Category Archives: Ecumenism
“When I am lifted up [on the Cross], I will draw all to myself,” said Jesus. But the “strict segregationalist” says that Jesus, who is in the least of the brethren, can just go to hell, adding that we don’t want those kind of people here among us.
Jesus asked Saul about the persecution of the new Christians (in Syria):
“Why are you persecuting me?”
And, just to say, about that bit about Jesus going to hell, well, you have to know, Jesus did go to hell. That’s part of the creed we recite every Sunday. He preached to the fallen spirits also about the persecution of the least of the brethren, and that that is why they will be in hell forever.
Still today, ever since original sin, ever since heading out right around the world from the Garden of Paradise, ever since the dispersion after the Tower of Babel, ever since we were arrogant, entitled brats who smash others down to lift ourselves up…
- … people are still congratulating themselves that they are better than all others, better than all in the past, including Jesus, better than those around them…
- … people are still protesting, even at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, even in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament –with them, for instance, not being Jews, and Jesus, the Divine Son of the Living God, God Himself, being a Jew — they are still protesting that they are supporters of “strict segregationalism” (a technical phrase that, incorporating all the violence of the crucifixion of our Lord). Go ahead and Google “strict segregationalism”…
- … people are still being entitled brats, who are the only ones who exist, are the only ones who are important, are the only ones who are the only ones… How to say it?
Instead, Jesus is the One, the only One, who would unite us to Himself as members to a body, He the Head, as Saint Paul says, and we the members. See the painting above. There are a zillion passages, but how about starting with this one (Colossians 3:1-17)? (Can you think of others?)
“If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Saint Paul asserts that, though he is the Jew of Jews. He follows Jesus, the Divine Son of God, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, Himself a Jew, who nevertheless says that “Salvation is of the Jews,” that is, for all who want it, which is not at all contradictory of what Saint Paul says of the Jews:
“They are Israelites, and to them belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ. God who is over all be blessed for ever. Amen.” (Romans 9:4-5)
In other words, those who have all the rights to be “strict segregationalists” (before Jesus came) are not to be so as regards salvation. But, let’s be real about this. What actually happens with us now that Jesus has come among us?
- When I was pastor of another parish far, far away, once upon a time (though this is a true account), a couple came to get married, and so I got out the premarital investigation forms, which, I noticed, on the second page at the top, there was box which small print in it explaining that if was a mixed marriage, the wedding was not to take place without the required permissions of the Vicar for Black People. That’s right, “mixed” didn’t mean something like Catholic and Hindu. No, no. This was “Black” and “White.” I had to look at that a half dozen times, and then I called the Chancery and asked them what the hell that was all about. Then I wrote them a fierce letter like I’m sure they’ve never seen from a priest. No, after that, they weren’t expecting me to contact any Vicar for Black People.
- When I was pastor of another parish far, far away, once upon a time (though this is a true account), any number of people asked me to build a church for the Black People because, you know, like, yeah, you know…
- When I was pastor of another parish far, far away, once upon a time (though this is a true account), a “nice” elderly lady came up to me and described a “N***** who lived just down the road a piece.” She went on and on about how no one is racist because “we treats them N****** just as if they was real people.” I asked her if she understood what she was saying. She tried to her best to look bewildered and all innocent, but could not hide her wry and cynical smile telling me how much I myself was hated for not despising those not just like the “nice” lady.
- When I was pastor of another parish far, far away, once upon a time (though this is a true account)… well… you get the idea…
Just guessing, but if any of that kind of BS goes on at the gates of heaven by any of the people lining up to get in to those pearly gates, so that “strict segregationalists” are trying to smack down actual believers, throwing, if they could, the true believers out of line, in that case I think the walls around heaven will grow even taller, even more insurmountable, to keep out all those who are proud to be “strict segregationalists.” The believers will be brought in, protected from the “strict segregationalists,” who will find themselves in hell. Ah yes, irony of ironies.
Mind you, it’s not actually that they will so much be excluded as they will not then want to go into heaven, what with all the non-segregationalist attitudes going on there. Hah.
- When I was a deacon in another parish far, far away, once upon a time (though this is a true account), I noted that, in the old coal mining town I was in, there were eleven Catholic churches. The churches hosted impossibly different languages of the newly immigrant coal minors, such as Polish and Lithuanian and German and Italian… on and on… But this is not segregationalism, strict or unstrict. It’s just a matter of convenience for languages regarding the provision of the sacraments that would involve preparation and discussion such as with Marriage and Confession. Mass was in Latin for everyone of course. But if anyone from any of the churches would go to any other church… that would be just fine and dandy. It wasn’t about segregation. Not at all. Zilch. Zero. Zip. NOT THAT.
Let’s try it again. Another passage from Saint Paul (Ephesians 2:13-22):
“But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near in the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who has made us both one, and has broken down the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law of commandments and ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; for through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”
Jesus is uncharacteristically aggressive, as is the Holy Spirit, in Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18 Continue reading
The “Day-Off” started off at 2:00 AM editing this Wednesday’s post for Father Gordon’s These Stone Walls. What a fright! Then, after feeding the dogs, it was off with Sassy the Subaru to be checked out some 100 miles away from the rectory, a two hour trip with the appointment being for after 7:00 AM sometime. Sassy’s fine, but I’m thinking of trading her in for something… else…
Then the “Day-Off” brought me to Mission Hospital in Asheville to visit an elderly friend who was bleeding out for an unknown reason for days on end, getting lots of bags of blood being pumped into her. They figure she’s going to get better and will be home in a few days.
After some sacramental work, it was then off to the pharmacy, the “mail-box”, then lunch with some gun slingers, which brings me to some time at the hermitage…
The old ripped towel on the ground you see at the bottom of the picture above is for protecting click-dropped magazines from being clogged with forest floor stuff while doing timed tactical and combat changes, while in the action of falling to a knee after firing a shot and before another. I’m not sure why, but these are exercises I can do way under time with good accuracy (better than all the other stages of courses). Targets are 7″ pie plates all at seven yards out (three yards apart), typical of the average furthest distance in a critical defensive shootout with accuracy you want to have if at a gas station in an imminently life-threatening situation (as set up with the violent rhetoric of Maxine Waters).
Aiming for perfect scores with my little targets did see some progress, particularly with strings, in this case six pumped out as fast as one can pull the trigger. The grouping got smaller even as the timing shortened more than 1.5 seconds (from a few weeks ago), all under the time permitted for the Federal Air Marshall Tactical Pistol Course (pre-2001).
And yet, I got nothing near my best scores to date (always DQs for whatever reason, of course). I was terribly preoccupied with mulling over doing up a communication with the Holy See on recent dramas in Holy Mother Church. I should learn to not let myself be so lackadaisical during practice since one cannot and will not be otherwise preoccupied during a critical incident.
Anyway, I gave up in favor of doing up some practical ecumenism with the Russian Orthodox Church (sorry my Greek friends!). Another neighbor is Greek Orthodox well on his way to priestly ordination, with a beautiful family. He already has the famous moonshine wood stove I used in the hermitage. I marched up the ridge a couple of times to get the stainless steel stove pipe I used with bits and pieces of caps and clean outs, but about 15 feet of pipe all told. Winter is upon us!
And then, while talking with my other neighbor to the hermitage about all sort of topics, I suddenly and quite simply sent off an extremely brief email to a certain someone in the Holy See, asking a question I had been mulling for days, oppressively so, as mentioned above. Immediately I got back a response, very nuanced, offering new information and direction and encouragement. It was almost as if he had been waiting for my request and was ready to drop me that response since the time I had gone to Rome to give those two packages to the Holy Father. But I digress.
Still at the neighbors we talked about Jesus, as we always do. We spent some time on meditations involving the horrors of going to hell for eternity and how easy that is to avoid, and also about the joys of heaven and the desire to go there. It was as if a great, great weight had been lifted from me, even though what had transpired in those brief quick emails entails a huge amount of work.
So, of course, cherry ice cream with huge chunks of chocolate had to be devoured. Then “Day-Off” ended back at the rectory before midnight. Having been up since 2:00 AM, and it being waaaay past my bedtime, I had to stop along the highway and take a nap in the car. Sooo tired.
Meanwhile, the day-after, today, will be filled with sewerage up at the church, the second day for the plumbers to come by and see what in the world might be done so as to open up the parish again…
One of our Russian readers sent this in. You can see the Apostles gathered about the tomb of Jesus’ good mom. But because the grave could not hold her, she the was herself resurrected from the dead and assumed soul and body into heaven.
It’s always been a tradition in the East that the ever Virgin Mary died. There have been some in the West who, instead, stupidly said that – splutter splutter – Mary could not have died because she was not subject to original sin and therefore could not have died and anyone who says differently is a heretic and should be dismembered and burned at the stake. Um… well… I say differently.
Jesus died. He’s God. He’s never been affected by original sin. He never sinned. The grave could not hold the author of life just because He stood in our place, the innocent for the guilty, taking on the punishment we deserve for sin, death, so that He could have the right in His own justice to have mercy on us. Right? Let’s take a look at how He died.
In Luke’s Gospel we read that Jesus sweat great drops of blood in Gethsemane, at that moment standing in our place, obeying the will of our Heavenly Father. In John’s Gospel we read that blood and water flowed out of Jesus’ side, His heart, when the soldier pierced Him with his Roman sword. This shows up on the Shroud of Turin by the way. Anyway, the doctors of Calvary, as they are called, say that in a most traumatic incident, a subject can sweat great drops of blood, but in conjunction with a massive heart attack, itself to traumatic that the pericardium, the outside portion of the heart, actually breaks, from one dies immediately or can survive for just some time. In Jesus’ case, this pericardium filled with blood which itself separated into red blood cells and plasma, the blood and water. Pilot was surprised at Jesus’ early death, as crucifixion usually took three days. Jesus’ trauma was exacerbated by the torture and crucifixion. We can say that He died more of a broken heart for us, literally, than the crucifixion.
Now, take Mary’s case. If she were subject to original sin, she would, like us, be so blinded to the reality of God laying down His life for us that we would just feel sorrowful for this, but be almost totally oblivious to what this means. She, instead, Immaculate, had purity of heart, agility of soul, clarity of vision. She knew that what she was seeing was God’s great love for us in the midst of our ingratitude. It’s not because she was sinful or subject to original sin that she was knew death. It’s because she was crushed, as a good mother, by the traumatic incident she went through in solidarity with her Son. I believe that she also sweat great drops of blood, that she also suffered such a massive heart attack. She survived, but, as Tradition has it, appropriately, only until immediately after the full birth of the Church at Pentecost. She had done all she could as Jesus’ mother and ours. Now it was time for one who gave Jesus His body to be brought herself soul and body to heaven, just like Him.
- Jesus: If you love me you will rejoice that I am going to the Father.
- Mary’s kids: If we love her we rejoice that she has gone to heaven.
A couple of points…
- We can learn from each other, you know, East and West. Instead of hyperventilating so as, we think, to protect some doctrine, perhaps instead we should go to Jesus. Perhaps we can learn from Him. In this case we learn that Mary could certainly die and this fact not being offensive to our holding that Mary was never touched by original sin.
- And, just to say, this post is misnamed. I believe this is not about ecumenism. The excommunications have been absolved by both sides. Take out the “ex-” and you are left with “communion.” Right?
Our problem today and every day is that we forget about Jesus and His good mom. We are more concerned about hyperventilating because that’s what we do. We’re just so afraid of Jesus being a good Son of Mary Immaculate. We’re just so afraid of Mary being such a good mother to Jesus and to all of us.
Saint John Paul II’s favorite citation of Mary’s Son Jesus was: “Be not afraid!”
BE NOT AFRAID!
Homily 2018 04 26 – Idol worshiper: “Truth can’t be made an idol: I think of truth, therefore I’m God.”
O.K. I got a bit carried away. I had to edit the homily in a couple of places. You’ll hear the jumps at least in the flow of the homily when they happen. Bearing wrongs is a work of mercy, but instructing, even rubuking the ignorant is also a work of mercy and is an effective way to bear the wrongs of those who just don’t get it. I am blind and ignorant, so, please bear with me as I rant as if I know something. I should keep my mouth shut.
There’s a strange thing happening among ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists (who may be farther from Sacred Tradition than they think). If they actually think that knowing the truth, for instance, memorizing all the words of the Sacred Scriptures, of all the Ecumenical Councils, of all the ex-Cathedra pronouncements, is going to save them, so that their clever puny little intellects — which we all have in this fallen world and which can hardly grasp anything about the truth — is somehow salvific in and of itself, they are mistaken, and are idol worshipers. Satan knows the facts, is convinced of the facts, incomparably more than us. And Satan isn’t saved. If we think we can save ourselves by knowing something of the truth, anything, we make ourselves God. And that, my friends, is idol worship. Ooooooo! A brain!!!!!
Beautiful. Created by God. But not God. Not by a long shot.
But, ooooooh, we’re smart, cause we know something! No.
But, it’s not about truth. It’s about hating Pope Francis. It’s about entitlement to bitterness. I remember one new guy who said that he was to be congratulated as the first one to hate Pope Francis, and that anyone who comes later so as to agree with him and be on his side in hating Pope Francis is to be rejected as worthy of hell because where the hell were they before when he was proudly alone in his hating. Yep. It’s the ol’ ploy of “You can’t say anything right, even if it is the truth, ’cause we’ll just twist it so that we’ll say what we think you really mean so that we can be really bitter not about what you said but about what we said you said.” Yep. That will help people get to heaven.
Sorry to rant, but more than this, this is about the “Reformation” all over again. Luther reduced divinely infused faith to the assent he made to his cerebral activity about theology. The one is supernatural, the other natural. These so-called ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists make an idol of the truth by saying that knowing the truth automatically saves us, because, you know, we had brain synapses going on, making us the arbiters of equating supernatural and natural, making us God, or at least Karl Rahner redivivus, more Lutheran than Catholic. That’s how he was able to rewrite Scripture, and to throw out whole books of both old and new Testaments. To say that we can’t make an idol of the truth is to make an idol of the truth. To say that we’re so nice that we would never make an idol of the truth is to crucify the living Truth. It’s to say that we are the only ones not to be bad and evil, not needing salvation, to say that we would never stone the prophets while we build their tombs all proud of ourselves, we being the very ones with that attitude that the prophets would rightly and charitably reprimand for the good of our souls. We would kill them. Of course we would. We, on our own, are idol worshipers of ourselves.
Again: Even if someone assents with their brains to the truth doesn’t mean they are saved. Knowing the facts and accepting them (like Satan also does) doesn’t mean you understand, doesn’t mean you are one with the One who is living Truth, God alone.
The One who said “I AM” hung tortured to death on a cross betrayed by someone who thought he knew something.
“Forgive them, Father, for THEY KNOW NOT what they do.”
Goodness! Did I demonize people in this post? In this homily? Make them into idol-demons of themselves?
Such tender snowflakes… [I am too, so are we all if we do anything just on our own.]
Maybe I should have put up the unedited version. But, no. I make it easy. I use an example from another religion. But the analogy is extremely immediate.
HEY! It’s the [472nd] anniversary of Sacrosancta, the first decree of the fourth session of the most sacred and ecumenical Council of Trent in 1546. This is my most favorite of all magisterial interventions. Be awed by the syntax in Latin. Be awed by the breadth, the heights, the profundity, the glory emanating from this decree. Let yourself be wrapped up it’s reverence before the Most Holy Spirit. Let yourself be brought to your knees. Unfortunately, rebel Martin Luther, ex-Catholic priest, would die just months before this was published, though I have to think that he was kept up to date on the ruminations for the first drafts, not easy if one is in bad health.
First the Latin…
Sacrosancta oecumenica et generalis Tridentina synodus, in Spiritu sancto legitime congregata, praesidentibus in ea eisdem tribus apostolicae sedis legatis, hoc sibi perpetuo ante oculos proponens, ut sublatis erroribus puritas ipsa evangelii in ecclesia conservetur quod promissum ante per prophetas in scripturis sanctis dominus noster Iesus Christus Dei Filius proprio ore primum promulgavit, deinde per suos apostolos tamquam fontem omnis et salutaris veritatis et morum disciplinae omni creaturae praedicari iussit; perspiciensque, hanc veritatem et disciplinam contineri in libris scriptis et sine scripto traditionibus, quae ab ipsius Christi ore ab apostolis acceptae, aut ab ipsis apostolis Spiritu sancto dictante quasi per manus traditae ad nos usque pervenerunt orthodoxorum patrum exempla secuta, omnes libros tam veteris quam novi testamenti, cum utriusque unus Deus sit auctor, nec non traditiones ipsas, tum ad fidem, tum ad mores pertinentes, tamquam vel oretenus a Christo, vel a Spiritu sancto dictatas et continua successione in ecclesia catholica conservatas, pari pietatis affectu ac reverentia suscipit et veneratur. Sacrorum vero Librorum indicem huic decreto adscribendum censuit, ne cui dubitatio suboriri possit, quinam sint, qui ab ipsa Synodo suscipiuntur. Sunt vero infrascripti. Testamenti Veteris: Quinque Moysis, id est Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numeri, Deuteronomium; Iosue, Iudicum, Ruth, quattuor Regum, duo Paralipomenon, Esdrae primus et secundus, qui dicitur Nehemias, Tobias, Iudith, Esther, Iob, Psalterium Davidicum centum quinquaginta psalmorum, Parabolae, Ecclesiastes, Canticum Canticorum, Sapientia, Ecclesiasticus, Isaias, Ieremias cum Baruch, Ezechiel, Daniel, duodecim prophetae minores, id est: Osea, Ioel, Amos, Abdias, Ionas, Michaeas, Nahum, Habacuc, Sophonias, Aggaeus, Zacharias, Malachias; duo Maccabaeorum, primus et secundus. Testamenti Novi: Quattuor Evangelia, secundum Matthaeum, Marcum, Lucam, Ioannem; Actus Apostolorum a Luca Evangelista conscripti; quattuordecim epistulae Pauli Apostoli: ad Romanos, duae ad Corinthios, ad Galatas, ad Ephesios, ad Philippenses, ad Colossenses, duae ad Thessalonicenses, duae ad Timotheum, ad Titum, ad Philemonem, ad Hebraeos; Petri Apostoli duae; Ioannis Apostoli tres; Iacobi Apostoli una; Iudae Apostoli una et Apocalypsis Ioannis Apostoli. Si quis autem libros ipsos integros cum omnibus suis partibus, prout in ecclesia catholica legi consueverunt et in veteri vulgata latina editione habentur, pro sacris et canonicis non susceperit, et traditiones praedictas sciens et prudens contempserit: anathema sit.
Now my own slavish translation… NOT the usual translation!
The Most Sacred Ecumenical and General Tridentine Synod, convened legitimately in the Holy Spirit, with the three Legates of the Apostolic See presiding over it, is itself proposing for perpetuity in plain sight, so that, having cast down errors, the very purity of the Gospels may be conserved within the Church… [The purity itself of the Gospel…] which, before promised through the prophets in the holy Scriptures, our Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, first promulgated with His own mouth, and then commanded to be preached by His Apostles to every creature, as the fountain of all, both saving truth, and moral discipline; and seeing clearly that this truth and discipline are contained in the written books, and the unwritten Traditions which, received by the Apostles from the mouth of Christ himself, or from the Apostles themselves, the Holy Spirit dictating, have come down onto us, transmitted almost as if by hand… [The Synod] following the examples of the orthodox Fathers, receives and venerates with an equal affection of piety, and reverence, all the books both of the Old and of the New Testament — seeing that one God is the author of both — as also the said Traditions, as well those appertaining to faith as to morals, as having been dictated, either by Christ’s own word of mouth, or by the Holy Spirit, and preserved in the Catholic Church by a continuous succession. [At this point, the list of books is provided. See the Latin.] If anyone, however, will not receive as sacred and canonical these same integral books with all of their parts, as they have been accustomed to be read in the Catholic Church and as are had in the Old Latin Vulgate edition, and will hold in contempt the aforementioned Traditions knowingly and with considered judgment: let him be anathema.
Note “almost as if by hand” since this is all about the Holy Spirit!
This is THE Counter-Reformation assertion by the Sacred Magisterium of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church against the heretics who reduce revelation to theology and inspiration to feelings, the dark arrogance having them rewrite and remove things from the Sacred Scriptures so as to assert merely themselves. This decree is CATHOLIC!
On a personal note, I was ordained a deacon on this day in the Twelve Apostles Basilica in Rome. Also, this decree became the center piece of the beginnings of a doctoral thesis (the first chapter being 256 pages), the story of which needs to be told one day, reaching as it does into the very heart of the intrigue of ecclesiastical politics and stirring the pot so much that… well, I’ll leave that for another day. Just note that this decree is still THE engine driving any true ecumenical dialogue, that is, which brings unity in truth and charity those who sincerely follow Jesus.
There’s always a rivalry between “East” and “West”, between the Orthodox and their reckoning of the time of Easter and lots of the Catholic crowd who follow the Jewish way of reckoning for Passover and therefore, for us, for Easter, you know, with the moon and all that.
The above moon, full as full can be, is what was rising yesterday evening, Good Friday evening. Whatever with the three days (Friday, Saturday, early Sunday), people get all confused about the three nights, because there was just Friday night and Saturday night, right? Wrong!
Don’t forget the full eclipse of the sun by the full moon during the day on Good Friday when Jesus was on the Cross, when He died on the Cross, when He was buried. Dark as night. That’s another night.
Considering that it’s all about our Lord and not rivalry, isn’t it just true that reckoning Easter as being the first Sunday after this full moon is the best way as far as calendars go to commemorate the three days and three nights of our Lord?
Some say: Ecumenism is stupid and evil. Let’s be nice in our divisions!
The answer is: Stupid is as stupid does. But in this case, it’s all about Jesus. And that, my friends is not stupid, not evil. We should be in anguish, as Saint Augustine said, until we are one with our brothers around the altar of Sacrifice.
Speaking of Augustine and us being jackasses even while it’s all about Jesus, don’t forget what he said to a particular one of us: “Asinus es, sed Christum portas” (“You are a jackass, but you carry Christ”). That should give us restless hearts.
Amoris laetitia: Smokescreen for the *Principle of no Principles* in total rejection of Sacred Scripture
I’ve been distracted from the revision of Jackass for the Hour, a pre-Pope-Francis ecclesiastical novel on the murderous intrigue of interreligious politics. In the next chapter to be put up on this blog (chapter 27 – You will burn, burn I say!) there is an attempt to demonstrate how the rejection of the encyclical Humanae vitae (man and woman being the image of God, a kind of revelation) is merely a symptom of something much more fundamental in the rejection of Sacred Scripture as being part of the revelation of God. Think about that for a second. Get the connection? (1) Scripture is revelation; (2) man and woman is a kind of revelation: the “image of God” as Scripture puts it. When one rejects Scripture, it is easy to make the next step in rejecting man and woman as a kind of revelation as the “image of God.”
We’ve seen a widespread rejection of Humanae vitae, the rejection of man and woman as the image of God. We’ve seen a widespread acceptance of the ambiguity of Amoris laetitia. But few know that the Church has been subjected to a wholesale rejection of Scripture, which is the foundation upon which the rejection of Humanae vitae and the acceptance of Amoris laetitia could take place. The said rejection of Scripture has a long list of premises in the tumultuous 20th century, and culminated with documents issuing from “Ecumenism”, that is, from the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity.
Let’s do a quick review. I will try not to let my own eyes glaze over. It’s not that the subject matter is difficult to understand. It’s that seeing such betrayal of the Church at such high levels by those who should know better is so obnoxious. Let’s tough it out.
Basically, the idea was to take the early manuscripts of Scripture and subject them to scientific principles of critica textus, that analysis which attempts to determine which letter, word, phrase, sentence or other portion of a written work is more original among the various handwritten copies that have been made through the centuries, with the dating, of course, being one of the least important aspects to consider. While most of the scientific principles are reasonable, those who delve into this exercise immediately realize how easy it is to manipulate the facts into the fiction of one’s own relativism. Those weak in faith see this, and lose their faith altogether when considering differences in copies of manuscripts, becoming angry with God for allowing a situation in which we are forced not to be a “religion of the book” (since we actually really do like to manipulate the facts for our own convenience) but rather a religion that has its members belonging to a family of faith which needs Peter for guidance in appraising revelation, in other words, a family of faith which will have us die to ourselves to live for Him who is Truth and Love.
Instead of turning to Peter, as we are bidden to do by our Lord in Matthew 18:17-18 regarding Matthew 16:18-19, some give up and sarcastically go the other way. Ironically, they then reject even the necessary scientific work and reduce the choices to be made among the variations of manuscripts to criteria which are merely – and I quote – “small t” traditional, pastoral, liturgical, apologetic, sociological, organizational, cultural, political, geographical, psychological, intellectual, attitudinal or even economic. Really truly: even economic considerations. That, my friends, is demonic. In other words, Scripture is subjected to the tyranny of relativism and the role of Peter is irrelevant. Ecumenism is reduced to making future division a certainty. It is the principle of no principles, what they themselves call the Prinzip der Prinzipienlosigkeit. This reduction is said to have the sum total of authority. Like most everything in the dialogue of Jackass for the Hour, that phrase – sum total of authority – is a direct quote, in writing, of those who should know better, but who have chosen to reject revelation, the church, and the good of mankind before God. They think that they have brought the Church to reject herself. If I remember correctly, the phrase is summam habet auctoritatem, as found in the Praenotanda of the Nova Vulgata.*
It’s the big lie. My eyes glazed over when I saw this. How about you?
Anyway, as a preparation, let’s slice out a few paragraphs in media res of the trial in the next chapter. Here we begin with Father Alexamenos explaining the matter to Cardinal Froben:
“Many think that burning the Truth is expedient for ecumenical unity. The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity has for a long time been suppressing the Faith, suppressing Tradition, and trampling upon the Ordinary Magisterium of the Church, giving Scripture away to the Protestants, letting them decide what is or is not to be included in Scripture in view of the myriad differences in so many of the ancient manuscripts, just like an Erasmus redivivus, beginning another Reformation within the Church.”
“Our Protestant friends,” said Cardinal Froben, “use scientific knowledge of manuscript traditions which so many Roman Pontiffs have eagerly embraced…”
“Oh yes!” interrupted Father Alexámenos. “But there’s more to it than scientific input, more than what you think is “small t” traditional, pastoral, liturgical, apologetic, sociological, organizational, cultural, political, geographical, psychological, intellectual, attitudinal or even economic. Your principle of having no principles, your Prinzip der Prinzipienlosigkeit, neglects Revelation understood as Scripture and Tradition, while ignoring that Revelation has the Magisterium as its privileged custodian.
===== * Please excuse me if I here descend into sarcasm and say that those penning these prefatory notes for the New Vulgate misquoted that which was said about Druids back in the day, that there was, for all Druids, among themselves , just one who had the sum total of authority: Omnibus Druidibus praeest unus qui summam inter eos habet auctoritatem. Dropping inter eos (“among themselves”) is rather self-serving, implying that those involved with textual criticism of Scripture have more authority than does Peter. And that was the explicit, published purpose of those who began this “scientific” process of “Scripture alone” back in 1897. The fourth session of Trent and the Magisterium and Peter are to be replaced by science, by the leaders of science, those who have the sum total of authority for revelation, some Protestant self-proclaimed literary science guys. (By the way: their scientific principles have nothing on the work of Saint Jerome.) If revelation is reduced to some private interpretation of some self-proclaimed Druid guys, then man and woman as a kind of revelation as the image of God (as said in Scripture) is also just another manipulatable construct of whoever thinks of himself like a Druid having the sum total of authority over all mankind, kind of like, it seems, the ghost writer of Amoris laetitia.
Back to Amoris laetitia as a smokescreen. Amoris laetitia obscures in all its ambiguity that man and woman are the image of God, a kind of revelation. The foundation for that ambiguity rejecting that kind of revelation of the image of God is the rejection of revelation itself. Everyone throws a tantrum about some “dialogue” volley which is Amoris laetitia (which is hurtful to the Church and the world, I know), and in so doing ignores the foundation which made Amoris laetitia possible in the first place, the rejection of revelation as revelation, the rejection of the authority of the Church, of Peter.
Do you see what has happened? People have so trumped up Amoris laetitia as some sort of infallible Magisterial statement that therefore the Church is to be said to have failed, or that Peter is therefore not infallible, and therefore the Church doesn’t exist. But Amoris laetitia is only a volley in dialogue (as it says of itself in the opening paragraphs). The much deeper rejection of Scripture needs to be addressed. I realize that that rejection of Scripture is not even a part of the ordinary Magisterium, but it is pervasive, and that pervasiveness changes the conversation, as it is said, and makes utter travesties like Amoris laetitia possible.
We’re talking about society-changing realities here. The Reformation rejected Scripture with its “Scripture alone” and “private interpretation” rubbish. The textual criticism of Scripture as cut off from Peter was the primary objective. The counter-Reformation was all about textual Criticism being united with Peter. The rejection of Peter and Scripture brought the violence of the Thirty Years War, a genocidal rebellion taking out thirty to fifty percent of the population across Europe. Couple that with today’s mirror effort along with the rejection of man and woman as the image of God and what do you expect will happen?
That’s why the subtitle to Jackass for the Hour is The murderous intrigue of interreligious politics.
Billy had neutral pressure hydrocephalus, which fill the vacuals of the brain with fluid and creates enormous pressure in the cranium. It makes for unbelievable pain and for the corruption of body movement, destroying the spinal cord etc. Almost zero treatment. He himself said that it was the most horrible disease any human being can have.
Usually, people die of this right away. He lived on and on. That’s a lot of pain.
I didn’t know that he died when I got an email this morning from a convert parishioner which simply said:
Father: I found one more person who says God/Jesus loves us all and he died today.
As you know, I conclude all my homilies with “Jesus loves us so very much.” I didn’t know who he was talking about until I looked on line. It was the top story everywhere.
In other words, he went through hell and still insisted that Jesus loves us so very much. That’s a lot of faith. I would hope that if I went through hell I would still say that Jesus loves us so very much.
Meanwhile, Bill Donohue of the Catholic League has this to say:
Growing up Catholic in New York in the 1950s, the Catholic we most identified with was Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, the first televangelist. The Protestant we most clearly revered was Rev. Billy Graham. In both cases, they had no rival.
For Catholics, Graham was more than just the titular head of the Protestant community, he was a man who inspired us. He was a man of prayer, and his deep spirituality was contagious. Moreover, his ecumenical efforts were legion.
When Graham was at his peak, our culture was Christian-friendly, allowing him to follow a decidedly pastoral approach. Those ministers who came after him were forced to take a more aggressive public stance, owing to the advent of the culture war.
I have one fond remembrance of him. In the late 1990s, he contacted me about some cruel story that had circulated about him—it made him out to be an anti-Catholic bigot. The story was completely bogus. I appreciated how seriously he took this issue, and how quickly he responded.
Rev. Billy Graham will be missed. I am happy that he is with our Lord.
Re-post: Francis the Lutheran certainly to the left, and “Fr.” George Byers, “Novus Ordo Priest,” not quite right
[[Originally published December 6, 2015. I’m re-posting this for the sake of my Internet Stalker guy. Heh heh heh…]]
I’m happy to be mocked with you, Holy Father, all for the Year of Mercy.
Sometimes I’ll follow links to Arise! Let us be going! back the blogs/websites that put them up. This picture is from a sede-vacantist site. They did a photoshop of Pope Francis, making him into a Lutheran Pastor, since they think he is neither the Bishop of Rome nor any kind of bishop. They found this picture of yours truly who knows where. It was from my time in the hermitage. At least it’s not the infamous chainsaw and crucifix picture! :¬) The vestments were made for me by some good ladies in a parish North of Toulouse when I was a chaplain in Lourdes. The seminarian taking this photo was cursing and cursing and cursing yet again, since the camera lens was no good, making for a shimmer effect he thought was most inappropriate in attempt after attempt. He’s right of course, unless that’s my guardian angel next to me!
But, seriously, “they say” I’m not a priest (note that scare quotes around “Fr.”, because I’m what they call a “Novus Ordo Priest”, and therefore invalidly ordained, they think). I didn’t even know there was such a creature as distinct from any other. I do know that the traditionalists at the Second Vatican Council, a small number, but they were there, wanted only two things to change in the entire liturgy, and both had to do with the ordination of a priest. They wanted the newly ordained priest, who has just concelebrated his ordination Mass (yes, that’s right, it’s said somewhat alta-voce so they can recite all the words of the Canon with the bishop) to drink from the Precious Blood (which he does not do in the “Tridentine rite”, and thus his “first Mass” truly is the next day), and they also wanted the ordinand to be anointed with Chrism, not merely, so to speak, with the oil of catechumens. So, not even Chrism… And there’s a silly story of how that came to be. I’ve written on that before. Does that all make “Novus Ordo Priest” ordinations more better, so to speak? Sigh…
Anyway, this “Novus Ordo Priest” was the one who reestablished the traditional Mass in Lourdes after a hiatus of many decades, celebrating Solemn High Mass for some 7 to 8,000 people in the Basilica of Saint Pius X, with weekly Sunday sung Masses in the Immaculate Conception (upper) Basilica. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who was the one to start up a course of traditional liturgy in the Pontifical Seminary in Columbus, Ohio, with “liturgy” referring not just to the Mass, but to Baptism, Marriage, Confession, Exorcism, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who brought stability to the offering of the traditional Mass midway between Sydney and Melbourne. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who, as far as I know, came up with the Missionary of Mercy idea in regard to the regularization of the SSPX already six years ago, which would have worked in conjunction with extraterritorial properties, etc. It was this “Novus Ordo Priest” who… well, I could go on, but one gets the picture, so to speak.
As for Lutheran Pope Francis (according to these sede-vacantists), well, I am almost envious of this treatment. Why not put me in a Lutheran Pastor’s collar? I’m German Lutheran on my Dad’s mother’s side. And, as is noted on the sede-vacantist website, which is bereft of any sense of mirthful irony, I like to cite the Hier stehe ich thing. Why not picture me with some Jewish Pe’ot (my mom being of the Jewish race though with Catholic faith), or whatever? I feel left behind. Kicked to the peripheries. I don’t feel the love! So, from Saint Cyprian:
“Finally, the Apostle, speaking of charity, unites it with endurance and patience. Charity, he says, is always patient and kind; it is not jealous, is not boastful, is not given to anger, does not think evil, loves all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. He shows that charity can be steadfast and persevering because it has learned how to endure all things.
“And in another place he says: Bear with one another lovingly, striving to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. He shows that neither unity nor peace can be maintained unless the brethren cherish each other with mutual forbearance and preserve the bond of harmony by means of patience.”
Let me address these sede-vacantists directly: I’ll have to work on what Cyprian says. Join me. Saint Thomas Aquinas has it that there is no other motive for division in the faith than hatred. That really shocked me when I saw it, but, of course, it makes perfect sense. Thomas was perhaps the greatest interlocutor (dialogue master) in all that is interreligious (as in the Summa contra gentiles). And you hold us “Novus Ordo” crowd to be a different religion, don’t you?
I’m happy to be mocked with Pope Francis, but not happy that someone would want to mock anyone in the first place. So, finally, here’s my question to you guys on the sede-vacantist side of things. This is what I want to know, and this goes right to heart of the matter…
Is it not true that we’ve all crucified the Son of the Living God with our sin, original and otherwise? You. Me. All. And is it not true that the Son of the Living God redeemed all of us, though we are not all to be saved? The upshot of that is that we have to be a bit more serious about all this, don’t we? Otherwise, it is all a bunch of self-referential, self-congratulatory, Promethian, neo-Pelagian cleverness, all the one-up-man-ship with which Saint Paul got fed up. He did the same thing I did in this post, bragging away to no good end, except to show that all such bragging is useless as all is nothing if not done through, with and in Christ, instead of just for ourselves and those we try to impress.
There is one faith, one Lord, one baptism, as Pope Francis said, yes, in the Lutheran Church. It was Saint Augustine, was it not, who said that he was in anguish until all such separated brethren were back in the fold? He called them brothers. We are brothers, are we not?
Whatever I said about any Roman Pontiff going too far, such as Sixtus V, my hero (a statement I don’t retract, by the way: see the Hier stehe ich thing), but I must say that I’ve learned a great deal from Pope Francis. He has shaken me to the very core of my being in these past weeks. I think I understand him now. I’ll be getting to that in some other posts about Matthew 16 and 18 and absolute truth. I think you’ll be interested.
My Internet Stalker is also upset that I lack all humility. Well, that is true. I do lack all humility. Of myself, I am full of stinking, filthy pride. On my own, without God’s grace, I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God, as have we all. Of ourselves, we all lack humility. But my Internet Stalker narrows this down to a particular. Let’s take a look. He says:
“You also said you could have been a bishop or even an archbishop. Is this humility?”
Well. The truth is humility is it not? There were two occasions.
- One was being invited to transfer from the seminary I was attending so to attend the Accademia ecclesiastica, you know, for clerical diplomats for the Secretariat of State for the Holy See (a different authority structure back in the day). The successful candidate would end up eventually being a Nuncio (in a derived sense, a diplomat) of some kind, which at the time also meant ordination to the episcopacy. There was an attempt in South America some decades ago to appoint a non-Archbishop as Nuncio. The local episcopal conference complained that they were being slighted by having such a terrible situation arise amongst themselves. Oh my! So, the guy was made an Archbishop. Hah! My response through the years to the Church diplomat thing was always that I would never compromise the doctrine and morality of the Church; I would never smash someone down for the sake of mere politics, or play politics with listing candidates for episcopal appointments in whatever country. This attitude of mine was rather offensive, to say the least, to those in such diplomatic circles. I was able to successfully avoid being a bishop.
- Another occasion was being best friends, quite literally, at least from his point of view, with the Archbishop Secretary of the Congregation for Bishops (now deceased). He was very much interested in having me become a bishop and pointed this out to me. Me being me, however, I made sure this wouldn’t happen by having him do something much more important, that is, having him be the second reader for a doctoral thesis on textual criticism of biblical manuscripts, something which, along the way, called into question some various dumbed-down ecumenical initiatives of the Holy See. He was a biblical scholar as well, and was furious with what I had done. I wanted only to do something much more comprehensive for the sake of a profound, true ecumenism. This was politically incorrect at the time. I knew that. But he did something for me which I thought was much more valuable for the Church than me becoming a bishop. He took a chapter of the thesis (250 pages) to the secret archives for six weeks. He was furious. But he had done what I wanted, something I could not do because I had no access. He did. He was able to confirm everything I wrote. Perhaps he put a block on my ever becoming a bishop in my file. I don’t know. I must say, however, that he was constantly training me in about concern for both the Church and the world. Anyway…
I guess that lack of humility, that pride of mine, goes along with what I wrote in this other post about my unstoppable arrogance, or is it enthusiasm[?]: Fr George David “Peter Abelard” Byers I just reread that. What a fright. ;-)
Of course, what I was doing in avoiding the episcopacy was avoiding something which had scared me to death because I was full of fear at the time. No longer. But what was ringing in my ears was the admonition of Archbishop Fulton J Sheen that becoming a bishop means getting crucified, crucified, crucified. Perhaps Jesus will reprimand me for avoiding the suffering that episcopacy entails. I’m quite happy being a priest way out on the back ridges of the backsides of the beyonds in the unique Appalachia of Western North Carolina. But if the Holy Father asked me, I would do it, you know, be crucified. Perhaps that is said with all arrogance, but, hey! I’m only me. And of my own self, I am, of course, full of stinking pride. Thank God for Jesus Christ who saves me from all of this.
Easter evening (for both East and West this year) was spent with some parishioners and a young Greek Orthodox couple. The Orthodox fellow (from Wisconsin but now in Georgia) is to be deployed any day now for a tour on the mountainous Iraqi-Syrian border. The father-in-law parishioner just retired out of law enforcement. They set up a half-dozen green post-it note targets some 23 meters out (the Mountain U.S. Army guy already speaking U.N.-speak).
We were practicing standing, using two hands, either hand singly, and then prone, with different pistols and an AR-15.
I did real well with the AR-15. That’s a totally new experience for me, moving from target to target quickly, with double hits on all but one with a single hit. They wanted me to then pepper the larger target as fast as I could go and I got most of them right on but that needs a bit of practice. No, I don’t own an AR-15!
I didn’t do so well with the single-handed pistol shooting. It’s good to get caught out in this way, so that you realize what you need to practice. The LEO also arranged a mag with a mix of spent cartridges so that I could see hidden problems, such as trying too hard. This works well. And I was trying too hard, as the gun popped an inch or so without a live bullet. It also forces you to work quickly to clear jams. The Army guy had a lot of good advice for the both of us. No matter how many years you’ve got in, more advice is always welcome.
Uh-oh: I scared myself a bit when I shot my own Glock 19 from a prone position. I’ve never tried to shoot laying down before. Aiming at a green post-it note with one AR-15 round through it from the Army guy, I quickly put four more rounds in a row through that one hit with my little pistol, so pretty much 10-X with all of them. I am reminded of this scene of the beginnings of recovery from amnesia:
But, no. I don’t think I’ve been suffering from amnesia. I mean, after all, I’m not great at one-handed whatever-hand shooting, good, but not great without practice (which I never really do in that way). So, therefore, no amnesia. I mean, I did do the 10-X multiple times in a row with one hand, if I remember, with a .45, last Autumn. But that had a smooth trigger pull, not like a Glock. No, no. No amnesia. Unless it’s like a mental block… ;¬)
Anyway: that was all after the breaking of bread together at the evening meal on a glorious Easter Sunday. The discussion at table was intensely religious as you might imagine with an American Greek-Orthodox soldier who has a Masters Degree in theological studies under his belt.
We spoke of the cultural differences (complementary) between East and West, the whole breathing with two lungs thing, the excommunications and the wiping out of the excommunications (leaving us with communion), the divine liturgy and the singing and being brought up into the Sacred Mysteries, Jesus fulfilling the prophesies in the Old Testament by being the acceptable sacrifice, His standing in our stead, having the right in His own justice to have mercy on us, our obligation in love to offer a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving, the possibility of another major Ecumenical Council between East and West, and which theologians might be useful to this end…
You didn’t expect that, did you? If not, why not? You might offer a comment in the comments box… Pretend you’re sitting around the fire we had outside as night fell, all reminiscing. There was also some discussion of how it is that John the Baptist gave advice to soldiers about how to be the best of soldiers, and about the morality of self-defense on one’s own behalf or that of others: a positive contribution to the virtue of justice as opposed to the idiotic PTSD inducing lesser of two evils theory that would mean that no matter what you do you are always doing something evil (No!).
Is there a disconnect here? You know, between it being Easter Sunday evening and, you know, guns? No. And you have to know that the Army guy tested me on that, joking a little by wishing me a Happy Easter with all the target practice. Those who are on the front lines either here at home or overseas in some of the worst of the worst most violent hot-spots in the world have to know that we are in solidarity with our soldiers even as they are in solidarity with us. That’s an orthodox truth that the Orthodox appreciate.
A story about the Knights of Columbus Fish Fry last Friday at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church here in Andrews, NC, ran in this week’s local newspaper, starting front page top of fold, going two pages. Nice article I must say. But the caption to picture is wonderful, claiming we’re Baptist. To me, that means that we’ve arrived as Catholics here in this heavily entrenched Baptist region. I take it as a compliment. And I’ve often heard that I preach like a Baptist minister. I take that as a compliment as well. So, O.K. Next stop is the Methodist Church on Good Friday for the Ecumenical Services. I’m the preacher. I’ll have to live up to my reputation as a Baptist Preacher as all the Baptist Preachers will be there. The pressure is on.
A grunge caving video I made when a permanent chaplain in the caves of Lourdes. Yikes! Don’t do this when you go to Lourdes, lest you die. Seriously. You’ll be arrested. It’s just that I was an official permanent chaplain. Know that the spikes are sharp! However, my extreme sport talents came back to me, and I made it in and out alive, many times actually. The caves were a bit of a refuge for me. The music was a one-off performance for the 150th anniversary. The Russian chant was a group delegated by Moscow for the occasion.
I too was raised Catholic. I too only later found out my family was Jewish. I am still a Catholic priest who happens also to be Jewish. That’s not a contradiction. That you became Episcopalian by choice says a lot. When non-Catholic Christians make fun of themselves they say to each other: “Oh, you must be Episcopalian,” the idea being that anything goes with Episcopalians. Now, with your head still spinning, you say that you stand ready to register as Muslim in solidarity. What does that even mean? Are you ready to wear a rug? Are you ready to be raped and then honor-killed by the “pious men” who watched you being raped but did nothing except accuse you of not wearing a big enough rug? Are you ready to cut down Christians and Jews wherever they are? Are you? If it’s all hyperbole about your conversion to Islam, you know, so that you don’t really mean it, so that really you are mocking Islam about your conversion, well, I don’t think they will appreciate that. Sometimes political skills are not appreciated by those for whose benefit they are used. Be careful what you wish for. For their part, they might want Trump to make a scene so that they have an excuse for “extremism.” When you are ready to make your Catholic sacramental Confession, hunt me down; I’ll give you a light penance. Jesus loves you even during the time that you have reject Him. He wants you back to the fullness of truth and the fulfillment of the Jewish-Catholic faith. Don’t forget, salvation is of the Jews, and is now universal, that is, Catholic.
Father George David Byers (your Jewish-Catholic Priest)
P.S. Do you also say, “Je suis Charlie Hebdo”?
Pope Francis in the torture chamber where Saint Maximilian Kolbe # 16670 was first starved and then injected with carbolic acid.
It was a powerful statement, if you will, of Pope Francis just to go to Auschwitz / Birkenau, regardless of ditching his speech. He did have a moment of kindness with some survivors. That’s all good. But…
Perhaps readers remember this post I wrote six months ago, although it seems to me like I wrote it today, as my emotions are ever more raw about it: Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!
The celebration of the Reformation and the very life of Hitleresque anti-Semite Martin Luther is coming up. Will that latter bit, at least, be ditched? Let’s hope. I like the silence bit all of a sudden. It would be grotesque in the extreme to go to Auschwitz-Birkenau and then turn around and celebrate the life of Martin Luther who wanted nothing more than to exterminate all the Jews or, failing that final solution, removing them in some other way.
Dearest Holy Father, just so you know: Update: Martin Luther: “We are at fault in not slaying the Jews.” The Holy See: “Let’s celebrate his life!” J’accuse!
In Armenia, Pope Francis was finally able to reconcile that martyrdom can be on such a grand scale numbers-wise that it fits that part of a proportional scale of devastation that is called genocide. Good for him. I mean, can we forget that the Jews were to be martyred on the level of genocide by Haman as recounted in the book of Esther? Can we forget that Hitler wanted to fulfill his weird obligations to Arianism by martyring all the Jews on the level of genocide?
We can be confident that Pope Francis will offer appropriate comments, hopefully scripted, and sticking to the script, when he visits the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau during a visit to Poland on July 29. We can only hope. However…
I hope that such a visit to such a site filled with such sorrow will not be used afterwards as a kind of permission to celebrate the most hate-filled anti-Semite in history hardly surpassed by either Haman of old or Hitler of more recent times, that is, Martin Luther. But this is what is planned, not only the “Reformation” but also the very person of Martin Luther, right?
So, I republish here again what I published in these pages previously. It is urgent:
Being Pope Francis’ Jewish Missionary of Mercy, and invited to speak with parrhesia by him, I think I am obliged to offer some comments about the push among some curial officials to celebrate the life of Martin Luther and the Reformation, the former being inextricably intertwined with the latter. Cardinal Koch has said some good things in the past, so this is an occasion of real dismay for me particularly, and for all men of good will.
Martin Luther defined himself and his Lutherans as those who are to be condemned if they would not murder Jews: “We are at fault in not slaying them” (Luther, Martin. On the Jews and Their Lies, cited in Michael, Robert. “Luther, Luther Scholars, and the Jews,” Encounter 46 (Autumn 1985) No. 4:343–344). Like so much else with Luther, this is reminiscent of Islam, the old spread by the sword your faith kind of thing. This is the Reformation in all of its pristine vigor. It is Martin Luther’s “insight,” his “spiritual experience,” his Promethean understanding of “righteousness” and “mercy.” The response both of Lutherans and the Holy See to all this is:
“The ecumenical journey enables Lutherans and Catholics to appreciate
together Martin Luther’s insight into and spiritual experience of the gospel
of the righteousness of God, which is also God’s mercy.”
Of course, one might find this incredible. So, one finds it in the prayer text: Common Prayer – From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran–Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017. The text is “by the Liturgical Task Force of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity.”
But, surely that’s cherry picking. Surely such anti-Semitism is rejected in toto elsewhere and without excuses being made. Lets take a look at the foundational document: From Conflict to Communion – Lutheran-Catholic Common Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017 – Report of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Commission on Unity. This is by The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) and The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (PCPCU), with Karlheinz Diez, Auxiliary Bishop of Fulda (on behalf of the Catholic co-chair), and Eero Huovinen, Bishop Emeritus of Helsinki (Lutheran co-chair).
229. On this occasion, Lutherans will also remember the vicious and degrading statements that Martin Luther made against the Jews. They are ashamed of them and deeply deplore them.
Really? I’m sure that cannot be correct. After a chapter break and a nice paragraph, the excuses for Martin Luther’s murderous behavior and statements against the Jews are effusive. But, let’s take a look at that nice paragraph in between just to make sure we don’t miss anything:
82 Chapter V – Prayer for unity – 230. Because Jesus Christ before his death prayed to the Father »that they may be one,« it is clear that a division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of the Lord. It contradicts also the express apostolic admonition that we hear in Ephesians 4:3–6: be »eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call – one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.« The division of the body of Christ is opposed to the will of God.
Of course, not being upfront about things about such division is opposed to the will of God, right? So, now, let’s see how such regret for Luther’s beastly raging against the Jews is simply dismissed, or perhaps, even praised if one would, you know, just kind of, like, understand the pressures of the times under which he was living, poor fellow and hero that he was. They are mean and cruel people, are they not, who would think that Martin Luther is responsible in some way for the Shoah, the Holocaust?
Evaluating the past – 231. When Catholics and Lutherans remember together the theological controversies and the events of the sixteenth century from this perspective, they must consider the circumstances of the sixteenth century. Lutherans and Catholics cannot be blamed for everything that transpired since some events in the sixteenth century were beyond their control. In the sixteenth century, theological convictions and power politics were frequently interwoven with one another. Many politicians often used genuine theological ideas to attain their ends, while many theologians promoted their theological judgments by political means. In this complex arena of numerous factors, it is difficult to ascribe responsibility for the effects of specific actions to individual persons and to name them as the guilty parties. [[My emphasis]]
“Complex.” Sigh….. I apologize for using Martin Luther’s own rough language, but this is bullshit. Ideas have effects, and he meant every word of what he said, putting it into action (see also the list at the end of this article). This heap of excuses is dung with a blanket of glistening snow over it. That is the analogy which, in fact Martin Luther used for the ineffectiveness of Christ’s grace in sanctifying our souls, so that, for him, we remain a heap of dung with a blanket of snow over us. I reject this document’s list of excuses for Martin Luther’s dung heap of anti-Semitic views and actions as being simply ineffective for justifying and sanctifying Martin Luther’s murderous anti-Semitic views and actions. Do I say this just because I am a Jew? No. All men of good will are offended. It is an offense against Jesus. I will not celebrate Martin Luther or his damned Reformation. And, to use the irony which so many cannot understand, I nevertheless say: Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir: I side with those who are on the darkest of existential peripheries; I side with mercy. What this crowd is doing with all their damned excuses is promoting genocide all over again against the same people. J’accuse! (worth the read; this is a well used phrase also today). After all, we are under pressure today too, so we have an excuse to murder all the Jews Hitler didn’t kill, right? That’s the logic. To hell with that logic. It’s an all too easy absolution of Martin Luther’s role in violent persecution of the Jews in his own day and ours: Hey! He was just a man of his times! It is a virtue to be a man of one’s times, right? Again, since we are all under pressure for whatever reason, we all have an easy excuse and even praise for continuing to slaughter the Jews, right?
If you want an ever so brief rundown of all this, see Martin Luther and Anti-Semitism and his book, On the Jews and Their Lies (published just three years before he died, his crowning achievement, as it were). Just so as to offer a taste for timid clickers, I include a bit taken from “Luther, Martin”, JewishEncyclopedia.com; cf. Luther’s Works, American Edition, 55 vols., (St. Louis and Philadelphia: Concordia Publishing House and Fortress Press, 1955–86) 47:267:
“What shall we Christians do with this rejected and condemned people, the Jews?”
- “First, to set fire to their synagogues or schools … This is to be done in honor of our Lord and of Christendom, so that God might see that we are Christians …” [[Did you get that?]]
- “Second, I advise that their houses also be razed and destroyed.” [[Did you get that?]]
- “Third, I advise that all their prayer books and Talmudic writings, in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught, be taken from them.” [[Did you get that?]]
- “Fourth, I advise that their rabbis be forbidden to teach henceforth on pain of loss of life and limb …” [[Did you get that?]]
- “Fifth, I advise that safe-conduct on the highways be abolished completely for the Jews. For they have no business in the countryside …” [[Did you get that?]]
- “Sixth, I advise that usury be prohibited to them, and that all cash and treasure of silver and gold be taken from them …” [[Did you get that? Sounds like Kristallnacht.]]
- “Seventh, I recommend putting a flail, an ax, a hoe, a spade, a distaff, or a spindle into the hands of young, strong Jews and Jewesses and letting them earn their bread in the sweat of their brow … But if we are afraid that they might harm us or our wives, children, servants, cattle, etc., … then let us emulate the common sense of other nations such as France, Spain, Bohemia, etc., … then eject them forever from the country …” [[Did you get that?]]
If publishing such things means I cannot be a Missionary of Mercy, then so be it. But I trust that Pope Francis meant what he said when going way out of his way to invite me to speak with parrhesia. This ever so nice kind of celebration of Martin Luther and his Reformation is precisely how genocides are brought about. It has to stop, and it has to stop now. Do we so easily forget the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception? Do not fool yourselves with all your self-congratulatory “consensus building”. The Word Incarnate will judge the living and the dead and the world by fire.
“God loved the world so much that he gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life.”
You would think, these days, that people want to rewrite that:
God did not love the world at all, and did not give us His only Son, since He didn’t want anyone to believe in Him, but wanted them to perish and go to hell.
That’s not what I want. You don’t have me in your nice consensus. And don’t think for a second that all this was some momentary rampage for a young and impetuous Luther. No, no. He only progressed throughout his life in his livid hatred of the Jews until at the end of his life he was like an incarnate satan for the Jews. But, hey, that’s someone to celebrate, right? No, not at all. Let me quote, if I might, a German Lutheran pastor.
And I add, to celebrate those who are intent on genocide is to promote genocide.
I hope that something more is said about Luther’s Antisemitism than perhaps his methods were not entirely correct. And if anyone thinks that that statement could not possibly refer to more than Luther’s ideas on justification, blah, blah, blah, you are wrong. Wanting to kill to the Jews was all consuming for Luther. For him, one’s very salvation depended on murderous hatred of the Jews.
Murderous hatred of the Jews is, for Luther, a kind of principle of justification.
And so, I ask, again, it THAT what we are celebrating? Again: not me. Count me out. To hell with that. Amen.
Disclaimer: My grandma on my father’s side was Lutheran. A best friend in high school was Lutheran. My dad’s law partner was Lutheran and I was a good friend of his. I enjoy the work of many Lutheran textual critical scholars working away on biblical manuscripts. Anyway, I’m Jewish because of my mom, grandma and great grandma were all Jewish. For the Knesset, the line goes through the mother. Martin Luther himself was genocidally maniacal about killing Jews. But I’m a Catholic priest, Pope Francis’ own Jewish Missionary of Mercy. That’s my disclaimer for the following comments about justification.
Occasion: Pope Francis asserted some overly optimistic comments about the state of agreement or lack thereof concerning justification during the presser on the plane returning from Armenia.
Allow me to make some quick points about Martin Luther:
- Faith for Luther is his own theological understanding in his physical brain, not the infused theological virtue of faith, which comes with hope and charity, all of which alone justifies. Because of this, he could set himself up as the one who is inspired to know which books belong in the bible, or not, throwing out seven from the Old Testament and heaps more from the New Testament, also rewriting passages he didn’t care for.
- Luther is the ultimate Promethean Pelagian, decapitating Christ in the process of his self-congratulations for all of his good works. For Saint Paul, the act of charity is one only for both the Head of the Body of Christ and the members of the Body of Christ, for one loves the entire Person of Christ, not decapitating Him to just love the Head or, kicking that away, only the members of the Body. For Luther, rewriting the letter of the Romans, it is all about loving the Head of the Body first and, later, after justification, choosing appropriately to go ahead and love the members of the Body of Christ as well, you know, so as to prove to yourself that you’re saved. This proof rubbish (Are you saved?) developed into such fear for one’s salvation, throwing one into such a frenzy of good works, that theories about being saved regardless of continuing in grave sin won the day until today throughout so many Protestant and Baptist et alii communities. Sad. This leads to despair, to saying sin is not really sin, to the pastoral accompaniment of sin. Right?
As always with such posts as this, I cannot help being a bit ironic about adherence to the teaching of the Jews, Jesus and Paul, by saying Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. But, does anyone have any sense of mirth, of humor, any inkling that making such points can be done with joyful charity? Many, I hope! And, just to say it as a kind of trademark:
Pope Francis, we love you to pieces!
How shameful! Father George is in a short-sleeved clergy tactical work shirt with the collar open doing a bit of R and R! And he’s, he’s, he’s a man of ecumenism, practicing up to be a Western North Carolina Baptist Minister Snake Handler! Surely he’s a snake in the grass! Whatever you want to call him (Eastern Racer, Bull Snake, Rat Snake, Black Snake, Snake in the Grass, Satan…), this is the friendliest kind of serpent in the world. Oh, I’m talking about the snake, not me! Or do I protest too much? Anyway, these guys are happy to laze around in the sun right in front of you, keeping a watchful eye for varmints.
It was a local one-time Baptist minister friend who was happy to see me practicing up. He’s the one who brought the snake over to a parishioner’s house as there was a developing problem of rats eating the dog food, a serious concern since she raises the best cadaver, drug, bomb, protection, accompaniment, PTSD, and especially bite-dogs in North America. Everyone was scared of the snake, only because they think such snakes bite. They don’t. But her bite-dogs do bite. One of them broke her training “arm” with one bite. She said she saw one bite-dog break both forearm bones and rip off the forearm of someone in one bite. Serious dogs. I’m making friends with the one that law enforcement is especially afraid of. So far, he sits down for me upon request, but at this point that only means that he’s happy to make a meal of me while sitting down. Yikes!
In these days of great confusion in both the Church and the world, I think we need to remember a sense of humor amidst all the darkness, and be able to bring joy to those around us. We are all Missionaries of Mercy when we do this, as this brings people hope. Archbishop Fulton Sheen once said that making people who suffer laugh was a great act of mercy. When we suffer we tend to drag all the hurt of the past into the present, and then project all that into the future dragging that, then, back into the present as well, making for unbearable suffering. But when, in the present moment, one is brought into innocent laughter, all of this mind-game with time of past and future is shattered, giving one hope for the future regardless of the past because of present goodness. Our greatest fears are brought under control with the love that Jesus Himself provides to us, His littlest children.
Update: sent in by a reader with the request of making a parallel video for priestly vocations: