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Robert Lazu Kmita | Remnant Columnist, Romania

Compared by Saint John Chrysostom – in a downright poetic manner – to the auroral light of the morning, which heralds the approach of the moment when the sun itself appears to pour forth its light upon the world just emerging from darkness, Saint John the Baptist received, according to the words of Saint Jerome, the “honorable privilege” of preaching the Kingdom of God first. Indeed, the Gospel according to Matthew presents this crucial message as being conveyed for the first time by the greatest of the prophets of the Old Testament:

“And in those days cometh John the Baptist preaching in the desert of Judea. And saying: Do penance: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand (Matthew 3: 1-2).”

Among the biblical prophecies about cosmic events that will occur before the end of times, some mention the darkening of the sun. As expected, this sign is repeatedly mentioned in the Old Testament. The prophet Joel tells us, “the earth hath trembled, the heavens are moved: the sun and moon are darkened, and the stars have withdrawn their shining” (Joel 2:10). In the book of the prophet Ezekiel, God Himself speaks, announcing the consequences of His Providential intervention in history:

“I will cover the heavens, when thou shalt be put out, and I will make the stars thereof dark: I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light” (Ezeckiel 32:7).

If we were to inquire of Saint Bonaventure (1221–1274) about the root of the current crisis in the Church, we might be surprised by his response. The Seraphic Doctor, deeply engaged in issues pertaining to the end of history, condemns the apocalyptic dimension of a strictly rational-speculative theology and its resulting implications. The proliferation of this speculative thinking, influenced by Aristotle and Averroes, had given rise to heretical doctrines such as the eternity of the world and causal fatalism. For Bonaventure, this trend signified the unmistakable indication of the opening of the bottomless pit mentioned in the Book of Revelation (9, 1-2) and the emergence of the smoke of heresies that obscured the “sun” of supernatural faith. A more thorough examination reveals the underlying essence of his apocalyptic warning: the grave distortion of the interpretation of the sacred texts of the Bible. To which, I would say, must be added the spread of those heresies that deny the dogma of biblical inerrancy[i] and the inspiration of all texts recognized as canonical by the Council of Trent (1545–1563).

In the case of all the Sacraments of the Church, according to the Roman Catechism (1566), there is an essential part—described in the terms of the doctrine of Saint Thomas Aquinas through the concepts of “matter” and “form”–and certain ceremonies added to it. If the elimination or improper use of the essential part invalidates the sacrament, the omission of any other part is also strictly prohibited–except in exceptional situations:

“To (the matter and form) are added certain ceremonies. These cannot be omitted without sin, unless in case of necessity; yet, if at any time they be omitted, the Sacrament is not thereby invalidated, since the ceremonies do not pertain to its essence.”[1]

Recently used by Cardinal Müller,[i] the phrase “practical heresy” has been popularized in a couple of his latest articles by Timothy Flanders,[ii] the editor-in-chief of One Peter Five (1P5). Essentially, this concept refers to any religious practice that contradicts, through deeds and actions, a revealed doctrine. We will take the teaching on marriage as an example.

There is no other subject more challenging than that of unfulfilled prophecies. Whether it’s the sacred texts of the Bible, non-Christian religious works, or certain literary creations (and not just those belonging to the “fantasy” genre), prophecies are everywhere. Especially in dark times like ours, when epochal events happen, predictions about the present and future are continuously explored. In a very recent article, Timothy Flanders asserts unequivocally: “We are witnessing something huge.”[i]

Caught in the midst of the modernist whirlwind, which, as taught by Pope Pius X, is a “synthesis of all heresies,”[i] we see how all teachings of faith – and especially those of a moral nature – are under attack from all sides. In such a situation, a reevaluation and deepening of our own Christian faith is absolutely necessary. We must begin by asking ourselves how thoroughly we know the faith of the Church founded by our King and Lord, Jesus Christ.

The tweet of Father Thomas Crean O.P.

In a tweet written on October 8, one day before the feast of Saint John Henry Newman (1801–1890), the Dominican Father Thomas Crean drew attention to one of the most interesting comments made by the Oxford scholar about the last times.[i] It’s about an excerpt from the conclusion of Newman’s fourth and final lecture in the series entitled The Patristical Idea of Antichrist in Four Lectures.[ii]

“Obedience must have its limits, beyond which guilt begins.”  What Can We Learn from a Great Writer

Although baptized, we still fall ill. Although baptized, we feel the relentless attacks of concupiscence. Although baptized, we suffer the vicissitudes of a life subjected to sin. And, most importantly, although baptized, we are subject to death. If Adam and Eve, before the fall, were not touched by any of the evils of this life, how can we say that, through the Holy Sacrament of Baptism, “We are somewhat already in Paradise”? It is time to answer, as much as possible, this challenging question.

In order to do this, we need to reflect, using as vivid and expressive imagery as possible, on the human condition before the fall, so that we can contemplate our situation after the fall. Only when these aspects are clarified, can we revisit the topic of Holy Baptism and discuss the effects it has on those saved “by the laver of regeneration” (Titus 3:5).

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