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.
Interesting video from Michael Voris about the time Catholics spend… being Catholic.
Voris’ argument is that outside of church, most of the time is spent immersed in the worldly atmosphere around us; in doing this, many people stop being Catholic at every practical level and simply accept that the world around us has become un-Christian to a shocking extent. This not only makes the role of the Catholic ineffectual (or not so effectual) in the world around him, but makes it more probable that the worldly society around him will slowly absorb him and become the normal, legitimate world, opposed to which the 50 minutes at Mass become a short immersion in a parallel universe without any real relevance to our lives.
The matter is less banal that it might appear, because the list of issues about which Catholics are simply silent has grown to astonishing proportions. Divorce, contraception, abortion, sexual promiscuity, sexual perversions, euthanasia and all other behaviour which our ancestors would have considered unthinkable are now tolerated by Catholics with the same indifferent attitude with which rain and cold are accepted, and I don’t want to think how many Catholics are more angry for the queues on the M25 than about abortion.
Yes, most churchgoers are at some level aware that they are against abortion, but this is far from becoming concrete action: from speaking out loud with friends and family, to taking this into consideration when voting, to caring that one’s own children grow up with the right moral values.
Others are more acutely aware of the evils of present times but seem content to keep their Christian practice private, happily (and conveniently) renouncing to make the Truth heard whenever reasonably practicable. No fuss, no anger, no loss of popularity. A bit too easy, says Voris.
Left alone, those 50 minutes are not enough to ensure Catholic values within the family, let alone to make a more Catholic world. Voris’ appeal is, therefore, important in that it reminds the Catholic that his mission begins when he goes out of church, rather than remaining confined to church attendance.
Don’t be a fanatic, but don’t be a coward. Remember that you’re a Catholic and that you are requested to beat witness of the Catholic Truth. Remember your responsibility toward your family and children and as a friend, a colleague, a voter.
It is beautiful (particularly in these turbulent days) to be proud to be Italian. This letter is written by Catholics concerned about the possible effects of the next Assisi gathering; as a result, they beg the Holy father not to travel to Assisi.
The wording is absolutely beautiful. Instead of only reporting or commenting some passages, I will report the parts of the letter published on CITI in their entirety.
Most Holy Father,
(…)We take the liberty of writing you after having learned, precisely during the massacre of the Coptic Christians (Ed. in Egypt, December 31, 2010), your intention of convening in Assisi, in October, a large inter-religious assembly, 25 years after “Assisi 1986”.
We all remember this event that took place so long ago. An event like few others in the media, that, independently of the intentions and declarations of he (those) who convened it, had an undeniable repercussion, relaunching in the Catholic world indifference and religious relativism.
It is this event that caused to take effect among the Christian people the idea that the secular teaching of the Church, “one, holy, Catholic and apostolic”, concerning the unique character of the Savior, was in some way to be banished to the archives.
We all remember the representatives of all the religions in a Catholic sanctuary, the church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, lined up with olive branches in hand: as if to signify that peace does not come through Christ but, indistinctly, through all the founders of any credo whatsoever (Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, Kali, Christ…)
We remember the prayer of the Muslims in Assisi, the city of a saint who had made the conversion of the Muslims one of his objectives. We remember the prayer of the animists, their invocation to the spirits of the elements, and of other believers or representatives of atheistic religions, such as Jainism.
The effect of this “praying together”, whatever its goal may be, like it or not, is to make many believe that all were praying to “the same God”, only with different names.
On the contrary, the Scriptures are clear: “Thou shalt not have false gods before me” (First Commandment), “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by me” (John 14:6)
Those who write here in no way contest a dialogue with each and every person, whatever his religion may be.
We live in the world, and every day we speak, discuss, love, even those who are not Christian, because they are atheists, indifferent, or of other religions. But that does not keep us from believing that God came down to earth, and let Himself be killed to teach us, precisely, the Way, the Truth, and not just one of many possible ways and truths. Christ is, for us Christians, the Savior; the only Savior of the world.
We recall with consternation, going back 25 years, the chickens beheaded on the altar of St. Claire according to tribal rituals and a statue of Buddha placed on the altar in the church of St. Peter, above the relics of the martyr Vittorino, killed in 400 AD to bear witness to his faith.
We remember the Catholic priests at the initiation rites of other religions: a horrible scene, for, if it is “ridiculous” to baptize into the Catholic faith an adult who does not believe, just as absurd is it for a priest to undergo a ritual of which he recognizes neither the validity nor the utility. By doing this, one ends up just spreading one idea: that rites, all rites, are nothing but empty human gestures. That all the conceptions of the divine are of equal value. That all moralities, that emanate from all religions, are interchangeable. That is the “spirit of Assisi”, upon which the media and the most relativist milieus of the Church have elaborated, sowing confusion. It seemed to us foreign to the Gospel and to the Church of Christ that had never, in two thousand years, chosen to do such a thing. We would have liked to rewrite these ironic observations of a French journalist: “In the presence of so many gods, one will believe more easily that they are all equal than that there is only one that is true. The scornful Parisian will imitate that skeptical collector, whose friend had just made an idol fall from a table: ‘Ah, unhappy one, that may have been the true God’.”
We therefore find comfort for our perplexities in the many declarations of the Popes who have always condemned such a “dialogue”. Indeed, a congress of all religions has already been organized in Chicago in 1893 and in Paris in 1900. But Pope Leo XIII intervened to forbid all Catholics to participate.
The same attitude was that of Pius XI, the Pope who condemned Nazi atheism and Communist atheism, but deplored at the same time the attempt to unite people in the name of a vague and indistinct sentiment, without religion, without Christ.
Pius XI wrote thus in Mortalium Animos (Epiphany 1928) concerning ecumenical encounters: “We see some men, convinced that it is very rare to meet men deprived of all religious sense, nourish the hope that it might be possible to lead peoples without difficulty, in spite of their religious differences, to a fraternal agreement on the profession of certain doctrines considered as a common foundation of spiritual life. That is why they begin to hold congresses, reunions, conferences, frequented by an appreciably large audience, and, to their discussions, they invite all men indistinctly, infidels of all kinds along with the faithful of Christ and even those who, unfortunately, have separated themselves from Christ or who, with bitterness and obstinacy, deny the divinity of His nature and of His mission.
“Such undertakings cannot, in any way, be approved by Catholics, since they are based on the erroneous opinion that all religions are more or less good and praiseworthy, in the sense that all equally, although in different ways, manifest and signify the natural and innate sentiment that carries us towards God and pushes us to recognize with respect His power. In truth, the partisans of this theory fall into a complete error, but what is more, in perverting the notion of the true religion, they repudiate it, and they fall step by step into naturalism and atheism.”
In retrospect, we can say that Pope Pius XI was right, even on the level of the simple opportunity: in reality, what has been the effect of “Assisi 1986”, in spite of the just declarations of Pope John Paul II, aimed at forestalling such an interpretation?
What is the message relaunched by the organizers, the media, and even the many modernist clerics desirous of overturning the tradition of the Church? What came across to many Christians, through the images, which are always the most evocative, and through the newspapers and television, is very clear: religious relativism, which is the equivalent of atheism.
If all pray “together”, many have concluded, then all religions are “equal”, but if this is the case, that means that none of them is true. At this time, you, cardinal and prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, with Cardinal Giacomo Biffi, and several others, were among those who expressed serious doubts. For this reason, in the following years, you have never participated in the replicas proposed each year by the Community of Sant’Egidio. (…)
These past years you have taught, without always being understood, even by Catholics, that dialogue has its place, and can take place, not between different theologies, but between different cultures, and not between different religions, but between men, in the light of that which distinguishes us all: human reason.
Without recreating the ancient pagan Pantheon; without the integrity of the faith being compromised by a love for theological compromise; without Revelation, that is not our own, being modified by men and theologians in the aim of reconciling the irreconcilable; without placing Christ, “sign of contradiction”, on the same level as Buddha or Confucius, who, besides, never said that they were God.
This is why we are here to expose to you our fears. We fear that, whatever you may say, television, the newspapers, and many Catholics will interpret it in the light of this past and of the present indifferentism; we fear that, whatever you may claim, the event will be read as a continuation of the manipulation of the figure of St. Francis, transformed by today’s ecumenists into an pacifist, a syncretist without faith. It is already the case…
We are afraid that whatever you may say to clarify things more, the simple faithful, of whose number we are, everywhere in the world will see but one fact (and that is all that will be shown, for example, on television): the Vicar of Christ not only speaking, debating, dialoguing with the representatives of other religions, but also praying with them. As if the manner and the end of prayer were indifferent.
And many will think mistakenly that the Church has henceforth capitulated, and recognized, in the line of the New Age way of thinking, that to pray to Christ, Allah, Buddha, or Manitou is the same thing. That animist and islamic polygamy, hindu castes or the polytheistic animist spiritualism, can go hand-in-hand with Christian monogamy, the law of love and pardon of the One and Triune God. (…)
Most Holy Father, we believe that with a new “Assisi 1986”, no Christian in the Orient will be saved: nor in Communist China, nor in North Korea or Pakistan or Iraq… on the contrary, many faithful will not understand why in these countries, people still die martyrs for not renouncing their encounter not with just any religion, but with Christ. Just as the Apostles died.
In the face of persecution, there exist political, diplomatic means, personal dialogues between States: may they all take place, and as well as possible. With Your love and Your desire for peace for all men.
But without giving those who wish to sow confusion and to augment religious relativism – antechamber of all relativisms –, an opportunity, for the media included, as appetizing as a second edition of “Assisi 1986”.
With our filial devotion,
Francis Agnoli, Lorenzo Bertocchi, Roberto de Mattei, Corrado Gnerre, Alessandro Gnocchi, Camillo Langone, Mario Palmaro
There is truly nothing to add.
I hope that the Holy Father will give this letter careful consideration.
I am pretty sure that the readers of this blog like Cardinal Pell. It will therefore please them to know that our valiant soldier has taken Christ’s Sword in his hands and is, once again, vigorously whirling it around.
His very effective communication style is miles away from the mellifluous and innocuous tone of our Bishops here in Blighty. His sentences are rather short and rather clear. They are rather uncomfortable, too.
Apparently, in Australia the year 2011 will see parliamentary debates about two issues directly involving Catholic teaching: so-called homo “marriages” and euthanasia. As it happens so often, many local Catholic politicians are bravely deciding to shut up in the hope that no one notices that they’re supposed to be good Catholic when it’s uncomfortable, too.
Cardinal Pell has noticed.
Some snippets of a true Shepherd’s prose:
“If a person says, ‘Look, I’m not a Christian, I’ve a different set of perspectives,’ I disagree but I understand,”
If a person says to me, ‘Look, I’m nominally a Christian but it sits lightly with me,’ I understand that.”
“But it’s incongruous for somebody to be a Captain Catholic one minute, saying they’re as good a Catholic as the Pope, then regularly voting against the established Christian traditions.”
Cardinal Pell doesn’t make any discount to Catholic politicians trying to draw political capital from their religious affiliation and clearly tells them what this entails. He says that
“If you’re espousing something that’s not a Christian position, don’t claim Christian backing for that.”
He is totally unapologetic about his position, too. Try this (emphasis mine):
“I’m not telling people how to vote,” [...] “I’m telling people how I think they should vote. I’m an Australian citizen and I have as much right to do that as any other citizen.”
“I’m telling people how I think they should vote”. When was this last heard in England or Wales? Alas, such clarity of Catholic message is unheard-of among those who have the task of proclaiming and defending it among us.
Do you want proof? Look no further than here.
I rest my case.
This must be one of the most brilliant Voris contributions ever*.
The general tone and message of the short video (the very Catholic idea that every one of us is naturally headed for damnation, with Christ’s sacrifice opening us a door to Redemption, but a door which we must still consciously get through; or – to use the even more fitting Voris’ image – that we are in a pit of sin and prospective damnation with Christ tending us a hand that we need to grasp and hold to if we want our soul to be saved) must sound utterly shocking to the modern “everything goes”, “heart in the right place”, “let us be nice to each other”, tofu-eating, permanently “celebrating”, “inclusive” brigade. It will be, in fact, rather fun to observe, in the next days, the comments about this video and the astonished reactions of people confronted, perhaps for the first time in their life, with something different from the usual “isn’t it incredibly cool that we are all going to be saved”-mantra all too often heard from the permanently smiling priest down the road.
Voris is good because, among other things, he constantly works at the demolition of the sugary image of Catholicism held by so many poorly instructed Catholics nowadays; the vague idea that Jesus be an older version of Mahatma Ghandi with some trait of Nelson Mandela thrown in, or that Christianity be a simple way to “celebrate whatever each one of us feels like doing” whilst feeling so “inclusive” and “tolerant” in the process.
“I’ll do as I please, you’ll do as you please, we’ll celebrate each other and feel rather smug by doing it” seems to be the unspoken slogan of such “Catholics”. The fact that some of them might even be in (some sort of) good faith only exposes the criminal neglect of the very fundamentals of Catholic instruction initiated by the pot fest called Second Vatican Council and the heavy drugs phase called Spirit of Vatican II.
As the detoxification progresses and the Church becomes more and more aware of the extent of the damage inflicted to Her body by decades of unspeakable wreckage of all that is authentically Catholic, it is good that those like Voris help the faithful to gain consciousness of the extent of the fundamental problem of the human condition.
When one properly understands the concept, one realises that the Church’s troubles are but its consequence. Conversely, unless one understands the fundamental sinfulness of the human condition it will be very difficult for him to look at the problems within the Church and put them into the proper context. If he is sooo good and surely meant for Heaven, how can the Church be so much below his own standard?
Let us hope and pray that this is the last generation of Catholics thinking that Jesus was “like, cool” and the Church “bad, man”.
*as always, free registration might be needed. Do yourself a favour and get through the procedure; you won’t regret it.
The truth (very well-known to Padre Pio, to Saint Therese and to countless others) is that Christ did not make Christianity easy and plainly said so. He made very clear that we, redeemed by His cross at the price of suffering, shame and death must be ready, whenever asked, to pay whatever suffering, shame and death He in His wisdom will want to allot to us. We are saved by His Cross, but on the condition of being willing to carry, whenever asked, the cross that He will pose on our shoulder. He took the Cross first, we take it from Him in the measure inscrutably chosen by Him. He loved us carrying the Cross, we love Him by carrying His cross in the measure requested from us. Our love for the Lord is not only in enjoying His gifts, but also in sharing His sufferance. We can’t take the pleasant part and just pretend that the unpleasant one will disappear or that it has never existed. If you love, you suffer with the beloved. No amount of self-delusion will take the chalice – lovingly prepared for us, so that we may lovingly share His sufferance – away from us.
Jesus said: “If any man will follow me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me”. He didn’t say “If any man will follow me, let him express whatever wish he has and believe in it and I will invariably deliver his wildest dreams”. And what he said, he said publicly, emphatically directing his attention to the general public around him. This is clearly a public warning that even with Redemption paid for us and Salvation in our reach, it won’t be a walk in the park just because we wish it.
This was, once, common Catholic knowledge. The suffering of saintly lives was stressed and honoured. Suffering was constantly remembered in daily prayers (“…. to thee do we send our sighs, mourning and weeping in this vale of tears”); the Passion was known to every faithful, literate or not, in minute details through the Stations of the Cross; the Seven Sorrows of Mary had the clear aim of uniting ourselves with Mary’s and Christ’s suffering, and so on. In a word, the reality of suffering was not just wished away and subsequently ignored, but was embraced as a way to grow, and an extremely efficient one at that. Not much of this has remained today. Today, you go to a Mass with a liberal priest and he is even ashamed to remind his audience that yes, they’ll have to give back the spoon one day.
It is better to say the one or other charitable word to the people around us who might happen to regurgitate erroneous concepts, than to have them utterly crushed when the test, invariably, arrives.
In these times of “Christianity by hearsay” it is all too frequent to find people whose concept of Christianity is rooted in deep error; or better said, in ignorance leading to error. We see them around us all the time in form of friends, acquaintances and colleagues. This post is devoted to saying a couple of words on the concepts of “taking up the Cross”.
It is a sad reality of our day that either vaguely “new age” ideas or analogous “prosperity Gospel” concepts find their way to the minds of Catholics through popular books. Which is no surprise if you consider that upon entering every “Waterstone’s” in London you will be confronted with a “gay and lesbian” section but the “Christianity” section will be underdeveloped, mainly filled with popular let-us-make-things-easy-for-ourselves, so-called “self-help” book and a sad joke as far as Catholicism is concerned.
The casual client browsing through a modern bookstore’s shelves will not easily find books who properly explain the Catholic view of “taking up the cross”. Rather, they will easily find books that subscribe either to one of the many “law of attraction” variations or to some variant of the so-called “prosperity Gospel”. Both of them (particularly the former) have a fundamental concept in common: that God is willing to make your sojourn on earth pretty much of a paradise, if you but allow him to do it. Here we see the clear desire to expunge the uncomfortable news and focus only on the good part. Unfortunately for us, it doesn’t work in this way.
Firstly, the idea that God wants everyone to be healthy and prosperous (and prosperous, and prosperous to boot; and did I mention prosperous?) is in marked contrast with the most obvious experience of the human condition, filled with people who were extremely saintly without ever being healthy, let alone prosperous. Saint Padre Pio or St. Therese of Lisieux come to mind, but you’ll certainly have many other examples. Therefore, this theory implies that these saintly people had it all wrong and – what is worse – just couldn’t see how wrong they were so that they could help others. Ah, they reason, if only padre Pio had come to the conclusion that he only had to attract health! How many people he would have been able to help, and a saintly man like him would have been given the most wonderful clinical record ever, just for the asking! Alas, these people should read a bit about Padre Pio, or St. Therese. If they did, they would know what bearing the cross means.
Secondly, the theory is an obvious post hoc, ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. Let us say that one thousand people dream of becoming, one day, a billion-dollar-heavy TV presenter and producer. They all try with the same passion, positive energy and unrelenting optimism. They are all equally persuaded that they will succeed. In time, nine hundred and ninety-nine fail to achieve the objective and their lives go along different rails, in which by the way they may find their true happiness. The one-thousandth is a lady called Oprah Winfrey who, after the fact, starts to subscribe to the idea that the simple fact that she wanted to be extremely successful and accepted this as a given started a chain of events which then led her to the “attracted” result of becoming a billionaire. This is the same as the one winning the jackpot at the lottery maintaining that he did so because he drunk skinny caramel latte at Starbuck’s every second Tuesday of the months ending with “er”.
Of course this doesn’t mean that we must go around expecting disgraces, or even wishing them. It is good to have a fundamentally healthy outlook on life and joy, and enthusiasm and faith in the Lord will – if this is God’s will, and with the assistence of our Guardian Angels and of all those in Heaven we will ask to help us – clear a great deal of obstacles from our way and open the way to all the graces God will deem fit to bestow on us (the one or the other might, by her effort and the grace of God, even become a billion-dollar-heavy Tv presenter and producer….). But this doesn’t mean becoming a Pollyanna, or rationalising every problem a posteriori by saying ourselves that in some strange way – and unknown to us?! – we must, truly must have attracted that truck coming straight against our bonnet….
END OF PART ONE…..
This on Unity and Truth (you can jump to 0:35 if you want to skip the adv) is one of the best Voris videos and it seems to me that it is particularly fitting in our present situation, when the Ordinariate is exposing us to the risk of a watered down (or, in the worst case, outright rebellious) “version” of Catholicism meant not to “hurt” those Anglicans disappointed with the course of their so-called church but, it would appear, extremely sensitive in being told that a) they are wrong and b) if they want to convert they’ll have to come to term with this.
I found these sentences particularly beautiful:
Unity must be around the Truth and the Truth must be the grounding for Charity. Those who unite around the lie are neither truthful nor charitable.
The way to counter an error is with the Truth. To do so is an act of charity. And when the Truth is at the centre that means our Blessed Lord is at the centre. And that is Who unifies us.
“To speak falsely or in an unclear manner – regardless of your intention – opens the door for spiritual collapse of the faithful. This is untruthful, certainly not charitable and absolutely nothing to have to do with Unity. You can’t talk about being charitable or having unity if you first don’t speak the Truth” (emphasis mine)
Truth is Truth, and Lie is Lie. There’s no escaping this simple concept.
The idea that one may convert without changing his mind (and clearly saying so) about who has been right all the time and who has been wrong all the time is a self-deception, useful only if one wants to seriously harm one’s soul.
We have examined in the past two posts (here and here) the most common ways to understand reincarnation and their fundamental incompatibility with the existence and work of Christ. Let us now conclude by examining the utter failure of such new age “Christianity-cum-reincarnation” perspectives from a more practical point of view.
In order to do so, one must decide whether Indians are a people intrinsically or even genetically prone to violence and cruelty, or not. If one decides that they are, one subscribes to a racist vision of the world which is the contrary of what modern followers of reincarnation tend to (at least consciously) believe. If one doesn’t, he has a problem.
It is in fact clear from the most superficial exam of the Indian society that a high level of cruelty and ruthlessness, unknown to Christian societies, has dominated its social structures for a long time. The suttee, the habit of burning the widow at or around the death of her husband, is in my eyes a clear evidence of the consequences of reincarnation. I am not interested here in the details of the practice (how consistent it was with Hindu spirituality; whether it was more often voluntary or forced; whether it was common or rare, etc.); rather with the fact that such practices never existed in the Christian culture. And really, whilst one does not necessarily need to believe in reincarnation to commit suicide or being killed (a lot of atheists commit suicide or kill even by us), it is difficult to imagine that such practices would have been even imagined without a belief in reincarnation spread through the veins of the Indian society. The problem here is not whether Suttee is compatible with Hindu spirituality, but whether it is compatible with the belief in reincarnation…..
Similar considerations can be made for other aspects of the Indian society, less evident now but still not eradicated: the existence and toleration of castes by otherwise decent people can only be explained with the belief in reincarnation.
Never in Christian countries have people died of starvation in the middle of the road among the general indifference; not even in times of pestilence. Never in Christian countries have people been considered unworthy of being touched, or even their shadow being considered defiling. Never in Christian countries has the gap between starving poor and shamelessly rich reached the scale of the Indian subcontinent found by the British colonisation. I could give further examples of cruelty and utter disregard for the dignity of the human being.
Still, no sensible person could deny that in that same country one could find a multitude of excellent people; compassionate in their own way, lovers of family and friends, sometimes extremely spiritual as clearly showed by an impressive spiritual tradition. It is therefore fair to say that it is the belief in reincarnation which made the cruelty, the suttee, the starving of people under one’s eyes & Co. acceptable in the eyes of decent people. I do not want to say that an individual who believes in reincarnation must perforce accepts these things; rather that a nation that believes in reincarnation will end up accepting them.
The problem of today’s society is that too many people are ready to see as “cool” and “spiritually advanced” everything that comes from the East, but do not think to the end about the consequences of the beliefs they are trying to import. They consider a “cruelty” that a priest (a man who has made an adult and free choice) is not allowed to marry, but never consider that a child brought to a Buddhist monastery to be raised as a monk never had a chance to choose, or to protest. They never ask themselves how would they feel if Catholic priests or friars were selected in the same way. They are so vocal in the defence of animals and will love to tell you how nice Indian people are to cows, but will readily forget how less nice they are to the starving and to the widows. (Yes, many widows die in India today of strange domestic accidents. Doesn’t happen by us, strangely enough).
This doesn’t want to be a generalised condemnation of Indian society. I am sure many excellent people (Hindu, Muslim etc.) live and have always lived there. But you can’t take Sodom out of Lot, and you can’t avoid the belief in reincarnation causing an amount of indifference and acceptance of starvation and violence just inconceivable by us.
And so it happens that whilst Western countries nowadays provide up to one fifth of the GDP of countries thousands of miles away, out of sheer compassion for people they’ll never see, Sri Lanka drowns in a sea of corruption even after a disastrous tsunami, with entire categories of citizens enriching themselves out of the money meant to save their own people from tragic death and utter destitution.
Christian societies work. They are far more compassionate than any other. They have never allowed mass starvation, not even in the darkest hours of hunger and misery and plague. They have never burned widows like the Indians, or exposed sickly children like the Greek. Not even in the hardest circumstances.
Reincarnation is not only wrong but when applied to entire populations for generations, sooner or later it will create the conditions for the toleration of every aberration.
Absolutely brilliant entry from Fr Philip Neri Powell, the Domine, da mihi hans aquam! blogger.
A famous scene from Monty Phyton’s “Life of Brian” is the witty starting point to the right understanding of what it means to follow Christ. The exposition is based on brilliant metaphors: bill payments, tuition costs, everyday sayings, military considerations and surrender’s conditions are all put together in a striking way.
The blog entry can be read in a couple of minutes, what you learn from it will probably stay with you forever.
The prayer to St. Michael the Archangel was created by Pope Leo XIII in 1886 after a vision. The vision was clear as to the fact that the XX century would be the one in which Our Lord would allow Satan to try (if he can of course) to destroy the Church. Leo XIII ordered this prayer to be added to the prayers after mass (called the Leonine Prayers) which he himself had introduced two years before.
Today it appears very clearly how dramatically authentic Pope Leo XIII’s vision was. The XX century has been, indeed, one of great tribulation for the Church, with Satan attacking and severely damaging Her from the inside. Fittingly, the prayers after Mass were officially suppressed in 1964.
More than fifty years later, the devastations caused by Vatican II on one side and – to a much greater extent – from the “spirit of Vatican II” on the other side are all too apparent. We can clearly see now how Satan acted, we have the damages in front of our eyes. Still, we can also see that the Church survived the attack; that she slowly but surely begins to react and to get her act together; that she is now rapidly recovering not only the notion of proper Liturgy, but the understanding of Her mission.
We can also see that even in the midst of such havoc, no doctrinal damage has been suffered. The Holy Ghost has in such difficult times protected the Church as he always does: leaving the men who run Her free to be as corrupt and evil as they want but never allowing them to touch Her doctrinal purity.
Today we see a slow, but unstoppable recovery and have additional evidence that the gates of Hell will never prevail. We stand in horror at the scale of the devastation, but in awe at the way the sancta sanctorum of Catholicism, the doctrinal corpus, has been left undamaged by the bombardments of both the “aggiornamento” and his bastard child, the “spirit of Vatican II”.
I invite the readers to memorize this beautiful prayer and to recite it after Mass and whenever they are confronted with a manifestation of aggressive secularism in their daily lives. It is a beautiful and uplifting prayer. It is wonderfully politically incorrect. It is, I do not doubt, powerful.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.
Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio;
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae Caelestis,
satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute in infernum detrude.