Form. That caused some friction but was not the end of the world. What really blew up was a portion of the group that desired the EF becoming further radicalized, some sources say by some woman religious who was extremely close to if not a member of a splinter group-I am not at all positive it was SSPX-that’s why I did not go in that direction and want to say now, I just do not know the source of that radicalization. The radicalization radically questioned the OF far beyond preferences, likes etc., striking as I said at a much deeper issue: the Communion of the Church. But the radicalization did take place in that third group-tore apart the portion that wanted the EF and caused havoc with that portion of the community still participating in and celebrating the OF. I don;t believe the order is that big so you can just imagine how this sort of division caused extreme stress to such a young order.

    If I am wrong on any of this, I have not intentionally misstated or intentionally attempted to mislead anyone. I learned of it from sources I consider to be objective and truthful. I was curious why it happened, given Pope Benedict’s rule and Pope Francis’ agreement with it. I kept questioning why were the Friars singled out-and this is what I have discovered-so far.

  • During the life of Saint Francis, some members of his group tried to ouster him (Francis) as head of the Franciscans. In this instance to my understanding, several members of the FI complained to the Vatican, resulting in the oath. In Francis’ time and now, there is nothing stopping the plaintiffs from starting their own branch of FI, much like Mother Teresa of Calcutta did when she started the Missionaries of Charity.

  • Are we seeing a “Unigenitus moment,” when the “Peace of Clement IX,” brokered in 1669, was brought to an abrupt end in 1705, by Vineam Domini Sabaoth, in which Clement XI declared the Jansenist clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence?”

    Eventually, in 1713, Clement XI issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was enormous resistance, with bishops and priests appealing to a future Council (and being excommunicated for their pains, in 1718). As late as 1756, dissenters were still being denied the Last Rites.

  • Botolph: “It is time for our liturgical wars to end.” Well, I submit that the man who specifically crafted the inflammatory title of traditionals as “self-absorbed promethean neo-pelegians”in his very 1st official document( n. 94, in the oxymoronically-named Evangelii Gaudium; as well as many other unflattering jabs at the traditionals in other interviews) hasnt exactly declared a truce. In fact, the pillorying of the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate shows trad groups quite a sharp contradiction to where Pope Francis (PF) stands, and even shows the contradictions in his own thinking (again in EG): later in the same document urges (n.25o) “an attitude of openness in truth and in love [which] must characterize [ecumenical] dialogue.” No love for our own, though. As a case in point going on right now: In San Jose (CA) diocese, commencing over the last few weeks, the local bishop decided to have a show-down over the one Extraordinary Form chapel he has allowed (Oratory of Our Lady of Perpetual Help, Santa Clara, CA) , a chapel which had been staffed by the Institute of Christ the King( a trad order “in union” with the Holy See. Now, this bishop has never been friendly to the Latin Mass, and had moved the TLM Mass group to this tiny chapel (it only seats 40 people), which they had to buy and pay for, to be “in compliance” with Summorum Pontificum. However, seeing that the winds had changed with the rise of PF, he recently began to insist on several specific changes and finally gave a list of demands and an ultimatum to the board of the Oratory in November (I have copies of the letters to the Oratory members) insisting that if they didnt comply, he would remove his approval, and he would pronounce them “in schism” (his words: he never was much of a canon lawyer to know that people who are trying to be in union with the Catholic Church cannot likely also be in schism). He apparently wanted to cut back the number of services (even tho’ the chapel is usually overflowing into the street) and it is claimed he may have wanted to insist that the people occasionally sit through a Novus Ordo Mass — these are rumors I havent substantiated yet—but what is clear, he decided if they didnt comply, he wouldnt allow the Institute of Christ the King to continue staffing the chapel —this much is clear in the letter in his own words. The outcome? The board consulted with their membership and decided to request the SSPX take over. And the SSPX did, effective Dec. 15th. They (the SSPX) now have a high-profile site right within two short blocks of Santa Clara University, where the bishop’s worst nightmare is unfolding: a series of Masses with erudite SSPX priests explaining the Lefebvre case, not just over the liturgy, but over the post-Vat2 fractures in Catholic theology (religious freedom; other churches (and non-Christian faiths) equivalent to the Cath Church; universal salvation; etc) and explaining what they stand for. No: the religious wars are no where near over, and one group that shows a spiritual muscularity about being ready to “stand in” to the fight is the SSPX. So much for the “Franciscan” spirit of this papacy.

  • I know that if there were an SSPX chapel in our area, I’d occasionally go to it (and haul along the boys). Where else are they going to hear the Latin they’ve been studying?

  • Steve Phoenix

    “ insisting that if they didnt comply, he would remove his approval, and he would pronounce them “in schism” (his words: he never was much of a canon lawyer to know that people who are trying to be in union with the Catholic Church cannot likely also be in schism)”

    And, low and behold, rather than obey their ordinary, they do go into schism, by inviting in the SSPX.

    “[S]chism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him. (c 751)

  • Ahhh, Michael P-S is judge and jury on the members of the Oratory, pronouncing they are in schism, yet without any specific facts of the matter (which I have indicated are not yet fully known). Glad to hear how cool and calm and objective you are Michael P-S. And also, Michael P-S, if a bishop orders one not to reveal to the police the abuse of children, and one does so, is such a person in schism?. According to your simplistic judgment, such a person is? Glad you arent a canon lawyer, Michael.

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  • The present Pope Francis scares me. I believe he is a liberal and will do much harm to our Church. I miss Pope John Paul ll and Pope Benedict!!!

Evangelii Gaudium: Ordination of Women

Monday, December 9, AD 2013



Father Z points out how disappointing for the Catholic Left Evangelii Gaudium is in regard to one of their top priority issues:  Ordination of women:


I have written before that the ordination of women is the flagship issue for liberals.

So long as Pope Francis won’t change Church “policy”, he will remain in their dog house.

Some conservatives frown when the Pope gets out over his skiis in matters of economics, but liberals attack Francis when he upholds defined faith and morals.

Jamie Manson at the Fishwrap, lesbian activist, tutored at Yale by Margaret Farley (of the CDF Notification), favored speaker of the LCWR, attacks Francis for editors this time.

The good thing about Miss Mansons’ piece is that she totalizes her analysis of Pope Francis: Francis can’t be wrong about gender and right about anything else. Obviously NSR disagrees with that judgment!

On lack of vocations, Francis’ diagnosis comes up short

Like many who care passionately about a fully inclusive priesthood in the Catholic church, I read paragraph 104 of Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium with deep sadness, though not surprise.  [Remember when I wrote that Francis had created a split on the left?  Remember also that Sr. Maureen Fiedler already attacked Francis on this point … as the surrogate for the NSR.  The editors work thought surrogates.]

“The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion,” Francis wrote, “but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general.” [For true liberals, priesthood is about power, nothing less.  That is one reason why the ordination of women is a liberal flagship issue.]

“It must be remembered that when we speak of sacramental power ‘we are in the realm of function, not that of dignity or holiness,’ ” the document continues. “The ministerial priesthood is one means employed by Jesus for the service of his people, yet our great dignity derives from baptism, which is accessible to all.

“The configuration of the priest to Christ the head — namely, as the principal source of grace — does not imply an exaltation which would set him above others.”

[And now the Popette speaketh…] Much as Francis would like to erase the dynamic of domination from the priesthood, his teaching will remain unrealistic if he continues to reinforce an unjust power structure [DING!  Say da magic woid, win a hundred dahlahs!] in which only celibate males are permitted to consecrate the Eucharist.


Even as Francis perpetuates the same rigid restrictions on who may and may not answer God’s calling to the priesthood, just three paragraphs later, in section 107, he goes on to blame the “dearth of vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life” on “a lack of contagious apostolic fervour in communities which results in a cooling of enthusiasm and attractiveness.” []

Apparently for the pope, “vocations” are limited to the number of people in Roman Catholic seminaries or novitiate programs. He seems unaware that if he were to look into divinity schools and graduate programs in theology and ministerial formation, he would find no lack of Catholic young adults with a fervent desire to devote themselves fully to serving the church. [They can’t do so as priests.  Too bad, Jamie.]


Read the rest there, if you can stand it.  You’ll find a lot of whining about unfairness and an exaltation of lesbianism.

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115 Responses to Evangelii Gaudium: Ordination of Women

  • All people are baptized into the Catholic Church as priest, prophet, and king. The Sacrament of Baptism leaves an indelible mark on the person’s soul. As priest, the person receives Jesus, as prophet, the person evangelizes, proclaims the kingdom of God, as king, the person is made sovereign over himself/herself. It appears that the women demanding ordination to the Catholic priesthood have renounced their baptism, and the priesthood, in themselves. Let me suggest that the reason being, is that, to act in persona Christi, the ordained priest bring Jesus onto the altar, the greatest dignity man can achieve, but the Sacrament of Penance, which no other religion has, has absolution spoken by Jesus Christ, and through His priest, sins are forgiven and exorcism takes place. In Baptism, the exorcism is in general, in Penance the exorcism is in particular. It is this exorcism, warring with the devil, driving the devil to hell that is the battle that the women refuse to acknowledge or accept as part of the sovereignty over themselves. It is like changing diapers on a precious newborn baby and I am that baby in the secret of confession. These women all need exorcism in the Sacrament of Penance. I hope I have shed some light on this matter.

  • I hope I have shed some light on this matter.
    You did well, Mary. Thank you.

  • If they think it through clearly, his statement really won’t matter. Given the stated goals of devolving the Papacy and empowering of local episcopal conferences with doctrinal authority, they’ll get what they want that way.

    And it’s too much for Fr. Z to delight in a “split” based on two of the Wrap’s most extreme fembot writers. Fiedler and Manson won’t be happy until a Muslim lesbian is pope.

    No, the great progressive hope is found elsewhere in the document, and it should gladden their hearts.

  • It is this exorcism, warring with the devil, driving the devil to hell that is the battle that the women refuse to acknowledge or accept as part of the sovereignty over themselves. It is like changing diapers on a precious newborn baby and I am that baby in the secret of confession. These women all need exorcism in the Sacrament of Penance. I hope I have shed some light on this matter.

    Don’t women change diapers? (At least traditionally.)

    I’m sorry, I’m not understanding your point. But I want to.

  • “Don’t women change diapers? (At least traditionally.)
    I’m sorry, I’m not understanding your point. But I want to.”

    Holy Mother Church changes my diapers in the Sacrament of Penance, if she can, that is, if a person is repentant. First, the Prodigal Son returns, then he is celebrated. These women demanding a vocation to the priesthood want the celebrating but not the repentance. They are more like the other son, the brother of the prodigal who wanted the celebration without rejoicing with his father because the prodigal returned. “What doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and loose his soul?” If I am not who I am supposed to be, who is going to be me? The Sacrament of Penance is where I am me. No one attains to Holy Orders without being called.

  • “Given the stated goals of devolving the Papacy and empowering of local episcopal conferences with doctrinal authority, they’ll get what they want that way.”
    Empowering of local episcopal conferences with doctrinal authority is a power that can easily be dissolved by removing the head of the local episcopal conference for heresy. If Pope Francis has the taste for it. Infallibility

  • I truly believe that if Jesus walked on earth today he most likely would choose more women today to be priests than he would men! Look around the church during daily Mass and see how many men are there to worship Jesus.

  • Look around the church during daily Mass and see how many men are there to worship Jesus.


    Do you honestly believe that the number of men in the pews (or women, for that matter) will increase once priestesses are ordained? The evidence from the Anglican churches and other sects with priestesses belies the assumption. Or are you saying that the Church should simply write off men as a lost cause?


    Or, consider the case of Islam, a religion not known for being progressive in the matter of gender politics. Women are not even allowed in the main area of the mosque, and this has not been much of an impediment to the religion’s spread. As a matter of fact, Muslims claim that the majority of converts in the West are female. I am not sure if they are correct, but if that were true, I would not be surprised.


    But hey, I guess whatever you personally choose to believe should trump all that, eh? That kind of thinking is increasingly popular these days, but it makes me wonder whom people are really in the business of worshipping, because I do not think it is Jesus.

  • I am not a Sacramentalist. The only objection to women’s ordination to which I’ve ever given a hearing is based on Scripture. And I think St. Paul wrote to his churches with advice dealing with problems peculiar to them. So it is difficult to see his remarks on women in terms of today’s churches. Our circumstances are obviously different. Our problems are different. Our context is different. While much of his advice in other areas remains essentially relevant, I think his advice on women pertained to a unique situation in his day. If one is a Sacramentalist, they will probably tend toward restricting the roel to men. It is said that men mirror God/Christ as pastors. But again, to a non-sacramentalist that’s irrelevant to the argument.

  • When a woman appears in the sanctuary, she, as an altar server or extraordinary minister or minister to the sick, she appears in persona of the priest, the celebrant of the Mass, (with the power of attorney of the priest.). The woman cannot appear or act “in persona Christi” because the woman is not ordained by the bishop to act “in persona Christi.” Nor does the celebrant, the priest at Mass, have the power from Christ to “Do this in memory of me,” , or the power to absolve sins, unless given the power by the bishop. Only the apostles, (the bishops) to whom Christ gave the power to celebrate Mass and forgive sins have the power to continue the priesthood through the ordination to the Sacrament of Holy Orders. Not the priest , nor the pastor, nor the individual has any authority to elevate to the altar, only the apostolic successors to the apostles, the bishops, can elevate to the altar.
    This is in holding with Genesis. God created the first man. Then God took the first woman from the first man. The woman is the super abundance of man’s love for God, the buried treasure, the packed down spilling over of man’s love for God.
    The woman in the sanctuary acts in the power of the priest. The woman in the sanctuary cannot act in the persona of the bishop.
    Any bishop who might try ordaining women to the Sacrament of Holy Orders fails in his duty to observe the instruction of Jesus Christ to the Apostles, all of whom were men. The bishop acts in persona Christi. The priest acts in persona Christi through the bishop.
    Women are called to be holy, and therefore cannot be holy violating the will of Christ.

  • Jon: God and Christ in the Trinity are outside of time. The Real Presence of Christ in the tabernacle is unchangeable. Who Jesus Christ ordained then, is valid now.

  • “Women are not even allowed in the main area of the mosque” In both the Jewish faith and the Muslim faith, the man appears before God in prayer in synagogue and mosque for himself, his wife, and his children, much like the Catholic priest, who appears at Mass to pray for all generations, for all time, that is, for all people. The woman, through power of attorney, is present in church to pray for all people.

  • “The woman, through power of attorney, is present in church to pray for all people.”

    The woman, through power of attorney, of her father, her husband, if she has one, the priest, pastor, bishop and Pope, is present in church to pray for all people. Awesome.

  • Mary, I think you’re confusing verses that pertain to marriage. While Christ is the head of the church, St. Paul also used marriage as a metaphor of Christ and the church. So he spoke of the husband being the head of the wife to illustrate that. I don’t think this transfers to the church. Some issues were ocurring in the churches he wrote to and we do not entirely understand what those were. Therefore, it is difficult to understand his advice. But it was not framed in terms of sacramentalism. Sacramentalism is a development.

  • “Mary, I think you’re confusing verses that pertain to marriage.” The Sacrament of Holy Matrimony between a man and a woman, is the same as Christ, the bridegroom and His Church, for Jesus laid down His life for her.
    “Sacramentalism is a development.”
    Jon, If sacramentalism is not orthodox, run like hell.
    This is the same advice I give to women whose bishops are considering ordaining women: be orthodox or run like hell.

  • I wonder how you would define orthodoxy. I consider orthodoxy a concensus of the early church that came about in response to challenge. Christian truth was defined and elaborated upon so as to preclude heresy. For example, the Trinity or the dual nature of Jesus Christ and the Incarnation would be examples of orthodoxy in this vein. Heresy would be gnostic readings of Christianity, for example, or an anemic sense of God that did not account for his triune nature. I think people can be solidly Christian and orthodox in this classic sense while holding to differences of opinion. It happens within the Roman branch and throughout the entire Christian church. You won’t find a sacramentalist approach in the pages of the New Testament. I argue that it’s something we read back into it. This anachronism involves what we call eisegesis. One way to describe eisegesis is to say we are putting something from our own minds into the text. So it’s the opposite of exegesis, where we try to extract meaning FROM the text. I really don’t find the sacramentalist system intellectually sustainable. I’m pretty open to whatever the text yields, generally. I don’t have an agenda or serious commitment that would sway me one way or another. Two key points that led me away from the sacramentalist possibility are the following: St. Paul, in speaking about the Lord’s Supper, seems to refer to the believers as the body of Christ and not the bread or Corpus Christi of the crucifixion when he remarks on discernment; baptism seems to have always followed repentence and faith in God. So it’s really difficult to see baptism or the eucharist in the sacramentalist way.
    The fundamental point I would bring out is that there WAS development. The church exists in time, obviously. As the church do so it interacts within its context. The church expresses itself in new forms and adapts to circumstances. The first few centuries saw some really good developments, but some others were not so good. It looks like Roman Catholics consider all development as sacred tradition. Protestants see the necessity of weighing the differernt developements. One theologian has spoken of something called the Great Tradition. This means we accept the traditions of the New Testament and those which followed provided they are weighed and universally approved. Even then traditions which followed the New Testament are not binding.
    Orthodoxy can only come about through a consensus of the entire church. Look for those things which professing Christians everywhere believe, whether Roman Catholic, Protestant, or Orthodox. These beliefs are surely orthodox.

  • Orthodoxy can only come about through a consensus of the entire church.


    What an unBiblical thing to say, and one so oblivious to history. The Bible repeatedly tells us of how small embattled minorities held on to the Faith, while the consensus fell away. The same could be said for the early Church. Whatever consensus was reached with the Arians was brought about by centuries of bitter warfare. Sure, it is easy to claim, centuries later, that the Arians (or the Gnostics, or the Monophysites, etc.) are outside the consensus, but that is just playing with tautologies, in the way badly informed evolutionists sometimes do. “Who survives?” It is the fittest. “Who are the fittest?” Well, it’s the ones who have survived.

  • Jon: “Orthodoxy can only come about through a consensus of the entire church.” The entire church is the church triumphant, all the saints in heaven, the church militant, those of us on earth struggling against the forces of evil and the church suffering, those souls in purgatory, being cleansed from all sins and heresies. Perhaps you might refer to it as tradition but the martyrs and saints in heaven died for the Truth of Jesus Christ and the Truth of Jesus Christ will remain constant even as Jesus lives in heaven. The Truth of Jesus Christ is infallible. God is unchangeable. Perfection of God cannot change. “…Who canst deceive or be deceived.”

  • Ha: ““Who survives?” It is the fittest. “Who are the fittest?” Well, it’s the ones who have survived. Great point, resounds like “We would not have brought HIM to you if He was not guilty.” If Jesus Christ was guilty of any sin or crime He would have had to die for His own sins and crimes. Jesus died for our sins and saved us for Himself.

  • “…Who canst deceive or be deceived.” rather “…Who canst deceive, nor be deceived.” already I am fallible.

  • I always thought ordination was restricted to men because it gives them something important to do. Women give birth. Men need something. Isn’t that in the Bible somewhere? Yup, there it is, John 2:

    And the third day, there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there.
    2 And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage.
    3 And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine.
    4 And Jesus saith to her: Woman, what is that to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come.
    5 His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye.

    See? Waiters, not waitresses. And Mary instituted it. 😉

  • HA, that’s an excellent point! Thank you so much! Allow me to adjust my argument in line with what you said. The first few centuries managed to safeguard certain fundamental Christian truths like the trinity, the nature of Christ, etc. When I say orthodoxy comes about by a consensus of the church, I mean a consensus that took a while to emerge as dominant. That was a good thing. After the first few centuries of the church era, we no longer see that phenomenon occurring. After the split between East and West and the Protestant break we see that Christians everywhere generally continue to believe those orthodox things. But no new orthodoxy emerges because people are no longer in direct communication to make that happen. But I loved your analogy with survival of the fittest…nice! I don’t think we have any real disagreement.

  • Mary, one is hard pressed indeed to find verses in Scirpture to support a notion of purgatory. As N. T. Wright once said, the concept resonates with us because ‘we live in it’. To anyone with insight, this life is our purgatorial experience. The way of the cross is something every Christian is quite familiar with and I need look no further for purgatory outside it. But thank you for your zeal and serious interest in doctrinal matters.

  • Tasmin, you raise some food for thought. It’s been said by philosophers that since men cannot give birth, they hang onto ideas. There’s some merit to that. To bring new life into the world is to reflect our Creator in a very profound way, though I do not think men envy the pain involved….our Lord suffered to give us Life.

  • Jesus said: “I lay down my life and I take it up again.” definitely not purgatory.

  • When I say orthodoxy comes about by a consensus of the church…


    First of all, let me first say that I commend your gracious tone. I should also say that the issues that confronted the early Christians were never really settled. The Muslims are not exactly Arians, and neither are they Monophysites, but that’s essentially what we’re talking about. Pelagianism is rampant among Christians and post-Christians throughout the West, while a fair number of vegans and the more dour feminists and Greens and counter-culturalists look an awful lot like Gnostics. Sure, many of those groups are all nominally (and vociferously) non-Christian or anti-Christian, but they have numerous fellow travelers within Christianity as well.
    Also, in my experience, those who give a lot of weight to the consensus put themselves in the position of the kid from the mixed marriage, whose parents hope he can pick up the best from both their religions, or at least whatever it is that both share, but who ultimately decides neither one is really worth the bother. In the case of Catholicism, there is admittedly a kind of hierarchy between core beliefs and the various charisms or devotions one can follow, but the overall consensus (such as it is) has come by an often heavy-handed procrustean crushing of many a bruised reed, and that is very sad, though I don’t know of any alternative would have worked out better, since for Catholics, maintaining that unity is a non-negotiable.

  • HA, you raise a good point, first of all. You speak of the watered-down Christianity we have in America, and its similarities to heretical thought and its resurrection through the New Age movement. Christianity in America often seems to assume a gnostic tone.
    Concerning the first few centuries, I do think some basic things fell into place through time. An established orthodoxy slowly and painfully arose in response to some challenges presented. The orthodox positions are restricted to what was considered endangered. The orthodox positions were not necessarily the popular ones. Heresies existed within the church, usually in the form of anemic versions of truth, and they were often held by many. They could have won the day. Later on, Constantine would probably have preferred Arianism. But when he gave the argument over to the ‘senate’ they were almost unanimous. So by that time there was a consensus. I think the people who risked their lives and suffered usually took these things more seriously. Also, I like to think the Spirit was involved in the process of safeguarding some truths even as the canon was similarly concluded. But these were not represented by a neat, agreeable process throughout the entire early/ancient church. Neither were they the product of bullying. These things happened through struggle, of course. But again, we find a consensus under Constantine. For some reason, perhaps pragmatic since the faith had to survive and define itself over against not-faith, orthodox responses won out over ‘heretical’ proposels. Later on, it was important that Pelagius–if what the others said of him was correct–be knocked down. Augustine’s udnerstanding of human depravity reflects the overall tenor of Scripture, while Pelagius would lead people away from Scripture. Pelagius may have been fine, but in one generation you have humanism.
    So that’s how it worked itself out, but it could have happened other ways, as I recognize it. All sorts of direcitons could have been taken given different decisions and circumstances.
    After Augustine, I don’t think you really find orthodoxy verses heresy in this classic sense. I’m not sure why. The chruch was established and had much more control. THere was no longer a hostile pagan environment. I guess heretical thought could be dealt with in decisive ways while reiterating the basic orthodoxy.

  • And yes, I’ve picked up on the fact that different devotions exist boht here in Ameirca and abroad. The devotions can be very diverse, and it seems sometimes they represent local indigenous beliefs filtered through the church. Such diversity doesn’t seem to be questioned.

  • Jon: “Huh” You said that purgatory was not outside of the cross and quoted N. T. Wright: “As N. T. Wright once said, the concept resonates with us because ‘we live in it’. To anyone with insight, this life is our purgatorial experience. The way of the cross is something every Christian is quite familiar with and I need look no further for purgatory outside it.” Jesus exalted in His cross, so Christ’s cross is not purgatory. Purgatory comes after death. Death, Judgement, heaven and hell are the four last things. Purgatory is the vestibule of heaven, but purgatory, if one is lucky enough to get there, comes only after passing this life.

    Only the Catholic Church has the Real Presence of Jesus Christ.

  • Jon: May I make a suggestion: The Baltimore Catechism and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

  • Mary, I don’t know where the Roman branch got the idea of purgatory, but it cannot be found in the pages of Scripture. The Jews never believed it and the early Christians didn’t eaither. Where do you find this idea in the Bible?
    The general idea of purgation in Scirpture corresponds to the life of hte Christian. We live after the pattern of Crhist who, though sinless, was made perfect through suffering. We are sinners, but are sanctified if we grow in Christ. This is teh biblical idea. So the process of purgation, if you will, is played out in what we call sanctification. Sanctification is the Christian life. You r thoughts?

  • Latae sententiae is Latin for self- excommunication. When any individual consents to commit a sin or crime or heresy, he/she instantaneously and automatically self-excommunicates him/herself from the Catholic Church. The heretic separates himself from God, the Truth and the faithful, living and dead.
    In any conversation about consensus in the Church, only the faithful in the church can contribute to the consensus. The faithful are in communion with the saints in heaven, the Fathers of the Church, the faithful Church Militant and the faithful Church Suffering in purgatory. The saints in heaven and the suffering in purgatory have had their relationship with God sealed in eternity through death. It cannot change. Therefore, the truths of the Catholic Church are true today as they were true when Christ revealed these truths to us. Infallibility is preserved. Orthodoxy is the same then and now, no change.
    When one speaks of consensus in the Church, it only can mean that the participants join in the eternal life of the Truth revealed to all by Jesus Christ.
    Note that when priests consented to violate their vow to pray always and did bad things, these priests were already excommunicated and in the hands of the devil, well on their way to hell. …and it is the same for all souls. Dante wrote that the floor of hell was strewn with the skulls of bishops. Women demanding the Sacrament of Holy Orders are self-excommunicated.
    Honestly, I tremble when the priest prays: “…for all the faithful here assembled.”

  • “In doing this he acted in a very excellent and noble way, inasmuch as he had the resurrection of the dead in view; for if he were not expecting the dead to rise again, it would have been useless and foolish to pray for them in death. But if he did this with a view to the splendid reward that awaits those who had gone to rest in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Thus he made atonement for the dead that they might be freed from this sin” (2 Macc. 12:43–45).

  • Donald, that’s the danger in quoting from the Apochrapha! That wasn’t included in the original canon–the Jews themselves didn’t consider it part of the scriptures.

  • Thank you, Donald, I was about to find the Book of Maccabees. Without purgatory, the Church would not be in communion with the Church Suffering there. Some souls have asked for our prayers. God is present in hell by His absence, through the love and respect God gives to the gift of free will.

  • “the Jews themselves didn’t consider it part of the scriptures.” Jon: You just disowned the Menorah and the nine days the holy oil burned, one candle for each day.

  • Well, here’s the thing, Mary. The church never accepted the Apocapha as part of the canon knowing the Jews didn’t consider it so either.

  • 1 and 2 Maccabees are certainly canonical.

  • Mike, how can I and II Maccabees be canonical? The Jews did not consider them so and netiehr did the church. They form a portion of the Apocrapha.

  • “The church never accepted the Apocapha as part of the canon knowing the Jews didn’t consider it so either.”

    Untrue Jon. The Church decided what portions of the Apocrypha were canonical and which were not. All the books contained in the Septuagint were accepted by the Church as canonical. The Jews did not begin casting out books from the Septuagint until the late first into the second century AD. These books were accepted by Catholics as part of Holy Writ. Protestant “Reformers” in the Sixteenth Century opted to follow the Hebrew Canon rather than that followed by Christians for fifteen centuries.

  • The Apocrapha is useful as human writing for the intertestamental period, but it’s not canonical. By the time the Hebrew canon was completed, it was rejected as inspired writing. So I would not use those books to form doctrine.

  • That is fine for a Protestant like you Jon. We Catholics believe differently. The Church has the authority to determine what went in and what went out in regard to the Old Testament, just as she did with the New Testament, which, I might add, was a fairly lengthy process in regard to the New Testament.

  • Well, the Apocrypha is very useful in telling us about the nature of the intertestamental period, as I said. But we wouldn’t consider it inspired Scripture because it isn’t a part of the Jewish canon. There has been no reason to think it shold be included and every reason to think it should be excluded. It’s not something we’ve had to really think much about, but if you look into it a little bit you see right away why it was dismissed. I read the Apocrypha years back and noticed it didn’t fit in with the character of the rest of Scripture. I saw that discrepency. I’m always the type to find out for myself and to prove everything.

  • Why would Christians be governed by decisions made by Jews, after the time of Christ, about the Old Testament? The Church was granted the authority to decide for herself directly by Christ. Debates ensued among the Church Fathers about what should be included in both Testaments and ultimately the Church established both canons of the Testaments. That the Jews after Christ decided not to include certain texts among their scriptures was mentioned in some of the debates, but not taken as a deciding factor.

  • True. The Hebrew canon came to its closure later on. But the New Testament cites the Jewish writings we consider inspired, and we find the Law, Prophets, and Writings or wisdom literature. The Abel to Zecharia expression used by Jesus rounds it off.
    The Apocrypa was not in Hebrew, but in Greek, and many of the church fathers rejected it. So it wasn’t a matter of excising something already there. Much later on, the Roman Catholic church declared parts of it inspired, but not the whole thing. Protestants never included any of the Apocryphal books since it was never within the canon. Even Jerome rejected it.

  • “Even Jerome rejected it.”

    Untrue as demonstrated by the books included in the Latin Vulgate. Jerome recognized the authority of the Church to determine the Canon no matter his personal opinion about various books.

    As for the New Testament, it has various quotations from “deuterocanonical books”, a phrase not coined until 1566, along with books not included in the Canon, so going by citations in the New Testament is a fairly weak reed to support your position.

  • Yes, the N. T. contains references from non-canonical writings. I don’t see how that’s any indication that the Apocrypha is inspired, however. As I said, I read the Apocrypha, and it didn’t fit in with the overall tenor of Scripture. The Roman and Eastern Orthodox branches hold onto it. Interestingly, I understand neither churhc has included the entire Apocrypha in its collection.

  • “Yes, the N. T. contains references from non-canonical writings. I don’t see how that’s any indication that the Apocrypha is inspired, however”

    The above quotation from Jon, please shake hands with this quotation from Jon:

    “But the New Testament cites the Jewish writings we consider inspired, and we find the Law, Prophets, and Writings or wisdom literature.”

    Then we have this quotation from Don:

    “As for the New Testament, it has various quotations from “deuterocanonical books”, a phrase not coined until 1566, along with books not included in the Canon, so going by citations in the New Testament is a fairly weak reed to support your position.”

  • What I was saying is that Scripture is summed up in the New Testament as the Law, Prophets, and Writings. After that there was a kind of ‘dead’ period. While it is true the N. T. contains references to non-canonical wriitngs, they are not the apocrypha. They are other writings. According to your reasoning, anything cited int eh N. T. must also be inspired.
    Instead, we should realize the writers of N. T. Scirpture occassionally cited references from non-canonical works.

  • Jon, last night you wrote that “[t]he church never accepted the Apocrapha as part of the canon knowing the Jews didn’t consider it so either.” Of course with respect to Maccabees this statement is undebatably false. Your personal opinion regarding the canonical merits of Maccabees really is of no more interest to the Church than it is of Her sons and daughters. We are all very well aware that the Jews eventually rejected Maccabees just as they rejected Christ. There is no logical reason whatsoever for this rejection to be dispositive for Christians.

  • Thanks, Mike. But I still maintain that the church never accepted the apocrypha. The Roman branch accepted it in the middle of the sixteenth century, rather late in the game. I think everyone understands the Apocrypha is good for historical reasons and perhaps for devotional purposes. But to consider it inspired is gravely msitaken, and would lead people to form inappropriate judgemnts like practicing magic and almsgiving for forgiveness of sin.

  • “The Roman branch accepted it in the middle of the sixteenth century, rather late in the game.”

    That simply is untrue Jon as a matter of historical fact. These books were accepted as part of the Canon by the time of Saint Jerome.

    The preface of the Book of Judith by Saint Jerome:

    “Among the Jews, the book of Judith is considered among the apocrypha; its warrant for affirming those [apocryphal texts] which have come into dispute is deemed less than sufficient. Moreover, since it was written in the Chaldean language, it is counted among the historical books. But since the Nicene Council is considered to have counted this book among the number of sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request (or should I say demand!): and, my other work set aside, from which I was forcibly restrained, I have given a single night’s work, translating according to sense rather than verbatim. I have hacked away at the excessively error-ridden panoply of the many codices; I conveyed in Latin only what I could find expressed coherently in the Chaldean words. Receive the widow Judith, example of chastity, and with triumphant praise acclaim her with eternal public celebration. For not only for women, but even for men, she has been given as a model by the one who rewards her chastity, who has ascribed to her such virtue that she conquered the unconquered among humanity, and surmounted the insurmountable.”

    The Synod of Hippo in 393 established the Catholic canon of the Old Testament.

  • Jon, the reason the deuterocanonical books aren’t in your bible is because Martin Luther threw them out. Early Christians accepted the deuterocanonicals because they were in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) , and that‘s what the apostles used.

    Of course, no early councils endorsed the 66 books Protestants honor. The first council to address the issue of the canon was the Council of Rome in 382 under Pope Damasus, and it included all and only the 73 books we honor today. This canon was repeated at Hippo and Carthage (A.D.393 and 397), and has been repeated ever since.

    For 1500 years the Bible contained 73 books, and then a disgruntled monk comes along and throws out seven of the Old Testament books because they conflict with his beliefs. The monk then adds words to Scripture (“only” in Romans 3:20; Romans 4:15, “alone” in Romans 3:28) in order to bolster his brand new idiosyncratic doctrine on justification.

    The fact that you accept the 27 books in his New Testament is a tacit admission that you accept the authority of the Catholic Church on at least this one issue. After all, it was the Catholic Church that gathered together the books of the New Testament, grasped the Septuagint, and declared them to be the sum of Scripture. Did the Church have such authority? If not, why not add or subtract books from the New Testament as has been done with the Old? Indeed, Luther did just that but those changes somehow never “took,” basically due to accidents of history.

    Of course, some Protestant traditions do accept 2 Maccabees which just adds to the confusion, but given that each Protestant tradition (and each individual church within that tradition) reach there own conclusions this is to be expected.

    Do you believe in the Holy Trinity? If so, why?

  • Wow, Donald. You’ve said quite a lot. Well, Luther’s doctrine of justification by faith is soemthing I believe. It is a very scriptural idea. You paint the picture quite differently from the way I see it. As far as the canon goes, I don’t think it was decided at any time by the chruch as a whole that the apocrypha should be included. It was included by Rome in the 1540’s, but prior to that there was no unanimous or constant opinion regarding it.
    Lutehr was a little biased. He wanted so desperately to safeguard justificaiton by fiath that he wrongfully inserted ‘alone’. We are justified by faith alone but not by a faith that is alone–it is accompanied by works. This is the right way to see it. Yes, Lutehr had issues and it seems he was often overly emotional. Justificaiton was for him a more personal doctrine. Within the Lutehran tradition today, sanctification is almost not even taught, though it is of course implied.

  • Mike, yes, it is true the chruch has decided many things early on. We continue to honor much of that. It is not a black-and-white issue, though. It’s not one of take everything or nothing. It’s a matter of weighing each thing. We continue to believe the Trinity, for example, because it clearly and accurately refelcts the testimony of Scripture. It seems like there’s always this slipperly slope theory in the back of someon’s mind that equates with going the whole way or believing nothing at all.

  • Jon, Orthodoxy comes from the consensus of the Church… except when it comes to the canon of Scripture? We had consensus. No, the Church didn’t declare the canon in the 16th century. The Church reaffirmed the canon and formally declared it. Why? Because some wanted to introduce unorthodox versions. There was no serious need prior to that point. Why? Because we had consensus.

    To quote
    “Protestant authors Archer and Chirichigno list 340 places where the New Testament cites the Septuagint but only 33 places where it cites from the Masoretic Text rather than the Septuagint (G. Archer and G. C. Chirichigno, Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament: A Complete Survey, 25-32)”

  • Kyle, the issue for me goes back to the fact that the Jews and representatives of the early church never recognized these books called Apocrypha. Now if you read these books, which I’ve done, you find things expressed there that are not in accord with the 66 books of the Bible. The Apocrypha could never be used for doctrine because that would lead to beliefs that are not in sync with Christianity. Those books are not inspired. Rather, they reflect a time that was sad and weary, an interim of heartache and headache, and one of worry and anticipation: the time BETWEEN the testaments. And your thoughts?

  • Jon, 340 references is recognition enough. If it was good enough for the Bible authors, it’s good enough for me.
    I have no doubt you will find some passages not in sync with Christianity in the deutorcanonical books. It was written for those of the Jewish faith. You’re not avoiding shell fish. Are you?
    “they reflect a time that was sad and weary” Is this your criteria for rejecting them? That’s a very low bar because there are several places in the OT that are sad and weary.
    These books were not written between testaments. They are part of the testaments.

  • Kyle, the N. T. writers draw on numerous things to make their point. They draw on the O. T. and non-inspired writings, too. The fact that the apocryhpal works are referred to as intertestamental literature indicates they were produced during the interim between the testaments.
    As I mentioned earlier, the apocrypha teach, for example, witchcraft–the use of organs to ward off the devil. It also teaches almsgiving for forgiveness of sin. This is a problem, obviously. What would you do with that?
    Finally, the church never embraced these apocryphal works in terms of a consensus. THey really weren’t part of the canon. The Roman branch officially declared them so at Trent, but that was something else. The rest of the church wasn’t present to weigh in.

  • Jon: When you write about “the church” whose church are you writing about?

  • Jon, The NT writers drew inspiration from books approving the use of witchcraft and alms giving for forgiveness? What point were they trying to make? Please provide examples of this devilry. Was the hand of the Holy Spirit asleep when the authors referenced such heathenish source material?
    Another great source showing how often the NT writers refer to the Septuagint.
    “The rest of the church wasn’t present to weigh in.” In order to know if enough of a majority was present to make a consensus, you must know what 100% of the church was. What was 100%? And, is the church a democratic process? Is Truth put up for a vote and decided upon by consensus? Or, did Jesus, being a smart guy, know questions will arise after he departs earth and so gives authority to teach, to build His Church to someone?

  • Mary, when I speak of the church i have in mind two things: the church visible and the church invisible. We shouldn’t collapse either one into the other. Make sense?

  • Kyle, what I was saying is that the N. T. writers drew on all kinds of material as they wrote. Sometimes they drew on other inspired writings, and sometimes they drew on writings that were solely of human origin. Either way, these elements were incorporated into writings we collectively term the New Testament, a collection we know to be inspired. Hope that clears it up. So in other words, not everything the biblical writers borrowed was inspired. But they always found ‘stuff’ to help make their point as they wove it all together. It’s kind of like when you use a ‘bad’ author with a ‘bad’ thesis. You borrow a sentence or two and weave it into what you’re writing and it fits in that instance. Obviously you don’t always condone the author or their work. But you borrow what is useful and leave behind the rest.
    As far as consensus and church decisions go, the problem is that in the 1540’s, one segment of the historical Christian church decided that the apocrapha–or at least parts of it–would be considered inspired and part of the canon–in 1540AD! So the onus, as I see it, is on the person advocating these books to prove that they are inspired, and to do so in ways that go beyond merely pointing out that that segment decided such a thing a millenium and a half after the church was launched!

    DOes this make sense, Kyle? Please let me know what you don’t agree with.

  • Kyle, one of the Tobits suggests using organs to chase the devil away. Another of the apocryphal books teaches that sin can be forgiven through almsgiving. This is the problem with saying these books are inspired. People can beleive that and proceed to build doctrines from them. It’s dangerous for the faith.

  • “one of the Tobits suggests using organs to chase the devil away”…only because the Archangel Rafael instructed in the Book of Tobit to do so.
    “sin can be forgiven through almsgiving.” Only the punishment due to sin is forgiven through almsgiving. Pray to the Holy Spirit for enlightenment when reading Scripture.
    “the New Testament, a collection we know to be inspired.” We can only know what books are inspired by hearing the Catholic Church. There are over 200 gospels, but only four are accepted by the Catholic Church as inspired. Heretical writers use some of the uninspired gospels to lead souls away from the Truth.

  • “Mary, when I speak of the church i have in mind two things: the church visible and the church invisible. We shouldn’t collapse either one into the other. Make sense? ” The devil is invisible. The spirit of the world is invisible. Jon is visible. The Church visible and invisible is the Communion of Saints, the faithful souls attached to God through Jesus Christ.

  • Mary, I cannot accept as canonical a book that instructs in witchcraft. It is far easier to just say this is part of a collection of works that are intertestamental. They represent incredulous stories.

  • “a book that instructs in witchcraft”

    The book of Tobit does no such thing. It relays traditional healing wisdom of the type which Jesus followed when he used mud to smear on the eyes of the blind man with cataracts. God can use the untrue to illuminate the true.

    “They represent incredulous stories.”

    And Balaam’s talking ass is not? By that standard be ready to throw out a large part of both Testaments.

  • I say incredulous not because of any miraculous element but because of the conflictual nature of such a thing. How could an agel of GOd instruct a person to approach the matter in a way already clearly condemned in the O. T.? Of course I concede God uses all kinds of things and that good comes out of evil or the raw material of this world.

  • “How could an agel of GOd instruct a person to approach the matter in a way already clearly condemned in the O. T.?”

    Precisely what the opponents of Christ accused him of doing Jon. Besides, the book was not having the angel recommend witchcraft. Instead it was utilizing the knowledge of the time, rather as if today someone wrote a book in which an angel would advise someone to take a particular medicine to cure an ailment. Witchcraft would have been regarded as someone seeking to bind a demon, not someone using a folk remedy to drive a demon off. We see similar things throughout the Old Testament. For example, the driving out into the desert of the scapegoat.

  • Jon,

    Are you talking about Tobit 6:4,6-8? I don’t see anywhere in that passage encouraging witchcraft. The angel Raphael says the items are “useful for medicine,” not potions or magic or some hocus pocus. That was their ancient form of Bayer or Pepto Bismal. It’s not witchcraft.

    Donald addressed this. It was not uncommon of ancients to use ordinary elements to improve circumstances, be it health or otherwise.
    2 Kings 2:21 – Salt to purify waters.
    2 Kings 5:10 – Jordan River to cure leprosy.
    Mark 8:23; John 9:6 – Jesus spitting in the mud.
    Mark 6:13 – Applying oil to heal.
    Luke 10:34 – Using oil and wine to dress wounds.

    In these cases, it was not the elements alone which make them efficacious. It was divine intervention which ultimately made them so, i.e. God via a prophet or angel and Jesus.

    As far as consensus and church decisions go, the problem is that in the 1540′s, one segment of the historical Christian church decided that the apocrapha–or at least parts of it–would be considered inspired and part of the canon–in 1540AD!

    The deuterocanonical books were part of the canon prior to 1540AD. Evidence proves this. There were accepted books of the Bible and in use. Your biases are denying historical fact.

  • Thanks to both of you for pointing that out. Yes, the medicine of yesteryear is strange to us. Alright, we still have to deal with the almisgiving for forgiveness of sins, though. And otehr conflicts exist, such as prayer for atoning the sin of teh dead. I just think it’s easier to see this as intertestamental literature, useful for understanding hte itme period but dangerously unreliable for doctrine.
    There exists a huge list of early fathers who rejected the apocryhal writings. It’s always been a highly questionable matter. Not one of consensus.
    But thanks again for highlighting the changing and imperfect nature of medicine and all knowledge and practice. There is our very inexact science and sense of existence, and then there is the Great Physician who works through various means to offer his healing to the world.

  • Looked a little further into TObit. The angel actually is said to have advocated burning the animal organs so that the smoke from them would drive demons away. I’m of the opinion that God will work through all kinds of means, but that one’s a bit of a stretch I’m afraid. Also, I found out there’s a couple of factual errors in Baruch and Judith. So there’s some real problems to contend with. See, it’s difficult when you have a very strong institutional framework because there’s no leverage, no wiggle room, so to speak. Once something’s accepted it’s very difficult if not impossible to hold to a different opinion. To go against the church’s teaching on something is to go against GOd. That’s why I advocate seeing the church as visible and invisible without collapsing one into the other. It’s a more dynamic view.

  • “That’s why I advocate seeing the church as visible and invisible without collapsing one into the other. It’s a more dynamic view. ”
    Jon, If you believe that life is purgatory on earth, then you have done exactly that, as collapsing the visible and invisible, one into the other. Also: Some translations of the original texts are not up to par. You really need to pray before reading Holy Scripture. Forgive me for being pointed.

  • Mary, this idea of purgatory is not something the entire church has held to. It finds no warrant in Scripture and is better understood as an innovation. If we are justified by faith, it is difficult if not impossible to believe in this intermediate place. Roman Catholics find support for it in Maccabees, but it doesn’t fit with the Pauline theology of justification. The distinction of the church militant and the church triumphant is clear. Souls upon death reign with Christ.

  • Jon, the Catholic Church defines doctrine as becomes necessary. Because the doctrine is undefined does not mean that the doctrine does not exist. Salvation is for all men, but only those men who actually accept the Faith and pray for salvation are saved. The difference between hell and purgatory is that hell is forever, eternal damnation. Once the person dies, his relationship with God is fixed, unchangeable. The damned have chosen to remain in hell, separated from God forever. Some souls, who by nature have not the informed consent to give informed consent to hell are in purgatory until their souls are purified enough to enter into heaven. Purgatory is the absolute mercy of God for finite man. The pure love and mercy of God is a doctrine of the Catholic Faith.

  • My udnerstanding is that God justifies whom he saves and sanctifies them, too. This happens through Christ alone. So purgatory would be superfluous. Why posit a doctrine of purgatory?

  • Jon,
    The angel actually is said to have advocated burning the animal organs so that the smoke from them would drive demons away.

    You are working with a poor bible translation. The only burning going on is of the fish he ate. He salted the rest to save for his journey. I guess he wasn’t into sushi that day.
    You bring up a lot of “This book says this…” Provide some citations and quotes. It would make it much easier to go through these.

  • “May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, amen.”

    One of the Church’s spiritual works of mercy is “Pray for the living and the dead.” If everyone is either in Heaven or Hell, there would be no reason to pray for the dead.

    My understanding is that a mortal sin, unconfessed, gets you to Hell. Other/lesser sins get you to Purgatory.

    Dante’s Purgatorio, allegory, may be of interest. He depicts souls in P. going through penances for specific moral faults so they may advance to Heaven.

    In the Gospels, the Apostles were shocked (“Then, who can be saved?”) when Jesus taught that no one is good except God and after the rich, young man went dejected away. Jesus tells them that for God all things are possible.

    At Fatima, Our Lady revealed to the three shepherd children the following prayer that we say after each decade of the Most Holy Rosary, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins. Save us from the fire of Hell. Take all souls to Heaven. And, help especially those most in need of Thy mercy, amen.” I think this prayer covers all three bases: Faith, Hope, and Charity, quite well.

  • “Kyle, one of the Tobits suggests using organs to chase the devil away….This is the problem with saying these books are inspired. People can beleive that and proceed to build doctrines from them.”

    Thanks for the reminder! I’d love to participate in this discussion, guys, but a quick reminder for the Catholics in this thread:

    Don’t forget to get your pig-livers-for-warding-off-Satan-ceremony for Advent! Get the timing right, too–start flinging it into the air *after* lighting the fourth wreath candle, not before! And remember: chant “Semper ubi sub ubi!” in your best calypso voice as you do it!

    OK, back to the thread.

  • Provide some citations and quotes. It would make it much easier to go through these.

    Good idea. An excerpt from Tobit 6 from the New American Bible Revised Edition published at

    7 Then the young man asked the angel this question: “Brother Azariah, what medicine is in the fish’s heart, liver, and gall?”
    8 He answered: “As for the fish’s heart and liver, if you burn them to make smoke in the presence of a man or a woman who is afflicted by a demon or evil spirit, any affliction will flee and never return.

    I can provide additional quotes as necessary.

  • Jon,
    Thanks. Must easier when I can address specific verses.
    Yes. That’s a spiritual healing, which the angel again refers to as a medicine, which distinguishes it from a potion or spell. Is the troubling part of the verse the use of smoke? What if the material used was a handkerchief or apron (Acts 19:12)? As I said, none of these ordinary things would be able to be extraordinarily efficacious without the power of God. (Mt 12:28) In Tobit, it is by an “angel,” not a demon, which delivers the ability. In Acts, it is by Jesus.

  • Sorry. That should have been addressed to Spambot and Jon.

  • Even if it’s a matter of using treatments of the time to address something, we still have to deal with the other problematic parts. One such thing is raised in Tobit 4:11 and 12:9 where it teaches that forgiveness of sins is by human effort. Judith 1:5 and Baruch 6:2 contain historical errors. What do we do with these things?

  • Also, cruelty is taught in Sirach 22:3 and 42:14, and the doctrine of purgatory is taught in 2 Maccabees 12;41-45. Then there is the fact that no prophets existed at this time, to which the apocrypha attests. It is common misperception that these books were accepted or rejected due to the Reformation/Counter-Reformation. The fact is that a serious lack of consensus has always been present regarding those books. They do remain essential for understanding the intertestamental period and should definately be read with this in mind. However, that period was marked by many conflicting visions and the outlook was by no means monolithic.

  • One more thing: 2 Maccabees 14:41-42 praises suicide. We know that some of the Jewihs people during this long tijme took matters into their own hands. We know about the revolt and we see a disordered zeal at work here.

  • Jon: And the vineyard owner (God) said to the hired hands (mankind): “What business is it of yours what I do with my money, if I choose to be generous?” Purgatory is God’s gift of love and mercy.
    Sirach 22:3 and 42: 14 tell of disgrace. You speak as though disgrace is owned by someone innocent. 2Maccabees tells of the lesser of two evils, still practiced by captured spies.
    Life is short, I read mostly the words of Christ.

  • T. Shaw, I read Dante’s Divine Comedy. I echoed N. T. Wright in saying purgatory is where we live. The sanctified life is one of pain and suffering. The New Testament writers bear this out. They explain that our lives are patterned after Christ so that the way to glory is through the cross.

  • The problem is, Jon, you’re using the very same argument approach against Catholics that atheists use against the Old Testament: alleged historical errors (flung against Esther and Daniel), moral failures (Psalm 137:9), superceded practices (Jephthah’s daughter), etc.

    Carping about the alleged cruelty in Sirach when there is OT exterminationist warfare in the books you accept as canonical is a remarkable example of gnat straining. Ditto Psalm 137:9, Jephthah’s sacrifice of his daughter in Judges…the fact is, the Old Testament is provisional, incomplete and needs to be read in light of Christ and the New Testament. We’ve both managed to do that with dashing infants against rocks, and we extend the same to the Deuterocanon. If you chose to use skeptical materialist (atheist) approaches to our scriptures, that’s you’re prerogative.

    But don’t kid yourself that that’s not what you’re doing.

  • “your” prerogative, not “you’re”


  • Jon, Amen.

    At times, I think I’m in Hell.

    Seriously, all of us are poor, banished children of Eve mourning and weeping in this vail of tears. We hope and pray that after this, our exile, we may be shown the face of Jesus; and be made, by God’s grace and mercy, worthy of the promises of Christ.

    Of course, 24/7 we need to do the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and avoid the near occasion of sins. We need to repent of our sins, confess, do penance, amend our lives, and through good works glorify Almighty God. However, all of that is insufficient. We need God’s grace and mercy, which only He can dispense.

    That’s why I constantly say the above Fatima prayer, and recite many times, “Lord jesus, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner.” Even the moment I leave Church after Confession and penance.

  • Of course all sorts of practices are recounted in Scirpture. We know they aren’t condoned by the writers, however. But in the Apocrypha we find things mentioned in such a way that they seem to be actually condoned. That’s the issue. One can actually build a doctrine on it. That’s the problem. As far as supposed factual errors int eh O.T., they can and usually have, I think, been cleared up. But we have at least two outstanding factual errors in the Apocrapha that do not lend themselves to being resolved in some way. That’s the difference.

  • “daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, How blessed will be the one who repays you With the recompense with which you have repaid us. How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones Against the rock.”

    Please explain to me Jon how the psalmist in Psalm 137 above was not condoning the butchering of kids.

  • I dont’ think that’s what he was saying. I think he was voicing the heart-felt angst at the condition of Israel. He wanted vindication.
    The issue wtiht eh Apocrypha isn’t so much a sentiment or two, really. It’s the conclusion one can make after reviewing everything. In their expertise, many fathers rejected it because of this kind of an overall assessment. More broadly, the consensus is not there.

  • “I dont’ think that’s what he was saying. I think he was voicing the heart-felt angst at the condition of Israel. He wanted vindication.”

    I think he wanted Babylonian babies dead in revenge for what had no doubt been done to Jewish babies when Jerusalem fell to Babylon. There are a great many sentiments set forth in the Old Testament Jon, in books you view as completely canonical, that are quite repugnant to modern sensibilities. The argument that you make against the so-called Apocrypha could be made in spades against books that you view as divinely inspired.

  • Herem warfare is a doctrine, and it’s right there in the Torah. And the next Catholics I meet who cite the texts and use animal livers for exorcism, commit mass suicide or substitutes alms for repentance…will be the first. No such confused doctrines exist.

    The problem is that you have already decided the texts are not inspired, and hunt through them like a prosecutor seeking evidence to convict them of non-inspiration. Mirabile dictu, you determine that you have succeeded.

    Just like skeptical critics do and continue to do for the entire corpus of Scripture you (correctly) accept.

    But what if, in doing so, you missed something? Something like this:

    “For they reasoned unsoundly, saying to themselves…

    12 “Let us lie in wait for the righteous man,
    because he is inconvenient to us and opposes our actions;
    he reproaches us for sins against the law,
    and accuses us of sins against our training.
    13 He professes to have knowledge of God,
    and calls himself a child of the Lord.
    14 He became to us a reproof of our thoughts;
    15 the very sight of him is a burden to us,
    because his manner of life is unlike that of others,
    and his ways are strange.
    16 We are considered by him as something base,
    and he avoids our ways as unclean;
    he calls the last end of the righteous happy,
    and boasts that God is his father.
    17 Let us see if his words are true,
    and let us test what will happen at the end of his life;
    18 for if the righteous man is God’s son, he will help him,
    and will deliver him from the hand of his adversaries.
    19 Let us test him with insult and torture,
    that we may find out how gentle he is,
    and make trial of his forbearance.
    20 Let us condemn him to a shameful death,
    for, according to what he says, he will be protected.”

  • Even if we were to put aside those portions dealing wiht harsh sentiments,e tc., we still have to face the fact that so many other issues exist in those books, as well as the circumstances surrounding them. It’s a group of wriitngs forwhich we have never had a real consensus. The early church seems ot have rejjected them, and many prominent representatives throughout the ancient church had problems with it. We still can’t address all of those things in a way that would satisfy us at htis point in time. If they have been continually called into quesiton, is it not safest to assume they are not inspired? Do they not read like extra-canonical works? Though they draw on the collective heritage and broadly echo the O. T., do they not stick out as different? I can see very well why many leaders in the church have either been against them or inconclusive regarding them.

  • “The early church seems ot have rejjected them, and many prominent representatives throughout the ancient church had problems with it.”

    The Church made the decision in 397 that they were canonical Jon, just as the Church wrote and decided the canon of the New Testament. Martin Luther, who I might add attempted unsuccessfully to cast out four books of the New Testament, and his colleagues in the Sixteenth Century, cannot alter the fact that for over a thousand years all Christians accepted these books as canonical.

  • Jon,
    Before I address your verses, I want to admit your challenges are not foreign to Catholics. We go through them too, either with Scripture or Doctrine. But, we approach these issues differently. We cast doubt upon ourselves first. We assume in the Church’s 2,000+ year history someone has raised the questions we’re asking. Our job is to find the answers. When you find it, which is a lot easier these days with the web, you will find a rational explanation.

    Challenges are natural. The danger is letting challenges turn into doubt, which is a suspension of the will to believe. There’s no openness there.
    “Ten thousand [challenges] do not equal one doubt.”
    – Cardinal John Henry Newman

    Take the position of St. Jerome. While he questioned the inclusion of certain books or passages, he submitted to the authority of the Church, which comes from Christ.

    Tobit 4:11 – A call to be charitable. Nothing wrong with charity.
    Tobit 12:9 – A reminder that charity builds virtue. All good habits build virtue. Charity is love. This verse is in “sync” with this
    “And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8 KJV)
    And this…
    “When you give, give generously and not with a stingy heart; for that, the LORD, your God, will bless you in all your works and undertakings. ” (Dt 15:10)
    Judith 1:5 – Addressed here.
    Baruch 6:2 — The 6th chapter is actually a separate piece of work called “The Epistle of Jeremiah.” It’s grouped with Baruch for a variety of reasons. Being separate text, it does not disprove the entire book.
    2 Maccabees 14:41-42 – I don’t see the passage encouraging or recommending suicide. (Does Hosea 1:2 have God recommending prostitution?) It reflects what Razis believed. Perhaps this footnote helps.

  • Martin Luther went too far. That was uncalled for. We know the 27 books that comprise the New Testament. We should never question that, since it was already known by wide consensus.
    While you make some valid points, the apocrypha remains a question in the minds of many. In terms of the big picture, we do not get a clear sense of a consensus regarding these books.
    The most outstanding thing for me is that it lends itself to false doctrine. The O. T. does not do so except when someone misunderstands and/or misapplies it.
    Your thoughts?

  • Kyle, you raise something important: the apocrypha does contain true and useful things. We find it echoing much of the heritage which was commonplace for jews. So naturally one would find these things re-echoed in the New Testament, also. So I’m not sure that’s enough to say these books are canonical. I’m inclined to think that whatever is true and good in the Apocprhya owes itself to the writers’ repertoire held in common by Jewry. And I don’t think the N. T. writers had any problem quoting non-canonical and non-inspired works from time to time. Think of how we might do that today. We might quote from a horrible writer with a really bad thesis just to build on some point of our own.

  • the apocrypha does contain true and useful things
    You said your references, the ones I addressed, were either not true or useful.

    Martin Luther went too far.
    While you make some valid points, the apocrypha remains a question in the minds of many.
    This is why Jesus, being a smart guy, established an institution with the authority to settle these questions. It’s called the Catholic Church.
    We can’t have Martin’s Christianity or Jon’s Christianity or Kyle’s Christianity. Scripture calls us to be of “one mind.” And whenever there are differences of opinion, we take to the Church and the Church settles it. The Church judged these books to be canonical, and it was settled until the Protestant revolution challenged many understood and popular ideas of Christianity and religion. It became necessary to formalize and reaffirm the canon decided hundreds of years before.

  • Yes, well, my argument was that the APocrypha contains good and usefull things as well as dross. If you can separte the gold from that it’s fine. But I don’t see it as inspired, as I said.
    Martin Lutehr had issues. He was personalizing Christianity, reading his anxiety adn experience back into the faith.
    But the matter of the canon is by no means clear-cut. There are common misconceptions about it and when you look into it you find it wsa really a messy affair. The Apocrhypha represents situations during the intertestamental period.
    As far as church organization goes, that’s incredibly complex, as well as the notions people have concerning ecclesiology. I find it’s ussually hard if not impossible to determine questions of that nature on the basis of church history. Church history is good for insights and impressions, but it doesn’t necessarily offer conclusive answers in this realm. It leaves us with fundamental questions unanswered, which is why the Protestants have generally tried to go back to origins. Althought the church has been around before the canon was decided, the canon remains something we can go back to, whereas the church can assume many different directions over time. Your thoughts?

  • Jon, I say this in all charity (my wife isn’t Catholic, so we had to learn how to discuss differences in order to keep our marriage healthy), if you are questioning Catholic doctrines at a deeper level or what the proper canon of the Bible is, this site may not be the best tool for the job.

    Granted, doctrinal discussions are certainly part of the menu here at TAC, but I would say that you’re at a level of skepticism of certain Catholic doctrines and sources thereof that might be served by other resources.

    I can recommend two immediately, Peter Kreeft (Calvinist-turned-Catholic, professor of philosophy, who my wife and I had the pleasure of attending one of his discussions about CS Lewis’ Surprised by Joy) and Dave Armstrong (a former Wesleyian who converted to Catholicism).

    Kreeft is often less snarky than Armstrong, and Kreeft has written a 30-part series for the Knights of Columbus which explains much of the Catholic faith (additionally, much from a general Christian perspective). Armstrong is, while engaging in traditional apologist methodology (ie, may be too combative for some), no less researched and I find rather thorough.

    Kreeft’s Luke E. Hart series (audio and PDF)

    Armstrong’s blog (Specifically a collection for Septaguint / Deuterocanonical books)

    One final note, which is an interesting facet of Old Testament history. The Hebrew text (Masoretic) which is used in most Protestant Bibles isn’t the “oldest” version (hence most original). The Septuagint (a Greek language version of the Old Testament) was a translation from an older version of an original Hebrew that is now lost to the ages. See the following excerpt and link for more information.

    Note, I doubt the author of the book referenced is Catholic, given his blog post here: And the interviewer probably isn’t, given the university at which he is employed. So I don’t necessarily think that any claim of Catholic bias could be leveled against the source.

    The assertion that 27 books comprised the Old Testament and that this was widely accepted is not borne out by the historical evidence.

  • Mis-read:
    “The assertion that 27 books comprised the Old Testament and that this was widely accepted is not borne out by the historical evidence.”

    I should have proof-read better. You didn’t say Old, you said New…my apologies.

  • Well, I fail at com-boxing.

    The quote was:

    An alternative, sometimes older, form of the Hebrew text often lies behind the Greek. When the Reformers and their predecessors talked about returning to the original Hebrew (ad fontes!), and when modern Christians talk about studying the Hebrew because it is the “original text,” they are making several mistaken assumptions. The Hebrew Bible we now use is often not the oldest form of the Hebrew text, and sometimes the Septuagint provides the only access we have to that older form.

    Hopefully that’s it for the gross errors I’ve made posting.

  • my argument was that the APocrypha contains good and usefull things as well as dross
    We’re not talking about the good and useful things. We were discussing verses you had problems with. Are you saying they are good and useful things too?
    Dross is what atheists say of the entire Bible. Dross is a label, not an argument.
    There are common misconceptions about it and when you look into it you find it wsa really a messy affair.
    I realize there are common misconceptions about it. We’re here to dispel them.
    The Apocrhypha represents situations during the intertestamental period.
    Nearly every book of the Bible represents the period with which they were written. None of them are canonical?
    As far as church organization goes, that’s incredibly complex,
    Of course it’s complex. It can’t be anything as simple as Jesus, knowing he was going to leave earth, picked a man to lead his church built by the apostles. Can it? Just doesn’t work with preconceived ideas and biases.
    Church history is good for insights and impressions, but it doesn’t necessarily offer conclusive answers in this realm
    Church history does not give the Church its authority, but it does give it validity and authenticity. The reason the canon was decided in the 4th century is because of what’s happening here, people squabbling about what’s legit and what isn’t. A council was formed to finally answer the question, an answer which held for over a thousand years.

  • I wish you would not call the Catholic Church a branch of the church.

  • Agree, anzlyne. If one may compare Christianity imperfectly to a tree, then the Catholic Church is its trunk, Judiasm is its roots, and the various denominations that deviate from the trunk may be thought of, also imperfectly, as branches.

  • wow that is such a great graphic that I was curious and followed it back to

    just one of the unexpected perks of regular doses of TAC

  • Yes Kyle, exactly. Facinating, I’ve never seen anything like that before. Thanks for finding and sharing.

  • John,
    Researching the Apocrpha furhtr, I came across a site where this queston is raised. Dr. Bob Luginbill answers it, and his answer is very explanatory. The problems are several. I can see where the Apocrypha would remain inconclusive at best. You might want to see his response, since he raises some things which really can’t be ignored. I’m familiar with Peter Kreeft. I’ll check out what he said.

  • It seems Dr. Kreeft takes the position that the church’s role includes being able to decide the canon. According to Dr. Norman Geisler, it is the other way around. The church is more a product of Scripture, and the church merely discovers the canon. The Apocrypha, Dr. Geisler argues, was finally pronounced canonical at Trent in order to bulster certain doctrines like prayers for the dead and purgatory. It was a polemical stance that led to that pronouncement. Geisler points out that the church is the “child of the canon.” Given all of the circumstances surroudning the Apocrypha as well as its content, it never gained acceptance universally.

PopeWatch: Keep Smiling!

Thursday, October 17, AD 2013



Father Z, here, links to an interesting story at The Eponymous Flower blog:

Magister Effected Polite but Harsh Criticism of Decisions in the Liturgy by Pope Francis

Finally, Sandro Magister gave his contribution as a lecture on which already reported (see separate report Pope Francis and the Liturgy – “Pure Functional Access” Reservations to Tradition, weakness in the knees before the Lord ). Master analyzed in a critical manner, the previous decisions of Pope Francis in the Liturgy: The ban for celebration in the old rite by the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the dismissal of all five consultants for the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, who were close to the liturgical understanding of Benedict XVI., the refusal to genuflect in the Holy Mass at the words of consecration, although from papal Mass to papal Mass always newly   master of ceremonies Guido Marini always included the two relevant points and finally the halting by CDF, that they no longer check the bizarre special forms in the Mass of the Neocatechumenal Way, as Benedict XVI. had ordered. Magister has also expressed the opinion that the Pope is “friendly” to everyone, “except with the traditionalists.”

“Scandal Currently The Dominant Characteristic of Climate in Rome”

The lecture finally came to a scandal. Magister so openly expressed his criticism of Pope Francis, that Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo had to  leave the room. “The response of Cardinal Burke and Archbishop Pozzo is indicative of the currently prevailing climate in Rome,” the website Chiesa e Postconcilio (Church and Post-Conciliar). “Was it because of the  time for both of them or was it simply a precaution, because of the polite but harsh criticism by Magister of Pope Francis? The withdrawal of a Cardinal during a major event is something glaring. All interpretations are allowed, “said the Spanish Catholic blogger Francisco de la Cigoña.

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5 Responses to PopeWatch: Keep Smiling!

  • Fr. Z received a LOT of responses in his combox about this story. As I wasn’t there, I don’t know why Cardinal Burke got up and left.

    It goes without saying that I was a big fan of Pope Benedict. Some hard core traddies still didn’t like him, but then, I am a trad who watches sports on my 58 inch big screen. I let my kids watch TV and my wife is not forced into long skirts. My 5 year old goes to the public school kindergarten (which I monitor closely).

    Pope Francis comes off at times as petty. His views on the liturgy are obvious to everyone. He does what he wants, which I have seen far too many priests do on far too many Sunday Novus Ordo masses for most of my life.

    Fr. Z rightly has pointed out that Pope Francis has changed nothing about Catholic doctrine or Catholic teaching. True, but….it isn’t his emphasis.

    The Church will survive Bergoglio. She survived Borgia and the antipopes of the 14th century.

  • Over the years, I have come to realize that t,he term ‘orthodox’ is not as unambiguous as those who use it would like it to be. I include myself in this, having described myself and/others as orthodox Catholics. What I came to realize actually was that the ‘measuring line’ or ‘rule’ I or others used was based on what I or others thought/felt was orthodox.

    I did come upon a much more objectively complete (perfect) and satisfying ‘measuring line’ with the Church’s own teaching in Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, when it explicates what it means to be in full communion with the Catholic Church-a communion begun in the waters of Baptism and expressed in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharismt, the Sacrament of Unity. For the Church, there are four ‘markers’ of full Communion: 1) communion of faith (believing all that the Catholic Church teaches) 2) communion of sacraments (belief in and participation in full sacramental life of the Church. 3) communion of governance ( belief in and communion with bishops in communion with the pope 4) perseverance in charity. While the first three are readily discernible, the fourth is known really by God alone. However, this places before us a much deeper awareness of the high calling we have received in being called to faith in and living the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

    It is so easy, in this post-modern world to go with the flow of the age into fragmentation and tribalism. We can actually see it evidenced in our own country. However, the call to and meaning.of what it really means to be Catholic goes way beyond what ‘the world’ offers or desires.

    I am not sure what prompted Cardinal Burke and the Archbishop to leave that forum. From what I know of Cardinal Burke it was not fear. I have spoken in this forum of the recent “turn” of Magister, but as of this date, I still read him. However, picking up on Fr Z’s point and expanding it a bit, it might be high time for all of us to do some self-evaluation, asking ourselves whether my/ our own perspectives on things of the Church are leading further into or away from full communion with the Church of Christ which subsists in the Catholic Church

  • If a guy like Cardinal Burke walks out of the room when you’re talking bad about Pope Francis, the takeaway shouldn’t be, “this is going to be a rough papacy for orthodox Catholics,” but rather, “I should probably shut up because I said something offensive and I obviously don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.” Because when it comes to liturgical traditionalism, Cardinal Burke is like the Rottweiler to Benedict’s Chihuahua.

    Listen, it’s getting to the point where I can’t even read most of the articles on and New Advent anymore. The tone they’re taking, and the nastiness they’re showing the Pope (for no substantive reason), just turns me away.

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Various & Sundry, 8/29/13

Thursday, August 29, AD 2013

The Misery of Being Merely Upper Middle Class

Allison Lynn has written a book called The Exiles that just has to be satire. Sadly, it is not.

As it happens, the book is entirely serious about the dire fate of the merely wealthy, the most pressing social issue of our time. The Exiles is littered with references to how impoverished Emily and Nate are—“who cared if Nate was financially undesirable, as economically impaired as she was?” (Emily is an advertising executive before taking maternity leave and deciding not to go back, because she realizes that she has turned into “a potato chip marketer, pregnant by the only pauper on Wall Street.”)

When their Jeep Grand Cherokee—a six-year-old car they have to park in a discount lot in Manhattan, can you imagine!—is stolen with, tragically, Emily’s new pair of TOD’s loafers inside on their first day in Newport, the family’s lives spiral out of control. Without credit cards, they’re forced to live on room service and the mini-fridge of their three-star hotel. Now they are “officially the have-nots”—a status that Emily is terrified of, having grown up as the child of a professor and been forced to eat sandwiches made with generic peanut butter.

Throughout the book, the pair bemoans their minor misfortunes, like the fact that they had to purchase a used Bugaboo from their friends and “the shame they’d shared after the transaction.” Nate and Emily nickname the stroller Ollie, “for Oliver Twist, the haggard little orphan boy. Since then, whenever Emily saw an industrial Stokke on the street—a Norwegian import far more technical than even a new Bugaboo—she’d glance pleadingly at Nate and joke, in her best cockney accent, ‘Please, sir, may I have some more.’ ”

I’m A Bad, Bad Boy

Speaking of satire that isn’t but sure sounds like it, Donald has already written about the ridiculous Slate article implying that all of us who send our kids to private school are eeeeeeevil. Ken at Popehat has a great takedown of her idiocy. Jeff Goldstein has more.

Ten Reasons to Get Thee to a Confessional

Simcha Fisher lays out the reasons why you need to get to Confession.

I Resemble that Remark

Fr. Z on the same theme. The Holy Spirit has said the same thing to me as his reader.

North Korea Still Being Run by an Evil Tyrant

Isn’t it precious to see a son follow in his father’s footsteps.

Hyon Song-wol, a singer, rumoured to be a former lover of the North Korean leader, is said to have been arrested on Aug 17 with 11 others for violating laws against pornography.

The reports in South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper indicate that Hyon, a singer with the Unhasu Orchestra, was among those arrested on August 17 for violating domestic laws on pornography.

All 12 were machine-gunned three days later, with other members of North Korea’s most famous pop groups and their immediate families forced to watch. The onlookers were then sent to prison camps, victims of the regime’s assumption of guilt by association, the reports stated.

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4 Responses to Various & Sundry, 8/29/13

  • “The Exiles is littered with references to how impoverished Emily and Nate are—“who cared if Nate was financially undesirable, as economically impaired as she was?” (Emily is an advertising executive before taking maternity leave and deciding not to go back, because she realizes that she has turned into “a potato chip marketer, pregnant by the only pauper on Wall Street.”)

    When their Jeep Grand Cherokee—a six-year-old car they have to park in a discount lot in Manhattan, can you imagine!—is stolen with, tragically, Emily’s new pair of TOD’s loafers inside on their first day in Newport, the family’s lives spiral out of control. Without credit cards, they’re forced to live on room service and the mini-fridge of their three-star hotel.”

    I recall the sage words of my father, “A lot of rich people are nuts.”

  • “Hyon Song-wol, a singer, rumoured to be a former lover of the North Korean leader, is said to have been arrested on Aug 17 with 11 others for violating laws against pornography.”

    Wow. How lucky is Dennis Rodman he wasn’t still over there?

  • I can sympathize with the characters in The Exiles. My grandfather came to this country in the 1920’s with little more than the clothes on his back, a house in New England, a Jeep, and a job. And like the fictional characters in the story, he had to survive the first three days without the Jeep.

  • ran a headline “It’s a Been a Hard Day for Distinguishing the Satirical Pieces from the Real Ones” listing the Slate piece and this:


Friday, April 20, AD 2012

Occasionally I take a glance at the website of the National Catholic Distorter Fishwrap Reporter for the purpose of amusement.  Yesterday I wandered over there to see their reaction to the Vatican’s attempt to reform The Leadership Conference of Women Religious.  The reactions were both hysterical and hysterically funny.  Father Z, who I have designated the Master of the Fisk, had one of his patented devastating takes on one of the reactions:

[Sr. Joan] Chittister said she was deeply distraught at news of Sartain’s appointment and the order for LCWR to revise itself. [What a surprise!]

“When you set out to reform a people, a group, who have done nothing wrong, [You mean, other than purposely embrace heresies and all sorts of strange things, criticize and defy the Holy See and bishops, abandon their habits and the charisms of their communities… ] you have to have an intention, a motivation that is not only not morally based, but actually immoral,” she said.  [Keeping in mind that this new project comes from the CDF and that this is approved by the Holy Father, I rest my case.]

“Because you are attempting to control people [Note the word “attempt”.  I look forward to many more statements of defiance from women religious, speeches at conferences, articles in NCR.] for one thing and one thing only — and that is for thinking, for being willing to discuss the issues of the age … If we stop thinking, if we stop demanding the divine right to think, [She pretty much side-steps the problems, no?  This “think” thing is misdirection.] and to see that as a Catholic gift, then we are betraying the church no matter what [NB] the powers of the church see as an inconvenient truth in their own times.”  [Sr. Joan must be for the Magisterium of Nuns what Al Gore is to the climate change crowd.]

In attempting to take such control of people’s thinking, [She must think most of her readers are pretty stupid, since she keeps repeating the point.] she said, “You make a mockery of the search for God, of the whole notion of keeping eyes on the signs of the times and of providing the people with the best possible spiritual guidance and presence you can give.  [More Enneagrams, please!]

“When I was a child in this town, I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.

In my lifetime, the church, to its eternal credit, admitted that it was wrong. [!?!  About entering Protestant churches?  – Would that some of them would… but I digress. ] The scandal and the sin is that it took 400 years to do that.”

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22 Responses to Schadenfreude

  • They find hope in everything and everyone EXCEPT Jesus Christ. Typical godless liberals.

  • As Lord Macaulay famously observed, “We know through what strange loopholes the human mind contrives to escape, when it wishes to avoid a disagreeable inference from an admitted proposition. We know how long the Jansenists contrived to believe the Pope infallible in matters of doctrine, and at the same time to believe doctrines which he pronounced to be heretical.”

  • “I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.”

    No one actually had to teach me that for me to figure it out.

  • “’I was taught that it was a sin to go into a Protestant church.’ No one actually had to teach me that for me to figure it out.”

    Frankly, statements like that are offensive. When my 80 year old Pentecostal mother and my older brother visit me, and ask me to drive them to the local Assemblies of God (AG) Church where I live, then I have done so and shall happily and respectfully continue to do so. I have and shall continue to enter and sit with them, and be a polite and decent human being who realizes that he doesn’t have a lock on the Kingdom of Heaven.

    If the LCWR embraced the Gospel of Conversion and Repentence the way that the AG does, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    There is so much wrong with this triumphalism. The Eastern Orthodox Churches not in union with the See of Peter are recognized to have valid Holy Orders and valid Sacraments. There are other examples. While I utterly despise and loathe the liberalism and progressivism inherent in the Liberal Conference of Women Religious, there is a world of difference between their renegade brand of “Christianity” and our separated Evangelical, Pentecostal or Orthodox brethren. We could learn lessons from the latter even while we disagree with them on matters of theology. Indeed, I have more in common with the typical, run of the mill Evaneglical or Pentecostal than I do with any liberal progressive who calls him or herself “Catholic.”

    BTW, go to a typical AG Church or Church of God Church, and you’ll see no Obama bumper stickers in the parking lot. Go to a Catholic and the story is very different. Why is that? Who really has the problem?

  • Let us stay on topic please. I have a family filled with all Protestants on my father’s side, and my wife was a Protestant when I married her, and so I have zero interest in getting into a battle on this thread about Catholic vs. Protestant. The topic is LCWR and not our separated brethren.

  • All this talk about continuously “thinking” and “being allowed to think.”

    I always thought the purpose of thinking was to arrive at a conclusion. The Church has arrived at its conclusions a long time ago (at least on Sister’s pet issues).

  • Paul Primavera:
    “They find hope in everything and everyone EXCEPT Jesus Christ.” You took the words out of my mouth. “…EXCEPT Jesus Christ and His Holy Church.

  • I was recently reading some of “The Soul of the Apostolate”. The theme of the book is the importance of the interior life over the active life. I thought the author used some outrageous stories of religious people who got so lost in their active apostolates that they bankrupted themselves spiritually. Now I’m thinking that the author actually understated the risk.

  • Niiice.

    The biological solution is taking care of these catholycs.

    Check out the despair in their movement at the 4:00 minute mark.

    Then take a look at their demographic at the 6:12 mark, you can see an elderly person walking with his stroller in the background.

    You can almost see Michael Sean Winters way in the back curled up in the fetal position sobbing with his thumb in his mouth.

    Yep, the biological solution is taking care of these dissidents.

  • Pinky: Mother Teresa of Calcutta instructed her nuns to pray five hours a day and work five hours a day, without which the nuns would lose their vocation.

  • IIRC, it was never a sin to go into a protestant church.
    We were taught that taking part in their “communion” was sinful, because it meant that we accepted their view of communion as a symbol, was equivalent to the genuine “Eucharistic Sacrfice” of the consecrated species of the Catholic Mass.

    There was never a ban on entering a protestant church – I attended many weddings of family and friends in other churches.

    Sr. Joan’s red herring.

  • *shrug* Pretty standard stuff. “Think” is the same as “listen”– it usually means “agree with what I’m saying.”

  • Power is indeed the issue. The left decries greed and indeed there is. But they ignore their own greed in grabbing for more and more power. This is the true problem with greed today.

  • The LCWR has become a rat’s nest of secular dissent against the Catholic Church. After Archbishop Sartain investigates them, I hope the Holy See disbands the LCWR and puts the dissenters on notice – shape up or ship out.

    I cannot look at the NCR website. Just can’t do it.

  • All I can say is Thank God for Pope Benedict XVI, for Bishop Levada and for Bishop Sartrain. What I found most interesting about the video attached is that no one answered the question What do you have hope in? with the answer I would give: Christ and the Church. That is where I put my hope. And it is refreshing and awesome to see how Benedict is gracefully charting the Church out of the Scandals and into the future by returning its heart and its focus to the past, to the teaching of the magisterium, and the true deposit of the faith. May GOD continue to bless the Catholic Church. And I pray that those within it who want to change it to something more modern and conforming of the world — find the exit and fast. The Church that Christ founded is good enough for me.

  • Penguins Fan,

    I don’t visit the NCDistorter for any reason at all. Even if they have John Allen writing there, which I find disturbing.

    Isn’t writing for the NCDistorter formal cooperation with evil?

  • The LCWR has attempted to turn the Church into a democracy, not unlike the mainstream protestant denominations have done in their own misguided way. When doctrine is subject to the whim of a vote or popular opinion, you have what the TEC community is experiencing: doctrinal confusion and ecclesiastical meltdown.

    The undoing of the LCWR will not be due to the Vatican’s legitimate action to rectify the disturbing anti-Catholic teaching and behaviour among the LCWR membership and their allies. No, the LCWR will fall due to what comes out of their mouths and which further alienates them from the Church. They can try to blame others for the problems they have created. However, mature adults would normally find it within themselves to examine their consciences, submit to the legitimate authority of the bishops and make the necessary changes to harmonize their mission with that of the Church.

    One would think that the LCWR leadership would exercise restraint and humility. Instead, their reactions amount to the confused rants of petulant children. As it is, the LCWR’s defiance proves they are not with Christ and His Vicar.

  • Don,

    You asked. “Why do people who so manifestly hate the Church, at least the Church as she has existed throughout history and not the Church of their desires, stay? ”

    I believe they stay because being Catholic has a distinct and definitive meaning. It has some bona fides that they would not be able to claim outside the Church. I find it ironic that the only way their opinions carry weight is staying in the very organization they seek to destroy.

    Dominus Vobiscum


  • Warren
    “The LCWR has attempted to turn the Church into a democracy,” Biting the hand that feeds them.

  • Maybe they are staying and trying to change the Church into their own image and likeness because they would lose a lot of property if they left (convents, etc….) and PRIDE , of course, – they are right and those old men in Rome are….wrong!

Father Z on the Latest Folly From Justice and Peace

Wednesday, October 26, AD 2011


My co-blogger Christopher Blosser has done his usual yeoman work in pulling together reactions from around the Catholic blogosphere to “TOWARDS REFORMING THE INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL AND MONETARY SYSTEMS IN THE CONTEXT OF GLOBAL PUBLIC AUTHORITY” from the pontifical counsel on justice and peace.  One of my favorite blog authors Father Z, who I have designated Master of the Fisk, has some memorable comments on it:


I have a few things to digest yet, and it takes me a while, since this isn’t exactly my bailiwick.  However, I can say this: thanks be to God this “white paper” doesn’t form part of the Holy Father’s Ordinary Magisterium.

Every once in a while the Holy See’s smaller offices, Pontifical Councils and so forth, have to put out a paper to justify their budgets and remind everyone that they take up valuable space.  These documents, which do not form part of the Holy Father’s Magisterium, can deal with critical issues like how to be a safe driver.  The dicasteries keep busy by hosting seminars on how to play sport and so forth.

Some of my favorite points in the new “white paper” include the suggestion that there should be global monetary management and a “central world bank” to regulate it and that the United Nations should be involved.  National banks have, after all, done such a good job that we should now make the effort transnational!  And is this the same UN that had nations such as Saudi Arabia and, till recently, Libya on the their human rights commission?  Wasn’t there a UN financial corruption investigation still going on?  Is this the same UN that is pushing contraception pretty much in every poor country on earth?  Was that a different UN?

Another high point in the new “white paper”: “These measures ought to be conceived of as some of the first steps in view of a public Authority with universal jurisdiction; as a first stage in a longer effort by the global community to steer its institutions towards achieving the common good.”

Uh huh.

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2 Responses to Father Z on the Latest Folly From Justice and Peace

  • So, this is part of what Benedict XVI says in Caritas in Veritate:

    To manage the global economy; to revive economies hit by the crisis; to avoid any deterioration of the present crisis and the greater imbalances that would result; to bring about integral and timely disarmament, food security and peace; to guarantee the protection of the environment and to regulate migration: for all this, there is urgent need of a true world political authority, as my predecessor Blessed John XXIII indicated some years ago.

    What is so different between this and the “white paper” derided by Fr. Z and others? I understand that the white paper specifies the kind of political authority beyond that proffered in CIV, but does this make Benedict’s proposal any less daft on Fr. Z’s reading? Note that to say that not everything in a social encyclical is binding is not to say that you are free to consider it stupid, worthless, and unworthy of consideration. So what’s the difference between the proposal of this document–with which I don’t agree, by the way–and CIV?

  • “The Church does not have technical solutions to offer[10] and does not claim “to interfere in any way in the politics of States.” is perhaps the most pertinent quote in this area from Caritas in Veritate WJ.

    In regard to the call for a world authority, the Pope hedged it in with certain requirements that I doubt will ever be achieved:

    “Such an authority would need to be regulated by law, to observe consistently the principles of subsidiarity and solidarity, to seek to establish the common good[147], and to make a commitment to securing authentic integral human development inspired by the values of charity in truth. Furthermore, such an authority would need to be universally recognized and to be vested with the effective power to ensure security for all, regard for justice, and respect for rights[148]. Obviously it would have to have the authority to ensure compliance with its decisions from all parties, and also with the coordinated measures adopted in various international forums. Without this, despite the great progress accomplished in various sectors, international law would risk being conditioned by the balance of power among the strongest nations. The integral development of peoples and international cooperation require the establishment of a greater degree of international ordering, marked by subsidiarity, for the management of globalization[149]. They also require the construction of a social order that at last conforms to the moral order, to the interconnection between moral and social spheres, and to the link between politics and the economic and civil spheres, as envisaged by the Charter of the United Nations. ”

    I think the Pope here was writing of something ideal, since I honestly do not see anyway these requirements could ever be met in the world we inhabit. On the other hand I could imagine too easily grifter politicians setting up a transnational monetary authority of some sort, and attempting to fund it from taxes on financial transactions. The World Bank and the World Monetary Fund have been baby steps in that direction.

Christ Died For Your Sins? Don’t Be Silly!

Tuesday, April 26, AD 2011

Who was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.

Saint Paul, Romans 4:25

Jamie Manson of the National Catholic Fishwrap Reporter doesn’t think much of the dogma of the Catholic Church that Christ died for our sins, viewing that as a silly pre-Vatican II guilt trip.  Unfortunately for her, two of the finest masters of the art of fisking decided to take notice of her scribblings.

First up, Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal who I have designated Defender of the Faith because of the number of times, he, a non-Catholic, has taken up the blogging cudgels in defense of the Faith:

Here’s another.  At the National Catholic Reporter, Jamie Manson doesn’t want to know what happened on Good Friday as much as she wants to know why it happened:

I’ve had more than one Catholic who grew up either before or on the cusp of Vatican II tell me horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.

“Horror stories of how they were taught that Jesus died because of their sins.”  I think you already know where Ms. Manson is going with this.

This was a particularly heavy-handed way for priests and nuns to lay an even thicker coat of guilt on impressionable Catholic school children. Because they were sinners, Jesus had to suffer and die to redeem them. It was one rendering of the traditional theological interpretations of the crucifixion — that Jesus had to die to fulfill the Scriptures and that his death atoned for the sins of the world.

Get ready for the customary condescending pat on the head.

I know that countless people throughout the centuries have found profound, life-changing and even comforting meaning in this understanding of the Cross.

Since Ms. Manson has much more important fish to fry(see what I did there?), she’ll let the rest of you have your little legend.

But I’ve often felt that if we immerse ourselves in the accounts of Jesus’ arrest, passion, and death as told by the four Gospels, these texts can broaden and deepen our understanding of the crucifixion.

I don’t know how much deeper one needs to go than getting one’s sins taken care of so that one can go home to the Father.

It can help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.

I stand corrected.  Jesus died the most horribly agonizing death that it is possible to imagine in order to “help us make meaning of so much of the anguish that we witness in our world and in our church.”  Got it.

Me, I’ve never ever been able to “make meaning” of diseases, wars, genocides, famines, earthquakes, tsunamis and other tragedies with their attendant human suffering.  I guess I’m not trying hard enough.

When I read the passion narratives of the Gospels, I don’t hear simply that Jesus suffered and died for our sins. Rather, I hear the four evangelists very clearly say that Jesus’ suffering and death was the will of those who conspired against him — those whose political systems he had undermined, those whose religious convictions he had offended.

Glad we’ve finally cleared that up.  Neither Romans nor Jews killed Christ.  It was the Republican Party and the religious Right.

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14 Responses to Christ Died For Your Sins? Don’t Be Silly!

  • I won’t stick my beak in this doctrinal debate, as Tony Soprano might say, but I find it curious, Don, that Catholics often quote C.S. Lewis, who wasn’t a Catholic. We don’t see Protestants quoting the Popes or Bishop Sheen.

    BTW, Don, is it possible that some of us non-believers will never get it. I reread the parable of the sower constantly and do not believe I am “good earth” in which the sown word can take root. Why are some of us so stubborn?

  • “quote C.S. Lewis, who wasn’t a Catholic.”

    I quote him because he was a brilliant thinker and writer and his Screwtape Letters show immense insight into the human condition. Not all straight thinking is confined to the Catholic Church. Lewis himself was rather eclectic in his use of sources and would sometimes cite Catholics.

    “Why are some of us so stubborn?”

    Free will Joe applied to the complex process by which we humans make decisions about anything. It took a miracle before Saint Paul stopped “kicking against the goad”.

  • I believe Lewis was influenced by Chesterton as well.

    I’ll probably go out kicking, but hope to see the light before it’s too late.

  • …which raises an oft-asked question: “Is there salvation outside the Catholic Church?”

  • “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    “846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers? Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.

    847 This affirmation is not aimed at those who, through no fault of their own, do not know Christ and his Church:

    Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.

    848 “Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.”

    In times past the formulation “No salvation outside the Church” was interpreted so as to emphasize the Justice of God. Today it is interpreted so as to emphasize the Mercy of God. My own humble observation is that it is probably an error to presume too much on either the Justice or Mercy of God.

  • I had a teacher with a similar absence of soteriology. He asked me what I thought of Anselm, and for the rest of the semester, the college professor went after the seventeen year old, all the while preaching non-judgment. I have a suspicion that these guys harbor just a little resentment toward Catholics.

  • Actually, Joe, you *do* see Protestants quoting popes. Just a few weeks ago you had Protestants aplenty favorably reviewing and quoting from vol. 2 of B16’s book on Jesus.

  • It’s true, of course, that C.S.Lewis wasn’t a Catholic.

    There’s some question, though, whether he was aware of this. Not, of course, that he believed himself erroneously to be in communion with the Roman pontiff!

    But he seems to have believed the claim of the Anglicans to have been a continuation of an ancient communion as equivalent to that of the Eastern Orthodox; one could say that he thought the orders of the clergy to whom he submitted himself valid ones because he thought he was in the Anglican Orthodox church, so to speak.

    It’s worth noting that Lewis held this view during an era when the Anglican communion could more easily be mistaken for the Catholic Church. The relaxing of the prohibition against contraception took place during Lewis’ lifetime and he inveighed against it in several writings. Lewis also practiced auricular confession to his Anglican priest (and on occasion to an Orthodox priest of his acquaintance, I believe). Lewis believed in Purgatory and in prayers for the dead, seems to have believed in the intercession of the saints, and in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and in the obligation of obedience to the bishop.

    He did however note that he rejected the Roman doctrine of Purgatory. What to make of this? Apparently what he rejected was the Middle Ages’ imaginings of Purgatory rather than the doctrine itself: All the devils poking sinners with forks and the like. About this, and about the popular forms of devotions to the saints which he also rejected, he does not seem to have made a distinction between what the Church teaches as dogma and what the imaginations of the faithful have added, in a non-canonical fashion, to this over centuries. Or rather, he made that distinction, but seems to have believed that the Catholics did not, and that he therefore could not be Catholic.

    Anyway, he considered himself to be within the ancient church, and was very comfortable quoting all the saints and doctors of the church, including some from the East after the 11th-century schism and some from the Catholic side of the divide after the 16th-century divide.

    The Church calls those divided from her “separated brethren” because by virtue of Christian baptism they have been adopted into the family of God. The Church sadly notes the separation, the lack of the fullness of the union which Christ desired. But she also notes that the separation is not an utter and complete separation: Because the Christian communions and sects hold certain doctrines and sacraments in common, there remains a partial unity, though it is incomplete and insufficient to make us one “as the Son and the Father are one” so that “the world may know.”

    Given the very high percentage that which Catholics affirm which C.S. Lewis also affirmed — rather more than the garden-variety non-denominational American evangelical, in fact! — and given his attention to the ancient saints and doctors and his lack of animosity towards Catholics in his day, it is hard to find much reason for Catholics not only to quote him, but recommend him.

  • How’s her uncle Charlie doing?

    A quote of Bishop Sheen: “Not many men want to die to their lower selves; it costs so much. Some prefer to have a cosmic religion, which neither puts restraint on their pride nor curbs their passions.”

    Zingers from Bishop Sheen:

    “There are not more than 100 people in the world who truly hate the Catholic Church, but there are millions who hate what they perceive to be the Catholic Church.”

    A heckler asked Bishop Sheen a question about someone who had died. The Bishop replied, “I will ask him when I get to heaven.” The heckler replied, “What if he isn’t in Heaven?”
    The Bishop replied, “Well then you ask him.”

    A man told Bishop Sheen he did not believe in hell. The Bishop replied,
    “You will when you get there.”


  • If you take the NCR article to its reasonable conclusion, you’d end up with something virulently anti-Semitic. After all, Christ didn’t die for all our sins, but died because of the situation he was in. Our little acts of intolerance may be mini-deaths of God, but the death of God Incarnate was caused by the Romans and the Jews, and I don’t see any Romans standing around for me to vent at.

  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but this presents Christ as “victim.” Rather, he said that no one took his life; he laid it down and could pick it up again.

  • Wasn’t this NCR article’s premise– that the Jews and the Romans were
    responsible for the crucifixion– the same reason for which the NCR and
    their ilk denounced Mel Gibson’s film The Passion of the Christ?

    Before they were for it, they were against it…

  • Mel Gibson has his problems, to say the least, but he made a magnificent film in The Passion of the Christ, and showing his hands as the hands driving the nails into Christ demonstrates a very Catholic understanding of whose sins are responsible for Christ being on the Cross.

  • Don,

    If you don’t have it you should get Benedict XVI’s (Cardinal Ratzinger’s) “Feast of Faith.” Discusses the Eucharist as sacrifice (and only in a limited and sacramental sense, as a meal.) Also discusses the false interpretation of the OT verses which ask not for “sacrifice but a heart turned to God” as denying God seeks sacrifice. Shows how true abadonment to God is in the sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross and our union in sacrifice.