Category Archives: Pope Francis

Fearful Roman Curia discerning the way of the Holy Spirit in the Beatitudes

JESUS I AM

You have heard that it was said that those working in whatever capacity in the Holy See (the “Vatican”) are scared. I say that if they are ever afraid, whether priests or bishops or religious, they shouldn’t be. Fear is a sign of the lack of truth, a lack of discernment of the truth, a lack of the Holy Spirit who would instead lead us to the truth. To be established in him who is truth is not to fear. Being one with him who fearlessly says “I AM” cannot at the same time tolerate fear.

“But what should we do? Give us clear direction!”

So, I guess you missed it the first time around. Here it is: “If you love me, keep my commandments.”

“But you don’t get it, Father George, that’s considered Pharisaical, Pelagian, Promethian self-absorbed idol worship.”

“Really? Are you making that application? Even if that were true on whoever’s part, so what? Since when did we lose sight of the Beatitudes? Since when are we to mope about, have nervous sweats, panic attacks and ulcers instead of rejoicing and being glad that great is our reward in the Kingdom of the heavens because we love Jesus and want to share the greatest love of our lives, namely, Jesus? Is not Jesus the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception, the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonder Counselor, Prince of the Most Profound Peace, who will be the one to come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, the very fire of God’s love, the fire of the Holy Spirit? Yes, that would be him. He’s the One who said: “I AM.” So what are you afraid of? Amen.

P.S. I mean, really, what are these protestations of fear about? Is this a way of making an excuse? “Oh! I’m so fearful that my fear acted as a coercion forcing me to do something I otherwise would never do! It’s all the fault of fear! I’m soooo afraid.”

To which I say, grow up, love Jesus, and be a good son of his good mom. Also, and I don’t say this lightly, have some respect for your guardian angel who sees God in the face.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Jesus, Marriage, Mercy, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Spiritual life

Tender snowflakes complain that Pope Francis is a meany and, like, stuff…

dung snow

Tender snowflakes haven’t a chance. But the manure they throw is their own.

Some journalists are going out of their way to demonstrate that they are afraid of governance in the Church and afraid especially for this to be done in manly manner. Hah! These tender snowflakes should get in line with the ole sentire cum ecclesia.

I remember a traditional priest taking over a traditionalismist parish who was immediately told by his traditionalismist parishioners that he, the traditional priest, was going to have to obey all their traditionalismist guidelines and fall into line with all their traditionalismist points of view.

His response – may God bless him abundantly – was that this liberal-democratic-run-church way of doing things stopped the second he, the traditional priest, set foot on the property, and that instead, he, as the traditional priest, was going to govern the parish the traditional way, that is, with traditional fatherly governance, whereby there is no room for liberal-democratic-run-church way of doing things, and that he, as a traditional priest, would be providing them, regardless of their acceptance, with all that the Church in her great Tradition provides, all the doctrine, all the morality, all the best in liturgical praxis, and this, not because he liked it or they liked it, but because this is what the Church herself has provided and does provide, the living truth who is charity, Christ Jesus, who, as always, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire, whether they like it or not. Needless to say, they fell in line with Holy Mother Church right away, thankful for such a reprimand.

Might it be that the Holy Father is quite rough in cleaning house for whatever reason that we don’t know about? I sure hope so. That would then remind us of the event of blessed memory when Christ Jesus himself cleaned house with whips and the ferocity of overturning tables. I mean, really, excuse my French, but where in hell to these criticizers of the Holy Father pretend to be in a position to say that his being rough (if that is the case) is out of line?  Do they want limp-wristedness? I don’t. Oh, was I myself a bit rough there? Yes, well, I also, who am now putting on some years, am getting sick and tired of ad hominem attacks on the Holy Father, to the point that, in solidarity with him, I will also act with a bit of gruff curmudgeonness and use bad words like hell. The thing is, and I tell you the truth, Jesus himself will come to judge the living and the dead and world by fire. Oooooo! #e||-fire… Amen! :-)

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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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Filed under Hell, Pope Francis

Anti-Pope-Francis Fake-News-Blogs

fake-news

A couple of months back a number of purportedly Catholic blogs put up a condemnation of Pope Francis for his denial of any hell worth the name of hell. The problem is, he didn’t deny the existence of hell, nor even the pains of hell. In fact, he has the most eloquent and biblical explanation of hell I’ve seen for a long time. He’s spot on. He speaks about it because he doesn’t want us to go there. And he’s also right about the rigidity of some of these bloggers, who want the fires of hell to mean only physical fire, rigidly so. Sorry. There is more to hell than just that. There’s frustration and, yes, distance from God, a distance, yes, of separation. But that’s for another post. It has to do with the worm not dying. Don’t go to hell. Go to confession.

Oh, did I mention that those posts on those blogs disappeared when these guys were caught out? They took them down, but other lesser web-sites who seemed to have followed their example still have their posts up, doing untold harm to the faithful. What I would like to see is those fake-news anti-Pope-Francis blogs which claim to be so very Catholic put up apologies for their having promoted the fake-news cycle risking the eternal damnation of those who follow them.

I doubt if we will see that. For instance, one of them put up a post about how much they, the workers who have borne the heat of the day, how much they hate and despise and belittle and spit on those who are scandalized only just recently by this or that event wrought by this or that individual in the Church, saying that those who are only newly scandalized are to be most condemned and forever ostracized into the peripheries for the reason that they didn’t jump on board with the fake-news mongers earlier, because, hey!, that’s the way to be inviting of people to a deeper appreciation of the faith, right? Just kick everyone in the teeth, right?

That’s just a small example of the bitter hatred and frustration and arrogance that one will find in hell, where the worm of that frustration does not die. Yikes!

Although they have set themselves up to be judges of all humanity, those who hate Jesus even in the midst of their rigidity will not come to judge, with Jesus, the living and the dead and the world by fire. They will instead be judged. And we’ll see what the ferocity of that fire is in another post. Stay tuned. It’s more frightening than the rigid will ever want to admit. But perhaps it will scare them into reconsidering their self-righteousness that seems to absolve them in their own eyes of the fake-news stories they put up in order to attack the Holy Father.

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Amoris laetitia 351 Unrepentant, active prostitutes, absolution,Communion?

Update: There is some pretty heavy interest in high places right now over some of the more controversial posts I’ve put up about the past couple of Synods. If I had to write an apologia about this, I would just say that my opinions are on behalf of those who suffer much in this world, who are marginalized and kept suffering it seems to me on purpose. That unnecessary suffering really just needs to stop, and stop now.

peep show

It seems that paragraph 49 refers to prostitution to avoid poverty. Communion for active prostitutes has been part of pastoral praxis by some for decades and a continuous side debate for some of the liberation theology / arm-chair moral theology crowd. So:

49. Here I would also like to mention the situation of families living in dire poverty and great limitations. The problems faced by poor households are often all the more trying.36 For example, if a single mother has to raise a child by herself and needs to leave the child alone at home while she goes to work, the child can grow up exposed to all kind of risks and obstacles to personal growth. In such difficult situations of need, the Church must be particularly concerned to offer understanding, comfort and acceptance, rather than imposing straightaway a set of rules that only lead people to feel judged and abandoned by the very Mother called to show them God’s mercy. Rather than offering the healing power of grace and the light of the Gospel message, some would “indoctrinate” that message, turning it into “dead stones to be hurled at others”.37

36 Cf. Relatio Finalis 2015, 15.
37 Concluding Address of the Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (24 October 2015): L’Osservatore Romano, 26-27 October 2015, p. 13.

I mean, what does that mean in light of footnote 351 other than to provide, say, Communion for active prostitutes? The solution, it seems to me, isn’t to argue for decades about Prostitutes going to Communion, but rather to open safe houses which can immediately set about finding jobs and shelter and education.

Who throws dead stones of doctrine at anyone? Is the reference to priests like me?

Does this throwing stones reference (coming not long after paragraph 27 in which the adulterous woman of the Gospel of John is mentioned) mean that Jesus was a fool damned by our Heavenly Father for telling the adulterous woman to “sin no more,” Himself stoning this woman into marginalization from the faith by His damnable indoctrinated doctrine-stone of “sin no more”? That’s not what the document says about Jesus, instead reporting in paragraph 27 that, “alone with Jesus, she meets not condemnation but the admonition to lead a more worthy life (cf. Jn 8:1-11).” In other words, the Gospel lies that Jesus told her to “sin no more,” which would inescapably imply that she knew she had in fact sinned (both objectively and subjectively), and that the condemnation is only avoided by taking in the forgiveness with repentance and a firm purpose of amendment. All that, for the document, is simply a heap of indoctrinated stones to throw. So, instead, the document insists that Jesus said that she is to live a more worthy life, inescapably implying that her life was already worthy, but just needed to be, you know, more worthy.

And that leads us back to paragraph 49, where the worthiness of adultery by prostitution, while not as worthy as a life which doesn’t include prostitution, is nevertheless so worthy that it is to be rewarded by such casuistry with, say, Holy Communion.

Look: Just open a safe house. I’ve worked in such places, offered confessions and Holy Mass in such places, given Holy Communion to prostitutes galore in such places. I’ve even ended up in a wheelchair and crutches because of such places. Really, I’ve been there, done that. Just get them the help they need. Don’t just say have a nice day with Holy Communion at a street Mass in the red-light district and not provide for them. Do provide for them both physically and spiritually.

Just call me the dumpster priest. But don’t try to make me take up a program that will keep prostitutes in prostitution. To hell with that.

And, by the way, you know all those people steeped in Tradition, that is, those Legion of Mary people? You have to know that I’m one of them, and you have to know that they started out by evangelizing at brothels.

Or is this really about thinking that prostitutes can’t repent? A prostitute once told me that a clergy guy (Episcopalian I think) would walk into her room for quick sex, first taking his clergy collar off, then unzipping himself, as if the collar in the back pocket would make what he was doing out front somehow moral. When she asked him about his visits to herself later (after she was converted from prostitution), he said that he didn’t think that people like her could possibly ever convert. Is that the message that we have here?

I would like to ask someone, but it seems that speaking with parrhesia isn’t to be met with answers of parrhesia. But if I’m wrong on that, I sure would appreciate an answer.

And, oh, by the way, this paragraph 49 cannot refer to something like thievery either for the mom or the boy, can it? We have better theology of private property than that.

I mean, I just can’t believe that this paragraph was written or published. Prostitutes are always in grave danger of disease, damage, dismemberment, and death by physical force or despair along. Get them out of the situation immediately. Don’t argue about their subjective guilt. If you want a lack of mercy and hurling stones, THAT kind of sophistry that keeps them in their prostitution is example number one.

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Filed under Adulterous woman, Amoris laetitia, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family

Jesus listens even to the “Dog-Woman”

pietro-del-po-1650-dog-woman

“Dog-Woman” Chapter 1 (pdf)

Chapter One is merely an introduction, and merely a rough draft. If you have any critiques, please do, offer them. I’m listening.

Chapter two will be a commentary on the Gospel of Matthew and Chapter three on that of Mark. Chapter four, well, that will bring out some implications, and that, my friends, will be a bit of a fright for some who are “rigid.” That’s it. Just a short pamphlet.

About Pietro del Po’s etching @1650 above. I’d like to see something out in the country, with all the Apostles cowering behind Jesus, with the woman smiling as she points to the little doggie, with Jesus laughing with her as He points to the Apostles behind him. Heh heh heh.  Any artists in the house?

In the PDF linked to here, a revised cover is to be seen. I’m not sure if I would like to keep that artwork or something of a revision of Pietro’s work above. I’d like to see the woman depicted as someone who is obviously very poor and is obviously just a teenager.

You’ll see from this first chapter that a big deal is made of listening. I’m also trying to make sense of the Synods on the Family and Pope Francis’ plea for a Synodal Church. Tell me if on on track, if I’m a heretic, if that is more or perhaps less than what Pope Francis wants. Don’t be shy.

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (3) Is Pope Francis pimping “The Whore” or is he waiting for attractive writing?

whore-of-babylon-martin-luther

The Whore of Babylon printed in Martin Luther’s expression of rebellion.

You’ll remember Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (1) and then (2) which had a link to Amoris laetitia 351 gradualism casuistry. A comment about the big picture needs to be made amidst all the flurry of questions and dubia and, for some, accusations and bitterness…

Here’s the deal: Pope Francis does know what an infallible statement is. He does know what the Scriptures have for us. He does know Canon Law. People can spout those things off to him until they are blue in the face and that will not change the fact that he already knows those things. People think he rejects all of that. Maybe so. I don’t know that for a fact. I don’t think for a second that he’s pimping “The Whore of Babylon” on purpose. What I do know is that he has called for dialogue in the opening paragraphs of Amoris laetitia, especially paragraphs 3-4. Dialogue is what it is, messy, full of ambiguity and whatever rubbish people bring to it. That’s what it is. But it prepares for something else.

It’s true: We have heard from those who do reject the clear teaching of Christ, from those who seem to mock the Holy Scriptures’ inspiration by the Holy Spirit, from those who seem to be holding themselves up to be God himself. They have been eloquent in their own way merely because of their obnoxious flurry of bullying. They have artistically represented what error manifests. Some, of course, have been most sincere.

But it’s also true that from the traditional side of things, that is, from those who would at least like to think that they are with Sacred Tradition, with Sacred Scripture, with the Sacred Magisterium of the Church, we have heard precious little. The objection is that we have the example of Tradition, that we have those brief sayings in Scripture, that we have Familiaris Consortio and that we even have the absolutely clear dubia. “That’s enough!” they say. And that’s all good and is way more than sufficient for the believer, but it’s not enough for others, for those who don’t know how to believe because there is no one to walk them through it all. Pope Francis does not believe that those other things are enough. Neither do I. People unfamiliar with Tradition, unfamiliar with Scripture, unfamiliar with Familiaris Consortio and the dubia are in need of preaching and catechesis. Saint Paul mentions this:

“How then can they call on the One they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the One of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” (Romans 10:14-15).

Is Pope Francis waiting a really long time? Yes. For a reason and, I think, a good reason. He hasn’t heard from the beautiful side of things and desires to hear this. Pope Francis has been begging non-stop for that which is written in a beautiful way, an inviting way, an attractive way, a positive way, a comprehensive way. Where is it? Perhaps Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est? Not even that. And yes, I know, there are surely tens of thousands of tracts and pamphlets and books and films and what-not flooding the market. But we need something that profoundly reflects the beauty of Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterial interventions precisely in the face of the challenges we find with Amoris laetitia. Let me repeat that: Precisely in the face of those challenges. Was the book sent to all the participants of the Synod enough? No, it was not. It was good. It was technical. But we need beautiful answers to the agonizing difficulties. And if beautiful means the glorious but tortured wounds of Christ in the midst of his wedding with his Immaculate Bride the Church, then it’s about those wounds we must write in a way comprehensible not just to some Cardinals, some canon lawyers, some exegetes, some moral theologians, but also to everyone. Let’s get to work.

I, for one, after finishing commentary on the “Dog-Woman” (see: 2018 Bishops Synod: young people and vocational discernment: no rigidity), intend to start in on the description of marriage in the first chapters of Genesis. Some might think that the younger John Paul II’s work on the Theology of the Body is enough and that I should shut up, but even the older John Paul II himself admitted that he did not give enough consideration and balance to ToB because of almost entirely ignoring the effects of original sin. I’ll not insult the great saint by ignoring his protestations. I’ll take a hint and try to fill in the lack, and that, by the way, will make it all the more beautiful as it will put us face to face with those glorious wounds of Christ Jesus. But I have little talent for writing and, at any rate, am very much unknown. So, we all need to get to work. So, let’s get to work!

george-david-byers-john-paul-ii

Just before Christmas Day, 1985

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family

Pope Francis, journalists & bad words: κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία

dung snow

When Pope Francis apologized for using ultra-technical terms used exclusively in scientific journals of psychiatry such as κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία, the apology was a self-accusation of being inappropriate because of not using more understandable street language, not for referencing the topics denoted by those “It’s-all-Greek-to-me” terms.

The Holy Father was directing those words at some journalists and some readers of those journalists, you know the ones and they know who they are, you know, those who publish false news stories or exclusively run after scandal or who twist everything into lies so that everything they see is darkness with their eyes covered with you-know-what. Jesus himself, mind you, spoke of this darkening of the light:

“No one lights a lamp and puts it in a cellar or under a basket. Instead, he sets it on a lampstand, so those who enter can see the light. Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your vision is clear, your whole body also is full of light. But when it is poor, your body is full of darkness. Be careful, then, that the light within you is not darkness. So if your whole body is full of light, and no part of it in darkness, you will be radiant, as though a lamp were shining on you.”

These very journalists with their ever pious ears and snowflake fragility, were, as was to be expected, ever so violently offended and set off on a course of slander against the Bishop of Rome. He was rightly likening their work to the content of those terms. They, in turn, just to prove he was right about them, breathlessly said that for him to use such words was a scandal and the end of the world and that all is now hopeless and each and every one of us is to become a sede-vacantist and be filled with bitterness and hatred, blaming him for our going to hell so defiantly and arrogantly. They say that he himself is filled with κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία, thus fulfilling in themselves it seems the irony that is always required by Divine Providence. Saint Paul gives us the proper attitude:

“Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are members of one another. […] Let no unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building up the one in need and bringing grace to those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, in whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, outcry and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and tender-hearted to one another, forgiving each other just as in Christ God forgave you.”

Those journalists, of course, in all their self-righteousness, turn those words of Saint Paul’s letter to the Ephesians exclusively to Pope Francis since they in their opinion don’t need any such reprimand, of course.

In an effort to rid people of their make pretend pious ears, perhaps it would be good to hunt up a few biblical insults written under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, you know, some earthy ones, in order to demonstrate to these tender snowflakes that down-to-earth language is not always a bad thing. I for one wouldn’t mind at all if Pope Francis used some street language, not the really bad words, but you know, like manure, etc. Anyway, here’s a good insult from Ezekiel 23:20, with this being a pedantic and therefore honest translation, having no fear of the Holy Spirit’s fiery fierceness…

Their “genitals are like the genitals of donkeys, and their ejaculate like the ejaculate of horses” (Ezekiel 23:20).

The tender snowflakes of the time must have had a meltdown. Ezekiel, instead, is really cool. He’s surely the one who penned Genesis 2–3 (my thesis topic), also under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Just to say, donkeys and horses are just fine the way they are, and to be likened to a donkey-as-donkey in all donkeyness (I’m a donkey!) or a horse-as-horse in all horseness is a compliment, but being likened to this or that mere aspect of a donkey or horse is, of course, an insult, objectifying donkeys or horses by a mere aspect in this way. But sometimes, as the Holy Spirit teaches us, insults are sometimes necessary.

No, Pope Francis is not filled with κοπροφιλία and κοπροφαγία just because he rightly described some lying journalists and some of their readers in this way. He said what he needed to say, and in my opinion was right to use those words. Perhaps he should have used translations, but, never mind, some of them made the translations for him. Ah, the irony. But, again, journalists shouldn’t lust after scandal, and shouldn’t lie and exaggerate and be filled with bitterness and hatred. They shouldn’t. The Pope is right.

Perhaps I should call to mind the insults used by John the Baptist and by Jesus himself against the Pharisees and scribes and lawyers of the time, you know, all those references to white-washed-tombs and broods of vipers and such-like. Some of them plotted the death of Jesus, tender snowflakes that they were.

And, yes, I do intend to write about the context of Ezekiel’s exclamations and hopefully apply them in a useful manner to various so-called pastoral ambiguities. This post is simply about calling out those who exaggerate for who-knows-what motivation. It is important not to be lost in bitterness and hatred. It is important to address the topics without every giving way to bitterness and hatred. We must remain with Jesus. Otherwise, we might think that we ourselves apart from Jesus will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Ain’t gonna happen. Jesus himself, with those truly righteous because they are with him, will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire. Amen.

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Filed under Donkeys, Humor, Pope Francis

Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors (II)

PROMETHEUS

It seems that those at Santa Marta in the Holy See are having some late night discussions about my original post on:

Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

It seems that it was directed that that a link to said post be sent up North to the “Bergoglio of Italy,” +Mattheo Maria Zuppi by name, and another, +Angelo Scola by name. It seems the latter then took a gander at another post. If there were any ambiguity about where I myself stand on Amoris laetitia, this other post will make it crystal clear about what I think about the power of the grace of the Divine Son of the Immaculate Conception:

Amoris laetitia 351 gradualism casuistry

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Correcting Pope Francis’ Correctors

pope-francis-cardinal-burke

Respect and joy in the Lord

I love and respect both Pope Francis and Cardinal Burke.

You have heard that it was said by the latter:

“My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities that confuse people and can lead them into error and grave sin. A document with these defects cannot be part of the Church’s perennial teaching. Because that is the case, the Church needs absolute clarity regarding what Pope Francis is teaching and encouraging.”

This Missionary of Mercy says in response:

  • Amoris laetitia cannot yet be spoken about as if it were a document already published by the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, for it is not.
  • Amoris laetitia, even if published as is, is not an Apostolic Constitution or even an Encyclical, but simply an Apostolic Exhortation, whose author, mind you, goes way, WAY out of his way in articles 3-4 of Amoris laetitia to assert that Amoris laetitia is simply a conglomerate of opinions for the sake of encouraging more dialogue on the matters at hand. Pope Francis completely disowns this having anything whatsoever to do with any kind of Magisterial intervention of the Church whatsoever, whether ordinary or extraordinary. If it’s published as is in the Acta, well, that just doesn’t make any difference, to wit:

“Since ‘time is greater than space’, I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium. Unity of teaching and practice is certainly necessary in the Church, but this does not preclude various ways of interpreting some aspects of that teaching or drawing certain consequences from it. This will always be the case as the Spirit guides us towards the entire truth (cf. Jn 16:13), until he leads us fully into the mystery of Christ and enables us to see all things as he does. Each country or region, moreover, can seek solutions better suited to its culture and sensitive to its traditions and local needs. […] The various interventions of the Synod Fathers, to which I paid close heed, made up, as it were, a multifaceted gem reflecting many legitimate concerns and honest questions. For this reason, I thought it appropriate to prepare a post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation to gather the contributions of the two recent Synods on the family, while adding other considerations as an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.

  • To say that Amoris laetitia would be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to agree with its contents but that it cannot be part of at least the ordinary Magisterium of the Church (see “perennial teaching”) if anyone might like to disagree with its contents seems to me to be saying that the Pope has no authority to teach on matters of faith and morals to the universal Church as the Successor of Peter. That, of course, would be quite wrong. Amoris laetitia is not part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever not because of anyone’s opinion, however well founded, but because Pope Francis himself denies that it is part of any teaching of the Church whatsoever, insisting as he does on dialogue, etc.

A question might be asked as to whether Pope Francis has a good understanding of Papal Infallibility. Let’s analyze his extensive statements on the matter, and then compare that with what Scripture has for us. This is from Pope Francis’ speech on October 17, 2015, the 50th anniversary of the Institution of the Synods of Bishops:

On the eve of last year’s Synod I stated: “For the Synod Fathers we ask the Holy Spirit first of all for the gift of listening: to listen to God, so that with him we may hear the cry of his people; to listen to his people until we are in harmony with the will to which God calls us”.(14) The Synod process culminates in listening to the Bishop of Rome, who is called to speak [chiamato a pronunciarsi=called to pronounce (a word used for ex-cathedra statements)] as “pastor and teacher of all Christians”,(15) not on the basis of his personal convictions but as the supreme witness to the fides totius Ecclesiae, “the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church”.(16)

The fact that the Synod always acts cum Petro et sub Petro — indeed, not only cum Petro, but also sub Petro — is not a limitation of freedom, but a guarantee of unity. For the Pope is, by will of the Lord, “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of the faithful”.(17) Closely related to this is the concept of “hierarchica communio” as employed by the Second Vatican Council: the Bishops are linked to the Bishop of Rome by the bond of episcopal communion (cum Petro) while, at the same time, hierarchically subject to him as head of the college (sub Petro).(18)

14) FRANCIS, Address at the Prayer Vigil for the Synod on the Family, 4 October 2014.

15) FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus (18 July 1870), ch. IV: Denz. 3074. Cf. Codex Iuris Canonici, can. 749, § 1.

16) FRANCIS, Address to the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 18 October 2014.

17) SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 23. cf. FIRST VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus, Prologue: Denz. 3051.

18) Cf. SECOND VATICAN ECUMENICAL COUNCIL, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 22; Decree Christus Dominus (28 October 1965), 4.

Impressive. This makes us wait for an infallible pronouncement by:

  • The Bishop of Rome precisely as the Successor of Peter
  • pronouncing on a matter or many matters of faith and/or morals
  • especially deciding a matter or many matters of controversy
  • directing the instruction to the entirety of Christ’s faithful.

Just to say the obvious: This has not happened to date (this being written on December 9, 2016), and, just to repeat, Amoris laetitia has been excluded from any consideration of it as any kind of teaching of the Magisterium of the Church by the indications of Pope Francis himself.

Meanwhile, I do believe I understand what Pope Francis is doing in not answering various theologians and Cardinals, to wit, he is trying to emphasize Matthew 18:18 (the voice of some of the laity and some of the Synod members) more than Matthew 16:19 (the lone voice of Peter, the Rock), at least for the moment. He is interested in the richness of dialogue, but we see from that October 17, 2015 speech cited above, he is also interested in what can be provided by infallible Peter. Let’s analyze these passages and see some surprising take aways:

Let’s review Matthew 16:19 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever you may bind at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

What do the verbs mean in this context?

  • Second person singular subjunctive aorist active – The second person singular refers to Peter alone. The subjunctive here is not so much a kind of conditional or wishfulness, but rather depicts the state of actually choosing an option; from the perspective of the actor, there is freedom to the choice: “Whatever you may bind at any give time.” The aorist time frame, whatever delusion your introductory Greek grammars insist on providing to you, is literally “without borders”, that which can happen in the past, present or even future (as is the case here: see below), though usually something which itself happens in a defined time frame, such as the choice to bind. Active simply refers to something actually being accomplished.
  • Third person singular indicative future middle – The third person singular refers to any given object of the action, its state of being. It will simply be what it is (indicative) at that time (future). The middle voice is here used to indicate the status quo to which the actor is also subject, that is, retroactively to his decision to bind something, the truth of that which is described by the following verb, which this singular indicative future middle (“will”) helps to describe.
  • Nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive: The nominative neuter singular refers to the object which is being bound (passive), that is, in an ongoing fashion (participle) in a perfect manner (perfect); mind you, in Greek, “perfect” never refers to a perfectly accomplished action at one point in time, but rather to an action which is perfectly ongoing in a perfect manner since its inception: it always was and will be this way, perfectly, with no change: “already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way.” This “perfect” action structures the capacity of the actor, Peter, to act subjunctively, preempting all choices of Peter except for the one which is consonant which the truth which has always been this way in the heavens. Whatever he may choose to bind at any given time will already have been the case, is the case, and will always continue to be the case in the heavens. Peter cannot choose anything which is not already perfectly established in the heavens. What is in heaven is not an affirmation of what Peter might pronounce; what is in heaven simply is what it is, absolute truth, so to speak. If Peter is wrong about what he intends to pronounce upon, he simply will not be able to pronounce upon it.

Indeed, the part of this equation that people always forget about when trying to figure out the tenses, is that there is a part of this equation which is utterly expendable: Peter. If he is going to get it wrong, he will either die or be incapacitated, but he will not be able to work against what is in heaven already. Being the Successor of Peter isn’t so much an honor as it is a service that may involve laying down his life, for, after all, what do we know? The Orthodox or any others should never be envious of infallibility.

The bit about loosing is exactly the same, verbatim:

“Whatever you may loose at any given time (second person singular subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in the heavens.”

Let’s review Matthew 18:18 in utterly pedantic translation

“Whatever ye may bind at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

And then:

“Whatever ye may loose at any given time (second person plural subjunctive aorist active) upon the earth will (third person singular indicative future middle) already have been made to be things perfectly standing in that way (nominative neuter singular participle perfect passive) in heaven.”

There are some differences besides the plural heavens and singular heaven. Matthew 18:18 is addressed also to the laity about any number of things that may be under dispute. But the verbs and their meanings are exactly the same. But the context removes any infallibility from this other crowd. Let’s see how:

Firstly, in Matthew 16:19, where Peter alone among the Apostles is addressed, only Peter is given the keys of the Kingdom of the Heavens. There is no reference at all to such keys for anyone else in Matthew 18:18. That they have the same access to the understanding of the faith as does Peter is contingent for them in agreeing with Peter, for, as we see in context, the process of a dispute will bring them right back to the Church, that is, as differentiated from Christ’s faithful in general so as to refer to Peter in particular. They are not infallible, he is.

What if Peter is wrong? He can’t be wrong. That’s the point. But say that it could happen, that wouldn’t mean that we ignore him, correct him, unseat him, burn him at the stake, say that he’s not a nice guy or something like that; that would mean that there is no such thing as the Church at all. It can’t happen. Period. Is “dialogue” among the faithful expected by our Lord? Yes. He explicitly speaks of it. But then there is a process to follow. But there is a richness to be expected among so many. That richness is not to be ignored, calling the faith provided to the faithful useless, thus insulting the Holy Spirit.

Pope Francis knows this. He respects it. After Matthew 18:18 we go to Matthew 16:19. We are still in the Matthew 18:18 phase.

Might Pope Francis choose to go to Matthew 16:19, to pronounce in an infallible way on the matter? Sure. That is yet to be seen. He surely has set up a scenario in which it seems he truly wants to pronounce an infallible statement. He surely has prefaced this with a great deal of dialogue. To the degree that he is insisting on dialogue, that is the degree he may be incisive in pronouncing an infallible statement.

Have some perhaps jumped the gun? Perhaps. Can it be said that all involved may well be filled with Apostolic charity, that is, both the four Cardinals and the Holy Father? Yes. Are they merely asking him to move from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19? Perhaps. Again, I don’t like the statement of one of the Cardinals who said: “My position is that ‘Amoris laetitia’ is not magisterial because it contains serious ambiguities…” His opinion is not why Amoris laetitia is not magisterial. It is not magisterial because Pope Francis said it is not magisterial. Otherwise, how many popes do we have? So…

We pray. That is to be expected and desired by all involved, right? Yes. We pray.

Does my having written this article mean that I don’t have my own concerns which happen to be well stated in the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. Does the present non-answer of Pope Francis mean that he doesn’t agree with the intent of the five dubia? No, it doesn’t mean that. What it all means is that we haven’t yet moved from Matthew 18:18 to Matthew 16:19. That’s all. Might I say to Pope Francis that I sure do hope for the good of the Church that our Lord’s desire that our present dialogue with Matthew 18:18 will move to Matthew 16:19? Sure. But the timing is the judgment call of Vicar of Christ, not mine or anyone else for that matter. Again, might we ask him politely to move to Matthew 16:19? Sure, and I think everyone has been polite, although, again, that bit of one of the Cardinals about why he thinks Amoris laetitia is not magisterial is, I think, out of place. And in view of that, I must defend the fact of the papacy itself. Might that make me lose many friends. I suppose. That saddens me. But I am also filled with fortitude. Hier stehe ich and all that. Amen.

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Filed under Amoris laetitia, Canon 915, Confession, Eucharist, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Synod on the Family, Year of Mercy

Padre Pio’s heart in Boston: Final Insult

padre-pio-heartThe relic of Saint Pio of Pietrelcina will be at the Cathedral in Boston today. Just my opinion, but this seems to me to be the final insult launched against this great saint.

  • You might know that Padre Pio was falsely accused for sexual abuse and exonerated of the same.
  • You might know that he was wrongfully smacked down by ecclesiastical superiors for years and denounced to many successive Popes.
  • You might know that all this was for the benefit of the self-hero worship of those who persecuted him: “We’re sophisticated and up-to-date!” they screeched, as if holding Padre Pio’s decapitated head high with one hand and their degrees in psychology held high in the other hand was proof that Padre Pio was bad and evil while they were good and holy.

The mirror image of what happened back in the day against Padre Pio has happened to Father Gordon MacRae (born and raised near Boston) in our own day (see: http://thesestonewalls.com/about/). The present leader of mocking accused priests with zero due process regardless of their guilt or, in fact, innocence, is, ironically, Cardinal O’Malley of Boston, another up-to-date OFM.cap. Take a look at the policies of The National Catholic Risk Retention Group and you’ll know what I mean. Boston is by far one of the main supporters of TNCRRG. All accusations are to be believed without question and paid a settlement immediately hopefully without lawyers with the accuser in complete charge of everything, even if, say, the “incident” is said to have occurred even before the priest was a priest, even before he was born. Yes, it’s happened. No one cares, that is, except for the ecclesiastical superior who revels in the good press he gets for “being tough on priests.”

Isn’t it just this very kind of self-absorbed, self-referential, Promethean, neo-Pelagian, self-hero worship that Pope Francis has declared himself to be against? Yes, that would be right. I stand with Pope Francis on this one. I stand with those who are falsely accused and wrongly convicted and smacked down with no due-process whatsoever. Isn’t that what Pope Francis wants, that is, to go out and cause a ruckus by heading out into the darkest of existential peripheries, to those who are condemned by the self-referential crowd who only want to be on the nice side of media hype? Yes, that is what Pope Francis wants. Since I’m the Roman Pontiff’s own Missionary of Mercy, I think I ought best not neglect stories like this.

Pointing out irony is, I think, O.K. After all, our Lord Himself is Irony Incarnate. On His cross, mercy and justice kiss. We had better be there in the midst of that embrace, or our Lord may well say to us at the judgment: “I do not know you.”

The mercy that so many falsely accused priests want is justice itself.

But this is the hopeful side of Padre Pio’s heart going to Boston. Whatever the motives of those who brought Padre Pio’s heart to Boston, know that this is a missionary journey of Padre Pio; he goes into the lion’s den. Just so you know, if you think I am rather severe with some ecclesiastics in this post, it is Father Gordon J MacRae himself who reminded me that we are to pray for Cardinal O’Malley, who was so loved by our Lord that he also was redeemed. Yes, that’s exactly right, and this was always the attitude of the great saint of Pietrelcina as well. It’s the attitude of Joseph in Egypt, who tells his brothers that their selling of him to the Ishmaelites was all within God’s providence. We do trust that we will see great fruits from the incarceration of Father Gordon, and we have already seen very many.

So, do, yes, go to the Cathedral in Boston just now and ask Padre Pio’s intercession not only for Father Gordon MacRae, but also for Cardinal O’Malley. It will do you good. But just remember a few things:

  • Padre Pio loved the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, and was hated for that.
  • Padre Pio supported Humanae Vitae, and was hated for that.
  • Padre Pio was obedient to his superiors, and was hated for that.

The mercy that so many falsely accused priests want is justice itself, but in our Lord’s grace they can embrace the fact that our Lord will use the injustice for the sake of mercy.

Thanks, Padre Pio, for leading the way. Thanks so very, very much. We need you today!

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Filed under Abuse, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Vocations

ISIS and “Patriotic Americans” popping the head off Mexicans like chickens

chicken

Recently FoxNews published an article about a trauma doctor who takes care of survivors of ISIS murders of children (HERE: warning: graphic). He said that for ISIS such murders, decapitations, burning, etc., are like the mere killing of a chicken for these monsters.

When I saw that headline, it instantly reminded me a young “patriotic American” who told me that he would like to be on the U.S. southern border patrol with a rifle so that he could “pop the heads of them Mexican trash just like the chickens back home.” I asked him what “pop the heads” meant. He said that his father would take him out back of the house next to their little farm pond and teach him how to shoot a rifle by having him shoot the heads off their chickens from a couple of hundred yards out. He said that it would make the heads of the chickens pop off their necks high into the air when he got a good hit.

As you might imagine, I gave him the lecture of his life, as really he should have known better than that. This was neither patriotic nor did it have anything to do with being American. He thought he was patriotic because he would also just as soon go and shoot the heads off Islamicist terrorists. He absolutely couldn’t see the difference between a migrant worker and an ISIS terrorist, which, in my opinion, made him just as bad as an ISIS terrorist.

And yet, when that little incident of the reprimand was discovered, it was I who was reprimanded, rather severely I might add, and by someone who really should know much better than that. Who do I think I am interfering with someone who is so full of enthusiasm since after all he’s just a kid (I think perhaps 18). And yes, this is another one of those strange posts, you know, for the record. I am such a troublemaker! I wonder what Pope Francis would think of my reprimand of that kid…

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Filed under Pope Francis, Racism

Pope Francis’ sarcasm @ ISIS / Islam when asked about père Jacques Hamel

isis burning children

ISIS burning children to death as young as three years old

“It is not a war of religions but for power. There is one word I wish to say to clarify. When I speak about ‘war’ I’m speaking about a war for real, not a ‘war of religions.’ It is a war about (economic) interests, money, natural resources and the domination of peoples. All religions desire peace. Other people want war.” – Pope Francis

So, does Pope Francis mean that père Jacques Hamel is not a martyr, or that the Missionaries of Charity sisters are not martyrs? That would seem to be insane and the Pope seems to think they were heroic. So, let’s give him the benefit of the doubt. Let’s try to come up with something reasonable about what he said. I mean, to say that religions cannot be at war is simply stupid or malicious. I mean, let’s look at the Old Testament: was the God of the chosen people not a real God? Is the God of the Jews to be damned? Or for that matter, moving on in time, was Pope Saint Pius V an anti-Catholic for his defensive measures (very war-like mind you) at the battle of Lepanto? And for that matter, does ISIS really not intend to serve their god, Allah? Really?

How about this: Maybe Pope Francis is saying with fully intended sarcasm that Islam is not a religion at all. Hey! I like that! Finally! Yay!

But wait, that really does sound like it’s all an insult to the Jews and the Jewish God, which, by the way, is our God, the one and only God. There were good reasons for the Jews to be war-like. There were good reasons for being on the defensive at Lepanto. There is never a good reason for Islam to do what it has always done with its aggression from its beginning until this very day.

When ISIS asks the kids if they renounce Jesus and accept Islam, and the kids say no, and then the kids are burned to death, that’s all about merely trying to make a few extra bucks, right? Got it! Nothing to do with religion! Just about domination of peoples! Oh, I remember now: the Qur’an is all about subjugating the Christians and Jews. And the Qur’an is like, religious, or not, in that case. ;-)

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Filed under Interreligious dialogue, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Francis, Terrorism

Pope Francis’ silence during his visit to Auschwitz / Birkenau: Let’s talk Luther

pope francis maximilian kolbe auschwitz birkenau

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!

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Filed under Ecumenism, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

World Youth Day 2016 sex ed sex abuse

World Youth Day 2016 Pope Francis and Jesus

After reading about the hard core XXX porn video recommendations being made to 16-18 year olds at World Youth Day 2016 as put together by the Pontifical Council for the Family’s sexually abusive sex-education program being promoted among these youngsters I feel like vomiting and that I’m about to have a heart attack.

I could say some pretty rough things and use some pretty rough language to assist the intent of my comments, but that doesn’t do me any good, nor would it do you any good.

But I will say this: If any priest were to promote those recommendations of the Pontifical Council for the Family to 16-18 year olds, such a priest would forthwith be dismissed from the clerical state (laicized) by Pope Francis and then sued for sex-abuse and thrown in prison for the rest of his life in these USA.

But if any priest were to argue against such an abusive program and not comply with some sex-crazed (Arch)bishop’s sex-abusive sex-ed program based on this rubbish at “The Pope’s World Youth Day”, he would soon find himself without any assignment, without any means to live. After a few years he would be laicized just to get him out of the way.

Here’s the deal: I would rather be a priest forever in heaven even though having suffered on this earth, than to go to hell as a priest where I would be tormented worse than anyone else forever.

Perhaps those who ram this diabolical scandal in the faces of youngsters should be reminded that Jesus, BECAUSE of his mercy will come to judge the living and the dead and the world by the fire of His love, which will burn ardently in those who are with Him, but which will be a source of the most intense and burning frustration for those who did not welcome children with the respect which is their due.

Meanwhile, I am going to continue being the priest I am happy to be. I will keep up with the Sacraments. I will pray. I will follow the love and goodness and kindness and mercy and truth and justice of Jesus. I will fend off all attempts to destroy souls in my parish. I will pray for the Roman Pontiff and those in the Roman Curia. But I am God’s servant first.

– Father George David Byers – Missionary of Mercy of Pope Francis

P.S. Dear Pope Francis, if a mutual friend shows you this post, why not consent to the interview I would I like to have with you? I have some questions for you.

= I need to write a post with the title “Flores for the Immaculate Conception”…

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Filed under Abuse, Holy See, Missionaries of Mercy, Pope Francis

Pope Francis, Genocide, Martyrdom and Queen Esther’s new Haman in Hitler

lightning vatican holy see st peterIn 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:

auschwitz

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” mlkjr

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.”

cardinal koch

lutheran catholic commemoration of reformation

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.

martin luther the jews and their liesOf 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]]

jewish yellow star jude“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?]]
auschwitz train rails

“We are at fault in not slaying them” – Martin Luther on the Jews

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.

dietrich bonhoeffer

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.

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Pope Francis and Luther: “Justification”

POPE FRANCIS FATHER BYERS MOCKED

This picture with its caption was created and published by a traditional-ism-ist website which was upset with me for offering some theological pointers to Pope Francis instead of just being sede-vacantist. No, I say! Pope Francis is Pope. But he might need some pointers now and again. Anyway, the one who took the original picture of me was upset with the sun shining off the vestments, as this might give the wrong impression to people! I agree.

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!

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Pope Francis’ “apology” to gays: CCC!

pope francis armenia return

Sul rispetto verso gli omosessuali – sul quale viene sollecitato a partire da una recente affermazione del cardinale Marx – Francesco ribadisce che nessuno può ergersi a giudice di queste persone e ricorda il Catechismo che invita ad accompagnarne il cammino verso Dio. Quindi soggiunge:

“Io credo che la Chiesa non solo debba chiedere scusa – come ha detto quel cardinale ‘marxista’… (ride) – a questa persona che è gay, che ha offeso, ma deve chiedere scusa ai poveri anche, alle donne e ai bambini sfruttati nel lavoro; deve chiedere scusa di aver benedetto tante armi. La Chiesa deve chiedere scusa di non essersi comportata tante, tante volte – e quando dico ‘Chiesa’ intendo i cristiani: la Chiesa è santa, i peccatori siamo noi – i cristiani devono chiedere scusa di non aver accompagnato tante scelte, tante famiglie”.

Thus: The Holy Father said that some individuals in the Church have offended gays. He said nothing more than this. It’s ambiguous. If we skip for a moment the mention of the Catechism, his comment could mean accompanying gays in their active sex lives and saying that sin isn’t sin if it’s accompanied and surely not sin if not accompanied because of not being, after all, accompanied. Just to say it, one can be unjustly offensive to gays, such as by telling them that they are hopelessly on their way to hell as they are forever excluded from repentance and forgiveness and heaven, and in doing that one is also offensive to our Lord who hung on the cross also for their conversion and offensive to our Blessed Mother who stood under the cross also for their conversion. But, having said that, I don’t know of anyone who says that all gays will always go to hell because our Lord purposely hardens their hearts so that it is impossible for them to convert. Who are these idiots? Where are they? At any rate, I received this comment on another post which I’m putting here:

Fr. Byers, I am praying for Pope Francis during the time you recommend [[An Hour for Pope Francis – Help!]]. While I will always respect the office of Peter, I cannot in all good conscience say that I love Pope Francis… Let alone to pieces. I am stunned by his latest… That the Catholic Church has to apologize to gays. This pope apparently does not think sin is relevant. In other words Our Lord whom we do love to pieces had no need to suffer such horrendous torture and death. And He made His mother suffer for nothing. I can and do pray for this pope but cannot love him.

From what I gather from this comment, the writer does love Pope Francis to pieces as our Lord commanded, but disagrees with what he says and really wants him to see the the light of truth. I especially like the comment: “And He made His mother suffer for nothing.” Yes, that would be the correct analysis if the Pope was correct about and did intend to insist upon an extremely low opinion of fallen human nature, so low that it seems there is pretty much zero moral capacity, even with grace. This low opinion of fallen human nature even aided by grace would seem to spit in our Lord’s face.

But that’s not what Pope Francis said. He mentioned the Catechism. To wit:

Chastity and homosexuality

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that “homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.”142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Just to say, this mention of the Catechism and its statement about homosexual acts that “under no circumstances can they be approved” is very wonderful indeed. I rejoice.

I also rejoice that the Holy Father chose to say that the level of martyrdom in Armenia rose to the level of genocide. Had he not done so, I would certainly have reminded him of Esther’s story. But he did acknowledge that martyrdom and suffering genocide can certainly coincide with each other.

So, let us continue: An Hour for Pope Francis – Help!

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An Hour for Pope Francis – Help!

Pope Francis obelisk saint peter

4:00–5:00 AM daily the Pope’s time (following daylight savings time in the country where he happens to be around the world) is being dedicated to praying special prayers for the Holy Father. May he begin each day dedicated to Jesus and free from diabolical assault. Join in at that time if you can for as long as you can. Your prayers are helpful anytime. When it’s 4:00 AM in Rome, it is:

  • 2:00 AM Sierra Leone
  • 3:00 AM London / Bangui
  • 5:00 AM Jerusalem / Nairobi
  • 7:00 AM Dushanbe
  • 7:30 AM Mumbai
  • 9:00 AM Bangkok
  • 10:00 AM Shanghai
  • 11:00 AM Seoul / Ulaanbaatar / Yakutsk
  • 12:00 Noon Sydney
  • 2:00 PM Christchurch
  • 4:00 PM Honolulu
  • 5:00 PM Rikitea
  • 6:00 PM Adamstown
  • 7:00 PM Los Angeles / Destruction Bay
  • 8:00 PM Denver / Sinaloa / Hanga Roa
  • 9:00 PM Chicago / Cité Soleil
  • 10:00 PM New York / Havana
  • 11:00 PM Buenos Aires / Rio de Janeiro

Suggestion (1):

V: Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Francisco.

R: Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius.

Oremus: Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum, Dominum nostrum. Amen.

V: Let us pray for our Pontiff Francis.

R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Let us pray: O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful, look mercifully upon Thy servant Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church: grant him, we beseech Thee, that, by word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, he may attain everlasting life. Through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Suggestion (2): Emergency Chaplet of the Immaculate Conception using the Rosary:

At the beginning:

  • Sign of the Cross
  • Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus…
  • Chaste guardian of the Virgin, Saint Joseph: pray for us.
  • All you saints and angels of God: pray for us.
  • Our best friends, our guardian angels: pray for us.

For the chaplet itself:

  • On the “Our Father” beads: The act of contrition you recite during Confession.
  • On the “Hail Mary” beads: O Mary conceived without sin: pray for us who have recourse to thee.

At the conclusion:

  • Memorare
  • Saint Michael Prayer
  • Sacred Heart of Jesus: Have mercy on us. (x3)

We love you to pieces Pope Francis!

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Pope Jackass (some instructive humor)

Pope ByersHah! As soon as you saw that title to this post, admit it, you thought I was referring to Pope Francis, whom I love to pieces. Instead, it seems there is a movement in the Church to elect a new Pontiff, for which action, I contend, the world and the Church is not now prepared, not until Pope Benedict clarifies what it is that his Archbishop Secretary said a while back about his sharing the Petrine Ministry. It would not do to have three Popes, two of whom are, you know…

Elizdelphi has, nevertheless, taken matters into her own hands, and has gone as far as to begin a design on, of all things, my own papal coat of of arms. Hah! It being that I’m a simple priest in the tiniest parish in North America, I’m hoping that people will not take this as a serious campaign and condemn me as a mortal sinner for such shenanigans as these. My detractors don’t seem to realize that I’ve done much worse in crucifying the Son of the Living God with my sin. But let’s get on with some art appreciation!

I note the triple crown regarding prophet (the unvarnished glorious truth), priest (the only Priest being Jesus) and king (the latter involving fatherly governance) has returned. She regrets not finding a way immediately to add Saint Michael. I’m thinking that the white background can be filled with vertically placed feathers representing the Holy Spirit and the messengers sent to instruct us in that fiery truth of love.

The motto is wonderful. You will see these words together throughout the Scriptures, and my dad liked to repeat them to me a lot: “Goodness and kindness, George, goodness and kindness.”

Elizdelphi says that the blue is water in honor of Lourdes where I was a chaplain for a couple of years at my request. Perhaps she knows that Lourdes is connected with Our Lady of Mount Carmel with which I have a long and far reaching history, throwing me, time and again, in front of those at the top of the Order. The Immaculate Conception appeared as Our Lady of Mount Carmel to Saint Bernadette. The water can refer to the bitter sea after which our Lady is named, Our Lady of Sorrows. That follows from the clear vision she had as the Immaculate Conception, seeing clearly what we needed when seeing her Son crucified in front of her. She perfectly saw our horror and could perfectly intercede for us. I’m going to say that the blue is the rain coming down upon Elijah’s seven fold prayer on Mount Carmel after the great sacrifice and conversion of the people. The rain cloud came up out of the sea to end the 3 1/2 years drought of punishment. I say that the water is flowing down Mount Carmel. It’s in the form of Mount Carmel, no?

She says that the Star of David represents Mary. O.K. In that case, the Blessed Sacrament is the seventh point of that star, found in the womb of the star as it were. The donkey, kneeling before Jesus, makes up the three stars of the Discalced Carmelite Order, and  the donkey, you have to know, has for many thousands of years been the symbol of the Jewish people. By the way, I’m Jewish! Christ is the Head of the Body and we the members, as Saint Paul says. Mary is our mother.

There is only a couple of changes I would make with the donkey, and that’s to ditch the bridle, to change the color to gray, and to add the cross which is borne by all palestinian donkeys.

For those of you new to such “don’t follow the rules of heraldry” papal coats of arms, perhaps a reminder is needed that this donkey has been resurrected from the dead. You should remember that Corbinian’s bear on the coat of arms of Benedict XVI was actually a donkey, that is, fulfilling the role of the donkey after he killed the donkey. Benedict called himself that “donkey”. See the outrageously wonderful 2005 article of Archbishop Raymond Burke about the newly elected Pope Donkey, Benedict XVI. And then, to those of you who are fuming mad and flinging the rest of us into hell in all the mortal sin you suppose I and Ratzinger and Burke (who may well be the next Roman Pontiff) are in for speaking of the papacy being filled with the likes of a jackass, to you I say, lighten up. Have some Christian mirth. Rejoice! The Lord is good and kind. Again, I will say it: Rejoice!

donkey blessed sacrament

And, just to say it:

(1) Donkeys are intelligent, only doing what they understand, which really is smart. They are not “stubborn as a mule.” Mules are stubborn as mules as they have a reason to be belligerent.

(2) Donkeys can sing: their braying is their praying, as it were.

(3) Donkeys are always with the Holy Family, carrying Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem, warming Jesus with donkey-breathing at the crib, carrying the Holy Family down to Egypt and then all the way back to Nazareth, carrying Jesus into Jerusalem. I’m happy to be a donkey!

P.S. If I place the donkey in adoration before Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, what with salvation coming from the Jews, I am not thereby bringing the Jews to Auschwitz. I’m Jewish. That’s me and any Christian and any Jew who would like to share this greatest love the Jews have given to the entire human race. Jesus, the Jew, is the best, as is His mom.

And… and… if Chesterton still has anything to say about it, behold:

When fishes flew and forests walked
And figs grew upon thorn,
Some moment when the moon was blood
Then surely I was born;

With monstrous head and sickening cry
And ears like errant wings,
The devil’s walking parody
On all four-footed things.

The tattered outlaw of the earth,
Of ancient crooked will;
Starve, scourge, deride me: I am dumb,
I keep my secret still.

Fools! For I also had my hour;
One far fierce hour and sweet:
There was a shout about my ears,
And palms before my feet.

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Filed under Humor, Jewish-Catholic dialogue, Pope Benedict XVI, Pope Francis