Category Archives: Pope Francis

Papal infallibility’s worst heresy

pope francis asperges

You have heard that it was said, the papacy is basically somehow just like you know kind of like an “office”, a “function”, stuff to do or not more or less than any other bishop, but just a bishop with another mandate that he can ignore or put into action, but it’s no big deal unless he’s wrong, we think, because we’re all more infallible than him, and then we just say that his “office” has been taken away, you know, like Judas, so that he continues to be a bishop, but just removed to say, some island, like, I don’t know, Corsica or something.

But Peter is not Judas. The papacy is not a mere office. Infallibility resides not in an “office”, but in the very person of the successor of Peter. In all of this, he is expendable according to the decision of the one who has already established in the heavens what Peter had better agree to on earth. It’s not our decision. It’s all quite glorious, or quite violent. Witness the death of Sixtus V. Yikes!

Infallibility only comes into play in restricted conditions, that is, when the Bishop of Rome precisely as the Successor of Peter teaches on faith or morals to the universal Church especially deciding a controversy. It does NOT come into play with throw-away baitings of what is expressly defined by the Holy Father as being mere DIALOGUE. Why is that so difficult, except for hatred? Has Pope Francis ever said anything in infallible mode up to the time of this writing? No, he has not. So, as I’ve always said and now repeat:

We are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father. We are to pray for him. We are to defend the papacy in the very person of the Pope, for this is where the papacy resides, in the person of Peter, not just some loosely defined “office” of Peter. Get it?

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To hell with the Pope! x3 Eyewitness Analogy: Gerard Manley Hopkins SJ

Holy Spirit Saint Peter Window

I knew a wonderful old school Jesuit I think in his 90s in the 1970s, which means he was a kid when the famous Father Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ, was still alive. He might have been an altar-boy at a certain Mass at which Father Hopkins was preaching. This old Jesuit I knew was in an apartment, alone, not far from death, ostracized, it seems, marginalized, beyond the peripheries, by the more knuckleheaded crowd of the Society in the greater metropolitan area where I was at that time in my life. I would go over to visit him just to do it. He had massive bibliographies to publish, incredible stories to tell, a priest’s priest, an inspiration for a kid like me.

If memory serves me well [meaning: I stand to be corrected], I recall one such story, the details of which I have not been able to find on the internet outside of the words of Father Hopkins: “To hell with the Jesuits.” Here’s the rest of the story as I know it. Oral tradition. That’s the best kind, of course.

Father Hopkins (1844-1889) was the appointed preacher at a Mass opening up a General Chapter of the Society of Jesus in which some important voting was to take place, meaning he had all the upper echelon of the Jesuits of his day in front of him. He began his intervention by stating rather loudly, rather boisterously: “To hell with the Jesuits!” He repeated that thrice with appropriately ponderous pauses, staring down his colleagues sternly. With the church fuming, just where he wanted them, he then added lightheartedly: “So say the enemies of the Jesuits.” And on he went to give a rousing sermon waking everyone up to greater love of God, of neighbor and of the Society of Jesus. Ha ha ha.

Today we have a Jesuit Pope. And this time that rhetorical device of Hopkins is used once again but this time against the Pope – “To hell with the Pope!” – but for real, meaning, only the first part is reiterated without the disclaimer of “So say the enemies of the Pope.”

This has gotten so out of hand that those who say that the Pope is a heretic privately are now musing that the Pope is likely to be a heretic publicly, you know, in an ex-Cathedra Infallible pronouncement as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, on a matter of faith or morals, to the universal Church, deciding a controversy dividing the Church.

This is already a wild-eyed heresy on their part – as the dogmatic definition on infallibility means that that just can’t happen – but as to whether these musers are merely materially or actually formally heretics I don’t know. They are pretty smart, I must say. They could just be baiting people, perhaps as Pope Francis is also doing. Or it’s all a purposed parody for the sake of humor making fun of idiots all around. It all gets a bit messy when not even really intelligent people can figure out if its all humor and parody, right? I don’t agree with baiting on faith itself or morality itself, whatever about baiting people to help them see where they are at themselves with faith and morals. Again, pushing people with irony and sarcasm and even name calling is all within the bound, you know, depending, but not risking people being mislead.

Some think that the Pope could actually fail in infallibility and be wrong, but that that’s O.K. as we could just say after the fact that he was no longer Pope when he did that because he was doing that. But infallibility means unfailing. The Pope cannot be wrong when he is speaking with infallibility, you know, as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter, on faith or morality to the universal Church, deciding a controversy dividing the Church. The level of ignorance these days is stunning. People flaunt their ignorance. And they are respected as great teachers of orthodox faith. (Vomit here.) The recipe is this: be strident in hatred and win the praise of haters. That’s all they have to bring into eternity.

But some even go on to muse about a solution. It is conjectured that one can gnostically somehow know what God thinks, and then make one’s own pronouncement that the Pope is no longer the Pope because he might someday try to pronounce something that would offend against infallibility. They conjecture that this would be more reasonable if, say, a majority of the Cardinals would speak with such gnosticism, or that a Council called together without the Pope for the same end of pronouncing the Pope now to be an anti-Pope would speak with such gnosticism, speaking, indeed, they think, for God, saying that God Himself has pronounced on this to them, you know, because they just somehow know, gnostically, don’t you know? It’s kind of magic, I guess, like “seeing” something in the old crystal ball or in Tarot cards, or “hearing” spirits from the great beyond speak. Riiiiiight. Suuuuuure.

There is no fessing up to a parody being made. It all just sits there. So: fail. And that makes it all a scandal. Being a heretic is no way to attack heresy. The dogma of infallibility is important. One can’t just throw it away.

So, corrections come in, kind of, with, you know, violence, because might makes right, right? Some answer those musers to say that – Hey! – if God provided for there to be a sign, a physical sign that the Pope was no longer to be the Pope, then – Hey! – it would all be O.K. to just remove him, whatever it takes.

Now it’s getting dangerous. What’s that sign to be? A bullet? Is this a call for assassination of the Holy Father? People should be careful in their heresy. Mind you, historically, heretics are often extremely violent.

We are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father. We are to pray for him. We are to defend the papacy in the very person of the Pope, for this is where the papacy resides, in the person of Peter, not just some loosely defined “office” of Peter. Get it? That doesn’t mean that we have to agree with whatever throw away sayings of some “dialogue”. I don’t. What it means is that – let me repeat this to be clear – we are to stand in solidarity with the Holy Father, praying for him, defending his very person.

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Heresies about Papal Infallibility

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

A preliminary heresy that must be stated is shared by ideologists on the left and right who mimic each other, always. Neither are of Tradition but rather push their own agendas. They both dismiss the availability of Sacred Scripture as a viable source of Revelation. The filthy left says that it is out of date because we’re nice and we live today. The right, who I nickname the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, blaspheme the Holy Spirit to say that Sacred Scripture is utterly useless, that we can use Saint Thomas Aquinas and Sacred Tradition with already established solemn interventions of the Sacred Magisterium, things that have been believed everywhere and by all, while meanwhile ignoring Sacred Scripture as idiocy. The problem for both is that when the Holy Spirit is blasphemed and the Sacred Scriptures thrown out, there can be no understanding of the Living Truth. Mind you, I’ve heard some of the very best theologians (you know, the orthodox crowd at the top of their game) openly blaspheme in this way. No, really. For a really pedantic examination of what is in Sacred Scripture, which I’ve never seen anyone else do, see my article:

Papal Infallibility: The Gospel Truth (Matthew 16:19 and Matthew 18:18)

That article is the basis for which I state that the following are some of the heresies over against papal infallibility:

  • The Pope, when speaking not as a merely private individual but in fact as the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, pronounces and declares upon faith or morality to the universal Church especially in deciding a controversy, can fail in his infallibility. The “right” thinks he has done this with Amoris laetitia even though it is said in the very document to be a mere dialogue and not any kind of teaching. The left thinks he can can fail in infallibility on contraception, abortion, homosexuality, women’s ordination, and so on. That infallibility can fail is a heresy. Neither the Pope nor God can change the truth. God is truth. The pope is the servant of Truth. To think and do otherwise, making up the truth as one goes along (ignoring the word “dialogue” etc), so as to effectively make oneself pope, is rather self-referentially congratulatory.
  • The Church is “indefectable” over against the Pope who can fail in his infallibility, and that makes it all good in the long run, because, you know, Jesus is nice. This is the heresy of disgraced “Catholic” “Theologian Father Hans Küng. Mind you, his thoughts on this were taken up explicitely by an ultra-tradition-al-ist crowd in Winona, Minnesota, years ago, with their publishing of a super-fancy, super-clever, fold-up poster providing apologetics for their place in the Church. Hey! they said, We’re with Hans!” That the Church is “indefectable” over against the Pope who can fail in his infallibility is a heresy. The arrogance, the mockery is stunning.
  • It is actually the not the Pope, but a council against the Pope, which is infallible even while it excludes the Pope, so that the members of that council can take the Pope to task and simply declare him to be an anti-Pope after he fails in his infallibility. This is to ignore that Jesus chose Peter alone over against the other Apostles to bear the burden of infallibility. This is to reject Jesus. That the successors of the Apostles can take over the infallibility which falls only to the successor of Peter is a heresy. The right falls into this heresy continuously as does the left. Examples of both are rife. The ignorance and rejection of Jesus is stunning.

The list could continue. The examples are innumerable and jaw dropping, and scandalous.

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Why are you in *that* parish, thus removed from the life of the diocese?

Holy Redeemer church

You have heard that it was said that bishops should politicize appointments of priests by capitalizing talk of “plum parishes” and “difficult parishes,” blah blah blah. And some bishops do that, moving priests to punish or reward them. Sometimes people our ask our great bishop why a certain priest is in a certain parish, city or mountain, proximate or remote, with a strained history or not, and his invariable answer is that he puts his best priests into such parishes, all of them.

Before I was assigned to any parish in the diocese I had quite an extended discussion with the bishop about the state of affairs in this most remote vicariate being that I had some years of experience here before I belonged to the diocese. I was, then, of course, assigned to this most remote of parishes in this vicariate. Before it was something made popular by Pope Francis, who said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes, I said that the best priests should be assigned to the most remote parishes. I’m not the best priest, but the bishop appreciates irony. And, as I say, his forever-response to such things is to say that he puts his best priests in all his parishes, never distinguishing a parish as being this or that. Indeed, the *life* of the diocese is fully to be found in every corner of the diocese. I fully agree.

It’s true that the personnel committee that assists the bishop in placement of priests sends out a questionnaire to all the priests every year asking them if they like parishes with no other priests or with many priests, parishes in a city or away from a city, with hospitals, schools, nursing homes or not, etc. My one time answer was that I love all aspects of priestly ministry and have done pretty much every ministry imaginable as a priest in pretty much all conditions. The members of the Body of Christ are everywhere in all conditions and I’m available for that. Here, I spend really a lot of time bringing parishioners to the hospitals round about. Most hospitals in the area are not certified to do pretty much of anything. These parishioners are old with no family and no finances. All the real hospitals are two hours away, some out of state in Georgia and Tennessee. Though some in Asheville or between Asheville and Hendersonville. This was especially fun in the 1987 Toyota pickup:

toyota pickup

So, here I am and I’m loving it all. This is not a typical parish but, then again, there is no typical parish. When some people ask the question – “Why are you in that parish?” – they mean it as a kind of back-handed compliment, you know, the old you have so many talents BUT you’re way (the hell) out there and therefore you must have done something to get some people disgruntled with you! Well, that is absolutely certainly true. I never hesitate to participate in the old speak truth to power thing, enough to make priest friends really, really, really upset with me, telling me what the results will be and telling me what a fool I am. Whatever. I can’t be hurt no matter what retaliation is brought to bear wherever I happen to be in world at any given time, in Oceania, in the Middle East, in western Europe, in eastern Europe, in Central or South or, for that matter, North America. I love everyone and everything everywhere. So, is it a punishment to be put somewhere, anywhere? Gosh! I just never noticed, ever. And, anyway, I’m a priest forever, and that can’t be taken away, not ever. So, what do I care about anything in this life except that I myself try to do the will of God wherever and however I happen to be?

And then there are the priests who call me up to tell me of all the dramas they have in their parishes and I tell them that I’m so happy to be in my little parish! But, of course, as I say, I would be most happy to be in those parishes as well. It is what it is in this world, wherever we are in whatever circumstances with whatever people wherever they are in their lives. Because that’s what Jesus does when He’s up on the cross: “When I am lifted up on the cross I will draw all to myself.”

UPDATE: A comment came in that I was bidden not to publish (that’s the case with lots of comments and emails etc). But I can’t resist saying that the person said that I was, in fact, perfect for this parish in every way. Meanwhile, just to say, when I covered the Cathedral alone for nine days some years ago now, it was told to our great Bishop right in front of me that the Cathedral parish would be perfect for me. Meanwhile, I think pretty much any priest is perfect for any parish if he simply tries to let the priesthood of Jesus shine through, so that like John the Baptist, the priests recedes so that all can see Jesus alone. I wish I were more like that: All Jesus! All Jesus! All Jesus!

 

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Francis: A Pope from the New World [Documentary K of C]

  • I was impressed by the timing of youngster Jorge’s call to the priesthood from Jesus.
  • I knew I would instantly have been friends with seminarian Jorge, as I can relate similar stories I learned from this documentary. Happiness. Joy. Service. Very cool.
  • There were things which made me laugh out loud that I didn’t know about Father Jorge, I guess because they had such resonance in my heart and soul. Indeed, I thought immediately of various things in my life as a priest that were parallel. No, really, many things indeed. Yikes.
  • There were some things which put the fear of God in me about Bishop Bergoglio because I immediately thought, “Yes, of course. Absolutely. Perfect. Well done.”
  • Then, when it comes to Pope Francis in the documentary, well, I’ll stop here! I know too much in other ways. But I’ll say this. This man does impress me. And I’m learning from him in ways I totally never expected.

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“Pope Francis – A Man of His Word” – Take of “ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists”

The movie is released in theaters wherever it is today, May 18, 2018. The Trailer seems innocent enough. I haven’t seen it. I don’t think it will be carried in theaters in the back mountain ridges here where there are literally only a handful of Catholics.

I only do this once every year or two or three, but I looked at a couple of the video responses of the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists, that is, until I didn’t. I could only stand a few seconds of each:

(1) The first I looked at for a few seconds immediately cut to sleazy soft-porn excerpts of other films which have nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So, yuck. No. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, soooo impure. Just. No. Never again. Again, all of that rubbish had nothing whatsoever to do with this film. So dishonest.

(2) The second one I looked at, presenting itself more as a documentary, opened with some video of the magnificent and traditional and indeed chanted-in-Latin with the traditional text Exsultet, you know, that long and glorious piece sung at the beginning of the Easter Vigil by the priest or deacon. The scenes in this case were from Saint Peter’s in more recent years, but still the Exsultet of old, beautifully chanted in Latin. The video kept flashing on the screen some of the final words of the Esxultet which twice include the word “lucifer,” used, however, not as the name of the fallen angel, but for what it actually means in Latin, which refers to the Easter Candle, which refers to Christ: “lucifer” literally means “light-bearer” in Latin much like “Christopher” means “Christ bearer.” The idea of the video was to make it seem that under Pope Francis the Catholic liturgy is singing to the fallen angel Lucifer, but that is not at all the case. That’s just so incredibly dishonest, lacking in integrity, sooooo impure. Just. No. Never again.

But, I’ll tell you this, those kind of presentations are about the only ones that conservative Catholics (I know; “conservative” is a mere political term, but is appropriate in this context)…. those kind of presentations are about the only ones that “conservative” Catholics will follow on the internet. If what is presented is full of hatred and vitriol and lies, that is exactly what will be followed. It’s says more about the “reporters” and their avid followers than about who the report is supposed to be on.

And, yes, I am also dissed and mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists because – even if very rarely – I call them out on this kind of hatred which smells of the evil one.

Anyway, I’m guessing that this is NOT a documentary on Pope Francis. It simply amounts to whatever personal take it is that the director has. So, whatever. It’s not infallible, is it? No. I’m sure there are inspiration shots of meeting up with those who are suffering, who are in the darkest of existential peripheries, but even that kind of thing is totally mocked by the ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists. Why?

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Pope Francis out-politics Germans on faith. Why Amoris laetitia is dialogue.

eucharist pope francis

So, most of the German bishops, mere politicians that they are, are pushing for NON-Catholic spouses to receive Holy Communion. Seven German bishops complained about this, asking the Holy See to intervene and, you know, kick those other bishops in the kiester. So, that makes the ol’ Vatican the bad guy bully even while the failed majority of bishops become the heroes of the oppressed Masses up to now not receiving Holy Communion. Meanwhile, priests will be brow-beaten into giving Holy Communion to spouses of Catholics anyway, and everyone is that much closer to total and declared apostasy. The seven bishops in the minority, believers that they are, nevertheless just don’t get the politics. You just can’t out-politic Pope Francis.

In a coup for the faith, Pope Francis had a message delivered by messengers. Hah. And all he said was that the whole conference of bishops was to come up with a unanimous solution, knowing, of course, that the seven bishops aren’t going to budge. So, this was an effective intervention of Pope Francis over against the heretic bishops of the majority done in such a way that they couldn’t at all make themselves heroes with “the people” and moreover would be shown what total idiots they are with the faith, unable to agree among themselves.

Mind you, even if the seven bishops were to cave to the majority, stupidly, it still couldn’t be accepted by the Holy See, by Pope Francis, for the rule of the process is that they are to come up with a solution ” in the spirit of ecclesial communion.” Hah. The only way that comes about is fidelity to Mary’s dearest Son, Jesus, our Lord and Savior. Hah. And even with the entire conference going heretical, they wouldn’t be heroes, for this would look like they were doing this in bad faith, merely for self-congratulation.

In doing this, Pope Francis has actually just insisted against “decentralization”. Are pundits really unable to see this?

The point is that we are not to use the successor of Peter to beat up on others in a first instance, but we are to evangelize ourselves, but always with the idea that the bishop of Rome (who can only be the Successor of Peter for theological neophytes) is the Supreme Pontiff. The seven bishops say that the faith shouldn’t be decided by a national bishops conference. Right. Well… Pope Francis never said that it should, did he? No. He didn’t.

Then, in a huff, all upset, ALL those bishops will complain by saying:

“That’s terrible. Because then we’ll like, you know, have to pray together, and like, pray, and stuff. And use real reason. And pray, and, like, stuff.”

I think I get Pope Francis now.

If he were to make an ex-Cathedra statement about marriage and the family as he said he would during his speech on the 50th anniversary of the Synods of Bishops, this would be nice, but it would stop the sinking in of the conclusion that we have to pray and help each other in the faith. Or am I totally totally wrong?

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Flowers for the Immaculate Conception (Papist edition, again, edition)

img_20180419_190311637_hdr~21944854233..jpg

Sunshine yellow, one of the colors of the Holy See, of the Supreme Pontiff, you know, flag-waving and all that:

I received this in an email:

Dear Fr George, I have today received an email from […] (which I subscribe to) which states that Pope Francis is on a mission to radically change the Church. Please tell me this is not true.  I don’t think I could face any more drastic changes. There is so much pessimism on the Catholic blogs I follow but you have always been a positive voice for Pope Francis and after your recent meeting you must know him well.

Here’s the deal: I don’t care if anyone, including the Supreme Pontiff, the Vicar of Christ, the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Saint Peter (on and on) is on whatever kind of mission to change the Church radically (watch that Queen’s English splitting of infinitives!). No one can radically, that is, from the root and foundation, change the least iota about the Church, not about infallibility, not about the sacraments, not about anything that belongs to the root and foundation of the Church. That would be like saying we can change God or some stupid thing like that. We can’t. To frighten people by saying that someone, anyone, say, like the Pope, can change radically the Church is a disservice to people. Christ Jesus is not amused. We might want to take notice that what we do or don’t do for others we do or don’t do for Christ Jesus Himself. Anyone trying to get internet popularity by way of scaremongering, destroying people’s faith, reducing the faith to the whims of whomsoever, is truly bad and evil. Jesus is not amused.

Rest assured, dearest reader, that whatever the Holy Father may or may not want to do, the Church will go on to the end of the world, and Jesus will be with us, as He Himself promised. And Jesus, the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, is NOT a liar. Anyone who makes Jesus out to a liar and calls Him such is to deny Him. He who denies Jesus will be denied by Him. Such tradition-al-ism-ists, who have nothing to do with the Holy Spirit of God who brings the faith to us in a univocal manner (see Cardinal Siri), thus bringing us Sacred Tradition such as it is.

Just as Jesus is ferociously indignant upon undue attacks on His own, so is Jesus’ good mom. After all, she intercedes for us. She doesn’t look benignly upon those who waste their time destroying the faith when they could, instead, build it up. Thus, some papist flowers for the Immaculate Conception.

Having said all that, one doesn’t have to agree with that which is NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church. And if it’s NOT of the universal Magisterium of the Church, really, such pundits need to get a life. And go to Confession. Use the Keys!

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“You’re nothing special” – Pope Francis to Missionaries of Mercy

“Moreover, be sure you understand well that you’re nothing special, you Missionaries of Mercy.” – Pope Francis

That’s right. What weak and sinful man can forgive sin? So, it’s all about Jesus. He’s the One. He’s the only One.

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How prodigal of Pope Francis! Thank you Holy Father.

A solid bronze replica (weighs a ton) of this detail of the Holy Door at Saint Peter’s.

The Holy Father commissioned one for each Missionary of Mercy.

My licentiate thesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute was on this scene of Luke 15.

I am deeply touched by this gesture of his thanks to us. Thank you, Holy Father.

Btw: that’s a donkey with his ears laid way back, right?

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About those wounds

A priest I met at the bus stop.

We had a good conversation about Jesus and the cynicism of the world. He said that people have so many wounds that a few more on Jesus isn’t going to affect them one bit. He spoke of how terribly difficult the mission is. He didn’t blame the modern world, but recognized that all times are quite the same.

Now I go one step more…

Having priests start going to Confession so that they bring this Sacrament once again to their parishes isn’t good enough. We have to be willing to rejoice that we are in humble thanksgiving before the Lord. So, let me change that all too set in stone saying of mine to…

Humble, joyful thanksgiving.

Pope Francis says it best:

“Joy greater than any doubt.”

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A day with Pope Francis

First we’ll have a conference with Archbishop Fisichella, then another by Pope Francis, then just us for Mass with Pope Francis at the altar of the Chair of Saint Peter, then lunch, then…

So, off to the gate into Vatican City called the Petriano, which isn’t actually called that according to the Swiss Guards, who call it what I’ve called it all the decades, “Porta di Sant’Ufficio.”

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Pope Francis’ awesome Mercy Sunday homily

We have a great Bishop in Charlotte; he very much enjoys being with his priests. And vice versa. This is rare for bishops and priests. I witnessed this same joy after Mass today out front of Saint Peter’s as in the picture I took above.

There was a phrase from his homily that was like a lightning bolt and it immediately burned itself into my memory:

Gioia più grande d’ogni dubbio. “Joy greater than any doubt.”

He explained this as an encounter with the Incarnate Lord Jesus, risen, with the wounds He would have us see.

And we can see with the eyes of faith, with the Eucharist.

“My Lord and my God!”

That’s not an arrogant possessiveness, he said, but rather speaks to the goodness and kindness of Jesus.

Great insights, really.

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THE highlight of my trip to Rome. My visit with, you know…

After all was said and done, well over an hour I think, I headed back down alone from…

We covered a lot of topics. There were many I didn’t get to. I was promised cooperation for a certain […]. Finally, I was given some handmade rosaries that are given by the Holy Father only to Cardinals (red) and Archbishops (green). Ten each. That’s as close as I’ll get to that, of course. I’ll have to be careful as to whom I give these to. I may be quizzed as to names later. ;-) I would like to get one to Fr Gordon MacRae (About). It would be a red one. It’s happened before. Remember St John Fisher?

This was a most extraordinary meeting, utterly candid. Zero politics. The exactitude of theological reasoning was stunning, exhilarating. I think the angels rejoiced.

I can only say that many have the wrong idea about many things. Whenever there is bitter, hateful cynicism, an exam of conscience must be made.

This meeting was worth the entire trip by far, and the reason for which I came hasn’t yet started. I will have much to do about […] when I return to the parish, please God.

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Re-post from 2017: My meditation on hell. Thanks go to Pope Francis for his words on hell.

moloch

My favorite meditation is perhaps presumptuous, but it is about going before Jesus at the gates of heaven, falling down in reverence before him, crying my eyes out not in supplication, but rather in humble thanksgiving and joy: look at those wounds my sin engraved in his hands and feet and side, his Heart. Thank you for bringing even me to heaven, Jesus.

But that mediation has a backdrop, the all too real possibility of going to hell. Jesus spoke of it, so must we. Pope Francis speaks about it perhaps more than all other Roman Pontiffs put together. He doesn’t want us to go there. The very homily which the fake-news mongers claim to be the smoking gun in which Pope Francis denies hell and the pain of hell is the very homily where he underlines the horrific and eternal nature of hell, namely, distance from God and frustration. It deserves some extra commentary. So, just some notes:

In Mark 9:48, Jesus speaks of those who go to hell, that is, analogously, Gehenna, the valley below the temple mount where children were burned alive on a hollowed out bronze statue-stove of Moloch, Satan. Quite the image of suffering and, in the time of Jesus, the symbol of judgment regarding eternal damnation. How fitting that it’s below the “Dung Gate.”

Anyway, Jesus says that their worm dies not, that is, their σκώληξ, that is, that kind of worm which feeds on corpses, that is, a maggot. Jesus’ justice is only outdone, as it were, by his mercy, for it is based on his justice. Thus:

Psalm 22, which speaks of the future crucifixion of Jesus, puts these words in the mouth of the Suffering Servant: “I am a worm and no man” (Ps 22:6). That worm bit is again σκώληξ, maggot, in the Septuagint, and, in the Hebrew, תוֹלַעַת, that is, maggot. Jesus cites the beginning of Psalm 22 from the cross. Jesus took our place on the cross as a maggot in hell so that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

saraph-serpent

The maggot-worm in hell, that is, therefore, the fire-serpent, recalls Jesus speaking of himself as the fiery saraph-serpent: “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the desert, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” (John 3:14). You’ll recall that the fiery saraph-serpents were killing the people in the desert during the exodus, and that Moses made an image of such a serpent in bronze, raising this up on a stake, a cross, so that all who might look at it might be healed. Jesus came among us looking like us, we who kill each other in sin, and he was raised up on a stake, on a cross, that all who look to him might be healed of the eternal death that the fiery serpent Satan intends for us. He takes our place that he might have the right in his own justice to have mercy on us so that we might not go to hell. That‘s how much he loves us.

But Jesus speaks of their worm dying not. Let’s drill down into this “worm” and “not dying” bit.

The part about the worm is actually about Satan back in Genesis, that fallen monster angel who deceived Adam through his wife. The ill-advised translation about his being cursed is that he will go about on his belly. What a stupid translation into ultra-derived meanings. Why not just translate what it says?… “You will go about on your writhingness.” This “writhingness” refers to frustration. Have you ever seen someone super-frustrated, throwing a tantrum, going about on their writhingness?

Here’s a sad bit about a woman who missed her flight. What might it be to miss one’s flight to heaven and end up in hell forever?

Now, couple that writhingness not with repentance for having been late, as it were, but with belligerent arrogance and hatred of all and not being repentant at all. This is a fire worse than any fire a match could light. This is internal, intellectual frustration. Horrific. Pope Francis has it right. Intellectual frustration coupled with hatred is worse than any torture chamber we might think is in hell.

There is that kind of thing of course, with those in hell harassing each other, with the fallen angels harassing all. It’s a place of hatred, after all, forever and ever. Why go there? Go to confession. Go to heaven! I want to go to heaven.

Meanwhile, some fun with writhing worms, except if they’re you in hell forever:

So, maybe this is more on target:

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“Pope Francis is cute!”

img_20180322_125458516713822294.jpg

The end of the world for the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina, beyond the peripheries, is beautiful. There are also some of the worst problems in the world with drugs and alcohol and violence and corrupt politics. Very close to where this picture is taken my Missionary of Mercy duties have me visit the elderly who are sick and dying, as well as this 92-year-old who thinks Pope Francis is cute:

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Pope Francis & The Snake – Fake News

The Snake by Al Wilson

On her way to work one morning
Down the path along side the lake
A tender hearted woman saw a poor half frozen snake
His pretty colored skin had been all frosted with the dew
“Poor thing, ” she cried, “I’ll take you in and I’ll take care of you”
“Take me in tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She wrapped him up all cozy in a comforter of silk
And laid him by her fireside with some honey and some milk
She hurried home from work that night and soon as she arrived
She found that pretty snake she’d taken to had been revived
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

She clutched him to her bosom, “You’re so beautiful, ” she cried
“But if I hadn’t brought you in by now you might have died”
She stroked his pretty skin again and kissed and held him tight
Instead of saying thanks, the snake gave her a vicious bite
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

“I saved you, ” cried the woman
“And you’ve bitten me, but why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I’m going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman, ” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in
“Take me in, tender woman
Take me in, for heaven’s sake
Take me in, tender woman, ” sighed the snake

Songwriters: Robert S. Kelly / Darian Morgan / The Snake lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

Then there’s this from Pope Francis some weeks ago (reported by The Guardian)

Pope Francis has denounced fake news as evil, comparing it to the snake in the Garden of Eden, and urged journalists to make it their mission to search for the truth.

He said the first fake news dated from the biblical beginning of time, when Eve was tempted to take an apple from the Garden of Eden based on disinformation from the serpent. “The strategy of this skilled ‘Father of Lies’ is precisely mimicry, that sly and dangerous form of seduction that worms its way into the heart with false and alluring arguments,” he said of the snake. He called for a shared commitment to rediscovering the “dignity of journalism” and for reporters to speak the truth with work that was “truthful and opposed to falsehoods, rhetorical slogans, and sensational headlines”.

//// Yesterday, the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (his magisterial authority) I offered Mass for Pope Francis. Today is the Memorial of Saint Polycarp, Bishop and Martyr. I offered Mass for Bishop Jugis (not that he’s going to end up like Polycarp in his death, burned at the stake), but so that he ends up like Polycarp in heaven.

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Re-post: Francis the Lutheran certainly to the left, and “Fr.” George Byers, “Novus Ordo Priest,” not quite right

POPE FRANCIS FATHER BYERS MOCKED

[[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.

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Pope Francis, faithful priests loyal to the papacy, and… and… China

torture in china religion

This lady complained about the persecution of Falun Gong. She died of mistreatment. And so it is for other believers, including Christians, including Catholics.

It’s inevitable, you know, the question that comes from faithful young priests:

Why is it that liberal non-believing atheist priests who smash down the faithful in every possible way are always favored by both liberal and perhaps especially noticeably by conservative, devout, believing bishops, and this specifically over-against faithful priests who are just quietly trying their best to follow the doctrine and morality of the Church, the proper way to offer Holy Mass and the other sacraments, who are just being good and kind in their parishes? Why is that? It’s always that way, or at least it seems that it is always that way, since it is just such a betrayal of all that one would otherwise expect in reason and justice and integrity and honesty. So, why is it that faithfulness is not rewarded with at least being left alone to practice the faith, to be good to others?

And this is not just true in parishes, it is also true in the Holy See, in the appointment of Bishops and Cardinals. On and on.

And this is not just true with individuals, but also with entire countries and regions of countries. For instance, with China. I cannot think of any other part of the world where the laity and clergy and bishops have suffered more to remain loyal to the Holy Father only apparently to have been smashed down by him. It almost seems he wants to have the laity and priests and bishops loyal to him be disappeared or put into labor or re-education camps, to be tortured and put to death. It almost seems that he just doesn’t give a damn. Does he really think he will get concessions? Does he really think that this will not embolden the government religion police to crush believers all the more, using this move of Pope Francis as psychological torture. I mean, imagine: “The Pope doesn’t want your loyalty. He despises your suffering and the suffering of all those with you and who went before you. He spits on you.”

But that should make one pause and ask why, and ask not with cynicism, but with a view to getting an answer. To be cynical is deadly. Surely that is not what is wanted by anyone. I am weak. If I were in China and was seemingly betrayed by the Holy Father like this, I must admit that I would be wide open to slipping into this deadly cynicism, wide open to slipping straight into hell. Even though that would not make sense. We are all so fragile.

The answer to the question of my own priest friends about why faithful priests who are loyal are smacked down in favor of filthy-liberal non-believers is two-fold:

  • It is thought that Jesus will take care of those who are faithful. But this is tempting God, is it not? We have an obligation to love and respect others with God’s love and God’s truth and God’s goodness and God’s kindness.
  • It is thought that concessions will win friends and influence people, so that people will simply suffer less, because you know, that’s what it’s all about. But this seems only effectively to reject what little light is in the darkest of peripheries, and it all descends only farther into the depths of hell.

So, can we think about all this in any way that is positive? Well, what if the actor, in this case, Pope Francis, only has concern for less torture and sincerely believes that concessions will make for less torture? I mean, I would not want to be tortured. That would indeed be horrible. Horrible. No, really… horrible. Pope Francis might even think that this “less torture” benefit will solve both points above. Could be.

We pray for Pope Francis. We pray for China.

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Absolving excommunicated Mafiosi. Pope Francis’ conscience. Targeting Missionaries of Mercy. My fault?

don pino puglisi

Blessed Father Pino Puglisi, killed by the Sicilian Mafia.

Pope Francis’ problem in declaring the excommunications of Mafiosi is not that there would have to be a publication by name of individuals involved (which they wouldn’t care about as they would be convicted and imprisoned and publicized as such), but rather a publication by name of individuals who have sought to have their excommunications lifted.

Part of that lifting of the excommunication involves a confessions of sins, which would involve many if not all the crimes for which they have been convicted, if not many, many, many more.

Those “pentiti” might rarely seek out a witness protection program of the State. That program would be granted along with immunity to those who would rat out others in the mafia and confess to the State even more crimes.

And yet, those individuals, not trusting the State, might want to avoid all of that and simply wait until they leave prison. If they then seek to have their excommunications lifted, whether in prison or, finally, out, they would simply go to, say, a Missionary of Mercy (if they are granted the faculties for such a situation) or a priest who could put them in touch with the bishop of the place or the Apostolic Penitentiary in Rome, depending on the logistics of delegation for the lifting of the penalty.

However, upon the publication of their names that they have had their excommunications lifted, those individuals would then have a contract put out on them by the Mafia, a death sentence, for it is known that part of this would be a confession of their sins, again, surely everything, not just that for which they were convicted, but all other crimes, murder, extortion, usually involving many others of their Mafia crowd.

And now there is someone who has a 1st hand Confession of that which both law enforcement of whatever country and the now betrayed Mafia will want to put down. Thus, there will be a hit put out not only on the ex-Mafia guy, but also the priest or bishop.

“Troppe cose conosce… padre…” [Bang!]

Fine. That’s O.K. Happy to do it. Missionaries of Mercy volunteered to do just this kind of thing, right? But that’s Pope Francis’ conscience problem, right? It shouldn’t be.

 

The status quo just isn’t working. The status quo is that, say, a Mafia funeral is being arranged at the funeral home for whatever parish; the undertaker rings the priest who already knows he’s going to get the call. The priest agrees, even though he knows that the Mafia guy is a notorious sinner and such a funeral would be a scandal. He does this because he doesn’t want untoward consequences. This happens all the time.

The same is true of Mafia weddings: “Padre, you will be at the villa on top of the mountain at 1:00 PM today to witness a marriage.” The priest knows that this is a Mafia wedding, that probably the girl is unwilling, even with a gun to her head, that a previous spouse could have been killed, whatever. No premarital investigation. He does it.

The priest does it because if he doesn’t there will be consequences, probably not involving himself, but others. His mother gets a broken arm. The family bakery is burned down. A drugged up teenage unwilling mafia prostitute is dragged in front of him and has her brains blown out.

But what we’re talking about here is not just the “Mafia” but such as MS 13, Calle 18, the Aryan Brotherhood, et alii, but also all the diverse thuggish ethnic groups, all the cartels.

Or is there another way?

Pope Francis is used to doing things a little differently, so why not with this as well?

Could any priest lift the excommunication? Guaranteed, this will just have any number of priests indiscriminately killed. That would become the initiation murder into whatever organization. There are hundreds of extremely violent groups who day in and day out torture and kill men, young and old, but also women, boys and girls, infants, babies. All the time. Day in, day out. The old Mafia honor thing doesn’t exist anymore.

So, I say, just give it to the Missionaries of Mercy.

But, here’s the deal: Law enforcement wants the info of those confessions just as bad as does any corrupt organization. The FBI, you have to know, will also stop at absolutely nothing to get that information. When you see enough hell, torture, death, of kids, day in, day out, becoming so frustrated, and here are these priests sitting on this information, first hand sincere confessions, just how is it that you get those priests to rat out their penitents and break the seal of confession. All the same extortion and tactics can come into play. Technological ploys are common place. But there are ways to overcome all these things. But I’ll tell you this, the FBI makes a thing of coming to these posts specifically on the absolution of the possible excommunication of the Mafia-esque crowd frequently, especially lately. Something’s afoot.

And as far as the declaration that the excommunication being lifted goes, the Missionary simply, though secretly, provides the name of the one who, outside of confession, before the confession, had his excommunication lifted. That name then simply disappears from the list published on the Vatican web-site rather than from any local (arch)diocese.

But there’s more. It’s not just a godfather or a made man that we’re talking about, is it? What about the guy who creates a drug problem among your kids, then makes money from the problem he himself created by profiting from the drug habit of those kids, he being the street dealer or someone in the middle or higher up. It’s all RICO. Are we talking all drug pushers? Wow. I’m your guy, Pope Francis. I’ll do it. As reparation for my sins, for those of my “Shadow”, for those of some of our law enforcement, some of those in the State Department, some priests who caved and only facilitated such criminals.

===============

Perhaps I’m at fault here regarding all this business about excommunications. Some years ago I put in a bid to have exactly this kind of thing done. It wasn’t long after that that an episcopal intervention about this was made here in these U.S.A. It wasn’t long after that that Pope Francis began this process of finding a way such excommunications effected. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. At any rate, you can’t just do stuff and guardian angels let you get away with nothing happening to you while others are done in because of your intervention. Fine. Whatever. I just don’t care, meaning, I’m not the one to decide how life goes. God guides history. The angels make it happen. So, it’s all good by me.

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