The Government plans to oppose the case, presented by two British Christians, in which they demand the right to wear a Cross at work.
This is, says the Telegraph, the first time the Government is forced to say where it stands on the matter.Not, mind, out of its own initiative, but because the relevant documents were leaked to the Sunday Telegraph.
Note that the angry reaction came from the former so-called Archbishop of Canterbury, Carey. and from others among his colleagues, whilst prominent Muslims (Rowan Williams) and heathens (Vincent Nichols) do not seem, at least to my knowledge, equally vocal.
This is, though, the last example of how Cameron’s Government actively wages war against Christians.
And this moron should call himself, and be called, a Conservative?
What a joke.
Re-browsing the exceedingly beautiful “Life of Christ” from the great Fulton Sheen (a book that, if you ask me, should be obligatory reading in every RCIA, or confirmation class) I stumbled upon this very beautiful concept which, once again, made on me a profound impression (emphases always mine).
“The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is the Christ”. [...] Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.”
“Communism has chosen the Cross in the sense that it has brought back to an egotistic world a sense of discipline, self-abnegation, surrender, hard work, study, and dedication to supraindividual goals. But the Cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. Hence, Communism has produced a society that is authoritarian, cruel, oppressive of human freedom, filled with concentrantion camps, firing squads, and brain-washings”
“The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces. [...] Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears”.
This is impressive enough, and the lucidity of the man almost uncanny. The next part, though, is almost scarily prophetic.
“The problem now is: Will the Cross, which Communism hold in its hands, find Christ before the sentimental Christ of the Western world finds the Cross? It is our belief that Russia will find the Christ before the western world unites Christ with His Redemptive Cross”.
Communism is now, practically, no more; Russia is slowly but surely coming back to an increased form of religious practice. The West has deformed his “Christ without the Cross”, “patched together with a thousand commonplaces” to the point of parody, to an extent that Fulton Sheen probably couldn’t even imagine. Still, we can see a reaction forming already, with Christians now awakening to the danger and closing ranks.
This is also to be seen in the fundamental optimism of this great man, unable to wonder if Christ and the Cross will be reunited, but merely when.
Ah, to have half a dozen like him in these difficult times…
Good news from Peru.
A huge statue of Christ will be unveiled, probably on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, on the 29th June.
We are talking here of 22 metre of statue atop a 15 metre base. This makes a total of 37 metres, something like 12 storeys of a normal building, on top of a hill overlooking Lima.
The idea is that the statue should be visible from every point of the Peruvian capital.
As it was to be expected, such an endeavour is not without controversies: it is an initiative of the President of Peru (who has also very generously contributed to the costs, entirely financed by private donations), but the mayor of Lima has asked to place the statue somewhere else because it affects the view of the Morro Solar, a hill complex located nearby. The President has answered that the hill on which the statue should be posed doesn’t fall within the jurisdiction of the Mayor of Lima and whilst one can’t be certain when and where the statue will be unveiled, it doesn’t seem in doubt that this thing will happen. I haven’t come through calls to abort the installation because of politically correct concerns that such an initiative may, say, offend the Cameronian one-legged Icelandic lesbians or be opposed by the Feminists because Christ is represented as a man.
We’ll have to wait to see how the statue (built in Brazil) looks like, but the fact that it is said to be inspired by the famous one overlooking Rio de Janeiro leaves room for hope that another episode like the JP II’s multifunctional statue/rain shelter/garbage dump/urinal in Rome will not be repeated. Personally, I find the planned illumination in a couple of dozen colours a bit on the tacky side, but that’s just me.
In the meantime, one registers that in 2011 there are still Countries and Christians (from simple donors to people in very high political office) able to pull something like that.
Kudos to the Peruvian people and best wishes that the new monument may soon become closely identified with the city, a constant reminder of Our Saviour for all Lima’s inhabitants and, why not, a touristic attraction.
From Father Z’s blog, a barely believable – if we lived in normal times – story about a canadian Catholic school. In said Catholic school the idea of having a crucifix in every classroom was in the past considered – for reasons I do not even want to think about – not really necessary. I know, I know…..
This year, this state of things changed and every classroom was equipped with his crucifix.
Thinking that this would make some explanation necessary (a crucifix: what will then that be, one wonders….), a teacher (and principal of the school) decided to give some “explanations” to every class in the school.
The explanation centered about Jesus not having physically risen from the dead. Not only Easter, but the entire concept of divinity of Christ, and with that of Trinity, goes herewith out of the window as I can’t understand why God would decide that he can resurrect, but prefers not to and tells us a lie about it instead, clearly allowing this lie to be believed for some 20 centuries before a Canadian minus habens comes along.
Because this is, according to one brave girl who immediately challenged him, what is all about: Jesus “never resurrected”, the whole thing is “like a metaphor that you follow” and, you know, “people have taken the Bible too literally”.
In the view of this “enlightened” teacher in a Catholic school, the “moral” that Jesus died is right but hey, “the story is wrong”. The man is, at this point, launched toward the creation of a completely new religion and dutifully delivers: “Because He died in our honour we should be nice to each other,” or if you prefer to put it another way “the crucifix represents helping others” and when the students look at it “that’s all it’s supposed to mean”.
And there, a new religion is born. This new religion, “BeNiceAnity”, has a vague flavour of Christianity and actually can even tolerate a Crucifix, but not without an explanation that says: “hey, don’t take it all too literally with this Christ: the chap is still six feet under (at which Mundabor would have asked: “where’s the body? Who has stolen it? Who has lied about it? Why?”) and you must just relax, be nice to each other and try to be helpful” (and, no doubt, inclusive).
I don’t want to think what private issues a man can have to want to blasphemously offend Christ in this way, in his role as teacher, in a Catholic school, but one doesn’t have to be a genius to see that they must be huge.
One would wish the chap all the best in his chosen new professional path. Whatever that is, I’m sure he’ll be better at that than he was at teaching.
If you live in England, you may occasionally wonder when it was the last time that you heard a bishop say that Protestantism is a heresy.
You would also be very much embarrassed at having to answer to the question of when has your bishop last told that every effort to minimise major differences with the Protestants is like unleashing a wrecking ball against the edifice of the Catholic faith.
I also can’t remember any English bishop ever saying that the difference between Catholicism and protestant is huge, that no other religion was founded by Christ, and that Catholicism is the only way to salvation.
Finally, I do not recall ever knowing of an English Bishop posing Catholic Truth as the basis of every exercise in ecumenism, and that this truth will, like it or not, forcibly require sacrifices in matters of unity.
Obvious concepts, all of them. You just don’t hear them. Instead, you hear the usual convenient social(ist) waffle about social justice, or the even more populist bollocks about global warming.
This is why it is always good to listen to Michael Voris.
Malta is a Catholic fortress.
No divorce, no abortion, no cremation, no condoms in grocery stores.
This tiny country in the middle of the Mediterranean is now voting about divorce. It is one of only two countries which still get it right.
The vote seemed to assure victory to the divorce faction; but in the last days, the Catholic front has been advancing. The three Maltese bishops are – God bless them – firing from all cannons. Of the three, the most warly seems to be Mario Grech.
Beware of the wolf in sheep’s clothing. And the wolf is now saying he is Catholic. This is a falsity, this is deceit
You cannot not be loyal to Christ and say you are a Christian or a Catholic
If you are not in communion with Christ’s teachings, you are not in communion with the Church and you cannot receive communion
to be politically correct and not tell things as they are will lead us to be sorry. There are the brigands among us who are utilizing every means possible to lead the flock astray. They are going after marriage and then other things will follow.
The vote is now too close to call. But if the catholic side loses it will certainly not have been for lack of action of these bishops, fighting with such energy in the last days before the vote.
Oh for English bishops with one tenth of the faith of these brave men!
I cannot say that I always agree with Michael Voris. I remember an extremely questionable “vortex” about homosexuality, another about the best form of government for a Catholic country, a third (very recent) holding a rather extreme (though by no means isolated) view about how many people are saved; and if I must say it all, I also confess to a strong dislike of his post-68 style of dressing; things like jacket without tie, or jacket over casual trousers…but I digress.
Very often, though, I agree with what he says. Take the video above for example, a passionate defence of Truth over convenience, and proper instruction over “niceness”.
False charity doesn’t work and whilst most priests still don’t get the message, most bloggers do. Blogging is – in most cases – not their profession and the reason they blog is that – be they clergy or laity – they want a message to be spread, that they see not sufficiently talked about. Their blogging is the reaction to the utter failure of the professional clergy – collectively seen, and with the usual exceptions – to do a proper job.
This mentality has, in the last half century, sent countless faithful to their grave with a gospel of “niceness” at all costs and “celebration” as absolute centre of their spiritual life whose usefulness in the economy of their salvation can only be described as tragically inadequate.
No, blogs don’t have to “be nice” and come to that, priests don’t have to be it either. What they must be is truthful, crystal clear, assertive, uncompromising. It is not a surprise that the call to more “niceness” would apparently come from the same “establishment” (to use Voris’ words) that has, through its lack of truthfulness and love for harmony at all costs, caused the explosion of Catholic blogging in the first place. By calling for a non-divisive approach, they show that they still haven’t got the message that the Church is divisive, because the Church is in opposition to the world.
There is, I am afraid, no escape from this. The very moment you open your mouth and say that you’re a Catholic, you must know that you have no other choice but fight or appeasement. It must be so, because human nature is so. Being a Catholic – and saying it – means being unpopular among many, being vilified at times, being considered “uncharitable” by those who have made of niceness a religion, being considered “divisive” by those for whom inclusiveness comes before Truth. But it also means doing your duty, being a small but willing soldier of Christ, helping others to know the Truth, and avoiding becoming accessory to other people’s sins. Whoever has told you that to “fight the good fight” meant to “celebrate the inclusive celebration” was wrong.
Most bloggers will continue not to be very “nice” I am afraid. At least until the clergy will continue to be it.
Father Michael Pfleger is one of the stupidest liberal nutters in the Land of the Free, a fact of which you can easily persuade yourself by watching the video above. His speciality seems to be an extreme form of “white guilt complex” and if you look at the video above you will see the extremes to which this chap can go to. He is like a very pale Farrakhan. I’m sure Michelle Obama likes him a lot, though I doubt that he is Muslim enough for her husband.
You will in the video also note the personal show set up by the man; the studied, extreme gesture, the “protestant preacher” attitude, the over-the-top tones.
You would be forgiven for thinking that such a priest is, well, not very priestly. You would be right.
Father Pfleger has just been suspended by his bishop. The reason for this is that, being requested to be transferred to another position – in a role which, from what I can see, can in no way be seen as a deminutio, which considering the fanaticism of the man might be a scandal in itself – he not only refused to obey, but declared publicly on the radio that, if forced to be transferred, he would consider leaving the Church altogether. Methinks, he hasn’t read the job description properly.
Father Pfleger shows the self-centeredness of the liberal would-be prophets like him; he shows that not Christ is at the centre of what he does, but his own pride and convenience; he shows that the notoriety given to him by his pandering to the most aggressive black revanchist attitude has gone to his head, big time.
Please compare this to a Father Corapi, suspended because of one letter and who disagrees with the decision – as he is certainly allowed to do – but still obeys to the order of his superior.
These are the occasions where you can see who is interested in serving God and who is interested in the promoting of political ideology and of himself.
Father Pfleger has been given some week for prayer and recollection – whilst being suspended – and he is now in front of the choice whether to admit that he has been an ass (again) or show to everyone what a fake catholic he has always been.
I do not doubt that he can make a more than decent living as a defrocked preacher, touring resentful black America as the white liberal poster boy. But at least he won’t be allowed to go on with his madness whilst being a Catholic priest anymore.
Hat tip to Lux Occulta‘s Shane for this beautiful Michael Voris video.
Voris’ as always very outspoken message begins with a harsh criticism of the way Mass is too often celebrated: a self-celebration that is Protestant in nature and exclusively centered on more or (more often) less entertaining clowns. “All of this emphasis on all of these humans is absolutely out of place”, says Voris, and Cardinal Burke clearly points out to the danger of losing one’s faith by allowing oneself to be contaminated by such a protestant (and very convenient, and very “do not judge”, and very “inclusive”) thinking.
“The Mass is about Jesus Christ, everything else is Protestant”, says Voris with the usual openness and one wonders how long will we have to wait until we hear such concepts expressed by our bishops as a matter of course and, most importantly, openly and assertively instead of being coded within the usual politically correct crap they feed us with.
The second part of Voris’ message is even stronger than the first and points out to the immediate danger of damnation hovering over the countless priests and bishops who have perpetrated or allowed these abuses. “How many bishops in America have allowed this”, says Voris and thinking of our own bishops in the United Kingdom one is even more afraid.
The simple truth is that from the part of Catholic hierarchy considered as a whole, a betrayal of everything that is Catholic is going on that has few precedents (and possibly: no precedent, as even in the darkest days of the IX and X century Christian feelings were certainly better protected and better transmitted among the faithful) in the history of the Church.
Whilst remaining faithful to the Church founded on Peter by Christ, we must acknowledge the simple truth that many, many bishops make the work of the devil and that their criminal neglect of Catholic Truth to favour the approval of the masses will have – bar an always welcome repentance – to be paid at the highest price.
Very rightly, SPUC’s chef Smeaton says that Archbishop Nichols’ view on homosexuality endanger children’s souls . It goes without saying (though Mr. Smeaton says that, too) that Archbishop Nichols gravely endangers his own soul, too.
These are, alas, the times we live in. We are surrounded by bishops who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which by the tone of their actions and inactions seems by far the most frequent case – have surrendered every idea of fighting the good fight and are happy to feed the faithful with inane platitudes and assorted harmless slogans. In turn, this gives us priests who, when they have not completely lost the faith – which must be a rather frequent occurrence if you just listen to what many of them go around saying – are, poor chaps, too weak to start a battle against their own bishop; a battle that would see them in the end chastised in the best of cases, and utterly ruined in the worst.
Whenever cases like the one in Thiberville happen, where a joke of a bishop like Nourrichard (yes, he is the one in the photo; seriously!) is allowed to prevail over a courageous priest and his authentically Catholic community, priests all over the planet register the event and take note.
Make no mistake, though: I am less angry at the priest who can’t find in himself the courage to willfully undergo persecution that at the bishop who can’t find in himself the courage to be unpopular. A priest is a human being too and if he is “not born with a lion’s heart” (Manzoni) he will end up merely trying to limit the damage. I am also aware that (to say it with Manzoni again) “courage, one cannot give it to oneself”. May God have mercy of the poor priests who can’t find the strenght to do what they know they should do as he will – hopefully – have mercy on me, who are also unable to do what I know I should do.
But the position of a bishop is entirely different. Besides having greater responsibility as a successor of the Apostels, a bishop is so established in a world of power and privilege that even the persecution of a seriously modernist Pope (not to be seen anywhere on the horizon, by the way) would not go beyond the loss of a diocesan position and the confinement in some very comfortable – as the Italians say – “elephants’ cemetery”, very probably still in the company of all the accoutrements of rank and prestige.
A cowardly bishop has, therefore, no excuses, let alone a faithless Bishop wilfully and actively making the work of Satan (yes, I am thinking of Vincent “Quisling” Nichols and his ilk). We are all sinners of course, but there is a huge difference between being short of Jesus’ demand in one’s private life and to undermine His message in the public one.
God bless Michael Voris, Cardinal Burke and all those who fight the fight for the integrity of Catholicism in the face of the modernist, homosexualist, protestantised fifth column formed by too many bishops and, alas, still far too compact in its ranks.
Two aspiring foster parents are denied the possibility because they are Christians.
The simple fact that they said to the officials that they would teach their children that homosexuality is sinful disqualifies them, says the judge, from adoption. This is a country with officially more than 30 million Christians.
The Prime Minister agrees with the decision.
I have already pointed out many times to the hypocrisy of the Prime Minister, an atheist cretin trying to disguise himself as a Christian when convenient.
Cameron has now officially thrown away the mask, and this will do him no good. No doubt, in the next days he’ll come out with some slogan invented by some of his sleek, probably homosexual PR-“cuties” to try to repair the damage. The other hypothesis is that the man is so ignorant of Christianity that he doesn’t even understand what he is saying.
Cameron is an enemy of Christianity. He is an enemy of everyone of us. To support him in any way, shape or form is to help the enemies of Christ.
Interesting article on Catholic Culture about Hell. It is a pleasure to see that the invasion of the blogosphere from intelligent Catholics is slowly but surely bringing to the attention of discerning Catholic readers what a disgraceful clergy wanted them to forget or ignore. In this case the article is certainly not new (1995), but the internet is the way to make it better known.
Mr. Young doesn’t try to sweeten the pill; he is very clear on the unpleasant part, the one that in these days – when it is considered rude to say unpleasant things – is so often ignored. But at the same time – and with that mixture of common sense and good-natured optimism that is so typical of the best Catholic attitude – he sends a clear message of hope to those who may either be prone to scruples or thinking that if there is a Hell they are hopeless anyway.
In fact, negation of Hell (which in itself might well send one there) is rather common among those who don’t know the Gospels and prefer to fantasise about alleged Church conspiracies rather than to examine the facts. Jesus himself talks of Hell in a very clear manner, insistently, and nowhere more than in the Gospels do we see Hell mentioned. If one is able to read the Gospel without getting this message loud and clear he must simply re-learn to read.
Secondly and regarding the “conspiracy theorists”, it would appear rather extraordinary that the “conspirators” would be ready to die for Christ in such big numbers (and very often in such atrocious ways) because bent on creating – a couple of centuries after their horrible, humiliating death – some big organisation able to forbid one to eat meat on a Friday, & Co.
I have never seen conspirators so ready to die in order that their lie may triumph a couple of hundreds year later. I bet you never did, either.
Thirdly, Jesus’ clear insistence on Hell should make clear to everyone that Hell has not been created to allow Satan to play poker with Pol Pot, Hitler and Stalin. Hell is a clear, concrete possibility, a fundamental choice every one of us can make, a choice about which Jesus reminds us constantly.
“Oh Well” – you might say – “they aren’t three then, and perhaps not even three hundred; but compared to the world population…….. very few, surely?”
“The gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.”
These words come from the alleged First Conspirator Himself and frankly, the idea that his words might have been wilfully distorted in a gigantic effort to cheat God Himself of the message he wanted to send is more than blasphemous, it is outright stupid. Rather a few people, then, “find the hard way that leads to life”. It doesn’t mean that only those few will be saved, but it certainly means that there is no ground whatsoever for complacency.
But this the problem of modern times: people talking of Christianity without knowing the first thing of Christ, or talking of an alleged “betrayal” of Christ’s message without stopping to think of the absurdity of the concept.
Aut Deus, aut homo malus. Excluding the obviously absurd hypothesis of clinical insanity (that you never hear espoused by any critic of Hell’s existence anyway), Jesus was either a fraudster and a con man, or he was God. No intelligent, thoughtful reading of the Gospel allows any other possibility. How people who claim a vague belief in Jesus may reconcile their belief with the extraordinary denial of what he said strikes me as so arrogantly stupid as to not even deserve a serious conversation.
Jesus couldn’t have possibly been ” a nice chap”, or ” a man of God” duped by scheming apostles, or “the Son of God who was conned in the end by scheming martyrs”. It just doesn’t square, because this nice chap did say that He is God in thousand different ways and nice men don’t go around making such claims. Therefore, every DIY Christian and every Christian by hearsay must simply face the fact that unless He was God, He was not nice and not a man of God, but the most tragically cruel liar Himself; a man whose schemes not only led to His own death, but who preferred to continue the lie up to the cross, thus causing countless others to be killed because of His lie.
If one does as much as to believe that Jesus was not positively insane and not a scheming fraudster, then he must deal with the clear intellectual evidence of His being God. One of the first consequences of this actually rather easy to achieve conclusion is that Jesus has given us so many warnings about Hell for a reason. Or is there anyone ready to believe that God Himself would need to lie to us about Hell in order to save us from it?
It is time to face reality. Atheism may be logically linked to the absence of belief in the existence of Hell, but any form of credit given to Christ is utterly incompatible with it.
Therefore, Jesus is God and Hell exists, but where does this leave us in our matter? To put it with the author’s robust common sense,
“I think we should say it is not unlikely that many are lost. We should definitely not hold the opinion that few are lost.”
At the same time,
we must avoid generating a morbid fear of hell or an obsession with it. It is not a fate that can overwhelm us against our will; any who go there have chosen evil deliberately.
Hell is therefore very real and certainly not very sparsely inhabited; but it is avoidable all right if one as much as takes care that he does not embrace it.
To close with the powerful statement closing the article (emphases mine),
The doctrine should be seen in the light of God’s greatness and our dignity as free beings. He is so great that hell is a just punishment for rebelling against him; our dignity as responsible beings is so great that we can deserve that fate.
If you want to have an immediate perception of everything Vatican II represents, look no further than these two photos, courtesy of the always excellent Rorate Caeli blog.
I do not need to tell you which one is the old altar and which one is the new one. I would like to make the following observations:
1) The doubt whether the bishop (this is the Cathedral of St. Vincent in Viviers, France) who considers such a movable (look at the carpet) and almost casual device suitable for a Consecration believes in the Divinity of Christ is fully justified. I’d say the more intelligent question at the sight of such an opprobrium is how long ago the bishop in question has lost his faith, or whether he ever had one.
2) If I had even someone as infinitely lower than Christ as my King or Head of State at supper I’d never dream of dedicating to him my kitchen table, or my movable camping device, or the small breakfast table in the balcony. I would think that to prepare for my guest the best that I can offer would be the most elementary sign of my respect for my guest, and of my fitting tribute to his rank. I am rather sure the bishop who had the idea of commissioning such a sacrilege thinks the same, too and would never dream of receiving his distinguished guests in boxers and flip-flops, nor of inviting them to dinner and let them sit on the portable table in a corner of the patio.
Whenever I see such altars I can’t avoid thinking of someone who receives you in his undies and thinks it cool. This goes together with the modern times, when young idiots wear their undies as substitute for the back of their trousers and think it cool, too; but at least, they aren’t bishops.
3) I am very much in favour of the Holy Father talking, as he does here, of the necessity for the priest to “oppose the trend of the time”, to be “like a tree that has deep roots” as opposed to the “portable” ideology of the post- V II clergy. But I can’t avoid noticing that the Holy Father is very shy in walking the walk and that he – not to put too fine a point on it – continues to allow what he criticises. This is the same spirit of encouragement instead of demand already championed by Paul VI and John XXIII and about which I have already written here. It hasn’t worked these last 45 years and I can’t imagine that it can start working now.
This altar is a shame and a mockery of Catholicism. The downplaying of what happens on the altar is so evident as to make explanations superfluous; nay, I go as far as to say that the reason for such an altar is to make the downplaying of the Consecration perceivable to the dimmest wit. Symbols and images are very powerful and say one thousand words with a single statement. In this case, the statement can’t possibly be overheard.
Such clergy (the bishop, and those attuned to him) need our prayers, but they need to pull themselves together more, and they need correction the most. Beautiful speeches about the need for the priest to “not be chaff” are not really useful unless they are accompanied by the opportune measures and by a robust enforcement of the behaviour requested of them.
Beautiful blog post from Father Longenecker about the attitude of Catholics (or those who call themselves so) regarding the problem they encounter in understanding or accepting Catholic teaching on various issues.
Father Longenecker puts is very well when he writes that:
[...] a difficulty is the attitude which says, “How can that be so?” whereas a doubt is the attitude that says, “That can’t be so.” The first is open, engaged, intelligent and searching the tradition in order to understand the teaching. The second puts on above the tradition and the teaching by insisting that one knows better than Holy Church.
Catholicism is not easy. Some of the truths therein contained can be disconcerting, seem to fly in the face of common sense and sometimes are, in fact, a challenge to our ability to accept the Truth. It is only normal that, put in front of them, the Catholic be at first (and before being properly instructed and guided) somewhat at a loss to understand and perhaps a bit lost altogether. What is not normal (for a Catholic) is that he reacts to his difficulties by appointing himself as judge of the validity of Catholic Truth.
A Catholic knows that he has to accept Catholic Truth. Every bit of it. If he has a problem with it, it is a clear sign that he must work in humility to overcome his difficulty. But he must realise from the start that the problem is not about who is right, but about how long will it take for him to understand why he is wrong.
The attitude cannot be: “I disagree with this, so the Church must be wrong”. This is as Catholic as Mohammed, or David Cameron. The attitude can and must be: “I must be wrong on this and I now want to understand why“. Without this fundamental humility (and fundamental wisdom) no spiritual progress is possible; on the contrary, our ego will give us countless excuses to indulge in our little power games. Just notice the smug undertones of all who say “I disagree with the Church on (put here a doctrinal matter)….” to clearly realise the speaker’s barely hidden satisfaction at feeling so important or rebellious or – funny, this – clever.
Credo ut intelligam, non intelligo ut credam. “I believe that I may understand, I do not understand that I may believe”. The acceptance of Truth comes before the full understanding of the Truth and it is what makes this understanding possible in the first place. It is through my humble acceptance of Truth that the instruments to understand it are given to me. My intellect, left to himself, will never lead me to the Truth, but will invariably become the useful idiot of my ever-expanding ego.
Before the open dissent comes a sin of pride; the extraordinary idea that Christ came on Earth and died for us, but somehow neglected to foresee that the Church would betray his teaching until we, oh so clever, come to its rescue; the idea that God is not able to found a Church which keeps His teaching intact, and needs us to cure Her from several centuries of misogyny, or homophobia, or inability to understand modern times.
As I have said, this attitude doesn’t sound very clever. Perhaps you can make this clear to the next wannabe church-founder expanding on how he wants to improve on Christ’s work.
Interesting blog post on the Domine, Da Mihi Hanc Aquam blog. The blog post makes clear that, whilst Catholics avoid the noisy excess of screaming Protestant preachers, repentance for our sins is still – bar a Divine mercy that we have no right to expect – mandatory to avoid Hell.
The author of the blog post puts it in simple and very clear terms:
…refusing to repent of one’s sins constitutes blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and such a refusal will not be forgiven. In fact, refusing to repent cannot be forgiven. God will not save us against our will. He will love us right into hell.
Foreseeing the scandal of the liberal crowd, the author hastens to add:
This sounds harsh, I know. But this a truth of the Catholic faith that cannot be spiced up or sugar-coated or hidden away.
Everytime I read phrases like this I think of the many priests who have made of “sugar-coating” and “hiding away” an accomplished art – nay, a new religion! – and shiver.
The concept – so difficult to understand for some atheist – is brilliantly explained in more detail:
We have two truths in balance here. First, God wills that all His people return to Him through Christ. Second, He wills that we do so freely. So that all may return to Him through Christ, the invitation to salvation is made unconditionally, without limits, to everyone
Note here that the invitation is made to everyone (that is: even to non-Christians), but the return must be through Christ, with Allah & Co. not giving any entry rights, nor will a generic “I have been such a good chap” be of much use. Salvation is – bar an act of extraordinary mercy, on whose odds no one should ever stake his salvation – the result of a free decision to make the right choice.
Still another perspective is given by making clear that:
….. we send ourselves to hell by stubbornly refusing to repent. Our final refusal, our last rejection of God’s invitation to join Him in love is called “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.”
When your friend or colleague or relative says to you (with the shamelessness of our times) that “there is no God”, you can calmly tell him that he is being blasphemous and endangering his soul; when he replies that he doesn’t care as he doesn’t believe in any God, feel free to point out that the fact that he doesn’t believe in God doesn’t make him any less blasphemous, nor his soul any less endangered.
He’ll probably still not agree with you; but it is still a free choice that he makes. Put in front of a clear hypothesis of damnation, he can’t say that by not believing in damnation he has not chosen it.
Given the choice whether to believe, he has chosen not to; given the choice whether to be blasphemous, he has chosen to be; given the choice whether to choose Christ, he has chosen to ignore Him. Therefore, “but I truly, truly didn’t think that you existed!” will, one day, not go very far.
Until the last moment before death, there is still time. Until the last moment before death, Christ may still fish a soul out of his self-inflicted destiny. But if one really insists in refusing His help, then it is not logical to demand from Christ that help that one has always refused, nor can it be reasonable to demand that Christ saves one against one’s own free will, after one’s free will has been given God’s rank.
At death, rien ne va plus.