First, let us state something banal, but necessary: Truth can only be absolute. If Truth is half, or conditioned, or contingent, or in any way limited, then it cannot be Truth.
Secondly, another banal consideration: no man can make his own truth. When people commonly say “I have the Truth”, it means “I know it, I have received it, and I am persuaded of its truthfulness”. More correctly, however, they should say “I know the Truth”.
We, the Christians, know the Truth, and this Truth is Christ. It is not only that Christ has the Truth. Much more, Christ is the Truth. And this is, as even Francis must recognise, no half truth.
It follows that he who follows, loves and defend Christ follows, loves and defend the Absolute Truth. There is no other way to put it: if you do not believe in Absolute Truth, you cannot call yourself a Christian; then Christ did not ask you for conditional loyalty to Him.
Therefore, to insult a Catholic because he thinks he knows, defends, proclaims, or in any way upholds the Absolute Truth – which, in this case, can only mean the Truth that is Christ – shows in the most blatant way that one has abandoned Christ, and has sold himself to the relativistic ideology so dear to our time.
When one thinks in that way, it comes only natural to him to call a Christian a “fundamentalist”. If you reject the very concept of (Absolute) Truth, anyone who upholds it must seem to you a deranged fanatic. But this is not because he is a fanatic. It is because you are godless.
Francis shows all the signs of the man who, if he ever believed in Christ, has stopped doing it a long time ago. His secular, godless mentality is so ingrained in him that he cannot avoid showing it in a very spontaneous and casual way every time he open his mouth and says three sentences in a row without a pre-approved text in front of him. He cannot even force himself to kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament; but then he tells us that we should kneel in front of the poor.
Francis is wordly through and through. A godless relativist.
It is no surprise he hates talk of Absolute Truth.
I have read around some rather astonishing comments, that might confuse if not solid Catholics at least doubting ones, and certainly Protestants who are perhaps thinking of conversion. The argument goes along the lines of “if the CDF, which are the guardians of the Faith, are proved to be in error, why should we believe in the inerrancy of a Church who can't even prevent their very own watchdogs from getting it wrong?”.
This statement shows a dangerous confusion between the Truth and the organisation meant to protect it. The Truth comes from God, and the Church is run by men. The Church is Indefectible as an organisation, but Her organs are certainly not infallible in their actions; not even those who pertains to fundamental questions of truth and lie, orthodoxy or heresy.
St Joan of Arc was sent to die at the stake. Athanasius was even excommunicated. The Templars were disposed of with charges of heresy. There are, in the history of the Church, countless examples of wrong judgment or compliance to political pressures. The Church is not run by angels, and the actions of the men who run Her are liable to make pretty much all mistakes caused by their human nature, from ignorance to corruption to weakness to outright evil intent, with as only protection the very special one given to one man, the Pope, and in very exceptional circumstances only.
The CDF is not infallible. How could it be, it the men running it aren't the Pope and do not speak ex cathedra?
To idolise the Church to the rather, on reflection, extreme point that Her infallibility is extended to everything she does in matter of doctrine is to take Truth away from God, and to trust it in the hands of a bunch of men of more or less undeveloped moral integrity, doctrinal wisdom and, perhaps, intelligence. This thinking denies the very meaning of eternal Truth as it deifies the opinions of men. It just does not square with Catholic thinking.
The Church has given us a deposit of faith, accessible to pretty much everyone according to his lights, and such that if this person is honest with himself and, if necessary, seeks the counsel of wise priests or scours the Internet with sincere intent, he is pretty sure not to fall into grievous error.
Countless generations of simple, perhaps even illiterate Catholics could smell a doctrinal rat from rather far away, as they compared what they heard from, say, a strange preacher with the simple but coherent truths learnt from their parents and grandparents, heard in countless homilies and sermons, and integral part of the very culture in which they were immersed. They might not have been able to formulate why the rat was there; but the smell they could, as a rule, sniff rather fast. During the French Revolution, or in Italy in those same years, it was among illiterate peasants that you could find the staunchest defenders of the Faith.
Nowadays, admittedly, there aren't many priests around making instructive homilies and building people in the faith. But the nature of Truth is still such that no progressive priest can spread only half of it without devout and thinking Catholics realising the other half is unmitigated rubbish. The Internet gives access to a wonderful, endless list of orthodox priests and lay bloggers, whose truth will immediately resonate with the reader because it is not their individual truth, but the same Truth of our grand-grandmothers. The Internet and the now spread literacy will also give cheap access to a virtually unlimited quantity of Catholic treasures of the past, such that in former ages such a knowledge would have been accessible only to the most educated and, if laymen, to those from rather wealthy families.
We have, therefore, less good priests than our forefathers had, but more instruments at our disposal to discern with reasonable security whether, say, the CDF is making a mistake or not. We are also, as good Catholics, aware that worldly pressure and political thinking may corrupt every organisation made by humans, and that – particularly in these disgraceful times – this can very easily be the case for the CDF. We do not entrusts these mere humans with something that is simply not within their remit. Particularly if we know who their earthly boss is.
The CDF have made many mistakes, and many more will they make. But we do not start the Creed saying “I believe in the CDF, the Watchdog Almighty”. Truth rests with God. He gives us ways to avoid serious errors, and demands from us that we, according to our lights, instruct ourselves so that these errors will have it very difficult to enter our minds. He sends us people, situations, circumstances, and various graces allowing us to see when Truth is being betrayed.
We do not need to get excited and start to doubt because, say, a head of the CDF expresses himself in favour of communion for adulterers – which the next one will probably do – or subtly doubts the physical Resurrection of our Lord and the physical Perpetual Virginity of Our Lady – which the present one already does -. We know Truth is Truth. We measure those in charge of the CDF according to their adherence to Truth, not the other way round.
Fidelity to the Deposit of Faith is the first and foremost. Our Catholicism literally hinges on it. All the rest, from the Pope to the CDF, from Cardinals to Catechisms, is seen and judged – yes, judged – according to how smoothly it revolves around the hinge.
This is how our forefathers thoughts, and this is how we do it now.
St Paul wouldn't have moved one inch if an angel had come down from heaven and had started to proclaim some novel idea; it is not clear to me why a modern Catholic should plunge in a major crisis because of Cardinal Müller, or any of his successors.
We truly must start to think of these things – to think in terms of hinge – more often, because we will be forced to recur to this thinking more and more frequently in future.
Let us strenghtem our faith and our allegiance to the immortal Truths of the Church now, because we may have need for them before long.
“If we deny that we are morally bound to love before all else the good as such and God the sovereign good, what proof have we that we are bound to love that far less compelling good, the general welfare of humanity, which is the main object of the League of Nations? What proof have we that we are bound to love our country and family more than our life; or that we are bound to go on living and avoid suicide, even in the most overwhelming afflictions? If the sovereign good has not an inalienable right to be loved above all things, then a fortiori inferior goods have no such right. If we are not morally bound by a last end, then no end or means whatever is morally binding. If the foundation for moral obligation is not in a supreme lawgiver, then every human law is deprived of its ultimate foundation”.
I am currently reading Garrigou-Lagrange’s “Providence”, and once again the difference between the iron, masculine logic of the clergy of the past and the touchy-feely, effeminate emotionalism of the clergy of today strikes me like a fist on the nose.
It is no surprise modern theologians tend to ignore the Angelic Doctor. St. Thomas Aquinas has a way to lead you from one logical step to the next that, literally, leaves no escape from Truth. Therefore, if a theologian wants to muddle the waters and abandon Truth, he will have to abandon Thomism first.
Garrigou-Lagrange, a great Thomist with a great gift for scholarly but easily understandable exposition, uses this iron logic and step-by-step, inescapable ascent to Truth in every phrase. If you liked Lego, or Meccano, as a child, you will love Garrigou-Lagrange as an adult. With him – and with every serious Thomist – you leave aside fantasies and lucubrations born of goodism, and are led to Truth step by step, with a logic that may appear somewhat arid to the heart, but is the more satisfying to the intellect.
In the stupidly emotional times with which God is punishing us, it is a double pleasure to read people accustomed, and training us, to logical thinking.
To think most people you would ask in the street would tell you without any hesitation the Middle Ages were an age of ignorance, but now we are so much more advanced…
The so-called Archbishop of Canterbury has involuntarily spoken some words of wisdom yesterday in his Easter homily. The Guardian informs us Mr Welby warned his audience “of the dangers of investing too much faith in frail and fallible human leaders, be they politicians or priests”.
He is, most certainly, right.
Trusting in a Mickey Mouse “church” so obviously incapable of recognising the most basic tenets of Christianity is certainly a big mistake, with potentially fatal consequences for one’s eternal soul.
Trusting, in fact, any man at all – be he a political or religious leader; even Pope – as source of Truth is a fallacy. Not even the best are exempt from mistakes, and we have many examples from history – and actually from the news – that Popes aren’t any exception, either.
Truth can only be sought where Truth is: in Him Who is the Way, the Truth and the Life, and in the One Church He has instituted so that this Truth be preserved and transmitted intact.
There is only one Church, and there is only one Truth. Donning fancy vestment like the chap above doesn’t change anything in that.
In my eyes, one of the main keys to a proper understanding of every apparition is one simple but at the same time very difficult word: obedience. Obedience is what we saw when the Fatima apparitions were initially – as it was very natural – seen with scepticism from the local clergy and obedience is what we saw when the apparitions to St Faustina Kowalska were considered not authentic by the Vatican. Obedience is, therefore, not only an obvious element of sainthood, but the path clearly indicated by many (perhaps: all) approved apparitions. Most certainly, no approved apparition ever incited to disobedience. In fact, it has never been prescribed by the doctor that an apparition be immediately recognised as authentic, but it has always been prescribed by the Church that Her decisions in the matter be accepted and obeyed.
God doesn’t need disobedience to have His will recognised; on the contrary, he will use obedience as a way to have it recognised.
It must be clear to every sensible Catholic that no alleged apparition can ever authorise disobedience, and that the Blessed Virgin would never ever suggest disobedience to the Church. Therefore, when the bishop (well, two bishops, really) says that there is nothing supernatural happening in Medjugorje, that’s that. To say that one wants to wait for the Pope is already disobedience; there is no need for the Pope because the cleric responsible for the verdict on apparitions is not the Pope, but the bishop. “Oh, but the Pope could reverse the decision”. Well I am sorry to say that, but you’ll have to wait and hope, and obey in the meantime.
With the train of thought of the Medjugorje crowd, I could wake up one morning and say that I am the Second Son of God; I could receive a message from papi every day at 6:30 pm and give it to the adoring crowds; and these crowds would feel free and authorised to believe that I am The Second Son – even after the Bishop has said that I am no supernatural phenomenon at all – because the Pope hasn’t pronounced himself on the matter (which would, very probably, never happen). Of course I’d have God encourage people to communion, confession, and the like, and I’d have Him talk a lot about peace, understanding among the Peoples, and all that jazz. “Thank you for listening”, I’d have God say every day. It pleases the ego of the public, so it can’t be bad.
To think in this way is not devotion. No it isn’t. Superstition and rebellion, that’s what it is.
It follows from this that even if people arrived in Medjugorje and started to fly it would still not be an authentic apparition, because no authentic apparition can incite to disobedience. You have converted? Good for you! God can convert you in the middle of a dump, but a dump it will remain.
The idea that the Blessed Virgin would go against the Church is worse than unorthodox; it is diabolical.
Unsurprisingly, disobedience in matters of authenticity leads to disobedience in all other matters. A lady on twitter informed me that God leaves every person free to choose, after death, to decide whether he really, really wants to go to hell or would, rather, not choose paradise (oh, you chose the latter? you don’t say?). I kid you not. I answered to her that this is an error. The Blessed Virgin in Medjugorje said it, was her answer.
We are at this point. Basic Christianity counts for nothing, a daily fax is the new God. But hey, an army of poor deluded devils go to communion and confession, so it must be fine. With this reasoning Jansenists were fine, too.
So let us recapitulate: forget the alleged “good fruits”, because an entire orchard of poisoned fruits is clearly visible; forget the alleged healings, because they are available in quantity at every pentecostal mega-gathering; forget the number of confessions or communions, because they are available everywhere outside of Medjugorje; forget how many people get inspired or converted, because this is something Protestants manage to do every day. The key here is the matter of obedience. It can’t be that the Blessed Virgin is disobedient, this is the purest oxymoron you’ll ever encounter.
Every “follower” of Medjugorje must seriously ask himself what he would have to abandon, if he decided to obey the Bishop. If the answer is “nothing, I am completely orthodox anyway”, there is no reason whatsoever not to obey the bishop. If the answer has any other content whatsoever (cue the lady who wants to believe that one can choose between hell and heaven after death) then what keeps one linked to Medjugorje is heresy. And I would like for the rhetoric of the “good simple people who are deceived” to be abandoned once and for all. For twenty centuries, countless illiterate peasants have accepted their bishops’ decisions in matter of miracles without any problem. This is not so difficult that every person could not, after examining his conscience, have it right in five seconds; ten seconds, tops.
The bishop is responsible. The bishop has spoken. You either obey the bishop, or you make the work of the devil.
P.s. The comment box is closed. These are matters of elementary truth. Truth is accepted, not discussed.
This short video (a mere 37 seconds) is about a strange tool called Deepak Chopra. I’ve seen him in a movie and thought him rather shallow. It appears he’s positively dumb instead. That people reduce themselves to follow people like him shows what a desperate need for spirituality there is.
The video is very short, and very instructive.
Please also note the difference between the shameless “bishop” (bishop my aunt, btw) trying to laugh away his embarrassment, and the rather more truthful reaction of other people.