Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Is For Kids

Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious, beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved
I really do love "A Christmas Story", about Ralphie, his love of Christmas and his earnest and deep yearning for an "official Red Ryder, carbine action, two-hundred shot range model air rifle!"  That movie reflected better than any movie ever made the meaning of Christmas for a kid. As a kid, Christmas is all about deep desires, building anticipation, a time when there is real potential fulfillment of every wish and longing.  As Ralphie says:  "Christmas was on its way. Lovely, glorious beautiful Christmas, upon which the entire kid year revolved."

As adults, we don't quite see it that way.  Adults have lost the sense of wonderment and awe of Christmas as exemplified by Ralphie.  It is instead too often a time of great stress, figuring out what to give who, spending money we don't have, fighting other people at the store on "Black Friday" and the rest of the Christmas season, spending too much time and money to put up lavish decorations in and around the house, expensive electric bills, fights with family, and trying desperately to have everything done by Christmas Day.  Far too many adults are sick of Christmas by the time it actually arrives.

Of course, Ralphie didn't have a truly proper understanding of Christmas, either.  Christmas is not about getting an air rifle.  But Ralphie was right that Christmas is about hope and the fulfillment of every longing and desire.

And Christmas is about a Child.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Clowns To The Left Of Me, Jokers To The Right

What the hell is wrong with the Republican party?  The Republicans are supposed to be the life affirming party, the party who opposes the killing of the unborn, the defenders of the weak and powerless, the party of morality.  The Democrats are supposed to be the party of narcissists, caring about no one but themselves and their own pleasure. 

And yet the leading Republican contender for President is a fascist who denounces and demonizes entire groups of people.  The Republicans – not the Democrats - are the ones who oppose helping the war refugees from Syria and other Muslim countries.  The Republicans cower in fear, afraid that some bad guy might slip in with the suffering mass of humanity pouring out of these countries.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

What Christians Can Learn from Radical Islam

As I write this, the United States is reeling from a horrific mass murder in San Bernardino, California in which 14 people were killed and 21 injured.  The perpetrators of this evil were a man and his wife who had become radicalized Muslims, the wife apparently having pledged allegiance on Facebook to the head of ISIS.  It seems that the couple were not personally connected to any other group and although they were inspired by ISIS, they committed this atrocity on their own.

This mass murder, tragically, is nothing new to America. Most other mass killings have been committed by those with deep emotional and mental problems, such as the Sandy Hook killing in which 20 young children were killed. But the Muslim couple in California were deeply religious, professing a devout belief in God as they viewed him. So how did this happen?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Racism and Bigotry Are Alive and Well in America

I pray in front of two abortion clinics (both located in the same building) in downtown Brooklyn every week.  I see the young women entering that building.  I am always amazed that 90% to 95% of those women are African American, despite the fact that these clinics are in a predominantly white upper class neighborhood.  The clinics - by no coincidence - are located within less than a block to numerous train and bus lines, thus making them readily available to other poorer neighborhoods.

Below is a chart from an article in The American Mirror showing the rate of abortions in NYC broken down by race, and which sadly bears out my observations.  In New York City, over 60% of African American pregnancies end in abortion, meaning more African American babies are aborted in this city than are actually born:

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Pope Francis and Sharing the Eucharist with Non-Catholics: A Lesson in Evangelization

It seems hardly a day goes by that the Catholic blogosphere is not in an uproar over some statement or action by someone whom they feel is threatening to destroy the Church. The offender is more than likely a member of the Church hierarchy - priest, bishop, cardinal. Of course the ranting and raving really starts when the guilty party is Pope Francis. A standard prayer of Catholic bloggers seems to be that Pope Francis be permanently silenced - not that they wish him any harm!

One of the latest items of contention is the Holy Father's answer to a Lutheran woman married to a Catholic. The question, as translated by Edward Pentin from Italian into English, was as follows:
My name is Anke de Bernardinis and, like many people in our community, I'm married to an Italian, who is a Roman Catholic Christian. We’ve lived happily together for many years, sharing joys and sorrows. And so we greatly regret being divided in faith and not being able to participate in the Lord's Supper together. What can we do to achieve, finally, communion on this point?
Before I get to the "offensive" response by Pope Francis, it is important to take a closer look at this question.  Here is a Lutheran woman who has been happily married to a Catholic man for many years.  As she relates, it is a great sadness to her and her husband that they do not share the same faith, and more specifically, that they cannot participate in the "Lord's Supper" together.  She is asking the earthly head of the Catholic Church how they can achieve this unity.

Nearly every Catholic blogger has said the answer is simple: become a Catholic! And certainly that is true. But look again at the question. The woman has been married to a Catholic for many years. We can safely assume that she and her husband have discussed this division between them, and her husband, and many others no doubt, told her that only members in good standing in the Church can participate in the Sacraments. But she has not, as far as we can tell, made any moves to become Catholic. The fact that she is talking with the Pope and asking him questions shows that she has respect for the Catholic Church. But up this point, that has not been enough to give her the courage to walk away from her own faith and become a Catholic. She wants to know how she and her husband get over this seemingly insurmountable barrier between them.

Pope Francis obviously took all of this into account when he answered her. His goal - as should be the goal of all of us - is to bring people into the church, not set up roadblocks that will keep them out. The Holy Father could have taken the easy way out and given the technically correct answer that she had no doubt heard many times before. Pope Francis wanted to do something that would make her take that step she has feared for so many years:  to think outside her own personal box and to approach the problem in a different way, since obviously what she has been doing has not been working.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Responding to a Traditionalist

This post is in response to Jayne, a traditionalist who has commented that I am not being fair to traditionalists by painting them all with the same brush.  We have gone back and forth on a prior post [HERE].  I was ready to end our debate, but Jayne wants to continue, so here goes.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Rebelling Against the Magesterium: Right or Wrong?

This post is in reply to Laramie Hirsch, who has written a post on his blog, "The Hirsch Files" in response to this blog. Laramie's post is entitled, "St. Catherine of Siena Does NOT Warn Traditionalist Catholics."

My debate with Laramie started when he read a couple of my blog posts. Laramie is a Catholic traditionalist who, not surprisingly, does not agree with my opinion that Catholics should not judge the Magesterium of the Church. Laramie has given very reasoned and well thought-out responses, not just hit-and-run attacks that I so often receive from traditionalists. He has given a very detailed response on his blog, and I direct the rest of this post to him.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

You of little faith, why are you so afraid?

The Catholic blogosphere and internet have been awash with weeping and and wailing and gnashing of teeth over the Synod on the Family. As far as many in the Catholic blogosphere are concerned, there has never been a worse assault on the Catholic Church than the Synod on the Family which has just come to a conclusion in Rome as I write this.

We have heard charges that Pope Francis is deliberately trying to tear the Church apart. We have heard bishops and cardinals attacking one another. Someone even started an online petition urging the bishops to walk out.  As Hilary White of the far-right radical traditionalist Remnant Newspaper entitled her report, "Blasphemy, Heresy, Schism and the 'Collapse' of the Church (but, hey, at least the bishops will get to vote)."  That pretty much sums up the consensus of the Catholic blogosphere.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Is Cardinal Burke Thumbing His Nose at Pope Francis?

"Yes, I am a fundamentalist," says Cardinal Burke
As I recently blogged [HERE], one of the topics covered by Pope Francis in his speech before the Joint Session of Congress was the the dangers of fundamentalism. As the Holy Father stated, much of the conflict and violence in the world is the result of both political and religious fundamentalism:
All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. 
A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

There's Something About Francis

Cover of New York Post
I recently received a comment from a Catholic who asked that I list some positive accomplishments of Pope Francis. It's kind of a surprising request as the majority of Catholics have a very positive opinion of Pope Francis. It is true that in the United States, his positive numbers have slipped slightly, as seen in the most recent poll released by Pew Research, HERE. According to the most recent poll, released on October 7, 2015,
Among the 97 Catholics interviewed who say they attend Mass at least once a week, 84% have a favorable view of Pope Francis – down since February, when fully 95% of regular Mass-attending Catholics expressed a favorable view of the pontiff. Mass-attending Catholics have not become significantly more likely to express unfavorable views of Pope Francis; rather, they are now more likely to say they have no opinion.
As seen in this poll, the vast majority of American Catholics have no problem with Pope Francis. But, of course, when it comes to Catholic traditionalists, most view Pope Francis as basically their enemy. That is not surprising because, like all good fundamentalists, they label anyone who does not share their views as a heretic. In the case of Catholic traditionalists, the litmus test is believing that the Traditional Latin Mass is the only thing that will save the Church and the world. According to traditionalists, if you don't believe that, you're most likely going to burn in hell.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Rebellious Children of Israel and the Catholic Blogosphere: Two of a Kind

A fight scene from "Deadwood"
I recently heard a priest describe the Catholic blogosphere as the Wild West where anything goes. Anyone who has watched "Deadwood" on HBO has a good idea of just how lawless and violent the Wild West was.  The Catholic blogosphere goes even further as their motto seems to be "Shoot first and don't bother to ask questions before or after you shoot."  A vast majority of Catholic blogs engage in cyber lynching on a regular basis.  And the saddest part is, they think they do God a service (John 16:2).

One thing I find amazing is the simplicity of thought among these bloggers.  They march in lock step with one another, all covering the exact same topics with the exact same point of view and opinion.  None of them seem to have an original thought.  They read each other's blogs and take their cues from one another.  They are all agreed on who the enemy is - Pope Francis, the bishops, the priests and any Catholic who does not fully and completely embrace the Traditional Latin Mass as the only REAL Mass.  Their comrades in arms are any bishop, priest or laity who rejects Vatican II and the "Novus Ordo" Mass and thinks the Traditional Latin Mass and Catholic Tradition in general is the savior of the Church.  

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Pope Francis and Kim Davis

I recently did a post entitled, "Why Kim Davis is Wrong."  In my post, I stated that as a Christian, I absolutely agreed with Kim Davis in her refusal as Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk of Courts to sign marriage licenses for same sex marriage.  However, as exemplified by St. Thomas More, I contended that she needed to resign her governmental position.  Just as St. Thomas More resigned because he was not morally able to fulfill his duties as chancellor of England because he could not support the immoral actions of Kings Henry VIII, so Kim Davis should resign because of her moral inability to fulfill her duties as Clerk of Courts.

It would now seem that Pope Francis has weighed in on this matter, and many have interpreted his words and alleged actions as full support of Kim Davis.  In an interview on the plane returning from Philadelphia to Rome, Terry Moran of ABC News asked Pope Francis:
Holy Father, do you also support those individuals, including government officials, who say they cannot in good conscience, their own personal conscience, abide by some laws or discharge their duties as government officials, for example in issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples? Do you support those kinds of claims of religious liberty?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Message From Pope Francis: The Danger of Fundamentalism

Pope Francis in East Harlem, Manhattan
I have been completely enthralled with Pope Francis on his visit to Cuba and the United States this past week.  I actually took the week off from work so that I could follow his as closely as possible, and I have not been disappointed.  Whatever you may think of Pope Francis, there is no denying that he is completely genuine.  It was amazing to see how accessible he made himself to the crowds, despite all attempts by security to keep the crowds away.  I remember in 2008 when Pope Benedict XVI visited NYC.  No one could get near him.

Not so with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis in East Harlem, Manhattan

Pope Francis and the homeless in Washington D.C.
 All in all, I think he has been an amazing representative for Jesus Christ.

Pope Frances in Washington D.C.
I have listened rather closely to the Holy Father's speeches and homilies, and have found them filled with wisdom, spiritual enlightenment, gentle yet firm correction, and great love for people.

There are so many different issues concerning his speeches that I could discuss, but I was especially struck by one particular statement he made in his speech to the United States Congress:
All of us are quite aware of, and deeply worried by, the disturbing social and political situation of the world today. Our world is increasingly a place of violent conflict, hatred and brutal atrocities, committed even in the name of God and of religion. We know that no religion is immune from forms of individual delusion or ideological extremism. This means that we must be especially attentive to every type of fundamentalism, whether religious or of any other kind. A delicate balance is required to combat violence perpetrated in the name of a religion, an ideology or an economic system, while also safeguarding religious freedom, intellectual freedom and individual freedoms. But there is another temptation which we must especially guard against: the simplistic reductionism which sees only good or evil; or, if you will, the righteous and sinners. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Father Z Rants: Defending Michael Voris, Bristling at Positive Pope Coverage, Lamenting the Synod

As I previously reported, Father John Zuhlsdorf - whom many view as a great Catholic priest and Internet evangelizer - has tried very hard to ban me from his ministry, going so far as to block my home IP address so that I cannot view his blog.  He has now extended that ban to my IP address at work where I occasionally viewed his blog.  He has made it quite clear that he has no concern for my soul or any other souls using my IP addresses.  I dared to disagree with him, and now I, and anyone else using the same IP addresses. can go to hell as far as he is concerned.

But. alas, much to the chagrin of Father Z, he cannot follow me around and block every IP address to which I have access.  As a result, I still have ways to access his blog and read his diatribes against the establishment Catholic Church.  And it has not been pretty.

First up is Father Z's defense of Michael Voris.  Yes, Father Z is defending the same Michael Voris who makes his living criticizing and condemning Catholic Church hierarchy.  In fact, Father Z feels that Voris "clearly loves the Church"!  It is interesting to note that Father Z bans me - someone who consistently supports the hierarchy of the Catholic Church - and promotes Michael Voris, whose bishop prohibits him from even using the word "Catholic" to describe his organization.  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Why Kim Davis Is Wrong

Kim Davis
Many Christians who are opposed to the legalization of same sex marriage are looking to Kim Davis - the Rowan County, Kentucky Clerk who refused to give marriage licenses to same sex couples - as a cultural hero. She is now in jail for refusing to comply with the law.

County Clerk is a civil servant job, and as such, anyone employed as a County Clerk is required to comply with the law. Kim Davis does not have the right in her capacity as a civil servant to decide which laws to enforce and which laws she can ignore. If Kim Davis is allowed to disobey the law, then anyone who decides a law is unjust - e.g., anti-drug laws - will be free to ignore any law he or she doesn't like. The result will be complete chaos and anarchy in our country.

If Kim Davis feels it is wrong to give marriage licenses to same sex couples, then she needs to resign from a job that requires her to do so. She is not free to ignore a valid - albeit immoral - law. St. Thomas More set the precedent for us, and we need to follow his example.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Rise and Fall of Michael Voris

I have written many, many times on this blog about Michael Voris and the danger he poses to Catholics.  He has told Catholics that they should stop financially supporting their parishes and dioceses.  He has told Catholics that they should leave their parishes and find new churches because the vast majority of Catholic churches are Catholic in name only.  He has relentlessly and ruthlessly condemned validly ordained Catholic priests, bishops and cardinals.

A Catholic writer who is also a doctor and professor and friend of Michael Voris from their days in the seminary, took Voris to task for making threatening statements against Cardinal Dolan, as you can read HERE.   Voris recently made another threatening statement against a New York Archdiocesan priest, Father Jonathan Morris, when he said about Father Morris, "Won't someone rid us of this troublesome priest?"  You can read the transcript of this particular Vortex episode and watch it HERE.

Voris has informed us that the only REAL Catholics left in the world are those who believe exactly as he does. Everyone else is a fake Catholic headed to hell.
I have shown time and time again how Voris twists and manipulates facts and figures, and even tells outright lies to his listeners.  Last year I reported on the Pre-Pride Mass held at St. Francis Church in Manhattan.  I personally attended the Mass so I know firsthand exactly what happened there.  As I reported HERE and HERE, Michael Voris, who was also in attendance, gave a report that contained half truths and outright lies, all designed to fit the picture he personally wanted to paint.  

I showed the two totally contradictory stories Voris told about the incident at this year's St. Patrick's Day Parade in which he confronted Cardinal Dolan, which you can read HERE.

Yet Voris supporters continued to stand up for their hero and condemn me and anyone else who would dare to show the true nature of Voris's statements.  Nothing could deter "Vorisites" away from their hero.

Until now.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Father Rutler, Quo Vadis?

I recently did a post in which I talked about the heavy cross borne by those who are especially gifted and talented.  As Christians, it is a constant struggle for the "above average" to remember that they are not self sufficient, and that despite their abilities, they are as dependent upon their Creator as all of us average nobodies are.

As an example of one who is truly gifted and talented, I pointed to Father George Rutler, a New York Archdiocesan priest who is internationally known because of the many books and articles he has written and the many appearances he has made on EWTN.   HERE is just one article praising him as one of a kind.  I have personally met him and can attest to his many talents.  However, in recent months, I have become greatly troubled by some of his writings.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Father Z Tells Traditionalists They Can "Revitalize" The Church: Wherein CIB Rants

In my days as a Catholic traditionalist, I truly believed that the traditionalist movement was the salvation of the Church.  Without traditionalists, the Church would surely be destroyed by destructive elements from both inside and outside.  I look back at myself back then and I can only shudder at the raging hubris by which I lived.

However, that same hubris continues to infect many of those who call themselves "traditionalists", and it was on full display in a recent post by Father John Zuhlsdorf. (Oh, I'm still banned from viewing his site (that's for life), but that is only on my personal IP address. Like everyone else in the world, I can access his blog from any other IP address.) When I saw the post entitled, "You are the periphery which can revitalize the Church!", I immediately recognized the savior complex by which I had lived for so many years. Father Z and his followers are infected with this savior complex in spades.

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Catholic Blogosphere/Internet Is Spiritual Pornography

The destructive effects of pornography have been well documented. It is easy to find studies by a simple search on the Internet. Pornography is condemned by the Catholic Church because it is a complete perversion of sex. The God-given purpose of sex is two fold: first, to be open to life and procreation, and secondly, to build a physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bond with your spouse. The sexual act must always contain there two elements. If it does not, it is sinful, and it will destroy those who engage in such acts.

Pornography has only one purpose: self gratification. Porn makes all other people into mere objects which are used to gratify the self. This is why porn will destroy a marital relationship. The person using porn lives in a fantasy world inhabited by perfect people who are there only to satisfy his (or her) needs and desires, no matter how perverted. No one in the real world can live up to the fantasy standards of pornography, and as a result, often the user of porn will no longer be able to relate to his or her spouse. This is also why porn so often leads to rape, child abuse, etc. Porn destroys the idea of a relationship. To the porn addict, other people are just a drug to be used however you wish to get your fix.

Pornography not only destroys the ability to form true, loving relationships with other people. It also robs the porn addict of the ability to elevate his or her thinking to a higher spiritual level and enter into a relationship with God. The main concern in life is for sexual, physical gratification, and anything that does not lead to that is pretty much rejected.

I have come to the conclusion that the vast majority of the Catholic Internet/blogosphere is spiritual pornography. Many Catholics who post to the Internet are completely convinced that they have a 100% grasp of the truth and that their view of the world is completely in line with God. Those who follow and read these blogs/Internet sites are just as convinced of their own infallibility.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

The Heaviest and Deadliest Cross to Bear - Part 2

The subject of my last post was the danger of taking pride in our own abilities and talents [HERE].  I pointed out the example of the great archangel, Lucifer, who at one time was the pinnacle of God's creation.  However, Lucifer became enamored with himself to the point where he thought he could replace God.  As a result, he was expelled from heaven and became Satan, the great adversary whose goal is to destroy as much of God's creation as he can.

I stated in my post that being very gifted and talented can actually be one of the heaviest and most dangerous of crosses that anyone can bear.  Talented and accomplished people must always be on guard against trusting in themselves in place of God.  When we begin to trust in ourselves, we are starting on the same path that took Lucifer from the heights of heaven to the depths of hell.

In my post, I stated that during my years as a Catholic traditionalist, I met many talented and successful people.  It is only natural that these people, who are truly often "smarter" and more "accomplished" (as the world defines those terms) than the average person, tend to trust in their own opinions and views.  Thus, if they feel something is right or wrong, nothing and no one else - not a priest, bishop or pope - can convince them otherwise,  As a result, many traditionalists are becoming more and more separated from the Church.

Among those I was privileged to meet during my years as a traditionalist was Father George Rutler. Father Rutler is truly one of the most accomplished, talented and intelligent people I have ever had the honor to meet. He has written many books. He is one of the most popular speakers in the Catholic Church, having appeared many times on EWTN. He has many degrees, including a Master of Studies degree from Oxford. He is even musically gifted. These are just a few of his talents and gifts. He has also known many famous people in his lifetime. When I was in his office, I saw a picture of him with both George Bush I and George Bush II, as well as a picture of him with Blessed Mother Teresa.  

Father George Rutler
In other words, Father Rutler carries a very heavy cross.  

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

The Heaviest and Deadliest Cross to Bear: Part 1

I spent several years among Catholics who consider themselves to be the "elite" of the Church. And in many ways they are correct.  They are the elite. They are, on the whole, highly educated - doctors, lawyers, CPA's, stock brokers, university professors, professional musicians. Many of them are highly accomplished not just in one area but in many. Their curriculum vitaes would blow your mind.

They also know their theology. They are very knowledgeable about the teachings and history of the Church. They can quote the most obscure saint from the 12th century to bolster their arguments.  And they have the ability to argue you into a corner where you will stand speechless, unable to answer them.

They stand firm against anyone who opposes them and what they hold dear, whether that opposition is from inside or outside of the Church.

These people call themselves "traditionalists."  They, for the most part, reject the post-conciliar Church and embrace what they call Catholic Tradition, with the Traditional Latin Mass at the heart of their beliefs.  They eschew the Ordinary Form of the Mass because of what they perceive to be its simplicity and banality.  It doesn't challenge them enough, which they interpret as not being "prayerful" enough. 

These intelligent, talented, creative people carry a heavy, heavy cross.  Sadly, and to their great detriment, they do not even realize it.  The result of all of this is that they are separating themselves more and more from the rest of the Church.  Of course, they don't see it that way.  They see the Church as separating from them.  That is what pride does to us.  


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Supreme Court Legalizes Sames Sex Marriage: Why Catholics Should Not Judge Or Condemn

"Why would a guy want to marry a guy?" When the scene from this 1959 movie, "Some Like It Hot", was first shown, audiences roared at this line. The idea of a guy marrying a guy was absurd and thinkable only in comedic farce.

However, 56 years after this movie was first shown, five Supreme Court justices made this absurd idea a reality for the entire United States.  Unfortunately, this is nothing to laugh at.  What are the real implications of this ruling?  In 2010, then Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) spelled out the real meaning of same sex marriage and the dire consequences for society.  Cardinal Bergoglio wrote the following to the Carmelite Nuns of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires on June 22, 2010 when Argentina was preparing to legalize same sex marriage [HERE];
The identity of the family, and its survival, are in jeopardy here: father, mother, and children. The life of so many children who will be discriminated beforehand due to the lack of human maturity that God willed them to have with a father and a mother is in jeopardy. A clear rejection of the law of God, engraved in our hearts, is in jeopardy.

I recall words of Saint Thérèse when she speaks of the infirmity of her childhood. She says that the envy of the Devil tried to extort her family after her older sister joined the Carmel. Here, the envy of the Devil, through which sin entered the world, is also present, and deceitfully intends to destroy the image of God: man and woman, who receive the mandate to grow, multiply, and conquer the earth. Let us not be naive: it is not a simple political struggle; it is an intention [which is] destructive of the plan of God. It is not a mere legislative project (this is a mere instrument), but rather a "move" of the father of lies who wishes to confuse and deceive the children of God.

Jesus tells us that, in order to defend us from this lying accuser, he will send us the Spirit of Truth. Today, the Nation [patria], before this situation, needs the special assistance of the Holy Ghost that may place the light of Truth amid the shadows of error; it needs this Advocate who may defend us from the enchantment of so many sophisms with which this bill is being justified, and which confuse and deceive even people of good will.

That is why I turn to you and ask from you prayer and sacrifice, the two invincible weapons which Saint Thérèse confessed to have. Cry out to the Lord that he may send his Spirit to the Senators who are to place their votes. That they may not do it moved by error or by circumstantial matters, but rather according to what the natural law and the law of God tell them. Pray for them, for their families; that the Lord may visit, strengthen, and console them. Pray that they may do great good for the Nation.
As you can see from this letter, Cardinal Bergoglio saw the legalization of same sex marriage as disastrous for his nation. He called it a tool of the devil to destroy the plan of God. Truly, this is not something that can be taken lightly. This is a direct assault on not only the family, but on the very Gospel of Jesus Christ.

We in the United States are now joined with Argentina and many other parts of the world in having to deal with this grave evil. This is going to affect our lives as Christians in a profound manner.  It is only a matter of time before anyone who opposes this law, even based on religious belief, will be officially labeled a bigot and a hater and be subject to criminal prosecution.  Churches will be forced to perform same sex marriages, or lose their status as a legitimate religious organization.  Our priests and bishops will be on the front lines of this assault.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Burke Endorse Radical Traditionalists

Cardinals George Pell and Raymond Burke
Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Raymond Burke are among two of the most well known and influential cardinals in the Catholic Church.  Cardinal Pell, former archbishop of Sydney, Australia, is currently the Prefect of the newly created Secretariat for the Economy.  Cardinal Raymond Burke is a canon lawyer and former archbishop of LaCrosse Wisconsin and St. Louis, Missouri and former head of the Apostolic Signatura, the highest Court in the Catholic Church.  He is currently patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Burke joined forces last year with three other cardinals when they wrote a book defending against Cardinal Walter Kasper's call for communion to the divorced and remarried.  

It seems Cardinal Pell and Cardinal Burke have once again joined forces. Both have written letters in support of the 23rd Annual Summer Symposium of the Roman Forum. Below are the letters:

The "Dr. Rao" to whom Cardinal Pell's letter is directed is Dr. John Rao, an associate professor of history at St. John's College in Queens, New York. He is also head of The Roman Forum founded in 1968 by Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, and whose headquarters is now at Dr. Rao's office in Greenwich Village. I have personally met Dr. Rao and attended several of his lectures. He is no slouch. He earned a D.Phil. in Modern European History from Oxford University, and has done extensive writing and speaking.

Dr. Rao is a prime example of why it is so easy to get sucked into the message of radical traditionalism.  Dr. Rao is no kook.  He is a highly educated and highly intelligent individual.  He speaks to the real issues of our time.  And he seems to give real answers to the problems.  

Except that he doesn't.

Dr. John Rao

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Catholics Leaving The Church and The Need for Vatican II: Part 2

In the first part of this post [HERE], I wrote about the crisis in the Catholic Church here in the West in which so many have left the Church in the last 50 years.   No one can point to any one reason for this crisis.  Western society in general has become spiritually and morally depraved, and it is inevitable that the Church has been infected to one degree or another.  But as I pointed out in my post, we need to look at the pre-conciliar Church and how and what was taught to the laity.  I showed that on the local level, the pre-concilar Church taught about  the evil of sin, but not enough about the love and mercy of God.

As a result, many of us were taught an unhealthy fear of a God who must be appeased before he struck us down for stepping out of line in even the slightest way. We never came to really know the great loving and merciful God who created us and poured His Life out on the Cross to save us from death. I was one of those who left in that time, and as I wrote, I left because the Church had become a burden to me. I had come to see God as a bogeyman out to get me. At age 14 I rejected a life of fear as I had come to know it and, like millions of others, that meant rejecting the Catholic Church

It is vital that the Church teach about sin and the consequences thereof, both physical and spiritual. But to discuss sin WITHOUT discussing the love and mercy of God is actually dangerous. This can lead to fundamentalist thinking in which obedience to rules and law is an end in itself, and the love of God and of neighbor is forgotten.

It was from this kind of thinking that much abuse originated in the Catholic Church. In the pre-concilar Church era  it was common to hear about abusive nuns and priests who would slap a child for the slightest, often unintentional infraction. This would at times escalate, and then we had the following as described in an article from TIME Magazine [HERE], regarding the abuse in Irish Catholic schools in the 1950's:
James Quinn and his classmates called it the blackjack — five layers and 18 in. (46 cm) of leather, studded with coins and other metal objects. The priests at the school Quinn attended in rural Ireland in the 1950s each carried a blackjack and used it, along with bamboo rods and other objects, to dole out almost daily beatings to hundreds of children. "Whatever class you went to, you got a beating from whoever was in charge," says Quinn, now 70. "But knowing what other people went through, I know I was one of the lucky ones."

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Catholics Leaving The Church and the Need for Vatican II: Part 1

When I was growing up in the 50's and 60's, Catholic churches were packed every week for Sunday Mass. There were 5 to 6 Masses or more, and the pews were filled for all of them. There were long lines for confession on Saturday. Many Catholics defined their lives by their neighborhood parish.

However, as we are all well aware, all churches in western society, including Catholic churches, have been emptying out for the past 50 years. Religious belief and practice now play a very minor role, if any role at all, in most lives. Many conservative and traditional Catholics say it is not rocket science to figure out what happened in the Catholic Church. These people tell us that before Vatican II, when people were held to a "stricter standard" and "knew" Church teachings, the Church was strong. Then the Second Vatican Council happened, which many feel watered down Church teachings, and that caused a mass exodus out of the Church.

A typical response to the situation was laid out by Father John Zuhlsdorf, who did a blog post in August 2013 entitled, "Institutional collapse: a fruit of Vatican II?" [HERE]. Father Z quotes from an article by Louie Verrecchio, a bomb throwing traditionalist who writes his own blog entitled "Harvesting the Fruit of the Vatican II" and who has all but completely denounced Pope Francis as a heretic. In fact, a couple of weeks ago Verrecchio called for the bishops to denounce Pope Francis as a heretic and recently posted an article on his blog entitled, "Pope Francis Hates the Catholic Faith". That should tell you everything you need to know.

In any event. Verrecchio based his article cited by Father Z on another article written by Dr. Ralph Martin who succinctly describes the current situation of the Catholic Church in the West:
"There is something like an institutional collapse going on, evidenced by the vast numbers of schools closing, parishes merging, clustering and closing and the multiple assignments that many young priests now are asked to manage. Besides the institutional collapse, there is evidence of a widespread repudiation of the teaching of Christ and the Church by vast numbers of Catholics."
Verrecchio agreed with Dr. Martin's assessment but complained that "he [Dr. Martin] leaves the disease undiagnosed."

Verrechio then gives us his diagnosis:
With the intellectual currents of the Enlightenment, the subsequent anti-religion rebellion of the French Revolution, and the profound intellectual rejection of the Christian worldview symbolized by Marx, Nietzsche, and Freud, forces were unleashed in Western culture that eventually led to not only a repudiation of the church-state relationships that had evolved over many centuries but a repudiation of religion itself as a legitimate shaper of culture.
What Martin leaves unaddressed is the degree to which these “intellectual currents” were unleashed, not only in Western culture at the hands of determined secularists, but in the very heart of Catholicism via the Second Vatican Council at the hands of determined churchmen.

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Father John Zuhlsdorf Bans Me From His Blog

A few weeks ago I wrote about a cyber encounter with Father John Zuhlsdorf, which you can read HERE. As you will see from the post, Father Zuhlsdorf wrote a post in which he stated his disagreement with official Catholic church teaching that the Ordinary Form and the Extraordinary Form of the Mass are two forms of the same rite.  Father Z says that while he accepts that juridically the two Masses may be one rite, he says that "liturgically and theologically" they are two separate rites.

Pope Benedict XVI declared that the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms are one rite in his Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum dated July 7, 2007, and he restated this teaching again in his letter to the bishops accompanying Summorum Pontificum. This same teaching is stated once again in the further instructions released by the Vatican in 2011.

I commented on Father Z's blog post that he was in disagreement with Pope Benedict XVI and put screen shots of my comments to Father Z in my post. It can be plainly seen that I was very respectful. However, Father Zuhlsdorf had what he would call a "spittle flecked nutty" and called me nasty. Father Z then blocked my home IP address and from that time on, whenever I would try to view his blog from my home IP address, I would get only a blank screen. I have had no further encounters with Father Zuhlsdorf in any way since that time.

Today when I tried to view Father Zuhlsdorf's website, I received a screen with the word "BANNED!", as shown above. It seems pretty obvious that somewhere along the way, Father Zuhlsdorf has read my blog posts, and he has had another spittle flecked nutty, to use his words, and this time it was on steroids. I am sure that Father Z will eventually see this post as well, so I am directing the rest of my post directly to him.

Father Zuhlsdorf, you are showing that you have a massive ego problem. Nothing I wrote either on your blog or on my own blog was in any way disrespectful or "nasty" as you claim. I did not even give my own opinion. I used the words of Pope Benedict XVI, whom you claim to honor and respect. You became upset because I showed that you were wrong, and your ego went into overdrive. May I remind you, Father Zuhlsdorf, that as a Catholic priest, your mission is to serve God's people. As Christ, the Good Shepherd, laid down his life for His sheep, so you are to do. And part of laying down your life for the sheep means getting rid of your ego. I can only say that you have failed miserably in your reaction to me, and by literally banning me from your site, you have only escalated your failure.

One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. “Feed my sheep”, says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, he says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God’s truth, of God’s word, the nourishment of his presence, which he gives us in the Blessed Sacrament.
Pope Benedict XVI

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?

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