As Clear As Glass

Wednesday, October 28, AD 2015

Saint Pope Pius X



Oakes Spalding over at Mahound’s Paradise has some harsh words for some of the pillars of the New Church:

And of course they know that.

Do you think Archbishop Cupich believes in the Real Presence? Yeah, sure he does. Eucharistic Adoration? In the seminaries that trained Cupich and his like they called it “cookie worship”. Indeed, if you try to kneel to Christ’s body and blood, as you would if you honestly believed it was really Christ’s body and blood, then Cupich will bitterly snap at you. He becomes an old woman. Even if you’re a teenage girl.

Archbishop Cupich believes in midnight basketball and gun control.

Cardinal Kasper doesn’t give one golden bauble about the words of Paul the Apostle.

James Martin SJ doesn’t believe in mortal sin. Come on, seriously. Does anyone here believe that he does? Anyone? Mortal sin is for the haters. Martin’s thing is hating the haters. Martin is obsessed by hate. Consumed by it. And don’t say he loves gays or any of that claptrap. If the Zeitgeist were homophobic, as it often has been and no doubt will be again, Martin would be hanging gays from lampposts and then smirking about how merciful he was. You know he would.

Block that.

And what of the Pope? Honestly I don’t really know what he does or does not believe. Tragically, I’m not sure he does either.

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2 Responses to As Clear As Glass

What-if-the-Pope-Game Becomes Horrible Reality

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2015

Pope Benedict Miss Me Yet

“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring


Most Catholics are familiar with the what if the Pope does x, y or z game.  That game is when a non-Catholic asks a Catholic, “So, the Pope is infallible?  What if the Pope does”, and names a  hypothetical which is against the teaching of the Church.  The usual reaction of a Catholic is to say that couldn’t happen.  Based upon the track record of the Church that was a safe, and reassuring, answer.  Only a handful of Popes have come close to heresy, and the Church has quickly corrected the situation.  Thus most Catholics have not been unduly disturbed by the what if the Pope game.  I certainly was not, until the current Pontificate brought that silly anti-Catholic game into terrible reality.

Bad enough that Pope Francis set up a rigged Synod to spit in the face of Christ regarding His teaching as to the indissolubility of marriage.  Now, in order to accomplish this by the back door, he has proposed a direct attack on the office of the Pope itself, by allowing various segments of the Church to adopt their own solution to “problems” they confront.  How this proposal will play out in practice has been elaborated upon by his boy in Chicago, Archbishop Blasé Cupich, who is eager to allow Catholics in adulterous marriages and unrepentant “partnered” homosexuals to receive the Eucharist, all in the name of the primacy of personal conscience, no matter how ill formed.  Under this procedure the concept of sin flies right out the window along with 2000 years of the Church preaching the Gospel of Christ.  Thus the Catholic Church becomes the modern Episcopal Church with worse music and less ceremony.

The Laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy when the Clergy fail to do so.  Friends, it is time to stand.

Damian Thompson at The Spectator grasps the gravity of the situation and thinks Francis will fail in his effort to reshape the Church:

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23 Responses to What-if-the-Pope-Game Becomes Horrible Reality

  • I am not certain that the current Roman Pontiff had many senses to lose.
    The Church hierarchy from Germany, Austria, Belgium, Ireland and much of Latin America who have made their voices heard over the years have led us to this. Shame on them and on the clergy from the rest of the world who want to go along with them.
    Wuerl’s fingerprints are all over Cupich’s appointment
    Wuerl wants to give Communion to abortion supporters. He did when Kerry ran for President.

  • It doesn’t really matter what comes out of the synod at this point every sodomite/div-re”married” saw Blase’s wink and lined up for communion. But I’m sure they have been doing that for a while with complete indifference from unfaithful EEMs or priests.

  • Eventually, sooner or later, this Argentinian Peronist Marxist will fail, whether now in this life or in the life to come.

  • “The Laity have a duty, not a right but a duty, to stand up for Catholic orthodoxy when the Clergy fail to do so. Friends, it is time to stand.”

    OK, I really don’t know what this looks like. What does this actually entail, down at the parish level where I live?

  • Everything from a quiet talk with the local priest, letters of complaint to the Bishop, to starting a local group at the parish level to push for Catholic orthodoxy, to everything else, peaceful and moral, that can be thought of.

  • Yes we have a duty to respond. It is a little scary. Many of us have relatives and friends divorced remarried, living gay etc who look at this synod with gratitude. In our do do my duty I will require much much supernatural grace. My own tongue can be formidable but I don’t want my words and my attempts at “new” or re-evangelization to be from my own fear anger etc. but to be guided by God Himself. Sounds like a stretch. But
    Fools rush in where angels fear to tread

  • OK, I really don’t know what this looks like. What does this actually entail, down at the parish level where I live?

    Fr. John Zuhlsdorf would say that it entails making the Extraordinary Form ordinary again.

    Maybe he’s right.

  • Pope Francis is merely trying to bring broad recognition that the Catholic Church largely became effectively Protestant following Vatican II. Vatican II was the death knell of this long term trend of devolution of Catholic doctrine beginning in the late 19th century with Modernism. In terms his presumed plan, I think, he would like to consolidate all Christian religions into a single entity similar to our Federal Government and the States. The sexual moral doctrine in this new arrangement would be based on an individual’s conscience which will be most pleasing to practically everyone. Peace and social justice will be the main goals of this new Christian configuration. God and Jesus will have a minimal a supporting role. The Bible and the Catechism will be rewritten to reflect consensus moral understanding. Everyone will be destined for heaven. Most will love it. Well, maybe not everyone, i.e, God and Jesus. But, so what, who cares about Them anymore? Lord have mercy.

  • Ernst!
    He is right!
    Step back to proceed on the correct path.
    Holy hours of adoration, a practice that is priceless.

  • In this time of scandal, confusion and sin, stick to reading a Catholic Bible,
    and the “Catechism of the Catholic Church, second edition” of 1997
    (aka CCC; dark green cover in the USA) for accuracy and completeness regarding our Faith.
    For baptized Catholics, “Outside the Church there is no Salvation” CCC # 846 – 848.
    Popes come; Popes go; Church stays; We stick.
    No matter what any Clergy of any Rank says – Adultery, Fornication, Homosexual Acts, Pornography are all Mortal Sins. Un-repented Mortal Sins send Souls to Hell for eternity.
    CCC: ” 1415 Anyone who desires to receive Christ in Eucharistic communion must be in the state of grace.
    Anyone aware of having sinned mortally must not receive communion without having received absolution in the sacrament of penance.”

    CCC: ” 1451 Among the penitent’s acts contrition occupies first place.
    Contrition is “sorrow of the soul
    and detestation for the sin committed,
    together with the resolution not to sin again.”

  • Thank you Anne. Clarity.

  • Clearly, the lot of you are bad Catholics who lack faith and suffer from Francis Derangement Syndrome.

    /Sarcasm off.

    Well, that’s what people tell me, at least. Shrug.

  • “Well, that’s what people tell me, at least. Shrug.”

    What are our betters in the Catholic Media saying?

  • Mark Shea is saying; “ preciooouusss.”

  • After this is all over, it would be an interesting study to look at what Catholic Media (print, TV, radio, blogs etc.) said leading up to and during the Synod. I have heard over and over in the past that there is no effort to change doctrine, no movement from the Truth, shut up, pay, pray and obey.

    I am hearing less and less of that now. I think more of our betters are catching up with us.

  • Dale Price,
    I’ve noticed its often Catholic converts that make those types of accusations. My theory is that its taken them a lifetime to finally accept papal authority, and they have probably given up much in the process including alienating their still protestant friends and family. So that the very idea we have a stinker of a pope is repulsive and unfathomable to them (not to mention embarrassing). Hence, we are the ones who must be deranged.

  • I remember when Rotate Caeli still had a combox. It exploded when Francis was elected. At first, I thought some of them went off the deep end. I stopped thinking that long ago.

  • Steve D.:

    I’m not so sure. I am a convert myself (1999). And I know of more than a few converts who are quite displeased with the Church’s trajectory since March ’13.

  • EWTN website has a section where the sermons are available.
    Music to my ears were yesterday’s from Fr. Mark and today’s from Fr. Miguel.
    Daily Mass is morning, noon, and twice at night.

  • A silver lining?

    I’m off to Vegas to lay a proposition bet that Francis will be out as Pope within two years. He went up for what he thought was an easy layup and was stuffed by the truth. This synod has crippled him. My everlasting hope is that Cupich is sent to Antarctica. The rest of the liberal old wineskins will die soon enough.

  • My wife is a convert and she puts me to shame as a Catholic! In regard to Shea, I do not think his being a convert has much to do with his attitude towards the Papacy which does seem to consist of simply supporting whatever the current Pope says, and condemning all and sundry who disagree. This of course is not the way Catholics have traditionally viewed the Church which is so much more, and so much greater, than the Pope at a particular time in her history. The Pope holds a mighty office indeed, but no Pope is greater than the Gospels and the teaching of the Church that has grown up over 2000 years to aid Catholics in living the Gospels.

  • What we know:
    The pope’s job is to be guardian of the faith, intact and uncorrupted, as handed down by the Apostles. He does not, and can not, create new truths. He may not alter, work around, or ignore known truths. He may (on occasion,) merely illuminate what is and has been since the beginning (doctrine).
    He is not God, but has flaws and is capable of mortal sin–evidenced by the fact that he is obliged like you and me to go to confession. As Benedict XVI told us, his every wish and desire is not law.
    Again, the first pope was confronted by a man who never walked the Earth with Christ, nor saw His transfiguration on the mount, His many miracles, was never called Satan by Christ, but stood in direct opposition to that pope about allowing Gentiles and the uncircumcised into the faith. His opposition got most of us where we are–as Catholics.
    We need to continue what St Paul directed us to do–discern and admonish with love. The struggle we face now is our cross. Our job is “to fight the good fight.” Did we think He came to bring peace?

  • Next step for this grave concern is what will appear in the ‘final’ document, the writers of which and some details, appear in today’s report from Robert Royal:
    The Fathers see it tomorrow night, then have only Friday to decide – it is named Progreto.
    Seems next comes a Commission to erode – strike that – discuss pockets of geographical practice.
    Family ??
    Spoiled kids wanting their own way will have fine examples from whom should come catechesis.

Pope Francis, Marriage, and the “End” of Infallibility

Thursday, May 22, AD 2014


What will it mean if Pope Francis follows the counsel offered by some of his closest advisors, including Cardinal Walter Kasper, and permits divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion?  This prospect has only come to seem more likely given the Holy Father’s much discussed phone call to the Argentine divorcee.  This subject has been much on my mind for the past few months, and now that the worthy Ross Douthat has raised its implications in a highly public forum—and a number of important  Catholic  commentators are writing about it in depth—I think it is time to lay out a few of the scenarios that come to mind. 

Because the options are all rather unsettling, and opinions are deeply divided, it seems most useful to me to present the argument in the form of a three person dialogue, with each character representing a different perspective within the Church.  In the past, some readers have objected to this genre, making assertions such as “fictional dialogues belong in fiction.”  Tell that to Plato, St. Anselm, St. Thomas More, Erasmus, and Peter Kreeft.

To make things a little easier, I will label the characters’ viewpoints right up front:

John Paul: A faithful, orthodox Catholic who attends the most reverent Mass offered at his geographical parish. 

Marcel: A self-identified “traditional Catholic” who attends the Latin Mass exclusively. 

Josip: Raised a Byzantine Catholic, he attends that liturgy. He is politically and doctrinally conservative, but somewhat skeptical of Western conceptions of the papal Magisterium.


Marcel:  Hey John Paul! If Pope Francis blows up the sacrament of marriage, will you still insist that Vatican II was a “renewal” of the Church sent by the Holy Spirit?  Or will you finally start giving some thought to the alternative?

John Paul:  This issue is completely separate from the texts of the Second Vatican Council. They are the only aspect of the Council that binds us—and none of them says anything implying that divorced, remarried Catholics are eligible for Communion.  So your question is kind of incoherent.  But go on—what’s the alternative?

Marcel: That we have been witnessing since 1960 the Great Apostasy predicted by a number of apparitions of Our Lady.  That the orthodoxy, and hence the authority, of the popes who supported Vatican II is pretty dubious.

John Paul:  You know what’s dubious?  Private revelations.  You know what’s binding?  General councils of the Church and official statements of validly elected popes.

Josip: What happens if the official statement of a validly elected pope contradicts a fundamental Church teaching?  Such as the indissolubility of marriage, based on the clear words of Our Lord, and infallibly taught by the Council of Trent.

John Paul: That could never happen.

Josip: Yeah, but what if it does?

John Paul: It’s sacrilegious even to play with such hypotheticals. It shows your lack of faith in the Church.

Josip: St. Paul was willing to consider what it would mean if Christ hadn’t risen from the dead.  Divorce seems considerably less earth-shattering than that. What will it mean if Pope Francis does what he seems to hint he will do, which his closest advisors are saying in public he should do?  According to Cardinal Kasper, the Church should give divorced Catholics a “pass” on the Ten Commandments and the words of Christ, and treat their sexual relationships with their new “spouses” as something other than adultery. That’s the only possible implication of allowing them to receive Holy Communion without vowing to refrain from sex.

Marcel:  Which is exactly what the schismatics in the East have been doing for centuries. I’ll tell you what it would mean if “Pope Francis” does this: It will mean that he has lost the Catholic faith—and therefore the office of pope.  The throne will be empty, as some say it was when Paul VI endorsed the heresy of religious liberty, and when John Paul II and Benedict went on to teach it as well.

John Paul: At Vatican I, the Council closed off the idea that a pope could lose the throne through personal “heresy.” Saint Robert Bellarmine had made that argument, but Vatican I rebuked it.

Marcel: What use is infallibility if it doesn’t prevent a pope from endorsing a Council that teaches heresy, then reiterating it in countless public statements and in a Catechism?

John Paul: What use is papal infallibility if a pope can go ahead and teach heresy—God won’t stop him—but then we get to say that he’s no longer pope?  That makes infallibility an empty tautology: The pope is infallible, until he isn’t—at which point he isn’t pope anymore.  The Pharisees would have winced at that kind of legalism.  I certainly can’t imagine Christ winking at it.

Josip: If a pope ever taught heresy ex cathedra—which of course, I don’t expect will happen—it would prove something all right—that the Eastern Orthodox have been right all along. That Vatican I was not an infallible council, and neither were any of the other councils we have held without the Orthodox since 1054.

Marcel: Do you think Our Lord will be winking if the pope contradicts His plain words about divorce and remarriage?

Josip: No, I don’t.  We’ll get back to the implications of that in a minute.  First, I want to deny that religious liberty is a heresy.  Yes, there are many, many papal statements endorsing the persecution of “heretics.” Obviously, the Council Fathers and the pope knew about those statements, which their opponents such as Abp. Lefebvre were constantly quoting in the debates.  Clearly, the Magisterium concluded that those previous statements were not infallible—that in fact, they were wrong, because they endorsed violations of natural law and divine revelation, according to Dignitatis Humanae.  Papal assertions that it is right to imprison Protestants would have been false—like papal statements condemning all lending at interest as sinful “usury,” and statements permitting the enslavement of Muslims defeated in “just wars.” Of course, admitting all this should make us a lot more careful about how much weight we attach to papal statements.  Even when they reiterate “venerable” teachings like the condemnation of all lending at interest, and the embrace of religious persecution, most such statements are not infallible—and quite a number of them, in retrospect, were wrong.

John Paul: It’s unhealthy and impious for faithful Catholics to be sifting papal statements and determining which ones are “wrong.” If the Church decides, at a later date, to override what a previous pope has said, then and only then may we draw such a conclusion.

Marcel: Like good little Communists, we should wait to hear what Moscow decides is the new “party line,” then pretend that we have believed it all along?  I don’t buy it.

Josip: So John Courtney Murray should not have written in defense of religious liberty, since it wasn’t yet Church teaching?  And Catholic bankers shouldn’t have loaned money at reasonable rates of interest, but waited for the centuries to pass until the Church realized that the previous teaching hadn’t been infallible—and in fact, was wrong?

John Paul: That would seem like the safe, obedient course of action.

Josip: And if Pope Francis approves Holy Communion for sexually active divorced Catholics, will it be safe and obedient to accept that as well?

Marcel: It will be proof that he has lost the Catholic faith, and the right to call himself pope.  I bet that the bishops of the SSPX hold an election to find a real pope.

John Paul: I renew my objection to talking about such a development as if it were really possible. But for the sake of argument: If Pope Francis permits this kind of pastoral policy, it will be gravely mistaken—on the order of popes in past centuries allowing choir boys to be castrated to sing in the Vatican.

Josip: Surely this issue has greater implications than that.  How will we explain to homosexuals that they cannot be sexually active outside of marriage, and still receive Communion—when we permit that to heterosexuals?  Even I’m kind of offended by that.  Will anyone, anyone at all, still take the Church’s ban on birth control seriously, when it’s giving people a pass for adultery?  Which one is a more obvious violation of natural law?

John Paul: The pope would not be teaching error, but merely tolerating it.  As in previous centuries, when popes were lax about enforcing clerical celibacy, or allowed the sale of indulgences.

Marcel: No, you’re wrong.  If the German bishops started allowing this evil practice—which they probably already are, because they don’t want people to stop checking the “Catholic” box on their tax forms, and depriving the Church of money—that would be one thing.  But if the pope permits it for the universal Church, that’s something else entirely.  It’s right up there with him personally ordaining a woman as a priest, or adding an eighth sacrament.  It would be heresy, plain and simple.

John Paul: But he wouldn’t be teaching ex cathedra….

Josip: So if this happens, it won’t necessarily prove that Vatican I was wrong and the Eastern Orthodox are right about the structure of the Church. (Though of course, they will still be wrong about marriage—but then they don’t claim to be infallible.)

John Paul: No.

Josip: Or that Marcel is right and that the pope will have lost the throne?

John Paul: Absolutely not.

Josip: But it will prove that papal authority, and the divine protections we attribute to it, are a heck of a lot narrower than we used to think.  It will completely demoralize faithful Catholics who have been relying on papal statements to decide what they believe about critical issues—from war and peace to economics, from birth control to gay “marriage.” In effect, it will say that every papal statement in history is subject to future revision—except for the dogmas of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption.  Those, at least, will be set in stone.  Apart from that, everyone will be reduced to a kind of cafeteria Catholicism—unless, as Marcel said, they decide to stuff previous Church teachings into the Memory Hole and simply follow the Party Line.  That would make things simpler.  Oceania has ALWAYS been at war with Eurasia.

John Paul: I miss Pope Benedict XVI.

Marcel: I miss Pope Pius XII.

Josip: What do you think really motivates Pope Francis? I don’t think he’s just another post-Conciliar progressive.

Marcel: If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

Josip: It might in fact be a decoy.

John Paul: It seems to me that the pope is reaching out to the kind of people with whom John Paul II and Benedict XVI somehow couldn’t connect.

Marcel: People who want to claim that they’re “Catholic,” in the same sense that they’re “Irish” or “Italian”?

John Paul: No! I think he’s trying to convert the liberal’s false compassion for the “marginalized” into a genuine Christian concern for the needy.

Marcel: The “needy,” in this case, being prosperous divorced couples in Germany and the U.S.? Weakening marriage, in any way, really hurts the poor.

John Paul:  But I wish that Pope Francis would keep his outreach within the bounds of Catholic orthodoxy.

Marcel: Yeah, that would be nice.  It seems like the least we can ask… of a POPE.

Josip: What if there’s something else going on?  What if Pope Francis thinks that papal claims have been exaggerated, to the point where they needlessly block ecumenism—especially with the Eastern Orthodox?

Marcel: For all his talk of collegiality, he seems to have no problem using his power—against us Traditionalists.

Josip: But if he uses his power this time, to dismantle the traditional teaching on marriage, what would that mean for the authority of the papacy?

John Paul: Assuming the Holy Spirit allows it to happen…

Marcel: …And we don’t see a sudden resignation, “health crisis,” or falling meteorite…

Josip: The doctrinal contradiction would dismantle the papacy too—at least as we have known the papacy since… 1054. Which would remove the main barrier to unity with the East.

Marcel: So you think Pope Francis is practicing ecumenism by “auto-destruction”?

Josip: I don’t know.  Maybe he thinks of it as Perestroika.

John Paul: That’s impossible.  It’s apostasy.  God will never permit it.

Josip: Unless He does. In which case… well then, we’ll know who was right all along, won’t we?


John Zmirak is author, most recently, of The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism. His columns are archived here.

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39 Responses to Pope Francis, Marriage, and the “End” of Infallibility

  • We should be in a pretty pickle if we treated the logical implications of past papal laws, judgments, policies and so on as infallible teachings.
    As Bl John Henry Newman asks, “Was St. Peter infallible on that occasion at Antioch when St. Paul withstood him? was St. Victor infallible when he separated from his communion the Asiatic Churches? or Liberius when in like manner he excommunicated Athanasius? And, to come to later times, was Gregory XIII., when he had a medal struck in honour of the Bartholomew massacre? or Paul IV. in his conduct towards Elizabeth? or Sextus V. when he blessed the Armada? or Urban VIII. when he persecuted Galileo? No Catholic ever pretends that these Popes were infallible in these acts.”


    Bishop Athanasius Schneider answers to Catholics of the above blog.

  • Whatever the pope decides it is adultery: a mortal sin.
    My conscience will rule me.
    I would not do it. But, If I were to leave the warden to live (in sin) with, or to marry, a rich, nymphomaniac that owns a liquor store (or a bass boat and knows how to cut bait), I would have self-eliminated from receiving Holy Communion and likely go to Hell.
    You never can tell. You may go to Heaven or you may go to . . .
    If your value system places the here-and-now ahead of the hereafter you may go to Hell.

    The historical effects of Paul IV’s and Sixtus V’s bulls were to make much harsher English Catholics’ lives and deaths.

  • Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven!

  • PP: Is that something akin to “General Absolution”? Or, amnesty for illegal aliens?

    Hocus Pocus! Poof! All is right with God and man.

  • Perhaps this is shaping up like Humanae Vitae: everyone THINKS he will allow Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, but then he comes out with a beautiful but short encyclical on marriage that talks about how society’s acceptance of contraception (and denial of the truth of HV) is what got us into this mess of divorce and other messy marriage issues.

    He will affirm marriage. He will affirm the True Presence. He will affirm Catholic teaching on faith and morals, much to the chagrin of his advisors.

    Then we will have 40 years of “Well, that was not infallible.”

    All his advisors will be so upset that he didn’t listen to their magisterial fidelity to the god of Modernity.

  • Oneros
    1 wk, 6 days ago
    I would agree, first of all, that any reform will not touch the three principles: 1) that those who are conscious of mortal sin should not approach communion without confession, 2) that adultery is objectively a mortal sin/grave matter, 3) that sex with a new partner when your spouse from a validly ratified and consummated sacramental marriage is still living…is adultery by definition with no way out of it.

    However, I think that the reform might come more in the area of “pastoral approach.” And yet “pastoral approach” can also mean a development of doctrine (albeit not a reversal of dogmas, such as the above) inasmuch as pastoral approach always “teaches” or has some theoretical foundation.

    I think specifically a few “double standards” need to be addressed:

    First, the distinction between “public” or manifest sinners, and private sinners. This idea causes no end of Phariseeism and hypocrisy in the Church and needs to be phased out of Catholic thought. Unless someone is a vocal heretic or is explicitly publicly excommunicated (no more automatic excommunications either; even Ed Peters supports getting rid of THAT vague and slippery category)…we shouldn’t be presuming anything about their soul.

    Yes marriage is a public act. But that’s not exactly a dogmatic reality: Trent put a stop to clandestine marriages, but it didn’t say that previous clandestine marriages were invalid. So there IS room in theology for “broomstick marriages” because ultimately it is the consent of the man and woman that make a natural marriage. How much we want sacramental marriage/canon law to require beyond that is another question. But ultimately the bare minimum theologically (changeable canon law aside) is the consent of a man and a woman, even in private.

    But either way, remarried couples aren’t having sex in public! Therefore, they should get the benefit of the doubt that they are, in fact, living “as brother and sister” and should not be actively denied communion (refraining oneself, and active denial or withholding by the priest, being of course two different things in the Church’s pastoral policies). “Scandal” is an odd thing to claim: I’ve never known how someone else’s sin is scandalizing me, given that scandal means “to cause someone else to sin.” Mere knowledge of someone else’s sin doesn’t cause me to sin, and it is especially true if I am merely presuming they are sinning. Further, the theology of scandal puts the blame on the original scandalous ACT, not on the knowledge of it. Emphasis on the latter (such as asking couples to receive in another parish where they are unknown)…well, that’s what led to priest abuse cover-ups and such: thinking that even though the scandal had already taken place (the act of molestation itself), that things were somehow made “less scandalous” by containing the spread of the knowledge OF it. That’s just bad moral theology, that’s not how scandal works (see Catholic Encyclopedia), it’s never about “keeping up appearances” (though that’s an unfortunate recent misconception).

    Lots of Catholic couples contracept, etc…the idea that a civilly remarried couple is somehow “manifesting” private acts isn’t applied equally across the board either, as “boyfriends and girlfriends” (though often probably having premarital sex) are given the benefit of the doubt even though their premarital couplehood is manifest (that is, unless, oddly, they move in together/”cohabitate”; another odd distinction from a previous age: I know plenty of couples who live together/share a domicile for economic reasons but are waiting until marriage for sex, and certainly plenty who fornicate who don’t live together! Sharing an apartment isn’t a declaration of sexual activity or even “aping marriage.” Some people are just room-mates, some are room-mates who happen to be “dating.” Modern life is not made up of easy clear-cut social scripts.)

    This leads into the second double standard which I think is the real “meat” of the current problem and the contradictions many people perceive: the distinction between “living in sin” and plain old sinning (which is certainly no dogma!) Many people have noticed the spiritual/moral contradiction that a man who cheats on his wife, repents, confesses and receives communion time after time is just “struggling” and “a sinner like all of us”…but that if people actually have the realism and maturity to formally separate from the relationship that isn’t working, and institutionalize the new one as something stable and responsible…then they’re “living in sin” and unable not just to receive communion, but even unable to be absolved!

    This is one area where I think there is room in Church teaching for some “development of doctrine” with pastoral effects: in the question of what exactly the “resolve to amend” necessary for a valid confession is. What practically does that have to look like, how must it be formulated? The Eastern Christian view sees sanctification as an ongoing “medicinal” process, not a toggle-switch of sanctifying grace; there is a gradualism to it. At the same time, they see confession as very much a prerequisite for communion in general, so there is no sense of letting people receive in a state of sin.

    Most people with any spiritual sense would say that, for example, a loving cohabiting couple are in a better place spiritually than the guy who goes out and hires prostitutes each weekend, feels guilty, swears it off, tries to abstain, only to “slip up” again and again in the guilt-repentance cycle that simply compartmentalizes rather than trying to move towards integration. And yet under current widespread thought in the Church, he can receive communion each week after he confesses, whereas the loving couple is “living in sin” and don’t even have valid intention to be absolved unless they totally rearrange their life and make firm positive acts of “resolve” to do things different with lasting consequences (whereas the habitual sinner’s “resolve” on the other hand, can be merely theoretical and disappear days or even hours later as long as it was “sincere” AT the moment of confession).

    And yet the Apostolic Penitentiary released a vademecum saying, “Sacramental absolution is not to be denied to those who, repentant after having gravely sinned against conjugal chastity, demonstrate the desire to strive to abstain from sinning again, notwithstanding relapses. In accordance with the approved doctrine and practice followed by the holy Doctors and confessors with regard to habitual penitents, the confessor is to avoid demonstrating lack of trust either in the grace of God or in the dispositions of the penitent by exacting humanly impossible absolute guarantees of an irreproachable future conduct.”

    Perhaps, then, remarried couples need merely to uphold the idea that abstinence and living as brother and sister is the ideal, but then as often as they “slip up” just come to confession and mention it like every other sinner, without needing to provide “humanly impossible absolute guarantees.” I’ve seen too many people in a delusional cycle of “this is the last time!” (confess, commune, sin-again, repeat). Maybe the standard for intent to amend in confession need not be so strict or based on unrealistic (and often bad faith) expectations on the part of habitual sinners. A couple who has sex after remarriage can’t be absolved time after time unless they separate or rearrange their whole lives, but no such burdens are really put on the habitual porn user. This double standard needs to be addressed.

    And there could perhaps also be a greater emphasis on the spiritual life as, often, a series of “lesser of two evil” negotiations (also a very Eastern Christian view).

    Finally, there is also the question of internal versus external forum. The interesting thing about the Church’s teaching on annulments is…they are supposed to merely determine, in the external forum, that a marriage was ALREADY invalid. Which means that when a couple remarries and then seeks an annulment…in hindsight, they weren’t actually committing objective adultery ALL ALONG. So there are very real questions as to why a couple who, in conscience, believes they have personal moral certitude (in the internal forum) that their first marriage was invalid…should have to “wait” for the annulment in the external forum. It takes three years only to declare “Oh, well, you weren’t married all along, so you really WERE free to remarry this whole time!” Perhaps the Church could pastorally tolerate couples “anticipating” annulments like this. And even if the annulment comes back negative, annulments are not infallible. There is a tension between internal and external forum here, but one that gives individual souls and pastors room to negotiate, though there would be no public recognition (internal has to remain internal).

    Perhaps the Church could even enshrine in canon law a sort of “automatic conditional radical sanation” of remarriages after an invalid first marriage (even if annulment has not yet been determined in the external forum). In other words, declare that IF a first marriage was in fact invalid in the eyes of God (whether annulled or not), then a second marriage is automatically sanated even if it lacks canonical form (though this would not be established as a public fact unless a public determination was made). That way a couple anticipating annulment won’t be fornicating in the meantime (only to find out, “Oh, guess what, you really were free to marry all along. Sorry for making you wait”) and won’t have to time the sacramental status of their marriage from a later convalidation.

    As a final point, I think the Church could also restore something like “fraternatio” or “adelphepoeisis” to recognizes partnerships that are not marriage. This would apply to remarried couples after divorce, but the logic would seemingly extend seamlessly to same-sex pairs. The idea would be that even if the Church can’t recognize a relationship AS marriage, ie even if it can’t sanction it as sexually active, it nevertheless can recognize and celebrate the relationship/partnership/friendship itself (apart from the sex question) and therefore not leave these people feeling like they are second-class citizens or “merely tolerated.” The official teaching would be that such relationships are supposed to be celibate “like siblings,” but then there is always confession if people “slip up,” and in the case of remarriages, always the possibility (discussed above) that the first marriage really was invalid and so (if the conditional automatic sanation is in place) is a sacramental marriage even if not recognized as such in the external forum, even if in the external forum it is only recognized as this brother/sister non-marital partnership.

    I’ve spoken with Orthodox folk, and it turns out that their biggest guff over us re: marriage isn’t solvable merely some idea that their divorces could be interpreted as annulments. They actually are most concerned over the idea that we think the first marriage simply didn’t exist. I would therefore also add the following as an ecumenical gesture to the Orthodox: the current Catholic thought is that a marriage between two Christians is always the Sacrament, or else “nothing at all” (except a “putative” marriage). The Orthodox, on the other hand, have a view that seems more holistic which says that sacramental marriage starts as a natural marriage (such as exists between two pagans, etc) in the porch of the church, and then is “sacramentalized” by being brought into the Church.

    Perhaps then there is some room here to investigate the possibility (for the sake of reaching out to the East) that even if a marriage is found to not reach the level of an indissoluble sacrament (ie, an annulment), it might still have been a natural marriage (if there was no natural impediment) rather than “nothing at all” and so a subsequent remarriage would be under the Petrine privilege and have a “penitential” tone, recognizing the first relationship that tragically failed as something more than a mere non-entity. It would have to be explored how changeable the “either a sacrament or nothing at all” principle is; Eastern theology certainly doesn’t seem to see it that way, it sees natural marriage as the “matter” of the sacramental version.

    Perhaps the system would look like this: actual annulments in the external forum allowing for a second full-on wedding would be rare (for very basic reasons like first spouse still alive, consanguinity/incest, etc). The existence of invalidity on account of more nebulous psychological reasons wouldn’t be denied, but in such possible cases, it would be more of a private negotiation: remarried couples would only celebrate a “fraternatio” penitential in tone with a caveat something like “IF your first marriage was valid, you’re supposed to live as brother and sister…but of course confession is available. On the other hand, if it was invalid, sacramentally at least if not naturally, then the new marriage is automatically radically sanated, but unless there were an external-forum annulment that determination has to remain a private matter of conscience for you and you can’t act as if the Church is publicly sanctioning your sex life.”

    Anyway, those are my thoughts.

  • Perhaps this is shaping up like Humanae Vitae: everyone THINKS he will allow Holy Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, but then he comes out with a beautiful but short encyclical on marriage that talks about how society’s acceptance of contraception (and denial of the truth of HV) is what got us into this mess of divorce and other messy marriage issues.

    He will affirm marriage. He will affirm the True Presence. He will affirm Catholic teaching on faith and morals, much to the chagrin of his advisors.

    Then we will have 40 years of “Well, that was not infallible.”

    All his advisors will be so upset that he didn’t listen to their magisterial fidelity to the god of Modernity.


    Wow. You make the comparison to HV like it was a *good* thing. It was a complete, unutterable disaster. Yes, it preserved the Church’s teaching on paper–and that was it. The reality was that it was only paper. Pope Paul then proceeded to allow a culture of open dissent and the flouting of Church teaching on a level that swallowed the Catholic university system and entire national episcopal conferences (see, e.g., the Winnipeg Statement). The bottom line? Maybe–maybe–10 percent of Catholics observe the teaching. You want to know why Catholics–even mass attending ones–favor gay marriage and abortion? Because with HV they saw there was no cost to shelving Church teaching. NONE. The culture of dissent is so ingrained it can’t be eradicated at this point.


    And, frankly, your vision is the very best case scenario–Church teaching is defended on paper, but raised expectations cause a HV-style blowback in the Church which lead to it being cast aside. Hurray?

    [br] But the best case scenario is not going to happen–you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Pope’s statements and actions.

  • I don’t think Jesus would approve of all this legalistic foolishness. This conversation also reminds me of the Little Flower, who had headaches reading anything other than the Gospels.

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  • In response to “P. Plante on Thursday, May 22, A.D. 2014 at 10:39am: Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. Whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven!”
    cf. Jn 15:5: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, with me in him, bears fruit in plenty; for cut off from me you can do nothing.”

  • What on earth is going on? This is madness. I was brought up in what appears today be a very “traditional Roman Catholic family”. The parish grammar school. The local Augustinian High School, and a a few years at a Jesuit University.

    From my understanding of the Deposit of Faith (de fide definta/ infallibly defined) which I am to believe is the fullness of revelation found in the Scripture, the Church Fathers teachings, doctrinal counsels, Synods of Bishops called by the Holy Father and “statements” made by the Holy Father Ex cathedra (Papal Bulls), not general statements or personal opinions made in conversation with others. That being said, one would assume that the Holy Father’s “statements” would be much more carefully stated. Dare I say “guarded”? To do so otherwise would be an invitation for scandal, would it not?

    If the “Popes, any Pope” were to teach or promulagate that which is contrary to the Faith He would ipso facto ex communicate Himself from the One, Holy, Apostolic, Roman and Catholic Church founded by our Lord Himself. There have been Anti-Popes in the past why not in the present or the future?
    In light of the Feast of Ascension andthe Feast of Pentecost upcoming, all our Lord promised His little flock was: “…fear not and, know that I am with you until the consumation of the world”. and “…for I must leave you for a short while and return to the Father to prepare a place for you for, if I do not the Paraclete will not come…”. and in His prayer for unity “..that all may be one as the Father and I are one”. And, His instructions to Peter and the Apostles, Peter being first in primacy, “…if you hold bound upon the earth it shall be bound in Heaven and, that which you loose upon the earth shall be loosed in Heaven..” All in compliance with the Divine law. I believe when and if Sacramental Matrimony is conferred our Lord’s teaching on the indisollubility of Marriage/Sacrament of Matrimony would thusly apply. Atleast, that’s who I’m go’in with. There does not appear to be much “wiggle room” for those who like to “dance”. Pope or otherwise.
    No statute can make any unlawful act lawful, it only confers license for a FICTION to comit an act that remains UNLAWFUL. (see legal abortion)


  • The two upcoming Synods are on “the Family”, not “divorce and remarriage”. The Christian Family founded on the marriage between one man and woman for life, on the conjugal charity of that couple in human, total, exclusive, love which is open to new life. Divorce and remarriage is only one ‘shadow’ that partially prevents the Good News of Marriage and the Family to shine in the splendor of truth. Other ‘shadows’ are cohabitation, polygamy [in Africa] and so called ‘gay marriage’. The Synods, I believe, will tackle the anthropological [vision of the human] issues underlying marriage and the family and I would bet, actually ‘receive’ Saint John Paul’s teaching on sexuality.

    WHat I am about to say concerns elements within the Church, not the wider society or the media. There are those who do not really believe we have received any revelation (read: Gospel) concerning sexuality, marriage and the family. They do not see why the Church doesn’t get with the program and accept what the wider society has come to accept in the midst of this vast cultural revolution which we are immersed in. Many of these members of the Church believe that the culture sets the agenda for the Church. They will be deeply distressed that the Church will be upholding her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and the nature and elements of conjugal charity [Humanae Vitae]. Within the Second Vatican Council the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation [Dei Verbum] is the fundamental document and ultimate interpretative key among the four fundamental documents [On Liturgy, Church and Church in the Modern World]

    On the other hand there are those members of the Church who frankly seem to fail to recognize that the Church has been dealing with the pastoral issues of marriage and family from the very beginning of the Church. It is the Sacrament of Reconciliation and with the canons that the Church has addressed this fundamental aspect of her ministry and life. Whatever sins she looses, they are loosed in heaven; whatever sins are held bound, they are held bound. Here is where the so called ‘changes’ MAY occur. However these are not doctrines but disciplines within the Church [of course the Sacrament of Reconciliation-Penance itself is an actual sacrament/doctrine etc]

    As the Church moves forward, there are two things to keep in mind. First, the two synods are expressions of the ‘synodality’ of the Church. At Synods as at Councils of the Church, all sorts of things are stated, positions and even sides taken. However, it is the ‘consensus’ coming out of the Synod which will be the key-the content and direction it takes. Just because some bishop from some place says ‘something’ in terms of the approaching synod, (especially with twenty-first communications) just take it in and don’t get into a panic etc

    The other real issue which the Church needs to address in some manner-better sooner than later-is what the Church and world witnessed back in the 60’s during the Ecumenical Council. The media feeding popular opinion and being fed by media smart but rather shadowy (and sometimes sinister) personages in the Church (i.e some theologians) were already forming their own ‘Council of media-popular opinion’. No one can deny this existed and you can see the handwriting on the wall already on this. The Church in some way will have to address this distinct but related issue before the “synod of the media’ overwhelms the actual ‘Synod of Bishops’

  • You have shown the difficulty of writing this fictional dialogue! It is hard not to put your own interp into the mouths of the characters, or at least color the characters according to you own understanding of them.
    I wouldn’t think John Paul would have said: “the texts of the Second Vatican Council. They are the only aspect of the Council that binds us”.
    I hadn’t read very much further when I came to this speed bump:
    John Paul: You know what’s dubious? Private revelations. You know what’s binding? General councils of the Church and official statements of validly elected popes.”
    That just sounded out of character to me if the argument is to show JPII’s “side” of the story.
    Anyway, my thought is that John Paul would not have responded in that way… so then the dialogue takes a certain fork in the road after that… and that road as you have laid it out, leads to the broken authority, disappearing Church scenario that is part of understanding Vat 2 as a rupture.
    It seems that the teaching Authority of the Church has already disappeared – the foundation, the rock, the authority of Peter – is cracked and crumbling and Vatican II is implicit as the crack in the rock, by your story line, because of J.C. Murray and Dignitatus Humanae?

  • A very good article. I don’t think I could contribute an analysis any better than the many that have already been written.
    So I will do what I do best, focus on the trivial and inconsequential.
    So here goes….
    Isn’t that picture a weeping angel from Doctor Who? 🙂

  • As an abandoned husband and father, I have seen, starkly, where Francis is heading. Marriage already means nothing. His “pastoral”
    approach has long been mainstream.

    The Catholic Church is imploding and deserves it. His methods have simply hastened what it already a “messy divorce”.

    If Francis had any good will, he would jettison his plan for a synod of bishops unless they were only the audience, in a gathering of contentious annulment respondents, especially those with some children, so these men could actually hear some truth and some harsh realities. He should also have our adult children speak as well.

    But I do not believe the horrors they would hear would move them to
    actually begin to defend marriages.

    I cannot imagine any course of action that will “save” the Catholic Church. Not really.

  • But the best case scenario is not going to happen–you haven’t been paying close enough attention to the Pope’s statements and actions.

    Dunno. The man is erratic. The conclave made a wretched error, ’tis true.

  • John Paul is right it won’t be ex cathedra. That means infallibilty is intact no matter what he says.
    I’ve heard that in the hierarchy of truths ecumenical councils are on the top, then papal encyclicals, then everything else. This isn’t the end of the world either way.

  • That’s a low quality dialogue. I look forward to the days when no one in charge has a personal investment and attachment to Vatican II. Then we can cut it up and move on with actual tradition instead of the manufactured ones from recent decades.

  • Naughty! you have Marcel referring to “Pope Francis” i.e. in quotes. The SSPX are not sedevacantist.

  • Perhaps, we should take comfort in the words of Cardinal Manning: “The enunciation of the faith by the living Church of this hour, is the maximum of evidence, both natural and supernatural, as to the fact and the contents of the original revelation. I know what are revealed there not by retrospect, but by listening” “Do you or do you not believe,” he asks, “that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice ; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world ? If so, the history, and antiquity, and facts, as they are called, of the past vanish before the presence of an order of facts which are divine namely, the unity, perpetuity, infallibility of the Church of God: the body and visible witness of the Incarnate Word, the dwelling and organ of the Holy Ghost now as in the beginning.”
    Bl John Henry Newman was of the same mind, “There is, I repeat, an essential difference between the act of submitting to a living oracle, and to his written words; in the former case there is no appeal from the speaker, in the latter the final decision remains with the reader… I can fancy a man magisterially expounding St. Paul’s Epistle to the Galatians or to the Ephesians, who would be better content with the writer’s absence than his sudden reappearance among us; lest the Apostle should take his own meaning out of his commentator’s hands and explain it for himself.”

  • I think there is a distinction to be made. It is possible for the Pope to decide that in our current society most marriages are entered into with a presumption that divorce is an option and if the couples “fall out of love” the appropriate course is to divorce. Obviously if either person enters into a marriage with this belief they lack the intent to a lifelong commitment and were never married. ( Their marriage is invalid) , for this reason a prenuptial agreement is almost prima faciae evidence for an annulment. and thus many Catholics might be able to get an annulment via an internal forum. Now I am not asserting I agree with this line of reasoning entirely, as it leaves itself open to great abuse and may effectively undermine marriage ( which in many ways is on life support already), but the Pope could reason this way and not contradict any doctrine or teaching of the Church. I think if we go down the divorce and remarriage route this is what we will see. The practical consequences of this however will likely play themselves out as a further Protestantization of the Catholic Church. It is a lot easier to believe that God would expect marriage to be permanent, then that he becomes substantially present in the Eucharist. We should all be saying the Rosary for the Church, since we are headed for a cliff at present.

  • I, and I’m sure at least a few others, who would dearly love to see the “extraordinary rite” become more accessible and available, find the characterization of “Marcel” a painful stereotype that somehow tars us by implication.

  • Dan Allman,

    I appreciate your statement. The problem of characterization by stereotype may be a useful rhetorical flourish but it actually creates more ‘smoke’ than ‘heat’ or ‘light’. Many on this list would characterize me as the John Paul character-but that is not me either.

    The Extraordinary Rite is a beautiful form of the much larger Latin Rite [there are several forms of it]. There is a problem however when people in any ‘rite’ [and here I speak of my own “Ordinary Form” as well as any others] either want to make ‘our’ rite ‘the only rite’ or even worse, into an ideological camp which in fact impairs and often harms the catholicity and unity of the Church.

  • All of the doctrines and statements re marriage are based on interpretation of what Jesus said via the lens of western cultural thought. Divorce was allowed by God in the Old Testament and the process was prescribed in detail in the law. God in his grace and mercy allowed divorce and remarriage. Jesus was talking to the Jewish religious leaders and the upholders of Jewish religious law. He was saying that they weren’t following the law and men separating from their wives weren’t following the proper procedures and granting them bills of divorcement – thereby causing them to commit adultery in their new relationships. Putting away or separating was not the same as divorcement and a certificate of divorce is required by God to properly end a marriage otherwise people who remarry are in a state of adultery.
    The teachings of the churches both Catholic and Protestant have created a mess regarding divorce and remarriage and bound people in ways that God in his grace and mercy never ordained.

  • That sounds plausible Jane, if I hadn’t read the text for myself.
    Just so we are talking about the same thing:
    Matthew 19.1-15

    19 When Jesus had finished saying these things, he left Galilee and went to the region of Judea beyond the Jordan. 2Large crowds followed him, and he cured them there.

    3 Some Pharisees came to him, and to test him they asked,
    ‘Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any cause?’
    4 He answered, ‘Have you not read that the one who made them at the beginning “made them male and female”,
    5 and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”?
    6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.’
    7 They said to him, ‘Why then did Moses command us to give a certificate of dismissal and to divorce her?’
    8 He said to them, ‘It was because you were so hard-hearted that Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but at the beginning it was not so.
    9 And I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for unchastity, and marries another commits adultery.’*

    10 His disciples said to him, ‘If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.’
    11 But he said to them, ‘Not everyone can accept this teaching, but only those to whom it is given.
    12 For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by others, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let anyone accept this who can.’

    not based on western interpretation, look at the Church Fathers.
    sample: Athenagoras (about 177 AD) “Plea for the Christian”

    A person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage; for a second marriage is only a specious adultery. “For whosoever puts away his wife,” says He, “and marries another, commits adultery”; not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to many again. For he who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a cloaked adulterer, resisting the hand of God, because in the beginning God made one man and one woman, and dissolving the strictest union of flesh with flesh, formed for the intercourse of the race.598

  • What is infuriating about this piece is not that the argument it fictionalizes is implausible, but that it it does nothing to resolve them. I agree with Ross Douthat—we need to take seriously the possibility that the Synod will do something earth-shatteringly stupid and start thinking through the implications. Not just satirizing (albeit well) the ensuing conversation. As others have said before, the best-case scenario is “Humanæ vitæ II,” which is catastrophe. And it’s all downhill from there. Unless Francis resigns or is recalled to the head office before the Synod, and his replacement stops it, we are in for the roughest ride in generations.

  • Anzlyne

    The issue of second marriages, even after the death of a spouse was a vexed one in the early Church and Anthenagoras’s remark that “he who deprives himself of his first wife, even though she be dead, is a cloaked adulterer” had many supporters.

    St Jerome famously took a middle path, saying that, whilst he did not commend second marriages, he did not condemn them.
    In the East, the rite for second marriages has a penitential character and is seen as a concession (economia) to human frailty and, in the West, the rule that a woman might receive the Nuptial Benediction (the blessing at the end of the Pater Noster in the Nuptial Mass) is a relic of the severer view.
    Again the rule that men who had married twice (or who had married a widow) are irregular and cannot receive Holy Orders is universal in the East and applied in the West too, but subject to the dispensing power, until the 1983 Code of Canon Law.

  • “What God has joined together, let no man put asunder.” I am not speaking of marriage between a man and a woman, I am speaking of the Sacrament of Matrimony instituted by Jesus Christ. If Divine Wisdom chooses that Matrimony is to be between a man and a woman exclusively, leaving out the Creator, procreation cannot happen. The begetting of children cannot happen without the Creator.
    Since Adam and Eve, in the garden, when God brought Eve to Adam, the first marriage, God created marriage as surely as God created Adam and Eve. God is a part of every marriage. Jesus raised marriage to the dignity of a Sacrament.

  • Mr.Price is right about H.V. The Pope drew an authoritative line in the sand and then watched passively as Priests created a storm that obliterated it.

    And now he too will be canonised

  • The Pope drew an authoritative line in the sand and then watched passively as Priests created a storm that obliterated it.

    The Pope is not in a position to discipline priest bar in spot circumstances. Bishops have to do that. The trouble with Paul VI is that the Holy See interfered with Cdl. O’Boyle’s attempt to do that and this set a bad example.

    That having been said, the disciplinary breakdown in the Church was pretty comprehensive at the time and it’s doubtful other bishops were inclined to do much (and were preoccupied with other disasters as well). Some years ago, Louis Tarsitano and Patrick Henry Reardon offered some reminiscences about life in minor and major seminaries prior to 1970 and in the period succeeding. Leon Podles has also offered his memory of seminary life ca. 1966. Recall the Rudy Kos case? The salient decision on his admission to seminary was made in 1974. Here, there, and the next place there was a mad insistence on keeping the sacramental assembly line rolling. That had to have severely vitiated the inclination of bishops to discipline errant clergy (over and above losses from departures from the priesthood).

  • Pope Paul VI had Universal Jurisdiction and he should have dropped the excommunication bomb on the Curran 600 the day they went public confessing their heresy

  • The dissent from within, from the clergy down, is what will destroy the Church – but not completely…. there will be a remnant.

  • Amateur Brain Surgeon wrote, “Pope Paul VI had Universal Jurisdiction and he should have dropped the excommunication bomb on the Curran 600 the day they went public confessing their heresy.”

    As Art Deco points out, we know that Rome pursued exactly the opposite course. The Congregation for the Clergy decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle of Washington should lift canonical penalties against those priests whom he had disciplined for their public dissent from Humanae Vitæ. George Weigal has called this the “Truce of 1968.”

    We had been here before. I have always seen a quite remarkable similarity between the “Truce of 1968” and the “Peace of Clement IX” during the Jansenist controversy.

    In both cases, after the Church had been riven by a decade-long dispute, a papal document had been issued that was intended to be definitive and in both cases, the original quarrel was immediately forgotten, whilst argument raged over the scope of papal authority to decide the question at all.

    In the Jansenist case, in 1664, Alexander VII decided to require the subscription of the clergy to Innocent X’s bull of 1653, condemning the Five Propositions. There was enormous resistance, particularly in France and the Low Countries, with widespread and vocal opposition from bishops, theologians and the lower clergy.

    Peace, of a sort, was achieved, when Pope Clement IX brokered an agreement that neither side would argue the question, at least, from the pulpit. The “Peace of Clement IX” lasted for about 35 years and ended in 1705 when Clement XI, in Vineam Domini Sabaoth declared the clergy could no longer hide behind “respectful silence.” Eventually, in 1713, he issued Unigenitus and demanded the subscription of the clergy to it. There was even more resistance, with a cardinal, 18 bishops and 3,000 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.

    Will the “Truce of 1968” end in a similar fashion?

  • Francis is not a seething modernist. He is not some wily really smart politician trying to reach out to more people while retaining crypto-orthodoxy. He is not trying to connect with the East. All three interlocutors are wrong. He is just not the most dazzling PR guy, savvy politician, or theologically minded person to sit on the throne for the past century or two. A vague set of opinions, rather than a clear ideology or theology; friendly chatting and speculation, espousing a lack of clear presentation; and a belief that to be taken seriously he has to impress the cool liberal kids, characterize the learn-as-you-go papacy. He just says stuff. He just does stuff. He was raised Catholic, gets asked questions about religion, rather like your friend down the street. Except he can quote more authors – I mean, he could if he wanted to, but he probably thinks that would bore people more than analogies about Martians and stories about how he rode the bus to work; so, he doesn’t.

  • George Weigel opined:
    “the Truce of 1968 “decreed that Cardinal O’Boyle should lift canonical penalties against those priests who informed the cardinal privately that they agreed that the Church’s teaching (in Humanae Vitae) on “the objective evil of contraception” was “an authentic expression of [the] magisterium.” The Congregation explicitly avoided requiring that the priests, who had dissented publicly, retract their dissent publicly”.
    Some 46 years later:
    “…The Truce of 1968 taught theologians, priests, and other Church professionals that dissent from authoritative teaching was, essentially, cost-free…(ii) taught bishops inclined to defend authoritative Catholic teaching vigorously that they should think twice about doing so, if controversy were likely to follow; Rome, fearing schism, was nervous about public action against dissent…and (iii) Catholic lay people learned…“that virtually everything in the Church was questionable: doctrine, morals, the priesthood, the episcopate, the lot.” Thus the impulse toward Cafeteria Catholicism got a decisive boost from the Truce of 1968…”
    Should any Catholic really be concerned about the fate of nineteen rebel priests whose public dissent from Pope Paul VI’s teaching yielded so much tainted fruit.
    It is written that “By their fruits, ye shall know them.” Matthew 7:16.

  • Slainté asks, “Should any Catholic really be concerned about the fate of nineteen rebel priests whose public dissent from Pope Paul VI’s teaching yielded so much tainted fruit?”
    Insofar as that fate was the result of the decision of a Roman dicastery (probably with Papal approval), yes. Like Clement IX’s failure to discipline the four French bishops that dissented from Regiminis Apostolici, it produced precisely the results that George Weigal describes; it weakened the supporters of papal authority and strengthened its opponents.
    The “Peace of Clement IX” produced a whole generation of the “duped Jansenists” and the “Truce of 1968” has produced a similar effect.
    Suppose the subscription of the clergy had been required to the central dogmatic teaching of Humanae Vitae, namely, “No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is necessary for men’s eternal salvation,” I believe the overwhelming majority would have subscribed.
    It would not, of itself, have resolved the question of pastoral prudence in its teaching and application: “we know,” says Lord Macaulay, “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,” but the principle of the authority of the Magisterium would have been put beyond question.

  • MPS, if the rebellious 19’s dissent was limited solely to the teachings contained in Humanae Vitae, might they not have just claimed “conscience” as a basis for their dissent?
    Instead, they attacked magisterial infallibility. In effect, they sought to cast doubt on the entirety of infallible teachings held by the Church…possibly a way to renegotiate dogma in line with a “living and evolving faith”?
    How then does the Church discipline would be reformers without turning them into martyrs (especially in the chaotic 1960s)?

Shea & I: A Follow-Up

Saturday, May 3, AD 2014


I have a new piece up at Crisis regarding libertarianism and heresy inspired by a post on Mark Shea’s blog. Since I post there under my actual name, and since the reasons I had for writing under a pen name have largely vanished, I suppose my pen name is no longer needed here, though I will keep it because the Marquis de Bonchamps is still my hero. Anyway, I wanted to post some additional thoughts here for those interested, and since there are (as of 5/3, 11 am Pacific Time) 320 comments between my article and Shea’s reply, there might be a few. So here they are:

1) I didn’t choose the name of the piece – or the picture (above). Shea and I am sure others know that writers don’t often get this privilege when they submit something for publication. It’s not that I wholly object to the title and I like the painting, but I might have chosen something else. It wasn’t my intention to provoke the man.

2) Speaking of which, I haven’t followed Shea’s writings enough to know whether or not he deserves the almost unprecedented levels of animosity directed at him through the com-boxes. I’ve found some of his writing to be agreeable in the past and I have nothing personal against him. It was his claim, not his character, I was seeking to critique. I don’t approve of or condone the savaging of the man on a personal level.

3) Shea, through the com-boxes in his reply (though oddly not in the actual reply), thinks my argument is “silly” because if libertarianism is heretical, it can’t possibly be worth anything (thus rendering my probing questions in the opening of the piece superfluous). And yet in his original post (the second link above), he makes a practical argument against libertarianism and I am still not sure if it is the reason why he thinks it is heretical or if it is just some unrelated tangent. If libertarianism is heresy – end of story, end of debate – why proceed to make a rather half-hearted point against it, in this case, that it is somehow “utopian”? Or is that the reason he thinks it is heretical? He didn’t make that clear, hence the questions I pose in the piece. I also make clear that since I believe that a) libertarian arguments against confiscatory taxation are rooted in true and morally good principles and b) the Church does not reject what is true or good that c) it is very likely that at least what I call libertarianism is not “heretical.” I thought that was rather obvious.

One last thing: another publication will be posting a reply to my piece on Tuesday. I won’t give anymore details for now, but I expect a lively exchange to result.

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24 Responses to Shea & I: A Follow-Up

  • I predict at least 100 comments before midnight! Mark’s strong point has never been political analysis. His calling Libertarianism heretical is rather like me giving an opinion on Bulgarian basket weaving.

  • Where there is truth we should magnify it whether it be from a democrat, republican, or a libertarian. Not shout heresy!
    And I do realize your definition of libertarianism is not necessarily equal to that of the political party.
    Even communists espouse solidarity while ignoring human dignity, common good, and subsidiarity.

  • Mr. Hargrave, you do have a curious attraction to Libertarianism, personally I associate with Tea Party fiscal conservatism while rejecting the Ayn Rand wing of this group. Since there is no Catholic Party how are we to associate ourselves politically?
    I say we have two choices, do what St John Paul II said, or be like JFK.

    Evangelium Vitae
    90. The Church well knows that it is difficult to mount an effective legal defence of life in pluralistic democracies, because of the presence of strong cultural currents with differing outlooks. At the same time, certain that moral truth cannot fail to make its presence deeply felt in every conscience, the Church encourages political leaders, starting with those who are Christians, not to give in, but to make those choices which, taking into account what is realistically attainable, will lead to the re- establishment of a just order in the defence and promotion of the value of life.

    JFK renounced his faith in his 1960 political speech, “Whatever issue may come before me as president — on birth control, divorce, censorship, gambling or any other subject — I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be the national interest, and without regard to outside religious pressures or dictates. And no power or threat of punishment could cause me to decide otherwise.”
    Verses john Paul’s Evangelium Vitae
    90. . But no one can ever renounce this responsibility, especially when he or she has a legislative or decision-making mandate, which calls that person to answer to God, to his or her own conscience and to the whole of society for choices which may be contrary to the common good

  • Best Wishes, Bonchamps.

  • Mr. Hargrove, if I may and respectfully of your many comtributoins, you are far too talented and able to be wasting your time responding to the nonsense and invective spewed from the pen of Mark Shea. But for your link to your Crisis article I would not have otherwise ever read that to which you felt necessitated a response. Mr. Shea, to be kind, is not worthy of the credibility of your effort. Lend him not any platform.

  • Carl,

    I think that the basic premises of libertarianism are compatible with CST. I don’t think CST demands a regime of confiscatory taxation, and in fact such a regime in conflict with the labor theory of property shared by Locke and Pope Leo XIII. The Church thrived in the supposedly bad old days of laissez-faire capitalism in the United States, it grew by leaps and bounds because the rights of individuals to associate and practice their religion were respected.

    I’m not an anarchist, and I don’t think libertarianism mandates anarchism. I find anarchist arguments to make a certain amount of sense but I do believe CST is incompatible with a categorical and absolute rejection of the state. These are prudential matters, in other words.

    I would diverge sharply from the Rothbard wing of libertarianism on the question of abortion, but his critique of egalitarianism is one that the Church can and should appreciate. We ought to have a common anti-egalitarian front, since radical egalitarianism is the menace of our time, threatening private property and the Church alike.

  • I second Cthemfly’s request.

    The ratio of heat to light, emanating from and around Mr.Shea, means nothing good can come of it.

  • I don’t know… Shea’s ego is growing almost out of control and he could use a good thumping.

    At the very least, as much as he puts himself on the “front” of Catholic evangelism then replies like yours are needed otherwise many will assume they have no place in the Church because of Shea’s words and turn away.

  • Cthemfly25,

    I appreciate the kind words. My piece really isn’t about Shea – its about everyone who shares his view, and there are more than a few who do. I think the general charge that libertarianism – without qualification – is “heresy” deserves a response, regardless of who makes it.

    Like I said, I don’t follow Shea closely enough to really vibe with all of the really negative things people say about the man. I just happened upon his brief blog post in my daily reading and thought it made a point that deserved critique.

  • Joe, while I admire you for manning up to answer Mark Shea, IMO, it’s a waste of time to respond to him. His mind is already made up, he doesn’t want to be confused with the facts. His theme song ought to be the song sang by Groucho Marx in Horsefeathers, “I’m Against It!”

  • Shea vs. Joe is the intellectual equivalent of the Washington Generals vs. the Harlem Globetrotters. I’ve had many disagreements with Joe over the years, but at least he clearly demonstrates that he has done his homework and always puts forward strong, well-articulated arguments. For Mark freaking Shea of all people to call his article “silly” is not as much laughable as sad. Frankly I feel embarrassed for Shea when he delves into political theory, because the man is simply out of his depth.

    I know that Joe’s main focus is not on Shea, so I look forward to future pieces where hopefully someone with a little bit more ability to articulate nuance thoughts can rebut him, and then we can all sit back and bask in the glow of spirited, healthy debate. Sadly Mark Shea is not the man for such a task.

  • Government can’t solve income inequality, but it surely can fix it.

  • Bonchamps wrote “the labor theory of property shared by Locke and Pope Leo XIII…”

    I find it hard to credit that Leo XIII shared the property theory of Locke. It would be difficult to reconcile with the teaching of the Catholic Church that If certain landed estates impede the general prosperity because they are extensive, unused or poorly used, or because they bring hardship to peoples or are detrimental to the interests of the country, the common good sometimes demands their expropriation.“

    Historically, the theory of property embraced by every canonist and moral theologian has been that of the Civil Law of Justinian, which defines the origin of property very well. “By the law of nations, those things which we take from an enemy become ours at once.” [ea quae ex hostibus capimus iure gentium statim nostra fiunt – [Lib 2 tit 1] In other words, the land was acquired by the arms of the legions and every acre of it belonged to the senate and the Roman people or their assignees.

    Locke’ s labour theory of property is plainly nonsense, for it would make the acquisitions of a wife, a slave, a son in power, or (in later times) a vassal theirs, rather than belonging to the paterfamilias, or the superior. It is based on a failure to distinguish use and possession (which are physical facts) from ownership, which is a legal right. As the great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), reminds us, “Theft was permitted in Sparta. It was severely punished among the Scythians. The reason for this difference is obvious: the law, which alone determines the right to property and the use of goods, granted a private individual no right, among the Scythians, to the goods of another person, whereas in Sparta the contrary was the case.”

    You can see this principle everywhere enunciated in the French Revolution. Take Mirabeau (a moderate) “Property is a social creation. The laws not only protect and maintain property; they bring it into being; they determine its scope and the extent that it occupies in the rights of the citizens” So, too, Robespierre (not a moderate) “In defining liberty, the first of man’s needs, the most sacred of his natural rights, we have said, quite correctly, that its limit is to be found in the rights of others. Why have you not applied this principle to property, which is a social institution, as if natural laws were less inviolable than human conventions?”

  • “I find it hard to credit that Leo XIII shared the property theory of Locke.”
    Then you have some homework to do. Read paragraph 27 of the Second Treatise. Read paragraph 9 of Rerum Novarum. It’s almost plagiarism. And it affirms the individual, inviolable and natural right to the fruits of one’s labor as their property.
    “It would be difficult to reconcile with…”
    If you really want to square the circle, I’ll put it this way: I have a suspicion that the “teaching” to which you refer about landed estates was written with places such as Latin America in mind, in which a hereditary aristocracy swallowed up large areas of land and claimed it as their own regardless of what they did with it. Locke’s homesteading principle is not a theory of land acquisition, though – it is a labor theory of property. It is labor that makes property. So how could labor be, to use the terms from the “teaching” you so often reference, “impede general prosperity”, be “extensive”, be “unused or poorly used”, “bring hardship”, etc? Rerum Novarum doesn’t just quote Locke on the LTP, after all; it also makes use of his paean to the benefits of labor, which takes the sort of unused land that you are talking about and makes into something beneficial for everyone. One might even argue that the “teaching” to which you refer could be reconciled with Locke’s condition that one can only acquire property insofar as they leave enough for others. If one takes land and uses it productively, they necessarily serves others and improves society; if one takes land and simply fences it off without cultivating it, they aren’t improving anyone’s life and it isn’t clear that Locke would consider such an act to be a natural/moral acquisition of property. So I don’t see a real conflict here.
    “In other words, the land was acquired by the arms of the legions and every acre of it belonged to the senate and the Roman people or their assignees.”
    So this is your answer? Let’s get rid of that whole idea of acquiring labor peacefully through hard work, which benefits everyone else as well – let’s bring back might makes right as the foundation of ownership. This isn’t “the law of nations.” It is the law of the jungle. And this is supposed to be morally superior to peaceful economic competition? Locke did the world a favor and so did Pope Leo XIII when he baptized the labor theory of property.
    “Locke’ s labour theory of property is plainly nonsense, for it would make the acquisitions of a wife, a slave, a son in power, or (in later times) a vassal theirs, rather than belonging to the paterfamilias, or the superior.”
    Actually I find that Locke’s assumption in the ST is that it is male heads of households who will be doing the labor, and that the labor performed by servants employed by them, belongs to them. I see no contradiction here; its the basis of the modern economy. What the worker earns through labor is a wage; what they create belongs to the employer to sell.
    In any case, the whole idea of social “superiors” with an absolute claim over inferiors is gone – and rightfully so. I’m not a radical social egalitarian, but I do believe in equality of individuals before the law, and that includes the right to work, acquire property, and enter into contracts independently and autonomously.
    “As the great classical scholar, Charles Rollin (1661-1741), reminds us…”
    Might makes right, all morals are relative, there is no law of nature. Got it.
    As for Robespierre, did he come up with that before or after, or sometime during his violent persecution of Catholics and other enemies of the state? At this point I don’t care if Europe wants to ignore the natural moral foundations of property. You want to follow Robespierre, fine, have at it. But stop insisting that this is the official teaching of the Church. It isn’t. I’ve proven that it isn’t.

  • I have a suspicion that the “teaching” to which you refer about landed estates was written with places such as Latin America in mind, in which a hereditary aristocracy swallowed up large areas of land and claimed it as their own regardless of what they did with it.

    If I am not mistaken, the order of nobility was to be found in Latin America after 1822 only in Brazil, and was formally discontinued there in 1889. There has definitely been a class of latifundiaries in Latin America, but they are a class in society, not an order of society. Land tenure, security of tenure, seizure of common lands, &c. have all been issues throughout Latin American history to the present day, of course.

  • if libertarianism is heretical, it can’t possibly be worth anything

    Is there an actual theological basis for this notion? Last time I checked, even pagan religions were recognized to have worthy things in them.

  • Bonchamps

    Like Rollin, St Thomas is quite explicit that ownership belongs to positive law: ““Community of goods is ascribed to the natural law, not that the natural law dictates that all things should be possessed in common and that nothing should be possessed as one’s own: but because the division of possessions is not according to the natural law, but rather arose from human agreement which belongs to positive law, as stated above (57, 2,3). Hence the ownership of possessions is not contrary to the natural law, but an addition thereto devised by human reason.” ST IIa IIae Q66, II,obj 1 That is the reason that conquest destroys all titles, for it removes the legal system on which they rest.

    Rollin also refers to the gleaning laws (Lev 19:9-10, Lev 23:22 and Deut 24:19-21) as examples of how rights of ownership can be modified by positive law, for these precepts formed part of the civil law of the Jewish commonwealth.

  • Bonchamps asks, “So how could labor be, to use the terms from the “teaching” you so often reference, “impede general prosperity”, be “extensive”, be “unused or poorly used”, “bring hardship”, etc?”

    A shooting estate that could be used for pasture, open grazing that is suitable for arable cultivation, agricultural use that prevented exploration and extraction of minerals, agricultural land suitable for building development could all be examples.

    Of course, it would depend on the development plan the public authorities wished to pursue, for we know that “It is for the public authorities to establish and lay down the desired goals, the plans to be followed, and the methods to be used in fulfilling them; and it is also their task to stimulate the efforts of those involved in this common activity.” (Populorum Progressio 33)

  • “That is the reason that conquest destroys all titles, for it removes the legal system on which they rest.”
    No conquest destroys the right of any individual man to the fruits of his labor. There is no moral basis upon which non-combatants can be expropriated by the marauding soldiers of an invading army. So I have no idea what it is you are trying to prove here.
    “as examples of how rights of ownership can be modified by positive law”
    I really think you are seriously and tragically conflating a whole host of issues here. The labor theory of property, i.e., the explicit teaching of the Catholic Church, holds that labor gives a man exclusive right to a portion of the Earth and that no one is justified in violating that right. It never says that human laws can have no say in the various mundane details of day-to-day matters arising from conflicts between property owners or what have you. There is still room for your precious positive law to operate. The point is that there is a natural law as well with respect to private property, and you absolutely cannot deny it.
    You’ve sure done your best to evade it, though.
    “Of course, it would depend on the development plan the public authorities wished to pursue”
    What WOULDN’T come under the purview of your centralized “development plan”? How many centrally-planned economies have to expropriate their capitalists, lower the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people, commit unspeakable atrocities against them and finally collapse into a rubbish heap before you and Francis stop insisting on directing human behavior with “development plans”?

  • How many centrally-planned economies have to expropriate their capitalists, lower the standard of living of hundreds of millions of people, commit unspeakable atrocities against them and finally collapse into a rubbish heap before you and Francis stop insisting on directing human behavior with “development plans”?

    Oh, oh I know the answer!

    “Until it works!”

  • Genesis 4: 17-19: “Cursed be the ground because of you; in toil shall you eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth to you, and you shall eat the plants of the field. In the sweat of your brow you shall eat bread, till you return to the ground, since out of it you were taken; for dust you are and unto dust you shall return.”
    Our Creator gave the land to man so that man could work out his redemption. To take the man’s land would prevent the man from working out his redemption as prescribed by God. Man would be brought to the brink of hell without hope of salvation. Until the day man returns to dust, it is his property, the land which God handed to Adam to toil and sweat over to redeem himself.
    “or prohibit the free exercise thereof.”. Taking a man’s land is a violation of man freedom to respond to God’s word, in thought, word and deed. Peaceable assembly cannot be violated.
    He, who violates God’s word is possessed by the devil.

  • Best comment above:

    “Government can’t solve income inequality, but it surely can fix it.”

    Many another would have expended 500 words to say it.

    Brevity is tne soul of satire.

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  • Bonchamps asks, “What WOULDN’T come under the purview of your centralized “development plan”? “

    That is why Pope Paul VI insists that “they must also see to it that private initiative and intermediary organizations are involved in this work. In this way they will avoid total collectivization and the dangers of a planned economy which might threaten human liberty and obstruct the exercise of man’s basic human rights.” (Populorum Progressio ibid) That is an important safeguard, but does not undermine the fundamental obligation of the public authorities to oversee development.

    Again, in his Letter to the 52nd Social Week at Brest, in L’homme et la révolution urbaine, Lyon: Chronique sociale (1965), 8-9, Pope Paul VI wrote, “as the Fathers of the Church and other eminent theologians tell us, the right of private property may never be exercised to the detriment of the common good.” When “private gain and basic community needs conflict with one another,” it is for the public authorities “to seek a solution to these questions, with the active involvement of individual citizens and social groups.”
    No one is suggesting that there is not a balance to be struck.

Three Days of Darkness Begins

Friday, March 14, AD 2014


That tribute to all things heretical, the annual Religious Education Conference of the Los Angeles Archdiocese, is underway.  Father Z gives us the details:

The Religious Ed Conference is being perpetrated in Los Angeles.

Watch LIVE…. it’s a hoot.  Right now they are dancing with bowls of burning stuff while singing about themselves.

I haven’t heard any mention of Jesus yet.

It’s a real blast from the past.


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41 Responses to Three Days of Darkness Begins

  • Ok, fine. They got us on a technicality because there’s no clown makeup in evidence.

    It certainly is a circus however.

  • If that’s the future, I might as well stop with this adult catechesis rigamarole and remain an evangelical protestant.

  • “If that’s the future, I might as well stop with this adult catechesis rigamarole and remain an evangelical protestant.”

    Upholding the teachings of Christ have always been a struggle within the Church, but it is a struggle that the Orthodox always ultimately win.

  • I imagine they’re especially lively this year, and why not?

    Their hour come round at last…

  • oh my. Oh my gosh. I really really thought this stuff was in the past.
    Urban Fusion Mass apparently has a new translation of the mass of their own. I am sick and tired. Sick and tired of this. jim Wallis and Ron Rolheiser. oh my gosh. God help us. That homilist is quite an melodramatist. Archbishop Gomez what are you thinking?

  • Remember this prayer? In more innocent days I never thought the Outrages Sacrileges and Indifference were in our own Church with the complicity of our own priests. And Bishops!

    Most Holy Trinity – Father, Son and Holy Spirit- I adore Thee profoundly. I offer Thee the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the Outrages, Sacrileges, and Indifferences whereby He is offended. And through the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of Thee the conversion of poor sinners.

  • As I mentioned before, I witnessed a Mass with barefoot women in sheer
    garments prancing around a taller woman who held a colorful bowl above
    her head as they proceeded with the priest to the altar. The Mass was so
    bizarre that I was reluctant to take communion.

    A few years later and at a different Catholic church, I, also, had the misfortune
    to witness a female Methodist minister participate in the celebration of Mass
    at the altar with the priest. Again, I was reluctant to take communion. Later,
    I learned that Mass was invalid. Meanwhile, Pope Francis is demanding that
    women be given a greater role within the Church.

  • [A]t a different Catholic church, I, also, had the misfortune
    to witness a female Methodist minister participate in the celebration of Mass
    at the altar with the priest. … Later, I learned that Mass was invalid.

    Where’s the 1-800-4-BISHOP hotline?

    I so wish EWTN television (or even radio) had an action show which portrayed stalwart young men bursting upon such syncreatic nonsense with their identifying insignia held high and calling out, “CDF! Drop your felt banners and put your hands up!” Shows would start like Dragnet and end like S.W.A.T. but with fewer Berettas drawn and more birettas worn.

  • Comment of the week Micha! Our blog mascot Sam approves:

  • How much longer must the Our Heavenly Father endure the profanation of His temple, either by clergy or laity?
    The philosopher Edmond Burke (1729-1797) wrote: “For evil to triumph, good men have to do nothing.”
    It is easy to simply blame lax priests and bishops for the liturgical mess confronting our Church, but in reality, we, the laity, are equally culpable. We have allowed these aberrations to continue year after year as sheep being led to slaughter and will be held culpable if we do nothing. In June, 1972 Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, wrote: “Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops act like bishops, and your religious act like religious.”
    The following are a few suggestions:
    1. Pray daily and fast often for a renewal of proper liturgical practice.
    2. Have Masses celebrated in atonement for our neglect.
    3. Educate yourself by reading Church documents on the Liturgy.
    4. Be vocal in your appreciation toward faithful priests and bishops who celebrate Mass properly and reverently.
    5. Speak out in support of proper liturgy. You may be pleasantly surprised to find that there are many others who share your concern.
    6. Do not be afraid to confront improper practice, but do so respectfully.
    7. Use the chain of command. If your priest is negligent and does not respond to your entreaties, document everything and write to your bishop, respectfully asking him to provide fraternal correction.
    8. Finally, if your bishop does not respond to your satisfaction, write to: The Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship & Discipline of the Sacraments, Piazza Pio XII 10 00193 Rome, VATICAN CITY

    It falls to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments to maintain the liturgical life of the Church and

  • This Spectacle could become a Reality Show called “Apostasy Tonight” on Bravo or Tru TV.
    Pray for this Apostasy to Flop.

  • William of Ockham’s “Posit nothing Superfluous” comes to mind.

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  • Sounds like they need Fr. Volpi to hammer them into submission. Alas, it won’t happen. The legacy of Roger Mahony lives on.

  • Micha Elyi: “Where’s the 1-800-4-BISHOP hotline?
    I so wish EWTN television (or even radio) had an action show which portrayed stalwart young men bursting upon such syncreatic nonsense with their identifying insignia held high and calling out, “CDF! Drop your felt banners and put your hands up!” Shows would start like Dragnet and end like S.W.A.T. but with fewer Berettas drawn and more birettas worn.”
    that is the job of the Knights of Columbus.

  • With the issue you are refering to being bad enough, please don’t refer to “repressed memories” as that concept is an evil visited on society as well. Suddenly remembering something you long forgot is something we all do and not a repressed memory, just normal forgetting and remembering….

  • Try watching ChurchMilitant.TV’s weekly updates on the Internet If you really want to keep abreast of the corruption that’s going on in the Church. Watching a few of Michael Voris’s news programs will let you see just how dark the times have become. It’s getting very scary out there.

  • As a young priest in the 1980 s I was always told these things are good for the young people. But in reality the majority are always old.

  • When oh Lord will this come to and end????????

  • Very sad that satan has infiltrated our Beloved Church…but the gates of hell will not prevail.

  • Los Angeles, more like LOST Angeles.

  • May God forgive them.

  • I have a video of a similar Mass that I will post on youtube in the coming weeks. It happened around 7 years ago in the Saginaw Michigan diocese. they were dancing around with a bowl of water and something burning. before that they had someone dancing around in a ballerina outfit. at the end they sang, priests and all the “Saginaw blessing” “may the Lord bless and keep you, may He let his face shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you His peace. May the lord bless and keep you. May she let her face shine upon you and be gracious to you and give you her peace.” the “prayer” was banned by Bishop Carlson who has moved to the St. Louis diocese. They are still using it along with illicit matter for the Eucharist.

  • I guess it will be – viva la annual catholic appeal – to compensate for attrition and lost to the Church children.

  • Please, to those who have commented here, seek out a Traditional Mass! You can find their location online in each state. Sometimes it’s a bit of a sacrifice to get to one but it’s very important to try. The stuff shown here is madness! It’s evil! I served Mass starting in 1954! So I’m old enough to remember the new mass of Paul VI when it came out around 1969. Even in a “good” parish these days, the mass is almost nothing like the original Novus Ordo because it was designed to devolve. Many people think the traditionalist question is simply a case of the same mass in English vs. Latin. It never was the same mass. It always was and is, a new mass for a new religion…A “religion” rapidly descending into New Age horror! Benedict XVI knew this. That’s why he issued Summorum Pontificum in 2007, I think it was. seek out the Tridentine Rite!

  • We have a Wealth of Catholic Liturgy, both Latin and Eastern, especially Byzantine, but this REC, is more interested in pushing Heretical forms of the Ordinary Form of The Mass.
    The LA REC is an Heretical WRECK.

  • Note to my parish priest: Hi Father, is this sacrilegious? ……………………. or what. Am I not thinking correctly or is the apocalypse in full swing?

  • Forgive us Lord Jesus, we still do not know what we are doing to you!!!!!!!

  • When I have read this I find it very disturbing to think that a Catholic Mass in America is being desecrated by people who show total and blatant disrespect for the Holy Mass. Chatting, texting, taking calls on their cellphones, making a mockery of it while the Mass is ongoing. What has become of all American Catholics? Why doesn’t anyone protest? If I witness something like this in my own parish I will be the first one to protest the blatant disrespect for the Holy Mass. This must cease!!!

  • To many stand up for their own warped beliefs To many laugh at Christ and clown at the Sacraments To many spite on the Ten Commandments in name of Free Choice Sadly even less kneel down and adore Jesus

    What you see is Pagan Rome 21st Century style This behaviour is NO stranger to Jesus As Christians and as True Followers of Christ we must follow his example God bless Happy St Patrick’s Day

  • Why is the bishop allowing it?

  • Years ago I thought the Harry Potter homilies were enough to stop contribution to diocese in Denver.
    Writing to Archbishops? Made me an outlaw..

  • A couple of years ago there was a Kwanza Mass in our parish. There was a young African American woman dancing down the isle to the beat of an African drum; looked like she was having a seizure. Whole Mass was blasphemous! The next year my husband and I went to another Catholic Church for Mass, which was a little more traditional, but not much. Another time there was a wedding at the 5:30pm Mass we attend and Father had the couple come up to the altar and hold up the bread and wine as he said the words of consecration. I think someone complained about that because he has not done it since.

  • Totally blasphemous!

  • Typical Americans. Hope this doesn’t spread to Australia. No wonder they voted in Obama Sin Laden.

  • This is part of the New World Order infiltrating everything. The Rockefellers main contribution to decadence after funding Planned Parenthood was their financing & co-opting of mainland Protestant Churchs (which is why the Episcopalians are
    “Christian” in name only). Our Church was infiltrated through the Vatican II Council. The attack on its main mission, attack on orthodox dogma and morals has denied true Catechisis, which is why so-called “Catholic” politicians spit on the Jesus. Together with the faux-idol worship of the so-called “Catholic” Kennedy family, and the devil ran wild through the Church. God’s chastisement will bring this all to an end, with many a bishop, priest, and religious ending up in Hell. This is my prayer: “Dear God, destroy the New World in a way that brings You honor and us solace. Destroy the New World Order in us, the Church(es), governments, non-gov’t agencies, foundations, political parties, the MSM news media, Entertainment, Education, Corporations and businesses. We pray this through Jesus Christ. Amen.”

  • God Bless the SSPX!!!

  • This sacrilege would never happen at a traditional Latin Mass. Don’t give in to this blasphemy. Find the nearest Latin Mass, go, and be awed by the beauty, majesty, and reverence.
    This nonsense is not saving souls; it is condemning them. God have mercy on these priests who encourage this, or who refrain from ridding this ‘self worship’ spectacle.
    For those suffering Catholics who have no access to the ‘Mass of the ages’, buy a CD of a traditional Latin Mass, get a 1962 prayer book, and immerse yourself in a taste of heaven. May God have mercy on us.

  • I have been attending the Traditional Latin Mass in my diocese that is also attended by a good number of Catholics who attend the New Order Mass. The immodesty is out of control with many attendees wearing jeans and some women wearing skin tight black spandex outfits (to the Latin Mass). I complained to the priest who agreed that this conduct is inappropriate, but will not do anything about it. I also requested the ushers not let people in who are dressed immodestly or at least tell them that they should dress modestly out of respect for God and His Church. The ushers acted like I had a problem and said, in any event, they did not have permission from the priest to tell people to dress modestly. I finally resorted to preaching in front of the church, after Mass (I told the the priests at this church that I would do this since they would not), and warned my fellow Catholics to dress modestly as a sign of their love for Christ and so not to bring scandal into the Church. Overall, I have been met with derision from my fellow Catholics with most ignoring me and a handful agreeing with me and supporting my attempts to put out the flames of satan that have engulfed my diocese and church. As a side note, I have also tried to stop the lgbt service (false mass) at another church, through preaching in front of the Cathedral and warning the Bishop to put and end to these blasphemous services. The last three bishops of my diocese have supported these satanic lgbt services going back almost 25 years. Please pray for my all Bishops and Catholics throughout the world as I believe faithful Catholic Christians throughout the world are under attack from the tribulation flames of the devil!

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A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

Thursday, January 17, AD 2013
“In this world nothing is certain but death and taxes.” Eloquent though he may be, Benjamin Franklin would have done well to add “heresy” to his infamous pair of unavoidable realities.

Philosophical preconceptions once condemned by the Church have an odd way of rearing their ugly heads. Take Manichaeanism for example. Battled by the great St. Augustine of Hippo, the Manichaean school taught the profound separation of soul and body, a dualism that has been condemned by the Church more than once throughout the centuries. With two equally powerful deities, one good and the other evil, the human person of this heresy becomes the battleground for their contest of power, with the body being the domain of evil and the soul being the domain of the good. The Christian faith, of course, has taught the contrary, the inseparable union of body and soul, both good because of their creation by the one God who is pure goodness.

I was a high school teacher of mathematics and computer science for nine years, and Manichaeanism is only one of the many heresies I see deeply imbedded in modernity, particularly amongst adolescents. In the years I spent in the classroom, the cases of academic dishonesty had noticeably gone up. What is perhaps more noticeable, however, was the change in students’ reactions when the dishonesty is exposed. There was a time when the remorse was authentic, but more recently, when present at all, it seemed more like mere regret over being caught.

I found myself repeatedly in conversations about how students view the act of cheating. A colleague of mine once remarked, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” On the contrary, the students’ actions do not reflect any moral confusion. After all, students will go to great lengths to see to it that they are not caught, and when they are, they will craft the most elaborate of stories to exonerate themselves. I once had a student who plagiarized a computer program off of a university professor’s web site. When confronted about it, he claimed, with a great deal of confidence and conviction, that he would like to meet the professor who stole his code to post on the university web site. While the creativity is remarkable, the same cannot be said for character.

What, then, is at the root of the issue? While teachers generally recognize this as a growing and problematic trend in the education environment, they are often at a loss to explain the trend, and therefore end up remarking, “I honestly do not think that the students see it as wrong.” The truth is that students do understand the difference between right and wrong, and they do understand that cheating is a morally impermissible action. The problem is not in their ethics; the problem is in their anthropology. Students are Manichaeans.

The heart of the matter is that adolescence often do not understand the profound connection between body and soul that the Christian faith has always taught. Quite the opposite, students have a tremendous ability to keep a rift between body and soul. Said differently, these adolescents do not see a connection between their actions and their personal character. While they know and understand that certain actions are morally unacceptable, they do not see these actions as reflective of their person. They sincerely believe that they are good people and that this goodness cannot be tarnished by any action.

What adolescents fail to understand is that the human person is not only the source of his actions, but is also a product of his actions. What we do is reflective of who we are, and who we are will influence what we do. Philosophically, we would say that the human person isconstituted by his actions. There is no rift between the actions of our body and mind and the state of our soul. Body and soul are mutually interpenetrating. This is the essence of the Catholic teaching on mortal sins. Because there is an indestructible link between the body and the soul, there are certain actions that can affect the very state of the soul, remove it from the state of God’s grace.

We are how we act. A thief is nothing more than one who steals, and a lair is nothing more than one who lies. Similarly, a cheater is a person who cheats, and it is impossible to cheat without at the same time becoming a cheater. The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect? It is simple: they are Manichaean. How is it that they are Manichaean? That is also simple: modernity is Manichaean, and this is perhaps the greatest heresy of our time. It is a heresy that is not only at the heart of academic dishonesty in the schools, but also constitutive of the greed and avarice in the market place, the sexual permissiveness in the media, and the utter disregard for the sanctity of life in the abortion industry.

Being a heresy, however, I have a feeling that it, like death and taxes, is inevitable. This does not mean we give up an authentic education in the virtues. It does not mean that we neglect to expose the lies for what they are. But it does mean that, while the battle has already been won on the Cross, the enemy of heresy is as certain in this world as death and taxes. Perhaps, though, heresy has more in common with death and taxes than its inevitability. “In this world” certain the trio may be; yet in the next it is certain that all three will be abolished.

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9 Responses to A Heresy in Education (or An Education in Heresy)

  • The world is very rapidly going to hell as we write. I hope we can turn the tide in time.

  • Huh. I’m not sure I agree with this analysis, but it is provocative.

    I remember reading C.S. Lewis talking about ethics, how the proof of the moral law written on our souls is that when we’re caught doing something wrong, we try to make up an excuse or an exception. I think he used the example of someone not giving his seat on a bus to an old woman. When caught, they try to justify their action. The thing I’ve noticed lately is that we’re not bothering to do that as much. It does seem like we’ve successfully drowned out the conscience.

  • Jake-
    “modernity is Manichaean.”
    Good point.
    I’m reminded of Jesus carrying the Cross and His discourse to the weeping women; “Don’t weep for me, but for your children.”
    Thanks for the view, even though it’s gloomy.
    Prayer to the destroyer of all heresies is greatly needed…Our Lady and her Holy Rosary.

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  • Teaching in Catholic schools for 12 years now (5th, 7-10th grades) and I’ve heard much of the same excuses by students and, unfortunately, parents. What really astonishes me are principals who are intent on blaming teacher! Somehow we “failed to teach it was wrong” or “maybe they didn’t understand it was wrong.” Not taking action or attempting to sweep it under the rug is exactly the wrong thing to do.
    And yes, there are the students who act like they don’t know what they’ve done wrong – and there are parents who do it, as well – which really drives you crazy.

  • Then there is the ever-present example of teachers who hold students responsible for material that they do not teach in their lessons. In many cases, students merely attempt to figure out how they will be judged before taking the test or turning in the assignment, and teachers refuse to divulge the points on which students will be judged. Students caught with material that divulges this information are often accused of “cheating.” However, when teachers refuse to offer the information in the ordinary course of lessons, it is the teachers who lie. The teachers who cheat. The teachers who are Manichean. Of course there are authentic examples of Manichean students. But many such examples merely reflect the honest attempt of students to figure out the dishonest motives of their teachers.

  • For students who need tutorials and wish to take personal responsibility for their progress, I recommend For teachers who would like to be freed up to teach, rather than continuously tutoring rote subject material, this is also an invaluable resource. Students become responsible for their own learning, parents ‘and teachers can also track students’ progress using this program to keep abreast of where students may be falling behind and intervene in a timely manner. This program is used worldwide and is available free of charge. It covers core subject material for K -12 including college prep math, sciences, history, arts and computer sciences and SAT Prep. Includes tutorials and self assessment tools which again place the responsibility for learning squarely on the shoulders of the student. Any student can register at this site with or without parental involvement. It is completely confidential and is self paced. Courtesy of the Gates Foundation. Check it out.

  • I am far beyond an age of adolescence and have no idea of a connection between body and soul; between body and mind I do most of the time.

  • The student, however, does not see himself as a “cheater”; instead, he sees himself as a “good person” who happened to cheat, but the action of cheating is not reflective of his character. How is it that they are able to maintain this disconnect?

    Whether or not he’s a ‘good person’, you might just keep your eye on his acts and habits and refrain from characterizing his essence.

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One Response to Benedict Brings the Hammer on Heretics

  • This reminds me of a homily I heard once where the priest preached that the Gospels “shouldn’t be taken as Gospel” and that the story of the miracle (I forget which one) in the reading was just a metaphor. It really is the case a lot of times when the sheep need protection from the wolves in shepherd’s clothing.

2 Responses to Footprints

  • Heh. I like that!

    I’m heading north tomorrow and will have an long, Internet-free weekend so I would like to wish all of you a safe and relaxing Memorial Day. And remember who it is we are memorializing.

  • No internet? Heresy, heresy! Enjoy the Memorial Day weekend Donna, and rest assured that the meaning of the Day will be remembered here on American Catholic over the weekend.

Bishop Sheen on Fatima

Wednesday, February 3, AD 2010

The things that you find on the internet!  Bishop Sheen gives a brilliant exposition of the miracle of Fatima.

Bishop Sheen believed that our Lady of Fatima would lead to the conversion of Islam.  Here are his thoughts on that subject:

Moslemism is the only great post-Christian religion of the world. Because it had its origin in the seventh century under Mohammed, it was possible to unite within it some elements of Christianity and of Judaism.

Moslemism takes the doctrine of the unity of God, His Majesty, and His Creative Power, and uses it as a basis for the repudiation of Christ, the Son of God.

Misunderstanding the notion of the Trinity, Mohammed made Christ a prophet only.

The Catholic Church throughout Northern Africa was virtually destroyed by Moslem power and at the present time (circa 1950), the Moslems are beginning to rise again.

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6 Responses to Bishop Sheen on Fatima

  • Wow – this is a totally new perspective on Christian-Muslim relations. This means that “dialogue” should really focus on Mary. Are there any follow ups on this line of thinking, on groups that took it up in their missionary efforts, even Orthodox groups perhaps?

  • Very interesting. Thanks for posting this.

  • Thanks for this Don.

    Fulton Sheen was definitely a powerful and dramatic orator. I knew of him when I studied with the Redemptorists back in ’58 and ’59 testing a vocation, and knew a little of his assertion concerning the conversion of Islam. But that’s the first time I have seen these videos, and the first time I have read the full text of his talk on Fatima.

    Excellent stuff.

  • Abp. Sheen said this more than 50 years ago. He noted the growth of anti-Christian sentiment and predicted it would increase. That is happening. But there are also reports of Muslims converting, making great sacrifices and facing death as a result.
    When Fulton J. Sheen is canonized, perhaps an additional title could be placed after his name, “Prophet”.

  • Thank you JJO2 and Don. Bishop Sheen had a great gift of communicating in simple direct terms complicated truth. I think this show on Fatima was one of his best efforts.

  • Dear writer and all

    I would like to point out that those whom submit to God’s will are called Muslims and their religion is called Islam. Not moslems, moslemism or Mohammedism, Muslims do not worship Mohammed (Peace be upon him) nor do we believe he is the founder of Islam. The name Islam and Muslims is what God calls us in the Quran, it is not a religion named after a man.

    And regarding why muslims believe Jesus (peace be upon him) is a prophet, and not Son of God or God, is answered in the following link.

    Prophet Jesus and Muhammad (Peace be upon them) in the Holy Quran and Previous Scriptures

    Other useful websites


    Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him)

    By a German diplomat

    I hope this provides a better understanding.

    It says in your scripture “blessed are the peacemakers” I hope Jews, Christians and Muslims co-exist peacefuly.

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Monday, February 1, AD 2010

Athanasius Contra Mundum

Saint Athanasius, a Doctor of the Church, and the foremost defender of the divinity of Christ, is one of the key figures in the history of the Faith.  His era, the Fourth Century, was a time period of turbulent change, not unlike our own in that respect.  With the conversion of the Emperor Constantine to Christ, the Church was suddenly transformed from a proscribed cult into the religion of the Empire.  Instead of being executed for their faith in Christ, bishops found themselves important players in what was rapidly becoming a Christian Empire.  To many Christians, it seemed as if they had reached a golden period in human history when the Church could rapidly reach its goal of bringing all men to Christ.  History, however, never ceases to twist and turn as it charts the affairs of Man.

One of the more dangerous twists of History in the Fourth Century for the Church, was the meteoric rise of the Arian heresy.  A priest of Alexandria, Egypt, Arius propounded the doctrine that the Son, since he was begotten of the Father, was a creation of God, and not God.  He was the greatest of God’s creations, and next to God, but he was not God.  Of course, Arius thus destroyed the doctrine of the Trinity, and reduced Jesus from being God to being a creature serving God.  This doctrine, if it had prevailed, would have transformed Christianity into a Unitarian faith and inevitably downplayed the centrality of Christ.  The doctrine of Arius began to spread, until it was necessary for it to be addressed at the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD, the first of the ecumenical councils.  Called specifically to address Arianism, the Council was unequivocal in its condemnation of Arianism as indicated by the Nicene Creed written at the Council:

We Believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, begotten of the Father, only begotten, that is, from the substance of the Father; God from God, Light from Light, very God from very God, begotten, not made, Consubstantial with the Father, by whom all things were made, both things in heaven and things in earth; who for us men and for our salvation came down and was incarnate, was made man, suffered and rose again the third day, ascended into heaven, and is coming to judge the living and the dead. And in the Holy Spirit, and those who say “There was when he was not” and “Before his generation he was not” and “He came to be from nothing” or those who pretend that the Son of God is “Of other hypostasis or substance; or “created” or alterable” or “mutable”; the Catholic and apostolic Church anathematizes.

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13 Responses to Athanasius Contra Mundum

  • The Eastern half of the Roman Empire seems to receive the brunt of everything bad.

    Arianism, Chalcedonian schism, the doctrine of ceasaro-papalism, and Islam.

    I really feel for those guys, our Orthodox brothers and sisters.

  • Arianism is still alive and well in our time, in the form of the Adventist religions – particularly the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

  • And some Pentecostals.

    They don’t believe the Holy Spirit is not part of the triune God.

  • I think you’ve got a double negative there, Tito. 🙂

  • Don,

    I blame my public school education.


  • I blame the Reformation. 🙂

  • I tend to blame the French Revolution myself.

    Never trust a freemason frog.


  • A lot of Catholic don’t believe in the divinity of Christ either.

  • “A lot of Catholics don’t believe in the divinity of Christ either.”

    Then they aren’t Catholics Tony.

  • Everyone is Catholic – some of us actually know it.

    I don’t want to be excessively critical and my Latin is very, very weak; however, doesn’t the Creed actually begin with I believe, instead of We believe?

    I think the distinction is a recognition of our free will. I freely choose to believe what the Church believes, but I cannot speak for what you believe. Hence when we are in Mass with divinity-denying Catholics (referenced above) we can still state what we believe as individual members of the Mystical Body of Christ. Or, perhaps, I don’t really know what I am talking about.

  • The Nicene Creed was written in Greek AK. I believe the English translation is an accurate rendering of the Greek, although I confess my Greek is weak!

  • It is all Greek to me 🙂

    The revised translation of the Novus Ordo begins the Creed with, “I believe” as opposed to “We believe”. I am fairly confident that is to emphasize that we are individual parts of the Mystical Body, each with a free will and that each of us on our own accord chooses to believe what the Church (We) believes.

    Just another reason why the Mass should be in a dead, uncorrupted, static language. Well, at least the propers should be.

    Kyrie Eleision (that’s all the Greek I know 😉

  • I think the official Latin uses “Credo” which I believe (ha ha) translates to “I believe” rather than “we believe.”

Advent and Anti-Christ, Part I

Sunday, November 29, AD 2009

Prior to his conversion to Catholicism, John Henry Cardinal Newman, soon to be Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman,  preached in 1835 a series of Advent Sermons on the Anti-Christ.  I have always found them extremely intriguing, and I am going to present them on each of the Sundays in Advent this year.

In this first sermon Newman gives us an overview of the Anti-Christ and the time of his appearance.  We see in this sermon Newman’s total command of history and how he uses this knowledge to draw out the implications of the few mentions of the Anti-Christ in Scripture.  Newman intellectually was always first and foremost a historian of the highest order and he puts this talent to good and instructive use in this sermon.  When Newman converted the Church gained one of the finest intellects of the Nineteenth Century or any century for that matter.  Much of Newman’s work concerned the working out of God’s plan for salvation through human history, and his examination of the Anti-Christ places that mysterious part of revelation into that plan.

“Let no man deceive you by any means:
for that Day shall not come,
except there come a falling away first,
and that man of sin be revealed,
the son of perdition.”

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21 Responses to Advent and Anti-Christ, Part I

  • How prescient Cardinal Newman was.

    Including Mohammad as a proto-Anti-Christ. Many have backed up Newmans assertion that heretical forms of Christianity such as Nestorianism contributed to the rise of Islam.

    Hilaire Belloc I believe (I don’t recall who exactly) called Islam another Christian heresy.

    How right he was!

  • You are right, Tito. Belloc said it in “The Great Heresies.”

  • Evil begets evil. But thanfully, God begets God, and what greater good is there than God?

  • I know we can’t know the timing of these things. I also know they will happen again and again with increasing frequency and severity until the final one; however, it sounds like the good cardical is talking of a conspiracy. Are we listening? Becuase it seems most people freak out and dismiss any time I hint of a conspiracy. Makes you think hmm.

    Could it be a liberal conspiracy? I am not referring to Demomcrat liberals or even Republican liberals, just liberal thought in general. Liberalism has some great aspects. I happen to like much of libertarian (the classical liberal) thought; however, liberal is also plagued with utility, permissiveness, license and radical individualism. Could this be the Devil taking us by the hand and making us his friends in our own undoing?

    Karl Marx certaintly thought so. He developed ideas, ideologies and an ‘economic’ theory that seek to do nothing other than totally destroy Western Civ. aka Rome aka Christendom. The tool he used to present his destructive agenda is Marxism/Communism and it’s newer forms of Critical Theory hidden away in liberalism, both the neo-con and the lefty-loony viriety.

  • Vince C.,

    I like the link in your name!

    I added it to our Catholic resources list.

    Keep up the great witness to our beautiful faith!

  • One point of clarification – John Henry Cardinal Newman is not yet identified as “Blessed” that is supposed to happen next year when the Holy Father visits England. Hopefully his canonization will follow sooner rather than later.

  • Let us pray for the conversion of the Antichrist, so that he, too, might enjoy the Beatific Vision and be an endless hymn of praise of God’s Mercy.

  • Thank you Dontex! I was gettting ahead of myself. It has been a long wait for we Newman devotees! I have amended the post.

  • The antichrist has always been at work ever since he decided to be greater than God. And his work is visible. Look at those that want anything that has to do with Christianity taken out, look at all the sexuality on TV, internet and so on. Look at sexual liberation men giving themselves to men, women to women “Because they gave up the natural order “ now where have I heard those words before; check out the driving force behind religions. Islam says that if one is not converted to Islam they need to be killed. Today the war is over oil, but after the crises is over, what reason will there be to go to war. I remember reading the story of the Jewish holocaust, and in a meeting of high ranking Nazi officials the final resolution was being discussed, and one general asked “ and after we do away with the Jewish people , who will be next “. After the oil war is over whom they will persecute.
    Read the story of Sodomma and Camorra why did God destroy them and see if those same reasons are not prevailing in our society today. Oh yes my dear brothers and sisters the anti-Christ is lose, angry and wild. He knows the day of the Lord is at hand. He also knows what awaits him.
    But fear you not because as the apostle said “IF I AM WIH THE LORD, WHAT EVIL CAN BEGET ME”
    Christ be with you all.

  • No Nick I’m afraid not! To pray for the conversion of the Antichrist would be in vain. He is confirmed in evil! It would be like trying to pray for the conversion of Satan and that you must know is impossible. The prince of Darkness is confirmed in Evil for all eternity.

  • I agree with Gabriel about Satan being confirmed evil for all eternity, though I am not sure if it is applicable to the anti-Christ.

    Satan, being created an angel by God has perfect knowledge. Angels are not human but are something akin to spiritual beings that had perfect intelligence. So when he consciously chose to oppose God it was final since in his own mind he thought better of himself instead of God.

    The anti-Christ will be a man, not an angle, so he (or she) will be imperfect, hence then he may still be able to repent.

    As Saint Theresa of Avila said, she still prays for Judas because we truly don’t know if he asked for forgiveness at the moment of his death.

  • Which antichrist? Nero, Mohammad, Marx, Hitler, or The Anti-Christ?

    I think many antichrists can repent but the final Anti-Christ, I am not so sure. He may be so closely tied to Satan that there is no hope for him. Isn’t he supposed to be slain and then rise again in mockery of Christ? If so, how is that possible unless Satan is completely animating and possesing him? If he is that given over to Satan I don’t think he can return to God, not that God wouldn’t have Mercy, but rather becuase the evil is so consuming that he wouldn’t consider surrender to God anything desireable.

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  • The Anti-Christ is Satan only in the form of a human being, just as Christ is God in a human form.
    Satan nor any of the fallen angels will be pardoned or can be pardoned for their sins and crimes, this is way they hate us humans so much cause we have the opportunity to repent they can’t and do not have the opportunity to repent. They knew and saw God as He is in all his glory.
    They literally saw and understood God but decided to go against him, freely and willingly.

  • Excellent point Rafael.

    Because they are angels they have perfect knowledge, hence they would choose not to repent if they were allowed to repent.

    I am not sure on this point, but the angels that followed Lucifer hated humans because God placed them above angels I believe.

  • I suppose it is possible that Anti-Christ is Satan but it is also possible that he is just another poor power-hungry, disobendient human given over to Satan through sin. Either way he is a problem and he loses.

    Tito, we are not above the angels. To my knowledge only one creature is above the angels and she is perfectly human, the Queen of men and angels, our Blessed Virgin Mary. The rest of us are lower than the angels and we are integrated with our bodies and struggle against our flesh. You are correct about the perfect knowledge of angels and their perfect and fixed free wills. Once an angel makes a choice it is eternally fixed. St. Michael will always serve God fully and Satan aka Lucifer will always be disobedient and he knows his time is short.

    I think Satan and the fallen angels (demons) rebelled against God not because He made us higher than angels but precisely becuase He made us lower than angels. I think when God showed them that He was taking human form, a lower form than an angel, their pride was bruised. The virtue opposite the vice of pride is humility. God humbled Himself to become a small, vulnerable, cold, poor, homeless baby. Satan went nuts and a third of heaven was cast out with him.

    Come Lord Jesus!

  • I see no evidence in Scripture that the anti-Christ will be an avatar of Satan.

  • No! I don’t believe the Antichrist is Satan himself. Satan also known as the dragon, the ancient serpent of old! Who gave his power, worldly glory, status to the beast, the Antichrist to make war with the saints and to conquer them and there was given to it (by Satan) power over every tribe and people and tonque and nation.
    And later, the beast or Antichrist was captured along with the false prophet who worked wonders to lead many astray and both were cast alive into the fiery lake of burning brimstone and also those that worshipped the image of the beast.
    Shortly after that St. Michael the archangel seized the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan and cast him into the bottomless pit.
    Since Satan is the prince of this world he can give his power and earthly glory to whom he likes!!!!

  • To read what the church teaches on the Antichrist go to click on encyclopedia click A find and click Antichrist.

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