Saturday, May 31, 2014

Respect For Women

When did it come to pass that treating a woman with respect became synonymous with treating her like a man? I consider this as I reflect on being yelled at by a woman for holding a door open for her. 

We live in strange times.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ed Feser Contra Atheism.



Ed Feser gives a great speech here on why Scholasticism is such a great weapon against modern atheist arguments.

Of equal interest, though, are his comments about how personalism and the mindset of the "new theology" are utterly unequipped to provide the sort of intellectual rigor that can counter what modern secularism is throwing at us. Indeed, in many ways, these paths will lead us to embrace some of the very language and confusion that secularism promotes. We've talked about this before.

I do think that it's time that personalism fall by the wayside. As Feser points out, we now are seeing attempts to justify euthanasia and homosexuality in arguments based on the natural dignity of the person and other such jargon.

Time to get back to hardcore logic and philosophy, with a full measure of systematic and dogmatic theology to boot!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Cardinal George's Successor

The search is apparently underway.

Sorry. I'm having trouble embedding links for some reason. Needless to say, the alleged candidates for the job are interesting. I wonder how much pressure there will be to blame everything bad that has ever happened on Cardinal George so that Cardinal Bernardin's legacy is protected. At least one of the prospects is a protege of +Bernardin, which really doesn't mean anything except that the pressure on him will be pretty tough if he is picked. I don't question his own motives.

Speaking of, did anybody bother to ask any questions about said legacy when the info dump came from the Archdiocese on the abuse scandal? 


It's an interesting development when a bishop can go from saying stuff like this:

According to the Belgian newspaper De Standaard, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri says it is time to update Church marriage doctrine, for example in connection with divorce, the situation of divorcees and people who are in civil partnerships. His comments will appear in an exclusive interview with the Christian weekly magazine Tertio, published on Wednesday.

"The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today," Cardinal Baldisseri says.

"It is in the present that the message should be, with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people", says the secretary general of the Synod of Bishops.

The Italian cardinal also notes that "Familiaris Consortio" of John Paul II, the last great ecclesiastical document on this subject, is 33 years old.

You can read the full thing here. A couple of weeks later, though, he came back with a amazingly forceful response to those who seek a change in the Church's doctrine.

“Regarding the possibility for the synod of bishops of changing the doctrine of the Church,” Cardinal Baldisseri said, “I underscore that the First Vatican Council’s document ‘Dei Filius’ affirmed that ‘understanding of its sacred dogmas must be perpetually retained, which Holy Mother Church has once declared; and there must never be recession from that meaning under the specious name of a deeper understanding.’”

The cardinal then continued: “And I also remind you that John XXIII said in the inaugural speech of the Second Vatican Council that ‘authentic doctrine … should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.’”

The first item from the Register isn't a big deal. We have amorphous language on these subjects getting thrown around all the time nowadays.

The second item, though? That's pretty huge. When was the last time you heard a bishop of any stripe mention Vatican I? Or St. John XXIII's insistence that Vatican II would not invoke the charism of infallibility and therefore leave the deposit of faith untouched? That kind of stuff doesn't happen.

That the initial comments were walked back isn't a surprise. That they were walked back with the sorts of references that His Eminence used is not quite shocking, but almost.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Pope Is In The Holy Land!!!!!

Is it just me, or are people acting like this is something that has never happened before?

What Some Miss

I originally wasn't going to post this, but given the current environment and how things are going, I changed my mind.

Fr. Zuhlsdorf posted an item from a priest at Holy Innocents in Manhattan, which, by the way, is a wonderful parish. May God grant it many years. Anyways, here is the relevant part:

Pastores dabo vobis, the Lord promises Jeremiah: I will give you shepherds! Fundamentally – and this is something about which I urge you to think well and pray much about – as a priest, I have to say: I worry about the situation of traditional Catholics in the Archdiocese. Yes, the archdiocese ‘permits’ a traditional mass here or there — but responsibility for the matter continues to rest upon the initiative and resourcefulness of the laity, who with enormous difficulty have to source priests hither and thither as though we were seemingly still living in Reformation England or Cromwellian Ireland. Isn’t it high time for the Church to take pastoral responsibility also for these sheep? Do they not deserve a shepherd? a parish? or at least some sense of juridical security? What happens to you when the parish you are harbouring in closes its doors? 

What will become of the priestly vocations aplenty I see in these numerous young men of such quality as we have in abundance serving here at Holy Innocents, St. Agnes and elsewhere – remaining as they do at the mercy (and sometimes, caprice) of ‘landlords’ who, for one reason or another, ‘permit’ their presence in their parishes? Doors everywere seem closing to them. Our Saviour has closed its doors to them. St. Agnes, for its part, guards its doors vigilantly to make sure they don’t enter the building 5 minutes too early or don’t overstay their welcome by 5 minutes more. Now, it seems, the doors of Holy Innocents will be closed to them, too. Taken together, this is, in my view, a clear instance of exclusion: an injustice which you should bring to the attention of your shepherd, I think. You are fully-fledged members of the baptised Faithful, for heaven’s sake: why are you scurrying about like ecclesiastical scavengers, hoping for a scrap or two to fall from the table for your very existence? The precariousness of your community cannot hinge on a church building being available to you as though you were a mere sodality or guild. The days of renting space in hotels and the like must surely be over. You are not schismatics! Are you schismatics? 

Whatever happens to Holy Innocents – and this will be the decision of your chief-shepherd here, who will base his decision on more information than any of us has at his or her disposal – you need to assert that you belong to the Church as fully as any other community. You have found a home here, largely through your own hard work and perseverence: no good shepherd could dispossess you of your home without providing safety and good pasture elsewhere. Parishioners of a Novus ordo parish closure might easily find another ‘home’ nearby; but what of you? You have a right to find the Mass (and not only on Sundays); and not only the Mass, but the other sacraments and rites of the Church. Closing this parish is more akin to closing a linguistic parish or a Oriental rite parish. What becomes of you?

I point this out because it is usually ignored. Sure, "traditionalists" can be a glum and even prideful lot. What most don't realize, understand, or care about is that they are also usually suffering from some sort of spiritual trauma from where they have come from. Hearing stories about clown Mass, Halloween Mass, priests ripping rosaries apart during homilies, having RCIA directors quote directly from the fathers of Modernism, listening to priests deny that Christ knew the future, hearing pastors preach universalism, etc. are all things that we have been through. Many others have not.

This is all important now for a couple of reasons. First, there is the obvious difference between how groups like the LCWR are treated vs. the FFI and the FSI. One is allowed all sort of dialogue and leeway. The others are sanctioned, censured, calumniated, and spiritually brutalized. Second, you have a growing number of prelates who seem to enjoy insulting any Catholic who tries to hold to the faith. Take a look at Cardinal Kasper's recent comments and those of his defenders. These are not kind words.

"Traditional" Catholics are convenient punching bags, yet their misery either goes unnoticed or is a cause of celebration.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Re: Today's Readings

Consider the following in light of our recent post on Noah and the Deluge:

Paul reached also Derbe and Lystra
where there was a disciple named Timothy,
the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer,
but his father was a Greek.
The brothers in Lystra and Iconium spoke highly of him,
and Paul wanted him to come along with him.
On account of the Jews of that region, Paul had him circumcised,
for they all knew that his father was a Greek.
As they traveled from city to city,
they handed on to the people for observance the decisions
reached by the Apostles and presbyters in Jerusalem.
Day after day the churches grew stronger in faith
and increased in number.

They traveled through the Phrygian and Galatian territory
because they had been prevented by the Holy Spirit
from preaching the message in the province of Asia.
When they came to Mysia, they tried to go on into Bithynia,
but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them,
so they crossed through Mysia and came down to Troas.
During the night Paul had a vision.
A Macedonian stood before him and implored him with these words,
“Come over to Macedonia and help us.”
When he had seen the vision,
we sought passage to Macedonia at once, 
concluding that God had called us to proclaim the Good News to them.

Acts 16:1-10

Notice in the above narrative that God explicitly prevents St. Paul from going certain places to preach the Gospel. We don't know why. Some will accuse God of being a jerk here. Why? Was there something special about those areas that He owed them a missionary? No, because God isn't bound by anything other than Himself and nowhere has He promised a missionary. Maybe the people weren't ready for the message yet and required some additional time for the culture to present less of a stumbling block. Who knows but God? Again, we are left with the perspective of either acknowledging that God is God and accepting His judgment on things, including that He does not treat everyone the same, or we put ourselves in the position of judging God by our own human standards, which is simply arrogant.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Evangelii Gaudium, Part Five

89. Isolation, which is a version of immanentism, can find expression in a false autonomy which has no place for God. But in the realm of religion it can also take the form of a spiritual consumerism tailored to one’s own unhealthy individualism. The return to the sacred and the quest for spirituality which mark our own time are ambiguous phenomena. Today, our challenge is not so much atheism as the need to respond adequately to many people’s thirst for God, lest they try to satisfy it with alienating solutions or with a disembodied Jesus who demands nothing of us with regard to others. Unless these people find in the Church a spirituality which can offer healing and liberation, and fill them with life and peace, while at the same time summoning them to fraternal communion and missionary fruitfulness, they will end up by being taken in by solutions which neither make life truly human nor give glory to God.

 It is a strange thing how many echoes of Pascendi can be found in Pope Francis’s words. He spends a lot of time rejecting religious “individualism” and a subjective view of Truth. He even links it to immanentism here. I hope he gives this further treatment in his later work.

93. Spiritual worldliness, which hides behind the appearance of piety and even love for the Church, consists in seeking not the Lord’s glory but human glory and personal well-being. It is what the Lord reprimanded the Pharisees for: “How can you believe, who receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?” (Jn5:44). It is a subtle way of seeking one’s “own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (Phil 2:21). It takes on many forms, depending on the kinds of persons and groups into which it seeps. Since it is based on carefully cultivated appearances, it is not always linked to outward sin; from without, everything appears as it should be. But if it were to seep into the Church, “it would be infinitely more disastrous than any other worldliness which is simply moral”.[71] 

Basically, it’s doing what ND did in throwing roses at Obama’s feet while being embarrassed about its Catholicism.

94. This worldliness can be fuelled in two deeply interrelated ways. One is the attraction of gnosticism, a purely subjective faith whose only interest is a certain experience or a set of ideas and bits of information which are meant to console and enlighten, but which ultimately keep one imprisoned in his or her own thoughts and feelings.

There it is again. The criticism of those who adopt “me-ology” over theology. I wonder how this attitude will play out in the controversy between Cardinal Muller and Cardinals Rodriguez/Marx.

The other is the self-absorbed promethean neopelagianism of those who ultimately trust only in their own powers and feel superior to others because they observe certain rules or remain intransigently faithful to a particular Catholic style from the past. A supposed soundness of doctrine or discipline leads instead to a narcissistic and authoritarian elitism, whereby instead of evangelizing, one analyzes and classifies others, and instead of opening the door to grace, one exhausts his or her energies in inspecting and verifying. In neither case is one really concerned about Jesus Christ or others. These are manifestations of an anthropocentric immanentism. It is impossible to think that a genuine evangelizing thrust could emerge from these adulterated forms of Christianity. 

We’ve mentioned this several times as the most formidable enemy of the “traditionalist” Catholic.

95. This insidious worldliness is evident in a number of attitudes which appear opposed, yet all have the same pretence of “taking over the space of the Church”. In some people we see an ostentatious preoccupation for the liturgy, for doctrine and for the Church’s prestige, but without any concern that the Gospel have a real impact on God’s faithful people and the concrete needs of the present time.

Where is this a problem? Is it that widespread? I ask because I don’t know. This section got a lot of publicity. Strangely enough, the next one was hardly mentioned by anyone:

In others, this spiritual worldliness lurks behind a fascination with social and political gain, or pride in their ability to manage practical affairs, or an obsession with programmes of self-help and self-realization. It can also translate into a concern to be seen, into a social life full of appearances, meetings, dinners and receptions. It can also lead to a business mentality, caught up with management, statistics, plans and evaluations whose principal beneficiary is not God’s people but the Church as an institution. 

Think about that the next time your diocese asks for your Parish Council’s strategic plan.

100. Those wounded by historical divisions find it difficult to accept our invitation to forgiveness and reconciliation, since they think that we are ignoring their pain or are asking them to give up their memory and ideals. But if they see the witness of authentically fraternal and reconciled communities, they will find that witness luminous and attractive. It always pains me greatly to discover how some Christian communities, and even consecrated persons, can tolerate different forms of enmity, division, calumny, defamation, vendetta, jealousy and the desire to impose certain ideas at all costs, even to persecutions which appear as veritable witch hunts. Whom are we going to evangelize if this is the way we act? 

I read this and immediately had two thoughts. One, this is a good message to the Orthodox. Two, this seems in complete opposition to how the FFI have been handled.

The formation of the laity and the evangelization of professional and intellectual life represent a significant pastoral challenge. 

A pastoral challenge with doctrinal roots.

103. The Church acknowledges the indispensable contribution which women make to society through the sensitivity, intuition and other distinctive skill sets which they, more than men, tend to possess.

So wait. You mean men and women are different? I can't wait for the papal document laying out the skill sets that men have over women. Would we dare to suggest that they entail something more than opening jars or killing spiders?

Because “the feminine genius is needed in all expressions in the life of society, the presence of women must also be guaranteed in the workplace”[72] and in the various other settings where important decisions are made, both in the Church and in social structures. 

This, I do not get. The long-standing social doctrine of the Church is that we should avoid women in the workplace in an effort to better raise families. Maybe he’s just meaning single women.

104. Demands that the legitimate rights of women be respected, based on the firm conviction that men and women are equal in dignity, present the Church with profound and challenging questions which cannot be lightly evaded. The reservation of the priesthood to males, as a sign of Christ the Spouse who gives himself in the Eucharist, is not a question open to discussion, but it can prove especially divisive if sacramental power is too closely identified with power in general. 

Aww double-snap! So much for women's ordination.

I'll have more on this later. And yes, Joe, I promise I'll get back to Sacrosanctum Concilium as well.


Thursday, May 22, 2014

"We Didn't Come To Impose"

I think of those words from Cousin Eddie every time abortion is mentioned as a political topic. This is consistently the message preached by the Party of Death, regardless of what side of the aisle they are on. Allegedly Catholic politicians who have sold their souls to Molech will express their deepest "personal" opposition to killing babies, but they just can't bring themselves to impose their morality on the nation as a whole.

Isn't it odd that this whole reluctance to legislate morality goes out of the window on pretty much every other issue, from immigration to gun control?

How many times have we heard that certain taxation or spending policies are "just the right thing to do"?

Nobody makes purely economic arguments for these sorts of things. It's always phrased in terms of morality and "doing the right thing."

Unless it's murdering babies. Then we have check our morals at the door and bow to the whims of convenience.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Ooo, Ooo, I Know! I Know!

Fr. Zuhlsdorf writes the following:

I direct the readership’s attention to a good piece by my friend Samuel Gregg in which he takes a close look at Walter Card. Kasper’s newest book about mercy.

Kasper’s book is not, apparently, what one might assume it is.

However, Kasper is sending contradictory messages out through the mainstream media, in interviews, talks, etc.

How to reconcile these two, seemingly disparate Kaspers? Gregg has some ideas. I think he is on to something.

Here's an idea:

But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil...

Further, none is more skilful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

Pope St. Pius X, Pascendi Domenici Gregis

Which, let's face it, is pretty much what Gregg says, he just doesn't want to use the M-word. As he correctly points out, it's difficult to classify the claims of Cardinal Kasper et al as all that forthright in light of things like historical fact and actual Church teaching. Professor Rist's article has moved us past that.

So what are we left with? Not much, I'm afraid, except the need to call things what they are.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Awesome Stuff

Stratford Caldecott is dying of prostate cancer. This great and faithful Catholic author will be missed tremendously. Recent events for him, though, have provided one of the more heart-warming stories I've heard in a while.

Boniface at Unam Sanctam has the details. Long story short, Mr. Caldecott is a big fan of Marvel Comics. Thanks to a push from his family, there has been a wonderful response from Marvel and the various cast members of its film and television properties. They scheduled a private screening for the new Captain America movie and organized the casts into a social media campaign where they sent in pictures of themselves holding up signs in support of Stratford.

You can see the pictures here.

I doubt any of the Marvel folks will ever see this from me, but I thank them all for being good people. We are called to minister to the sick as a work of mercy, and these guys came through huge. Also, as Boniface mentions, let's remember that other work of mercy, namely, to pray for the living and the dead. Stratford needs our spiritual support as well, so please try to spare some prayers for him and his family.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Request For Honesty

Zenit has an interview up with Dr. Dale Coulter, a theology professor at Regents University on the subject of ecumenism. I'd like to hit a couple of high points.

ZENIT: Could you further explain how you view this exchange of gifts, practically speaking? What do you understand by the 'gift of the sacramental dimension' for Pentecostals? And how do you think Catholics should receive the 'gift of the charismatic?"

Dr. Coulter: Ecumenism begins to work when each side re-discovers something about itself or discovers an implication of its theology. Ecumenism can never succeed if one side is just trying to make the other into a clone as it were...

Here we have an admission that the ecumenical movement is an insult to truth. What the good doctor is saying here is that everybody needs to admit that they don't really know the truth. All we have are fragmented pieces. If someone had the truth, then (a) they would be obligated to convert the other and (b) the other would be obligated to convert. After all, what would making the other "a clone" be? It would be conversion.

Successful ecumenism happens through relationships that are established at the local level, which then generate friendships as well as through dialogues that occur at the formal and informal levels.

Indeed, ecumenism has nothing to do with truth. It's about relationships and dialogue. Talking about stuff. Not about arriving at the truth.

ZENIT: What do you think is the value of the Pastors, Leaders, Clergy Summit or an event like it?

Dr. Coulter: The Clergy Summit offers an on the ground ecumenism that helps push Catholics and Pentecostals toward the goals of mutual understanding and common mission. There remains a lot of misinformation and stereotypes on the part of both sides...

Those narratives are still alive and well in some parts of the Pentecostal movement and we need to deal with them. By older narratives I mean things like individual Catholics are going to heaven, but the Catholic Church is teaching a false theology of salvation. Even worse is the idea that the Catholic Church is somehow complicit in the spirit of the antichrist.

Here's the thing, Dr. Coulter. If we are to take each other seriously, there really isn't a middle ground on this. By any Protestant standard, including Pentecostalism, the Catholic Church teaches a false theology of salvation. There is no way around this issue unless we are to engage in complete intellectual dishonesty and outright hypocrisy. Moreover, for the Church to make the claims that She does, if those claims are false, it is absolutely proper to say that Catholicism is allied with Satan. Once you take what's true and false out of the equation, though, it's easy to make the kind of vapid claims that there it's somehow ok to be Catholic while being utterly wrong about the most important questions facing humanity. You know, like how to avoid going to hell and stuff.

ZENIT: Do you see any particular opportunities or challenges when it comes to ecumenism in the United States?

Dr. Coulter: The challenges are...

2. Moving beyond the fear of proselytism, namely, that ecumenism means we lose our members to one another. If someone is nominal in any ecclesial tradition, then we’ve lost them already and we should not be upset if they return to faith through another form of Christianity. The charismatic Catholic theologian Ralph Del Colle (d. 2012) is an excellent example. Ralph was baptized Catholic but fell away from the church. He came back to faith through the charismatic movement and then his own journey led him ultimately back to the Catholic Church. We should not worry about “converts” to Catholicism or Protestantism as though it means a loss.

In other words, it really doesn't matter what anybody believes, which is the same thing as saying the truth doesn't matter. I guess the formula is sola sincerity now. I wonder what God was talking about when He said that His people are destroyed by lack of knowledge.

3. Getting denominational officials in Protestant churches to see ecumenism as a necessary part of advancing the kingdom of God and thus part of the mission of the churches

Translation: Watering down the truth is what God wants. Holy smokes, I can't believe this guy actually said that all the stuff he's saying is "a necessary part of advancing the kingdom of God." Here's a brief thought exercise. Is there anywhere in the Scriptures or in the days of the early Church where we can point to an ecumenical perspective that remotely resembles what we read in this interview?

ZENIT: Some see the issues surrounding religious freedom, both at home and globally, as key elements in progress toward unity. What's your outlook on that?

Dr. Coulter: ... Likewise sexual freedom can become sexual libertinism and lead to a contraceptive mentality in which individuals sever the links between the sexual act and the procreation of children. This was the concern of John Paul II. Pentecostals would approach this issue through the orders of creation whereas Catholics would talk about natural law. While Pentecostals would not go so far as to see artificial contraception as immoral, they would certainly agree about the problems surrounding a contraceptive mentality.

Yeah, but is it a sin? That's the question here. Sin has implications for salvation, but we probably shouldn't talk about that because then somebody might have to say that someone else is wrong.

Frankly, this whole interview is one of the most uncharitable things I've ever read and is borderline blasphemy. To be unconcerned with another's conversion means being unconcerned with their salvation. Not caring about another's salvation is monstrous.

Not once in the entire interview was the word "truth" used, probably because it would destroy the entire contents of the discussion. And what does it say about a spiritual movement that neglects something so basic as truth? Would we say it is of God?

The only way to make this idea work is to subscribe to some kind of universalism, which brings us back to why Ralph Martin is so important.

And I remind everyone that Dr. Martin is one of the godfathers of the charismatic movement in Catholicism. Only Nixon could go to China.

Can't we just have a little honesty? I have many Protestant friends, relatives, and co-workers. Many are Pentecostals or at least charismatic in their beliefs. They know my views. I know theirs. We don't hate each other. We disagree and do so respectfully. We can ask and answer each others' questions with snark or polemic. Why can't theologians do the same? Are people so childish that they can't have frank conversation anymore?

Saturday, May 17, 2014


One cannot appreciate the number of fedoras in the universe until one attends a comic book convention.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

The Modern Implications Of Noah's Story

The story of Noah is one of the most popular stories in the Bible. It's probably one of the first bits of Scripture that Christian children of any stripe are exposed to. Most Christian retail stores will have at least a few decorative ark items for kids' rooms. All of this is good, I suppose, but does it seem like we frequently lose the meaning of the Deluge narrative?

What is the real purpose of the ark? It isn't just some cutesy story about a guy loading some animals on a boat. It's about the sin of man and how it results in the destruction of everybody except for the eight people whom God deigns to save. That's a pretty heavy message.

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. More and more, I see people who seriously have it in mind that God owes them salvation. They claim that, since God created us and set forth certain conditions for salvation, that He necessarily must grant us that these conditions be fulfilled. Unless it's Hitler or Ted Bundy, of course. Otherwise, God simply isn't being just. 

Why do some people get to be exposed to the True Faith while others aren't? Because God is so unfair. 

What about miracles that bring about conversion? God apparently owes those to everyone, too. Why should St. Paul have the privilege of being struck blind or St. Thomas be allowed to see the Risen Christ? Why do children in Fatima get to talk face-to-face with the Virgin Mary? What about everybody else who doesn't get such a miracle? More evidence of God's injustice!

Let's try to recall what justice is. Justice is rendering to a party what they are due. By definition then, a person invoking the necessity of salvation or at least of miraculous proofs to persuade someone to the Faith is claiming that God owes them these things. Naturally, they will deny this and say that all they are doing is making God "follow His own rules," as though God was bound by anything other than His own promises.

Of course, God has never promised anything like what is contemplated in the above scenarios.

I'll leave aside that it's a bit crass to be envious over miraculous graces granted to others. Such sentiments are reminiscent of Simon Magus.

I think there are a couple of things lurking behind all these arguments. First, there's the misguided idea that God loves everyone the same. This isn't testified to at all anywhere in Divine Revelation, other than in the realm of "Well, it seems to me..." theology. To the contrary, some people are noted as being in God's favor, while others are not. Some people are noted as God's friends, as opposed to His enemies. The Blessed Mother, St. John the Baptist, and others are specifically called out as being greater than others. Where does this greatness/goodness come from? Or any goodness of our own for that matter? From themselves/ourselves?

Absolutely not. God is the cause of our goodness. Not us. Him. 

Second, there's a weird notion that somehow there is a chance that someone is going to wind up in heaven or hell that doesn't belong there. Someone who wasn't specifically evangelized and died without faith or who was a "nice person" (whatever that means) who just happened to commit a mortal sin one day, whether it was killing an unborn child or missing Sunday Mass, and then died in their sins. God obviously can't let such people go to hell.

In the case of the unevangelized, God can always grant that person a miracle akin to St. Paul's. In De Veritate, St. Thomas talks about the person raised in the wilderness by wolves and the possibility that God gives them a revelation unto faith before they die. Then you've got baptism by desire, perfect contrition, and all that to work with. In the second case above, second-guessing God here is a futile exercise because He's omnipotent, and we're not. He knows the sinner's heart. We don't. Might He have granted that person the grace of perfect contrition? Maybe. If He didn't, was He unjust? No, because He didn't owe that grace to the sinner. The underlying context of challenging God on this point is that we know better than Him who should make it to heaven. 

As for who deserves miracles, let us consider some references from Scripture:

And there came to him the Pharisees and Sadducees tempting: and they asked him to shew them a sign from heaven. But he answered and said to them: When it is evening, you say, It will be fair weather, for the sky is red. And in the morning: Today there will be a storm, for the sky is red and lowering. You know then how to discern the face of the sky: and can you not know the signs of the times? A wicked and adulterous generation seeketh after a sign: and a sign shall not be given it, but the sign of Jonas the prophet.
Matthew 16:1-4

And Abraham said to him: They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. But he said: No, father Abraham: but if one went to them from the dead, they will do penance. And he said to him: If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.
Luke 16:29-31

For when the children were not yet born, nor had done any good or evil (that the purpose of God, according to election, might stand,) Not of works, but of him that calleth, it was said to her: The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written: Jacob I have loved, but Esau I have hated. What shall we say then? Is there injustice with God? God forbid. For he saith to Moses: I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy; and I will shew mercy to whom I will shew mercy.
Romans 9:11-15

In fact, reading the whole of Romans 9 is a good idea on this topic.

What can we glean from all this? For one thing, it's a fair stretch for anyone to claim that they deserve anything along these lines by placing themselves as worthy as opposed to the sort of wretched generation that Christ speaks of in Matthew's Gospel.

For another, we see that God has given us the whole of salvation history as a witness to Himself and His Truth. If you're Catholic, you'll believe that God has given everyone sufficient grace to be saved. With these two items in our favor, it's more than a bit presumptuous to try and demand the God do more or to denigrate God for not having done enough. It makes one sound a lot like the Pharisees. God, in His omnipotence knows how further miracles and supernatural events will be received, ie- in the same way that the teachings and wonders of Moses and the prophets fell on deaf ears.

Finally, we see that God's mercy is His to grant or withhold. It is not something we are entitled to.

And then we have the lesson of the ark. The real lesson. God saves. God judges. He does both of these in the manner and means that He sees fit. If we see a problem in that, perhaps the problem doesn't lie with God. Maybe?

So remember when you read the story of Noah. It's not really about this:

It's about this:

And this:

Monday, May 12, 2014

A Wild Statistic

I got this from the Creative Minority Report blog. Check out these numbers:

U.S. Catholics out-number the Episcopal Church 33-to-1. There are more Jews than Episcopalians. Twice as many Mormons as Episcopalians. Even the little African Methodist Episcopal denomination -- founded in in 1787 -- has passed the Episcopalians.

Holy smokes. Remember this kind of stuff when people tell you that Catholicism will die if it doesn't accept women priests, homosexual everything, free-for-all divorce, contraception, and modernist theology. The Episcopalians (and Anglicans in general) went for it all whole hog, and it has destroyed them.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Some Pretty Good Items

I have here a couple of belated items that I think are of growing importance given a lot of the news breaking about the Church around the world. I also think that they are important for reasons other than the publicity they got (or are currently getting).

First, let's look at an interview Pope Emeritus Benedict gave in the run-up to John Paul II's canonization. Most of the commentary about this interview has given cursory mention to the crackdown on liberation theology that occurred during JPII's reign. Benedict's discussion of the issue is a bit more robust, though, and deserves some more attention. We reproduce it here, with thanks to In Caelo et in Terra for providing the full English translation:

The first great challenge we came across, was the liberation theology which was spreading in Latin America. The general opinion about it, both in Europe and in North America, was: it is about helping the poor and it is therefore something which we can only agree with. But this is an error. Certainly, poverty and the poor were the theme of liberation theology, but in a very specific perspective. Direct aid to the poor, reforms which would improve their situation were judged to be reformist, acting to stabilise the system: they dampen – so they said – the anger and indignation which were necessary for the revolutionary transformation of the systems. It was not about direct aid or reforms, but about a great revolution which would usher in a new world. The Christian faith was used as the engine for this revolutionary movement and is so converted into a political power. The religious traditions of the faith serve political action. The faith then becomes deeply estranged from itself, and the true love for the poor also becomes dulled. Of course these ideas appear in various forms and they are not always fully present, but the general movement is in this direction. This falsification of the Christian faith – especially to the poor and the service that is their due – was to be opposed. On the basis of the experiences of his Polish homeland, Pope John Paul II shone a decisive light on this. One the one hand he had experienced the slavery of the Marxist ideology, which liberation theology had adopted. So it was clear ti him from painful personal experience, that this type of “liberation” needed to be opposed. On the other hand he had just seen in the situation in his homeland, that the Church really has to work for freedom and liberation – not in a political way, but by the fact that through faith it awakens in people the forces of true liberation. The Pope instructed us to speak about both: on the one hand to unmask a false idea of liberation, and on the other hand to present the true calling of the Church to liberate the people. That is what we tried to say in both instructions about liberation theology, which stand at the beginning of my work in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

We should pay attention to this for a couple of reasons. One is that you still hear ramblings from people who claim that JPII and Pope Benedict later went soft on liberation theology, came to agree with it, made some partial retractions, etc. This is in spite of Benedict's words as Pope that come off as clear refutations of LT. Do the words above sound like liberation theology has some kind of approval from the Pope Emeritus or his successor?

Add this to the list of items from JPII's magisterium that people are trying to forget.

Oh, he also drops references to Dominus Iesus and Veritatis Splendor, probably the two most hated documents from the JPII era.

On a different note, we have Cardinal Muller doing his job and keeping up the scrutiny of the heretics at the LCWR. Here are his comments. They've been pretty widely publicized, so I'm not going to reproduce them here. You should read them and mark his tone. It's the tone of highest charity and concern for souls. The part that is most important, I think, is his dealings with the "conscious evolution" themes promoted by the LCWR. Fr. Zuhlsdorf has offered some words on what "conscious evolution" means.

What it actually is is a redux of Teilhardian garbage. Teilhard, like liberation theology, continues to have supporters who claim that his stuff is still good theology and compatible with Church teaching. +Muller puts it in straightforward terms:

Again, I apologize if this seems blunt, but what I must say is too important to dress up in flowery language. The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.

Good for him. As you can see from the link below, the monitum on Teilhard's works was reaffirmed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger during JPII's pontificate, so Cardinal Muller isn't really planting a flag here by saying the same thing.

As far as Cardinal Kasper's attack on Cardinal Muller for daring to speak the truth, there's not much to say. It speaks for itself. So ignore it.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Unmask! Unmask!

I'd like to thank Fr. John Jenkins for finally coming clean with everyone and showing his true feelings on the issue of ND and the HHS mandate. Thanks to Riley for emailing me on this.

Recall that a court ruling against the university led to its weak-kneed capitulation to Obama's mandate that ND formally cooperate in sin. Recall also that it was Fr. Jenkins's decision to invite the president to ND where he insulted Catholicism and lied to those present about drafting reasonable conscience clauses and such.

Here is Fr. Jenkins's current take on the matter.

“Our complicity is not an evil so grave that we would compromise our conscience by going along,” Jenkins claimed, noting that it would cost Notre Dame $1 million per day if it did not comply.

Oh, so it is all about the money, then?

Then there's this:

“We’re complying under protest,” Fr. Jenkins responded. “We feel this is an infringement on religious freedom, but we have a variety of factors to consider, like legitimate government authority.” Father Jenkins sought to draw a distinction between Notre Dame giving out contraceptives directly and a third party distributing them: “I don’t see this as a scandal because we are not giving out contraceptives.”

This, dear readers, is very, very significant. ND's arguments in the HHS mandate case are pretty much the opposite of what Fr. Jenkins is saying here. In a very dirty nutshell, ND's attorneys say this is a problem whether ND is giving out contraceptives or not. The opposition says that ND should be fine because it isn't handing out contraceptives. Jenkins has effectively sided with them. This statement will probably come up again and again now.

And what is this crap about "legitimate government authority"? If it's a true infringement, then it isn't legitimate government authority. Even if the positive law allowed it, such a law would be immoral and therefore nobody would have an obligation to follow it. Whatever is going on here, trying to chalk it all up to "legitimate government authority" is just a cop out.

So again, thank you to Fr. Jenkins for letting us know whose side you're on.

Sunday, May 4, 2014


Here's a question I can't seem to get a straight answer on. You go to a Mass. There are maybe 50 people there. Anywhere from 8-10 serve as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion. Ignore the violence done to the word "extraordinary" in this case.

Here are the guidelines for EHMCs:

In every celebration of the Eucharist, there should be a sufficient number of ministers of Holy Communion so that it may be distributed in a reverent and orderly manner... If such ordinary ministers of Holy Communion are not present, "the priest may call upon extraordinary ministers to assist him, i.e., duly instituted acolytes or even other faithful who have been deputed for this purpose. In case of necessity, the priest may also depute suitable faithful for this single occasion (GIRM 162)..."

When recourse is had to Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, especially in the distribution of Holy Communion under both kinds, their number should not be increased beyond what is required for the orderly and reverent distribution of the Body and Blood of the Lord...

In my experience, if you ask folks why they have so many EHMCs at such a Mass, they will usually not offer the above rationale. Instead, it will generally be because they want "the lines to move faster" so that "people aren't just left sitting there waiting on everyone else."
Regardless of whether that conforms with the cited material, has nobody noticed that the purification of the sacred vessels takes longer than if the priest had to give communion to the whole parish? Today's example was worse than usual because of the 8 participants, I think 6 had chalices. Every time the priest turned around, somebody was setting down another chalice for him to clean.

Anyways, just a musing from past experiences and an inability to understand how this keeps people from sitting around and waiting.