CONCERNING CHARLIE JOHNSTON

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On Charlie Johnston

Jesus Walking on Water by Michael D. O’Brien

THERE is an underlying theme I try to weave throughout all the aspects of my ministry: Be not afraid! For it carries within it the seeds of both reality and hope:

We cannot hide the fact that many threatening clouds are gathering on the horizon. We must not, however, lose heart, rather we must keep the flame of hope alive in our hearts… —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, January 15th, 2009

In terms of my writing apostolate, I have spent the past 12 years striving to help you face this gathering Storm precisely in order that you may not be not afraid. I have spoken about the uncomfortable realities of our times rather than pretending that everything is flowers and rainbows. And I have spoken over and over again about God’s plan, a future of hope for the Church after the trials which she now faces. I have not ignored the labor pains while at the same time reminding you of the New Birth coming, as understood in the voice of Tradition. [1] As we read in today’s Psalm:

God is for us a refuge and strength, a helper close at hand, in time of distress: so we shall not fear though the earth should rock, though the mountains fall into the depths of the sea, even though its waters rage and foam, even though the mountains be shaken by its waves… The Lord of hosts is with us: the God of Jacob is our stronghold. (Psalm 46)

SHAKEN CONFIDENCE

In the past two years, the “mountains” of confidence have been toppled in some as one alleged prediction after another has failed to come to pass by certain “seers” and “visionaries.” [2] One such prediction was by an American, Charlie Johnston, who said that, according to his “angel”, the next president of the United States would not come through the normal electoral process and that Obama would remain in power. For my part, I have explicitly warned my readers against banking too much on specific predictions like these, including Charlie’s (see On Discernment of the Details). God’s mercy is fluid and, like a good father, He does not treat us according to our sins, especially when we repent. That can change the course of the future in an instant. Still, if a seer feels in good conscience that God is asking them to make such predictions public, then that’s their business; it’s between them, their spiritual director, and God (and they must also be responsible for the fallout, either way). However, make no mistake: the negative fallout from these sometimes rash predictions affects every one of us in the Church who are trying to promote the authentic revelations that Our Lord and Lady want us to hear in these times. In that regard, I wholeheartedly agree with Archbishop Rino Fisichella who said,

Confronting the subject of prophecy today is rather like looking at wreckage after a shipwreck. —”Prophecy” in Dictionary of Fundamental Theology, p. 788

All this said, I have been asked by some readers to clarify my position on Charlie since I not only mentioned him a few times in my writings, but appeared on the same stage with him at an event in Covington, LA in 2015. People have automatically assumed that, as such, I must therefore endorse his prophecies. Rather, what I endorse is the teaching of St. Paul:

Do not despise prophetic utterances. Test everything; retain what is good. (1 Thess 5:20-21)

 

OF “THE STORM”

Charlie’s spiritual director, a priest in good standing, suggested that he contact me three years ago because we were both speaking of a coming “Storm”. This is, after all, what Pope Benedict said above, as well as St. John Paul II:

It is precisely at the end of the second millennium that immense, threatening clouds converge on the horizon of all humanity and darkness descends upon human souls. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, from a speech, December, 1983; www.vatican.va

In the approved revelations of Elizabeth Kindelmann and the writings of Fr. Gobbi, which bear the Imprimatur, they also speak of a coming “Storm” upon humanity. Nothing new here, really. So I agreed with Charlie’s statement that a great “Storm” is coming.

But how that “Storm” unfolds is another matter. At the conference in Covington, I specifically stated that I could not endorse Charlie’s prophecies [3] but that I appreciated his spirit and faithfulness to Sacred Tradition. It was also very interesting to have an open Q & A with those at the Covington event where we shared our respective viewpoints. In Charlie’s own words:

One need not agree with all—or even most—of my supernatural claims to welcome me as a fellow worker in the vineyard. Acknowledge God, take the next right step, and be a sign of hope to those around you. That is the sum of my message. All else is explanatory detail. — “My New Pilgrimage”, August 2nd, 2015; from The Next Right Step

In this case, prediction of the future is of secondary importance. What is essential is the actualization of the definitive Revelation. —Cardinal Ratzinger (POPE BENEDICT XVI), Message of Fatima, Theological Commentary, www.vatican.va

 

CLARIFICATIONS

All this said, last May, I began to see that many were still assuming that I endorsed everything Charlie was saying. I might point out, however, that I have shared the podium with several alleged mystics and seers over the years, but none who were condemned by their local ordinary or who taught anything contrary to the Catholic faith. A few years back, I also shared the stage with Michael Coren, a Catholic convert and author who has subsequently apostasized. I think most people understand that I am not responsible for what others say and do simply because I spoke at the same event as them.

Nonetheless, last May in Fear, Fire, and the Rescue?, I pointed out the Archbishop of Denver’s preliminary assessment of Charlie’s messages and his statement that…

…the archdiocese encourages [souls] to seek their security in Jesus Christ, the Sacraments, and the Scriptures. —Archbishop Sam Aquila, statement from the Archdiocese of Denver, March 1st, 2016; www.archden.org

At the same time, I felt obligated to address the significant differences that were emerging between my writings and Charlie’s. In The Coming JudgmentI noted the Archbishop’s warning for “prudence and caution” regarding Charlie’s alleged prophecies, and went on further to reiterate the eschatological vision of the Church Father’s that differs from what Charlie and some other mainstream eschatologists are proposing. In Is Jesus Really Coming?, I pulled together what is a “prophetic consensus” of 2000 years of Tradition and modern prophecy that paints an unmistakable picture of the horizon.

Since Charlie’s failed prediction, the Archdiocese of Denver issued another statement:

The events of 2016/17 have shown that Mr. Johnston’s alleged visions were not accurate and the Archdiocese urges the faithful not to condone or support further attempts to reinterpret them as valid. —Archdiocese of Denver, Press Release, Feb. 15th, 2017; archden.org

That is my position too, of course, and hopefully every faithful Catholics’. Again, I draw my readers’ attention to the wisdom of St. Hannibal:

How many contradictions we see between Saint Brigitte, Mary of Agreda, Catherine Emmerich, etc. We cannot consider the revelations and the locutions as words of Scripture. Some of them must be omitted, and others explained in a right, prudent meaning. —St. Hannibal Maria di Francia, letter to Bishop Liviero of Città di Castello, 1925 (emphasis mine)

…people cannot deal with private revelations as if they were 

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WHAT IS FRATERNAL CORRECTION?

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What is Fraternal Correction?

 

“But when I saw that they walked not uprightly unto the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all: If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of the Gentiles and not as the Jews do, how dost thou compel the Gentiles to live as do the Jews.”        [Douay-Rheims bible translation, Galatians 2:14]

By John J. Arechiga

March 28, 2017

 

John J. Aréchiga is known to me to be a researcher of exceptional ability. For some time I have read the results of his research and at my urging he has agreed to allow me to publish several of his essays. This essay addresses a matter of critical importance to the Roman Catholic Church at this moment in its history. I publish this essay in the hope that it will contribute to the efforts of persons in the Church in authority who have the power to find solutions to the problems that currently afflict the Church.

+Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

 

There is a time and place for fraternal correction – and you have to wonder whether this moment in history, this moment in time, is in need of fraternal correction.

The issue is not sedevacantism, schism, or the indefectibility of the Church. The issue is fraternal correction of scandalous Catholic Modernists. To what end fraternal correction? Preferably return of the prodigal sons – else excommunication.

What is fraternal correction? It is “Brother reproving a brother.” It usually involves a serious fault, either unknown as to gravity by the offender or hoped to be corrected by such admonition. It is an exercise of fraternal charity when commendably done. It should never be exercised merely for the sake of the offended, but mainly to help the offender or benefit a third party. In some religious communities it is a recognized form of fostering humility and a valuable aid to growing in Christian perfection.       [Essentially Verbatim: Father John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, page 219]

 

You will find the basis for fraternal correction in scripture; in Summa Theologica, the principal doctrinal synthesis in Catholic theology; in an Apostolic Constitution; in the code of canon law; and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church:

 

“But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee: take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church (emphasis supplied). And if he will not hear the church: let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.”                                                    (Douay-Rheims, New Testament, Saint Matthew 18: 15-18)

“Augustine says in his Rule: “Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger.” But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected (emphasis supplied).”                                                                                                                                       (Summa Theologica, II-II, Question 33, Article 4)

“We have been weighed upon by the thought that a matter of this kind [i.e. error in respect of the Faith] is so grave and so dangerous that the Roman Pontiff (emphasis supplied), who is the representative upon earth of God and our God and Lord Jesus Christ, who holds the fullness of power over peoples and kingdoms, who may judge all and be judged by none in this world, may nonetheless be contradicted if he be found to have deviated from the Faith (emphasis supplied). Remembering also that, where danger is greater, it must more fully and more diligently be counteracted, We have been concerned lest false prophets or others, even if they have only secular jurisdiction, should wretchedly ensnare the souls of the simple, and drag with them into perdition, destruction and damnation countless peoples committed to their care and rule, either in spiritual or in temporal matters; and We have been concerned also lest it may befall Us to see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by the prophet Daniel, in the holy place. In view of this, Our desire has been to fulfil our Pastoral duty, insofar as, with the help of God, We are able, so as to arrest the foxes who are occupying themselves in the destruction of the vineyard of the Lord and to keep the wolves from the sheepfolds, lest We seem to be dumb watchdogs that cannot bark and lest We perish with the wicked husbandman and be compared with the hireling.”                                                                   (Cum Ex Apostolic Officio, paragraph 1)

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they [Christian faithful] possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful (emphasis supplied), without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.”                                              [1983 CIC 212 §3]

 

“The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction (emphasis supplied); it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion: “Love is itself the fulfillment of all our works. There is the goal; that is why we run: we run toward it, and once we reach it, in it we shall find rest.”                                                                                    [CCC 1829]

Before moving on it is very important to note that the quote from Cum Ex Apostolic Officio focuses on contradicting the pope – fraternal correction – and has nothing to do with sedevacantism, schism, or the indefectibility of the Church. Moving on…

Tell the Church? Who or what is the Church? Broadly defined, it is the faithful of the whole world. Since the Council of Trent, the Catholic Church has been defined as a union of human beings who are united by the profession of the same Christian faith, and by participation of and in the same sacraments under the direction of their lawful pastors, especially of the representative of Christ on earth, the Bishop of Rome. Each element in this definition is meant to exclude all others from actual and vital membership in the Catholic Church, namely apostates and heretics who do not profess the same Christian faith, non-Christians who do not receive the same Sacraments, and schismatics who are not submissive to the Church’s lawful pastors under the Bishop of Rome.         [Essentially Verbatim: Father John Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, page 105]

Arguably, any lay person, religious, priest, bishop, archbishop, or cardinal may raise the issue of fraternal correction:

Whoever raises the issue of fraternal correction must proceed carefully – and take one or two more with him, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand.

The initial approach to the witnesses must be in strict confidence – to avoid scandal, especially scandal of the weak.

The scope of today’s issues requires far more than two or three witnesses. There is a time and place for fraternal correction – and you have to wonder whether this moment in history, this moment in time, is in need of fraternal correction.Fraternal correction is always the avenue of first recourse – even when considering contemporary controversial issues such as the Dubia and the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis).  To what end fraternal correction? Preferably return of the prodigal sons – else excommunication.  That being said, it is written in the Old Testament prophecy of Isaias:

“And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? And I said: Lo, here am I. Send me.”                                                                                         (Douay-Rheims, Old Testament, Isaias 6:8)

Today we must ask who will go first, who will raise the issue of fraternal correction, who will say:

“Lo, here am I. Send me.” Speak now or forever hold your peace!

 

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ELECTION OF FRANCIS PURSUANT TO UNIVERSI DOMINCI GREGIS

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Francis blessing a statue of Martin Luther in the Vatican

 

Election of Pope Francis Pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis

“My people have been a lost flock: their shepherds have caused them to go astray and have made them wander in the mountains. They have gone from the mountain to the hill: they have forgotten their resting place.” (Douay-Rheims translation, Old Testament, Jeremiah 50:6)

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [i.e., Christian Faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” (1983 CIC 212 §3)

By John J. Aréchiga 27 March 2017

 

John J. Aréchiga is known to me to be a researcher of exceptional ability. For some time I have read the results of his research and at my urging he has agreed to allow me to publish several of his essays. This essay addresses a matter of critical importance to the Roman Catholic Church at this moment in its history. I publish this essay in the hope that it will contribute to the efforts of persons in the Church in authority who have the power to find solutions to the problems that currently afflict the Church.

+Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

The March 13, 2013, papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is arguably a high point in an ongoing MODERNIST conspiracy and this commentary will establish that Bergoglio’s (Pope Francis) papal election is invalid.

On March 12, 2013, the Papal conclave of 2013 convened to elect a pope to succeed Benedict XVI – following the resignation of Benedict XVI on 28 February 2013.

 

On March 13, 2013, the College of Cardinals elected Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio, SJ, an Argentine cardinal and Archbishop of Buenos Aires as pontiff. He selected the name of Francis.

Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) celebrated his inauguration on March 19, 2013, and installed as Bishop of Rome on April 7, 2013.

The 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law, Canon 160, makes clear that only an apostolic constitution governs the election of the Roman Pontiff.

“The election of the Roman Pontiff is guided SOLELY (emphasis supplied) by the constitution of [Pope] Pius X Vacante Sede Apostolica of December 1904; in other ecclesiastical elections, the prescriptions of the canons that follow are to be observed [as well as] those special ones, if there are any, that are established for individual offices.”

In this regard, The 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law, Canon 349, is consistent with the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law. In pertinent part:

“The cardinals of the Holy Roman Church constitute a special college which provides for the election of the Roman Pontiff according to the norm of special [not canonical] law [Apostolic constitution].”

On February 22, 1996, His Holiness John Paul II, Supreme Pontiff, published Universi Dominici Gregis, Apostolic Constitution, On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff. Pope John Paul II declared abrogated all Constitutions and Orders issued in this regard by the Roman Pontiffs, and at the same time declared completely null and void anything done by any person, whatever his authority, knowingly or unknowingly, in any way contrary to Universi Dominici Gregis.

The election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was therefore pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, Apostolic Constitution, On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on February 22, 1996, by His Holiness John Paul II, Supreme Pontiff.

That being said, it is very important to note that this author is NOT a canon lawyer. The author used English translations of both the 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law and the 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law to develop this commentary.

In moving forward one must first understand the relevance of Universi Dominici Gregis before discussing relevant allegations and arguments.

 

Promulgation of Universi Dominici Gregis

In promulgating Universi Dominici Gregis His Holiness Pope John Paul II wrote:

“Wherefore, after mature reflection and following the example of my Predecessors, I lay down and prescribe these norms and I order that no one shall presume to contest the present Constitution and anything contained herein for any reason whatsoever (emphasis supplied). This Constitution is to be completely observed by all, notwithstanding any disposition to the contrary, even if worthy of special mention. It is to be fully and integrally implemented and is to serve as a guide for all to whom it refers. As determined above, I hereby declare abrogated all Constitutions and Orders issued in this regard by the Roman Pontiffs, and at the same time I declare completely null and void anything done by any person, whatever his authority, knowingly or unknowingly, in any way contrary to this Constitution (emphasis supplied). Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 22 February, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter, Apostle, in the year 1996, the eighteenth of my Pontificate. [Universi Dominici Gregis, Promulgation].”

An Apostolic Constitution, absent specific reference to a specific canon, takes precedence over canon law. Therefore, Canon Law did not have any bearing on the papal conclave election.

Interjecting canon law into the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) only serves to distract, confuse, and obfuscate relevant criteria: Universi Dominici Gregis.

Powers of the College of Cardinals during the Vacancy of the Apostolic See

In promulgating Universi Dominici Gregis His Holiness Pope John Paul II made clear the powers of the College of Cardinals during the vacancy of the Holy See, and the election of the Roman Pontiff. Paragraphs 4-6 state:

“During the vacancy of the Apostolic See, laws issued by the Roman Pontiffs can in no way be corrected or modified, nor can anything be added or subtracted, nor a dispensation be given even from a part of them, especially with regard to the procedures governing the election of the Supreme Pontiff. Indeed, should anything be done or even attempted against this prescription, by my supreme authority I declare it null and void (emphasis supplied).” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 4]

 

“Should doubts arise concerning the prescriptions contained in this Constitution, or concerning the manner of putting them into effect, I decree that all power of issuing a judgment in this regard belongs to the College of Cardinals, to which I grant the faculty of interpreting doubtful or controverted points. I also establish that should it be necessary to discuss these or other similar questions, except the act of election, it suffices that the majority of the Cardinals present should concur in the same opinion.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 5]

“In the same way, should there be a problem which, in the view of the majority of the assembled Cardinals, cannot be postponed until another time, the College of Cardinals may act according to the majority opinion.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 6]

Arguably, Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 5, also rendered Normas Nonnullas superfluous, unnecessary, and moot.

Determining Validity of the Papal Election

A valid papal election depended on the compliance with Universi Dominici Gregis, Apostolic Constitution on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff.

“Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76]

“I decree that the dispositions concerning everything that precedes the election of the Roman Pontiff and the carrying out of the election itself must be observed in full (emphasis supplied), even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 333 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law and Canon 44 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 77]

Universi Dominici Gregis paragraph 76 essentially references the Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff as prescribed by paragraphs 78-86; paragraph 77 emphasizes that the dispositions concerning everything that precedes the election of the Roman Pontiff and the carrying out of

 

the election itself must be observed in full, even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff.

In pertinent part Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76, states: “The [Papal] election is for this very reason null and void”

As written, “for this very reason” refers to “election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed.”

As written, “the [Papal] election” infers there was an election – and that the Church moved on.

In pertinent part Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76, also states: “Without any need for a declaration on the matter;”

As written, there is no need for adjudication by anyone. This includes the Magisterium and the College of Cardinals. This is both a logical and critical concept. It would be illogical to take the evidence of an invalid papal election to the invalidly elected pope or his appointees. It would also be a conflict of interest to take the evidence of an invalid papal election to the invalidly elected pope or his appointees.

The inference is that all that is required is for one or more responsible parties step forward with evidence that the papal election took place in a way other than that prescribed in Universi Dominici Gregis. This includes members of the laity.

In pertinent part Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76, also states: “Consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.”

As written, paragraph 76 infers that an invalidly elected pope does not speak infallibly on matters of Church faith and doctrine; cannot convene Church councils, synods, etc.; cannot lawfully reassign, appoint, or consecrate bishops, archbishops, or cardinals; cannot lawfully reorganize or restructure the Roman Rota; etc.

As written, paragraph 76 infers it may be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, even decades, before it is discovered “the election” took place in a way other than that prescribed by Universi Dominici Gregis.

 

As written, paragraph 76 infers it may be days, weeks, months, years, even decades, before it is discovered “the election” took place in violation of the Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff as prescribed by Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraphs 78-86.

Given the preceding discussion of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraphs 76 and 77, it is very important to note that paragraphs 76 and 77 were not addressed by Pope Benedict XVI’s February 22, 2013, Apostolic Letter, in the form of a Motu Proprio, that addressed specific issues concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.

Given the preceding discussion of Universi Dominici Gregis, Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff, it is also very important to note that paragraphs 78-86 were not addressed by Pope Benedict XVI’s February 22, 2013, Apostolic Letter, in the form of a Motu Proprio, that addressed specific issues concerning the election of the Roman Pontiff.

It bears repeating: A valid papal election depended on the compliance with Universi Dominici Gregis, Apostolic Constitution on the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff.

“Should the election take place in a way other than that prescribed in the present Constitution, or should the conditions laid down here not be observed, the election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76]

“I decree that the dispositions concerning everything that precedes the election of the Roman Pontiff and the carrying out of the election itself must be observed in full, even if the vacancy of the Apostolic See should occur as a result of the resignation of the Supreme Pontiff, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 333 § 2 of the Code of Canon Law and Canon 44 § 2 of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 77]

Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff

The Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff are enumerated in Universi Dominici Gregis, Part II, The Election of the Roman Pontiff,

 

Chapter VI, Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff, paragraphs 78-86. These are the “conditions laid down” referenced by paragraph 76:

“Confirming the prescriptions of my Predecessors, I likewise forbid anyone, even if he is a Cardinal, during the Pope’s lifetime and without having consulted him, to make plans concerning the election of his successor, or to promise votes, or to make decisions in this regard in private gatherings.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 79] Arguably, this is a polite way of saying “thou shalt not conspire with others” concerning the election of a pope’s successor.

“In the same way, I wish to confirm the provisions made by my Predecessors for the purpose of excluding any external interference in the election of the Supreme Pontiff…. I intend this prohibition to include all possible forms of interference, opposition and suggestion whereby secular authorities of whatever order and degree, or any individual or group, might attempt to exercise influence on the election of the Pope (emphasis supplied).” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 80] Arguably, this is a polite way of saying “thou shalt not conspire with others” concerning the election of a pope’s successor.

In pertinent part: “The Cardinal electors shall further abstain from any form of pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind which could oblige them to give or deny their vote to a person or persons. If this were in fact done, even under oath, I decree that such a commitment shall be null and void and that no one shall be bound to observe it…. It is not my intention however to forbid, during the period in which the See is vacant, the exchange of views concerning the election.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81] Arguably, this is a polite way of saying “thou shalt not conspire with others” concerning the election of a pope’s successor.

“I likewise forbid the Cardinals before the election to enter into any stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate. These promises too, should any in fact be made, even under oath, I also declare null and void.” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 82] Arguably, this is a polite way of saying “thou shalt not conspire with others” concerning the election of a pope’s successor.

In pertinent part: “With the same insistence shown by my Predecessors, I earnestly exhort the Cardinal electors not to allow themselves to be guided, in choosing the Pope, by friendship or aversion, or to be

 

influenced by favour or personal relationships towards anyone, or to be constrained by the interference of persons in authority or by pressure groups, by the suggestions of the mass media, or by force, fear or the pursuit of popularity (emphasis supplied).” [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 83]

Arguably, these “matters to be observed or avoided in the election of the Roman Pontiff” are a polite way of saying “thou shalt not conspire with others” concerning the election of a pope’s successor:

Pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76, and to the extent there is credible evidence, “should the conditions laid down here [paragraphs 78-86] not be observed, the [papal] election is for this very reason null and void, without any need for a declaration on the matter; consequently, it confers no right on the one elected.”

Relevant Allegations and Arguments

In recent days, weeks, and months allegations have surfaced that the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, Part II, The Election of the Roman Pontiff, Chapter VI, Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff, paragraphs 78-86. For example:

  1. October 1, 2015, Kindle eBook published Cardinal Godfried Danneels authorized biography; and published the hardcover edition in Dutch on September 22, 2015.

    The authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels is documentary evidence. Pertinent parts of the authorized biography focus on the matters to be observed or avoided in the election of the Roman pontiff, (paragraphs 78-86).

  2. In a September 23, 2015, article Karim Schelkens, co-author of Cardinal Danneels authorized biography, reportedly said: “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt….”

    Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, during Pope Benedict XVI’s lifetime and without having consulted him, made plans (conspired) concerning the election of his successor, in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 79.

    Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, conspired, individually and as a group, to exercise influence on members of the College of Cardinals regarding the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal

 

Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 80.

Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, formed a pact, agreement, promise or other commitment (i.e., conspired) which obliged them to give their vote to Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81.

  1. On September 24, 2015, the National Catholic Register published an article about Cardinal Godfried Danneels authorized biography that suggested the violation of “Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff”– and [arguably] compromised the election of Pope Francis.
  2. On September 24, 2015 Father John (“Z”) Zuhlsdorf commented on the National Catholic Register’s article about the authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels. Father Zuhlsdorf essentially confirmed that Cardinal Danneels acknowledges the existence of a “mafia” club that bore the name of St. Gallen; that the group wanted a drastic reform of the Church (“to make it “much more modern”); and for Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to head it [the Church].
  3. On September 25, 2015, Life Site News published an article (Cardinal Danneels admits being part of clerical ‘Mafia’ that plotted Francis’ election) about the authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels.

    Reportedly, Cardinal Godfried Danneels publicly and good-humoredly admitted he was a regular member of a secret pressure group of Churchmen that met in the Swiss town of Sankt-Gallen.

    Reportedly, Cardinal Godfried Danneels said that [the official report discreetly labeled “the Sankt-Gallen group” by its members as “the Mafia” and that they aimed to counter the growing influence of Cardinal Ratzinger under the pontificate of Saint John Paul II.

    Reportedly, “The election of Bergoglio was prepared in Sankt-Gallen, without doubt. And the main lines of the program the Pope [Francis] is carrying out remain those that [Cardinal] Danneels and Co [Company] discussed more than ten years ago.”

    Reportedly, “They wanted Church reform, they wanted to bring the Church closer to the hearts of people; they moved forward by stages,” commented Mettepenningen. “At the beginning of the year 2000, when John Paul II’s end was becoming more foreseeable, they thought more strategically about what was

 

going to happen to the Church after John Paul II. When Cardinal Silvestrini joined the group it took on a more tactical and strategic character.”

Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, during Pope Benedict XVI’s lifetime and without having consulted him, made plans (conspired) concerning the election of his successor, in violation Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 79.

Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, conspired, individually and as a group, to exercise influence on the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 80.

Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, formed a pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind (conspired) which obliged them to give their vote to Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81.

Arguably, in private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, over a period of ten years, entered into stipulations, committing themselves of common accord to a certain course of action should one of them be elevated to the Pontificate – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 82.

  1. A September 23, 2015, short online video, in Flemish, featuring Cardinal Godfried Danneels, appears to corroborate both the September 24, 2015, National Catholic Register article and the September 25, 2015, Life Site News article.

    A literal English translation of the text immediately below the video reads: “A new official biography gives more insight into the life of Cardinal Danneels. Tells the Cardinal that he was in a secret club of cardinals which opposed Joseph Ratzinger. He calls it a mafia club and bore the name of St. Gallen. It wanted a drastic reform of the Church, much more modern and current Pope Francis to the head. That is ultimately successful.”

  2. On September 26, 2015, Father John Zuhlsdorf (“Father Z”) inquired about the validity Pope Francis’ election.
  3. On September 29, 2015, Life Site News published an article that further substantiates the existence of the “shadow council” referenced in Cardinal Godfried Danneels authorized biography. Swiss bishops essentially confirmed the existence of Cardinal Danneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI.

 

9. On September 29, 2015, Life Site News published a second article that further substantiates the existence of the “shadow council” referenced in Cardinal Godfried Danneels authorized biography. The article references the release of a new book, by German bishops, about the controversial ‘Shadow Council’ in Rome.

In this context it is important to understand that Canon law, albeit inapplicable to papal elections, provides for and defines an extrajudicial confession: “A confession, whether in writing or orally, that is made outside the trial to the adversary himself or to others is called extrajudicial: it is for the judge having admitted to the trial and weighing the circumstances of all things, to decide what is to be made of it.” [1917 CIC 1753] [See also 1983 CIC 1537]

Why is it important to understand that Canon law, albeit inapplicable to papal elections, defines and provides for an extrajudicial confession? Arguably, the authorized biography of Cardinal Godfried Danneels and the September 23, 2015, short online video, in Flemish, featuring Cardinal Godfried Danneels, are extrajudicial confessions.

Are these extrajudicial confessions credible? Yes. Recent reports (May 25, 2015) of a recent private (“shadow council”) meeting are consistent with the extrajudicial confessions. Recall that on May 25, 2015, a private meeting, reportedly held at the Pontifical Gregorian University, the Jesuit University under the Holy See, convened by the presidents of the German, Swiss, and French bishops’ conferences, in anticipation of the Synod on the Family slated for October. Reportedly, the meeting’s objective was to push for modernist changes in “pastoral practice” as regards Communion for the divorced and “remarried,” as well as the welcoming of Catholics living in “stable” same- sex unions.

Arguably, given the above referenced extrajudicial confessions, articles, interviews, and videos, there is cause to conclude that the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was in violation of Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff, paragraphs 78-86. Arguably:

In private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, during Pope Benedict XVI’s lifetime and without having consulted him, made plans (conspired) concerning the election of his successor, in violation [Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 79]

In private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, conspired, individually and as a group, to exercise influence on the election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 80.

 

In private gatherings the Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, formed a pact, agreement, promise or other commitment of any kind (conspired) which obliged them to give their vote to Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 81.

The Sankt-Gallen Group, and others, in private gatherings before the election, probably entered into stipulations; committing to a common accord and certain course of action should Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) be elevated to the Pontificate – in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 82. Many of the previously enumerated allegations relevant to Canon Law evidence this.

Arguably, the Sankt-Gallen Group- and others- allowed their mutual friendships, aversions, personal relationships, pressure groups, interference of persons in authority, suggestions by the mass media, force, fear, and/or popularity- to choose Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) in violation of Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 83. Many of the previously enumerated allegations relevant to Canon Law also evidence this.

There are undertones of braggadocio arrogance throughout the allegations; it is as if there is no fear of repercussion.

That being said, and to the extent there is credible evidence of these allegations, the 2013 papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is, pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 76, therefore INVALID.

Counterarguments

Laity Have No Standing On Issue Of Papal Election – At the risk of being redundant: Some might incorrectly argue that the Christian Faithful (i.e., laity) have no standing with regard to whether the 2013 papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was valid. Their argument fails to take into consideration relevant canon law:

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [i.e., Christian Faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” [1983 CIC 212 §3]

 

Issues We Must Avoid – Some, out of fear of failure, might incorrectly argue that the chaos produced by invalidation of a papal election would bring more spiritual

harm than good; that we must avoid certain issues at all costs: Excommunication, Sedevacantism, Schism, and the Indefectibility of the Church. Fear of failure is often associated with a mindset: Playing not to lose. This brings to mind a familiar saying: “Winning isn’t everything; it is the only thing.” That being said, the stakes are high. We are playing for eternal life. Winners go to heaven and losers go to hell.

Have faith! We have nothing to fear but fear itself. It is Christ’s Church – and the powers of death shall not prevail against it (Douay-Rheims Bible, Matthew 16:18).

A Matter of Priorities – Some will incorrectly argue we have a pope. That is not the issue. The primary issue is whether a valid election occurred. The relevance of secondary and collateral issues – Dubia, fraternal correction (Matthew 18:15-18), Excommunication, Sedevacantism, Schism, Indefectibility of the Church, etc., is predicated on whether we have a validly elected pope.

We Must Be Patient – Some might incorrectly argue that we must give the recent Dubia and fraternal correction (Matthew 18:15-18) time to resolve the many recent doctrinal and moral conflicts. History tells us this course of action may take years and years – and even then we still may not have an answer. In the interim we will lose many souls to Lucifer. Time is therefore of the essence. We must put ALL the issues on the table – including the validity of the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) – or we must also assume responsibility for the delay and responsibility for the many souls we will lose to Lucifer.

The underlying issue is scandal – especially scandal of the weak. We remain just as responsible as the person(s) causing scandal if we do not pursue fraternal correction consistent with our knowledge and abilities. Our souls depend on whether we are part of the problem or part of the solution.

Argument Lacks Foundation – Some will incorrectly counter by asserting that the argument (invalid papal election) lacks the deeper vision that the Church is a divine institution. They might incorrectly argue, for example, that:

“Your thesis (invalid papal election) cannot be convincingly sustained, because it lacks the foundation. Your approach is too human and lacks the deeper vision of the fact, that the Church is ultimately a Divine institution, of course she is also a human, a juridical reality with the importance of Canon or positive law. In the discussed theme of the alleged invalid election of Pope Francis, the positive, human law (Universi Dominici Gregis) becomes the absolute criterion.”

 

The preceding does not take into consideration that the Roman Catholic Church is Christ’s Church (Matthew 16:18) and that Christ set the example for us. It was so bad during Christ’s public life that Christ found it necessary to drive the money-changers out of the temple:

“And they came to Jerusalem. And when he was entered into the temple, he began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the chairs of them that sold doves. And he suffered not that any man should carry a vessel through the temple; And he taught, saying to them: Is it not written, My house shall be called the house of prayer to all nations? But you have made it a den of thieves. Which when the chief priests and the scribes had heard, they sought how they might destroy him. For they feared him, because the whole multitude was in admiration at his doctrine. And when evening was come, he went forth out of the city.” [Douay Rheims, Mark 11:15-19; see also Matthew 21:10-14, Luke 19:45-48, and John 2:13-16]

The argument (invalid election) has a vision that focuses on the example that Christ set for us.

Straw Man Argument – Some will incorrectly counter with a straw man argument. They might incorrectly argue, for example, that:

“Let us imagine the following hypothetical and maybe exceptional scenario: before a conclave there is a real danger that a completely liberal candidate would be elected as pope even though under scrupulous observance of the electoral law and this candidate would bring an immense damage to the Church, but a group of good cardinals in order to save the Church from such a catastrophe, would undertake some steps, which would be formally contrary to the human papal law of the election (and therefore with invalidating character), in order to elect a notorious holy, strong and orthodox candidate, and in deed that candidate will be elected pope. This new Pope (juridical maybe elected invalidly) would save the Church from a real disaster, and he will issue then strong doctrinal statements, restore the dignity of the liturgy, restore the doctrinal chaos, appoint new saintly and orthodox bishops and cardinals. Would you start a campaign and discussion in order declare such a Pope an invalid Pope, even though he will renew the Church with his holy life and with his strong and wise government, rescuing thereby the Church

 

from the domination of liberal bishops and cardinals, who were appointed by his former validly elected predecessor?”

A “straw man” is a common form of argument and is an informal fallacy based on giving the impression of refuting an opponent’s argument, while refuting an argument that was not advanced by that opponent. One who engages in this fallacy is said to be “attacking a straw man”. The typical straw man argument creates the illusion of having completely refuted or defeated an opponent’s proposition through the covert replacement of it with a different proposition (i.e. “stand up a straw man”) and the subsequent refutation of that false argument (“knock down a straw man”) instead of the opponent’s proposition. This technique has been used throughout history in polemical debate, particularly in arguments about highly charged emotional issues where a fiery “battle” and the defeat of an “enemy” may be more valued than critical thinking or understanding both sides of the issue. [Essentially Verbatim: Wikipedia, online article about Straw man]

The above cited straw man argument does not refute or defeat the proposition that the March 13, 2013, papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was invalid.

Sedevacantism – Some will incorrectly argue that questioning the validity of the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is an act of sedevacantism. Sedevacantism is the position, held by a minority of traditionalist Catholics that the alleged present occupant of the Holy See is not truly pope due to the mainstream church’s espousal of the heresy of modernism and that, for lack of a valid pope, the Holy See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. Questioning the validity of a specific papal election of Bergoglio (Pope Francis) has nothing to do with whether the Holy See has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958. There was an actual vacancy of the Holy See (i.e., resignation of Pope Benedict XVI) at the time of the papal election. The issue is not Sedevacantism, but whether or not the College of Cardinals followed or violated Universi Dominici Gregis. Clearly, the evidence and corroborated facts indicate that a significant number of cardinals violated the norms listed in Universi Dominici Gregis.

Normas Nonnullas – Some will incorrectly argue that Pope Benedict XVI’s Normas Nonnullas, On Certain Modifications to the Norms Governing the Election of the Roman Pontiff, was a factor in the election of his (Benedict XVI’s) successor.

Normas Nonnullas is of no value. Pope Benedict XVI promulgated it on February 22, 2013, only six days before his resignation on February 28, 2013, and in anticipation of his resignation. When Pope Benedict XVI published Normas Nonnullas (February 22, 2013) the Apostolic See was, (for all intents and purposes), vacant pending the official resignation of Pope Benedict XVI six days later (February 28, 2013). Recall that, while the Apostolic See was vacant, anything done “with regard to the procedures governing

the election of the Supreme Pontiff” no value pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 4.

Normas Nonnullas is also a moot point. Normas Nonnullas may have referenced quite a few paragraphs in Universi Dominici Gregis – but it did not abrogate or otherwise reference the Universi Dominici Gregis paragraphs critical to determining the validity of the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis); it did not abrogate or otherwise reference Universi Dominici Gregis paragraphs 76-77 or paragraphs 78-86.

Finally, one can also argue that Pope Benedict XVI published Normas Nonnullas (six days before his resignation) so that he might influence the selection of his replacement. This issue is outside the scope of this commentary.

Relevance of Universi Dominici Gregis Paragraphs 76 and 77 – Some will incorrectly argue that Universi Dominici Gregis paragraphs 76-77 do not apply to paragraphs 78-86 (The Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff). Simply stated, there would be no need for paragraphs 78-86 if it were not for paragraphs 76-77 – and vice versa. The Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff (paragraphs 78-86) are central to determining whether the papal election is null and void without any need for a declaration on the matter (paragraph 76).

The conditions laid down referenced by paragraph 76 are the Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff pursuant to paragraphs 78-86.

The dispositions concerning everything that precedes the election of the Roman Pontiff and the carrying out of the election itself referenced by paragraph 77 are also the Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff pursuant to paragraphs 78-86.

Resignation of Pope Benedict XVI – Some say that “behind the scenes” coercion came into play with Pope Benedict XVI’s resignation. This issue is outside the scope of this commentary. The focus of this commentary is whether the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) was valid.

Conclusion

To the extent there is credible evidence of the above referenced allegations, the 2013 papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis) is INVALID pursuant to paragraph 76 of Universi Dominici Gregis.

 

Recall that paragraph 76 infers it may be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, even decades, before it is discovered “the election” took place in a way other than that prescribed by Universi Dominici Gregis;

Also recall that paragraph 76 infers it may be minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years, even decades, before it is discovered “the election” took place in violation of the Matters to be Observed or Avoided in the Election of the Roman Pontiff as prescribed by Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraphs 78-86.

To whom do we look for resolution? The College of Cardinals. Recall that in Universi Dominici Gregis, paragraph 5, His Holiness Pope John Paul II, in pertinent part, wrote: “Should doubts arise concerning the prescriptions contained in this Constitution (emphasis supplied), or concerning the manner of putting them into effect, I decree that all power of issuing a judgment in this regard belongs to the College of Cardinals, to which I grant the faculty of interpreting doubtful or controverted points.”

Clearly, the issue is not sedevacantism, schism, or the indefectibility of the Church. The primary issue is fraternal correction (Matthew 18:15-18) of scandalous Catholic Modernists – prodigal sons – that elected Pope Francis. To what end fraternal correction? Preferably return of the prodigal sons – else excommunication.

Therefore, the proper ecclesiastical authorities must expeditiously investigate and adjudicate the allegations subject to Canon Law before the College of Cardinals takes up the issue of the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis).

Why? Expeditious canonical investigation and adjudication will root out and identify those Cardinals – prodigal sons – that must recuse themselves when the College of Cardinals takes up the issue of the papal election of Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio (Pope Francis).

Parting Thought

It is written in the Old Testament prophecy of Isaias:

“And I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: Whom shall I send, and who shall go for us? And I said: Lo, here am I. Send me.” (Douay-Rheims, Old Testament, Isaias 6:8)

 

Today we must ask who will go forward, who will also raise the issue of the election of Pope Francis Pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis. Who of you will say:

“Lo, here am I. Send me.” Speak now or forever hold your peace!

Election of Pope Francis Pursuant to Universi Dominici Gregis

“My people have been a lost flock: their shepherds have caused them to go astray and have made them wander in the mountains. They have gone from the mountain to the hill: they have forgotten their resting place.” (Douay-Rheims translation, Old Testament, Jeremiah 50:6)

“According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they [i.e., Christian Faithful] have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.” (1983 CIC 212 §3)

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EVANGELIZING THE GORILLA: TRADITIONAL CONTINUING CATHOLIC EDUCATION

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Evangelizing the Gorilla: Traditional Continuing Catholic Education

“For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned into fables.” [Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims translation, New Testament, 2 Timothy 4:3-4]

By John J. Aréchiga 26 March 2017

 

John J. Aréchiga is known to me to be a researcher of exceptional ability. For some time I have read the results of his research and at my urging he has agreed to allow me to publish several of his essays. This essay addresses a matter of critical importance to the Roman Catholic Church at this moment in its history. I publish this essay in the hope that it will contribute to the efforts of persons in the Church in authority who have the power to find solutions to the problems that currently afflict the Church.

+Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi

 

 

Text and tweet no more – read, and read, and read some more.

If marginally catechized modernist cafeteria Catholics are a 900-Pound Gorilla, then we must evangelize the gorilla. It is called Traditional Continuing Catholic Education.

Hopefully you have opted for the interim solution – reading the Baltimore Catechism Four. Hopefully you will read it from cover to cover before opting for a more formal objective oriented catechesis course of instruction. If so, you are on the Traditional Continuing Catholic Education fast track.

 

Traditional Continuing Catholic Education presumes you are, as a minimum, a marginally catechized confirmed Roman Catholic; that you have received the Sacrament of the Apostolate (i.e., the sacrament of Confirmation).

That being said, Traditional Continuing Catholic Education is a long-term solution designed to fraternally correct (Matthew 18:15-18) marginally catechized modernist cafeteria Catholics and to help traditionally catechized Roman Catholics grow in their faith – and defend it.

Traditional Continuing Catholic Education needs to be implemented posthaste. Why? It is a time consuming process and there is an urgent need to bring marginally catechized modernist cafeteria Catholics back to the fullness of their Catholic faith – so they can in turn catechize the younger generation. Traditionally catechized Roman Catholics will also benefit from a program of Traditional Continuing Catholic Education.

That being said, understand that Fidei Depositum is a modernist 1992 Apostolic Constitution “on the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church prepared following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council.” Fidei Depositum, in the last paragraph of its introduction, states:

“Following the renewal of the Liturgy and the new codification of the canon law of the Latin Church and that of the Oriental Catholic Churches, this catechism will make a very important contribution to that work of renewing the whole life of the Church, as desired and begun by the Second Vatican Council.” [1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church, page 3]

Arguably, the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church is a modernist catechism. Will future historians refer to the 1992/1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church as the modernist Catechism of the Second Vatican Council? Proceed carefully with the selection of your catechism of choice…

It can also be argued that the 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law is a modernist code of canon law. In promulgating the 1983 Code of Canon Law (1983 CIC) Pope John Paul II wrote in pertinent part:

“From this there are derived certain fundamental criteria which should govern the entire new Code, both in the sphere of its specific matter and also in the language connected with it. It could indeed be said that from this there is derived that note of complementarity which the Code [1983 CIC] presents in relation to the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in particular with reference to the two constitutions, the dogmatic constitution Lumen gentium and the pastoral constitution Gaudium et spes.” [1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law, page xxx]

“Hence it follows that what constitutes the substantial newness of the Second Vatican Council, in line with the legislative tradition of the Church, especially in regard to ecclesiology, constitutes likewise the newness of the new Code.” [1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law, page xxx]

“If, therefore, the Second Vatican Council has drawn from the treasury of Tradition elements both old and new, and the new consists precisely in the elements which we have enumerated, then it is clear that the Code also should reflect the same note of fidelity in newness and of newness in fidelity, and conform itself to that in its own field and in its particular way of expressing itself.” [1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law, page xxxi]

Will future historians refer to the 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law as the modernist Canon Law of the Second Vatican Council? Proceed carefully with your reading and research of relevant canon law…

We must carefully distance ourselves from the Catechism of the Second Vatican Council and the Canon Law of the Second Vatican Council – until such time that we are sufficiently catechized to recognize, and defend against, modernist ploys.

That being said, Traditional Continuing Catholic Education is a lifelong, prayerful, and parallel three-track process. Most of us tend to focus on the most important track – prayerful catechesis – to the exclusion of the other two tracks: the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church and the contemporary operating tempo of the secular world in which we live.

Why is Traditional Continuing Catholic Education a parallel three-track process? In Fidei Depositum, an Apostolic Constitution on the publication of the modernist Catechism of the Catholic Church, His Holiness Pope John Paul II wrote:

“A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and saints of the Church, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal statements which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church. It should also help to illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past (emphasis supplied).”

 

We will borrow from the modernists and predicate our second and third tracks on the last sentence of the preceding Fidei Depositum quote: “It should also help to illumine with the light of faith the new [ecclesial and secular] situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past.”

Fidei Depositum also mitigates the need for a separate track dedicated to the study of Sacred Scripture: “A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture….”

That being said, it should also be emphasized that prayer is not, of itself, a fourth track – it is an essential and integral part of the three-track process. Prayer, by definition, is essentially the voluntary response to the awareness of God’s presence. This response may be an acknowledgement of God’s greatness and of a person’s total dependence on him (adoration), or gratitude for his benefits to oneself and others (thanksgiving), or sorrow for sins committed and begging for mercy (expiation), or asking for graces needed (petition), or affection for God, who is all good (love).

Without prayer there can be no meaningful catechesis, no meaningful understanding of the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church, and no meaningful understanding of the contemporary operating tempo of the secular world in which we live.

Prayerful catechesis is clearly the critical track in the three-track Traditional Continuing Catholic Education process. Catechesis, by definition, is that form of ecclesiastical action that leads both communities and individual members of the faithful to maturity of faith. Because of the varied circumstances and multiple needs, catechetical activity takes on various forms.

That being said, recall that the movement away from catechism-based education is one reason that the flame of righteousness that once roared from our pulpits has been reduced to a flicker – and why we have so many marginally catechized Catholics.

Recall that the traditional four-volume Baltimore Catechism was the de facto standard Catholic school text in the United States from 1885 to the late 1960s – and it is still in print. More importantly, it is a particularly interesting choice for today’s tech savvy students because it is now available as a free eBook (Amazon.com, Project Guttenberg, etc.) that can be read on most popular eBook readers (Kindle, Nook, etc.), personal computers, I-Pads, Smartphones, etc. An inexpensive ($2.99) Baltimore Catechism Flash Cards (Illustrated) is also available in eBook format. The eBooks and flash cards can also be projected on a large screen for everyone to read and discuss.

Baltimore Catechism No. 1: The 33 lessons contained in this volume present the basics of the Catholic faith in a manner suitable for first communicants through fifth graders.

Baltimore Catechism No. 2: The 37 lessons contained in this volume present the fundamentals of the Catholic Faith in a manner suitable for sixth through ninth graders and those preparing for Confirmation.

Baltimore Catechism No. 3: The lessons contained in this volume are intended for students who have received their Confirmation and/or high schoolers. It includes additional questions, definitions, examples, and applications that build upon the content of the original Baltimore Catechism (No. 2).

Baltimore Catechism No. 4: This volume is an Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism can be used as a reference work, or as a teacher’s manual for the original Baltimore Catechisms. It is often used as an advanced textbook. Its explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic Faith are designed to reward the questioning reader.

The Preface (Baltimore Catechism No. 4) explains the book may also be used as a textbook or catechism for more advanced classes; that the complete list of numbered questions on the explanations (at the end of the book) makes it very useful for that purpose.

Recall that the traditional Baltimore Catechism remained in use in nearly all Catholic schools until the 1960’s (post Second Vatican Council) when many schools and diocese quietly started moving away from catechism-based education.

Consideration should therefore be given to reintroducing the traditional four volume Baltimore Catechism as the catechism of choice for Traditional

 

Continuing Catholic Education. That being said, on November 16, 2015, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke reminisced:

“I remember when I was going to elementary school, we had the Baltimore Catechism and we were taught about marriage from the first years of school. Then as we got older, we got the second and third edition and it got more substantial, but it was always the same in building and growing.”

It will be a daunting challenge to reintroduce traditional catechesis. Introducing Traditional Continuing Catholic Education will be an even more daunting challenge. Recall that the USCCB’s Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism has effectively entrenched the movement away from catechism- based education. Moving on…

Traditional Continuing Catholic Education will require competent traditional church authority to develop and implement a unique objective oriented Catechism course of instruction. For example:

  •   Basic Course: The basic course presumes the student has received the Sacrament of the Apostolate (i.e., the sacrament of Confirmation). The objective of the basic course is to reestablish a foundation for further catechesis – by reaffirming traditional Catholic doctrine associated with preparation for the sacraments of Penance, Holy Communion, and Confirmation.The Baltimore Catechism Four is the text of choice because of its explanations of many little known questions pertaining to the Catholic Faith. Also recall that the Preface (Baltimore Catechism Four) explains the book may also be used as a textbook or catechism for more advanced classes; that the complete list of numbered questions on the explanations (at the end of the book) makes it very useful for that purpose.

    Competent traditional church authority will have to develop a syllabus (i.e., program, curriculum, course outline, program of study) for this basic course.

  •   Intermediate Course: The objective of the intermediate course is to reestablish a foundation for further catechesis – by reaffirming traditional Catholic doctrine associated with the essentials of our traditional Catholic faith: Salvation History, the Apostles’ Creed, the Commandments, the Beatitudes, the Seven Sacraments, and the Lord’s Prayer. 

The Baltimore Catechism Four is again the text of choice. Again recall that the Preface (Baltimore Catechism Four) explains the book may also be used as a textbook or catechism for more advanced classes; that the complete list of numbered questions on the explanations (at the end of the book) makes it very useful for that purpose.

Competent traditional church authority will also have to develop a syllabus for this intermediate course.

  •   Advanced Course: The objective of the advanced course is to further reestablish a foundation for teaching traditional catechesis and for defending your faith – by focusing on teaching the Catholic faith; what we believe; the channels of grace; Christian morality; and Prayer.The Baltimore Catechism Three is the text of choice because it includes additional questions, definitions, examples, and applications that build upon the content of the original Baltimore Catechism Four.

    Competent traditional church authority will also have to develop a syllabus for this advanced course.

  •   Basic Apologetics Course: The objective of the basic apologetics course is to learn how to research doctrinal issues using both reference books and the internet.Recommended reference books include, but are not limited to, Denzinger’s The Sources of Catholic Dogma, The 1917 Pio- Benedictine Code of Canon Law, the Douay-Rheims bible translation, A Textual Concordance of the Holy Scriptures, and Father John Hardon’s Modern Catholic Dictionary. Secondary reference books include, but are not limited to The 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law and the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church. The secondary references, albeit tainted by the Second Vatican Council, include footnotes that will often assist us in researching relevant issues.

    Competent traditional church authority will also have to develop a syllabus for this course.

  •   Advanced Apologetics Course: The objective of the advanced apologetics course is to identify and understand contrarian modernist doctrine – so that we can defend against it. 

Recommended reading includes, but is not limited to:

o Quo Primum – Apostolic Constitution promulgating the 1570 edition of the Roman Missal, issued by Pope Saint Pius V on July 14, 1570.

o Sanctissimnus Dominus – Decree of the Holy Office, Condemning Sixty-five Propositions Which Favored Laxism in Moral Theology; issued by Pope Innocent XI on March 4, 1679. [For details see Denzinger, The Sources of Catholic Dogma, DS 1151-1215]

o Lamentabili Sane – Pope Pius X Syllabus Condemning the Errors of the Modernists, issued July 3, 1907

o Pascendi Dominici Gregis – Encyclical, On the Doctrine of the Modernists, issued by Pope Pius X on September 8, 1907.

o Sacrorum antistitum – Comprehensive Oath Against Modernism, promulgated by Pope Pius X on September 1, 1910.

o Sacrfosanctum Concilium – Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on December 4, 1963.

o Sacram Liturgiam – Pope Paul VI Apostolic Letter, decreed certain prescriptions of the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Liturgy (Sacrfosanctum Concilium), issued Motu Proprio on January 25, 1964.

o Inter Oecumenici – Instructions On Implementing the Constitution of the Sacred Liturgy, given by the Sacred Congregation of Rites on September 26, 1964 and to be faithfully observed by all concerned effective March 7, 1965.

o Profession of the Faith – Profession of Faith, promulgated by Pope Paul VI on July 17, 1967. [replaced Pope Saint Pius X’s comprehensive September 1, 1910, Oath Against Modernism]

o Providentissima Mater Ecclesia –Apostolic Constitution, Promulgation of Pope Pius X’s Codification of Canon Law, promulgated by Pope Benedict XV on May 25, 1917. [Code of canon law is also known as 1917 Pio-Benedictine Code of Canon Law.]

 

o Facile Conicere – Allocution, Reference “Yet, as Pope Paul VI declared, these revisions are not to contradict the Roman Rite, since “what is Roman is the foundation of our Catholicity,” Referenced by Hardon, Modern Catholic Dictionary, definition of Roman Rite, page 472], given by Pope Paul VI on October 14, 1968.

o Missale Romanum, Apostolic Constitution on New Roman Missal issued by his Holiness Pope Paul VI on April 3, 1969.

o The Ottavani Intervention (hyperlinked to EWTN) Letter from Cardinal Ottavani to Pope Paul VI, Critical Study of the New Order of Mass, September 5, 1969.

o Ministeria Quaedam –Pope Paul VI Apostolic Letter, On First Tonsure, Minor Orders, and the Subdiaconate, given Motu Proprio on August 15, 1972, and effective January 1, 1973.

o Sacrae Disciplinae Leges, Apostolic Constitution, For the Promulgation of the New Code of Canon Law, published by Pope John Paul II on January 25, 1983. [New code of canon law is also known as The 1983 Johanno-Pauline Code of Canon Law.]

o Fidei Depositum – Apostolic Constitution, On the Publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church Prepared Following the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, published by Pope John Paul II on October 11, 1992. [New catechism is also known as the 1994 Catechism of the Catholic Church.]

o Universi Dominici Gregis – Apostolic Constitution, On the Vacancy of the Apostolic See and the Election of the Roman Pontiff, given by Pope John Paul II on February 22, 1996.

Competent traditional church authority will also have to develop a syllabus for this advanced course.

Adults – especially parents – are in particular need of Traditional Continuing Catholic Education. Why? Family catechesis precedes, accompanies, and enriches other forms of instruction in the faith. Parents have the mission of teaching their children to pray and to discover their vocation as children of God.

 

Does the fact that we are baptized Roman Catholics, go to confession once a year, and go to mass on Sunday qualify us to catechize our children? Probably not any more than sitting in the church pew qualifies us to preach, say mass, and hear confession.

That being said, who catechized us? Are we candidates for adult catechesis? More importantly, what are the qualifications of those teaching Catholic Catechism to our children and grandchildren? What are the qualifications of those teaching Catholic Catechism at our Catholic colleges and universities, Catholic high schools, and Catholic parochial schools?

Our catechist had the best of intentions. Our children’s and grandchildren’s catechist had the best of intentions. The issue is their qualifications. There are good parishes with trained catechists – but there are also many modernist parishes with well-intentioned minimally trained volunteer modernist catechists.

It all goes back to the education and training of our catechists. If it is to be, it is up to you…

There is also more to Traditional Continuing Catholic Education than just prayerful catechesis. Two other tracks parallel catechesis. The second track focuses on the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church. The third track focuses on the contemporary operating tempo of the secular world in which we live.

Why is it important that we study the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church and the secular world in which we live? Because in paragraph two of Fidei Depositum we were charged with illumining with the light of faith the new [ecclesial and secular] situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past. Because the underlying issue is the church militant – struggling with sin and temptation. Because the underlying issue is moral decadence and spiritual warfare. We cannot establish a defensive perimeter, or engage our enemy, without knowing who or what threatens our Roman Catholic faith. Before proceeding down these two tracks, it should be understood that our purpose is not to find ways to criticize individuals but to illuminate weaknesses that can be addressed and improved.

Before proceeding down the second and third tracks we must also understand and accept that we will probably encounter situations that challenge our respect and loyalty to both ecclesiastic and secular offices and, more often than not, to the incumbents.

 

We must therefore understand the fundamental difference between an ecclesiastical office (E.g., Pope, Cardinal, Archbishop, Bishop, Priest, Deacon, etc.) and its incumbent. We must also understand the fundamental difference between a secular office (E.g., President, Vice President, Senator, Representative, Governor, Mayor, Councilman, etc.) and its incumbent.

All of us, without exception, should always show the utmost respect and loyalty to the office – be it ecclesiastical or secular. With this in mind we must not forget that the incumbent is a human being whose human actions, by virtue of free will, are morally imputable. There is therefore a rebuttable presumption that the actions of the incumbent – a human being – are morally good and acceptable. Until proven otherwise, we all owe the incumbent, without exception, the same respect and loyalty accorded his office.

Absent morally good and acceptable human action, we must still respect and remain loyal to the incumbent’s office – while working charitably to show the incumbent the error of their way. Recall:

“But if thy brother shall offend against thee, go and rebuke him between thee and him alone. If he shall hear thee, thou shalt gain thy brother. And if he will not hear thee: take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church: let him be to thee as the heathen and publican. Amen I say to you, whatsoever you shall bind upon earth shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever you shall loose upon earth shall be loosed also in heaven.” [Douay-Rheims translation, Matthew 18: 15-18]

In scripture it is also written:

“I say to you that even so there shall be joy in heaven upon one sinner that doth penance, more than upon ninety-nine just who need not penance.” [Douay-Rheims translation, Luke 15:7]

Our purpose is not to criticize. Our purpose is not to beat the drums of doom and gloom. Our purpose is to illuminate and understand the scope of the problem and become a part of the solution. Our purpose is to charitably bring one or more persons back into the fold…

“The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion….” [1994 CCC, paragraph 1829]

With this in mind, we need to develop the two other Continuing Catholic Education tracks. Both require reading contemporary books and articles in an effort to understand the contemporary operating tempo – the good, the bad, and the ugly – of the Roman Catholic Church and the secular world. Our emphasis should be on contemporary and discerning what is good or bad. It is time we investigate history and learn what is really at stake at this moment in time.

Recall that the second track of continuing Catholic education focuses on the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church. Where will we learn about the contemporary operating tempo of our Roman Catholic Church? By making time to read often controversial books like:

  •   The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America by David Carlin. Reviewer Russell Shaw wrote: “If you are looking for a cheerful, upbeat account of the present state and future prospects of American Catholicism, avoid David Carlin’s The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America like the plague. But if you want a deadly serious examination of a desperate situation, this is essential reading.”
  •   The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church by George Weigel. Reviewer James Likoudis wrote: “Readers will find his analysis of the deep-seated causes of the crisis— whose ramifications have affected all sectors of Catholic life—comprehensive and compelling. “At the bottom of the bottom line,” he [Weigel] observes, “every crisis in the Church is a crisis of fidelity.” Starkly put, it has been infidelity to Church teaching on the part of bishops, priests, religious, and laity that has led to the current crisis of clergy sexual abuse, fueled by an alarming “culture of dissent” that has developed in the Church since the revolt against Humanae Vitae in 1968.”
  •   Goodbye, Good Men: How Liberals Brought Corruption Into the Catholic Church by Michael S. Rose. Reviewer Rev. Robert J. Johansen, M.A., wrote:
  • “Rose [Catholic sociologist and author] describes an environment in many Catholic seminaries during the 70’s and 80’s which encouraged dissent and disobedience, as well as moral and doctrinal laxity. In these seminaries, Rose writes, those responsible for recruitment and admissions actively sought out men who supported the “progressive” or liberal Catholic agenda: abolition of priestly celibacy, ordination of women, acceptance of the gay lifestyle, and liturgical experimentation. Those few men with more traditional views who got intothese seminaries were subjected to harassment and attempts at re- indoctrination. Rose describes an atmosphere in which expressions of reverence such as genuflection or kneeling were derided, and traditional devotions such as the rosary received scorn and hostility.”

 Priest: Portraits of Ten Good Men Serving the Church Today by Michael S. Rose. The author is fair and balanced. In Goodbye, Good Men the author focused on the dark side. In this book the author focuses on the bright side. Enough said.

There is a vast difference between being a baptized Catholic and a faithful to the magisterium Catholic.

The third track of continuing Catholic education focuses on the contemporary operating tempo of the secular world in which we live. Again recall that our purpose is to investigate history and learn what is really at stake at this moment in time.

Where will we learn about the contemporary operating tempo of the secular world in which we live? By making time to read contemporary and often controversial books like:

  •   Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky. The author starts by recognizing Lucifer as the very first radical and then tells us that he wrote the book for the Have-Nots – so that they may take it away from those that have. On the outside back cover the book’s publisher does not hesitate to link author Alinsky with both Barrack Obama and Hillary Clinton. In this book the word Catholic appears 11 times, the word priest appears 8 times, the word bishop appears 6 times, the word cardinal appears once, and the word Lucifer appears once. Some of the context seems innocuous. Some of the context, however, is quite poignant and very relevant to the contemporary Catholic Church in the United States of America.
  •   Revellie for Radicals by Saul D. Alinsky. This is the prequel to Rules for Radicals – where Alinsky introduces us to “Big Butch.” In this book the word Catholic appears 37 times, the word priest appears 26 times, and the word bishop appears 2 times. Some of the context is quite poignant and very relevant to the contemporary Catholic Church in the United States of America.
  •   The Shadow Party: How George Soros, Hillary Clinton, and Sixties Radicals Seized Control of the Democratic Party by David Horowitz and Richard Poe. The book makes it clear that Hillary Clinton’s radicalism is deep-rooted and fundamental, bearing the clear imprint of her early mentor Saul Alinsky [page 56]. The book tells us that:

o Hillary met Alinsky through a leftwing church group to which she belonged in high school and they stayed in close touch until Alinsky’s death [page 56].

o Hillary’s 1969 senior thesis at Wellesley College was a 75-page salute to Alinsky. It contained excerpts of his forthcoming book, Rules for Radicals, which he had allowed Hillary to read before the book’s publication in 1971 [page 56].

o Upon graduation from Wellesley College, Alinsky offered Hillary a full-time organizer job with his Industrial Areas Foundation. Hillary declined only because Yale Law School seemed to offer a superior path for infiltrating the Establishment [page 56].

o Hillary’s efforts to cultivate a “moderate” or “centrist” public image faithfully reflect Alinsky’s teaching [page 56].

 The Manchurian President: Barack Obama’s Ties to Communists, Socialists and Other Anti-American Extremists by Aaron Klein (with Brenda J. Elliott). The authors expose just how dangerous Barack Obama really is as America’s president and commander in chief.

There is a vast difference between being a baptized Catholic, a doctrinally correct Catholic, and a well-informed traditional Catholic.

Given the number of books on these two lists, you are probably wondering where to start. Simple. Finish the book you are reading and then alternate the lists. Start at the top of each list and work your way to the bottom of the list. Do not worry – you will find other contemporary books to read as you work your way through the lists. Traditional Continuing Catholic Education is an ongoing – lifelong – prayerful process.

This lifelong, prayerful, and parallel three-track process – Traditional Continuing Catholic Education – will qualify us to catechize our children, family, and friends. We will also be better prepared to struggle with moral decadence, sin, and temptation. We will also be better prepared to engage Lucifer in spiritual warfare. We will better understand when and where to establish a defensive perimeter and when or where to engage our spiritual enemy.

 

By now you are probably pulling your hair out and saying nonsense – the hell with this – I do not have time to do all of this. You cannot seem to find an hour a day in your very busy schedule.

Not a problem. You are blessed with free will. You make time to do those things that are important to you. The Lord will assess your priorities – both earthly and spiritual – when you knock on the pearly gates…

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HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF LENT – Cycle A

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The Blind Leading the Blind by Pieter Brueghel

HOMILY FOR THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF

LENT

Cycle A

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

O God,

Who through your Word 

reconcile the human race to yourself

in a wonderful way,

grant, we pray,

that with prompt devotion and eager faith

the Christian people may hasten

toward the solemn celebrations to come.

Through our Lord Jesus Christ,

your Son,

who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God,
for ever and ever.

Amen

(Collect)

“I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind.”

Those words taken from today’s Gospel have always seemed to me to be some of the most important words in the whole Gospel of our Lord and they have always instilled in me a small amount of fear and now more than ever. I have recently begun to experience ARED, age-related macular degeneration.

Those words, however, do not refer to physical blindness but rather to spiritual blindness which is far worse than physical blindness.

Those words are a call to genuine humility before God which is harder to achieve than fighting physical blindness.

It is in the nature of man to glory in the fact that unlike all other creatures on earth, man is made in the image and likeness of God.

How are we made in the image and likeness of God?  God does not have a body!  God is not substance is pure spirit, not matter; we are matter and spirit.

We are made in the image and likeness of God in that we have an intellect which can discover the inner essence of things and we have a will which enables us to choose freely with regard to the things we know.

Our faith is based on the revelation of Jesus Christ and the testimony of his apostles as handed down to us through the Fathers of the Church of the first three centuries of the life of the Church.

Our intellect causes us to seek understanding of what it is that we believe.  We should engage in this seeking of understanding guided by the Magisterium of the Church, the solemn teaching of popes and councils helped by philosophers and theologians. But sometimes we do not accept such guidance and ‘go it alone.’  That can be dangerous to our faith.

This is where humility comes in.  It seems to be natural for men and women throughout the history of the Church to let pride interfere with their understanding of the faith.  Some genius in the Middle Ages gave us this marvelous bit of advice:

It is better to get your head into heaven than to get heaven into your head !!!

That saying warns us that it is impossible to know everything about God and therefore with humility admit that you cannot know everything about God and concentrate on getting your head into heaven by obeying the precepts of the Lord and follow the way he described for you in his Gospel.

Intellectual pride is the curse of the over-educated person.  My guess is that there are more Doctors of Theology in hell than any other group of educated persons.

Do not make the mistake of thinking that I am anti-intellectual; on the contrary I have great respect for people who use their god-given brains to understand what it is that they accept on faith.

 Intellectual pride is a huge problem  Pride was the cause of the fall of Lucifer who thought himself equal to God and therefore not obligated to serve God.

Intellectual pride is at the root of many of the problems that now create a crisis in the Roman Catholic Church.

Men like Cardinals Kasper, Marx, et al have reasoned themselves into heterodoxy.  They claim “We see” and their pride blinds them to their spiritual blindness.

The antidote to their blindness is to apply the healing mud of humility to the eyes of their intellect and admit that the words spoken by Jesus Christ in the Gospel mean what they say and are not open to the kind of interpretation that robs them of their obvious meaning.

If we look for evidence that God favors humility in humans we have only to recall the pattern of God’s selection of individuals to be his prophets, men who spoke for God  telling people what God wanted people to hear.

God never chose intellectual giants to be his prophets.  Beginning with his choice of David to be his King and Psalmist God chose the weakest, the least likely to succeed to be his prophets.  Jeremiah, Isaiah, et al were all men whom others would have judged as least likely to succeed.  God put words in their mouths and they revealed God’s truth to others.

God surely chose the least likely to succeed so that it would be plain to all that it was God speaking through his prophet and not the prophet speaking on his own rhetorical ability or wisdom

The final words of today’s Gospel should strike fear in the hearts of all who boast of having a modern up-to-date understanding of Gospel as it applies to 21st Century society:

“Some of the Pharisees who were with him heard Jesus say ‘I came into this world for judgment, so that those who do not see might see, and those who do see might become blind’ and they said to him, ‘Surely we are not also blind, are we?’ and Jesus said to them, ‘If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains”

Be humble, admit that you do not know everything.  There are two books you should consult frequently to help you remain humble: the Catholic Bible and  the Cathechism of the Catholic Church.  Both are available in very inexpensive editions from Amazon.com.

Buy they, read them, let them be your guide as your intellect seeks to understand what you believe through faith.

Cardinals Kasper, Marx and friends are the blind leading the blind.  Do not follow them!!!

O God,

Eternal Father,

help us to achieve true intellectual humility

in our search for understanding of what we believe.

Grant that we always see with 20/20 vision the path that your Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed to us.

Grant that we will always seek to do your will rather than “doing it my way” with regard to our daily actions.

If we are becoming spiritually blind apply the healing ‘mud’ of your grace to the eyes of our soul that I may see clearly.

This I ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, One God,

forever and ever.

Amen!

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THE FORMAL CORRECTION MAY YET COME, BE PATIENT

Cardinal Burke Speaks on the “Formal Correction”

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Last night at Saint Raymond of Peñafort parish in Springfield, Virginia, Cardinal Raymond Burke gave a talk in which he addressed questions about the long-awaited “formal correction” promised by the Four Cardinals in the event that Pope Francis does not respond to the dubia submitted to him last September and made public in November.

Before the video (courtesy of Andrew Guernsey) begins, the pastor of the parish, Fr. John De Celles, asked about the dubia:

Fr. De Celles: There are a lot of rumors circulating about the dubia, which you and four other esteemed cardinals sent to the Holy Father about divorce, marriage, and communion and the likeDo you know if there will be a response to the dubia from our Holy Father or from the CDF?

Cardinal Burke: I sincerely hope that there will be because these are fundamental questions that are honestly raised by the text of the apostolic…the post-synodal apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. And until these questions are answered, there continues to spread a very harmful confusion in the Church and one of the fundamental questions is in regards to the truth that there are some kinds that are always and everywhere wrong – what we call intrinsically evil acts – and so, we cardinals are, will continue to insist that we hear a response to these honest questions.

After rejecting the idea that the dubia are disrespectful or arrogant, and asserting that this is the traditional method of seeking clarification from the pope on the Church’s constant teaching, Burke addressed why, when there was no response after the initial submission of the dubia – and after the cardinals were told by the CDF that there would be no response – they made the dubia public.

The video below begins part way into the answer to the question, so we are providing the transcript of the full audio of that section before the video, which begins at “we have these questions”:

Cardinal Burke: We judged it necessary to make public the question[s] [of the dubia] because so many of the faithful were approaching us, saying, having these questions and saying well, what’s the wrong, we have these questions and it seems like, that none of the cardinals who have a great responsibility to assist the holy father has these questions and  so…we published them, and that also was done with great respect.

Fr. De Celles: If there is no response, will, what will your response be, the Four Cardinals?

Cardinal Burke: Then we simply will have to correct the situation, again, in a respectful way, that simply can say that, to draw the response to the questions from the constant teachings of the Church and to make that known for the good of souls.

You can see a video of the full talk on the LifeSiteNews Facebook page here.

Several days ago, one of our readers, Marie Pruden, posted a comment in which she recounted her own experience with Cardinal Burke when he visited California earlier this month:

Cardinal Burke was in Oakland, California last Sunday, March 19, where he celebrated a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Margaret Mary’s Church early in the afternoon, after which he blessed a newly-opened clinic of the Knights of Malta.

Later he held a public reception at Oakland’s Cathedral of Christ the Light before celebrating a solemn Benediction. It was at the reception line that I got to speak with the Cardinal briefly. Here’s how it went:

I genuflected as he blessed me and I kissed his ring. Standing up, I held on to his hand and asked, “Eminence, are you pushing through with the formal public correction on the errors of Amoris Laetitia?”

Before I could even finish my question came his answer, “Don’t worry about it. We’re looking into it. We’re working on it.”

I had wanted to ask a follow-up question but there’s a line behind me and it was time to go down to the church for Benediction.

From the little answer he gave, it feels like his group of four Cardinals hasn’t really given up on the Dubia. [emphasis added]

She expounded, in a later comment:

I went to the reception purposely to ask Cardinal Burke the question.

[…]

I’m Filipino and am very conscious of my accent and my verb tense and prepositions, so I had to make my question as short and as clearly stated as possible. That was probably why the Cardinal didn’t wait for me to finish my sentence. He was anticipating it. Perhaps other people ahead of me had asked the same question.

With the addition of the video, her eyewitness account adds further credibility to the notion that the formal correction is most certainly not off the table, and may in fact be anticipated at some point in the future.

With this latest video of Cardinal Burke saying that the formal correction may yet come — but with no deadline attached — it would seem that most likely nothing has transpired yet. Amoris Laetitia was a year old as of March 19, 2017 (the official date of its signing) but will not have its first anniversary as a public document until April 8. This means that a year after the release of this document that has caused, in Cardinal Burke’s own words, “a very harmful confusion in the Church”, we are still waiting for an official defense of the Church’s traditional teaching on marriage, family, Catholic sexual ethics, and sacramental discipline.

And while it is reasonable to conclude that such an action, insofar as it is almost unprecedented, would take careful study and caution in its execution, the pace, in relation to current events, is practically glacial. Further, we are forced to wonder what, if any, effect such a correction would have. Would it change anything, or would it simply be an objection, on the record, to what appears to be a blatant and unrepentant miscarriage of Church teaching on the part of the pope and a growing number of bishops and cardinals? Would, in other words, such a correction actually have any teeth?

Further, we are left to wonder what is being done to address the many other troubling and possibly heretical statements from Pope Francis, some of which we cataloged in our article on the occasion of the fourth anniversary of his election?

While it is a Maxim of Catholic thought that the Church moves slowly, even timelessly, because she deals in eternal truths, it is nonetheless undeniable that the damage that is being done by Pope Francis and his allies exceeds by an exponential factor the efforts to reign in and correct that damage through official ecclesiastical channels.

Souls are at stake. We do not have the luxury of time, and admonitions that these things must simply be ignored as we put our faith in Christ’s promises ring painfully hollow when every day the faithful watch people they know and love being led astray, or discouraged to the brink of despair.

In Luke 18:8, Our Blessed Lord famously asked if, when He returned, he would find faith on the earth. At the present moment, one is forced to wonder if that question applies equally to the end of this pontificate.

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REJOICE, AGAIN I SAY REJOICE; NOT LIKE THE GODLESS DO BUT AS THE GODFULL DO

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FROM THE PASTOR
March 26, 2017

by Fr. George W. Rutler

Laetare Sunday is a relaxation from what, in our culture, are usually the not-too-rigorous rigors of this penitential season. Thoughts of the Heavenly Jerusalem occasioned the hymn “Jerusalem the Golden.” Ours is a translation by the Victorian classicist, John Mason Neale. The hymn is the fourth part of a poem by Bernard of Cluny in the twelfth century. He had dedicated it to the Abbot Peter the Venerable who oversaw the operation of nearly two thousand monasteries nurturing the revival of European civilization. In his attempt to better understand the twisted zeal of the Saracen Muslims who were massacring Christian pilgrims, Abbot Peter translated into Latin the Koran and various Arabic astronomical texts.

“Jerusalem the golden, with milk and honey blest . . . I know not, O I know not, what joys await us there, What radiancy of glory, what bliss beyond compare.” The imagery, based on the divine Revelation of Saint John, is light years removed from the materialist Paradise envisioned in the Koran, with its rivers of wine to make up for earthly abstinence, and the free use of women.

Mistaken ideas of Paradise are rooted in rejection of the mystery by which Christ conquers death by the victory of the Cross. The one consistency in such heresies is the typical resentment of the Cross. A friend of mine who is a priest has bravely gone to Iraq to assist the persecuted Christians there. Along with pictures of bombed Christian towns and burned churches, is the evidence that “enemies of the cross of Christ” (Philippians 3:18) have destroyed every image of the Cross. To drive home the point, the graves of Christians have been desecrated, bodies exhumed, and coffins left littering the ground.

In Mosul in 2007, a 35-year-old Chaldean Catholic priest and three sub-deacons refused to renounce Christ and were martyred. Father Ragheed Ghanni had been secretary to Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who promoted many good works for the local people, including an orphanage for handicapped children. Both had studied in Rome at the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum), where I did my theology with the kind and bright Dominicans. A year later, the Archbishop, having opposed the imposition of Shariah law, was martyred.

For years, it was politically incorrect in our own country to publicize these sufferings. The same university students who retreat to psychoanalysis when they hear views contrary to their own, act as though the genocide in the Middle East did not exist. Christians in the Middle East must feel betrayed to hear comfortable clerics in the West speak glibly of “dialogue” with their persecutors. Ignorance is not innocence, and naiveté is not knowledge. But Laetare Sunday now is enriched by the heavenly help of modern witnesses who embraced the Cross:

“They stand those halls of Zion, all jubilant with song, And bright with many an angel, and all the martyr throng.”
 

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HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD

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HOMILY FOR THE SOLEMNITY OF THE ANNUNCIATION OF THE LORD

Bishop Rene Henry Gracida

O God,

who willed that your Word

should take on the reality of human flesh

in the womb of the Virgin Mary,

grant, we pray,

that we, who confess our Redeemer to be God and man,

may merit to become partakers even in his divine nature.

Who lives and reigns with you in the unity

of the Holy Spirit,

one God,

for ever and ever.

Amen !!!

The spoken word can be powerful.

The spoken word can produce marvelous effects.

Magicians throughout history have worked their magic after an invoctation, such as,

“open sesame”

“abra cadabra”

“alakazam”

“hocus pocus dominus”

“presto”

“shazam”

]

Craig Conley, a scholar of magic,

writes that the magic words used by magicians may originate from “pseudo-Latin phrases, nonsense syllables, or esoteric terms from religious antiquity,”

but that what they have in common is “language as an instrument of creation.”

Words can create, but words can also destroy.

Children used to recite the nursery rhyme “Sticks and stones my break my bones, but names can never hurt me!”

That is not true!

When I was in grade school I got into school ground fights and the bruises I received have long been forgotten, but some of the names I was called hurt and I have never forgotten the hurt they inflicted on me.  

When a criminal hears the judge pronounce the sentence of death as punishment for the crime the criminal already begins to feel deadly effects of that sentence.

Of all the words that we humans can speak that produce amazing good effects, 

none can compare with the words the priest says as he celebrates a sacrament:

“I baptize you……”

“Be sealed with the Holy Spirit….”

“I absolve from your sins….”

“I now pronounce you man and wife…”

“Receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…”

“Be healed…..”

and most important of all:

“Hoc est enim corpus meum…

“This is my body…this is my blood”

It is by the power of Christ that those words produce miraculous effects.

But of all the words that humans can speak and have spoken, even the words that a priest says when he celebrates the Eucharist, none can equal the importance of the words spoken by a teenage girl in Israel.

When Mary said these words: 

“May it be done to me according to your word!

time stood still for a moment and when the clock starter ticking again the world was in 

“Anno Domini” the Lord’s time.

You know the story of how Mary was betrothed to Joseph but not yet married to him.  Betrothal is no longer common.

Betrothal is more than engagement.

The implications of a pregnancy while betrothed must have been frightening to

Mary.  It made her subject to be stoned, for adultery, according to Jewish law 

But such was her trust in God that she did not hesitate to give her consent.

The words of Mary’s response to the Angel were infinitely greater than the word even of the priest at the consecration of the Mass because her words gave the human nature to the Second Person of the Trinity, now present in our time as Jesus Christ.

A good test of one’s trust in God during the remainder of Lent is to reflect on the occasions in your life when human respect, what others might think of you, prevented you from saying or doing something good that the Holy Spirit was prompting you to say or do.

I can testify that there have been several occasions when I felt the strong impulse to do a good deed for another but failed to do it out of fear what others would think of me.  That was not the case with Mary.

Almighty God,

Eternal Father,

give us the grace to imitate our 

Blessed Mother 

in placing all our trust in you without hesitation.

 She, without hesitation and without calculating the cost in human respect that would be hers in freely giving her “yes” to the Angel Gabriel became a model for all of us to place our trust in you.

This we ask through Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you union with the Holy Spirit, 

One God.

Amen! 

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THE LONG TERM SOLUTION – CONTINUING CATHOLIC EDUCATION – BOILS DOWN TO TRADITIONAL CATECHESIS

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The 900-Pound Gorilla: Marginally Catechized Cafeteria Catholics

 by  John J. Aréchiga

 

John J. Arechiga is known to me to be a researcher of exceptional ability.
For some time I have read the results of his research and at my urging 
he has agreed to allow me to publish several of his essays.  This essay 
addresses a matter of critical importance to the Roman Catholic Church at this moment in its history.  I publish this essay in the hope that it will contribute to the efforts of persons in the Church in authority who have the power to find solutions to the problems that currently afflict the Church.
 
+Rene Henry Gracida, Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi
Sister Leo with her catechism students in Las Vegas in 1963. The sisters’ job  in those days was to conduct catechism classes for kids who attended public school.  This was long before the “Church as field hospital” era, of course, when the Church still had no concept of mercy.


“For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned into fables.” 
[Holy Bible, Douay-Rheims translation, New Testament, 2 Timothy 4:3-4]

Sheep find comfort in the incessant noise of empty rhetoric. You have to wonder whether this moment in history, this moment in time, is a product of marginally catechized cafeteria Catholics.

Arguably, most – if not all – marginally catechized cafeteria Catholics are marginally catechized through no fault of their own.

Arguably, the root cause is the USCCB’s Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series that essentially offers the modernist catechist with a cafeteria style menu of texts to choose from – but more about that later. Back to basics.

Catholic modernism and political correctness masked the movement away from traditional catechism based education – and thus began the evolution of marginally catechized modernist cafeteria Catholics.

If you are still scratching your head, and wondering what Catholic modernism is about, it is probably because you have never read Pascendi Dominici Gregis or A Catechism on Modernism. Both were published in 1907 – long before the Second Vatican Council.

Pascendi Dominici Gregis, On the Doctrines of the Modernists, is an Encyclical published by Pope Saint Pius X, on September 8, 1907.

A Catechism on Modernism, a little known follow-on to Pascendi Dominici Gregis, was also published in 1907. This catechism has a peculiar structure. It is written as an imaginary interview of Pope Saint Pius X by the author (Rev. J. B. Lemius).   In the imaginary interview Pope Saint Pius X dissects meticulously and magisterially, as only he knew, the modernist heresy in all its branches.  In its time A Catechism on Modernismwas highly praised by Pope Saint Pius X.

Today A Catechism on Modernismis an essential tool for all Catholics to understand how far the modernist heresy penetrated inside the Church – especially since the Second Vatican Council.

It can be argued that the modernist movement away from catechism-based education is another reason that the flame of righteousness that once roared from our pulpits has been reduced to a flicker….

Do we have a reference point from which traditional catechesis began its movement away from catechism-based education? Yes. During the early history of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States all of the dioceses were part of one ecclesiastical province under the Archbishop of Baltimore:

A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of the Third Council of Baltimore, or simply the Baltimore Catechism, is the official national catechism for children in the United States of America. The first such catechism written for Catholics in North America, it was the standard Catholic school text in the country from 1885 to the late 1960s.”

“In response to a personal copyright taken out by Bishop John Lancaster Spalding, various editions include annotations or other modifications. While the approved text had to remain the same in the catechisms, by adding maps, glossaries or definitions publishers could copyright and sell their own version of the catechism. The Baltimore Catechism remained in use in nearly all Catholic schools until many moved away from catechism-based education, though it is still used in some.” [Essentially Verbatim: WikipediaBaltimore Catechism, as of 23 December 2016]

The Baltimore Catechism remained in use in nearly all Catholic schools until the 1960’s (post Second Vatican Council) when many schools and diocese quietly started moving away from catechism-based education – as evidenced by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s (USCCB’s) most recent Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series.

The USCCB’s January 9, 2017, Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series is essentially an online five page digital list of “texts and series [that] have been found to be in conformity with the Catechism of the Catholic Church by the Subcommittee on the Catechism, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.”

The USCCB’s 2017 Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series essentially offers the modernist catechist with a cafeteria style menu of texts to choose from.

The USCCB’s 2017 Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series is arranged by target audience: Pre-School Series, Elementary Series (School and Parish), High School Texts, High School Doctrinal Framework Texts, High School Series, Sacramental Preparation Materials, Materials in Other Languages, Supplemental Materials, and Materials for RCIA.  

It should be pointed out that the USCCB’s five page Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series, with one exception (A Catholic Catechism in English and Polish), does not list or otherwise include a complete or actual Catholic catechism (e.g., Catechism of the Catholic ChurchBaltimore Catechism, etc.).

This requires disambiguation because the USCCB’s Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series includes:

1.             The Apostolate’s Family Catechism
2.             Understanding the Catechism: Creed 
3.             Understanding the Catechism: Liturgy and Sacraments 
4.             Understanding the Catechism: Morality 
5.             Understanding the Catechism: Prayer 
6.             Little Catechism on the Eucharist

The book titles are misleading. The book titles infer they are a Catholic catechism – when in fact they are a textbook.

It should also be pointed out that the USCCB’s five page Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series does not list or otherwise include any concise Catechism’s that focus on relevant issues. For example:

1.             A Catechism of Modernism by The Reverend J. B. Lemius, O.M.I.,
2.             Catechism on The Real Presence by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.,
3.             Catechism on the Splendor of Truth by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
4.             Catechism on the Gospel of Life by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
5.             Catechism on Humana Vitae by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
6.             Catechism on HomosexualityIncludes texts of Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics and On the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
7.             Catechism on the Lay Apostolate by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
8.             Catholic Catechism on Consecrated Life by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
9.             Catholic Catechism on the Angels by Father John A. Hardon, S.J.
10.          Catechism on Redemptoris CustosOn the Person and Mission of Saint Joseph in the Life of Christ and of the Church, by Father Charles M. Mangan
11.          Catechism on the Apostolic Constitution Ineffabilis Deus Concerning the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan
12.          The Catechism on Chapter Eight of Lumen Gentium by Monsignor Charles M. Mangan

Individually, these last twelve catechisms include the imprimatur of either Bishop Emeritus René H. Gracida (Diocese of Corpus Christi, Texas), Cardinal Raymond L. Burke (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin), Bishop Emeritus Thomas G. Doran (Diocese of Rockford, Illinois), Bishop Paul J. Swain (Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota), Bishop Robert F. Vasa (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon), Archbishop Robert J. Carlson (Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Sioux Falls, South Dakota), or Bishop Emeritus Fabian W. Bruskewitz (Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska). By virtue of their imprimatur, it cannot be argued that any of these catechisms do not conform to the Catechism of the Catholic Church. This begs the question of why they are not on the “Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series.”

This also begs the question of when, if ever, students learn there is an actual Baltimore Catechism or Catechism of the Catholic Church – in print or online. This also begs the question of whether the USCCB needs approval of their Conformity Listing of Catechetical Texts and Series pursuant to Apostolos Suos. Finally, it begs the question of whether the USCCB’s “conformity” is consistent with the rigors of Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur.

For the moment the issue is not whether the USCCB’s listed Catechetical Texts and Series are faithful to the magisterium. For the moment the issue is whether the listed Catechetical Texts and Series adequately replace traditional catechesis. The issue becomes mixing and matching the right texts and series to cover the range of doctrine in traditional catechisms – and the qualifications of the people at the local level that do the mixing and matching.

Arguably, the move away from catechism-based education has resulted in marginally catechized modernist cafeteria Catholics – who arguably may not have been taught the full spectrum of Catholic doctrine found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Arguably, the move away from catechism-based education has also resulted in marginally catechized modernist Catholics teaching catechism in our grammar, middle, and high schools; and in our colleges, and universities; and in our Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD) and Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) programs.

Arguably, it is these marginally catechized Catholics that have given rise to modernist cafeteria Catholics that believe abortion is a woman’s choice, that homosexuals have the right to marry, that divorced and remarried Catholics may receive communion, etc.

We need to address the issue of marginally catechized Catholics. The question is how. It will be a daunting challenge to reintroduce traditional catechesis given the United States Conference of Catholic Bishop’s support for the movement away from catechism-based education.

It can even be argued that the movement away from catechism-based education is one of several reasons that the flame of righteousness that once roared from our pulpits has been reduced to a flicker….

An interim solution is for all Catholics to read Baltimore Catechism Four from cover to cover. Why? Baltimore Catechism Four is also known as An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism. It was written as a reference work and teachers manual for the original Baltimore Catechism. Its purpose is to provide easy reference, questions bear the same numbers as Baltimore Catechisms One and Two. Its purpose is to explain the questions in greater detail.

Baltimore Catechism One is a simple edition intended for first through fourth graders. Baltimore Catechism Two is recommended for those in grades six through nine – or for Confirmation classes. [Essentially Verbatim: Baltimore Catechism Four, outside back cover]

Baltimore Catechisms One and Two comprise the essential teachings of our traditional Roman Catholic faith.

Reading Baltimore Catechism Four from cover to cover will reinforce the faith of traditionally catechized Roman Catholics. More importantly, Baltimore Catechism Four will provide marginally catechized Roman Catholics with an essential foundation for further catechesis.

The long term solution – Continuing Catholic Education – boils down to traditional catechesis and the catechisms of choice. More about that later…

 

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CONGRATULATIONS TO FATHER CHRISTOPHER PHILLIPS AND OUR LADY OF ATONEMENT PARISH

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Father Christopher Phillips

Our Lady of the Atonement becomes jewel in the Ordinariate’s crown
Parish lands safely in the Houston-based Ordinariate

http://www.virtueonline.org/our-lady-atonement-becomes-jewel-ordinariates-crown

Our Lady of the Atonement becomes jewel in the Ordinariate’s crown 

By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
March 22, 2017

SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS — On January 19, Our Lady of the Atonement parish unexpectedly started Lent early when its founding priest was abruptly removed as pastor. The stunned parishioners were immediately plunged into an elongated season of wrenching prayer, separation, suffering, anxiety, grief and deep spiritual pain. For two months, parishioners rattled the gates of heaven and the doors of the Vatican, pleading for an equitable and just answer to their heartfelt plea to safely enter into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter and the return their beloved priest to the OLA altar.

That prayer was not answered until Pope Francis, himself, responding to a request made by the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith to transfer the parish, stepped in to issue a degree dictating that Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, a special pastoral provision parish erected by his sainted predecessor — Pope St. John Paul II — would safely pass from the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio into the hands of the American ordinariate, home-based in Houston. Our Lady of Atonement parish, Atonement Academy, and their pastor — Fr. Christopher Phillips — would all be jurisdictionally transferred to the Ordinariate, thus allowing Bishop Steven Lopes to become their new bishop, as he places them under the protection of his episcopal authority.

This action officially took place on Tuesday (March 21). The first thing Bishop Lopes did, was to immediately travel from Houston to San Antonio — 200 miles away — to personally meet his new congregation that very evening and assuage their worries with a parish wide meeting, in which he explained the ins and outs of joining the Ordinariate and answered parishioners’ fears and many questions.

“Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church and its school, the Atonement Academy, have been transferred to the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of Saint Peter, effective March 21,” the Ordinariate announced on its website. “At the direction of the Holy See, all parishes of the Pastoral Provision are to be incorporated into the Ordinariate: a special diocese for Roman Catholics who were nurtured in the Anglican tradition or whose faith has been renewed by the liturgy and evangelizing mission of the Ordinariate.”

The Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter was officially erected in January, 2012. At the time, Our Lady of Walsingham (Houston) and St. Mary the Virgin (Arlington), two pastoral provisions parishes in Texas, easily stepped into the Ordinariate. But Fr. Phillips quietly bided his time and continued to faithfully labor as a Pastoral Provision priest with an Anglican Use parish in the boundaries of the Catholic Archdiocese of San Antonio until he felt it was the appropriate time to make a jurisdictional move. OLA’s founding pastor always had his eye on joining the Ordinariate in the fullness of time.

Five years later, when Fr. Phillips felt the timing was right to shepherd his large, growing and flourishing parish into the Ordinariate, San Antonio Archbishop Gustavo- García-Siller, M.Sp.S. (VI San Antonio) balked at the idea and brought plans to enter into the Ordinariate to a screeching halt. The Archbishop unceremoniously removed the popular Pastoral Provision priest from OLA, ordering him to enter into a 15 day period of time to “reflect on certain specific concerns that I have shared with him.”

The Archbishop’s concerns are that OLA’s unique style of worship and its successful school are drawing non-Anglican Use, lifelong Catholics away from other area Archdiocesan parishes. The only other Catholic parish in the 78255 zip code is St. Elizabeth Ann Seton on Cross Mountain Trail. The Archdiocese of San Antonio’s Latino population is especially attracted to Our Lady of the Atonement’s piety and reverence coupled, with Atonement Academy’s strong emphasis on classical education and finds Hispanics travelling across town to attend the distinctive parish and its award-winning parochial school.

The 15 days period of imposed reflection became four weeks. Then one month stretched into two with no end of the siege in sight. Fr. Phillips was removed from his altar, his pulpit and his church office and forbidden to go on OLA church or school property. So the ousted priest remained hidden and out of sight behind the closed doors of his rectory, as he patiently waited for prayers to be answered.

“During this time of reflection and prayer, Father Phillips will not have the responsibility of pastoral care or authority in the parish,” San Antonio’s Archbishop informed the parish in January. A parish administrator was installed to oversee the day-to-day operation of the church and school and to keep the parish on even keel until a solution to the deadlock could be found. Monsignor Franciszek Kurzaj became the temporary parish overseer in Fr. Phillips’ absence, but the bulk of the many daily and Sunday distinctive Anglican Use liturgical celebrations fell on the shoulders of the curate, Fr. Jeffrey Moore. Fr. Phillips was forbidden from celebrating at his own altar, which, for a priest, produces great spiritual anguish.

The displaced priest suffered in obedient silence. But others were taking up the cause in his defense. A dedicated band of parishioners surrounded him in ardent daily prayer, pleading for Our Lady of the Atonement — the parish’s patron saint — to intercede in heavenly places for a swift and just outcome to their dilemma. They also prayerfully petitioned Pope St. John Paul II, who, as pontiff, in 1983, when he erected Our Lady of the Atonement as a Pastoral Provision parish, to include his saintly prayers to the cause and they also appealed to the Archangel Michael to add his angelic prayers to the mix. Michael is known from Scripture to have fought Satan in a bruising spiritual battle. Many times the powerful archangel is depicted in iconography with wings fully unfurled and having an upraised sword in his hand while he crushes the defeated devil beneath his feet. OLA parishioners knew they were in a spiritual battle for the Anglican Use soul of their parish.

Our Lady of the Atonement’s parishioners’ prayers not only went to the highest reaches of heaven, their plea, for safe passage into the Ordinariate also went to the hallowed halls of the Vatican. Numerous views and insights were heard as the problem was canonically examined, unraveled and solved.

Bishop Lopes likens the process to “trying to untangle fish hooks.” Perhaps it will be more like unraveling tangled rosaries.

Many voices had much to say: Bishop Lopes and Archbishop García-Siller were the closest to the OLA’s canonical impasse. Others had insight through practical knowledge: Daniel Cardinal DiNardo, the cardinal archbishop in Houston, has experience in transferring a Pastoral Provision parish into the Ordinariate. He graciously allowed Our Lady of Walsingham go in unimpeded. Now OLW is the cathedral, and the Ordinariate’s chancery is built on its grounds. Donald Cardinal Wuerl was the Congregation of the Doctrine and Faith (CDF) delegate in Washington, DC, who helped to bring the American ordinariate into being. Bishop Kevin Vann is now the Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision. While he was the Catholic Bishop of Fort Worth, he transferred St. Mary the Virgin into the Ordinariate. Gerhard Cardinal Müller is the current prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It is the CDF which has oversight for Pastoral Provision priests and parishes, as well as all Ordinariates. However, it was Pope Francis who finally issued the documents directing that OLA, a Pastoral Provision parish, be disengaged from the Archdiocese of San Antonio and immediately be received into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. No more questions asked. No other arguments accepted. Rome has spoken, the matter is settled.

On Tuesday evening, when Bishop Lopes arrived to meet his new flock in San Antonio, he was met with a full house. The good bishop was accompanied to OLA by his “vicar general,” which is Catholic parlance for “canon to the ordinary.” There was standing room only in St. Anthony’s Hall. Finally, when Fr. Phillips, escorted by Fr. Moore, entered the parish hall, the hall exploded in sustained applause as parishioners leapt to their feet to give their beleaguered pastor an enthusiastic, standing ovation.

Our Lady of the Atonement parishioners learned that all problems facing them can and will be solved. Although it might take upwards of two years to iron out all the bugs. Canon Timothy Perkins, the Ordinariate’s Vicar General (Canon to the Ordinary), is going to step in as parish administrator to deal with the complexity of untangling financial, legal and parochial school issues from the Archdiocese of San Antonio to help smooth OLA’s passage into the Ordinariate.

“Our Lady of the Atonement Parish … will now continue as a parish community under the jurisdiction of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,” the Archdiocese of San Antonio announced on Tuesday. “With this decision the Pastoral Provision no longer exists in the Archdiocese of San Antonio. Parishioners of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish … and staff of Our Lady of the Atonement Parish, will be responsible to Bishop Steven J. Lopes, Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, as a permanent relationship. The responsibility for the parish, to include its properties and school, now transfers from the Archdiocese of San Antonio to the Ordinariate.”

“The Ordinariate expresses its deepest gratitude to the Archdiocese of San Antonio for welcoming and caring for Our Lady of the Atonement since its inception, and for the Archdiocese’s ongoing commitment to the Church’s care for the unity of Christians,” the Ordinariate’s news release said in grateful thanksgiving to the Archdiocese. “Through continued collaboration in the coming months, the Archdiocese and the Ordinariate will remain dedicated to supporting the natural evolution of this Pastoral Provision parish into the Ordinariate.”

“As of today we return to being the parish family we have always been, but poised for even greater adventures,” Fr. Phillips said Tuesday. “I am grateful for our years in the Archdiocese of San Antonio — it was the soil in which we grew and flourished.”

With Canon Perkins shouldering the transition headaches, Fr. Phillips, now as the honored pastor emeritus, will be freed up to do what he does best — be a simple parish priest — celebrating Mass, teaching Bible study, leading Inquirer’s Classes, or teaching high school theology.

However, Bishop Lopes noted that he wanted to tap Fr. Phillips’ vast expertise in parish growth to reach out and help fledgling Ordinariate congregations be firmly established, grow and flourish.

Fr. Phillips founded Our Lady of the Atonement in 1982, with a mere 18 souls. Over the years, it has grown into a sparkling jewel, which is now being placed in the Ordinariate’s crown.

“This has been an historic day,” Fr. Phillips joyfully e-mailed his happy flock. “Our Lady of the Atonement is now a parish of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter. Fr. Moore and I are incardinated as priests of the Ordinariate.”

The joyful priest continued: “I am delighted with this! As I told some of our people today, ‘I get to continue to do all the things I love, and poor Fr. Perkins has to do all the hard stuff!’ ”

Fr. Phillips first Mass back at the OLA altar was Wednesday’s student Mass. The students were gleeful with delight to see their priest back and hear his rich baritone voice pronounce the sacred words of Consecration.

Reaction to OLA’s move into the Ordinariate was swift, once the news started leaking out late Monday. “Too bad we put the ‘Alleluias’ away…… YIPPEE!” Pat Steffen replied on Face Book.

Save Our Lady of Atonement website posted: “Ut In Omnibus Glorificetur Dei” Latin for “That in all things God may be glorified.”

” Well, things are piecing together quite nicely for us,” Epoch responded on Church Militant after the Catholic website initially broke the news story of OLA going into the Ordinariate. Long Island Michael added: “Outstanding news!” While Steven Rabanal chimed in with “This is great news!”

Over on the VOL website, Peregrinus explained: “It is a profoundly significant change. The parish now comes under an Ordinariate bishop, can preserve Anglican patrimony not as an anomaly but as part of a growing branch of the Catholic Church with its own Governing Council, seminary program and distinct mission.”

Bruce Atkinson responded: “You are right, it does not change what they have been. What it does is to give them the official OK to be it — that is, an Anglicized version of the RCC.”

“They were already that — for over 30 years,” Shane R. noted. “This might allow them to retain their priest, since he passes out of a diocese into the ordinariate.”

“It is significant,” Scientiaet Ratio responds. “The former Anglicans become part of a full particular church which has all the rights in law to preserve Anglican spirituality in the Roman Catholic Church. … Rome has the power to protect this (parish) of former Anglicans reconciled with Rome from a liberal leaning Roman Catholic diocese.”

“Hip, hip, hooray. Thank God!” an anonymous poster said on The Toronto Catholic Witness website.

The North American Ordinariate encompasses both the United States and Canada, while Our Lady of Walsingham Ordinariate covers England and Wales, with the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of the Southern Cross being established in Australia.

“What wonderful news for the community at Atonement Parish,” Vox Cantoris wrote. “Atonement Parish in San Antonio finally home to the Ordinariate! After a recent action against this community and its Pastor, justice has been done!”

VOL requests for comment from the Ordinariate were met with silence.

Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

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