A letter of St Jerome to Amandus of Bordeaux (394), a presbyter seeking advice on pastoral matters.
"I find joined to your letter of inquiries a short paper containing the following words: “ask him, (that is me, St Jerome) whether a woman who has left her husband on the ground that he is an adulterer and sodomite and has found herself compelled to take another may in the lifetime of him whom she first left be in communion with the church without doing penance for her fault.”...Tell the sister...,who thus enquires of me concerning her condition, not my sentence but that of the Apostle.
“Know ye not, brethren (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband, so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then, if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress.” And in another place: “the wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.” ( 1 Cor 7:39)
"Thus the apostle has thus cut away every plea and has clearly declared that, if a woman marries again while her husband is living, she is an adulteress. You need not tell me tales about an assailants physical violence, a mother's wheedling, a father's heavy hand, or about the swarm of relatives, the trickery and insolence of servants, the losses to household property. As long as her husband lives, even though he may be an adulterer, a homosexual, a man stained with every crime and divorced by his wife because of his misdeeds, he still ranks as her husband and she may not marry another. It is not the Apostle who decides this on his own authority; it is Christ speaking through him. Paul is simply echoing the words of Christ, who tells us in the Gospel: Whoever puts away his wife, save on account of immorality, causes her to commit adultery; and he who marries a woman who has
"Notice what he says: "He who marries a woman who has been put away, commits adultery." Whether she has parted from her husband or whether he has parted from her, whoever marries her is an adulterer. That explains why the Apostles, as soon as they realize the heavy burden of matrimony, exclaim: "If the case of a man with his wife is so, it is not expedient to marry." Our Lord answers them: "Let him accept it who can", ((MT 19: 10,12) and holding up the example of the three eunuchs, He immediately shows the blessedness of virginity, which is not fettered by any bond of the flesh…
"If this sister of yours, then….wishes to receive the Body of Christ and not to be branded an adulteress, she must do penance. At least from the moment she embarks upon a different course of life, all further marital relations with her second husband must cease. It would be more correct to call him adulterer than husband. If she finds this difficult and is unable to desert a man to whom she has given her love, if sensual pleasures takes preference over our Lord, let her note the Apostle's declaration: "You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of the devils. You cannot be partakers of the table of the Lord, and the of the table of devils" (1 Cor 10:21) And He says again: "What fellowship has light with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? (2 Cor 6:14, 15)
"Therefore I beg you to comfort her and urge her to seek salvation. Flesh that is diseased must be cut away and cauterized. It is not the treatment but the wound that is to blame if the surgeon shows a merciful severity which spares by not sparing and is cruel only to be kind." St Jerome
Throughout the history of the Church the Saints have emphasized the need to completely distrust oneself and lean on God for His transformative graces with an incredible and unshakeable confidence. Saint Therese of Lisieux (1873-1897) was the modern day preacher of this science of spirituality. But here is Dom Lorenzo Scupoli (1530-1610) from the The Spiritual Combat which is a famous classic on the strategy for achieving spiritual perfection and salvation. It is said that St. Francis de Sales carried a copy of this book in his pocket for 18 years!
DISTRUST OF SELF
DISTRUST OF SELF is so absolutely requisite in the spiritual combat, that without this virtue we cannot expect to defeat our weakest passions, much less gain a complete victory. This important truth should be deeply imbedded in our hearts; for, although in ourselves we are nothing, we are too apt to overestimate our own abilities and to conclude falsely that we are of some importance. This vice springs from the corruption of our nature. But the more natural a thing is, the more difficult it is to be discovered.
But God, to Whom nothing is secret, looks upon this with horror, because it is His Will that we should be convinced we possess only that virtue and grace which comes from Him alone, and that without Him we are incapable of one meritorious thought. This distrust of our own strength is a gift from Heaven, bestowed by God on those He loves. It is granted sometimes through His holy inspiration, sometimes through severe afflictions, or almost insurmountable temptations and other ways which are unknown to us. Yet He expects that we will do everything within our power to obtain it. And we certainly will obtain it if, with the grace of God, we seriously employ the following four means.
First. We must mediate upon our own weakness. Consider the fact that, being nothing in ourselves, we cannot, without Divine assistance, accomplish the smallest good or advance the smallest step towards Heaven.
Second. We must beg God, with great humility and fervor, this eminent virtue which must come from Him alone. Let us begin by acknowledging not only that we do not possess it, but that of ourselves we are utterly incapable of acquiring it. Then let us cast ourselves at the feet of our Lord and earnestly beg Him to grant our request. We must do this with firm confidence that we will be heard if we patiently await the effect of our prayer, and persevere in it as long as it pleases Divine Providence,
Third. We must gradually accustom ourselves to distrust our own strength, to dread the illusions of our own mind, the strong tendency of our nature to sin, and the overwhelming number of enemies that surround us. Their subtlety, experience, and strength surpass ours, for they can transform themselves into Angels of light, and lie in ambush for us as we advance towards Heaven.
Fourth. As often as we commit a fault, we must examine ourselves in order to discover our vulnerable points. God permits us to fall only that we may gain a deeper insight into ourselves, that we may learn to despise ourselves as wretched creatures and to desire honestly to be disregarded by others. Without this we cannot hope to obtain distrust of self which is rooted in humility and the knowledge of our own weakness.
Whoever seeks to approach the eternal truth and fountain of all light must know himself thoroughly. He must not imitate the pride of those who obtain no other knowledge than what their sins provide, and who begin to open their eyes only when they are plunged into some disgraceful and unforeseen debacle. This happens through God’s permission that they may know their own weakness, and, by sad experience, learn not to rely on their own strength. God seldom supplies so severe a remedy against their presumption unless other means have failed.
Briefly, He permits persons to sin more or less grievously in proportion to their pride, and, if there were any as free from pride as the Blessed Virgin, I dare say, they would never fall. As often as you commit a fault, therefore, immediately strive to probe your inner consciousness; earnestly beg our Lord to enlighten you, that you may see yourself as you are in His sight, and presume no more on your strength, otherwise you will fall again into the same faults, or perhaps much greater ones to the eternal ruin of your soul.
(CHAPTER THREE) OF TRUST IN GOD
ALTHOUGH DISTRUST of self is absolutely necessary as we have shown it to be in the spiritual combat, nevertheless, if this is all we have to rely on, we will soon be routed, plundered, and subdued by the enemy. Unless we would be put to flight, or remain helpless and vanquished in the hands of our enemies, we must add to it perfect trust in God, and expect from Him alone succor and victory. For as we, who are nothing, can look for nothing from ourselves but falls, and therefore should utterly distrust ourselves; so from our Lord may we assuredly expect complete victory in every conflict. To obtain His help, let us therefore arm ourselves with a lively confidence in Him. And this also may be accomplished in four ways.
First. To ask it with great humility.
Second. To contemplate with an ardent faith the immense power and infinite wisdom of the Supreme Being. To Him nothing is difficult; His goodness is unlimited; His love for those who serve Him is always ready to supply them with the necessities for their spiritual life, and for gaining a complete victory over themselves.
All that He demands is that they turn to Him with complete confidence. Can anything be more reasonable? The amiable Shepherd for thirty-three years or more sought after the lost sheep through thorn-roughened ways, with so much pain that it cost Him the last drop of His Sacred Blood. When this devoted Shepherd see His strayed sheep finally returning to Him with the desire of being guided in the future by Him alone, and with a sincere, though perhaps weak intention of obeying Him, is it possible that He would not look upon it with pity, listen to its cries, and bear it upon His shoulders to the fold? Doubtless he is greatly pleased to see it united again to the flock, and invites the Angels to rejoice with Him on the occasion.
For if He searches so diligently after the drachma in the Gospel, which is a figure of the sinner, if He leaves nothing untouched in order to find it, can He reject those who, like sheep longing to see their Shepherd, return to the fold?
Third. Another means of acquiring this salutary confidence is frequently to recall what we are assured of in the Holy Scriptures, the witnesses of truth, in a thousand different places—that no one who puts his trust in God will be defeated.
Fourth. The final means of acquiring both distrust of self and confidence in God is that before attempting to perform any good action, or to encounter some failing, we should look at our own weakness on the one hand, and on the other contemplate the infinite power, wisdom, and goodness of God. Balancing what we fear from ourselves with what we hope from God, we shall courageously undergo the greatest difficulties and severest trials. Joining these weapons to prayer, as we shall see later, we shall be able to execute the greatest plans and gain decisive victories.
But if we neglect this method, though we may flatter ourselves that we are actuated by a principle of confidence in God, we will usually be deceived. Presumption is so natural to man that, without notice, it insinuates itself into the confidence he imagines he has in God and the distrust he fancies he has of himself. Consequently, in order to destroy all presumption and to sanctify every action and the two virtues opposite to this vice, the consideration of one’s own weakness must precede that of the Divine Power. Both of these must precede all undertakings.
HOW TO DISCOVER WHETHER WE DISTRUST OURSELVES AND PLACE OUR CONFIDENCE IN GOD
THE PRESUMPTUOUS MAN is convinced that he has acquired a distrust of himself and confidence in God, but his mistake is never more apparent than when some fault is committed. For, if he yields to anger and despairs of advancing in the way of virtue, it is evident that he has placed his confidence in himself and not in God. The greater the anxiety and despondence, the greater is the certainty of his guilt.
Here is a very realistic and shocking thought to many Catholics today...the day may come when ALL the good and holy priests are denied faculties by their bishops. Jesus said the gates of hell would not PREVAIL...he never stated that Hell wouldn't try with all its might. We are living through the Passion of the Church. Fr Guarnizo has chosen to watch, endure and not abandon his Lord.
Fr. Marcel Guarnizo’s Response to the Eucharistic Incident
"Here are the facts: On Saturday, February 25th I showed up to officiate at a funeral Mass for Mrs. Loetta Johnson. The arrangements for the Mass were also not my own. I wish to clarify that Ms. Barbara Johnson (the woman who has since complained to the press), has never been a parishioner of mine. In fact, I had never met her or her family until that morning.
The funeral celebration was to commence at 10:30a.m.
From 9:30 to 10:20, I was assigned to hear confessions for the parish and anyone in the funeral party who would have chosen to receive the sacrament.
A few minutes before the Mass began, Ms. Johnson came into the sacristy with another woman whom she announced as her “lover." Her revelation was completely unsolicited. As I attempted to follow Ms. Johnson, her lover stood in our narrow sacristy physically blocking my pathway to the door. I politely asked her to move and she refused.
I understand and agree it is the policy of the archdiocese to assume good faith when a Catholic Read More...
There are so many Judases in the Church today who are either unwittingly or willingly working to bring about the Passion of the Roman Catholic Church and to ultimately crucify Her. Take heart though--God has placed each one of us in these tumultuous and brutal last days to be salt and light. Lukewarm Catholics will be trampled and overcome by the prince of this world. Each of us must take a stand and pray to obtain the faith, hope and charity that the martyrs possessed. We must strip ourselves of every attachment to this world so that we can stand strong against those who would invoke our indiscriminate obedience to those who seek the destruction of the Bride of Christ.
As a background Fr. Guarnizo was approached by a very manly woman in the sacristy prior to her mother's funeral who proudly introduced her lesbian lover to him. Based upon this open and proud admission, he warned her not to present herself for communion. Of course she did so anyway. The lesbian told the Washington Post that Guarnizo “put his hand over the body of Christ and looked at me and said, ‘I can’t give you communion because you live with a woman and in the eyes of the church that is a sin.’” She then went to his bishop and the media. Now read and weep what his apostate bishop has done to him:
"Sadly, after Mass this evening, I received word that Fr. Guarnizo's assignment at St. John Neuman Parish has been withdrawn and he has been placed on administrative leave with his priestly faculties removed. The notification was signed by Monsignor Knestout, Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia for the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C.. The reason stated for the suspension is that Monsignor Knestout has received several complaints against Fr. Guarnizo claiming intimidating behaviour on his part against parish staff and others, and 'that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry.'
The letter dated March 9, 2012 written by Bishop Barry C. Knestout, chief of staff to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, who heads the Archdiocese states as follows:
"Dear Brother Priest,
I write to inform you that effective today, Father Marcel Guarnizo’s assignment at St. John Neumann Parish is withdrawn and he has been placed on administrative leave with his priestly faculties removed until such time as an inquiry into his actions at the parish is completed,” Bishop Knestout said in his March 9 letter.
“This action was taken after I received credible allegations that Father Guarnizo has engaged in intimidating behavior toward parish staff and others that is incompatible with proper priestly ministry,”
“Given the grave nature of these allegations, and in light of the confusion in the parish and the concerns expressed by parishioners, Father Guarnizo is prohibited from exercising any priestly ministry in the Archdiocese of Washington until all matters can be appropriately resolved, with the hope that he might return to priestly ministry.”
Sincerely in Christ
Most Reverend Barry C. Knestout
Vicar General and Moderator of the Curia"
Catholic Prophecy is abundant with predictions that in the last days the English will return to their Roman Catholic heritage...
"After desolation has reached its peak in England , peace will be restored and England will return to the Catholic faith with greater fervor than ever before." BARTHOLOMEW HOLZHAUSER
"Whole nations will come back to the [Catholic] Church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, England and China will come into the Church." Anna-Maria Taigi (19th century)
Nevertheless, the infinitesimal and nearly impotent remaining Anglican Clergy are ready to fight this inevitable return to Rome by England...
The Telegraph: "A Catholic monarch could put Church of England in peril, bishops warn. [Anglican] Bishops are preparing to fight Government plans to allow a Catholic to ascend the throne because they say it would put the Church of England’s position in peril.
The Bishop of Leicester, the Rt Rev Tim Stevens, who leads the 26 bishops who sit in the House of Lords, tells The Sunday Telegraph that David Cameron’s policy to end Britain’s 300-year-old succession laws risks overturning the Church’s constitutional role.
He argued that the Prime Minister’s plans to repeal the ban on the monarch being married to a Catholic posed a serious potential risk. Currently the Queen is required to take on the role of Supreme Governor of the Church of England — making it the established Church. But the bishops said that it would be impossible for a Catholic monarch to have that role.
If Mr Cameron’s reforms were passed it would be possible for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s firstborn child to marry a Catholic and still ascend the throne. If that monarch had a child, he or she would have to be brought up as a Catholic under the rules of the Roman Catholic Church.
Bishop Stevens, convener of the Lords Spiritual, said that they would vote against Mr Cameron’s measure to amend the Act of Settlement if Rome did not relax its rules. There is no sign of Rome doing so.
“If the heir to the throne is brought up as a Catholic, and therefore, under the present disciplines of the Roman Catholic Church, is not able to be in communion with the Church of England, it effectively renders a Catholic heir incapable of being the Supreme Governor of the Church of England, so clearly that’s a more complicated issue than it appears at first sight,” he said.
Bishop Stevens said that a change to the Act of Settlement with the potential to disestablish the Church of England would be something that bishops “would have to resist”.
The Act of Settlement was introduced in 1701 to secure the Protestant succession following the death of Mary II without any heirs and the likelihood that her husband, William III, would also die without an heir, which was what happened.
[The Bishop of Leicester) said careful negotiation with the Catholic hierarchy would be needed to raise a possibility that an heir with a Catholic parent could still be the Supreme Governor.
I came across this and found it most interesting. Written in 1960 by Giuseppe Cardinal Siri to the women of Genoa, it contains many well reasoned arguments as to why women should resist wearing men's clothing which ultimately leads to the perversion and obliteration of the God given roles of men and women. Let us strive to embrace the differentiation between man and women in a culture that is at war with the very idea of gender.
"Notification concerning Men's Dress Worn By Women
June 12, 1960
To the Reverend Clergy,
To all Teaching sisters,
To the beloved sons of Catholic Action,
To Educators intending truly to follow Christian Doctrine.
The first signs of our late arriving spring indicate that there is this year a certain increase in the use of men's dress by girls and women, even family mothers. Up until 1959, in Genoa, such dress usually meant the person was a tourist, but now it seems to be a significant number of girls and women from Genoa itself who are choosing at least on pleasure trips to wear men's dress (men's trousers).
The extension of this behavior obliges us to take serious thought, and we ask those to whom this Notification is addressed to kindly lend to the problem all the attention it deserves from anyone aware of being in any way responsible before God.
We seek above all to give a balanced moral judgment upon the wearing of men's dress by women. In fact Our thoughts can only bear upon the moral question.
Firstly, when it comes to covering of the female body, the wearing of men's trousers by women cannot be said to constitute as such a grave offense against modesty since trousers certainly cover more of woman's body than do modern women's skirts.
Secondly, however, clothes to be modest need not only to cover the body but also not to cling too closely to the body. Now it is true that much feminine clothing today clings closer than do some trousers, but trousers can be made to cling closer, in fact generally they do, so the tight fit of such clothing gives us not less grounds for concern than does exposure of the body. So the immodesty of men's trousers on women is an aspect of the problem which is not to be left out of an over-all judgment upon them, even if it is not to be artificially exaggerated either.
However, it is a different aspect of women's wearing of men's trousers which seems to us the gravest.
The wearing of men's dress by women affects firstly the woman herself, by changing the feminine psychology proper to women; secondly it affects the woman as wife of her husband, by tending to vitiate relationships between the sexes; thirdly it affects the woman as mother of her children by harming her dignity in her children's eyes. Each of these points is to be carefully considered in turn:--
A. MALE DRESS CHANGES THE PSYCHOLOGY OF WOMAN.
In truth, the motive impelling women to wear men's dress is always that of imitating, nay, of competing with, the man who is considered stronger, less tied down, more independent. This motivation shows clearly that male dress is the visible aid to bringing about a mental attitude of being "like a man." Secondly, ever since men have been men, the clothing a person wears, demands, imposes and modifies that person's gestures, attitudes and behavior, such that from merely being worn outside, clothing comes to impose a particular frame of mind Read More...
VATICAN CITY, Oct 24 (Reuters) - - The Vatican called on Monday for the establishment of a "global public authority" and a "central world bank" to rule over financial institutions that have become outdated and often ineffective in dealing fairly with crises.
The document from the Vatican's Justice and Peace department should please the "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrators and similar movements around the world who have protested against the economic downturn.
"Towards Reforming the International Financial and Monetary Systems in the Context of a Global Public Authority," was at times very specific, calling, for example, for taxation measures on financial transactions.
"The economic and financial crisis which the world is going through calls everyone, individuals and peoples, to examine in depth the principles and the cultural and moral values at the basis of social coexistence," it said.
It condemned what it called "the idolatry of the market" as well as a "neo-liberal thinking" that it said looked exclusively at technical solutions to economic problems.
"In fact, the crisis has revealed behaviours like selfishness, collective greed and hoarding of goods on a great scale," it said, adding that world economics needed an "ethic of solidarity" among rich and poor nations.
"If no solutions are found to the various forms of injustice, the negative effects that will follow on the social, political and economic level will be destined to create a climate of growing hostility and even violence, and ultimately undermine the very foundations of democratic institutions, even the ones considered most solid," it said.
It called for the establishment of "a supranational authority" with worldwide scope and "universal jurisdiction" to guide economic policies and decisions.
Such an authority should start with the United Nations as its reference point but later become independent and be endowed with the power to see to it that developed countries were not allowed to wield "excessive power over the weaker countries".
great prince of the heavenly court,
thou art illustrious
for thy gifts of wisdom and grace.
Thou art a guide of those who journey
by land or sea or air,
consoler of the afflicted,
and refuge of sinners.
I beg thee,
assist me in all my needs
and in all the sufferings of this life,
as once thou helped
the young Tobias on his travels.
Because thou art the medicine of God,
I humbly pray thee to heal the many infirmities
of my soul and the ills that afflict my body.
I especially ask of thee the favour
(Make your request here...)
and the great grace of purity
to prepare me to be the temple of the Holy Ghost.
of the glorious seven
who stand before the throne of Him
who lives and reigns.
Angel of health,
the Lord has filled thy hand
with balm from heaven
to soothe or cure our pains.
Heal or cure the victim of disease.
And guide our steps when doubtful of our ways.
The removal Fr Michael Rodriguez from his parish by his Bishop has been seriously underreported. This priest is clearly being persecuted for standing against the homosexual mafia in El Paso and standing up for Church teaching on homosexuality. Here is recent interview with this Diocesan priest from the Remnant...
(www.RemnantNewspaper.com) Michael J. Matt (MJM): First off, Father, I'd like to thank you for the stand you've taken in recent months in defense of the Church's moral teaching, especially with respect to so-called 'gay marriage'. Catholics all across the country have been following your case, and we're delighted to have a chance today to ask you a few questions. Before we get into the "controversy", however, I wonder if you'd mind telling us a little something about your personal background?
Father Rodriguez (FR): Not at all. I was born in El Paso, Texas, on August 23, 1970, the middle child of five. Many years later my parents adopted a sixth child, my youngest sister. As I grew up in the early '70s, I was completely unaware of the disastrous post-Vatican II revolution that was sweeping throughout our beloved Catholic Church. Thanks be to God, I was raised by parents who were staunch Catholics with their childhood roots in the pre-Vatican II Catholicism of México. An example of the depth of these roots is that my maternal grandmother (born in 1906, in Aguascalientes, México) never accepted the Novus Ordo. She left this passing world in August 2002, always true to the Ancient Rite. Requiescat in pace. Even though my parents had accepted and adapted to Novus Ordo Catholicism during their post-collegiate years, they nevertheless raised us similar to how they had been raised: fidelity to Mass (albeit the Novus Ordo) and Confession, praying the Holy Rosary at home in the evenings, praying novenas and the Stations of the Cross, etc. As I reflect back on my childhood, it was a time of great grace and blessings. Even though my parents failed to hold fast to all the venerable traditions of our Faith and the Ancient Rite, they still did an excellent job of instilling the Faith in us. Interestingly enough, we four older children (born between '67 and '74) are now ardent supporters of the Traditional Latin Mass, even more so than our parents.
MJM: And are there one or two persons in your life that mentored you and helped you to remain open to God’s call?
FR: My parents, Ruben and Beatrice, were the ones who were most instrumental in my eventual discernment of a vocation to God's holy priesthood. Through my father, God blessed me with discipline, fortitude, perseverance, and a love for study. Through my mother, God graced me with the convictions of faith, awe for the Catholic priesthood, a tender devotion to our Blessed Mother, and a love of religion.
MJM: At what point in your life did you know you had a vocation?
FR: I was raised in El Paso, TX, but spent four years (1981-1984) living with my family in Augsburg, Germany. We returned to El Paso, and I began high school. Following my junior year, I spent the summer (1987) at M.I.T. University in Cambridge, MA. I was participating in a special program for gifted minority students from around the nation. The program was geared to recruiting us to study engineering and science at M.I.T. as undergraduates. Well, our good God had different plans for me! I left El Paso that summer thinking I'd study electrical engineering (like my father) upon graduating from high school, only to return from Boston six weeks later, announcing that I wanted to enter the seminary! My mother was overjoyed.
MJM: Clearly, someone was looking out for you. Do you have a favorite saint, by the way?
FR: My favorite saints are: St. Michael the Archangel, St. John the Baptist (largely due to my 9 1/2 years at this El Paso parish), St. Paul the Apostle, St. Ignatius Loyola, St. Alphonsus Liguori, and, to no surprise, the holy Curé of Ars. I have a special devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary under three of her specific titles: Immaculate Conception (I was ordained to the priesthood on Dec. 8, 1996), Mater Dolorosa, and Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.
MJM: And, liturgically—where would you place yourself? I know you offer the traditional Latin Mass, but is it accurate to describe you as an outright “traditionalist”?
FR: Liturgically, I'm 100% behind the Traditional Latin Mass, which is without question the true Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. Theology, liturgy, Catholic spirituality and asceticism, and history itself all point to the obvious superiority of the Classical Roman Rite. Unfortunately, all of my seminary formation was in the Novus Ordo, and I only "discovered" the Latin Mass about six years ago, so I still have a lot to learn in terms of "real Catholicism," i.e. "traditional Catholicism."
MJM: What was it initially that led you to begin offering the old Mass?
FR: About six years ago, several members of the faithful began asking me if I would be interested in offering the Traditional Latin Mass. At the time, there was serious concern on the part "El Paso's remnant" of traditional Catholics that the Jesuit priest who was offering the Latin Mass twice a month (under the 1988 Ecclesia Dei "Indult") was going to be transferred. Thus, they were looking for another priest who would be willing to offer the Latin Mass. At first, I declined, not so much because I wasn't interested, but due to the immense workload which I was already carrying.
As the weeks passed, I began to study the prayers and theology of the Traditional Latin Mass. The more I studied, the more my awe and amazement grew. I was "discovering" not only the true Catholic theology of the Mass, but also the true Catholic theology of the priesthood, and so much more! Throughout my first nine years of priesthood, I had struggled to make sense of the very serious problems which exist in the Church. At this point, it was obvious that an extreme crisis pervaded the Church and her hierarchy, but why? I just couldn't quite understand how all of this "diabolical disorientation" had come to pass . . . until the brilliant light of the true Catholic Mass ("Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam . . .") began to penetrate my priestly soul. This "discovery" of the Traditional Latin Mass has been, by far, the greatest gift of God to my poor priesthood.
MJM: So this gives us an idea of how Pope Benedict's motu proprio Summorum Pontificum can and does impact priests who might otherwise never have had the opportunity to discover this great treasure. Given how it impacted you, how do you believe Summorum Pontificum will impact the Church long term?
FR: Unfortunately, both Summorum Pontificum and Universæ Ecclesiæ have plenty of weaknesses. Nevertheless, these documents do represent an initial step in what will probably still be a long and arduous "Calvary," i.e. the quest of traditional Catholics to restore the Cross, the Mass, the kingship of Jesus Christ, and true Catholic doctrine, outside of which there is no salvation. In Article 1 of Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict XVI writes that "due honor must be given to the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V for its venerable and ancient usage." This directive of our Holy Father is currently being disobeyed almost universally. In the accompanying letter to the world's bishops (July 7, 2007), Pope Benedict XVI writes, "What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." These remarkable words of our Holy Father are also being disrespected and disobeyed almost universally, especially by many bishops. Finally, Universæ Ecclesiæ, No. 8, states very clearly that the Ancient Rite is a "precious treasure to be preserved" and is to be "offered to all the faithful." Where in the entire world of Catholicism is this directive actually being obeyed? The same number from Universæ Ecclesiæ emphasizes that the use of the 1962 Roman Liturgy "is a faculty generously granted for the good of the faithful and therefore is to be interpreted in a sense favourable to the faithful who are its principal addressees." This is an astounding statement. This statement from Rome means that the use of the 1962 Missal doesn't depend on a particular bishop's liturgical views, preferences, or theology. It's not about the bishops! On the contrary, it's about the faithful! Where in the entire world of Catholicism is this directive actually being obeyed?
MJM: Are you now able to offer the old Mass exclusively?
FR: Since I began my new assignment (Sept. 24, 2011) out in the rural, isolated missions of the El Paso Diocese, I've offered the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. I consider this to be a marvelous and unexpected blessing from Providence in the midst of a very difficult trial. I hope to continue offering the Traditional Latin Mass exclusively. If it were strictly up to me, I would never celebrate the Novus Ordo Missæ again. However, the sad reality of having to "obey" in the Novus Ordo Church that has largely lost the Faith, and the need to reach out patiently to Novus Ordo faithful who have been so misled, means that I will probably be "forced" to celebrate the Novus Ordo occasionally. In these instances, however, it will be the Novus Ordo ad orientem, with the Roman Canon, the use of Latin, and Holy Communion distributed according to traditional norms.
MJM: Up until last year, I believe, things were pretty quiet in your priestly life. What happened to change all that?
FR: The local, and even national, "controversy" that has engulfed me is due to the fact that I have been vocal in promoting what the Roman Catholic Church teaches in regard to the whole issue of homosexuality. It's a disgrace, but the City Council of El Paso has been adamant in trying to legitimize same-sex unions. This goes completely contrary to Catholic Church teaching. I've made it clear to the Catholics of El Paso (and beyond) that every single Catholic has a moral obligation before God Himself to oppose any government attempt to legalize homosexual unions. A Catholic who fails to oppose this homosexual agenda, is committing a grave sin by omission. Furthermore, if a Catholic doesn't assent to the infallible moral teaching of the Church that homosexual acts are mortally sinful, then such a Catholic is placing himself / herself outside of communion with the Church. These are the Catholics who are actually excommunicating themselves, not the Society of St. Pius X!
MJM: I can understand why the civil authorities and media might find this “controversial”; but why would your ecclesial superiors find it so?
FR: The dismal response of both civil and ecclesiastical authorities to the authentic teachings of the Catholic Church in regard to homosexuality demonstrates how extreme the current crisis of faith actually is. It really can't get much worse. There's hardly any faith left to lose! Even a pagan, bereft of the light of faith, can arrive at the conclusion that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. Reason, natural law, and consideration of the male and female anatomy more than suffice to confirm this moral truth.
MJM: And yet you must go where the bishop tells you to go. Is this difficult for you?
FR: In my particular circumstances, obedience to my bishop has been incredibly difficult. Nevertheless, obedience is essential to the priesthood, and I intend to be obedient. One consoling aspect of "sacrificial," "death-to-self" obedience, is that the Holy Ghost will always come to one's assistance. I'm reminded that my poor sufferings are nothing compared to those of Mater Dolorosa and our Divine Redeemer. If I'm counted as one even slightly worthy to suffer for the Faith and the Traditional Latin Mass, I will consider myself profoundly blessed. God is so good.
MJM: As you are already living through a form of persecution, I assume you foresee more to come not only for you personally but for all Catholics who stand in defense of Church teaching. But what about the future? Any hope?
FR: Yes, I do foresee plenty of persecution still to come for all those who remain steadfast in the Faith and in their adherence to the Ancient Rite. However, the promise of our Savior cannot but fill our souls with hope, "Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice's sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for My sake. Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven." (Mt 5:10-12)
MJM: How can lay Catholics best survive this crisis of faith?
FR: In order to overcome this crisis of faith, we must (1) do everything in our power to recover the Catholic Faith: the Ancient Rite, traditional Catholic teaching in doctrine and morals, the theology and philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, traditional Catholic piety and devotions, and a traditional Catholic “code of living” or “rhythm of life.” (2) On a daily basis we must strive to pray, study, fast, do penance, and practice charity with the aforementioned goal in mind. Finally, I strongly urge all faithful Catholics to (3) pray the Holy Rosary daily and heed our Blessed Mother's Message at Fatima.
One of the hallmarks of the Traditional Latin Mass is its exquisite and concentrated focus on eternity. If we are to survive and overcome this terrible crisis of faith in the post-Vatican II Catholic Church, we have to keep our intellect and will focused on eternity. We cannot lose hope when, from a worldly perspective, all seems lost. Jesus Christ promises “the kingdom of heaven” to those who endure persecution, and “a great reward in heaven” to those who suffer for His sake. (Mt 5:10-12) The final goal is heaven! Like St. Paul, we must press ahead towards the ultimate “prize” (Phil 3:14) and never cease to “seek the things that are above, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God.” (Col 3:1)
MJM: Like so many others, Father, I find myself deeply moved by your powerful witness not only to the Faith itself but also to the Catholic priesthood, which, as you know so well, is under diabolical attack. Thank you for this example of what it means to be a Catholic in an era of persecution. May all of us have the courage to follow your lead through the rough seas still ahead.
"During his visit to Stuttgart, the First Assistant of the Society of St. Pius X, Rev. Fr. Niklaus Pfluger, despite his very busy schedule, found time to answer a few questions for pius.info.
The doctrinal preamble is of great interest to all concerned. Both sides agreed on confidentiality, and so we cannot expect you to speak about its contents. Allow me nevertheless to ask: What do you think of the document?
The document allows for corrections from our side. That is necessary also, if only to exclude clearly and definitively even the appearance of ambiguities and misunderstandings. So now it is our duty to send Rome an answer that reflects our position and unambiguously represents the concerns of Tradition. We owe it to our mission of fidelity to Catholic Tradition not to make any compromises. The faithful, and the priests even more, understand very well that in the past Rome’s offers to the various conservative communities were unacceptable. If Rome now makes an offer to the Society, then it must be made unambiguously and unmistakably clear that it is for the welfare of the Church and hastens a return to Tradition. We think and feel with the Catholic Church. She has a worldwide missionary task, and it was always the most ardent desire of our founder that Tradition should flourish again throughout the world. A canonical recognition of the Society of St. Pius X could accomplish just that.
Critics say that Rome is trying to set a trap for the Society with this preamble and to take advantage of it. Once it was canonically integrated, the Society might perhaps introduce its “charism of Tradition” into the modern Church, but it would also have to accept conciliar thinking and other ways of doing things for the sake of “pluralism”.
This criticism is altogether justified and should be taken seriously. For how can we avoid giving the impression that this amounts after all to a tacit acceptance, so to speak, that would in fact lead to this parallel diversity and relativize the one truth; that is indeed precisely the basis of Modernism.
Assisi III and even more the unfortunate beatification of John Paul II but also many other examples make it clear that the leadership of the Church now as before is not ready to give up the false principles of Vatican II and their consequences. Therefore any “offer” made to Tradition must guarantee us the freedom to be able to continue our work and our critique of “modernist Rome”. And to be honest, this seems to be very, very difficult. Again, any false or dangerous compromise must be ruled out.
It is pointless to compare the present situation with the talks in 1988. At that time Rome wanted to prevent any sort of autonomy for the Society; the bishop that they maybe were and maybe were not going to grant would in any case have to be subject to Rome. That was simply too uncertain for Archbishop Lefebvre. If Marcel Lefebvre had given in, Rome could in fact have hoped that a Society without its “own” bishops would someday come round to the conciliar way. Today the situation is completely different. We have four bishops and meanwhile 550 priests worldwide. And the structures of the official Church are breaking down faster and faster. Rome can no longer confront the Society as it did more than twenty years ago.
What do you think are the chances for a positive answer? Will the Society of St. Pius X agree to the preamble?
Here diplomacy plays an important role. Rome wants to save face in public. The pope has already been accused too often of lifting the “excommunication” of our bishops without preconditions. If it had been up to the majority of the German bishops, then the Society would have to sign a blank check recognizing the whole Council first. Incidentally, they are demanding that now as before. Pope Benedict has not done that. Moreover free access to the Catholic Sacrifice of the Mass [i.e. Tridentine Mass] was the second condition required by the Society. Therefore Rome complied twice with the Society’s wishes. It is clear that now they are demanding a document that can be presented to the public. The question is, whether one can sign the document. In one week the superiors of the Society of St. Pius X will meet in [Albano Laziale, a suburb of] Rome to discuss this together. Of course it has to be clear to Cardinal Levada and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith too that they cannot insist on a document that the Society cannot justify in turn to its members and faithful.
One last question: Who gained the greater advantage from the theological talks: Rome or the Society of St. Pius X?
That is a very important point, and so I will say it again: We are not that concerned about any advantage of our own. We want to make the treasure that Archbishop Lefebvre entrusted to our safekeeping available again for the whole Church. To that extent, canonical recognition would be a gain for the Church. In that way a conservative bishop, for example, could ask Society priests to work in his diocesan seminary. Of course the regularization of relations would also mean that Catholics who were perhaps kept away from the Society by the label “suspended” will now venture to take that step. But that is not what this is about. For forty-one years the Society has grown steadily, even in spite of being beaten with the “excommunication” stick. We are concerned instead about the Catholic Church. Together with the Archbishop we too would like to say [the words of St. Paul cf. I Corinthians 11:23], “Tradidi quod et accepi” – We hand on what we ourselves have received."
Translation DICI. Full interview here.
From Catholicculture: "Bishop Edward Daly, the retired Irish bishop who is calling for a change in the discipline of clerical celibacy, “was ‘deeply disappointed’ by an experience of celebration of the Mass in Latin some years ago, which he found ‘lifeless and somewhat meaningless,’” according to an Irish Times report on his newly published memoirs. Bishop Daly added that he is “very happy with the liturgy and language of the Mass as we now have it.”
From The Dominican Sisters of Wanganui: On 28 May 2011 Father Couture, the District Superior, came to visit our Convent. He had been delegated by Bishop Fellay to receive the vows of Mother Mary Micaela as she transferred from the Congregation of the Dominican Sisters of New Zealand to the Dominican Sisters of Wanganui.
She had special permission from the Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes in Rome to do this. As far as we know this is a world first, that a Sister would be allowed to transfer from a Novus Ordo congregation to a congregation set up by Bishop Fellay. The whole procedure implies a recognition of our Congregation, and of the religious of Tradition, by Rome.
On the same day, we had moreover, the joy of witnessing Sr. Maria Swarupa - our sister from India - receive the holy habit of St Dominic. Deo Gratias!
Of course, our loyalty to the Society of St Pius X and to Bishop Fellay, as our superior, remains undeviating. We are grateful to them for setting our congregation up and for all they have done for us spiritually and temporally. May God grant that we always prosper under the umbrella of the SSPX!
SOURCE: Dominican Sisters of Wanganui
"We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory." Pope Pius XII
Today the Catholic Church celebrates the Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here is a very good sermon on the meaning and origin of the day and here is another on Mary's function in these Last Days.
I have concluded that on the whole, NDE's are dangerous and are detrimental to the Catholic faith. NDEs are the "signs and wonders" that Jesus Himself warned would occur in the last days...
"For there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold I have told it to you, beforehand." 24 Matthew 24-25.
These are indeed the days Jesus has spoken of and if anyone seeks proof they need only delve into this disturbing world of NDEs--not that I am advocating this in the least.
Recently I decided to re-read the prophecy of the Blessed Virgin Mary to Melanie at La Sallette. I was astonished to read the following paragraph which appears to warn us of the "sign and wonders" of these last days...
"Some will make the dead rise and appear as holy persons. The souls of the dammed shall also be summoned, and shall appear as united to their bodies. Such persons, resurrected through the agency of demons, shall assume the figure of holy persons, who are known to have been upon earth, in order more easily to deceive them. These self-styled resuscitated persons shall be nothing but demons under their forms. In this way they shall preach a Gospel contrary to that of Jesus Christ, denying the existence of Heaven. In every place there shall be seen extraordinary prodigies, because the True Faith has been extinguished, and a pale light shines in the world." Our Lady of LaSallette.
Let's will to do all we can to remain "elect" --by praying our rosary and attending mass daily, consecrating ourselves to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and by reciting the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The deceits of Satan are all around us and only she has been ordained by heaven to crush the serpent. Tweet
Shortly before he died, St. Francis of Assisi called together his followers and warned them of the coming troubles, saying:
1. The time is fast approaching in which there will be great trials and afflictions; perplexities and dissensions, both spiritual and temporal, will abound; the charity of many will grow cold, and the malice of the wicked will increase.
2. The devils will have unusual power, the immaculate purity of our Order, and of others, will be so much obscured that there will be very few Christians who will obey the true Sovereign Pontiff and the Roman Church with loyal hearts and perfect charity. At the time of this tribulation a man, not canonically elected, will be raised to the Pontificate, who, by his cunning, will endeavour to draw many into error and death.
3. Then scandals will be multiplied, our Order will be divided, and many others will be entirely destroyed, because they will consent to error instead of opposing it.
4. There will be such diversity of opinions and schisms among the people, the religious and the clergy, that, except those days were shortened, according to the words of the Gospel, even the elect would be led into error, were they not specially guided, amid such great confusion, by the immense mercy of God.
5. Then our Rule and manner of life will be violently opposed by some, and terrible trials will come upon us. Those who are found faithful will receive the crown of life; but woe to those who, trusting solely in their Order, shall fall into tepidity, for they will not be able to support the temptations permitted for the proving of the elect.
6. Those who preserve in their fervour and adhere to virtue with love and zeal for the truth, will suffer injuries and, persecutions as rebels and schismatics; for their persecutors, urged on by the evil spirits, will say they are rendering a great service to God by destroying such pestilent men from the face of the earth. but the Lord will be the refuge of the afflicted, and will save all who trust in Him. And in order to be like their Head, [Christ] these, the elect, will act with confidence, and by their death will purchase for themselves eternal life; choosing to obey God rather than man, they will fear nothing, and they will prefer to perish rather than consent to falsehood and perfidy.
7. Some preachers will keep silence about the truth, and others will trample it under foot and deny it. Sanctity of life will be held in derision even by those who outwardly profess it, for in those days JESUS CHRIST WILL SEND THEM NOT A TRUE PASTOR, BUT A DESTROYER."
(Except for breaking up the narrative into numbered paragraphs and adding bold print for emphasis, the prophecy is presented without any alteration, as given in the Works of the Seraphic Father St. Francis Of Assisi, Washbourne, 1882, pp. 248-250)
"No one can deny or doubt that this Jesus Christ, in order to apply the fruits of His Redemption to all generations of man, has built here on earth, upon Peter, His one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church; and that He conferred upon her the power necessary to preserve whole and inviolate the deposit of Faith, and to transmit this same Faith to all peoples, tribes and nations, so that all men be united in her Mystcal Body through Baptism. Wherefore, this Church, which constitutes His Mystical Body, will persist and prosper in her stable and immutable nature until the end of time
Whoever carefully considers and studies the situation of the various religious communities, divided amongst themselves and separated from the Catholic Church will be easily convinced that none of these associations whether considered individually or taken as a whole can in any way be seen as that One Catholic Church that Christ the Lord built and willed to exist. Neither can they in any way be considered members or part of this same Church, as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity. It follows that such communities, lacking the living authority established by God to teach men especially in Morals and matters of Faith and customs, directing and governing them in all that concerns eternal salvation thus mutate in their doctrines and are constantly changing and instable.
For this reason, let all those who do not possess the communion and the truth of the Catholic Church take advantage of this Council, in which she offers a further demonstration of her profound unity and impregnable vital force; and responding to the demands of their hearts, let them strive to leave this state that does not guarantee for them the security of salvation."
(Pius IX, Apostolic
Letter Iam vos
of September 13, 1868 - DS 2997-2999 )
These last days are very trying on us all. What should we do…?
"Recollect ourselves. Concentrate on doing well whatever we do. Focus our will in spite of the demands of our passions. Learn how to live in the presence of God, not yielding to the inclinations of the passions, but according to virtue. Learn how to live according to a rule of conduct that directs, protects and produces fruits – a rule that leads us to joy, to a great joy that nothing and nobody can take away from us.
Perhaps we will not be always up to this; but that should not frighten or stop us – failure is a lesson in the school of life, by which we become aware of our own misery and learn to rest on God, Who wishes to live, battle and work in us.
Whatever happens, we must go on, because we have learned that nothing is more exhausting than to be enslaved by our own uncontrolled and insatiable desires.
However, we must be on our guard, because the world is powerful and we are quite weak! We must not delude ourselves: the systematic destruction of human nature, begun long ago, continues unrelentingly, by multiplying the illusions which inebriate souls without nourishing them. The world, boasting of its technical progress, reduces man to the condition of a robot and thereby hurtles to its damnation because it is nothing more than a slave-making machine. In a mad rush, it runs blindly to the abyss.
It is a disaster: our nature, already wounded by original sin, is thus degraded further. Are we still men? The world exercises upon us a dehumanizing pressure because of the constant exacerbation of our passions, the frenzy of our senses stirred up by incessant incitements to pleasure, to luxuries, to selfishness…
In particular, modern man has completely lost the sense of making any effort. He has not even a vague understanding of it. His ideal is to attain the greatest pleasure with the minimum of effort. Forgetfulness of self, the sense of the common good, the respect for authority, politeness – no one practices these virtues any more. Only selfishness remains, and in its basest aspirations. We are deluded. Man cannot be happy in this way. His happiness must be sought beyond himself, going away from himself, in the gift and the dedication of his whole being to a higher reality. We have become zombies in pursuit of shadows, in an exhausting Read More...
What follows is an article from Dailymail about a family left devasted by a recent tornado that ripped through their home in Oklahoma. This morning search and rescue workers located their 3 year old son in a nearby lake--he is now in Heaven. They are a traditional Catholic Family who attend an FSSP parish. If you would like to send a kind note or a donation to the Hamil family here is their parish information:
The Hamil Family
C/O St. Damien of Molokai Catholic Church
Fr. Casavantes, FSSP
8455 NW 234th Street
Edmond, OK 73025
From Dailymail: "As the devastating storms ripped their way through the Midwest, an Oklahoma mother did what she thought was best to keep her family safe.
Catherine Hamil, who is four months pregnant, sought refuge in the bath tub with her three young children in their Piedmont home as they waited for the raging tornado.
But as the devastating twister hit their rural house on Tuesday, 30 miles northwest of Oklahoma City, it became clear that no place was safe to hide as the family was torn apart.
Three-year-old Ryan has not been seen since he was torn from his mother’s arms.
His 15-month-old brother was killed and his pregnant mother and five-year old sister are in a critical condition in hospital.
The children's father, Hank, who runs a crop harvesting business, was away when the tornado hit, but has returned to Oklahoma to help with the frantic search for his three-year-old son.
Catherine, 36, is reported to have several broken bones, bruises and cuts. But doctors said they can still feel the heartbeat of her baby, which is due in October.
Rescuers were desperately searching for the missing toddler on Wednesday evening.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1390588/Tornado-touches-Oklahoma-tosses-cars-wraps-boats-trees.html#ixzz1NTjO8HED