Aussie Mum writes her cri du cœur in a recent comment box which I’ve transferred here:
- “For the past few weeks I haven’t had sufficient concentration to read much nor the strength to do much at all but have done my best today to read through this post regarding the papacy as it is very much on my mind. Like most everyone else who is troubled by Pope Francis’ words and actions I have no way of knowing if he is simply a bad pope or even if he is pope at all – only time will tell – but he certainly causes confusion and division. We can and should pray for him and for those he has led astray (those who believe and follow the heterodoxy he has encouraged and those others who have left the Church in disgust), and for us who remain that we do not fall into heresy or be led into schism.
- “I am very concerned about the possibility of unintended schism by faithful Catholics. Servant of God Father John Hardon (1914-2000): ‘By the time of St. Jerome (342-420), the word (heresy) became fixed to designate a group cut off from the Church by reason of heterodox doctrine, as distinguished from schism which separated through disobedience to hierarchical authority’.
- “Father, would you please consider doing a post on how to remain in union with the pope and avoid schism when one is not sure if the pope is the pope and when some (many?) in the hierarchy appear corrupt (heterodox and perhaps even apostate)? In other words, how do we go about obeying hierarchical authority in the present climate?”
Thank you, Aussie mum. Blessings upon you. Here are some succinct points of consideration. Perhaps you or our readers might have some others. I mean, I am weighed down by all of this, and many more things. Random and in no particular order whatsoever:
- Be a little lamb of Jesus’ Little Flock. As one of our readers in Texas put it, something like: Run squealing with joy into the arms of our Heavenly Father. Yes, that is what we do as Jesus presents us a gift to our Heavenly Father; after all, our Heavenly Father so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son to grab us, bring us to heaven, to do just that.
- Be joyful to be under the maternal protection and maternal solicitude of the Immaculate, Virgin, Mother of God; it is this greatest of all women, greatest of all human beings, who brings us to Jesus by also being our Mother with her intercession under the Cross and right now, asking the Holy Spirit, her Divine Spouse, to sanctify as members of the very Body of Christ, Jesus the Head of the Body and we the members of that same one Body of Christ.
- We are to keep us with the sacraments, being baptized, confirmed, keeping up regularly with Confession and the reception of Christ Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament, our Eucharistic King, getting the Last Rites if we are in need… If bishops and priests are wimping out – cowards! – by refusing to provide the sacraments, at least we are regularly to make an act of perfect contrition (sorry to God for offending Him, instead of merely ourselves merely fearing the loss of heaven and our fearing the loss of hell) in conjunction with the intention to go to individual confession when this is possible, if ever.
- Daily prayer, Rosary and devotions and – if possible – Adoration, which at least we have in our little parish. Don’t forget Kateri Tekakwitha who united herself throughout the day with Jesus wherever Holy Mass was being celebrated throughout the world, wherever He might be in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
- Don’t be entitled to the kind of anger that is not righteous but instead is merely our fallen cynical bitterness as rationalization for our own lack, you know, as in the attitude that so hates the actual person of Pope Francis or other Bergolianesque personages that we use them as an excuse to lose hope in being saved ourselves, recognizing ourselves to be weak, but then not turning to Jesus, but rather entrenching in our own rubbish, blaming them even while shaking our fists at God, shrieking that we would be faithful but all bets are off now that others present unfaithfulness to the church and the world. We’re never entitled to apostasy and schism. We are only entitled to look to the wounds of Jesus and know that He wants us with Him in His Church with His Mother.
- Review that which is the unchangeable truth in, say, the canons of the Council of Trent, which we can find presented in felicitous format in, say, the Penny Catechism or any and all of the Baltimore Catechisms.
- Review the lives of the saints even as did the soldier Ignatius on his convalescent bed of pain in monastery when a canon ball had hit his knee in battle. The “old man” Ignatius (fiery) became Saint Ignatius, now fiery with the ardent flames of love of the Holy Spirit. We need encouragement and we need to encourage each other.
- On that note, I’m on the phone most of the day – hours and hours – with priests and laity looking for encouragement and providing encouragement. All times are difficult times as we always have our fallen human nature to deal with since Adam until the last man is conceived, but the green wood is now turning dry and we absolutely must support each other and help each other get to heaven. Eternity is eternity. We support each other as did groups of martyrs going to their deaths, singing the Te Deum in thanksgiving to God for the opportunity to suffer for the Name, singing hymns to dearest Mother Mary, happy, so happy to be the children of God.
- We are to be full of gratitude for the sacraments that we have received – in other words, do a review of one’s life of sacraments! – rejoicing in pastoral solicitude of the Supreme Pastor, Christ Jesus, the Almighty, who crushes the evil coward pastors and pastors the flock Himself with the few faithful priests who run to His throne and to His dear Mother. Isn’t Jesus ever so good and kind? Yes, Jesus is very good, very kind.
- In that thanksgiving, we are not to hold grudges against even the worst of sinners, no matter their position of influence or position in the Church, no matter how much objective sin they have committed, no matter how much scandal they have given, no matter how many (even by the hundreds of millions) they have even hotly desired that they be on their way to hell… you know… not to overlook all of that hell, but rather to ask Jesus that they be converted, which might reverse even quite a bit of the damage they have done. I want to put a caveat on that, however, with 1 John 5:16 – “If anyone sees his brother sinning, if the sin is unto death, he is to pray and [God] will give him life. This is only for those sinning not unto death. There is a sin unto death. I do not speak about that, that he must pray.” – Praying for those whose (objective sin) is mortal, deadly, grievous, is a terrible burden. We are weak. We might pray for them. I do. But one must not be condemning them as if Jesus’ grace is not as powerful as their sin; that would be blasphemy. But one can simply refrain from praying for them. If one does pray for the terribly evil and corrupt (objectively speaking, right?), one must absolutely be keeping up with the sacraments and prayer, and do this with grace-given humility, and perhaps not only have a good confessor who might provide a brief word of encouragement even during the sacrament.
- In keeping the mysteries of the Holy Rosary before us, thanking Jesus and Mary (not pretending to time travel but thanking them right now!) as those Hail Marys fly by, make it real: recognize, for instance, that Jesus chose all twelve apostles, one who betrayed Him and committed suicide, one who denied Him, all of whom ran away (thank God John came back to stand in solidarity with dearest Mary under the Cross).
- Don’t run away from reality: “I don’t pay attention anymore because it depresses me! I’m an ostrich with my head in the sand!” Jesus severely reprimanded those of us who refuse with such malice to read the signs of the times. Jesus created us with reason and He graces us to have the fortitude to use it. If we have run so far away from God, have the humility to admit that for all of us, even me, even you (and that’s the hard part and why we run, right?), and then rejoice to rejoice that the Son of the Living God obeyed the Father to reach into our world just that far to grab us at great cost, so very much does He love us. Notice what’s going on. Bring that not to yourself with all subsequent frustration and despair, but to dearest Jesus, as a little lamb of His Little Flock.
- As that little lamb, jump into Jesus’ arms as He carries us next to His Sacred Heart in the midst of the battle with the wolves, or as Jesus Himself puts it, with the vixens (the b****es). In other words, slightly diversely, “Don’t let the bas****s get you down.” :-) Jesus just says it like it is, as did his cousin John. Also, “Throw us not into the battle alone, but you (carrying us in your arms) deliver us in battle from the Evil One.” Yep. Not a bad prayer, that one, a deprecatory exorcism, you know, just to make a most literal persnickety translation. Don’t be doing imprecatory exorcisms wherein little you or little me command Satan when even Saint Michael did not do this, but rather, let’s also know our place, and simply ask God to put Satan down. This is not “less powerful”. Jesus does not despise the authority of His Church or the manner in which He Himself established the ministry of exorcism. Even if you’re a priest, you must have the direct express mandate of the bishop in order to directly address Satan. No, not even that pious little “prayer” which is actually a full blown exorcism. That too. And you. Don’t do it. Just humbly ask Jesus. Saint Michael is powerful not because he arrogantly bucks authority, but because of his humility. But this is a rabbit hole for most people. Don’t take the bait running down that hold. There will be a Serpent there. Just follow the authority of the Church. BTW, no one but no one has refuted what I’ve written in that post. They only disobeyed the Church and just got themselves into serious trouble for bucking the Church. I don’t know how many exorcisms I’ve been mandated by bishops to do right around the world because of arrogant people bucking the authority of the church on just this point.
- Pray for priests. It is they who offer Holy Mass, provide absolution, Last Rites. We need priests who are believers, who go regularly to confession, who regularly provide the sacraments to those in need, who preach the immutable absolute unmanipulatable truth who Jesus is in season out of season, wanting to go heaven with Jesus’ Little Flock.
- It’s a sin to allow oneself to take scandal. It’s a sin to despair. It’s a sin to leave the Church. We are to be crucified with Jesus in the Church. As the Master so the disciple. We must rejoice in the joy we have to rejoice in when we are privileged to be on the cross with Jesus in the very short time we have in this world before please God – being on way to heaven. And it is not a sin to hope to go to heaven! It is imperative to have that hope. And there is great joy in hope, which is also a present reality, founded in such as receiving an absolution (at least in the manner of an act of perfect description in the circumstances describe above) in receiving Holy Communion, as least “spiritually” if that is all that is possible, either because of persecution inside or from outside the Church.
- Don’t ever think that it is legitimate to obey an evil edict, for what is evil is never a law. It is instead supreme obedience to obey the Canon Law of the Church, to obey natural law, to obey the commandments. It is not obedience to obey some bishop, even the bishop of Rome, who acts ULTRA VIRES , meaning, beyond one’s legitimate capacities. Those powers of office never include the right to command anyone to sin.
- Know that those who arrogantly, viciously, maliciously, and with great hatred of God and man persevere in all that which is truly bad and evil, they will themselves run themselves into hell and want to be there, never going to heaven because they will never want to go to heaven, always entrenching in hell in ever more arrogance, viciousness, malice and hatred. Thank God that they will not be in heaven. I want to go heaven and I don’t want to have hell in heaven. I thank Jesus that there is a hell for the bad actors. I would rather they repent before they die. I can’t judge myself, but I think that by the grace of God I have repented of any rubbish I’ve committed in my life. I pray that I keep this repentance and enjoy the great grace of final perseverance, enduring to the end, singing in my soul the Te Deum and Marian hymns right to heaven. I hope. And that’s a great joy in all hope. I wish everyone had that hope and joy. But, that’s on them. Let’s not ourselves lose hope and joy because of them.
- So, I’m repeating myself. Please add to the list in the comments box. I’ve written as fast as I can on my keyboard (which is quite fast). It’s what’s in my little heart. There is salvation in much counsel. תְשׁוּעָה בְּרֹב יוֹעֵץ (Proverbs 11:14) [That’s cited in deep red somewhat visible Hebrew cursive lettering in the header-picture of this blog, on the left, between the lightning and the feet of Jesus, above the words in white color]. In other words, help us out with how to get through the battle of heresy and immorality while avoiding apostasy and schism…
One last thing, to repeat: We’re never entitled to apostasy and schism. We are only entitled to look to the wounds of Jesus and know that He wants us with Him in His Church with His Mother. We are only entitled to look into her eyes and answer her: “Come, all you who pass by the way, look and see whether there is any suffering like my suffering.” (Lamentations 1:12) Can you really tell her that you hate her Son’s Church and you hate that Jesus stayed with His Little Flock, suffering for them in the midst of the Church, He the Head of the Body and we the members… that we hate that, hate Him, hate ourselves, hate others, hate… her… dearest Mary?
I think not. So, we pray, Hail Mary…