Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Part 2: Fear Is A Tool Of The Devil

In Part 1 of this blog post [HERE], I discussed Pope Francis' recently homily he gave regarding the dangers of living in fear. I showed that the motivation of true followers of Christ is love. God does not deal in fear. Fear comes from the devil. As II Timothy 1:7 says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment."

I also said in this post that much of the Catholic Internet is motivated by fear: fear of the world, fear of changes in the church, fear of church authority, fear of one another. In my opinion the poster boy for all of this fear mongering is Michael Voris. His entire "apostolate" (which his bishop forbids him to label as "Catholic") is based upon instilling fear into his followers. A recent Vortex episode illustrates this in magnificent Voris form. This Vortex is entitled, "It's In the Eyes".

Part 1: Fear Is A Tool of the Devil

When the Church is fearful and when the Church does not receive the joy of the Holy Spirit, the Church is sick, the communities are sick, the faithful are sick.
Pope Francis
The ascension of Jesus, which we just celebrated, is a time to recognize the complete victory of Christ over sin and death, when He ascends to heaven to sit beside the Father and intercede for us.  I found an additional message in Pentecost this year.  I felt Jesus is also telling us, "Do not fear."  

From the gospel of the day, Mark 16:15-18,  the words spoken by Jesus Christ to His disciples before ascending:
Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.
Caption:  Snake handling at Pentecostal Church of God, Lejunior, Harlan County, Kentucky
September 15, 1946 (
National Archives and Records Administration).Photo by Russell Lee.
Some people have taken this scripture quite literally and have actually made a religion of handling deadly snakes believing that they cannot be physically harmed.   This, of course, is not the meaning behind this verse at all.  This verse tells us that as Christ's disciples living in a sinful world, we will be constantly surrounded and threatened by enemies threatening to destroy us.  But Christ is telling us that as long as we trust in Him, no spiritual harm can ever come to us.  Our Lord told us, His disciples. that we can face our enemies boldly and unafraid, knowing that we are already victors over all of our enemies through the Cross.  We don't even need to fear our ultimate enemy, death, because Christ has won the victory for us.
The world will persecute you, but have courage, I have overcome the world, alleluia.
Roman Breviary
Fear is never a fruit of the Holy Spirit.  On the contrary, fear is a powerful tool of the devil.

Pope Francis talked about the negative consequences of fear in a recent homily in St. Martha's House [HERE]:
“Fear,” Francis said, “is an attitude that harms us. It weakens us, it diminishes us. It even paralyzes us.” A person who is afraid “does nothing, doesn’t know what to do.” He is focused on himself, so that nothing bad will happen.” Fear “brings you to a self-centred selfishness and paralyzes you.”
Fear, as Pope Francis said, is primarily concerned with self, which is the opposite of love.  I John 4:18 says: "There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Christianity Is Not About Being Right: It Is About Dying

Credit:  www.
I use to be a political junkie. I listened constantly to talk radio and watched political talk shows every night. The aim of all this political talk was and still is to show how right one side is and how wrong and even evil the other side is. No one is looking for enlightenment or understanding. Both sides are convinced of their own rightness and nothing can make them budge from their positions. I finally came to see that arguing and demonizing those with whom you disagree never brings people together but serves only to foster hatred and division between people.

I have come to the same conclusion about the vast majority of the Catholic blogosphere. One would hope that the purpose of Catholic blogging is to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ and to bring people to the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, to gain eternal salvation. Instead, most people use their blogs to "expose sin and corruption" in the Church and the world. Most Catholic blogs are nothing more than a mixture of yellow journalism and biased editorials. People write their blogs with the sure conviction that they have the answers to all of the problems of the Church and the world. Anyone who doesn't agree with them is a sinner headed to hell. Like talk radio, they demonize anyone - be it laity, priest, bishop or even the Pope - who does not agree with them. They look at a world living in opposition to Christianity and instead of reaching out with compassion and mercy as Our Lord showed us, they criticize and condemn.

A sad illustration of the divisive nature of the Catholic blogosphere is my recent interaction with Father John Zuhlsdorf, one of the heroes of the Catholic blogosphere, which I wrote about HERE. I had commented on his blog that a statement he made was in direct conflict with the teaching of the Church. I did not give my opinion, but quoted from Pope Benedict XVI. His response was to ban me so that not only can I not comment anymore, but I can't even view his blog on my IP address. Is this how an ordained priest spreads the saving message of the Gospel?

Friday, April 24, 2015

Father Z Continues to Shake His Fist at the Mass

Father John Zuhlsdorf recently did a post on his blog in which he criticized the prayers of the Ordinary Form of the Mass (HERE) . In this post, he stated his rejection of official Church teaching that the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are two forms of the same Latin rite. He insists that the Masses are two different rites liturgically and theologically. When I pointed out on his blog that this is in direct contradiction to Summorum Pontificum and the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI, Father Zuhlsdorf had a hissy fit and banned me from his blog. He did not just ban me from commenting.  He has actually banned me from even viewing his blog on my IP address.  I wrote about this HERE.

Father Zuhlsdorf is not backing down from his position, and has done yet another post criticizing and denigrating the Ordinary Form of the Mass.  This post is entitled, "Notes on Eucharistic Prayer II" and can be found HERE.  He starts his post by telling us he refuses to use Eucharistic Prayer II on the rare occasions when he celebrates the Ordinary Form of the Mass:
Every once in the while, when I was saying the Novus Ordo far more often than I do today (last Sunday was the first in several months, after the EF and before an EF baptism), why I used the Roman Canon and never Eucharistic Prayer II. [Emphasis original]
It should be noted that Eucharistic Prayer II is an official prayer of the Church, completely valid and licit. It is honored by the Trinity - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - and when used, the great miracle of transubstantiation takes place in which bread and wine become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. And yet Father Zuhlsdorf feels totally justified in rejecting this official prayer of the Mass.  In writing about it on his blog, he encourages his many followers to also reject this prayer. And of course, his loyal followers willingly comply.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Father Z's Spittle Flecked Nutty Against Pope Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum

I recently commented on Father John Zuhlsdorf's blog in which I pointed out that he, Father Z, was in profound disagreement with Pope Benedict XVI.  He admitted that yes, he did disagree with Pope Benedict XVI, but he considered my comment to be "nasty" and as a result, he has completely blocked me so that I cannot even access his blog on my home IP address, much less leave any comments.


Rev. John Zuhlsdorf

Current Position:President
Tridentine Mass Society of Madison
Parish(es) Currently Serving:Cathedral Parish of MadisonMadison

St. MaryPine Bluff
Year of Ordination:1991

Here's the story.

Father Z did a post in which he answered a reader's question, as follows:
I know a [priest] who uses the Old Offertory Prayers when he says an Ordinary Form Mass. Is this okay for a priest to do? Is it a liturgical abuse?
You can read Father Z's answer HERE.  One would think that the answer would be a simple yes or no, and if you have read Summorum Pontificum, you would know that mixing of the two forms of Mass is not permitted.  But Father Z's answer delved much deeper into this question.  He entitled his post, "ASK FATHER: Using the traditional offertory prayers in the Novus Ordo. Wherein Fr. Z rants."  

Father Z started his answer with this paragraph:
The legislation which covers the use of the Extraordinary Form spells out that there is to be no mixing of the two rites (I say “rites”, because I don’t think that they are, liturgically, the same rite… juridically there are two “forms”, but liturgically and in many points theologically there seem to be two… but this is a digression).
Father Z correctly states in his first sentence that there is to be no mixing.  Everything in that sentence is correct up to the word "rites."  As Father Z explains, he feels that the two Masses are not two forms of the same rite, but two distinct and separate rites.  This is in direct contradiction to the teaching of Pope Benedict XVI and Summorum Pontificum as written by Pope Benedict XVI.

I commented on Father Z's blog that Pope Benedict would not agree with his statement, and quoted from the Pope Benedict's Letter to the Bishops which accompanied the Summorum Pontificum document.  Father Z answered (his answer is in red):

  1. Brooklyn says:
    Father, you seem to be in disagreement with Pope Benedict XVI who wrote the following in Summorum Pontificum:
    “In this regard, it must first be said that the Missal published by Paul VI and then republished in two subsequent editions by John Paul II, obviously is and continues to be the normal Form – the Forma ordinaria – of the Eucharistic Liturgy. The last version of the Missale Romanum prior to the Council, which was published with the authority of Pope John XXIII in 1962 and used during the Council, will now be able to be used as a Forma extraordinaria of the liturgical celebration. It is not appropriate to speak of these two versions of the Roman Missal as if they were “two Rites”. Rather, it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.” [Yes, I disagree with that statement. Summorum Pontificum was clearly a juridical settlement of the disputed question of whether or not priests could use the older Missal. It doesn’t settle the liturgical and theological questions.]
    We may like the prayers of one form over the other, but Jesus Christ is present in both, and that is all that really matters. If Our Lord honors the OF, we should also. [Nice little speech. On the other hand, the content of the prayers, EF and OF parallels compared side by side (which I have done for a couple decades) are at times strikingly different.]

Thursday, April 2, 2015

The Look Of Love

Isaiah 53 

1 Who would believe what we have heard?

To whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?

2 He grew up like a sapling before him,

like a shoot from the parched earth;

He had no majestic bearing to catch our eye,

no beauty to draw us to him.

3 He was spurned and avoided by men,

a man of suffering, knowing pain,

Like one from whom you turn your face,

spurned, and we held him in no esteem.

4 Yet it was our pain that he bore,

our sufferings he endured.

We thought of him as stricken,

struck down by God and afflicted,

5 But he was pierced for our sins,

crushed for our iniquity.

He bore the punishment that makes us whole,

by his wounds we were healed.

6 We had all gone astray like sheep,

all following our own way;

But the Lord laid upon him

the guilt of us all.

7 Though harshly treated, he submitted

and did not open his mouth;

Like a lamb led to slaughter

or a sheep silent before shearers,

he did not open his mouth.

8 Seized and condemned, he was taken away.

Who would have thought any more of his destiny?

For he was cut off from the land of the living,

struck for the sins of his people.

9 He was given a grave among the wicked,

a burial place with evildoers,

Though he had done no wrong,

nor was deceit found in his mouth.

10 But it was the Lord’s will to crush him with pain.

By making his life as a reparation offering,

he shall see his offspring, shall lengthen his days,

and the Lord’s will shall be accomplished through him.

11 Because of his anguish he shall see the light;

because of his knowledge he shall be content;

My servant, the just one, shall justify the many,

their iniquity he shall bear.

12 Therefore I will give him his portion among the many,

and he shall divide the spoils with the mighty,

Because he surrendered himself to death,

was counted among the transgressors,

Bore the sins of many,

and interceded for the transgressors.


There are no more words.  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Father Zuhlsdorf, You Might Want to Rethink This One

Father Z, you recently did a post on your blog entitled, "'Pause' for a moment to see Michael Voris’ new project." The subject of this post was a new project in which Michael Voris will choose four young men between the ages of 18 and 25 to live in a house behind his studio for a year and basically learn at his feet. Anyone who reads my blog doesn't have to guess at how I feel about that.

However, you, Father Z, are rather excited about the idea, as you wrote:
Like Michael Voris. Hate Michael Voris. Whatever. Voris is a man with convictions and he acts on them. That’s admirable.

Like his projects. Hate his projects. He is doing something concrete with the time, talent and treasure at his disposal.
Would that more Catholics had his energy and determination!
Really, Father Z? Do you know exactly what "convictions" Michael Voris holds?

Michael Voris has made his living by telling Catholics that their No. 1 enemy is the Catholic hierarchy.  He instills paranoia in his listeners by telling them there is a snake under every rock in the Catholic Church.  He tells his listeners to completely reject those in authority and to separate from the establishment Church which he calls the "Church of Nice".

Here are a few excerpts from just one Vortex episode:
If you make your way around the Catholic world today, one thing is blinding. It’s inescapable – there is an apostate Church operating within the power structure of the establishment Church. It is a wicked evil thing. Parish after parish, diocese after diocese has abandoned the true faith.
* * *
Huge swaths, large giant portions of the Church are simply in apostasy – populated with practical heretics – it is in short – the triumph of the Protestant heresy on the ground, even as Protestantism itself crumbles into a million pieces and rejects teaching after teaching of Christ.
* * *
Yes, there is an apostate Church – which encompasses a huge portion of Catholics these days – whose God is not Our Blessed Lord, but man.
* * *
Time is running out .. repent and let go of the apostate Church – the one that teaches you nothing in preparation for standing before Almighty God. Not for nothing did St. Paul himself say – work out your salvation in Fear and Trembling. 
Get away from those in the Church who hide this truth from you. Run from them as you would from the fires of Hell.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

What Did Summorum Pontificum Really Say?

Blessed Paul VI celebrating Mass in the vernacular
I recently did a post [HERE] in which I discussed Father Z's reaction to the "whoopdeedoo", as he referred to it, regarding the 50th anniversary of the first celebration of a Mass in the vernacular. His response to this "whoopdeedoo" was to re-post his article satirically criticizing the New Mass and the one he names as the architect of that Mass, Msgr. Annibale Bugnini. Father Z feels the salvation of the Church lies in the Traditional Latin Mass.

Most other traditionalists agree with Father Zuhlsdorf. I recently came across an article from Crisis Magazine regarding this very same subject entitled, "Spiritual Renewal Paul VI Spoke of Has Not Yet Materialized" written by Christian Browne. The only information we are given about Mr. Browne is that he is a New York attorney who got his J.D. at Fordham University in 2004, which probably means he is fairly young, in his 30's. Mr. Brown is also a board member of the Nassau County Catholic Lawyers Guild. This is his only article to date published by Crisis Magazine.

Mr. Browne quoted from the homily of Blessed Paul VI from that first celebration of the vernacular Mass:
The welfare of the people demands this care, so as to make possible the active participation of the faithful in the public worship of the Church. It is a sacrifice that the Church has made of her own language, Latin; a sacred, sober, beautiful language, extremely expressive and elegant. She has sacrificed the traditions of centuries and above all she sacrifices the unity of language among the various peoples, in homage to this greater universality, in order to reach all.
And this [also] for you, faithful, so that you may know better [how to] join yourselves to the Church’s prayer, so that you may know [how to] pass from a state of simple spectators to that of participating and active faithful, and if you truly know how to correspond to this attention of the Church, you will have the great joy, the merit and the chance of a true spiritual renewal.

Monday, March 30, 2015

A Lesson From Holy Week: The Danger of Mob Mentality

One of the saddest and most infamous chapters in New York City history is that of the "Central Park Five", in which one Hispanic and four black teenagers were falsely charged and convicted of a horrific crime. The story involved the brutal rape and beating of a young white woman in Central Park in 1989. The police, in their haste to solve this crime, arrested five teenagers. None of these teenagers up to this time had any kind of police record.

The police coerced false confessions from these young men, who were then charged and convicted, and served anywhere from 7 to 13 years in prison for a crime in which none of them were involved. Their lives were destroyed in many ways, and although 25 years later the City awarded them $40 million for this miscarriage of justice, their lives can never be made fully right.

At the time of their trials, New Yorkers viewed these teenagers as the personification of evil, which was fueled by the press coverage they received.  From a June 2011 article concerning the press coverage of this case:
Re-reading the coverage, it’s easy to see that frenzy and fear quickly began to strain editorial reason. The boys, all between 14 and 17 years old, were described by reporters and columnists alike as “bloodthirsty,” “animals,” “savages” and “human mutations.”
On April 23, Post columnist Pete Hamill wrote that the boys in custody had come “from a world of crack, welfare, guns, knives, indifference and ignorance…a land with no fathers…to smash, hurt, rob, stomp, rape. The enemies were rich. The enemies were white.”
The media has often been guilty of stirring up hatred against "bad guys".  One example is the very sad story of Richard Jewell, who was a police officer in Atlanta during the 1986 Olympics. There was a bombing at that time, and Jewell, who was 100% innocent, was "convicted" of this crime by the press even though he was never officially charged.  In later years he successfully sued several different press organizations for libel. However, the damage done to him had taken its toll and he died at the age of 44 in 2007.

Of course, the worst injustice in the history of mankind is that of the conviction and execution of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ's only real "crime" was loving mankind far more than our limited minds can ever comprehend. Mob mentality greatly contributed to the false conviction and crucifixion of this most innocent of all men.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Mary's "Yes": The Shot Heard Throughout Eternity


James Christensen - The Annunciation

Today is an important solemnity in the Catholic Church. Today is the story of true greatness unrecognized by a world dazzled only by outward pomp and glamour. It is the Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord in which the angel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary.  Mary had no standing in the world. She lived in a despised little town, part of a slave people ruled over by the mighty Roman empire. She was a young woman in a world governed by men who saw women not as individuals but as mere property to use and dispose of as they desired.  In the eyes of the world, Mary was destined to live a life of insignificance and die unheralded and unnoticed.

But outside of Jesus Christ, Mary was the most powerful person in history.  The Roman Army, Alexander the Great, Napoleon - no great military leader could match the power of this young girl to defeat the enemies of God.  The devil - who had mankind firmly in his grip through his deceptions - was powerless before her.  It was through this lowly young girl that salvation was brought to a world condemned to die.

What weapon did Mary possess that made her more powerful than any military the world has known? How did Mary conquer Satan, the one who controlled the most powerful men and women in history? Mary's weapon could not be seen, heard, felt, tasted or touched by the casual observer. In fact, to the average person, this most powerful of all weapons in history would be interpreted not as strength but just the opposite - as weakness and impotence.

And what is this weapon? It is humble, submissive obedience to the Creator of the Universe. Mary, the Mother of God and our Blessed Mother is the personification of Isaiah 66:2
But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.
Through Mary we learn that the world has it upside down.  The world thinks that we gain power and influence by "bettering" ourselves.  We must learn to be smarter, stronger, more cunning.  We have to always be one step ahead of the other guy.  The world teaches us to never be anyone's fool.  Stand up for yourself.  Assert yourself.  You have rights.  And don't let anyone tell you differently.

That is not the lesson we learn from this most powerful of all human beings to ever live.

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