Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Response to Terry Nelson Re: Cardinal Dolan

Cardinal Dolan goes into the belly of the beast, giving the closing prayer at the Democratic National Convention in 2012.  As stated on Youtube:  "The major networks skipped the closing prayer of the DNC in Charlotte."
Terry Nelson of Abbey Roads, whom I greatly respect, has left a comment on my blog in regard to Cardinal Dolan.  His entire comment:  "FYI, Cardinal Dolan is the Catholic guy who's following the herd."

Following is my reponse to Terry:

I saw your blog post on this subject, Terry, and I was going to answer it but I decided not to. I am very sad that you and I have such different views on this. I wish instead of such a terse comment to me that you had instead answered my points and shown how I was wrong.

I have shown that Cardinal Dolan does stand up for church teaching. As just one more example, he went to the Democratic Convention and gave a very moving prayer in which he was not afraid to bring up Church teaching and how it is in opposition to everything that was going on there. One part of that prayer:

"Show us anew that happiness is found only in respecting the laws of nature and of nature’s God. Empower us with your grace so that we might resist the temptation to replace the moral law with idols of our own making, or to remake those institutions you have given us for the nurturing of life and community"

Terry, the big problem that many are making is that they are looking at the St. Patrick's Day parade as a religious event. It is not. It is a cultural event. The Catholic Church has been a part of this cultural event from the beginning, even though it has always included every part of society which is most certainly not a part of the Church.  

Our society has become so morally degraded that the homosexual lifestyle is now approved. Thanks to the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we know that the teaching of the Church will never change on this or any other moral teaching. But that does not mean that we should not change our approach to those with whom we disagree. Cardinal Dolan does not have any say in who participates in the parade, but he can choose how he will react to the different elements in the parade.

Yes, he can make the decision not to include church participation. And that would make you and many others very happy. It might not make Michael Voris too happy because that would give him less reason to call Cardinal Dolan evil and a tool of the devil.

But what about the GBLTQ persons who are marching in the parade? They need us, Terry. They need the message that Cardinal Dolan can give them. These poor lost souls are coming to join an event in which the Catholic Church is already a participant. They are coming to join us. Yes, it is as an adversary. But that is all the more reason why we should stay. We were told by Our Lord to "go out into the world and preach the Gospel." This is the perfect opportunity to do this.

If Cardinal Dolan was to run away from the parade, as you and so many others advocate, he would be letting the militant gays win. He would be capitulating and giving the parade over to them entirely, destroying the presence of anything good. He would also be giving them even more reason to point out how bigoted and hateful the Church is, that we may preach love, but all our actions show is hate. By staying and even leading as Grand Marshal, he is continuing to provide the presence of the Holy Spirit. He will be providing a light in what has become a dark, dark world. As he said in his statement,

"As I do each year, I look forward to celebrating Mass in honor of Saint Patrick, the Patron Saint of Ireland, and the Patron Saint of this Archdiocese, to begin the feast, and pray that the parade would continue to be a source of unity."

Satan is the one who wants to drive Cardinal Dolan and the presence of the Catholic Church completely away from the parade. He wants it to become a "gay" parade. That will not happen as long as Cardinal Dolan is there. And at the same time, it is a golden opportunity to evangelize - just by our presence - to those who are in such great need. I thank God for Cardinal Dolan's courage to go up against those who oppose him, both in and out of the Church.

I know this will not change your mind or anyone else who disagrees, but I'm still putting it out there. Please give it some thought. Think about what our commission as a church is. We need to go out into the world that needs us. Would it really be the work of the Holy Spirit to just run away and give the world over to darkness? Or do we stand strong and instead allow the Holy Spirit to work through us to reach out to others? Our Lord never ran away. He was condemned by the Pharisees because he socialized with known sinners. Far too many Catholics are sounding a lot more like Pharisees than like Jesus Christ.

UPDATE:  The Anchoress did a great post on this subject.  God bless her:

Dolan is Charged to Model Christ, Not the Pharisees

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Msgr. Charles Pope and The Herd Mentality of Catholic Blogging

Credit:  www.christinemonohan.net
Sometimes I think that almost all Catholic blogs are written by just one person because they all sound exactly the same. No one ever seems to have an original thought. An example this past week was the explosion that happened across the Catholic Internet when Cardinal Dolan said he did not have a problem with the organizers of the St. Patrick's Parade in NYC allowing gay activist groups to march in the parade. Every Catholic blog I read had the exact same knee jerk reaction - Dolan has completely fallen off the rails and is out to destroy the church. He must be resisted!

Even the headlines of the posts sound the same. Here are just a few:
Cardinal Dolan and the Shameful NYC St. Patrick's Gay Parade 
A ‘dereliction of duty’? Catholics react to Cardinal Dolan’s role in St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Dolan to Catholics: Everybody Into the Ghetto

Cardinal Dolan and His St. Patrick Day Parade Abomination - St. Patrick, Pray for Us…

The Saint Patrick's Day Massacre

Cardinal Dolan: Does His Capitulation To Gays In St Patrick's Parade Constitute Cooperation With Mortal Sin?

Cardinal Dolan's St. Patrick's Day Parade Float: A King Size Mattress He Calls The Church of Pope Francis

Dolan once again proves himself a huge disappointment

What Would St. Patrick Say? (St. Patrick must be spinning in his grave.)

Millstone for Cardinal Dolan -- Again!
BREAKING: NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Goes Gay - Dolan Cheers! (You knew Michael Voris could not resist going after Cardinal Dolan once again)
I did not see even one blogger at least attempt to moderate his or her response by saying something like, "I don't understand this.  It doesn't seem like the best move, but I will show respect for the hierarchy of the church and just step back in prayer and let it play out."  Oh no, all the bloggers went right for Cardinal Dolan's jugular vein in full and complete condemnation.

And the blog posts I read on this subject were almost entirely comprised of opinions.  No one looked to see if or how this could possibly fit into the role of evangelizing those who are so militantly opposed to the Church as the homosexual movement is.  No one looked into Cardinal Dolan's past actions regarding the homosexual movement to see what his true motives might actually be.

As far as I know, I am the only blogger who brought up the fact that Cardinal Dolan is on the Board of Courage, the Catholic ministry that helps LGBT persons come out of the homosexual lifestyle, or that Cardinal Dolan was the first and only bishop of NYC to prohibit St. Francis Xavier Church to carry their church banner in the Gay Pride Parade.

GLAAD protestors at St. Patrick's Cathedral
Credit: Glaad.org
No one seems to remember the incident from May of 2013 when members of GLAAD protested at St. Patrick's Cathedral [HERE] because of a blog post written by Cardinal Dolan in which he stated the following [HERE for the full post]:
The Church loves, welcomes, and respects a woman or man with a same-sex attraction . . . while reminding him or her of our clear teaching that, while the condition of homosexuality is no sin at all, still, God’s teaching is clear that sexual acts are reserved for a man and woman united in the lifelong, life-giving, faithful, loving bond of marriage.

. . .

We are part of a Church where, yes, all are welcome, but, no, not a Church of anything goes.
Nope, not one Catholic blogger brought any of this up.  They just wrote scathing, condemning diatribes against this Prince of the Church.

Among those who condemned Cardinal Dolan was a respected Catholic priest. No, I'm not talking about Father Z (although he was just as guilty [HERE]), but about Msgr. Charles Pope, who wrote a post on the website for the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. that was pulled shortly after it was posted. That only incensed Catholic bloggers en masse who, almost in one voice, included Cardinal Wuerl in their condemnation of Cardinal Dolan.  Ah, but the traditionalists proudly proclaimed that Cardinal Wuerl did not out think them. This wonderful gem by Msgr. Pope was copied by others and saved for all the world to see.

So what was in this post?

Msgr. Pope started out his post with a truly bewildering statement:  "The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works."

At what point in Church history did she engage the world in "happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement"?  Well, Msgr. Pope would have us believe that the Al Smith Dinner, held every year in NYC, is just such an example.  

The Al Smith Dinner is held once a year when the Archdiocese brings together political enemies and asks them to put aside their differences to raise money for poor kids. This, of course, reached a crisis stage when Cardinal Dolan invited President Obama to the Al Smith Dinner, and Catholic bloggers came together in herd mentality to condemn His Eminence. When Msgr. Pope condemns the Al Smith dinner, he is passively aggressively condemning Cardinal Dolan. And everyone knows it.

Msgr. Pope tells us that bringing politicians together years ago wasn't a problem, but now with the such issues as abortion and homosexuality, we can no longer be doing such things.  

I wonder if Msgr. Pope has ever read I Corinthians 5, in which St. Paul tells the Corinthian church that yes, they must separate from the sexually immoral.  However, this is in regard only to those who are in the Church (verses 9-13).
I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people— not at all meaning the people of this world who are immoral, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters. In that case you would have to leave this world. But now I am writing to you that you must not associate with anyone who claims to be a brother or sister but is sexually immoral or greedy, an idolater or slanderer, a drunkard or swindler. Do not even eat with such people.
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside.
Hmm.  "What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?"  That has such a familiar ring to it.  

Ah, yes. Cardinal Dolan when asked about Michael Sam's homosexuality: "Good for him. I would have no sense of judgment on him. God bless ya. I don't think, look, the same bible that tells us that teaches us well about the virtues of chastity and the virtue of fidelity and marriage also tells us not to judge people. So I would say, 'Bravo.'"

Judging from the reactions of of the Catholic blogosphere to Cardinal Dolan, there can be little doubt how they (and Msgr. Charles Pope) would have treated St. Paul.  

In his post Msgr. Pope next states, "Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it."

The St. Patrick's Parade is "becoming" a parade of disorder, etc. etc.???   That statement would cause the rest of New York City to scratch their heads and wonder what world Msgr. Pope lives in not to know what the real reason for the parade has always been.  [Hint:  It's Party Time!]  

My husband had his 15 minutes of fame back in the 1950's when, as a little boy, my mother-in-law took him to the St. Patrick's parade in NYC. After the parade, they went to a restaurant with a bar. The bartender asked my husband if he had been to the parade.  My husband replied yes, and the bartender said, "Every good Irishman who goes to the parade goes to a saloon on St. Patrick's day."

After that, my mother in law took my husband to the Steve Allen Show which was filmed at NBC studios. My husband was picked as a "cute Irish kid" and interviewed by Steven Allen on the show. Steve asked the "cute Irish kid" what he did on St. Patrick's Day? The answer: "I went to a saloon like every good Irishman." The studio audience roared. Why? Because they knew how true this statement was even in the "innocence" of the 1950's. Just as an aside, Steven Allen liked my husband so much that he was actually on the show a couple of times and he still has a picture personally autographed to him and his mother by Steve Allen.
Here is a news flash for Msgr. Pope:  there has never been a time when drinking and carousing were not a part of the St. Patrick's Day parade, especially here in New York.  

Msgr. Pope then decided that Catholics need to actually make St. Patrick's Day of time of prayer and reparation:
It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.
I would never disagree with anyone's decision to set aside a day for prayer and reparation.  If you want to do it on St. Patrick's Day, all the more power to you.  But as I stated in my previous post, this is also an excellent time to engage with the world when they come to celebrate one of our days.  We cannot go to their events such as the Gay Pride Parade, but we can most certainly invite them to celebrate a non-religious event with us like St. Patrick's Day or the Al Smith Dinner.  We can use these opportunities to show the world what we are made of, to let them know that although we reject their sinful actions, we love and accept them as human beings.  It is, in other words, a perfect time for true evangelization. And there is no doubt in my mind that this is exactly what Our Lord would have done.  

Msgr. Pope and the Catholic blogosphere would have us turn our backs on the world and shut them out while we go into our churches to pray for them.  My reply to this is why can't we both pray for the world and engage them in acts of personal evangelization?  I hope that not one day goes by when Catholics are not in prayer for the world.  But it is also important to follow the example of Our Lord who went out into the world and engaged with sinners without engaging in their sin.  As Pope Francis has told us, we need to get the "smell of the sheep" on us.  And we can't do that if we just hide away.

It is important to note that although Msgr. Pope never actually mentions the name of Cardinal Dolan in his post, there is no doubt as to whom he was directing his comments.  Msgr. Pope was standing in condemnation of a Cardinal of the Church and inciting other Catholics to do the same.  And Msgr. Pope succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.  

In place of the deleted post Msgr. Pope has put the following statement [HERE]:
Many of you have expressed concern about a blog post I wrote on the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, which was removed. I am grateful for your concern about this and all the issues we discuss here. I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.

I remain concerned about the central point of the article, namely, how we as Catholics can effectively engage a culture that increasingly requires us to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm. There are many prudential decisions involved in the answer to this question, and my intent is not to directly criticize any bishop or diocese. But this is an issue we must all collectively wrestle with as our culture and our faith reach deeper differences.

I am grateful to the Archdiocese of Washington, which has generously sponsored our conversation on this site for five years. I am also grateful to all of you who read and comment. I ask mutual charity and understanding for all parties involved. The beautiful motto of James Cardinal Hickey, who ordained me, rings just now in my heart: Veritatem in Caritate (the truth in charity).
Msgr. Pope is apologizing for the "strong nature of the language" he used, but he is still standing behind the sentiments in the post.  Even in his retraction here, he is still attacking Cardinal Dolan, albeit in a passive aggressive way.  Notice his statement, "I remain concerned about . . . how we as Catholics can effectively engage a culture that increasingly requires us to affirm what we cannot reasonably affirm."  He is subtly implying that Cardinal Dolan - by agreeing with the decision of the St. Patrick Parade organizers - is affirming homosexuality.  If that is the case, then can we assume that Jesus Christ was affirming the sin of the prostitutes and other sinners He hung around with?

We, as Catholics, need to get out of the herd mentality of those around us and starting trusting Holy Mother Church.  If you identify yourself as Catholic, then you believe that the Church is led by the Holy Spirit.  That does not mean that every action and word of Church hierarchy is inspired.  It certainly doesn't mean that church hierarchy can do no wrong.  But it does mean that we should always, always, always give the benefit of the doubt to those who are in charge of our souls.  If they are wrong, they will answer directly to Our Lord.

We must remember that God almost never works in ways that we expect.  I think of this often when I meditate on the mysteries of the Rosary.  Who would expect a poor young girl from an oppressed people to become the Mother of God?  Who would expect Our Savior to be born in a dirty, vermin-infested cave surrounded by equally dirty animals with only a feeding trough filled with straw as a bed?  Who would think He and His family would have to flee over many hundreds of miles to a strange land to escape being murdered?  Who would think that the God of the Universe would allow Himself to be mercilessly and ruthlessly beaten and killed like a common criminal to save us from our sins?

We must never think that we know the Mind of God. We must never think that He thinks like we do. We must empty ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to guide and lead us. We walk by faith, not by sight. The Holy Spirit knows exactly where He is leading the Church. He knows far better than we can ever know just how to engage with the world.

One of my favorite passages in the Bible is the Magnificat, which Our Lady recites when she is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth. In part of it, Our Lady tells us:
He has shown might with His arm,
He has scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He has put down the mighty from their thrones,
and has exalted the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich He has sent away empty.
I have not seen a lot of "lowliness" among Catholic bloggers. The Catholic blogosphere has shown itself to be poisoned with pride and self righteousness. They, for the most part, think they have everything they need. They are "rich" in spiritual knowledge and wisdom, They know better than a Cardinal or even the Pope, and they do not hesitate to voice these opinions. However, Our Lady warns us that the "rich He has sent away empty."

I say to the Catholic blogosphere, now is not the time to turn away from the world. The world needs us more than ever. Cardinal Dolan understands this and is bravely going out to face a world that hates everything he represents. He needs us to stand behind him.

The purpose of this post is not to condemn Msgr. Charles Pope in any way. I really don't know anything about him other than this one post, and that is all I have discussed. I have no reason to doubt that Msgr. Pope is a good priest who loves Our Lord and loves the Church. But he was very wrong to write the now deleted post. He had no right as an ordained priest to attack the actions of a Cardinal. His post served to incite the laity against Church hierarchy, and that is never excusable.

To the rest of the Catholic blogosphere, I would urge you to break away from the herd mentality that seems to have taken over. How? All you need to do is be a good faithful Catholic. Trust our Lord. Trust the Holy Spirit that He will always guide the Church and never let us go astray. Realize that it is not your duty to try to set things back on course. We as human beings have very limited vision of the events around us. Our understanding is even more limited. Follow the example of Our Blessed Mother when she said,
Behold the handmaid of the Lord.
Be it done unto me according to your word.
Walk by faith, not by sight.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Cardinal Dolan, The Catcher in the Rye and Matthew 28

Credit:  sites.google.com
Most of us read "Catcher In The Rye" by JD Salinger at some point in our adolescence. I think I was 16 when I read it. It has become a classic American novel. It has many themes in it, but one major theme is trying to save the loss of innocence. This is the explanation of the title, "Catcher In the Rye" from Yahoo Answers:
Have you read the book? It's like a big wheat field and the main character wishes to be the "Catcher in the Rye" when children are playing too close to a cliff, he wants to be the one that saves them.
Edit: Holden: "You know that song, 'If a body catch a body comin' through the rye'?..." 
Phoebe: "It's 'If a body meet a body coming through the rye'!... It's a poem. By Robert Burns." 
"Anyway, I keep picturing all these little kids playing some game in this big field of rye and all. Thousands of little kids, and nobody's around - nobody big, I mean - except me. And I'm standing on the edge of some crazy cliff. What I have to do, I have to catch everybody if they start to go over the cliff - I mean if they're running and they don't look where they're going I have to come out from somewhere and catch them. That's all I do all day. I'd just be the catcher in the rye and all. I know it's crazy, but that's the only thing I'd really like to be." ~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 22, spoken by the character Holden Caulfield
Compare this with the writings of Pope Francis from his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium
24. The Church which “goes forth” is a community of missionary disciples who take the first step, who are involved and supportive, who bear fruit and rejoice. An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast. Such a community has an endless desire to show mercy, the fruit of its own experience of the power of the Father’s infinite mercy. Let us try a little harder to take the first step and to become involved. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples. The Lord gets involved and he involves his own, as he kneels to wash their feet. He tells his disciples: “You will be blessed if you do this” (Jn 13:17).
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice. An evangelizing community is also supportive, standing by people at every step of the way, no matter how difficult or lengthy this may prove to be. It is familiar with patient expectation and apostolic endurance. Evangelization consists mostly of patience and disregard for constraints of time. Faithful to the Lord’s gift, it also bears fruit. An evangelizing community is always concerned with fruit, because the Lord wants her to be fruitful. It cares for the grain and does not grow impatient at the weeds.
The sower, when he sees weeds sprouting among the grain does not grumble or overreact. He or she finds a way to let the word take flesh in a particular situation and bear fruits of new life, however imperfect or incomplete these may appear. The disciple is ready to put his or her whole life on the line, even to accepting martyrdom, in bearing witness to Jesus Christ, yet the goal is not to make enemies but to see God’s word accepted and its capacity for liberation and renewal revealed.
Credit:  whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com
I think this is the job description of every Christian as given to us by Our Lord in Matthew 28:19 - "Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit." We who have been washed clean by the Precious Blood of Jesus Christ - we who have been saved by Our Lord from going over the cliff - now have a duty to spread this saving message to the rest of the world and try to pull them from the edge of the cliff. And truly, our evil and dying world has never been more in need of the glorious message of Jesus Christ than it is right now.

As much as the world needs the Gospel message of Christ's salvation, that is also how resistant they are to this message. And it is for this very reason that we need to go more and more directly to them. They are headed at break neck speed to their own destruction.  As Pope Francis wrote, "An evangelizing community knows that the Lord has taken the initiative, he has loved us first (cf. 1 Jn 4:19), and therefore we can move forward, boldly take the initiative, go out to others, seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast."

This past week, Cardinal Dolan has come under vicious attacks from many Catholics because he has accepted the decision of the organizers of NYC's St. Patrick's Day parade to allow a gay group to march under its own banner.  Cardinal Dolan has said he has no problem with it, and will even act as Grand Marshal in the 2015 parade.  But there will be active homosexuals at this parade promoting their agenda.  Doesn't that mean His Eminence should denounce it?

Pat Archbold, who never minces words in his criticism of Church hierarachy, wrote the following [HERE]:
If reports are to be believed, a compromise is in the works that will amount to nothing less than an endorsement of the gay identity in the 2015 NYC St. Patrick's Day parade.
. . .

If this is true, and I pray it is not, it is a shameful and sinful capitulation by the parade organizers and Cardinal Dolan.
If a parade that is meant to honor a great saint is being used to promote a sinful agenda, it should be cancelled rather than allow it to be used in such a way. It is one thing for a parade committee to fold under pressure, but it is quite another that the Cardinal Archbishop of New York would be asked to lend his name and office to the parade. Such an action can be viewed in no other way than total capitulation to gay identity groups.
Pat Archbold needs to realize that while the parade is celebrated on the feast day of St. Patrick, for the vast majority who organize the parade and those who attend, it has little to do with honoring St. Patrick or being Catholic. I don't think this great saint would be honored by much of what goes on in his name. Catholics everywhere - at least as can be seen in the Catholic blogosphere this week - seem to think that the St. Patrick Day's Parade in NYC is some sort of religious event with the New York Archdiocese running the show. Nothing could be further from the truth. The archdiocese does not organize the parade. They are only one of many groups taking part in the parade. The parade is a cultural event.

Look at this video from Bill O'Reilly's show from March of 2013:

As stated in the video, not everyone at the parade is there to get wasted. But consider who the major sponsors of the parade are - Guinness, Heineken and Sam Adams. This was never a religious event. The NYC St. Patrick's Day Parade was started by the Irish laity as a way to celebrate being Irish. But St. Patrick is also the patron saint of the New York Archdiocese, and that is why the Archdiocese, among many other groups and individuals, takes part in it. And as it should, the Archdiocese does bring their Catholic beliefs and practices to the parade. However, this clearly does not mean that others see this as a religious event.

The following is from The Huffington Post [HERE]:
The parade has no direct ties to the church, but celebrates a Catholic saint and has always been a key event for the city's Irish Catholics.
Philip Lawler, the Boston-based editor of the theologically conservative Catholic World News, said Dolan should step down as grand marshal.
"My phone has been ringing off the hook with people who are upset," Lawler said. "Cardinal Dolan said, 'I'm sure there have been lots of homosexuals marching in the parade before,' but homosexuals identifying themselves seems a contradiction in honoring a Catholic saint."
Lawler said the New York parade is more of a civic event that has already lost much of its ties to religion. "Why don't we just admit it has no religious significance?" Lawler said.
Since, as Lawler says, the parade has little or no religious significance, should the Church step down from involvement in it, even though that involvement goes all the way back to the beginning of the parade? Would that be fulfilling the Church's role as evangelizer to the world?  Do we shun sinners, or do we heed the words of Pope Francis:
An evangelizing community gets involved by word and deed in people’s daily lives; it bridges distances, it is willing to abase itself if necessary, and it embraces human life, touching the suffering flesh of Christ in others. Evangelizers thus take on the “smell of the sheep” and the sheep are willing to hear their voice.
The same Huffington Post article quoted Cardinal Dolan from last year's parade, which I think is completely in line with the words of Pope Francis:
At the St. Patrick's Day Parade last March, Dolan said he supports individual gays and lesbians participating in the parade and hoped it could be a day of unity and joy. "I know that there are thousands and thousands of gay people marching in this parade," he said. "I know it. And I'm glad they are."
This parade was started in the 18th century even before the US became a country.  The New York Catholic Church has always participated in it.  Should they now run away because the parade organizers have decided to allow groups in with which the Church disapproves?  Many pro abortion and pro-homosexual politicians have marched in the parade for years, but no one ever thought the Church should pull out of the parade for that reason.

But, you say, the politicians were not at the parade to promote their anti-Catholic agenda as the gay groups will do.  I've got news for those with this argument - politicians are always about promoting themselves and their agendas.  

If this was the Pride Parade, which is all about promoting homosexuality, then I could understand people's angst. And if it does somehow devolve into that, then the Archdiocese should take appropriate steps to distance themselves.

But this parade is still about being Irish, not being gay. And the fact that gay groups will be present at the parade is an excellent opportunity for evangelization.  They are coming on to our turf, and we can now show them that although we disapprove of their life style, we still love and accept them as human beings.  There will be no more reason for signs such as this at the parade:

Credit:  www.nydailynews.com
All of those rushing to condemn Cardinal Dolan seem to forget that he was the one who forbade the people at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church from marching in the Gay Pride parade with their Church banner.  He is also on the Board of Courage and has actively promoted this beautiful ministry, designed to help homosexuals come out of their sinful lifestyles.  

This is what Cardinal Dolan wrote about Courage in an editorial published in the New York Daily News [HERE].  The editorial was the Cardinal's protest against the cancellation of a speech by a priest speaking to a Catholic high school about Courage:
Pope Francis famously made headlines over the summer when he said in an interview, "If someone is gay and is searching for the Lord and has good will, then who am I to judge him?" His words made me grateful for the church's ministry, called Courage, which assists and supports people with a same-sex attraction to live virtuous lives, and EnCourage, dedicated to the spiritual needs of parents and relatives of those with same sex attraction.
Here we have a loving, welcoming, community, dedicated to helping those who strive to live as Jesus calls us to live. This is what our gay Catholics have long sought: a home, a welcome, a sense of inclusion in the church they love.
I would strongly encourage everyone to read this editorial by Cardinal Dolan.  Maybe it will help you understand how wrong people are when they accuse His Eminence of being "pro sodomy." There is a huge difference between supporting people and supporting their sins.  

The Catholic Church - the Mystical Body of Christ - never turns anyone away from her doors.  Only Catholics in good standing with the Church and in a state of grace can receive the sacraments, but the Church will never turn her back on any human being.  That is why we read the following in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
To use a cliché, what would Jesus do in this situation?  Would He go running for the hills because an open, professing homosexual took part in an event at which He was already present?  Or would He use this as an opportunity to reach out to a lost soul in great need of His Saving Grace?  

I know I will stand alone in my opinion.  I will be accused of being a hapless liberal who is actually against the Catholic Church and her teachings, just as so many have accused Cardinal Dolan.  But I truly wish that people would stop being so quick to condemn and instead put aside their judgments and reach out with love and compassion to those who need them, just as Cardinal Dolan is doing.

Cardinal Dolan is not inviting unrepentant homosexuals to the communion rail.  Despite the accusations of many, he is not endorsing the gay life style.  But as a pastor, he is taking every opportunity he can to reach lost souls.  He, like Holden Caulfield in "Catcher In The Rye", is trying to stop people from running off the cliff to their own destruction.  He realizes that turning and walking away from people is not going to stop them.  As our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has told us, we must be willing to take on the smell of the sheep so they will be willing to listen to us.  That is exactly what Cardinal Dolan is doing and, sadly, what many other Catholics are refusing to do.

Do we reach people by standing in condemnation of them, giving them even more reason to hate us, or do we open our arms to them and say, in the words of the late Joan Rivers, "Can we talk?"  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Defeating The Forces of Evil

Reading the news, it would be very easy to live our lives today in a constant state of fear.

War seems to be everywhere, and it is seldom reported by our major news services.  For example, there have been over 170,000 people killed in Syria since 2011.  That is just one country.

There are the horrifying crimes against humanity being committed by ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

There is Boko Haram in Africa basically mirroring ISIS.

Israel and the Palestinians have been going at each other and threatening to escalate into all out war.

Russia seem ready to declare war in the Ukraine, which is also a threat against NATO.  We are now hearing that Russia is planning "nuke exercises", which sounds ominous to say the least.

Ebola is killing hundreds of people in Africa and threatening to become a worldwide epidemic.

We have the unbelievable mess on the US southern border with tens of thousands of illegals streaming into the US.

Next week is the anniversary of 9/11 which is always a very anxious time here in New York.  And now we have a news report that says 11 jet airliners were hijacked from the Tripoli airport in Libya and there are fears they will be used in terrorist attacks next week on 9/11 [HERE].  From that report:
Intelligence reports of the stolen jetliners were distributed within the U.S. government over the past two weeks and included a warning that one or more of the aircraft could be used in an attack later this month on the date marking the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks against New York and Washington, said U.S. officials familiar with the reports.
As a New Yorker who lived through 9/11/2001, this does not help me sleep better at night.

As a Catholic, I am also very concerned by the actions of many of my fellow Catholics.

We have modernists who pick and choose what they like about Catholicism, basically creating their own religion by rejecting everything with which they personally disagree.  They seem to be intent on making the Church into a toothless lion, jettisoning any teaching that is not "politically correct."

On the other end of the spectrum, we have traditionalists whose main occupation in life seems to be to find fault with the hierarchy of the Church.  If they don't like something they see or hear, they get on the Internet to tell everyone that the Church is going to hell in a handbasket.  They scrutinize and pick apart every word and action of Pope Francis and the bishops.  They are, in effect, their own magesterium and, as far as they are concerned, anyone who does not agree with them is a heretic and apostate Catholic.  As I have already stated elsewhere, I am truly concerned about a major schism.

How do we, who claim to be the children of God, deal with all of this?  Just what should we be doing to combat the evil around us and not become a part of it?

I felt that the Office of Readings from Tuesday, September 2, gave some really beautiful lessons on how to cope with the evil times in which we live.  It started with Psalm 37, one of favorite Psalms:
Do not fret because of the wicked;
do not envy those who do evil:
for they wither quickly like grass
and fade like the green of the fields.

If you trust in the Lord and do good,
then you will live in the land and be secure.
If you find your delight in the Lord,
he will grant your heart’s desire.

. . .

Calm your anger and forget your rage;
do not fret, it only leads to evil.
For those who do evil shall perish;
the patient shall inherit the land.

A little longer–and the wicked shall have gone.
Look at his place, he is not there.
But the humble shall own the land
and enjoy the fullness of peace.
I especially love the antiphon associated with this psalm:
Surrender to God, and he will do everything for you.
This is followed by the next antiphon:
Turn away from evil, learn to do God’s will; the Lord will strengthen you if you obey him.
Credit:  www.searchquotes.com
The Office of Readings then continues with Psalm 37:
The wicked man plots against the just
and gnashes his teeth against him;
but the Lord laughs at the wicked
for he sees that his day is at hand.

The sword of the wicked is drawn,
his bow is bent to slaughter the upright.
Their sword shall pierce their own hearts
and their bows shall be broken to pieces.
. . .
He protects the lives of the upright,
their heritage will last for ever.
They shall not be put to shame in evil days,
in time of famine their food shall not fail.

But the wicked shall perish
and all the enemies of the Lord.
They are like the beauty of the meadows,
they shall vanish, they shall vanish like smoke.
. . .
I was young and now I am old,
but I have never seen the just man forsaken
nor his children begging for bread.
All the day he is generous and lends
and his children become a blessing.
. . .
The unjust shall be wiped out for ever
and the children of the wicked destroyed.
The just shall inherit the land;
there they shall live forever.
I found the next antiphon very reassuring and comforting:
Wait for the Lord to lead, then follow in his way.
We as humans are always fretting and trying to figure out ways we can overcome the evil and hardships in our lives. But as Christians, all we need to do is "Wait on the Lord." However, waiting does not mean doing nothing. It means going to Our Lord and placing all of our needs, wants and concerns into His Hands, and then following through in the way He leads.

An example of this is Mother Teresa. In 1982, at the height of the Siege of Beirut, Mother Teresa rescued 37 children trapped in a front line hospital by brokering a temporary cease-fire between the Israeli army and Palestinian guerrillas. She did not do this through her own strength or her own reasoning. There can be no doubt she brought this to Our Lord in prayer, and then did not hesitate to follow in the way in which she was guided by the Holy Spirit with no equivocation and no fear.

Mother Teresa with one of the
37 children she rescued in Beirut
Credit:  www.usatoday.com
Back to the Office of Readings, we continue with Psalm 37:
The just man’s mouth utters wisdom
and his lips speak what is right;
the law of his God is in his heart,
his steps shall be saved from stumbling.
The wicked man watches for the just
and seeks occasion to kill him.
The Lord will not leave him in his power
nor let him be condemned when he is judged.

Then wait for the Lord, keep to his way.
It is he who will free you from the wicked,
raise you up to possess the land
and see the wicked destroyed.

I have seen the wicked triumphant,
towering like a cedar of Lebanon.
I passed by again; he was gone.
I searched; he was nowhere to be found.

See the just man, mark the upright,
for the peaceful man a future lies in store,
but sinners shall all be destroyed.
No future lies in store for the wicked.

The salvation of the just comes from the Lord,
their stronghold in time of distress.
The Lord helps them and delivers them
and saves them: for their refuge is in him.
What separates the "just" man from the "wicked" man?  Those whom the Lord calls "just" place all of their trust and hope in him.  They do not look to their own reasoning and do not rely on their own strength.  The just man or woman realizes, as our Lord said, that we have nothing to fear from those who can only harm our bodies.  They also realize that to glorify God means to allow Him to do our fighting for us.  That is the definition of "waiting" on the Lord.

The just man realizes that there is only one place where salvation - be it physical or spiritual - can be found. And that is with Our Lord. It is not in other men, and it is not in ourselves. The Psalm Prayer of the Office of Readings brings this out:
You proclaimed the poor to be blessed, Lord Jesus, for the kingdom of heaven is given to them. Fill us generously with your gifts. Teach us to put our trust in the Father and to seek his kingdom first of all rather than imitate the powerful and envy the rich.
As we look around our beleaguered world, it seems that good is being crushed and evil is winning. We need to remember this is just how it looked at Calvary when Our Lord was crucified on the Cross, so beaten and scourged that He barely looked like a human being. But it was precisely at this point that evil was being completely defeated. Death was defeated by the death of the Righteous One.

The first reading in the Office of Readings was from Jeremiah 20:7-18 - "The prophet's anxieties."  In this passage, Jeremiah voices his worries and anxieties about his situation.  But he realizes that the Lord will fight for him and rescue him.  The Responsory following this reading summarizes as follows:
I hear the whispered threats of those who were my friends;
now they watch for my downfall and say:
Perhaps we can deceive him,
and then we shall have him in our power
and take our revenge.
But you, Lord, are a mighty warrior,
always at my side
I hear the whisperings of the crowd,
threats from every side as they plot to take my life.
But you, Lord, are a mighty warrior, always at my side.
There are dark storm clouds surrounding us on every side.  Evil seems to be ruling the day and crushing the good and holy.  But Our Lord is always there with us.  Jesus Christ Himself suffered unjustly and mercilessly at the hands of evil.  But He did this so that we might be freed from this evil.  If we belong to Christ, we must be willing to do the same.

The movie, "For Greater Glory" was about the intense persecution of the Catholic Church by the Masonic Mexican government in the early 20th  Century.  Father Robert Barron talked about this film and how we, as Catholics, should react to evil and violence and unjust aggressors.

Father Barron says in this video:
"If we have confidence in the Power of the Cross and we're grounded in prayer, we can unleash this great resistance to the world. Not on the world's terms. Again, I understand it. I get it. When people are pushed against a wall, and there's such aggression thrown at them, that they respond in kind. But I think the Church should unleash its own dynamite. It should marshal its own power, which is the power of non-violent love. It doesn't mean acquiescence, it doesn't mean caving in. It means this provocative challenge to the violence of the world precisely through non violence."
Execution of  Saint Cristóbal Magallanes Jara
Father Barron then talks about the scene from "For Greater Glory" about the elderly priest played by the late Peter O'Toole who is martyred:
I think a very good example is Father Cristóbal Magallanes [canonized on May 21, 2000], played by Peter O'Toole. Old man, he is an old priest at the end of his life. And instead of taking up arms or fleeing - see, there is the fight/flight - he chose a third option, which is non-violent resistance. He knew, I think, that with this last great act of witness, he would strike a blow against this oppression. And so in his full Mass vestments and wearing his priestly biretta, there he stands against the wall and is put to death. That, too, is photographed. I think he knew that his last great act would be an act of witness against this terrible violence.
Now does this require enormous courage? Yes. Gandhi said it takes the courage of a warrior. Not the sword of a warrior, but the courage of a warrior, absolutely, to do this sort of work. I felt for a long time we are not good in training our people in non-violent resistance. But that is the way Christ is King.

Here is a beautiful video that includes the scene mentioned by Father Barron of  Father Cristóbal Magallanes' martyrdom from "For Greater Glory."  This scene involves Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río, who was also martyred by the Mexican government.  As Father says to Blessed José, "Who are you if you don't stand up for what you believe?  There is no greater glory than to give your life for Christ. "  The heart wrenching scene of Blessed José's martyrdom is also shown in this video.

We need to wait on the Lord in the face of evil, and that means standing strong and allowing Him to work through us. We must not succumb to the ways of the world. We must allow the Holy Spirit to work through us, as we see in these scenes with Saint Cristóbal Magallanes' and Blessed José Luis Sánchez del Río. That is the way to peace, and that is the way to true salvation. "Don't be afraid of those who want to kill your body; they cannot touch your soul. Fear only God, who can destroy both soul and body in hell." (Matt. 10:28)
Incorrupt feet of Blessed Jose Sanchez del Rio, who gave 
his life for the cause of Christ and his Church.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Traditionalists and Schism

Credit:  deepertruthblog.blogspot.com
I have written here more than once that I am fearful that there is a great schism building up in the Catholic Church.  I feel it is coming from the traditionalist movement.  I make my judgment not as one looking in from the outside, but as one who was very much on the inside of this movement and deeply in agreement with it at one time.  Sadly, everything I hear and read is only confirming my worst fears.

I have been chastised by one traditionalist who says I don't know the meaning of the word schism and therefore I shouldn't be making such rash statements. The Catholic encyclopedia gives us this definition of schism [HERE for the full article]
Schism (from the Greek schisma, rent, division) is, in the language of theology and canon law, the rupture of ecclesiastical union and unity, i.e. either the act by which one of the faithful severs as far as in him lies the ties which bind him to the social organization of the Church and make him a member of the mystical body of Christ, or the state of dissociation or separation which is the result of that act.
The article further states while schism and heresy are two separate matters, one will ultimately lead to the other.
This distinction was drawn by St. Jerome and St. Augustine. "Between heresy and schism", explains St. Jerome, "there is this difference, that heresy perverts dogma, while schism, by rebellion against the bishop, separates from the Church. Nevertheless there is no schism which does not trump up a heresy to justify its departure from the Church (In Ep. ad Tit., iii, 10).
And St. Augustine: "By false doctrines concerning God heretics wound faith, by iniquitous dissensions schismatics deviate from fraternal charity, although they believe what we believe" (On Faith and the Creed). But as St. Jerome remarks, practically and historically, heresy and schism nearly always go hand in hand; schism leads almost invariably to denial of the papal primacy.
The article also says that disobedience alone does not constitute schism.  An essential element of schism is rebellion against and rejection of Church authority:
However, not every disobedience is a schism; in order to possess this character it must include besides the transgression of the commands of superiors, denial of their Divine right to command.
We can continue to identify as Christian and yet still be in a state of schism:
Anyone becomes a schismatic who, though desiring to remain a Christian, rebels against legitimate authority, without going as far as the rejection of Christianity as a whole, which constitutes the crime of apostasy.
The article explains that at one time rebellion against the local bishop constituted schism. This definition has somewhat changed. Rebellion against the local bishop is a serious step towards schism. However, schism is now specifically defined as rebellion against the Holy See:
Now through the centralizing evolution which emphasizes the preponderant role of the sovereign pontiff in the constitution of ecclesiastical unity, the mere fact of rebelling against the bishop of the diocese is often a step toward schism; it is not a schism in him who remains, or claims to remain, subject to the Holy See.
It is for this reason that the Society of St. Pius X is not considered formally schismatic, even though they are not in communion with the Church. The Society states that they still recognize the authority of the Holy Father. They are dangerously close to schism, however, as the head of the SSPX, Bishop Fellay, has called Pope Francis a modernist, and says that while they do still recognize his authority at this time, that may change in the future.

The penalties for schism are severe:
These are: excommunication incurred ipso facto and reserved to the sovereign pontiff (cf. "Apostolicæ Sedis", I, 3); this is followed by the loss of all ordinary jurisdiction and incapacity to receive any ecclesiastical benefices or dignities whatsoever. To communicate in sacris with schismatics, e.g., to receive the sacraments at the hands of their ministers, to assist at Divine Offices in their temples, is strictly forbidden to the faithful.
St. Cyprian explains that leaving the Church amounts to leaving Christ.  If we do not remain under the authority of the Church, we are not under Christ's authority, and are gravely endangering our salvation.
St. Cyprian:  "The spouse of Christ is chaste and incorruptible. Whoever leaves the Church to follow an adulteress renounces the promises of the Church. He that abandons the Church of Christ will not receive the rewards of Christ. He becomes a stranger, an ungodly man, an enemy. God cannot be a Father to him to whom the Church is not a mother. As well might one be saved out of the ark of Noah as out of the Church. . . . He who does not respect its unity will not respect the law of God; he is without faith in the Father and the Son, without life, without salvation"
As other saints have said, where Peter is, there is the church. Therefore, to reject Peter is to reject the Church. And as we have seen, to reject the Church is to reject Christ. Hence, to reject Peter is also to reject Christ:
St. Ambrose: "Where Peter is, there is the Church; where the Church is there is no death but eternal life"
St. Jerome: "That man is my choice who remains in union with the chair of Peter"
St. Jerome:  "I who follow no guide save Christ am in communion with Your Holiness, that is with the chair of Peter. I know that on this rock the Church is built. Whosoever partakes of the Lamb outside this house commits a sacrilege. Whosoever does not gather with you, scatters: in other words whosoever is not with Christ is with Antichrist"
Last week I linked to a post by Mark Shea in which he reproduced Karl Keating's response to an article in The Remnant Newspaper [HERE] which tried to prove that Pope Benedict XVI abdicated from only the administrative portion of the papacy and still retains his infallible authority, thus abrogating the authority of Pope Francis.  In effect, this means that Pope Benedict XVI is still pope and, therefore, we don't have to listen to anything Pope Francis says.  As Karl Keating wrote "Their antipathy to that pope is leading them into theological nonsense, and it will lead some of their readers, and perhaps some of them, into further error.

Recently, Pewsitter.com - a true bomb thrower of a website - had as its main headline "Verrecchio: Emeritus Was Pushed". You can read the article HERE if you really want to. Louis Verrecchio is another bomb throwing traditionalist who is constantly attacking the hierarchy of the Church. He saves his harshest invective for Pope Francis. Verrecchio cited a recent news story in which Benedict XVI gave an hour and a half homily at a conference. It was reported that he stood the entire time even though a chair was available. As one participant said, "It was extraordinary. As always, it amazed us that in spite of age, and without a prepared text, the Pope (emeritus) gave a homily at a great level, with an extraordinary clarity of mind for his age."

Verrecchio then gave us a quote from the Pope's 2013 statement of intent to abdicate.  It includes in part:
[I]n order to govern the bark [sic] of Saint Peter and proclaim the Gospel, both strength of mind and body are necessary, strength which in the last few months, has deteriorated in me to the extent that I have had to recognize my incapacity to adequately fulfill the ministry entrusted to me.
According to Verrecchio, considering Pope Benedict's latest appearance in which he appeared to be in good health, statements about his physical weakness couldn't possibly be true.  Therefore, there is only one explanation for the Pope Benedict's abdication of the papacy:
Does anyone other than the willfully deluded and painfully ignorant still honestly believe that Benedict XVI wasn’t forced from office by a substantial threat either real or imagined?
Pope Francis
Verrecchio then goes on to tell us, with no proof whatsoever, that Cardinal Bergoglio was preselected "well before the doors [to the conclave] were even locked." This implies, of course, that Pope Francis's papacy is illegitimate and invalid and that Benedict XVI remains our true pope. 

The Remnant Newspaper, Louie Verrecchio and many other traditionalists are pushing the idea of schism fast and furious. It is hard to find a traditionalist website or blog that does not contain harsh and unrelenting criticism of Pope Francis, questioning his every move and every word, and trying to characterize the Holy Father as a heretic against the faith. These are not the actions of loyal Catholics but of those who are bordering on or are actually in a state of schism.

It should be noted that Verrecchio is scheduled to speak at a "Catholic Identity Conference" in September. The other main speakers are:
  • Dr. John Rao 
  • Michael Matt of The Remnant
  • John Vennari of Catholic Family News
  • Christopher Ferrara 
  • James Vogel from Angelus Press (publishing arm of the SSPX)
  • Kenneth Wolfe of Rorate Caeli 
  • Michael Brendan Doughtery from The American Conservative
All of these speakers are hard core traditionalists. They all disavow the validity of Vatican II to one extent or another, and by extension, the reject the "post Vatican II" church, as they define it. They all see the Traditional Latin Mass as the only valid Mass. They all are in basic disagreement with Pope Francis in almost everything he says and does.

These men are also highly educated, intelligent and successful at their chosen careers. They have studied intensely into church history, especially Dr. Rao, who teaches history at St. John's University. I spent 7 years in the traditionalist movement, and I can attest that the majority who call themselves traditionalists are educated, intelligent, intellectual, well-read and eloquent in defense of what they believe. And therein, I believe, lies their downfall.

I am not saying that there is anything wrong with education and knowledge. These things are very important. But what good is it if the end result is that you think you are more knowledgeable and more Catholic than Church hierarchy, and most especially that you are more Catholic than our Holy Father? What good is your intellectual ability if all it does is lead you to question and doubt everything the Church says?

Credit:  catholic2007.blogspot.com
In Jesus' time, the most educated of Jewish society were the Pharisees. And what was the only group of people condemned by Our Lord? The Pharisees. As Our Lord told the Pharisees in Matthew 21:31 - "Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God ahead of you."

What was the great sin of the Pharisees? It was a combination of pride in themselves and envy of Jesus Christ. They were angry that the people were accepting Our Lord's authority instead of theirs. And they were very proud of their "spirituality", looking down on others. And they did look good on the outside, doing all of the right things. But as Our Lord told them, "You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of the bones of the dead and everything unclean." (Matt. 23:27).

As I have shown in the statements from the Catholic encyclopedia on schism, we can actually believe everything the church teaches but still be in a state of schism if we do not accept the authority of the Pope.

When someone like Remnant Newspaper or Louis Verrecchio comes along and tries to confuse and throw doubt into our minds about the validity of the Pope, how should we respond? How can we be sure of who the Pope is?

It all comes down to who and what we really believe. Our Lord told us that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. He said that the Holy Spirit will never cease to guide His Church. We have the sure promise of apostolic succession. This is not something that needs our approval. It is as sure as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

It is not up to us to make sure the Church conforms to our beliefs. It is up to us to conform to Holy Mother Church. However, many traditionalists such as Louis Verrecchio are so convinced of their own rightness and "infallibility", that they feel they can stand in judgment on Church authority, basically telling Church authority where they are wrong. And that is the big mistake traditionalists are making, and which may end up destroying them.

In the Divine Office from Wednesday, there was a reading from the Book of Jeremiah which I found to be apropos to this subject. This passage, from Jeremiah 2:1-13, 20-25, concerns ancient Israel's rejection of God. But it can apply to any of us, and we need to take note.

The passage starts out with a remembrance of the time when Israel was still very devoted to God, following Him as He freed them from the slavery of Egypt and brought them into the promised land:
Remember the devotion of your youth,
how you loved me as a bride,
Following me in the desert,
in a land unsown.
Sacred to the Lord was Israel,
the first fruits of his harvest;
Should anyone presume to partake of them,
evil would befall him, says the Lord.
Listen to the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob!
All you clans of the house of Israel.
But as Israel was following God in the wilderness, they started questioning and rebelling, thinking they knew a better way:
Thus says the Lord:
What fault did your fathers find in me
that they withdrew from me,
Went after empty idols,
and became empty themselves?
They did not ask, “Where is the Lord
who brought us up from the land of Egypt,
Who led us through the desert,
through a land of wastes and gullies,
Through a land of drought and darkness,
through a land which no one crosses,
where no man dwells?”
An "empty idol" is anything we worship other than God. What "empty idol" do traditionalists worship? As I have shown above, they trust in their own reasoning. They believe they know the direction the Church should be taking, and anyone who disagrees with them - even if that person is the Holy Father - is wrong and must be destroyed. They are no longer looking to the Mystical Body of Christ for answers because they have all the answers.  That is the worst idol of all.
When I brought you into the garden land
to eat its goodly fruits,
You entered and defiled my land,
you made my heritage loathsome.
The priests asked not,
“Where is the Lord?”
Those who dealt with the law knew me not:
the shepherds rebelled against me.
The prophets prophesied by Baal,
and went after useless idols.
Where Peter is, there is the Church. When we rebel against Peter, we are rebelling against the Church. And when we rebel against Holy Mother Church, we are rebelling against the Lord.
Therefore will I yet accuse you, says the Lord,
and even your children’s children I will accuse.
Pass over to the coast of the Kittim and see,
send to Kedar and carefully inquire:
Where has the like of this been done?
Does any other nation change its gods?—
yet they are not gods at all!
But my people have changed their glory
for useless things.
The Traditionalists argue that all they are doing is trying to uphold the sacred traditions of the Church. But they fail to see the great distinction between traditional practices and traditional beliefs. Practices have changed throughout the life of the church.  As just one example, we have seen practices changed in regard to the amount of required time to fast before the reception of communion, or in how frequently the faithful should be allowed to receive communion.  The way in which we do things is always subject to change.  What is unchanging is our core beliefs.  That has never changed and will never change.
Be amazed at this, O heavens,
and shudder with sheer horror, says the Lord.
Two evils have my people done:
they have forsaken me, the source of living waters;
They have dug themselves cisterns,
broken cisterns, that hold no water.
When our Lord promised that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church, and when He sent the Holy Spirit as our guide and comforter, we were given a sure promise that no matter how badly things may look, the Catholic Church will always be the Mystical Body of Christ.  No matter how the sea may rage and the barque of Peter may be tossed to and fro, the Church will never cease to be the beacon of light in a dark world.  Yet, how many have instead turned to their own understanding and sat in condemnation of this beautiful gift given to us directly by Our Lord?  Does Our Lord now look at us and say, "O ye of little faith"?
Long ago you broke your yoke,
you tore off your bonds.
“I will not serve,” you said.
On every high hill, under every green tree,
you gave yourself to harlotry.
I had planted you, a choice vine
of fully tested stock;
How could you turn out obnoxious to me,
a spurious vine?
Though you scour it with soap,
and use much lye,
The stain of your guilt is still before me,
says the Lord God.
How can you say, “I am not defiled,
I have not gone after the Baals”?
Consider your conduct in the Valley,
recall what you have done:
A frenzied she-camel, coursing near and far,
breaking away toward the desert,
Snuffing the wind in her ardor—
who can restrain her lust?
No beasts need tire themselves seeking her;
in her month they will meet her.
Stop wearing out your shoes
and parching your throat!
But you say, “No use! no!
I love these strangers,
and after them I must go.”
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis (and he is the Holy Father, despite the malicious and hateful accusations of people like Verrecchio), gave a homily a couple of days ago in which he said, "In a Christian community division is one of the most serious sins, because it does not allow God to act”.  According to an article from Catholic News Agency [HERE]:
Addressing the thousands of pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square, the Roman Pontiff explained that as Catholics “we affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy.”
“One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation.”
We continue to refer to the Church as “one” and “holy” despite the fact that “we know by experience that it is also composed of sinners and that there is no shortage of divisions,” he said, recalling how the night before he was arrested Jesus “asked for the unity of his disciples: ‘that all be one.’”
“We trust in his desire that unity will be one of the characteristic features of our community,” the Pope continued, noting that “While we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion.”
Division is never a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  Accusations and division are a sure sign of the work of the devil.

Continuing from the article:
“Sins against unity are not only schisms,” he said, “but also the most common weeds of our communities: envies, jealousies, antipathies...talking bad about others. This is human, but it is not Christian.”
These sins “which occur even in our parish communities,” Pope Francis continued, “come about when we place ourselves at the center.”
This last statement of the Holy Father, that these "sins against unity are not only schisms but the common weeds of our communities" and they occur "when we place ourselves at the center", basically summarizes everything I have been trying to say in this post.

Our Lord told us that we must become as little children in order to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.  We are told in one of my favorite verses of the Bible, and which I quote frequently, that Our Lord says, "But to this man will I look: even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word." (Isaiah 66:2)  Our Lord is not impressed by how educated we are or even how articulate we are in expressing our faith.  The only criteria He uses in judging us is how much we trust Him and how much we love one another.  Do we believe Him when He says that He will never leave or forsake us?

From Pope Francis' homily:
Explaining how “It's the devil who separates, destroys relationships, sows prejudices,” the Pope affirmed that “the holiness of the Church” is “to recognize the image of God in one another.”
“The holiness of the Church consists of this: reproducing the image of God, rich in mercy and grace.”
Our Lord told us in John 15:5-6, "I am the vine, ye are the branches. He that abideth in Me and I in Him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, for without Me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered; and men gather them and cast them into the fire, and they are burned." To abide in Christ is to abide in His Church, which we see personified in the Holy Father. 
As St. Cyprian warned:
God cannot be a Father to him to whom the Church is not a mother. As well might one be saved out of the ark of Noah as out of the Church. . . . He who does not respect its unity will not respect the law of God; he is without faith in the Father and the Son, without life, without salvation."
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