Saturday, September 16, 2017

So what is 'Modernism' anyway? Or, "What's so wrong with Fr. Martin?"

"You traverse sea and land to make one convert, 
and when that happens you make him a child of Gehenna 
twice as much as yourselves." - Matt. 23:15

According to Fr. Nix. 
So why [...], “Leave Fr. James Martin alone!”? Endure this one boring doctrinal paragraph before getting to a whole new battery of overdone similes and metaphors that I’ll hopefully never pull out again. Doctrinally, the heresy of modernism has nothing to do with being a modern Christian in an age of technology. What Pope St. Pius X named as the heresy of modernism is essentially the denial of the supernatural and a religion that is anthropocentric (human-centered) not theocentric (God-centered.) When did it start? 
Some people say modernism influenced the minds of Catholics in the West beginning with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Others will say it started with the Protestant revolt in the 16th century. Others say it started with Vatican II. Others who are very clever will trace it all the way back to Francis Bacon or maybe Adam and Eve at the fall. Or Satan. That debate is unending. But really, from all of my study on this, I don’t believe that the heresy of modernism entered seminaries until sometime just before World War I. Then, Pope St. Pius X first excommunicated Fr. Alfred Loisy (a Scripture professor at a French seminary) in 1908 for denying the divinity of Christ, denying parts of Divine Revelation and overturning the supernatural side of the sacraments and the miracles of the Bible. Notice that Fr. Loisy was not discussing liturgical innovations or challenging the Church’s teaching on contraception. Rather, the root of modernism is a very denial of Divine Revelation. Fr. Loisy himself wrote:
“Christ has even less importance in my religion than he does in that of the liberal Protestants: for I attach little importance to the revelation of God the Father for which they honor Jesus. If I am anything in religion, it is more pantheist-positivist-humanitarian than Christian.”—Mémoires II, p. 397. 
I’m not saying that Fr. James Martin would ever write this. So, don’t jump to any conclusions quite yet. Follow me here: Fr. Loisy did not really believe in the Bible. I know that sounds more like an evangelical sticking-point than a Catholic sticking-point to some, but Fr. Loisy kicked off this modernism thing by implying to many others in the Church that really God did not mean what He said. It started to sound a lot like the enemy of human nature: “‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’”—Genesis 3:1. Notice that Satan weasels his way into the heart of Adam and Eve not by the temptation of the sin, but first by the temptation against Divine Revelation: Did God really say in the Bible? This is the root of the heresy of modernism. - Padre Pelegrino

That explanation shines a new light on the controversy surrounding Fr. Martin, S.J., for me at least.  This whole affair is much bigger than I thought, it's as if everything is coalescing, revealing its true face, as it were.  Or at least I'm able to see the problem in a broader context.  In other words Modernism really is the synthesis of all heresies.  Did I know that?  I don't think I thought about it.  Did I suspect this was the case?  I think I did, but like I said, I chose not to think about it.  For that I'm culpable.  I'm sorry, and I apologize.

Joseph Sciambra is right, he's been right all along.

Listen to me, people of all nations, men, women, and children, all of you who bear the Christian name: If any one preach to you something contrary to what the holy catholic Church has received from the holy apostles and fathers and councils, and has kept down to the present day, do not heed him. Do not receive the serpent’s counsel, as Eve did, to whom it was death. If an angel or an emperor teaches you anything contrary to what you have received, shut your ears. - St. John of Damascus

Art: James Ferringer. 

They got him.

There's going to be a fight.

Fr. James Martin, S.J., that is.

They got him.  Church Militant, LifeSite, Fr. Z, and might as well add Austin Ruse and Crisis Magazine, and those who follow these people and their sites.  Fr. Martin made the announcement Friday evening on his Facebook page:
Dear friends: Theological College, the seminary at The Catholic University of America, in Washington, DC, today cancelled a talk I was to give on Alumni Day, on Oct. 4, thanks to a campaign by Church Militant, the priest known as "Father Z" as well as Lifesite News. - Fr. Martin, S.J.
Fr. Martin lists a couple other engagements of his that were cancelled, noting the experience of those on the receiving end of the complaints:
That campaign caused a storm of phone calls, emails and messages to Theological College, which included, I was told, people screaming at the receptionists who answered the phone. In the end, they felt that the expected protests and negative publicity would distract from Alumni Day.
This follows the cancellation of another lecture at the Annual Investiture Dinner of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre in New York City, scheduled on Oct. 21. The organizers told me that they had received angry emails and calls from several members of the Order, most of whom, they believed, had found out about my invitation from another campaign initiated by Church Militant. - ibid

The power of Catholic social media.

I used to think it was an exaggeration on the part of the more traditionally minded Catholic bloggers who boasted about their victories, but once again, I see how wrong I was.  In the words of one very determined lady when commenting about another priest who got himself in trouble online,  "I doubt Rev. Roscia knows the power of Catholic blogosphere."  I think we all know it now.

I guess I have even more reason to pray for Fr. Martin now.

This will escalate, I'm sure.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Some advice regarding the perfidious ...

“I write these things not wishing to cause distress to the heretics or to rejoice in their ill-treatment — God forbid; but, rather, rejoicing and being gladdened at their return. For what is more pleasing to the Faithful than to see the scattered children of God gathered again as one? Neither do I exhort you to place harshness above the love of men. May I not be so mad!
I beseech you to do and to carry out good to all men with care and assiduity, becoming all things to all men, as the need of each is shown to you; I want and pray you to be wholly harsh and implacable with the heretics only in regard to cooperating with them or in any way whatever supporting their deranged belief. For I reckon it hatred towards man and a departure from Divine love to lend support to error, so that those previously seized by it might be even more greatly corrupted.”
+ St. Maximus the Confessor, Patrologia Graeca, Vol. 91 col. 465c

Thursday, September 14, 2017


Arezzo. San Francesco. Crucifijo del Maestro di San Francesco.

Traditionally the monastic fast begins today.

During the great monastic fast, which lasts from 14 September to Ash Wednesday, except for Sundays and feast days, dinner is an hour later, and supper consists of a glass of wine and a crust of bread ne potus noceat (Carthusian Statutes).

When I stayed with the Carthusians I noticed they also fasted from dairy products from now until Easter.  In my experience, the suppers were not as frugal as the statute above indicates.  I'm not sure what other monastics do these days.  I know Discalced Carmelite nuns observe the monastic fast, I'm not sure what they do however.  

I love this feast since it always reminds me of St. Francis and so many Franciscan saints, whose only book was Jesus and him crucified.

History of the Feast of the Exaltation.
To this day the Eastern Churches, Catholic and Orthodox alike, celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross on the September anniversary of the basilica’s dedication. The feast entered the Western calendar in the seventh century after Emperor Heraclius recovered the cross from the Persians, who had carried it off in 614, 15 years earlier. According to the story, the emperor intended to carry the cross back into Jerusalem himself, but was unable to move forward until he took off his imperial garb and became a barefoot pilgrim. - Read more here.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

The Fifth Apparition at Fatima

“From the pale but cloudless sky there came a shower of white petals, 
resembling snowflakes, but melting before they touched the ground, 
or the bodies of the astounded people.” - Marvels

September 13, 1917

One month before the great miracle, Our Lady of the Rosary seemed to grant 'signal graces' to those who were at the Cova that day.
“The sun suddenly lost its splendor. The hue of the surrounding atmosphere changed to a yellowish gold. Then a delightful cry went up from the multitude: ‘She comes! Look! There!! There! How beautiful!’” 
“A small luminous global cloud was recognized immediately as the footstool of the invisible Lady. It moved in from the East toward the West slowly and majestically. Slowly it descended to rest, hovering above the holm oak, the tree of wonders.” 
Something similar happened on August 13 when the children were whisked off to jail while up to 18,000 people waited in the Cova for them. Learning the children were imprisoned, the crowd grew angry but were quickly calmed by heaven. Many described hearing what they thought was an explosion or thunder coming from the cloudless blue sky, and after it, a flash of brilliant light. Then the “sun paled,” the atmosphere turned “a yellowish gold, and a small cloud, most beautiful in its ethereal form, came and hovered over the forlorn looking holm oak…’Look! Look! It is a sign from Our Lady’” the August crowd shouted. Now they again saw the phenomenon. 
On September 13, present again, “The kneeling, ecstatic figures of the children were transfigured in a light that seemed to change the spot into a Holy of Holies, filled with the majesty of God.” 
Of course, only the three children saw Our Lady. - Joseph Pronechen

The September message:

Continue to pray the Rosary in order to obtain the end of the war. In October Our Lord will come, as well as Our Lady of Dolors [Sorrows] and Our Lady of Carmel. Saint Joseph will appear with the Child Jesus to bless the world.” - OL of Fatima.  Read more here.

Looks like Fr. James Martin, S.J. got Catholic Vote shut down ...

Saint Dominic dispute with Albigensian heretics 
subjecting their books to a trial by fire.
Pedro Berruguete 

Actually CV has only been suspended.

For 12 hours.  Is that a big deal?  Not really - unless 12 hours off Twitter means loss of income?  Loss of what else?  I don't know.  Don't care.  I'm not on Twitter and I don't read Catholic Vote.

Did Fr. Martin feel threatened by a tweet suggesting a Dominican beat him up?  Maybe.  But maybe he just got tired of the attacks against him and chose this 'threat of violence' as one threat he could take to the censors?  The Dominican versus Jesuit thing was obviously an academic/scholastic type of jib-jab, nothing to really feel threatened by.  Yet in our PC climate - even kids in kindergarten can be suspended for terroristic threats if they say something mean or 'homophobic'.

The thing about this story is it demonstrates the mean spirited climate online and in our discourse in daily life, and how everyone seems to be waiting to be offended and all too ready to lash back.  Everyone seems to be ready for a fight.  Everyone is ready to retaliate.  Everyone is blaming others.  Everyone is on the defensive.  I've done that.  It has no reward.  In my case, I just ended up looking like a nut, or a disgruntled employee.

In the James Martin battle, everyone involved is looking pretty desperate.  Fr. Martin's defense seems reasonable to me when he is constantly under attack and labelled - pro-gay, homosexualist, heretic, perfidious, out-of-the-closet, and so on.  His critics who rage are actually helping him to sell his book.  In fact, they are probably the best ads he and his publishers could hope for.  In some cases they actually demonstrate the need for a book like Fr. Martin's.

On the other hand, Fr. Martin's complaints and reports to the censors, strikes me as protesting too much.  He's too close to the fire and it's only to be expected he's going to get burned.  He writes one thing, but seems to say another - and good people worry that he's contradicting Catholic teaching or suggesting a change in Catholic teaching.  Although Catholic doctrine can't change, if that is what he is trying to do, his efforts compromises the faith.  Faithful Catholics need the truth.  Like it or not, Fr. Martin needs to respond to his critics, and not try to silence them.

Having said that, the entire affair tells me that behind the scenes, people are working to take down others; making calls, writing letters, calling people out, trying to get people fired, or taken offline.  You can be sure Fr. Martin's superiors and the Vatican is getting letters on him.  I'm sure Fr. Z has enemies writing letters about him.  People are watching and reporting.  The problem for the 'watchmen' is this, their lives are disrupted and preoccupied, and even obsessed with this stuff.  Egos are involved.  Status and prestige and reputation is involved.  It goes beyond righteousness, it goes beyond who is right, who is wrong.  There is a danger of corruption, of dishonesty involved in these battles.  Not that it is any of my business, but they all seem to be worried about 'saving souls' with their tactics, or worried about leading others to perdition.  I wonder about that.

Finally, there is the danger of scandal.  Scandalizing the faithful.

Lately I've been more scandalized by Fr. Martin's opponents than by him.

Song for this post here.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Darkness is not dark for you ...

The dead are not dead for God.

It must be my age - but it seems to me that a lot of people are dying or have died.  We all will have to die one day - so it is good to pray for a happy death.

This morning I was thinking, praying for the sick, the dying and the dead.  I read, "In his hand is the soul of every living thing, and the life breath of all mankind." - Job 12:10  And so I thought to myself, the dead are not dead for God.  If, as the psalm say, 'darkness is not dark for you' - then the dead are not dead for God.  As Jesus explained to the Scribes, "he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive." - Luke 20:38

Prayer really is our consolation and means of inseparable union.

When St. Elizabeth of the Trinity died, her last words were: "I go to Light, to Love, to Life."  Her life became her heaven on earth, living in God:  "The Trinity - this is our dwelling, our 'home', the Father's house that we must never leave." [...] "It is there, right in the depths, in the Heaven of my soul, that I love to find Him since He never leaves me. God in me, I in Him, oh! that is my life!"

Therefore, we never have to be afraid. We are never alone. We are never lost.  In God the dead are not dead.  No matter what others say or do, all is well, so long as we, by faith, "remain in the presence of God, of the God who is all Love dwelling in our souls." - St. Elizabeth

Monday, September 11, 2017

Another Cardinal dead ... the third in two months.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, President Emeritus of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See ... dead at 81.

Cardinal De Paolis died on Saturday at the age of 81 in Rome after a long and painful illness, which the Pope said he endured “with a serene spirit and a trusting surrender to the will of the Lord”. - Vatican Radio

19 September 1935 – 9 September 2017

May the souls of the faithful departed...
rest in peace.

Vocations ... and ambition.

Pope Francis prays in front of the icon of 
Maria Salus Populi Romani in Rome's Basilica 
of St Mary Major at the end of his 
apostolic visit to Colombia.

Why so many ----- may not like this Pope.

The Holy Father once again speaks to priests and religious about the supernatural character of consecrated life.  I was just re-reading the Dialogue of St. Catherine of Siena and was impressed with how the Father spoke about those in consecrated life as those 'I placed there' - in other words, the vocation is His gift.  In speaking of the greatness of the priesthood, [Then said the Eternal God:] "I will first, dearest daughter, speak to you of the dignity of priests, having placed them where they are through My Goodness, over and above the general love which I have had to My creatures ..."

I revisited the Dialogue to find some light to help me understand why some Catholics online feel they are obliged to condemn priests, insulting them by calling them pansies, labeling them perfidious priests, or claiming they are closet homosexuals, and so on.  Such name calling and libel against consecrated persons is scandalous, I'm not sure St. Catherine of Siena would approve or recommend such behavior, especially from laity.

That said, the opposite is also dis-edifying, the idea that a priest or religious would fail in charity to admonish the sinner, to warn against wickedness, especially that "accursed sin against nature."

Obviously, we know there are religious who embrace errors and approve of lifestyles which offend God, and we know that there are the 'good guys' ready to condemn the obvious, yet they too may be susceptible to other forms of corruption, as the Holy Father points out:
Sadly, consecrated vocations “die when they love to be sustained with honors, when they are driven by a search for personal reassurance and social advancement, when the motivation is 'to climb the ladder,' to cleave to material interests and to strive shamefully for financial gain,” he said.
As he has done frequently in the past, the Pope said the devil “enters through the wallet.” And this doesn't just apply to the early stages of the vocation, but “all of us have to be careful because the corrupting of men and women in the Church begins in this way.” - CNA

I see this more clearly the older I get.  I have seen this in even the recently ordained.  The desire to please the bishop, to find favor with the bishop, to be admired, to be popular.  Therefore, the Holy Father does well to call everyone back to their 'early love':
“There can be no place for deceit, hypocrisy or small-mindedness if we are branches of this vine, if our vocation is grafted onto Jesus.” - CNA

I have a good friend who is a priest.  So faithful and constant in his fidelity, so charitable and humble, and yet so hidden.  He never had ambition for honors or promotion - ever.  I am so grateful for his friendship.

Anyway - whenever the Holy Father speaks like this, we are reminded how fervently we must pray for priests and religious.   

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Pope Francis ... taking it to the streets.

h/t Paul Stilwell

Song for this post here.

Prayers for the Holy Father in Colombia

The Holy Father slammed the side of his head against the frame of the 'Popemobile' while standing and waving.  He's alright but blood spattered on his mozetta.  He continued on in good spirits.  God bless him.