Faithfulness requires a clear head and the ability to call out nonsense for what it is. To be steeped in history is to cease to be neo-Catholic. It is to see the truth of Tradition, and the farce that is the ritual reference to the hermeneutic of continuity.
I’m always amazed by the sheer number of converts who have written books about their journey to the Church. I’m not sure who reads these books, but apparently there’s quite a market for them. I promise you to never join that fray. For one thing, I can’t imagine My Story would be of interest to anyone but a small group of (no doubt annoyed) confessional Lutherans. For another thing, even within this niche market, it would prove to be terribly boring reading. I simply have had no Road to Damascus experience, no existentialist crisis, no particular phenomenological breakthrough, and no precise ‘ah ha!’ moment; I didn’t have an apparition or vision, and I was never ‘shaken to the core’ or some such thing. More importantly for my present purposes, I didn’t see in the Church the solution to some life crisis or trauma, I didn’t ‘feel’ my way into the Church, I didn’t ‘fall in love’ with any aspect of it, and as a result of finding the Church, I didn’t ‘find myself’, nor did I have any other sort of emotional epiphany or therapeutic recovery (though it should be noted that if my conversion had given me such an emotional headway, no Lutheran worth his salt would have taken me seriously anyway—call it the Lutheran Catch-22).
Update: Brian McCall Answers His Critics at the End of this Article
It is easy to sit here in 2014 and criticize the general populace of Nazi Germany. How could they allow such insanity? How could doctors participate in the torture and execution of the helpless and innocent? We need look no further than a neighborhood hospital today to find the answers.
The secular media loves to denounce with righteous indignation the human atrocities committed by the Nazis before and during World War II. Now the problem with their self-righteous indignation is not the condemnation of these atrocities, which deserve denunciation, but rather the utter hypocrisy of the oligarchy that rules our country with its ink (or more recently digital) fist. As it drones on about the past it repeats it all over again in the present.
Is Vatican II too Catholic for Cardinal Rodríguez Maradiaga? If not, why did he misquote Lumen Gentium to fit the modernist narrative?
As we approach the first anniversary of the election of Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio to the papacy, we are hearing almost daily the ominous vroom-vroom of an engine of novelty warming up for the final lap to the finish line of the Second Vatican Disaster. One breathless report last week sums up the world’s ecstasy over this pontificate and its blatant catering to the mass media:
Rumours of revolution are swirling through the streets of Rome and the frescoed halls of Vatican City. Doctrinal conservatism is out —compassion is in.
Ten months into his papacy, Pope Francis is setting in motion what looks like seismic change in the Catholic Church, although the outcome of this revolution is difficult to predict….
Francis, it seems, has a three-pronged strategy: He's leveraging his public media appeal to realign the overall “message” of the church; he’s dismantling a dysfunctional Curia; and he’s rebuilding a new kind of Church.
THE LORD JESUS teaches us through His Church, that death marks the end of the earthly pilgrimage of man. Death marks the end of this life as the time when we can accept divine grace which is given to us in Christ. Death brings the end of the time of grace and mercy which God offers to us, so that we can realize the purpose of our existence. It is God’s plan that this life is when we decide our ultimate destiny. When “the unique course of our earthly life” has ended, we will not return to other earthly lives. “Man dies only once”. There is no “reincarnation” after this life.
After this life human beings will themselves be either among those who have responded to the love and mercy of God, or among those who have refused to accept grace right up to the end.
The New Beginning of the Church
The Cardinal then outlines his vision of the “new evangelization” which involves the Church starting anew from the beginning. In doing so he makes several shocking statements. First he states:
The calling of the Church, in the likeness of Jesus, is to proclaim the Kingdom of God. Even Christ himself did not proclaim or preach Himself, but the Kingdom. The Church, as His disciple and His servant, ought to do the same. Her calling is to serve, not to rule: “Servant of Humanity,” called her Pope Paul VI. She must do this service living in the world, herself a part of the world and in solidarity with it, because “the world is the only subject that interests God.
“The Second Vatican Council was the main event in the Church in the 20th Century. In principle, it meant an end to the hostilities between the Church and modernism, which was condemned in the First Vatican Council”…Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga
Cardinal Oscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga is a very important man in today’s Catholic Church. In addition to being the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, Honduras, he is the pope’s principal advisor and the chair of a group of eight advising cardinals established by Pope Francis to revise the Apostolic Constitution on the Roman Curia. He also serves as the president of Caritas Internationalis, is a member of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and was considered a serious contender for the papacy during the last conclave. What he says matters.
The ongoing saga of the unjust and tragic persecution of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate has demonstrated once again what is actually at the root of the post-conciliar liturgical crisis – namely the issue of doctrine in relation to the traditional Roman Mass versus the Novus Ordo Missae. Like cream rising to the top of a milk pail, recent news has affirmed initial speculations that the friars and sisters were being treated in a heavy-hand fashion because some members were harboring “crypto-lefebvrian and definitely traditionalist drift” as related in a letter by Apostolic Commissar – err, Commissioner - Fr. Fidenzio Volpi.
What follows is my translation of the rather sensational article by Messrs. Gnocchi and Palmari, a pair of Italian Catholic intellectuals, in which the authors leveled profound and quite scathing public criticisms of the current pontificate under a title that could not be more provocative. After the article was published in the Italian daily Il Foglio on October 9, however, Pope Francis personally telephoned Palmaro to assure him “that he had understood that those criticisms had been made with love, and how important it had been for him to receive them.”
Let that be a lesson to the neo-Catholic proponents of abject silence and submission in the face of every papal word or deed—including those who run Radio Maria, which dismissed both authors from their positions as Catholic commentators immediately after the article appeared. Silence in the face of public scandal, even if it be the scandal of a Pope, has never been the Catholic way, as anyone with even a passing familiarity with the turbulent epochs of Church history would know.
What's the Catholic answer to Catholic bashing? Our job as Catholics is not to remind people that we can’t be criticized, or to find ways to get our secular government to ‘protect’ us from nasty and unkind critiques, or to get the secular state to allow us the ‘freedom’ to practice our quirky beliefs inside their secular public order; it is instead to show secular critics that our own views on freedom, sex, and much else besides, are correct and should be adopted by the public at large.
A recent issue of U.S. News and World Report published an editorial that upset some Catholics. The essay in question was written by a writer who was rather annoyed that Supreme Court Justice Sonya Sotomayor’s majority-tipping decision allowed some nuns in Denver to opt out of the federal decree that requires businesses of a certain size to offer carcinogens birth control pills as part of their health insurance coverage. The editorialist in question, Jamie Stiehm, saw the Catholic Church as a domineering and meddlesome institution, and one that was usurping the hard won rights of non-Catholic and ‘good’ Catholic-Americans. According to Stiehm, Sotomayor was a ‘bad’ Catholic, in that she was unduly influenced by the authoritarian religious group to which she belonged; it seemed as if her Catholic beliefs had made her blind to the sacred, secular ideals of her own country, including those that boldly speak to the separation of church and state.
The Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter has a thriving apostolate in the province of Cundinamarca in the country of Colombia. It is situated in the Municipality of Anolaima which is about a 2 ½ hour bus ride west of the capital, Bogota. There are currently three priests assigned there.
Father Angel Alfaro is a Spaniard who started the apostolate a few years ago. He bought land covered in jungle on the side of a mountain and literally built a farm on the site with his own hands. He was joined by a French priest, Father Louis Baudon de Mony. Together they established a fine rectory in the village of La Florida which is about a 30 minute drive (or 3-hour hike) up the mountain from the Anolaima. By much hard work the old rectory building has been made into a comfortable and spacious home with a private chapel located on the village plaza. Because the rectory is located in a separate village this affords the priests much needed privacy for their prayer life.
I’m going to take a wild shot in the dark and say that most pro-life people, even the converts to the position, came from a home environment that included more than one other person. Most people, I have learned, come from this thing called a “family,” that involves a variety of other people, male and female, young and old, to whom one remains ontologically connected for the rest of one’s life. I have also learned, though this took somewhat longer, that most people regard these “families” as a good and useful thing, of positive benefit in their lives.
These ideas have taken some effort to get used to.
This presumption of familial security, common to most people operating in the pro-life world, is perhaps something of a handicap. It tends to make pro-lifers appear smug and self-satisfied and unable to understand the connotations of their message for those on the other side. And it quite possibly makes it impossible for them to understand the hatred and rage they, in all innocence, can engender when they suggest that abortion must be outlawed. I remember when I was younger seeing pro-life people holding signs of babies and advocating motherhood and thinking they were the worst people in the world. What kind of awful people would try to force a woman to destroy herself over a blob of cells?