“The Lord Waiteth That He May Have Mercy On You”

God waits for the sinner that he may amend. Know you not that the Lord has borne with you till now, not that you may continue to offend Him, but that you may weep over the evil you have done. But when God sees that the sinner employs the time given him to weep over his sins in only adding to them, He then calls upon that same time to judge him: He hath called against me the time. (Lament. i. 15).

I.

Some will say: God has shown me so many mercies in the past, that I hope He will show me the same in the future. But I reply: Because, then, God has shown you so many mercies, for this do you return to offend Him? Is it thus, says St. Paul to you, that you despise the goodness and patience of God? Know you not that the Lord has borne with you till now, not that you may continue to offend Him, but that you may weep over the evil you have done? Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and patience and long-suffering? Knowest thou not that benignity of God leadeth thee to penance? (Rom. ii. 4). If, confiding in the Divine mercy, you will not put an end to your sins, the Lord will, for: Except you be converted, he will brandish his sword. (Ps. vii. 13). Revenge is mine, and I will repay them in due time. (Deut. xxxii. 35). God waits; but when the time of vengeance is come, He waits no longer, and punishes.

The Lord waiteth that he may have mercy on you. (Is. xxx. 18). God waits for the sinner that he may amend; but when He sees that he employs the time given him for weeping over his sins in increasing them, He then calls upon that same time to judge him: He hath called against me the time. (Lament. i. 15). So that the very time bestowed on him, and the very mercies shown him, will serve to render the sinner’s punishment more severe, and cause him to be more speedily abandoned: We would have cured Babylon; but she is not healed; let us forsake her. (Jer. li. 9). And how does God forsake him? Either He sends him a sudden death, and permits him to die in sin, or He deprives him of His abundant graces, and leaves him only that sufficient grace with which the sinner could indeed save himself, but will not. His understanding blinded, his heart hardened, evil habits contracted, will render his salvation morally impossible; and then he will be, if not absolutely, at least morally abandoned.

My God, in this miserable state I perceive that I have already deserved to be deprived of Thy grace and deprived of light; but the light Thou now givest me, and Thy calls to me to repent, are signs that Thou hast not yet abandoned me. And since Thou hast not abandoned me, arise, O my Lord, increase Thy mercies towards my soul, increase Thy light, increase my desire to love and serve Thee. Change me, O omnipotent God; and from a traitor and a rebel as I have been, make me a true lover of Thy goodness, that I may one day come to praise Thy mercies for all eternity in Heaven. Thou desirest, then, to pardon me; and I desire nothing but Thy pardon and Thy love. I repent, O Infinite Goodness, of having so often displeased Thee. I love Thee, O my Sovereign Good, because Thou so commandest; I love Thee, because Thou art truly worthy of being loved.

II.

I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted. (Is. v. 5). Oh, what a chastisement! When the master of the vineyard breaks down the hedge, and allows all who will, men and beasts, to enter it, what does this mean? It is a sign that he abandons it. Thus God, when He forsakes a soul, takes away the hedge of fear, of remorse of conscience, and leaves it in darkness; and then all the monsters of vice will enter into that soul: Thou hast appointed darkness, and it is night: and in it shall all the beasts of the woods go about. (Ps. ciii. 20). And the sinner, thus left in that obscurity, will despise all, –the grace of God, Heaven, admonitions, excommunications; he will make a jest of his own damnation: The wicked man, when he is come into the depth of sins, contemneth. (Prov. xviii. 3).

God will leave him unpunished in this life; but his greatest chastisement will be that he is unpunished: Let us have pity on the wicked, but he will not learn justice. (Is. xxvi. 10). St. Bernard observes upon this text: “I do not wish for this mercy; it is worse than any wrath.” Oh, what a punishment, when God leaves the sinner in the midst of his sin, and appears to demand no further account of it! According to the multitude of his wrath he will not seek him. (Ps. x. 4). God will even seem not to be angry with him. My jealousy shall depart from thee, and I will cease and be angry no more (Ezech. xvi. 42); and apparently permits him to obtain all that he desires in this life: Let them go according to the desires of their hearts. (Ps. lxxx. 13). Alas for poor sinners who prosper in this life! It is a sign that God waits to make them victims of His justice in Eternity. Jeremias asks: Why doth the way of the wicked prosper? (Jer. xii. 1). And then he replies: Gather them together as sheep for a sacrifice. There is no greater punishment than when God permits a sinner to add sin to sin; as David says: Add thou inquity upon their iniquity … let them be blotted out of the book of the living. (Ps. lxviii. 28). Upon which Bellarmine observes: “There is no punishment so great as when sin is the punishment of sin.” Better would it have been for each of these unhappy sinners had he died after the first sin; for, dying later, he shall have as many hells as he has committed sins.

Ah, my Redeemer, through the merits of Thy Blood cause Thyself to be loved by a sinner whom Thou hast so much loved, and hast endured for so many years with so much patience. All my hopes are in Thy mercy. I hope to love Thee from this day henceforth till the hour of my death, and for all eternity. I will for ever praise Thy clemency, my Jesus. And I will praise thy mercy, O Mary, who hast obtained for me so many graces; acknowledge them all as the effects of thy intercession. Continue, O Blessed Lady, now to aid me, and to obtain for me holy perseverance.

(Meditation for Thursday of the First Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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After Sin, Hope For Mercy: Before Sin, Fear Judgement

St. Augustine says the devil deceives men in two ways: by despair and by hope. After the sinner has sinned, the devil tempts him to despair through terror of the Divine justice. Before he sinned, he encouraged him to it by the hope of Divine mercy. Therefore does the Saint give this counsel: After sin, hope for mercy: before sin, fear Judgment.

I.

We read in the Parable of the Cockle in St. Matthew, that the cockle having grown up in a field together with the wheat, the servants desired to go and pluck it up: Wilt thou that we go and gather it up? But the Master replied: “No, let it grow, and then it shall be gathered and be cast in the fire”: In the time of the harvest I will say to the reapers: Gather up first the cockle and bind it into bundles to burn. From this Parable we learn, on the one hand, the patience of the Lord with sinners; and, on the other hand, His rigour with the obstinate. St. Augustine says that the devil deceives men in two ways: “by despair and by hope.” After the sinner has sinned, he tempts him to despair through terror of Divine justice; but before he sins, he encourages him to it by the hope of Divine mercy. Therefore does the Saint thus counsel everyone: “After sin, hope in mercy; before sin, fear judgment.” Yes; because he deserves not mercy who makes use of the mercy of God only to offend Him. Mercy is shown to him who fears God, not to him who avails himself of it to exclude fear: “He who offends against justice,” says Abulensis, “may have recourse to mercy; but he who offends against mercy itself, to whom can he have recourse?”

Rarely is a sinner found so desperate as positively to desire his own damnation. Sinners wish to sin without losing the hope of being saved. They sin, and say: God is merciful; I will commit this sin, and then I will confess it: “God is good; I will do what I please;” behold how sinners talk, says St. Augustine. But, O God, so also spoke many who are now in hell!

Say not, says the Lord, the mercies of God are great; however many sins I may commit, by an act of sorrow I shall be pardoned: Say not, the mercy of the Lord is great: He will have mercy on the multitude of my sins. (Ecclus. v. 6). Speak not thus, says God. And why? For mercy and wrath quickly come from him, and his wrath looketh upon sinners. (Ecclus. v. 7). The mercy of God is infinite; but the acts of this mercy (in this or that particular case) are finite. God is merciful but He is also just. “I am just and merciful,” said the Lord one day to St. Bridget; “sinners regard Me only as merciful.” Sinners, says St. Basil, choose to see God only under one aspect: “The Lord is good, but He is also just; we will not consider Him only on one side.” To bear with those who make use of the mercy of God only to offend Him the more, would not, said Blessed John of Avila, be mercy, but a want of justice. Mercy is promised to him who fears God, not to him who abuses it. “His mercy is to them that fear Him,” as the Divine Mother sang. The obstinate are threatened with justice: and as, according to St. Augustine, God deceives not in His promises, so neither does He deceive in His, threats: “He Who is true to His promises, is true also, to His threats.”

From this day henceforth, O Lord, I will never more betray Thee, as I have done in past times. Thou hast borne with me so long, in order that I might one day learn to love Thy goodness. Behold this day has, I trust, arrived. O my God, I love Thee above all things, and I value Thy grace more than all the kingdoms of the world; rather than lose it, I am ready to lose my life a thousand times. My God, for the love of Jesus Christ, grant me holy perseverance until death, together with Thy holy love. Do not permit that I ever again betray Thee, and cease to love Thee. Mary, thou art my hope; obtain for me this perseverance, and I ask for nothing more.

II.

Beware, says St. John Chrysostom, when the devil, not God, promises thee Divine mercy that thou mayest sin: “Take care not to receive that dog which holds out to you the mercy of God.” Woe, adds St. Augustine, woe to him who hopes in order that he may sin! “He hopes, in order that he may sin: woe to that perverse hope!” Oh, how many, says the Saint, have been deceived and lost through this vain hope! “They are innumerable whom the shadow of this vain hope has deceived.” Unhappy he who abuses the mercy of God, that he may insult Him the more! St. Bernard says, that Lucifer was on this account so speedily punished–because He rebelled in the hope of not receiving punishment. King Manasses was a sinner; but he was afterwards converted, and God pardoned him: his son Ammon, seeing that his father was so easily forgiven, gave himself up to a bad life in the hope of pardon; but for Ammon there was no mercy. St. John Chrysostom asserts that Judas was lost because he sinned confiding in the benignity of Jesus Christ: “He trusted in the meekness of his Master.” In fine, God bears with sin, but He does not bear for ever. Were God to bear for ever, no one would be lost; whereas the most common opinion is, that the greater part even of Christians (speaking of adults) are lost: Wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction; and many there are that go in thereat. (Matt. vii. 13).

He who offends God in the hope of pardon “is a scoffer, not a penitent,” says St. Augustine. But, on the other hand, St. Paul says, God is not mocked. (Gal. vi. 7). It would be mocking God to continue to offend Him whenever we please, and then to think to gain Heaven. What things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. (Gal. vi. 8). He who sows in sin has no reason to expect anything but punishment and hell. The net with which the devil drags to hell almost all those Christians who are lost is this delusion, by which he says to them: Sin freely, because, with all your sins, you will be saved. But God curses him who sins in the hope of pardon. The hope of the sinner after sin, when accompanied by repentance is dear to God; but the hope of the obstinate is an abomination to Him: Their hope the abomination of the soul. (Job xi. 20). Such a hope provokes God to punish, as a master would be provoked by a servant who offended him because of his goodness.

Ah, my God, behold, I have been one of those who offended Thee because of Thy goodness to me! Ah, Lord, wait for me; do not forsake me yet; for I hope, through Thy grace, never again to provoke Thee to abandon me. I repent, O Infinite Goodness, of having offended Thee, and of having thus abused Thy patience. I thank Thee for having waited for me until now.

(Wednesday Meditation for First Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Papal advisor retweets call for Church to shut down EWTN unless they fire Raymond Arroyo

February 20, 2018

From LifeSiteNews;

Papal confidante Father Antonio Spadaro retweeted a call for EWTN to be severely censured “until they get rid of Raymond Arroyo.”

The call for an “interdict” to be imposed on the Catholic media empire started by Mother Angelica came from Anthony Annett, Assistant to the Director at the International Monetary Fund’s Communications Department.

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An interdict is essentially one step short of excommunication. It bans a person or people from accessing most Church Sacraments.

“A person who uses physical force against the Roman Pontiff incurs a latae sententiae excommunication reserved to the Apostolic See; if he is a cleric, another penalty, not excluding dismissal from the clerical state, can be added according to the gravity of the delict,” according to the Code of Canon Law (Canon 1370). “A person who does this against a bishop incurs a latae sententiae interdict and, if he is a cleric, also a latae sententiae suspension.”

Catholic Culture’s dictionary explains that an interdict is

A censure forbidding the faithful, while still remaining in communion with the Church, the use of certain sacred privileges, such as Christian burial, some of the sacraments, and attendance at liturgical services. It does not exclude from Church membership, nor does it necessarily imply a personal fault of any individual affected by the interdict. When imposed for a fixed period, it is a vindictive penalty because of some grave act done against the common good of the Church by one or more parishes. Usual religious services are curtailed, but sacraments may be given to the dying, marriages celebrated, and Holy Communion administered if the interdict is general or local (not personal). A general interdict may be inflicted only by the Holy See. Parishes or persons may be interdicted only by the local ordinary.

Annett called for an interdict to be imposed on EWTN because of a February 15 World Over segment.

“Make no mistake,” tweeted Annett, the show’s discussion of a recent Spadaro speech and ultra-liberal Cardinal Blase Cupich “represent ‘total war’ on the papacy of Pope Francis.”

Arroyo was a close friend of Mother Angelica. He is the author of numerous books. As confusion has mounted during Pope Francis’ reign, his signature show, The World Over, has analyzed troubling developments in the Church. Arroyo often does this with the help of Father Gerald Murray and Robert Royal (the “papal posse”).

Spadaro, a Jesuit who is often called the pope’s “mouthpiece,” frequently criticizes critics of Amoris Laetitia’s ambiguity or the Francis pontificate. He is the editor-in-chief of La Civiltà Cattolica.

The World Over segment covered Spadaro’s recent speech at Georgetown University. Arroyo said he’d asked Spadaro for an interview but he said he was too busy.

During this speech at Georgetown, Spadaro said of the pope’s diplomacy: “The pope is light years away from the theorists of a clash of civilizations. Francis seeks to dissolve the narrative of a toxic final clash of religions that nourishes the fear of chaos.”

Fr. Murray told Arroyo those statements were “puzzling” because “it’s reducing human life to simply a game of ‘king of the hill.’ And the Church teaches the exact opposite. Human life is about fulfilling God’s will, knowing that will, and then trying to bring a society into accord with that will.”

“That involves identifying things that are evil [and] reprobating them,” said Murray.

Some Twitter users mocked the call to punish EWTN unless they sack Arroyo.

In 2015, as the “Year of Mercy” began, a Vatican archbishop suggested some criticisms of Pope Francis might result in automatic excommunication.

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Saint Francisco Marto of Fatima – a Contemplative Soul

20th February is the feast day of the little seer and contemplative of Fatima, St Francisco Marto (11th June, 1908 – 4th April, 1919). Alone among the three little visionaries, Francisco never heard Our Lady’s words, although he saw her and felt her presence.

Consoler of the Hidden Jesus
The words of the Angel of Fatima, “Console your God”, engraved themselves in young Francisco’s heart. They became the compelling inspiration of his short life of just under eleven years.  After Our Lady’s appeal to the three children to offer themselves to God and submit to suffering in reparation for sins, they began giving their lunch to the sheep and then to poor children. They also started saying the Rosary in earnest. The effect of the Apparitions on Francisco was to create a fervent desire more than anything else, to be the Consoler of the Hidden Jesus. It was a description he always used when talking of the Host in the Tabernacle. He did this by praying Rosary after Rosary, and by spending hours close to the tabernacle of the parish church. On one occasion when he went missing and was found praying behind a rock, Lucia asked him what he was doing. ‘I was thinking of God who is so sad because of all the sins: if only I could comfort him!’

Many Rosaries
Readers familiar with the story of Fatima will recall that on 13th May 1917, after hearing the Lady say, “I come from heaven”, Lucia asked if she and her little companions would go to heaven. The Lady replied that both Lucia and Jacinta would go to heaven , but that Francisco would need to say many Rosaries first.

This enigmatic utterance concerning Francisco has, over the years, given rise to a certain amount of speculation as to its meaning. Various interpretations have been ascribed to it, but none of them are really satisfying. Some commentators even suggested that Francisco was somehow held back in his spiritual development and, therefore, needed more prayer than his sister Jacinta and his cousin Lucia.

Francisco: A Contemplative Soul
While little Jacinta was an extrovert, easily engaging with others and concerned in reaching out to all, especially to poor sinners, Francisco was a very interior soul, focused on God alone, on consoling the Hidden Jesus. In this way, the personalities and graces of Francisco and Jacinta are complementary. Jacinta is emblematic of the missionary impulse of the Church, while Francisco illustrates the call to the hidden life and total dedication to the “One Thing Necessary” (Luke 10:42). Francisco was, from the very beginning of the apparitions, singled out as a contemplative soul.

Had Our Lady said that Francisco was to become a “contemplative soul”, the meaning of her words would have completely escaped Francisco’s understanding. His was the simple vocabulary of a child, of a boy accustomed to the concrete realities of nature. Our Lady’s words that Francisco would “need to say many Rosaries” before going to heaven was, in effect, her way of saying that Francisco was to become an entirely contemplative soul before going to heaven, and this by means of many Rosaries. Understand by this that, for Francisco and for most ordinary people, many Rosaries are the most simple and efficacious way to union with God.

Holy Death of St Francisco of Fatima

In August 1918, when World War I was nearing its end, Francisco and Jacinta both contracted influenza. They had short reprieves, but their decline was inevitable. In April of the following year, Francisco, knowing his time was short, asked to receive the Hidden Jesus for the first time in Holy Communion. The priest heard Francisco’s confession on the evening of 2nd April and brought Communion to him the next morning. Unable to sit up, he received his first and last Communion lying down. Opening his eyes, he asked: ‘When will you bring me the Hidden Jesus again?’ Lucia remained with him all day. During the night he called to his mother: ‘Look at that lovely light by the door.’ And then, ‘Now I can’t see it any more.’

The next morning, 4th April, at ten o’clock, his shrunken face lit up with a radiant smile and then he died without any effort. He was just two months short of his eleventh birthday. He was buried the next day in a little cemetery in Fatima, across from the parish church, and later translated to the Sanctuary at Cova da Iria.

Saint Francisco, pray for us!

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“My Son, Hast Thou Sinned. Do So No More”

The more you have offended God, so much the more should you fear to offend Him again. I do not say absolutely that after another sin there will be no more pardon for you, because this I know not. But I say that it may happen. Therefore, when you are tempted to sin, say: But supposing God should pardon me no more, and I should be lost!

I.

My son, hast thou sinned? do so no more; but for thy former sins, pray that they may be forgiven thee. (Ecclus. xxi. 1). Behold, dear Christian, the advice your good Lord gives you, because He desires your salvation: My son, do not offend Me any more; but from this day henceforth be mindful to ask pardon for your past offences. The more you have offended God, so much the more must you fear to offend Him again, because the next sin you commit may sink the scale of Divine Justice, and you will be lost. I do not absolutely say that after another sin there will be no more pardon for you, because this I know not; but I say that it may happen. Therefore, when you are tempted, say: But supposing God should no more pardon me, and I should be lost! I pray you tell me, if it were probable that a certain food contained poison, would you take it? If with probability you believed that on a certain road your enemies lay in wait to take your life, would you pass that way, having another more secure? And thus what certainty, nay, what probability is there, that if you again sin, you will afterwards have a true sorrow, and will not return to the sin? And that in sinning God will not strike you dead in the very act of sin, or that He will not abandon you after it?

If you buy a house, you take all care to obtain proper securities, and not to throw away your money. If you take medicine, you endeavour to be well assured that it cannot injure you. If you have to pass a torrent, you try to secure yourself from falling into it. And yet for a miserable gratification, for a brutal pleasure, you risk your eternal salvation, saying, I hope to confess it. But I ask of you: When will you confess it? On Sunday. And who promises you to live till Sunday? Tomorrow. And who promises you this tomorrow? St. Augustine says: “Do you cling to a day, when you are not sure of an hour?” How can you promise yourself to confess tomorrow, when you know not whether you will have even another hour to live? “He Who has promised pardon to the penitent, has not promised a tomorrow to the sinner: perhaps He will grant it, perhaps He will not.” God, continues the Saint, has promised pardon to those who repent; but He has not promised a tomorrow to those who offend Him. If you now sin, perhaps God will give you time to do penance, and perhaps not; and should He not give it you, what will become of you for all eternity? In the meantime you already lose your soul for a wretched pleasure, and incur the peril of losing it for ever.

Behold, O Lord, one of those madmen who so often has lost his soul and Thy grace, in the hope of recovering it! And if Thou hadst taken me in that moment, and in those nights when I was in sin, what would have become of me? I thank Thy mercy which has waited for me, and which now makes me sensible of my folly. I see that Thou desirest my salvation, and I desire to be saved. I repent, O Infinite Goodness, of having so often turned my back on Thee; I love Thee with my whole heart. I hope, through the merits of Thy Passion, O my Jesus, to be no longer so foolish; pardon me speedily, and receive me into Thy favour, for I wish never more to leave Thee.

II.

Would you risk a thousand crowns for that vile gratification? I say more: Would you for that momentary gratification cast away all–money, houses, estates, liberty, and life? No. And how, then, can you for that wretched pleasure in one moment make shipwreck of all–soul, Heaven, and God? Tell me, are these things, taught by Faith–that there is a Heaven, a Hell, an Eternity–Truths, or are they fables? Do you believe that, if death should overtake you in sin, you will be lost for ever? And what temerity, what madness, to condemn yourself to an eternity of pain, saying: I hope afterwards to repair it. “No one wishes to fall ill in the hope of being cured,” says St. Augustine. No one is so mad as to take poison and say: Perhaps I shall afterwards be cured by remedies; and you choose to condemn yourself to an eternal death, saying: Perhaps I shall afterwards deliver myself from it! O folly, which has cast, and casts, so many souls into hell! According to the threat of the Lord: Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness … evil shall come upon thee; and thou shalt not know the rising thereof. (Is. xlvii. 10, 11). Thou hast sinned, confiding rashly in the Divine mercy; and the punishment will fall suddenly on Thee, without Thy knowing whence it comes.

In thee, O Lord, have I hoped; let me not be confounded for ever. Ah, no! I hope, O my Redeemer, never again to suffer the disgrace and confusion of finding myself deprived of Thy grace and Thy love. Give me holy perseverance; and grant that I may always ask it of Thee, especially when tempted, calling for aid upon Thy Holy Name, and that of Thy holy Mother, saying: My Jesus, help me; my Mother Mary, help me! Yes, O my Queen, for as long as I have recourse to thee I shall never be conquered. And if the temptation should continue, obtain for me that I may never cease persisting in calling upon thee.

(Meditation for Tuesday, First week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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St Bernadette: “My Duty is to be Sick and to Pray” (a video)

The feast day of St Mary. Bernard Soubirous, better known as St Bernadette of Lourdes, usually falls on 18th February, according to the old calendar, one week after the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. As both these dates fell on Sunday this year they are transferred to the following day. So today is the feast of the little saint of Lourdes to whom Our Blessed Lady appeared 15 times in 1858, revealing to the young girl that She, the Mother of God, was indeed The Immaculate Conception. (Four years earlier Bl. Pope Pius IX had solemnly proclaimed, ex cathedra, this beautiful dogma of Faith to the whole Catholic Church.)

The very moving video below from Sensus Fidelium was made for this day, the third apparition of Our Lady at Lourdes.

On 18 February, she spoke of being told by the Lady to return to the Grotto over a period of two weeks. She quoted the apparition: “The Lady only spoke to me the third time. … She told me also that she did not promise to make me happy in this world, but in the next.”

In the video Father looks into the life of humility, obedience and great suffering of St Bernadette.

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God Is Merciful, Yet Many Are Lost Every Day

God is merciful! Yes; the mercy of God is infinite; but with all that mercy, how many are lost every day! I come to heal the contrite of heart! God heals those sinners who have a good will. He pardons their sins, but He cannot pardon their determination to go on sinning.

I.

The sinner says: But God is merciful. I reply: Who denies it? The mercy of God is infinite; but with all that mercy, how many are lost every day! I come to heal the contrite of heart. (Is. lxi. 1). God heals those who have a good will. He pardons sin; but He cannot pardon the determination to sin. The sinner will reply: But I am young. You are young: but God does not count years, but sins. And this reckoning of sins is not the same for all. In one, God pardons a hundred sins, in another a thousand, another He casts into hell after the second sin. How many has the Lord sent there at the first sin! St. Gregory relates that a child of five years old was cast into hell for uttering a blasphemy. The Blessed Virgin revealed to that great servant of God, Benedicta of Florence, that a girl of twelve years old was condemned for her first sin. Another child of eight years sinned, and after his first sin, died and was lost. We are told in the Gospel of St. Matthew, that the Lord immediately cursed the fig-tree the first time that He found it without fruit, and it withered: May no fruit grow on thee forever! (Matt. xxi. 19). Another time God said: For three crimes of Damascus, and for four, I will not convert it. (Amos i. 3). Some presumptuous man may perhaps ask the reason of God why He pardons three and not four sins. In this we must adore the Divine judgments of God, and say with the Apostle: O the depth of the riches, of the wisdom, and of the knowledge of God! How incomprehensible are his judgments, and how unsearchable his ways! (Rom. xi. 33). St. Augustine says: “He well knows whom He pardons and whom He does not pardon; when He shows mercy to any one, it is gratuitous on His part; and when He denies it, He denies it justly.”

The obstinate sinner will reply: But I have so often offended God, and He has pardoned me; I hope, therefore, He will pardon me this other sin. But I say: And because God has not hitherto punished you, is it always to be thus? The measure will be filled up, and the chastisement will come. Samson, continuing his wanton conduct with Dalila, hoped nevertheless to escape from the hands of the Philistines, as he had done before; I will go out as I did before and shake myself. (Jud. xvi. 20). But that last time he was taken, and lost his life. Say not, I have sinned, and what harm hath befallen me? Say not, says the Lord, I have committed so many sins, and God has never punished me: For the Most High is a patient rewarder. (Ecclus. v. 4). That is, the time will come when He will repay all; and the greater His mercy has been, so much the greater will be the punishment.

When I am tempted, O my merciful God, I will instantly and always have recourse to Thee. Hitherto I have trusted in my promises and my resolutions, and I have neglected to recommend myself to Thee in my temptations; and this has been my ruin. No; from this day henceforth Thou shalt be my hope and my strength; and thus shall I be able to accomplish all things. Give me the grace, then, through Thy merits, O my Jesus, to recommend myself always to Thee, and to implore Thy aid in my necessities. I love Thee, O my Sovereign Good, amiable above all that is amiable, and Thee only will I love; but Thou must help me. And thou also, O Mary my Mother, thou must help me by thy intercession; keep me under the mantle of thy protection, and grant that I may always call upon thee when I am tempted; thy name shall be my defence.

II.

St. Chrysostom says, that we ought to fear more when God bears with the obstinate sinner than when He punishes him: “There is more cause to fear when He forbears than when He quickly punishes”; because, according to St. Gregory, God punishes more rigorously those whom He waits for with most patience, if they remain ungrateful: “Whom He waits for the longer He the more severely condemns.” Often, adds the Saint, do those whom He has borne with for a long time die suddenly at last, without having time to be converted: “Often those who have been borne with a long time are snatched away by sudden death, so that it is not permitted them to shed a tear before they die.” Especially, the greater the light which God has given you has been, the greater will be your blindness and obstinacy in sin: For it had been better for them (said St. Peter) not to have known the way of justice, than after they had known it, to turn back. (2 Peter ii. 21). And St. Paul said, that it is impossible (morally speaking) for a soul that sins after being enlightened to be again converted: For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift … and are fallen away, to be renewed again unto penance. (Heb. vi. 4, 6).

Terrible, indeed, is what the Lord says against those who are deaf to His calls: Because I have called and you have refused … I also will laugh in your destruction, and will mock when that shall come to you which you feared. (Prov. i. 24, 26). Take notice of those two words, I also; they signify that as the sinner has mocked God, confessing, promising, and yet always betraying Him, so the Lord will mock him at the hour of death. Moreover, the Wise Man says: As a dog that returneth to his vomit, so is the fool that repeateth his folly. (Prov. xxvi. 11). So he who relapses into the sins he has detested in Confession, becomes odious to God.

Behold me, O my God, at Thy feet. I am that loathsome sinner who so often returned to feed upon the forbidden fruit which I had before detested. I do not deserve mercy, O my Redeemer; but the Blood Thou hast shed for me encourages and compels me to hope for it. How often have I offended Thee, and Thou hast pardoned me! I have promised never again to offend Thee; and yet I have returned to the vomit, and Thou hast again pardoned me. Do I wait, then, for Thee to send me straight to hell–or to give me over to my sins which would be a greater punishment than hell? No, my God, I will amend; and that I may be faithful to Thee, I will place all my trust in Thee.

 

(Meditation for Monday, First Week of Lent – by St Alphonsus Liguori)

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For Peter Yet May Lie; Restricting Papal Infallibility

We are reblogging an article from Whispers of Restoration in the hope it will help enlighten those Catholics who are of the erroneous opinion that any criticism of the current pope seated on the Chair of Saint Peter forms an act of schism. The pope is elected to be the Vicar of Christ in order to “confirm his brethren in the faith…” but not all the popes have been faithful in the fulfillment of their mission. Christ instructed the Church to preach everything he taught (Matt. 28:19-20 “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nation . . . teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you…”), and promised the protection of the Holy Spirit (John. 16:13). That command and Jesus’ promise guarantee that the Church will never fall away from His teachings, even if an individual Catholic might. There is no guarantee that popes won’t sin or give bad examples. What infallibility does do is prevent a pope from formally teaching as the “truth” something that is not. It does not help him know what is true, he has to do his homework the way we all do to find this out. It doesn’t even guarantee that the pope, when he does teach, will be as effective or persuasive, or as clear as he should be in what he teaches. A pope’s private personal or theological opinions are not infallible. He is therefore not above criticism when he errs and when he fails in his duty as pope.

The Denial of St Peter by Gerard van Honthorst c. 1624

It’s Lent, and as the continued appearance of books criticizing the current pontificate (Political Pope, Dictator Pope, the coming Lost Shepherd and To Change the Church) find many Catholics in conversation about the theological nature of faith, the indefectibility of the Church, and the connected dogma of papal infallibility, we thought it an opportune time to pray, fast, and field some thoughts in this vein.

What follows here is not a scientific treatment of infallibility, that divine charism bestowed upon the Church by her Founder, in order that she would forever retain and pass on the one true Faith outside of which no man may be saved. […] Rather, we will here limit ourselves to the observation of a general principle in correction of a thought sometimes heard among Catholic interlocutors:

X must be true, because the Pope teaches it.

While this attitude may denote the kind of filial piety proper to Catholics – and we should be able to look to our Pope and all pastors in expectation of sound doctrine – such a formulation is essentially backwards, and could pose dangers to faith.

A better formulation – consonant with Church teaching – would read: “The Pope teaches x, because it is true.” Such a distinction safely maintains the fact that the Catholic Faith is a definite body of doctrine, a divine “deposit” entrusted directly by God to the Apostles, and which exists both prior and exterior to the office and teaching of any given pope, council, bishop, cleric, or layperson. Such a distinction avoids a certain ultramontanism or papolatry which forgets that the Pope is both the highest authority on earth and remains ever subject to the teaching of Christ:

For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles.” (Vatican I, Pastor Aeternus, n. 4.6)

Furthermore, one may add (and it seems, increasingly needs to add) a qualifier:

“The Pope ought to teach X, because it is true.” The implication here is that the Pope may fail to teach as he should. A cursory read of Church history will demonstrate that any given Pontiff may fail in his charge to safeguard and hand on the true faith in one of two ways: by omission (not teaching when he should) or commission (teaching something ambiguous or false).

The real possibility that a Pope may teach untruth can come as a shock to those unclear on the careful limits of papal infallibility – yet the same folks often already intuit certain restrictions to this charism. It may be helpful to draw out four of these more commonly held restrictions:

1. The Pope is not indefectible: The Church receives the promise that it will not fail in its corporate mission – as a divinely constituted society, it must achieve the end for which Christ established it. However, this does not exclude the possibility of certain individual earthly members failing in their missions to teach, govern, and sanctify this same society; supernatural preservation from failure is not promised to any cleric – be he priest, bishop, or Pope. This is why every major heresy in history has either sprung from the ranks of the clergy or endured because of clerical weakness in combatting it. Ergo, Doctors of the Church like Aquinas and Bellarmine can teach that superiors – even Popes – must be resisted in some instances, and Catherine of Sienna can write to Pope Gregory XI: “Alas Holy Father, there are times when obedience to you leads to damnation!” We restrict papal infallibility to the papal office, not its occupant.

2. The Pope is not impeccable: One need not detail the execrable misdeeds of some of the men that have occupied the Chair of Peter in previous centuries (Crisis ran such a piece some years back) to demonstrate the point that freedom from personal sin is not conferred upon the Pope. Suffice it to recall that Saint Peter, the very Rock upon which the Church was founded, denied the Lord of Heaven in His very presence, crumpling under the interrogations of a servant girl. We restrict papal infallibility to doctrinal words, not moral deeds.

3. The Pope is not an oracle: Every word of teaching from a given Pope is not immediately divinely controlled, as though he were a perpetually prophetic Balaam, unable to speak anything but divine truth (cf. Ex 24). If this were the case, Paul need never have corrected Peter (cf. Aquinas’ treatment of Gal 2), and Pope Paul IV need not have been so concerned about the possibility of an erring successor to assert in Cum Ex Apostolatus Officio that “the Roman Pontiff… who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith.” More to it, Pope John XXII could not have openly taught eschatological heresy two centuries prior – which, in fact, he did. There are very specific conditions for papal teachings on faith and morals to be preserved under the charism of infallibility. We restrict papal infallibility to particular doctrinal words, not all words.

4. The Pope is not inspired: Even those particular words of the Pope that are rendered infallible by the Holy Ghost are only sealed against the possibility of error. Unlike the words of Sacred Scripture, papal teachings do not have God as their Author; as such, said teachings are preserved from error and irreformable for all time, but they are not held to be the clearest or most comprehensive expressions of a given truth. This is precisely the reason for so many centuries of authentic doctrinal development; as ages run, the Spirit enables the Church to more perfectly articulate God’s Revelation in Christ (cf. Jn 16) – not by evolution or mutation (cf. Rev 22), but by refinement of expression, clarifying connections and implications, growing truth from truth in perpetual continuity, never contradiction. This is why Popes are obliged to learn the Deposit of Faith through study and other helps before making infallible definitions (cf. DZ 1836). We restrict papal infallibility to effecting freedom from error, not the fullest expression of a given truth.

It’s worth recalling that when a man becomes Pope, he remains human. Chesterton put this well in Heretics:

When Christ at a symbolic moment was establishing His great society, He chose for its corner-stone neither the brilliant Paul nor the mystic John, but a shuffler, a snob, a coward—in a word, a man. And upon this rock He has built His Church, and the gates of Hell have not prevailed against it.”

Nor can they, despite any appearance to the contrary.

Armed with such understanding, one may avoid becoming scandalized in a period of widespread departure from Catholic doctrine and discipline even in the highest ranks of the clergy. For even if a Roman Pontiff – supreme over all earthly authorities and to whom “it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject– should (God forbid) fail to faithfully guard and expound the Deposit of Faith, yet will the Church abide, true to Christ’s promise, the indestructible and indefectible repository of Divine Revelation.

Christ has willed it so.

Now, one can then inquire: Precisely which papal teachings are guaranteed free from error, immutable and irreformable for all time? The current Code of Canon Law keeps it nice and succinct at Can 749.1, and one can try the links below for a few more authoritative treatments. Fr. Ripperger’s Magisterial Authority is also a very helpful read for further insight.

A second, related question should be raised: If Peter yet may lie, where can the faithful access the truths of Divine Revelation with certainty? Where are the authoritative sources, if not the Pope’s every word of teaching? In an age of generally deficient catechesis and widespread loss of faith, this is a pressing question.

First recommendation: attend the Traditional Latin Mass, ideally in a parish exclusively committed to offering the traditional rites. These rites are themselves a perennial theological source – “dogma in motion” – and communicate the timeless truths of the Faith in a profound and powerful way, especially as one learns the many signs and symbols (a good hand missal is indispensable – some solid options here and here– and explanatory works are helpful too, like this, this, or this). More importantly, right worship itself is the highest duty of man, which also has the happy side-effect of shaping that innate “sense of the faith” with which one can detect the tenor of truth, the voice of the Good Shepherd, in right doctrine. An insightful article on this point from Kwasniewski here.

Second recommendation: read catechisms predating Vatican II. Not because catechisms since the Council are all necessarily bad, but because there are at least enough ambiguities in them to recommend others first. Plus, if Vatican II defined no doctrine (which it didn’t), then you really shouldn’t be missing much by diving into a catechism from, say, 1880 to 1950. There’s the old Baltimore Catechism, the Penny Catechism, the Catechism of Pius X, the works of Hay or Spirago – and for a deeper dive into dogmatic theology, there’s the redoubtable Ott and the sources à la Denzinger.

Third recommendation, especially now in Lent: Pray – especially with Scripture (it’s infallible and inspired) and the Rosary – and fast. Our Pope and all our shepherds have great need of our prayers.

And bravo the restoration!

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“Thou Shalt Not Tempt The Lord Thy God”

God, as the Apostle says, will have all men to be saved. (1 Tim. ii. 4). But God wishes us all to labour for our salvation by adopting the means of overcoming our enemies, and by obeying His voice calling us to repentance. The sinner who abandons himself to sin without an effort to resist temptations, without at least asking God’s help to conquer, and hopes that the Lord will one day draw him forth out of the precipice, tempts God to work miracles and to show him an extraordinary mercy not generally extended to Christians. Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God! (Matt. iv. 7).

I.

If God were to immediately chastise those who offend Him, He certainly would not be insulted as He now is: but because the Lord does not punish instantly, and delays, therefore do sinners take courage to offend Him all the more! We must, however, be assured that although God waits and endures, yet He does not wait and endure for ever. It is the opinion of many of the holy Fathers, of St. Basil, St. Jerome, St. Ambrose, St. Cyril of Alexandria, St. John Chrysostom, St. Augustine, and others, that as God has determined for each man the number of days he has to live, and the degrees of health or talents He chooses to bestow on him, Thou hast ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight (Wis. xi. 21); so also has He determined the number of sins He will pardon in each one: when that number is filled up, He pardons no more. “We should remember this,” says St. Augustine, “that for a certain time the patience of God bears with each one; that time being completed, no more pardon is reserved for him.” Eusebius of Caesarea says the same: “God waits up to a certain number, and afterwards abandons”; and so speak also the above-named Fathers.

These Fathers have not spoken at random, but according to the Holy Scriptures. In one place the Lord says that He delayed the ruin of the Amorrhites because the number of their sins was not yet filled up: For as yet the iniquities of the Amorrrhites are not at the full.(Gen. xv. 16). In another He says: I will have no more compassion upon Israel.(Os. i. 6). They have tempted me ten times; they shall not see the land of promise. (Num. xiv. 22). In another place, Job says: Thou hast sealed up my offences as it were in, a bag. (Job xiv. 17). Sinners keep no account of their sins; but God indeed keeps it, that He may chastise when the harvest is ripe, that is, when the number is filled up: Put ye in the sickles, for the harvest is ripe. (Joel iii. 13). In another place, God says: Be not without fear about sin forgiven, and add not sin upon sin. (Ecclus. v. 5). By which He would say: “Sinner, thou must fear even for the sins I have forgiven thee, because if thou addest another, it may be that the new sin, together with those pardoned, will complete the number, and there will then be no more mercy for thee.” In another place, the Scripture still more plainly says: The Lord waiteth patiently, that when the day of judgment shall come he may punish them (that is, the nations) in the fulness of their sins.(2 Mach. vi. 14). So that God waits until the day in which the measure of sins is filled up, and then He punishes.

Ah, my God, I thank Thee: how many for fewer sins than mine are now in hell: and there is no more pardon, no more hope for them. And I still live! I am not in hell, and I have the hope of pardon and of Heaven, if I so desire. Yes, my God, I do desire pardon; I grieve above every evil for having offended Thee, because I have offended Thy infinite Goodness. Eternal Father, look upon Thy Son upon the Cross dead for my sake, and through His merits have pity on me. I promise Thee to choose death rather than offend Thee again.

II.

Of such punishment there are many examples in Scripture, especially that of Saul, who for his last disobedience was abandoned by God. When he pleaded with Samuel to intercede for him: Bear, I beseech thee, my sin, and return with me, that I may adore the Lord, Samuel replied, I will not return with thee, because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, and the Lord hath rejected thee. There is the example of Balthassar, who being at table profaned the vessels of the temple; and he then saw a hand which wrote on the wall, Mane, Thecel, Phares. Daniel came, and explaining these words, said to him, among other things, Thou art weighed in the balance and art found wanting. (Dan. v. 27). Giving him to understand that the weight of his sins had already sunk the scale of Divine justice; and in effect he was destroyed that same night. And oh, to how many miserable sinners does the same happen! They live on for years in their sins; but when their number is filled up, they are overtaken by death and condemned to hell: They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down into hell. (Job xxi. 13). Some apply themselves to searching out the number of the stars, the number of Angels, or of the years of such a one; but who can set about to discover the number of sins that God will pardon in each of us? And therefore must we tremble. Who knows, but that after that first criminal pleasure, that first thought consented to, that first sin which you shall commit, God will never again forgive you?

Well may I fear, O God, when I think of the sins I have committed, and the graces Thou hast bestowed on me, that should I add another sin, the measure would be filled up, and I should be lost. Ah, assist me by Thy grace. From Thee I hope for light and strength to be faithful to Thee. And if perchance Thou foreseest that I shall again offend Thee, let me die at this moment, in which I hope I am in Thy grace. My God, I love Thee above all things, and more than death itself I fear again to incur Thy displeasure; in mercy permit it not. Mary, my Mother, by thy compassion assist me; obtain for me holy perseverance.

(Lenten Meditation for the First Sunday of Lent – St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Reflection for the 1st Week of Lent (Cycle B)

Image result for christ in the desert

 

 

FIRST READING              Genesis 9:8-15

God said to Noah and to his sons with him:  “See, I am now establishing my covenant with you and your descendants after you and with every living creature that was with you:  all the birds, and the various tame and wild animals that were with you and came out of the ark.  I will establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all bodily creatures be destroyed by the waters of a flood; there shall not be another flood to devastate the earth.”  God added:  “This is the sign that I am giving for all ages to come, of the covenant between me and you and every living creature with you:  I set my bow in the clouds to serve as a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.  When I bring clouds over the earth, and the bow appears in the clouds, I will recall the covenant I have made between me and you and all living beings, so that the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all mortal beings.”

SECOND READING           1 Peter 3:18-22

Beloved:  Christ suffered for sins once, the righteous for the sake of the unrighteous, that he might lead you to God.  Put to death in the flesh, he was brought to life in the Spirit.  In it he also went to preach to the spirits in prison, who had once been disobedient while God patiently waited in the days of Noah during the building of the ark, in which a few persons, eight in all, were saved through water.  This prefigured baptism, which saves you now.  It is not a removal of dirt from the body but an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers subject to him.

GOSPEL            Mark 1:12-15

The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert, and he remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan.  He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.  After John had been arrested, Jesus came to Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God:  “This is the time of fulfillment.  The kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent, and believe in the gospel.”

My sisters and brothers in Christ,

Part of Lent is deepening our awareness that we people who have a Covenant with the Living God.  We are not just people who believe in God.  We are a people sought out by God, a people formed by God and a people with a special love relationship with God.  Only when we are deeply aware of His love for us can we truly begin to do penance in a Christian way.

The first reading today is from the Book of Genesis and recounts the establishment of the Covenant with Noah and his descendants.  Many times in the history of the Chosen People, God has made Covenants.  These Covenants mark important events in the life of the Chosen People and are a sign of God’s choosing this people and remaining faithful to His choice.  What happens always is that God remains faithful to the Covenant and we do not.  Yet we are called to look back at these Covenants and to let God change our faithlessness to faithfulness.

The second reading today is from the First Letter of Peter.  This portion of the letter refers us once again to the Covenant with Noah and explains even more clearly that we must return to faithfulness.  The letter points out that it is Christ who has died for our sins and that we cannot think that the death of Christ was simply a removal of dirt from the body.  Rather the death of Christ our consciences are made clean by our faith in Him.  Thus we are invited to choose Jesus Christ once again in this time of Lent and know that He is our salvation.

The Gospel of this First Sunday of Lent is always the Gospel of Christ in the Desert, the temptations of Christ fasting for forty days.  The account this year comes from the Gospel of Mark and is very, very short.  Saint Mark simply tells us that Jesus was in the desert forty days and was tempted and that angels ministered to Him.  When Jesus leaves the desert, he begins His ministry of preaching.  He preaches repentance and belief in the Good News of God.

We are invited to see that Lent is a time of Good News of God.  Lent is a time to believe more deeply in this God who loves us and comes to save us in every situation.  Lent is a time to listen attentively to the Word of God and to meditate on what this Word means in our lives.  We are invited to turn away from anything that misleads us and walk always the way of the Lord.

Your brother in the Lord,

Abbot Philip

 

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Heresy Charges Against Pope Francis

Pope Francis: I avoid reading heresy accusations “for the sake of my mental health”

These words were uttered by the Pontiff at a private meeting with 90 Jesuits in Santiago de Chile, during his recent apostolic visit to South America. Their conversation was transcribed by Fr. Antonio Spadaro, editor of La Civilta Cattolicà, and was published in Italian with the Pope’s approval on their online site on Thursday morning.

“[W]hen I realize that there is real resistance, of course it displeases me,” he said. “Some people tell me that resistance is normal when someone wants to make changes. The famous ‘we’ve always done it this way’ reigns everywhere, it is a great temptation that we have all faced,” he added. (Information above supplied by Diane Montagna on LifeSiteNews.)

In this you are correct, Your Holiness: there will be plenty of strong “resistance” from orthodox members of the Church Militant towards your attempts to “make changes” to unchanging doctrines. No man, not even the Pope, has the authority to alter the Catholic Church’s Magisterial doctrinal teachings on Faith and Morals, for these have come down to us from The Word, Christ Jesus Our Lord, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and Doctors of the Church from the very beginning. “Development of Doctrine” (a term that refers to how Doctrine may be brought to a greater comprehension as the world changes around us, whilst ALWAYS remaining exactly the same in essence) does not legitimise changing a Doctrine to mean something totally different. Great saints and scholars of the Church – e.g., St Thomas Aquinas, Bl. Card. John Henry Newman – never made the mistake of wavering from the intrinsic truth of the Doctrine when they delved into clarifying its meaning through development.

There will also be resistance to your incomprehensible desire to change other traditions and devotions of the Church that have never grown old, as you seem to think, for they are timeless. Although some of them are perhaps not strictly part of the untouchable Deposit of Faith, these “traditions” have, through their pious significance and living out of spiritual realities, helped millions of souls down through the centuries to an increase in love and understanding of their faith. Beware of the errors of Modernism!

Pope Francis continued: “There is doctrinal resistance, which you all know better than I do. For the sake of mental health I do not read the websites of this so-called “resistance.” (Ibid.)

“He protects his sanity while he drives the rest of us crazy”: a quote from Bishop Emeritus René Gracida of Texas!

“I know who they are, I am familiar with the groups, but I do not read them, simply for my mental health. If there is something very serious, they inform me so that I know about it. You all know them … It is a displeasure, but we must move ahead. Historians say that it takes a century before a Council puts down roots. We are halfway there,” he said. (Ibid.)

Ah, that explains a lot: the old kumbaya, Spirit-of-Vatican II crowd are still at it, flogging their dead horse! And those “groups” you say you are “familiar with” just happen to be a very large (if not most) of the entire Body of the Catholic Church. Have you not noticed?

The Pope added: “When I perceive resistance, I try to dialogue, when dialogue is possible.” (Ibid.)

No you don’t. The dialoguing is only done by you, Holy Father, or your like-minded progressive bishops. Faithful clergy and laity are given no right to dialogue if their views differ from yours. (E.g., Cardinal Zen, the dubia Cardinals, the faithful Cardinals kicked out of the Synods on the Family, members of the FI, anyone protesting the heretical spoutings of your Modernist and/or lavender clergy, those faithful Catholics speaking out for persecuted Christians like Asia Bibi, and so on, and so on … in fact the list of those who are not allowed “to dialogue” is pages long now, far too long to be included here). Yet you allow the followers of Islam (the greatest persecutors of Christians), LGBT advocates, pro-abortionists, Catholic-loathing Protestants, and many other enemies of the Church – the Church whose teachings you were elected to defend, by the way – to dialogue and spread abroad their errors to their hearts’ content!

Back to Diane Montagna’s article:

Heresy charges

Last September, a group of 62 clergy and lay scholars took the rare step of presenting Pope Francis with a “Filial Correction,” charging him with permitting the spread of seven heresies, at least by omission, about marriage, the moral life, and the reception of the sacraments.

The filial correction, in the form of a 25-page letter, was delivered to the Pope at his Santa Marta residence on August 11, 2017. No similar action has taken place within the Catholic Church since the Middle Ages, when Pope John XXII was admonished for errors which he later recanted on his deathbed.

Expressing “profound grief” and “filial devotion,” the group of clergy and lay scholars “respectfully insist[ed]” that Pope Francis condemn the heresies that, in their view, he has directly or indirectly upheld, and that he teach the truth of the Catholic faith in its integrity.

The initiative provoked admiration and consternation among Catholics and drew considerable attention in secular media outlets — including the AP, BBC, CNN, Fox News, Drudge Report, Huffington Post, and Daily Mail.

The number of signatories quickly grew to 250 scholars, some from prominent institutions around the world. Pope Francis has issued no response. (Ibid.)

It is a horrifying shock for Catholics who in the past always knew that come what may, the solid Rock of the Church and her Vicar on Earth would never fail them. We still have the solid Rock of the Church and her solid Magisterium to cling onto… but where is our true Vicar? We have had a few of what are called “bad Popes” in the Church’s 2000 year history, due to these men’s wordiness and lack of good morals, plus some terrible times of anti-popes and schisms, but with exception of some isolated heretical mistakes made by Popes who later recanted, e.g., Pope John XXII, mentioned above, it is unheard of that a Pope should stick firmly to heretical teachings.

As far as we know, Pope Francis is not an immoral man, nor a lover of luxury. Also, in some cases, he shows concern and sensitivity towards certain people or groups of people who suffer or are marginalised from society in some way (but not, unfortunately, to others). He will not go down in history as a “bad pope” for reasons of immortality or greed. His future much-critisised legacy – unless he too recants, please God, – will be the way he tried to submerge the Bride of Christ into the heresies of Marxist, Secular Modernism.

It is a great tragedy – many souls have been led astray – and a tragedy that will take much time in which the Holy Catholic Church will have to recover. But this we know: She will recover, and this period of Her Via Crucis will be conquered, a thing of the past, through the grace of God and the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

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Mary’s Martyrdom Lifelong


The Passion of Jesus, as St. Bernard says, began with His Birth, so did Mary’s Martyrdom endure throughout her whole life. Wherefore well might Mary say: My life is wasted with grief and my years in sighs. My sorrow is continually before me.

I.

The Passion of Jesus, as St. Bernard says, began with His Birth. So also did Mary, in all things like unto her Son, endure her Martyrdom throughout her life. Amongst other significations of the name of Mary, as Blessed Albert the Great asserts, is that of “bitter sea.” Mare amarum. Hence to her is applicable the text of Jeremias: Great as the sea is thy destruction. (Lam. ii. 13). For as the sea is all bitter and salt, so also was the life of Mary always full of bitterness at the sight of the Passion of the Redeemer, which was ever present to her mind. There can be no doubt, that, enlightened by the Holy Ghost in a far higher degree than all the Prophets, she, far better than they, understood the predictions recorded by them in the sacred Scriptures concerning the Messias. This is what the Angel revealed to St. Bridget, and he also added: “that the Blessed Virgin, even before she became His Mother, knowing how much the Incarnate Word was to suffer for the salvation of men, and compassionating this innocent Saviour Who was to be so cruelly put to death for crimes not His own, even then began her great Martyrdom.” Mary’s grief was immeasurably increased when she became the Mother of this Saviour; so that at the sad sight of the many torments that were to be endured by her poor Son, she indeed suffered a long Martyrdom, a Martyrdom which lasted her whole life. This was signified with great exactitude to St. Bridget in a vision which she had in Rome in the church of St. Mary Major, where the Blessed Virgin with St. Simeon, and an Angel bearing a very long sword, reddened with blood, appeared to her, denoting thereby the long and bitter grief which transpierced the heart of Mary during her whole life. Whence Rupert supposes Mary thus speaking: “Redeemed souls, and my beloved children, do not pity me only for the hour in which I beheld my dear Jesus expiring before my eyes; for the Sword of Sorrow predicted by Simeon pierced my soul during my whole life. When I was giving suck to my Son, when I was warming Him in my arms, I already foresaw the bitter death that awaited Him. Consider, then, what long and bitter sorrows I must have endured.”

II.

Wherefore, well might Mary say, in the words of David: My life is wasted with grief, and my years in sighs. (Ps. xxx. 11). My sorrow is continually before me. (Ps. xxxvii. 18). “My whole life was spent in sorrow and in tears; for my sorrow, which was compassion for my beloved Son, never departed from before my eyes, as I always foresaw the sufferings and death which He was one day to endure.” The Divine Mother herself revealed to St. Bridget, that even after the Death and Ascension of her Son, whether she ate, or worked, the remembrance of His Passion was ever deeply fixed in her heart, and ever fresh in her memory. Hence Tauler says that the most Blessed Virgin spent her whole life in continual sorrow; for her heart was always occupied with sadness and suffering.

Therefore time, which usually mitigates the sorrows of the afflicted, did not relieve Mary; nay, it even increased her sorrows; for, as Jesus, on the one hand, advanced in age, and always appeared more and more beautiful and amiable; so also, on the other hand, the time of His death ever drew nearer, and grief always increased in the heart of Mary, at the thought of having to lose Him on earth. In the words addressed by the holy Angel to St. Bridget: “As the rose grows up amongst thorns, so the Mother of God advanced in years in the midst of suffering: and as the thorns increase with the growth of the rose, so also did the thorns of her sorrow increase in Mary, the chosen rose of the Lord, as she advanced in age; and so much the more deeply did they pierce her heart.”

(Lenten Meditation for Saturday after Ash Wednesday – St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Cardinal Zen: ‘A schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!’

Cardinal Joseph Zen

In a post on the Catholic Herald entitled ‘In praise of China’s outspoken cardinal’, Fr Raymond de Souza reports:

“Cardinal Zen has history on his side, and he knows China better than any in the Vatican diplomatic corps. [T]he emeritus bishop of Hong Kong, will not go away quietly. Which makes it difficult for the Vatican diplomats to go quietly and cut a deal with Chinese regime. What is playing out now, as the Holy See reportedly nears a deal with China on normalising relations, revisits a centuries-long debate about how the Church should deal with hostile, persecuting powers.

CP&S comment– One thing is certain, making a “deal” with “hostile, persecuting powers” is most definitely not the solution! But that is exactly what appears to be the plan of Pope Francis’ Vatican diplomats. Such a deal would be tantamount to throwing all those faithful Chinese Catholics of the underground Church to the lions. Have they not already suffered enough for their loyalty and devotion to Christ’s Church all these years under Communist interference and persecution, valiantly resisting any type of compromise with the truth? If this “deal” goes ahead with the atheistic Communist Government, it would be the ultimate betrayal.

Cardinal Zen has been doing everything in his power to put a stop to this “deal” and to open the eyes of the Pope and his aides of the terrible consequences that would follow if they were to go ahead.

———

Cardinal Zen: ‘A schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!’

ROME, February 13, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Hong Kong’s Cardinal Joseph Zen issued another strongly-worded criticism today of the Vatican’s proposed deal with China’s Communist regime, suggesting it would amount to a papal endorsement of schism.

“There is no reason to fear a schismatic church created by the [Communist] party. It will fade with the collapse of the regime,” he wrote. “But a schismatic church with the Pope’s blessing will be horrible!”

Cardinal Zen’s comments came in response to a recent interview with Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin, published in the Italian daily La Stampa. Zen posted the commentary on his blog in both Chinese and Italian.

Reading the interview “disgusts me,” the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong said.

He accused Cardinal Parolin of shedding “crocodile tears” for persecuted Catholics in China, saying he “adores Ostpolitik” but “despises the genuine faith of those who firmly defend the Church, founded by Jesus on the Apostles.”

Parolin professes to bring healing to persecuted Catholics in China through “the balm of mercy,” Zen said, but in reality he is “rubbing salt in their wounds” by rewarding traitors, castigating the faithful, and “forcing a legitimate bishop to cede his post to an excommunicated one.”

The “most repugnant thing” Zen said he found in the interview was Parolin’s “dishonest exploitation” of Pope Benedict XVI’s Letter to Catholics in China. He charged the Vatican Secretary of State with “manipulating” the letter to make himself appear to be a “faithful supporter” of Benedict’s work, when he actually “thwarted all of Pope Ratzinger’s efforts to bring the Church in China back to the right path.”

In the lengthy blogpost, Cardinal Zen also spoke of his relationship with Pope Francis. He said he is sorry if his revelation of their private conversations caused the Holy Father any embarrassment. But he said he “remains convinced” that there is a “divide” between the Pope’s thinking and that of his collaborators, and that they are “having a field day taking advantage of the Pope’s optimism to pursue their goals.”

“The communists want to enslave the Church,” he said. “There are those who refuse this slavery, and there are those who submit to it. Unfortunately, there are also those who embrace it.”

If one day the Holy See were to sign a “bad agreement” with China with the Pope’s approval, Cardinal Zen said he would “withdraw in silence to a ‘monastic life.’” In the meantime, he urged the faithful to pray for the Pope, that the Lord may “save him from the hands of his enemies.”

Here below is a LifeSite translation from the Italian of Cardinal Zen’s full text. The [underlined] emphasis is the cardinal’s.

***

I still can’t understand understand what they are dialoguing with China over

by Cardinal Joseph Zen

[Read it over on LifeSiteNews]

 

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There Is No Peace For The Wicked

Peace! What peace? No, says God, There is no peace to the wicked. (Is. xlviii. 22). If anyone has a powerful enemy, he can neither eat nor sleep in peace; and can he who has God for an enemy, rest in peace?

I.

Not only does Solomon say that the pleasures and riches of this world are but vanities that cannot satisfy the heart, but that they are pains which afflict the spirit: Behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit. (Eccles. i. 14). Poor sinners! They think to gain happiness by their sins, but they find only bitterness and remorse: Destruction and unhappiness in their ways, and the way of peace they have not known. (Ps. xiii. 3). Peace! What peace! No, says God: There is no peace to the wicked. (Is. xlviii. 22). In the first place, sin brings with it the terror of Divine vengeance. If anyone has a powerful enemy, he can neither eat nor sleep in peace; and can he who has God for an enemy rest in peace? Fear to them that work evil. (Prov. x. 29). If there is an earthquake, or if it thunders, how does not he tremble who is living in sin! Every leaf that moves alarms him: The sound of dread is always in his ears. (Job xv. 21). He is ever flying, though he sees not who pursues him: The wicked man fleeth when no man pursueth. (Prov. xxviii. 1). And who pursues him? His own sin. Cain, after he had killed his brother Abel, said: Everyone, therefore, that findeth me shall kill me. (Gen. iv. 14). And although the Lord assured him that no one would injure him–No, it shall not be so –yet, as the Scripture says, Cain was always a fugitive from one place to another: He dwelt as a fugitive on the earth. (Gen. iv. 16). What persecuted Cain but his own sin?

Moreover, sin brings with it remorse of conscience–that cruel worm that gnaws without ceasing. The wretched sinner goes to the play, the ball, the banquet; but, says his conscience: Thou art at enmity with God; and if thou wert to die, whither wouldst thou go? Remorse of conscience is so great a torment even in this life, that to rid themselves of it, some have even deliberately destroyed themselves. One of these, as we all know, was Judas, who hanged himself in despair. It is related of another, that, having killed a child, he became a Religious to fly from the pain of remorse of conscience; but not having found peace even in Religion, he went and confessed his crime to a judge, and caused himself to be condemned to death.

O my wasted life! O my God, had I but suffered to please Thee the pains that I have suffered to offend Thee, how much merit should I not now have for Heaven! Ah, my Lord, for what did I leave Thee, and lose Thy grace? For brief and empoisoned pleasures, which vanished almost as soon as possessed, and which left my heart full of thorns and bitterness. Ah, my sins, I detest and curse you a thousand times; and I bless Thy mercy, O my God, which has borne so patiently with me. I love Thee, O my Creator and Redeemer, Who hast given Thy life for me; and because I love Thee, I repent with all my heart of having offended Thee.

II.

God compares sinners to a stormy sea: The wicked are like the raging sea, which cannot rest. (Is. lvii. 20). I ask of you, if any one were taken to a musical festival, or to a ball or feast, and to be there suspended with his head downwards, could he enjoy that amusement? Such is the sinner’s state whose soul is, as it were, turned upside down, being in the midst of the enjoyments of this world, but without God. He may eat, and drink, and dance; he may wear to great advantage that rich apparel, receive those honours, obtain that dignity, or those possessions, but peace he will never have: There is no peace to the wicked. Peace comes from God alone; and God gives it to His friends, not to His enemies.

The pleasures of this earth, says St. Vincent Ferrar, run dry; they enter not into the heart: “They are waters which penetrate not where there is thirst.” The sinner may wear rich embroidered robes or a splendid diamond on his finger; he may indulge the sense of taste according to his inclination; but his poor heart will remain full of thorns and bitterness; therefore shalt thou behold him, with all his riches, pleasures, and amusements, always unquiet, and at every contradiction infuriated and angry, like a mad dog. He who loves God resigns himself under adverse events to the Divine Will, and finds peace; but he cannot do this who is an enemy to the will of God, and therefore he has no way of tranquillising himself. The unhappy man serves the devil,– serves a tyrant who repays him with grief and bitterness. Ah, the word of God cannot fail, which says: Because thou didst not serve the Lord thy God with joy and gladness of heart … thou shalt serve thy enemy … in hunger and thirst and nakedness, and in want of all things. (Deut. xxviii. 47, 48). What does not that revengeful man suffer when he has avenged himself! That unchaste man when he has gained his object! That ambitious, that avaricious man! Oh, how many, did they but suffer for God what they suffer in order to damn themselves, would become great Saints!

My God, my God, why have I lost Thee; and for what have I exchanged Thee? I now know the evil I have done; and I resolve to lose everything, even life itself, rather than Thy love. Give me light, Eternal Father, for the love of Jesus Christ; make me know how great a good Thou art, and how vile are those pleasures which the devil offers me to make me lose Thy grace. I love Thee; but I desire to love Thee more. Grant that Thou mayest be my only thought, my only desire, my only love. I hope all things from Thy goodness, through the merits of Thy Son. Mary, my Mother, through the love thou bearest to Jesus Christ, I implore thee to obtain for me light and strength to serve Him, and to love Him until death.

(Lenten Meditation for Friday after Ash Wednesday – St Alphonsus Liguori)

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Lenten Spiritual Crusade: The Light of Ireland’s Pro-Life Laws Must Not Be Extinguished

Please share this important article and video below.

From Voice of the Family

Voice of the Family is today launching a Lenten spiritual crusade in defence of the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution of the Republic of Ireland. A national referendum on the repeal of this amendment, which guarantees the equal right-to-life of both mothers and babies, will take place later this year, probably in May.

The Eighth Amendment, which was approved by referendum in 1983, has long been targeted by the international abortion industry. For thirty years the amendment prevented the legalisation of abortion in Ireland. In 2013 the Irish government controversially forced through legislation which permitted abortion in cases where it was deemed necessary to the save the life of the mother, but legislators can’t liberalise the law further without amending the Constitution, which requires a referendum. A recent study indicates that the amendment has saved the lives of more than 100,000 unborn children since 1983. A similar study suggested that a further 100,000 lives have been saved by similarly restrictive laws in Northern Ireland, a constituent part of the United Kingdom in which the 1967 British Abortion Act does not apply.

Ireland is one of the few remaining countries in Europe to preserve such a high level of protection for unborn children. If the Irish people vote to repeal the Eighth Amendment then the way will be open for the Oireachtas (the Irish legislature) to pass liberal abortion laws. Ireland would then join the ranks of nations – such as the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada – which have very high abortion rates. Conservative estimates indicate that, since the Soviet Union first legalised abortion in 1920, there have been more than one billion abortions worldwide. This is more deaths than in all the wars in recorded human history. Ireland’s pro-life laws have been a light shining in the darkness of the modern west. We must not let that light go out.

The scourge of abortion is a consequence of modern man’s rebellion against God and his holy law. Ash Wednesday, and the whole season of Lent, is a time for man to humble himself and turn back to God. We invite you to join with us this Lent in making atonement for the offence offered to God by the sin of abortion. We are asking people to pray the Holy Rosary every day during Lent to obtain that Ireland may be protected from abortion and that the bishops of Ireland may be given the grace to preach the gospel without fear. Please join us in this spiritual battle, and pray also for the deliverance of your own country from abortion.

Now therefore saith the Lord: Be converted to me with all your heart, in fasting, and in weeping, and in mourning. And rend your hearts, and not your garments, and turn to the Lord your God: for he is gracious and merciful, patient and rich in mercy, and ready to repent of the evil. Who knoweth but he will return, and forgive, and leave a blessing behind him.” (Joel 2:12-14)

If you would like to distribute leaflets promoting the spiritual crusade please email spiritualcrusade[AT]voiceofthefamily.com.

Please watch and share the following video:

 

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