Wednesday, 27 February 2019

The lure of the easy answer to the so-called "true traditionalist"

Over the past few days, while the not-about-sex-abuse summit has been happening in Rome and Heresica was being embarrassed, I was privy to an interesting Twitter exchange between sedevacantists and non-sedevacantists - or, "true" traditionalists and "fake" traditionalists.

Sidestepping the usual ad hominem attacks and accusations of heresy, I noticed something quite interesting about the exchange on the part of sedevacantism - its framing as an "easy answer," as if embracing that line of thinking will solve all of your problems and dilemmas regarding the Church in this time and place.

Sedevacantism is only one such line of thinking that advocates an "easy answer" to what we can call "the Problem." I have seen this elsewhere in non-sedevacantist channels, particularly amongst those that consider themselves "counter-revolutionaries."

Although it will be detailed later, the "counter-revolutionary" position argues that if only the Church and State were reunified, Catholic monarchies restored to their proper glory (with a particular attention to France), with the doctrine of the Social Kingship of Christ guiding every aspect of daily life, everything will be as it should be, as it was before the French Revolution. The world would not be in the mess it is in today.

The storming of the Bastille

As one can see, the position is quite complex to whittle down to one sentence. But the counter-revolutionary position - as I can attest to from first-hand experience, having once considered myself a counter-revolutionary - is alluring. It drapes itself in historical examples and precedents, and presents a "before or after" dichotomy. If only humanism hadn't happened, one hears, if only the French Revolution hadn't happened, we wouldn't be in this situation. If we go back to what life was like before all the mess started, the world would be as it should be. The counter-revolutionary position is remarkably like sedevacantism in this regard.

Sedevacantism and the counter-revolutionary position both present prospective "candidates" - to use the term - with a glimmering promise that is all too false. To take the counter-revolutionary position as an example, life was not all peaches and honey before the French Revolution. There were real abuses perpetrated under the union of Church and State. The First and Second Estates of France were largely tax-exempt, while the Third Estate (by far the largest of the three) was burdened with the tax of the entire nation. Life was pretty miserable if you were not a priest or noble ... the smaller the settlement, the worse off things could be for you. It is eerily similar to what we see today in the world at large.

Sedevancantism likewise presents a rosy "before" picture - as in, before 1958, things were peachy with regards to the papacy, but after that, well, Hell broke loose, to put it mildly. That is also false. As I pointed out some time ago, treating the pope like an absolute monarch is problematic. It was already reaching absurd levels in 1958. It is even worse today.

Friends, I know we are in a very tough, and scary situation. We are all trying to make sense of what is going on, and recover our lost heritage while we are at it. But we must resist the temptation to go looking for an easy answer. I have already highlighted what I think to be the two most common sub-groups of "traditionalism" that people run to and aggressively defend, to the point where they refuse to listen to those who disagree with them.

The reality is that there is no easy answer, or an ideology that we can embrace which will pave a sure way forward in the time to come. Not only do they defy logic, these so-called "easy answers," but they promote and propagate division by their very existence. That, frankly, is something we cannot afford to have.

More will come on this topic.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

At long last, credit is given to Vox Cantoris where it is due!

Those of you who have been following the Heresica "I'm a serial plagiarist!" scandal across both this blog and Vox Cantoris will no doubt be aware that this writer has voiced their opinion - on two occasions - that Vox Cantoris is to be credited with being the blog who first unmasked Tom for being the fraud, liar, and thief he is.

Well, finally, justice has been done.

Dorothy Cummings-McLean, the journalist who exposed Rosica's plagiarism at his February 9th lecture at Cambridge University, has recently put the following in an update to her February 18th article on the topic:
To date Rosica’s earliest known use of work without attribution was his famous declaration, delivered at a 2014 lecture, about doctrine. Instantly notorious, the passage was later discovered to be the work of Dr. Richard Gaillardetz. News of the misappropriation was first published by David Domet of the "Vox Cantoris" blog.

Let us all raise our glasses in toast to Vox!

Sunday, 24 February 2019

What will happen to Fr. Thomas J. Rosica, CSB?

The weekend just keeps on getting worse for Fr. Thomas J. Rosica, CSB.

Thanks to the hard work of journalists and academics like Dorothy Cummings-McLean, Matthew Schmitz, John Hoshchild and others, it has been revealed that Tom has been cutting, pasting, and saving from others without any sort of acknowledgement from as far back as 1994. This was when Tom was in the midst of getting all of those wonderful degrees and accolades he's so proud about.

Vox Cantoris has the full story.

Things are getting pretty hot in the seat for good ol' Tom. He can't get out of this one, as everyone knows he stole from the work of others, both without credit and sufficient reason. And each word of apology he utters sounds fake, as the priest blames others (such as interns) for his faults, and fails to take full and utter responsibility for his actions. As I said yesterday, he is a joke of a man and a joke of a priest.

So, the question is, what will happen to Tom?

What will happen to his fancy degrees? It's been established that Tom has a serious problem with plagiarism with regards to his academic work from as far back as 1994 (if not earlier), copying and pasting left and right.

Will his degrees be revoked, honorary and those he supposedly "worked" for? The academic world takes plagiarism very seriously, particularly the top-tier institutions like the University of Toronto, who rightly judge that any act of plagiarism reflects poorly on the standards they set on their students to maintain. Tom, to put it bluntly, failed that standard miserably.

On May 26, St. Mark’s College at the University of British Columbia awarded an honourary doctorate to Father Thomas Rosica, CSB for his role in bringing people closer to Christ and the Catholic faith. The Doctor of Sacred Letters (honoris causa), the institution’s highest honour, was conferred by Archbishop J. Michael Miller, CSB, Archbishop of Vancouver and Chancellor of St. Mark’s College; Peter Meehan, College President; and Michelle Chang, Board Vice-Chair, at the College’s convocation ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia. - from The Basilians' website

Will he finally be fired from Salt and Light by the Gagliano brothers, the network that is apparently doing so well, but has to go around begging for money from their (Salt and Light's, that is) local Knights of Columbus council? Will the brothers finally use this episode to take firm action against Tom?

Will Cardinal Collins finally confront Tom head-on, and ask for the Basilians to dismiss Tom from the sacred priesthood, which Tom has made a disgrace of? Or will the Basilians take initiative themselves?

Will Tom hand in his own notices of resignations from the priesthood, presidency of Assumption University, and all of the positions he is so pleased to have held over the years? Will he finally summon his testicular courage and act like a man, as he should have done as soon as his egregious actions finally came to the cleansing light on February 15th?

I do not know. I do know that any of Tom's plans to become a bishop have finally been dashed to pieces, as the Bergoglians in Rome do not take well to such open stupidity and revelation of their plans. Tom can kiss that mitre good-bye.

Tom has a lot of explaining to do, and he better do it fast, before he regrets it. Pray that justice will be done.

Finally, throughout all of this, it is my view that it has escaped many people's attention that Vox Cantoris was the first to expose Rosica for the fraud he is. Vox did much of the work that led Rosica's actions to be aired out for the world, actions that led Tom to try and sue Vox, and actions which others have based this latest scandal on. Without Vox's hard work, none of us would be able to call Tom as the fraud and thief he is.

So, to Vox, we owe a significant "thank you." Thank you, Vox. My glass is raised to you.

Saturday, 23 February 2019

Fr. Thomas J. Rosica is a joke of a man, a joke of a priest

By now, you would have heard of the fact Fr. Thomas J. Rosica, CSB has been found out to have repeatedly stolen and used the words of others - without any sort of documentation or acknowledgement that they were written by others - over the course of many years, as far back as 2003.

Look who is at the summit!

In the academic world, which Heresica prides himself of being an esteemed member of as a result of having many honored degrees from many universities, this is plagiarism.

In the media industry, which Heresica likewise prides himself of being an esteemed member of on account of his media "apostolate," Salt and Light (more properly called SatanLite or Pepper and Darkness), this is plagiarism.

In whatever world you inhabit, this is plagiarism. There is no getting around it. It is common sense.

The fact that Heresica knew this, and went on to copy, paste and save the words of others as his own for many years speaks to a sense of his own comfort with sin, if not a sense that he was above the law. (Given that Tom is protected and has powerful friends who back his every move, it is probably more complex than I am making it out to be.)

Tom's embarrassing escapade of plagiarism also proves something else. It is extremely unbecoming of a man - let alone a priest, who is supposed to be above this sort of behavior - to lie and pass of the words of another as his own. It is one thing if you are speaking with someone face-to-face and you forget in the moment the source of whatever isn't original to you, but people usually acknowledge that they don't remember. But it is a wholly different matter entirely in academia and journalism, where that sort of thing is not excusable, and you are expected to cite and carefully source every idea or sentence that did not come from you. It is not just a matter of professionalism, it is also a matter of integrity to yourself and the profession. The fact that Tom did this while being a man of the collar is a disgrace to the priesthood as well.

I would be remiss if I did not mention the litigation he tried to undertake against Vox Cantoris a few years ago, who, I note, was the first to oust Tom for his plagiarism back in 2015. More information is below.

At the end of the day, Tom Rosica is a joke of a man and a joke of a priest. It is clear that he is one of many priests throughout history who should have pursued another way of life instead of the priesthood.

Pray for him, that he may see the errors of his ways genuinely (instead of blaming his interns), and make amends while he still can, before it is too late.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Change My Mind

H/t to Boniface at Unam Sanctam Catholicam.

Preparing for Lent

The following comes to us from St. John Chrysostom, and is excellent food for thought in this season of Septuagesima:

Do you fast?
Give me proof of it by your works.
If you see someone who is poor, take pity on him.
If you see a friend being honored, do not be envious.
Do not let only your mouth fast, but also the eyes, and the feet,
and the hands and all the member of our bodies.
Let the hands fast, by being free of avarice.
Let the feet fast, by ceasing to run after sin.
Let the eyes fast, by disciplining them not to glare at that which is sinful.
Let the ears fast by not listening to evil talk and gossip.
Let the mouth fast from foul words and unjust criticism
For what good is it if we abstain from birds and fishes,
but bite and devour our brothers and sisters?

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Rosica is cannon fodder, while Cardinal Cupich advances Pope Bergoglio's "Revolution of Mercy" at Cambridge

The past few days have been bad ones for Thomas J. Rosica, CSB. Numerous people have righteously outed him for plagarizing segments of a recent speech at Cambridge University, either from himself or others. He can add "plagarist" to his long list of shameful epithets.

However, Rosica (or, "Heresica," as I like to call him) is merely cannon fodder. While his actions are outrageous, they are merely a smoke screen. We should really be focusing on Cardinal Blase Cupich's speech at the same conference in 2018, for that particular speech advances and presents Pope Bergoglio's heretical Amoris Laetetia in ways that one may call misleading, but that I would call deceiving, heretical and outright lies.

We here at Toronto Catholic Witness have managed to get a copy of this speech. It is below. As you will see, it sneakily advances situation ethics, saying that since the times have changed, the Church must change alongside the times. Families - not only those in irregular unions, but all families, even those in cohabitation or common-law and are composed of one sex - must be listened to and accommodated around. Pope Bergoglio is once again presented as orthodox, harkening us back to those long lost traditions we hear so much about. Once again, the misinterpreters - such as you and I - of Amoris are presented as not understanding the fuller picture and are to be avoided.

Friends, while we have become distracted by the likes of Tom and other pawns in the Church, Pope Bergoglio and his ilk (which admittedly includes Tom) have continued their mission to entrench Amoris into established Church teaching, heretical pile of sop it is. Pope Bergoglio has already entered it into AAS. But it is not going to stop there. No, it will not. The Bergoglians will stop at nothing to ensure that Amoris is practiced widely and the Church destroyed as a result. That is how much they hate Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Bride, these men of little faith.

Von Hügel Institute Annual Lecture
St. Edmund College, Cambridge, England
February 9, 2018
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich
Pope Francis’ Revolution of Mercy: Amoris Laetitia
as a New Paradigm of Catholicity

Thank you for the invitation to be with you this evening. I welcome this opportunity to contribute in some small way to the important work of this institute.

“…curiosity about Catholicism is at an all-time high in Pope Francis’ pontificate.” I did not write those words. They appear on the webpage introducing the goals of the Von Hügel Institute. That growing curiosity in Catholicism, the site explains, is spawned by a recognition that Pope Francis is tapping into a yearning the Institute is attempting to address, namely the need for a worldview of reality, a catholic - with small c - view, that connects all aspects of knowledge and practice in a differentiated unity, offering a needed corrective in an era when pressures of specialization and commodification have left work and knowledge so fragmented.

I was intrigued by how the aims of the Von Hügel Institute are so easily associated with those of Pope Francis. At the least that should signal to a wider audience beyond the Catholic Church that he just may have something to say to them, especially if they are seeking a more holistic worldview. But, this appreciation of Francis also serves as an invitation to Catholics to take a fresh look at his agenda and come to see that he is introducing a more holistic approach to being church, one that more fully unites what we know and practice in our tradition in order to better respond to the realities people face in their daily lives.

In a recent interview with Cardinal Parolin, the Holy See’s Secretary of State, he was asked about the difficulties some seem to have in understanding the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. He responded that the Holy Father is offering a new paradigm in this document, one that calls us to embrace a new spirit, a change of direction in the way the Church carries out its ministry, especially ministry to families. At the heart of this shift is a fully incarnational approach, which the Cardinal explains, is a two-way street. On the one hand the Church embraces the family with the Gospel message. Yet, since the family is already itself a Gospel, the Gospel of the family, there is a reciprocity to this incarnational approach that recognizes the contribution that families make to the Church’s understanding and proclamation of the Gospel. In other words, there has to be a holistic connection between our knowledge and our practice, our ideas and our experience have to inform each other.

With all that in mind, I am going to address two topics tonight. First, it is important to understand that Pope Francis is not offering this new approach, this new paradigm for family ministry in a vacuum. In Chapter 2 of Amoris, he makes the case that the complex realities that couples and families face today are singularly different from those of the past. If that is true, then a Church that claims in the opening lines of Gaudium et Spes to be “truly linked with humanity and its history by the deepest of bonds,” cannot ignore this contemporary situation. A fresh approach is needed, one that is holistic and catholic. In fact, as I will note in my conclusion, I am convinced that some people misinterpret and misunderstand Amoris simply because they fail or refuse to take into account the present reality in all its complexity.

In the second half of my presentation I will build off of Cardinal Parolin’s observations, by pointing out where I believe a paradigm shift takes place in Amoris. The Pope does this, I will argue, on a number of levels through a set of interrelated interpretive principles. This allows
him to offer a new and holistic response for family ministry. Following up on his appeal for a revolution of mercy, launched with the Jubilee Year, Pope Francis is both inviting and equipping the Church through this new hermeneutic to take up this mission in a new, imaginative, and, yes, holistic way, especially as it relates to her ministry to couples and families.

I. The Present Reality
Pope Francis is convinced of the need for a new ministerial approach to families as he looks at the challenges facing families in today’s world. His description of the present reality in chapter 2 of Amoris relies heavily on the worldwide consultation of the faithful and the deliberations of the bishops at the 2014 and 2015 synods on marriage and family. He masterfully puts on full display the complex web of still developing social, cultural, and economic realities in which families live. This situation, so different from the past, has created uncertainty as people take up the challenges of marriage and raising a family. The fact that family life has changed so significantly, he notes, cannot be ignored. 
While Pope Francis amply covers the many factors that have created this new reality for family life, it is sufficient to highlight here just one example. For instance, consider how many of the former social support systems families have relied on for transmitting values and traditions have all but evaporated.

Robert Putnam writes about the impoverishment of social capital in his groundbreaking work Bowling Alone. His research shows that there are many factors that have led to this impoverishment of social capital, leaving people increasingly disconnected from family, friends
and neighbors. One of the factors is increased mobility, which Pope Francis emphasizes. Globally, people today are on the move, many forced to flee for their lives in the midst of violence and famine. Others relocate to find meaningful work that pays a living wage. Being detached from the support system that earlier sustained and nourished people personally, economically and socially puts significant stresses on all families, no matter their educational or income level. Both parents often feel forced to work to provide adequate and affordable childcare, while also meeting basic family needs. Less time is available for family life, let alone community life. Wives and mothers are particularly impacted in this situation. In addition to the fact that they traditionally have lacked equal access to employment and are paid less than men for comparable work, the burden of domestic chores often falls to women, so they are doubly stressed. 

The lack of a family support system particularly impacts young people, who, for a variety of reasons, often feel pressured to delay marriage and yet are deprived of a value system their family life provided. As a result, delaying marriage leads young persons to cohabit, sometimes without a firm commitment to marriage. This brings its own set of issues, particularly related to commitment and healthy interpersonal growth.

Similarly there is a breakdown of other community based support systems. For instance, adult children are left to fend for themselves as they struggle to care for elderly family members or those with special needs. Moreover, deprived of these societal resources, families are unable to access cultural activities and participate in the life of the broader community, both of which are important to living a full and rich life.

Of course, none of this even begins to take into consideration the harm brought about by the alienation and isolation created from this impoverishment of social capital, such as drug
abuse and violence. Nor have we even touched on the seismic shifts in society, whether that be secularism, technology, globalization and terrorism, which affect marriages and families.

But, this one example gives us a glimpse of how family life today is so dramatically different from the past, leaving many people disoriented and uncertain about their lives to the point that the Church must find a new way to minister to them. Yet, we also have to admit, that in spite of the loss of so much social capital, parents and married couples have developed new strategies to fill the gaps. They have assumed greater responsibility for their personal lives and the care and development of their families.

With all of this in view, Pope Francis proposes a new response for the Church’s approach to families. It begins with a healthy dose of self-criticism, readily admitting where the Church has fallen short. But, he also makes clear that in view of the new challenges families face today, there must be significant shifts in the way we approach and think about our ministry to families. Amoris is nothing short of the Holy Father’s call to action, in which he summons Church leaders, both lay and clergy, to enter into a serious dialogue about how best to minister to couples and families in a way that is faithful, honest and creative. All of this will involve thinking about marriage more holistically on a number of levels.

II. A New Hermeneutic
The new challenges of family life outlined above call for a new response from the Church. The bishops gathered at the synods on the family were united in this regard, in the end voting for all the proposals by over a 2/3 vote and in most cases nearly unanimously. In response to the bishops, Pope Francis offers in Amoris Laetitia a new way of relating to the lives of families today by introducing a set of hermeneutical principles. These principles are deeply rooted in Scripture and Tradition and yet are profoundly attentive to the dynamics of marriage
and family life in the contemporary world. These principles of interpretation, six in all, force a paradigm shift, allowing us to re-envision the Church’s engagement with couples and families and open a pathway for doing so. As I discuss each one of them, I will also make some observations about their implications for the Church’s renewed ministry.

1. The Family is a Privileged Site of God’s Self-Revelation
“The Gospel of the family spans the history of the world.” Amoris Laetitia 64

With these words, Pope Francis draws attention to a truth that courses through the scriptures. God has chosen the family as a privileged place to reveal how God acts and relates to humanity and the world.

This insight has enormous consequences. If we are serious about fully appreciating that the concrete lives of families and couples are part of salvation history in which God continues to engage and redeem humanity, then at the least it will mean moving away from presenting an abstract and idealized presentation of marriage. Instead, we should begin with a view that married life is “…a challenging mosaic made up of many different realities, with all their joys, hopes and problems” (AL 38). Likewise, if we accept that families are a privileged place of God’s self-revelation and activity, then no family should be considered deprived of God’s grace. Our ministerial approach should begin with the understanding that families are not problems to solve. Rather, they are opportunities for the Church to discern with the aid of the Spirit how God is active in our time and what God is calling us to do here and now.

It is not solely in the glimpses of perfection that families may reveal the presence and action of Christ to the Church. Perhaps even more often they reveal Christ’s action in their imperfect attempts at love and compassion, which permeate ordinary life (AL 57, 113). “The Lord’s
presence dwells in real and concrete families, with all their daily troubles and struggles, joys and hopes,” the pope explains (AL 315). In fact, Pope Francis, relying on observations of the synod participants, affirms that the manifestation of God’s self-revelation is not restricted to those who meet the Church’s marital ideals. It can be found in “true natural marriage” and in “the forms of marriage found in other religious traditions, even if at times obscurely” (AL 77). He also admits the possibility of God’s grace working in those involved in second marriages: “… it can no longer simply be said that all those in any ‘irregular’ situation are living in a state of mortal sin and are deprived of sanctifying grace.” (AL 301).

In all these ways, Pope Francis reminds us that the family is such a privileged place for God’s self-revelation that nothing can stand in the way of God’s grace. The presupposition must always be that whenever there is a family striving to live together and to love one another, the Spirit is already present. The task of those who minister to families, then, is to open their eyes to see, and to help families discern where God is calling them. All of this represents an enormous change of approach, a paradigm shift holistically rooted in scripture, tradition and human experience.

2. The Synodal Church Accompanies Families by Balancing Teaching and Learning
The first interpretive principle leads directly to the second. Because families are a privileged place of God’s self-revelation and action in the world, there needs to be a shift in the way the Church’s ministers interact with families and married couples. It should be marked by a mutual respect for the movement of the Spirit. Ministers must accompany families in a process of discernment. They must always do so by maintaining a balance between teaching and listening, so that all remain open to the possibility of learning from one another in seeking to understand the mystery of God together.

Thus, in a genuinely synodal Church there is no hierarchical distinction between those with knowledge and those without. As such, the most important consequence of this call to accompaniment ought to be greater attention to the voices of the laity, especially on matters of marriage and family life, for they live this reality day to day. This is the way a synodal Church acts.1

It goes without saying that this will also mean rejecting an authoritarian or paternalistic way of dealing with people that lays down the law, that pretends to have all the answers, or easy answers to complex problems, that suggests that general rules will seamlessly bring immediate clarity or that the teachings of our tradition can preemptively be applied to the particular challenges confronting couples and families. In its place a new direction will be required, one that envisions ministry as accompaniment, an accompaniment, which we will see, is marked by a deep respect for the conscience of the faithful.

Certainly, the Church, ever faithful to the Great Commission of Matthew 28, will always need those who teach. This is why Pope Francis maintains, “In no way must the Church desist from proposing the full ideal of marriage, God’s plan in all its grandeur” (AL 307). After all, “the great values of marriage and the Christian family correspond to a yearning that is part and parcel of human existence” (AL 57). The Church can, indeed must, be true to the teachings we have received, and so bishops, ministers, and theologians should be ready to instruct, as those who accompany married couples and families.

But, it is always an accompaniment that involves a process of listening and learning, that “guides the faithful to an awareness of their situation before God” (AL 300). Accompaniment

1 Pope Francis develops this understanding of ministry in a synodal Church in his Address marking the 50th Anniversary of the Synod of Bishops. As all the baptized are anointed, he states, the proclamation of the Gospel is not something “to be carried out by professionals while the rest of the faithful would simply be passive recipients. The sensus fidei prevents a rigid separation between an Ecclesia docens and an Ecclesia discens, (a teaching Church and a learning Church) since the flock likewise has an instinctive ability to discern the new ways that the Lord is revealing to the Church.

requires the sensitivity of a spiritual director or a close friend who can listen to the experiences of another humbly, not pretending to have all the answers, and always ready to help discern the movements of the Spirit in that particular moment.

But, the accompaniment also is an act of forming Church teaching. There is a continuum of accompaniment which undergirds this entire range of actions by the Church. And thus, as will be discussed below more fully, the core goal of formal teaching on marriage is accompaniment, not the pursuit of an abstract, isolated set of truths. This represents a major shift in our ministerial approach that is nothing short of revolutionary.

3. The Consciences of the Faithful are Essential in the Task of Discernment
The mutual respect in discerning the movement of the spirit in the process of accompaniment opens up a third shift, that provides a more complete understanding of the role of conscience. Rather than limiting the function of conscience to knowing moral truth about actions in the past and objective truth in the present, conscience also discerns the future, asking: What is God asking of me now? This is how Pope Francis explains it:

Yet conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel. It can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God, and come to see with a certain moral security that it is what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one’s limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal. In any event, let us recall that this discernment is dynamic; it must remain ever open to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized. (AL 303).

The starting point for the role of conscience in the new hermeneutic is Gaudium et Spes 16,2 which identifies conscience as “the most secret core and sanctuary of a man…(where) he is...

2 Conor Kelly situates this understanding of conscience in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, particularly in Gaudium et Spes 16. He writes, “By taking this conciliar idea seriously, Amoris Laetitia significantly advances the magisterial understanding of conscience, representing another step in an ongoing process of development and reclamation of the tradition that has been active in the Church since Vatican II”. Conor M. Kelly, “The Role of

...alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths.” When taken seriously, this definition demands a profound respect for the discernment of married couples and families. Their decisions of conscience represent God’s personal guidance for the particularities of their lives. In other words, the voice of conscience—the voice of God— or if I may be permitted to quote an Oxford man here at Cambridge, what Newman called “the aboriginal vicar of Christ”—could very well affirm the necessity of living at some distance from the Church’s understanding of the ideal, while nevertheless calling a person “to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized” (AL 303).

In view of this, the Holy Father encourages pastors numerous times throughout the exhortation to exercise careful discernment. Pastors, properly trained and sufficiently familiar with the particular circumstances of those involved in this process of discernment are to take into account the complexity of various situations (AL 79).

It is hard to overstate the significance of this hermeneutical shift. By fully embracing the understanding of conscience found in Gaudium et Spes, Pope Francis points not only to the possibility of accompaniment in the Church’s ministry with families but also to its necessity.

4. The Church’s Understanding of God’s Plan for Marriage Must Incorporate the Insights of the Faithful
A logical consequence of the first three paradigm shifts is the need for the Church to incorporate the insights of the faithful not just generally, but specifically into teachings about marriage and family. If, as the pope observes, the aim of Church teaching is “to present marriage...

the Moral Theologian in the Church: A Proposal in Light of Amoris Laetitia,” Theological Studies 77 (2016) 922–48. Kelly refers to David DeCosse, “The Primacy of Conscience, Vatican II, and Pope Francis: The Opportunity to Renew Tradition,” in From Vatican II to Pope Francis: Creating a Catholic Future, ed. Paul Crowley (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2014) 156–69.

...more as a dynamic path to personal development and fulfillment than as a lifelong burden” (AL 37), then there can be no better teacher for the Church than the faithful who actively walk this path of personal development.

From their experience, we quickly learn that we have much work to do together. “Many people,” the pope acknowledges, “feel that the Church’s message on marriage and family does not clearly reflect the preaching and attitudes of Jesus, who set forth a demanding ideal yet never failed to show compassion and closeness to the frailty of individuals” (AL 38). Pope Francis calls us to listen to these concerns with a welcoming heart, and to take responsibility for the shortcomings that have led to these types of conclusions. As noted above, the pope himself reminds us, “At times we have also proposed a far too abstract and almost artificial theological ideal of marriage, far removed from the concrete situations and practical possibilities of real families” (AL 36).

The most appropriate remedy, of course, is to attend to the concrete situations of real families, inviting the lay faithful to help the whole Church understand and promote marriage and family life as a source of true fulfillment. We can no longer treat the Church’s vision for marriage as “dead stones to be hurled at others” (to use Pope Francis’s colorful terminology), but must instead see it as a living tradition that comes to its fullest expression through a dynamic process of reflection and development over time. With the insight of those who constantly navigate the tensions between the abstract ideal and its actual manifestation, we will have the resources necessary to articulate the divine plan for marriage and family in a way that inspires hope rather than despair at the awareness of what they currently are not.3...

3 It is worth noting that St. Pope John Paul II shared this conviction about the need for the hierarchical Church to be unafraid of learning from the members as a means of fostering within the Church a spirituality of communion. In calling for spirituality of communion within the Church he noted that “...we need to make our own the ancient pastoral wisdom which, without prejudice to their authority, encouraged Pastors to listen more widely to the entire People of God….(As) Saint Paulinus of Nola urges: "Let us listen to what all the faithful say, because in every one of them the Spirit of God breathes". While the wisdom of the law, by

...5. Accompaniment that Attends to the Pastoral and Local while Upholding the Doctrinal and Universal Concerns
As a consequence of creating space for the work of prudence in the Church’s ministry of accompaniment, a fifth paradigm shift is required on two levels. First, when dealing with particular cases, a pastoral – and not merely doctrinal approach - is needed. This approach must recognize that people “…can find themselves in a variety of situations, which should not be pigeonholed or fit into overly rigid classifications” (AL 298). Acknowledging “the immense variety of concrete situations,” the pope calls for “a responsible personal and pastoral discernment of particular cases, one which would recognize that, since ‘the degree of responsibility is not equal in all cases,’ the consequences or effects of a rule need not necessarily always be the same” (AL 300). The result is not relativism, or an arbitrary application of the doctrinal law, but an authentic receptivity to God’s self-revelation in the concrete realities of family life and to the work of the Holy Spirit in the consciences of the faithful. As pastoral discernment attends to the reality of a situation, the conscience based Christian moral life does not focus primarily on the automatic application of universal precepts. Rather, it is continually immersed in the concrete situations which give vital context to our moral choices. Here the Holy Father makes a unique contribution to understanding the role of conscience in the discernment process....

providing precise rules for participation, attests to the hierarchical structure of the Church and averts any temptation to arbitrariness or unjustified claims, the spirituality of communion, by prompting a trust and openness wholly in accord with the dignity and responsibility of every member of the People of God, supplies institutional reality with a soul.” Novo millennio ineunte, 45. Pope Francis is now suggesting that a similar involvement by the laity is needed in supplying the institutional reality of our teaching with a soul.

In fact, the real shift towards a pastoral approach involves creating a culture of care, hospitality and tenderness in the parish community on behalf of those who have been wounded. In the particular case of those in second marriages, pastors must “allow them not only to realize that they belong to the Church as the body of Christ, but also to know that they can have a joyful and fruitful experience in it …. Such persons need to feel not as excommunicated members of the Church, but instead as living members, able to live and grow in the Church and experience her as a mother who welcomes them always, who takes care of them with affection and encourages them along the path of life and the Gospel” (AL 299).

Likewise, there has to be a balance between universal and local concerns. The pope stresses the importance of local variation in our global Church. “Not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by the interventions of the magisterium” (AL 3), the pope states. Indeed, as pastors attend to the distinct needs of the persons in front of them with all the complex matters of family life, “Different communities will have to devise more practical and effective initiatives that respect both the Church’s teaching and local problems and needs” (AL 199). But, while admitting that different cultural realities call for different pastoral conclusions, this is not to suggest that the existence of widely varying teachings among regions (or dioceses) is a positive element in Church life. This is still a dilemma that needs further attention and study lest we end up with opposing magisterial directives even within regions that share a similar culture and realities in family life.

In this regard, Pope Francis has now offered a pathway forward with the publication in Acta Apostolica Sedes of his letter to the bishops of Buenos Aires and their pastoral, which confirms that their interpretation of Amoris authentically reflects his mind as being official
Church teaching. It will now be up to all in the Church, particularly the hierarchy, to respond in a spirit of affective and effective collegiality with the Successor of Peter, ever keeping in mind paragraph 25 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.4

6. The Doctrinal Can Develop through the Pastoral as the Gospel of Mercy Informs the Ministry of the Church
This final shift is the result of resituating mercy at the heart of the Gospel to the point that “we should always consider ‘inadequate any theological conception which in the end puts in doubt the omnipotence of God and, especially, his mercy’” (AL 311). From the earliest days of the Church there have been two approaches “casting off and reinstating. The Church’s way, from the time of the Council of Jerusalem,” the Holy Father insists, “has always been the way of Jesus, the way of mercy and reinstatement” (AL 296). In fact, the Church’s pastoral practice of accompanying others in mercy should inform and shape doctrinal development. “The teaching of moral theology should not fail to incorporate these considerations” (AL 311), Pope Francis urges, as they “emphasize and encourage the highest and most central values of the Gospel.” In other words, doctrinal development is about remaining open to the invitation to see our moral teachings on marriage and family life through the lens of God’s omnipotent mercy. This proper...

4 Among the principal duties of bishops the preaching of the Gospel occupies an eminent place. For bishops are preachers of the faith, who lead new disciples to Christ, and they are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. They bring forth from the treasury of Revelation new things and old, making it bear fruit and vigilantly warding off any errors that threaten their flock. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking. The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, 25.

...relationship between the Church’s experiences of pastoral accompaniment and doctrinal development is the linchpin that holds together the other hermeneutical principles. Doctrine can develop as a result of the Church’s merciful accompaniment of families because God has chosen the family as a privileged place to reveal all that the God of mercy is doing in our time. To deny this, the Holy Father warns, would make us guilty of the “worst way of watering down the Gospel” (AL 311).


As I said at the outset, the project of the Von Hügel Institute has given me a chance to take a second look at what Pope Francis is offering in Amoris, for which I thank you. Without a holistic approach to examining the questions of the day, one that connects knowing and practice, we end up with a fragmented and partial way of understanding and knowledge, which limits our practice. What emerges from this re-reading of Amoris is that the Holy Father is offering a revivified hermeneutic that involves a paradigm shift on a number of levels. He does that by connecting tradition and experience, teaching and practice in a way that better responds to the realities people face in their daily lives. I say “revivified,” since the word “new” is not quite accurate. In reality, Pope Francis is retrieving a way of thinking about Church teaching and practice that has its root in our tradition.

This study also convinces me that the failure to take a holistic approach in the examination of questions related to marriage and family life has led some critics to misinterpret and misunderstand Amoris. Instead of actually attending to the present reality of people’s lives today in all of its complexity, they limit their scope to an idealistic understanding of marriage and family. They also fail to see how the various issues related to marriage and family life are
connected to each other, treating them instead as discrete questions. As a result, they narrow their options when it comes to responding to the lived realities of people’s lives, since their knowledge is fragmented and incomplete.

Pope Francis presents these interpretive principles specifically as a means to enable ministers in the Church to decipher more reliably and realistically the experiences of people in modern family life. Yet, I believe they give further evidence of the importance of “thinking in the round, seeing all of reality through its underlying unity, in the etymological sense of catholic…”, that “enables fresh conversations and new directions, all geared towards the common good.”

Again, not my words, but those of your institute. Thank you.

Monday, 18 February 2019

In Thanksgiving to St.Vincent de Paul

St. Vincent de Paul

January and February were months of incredible blessings for me. St. Vincent de Paul, and his devoted son. BLessed Frederic Ozanam, played a major role. Friends, go to these great servants of God and lover of the poor with confidence.  

"Let us go in simplicity where merciful
Providence leads us, content to see the
stone on which we should step without
wanting to discover all at once and
completely the winding road"

Blessed Frederic Ozanam

Blessed Margarita Citta di Costello

April 13th marks the feast of Blessed Margarita Citta di Costello. Although she is not as well known as other blesseds, her story is nonetheless just as remarkable on account of the many hardships she had to endure throughout her life.

Stained glass window in San Domenico, Citta di Costello

Margarita - Italian form of Margaret, derived from the Greek word for pearl - was born in 1287 to nobles in Mercatello sul Metuaro, Citta di Costello in Umbria, Italy. Immediately, she was an embarrassment to her parents. Born blind, afflicted with a severe curvature to her spine (modern-day scoliosis, perhaps), dwarfed and severely restricted in her ability to walk, her parents hid her from the world. It was only through the kindness of a maid she was given the name Margarita - her parents clearly did not want her, as she was a threat to their social standing.

At the age of six, she was nearly publicly discovered. It was then her parents decided to take things further. Margarita was locked up in a doorless cell attached to the chapel inside their home, where her parents intended to keep her until she died. The cell had a window looking into the chapel, and thus Margarita was able to hear Mass and receive Communion from the resident priest. This same priest took it upon himself to instruct Margarita in the faith, impressed with her docile nature and the depth of her spiritual wisdom, despite her young age.

Things changed when Margarita was about twenty. Her parents took her to a Franciscan shrine in Costello, Perugia, where they had heard miracles were occurring, in the hopes of having their daughter cured. No such miracle occurred. Sadly, Margarita was reportedly abandoned as a result. People in Castello took pity on her and helped her survive, teaching her not only how to beg but also providing her shelter with various families. She was eventually permitted to reside with the Dominican nuns at the local convent.

After a time, she was asked to leave the convent. The nuns there lived laxly, and Margarita's quiet adherence to the Dominican rule made them uncomfortable. In time, Margarita became a Dominican Tertiary, wearing the habit for the rest of her life, and instructed the children of Costello in the Faith and the psalms. Margarita also ministered to the less fortunate, and had greatest affection for the imprisoned.

Margarita died on April 12th, 1320 at the age of 33 in the Citta di Costello in Perugia, Italy. She was renowned for her gentleness, kindness, and compassion for all around her. Her faith was strong, and was the means through which she accepted her many sufferings. She was also known for being cheerful in spite of her physical sufferings. While she understood that her parents resented her, she never resented them. Margarita also reportedly had several mystical gifts, and many miracles have occurred surrounding her.

Margarita's cause for canonization has not been keenly pursued by the Dominican Order since her death. In 1558, she was discovered to be incorruptible upon exhumation, which re-sparked interest in her canonization. While her coffin was rotten, her clothes disintegrated, she was as well preserved since the day she died. (It is all the more impressive since she was not embalmed, and attests to her sanctity.) She was dressed in a new Dominican habit, and while exposure to air during the exhumation blackened bits of her skin, she is nonetheless still remarkably well preserved almost 700 years later.

Altar of San Domenico, Citta di Costello, where Bl. Margarita's remains are kept.
Close-up of Bl. Margarita

Margarita was made a Blessed by Pope Paul V on October 19th, 1609, and he allowed a Mass and a Divine Office specifically for her to be said by the Perugian Dominicans. In 1675, Pope Clement X extended this privilege to the entire Dominican order. Closer to our time, in 1988, Blessed Margarita was declared a patron of the blind. (She is also a patron of those with disabilities.)

Blessed Margarita Citta di Costello, pray for us. Allow us to imitate your cheerfulness and charity in spite of physical hardships and life's difficulties. You are a true pearl.

It is a shame your cause for canonization continues to stall. May that be remedied some day.

Source for much of this information, replete with many photos and reflections:

Sunday, 17 February 2019

The Miracle of Marcellino

Produced in 1955, The Miracle of Marcellino, known in Spanish as Marcellino Pan Y Vino (Bread and Wine), is a touching little film. It was a commercial success both in Spain and internationally.

In this period of Septuagesima, I would highly recommend our readers to take a couple of hours and watch it. I will not reveal the plot details, but let me just say that it is edifying and ought to remind us of why Lent is so important for the spiritual life.

It can found on Netflix's streaming service or on various online retailers in the form of a DVD.

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

No, there is no such thing as a "true traditionalist"

Of late, I have noticed a sort of obsession amongst those who consider themselves "traditionalists." I would even go so far as to term it unhealthy, for that is precisely what it is.

I am speaking of this obsession as to who is and who is not a "true traditionalist."

While I first encountered this obsession after I debuted on Vox Cantoris - better detailed in the follow-up post I wrote to that post - this is, sadly, not something I have seen solely in the Toronto community. I have seen it online in respect to America, Britain, France, and a host of other countries.

It is getting too much to bear, which is why, after a number of months sitting on the subject, I am breaking my silence and addressing it head on.

It does not matter if I am speaking of the young man who insists that I am his enemy time and again. Or the people I used to run around with, gossiping about various people, in the Toronto community. Or the Society, who tends to insist they are the only ones faithful to tradition. Or the Fraternity, who do the same. Of course, let's not forget the sedevacantists, who shun everyone but themselves and proclaim themselves as the only "true Catholics" around, though some are less abrasive about their argument than others.

It is a problem. It is not something we can solve overnight. Indeed, I doubt we ever can, but it is something we can address, for the betterment of our spiritual lives, if only that.

For now, though, let's talk about how problematic the term "true traditionalist" is.

First of all, this term is reactionary, arising only in response to the Council and the Novus Ordo Missae. In all of the texts and books I have managed to read so far dating from before that Council, there was no discussion about whether or not one was a "true traditionalist." The term simply did not exist. One was either Catholic or not. It was as simple as that.

This leads into another point. What does the term "tradition" even mean, and how does one define fidelity to it? The best I have been able to discern is that it means one harkens back to those customs, rules, and traditions from before the Council, and that one must reject ALL FORMS OF NOVELTY (itself a subjective term) which have arisen since then. As one can see it is a loose definition and can mean anything to anyone.

Over the coming weeks, I will be writing on a number of topics near and dear to "true traditionalists" and debunking them for the placebos they are. Watch this space.

For now, though, consider whether you consider yourself a "true traditionalist," and then consider how phony that term is.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

The decadent West is worse than the Soviet Union ever was

The debauched "freedom loving" West is now so decadent, so debased, that even the Soviets had a higher moral standard. 

We are in free fall. Let us not be deluded. We are rotten from within. 

Monday, 11 February 2019

If you persist in sodomy, homosexuals, you will go to Hell

Sometimes, we cannot cloud our language with flowers and honey, but speak instead with thorns and vinegar.

This is one of those times.

Over the past several months, this writer has been watching with concern the "rise of the homosexual". It primarily began with the Mongeau Affair at the Toronto Oratory. Since then, this writer has noticed that homosexuals are gaining ascendancy in many realms, both inside and outside of the Church. More and more "rights" for active homosexuals are being sought after and demanded. Whether it is the "right" to "have the Church respect their goodness," march at a Disney park, or otherwise seek normalization of their behavior, it has been going on for much longer than this writer was aware of it, but it seems to be increasing as of late.

This writer has held their tongue about the dangers that active homosexuals face if they persist in their sodomy, arising from their own natural disposition to not cause contention, and a fear of failing in charity.

But no longer. It has reached a breaking point.

Listen well, those of you who are engaged in active homosexuality - or, sodomy. Listen well.

If you engage in anal or oral sex with someone of the same sex, you will go to Hell.

If you practice close intimacy - hugging, spooning, footsie, whatever filth - with someone of the same sex, you will go to Hell.

If you kiss someone of the same sex whom you consider to be a significant other, you will go to Hell.

If you give orgasms to someone of the same sex, you will go to Hell.

If you leave love letters or little books professing your "love" for someone of the same sex, you will go to Hell.

Of course, it goes without saying that those active in sodomy cannot receive Our Lord in the Eucharist. Yet, it has been done. I have seen it with my own eyes. Sin is added on top of sin.

None of what has just been said excludes the possibility of repentance on the part of the homosexual. For repentance is possible. It has been done. Just look at Daniel Mattson or Michael Voris.

However, sodomy is one of the four sins that cry out to Heaven for vengeance. While this writer has hope for the salvation of those who suffer from same-sex attractions - yet do not give into them - or those who once practiced sodomy but have since repented, I cannot hope the same for those who persist in active sodomy. Objectively, I cannot. Their souls will go to Hell if they do not repent.

There will be those who accuse me of speaking uncharitably. That is far from the case. It is from an area of deep concern, care, and compassion that I unloose my tongue after so many months.

Sodomites - you have been warned. Come back, and practice the chastity Our Lord called you to practice. Please. For your own sake. Before it is much too late.

Or else, this is the reality that awaits you. Do you really want to go there?

The Danger of an Interior Life without an Active Life

During the course of our series regarding the dangers of an active life without an interior life, it was requested that we post about the dangers of placing the interior life over the active life. 

Both extremes are deadly. However, Dom Chautaurd does not devote significant space in his work on the subject. He merely references quietism in passing, an understandable action as the heresy of good works is more apt to abuse in the Church. As a result, we pull the following excerpt from New Advent:
Quietism (Latin quies, quietus, passivity) in the broadest sense is the doctrine which declares that man's highest perfection consists in a sort of psychical self-annihilation and a consequent absorption of the soul into the Divine Essence even during the present life. In the state of "quietude" the mind is wholly inactive; it no longer thinks or wills on its own account, but remains passive while God acts within it. Quietism is thus generally speaking a sort of false or exaggerated mysticism, which under the guise of the loftiest spirituality contains 4 erroneous notions which, if consistently followed, would prove fatal to morality. It is fostered by Pantheism and similar theories, and it involves peculiar notions concerning the Divine cooperation in human acts. In a narrower sense Quietism designates the mystical element in the teaching of various sects which have sprung up within the Church, only to be cast out as heretical. … All these varieties of Quietism insist with more or less emphasis on interior passivity as the essential condition of perfection; and all have been proscribed in very explicit terms by the Church. 

In the simplest terms, we can describe quietism as "false piety" or even "ostentatious piety."

Friends, are we guilty of quietism?

If we are, it is not too late to emerge out of this heresy.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Neither Left, nor Right, but Catholic

"On the one hand, persons may easily place their own individual good above the common good of the collectivity, attempting to subordinate the collectivity to themselves and use it for their individual good. This is the error of individualism, which gave rise to liberalism in modern history and to capitalism in economics.

On the other hand, society, in aiming at the alleged good of the whole, may attempt to subordinate persons to itself in such a way that the true good of persons is excluded and they themselves fall prey to the collectivity. This is the error of totalitarianism, which in modern times has borne the worst possible fruit".

Thursday, 7 February 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: The Final Part

Today, our series comes to an end, and on a positive note.

If yesterday's segment left you down, know that there is hope if you fear your apostolate has begun to serve just your own interests, instead of your salvation. Dom Chautard concluded his observations about the heresy of good works with this bit:
O Jesus, Thou Apostle above all others, did anyone ever spend himself as much as Thou, when Thou didst live among us? Today Thou dost give Thyself more generously still by Thy Eucharistic life, without, for all that, ever leaving the bosom of Thy Father. Would we were unable to forget that Thou dost not want to know our works unless they be animated by a truly supernatural principle; unless they be rooted deep in Thy adorable Heart.
We can imitate Christ, if we resolve to make that our goal with regards to our apostolates.

God did not leave us destitute. 

May we have the fortitude to follow Him and His Sacred Heart.

So ends our series on the dangers of an active life without an interior life.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Sixteen

Following on from yesterday's post, Dom Chautard provides some examples of people who woke up - on their deathbed - to their self-deception of using their apostolate to serve themselves humanly speaking, instead of towards their own salvation or fostering of their interior lives.
Far be it from us, of course, to include among these self-preaching apostles so zealous and powerful a missionary as was the famous Fr. Combalot. But surely it is not out of place at this point to quote what he said at the approach of death. The priest who had just administered the last Sacraments said to him: “Have confidence, dear friend. You have preserved all your priestly integrity, and your thousands of sermons will argue in your behalf before God, to excuse this lack of inner life of which you speak.” “My sermons!” cried the dying man, “Oh what a light I see them in now! My sermons! If Our Lord is not the first in bringing up the subject of them, you can be sure that I won’t mention it!” In the light of eternity, this venerable priest saw, in the very best of his good works, imperfections that filled his conscience with alarm, and which he attributed to a lack of interior life. 
Cardinal du Perron, at the hour of his death, expressed his sorrow at having been more devoted, during his life, to perfecting his intellect by science than his will by the exercises of the interior life.
May this never happen to us. 

We only have one shot at this. There are no do-overs. Start now, before it is too late. If you have already started, keep at it.

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

The Dangers of an Active Life without an Interior Life: Part Fifteen

Today's excerpt from Dom Chautard is again rather short:
That admirable Jesuit, Fr. Lallemant, takes us right back to the first cause of these disasters when he says: “There are many apostolic workers who never do anything purely for God. In all things, they seek themselves, and they are always secretly mingling their own interests with the glory of God in the best of their work. And so they spend their life in this intermingling of nature and grace. Finally death comes along, and then alone do they open their eyes, behold their deception, and tremble at the approach of the formidable judgment of God.”
How often have we seen this? This secret "mingling of [one's] own interests with the glory of God in the best of [ours or others'] work"?

Too often. For we are imperfect creatures who struggle constantly against the promotion of the self against God, and - both by the devil and ourselves - we are deceived into thinking we are doing something for the glory of God when we are actually doing it for our own selfish human-oriented interests.

Our primary goal here on Earth to attain our own salvation. That is something which we can term selfish, but it is something we must do. Our own apostolates must ALWAYS be geared towards attaining our own salvation. But it is when we begin to focus on things - material, social, economical, and so on - that will neither aid our salvation nor help our apostolate (that is, God will not allow those things to be carried with us into the next life) in any way that it becomes problematic. 

Have we done this? Have we allowed ourselves to become deceived, be it by ourselves, others, and the devil, onto lines of thinking which are disastrous? Have we allowed our concerns for whatever material, social, and economic benefits our apostolate brings to cloud its true purpose: the attainment of our particular eternal salvation?

If we have, do we want to become like those who, at death's door, opened their eyes to their deception and foolishness?

If you have answered "no," it is not too late to question the depths of one's deception and folly.

Monday, 4 February 2019

Treating the Pope like an absolute monarch is problematic

Over the past few months, I have noticed a disconcerting trend amongst those who attend either the Novus Ordo or the traditional Mass, in a general sense. It does not apply to all, but it is disconcerting all the same.

What is this trend? Papolatry.

Papolatry comes in many forms, but all of them give the pope way too much power, more power than he justly deserves. Perhaps the most dangerous of these is treating him like an absolute monarch, holding him to be above the law, above all reproach and punishment.

This need not apply just to our incumbent pope, Francis. It can and does apply to any of the popes throughout history, at least down until the end of the Roman persecutions.

Indeed, as it stands now, the pope can flick away canon law with his finger ... but let me ask you this. Do you think Christ wanted this?

Do you think Our Lord wanted us to exalt the papacy to the point at where it is at now - beyond the limits of power any one man can and should hold? To the point where these limits are extremely liable to abuse by bad men?

Do you think Our Lord wanted us to prove those who split off from His Church - the Protestants - right in their accusations of papolatry?

I can't say with any absolute certainty. But perhaps we have Francis on the seat of Peter to teach us that we should put our trust not in princes nor the pope - indeed, absolute monarchs - but in God first and foremost. Of course, we would need to remain in His Church, but we would need to also remember the Pope is there to serve Christ. Not the other way around. The pope's humanity remains with him his entire life.

Perhaps this is also why He permitted the separation of Church and State, to remind us that what is God's is God's, and what is Caesar's Caesar's.

Remember, man determined the extent of the powers we see in the papacy today, not God.

Let a past Pope, Benedict XVI, speak to us about the dangers of treating the pope like an absolute monarch.

[S]cience alone cannot provide us with a definitive and binding interpretation; it is unable to offer us, in its interpretation, that certainty with which we can live and for which we can even die. A greater mandate is necessary for this, which cannot derive from human abilities alone. The voice of the living Church is essential for this, of the Church entrusted until the end of time to Peter and to the College of the Apostles.

This power of teaching frightens many people in and outside the Church. They wonder whether freedom of conscience is threatened or whether it is a presumption opposed to freedom of thought. It is not like this. The power that Christ conferred upon Peter and his Successors is, in an absolute sense, a mandate to serve. The power of teaching in the Church involves a commitment to the service of obedience to the faith. The Pope is not an absolute monarch whose thoughts and desires are law. On the contrary: the Pope's ministry is a guarantee of obedience to Christ and to his Word. He must not proclaim his own ideas, but rather constantly bind himself and the Church to obedience to God's Word, in the face of every attempt to adapt it or water it down, and every form of opportunism.

Is charity becoming a forgotten virtue?

Is charity dead amongst those faithful adherents to the traditional Mass?

Perusing Twitter this morning, I came across this grossly insensitive and inaccurate tweet, since deleted, authored by someone ironically named "Catholic Doors."

I do not think I need to detail why this tweet is egregious. But in case there are those reading this little post who think the same way as this individual in Saskatoon does, allow me to spell it out.

While I would agree with this individual's implication that the TLM is superior - for the mere fact that it is fuller than the Novus Ordo in many respects - I can only argue so from a material point of view. I would never dare to say - or imply - that those who attend the TLM are in some mysterious way more "spirtual[ly] advanced" than those who attend the Novus Ordo. That would indicate an awareness of knowledge I am not allowed to know.

I used to. I do not do so anymore. To say such a thing - as I learned from hard experience - is at once elitist, prideful, and presumptive. It is the devil made manifest in our words - this is precisely what his attitude was as he dared to sit on God's Throne at the beginning of his rebellion eons ago.

It is also historically inaccurate to suggest that the TLM is a sure guarantee to one's spiritual advancement. In their rush to tweet, Catholic Doors seemed to forget that the TLM did not share the same space as the Novus Ordo for over 1,960 years. Many people who attended the TLM as we know it now likely went to Hell, and those who attend the TLM now are just as likely to find themselves in Hell when their time is up.

The Devil does not care where you go to Mass. He will still work to take you down and separate you from God. He hates you that much. And he loves it when you make his job easier. Less work for him, right?

Presumption of one's salvation is a sin against the Holy Ghost.

Why do we have the spiritual classics, which speak about union with God through prayer often and were written as instruction books, if the TLM was for spiritually advanced people? Why do we have The Soul of the Apostolate, for example, written in a time when the TLM was the only Mass around in the Roman Rite?

Has charity become a forgotten virtue? It seems so for Catholic Doors. Has it also become that way for us? Have we, adherents to the Old Mass, forgotten that very same grace which led our Lord to give up His Life for us on the Cross, which is represented at each Mass we assist at - charity?

Perhaps it's time we examine how we approach the Mass, at a deep spiritual level. At the very least, we need to nip the sentiment that just because one attends the TLM, they are automatically better off than one who attends the Novus Ordo, right in the bud. I speak as someone who used to think along such a line of thinking.