Wednesday, May 27, 2015


After read the article below all faithful Catholics need to storm the Vatican with letters to immediately excommunicate all those involved in the seditious meeting, including:

Cardinal Reinhard Marx
Father Schockenhoff
Bishop Büchel of St. Gallen,
Anne-Marie Pelletier

Archbishop Pontier, head of the French bishops, 

Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant’Egidio 
Jesuit Father Andreas Batlogg,
Msgr. Markus Graulich, prelate auditor of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, 
Msgr. Graulich

No matter how sincere and well-meaning, these people have become the hypocrite leaders that Christ spoke against. They are serpents and children of the Father of Lies. They are coming for the ruin of our children's souls. They are deliberately attempting to  
undermine Christ and His Holy Catholic Church. To protect the innocent sheep, time for the Holy Father to take a whip and drive them out!

The only way for us to communicate to His Holiness Pope Francis is to write him at the following address:

His Holiness, Pope Francis
Apostolic Palace
00120 Vatican City


The National Catholic Register 

Link: SATAN in Catholic Garb

Confidential Meeting Seeks to Sway Synod to Accept Same-Sex Unions  

NEWS ANALYSIS: Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, held at the Pontifical Gregorian University.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx
ROME — A one-day study meeting — open only to a select group of individuals — took place at the Pontifical Gregorian University on Monday with the aim of urging “pastoral innovations” at the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October.
Around 50 participants, including bishops, theologians and media representatives, took part in the gathering, at the invitation of the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, Switzerland and France — Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Bishop Markus Büchel and Archbishop Georges Pontier.
One of the key topics discussed at the closed-door meeting was how the Church could better welcome those in stable same-sex unions, and reportedly “no one” opposed such unions being recognized as valid by the Church.
Participants also spoke of the need to “develop” the Church’s teaching on human sexuality and called not for a theology of the body, as famously taught by St. John Paul II, but the development of a “theology of love.”
One Swiss priest discussed the “importance of the human sex drive,” while another participant, talking about holy Communion for remarried divorcees, asked: “How can we deny it, as though it were a punishment for the people who have failed and found a new partner with whom to start a new life?”
Marco Ansaldo, a reporter for the Italian daily newspaper La Repubblica, who was present at the meeting, said the words seemed “revolutionary, uttered by clergymen.”
French Biblicist and Ratzinger Prize-winner Anne-Marie Pelletier praised the dialogue that took place between theologians and bishops as a “real sign of the times.” Accordingto La Stampa, another Italian daily newspaper, Pelletier said the Church needs to enter into “a dynamic of mutual listening,” in which the magisterium continues to guide consciences, but she believes it can only effectively do so if it “echoes the words of the baptized.” 
The meeting took the “risk of the new, in fidelity with Christ,” she claimed. The article also quoted a participant as saying the synod would be a “failure” if it simply continued to affirm what the Church has always taught.
The closed-door meeting, masterminded by the German bishops’ conference under the leadership of Cardinal Marx, was first proposed at the annual meeting of the heads of the three bishops’ conferences, held in January in Marseille, France.
The study day took place just days after the people of Ireland voted in a referendum in support of same-sex “marriage” and on the same day as the Ordinary Council of the Synod of Bishops met in Rome. Some observers did not see the timing as a coincidence.
The synod council has been drawing up the instrumentum laboris (working document) for the October synod on the family. Integrated into the document will be the responses of a questionnaire sent to laity around the world. Those responses, particularly from Switzerland and Germany, appeared to be overwhelmingly in favor of the Church adapting her teachings to the secular world.

Why the Lack of Publicity?
No one would say why the study day was held in confidence. So secret was the meeting that even prominent Jesuits at the Gregorian were completely unaware of it. The Register learned about it when Jean-Marie Guénois leaked the information in a story in Le Figaro.
Speaking to the Register as he left the meeting, Cardinal Marx insisted the study day wasn’t secret. But he became irritated when pressed about why it wasn’t advertised, saying he had simply come to Rome in a “private capacity” and that he had every right to do so. Close to Pope Francis and part of his nine-member council of cardinals, the cardinal is known to be especially eager to reform the Church’s approach to homosexuals. During his Pentecost homily last Sunday, Cardinal Marx called for a “welcoming culture” in the Church for homosexuals, saying it’s “not the differences that count, but what unites us.”
Cardinal Marx is also not alone, among those attending the meeting, in pushing for radical changes to the Church’s life. The head of the Swiss bishops, Bishop Büchel of St. Gallen, has spoken openly in favor of women’s ordination, saying in 2011 that the Church should “pray that the Holy Spirit enables us to read the signs of the times.” Archbishop Pontier, head of the French bishops, is also known to have heterodox leanings.
The meeting’s organizers were unwilling to disclose the names of everyone who took part, but the Register has obtained a full list of participants. They included Jesuit Father Hans Langendörfer, general secretary of the German bishops’ conference, who has been the leading figure behind the recent reform of German Church labor laws to controversially allow remarried divorcees and homosexual couples to work in Church institutions.

Father Schockenhoff
Among the specialists present was Father Eberhard Schockenhoff, a moral theologian. Faithful German Catholics are particularly disturbed about the rise to prominence of Father Schockenhoff, who is understood to be the “mastermind” behind much of the challenge to settled Church teachings among the German episcopate and, by implication, at the synod on the family itself.
A prominent critic of Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth), as well as a strong supporter of homosexual clergy and those pushing for reform in the area of sexual ethics, Father Schockenhoff is known to be the leading adviser of the German bishops in the run-up to the synod.
In 2010, he gave an interview in which he praised the permanence and solidarity shown in some same-sex relationships as “ethically valuable.” He urged that any assessment of homosexual acts “must take a back seat” on the grounds that the faithful are becoming “increasingly distant from the Church’s sexual morality,” which appears “unrealistic and hostile to them.” The Pope and the bishops should “take this seriously and not dismiss it as laxity,” he said.
Father Schockenhoff has also gone on record saying that moral theology must be “liberated from the natural law” and that conscience should be based on the “life experience of the faithful.” 
He has also insisted that the indissolubility of marriage is “not seriously called into question” by admitting remarried divorcees to holy Communion, writing a book to push his thesis in 2011 entitled "Opportunities for reconciliation?: The Church and the divorced and remarried". He has further proposed that the term the “official Church” should be done away with because of a growing gap between the institutional Church and the Church of the faithful. 
Also present was Marco Impagliazzo, president of the Sant’Egidio lay community; Jesuit Father Andreas Batlogg, professor of philosophy and theology and chief editor of the liberal periodical Stimmen der Zeit (Voices of the Time) — the journal has devoted its June issue to same-sex relationships and the synod — and Salesian Msgr. Markus Graulich, prelate auditor of the tribunal of the Roman Rota, one of very few Curial officials to attend. Some of those participating, such as Msgr. Graulich, took part in the previous synod.

Media Participation
Also noted were the large number of media representatives. Journalists from the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, German broadcasters ZDF and ARD, the Italian daily La Repubblica and French-Catholic media La Croix and I-Media were also present. Their presence was “striking,” said one observer, who predicted they will be used to promote the agenda of the subject matter under discussion in the weeks leading up to the synod.
Monday’s meeting is just the latest attempt to subtly steer the upcoming synod in a direction opposed by many faithful Catholics. A statement on the study day released by the German bishops’ conference May 26 said there was a “reflection on biblical hermeneutics” — widely seen as code words for understanding the Bible differently from Tradition — and the need for a “reflection on a theology of love.”
Critics say this, too, is undermining Church teaching. By replacing the theology of the body with a “theology of love,” it creates an abstract interpretation that separates sex from procreation, thereby allowing forms of extramarital unions and same-sex attractions based simply on emotions rather than biological reality. Gone, say critics, is the Catholic view of marriage, which should be open to procreation.
The statement, which conspicuously failed to mention sin, ended by saying that “further discussion on the future of marriage and family is necessary and possible” and that it would be “enriched by a further, intensive theological reflection.”
This, too, is code for wanting a change in teaching, giving the impression that the doctrine in these areas is open to change. But for the Catholic Church, it is a settled issue.
“Imagine if the Church accepted homosexual relationships,” said one source speaking on condition of anonymity. “Ultimately, that is what these people want.”
Edward Pentin is the Register’s Rome correspondent.

Read more:

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 22, 2015 What We MUST Learn from Ireland

Today, I do not have joy in being Catholic. Today I am heartbroken. 

The Emerald Isle, the beautiful little Catholic country who has been the leader in being so faithful to God for fifteen centuries has slapped God in the face. 

A generation of young Irish people went to the polls last Friday and voted to redefine marriage. The youth decided in their knowledge and wisdom they knew better than God. Sodomy is now protected in their constitution. Because, of course, the Irish youth know best. 

The tragedy is that while young people in the Middle East are being burned, beheaded and tortured for their faith, Ireland is celebrating its divorce from its faith. 

Who is to blame? 

Well, if we look at the context, the biggest reason why Ireland fell to the devil's deception is that the bishops and priests failed to live and teach Christianity. They were cowardly or even ruthlessly unfaithful. Ireland's bishops will have to one day stand before all the Irish martyrs and even worse, God Himself and give an account of why they had so little courage to fight for the right. 

Secondly, it was some of the USA billionaires who flooded Ireland with money to the tune of $25 million dollars to bribe the people to vote yes and the bishops and priests to remain silent. Yes, American culture has so little tolerance of other cultures that we have to remake other countries in our image. The secular humanist image of America. 

Finally, the parents. Irish Catholics were lukewarm so their children rebelled. 

The Catholic world needs to see what just happened in Ireland and wake up. This is every bit as momentous a situation as the priest sexual scandal. In fact, this march away from Catholicism is due to the sexual scandal. People no longer believe priests who abuse and bishops who allow it. 

Time for Catholic bishops and priests to awake and smell the martyrdom coming. Brace yourselves, for this generation of priests will be paying the price for yesterday's unfaithful cowards. 

Irish Catholics, turn and look at your brothers and sisters in Christ in the middle east and be ashamed. My heart is broken, for your failures are my failures. We are one Body. We are Christ's Body. 

Catholics around the world, we need to repent. We need to mourn our lukewarmness and our sins against Our Lord. We need to pray for courage to stand and speak the truth. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Beautiful Mother Church

My Father pushed me towards you and commanded that I sit at your feet and listen. I did because I loved my Father. He was very good and I loved Him so much. I wanted to obey Him. So I
skeptically sat at your feet, my frowning brows and thin eyes glared at you. I didn't think you knew anything.

You were a stranger. You were a stranger to me, and I thought to the gospel. You didn't know Jesus as well as I did. He was my friend and you were trying to weasel your way between us and I was not happy about that. Like Cinderella's stepmother, you came into my life and I knew you would take my Jesus away from me and make me work for you. You were going to change everything. And I didn't want change. I wanted things to be just as they had been: Jesus and me.

I read your book. No, I am not meaning the Bible. I didn't know that was your book at the time. I mean the Catechism.

It was.... lovely. It made me cry.

You seemed to love Jesus as much as I did. That surprised me. And that book was pretty good. I hadn't thought of things quite that way, but when I compared it to the Bible, you seemed to be a brilliant theologian. Maybe I would give you a chance. Maybe you weren't the evil temptress I had made you out to be.

I began to watch you. Closely. I was waiting for something tricky. You were a deceiver, I had been told. So I was careful not to trust you, yet. But as I studied about your life, as I prayed about you and talked to Christ about you, my heart changed. And I went to your house.

Who was there? Among the people, I saw the poor, the sick, the strange and deformed. People who were heartbroken and struggling. People facing tragedy and suffering. Most did not seem successful. They were humble and quiet. They didn't look around. They were praying and looking at Jesus.

Then I saw you with my Lord. I sat and watched you as you approached the Cross. The songs you sang were mysterious, enchanting, so full of reverence and love. You smelled good with your
incense. You were romantic with your candles. I watched you as you carefully worshipped Him.

I had never worshipped Jesus like you did. I thought that kneeling when I prayed had been reverence. But now, as I watched you, I think you meant what you were doing. All the rites seemed to be filled with love and devotion and reverence.

Who were you? You were a big surprise. The more I knew about you, the more I didn't understand why everyone had treated you so terribly. Maybe things were different than what I had learned. After all, what I knew about you was from those who had left you, rejected you. Maybe they hadn't really listened to your side. This was a bit confusing. But God didn't let me give up on you.

Eventually, Jesus told me to that you were His Bride and that I was to join His family. I obeyed. I wasn't horrified like I expected. I was not as afraid anymore. I had come to know you were really very in love with my Father. And what was the most shocking was that He loved you. He loved you as much as He loved me!

Then one day, awkwardly, I did something. Something brave and a little scary. I placed a scarf around my head and worshipped with you. It felt special and holy. All of a sudden, I felt a part of this intimate and holy worship. I suddenly felt as if I were you. In my own little way, I had become part of the family.

You are my beautiful Mother. And I love you. I know that many people who come and worship as part of your Church do not really love Jesus or at least do not love Him as He is supposed to be loved. You still open your arms out and embrace those who are imperfect. Your beauty is like the incense and the music. It is the soaring ceilings that reach up to heaven. You are a mystery to me--a beautiful mystery. And because Jesus loves you. So do I.

Friday, April 24, 2015


Based on a true story: 

There once was a young girl named Amy who grew up in a Christian home. She had a much older cousin, nicknamed "Peppers" who was a professional photographer.

At family gatherings a few times a year, Peppers always brought his camera and would take lots of pictures for the family. One by one, he would take families and single members of the family and find just the perfect background and take fantastic pictures. Peppers became well-known and many of his photos were published in international magazines. He became quite the family celebrity.

Amy was always a favorite of his because she was so photogenic. Peppers would often take her picture with the promise that he would make her famous as a model. But he also took out other children from the family too.  And indeed a few of his family photos were placed in his studio and garnered much attention.

Amy loved when her mother would dress her up in pretty clothes and do her hair up with curls and ribbons. When she was about seven, Peppers took her out into a field of wildflowers for a shoot. It was within sight of all the people at the family party. After a few shots of her sitting in the field, he asked her to have some fun with him. If she was going to be a famous model some day she needed to begin mimicking the older ladies—be a bit sexy. Then he showed her a magazine so she would understand what he was talking about.

This continued for the next two years—the promises of fame—and getting legitimate pictures of Amy followed up by "fun" pictures. And once, Peppers convinced her mother to allow him to take Amy to his studio.

The rest of this story is inappropriate for general audiences.

When she reached about the age of sixteen, Amy resisted any more photoshoots. She finally had the words in her vocabulary to explain what Peppers had been doing to her.

Her parents were unable to process the girl's words.  They believed she had misunderstood what Peppers had done. Maybe he had gone too far… but surely she was mistaken that he…as a Christian.. would have done such an unbelievable thing. 

They spoke to Peppers and he admitted that perhaps he had shown her some magazines with seductive poses in them, but for the rest… Amy had probably flipped through the magazine and saw other more explicit pictures and simply got the pictures mixed up with reality. She had been so young, after all. 

Tears of regret were copiously shed by Peppers. Amy was brought in and the cousin pleaded her forgiveness for being inappropriate. Amy's parents felt all had been reconciled and she was told to forgive Peppers.

Yet it didn't feel "over" to Amy.  Amy wanted her parents to warn everyone in the family about Peppers so that no other child would have to endure what she had. 

Her father told Amy that she should be careful about administering what she thought was justice. She should not be a part of slander. That wouldn't be Christian. Peppers was a Christian and God was working on him. He bent down and looked into Amy's eyes and whispered, "Have faith in Jesus."

For years Amy's parents avoided seeing the side of the family with the photographer. Later, when Amy was an adult she attended a family reunion where Peppers show up, camera in tow, taking pictures. When he asked to take a picture of Amy and her husband, she walked away. When Peppers attempted to take one of her cousin's sons out for a special picture, Amy went ballistic and started interfering telling the boy to not go with Peppers.

Everyone just passed it off as Amy's emotionalism. She had that reputation. Her brother told her to go see a pastor for some counseling. Her parents were worried about Amy. They told her that God wanted her to forgive her cousin for what he had done to her. Show mercy to Peppers. Do not judge. Allow God's punishment, if there needs to be any, to come upon him.

Amy didn't understand this. But she did everything she could to forgive Peppers and prayed he had indeed changed.

Everyone spoke to her about God's infinite mercy upon sinners. Everyone deserved mercy. She should be the vessel God used to shower His grace upon Peppers. And of course, pray for him.

So wanting to be a good Christian Amy became extremely good at mercy.

A few years later her nephew London, who had been quite a troublemakers and rebellious teenager came to live with Amy and her husband in order to go to the local college. Everyone was so thrilled that London had turned his life around. Amy was more than happy to help.

London had always had a special place in his heart for his Aunt Amy. He knew she was considered a family mess too, like him. He felt he connected with her. She was the only real Christian he had ever met, so he told the family. Which really irritated everyone because Amy was always causing the family some trouble over something.

One evening London confided in Amy that he had been physically abused as a child. Aunt Amy rose in her chair with fury, she began to shake. London saw her reaction and began pouring out his childhood terror. 

Finally someone who believed him and they bonded. Amy confided in London that she had been sexually abused by Peppers when a child. She understood his story. She wanted to know just who this person was,  for she was going on an instant crusade against the person who would do this! She would stand and defend her precious nephew.

London said it was his dad—Amy's sister's husband, George.

She knew her brother-in-law all his life. That was hard to believe. George was very active in church, put together mission trips, was a Eucharistic minister as well as other things. She sat there astounded as London began to tell more horror stories about his father. 

According to London, his father George was the world's worst manipulator and fake Christian. In fact, London hated Christians because his father was such a hypocrite and liar.

Amy's head began to swim. All of a sudden, clues of London's abuse emerged from her memory. Yes, George had been cool and even harsh with the boy at times. Amy had even said something to her sister when London was small. But she thought the problem had all worked out. George's family seemed fine.

So, Amy confronted her sister and brother-in-law. They both told her that London wouldn't let the past go of the past and forgive his father. George said that he had pleaded for his son's forgiveness when he had been a bit harsh, but the boy showed no signs of forgiveness nor mercy on the father. They said they prayed for London to give his heart to Jesus every day. They had to simply wait and have faith.

Amy was confused. She did not go and see  her sister and brother-in-law for months. 

Then George and her sister moved to her town so that London could stay at home while he finished college.  So, Amy, her husband, her sister and George saw each other a lot. 

London lived with his parents but he became morose and irritable. He warned Amy that she should not be deceived by his dad's appearance. George was still a manipulative jerk according to his son. 

Amy's sister assured her that George really had reformed and that London would eventually learn to forgive his dad. Amy and her husband wondered if it wasn't a true God-thing that her sister and George moved close by so they could help George and hold him accountable. Amy thought that she could be the bridge between George and London.

Amy noticed the London was being civil to his parents, but was growing more and more resentful, even hostile towards her. Amy confronted him and London lashed out at her. Couldn't she see George was a hypocrite? He warned her that she and her husband would wake up one day and see who George really was. He wasn't just a fake Christian, he was a devil.

Amy, her husband, her sister and George prayed for London. He needed to forgive. Amy was so sure God had sent her to be the healer in this situation.

One day, George ran off with his secretary, but not before sending his wife to the emergency room from being battered.

Everyone at his church was shocked.

From that moment forward, London despised Amy. 

He despised her Christian mercy.
He despised her unjust God who demanded forgiveness from the weak and victimized but  mercy for the tyrant. 

He blamed her for what happened to his mother. If good, sweet Aunt Amy had only believed him when London said his father George was a fake.

If only someone had the courage to exposed George's hypocrisy.

A few years later, Amy found out that her uncle Peppers was being sent to prison for child pornography.  He had raped more than a half a dozen young girls.

In this Jubilee of Mercy called on by Pope Francis, let us be wise enough to know who needs our mercy. Let us be merciful enough to protect the innocent. Let us be courageous enough to call out sin. For that is the most merciful thing we can do. 

Monday, April 13, 2015


Understanding is the reward of faith. Therefore, seek not to understand that you may believe, but believe that you may understand.

― St. Augustine of Hippo [my emphasis]

Walking in Faith

St. Augustine is saying that first, God gives us a command--a law or a ritual--an action or a command to refrain from acting. For example: "Believe in me" or "Do not steal" or "Be baptized."

Sometimes God explains why He gives us a command or a ritual to perform and sometimes he doesn't. There may or may not come the second part of understanding the command.

Some of His commands seem reasonable such as "do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Most religions and even atheists can see the logic in that.

But what about His law not to engage in sex before marriage or divorce once married and at the very least never remarry if you do leave your spouse? Many have tried to logically argue that God was wrong about those commands. After all, we are in the 21st century and things are different now. Surely He doesn't mean that today we are supposed to refrain from having sex before marriage and obviously He doesn't expect people who have divorced from abusive spouses stay single the rest of their lives? Right?

Most Christians assume that God doesn't expect us to behave like automatons. He is not a totalitarian who expects us to blindly follow Him. He gives us free will. God is reasonable. He convinced us with the Holy Spirit and with the Bible.

Christians will pick up the scriptures and show that it clearly spells out in black and white what is sin. And most of that is fairly reasonable. But when it comes to actually living by it, most Christians hesitate. Most insist that even if they are the very words of Christ, they must be judged to be compatible with the culture. The spiritual must be tested, the miraculous, verified. It need to make sense to us before we obey, right?

Isn't that what the great Reformer Luther stated? "Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain
reason….. I cannot and I will not recant anything….. for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe…. Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise."

Luther's "I must understand before I will believe" is the exact opposite of St. Augustine's "believe that you may understand."

Granted we do begin our grasp of the gospel with understanding.

As we come and reason together, the Holy Spirit draws us with enough evidence that we accept Christianity. Jesus asks us to believe in Him as Savior. We trust Him enough to dedicate our lives to Him. The evidence of the Cross and His atonement is compelling, though we do not yet understand the Trinity doctrine or many other things written in scripture. 

As we grow in faith, we will begin to understand through little steps, lots and lots of little steps. Through the journey of obedience, we begin
understand. Similar to the trust you place in a person you end up later marrying, there is enough evidence at first to capture your interest. But you walk with your beloved, your trust grows. That is similar to what happens in our relationship with Christ.

That's how the obedience of faith works. While we are spiritual children, sometimes we just obey because our Father tells us to. Of course we can question, God expects our questions and He certainly has answers. But sometimes He does not give us the answers. He wants us exercise our faith by not understanding. He asks us to trust Him. 

And if you have been walking with Christ long enough, there will be a time when He asks you to walk on water. And this will not make sense. He is teaching us to trust Him.

Faith and Works

Now to build upon this and bring it into the understanding of faith and works. This is a much misunderstood doctrine of Christ. While Jesus speaks of faith as saving us, He also speaks of judging people by their works.

Protestants are adamant about separating works and faith. As if doing deeds of charity or going to church is somehow against the gospel of Christ if it has any connection to salvation. Well, I think if they saw things with a little different perspective they might not feel quite so adamant.

Now keep in mind that I am not arguing a works-salvation. I repeat WE CANNOT SAVE OURSELVES by our good works. We are saved by grace through faith. But, I will show you how the obedience of faith ties together faith and works in a wonderful way.

To begin, we must understand why we are on this earth. Why didn't everything wrap up at the Cross and everyone go straight to heaven? Why all this madness and chaos post-Cross? Why are we here?

We have been given this time on earth to accept the gospel and grow to love and trust God. That is the entire point of each covenant with God. We must learn to truth Him. Totally.

Think of it like this. After this life, we will be living an eternal adventure with God. It will

require complete and perfect trust. Sin keeps us from trusting God, so sin has to be eradicated. Jesus did that on the Cross for the world, and we now each must take that gift and run with it, in faith.

And to teach us love and trust, God had a plan. He didn't just stop at the Cross and slap His hands together and walk away with "I'm done here, y'all have fun." He gave us a plan in order to help all those who accept the gospel to "finish the race."

There is a great mystery that most Christians don't ever understand. Being good, keeping the law doesn't help us to love and trust God. But faith alone doesn't either.

You see sin must be eradicated, for sin blocks us from trusting and loving God. But just keeping the Mosaic law couldn't do it. The Pharisees found that out. But keeping the New Covenant law can't do it either. Perfection, as our Father in heaven is perfect, must be through learning to trust God. And we can learn to love and trust Him through keeping His commandments.

Don't get too far ahead of me. First consider this:

God tells us to love our neighbor as ourself by feeding our neighbor if he is hungry. That's rational. We can do that without any faith or trust in God. We can handle that. So we give a homeless man some money or bring him some food. We have obeyed God's command. Right. We did well.

This is the first part of the journey. God gives us simple, clear rules we can understand. And this begins to teach us love and trust.

Then all of a sudden our spouse cheats on us. We do not believe this relationship can mend. It to us is not just toxic, it is dead. Our logic tells us to divorce. Our emotions tell us that we have no option but to hate our spouse.

Now God tells us we must forgive them. We have come to a place where we can't forgive on our own. The hurt is too keen, the wound too deep.

Forgiveness is impossible. And we have to submit to Christ's command, rather than go with what we think is best, or what a marriage counselor might prescribe, or what even logic says is best. We have to prostrate ourselves and beg to God's grace to forgive. We walk in obedience to faith. It is a leap of faith that will eventually bring us to supernatural trust in Christ.

The whole purpose of God's law is not to make us good enough to save. God doesn't want simply perfect behavior, but perfect trust. (Which is also perfect love.) Every single act of obedience, every single command, every single rite and ritual we are given by God is to help us along this path of trust. It is not just to make us grovel like obedient slaves, but to make us strong with confidence. He is able. God is able.

God's plan with the sacraments and rites and rituals are to give us grace and nourish us as we learn this supernatural trust in Him. It is not enough to follow God when we can see the end of the road or understand where He is taking us. It is important for us to take the baby steps of confession and penance and going to mass and taking the Eucharist often, these steps we can see and somewhat understand so that when the road is dark and lonely, we will still keep walking in faith.

We start out walking in faith, so that we will someday be able to fly in faith. But we can only fly if we throw ourselves off a cliff! (I mean this spiritually, of course.)

When you can't understand something that God has asked us to do, like refrain from taking contraception or divorcing or believe marriage is for a male and female, or give alms, it is all about learning not to trust in our own reasoning or money. Always remember, He is the Alpha and the Omega. He already sees the end and knows that this is best in the long run. He sees things you cannot see nor even understand. Trust Him, he whispers to each of us and we learn to fly.

Believe in Christ and obey first, the understanding will come during the journey. In this way, faith and the works cannot be separated, each act of faith strengthens our faith and trust. It is the journey of obedience, the journey of action that perfects our faith. We cannot have one without the other.

It can be hard, very hard, but this is for eternity. Eternity will be about love and love comes from trusting God.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

The Passion Week of Christ and the Passion Week for His Church

When my husband and I entered the Catholic Church, and our children followed, we entered amidst a flurry of controversy. 

First there was the priest abuse sex scandal. That was a difficult one to get past. We studied the problem, read the John Jay report, prayed about it and realized that the Body of Christ, the Church, was composed of the wheat and tares. [And I shall not even write what I believe should happen to those satanic tares when it comes to the abuse of innocent young men.]


Jesus chose Judas. As horrifying as it is, we should prepare ourselves to have a few demons among the Apostles' successors--for the darkness is real, it is not fantasy. There really is a Devil who wants to destroy the church from without and within, and he patiently waits at the gates to get in.

Like the Apostles, one out of twelve traitors to the faith should not be surprising. That would make it
possible that the Catholic Church houses about 19 wolves for Cardinals, about 425 bishops that will sell out Christ, and more than 34,300 priests who will give their Master the kiss of betrayal. 

The reality is not near that bleak. The Catholic Church has very, very few demons in it. And they have finally awakened to the scandal and worked very hard to stop the crimes.

Our family was not expecting the church Christ began to be perfect. In fact, if we found a church with no tares, then it wouldn't fit Jesus' description of His kingdom. Since we entered though, there have been a barrage of new crisis and internal controversies. And usually it is between liberal and conservative Catholics. 

To kneel or not to kneel? 
To contracept or not to contracept? 
To veil or not to veil? 
Was Vatican II the fissure that let the smoke of Satan into the Temple of God or was that the Holy Spirit that came in? 
Novus Ordo or the Tridentine mass?
Should unfaithful Catholic politicians receive Holy Communion?
Should the remarried Catholics receive Holy Communion?

The media reports with excitement that the Church is about to embrace abortion, contraception, homosexuality, adultery! With the jovial Cardinal Dolan always tantalizing the media with expectation. Then Pope Francis adds his two-cents to the confusion. And then the upcoming Council on the Family that has the passengers on the Catholic Ark wondering if there is a captain at the helm of this rocking ship!

As frustrating as the lack of leadership has been, one thing has given me great peace. I once read that the Catholic Church, as the Body of Christ, will have a parallel experience as Christ did while on earth. Satan will put her through the wilderness and tempt her and she will go through her own Gethsemane sweating blood,  experiencing
betrayal of her closest friends. The Church will be scourged, stripped and crucified, but what did we expect when Jesus told us to take up our cross and follow Him? And finally we may feel the same abandonment that Christ felt and the Church may cry out, "why have you abandon us?" to our Father. And perhaps, many may be called to die for our faith. 

As we walk with Christ through the Passion Week, take a look at the long history of the church that God so loved. 

All Christ needed was twelve faithful bishops--and though they scattered, they returned and were martyred for Our Lord. God can use even one faithful bishop to turn the entire church around as He did with Athanasius during the Arian heresy. We know we got that covered: Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. And of course there are many, many more!

Yet, even if all the shepherds scatter, we will be prepared. For this is what they did to our Lord. Be not afraid.

We have two thousand years of His past faithfulness to His Beloved that we each can draw comfort from. And gaze into the eternity to come. 
As we contemplate the Good Friday and Holy Saturday, remember that each moment is redemptive suffering that every soul, each and every soul that can possibly be saved, will be found in heaven. 

Let us also feel the closeness of Easter Sunday. And let us never grow weary of praying that our beloved bishops have the courage to rise above even the Apostles themselves and walk with Christ's bride as she faces a hostile world. 

God bless you all. 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Vatican II and the Gregorian Chant

ON DECEMBER 4, 1963 

116. The Church acknowledges Gregorian chant as specially suited to the Roman liturgy: therefore, other things being equal, it should be given pride of place in liturgical services. But other kinds of sacred music, especially polyphony, are by no means excluded from liturgical celebrations, so long as they accord with the spirit of the liturgical action, as laid down in Art. 30.

What are some of the reasons Vatican II chose the Gregorian chant as having the pride of place?

Before becoming Catholic, our family attended churches that were on fire for the Lord, especially in the music. With a Christian band on stage playing their hearts out--the beat of the drums--it was a total body praise to the Lord! Hundreds of us with our hand waving in the air and dancing in place--what a great experience. I looked forward each week to praise times before the sermon.  For myself, and I assume everyone else there, we were genuinely praising God with all our hearts and souls. 

So why does the Catholic Church--even post Vatican II--emphasize what so many people believe to be dull, lifeless music in church? Shouldn't the music inspire us and get us going? For a Catholic, the music in church isn't about taste, preference, emotion...none of that. Catholic music isn't about making us feel inspired. That's kinda rough on someone going from a very charismatic church to Catholicism. Why isn't the service about filling me? I totally get that question from a Protestant perspective. Protestant services are about filling ourselves, getting inspiration to go out and preach the gospel each week. No criticism about that. 

But for a Catholic, the Holy Spirit fills us in a different way during church than Protestants. We consider our reception of the bread and wine as the way in which we receive the Holy Spirit. That is our "food" for the week. So we first give our offering to God through the worship of the liturgy. My gift to God is to worship Him during Catholic mass. That part is His. Although we, as we listen to the readings of the scripture and hear the sermon, are also gaining great spiritual insight. 

Then the second part, the communion, is when Catholics receive the Eucharist...the very body and blood of our Savior. That is my gift from God for attending mass. 

The exchange should be perfect. The perfect worship and communion of God and His Bride. The dance of love takes place spiritually rather than physically. And I can attest, that when your heart is with God at mass, it is a fiery dance that will bring you very close to the cross and heaven. That is why many Catholic saints have experienced what they call ecstasy at mass.

So what do Gregorian chants have to do with this? 

I read an introduction to the missal at the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in South Carolina that explained it. This is my version of what I read (editorialized for Catholics and Protestants):

As Christians, we believe the Bible is infallible, right? The Bible is the inspired Word of God and if we want to know what is right for the Christian, we go to the Bible. Absolutely. It is perfect,

Catholic sprinkle ourselves with holy water when we enter the church as a renewal of our baptism and we confess our sins, so that we ourselves will be holy and without sin during the mass. 

At Catholic mass we lift up to the Father the perfect, infallible sacrifice of the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is a perfect sacrifice. 

Within the context of a perfect sacrifice, our liturgy is perfect, for we read the infallible words of God. We worship perfectly when we lift up to God with infallible scripture!

The Gregorian Chant takes its lyrics from the Bible--no editing--just the words of scripture. So when we are worshipping a holy God, in holy mass, we should sing only the words that are perfect and infallible. After all, mass is prayer to God. 

The mass is about worshipping God the way He desires to be worshipped, not the way we want to worship Him. He wants perfect worship. 

Therefore, we lift up to Him: 
His Son as the one-time perfect sacrifice. 
His own perfect words as we read the scriptural liturgy. 
His perfect words in the sung liturgy. 

As thrilling as it is for Christian composers to write songs, psalms and hymns to our Lord, the wording is not infallible, nor perfect. Hymns of great Christians are good and we should sing them often, but they should not take primary position over the very words of God. Just as we don't read inspirational texts from Christians in mass because they are not the infallible words of God, Vatican II has given primary place to the Gregorian chant because it is not supposed to vary from the scripture in its lyrics. 

While that was not the complete explanation, I thought those were thoughts worthy of pondering. After all, mass isn't about what I like. I am not going there to give God what I want, but to worship Him in the way He chooses. And He tells us to be perfect. Mass is a foretaste of heaven. So, Mass is one place on earth where things can be perfect. 

 That is one of the reasons for singing the Words of God rather than the words of man.