Kingdom of Zombies

Pray for the Faith of these children and their parents.


A Meditation on Modernism

The following article, copied in its entirety, is a good reminder of the problems that Catholics have to deal with on a day to day basis in the Church. Pope Saint Pius X pray for us! Emphasis and links are mine.

A Meditation on Modernism
by Fr. Thomas Crean O.P.

One hundred years ago, on the feast of our Lady’s nativity, 1907, Pope St Pius X issued his renowned encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis. He wrote the encyclical to protect the Church against a new movement that was starting to develop among a certain number of Catholic intellectuals. For want of a better name, the Pope called this movement ‘Modernism’. He stated that it threatened ‘to destroy the vital energy of the Church’ and to spread poison through the whole of Catholic life. In fact, he went so far as to say that its proponents were ‘the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church’, since they harmed her from within and not from without.

What was the danger that prompted so vigorous a papal riposte? What were the ‘Modernists’ saying? In various ways, they were saying this: Catholicism should be based not, as hitherto, on reason, but rather on experience. The exaltation of experience above reason is the essence of the Modernist heresy.

Why is this so serious an error? The Church holds that her faith is rational. The First Vatican Council solemnly taught that the human reason is capable of knowing the existence of God with certainty. It also taught that even before coming to faith, a man can discover by the correct use of his reason that God has made a revelation to mankind. He does this by carefully considering the ‘external signs’ that bear witness to divine revelation, especially miracles and fulfilled prophecies. Vatican I, in fact, anathematised those who claim that we must be drawn to faith in God simply ‘by personal, internal experience or by private inspiration’.

The Modernists, however, did not accept that rational argument could show that Catholicism is the true religion revealed by God. There were various reasons for this. In philosophy, they were influenced by Immanuel Kant, who had argued that it was impossible for anyone to prove the existence of God. In theology, they were influenced by attacks on the historical reliability of the Bible, attacks led by men such as the German Protestant Julius Welhausen (for the Old Testament) and the former Catholic seminarian Ernest Renan (for the New). More generally, the Modernists, as their name suggests, were strongly influenced by the spirit of their times, which put forward inevitable progress as a ‘law of history’. This led them to reject as impossible the notion of a religion revealed from heaven once and for all. A fortiori they rejected the notion that one should discover by the good use of reason what this religion is and then embrace it.

Now the Modernists, at least in the beginning, wished to help the Church. There seems to be no reason to doubt that men such as Alfred Loisy (1857-1940) and George Tyrell (1861-1909) were at first sincere in desiring the Church to be immune from the attacks of non-believers. Thinking that she could no longer be defended by reason, they called experience to her aid. In the middle of a sophisticated and unbelieving world, religious experience would henceforth justify the existence of the Catholic Church.

Like all heresies, Modernism begins with the distortion of some part of Christian truth. It is quite correct to say that apologetic arguments by themselves can never bring anyone to Christ. A preparation of the heart is necessary for someone to embrace the faith. Likewise, there is a proper place in the Christian life for the category of ‘experience’. Who will deny that being present at a High Mass or looking after a sick person may be a profound experience that strengthens one’s hold on some Christian teaching or other? But none of this means that ‘experience’ is the ultimate guide to religious truth. Before conversion to the Catholic Church, natural reason is the guide; after conversion, our guide is the teaching authority of the Church, accepted by that same reason now enlightened by faith.

It would have been bad enough if the Modernists had simply denied the possibility of apologetics. In fact, their exaltation of ‘experience’ led the more radical among them to go further, until they drained the Creed itself of meaning. These radical Modernists taught that man has an innate religious sense, active in some people, dormant in others, and that a believer is simply someone whose religious sense has been somehow awakened. He has had ‘an experience of the divine’. When a group of believers reflect together on their various experiences, dogmas gradually result. Yet these dogmas are not truths publicly revealed by God and passed down without change from apostolic times. For a radical Modernist, a dogma is just a symbol of the religious experience of the believers. A dogma is therefore true insofar as it expresses these experiences in a fitting way.

But what particularly disturbed Pope Pius was that the Modernists continued to use the Catholic formulas of faith even when they had ceased to believe in them. Among themselves, they might interpret the Church’s doctrines in a purely ‘subjective’ way. But among non-Modernists they would continue to use the ordinary expressions of faith, no doubt justifying themselves by the thought that these formulas were, after all, true: that is, truly useful symbols.

For example, when a Catholic declares, ‘Christ is God’, he means just what he says. A Modernist, in using the same words, might mean, ‘in meeting Christ, or belonging to the community that he founded, one experiences the presence of the divine’. Again, if a Catholic says, ‘Christ was born of a Virgin’, he means exactly that. If a Modernist said it, he might mean ‘in contemplating Christ, one has a sense of radical newness, of something without a fully satisfying natural explanation’.

It will be seen at once that Modernism is essentially foggy. Whereas the Catholic creed consists of statements that are simple enough for a child to understand – for God Himself is simple – Modernism thrives on ambiguity and unclarity (Belloc said that Maude Petre, an English Modernist, had written a book to prove that God was not a Person but a Vagueness.)

Was the Pope a victim of paranoia in supposing that the men he had in mind emptied the creed of meaning whilst continuing to profess it? Let the most famous name among them, the French priest Alfred Loisy, be our witness. In a letter written in 1904 to Cardinal Merry du Val, the Vatican Secretary of State, he declared ‘I accept all the dogmas of the Church’. But in his private diary at the same period, he noted, ‘I have not been a Catholic in the official sense of the word for a long time’, and again, ‘Pius X, the head of the Catholic Church, would excommunicate me most decidedly if he knew that I hold... the virgin birth and the resurrection to be purely moral symbols’.

From the beginning of his pontificate in 1903, St Pius had attempted to persuade the Modernists, whether moderate or extreme, to abandon their system, but when this failed, he acted swiftly and decisively. In the encyclical Pascendi, he exposed their motives and methods to the broad light of day. At the same time he promulgated, through the Holy Office, a list of 65 condemned propositions taken from the books of the leading Modernists. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, he issued the ‘anti-Modernist oath’, to be taken by all clergy and others with teaching posts in the Church. This oath affirmed with crystal clarity that the Catholic faith is founded on reason, and that the Church’s dogmas do not depend on religious experience, but were revealed by God to the apostles and so cannot change. Although the imposition of this oath led to much public controversy, in the end only about forty priests refused to sign it. By this means were Catholic seminaries and universities preserved from Modernism at least until the time of the Second World War.

So far, we have considered two general features of the Modernist movement: its abandonment of apologetics and, at least among its more radical representatives, its denial of the obvious meaning of the Creed. We can now consider a third characteristic of the movement, one that makes it peculiarly hard to eradicate, namely its attitude towards the magisterium or teaching office of the Church.

St Pius X noted that the Modernists of his day considered conflict between the magisterium and the laity to be a normal and healthy state of affairs (today this is sometimes called ‘creative tension’.) They considered that the pope and the bishops ought to act as a ‘conservative’ force within the Church, maintaining the traditional expressions of doctrine intact: until the ‘common consciousness’ of the faithful had so ‘evolved’ that it became necessary to replace some traditional doctrine with a new one. Accordingly, the Modernists claimed that men such as themselves, who were in the vanguard of this ‘evolution’, must inevitably clash with the pope and the bishops. The Pope’s ironic description of this Modernist attitude is worth quoting at some length:

‘[When condemned by the Church] they reflect that, after all, there is no progress without a battle and no battle without its victims; and victims they are willing to be like the prophets and Christ Himself. They have no bitterness in their hearts against the authority which uses them roughly, for after all they readily admit that it is only doing its duty as authority. Their sole grief is that it remains deaf to their warnings, for in this way it impedes the progress of souls, but the hour will surely come when further delay will be impossible, for if the laws of evolution may be checked for a while they cannot be finally evaded. And thus they go their way, reprimands and condemnations not withstanding, masking an incredible audacity under a mock semblance of humility.’

In other words, even when condemned, the Modernist would not feel compelled to choose between faithfully accepting the Church’s teaching and openly leaving the Church. In such circumstances, there would seem to be no other option than to act as Pope Pius did: to administer an oath of fidelity, relying on the natural human horror of perjury to prevent it from being taken insincerely in more than a very few cases.

It is a commonplace that Modernism returned to the Catholic Church after the Second World War and particularly from the time of the Second Vatican Council. If the Modernism of St Pius’s day may be compared to a dangerous tumour, removed by the prompt action of a skilful surgeon, this later Modernism might be compared to a great flood of water pouring into a house with devastating effects. Many eloquent and acute authors in various lands have chronicled this ‘flooding’ of the Church. One might name, for example, Romano Amerio (featured in the May Mass of Ages); the German philosopher Dietrich von Hildebrand; Jean Madiran, in France; and our own Michael Davies. Such writers as these have amply shown how the spirit of Modernism re-entered the Church when the vigilance of the ‘watchmen’ was relaxed.

This ‘neo-Modernism’ has presented the same features as the original Modernism. First, it undermined apologetics. Apologetics presupposes a clear distinction between the knowledge that our natural reason can have of God and the knowledge that comes from the grace of faith. But during the second half of the 20th Century, a marked tendency developed among Catholic theologians to blur the distinction between the ‘natural’ and the ‘supernatural’ (this is why many of them, today, stumble at the venerable doctrine of Limbo, or the natural happiness prepared by God for unbaptized souls who have never known the use of reason.) As a result, apologetics, which had previously been taught not only in seminaries but also in Catholic secondary schools, fell out of favour.

This decline of apologetics was accelerated when seminarians ceased to be instructed in the perennial philosophy perfected by Aristotle, St Thomas Aquinas and their heirs, in favour of a rather superficial acquaintance with ‘modern thought’. Accordingly, the traditional proofs of the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, proofs that show the rational basis of Christianity, were devalued in the eyes of many. The rout was completed by ‘developments’ in biblical studies. From the 1960’s, it became fashionable in many Catholic circles to accept the scepticism about the Gospels that had previously been the mark of liberal Protestants. At the same time, many Catholic exegetes came to embrace the idea, repeatedly condemned by the Popes and by Sacred Tradition, that there are errors in the Bible.

(The best modern work of apologetics that I know is Fr Peter Joseph’s revision of Archbishop Sheehan’s classic Apologetics and Catholic Doctrine. This was published some years ago by the Saint Austin’s Press; I hope very much that they, or some other publishing house, will soon bring it back into print.)

The second Modernist characteristic mentioned above was that of using Catholic language without Catholic convictions. The most devastating example of this in recent times perhaps concerns the real presence of Christ in the holy Eucharist. It is not common for any one with a teaching position in the Church to deny that Christ is present in the celebration of the Mass. But probably many seminarians in different countries have been exposed to accounts of this doctrine which claim that transubstantiation is an ‘outmoded’ concept. The alternative explanation of Christ’s presence which is then given is likely to be a Modernist one. That is, the physical presence of Christ will often be at least tacitly denied, and the experience of the ‘worshipping community’ invoked to take its place.

Another example is the doctrine of the Resurrection. It would be very surprising if anyone with the title of a Catholic theologian should ever say, ‘Christ is not risen’. Yet one sometimes hears or reads that the resurrection does not necessarily mean that Christ’s tomb was empty on the third day, but simply that Christ has been glorified or ‘vindicated’ by God the Father. Of course, this is a self-contradiction: how could it be our Lord who was glorified if His Body had not risen again? Either those who say such things are simply very confused (that is what we should hope); or else, they are reducing the resurrection to an experience, either an experience of the apostles or an experience of the contemporary ‘believing community’.

The third characteristic that I, or rather Pope St Pius, distinguished in Modernism was the habit of ignoring the immemorial teachings of the Church in the name of an alleged evolving Christian consciousness. It would not be hard to find evidence of this within the Church today; one can simply read the Tablet. But not only is the habit of ignoring the magisterium more widespread than in the days of Pascendi, it also extends to a greater range of Catholic doctrines. St Thomas Aquinas, discussing tyranny, remarks that when there is a succession of tyrants in a land, the later ones will usually be more tyrannical that the earlier ones. This is so, he explains, because the later tyrants ‘do not relax the burdens inflicted by their predecessors, and also invent new ones out of the malice of their hearts’. In the same way, Modernism has a tendency to grow with the years. All 65 propositions condemned by the Holy Office in 1907 are alive today; but any list of contemporary errors would need to include many others too, for example about the maleness of the ordained priesthood, the abrogation of the Old Covenant and various moral questions.

At the end of his encyclical, St Pius states that the two great causes of Modernism’s spread are pride and ignorance. It follows that if we are to be free in spirit from the continuing influence of Modernism, we shall need humility and knowledge. Humility preserves us from supposing that we know better than our Catholic forebears and from the fear of seeming old-fashioned. It therefore defends us against the doctrinal deviations current at any given time (in our day, perhaps the worst such deviation is the denial of the seriousness of being outside the visible Church.) Knowledge is necessary because false ideas often spread not from ill will but from confusion. Pascendi insisted that the philosophy of St Thomas was the great remedy against such confusion, and that it must therefore be the basis of all seminary studies: but there is no reason why it need be confined to the seminaries (for those wishing to become acquainted with ‘scholasticism’, the best short work that I know is Maritain’s Introduction to Philosophy, recently brought back into print.) More generally, continual contact with the works of the Doctors of the Church is surely a powerful way to protect ourselves against what the spiritual writers call ‘the presumption of novelties’, and so to root ourselves in the Tradition of the Church.

Finally, in his outstanding work The Devastated Vineyard, Dietrich von Hildebrand wrote, ‘we must storm heaven with the prayer that the spirit of a St Pius X might once again fill the hierarchy’. If that is true, and I do not doubt that it is, we might like to use the following prayer, given in the Dominican missal as the collect of the Mass ‘for preachers’:

Enlighten, O Lord, the hearts of thy servants with the grace of the Holy Ghost: give them a tongue of fire; and on those who preach thy word, bestow increase of power.

Copyright ©; Thomas Crean O.P. February 2009


"The Rite" Couldn't be more Wrong

In offline discussions we have heard comments both pro and con towards the new new Hollywood movie called "The Rite." Recently we asked readers to provide comments or reviews if they had seen the movie. Billy G submitted the following review on the movie. It is posted as his opinion and take on the movie, and other submissions are welcome.

"The Rite" Couldn't be more Wrong
Following a best-selling book by author Matt Baglio, Warner Bros. Entertainment has seemed it fit to create a film adaptation of The Rite, butchering the story, the theology, and the talents of the actors in the process.

My review may reveal plot elements which may give away the outcome of the film (though I feel the direction of the movie is hardly surprising).

I saw The Rite on the first of February, 2011, with a good friend of mine who happens to be a district manager for Carmike Cinemas. We were both excited at the prospect of being able to hang out and discuss the film afterward. I had read the book, but had heard some less-than-flattering reviews on the film, which prompted me to enter the film with feelings of desperation rather than anticipation. I had thought, prematurely, that I would use one word to describe the film: "revolting." Instead, I left the film with another word: "comical."

My friend and I agreed that the film had over-the-top acting, care of Anthony Hopkins, coupled with bad direction (Mikael Håfström), uncreative dialogue (Michael Petroni), and a disjointed plot. He was happy with the score of the film, whereas I believed the score to be dull, uncreative, and easily overlooked. The cinematography was inconsistent; the film had beautiful shots (which is hard not to achieve when shooting in Rome) in some segments, and absolutely tired and overdone shots in others.

In all, the movie, as a creative piece, has an amateur feel to it. The director/writer added a few "winks" to audience members who had read the book, but this hardly redeemed the film as a whole.

But you probably do not want to read my creative analysis of the film. You are, more likely, looking for my content analysis of his film.

Unfortunately, my criticism starts with the very beginning of the film. Perhaps thirty-seconds into the movie, we see a text that reads, "What follows is inspired by true events." The problem with this text is that it is a non-statement. Films, in general, have destroyed any credibility they have as documentary works. Rare is the instance you will find a film that accurately depicts reality. The Rite is no exception. To say, "[X] is based on a true story" incites audience members to take the story told at face-value, as though they were reporting on specific events and not trying to entertain an audience.

That being said, The Rite is based on true events just as much as James Cameron's Avatar is based on true events. What true events inspire James Cameron? Well, there does exist an American military, we do have computers, there are other planets, and the American military did once war with indigenous peoples of an inhabited land. Of course, the story of Avatar is pure fantasy, but who are we to say that the fantasy is not inspired by reality? In the same way, The Rite is fantasy.

To be sure, demonic possession is a reality and there do exist exorcists appointed by the Church to combat the devil. But, other than that, The Rite has no real credibility whatsoever.

The film follows Michael Kovak (Colin O'Donoghue), a "seminarian/deacon" who is struggling with atheism. His mentor in seminary, Fr. Matthew (Toby Jones,) receives an email from Michael explaining this fact and encourages Michael to take a (three month) course on exorcism in Rome. The head of the program, Fr. Xavier (Ciarán Hinds) notices Michael's skepticism (and lack of respect) and sends him to Fr. Lucas (Anthony Hopkins), who is described as a "less-orthodox" priest.

Michael then follows Fr. Lucas in what can only be called an apprenticeship and begins participating in exorcisms. Through a series of events, the two encounter a demon who is "hopping" from possessed people into others, until he finds a new "home" in Fr. Lucas himself. Thus, to claim his title as an official exorcist, Michael must exorcise the demon from the man who taught him everything.

The book follows Fr. Gary Thomas, who actually was a mortician before hearing the call to the priesthood. He did struggle with doubts over his faith (as we all do), and he was skeptical of possession. This is what made him such a good candidate for the program in Rome - which was actually four years after ordination, as opposed to a three-month stint while still in seminary. Exorcists must be skeptical of all cases of supposed possession.

Fr. Gary was not a skeptic in the sense that he did not believe in God, he was a skeptic in the sense that he did not necessarily believe in demonic possession. But he was not thrown out of class to be apprenticed to a priest; the course ended with priests being apprenticed to experienced exorcists. Fr. Gary was apprenticed to Fr. Carmine de Filippis, a priest who had performed over two thousand exorcisms in his time.

Fr. Gary participated in exorcisms, but never once challenged Fr. Carmine's credibility, nor did Fr. Gary have to exorcise a demon from Fr. Carmine.

Specific Criticisms
I will briefly outline the observations that led me to stop taking the movie seriously:

  • The director/writer shows an ignorance of seminary.

When the film opens, the protagonist, Michael Kovak, is torn over decisions for his future. Should he go to seminary school or should he become a full-time mortician? Unfortunately, this is treated as something trivial. Michael refers to seminary as "seminary school," a place he can go to receive a free education. His plan is to leave before he takes his final vows.

Of course, this has many problems. First, while most dioceses in the United States do pay for your tuition in seminary, seminary is incredibly difficult to get in to. Applicants must first express an interior call to the priesthood, then go through numerous meetings with the Vocations Director (and Vocations Board), fill out mountains of paperwork, and undergo numerous psychological evaluations. Few men (if any) will ever enter seminary with the idea that they are only there to get a free education.

  • The director/writer shows an ignorance of the deaconate.

In addition to the problems with their understanding of seminary, they completely misunderstand the deaconate. While the deaconate is included in the sacrament of Holy Orders, deacons do not have the authority to perform specific tasks that are due only to the priesthood of the Catholic Church. For instance, a deacon cannot, under any circumstances, perform the Anointing of the Sick, nor can the deacon Absolve one of sins (see canons 935; 1003). To be sure, the deacon can administer Viaticum (last Holy Communion) and say prayers for the dying.

Within the first fifteen minutes of the film, Michael Kovak, a deacon, is giving the Last Rites to a woman who was hit by a car. After this scene, I violently shook my head and laughed.

With the apex of the Internet, how difficult is it to clarify Church practice, especially when basing a script off of a factual book on the Catholic Church? What we have here, ladies and gentleman, is a case of lazy writers who refuse to let the truth get in the way of a good story.

Further, Deacons cannot canonically perform exorcisms: "No one can perform exorcisms legitimately upon the possessed unless he has obtained special and express permission from the local ordinary" (c. 1172.1). "The local ordinary is to give this permission only to a presbyter (priest) who has piety, knowledge, prudence, and integrity of life" (c. 1172.2). Deacons (and lay people) can pray prayers of liberation and deliverance, but not the formal prayer of exorcism as outlined in the rite.

  • Toward the close of the film, Fr. Lucas comments, "I'm not in a state of grace, and when you're not in a state of grace you can't pray."

Here, we have a supposedly experienced priest and exorcist commenting on the nature of grace and prayer. Of course you can still pray while not in a state of (sanctifying) grace. God does not abandon us to death should we ever fall into a state of mortal sin! The Church calls God's actions on those removed from sanctifying grace "actual grace." God always tugs and pulls at our heart to come back to Him.

In fact, it is in a state of mortal sin that one should pray all the more fervently for God's mercy and forgiveness before seeking healing in the Sacrament of Reconciliation (something easily available to a priest in Rome).

  • "Contagious Possession"

Apparently possession is contagious in the world The Rite creates. By the conclusion of the film, the audience is led to believe that this particular demon has been following Michael Kovak since he was young. First, he possessed his mother, then his father, then a pregnant girl in Italy, and finally Fr. Lucas. All to get at Michael.

Now, if you read any book on possession and exorcism, you will find that this is simply not how demons operate. Demons are not contagious - they do not possess you simply because you happen to be in the vicinity of someone who is afflicted. Fr. Gabriele Amorth, the chief exorcist for the Vatican, in an interview with Gyles Brandreth says, "I believe God sometimes singles out certain souls for a special test of spiritual endurance, but more often people lay themselves open to possession by dabbling with black magic. Some are entrapped by a satanic cult. Others are the victims of a curse."

I believe the case of Rosalina, the pregnant Italian girl, is based on an actual case, though I cannot recall if I read about this case in The Rite or in another book by Fr. Amorth. Regardless of this fact, we cannot be led to believe that demons are contagious and that you will become possessed if you are involved in exorcisms. In fact, those participating in exorcisms are probably safest from possession. They are not safe from the devil's harm, but safe from possession, unless they open themselves up to it.

Because of the glaring theological flaws in the director/writer's understanding of seminary, the presbyterate, the sacraments, grace, possession, and exorcism, I was simply unable to take this movie seriously. I was never terrified, though there were some disturbing moments in the film.

I do believe that Catholics should exercise discretion in seeing this film, but I do not believe the film is necessarily dangerous (in fact, I think Paranormal Activity is far more dangerous than this film). If you are familiar with theology, particularly demonology, you will probably find the film laughable (I did).

I left the theater feeling conflicted. On the one hand, I felt sorry for the director/writer. They had such a great story to work with and create a truly informative, and at the same time, terrifying, film that depicted the reality of demonic possession. Instead, they chose to write a complete fantasy that had very little basis in reality.

On the other hand, I was glad that they wrote a fantasy. The film should educate Catholics on how the world views possession and exorcism. This gives us a much greater opportunity to learn about our own faith and to evangelize.

In all, I did find some gems in the film, but nothing of note. I was disappointed with the acting, the direction, and the general plot. If you have the time to waste, wait to get the movie on Red Box or Netflix. Do not pay full price to see it.

DO pay full price to buy the book and read it. You will not be disappointed.

Michael on the Michael Coren Show

Good interview, worth the time to watch:

This program is from RealCatholicTV.com


An Opportunity...

I wonder if these people are as secluded as this website would lead one to believe. I can imagine that most of us have no knowledge of their existence. I am curious how much they know about their surrounding civilization... more importantly, I want to know if they know of Christ and His Church.

It is somewhat disturbing that the environmentalists want to keep these people "free", by being the ones that limit the contact. I am not sure I would be very happy if my knowledge of the outside world was filtered through a disciple of atheistic planet worshipers instead of coming from disciples of Christ.

Two types of people...

Two types of people will watch this video. The first are those who find the video deplorable and can't see past the hair style and mannerisms. The second are those who are Catholic and hear the Truth for what it is. Which group do you fall under?

Acclimated to the Stench of the Smoke

[Hat tip to P.B.]

All too often the impression I get when talking with fellow Catholics is that they are in some alternate universe when it comes to the definition of Catholicism. I often find myself confused or frustrated after listening to sermons that are simply empty of any real meaning. The following weblog post belongs to Fr. Longenecker. Emphasis is mine.

The Smoke of Satan
by Fr. Dwight Longenecker

There are many problems in the Catholic Church that might be thought to be the 'smoke of Satan' entering the church, but for my money one thing, above all others, has been the successful work of Satan, which has undermined the church, emasculated her ministry, sabotaged the aims of the Holy Spirit and captured a multitude of souls.

It is the modernist re-interpretation of the Catholic faith. The reductionist results of modern Biblical scholarship and the infiltration of a modernist, rationalistic and materialistic mindset meant that the supernatural was assumed to be impossible, and therefore the Bible stories (and also any supernatural elements of the faith) had to be 'de-mythologized.' Everything supernatural within the Biblical account and within the lives of the saints and within the teaching of the church were assumed to be impossible and had to be 're-interpreted' so they would make sense to modern, scientifically minded people.

So the feeding of the five thousand wasn't a miracle. Instead the 'real miracle' was that everyone shared their lunch. Everything had to be questioned and 're-interpreted' in such a way that it could be accepted and understood by modern people. So when we call Jesus Christ "God Incarnate" what we really mean was that he was so fully human, and that as he reached his potential as a man that he shows us what divinity looks like. When we speak of the Blessed Virgin we mean she was 'a very good and holy Jewish young woman.' When we speak of the 'Real Presence' we mean that we see the 'Christ that is within each one of us."

I hate this crap.

It's the smoke of Satan, and it's virtually triumphant within the mainstream Protestant churches, and sadly, the modern Catholic Church in the USA is riddled through with the same noxious heresy. The reason it is so obnoxious and disgusting is because priests and clergy of all sorts still use all the traditional language of the liturgy, the Scriptures and the creeds, but they have changed the meaning of it altogether. They never actually stand up and say that they have changed the meaning, and that they no longer believe the faith once delivered to the saints. They don't discuss the fact that they have not only changed the meaning, but robbed it of meaning altogether. Instead they still stand up week by week and recite the creed as if they think it is true, but what they mean by 'true' is totally different from what their people mean.

So Father Flannel stands up on Easter Day and says, "Alleluia! Today we rejoice in the glorious resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead." His people think he really believes that Jesus' dead body came back to life by the power of God and that he went on to live forever. In fact what Father Flannel really means is that "in some way the beautiful teachings of Jesus were remembered and continued by his followers long after his tragic death." The people don't know why Father Flannel's Catholic life is so lightweight and limp and they don't know why his style is so lacking in substance, and they go on in their muddled way thinking that he really does believe the Catholic faith when, in fact, he doesn't at all.

Consequently, Fr Flannel doesn't really have much of a message at all. He doesn't believe any of the gospel except as some sort of beautiful story which inspires people to be nicer to each other. All that is left of his priesthood, therefore, is to be a nice guy to entertain people with inspirational thoughts and get everyone to be nicer to one another and try to save the planet.

The poor faithful have swallowed this stuff for two or three generations now, and they don't even know what poison they're swallowing because the lies are all dressed up in the same traditional language the church has always used. It's like someone has put battery acid into a milk bottle and given it to a baby, and never imagined that there was anything wrong with doing so--indeed thought it was the best thing for baby.

The faithful don't know why their church has become like a cross between a Joan Baez concert and a political activism meeting. They don't understand why they never hear the need for confession or repentance or hear about old fashioned terms like 'the precious blood' or ' the body, blood, soul and divinity of Our Lord and Savior" The fact of the matter is Father Flannel doesn't really think that sort of thing is 'helpful'.

This is why evangelization of the American Catholics in the pew is probably the most difficult task of all. They don't know what they don't know. For three generations now they have been given watered down milk and been told it was wine. They actually think that Catholic lite is what it's all about, and are astounded to think that there are some of us who think that they have actually been fed a version of Christianity that is scarcely Christianity at all.


What is the Catholic Church?

Be perfect, as your Father in Heaven is perfect.

Those of you who wish to mock and complain about Holy Mother Church and her teachings, should reconsider.

Candlemas Day

Christmas is officially over.

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple, Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Candlemas Day, and 40 days after Christmas.

Forty days after the birth of Christ Mary complied with this precept of the law, she redeemed her first-born from the temple (Numbers 18:15), and was purified by the prayer of Simeon the just, in the presence of Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:22).
From Jerusalem the feast of the fortieth day spread over the entire Church and later on was kept on the 2nd of February, since within the last twenty-five years of the fourth century the Roman feast of Christ's nativity (25 December) was introduced.


Pray for Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

I recently posted an audio link of cometary by Fr. Thomas Euteneuer. Until that post, I was only familiar with that link, Fr Euteneuer's work with HLI, and his interview with the CINO Hannity.

It seems that some events took place surrounding Fr. Euteneuer that caused a large portion of the Catholic blog sphere to speculate in shameful and ignorant ways on those events.

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer and his Bishop have written letters to address the entire situation. God bless this Priest, and may the Blessed Virgin Mary intercede for him. Keep Fr. Euteneuer and all other priests in your prayers daily.


On occasion I read the blog at WDTPRS. While skimming an article today I came across the following comment. (Emphasis belongs to the weblog's owner, Fr. John Zuhlsdorf.)

I am in the second year of Diaconate formation, but am not yet ordained, nor instituted as an Acolyte. My pastor delegates me to purify the chalices after Mass because no deacon is present. [Indeed?]
Our parish priest is 74 years old, and this is his fifth and final Mass of the weekend. To force [?] him to purify the eight cups used during the Mass would be an undue burden, in my opinion. [Your opinion in this is one thing, for the sake of conversation. I counts not a whit for practice, of course. You don't get to decide what the Church's laws are. you get to obey them.] I have been trained regarding the revision posted here denying EMHCs purification. I have a deep, abiding understanding of the sacred nature of the task of purification and do so with extreme reverence. I also teach others about the purpose behind reserving purification for only specially trained persons. [Does the law say "specifically trained persons" or priests, deacons and acolytes?]
That said, I find it absurd to imagine that what I have been delegated to do is wrong in the eyes of God. I invite others to charitably address my position, however. Peace be to you… [I will address it. Follow the Church's law. This is a matter that concerns how the Blessed Sacrament is treated. This also concerns the role and identity of laity and of the ordained.]

Sometimes holding a personal opinion has little purpose or value. (Yes, I realize this is coming from someone posting on a weblog.)