Thursday, 29 April 2010

Things our Lord did not say...

'Go forth and nationalise all industries...'

This is in response to a foolish comment that someone wrote to me concerning our Lord's political persuasion. No, he was not a socialist. His Holiness Pope Venerable John Paul II wrote:

''We have to add that the fundamental error of socialism is anthropological in nature. Socialism considers the individual person simply as an element, a molecule within the social organism, so that the good of the individual is completely subordinated to the functioning of the socio-economic mechanism. Socialism likewise maintains that the good of the individual can be realized without reference to his free choice, to the unique and exclusive responsibility which he exercises in the face of good or evil. Man is thus reduced to a series of social relationships, and the concept of the person as the autonomous subject of moral decision disappears, the very subject whose decisions build the social order. From this mistaken conception of the person there arise both a distortion of law, which defines the sphere of the exercise of freedom, and an opposition to private property. A person who is deprived of something he can call "his own", and of the possibility of earning a living through his own initiative, comes to depend on the social machine and on those who control it. This makes it much more difficult for him to recognize his dignity as a person, and hinders progress towards the building up of an authentic human community.'' (Centesimus Annus)

These leftists will need to think again then...

Fruits of Lectio Divina - April 29

Let us poor sinners today cry out for the marvellous intercession of Saint Peter of Verona, so that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Epistle is taken by the Second Letter of Blessed Paul the Apostle to Timothy, 2:8-10; 3:10-12.

Saint Paul, called by our Lord directly to become the Apostle to the nations has a timely message for us all even today. He reaffirms the truth that so many deny; Christ truly rose again from the dead after being put to death by sinful men.In fact, if He did not rise again, our faith would be in vain. He was 'of the seed of David', the promised one who would occupy the throne and exercise dominion over His kingdom, with His foes beneath His feet. He was and still is (He will never set aside His humanity) true God and true man. Consubstantial with the Father according to His divinity and of the same nature with us according to His assumed humanity, united in one existing subject, the Second Person of the Undivided Trinity.
Our Lord calls us out of sluggishness to follow Him, to turn aside from Egypt, to enter into a union of love with God and to be one with Him as He is with His Father. This is the purpose of the Christian life.
The human person shys away from difficulty, it is not becoming to the nature of man to toil. Yet as a result of man's Fall in Adam, suffering leading to death cannot be avoided. As the Apostle in his Epistle to the Romans rightly states though, all can be turned to good for those who love God. The Cross gains us salvation; the Way of the Cross leads us to it.
All earthly pains are as nothing compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us when the time comes. Let us meditate on our Master who went before us, even to death on a cross, but was exalted as He submitted to the Father's will. He set aside His glory, assumed the condition of a slave, all for you so that you may avoid the pains of hell and enjoy a more blessed mode of existence. His great love for sinners knows no bounds.
Do you suffer? Blessed be God. Do you toil? Blessed be God. Are you mocked by men? Blessed be God. Such a path was trod by our Saviour. He sanctified the way before us, making it possible for us to be inherit the kingdom prepared for us before the foundation of the world. Is the servant greater than the Master? Why do you turn aside by 'walking in the man'? Why do we wish to remodel the revelation of God to our own mind?
The grace to enable us to become saints receives its efficacy from the Cross of our Lord which will infallibly lead us onto life if we choose to accept it(an acknowledgement to Fr. Emerson for this). Out of the sleeping Adam, came His bride Eve; out from the sleeping Christ came the Church (the blood and water, the sacrament of salvation, outside of which no man can be saved. All graces pass through her, so if a man cuts himself from her or refuses to be united in the one vine, he will have no life in him.
Saint Paul begged for God to remove the thorn from his side, but the reply came as, 'My grace is sufficient for you', let us then accept whatever is given to us in order to increase our sanctity which comes through patience and resignation to the divine will.
The just man must suffer, however, 'he shall not be bruised: for the Lord putteth His hand under him. He showeth mercy and leadeth all the day long''. That means, our refuge and strength is in God alone, the help of man is in vain. So with this grace which is promised to us, as God is never outdone in generosity, let us become channels of grace so that the message of our salvation to others will not be impeded. How inspired must have been the early Christians when they noticed the hardships the Apostle was willing to undergo for their salvation! When a cross is loaded upon our shouldiers, let us embrace it joyfully in a manner befitting a servant of Christ. The hope we have in the Catholic Faith must emcompass, direct and inform our lives, no harm to our bodies can then injure our soul.

We must also beseech the mercy and most powerful intercession of the spotless Mother of God, the Mother of the Church, who will leads us always in her great love which surpasses all creatures to her Son.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Saint Louis Marie De Montfort

Today, the servants of Christ and His Mother honour the life of Saint Louis Marie de Montfort. A much forgotten saint, but one who has had considerable influence on the spiritual lives of recent Pontiffs and on my own. His love for Jesus, all through the Mother of God, shone through his writings, inspiring all who are blessed to read them, to approach with confidence the New Eve, Mary Immaculate. I wish to share with you some of his sayings:

"If you put all the love of all the mothers into one heart it still would not equal the love of the Heart of Mary for her children."

“We fasten our souls to Your hope, as to an abiding anchor. It is to Her that the saints who have saved themselves have been the most attached and have done their best to attach others, in order to persevere in virtue. Happy, then, a thousand times happy, are the Christians who are now fastened faithfully and entirely to Her, as to a firm anchor!”

''[Mary] is the safest, easiest, shortest and most perfect way of approaching Jesus and will surrender themselves to her, body and soul, without reserve in order to belong entirely to Jesus.''

His Holiness Pope Venerable John Paul II wrote in Apostolic Letter Rosarium Virginis Mariae concerning devotion to the spotless Virgin:

“Our entire perfection consists in being conformed, united and consecrated to Jesus Christ. Hence the most perfect of all devotions is undoubtedly that which conforms, unites and consecrates us most perfectly to Jesus Christ.
Now, since Mary is of all creatures the one most conformed to Jesus Christ, it follows that among all devotions that which most consecrates and conforms a soul to our Lord is devotion to Mary, his Holy Mother, and that the more a soul is consecrated to her the more will it be consecrated to Jesus Christ."

Let us then take up this exhortation and fly to the refuge of sinners, the Holy Virgin who will guard us from all error and corruption and lead us to her Son who is the Way to the Father.
Let the faithful praise the name of Mary, for the greater glory of God.

Ad Jesum Per Mariam

Holy Father To Create New Dicastery


''Rome, Italy, Apr 26, 2010 / 10:31 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Pope Benedict XVI is about to release a letter announcing the creation of a new Vatican dicastery called the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. The new department will be aimed at bringing the Gospel back to Western societies that have lost their Christian identity.

Andrea Tornielli, the Vatican correspondent for the daily Il Giornale who is usually well-informed on new appointments at the Vatican, wrote today that “Benedict does not cease to surprise: in the upcoming week the creation of a new dicastery of the Roman Curia dedicated to the evangelization of the West will be announced, and be presided over by Archbishop Rino Fisichella.”

The new dicastery is aimed at evangelizing “countries where the Gospel has been announced centuries ago, but where its presence in their peoples' daily life seems to be lost. Europe, the United States and Latin America would be the areas of influence of the new structure,” Il Giornale says.

According to Tornielli, the new dicastery would be “the most important novelty of Pope Benedict’s pontificate, a Pope that, according to the expectations, was supposed to slim down the Roman Curia.”

Tornielli says that the idea of such a dicastery was first proposed to Pope John Paul II by Msgr. Luigi Giussani, the late founder of the Italian-born movement Comunione e Liberazione (Community and Liberation), but the idea did not move ahead.

In response to the question of how the idea resurfaced, Tornielli says, according to “authoritative sources,” the proposal of the dicastery comes from the Patriarch of Venice, Italy Cardinal Angelo Scola.

During his tenure as Rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, Cardinal Scola promoted intense reflection on the loss of Christian identity in Europe. The Patriarch of Venice was also a member of Communion and Liberation, and in his current position has shown significant concern for the de-Christianization of Europe and the Western world.

Fisichella, the currently embattled head of the Pontifical Academy for Life, succeeded Angelo Scola as Rector of the Lateran University and as such, shared the same concerns of his predecessor.''

The Roman Pontiff has been increasing worried about the decline of Christianity in nations who used to hold firmly to the faith. So he should be, as we all should too. Catholicism has receded into the background, and then openly mocked and scorned by liberals. What is to be done? We must abandon our practice of aggressive polemics. We must present the faith in a rational, systematic fashion, propounding the principles of Catholic truth, built upon solid catechesis. It will no longer do to cry out, 'that's wrong', 'that's a sin', we must show why precisely it is contrary to the will of God. What is the Church's teaching on marriage, family and sexuality? This must be presented rather than a mere decrying of homosexuality. This is essential if we wish to reclaim society for Christ.

Fruits of Lectio Divina - April 28

Today Holy Mother Church honours the merits of the great Saints Paul of the Cross and Louis-Marie de Monfort and begs for their most powerful intercession. The Epistle is taken from 1 Corinthians 1: 17-25:

A dichotomy is set up by the Apostle concerning the wisdom of God and the supposed wisdom of this passing world. The Cross of our Lord is mere folly for the scholars, intellectuals and the self-proclaimed wise, as who has ever heard of a crucified Messias?
The Old Testament states 'cursed is the man who hangs upon a tree', yet our Lord takes upon the curse, that is our death, the punishment of our first parent and redeems us through His most Precious Blood. Is death not a failure? Is it not the triumph of darkness over the human person who wishes to preserve himself? However, our Lord's perfect act of satisfaction confounds all categories of simple human thinking, classification and systematization. The ineffable Word of the Father sets aside the glory according to His Divine nature, takes on the form of a servant is beholded by men in the flesh.
Only those with the eye and mind of faith can accept this act of divine condescension. The image of the Crucified One is a folly of great treasure, whose worth is hidden to those who look only with eyes of flesh. On the other hand we must walk by faith and not by sight, as we have been called from all eternity from the lump of perdition (mass perditionis) deserving of punishment, to be holy and blameless before Him.
Anyone can be persuaded to adopt any kind of position. One can be convinced to become a Communist, a vegetarian, a teetotaller, yet it is only by the operation of the Holy Spirit that a creature of wrath by nature can cry out 'Abba, Father' and trust in the Cross of the Living One. Such is an encounter with a Person, an event, not an abstract system of thought. The Apostle shows this when he says that he was sent by the Lord to preach the Good News, 'not in wisdom of speech, lest the cross of Christ should be made void'. He put forward no display of oratory or philosophy, but preached with clarity and a virtuous life the mystery of divine love. This call to love, which forms our being, carries us out of Egypt, leaving behind the givens and norms of sinful society into an union through grace.
Such a reality defies human thought and must be embraced in silence with reverence and awe.

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Teresa of Avila

'There is no greater cause of straying from the path of faithful perseverance than letting up in prayer.'

Comment: How many friends have we lost through negligence in not talking with them? How can a relationship remain alive and meaningful when the other is dead to you? Yet our soul does not depend upon the number of our friends. However, if we depart from the Good Shepherd, we will quickly be devoured by the passing wolves.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Fruits of Lectio Divina

This ancient method of conversing with God through His written Word is of great benefit. Such intimacy with God has been achieved by the saints through a slow meditative and prayerful read of Sacred Scripture, therefore a treasure like this is not to be neglected. For my Lectio, I will be using the 1962 Missal, and its calendar.

Today, the 27th of April, we honour Saint Peter Canisius (Confessor, Doctor) and plead for his glorious intercession. The Gospel for today's Mass is taken from Saint Luke 10: 1-9.

'The Lord appointed' - Only those who are commissioned by Christ can go forth and proclaim His message of salvation. No man can take this office and responsability upon himself, just as Christ did not set Himself up as the High Priest but was sent by His Eternal Father. However, in virtue of our Baptism, our incorporation into the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, we are called to be 'channels of grace' for others. That is, to show forth God's universal love and desire that all men be saved. Also, by our confirmation, we are strengthened by the grace of the Paraclete to be soldiers for our Lord. As our Master, appointed 72 disciples to go out, He has a great mission for all members of His Bride. It is not solely the duty of our bishops and priests to proclaim the folly of the Cross, but ours too, although this must be done in accordance with our state in life. After all, we live in and amongst unbelievers and fellow Christians, it must be our virtuous conduct, that sweet odour of praise rising up to God that will draw men to Him.

'Two and two' - Although at times, we are rejected and scorned by men, we are never without a friend. The Good Lord's grace is sufficient for us, while we are surrounded by a cloud of witness who have went the Way of the Cross before us.

'He himself was to come' - All men will undergo the judgement of God. No man can shelter himself from the Just Judge, therefore it is necessary for missionaries to be sent to the four corners of the world, to preach the Good News of our peace. The disciples two thousand years ago, prepared the ground for the Lord to preach by foot, now we are are called to preach as new Saint John the Baptists, to prepare men to face the Judgement Seat of God.

'The harvest indeed in great' - The wolrd is alive with a rich crop of souls, that long to be gathered up into the divine life. Those left alone will perish over time, as they have no protection from the storm. Let us therefore pray unceasingly for vocations to the sacred priesthood, our Lord will surely grant our request.

'Go, behold I send you out as lambs among wolves' - Those who belong to Christ, must act in gentleness, charity and humilty, yet with the Lord as our refuge, we have no need to fear. The wolves, that is the corruptions of this world, its lies, its deceits and its illusions. A soul who abandons the rest of the flock through idle curiousity will easily be devoured by the passing beasts, unless it remains under the watchful care of the Good Shepherd.

'Salute no man on the way' - This does not mean that we are to show a dislike or a scorn for others, but we must not be distracted by the whims and fancies of this passing world and its pleasantries. Our first duty is to God.

'Carry...nor shoes' - Shoes offer comfort from the rocky and dirty ground. Yet the Lord is our comfort, He is our refuge, He protects us from fallings into danger. He guards our way. Those who turn aside from Him to seek satisfaction are easily discouraged and no amount of earthly goods will rectify that.

Monday, 26 April 2010

The Genius of Joseph Ratzinger

'Only Christ gives meaning to the whole of our life...Christianity is not an intellectual system, a packet of dogmas, a moralism. Christianity is rather an encounter, a love story; it is an event. This love affair with Christ, this love story which is the whole of his life was however far from every superficial enthusiasm, from every vague romanticism. Really seeing Christ, he (Don Luigi Giusanni) knew that to encounter Christ means to follow Christ. This encounter is a road, a journey, a journey that passes also - as we heard in the psalm - through the 'valley of darkness'. In the Gospel, we heard of the last darkness of Christ's suffering, of the apparent absence of God, when the world's Sun was eclipsed. He knew that to follow is to pass through a 'valley of darkness' to take the way of the Cross, and to live all the same in true joy'.

The Holy Father on the Internet.

The internet has great potential for good and for evil. It is constantly in the minds of worried liberals that young people may come into contact with those of 'radical' tendencies and 'extremist' viewpoints, yet the mainstream media regularly use this method of communication to impose their 'orthodoxy' on the the people. The Holy Father warns of the dangers yet encourages the proper utilisation of this. From

''24 Apr 10 – RV) The need to give the Internet a soul and humanize the dynamics of the digital world was at the heart of Pope Benedict XVI’s message Saturday to participants in a conference on modern means of mass communication.

Promoted by the Italian Bishops Conference, “Digital Witness” draws together experts in information technology, social networking, web journalism and blogging to focus on the language we use and the way we communicate as Christians in the online society.

Pope Benedict told participants that the task of every believer who works in media, is to ensure the “quality of human contact, guaranteeing attention to people and their spiritual needs”. “This is increasingly urgent in today’s world”, he said, at a time when Internet appears to have a “basically egalitarian” vocation, but at the same time, “marks a new divide", the "digital divide" that "separates the included from the excluded"

"The dangers of homologation and control, of intellectual and moral relativism are also increasing, as already recognizable in the decline of critical spirit, in truth reduced to a game of opinions, in the many forms of degradation and humiliation of the intimacy of the person"

Thus said the Pope we see, a "spiritual pollution" that brings us to no longer "look one another in the face”. So we must “overcome those collective dynamics that risk reducing people to "soulless bodies, objects of exchange and consumption”. The media must become a “humanizing factor”, focused "on promoting the dignity of persons and peoples". Only then, will "the epochal times we are experiencing be rich and fertile in new opportunities":

"Without fear we must set sail on the digital sea facing into the deep with the same passion that has governed the ship of the Church for two thousand years. Rather than for, albeit necessary, technical resources, we want to qualify ourselves by living in the digital world with a believer’s heart, helping to give a soul to the Internet’s incessant flow of communication".

I would also like to take this opportunity to inspire all Catholic bloggers to defend His Holiness as he is being consistently attacked unjustly by modernists and liberals. Let us make a great effort to present the truth with clarity....and charity.

...of the Greek Variety

Now and then, I wish for us to experience the beauty of the Greek/Eastern approach to theology which is spiritual enrichening also. On to Saint Cyril of Alexandria concering the Eucharist:

'Accordingly, the holy body of Christ endows those who receive It with life and keeps us incorrupt when it is mingled with our bodies. For it is not the body of anyone else, but is thought of as the body of Him who is Life by nature, since It has within Itself the entire power of the Word that is united to it, and is endowed with His qualities, or rather is filled with His energy, through which all things are given life and maintained in being' (Commentary on John 324d).

My comment: Why do you abstain from the Eucharist? I am not worthy, you respond. Yet how will you ever be worthy if you refrain from receiving Him who comes to you in great love in order to sanctify you and allow you to share in the divine nature? Such an attitude is not always of humility, but a rejection of what the Good Lord has ordained for the salvation of your soul. The intimate union of our being with the Eucharistic flesh and blood of Christ enables us to become one with Him, who is one with the Father and the Holy Spirit, thereby we are then lifted up to partake of the trinitarian life by grace.

Limbus Infantium...some considerations.

I have posted over the past few days mostly on purely spiritual topics, therefore I would like to make an attempt to create a short discussion on an issue that has never been defined by the Church.
One must first of all, make a distinction between Limbus Patrum (Limbo of the Fathers) and the topic that I will try to outline.
Before Christ had completed His redeeming work and had entered Heaven, those who had died as friends of God under the Old Dispensation descended to the Bosom of Abraham (Lk. 15:22), (or were purified first if stain was present at the moment of passing) where they awaited in this 'prison' to be set free. As sin had created a chasm between God and sinful man, no one could enter Heaven and experience the beatific vision of the Living One. However, once Christ our Lord had died He visited the souls there (Eph. 4:9) in order to preach the Good News and release them (1 Pet. 3:18-20). This, basically, is what the Church teaches on this matter. This is the Limbus Patrum.

Now onto the Limbus Infantium (of the children). As a piece of trivia, the word 'limbo' comes from the Late Latin of Germanic derivation word for a 'hem', or a 'border', something that goes around the outside.
Limbo is an attempt, mere theological speculation which aims to solve a difficulty that arises as a result of a few Catholic teachings. Although it is the subject of theological speculation, it does not mean that it is a matter of irrelevance to the rest of us non-theologians. In fact, it is a pressing matter considering how many poor children do not see the light of day, as they are ruthlessly murdered by their own mothers, under the guise of a ‘fundamental human right’.
The New Testament itself does not outline the fate of those who die without undergoing the laver of regeneration, even though they have committed no mortal sin of their own. Yet, as the Church upholds the teaching that baptism (or the desire of it) is necessary for salvation (Jn 3:5) propounded by our Lord Christ, and she also maintains the truth that men are born into this world with original sin, we are left with a dilemma. Young children, who are especially dear to our Master, while dying un-baptised, are guilty of no actual sin, therefore it would be unjust for God to condemn them to the everlasting punishment prepared for the. Therefore can they enter into Heaven? Saint Gregory Nazianzen writes, ‘since he who deserves not honour and glory is not for that reason worthy of punishment , and on the other hand he who is not deserving of punishment is not for that reason worthy of glory and honour’ (On Holy Baptism). One must remember that the Good Lord is under no obligation to grant a soul the beatific vision, such an experience is a great privilege and a grace. One cannot accuse Him who created us freely out of nothing for His glory of being unjustified in refusing entry to those who have died in the state of original sin.
These very brief considerations set out, it would be worthwhile to explore the history of this theory and see what it truly offers and the divergent thoughts on Limbus Infantium.
There is no concrete evidence that any Father before the Great Saint Augustine believed that original sin brought about any greater punishment than that of exclusion from the beatific vision. Saint Gregory Nazienzen’s (as quoted above) position is that of a neutral state, without sensible punishment yet without the delight that the immediate and direct vision of God’s essence brings about, which is indicative of the Greek Fathers’ position.
For the West, Saint Ambrose believed that original sin carried no guilt but is rather a disposition to sin, and the un-baptised (through no fault of their own) have nothing to fear when they come before the Judgement Sear. On a theological side note, concerning original sin, like actual sin, there is some aspect of aversion and conversion. The lack of original justice, the pure state of Adam is the privation, whereas the conversion is the proclivity to sin, otherwise known technically as concupiscence. This concupiscence lies behind each post-Fall sin, which is deserving of condemnation as the sin is committed voluntarily. On the other hand, original sin does not admit of deliberate intent. Saint Thomas states, ‘of all sins original sin is the least, because it is the least voluntary; for it is voluntary not by the will of the person, but only by the will of the origin of our nature’, therefore as any right thinking person would agree, ‘a lighter punishment is due to original than to venial sin (ST Appendix 1. Q1. A1). What is this ‘lighter punishment’ of which he speaks?
Let us now move onto the position of the Doctor of Grace, my Patron, the blessed Augustine.
Initially he wrote, ‘it is superfluous to inquire about the merits of one who has not any merits. For one need not hesitate to hold that life may be neutral as between good conduct and sin, and that as between reward and punishment there may be a neutral sentence of the judge’ (De libero arbitrio III). Yet, not long after (during the Pelagian heresy) the Bishop discarded the previously held belief (which was more lenient?) and managed to persuade his fellow Africans in the episcopate to adopt the view that the un-baptised share in some kind of misery, although he grants that their condemnation (if it may be called that) will be the mildest of all (Enchir. XXIII). Saint Thomas commenting states, ‘but this would not be so, if they were tormented with sensible punishment, because the pain of hell fire is most grevious. Therefore they will not suffer sensible punishment’. If not sensible punishment, will they merely experience ‘loss’, or will they remain in a state of purely natural happiness? Both positions have their defects...

(The next part will be posted in a few days, where the later history will be outlined and the theological difficulties will be exposed.)

Pope Quote Of The Week

Pope Venerable John Paul II

'As the family goes, so goes the nation and so goes the whole world in which we live.'

Comment: The family is rightly considered as the basic building block of society, the primary agent of socialisation. If the family is disregarded or distorted by liberals, the whole of society collapses.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Ambrose

'In some causes silence is dangerous'

Blogger's Comment: It is not love of another to allow a brother to sin. Love endures evil, but has no wish for another to commit it. Love for another in fact, is the will for them to attain to the highest good, who is God. Silence is often taken for approval.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

The Woman I Love

I have not yet praised the merits and glories of the Most Holy Mother therefore I must do so now. As sinful creatures of wrath, we were not worthy to receive directly from the hands of the Heavenly Father, His only-begotten Son, so He out of His inestimable goodness and mercy, created the pure Virgin out of nothing. He bestowed on her all His graces and privileges, thereby preserving her from the stain of original sin, so that she would be the terrestrial paradise to shelter His soon-to-be incarnate Son. What other women out of the billions who have ever been conceived, can compare to the Holy Mother, the Ark of the Covenant? No other female has ever been chosen to bear the Redeemer of the World. It is true indeed, that through her, the New Eve, comes our peace and salvation.
Why should we beseech the intercession of our Most Holy Mother, why should we turn to her as devoted children and servants? For one reason; this was the path taken by our Lord. He came to this earth taking His human nature from her undefiled womb and being born from her while causing her no pain, and was made visible to sinners. He remained under her authority for thirty years, so why should we wretched evil-doers shy away from abiding with her?
Her Son, Jesus is our Messias, the One who takes away the sin of the world, He is our Way to the Father, yet He is not known in this world as He should be. Saint Louis-Marie de Montfort rightly says that this is so as His Mother is not honoured enough by men. Our prayers should always be to the Mother of God, beseeching her to bring us closer to her Son, as there is no saint nearer our Lord Christ than His Mother. He assumed her into Heaven, body and soul, upon the completion of her earthly existence and crowned her with righteousness. She received in advance the aim of all Christian men. She had beforehand remained at the foot of the Cross, gently crying, her tender heart had truly been pierced, yet she remained ever faithful and knew that He whom she did merit to bear would rise as He said.
Let us therefore humble ourselves before our Mother, the same one given by our Loving Redeemer to the most chaste Saint John, and ask her devoutly to bring us to Jesus.

''Let us not imagine that we obscure the glory of the Son by the great praise we lavish on the Mother; for the more she is honored, the greater is the glory of her Son. There can be no doubt that whatever we say in praise of the Mother gives equal praise to the Son." - St. Bernard of Clairvaux.

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

“Up now, slight man! flee, for a little while, your occupations; hide yourself, for a time, from your disturbing thoughts. Cast aside, now, your burdensome cares, and put away your toilsome business. Yield room for some little time to God; and rest for a little time in him. Enter the inner chamber of your mind; shut out all thoughts save that of God, and such as can aid you in seeking him; close your door and seek him.” (Proslogion, Prologue)

Bloggers Comment: How many people queue for hours to catch a glimpse and say a few words to their celebrity heroes at a book signing? They will stand out in the wind, snow and the Scottish cold to exchange mere pleasantries, yet how many will spend a few moments in prayer with the Creator of all? What a great gift and grace for us to be able to converse with our Lord as a friend and be assured of His most loving response and assistance. Make sure after receiving Holy Communion, you beseech our Lord and His Blessed Mother for the grace of final perseverence, so that one day you may be numbered along with Saint Anselm in the Kingdom.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Idiotic Piece of Ignorance of the Week

This could be a regular feature, in fact I am better just referring you all to the New York Times website:

''The first-century church was inclusive and democratic, even including a proto-feminist wing and texts. The Gospel of Philip, a Gnostic text from the third century, declares of Mary Magdalene: “She is the one the Savior loved more than all the disciples.” Likewise, the Gospel of Mary (from the early second century) suggests that Jesus entrusted Mary Magdalene to instruct the disciples on his religious teachings. '' (A Church Mary Could Love, Nicholas D Kristof)

Apart from the blantant historical inaccurancies of his writing, the obvious bias against the Church, the addiction to a earthly kingdom of brotherhood (and sisterhood) etc, it was quite amusing to read.
The liberals seem to believe that if a woman was running the show, all would be rosy. Except if that woman is Margaret Thatcher of course...

Monday, 19 April 2010

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Augustine of Hippo

''Sing to the Lord a new song'. 'But I do sing', you may reply. You sing, of course you sing, I can hear you; but make sure that your life sings the same tune as your mouth. Do you wish to speak the praise of God? Be yourselves what you speak. If you live good lives, you are His praise.''

Bloggers Comment: One of the main reasons why many reject the Catholic Faith is the actions of some of her faithless members. Our lives should be spotless sacrifices offered up to God, a sweet fragrance that ascends and draws all men who come near.

On Conversion

Conversion always comprises a confrontation and an embrace. A rejection and a welcome. A refusal and a submission. We must at the reception of grace and the divine light,turn aside from what we have always known, what we have always accepted, what we have always believed to be true. A stripping of falsity must occur. A removal of the masks that through the years, we have covered ourselves in. An emptying that leads to fullness. A renunciation to a share in the divine nature.

Saint Thomas On The Good Shepherd

From His Commentary on the Holy Gospel According to Saint John:

Here he mentions four actions of a good shepherd: the first being that he knows his sheep. He says, he calls his own sheep by name, which shows his knowledge of and familiarity with his sheep, for we call by name those whom we know familiarly: "I know you by name" (Ex 33:17). This is part of the office of a shepherd according to: "Be diligent to know the countenance of your flock" [Prv 27:23]. This applies to Christ according to his present knowledge, but even more so considering eternal predestination, by which he knew them by name from eternity: "He determined the number of the stars, he gives to all of them their names" (Ps 147:4); "The Lord knows those who are his" (2 Tim 2:19).

The second action of a good shepherd is that he leads them out, i.e., he separates them from the society of those who are evil: "He brought them out of darkness and gloom" (Ps 107:14).

The third is that having separated them from evil and having brought them into the sheepfold, he has brought out all his own, from the sheepfold. He does this, first, for the salvation of others: "I will send survivors to the nations" (Is 66:19); "Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of wolves" (Matt 10:16), so that they can make sheep out of the wolves. Secondly, they are to show the direction and way to eternal life: "To guide our feet into the way of peace" (Lk 1:79).

Fourthly, the good shepherd goes before his sleep by the example of a good life; so he says, he goes before them, although this is not what the literal shepherd does, for he follows, as in "I took him from following the ewes" [Ps 78:70]. But the good shepherd goes before them by example, "not as domineering over those in your charge but being examples to the flock" (1 Pet 5:3). And Christ does go before them: for he was the first to die for the teaching of the truth - "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me" (Matt 16:24); and he went before all into everlasting life - "He who opens the breach will go up before them" (Mic 2:13).

Pope Quote Of The Week

Pope Saint Pius X

''Holy Communion is the shortest and safest way to Heaven''

Bloggers comment: Is our reception of Holy Communion each week at Mass, a mere ritual that we do without any thought? Do we truly believe (not simply conceptually) that the Sacred Host is our Lord's body, blood, soul and divinity?

Some Thoughts on Good Shepherd Sunday

In the Gospel for Sunday, Our Lord declares Himself to be the Good Shepherd, which refers back also to the well-known Psalm (22), 'The Lord is my shepherd', showing that Jesus is the one promised to the Jews as a fulfillment of their Law.

What use are sheep for us? Does each have an intrinsic value for us, which is more than the flavour of a few lamb dinners? If we were to lose a sheep from our fold, would we not simply say, 'it does not matter, I have ninety-nine left'? We look merely at a collection of animals, and only at the slight benefit they are to us in food, or as an economic unit to be traded.
Yet, this is not how Christ views us. For Him, each of us has a great value in His sight. Not because we can return anything of value to Him that He lacks, but because we are His creatures. Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say that even if we were not loveable, God loves us as He puts His love into us. He laid down His life freely for us, so that we may have life and have it in abundance. As He said, 'there is more rejoicing in Heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous men in no need of repentence'.
The Passion and Death of our Lord does not allow us to do whatever we wish, as we have the promise that He has it 'covered'. His Crucifixion and Death give us a great opportunity, one that must not be taken for granted. The sheep that stray from the shepherd, will easily be devoured by the passing wolves. We too, if we are not careful in remaining close to God, will be torn apart by the corruption of this world. We have no excuse when this happens, this is utterly of our own doing. Christ never departs from us and His Sacrifice will have infinite value before His Heavenly Father, but as Hebrews states, 'for if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there is now left no sacrifice for sins' (10:26). Let us often then reflect on our standing before God, isf He the foundation of our lives? Or do we 'compartmentalise' our faith, dragging it out of its box on a Sunday or whenever someone dies? Christ gave His entire being for us without reserve, our ransom has not been paid for in anything corruptable, but by the precious blood of the Lamb.

Saint Augustine of Hippo wrote, 'God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.'

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day

Saint Hilary of Poitiers

'Faith ought in silence to fulfil the commandments, worshipping the Father, reverencing with Him the Son, abounding in the Holy Ghost, but we must strain the poor resources of our language to express thoughts too great for words. The error of others compels us to err in daring to embody in human terms truths which ought to be hidden in the silent veneration of the heart.' (On the Trinity: Bk2.2)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Latin Doctor Quote Of The Day


'Virtue is nothing without the trial of temptation, for there is no conflict without an enemy, no victory without strife'

On Orthodoxy and Heresy

In these days of unbelief, it is almost fashionable to dissent from the Church's teaching. Certain articles, particularly those pertaining to the ethical, have been abandoned in favour of appearing relevant.
The world has a mechanistic conception of nature and human society. If something is deemed to be inappropriate, it can be removed and the rest of the system can be tweaked in order to compromise.
On the other hand, the Catholic Faith as revealed by God to us sinners forms a coherent whole. It is not admissible to simply 'remove' one teaching, which causes offense to our 'enlightened' culture, as this will do irreparable damage to 'deposit of faith' which has been handed onto the saints once for all. For instance, those who support the perversion of nature that is homosexuality believe that a straight-forward removal of the Church’s opposition to this will allow a more compassionate approach and will endear us to the secularists How can one be compassionate by allowing your brother to walk confidently into hell?
If only things were as simple as this. But surely, homosexuality is not a central teaching of the Catholic Faith, is it? Christ nowhere condemned it, is that not so? He hardly endorsed it either. Yet, the changing of the Church’s teaching in this area seriously undermines the Church’s claim to be the Church founded by Christ. The gates of Hell surely will have prevailed over her, since either she was wrong in the past to forbid this practice or she would be in error to allow it in future. The indefectibility of the Church would be called into question, the relevance and authority of the Scriptures, set aside, the Ecumenical Councils, ignored, the pronouncements of the Roman Pontiffs, scorned and the Church Fathers, discarded. If these sources of authority could not be trusted on one matter, the whole unity of doctrine crumbles.
Heresy is a poison which undermines the totality of the Faith which mirrors the unity of the Church. A poison that is deadly, and ensnares even those who appear to be of good will and faith. Like all diseases, if left unattended or overlooked, it will spread and lead souls to destruction. There is ‘one Faith, one Lord, one baptism’, and if one considers oneself Catholic, one must with divine faith assert to the truth revealed by God to His Church. The Faith is finely woven in an integrated whole and cannot be torn asunder. The exchange of the Faith for that of the world has occurred far too often by those claiming to be ‘Catholic’, and since the Second Vatican Council, has gone regularly unpunished. The negligence of our bishops is reprehensible, and they will have to answer for the souls entrusted to them by God, as they have sidestepped their most sacred duty of guarding and protecting the flock.
Saint Jerome states, ‘Cut off the decayed flesh, expel the mangy sheep from the fold, lest the whole house, the whole paste, the whole body, the whole flock, burn, perish, rot, die.’ Such an attitude does not stifle ‘creativity’, but allows us to remain faithful to Christ. Each man has the duty to search for the truth and cling to it, so when it is revealed, it is a grave sin to obstinately refuse submission.
His Holiness in the Ad Limina address to the bishops of England and Wales said, ‘In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s
Magisterium that sets us free’. Debate and contributions from all corners of society may enable the enriching of a question under discussion, yet it is not progress to latch onto falsehood and claim that it is the right of a person to hold such a belief. Saint Thomas wrote ‘A heretic is one who devises or follows false or new opinions. Therefore heresy is opposed to the truth, on which faith is founded; and consequently it is a species of unbelief.’ (ST. II-II. Q11. A1). He writes ‘devises’, that is invents. That is turning away from the Faith communicated by God to men, to mere novelties, to whatever takes sinful man’s fancy.

May the good Lord bring back to the fold, those who have abandoned the Body of Christ for innovations, as the Spirit does not follow an amputated member.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

The Mass

My inability to express in words the most sacred nature of the Mass will be plain for all to see. No man, however learned he be (not even the angels) can comprehend the divine act that is the Mass, however we all must attempt within the confines of our limited intellect to understand some of the reality.
I believe that our approach to the Mass will underpin all other aspects of our Christian lives and will influence them for good or ill. The Second Vatican Council stated that the Mass is the ‘source and summit of Christian life’ (Lumen Gentium), therefore we are confronted with the pressing question, whether it truly is for us. Is the Liturgy something we must simply attend once a week in order to toe the line? Or is it fundamental to our lives as Catholic Christians?
Our relation to God must underlie everything we do, so how are we able to do this when during the one day of the week where this fact is highlighted, we make a pathetic attempt at ‘worship’?
Over the past number of years, the sacrificial aspect of the liturgy has been so devalued and ignored that the average layman's belief is no more Catholic than a Lutheran's. In fact, do we still truly believe that our Lord, is substantially present, body, blood, soul and divinity under the appearance of bread and wine? Our attitude in approaching the priest for reception betrays our lack of faith in one of the most central aspects of the Catholic Faith. Many times in the Novus Ordo, it seems simply that the Liturgy is something that stifles the community’s ‘creativity’, which gets in the way of the people’s self-expression. In the Old Rite, we have a most valuable patrimony, which has been handed on from generation to generation under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, where fidelity to the Catholic Faith is patent. It is act of great impiety to reject the devotions and faith of the previous generations for the sake of appearing relevant in our modern age. What has the aim of the radical reforms? To make us open to the world? We certainly opened to the world, and far too many of our faithful fled. Lower Mass attendance, heresy and dissent is accepted, and fewer vocations to the priesthood and religious life name only a few of the effects of this disorientation.
There is no ambiguity concerning the sacrificial nature of the Mass, where Christ becomes present through the double consecration and is offered by the priest who stands in His person. If there is no sacrifice, why do we have a priest? The Letter to the Hebrew’s states, ‘for every high priest (that is Christ) is constituted for the offering both of gifts and sacrifices; whence it is needful that this one also should have something which He may offer’ (8:3). If there be no sacrifice, what is the need for a priest? The man therefore becomes simply a presider or even worse, a social worker in robes. And if the ‘job’ has been reduced to that level, why should he not be allowed to marry? Plus, why can not a woman do that job? Just by one simple omission, one has lost completely the essence of the priesthood. What irreparable damage! Why should the man sacrifice for Christ, a marriage and children when he is no different to the rest of us? The priest must be assimilated even more than the laity to the offering he makes daily. We are all, by virtue of our baptism, priests as Saint Peter says (1 Peter 2:9), yet the ministerial priesthood differs not only in degree but in essence (CCC 1592). Those ordained validly have received a great grace, a sacred power and privilege to offer the one perfect offering of our Lord in an unbloody manner; we, on the other hand, offer a sacrifice on the altar of our hearts and unite it with the Eucharist propitiation. Not even the angels can offer in Christ’s person the sacrifice that reconciles us with the Eternal Father. And we wish to reduce the Mass to a mere communal celebration!
‘Introibo ad altare Dei’ begins the Mass, showing the clear and explicit intent of the priest to offer a sacrifice. Maybe Archbishop Bugnini would have preferred ‘I shall go until the table of the Lord and have a nice time’ (I don’t know, I’m just conjecturing...). ‘Suspice, sancte Pater, omnipotens aeterne Deus, hanc immulaculatam hostiam...(Accept, Holy Father, Almighty and Eternal God, this spotless host...). Could it be any clearer?
The liturgy is in some sense similar to television. In recent years, there have been many debates whether television merely reflects contempory culture or has an active, formative influence over the population, especially the up-bringing of the young. In Catholicism there is a statement that shows the relationship between our worship and our lives, that is, 'lex orandi, lex credendi'. Since the 'reforms' after the close of the Second Vatican Council under Pope Paul VI, a great deal of confusion has entered into the Church, resulting in wild hopes of an alteration to the Catholic Faith, such an agenda is held by advocates of abortion, female ordination, homosexuality etc. If something as sacred and inviolable as the Roman Canon, can be changed, why can not the rest go with it?
Let us re-evaluate our approach to the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, the same sacrifice offered by Saint Peter, by Saint Augustine of Hippo, by Saint Pius V and by Saint Pio of Petrelcina. It truly transcends time as the veil separating us from heaven is drawn back and we join in the chorus of praise of the angels, singing continuously ‘Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus...’
A mere meal....think again.

Monday, 12 April 2010

Quick Gem From St. Bonaventure

I have been reading 'Apolegetic For Filioque In Medieval Theology' by Dennis Nglen and I really liked a particular quote from Saint Bonaventure. Throughout this book and a previous one I read (Scripture and Metaphysics by another author), the question constantly comes up how one can balance that fact that God is one and three. One has to start conceptually with one or the other, although in the divine Being there is no priority.
The traditional 'Latin approach' is that of essentialism, where one focuses on the shared divine essence, which is a wonderful way to counteract Arianism or other such damnable heresies, yet causes some problems, when a further question is raised. How do we make the distinctions between the three Persons without confusing them or lapsing into a form of modalism or Sabellianism?
The 'Greek approach' tends to be personalism, where the distinct Persons are highlighted (usually the Father as the source of the Deity first), the First Person brings about then the divine essence. Another concern arises where it seems that the Father is supreme and greater than the Son and Spirit. Or what exactly do they have in common?

So on to the Seraphic Doctor:

''By these Cherubim (facing each other on the top of the Ark of the Covenant)we understand the two modes or stages of contemplating the insivible and eternal things of God: one is concerned with the essential attributes of God and the other with those proper to the Persons.''

Humani Generis - a quick reflection

As I am attempting to live out a traditional Catholic life (part-time at least), I thought that it would be beneficial to plow through some pre-Vatican 2 papal encylicals. Is there a disconnect between what is being taught now and what has always and everywhere been taught previously? It seems so.

Catholicism is not where 'good' people come together in order to debate to come to a knowledge of the truth. In secular thought, 'truth' or whatever they wish to call their version of it, is attained by men reaching upwards. By man's efforts alone, truth can be known. Nothing is more alien to Catholicism.
The Word of God, the Logos, came down to earth, united a human nature to His pre-existing Divine Person by the power of the Holy Spirit and became man in the womb of the Blessed Mother. This descent (katabasis) and self-empyting (kenosis) enables us to come to a knowledge of the Father, since no one on earth knows the Father 'except the Son and to whom the Son chooses to reveal him'. Since man's rational nature is given from above, our faculty of reasoning is not worthless in coming to the truth. In fact, the First Vatican Council said that 'God...can be the natural power of human reason' (On Revelation). Yet, human nature alone can not know all things of the divine order. Men may blantantly ignore truths that they come to, either through reasoning or through hearing the preaching of the Gospel. Pope Pius XII explains, 'Now the human intellect, in gaining knowledge of such truths is hampering both by the activity of the senses and the imagination, and by evil passions arising from original sin. Hence men easily persuade themselves in such matters that what they do not wish to believe is false or at least doubtful.' (2).
So that men do not languish and grope hopefully about in the darkness, brandishing excuses for their behaviour, God Himself reveals Himself and to safeguard the knowledge of the Truth being distorted, founds a Church with an infallible teaching authority.
What therefore is the role of theology? Are not theologians unduly restricted by the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith? What is there left to achieve when the teaching authority (the Magisterium) exists? How can they work when they are confronting with 'a hidrance to progress and an obstacle in the way of science?' (18).
The theologians are meant to support the doctrines and dogmas of the Faith by examining the sources of them in Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, and by presenting them in a coherent manner in order to increase our knowledge. He states 'the most noble office of theology is to show how a doctrine defined by the Church is contained in the sources of revelation...' (21).
As an aside, doctrines are like signposts. It is not merely enough to know the location of them or what is contained in them, but in order to arrive at our destination, we must trust them and go beyond them (which is to enter into the divine life of the Blessed Trinity).
There is a subjective side to the objective truth as these, although revealed by God (and therefore safeguarded by His divine authority), must be clothed in human language which will always be very inprecise. However, Pope Pius XII explains rightly that the traditional scholastic terminology is not to be scoffed at, for the sake of picking up the latest novelty and appearing relevant to the current wave of popular thought. In fact, when scholastic terminology or thought is rejected, the Church herself may be rejected as she has many times approved such systems of thought, especially that of Saint Thomas Aquinas. 'The method of Aquinas is singularly preeminent both of teaching students and bringing truth to light' (9). The thought of Saint Thomas is a fierce opponent of modernism as his teaching is clear, precise and is faithfully obedient to Holy Mother Church yet presents a doctrine that is not restrained but one which begs to be explored further with the aim of union with Christ, the whole purpose of the Christian life.
At that time, 'Nouvelle Theologie' was an opponent of Catholic truth. The proponents discarded Thomism, in order to appeal to a 'progressive' culture. However, their 'novelties' are 'like the flowers of the field in existence today and die tomorrow' (17). The constant desire to please the world, leads to a confusion of the faithful, and our bishops are urged to oppose such trends. Communism seemed to many people a great threat or a great hope, yet it is gone, it is not here. Yet unlike Christ, being gone does not means it is alive.
An important theme of this document in my quick reading of it, was how we should receive the Truth handed on to us. In modern times, an attempt has been made to relativise truth, either with the aim of not 'offending and isolating others' or in order to conceal our evil deeds. We have tried to make God in our own image, rather than recognising that He is our Origin and End, and that we are called to 'be holy as our Heavenly Father is holy'. This involves 'self-surrender and self abnegation' (2). Doctrine is to be gratefully received and embraced with love for our Creator and Redeemer, it is not to be tossed aside when such facts confront the prevaling opinion of the time.

Thoughts From A Wander To Asda

The following will be recorded with the reckless arrangement as when they came to my mind on my little trip to alleviate my boredom.

There exists today a scrupulous analyis of the most trivial of matters. On the other hand, topics of substance are treated with disdain or at least indifference. Subjects of little importance are examined with more precision and attention to detail than the Angelic Doctor would ever be able to attain.

The world likes to scoff at the Medieval style of debate including the proverbial, 'how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?' (for those who wish to know, the answer includes: an angel is an intellectual substance which possesses a spiritual nature alone, not a material one. An angel does not 'inhabit' a place in the same sense as this Cadbury Daily Milk is taking up space on my bed, but changes its 'activity' from one sphere to another).

However, this generation has the almost 'scholastic' tendency to examine irrelevancies with punctilious concern. While the legalised slaughter of the unborn goes on, with the government nodding with liberal approval, our 'finest' minds squabble over the all-important question whether it be politically correct to call a sheep 'black'.

The big questions which enable us to arrive at truth are untouched. Yet, no matter how much we have 'de-christianised' our society, a remnant of the old faith remains unseen. Our culture still admits that truth, goodness and justice exists, yet the foundation has been taken away. What is evil according to our secularists? No answer has been given. They demand that we answer their questions, however, it is our turn to interrogate them. Their shaky base will crumble.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Ex Opere Operato

I mentioned on a post earlier that a priest (however unworthy to stand in persona Christi) can validly confer the sacraments and the grace thereof, simply by being ordained a minister of the Church. What is the theological justification for this? Can something pure come from an impious source? Can salvation come through the hands of a servant of the evil one? An error has already been commited in these terms. The source is not the minister but it is Christ who operates by conferring his grace freely.
But is this a necessary destinction? Is this question one simply for the academics, the theologians or anyone who has enough time to contemplate trivialities? No.

The sacraments are vital for our salvation. This is no mere 'triviality'. Saint Thomas Aquinas writes that ''the sacrament of Baptism is said to be necessary for salvation in so far as man cannot be saved without, at least, Baptism of desire'' and the Doctrine of Grace adds, ''which, with God, counts for the deed'' (St. Augustine, Enarr. in Ps lvii). This is no mere opinion, as the Council of Trent confirms, ''If anyone says that baptism is optional, that is, not necessary for salvation. let him be anathema' (Canon 5 on Baptism). Or as our Lord states, that a man must be born again of water and the Spirit if he wish to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.
The lack of reception of this sacrament, the door to the New Ark, that is, the Church, may lead to eternal death, therefore showing that the valid addministration is of vital importance.

Back to the matter at hand. Let us in our discussion follow the Summa Theologica as usual.

The question, the Angelic Doctor brings first is ''Whether God Alone, Or The Minister Also, Works Inwardly Unto The Sacramental Effect?''(III Q64, A1). Thomas choose the first option and goes on in his answer to make a distinction between a 'principal agent' and an 'instrumental agent'. Principle means the first term of something. If this first term were not present, nothing else would follow. ''Instrumental'' means that something is itself used in order to bring about an effect. For example, if I picked up this red pen on my desk to write 'Filioque', the pen would be the instrument, whereas my hand would be the true cause (the principle cause). As without the motion of my hand, the pen would remain stationary. It would remain 'lifeless' and unable to write anything on the paper. The efficacy of this writing implement entirely depends upon my action. However, in human beings, we have something different at work. The pen simply works as that is what it is meant to do, unless there be some defect in it (lack of ink etc), on the other hand, human beings having a will can operate in a manner contrary to the divine will.
The Saint quotes from The Apostle and says that ''God justifieth'' (Rom. 8:33), and goes on to say, ''since, then, the inward effect of all the sacraments is justification (that is, making a man righteous (my addition)), it seems that God alone works the interior sacramental effect.''
The mere actions of a man (being a priest, uttering 'Hoc est enim corpus meum' with the intention to consecrate)have no effect unless it is God who confers His grace. The actions of the priest are simply like that of the red pen I mentioned earlier. The priest's words and intentions would remain 'lifeless' and fruitless, unless Christ acting upon His promise to stay with His Church for all time, and instituting the sacraments of the New Law is present invisibly. Although, like the fault in the pen, a defect may be on the part of the minister, not his personal holiness (or lack of it) but the use of the incorrect words or a flawed intention. This is the only obstacle that can be placed in the way.
Does this mean that the minister is merely a puppet in the hands of the Supreme Deity? No. The Dominican states that although the ''sacramental effect is made no better by a better minister' (Christ for example in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, is made no less present by an unworthy minister), however 'something in addition may be impetrated for the receiver through the devotion of the minister: but this is not the work of the minister, but the work of God who hears the minister's prayer''.

The Council of Trent, in reply to the protestant heretics stated that the term 'ex opere operato' (through the work that is worked, from Canon 8 of the Seventh Session), shows the Catholic teaching on this matter.

This matter came to the forefront at the Donatism schism, and it was through the work of the great Saint Augustine, that the Catholic position became more thorough and clear.

In conclusion, as long as the correct intention is present and the proper words are used by a minister authorised (in virtue of his ordination for certain sacraments, or faculties by the local ordinary), the grace will be conferred, even if he be(or she in the case of baptism), a sexual monster, an unbeliever, a modernist or the most holy person this side of heaven.

Oremus pro pontifice nostro Benedicto.

Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra. et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Fiat manus tua super virum dexterae tuae.
Et super filium hominis quem confirmasti tibi.

Oremus: Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuam Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaeesumus, verbo et exemplo quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, preveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

The Holy Father

Another day, another series of allegations against the Supreme Pontiff. Another torrent of ignorance has been displayed by the secular media. Has no one ever checked the authority the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had before 2001? No. They have simply assumed that the Congregation had the same jurisdiction over certain matters back then as it has now.

NOTE WELL: The CDF had no authority before 2001 in dealing with cases of sexual abuse by clergy. This power was given in 2001. The case of Murphy (when Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger was informed eventually) was before this date. And so was the case of Kiesle. For a world that does not believe in the priesthood (why offer sacrifice when sin does not exist?), why is it so incessant in trying to have a man 'defrocked' (a common word among the media, not entirely accurate either)? Laicisation or removal from the clerical state does not remove the priest's 'powers', it simply removes the sanction of the Church to use them. A priest is a priest is a priest. A man who is validly ordained can offer the Sacrifice of the Mass even if he is in the same vein as Hitler or Stalin, as it is Christ who acts in each sacrament.
It may be understandable that the average journalist does not fully comprehend the way that the Catholic Church works (in fact, why comment on a matter that will lead to further confusion?). It would be like your humble blogger commenting on the correct use of Chinese grammar. But it is these 'religious correspondents', who put more wood on the fire through ignorance and deep hatred of the Church.
However, 'He who hears you, hears Me', if Christ our Master was treated in such an awful mannerer, why do we complain? The world hates us as they hated our Saviour before us. The world turns from the Light as it's deeds are depraved, corrupt, not a good man is left. Not one seeks God.
So let us rally around the Holy Father, beseeching constantly the protection of the Most Holy Mother and Sait Joseph, the Guardian of the Church. In even a few years, who will remember these poor excuses for journalists? But as since the day of Pentecost, the Catholic Church will still be here.

Oremus pro pontifice....

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Easter Octave

'It behooved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead' (Lk.24:46)

These eight days are a great cause of rejoicing, rejoicing over the Resurrection of our Lord. He Who is Life, could not be held down by the chains of death. He had beforehand descended to the dead to preach the Good News of salvation to those imprisoned there, those who had longed for the Messias during their own lives, but had died before the promise was fulfilled.
Death is the one enemy whom man can not conquer. This foe can be stalled through advances in technology, science and medicine, but it can not be entirely overcome by the strength and cunning of men alone. He Who paid the debt that we were unable to pay took on our death, which was the punishment owing to the fall of Adam, has reversed a source of mourning for men into a joy. Death although not pleasant, as it is contrary for our nature to suffer the separation of body and soul, may be used to bring us to the One.
Death is not an abrupt ending to a woeful and lamentable existence that we call 'life', but the passage into Eternity. A passage through with we can come to contemplate the ineffable essence of the One true God. We have a great hope stored up for us because of the one Sacrifice of Christ, which is sufficient for the salvation of all men. We poor creatures, creatures of wrath by nature, have become through no merit of our own sons of the Most High God, and heirs to the promise.
Let us move forward, beseeching the Lord for the endurance that we may carry our crosses with hope and patience. Suffering is the Way of the Master. Jesus our Messias has gone before us, sanctifying the route that we must take. No suffering is therefore unworthy of the spiritual man, if it be done for the love of God.

As this blog is dedicated to an exploration of Latin theology, it is pertinent to cite the Angelic Doctor, Saint Thomas. In the Summa Theologica (III, Q53, A1) he states five reasons for the fittingness of the Resurrection.

1) It is appropriate that Christ Who humbled Himself for the Father's sake should be exalted as this is in accordance with Divine Justice. 'He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly' (Lk 1.52). Who has so humbled themselves as Christ did, Who submitted to death, death on a cross, when He was and still is spotless and innocent?
2) Also, Christ rose in order to teach us the truth concerning His Divinity. Saint Paul states, 'He was crucified through weakness, yet He liveth by the power of God' (2 Cor.13.4), and 'If Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and our faith is also vain' (1 Cor.15.14). How can we place our trust in Him who claimed to be 'I AM' and presented Himself as the Life, if He were to suffer the same fate as men and be imprisoned in death?
3) Christ rose again for the benefit of our hope. If Christ truly rose again, then we have a foretaste of what we will be when the time comes. The Apostle remarks, 'Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead?' (1 Cor. 15.12).
4) This happened to order our lives. As we were baptised into the death of Christ (Rom. 6-14), we should not live for things of the passing earth. We are alive in the spirit and dead to perishable goods.
5) Our Lord rose to complete the work of salvation. He suffered evil things in laying down His life for our reconciliation with the Father, thereby delivering us from evil, 'so was He glorified in rising again in order to advance us towards good things.' Romans states, 'He was delivered up for our sins, and rose again for our justification.' (4.25)

Friday, 2 April 2010

Good Friday

On this most sacred day, we remember with sweet sorrow the Suffering of our Lord on the Cross. It is a day of mixed emotions, hidden behind the bitter agony lies our reconciliation with the Heavenly Father, Whom we have so grieviously offended since our First Parents. For that reason, there is a , yet as Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to say, 'as long as there is sin, the crucifixion is a reality'. By being led by the Holy Spirit to the Truth that is our Lord and God, Jesus Christ, we can enter into the Heavenly Sanctuary to render worship to God, as we contemplate His Divine Essence. However, we are not there yet. The followers of the Crucified have much to endure, but endure we must to the end. Life Himself takes on our death. Our death is swallowed up in His Life.
Sin abounds, openly and unashamedly, in today's world. Our Lord is blasphemed and mocked, while Heaven seems to remain unmoved. It will take great confidence, just like the confidence of our Lord when He placed His spirit into the hands of the Unbegotten One. We have much to do. Let us keep awake.
Glory to the Crucified One.