Saint of the Day

Today, November 18, 2018, is the feast day of St. Odo of Cluny, Abbot (879-942) according to Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), read http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots357.htm

There is a more detailed article from Tradition in Action at https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j204sd_OdoCluny_11-18.html and here is a quote from there:

“Thanks to this holy Abbot the influence of Cluny spread out all over Christendom. Popes would ask St. Odo’s advice in their difficulties, and Princes invited him to their kingdoms to reform their monasteries. He was so successful that he was called the “restorer of monasteries.”

There is another good one from Wikipedia at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odo_of_Cluny which includes this quote:

“It was his usual saying, that no one can be called a monk who is not a true lover, and strict observer of silence, a condition absolutely necessary for interior solitude and the commerce of a soul with God.”

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

 

Saint of the Day

Today, November 17, 2018, is the feast day of St. Gregory Thaumaturgus (213-275) according to the 1962 Roman Missal, and you can obtain your own copy (it should be in every Catholic library) from Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Missal-1962-English-Latin/dp/0954563123/ref=sr_

There is a more detailed article from Tradition in Action at https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j203sd_Gregory_11-17.html

The definitive article though is at the Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07015a.htm and here is a quote from that article

“Born at Neocæsarea in Pontus (Asia Minor) about 213; died there 270-275. Among those who built up the Christian Church, extended its influence, and strengthened its institutions, the bishops of Asia Minor occupy a high position; among them Gregory of Neocaesarea holds a very prominent place. His pastoral work is but little known, and his theological writings have reached us in a very incomplete state. In this semi-obscurity the personality of this great man seems eclipsed and dwarfed; even his immemorial title Thaumaturgus (the wonder-worker) casts an air of legend about him. Nevertheless, the lives of few bishops of the third century are so well authenticated; the historical references to him permit us to reconstruct his work with considerable detail.”

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Saint of the Day & Infallibility

Today, November 16, 2018, is the feast day of St. Gertrude the Great, Virgin, Abbess according to the 1962 Roman Missal, and you can obtain your own copy (it should be in every Catholic library) at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Missal-1962-English-Latin/dp/0954563123/ref=sr_ and there is an article about her at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gertrude_the_Great

The definitive article though is at the Catholic Encyclopedia, http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/06534a.htm

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Infallibility

This article from Remnant Newspaper explores deeply this often confusing subject. A must read.

An excerpt.

One of the more dangerous errors facing well-meaning Catholics today is extending infallibility beyond the limits taught by the Church.  While this error of excess may not have posed a problem for Catholics in the past, it certainly does today.  In fact, a brief perusal through the comments section of a Catholic blog shows that this error is one of the single greatest dangers for faithful Catholics today, due to the consequences that follow from it.  For in the current crisis of the Church and the Papacy, when confused and scandalized Catholics are searching for answers, an error of excess concerning the infallibility of the Pope (or of the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium), often serves as a false premise that “logically” leads to one of two erroneous conclusions:

1) That the Pope, or the Church as a whole, has done what a dogma of the Faith teaches is impossible (i.e., violated infallibility); or

2) That the infallibility of the Pope demands that Catholics give an unqualified assent to whatever he teaches, even if it conflicts with (a) the explicit teaching of the Scriptures, (b) the perennial doctrine of the Church, and (c) the consistent teaching of his predecessors (e.g., the doctrine of the licitness of capital punishment).

The first erroneous conclusion usually ends in a denial of the dogma of Papal Infallibility, followed by a loss of faith in the Church.  The second erroneous conclusion undermines the objective nature and immutability of the revealed deposit and logically leads to the Modernist heresy of evolution of dogma, which maintains that the Church’s understanding of dogma changes over time, from one thing to another, in such a way that what the Church taught in the past can no longer be held today.[1]

Because of these dangers that the ecclesiastical crisis poses for Catholics of good-will today, a correct understanding of the conditions required for an exercise of infallible teaching authority is more important than ever, and morally necessary for those Catholics who hope to make it through the present trial with their faith and sanity intact.

Infallibility

Msgr. Van Noort defines infallibility as “the privilege by which the teaching office of the Church, through the assistance of the Holy Ghost, is preserved immune from error when it defines a doctrine of faith or morals.” Note the word define.  Infallibility only applies in the case of doctrines that have been defined, or definitive proposed by the Church, either by a solemn decree, or by the force of the ordinary and universal Magisterium.

The Charism

Infallibility is a negative charism (gratia gratis data) that prevents the possibility of error.[2] It is not to be confused with inspiration, which is a positive divine influence that moves and controls a human agent in what he says or writes; nor is it to be confused with Revelation, which is the communication of some truth to man, by God, through means which are beyond the ordinary course of nature.  The gift of infallibility pertains to the safeguarding and explanation of truths that have already been revealed by God, and which are contained in the Deposit of Faith, which was closed with the death of the last apostle.  It should also be noted that infallibility is not a habitually active charism but is only engaged when the necessary conditions are met.

The Object of Infallibility

The object of infallibility are the truths that can be infallibly taught by the Church. These are broken out into two general categories:

(a) the primary object consists of truths that have been formally revealed by God, and which are contained in the font of revelation, viz. Scripture and Tradition.  The immunity from error extends to both positive and negative decisions of a definitive nature. Positive decisions include such things as dogmatic decrees of a council, ex cathedra statements from a pope, and official creeds of the Church.  Negative decisions consist of the determination and rejection of such errors as are opposed to the teaching of Revelation.

(b) The secondary objects of infallibility comprise truths that have not been formally revealed by God, but which are intimately related to and necessary to preserve the revealed deposit.  These include such things as 1) theological conclusions (inferences deduced from two premises, one of which is revealed and the other verified by reason), 2) dogmatic facts (contingent historical facts), and 3) the doctrinal judgment contained within disciplinary laws (i.e., that a universal law does not directly contradict a revealed truth).[3]  We should note that the Church herself has never defined whether, or to what extent, infallibility embraces the secondary objects.[4]  However, theologians qualify it as theologically certain that infallibility does extend to all the secondary objects, with the exception of canonizations, which some qualify by the lesser note of the common opinion.[5]

The Organs of Infallibility

The organs through which the Church teaches infallibly are (a) the pope, (b) a general council, and (c) the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium (OUM), which consists of the bishops dispersed throughout the world, teaching in union with the pope. Each of these organs can teach infallibly, and indeed will do so, provided the necessary conditions are met; but infallibility will not prevent any of them from erring if the conditions are not satisfied.  For this reason, rather than saying the pope, or a council, or the OUM are infallible, it is more precise to say they are organs through which the Church can teach infallibly, since the former expression gives the impression that they are, per se, always infallible, and consequently unable to err at any time – which is the error that has caused so much confusion today.

Retrieved November 15, 2018 from https://www.remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/4214-the-infallibility-of-the-ordinary-and-extraordinary-magisterium

Saint of the Day & Giving Books to Prisoners

Today, November 15, 2018, is the feast day of St. Albert the Great, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor of the Church, (c. 1193 – November 15, 1280), (and the teacher of St. Thomas Aquinas) according to the 1962 Roman Missal, and you can buy a copy of the 1962 Missal at Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Roman-Missal-1962-English-Latin/dp/0954563123/ref=sr_ and there is an article about him at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albertus_Magnus

The definitive piece though is from Tradition in Action at https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j230sd_AlbertusMagnus_11-15.html

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Giving Books to Prisoners

Very nice work being done by this nonprofit in Appalachia, as reported by BuzzFeed. (Hat tip to Stacy)

An excerpt.

There’s a scene in The Shawshank Redemption — that 1994 feel-good prison break classic — when after more than six years of effort, our scrappy inmate-hero, Andy (Tim Robbins), finally receives funding to begin building a prison library. Soon, bookcases are being assembled, boxes of dusty used novels are being unpacked, and Andy is rattling off where to file the works of authors like Robert Louis Stevenson and Alexandre Dumas (whose name is initially pronounced “dumbass” by the inmate doing the filing).

“By the spring, Andy had transformed a storage room smelling of rat turds and turpentine into the best prison library in New England,” a dulcet voiceover from Morgan Freeman tells us, as the camera pans to a bustling room filled with inmates plucking books from well-stocked shelves and crowded around hand-carved wooden reading tables.

Reality, though, isn’t so charmingly bespoke. Today, prison libraries are hit-or-miss, more often falling on the “miss” side: frequently barebones, stacked with outdated textbooks, or littered with battered romance novels. Some prisons are even attempting to do away with libraries entirely, instead placing the burden on inmates to pay for e-books. In Pennsylvania, inmates have to pay for a $147 tablet in order to read books.

“The quality of the libraries is very uneven. People don’t have access to the books they really want to read, particularly if they’re on a specific subject. Some prisons try to do interlibrary loan, but it’s a very delayed service and, again, limited,” explains Katy Ryan, a professor at West Virginia University and cofounder of the Appalachian Prison Book Project.

Ryan shows me a recent letter from an inmate in Tennessee describing the library at his correctional facility. “Our library here isn’t very big, and besides, getting to it takes an act of Congress,” he says in nimble, attentive handwriting. “I am an indigent inmate and have no T.V., radio, etc., so books are my life. A fellow inmate said you guys could help me get some new reading material.”

Fortunately, he’s written to the right place.

The Appalachian Prison Book Project (APBP) is a nonprofit organization based in Morgantown, West Virginia, that sends free books to incarcerated people across six states in Appalachia: Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia. Founded in 2004 by Ryan and fellow professor (and recently elected Morgantown deputy mayor) Mark Brazaitis, APBP was born out of a class Ryan taught on the literature of incarceration.

“While reading works from formerly incarcerated or currently incarcerated people, we learned how important books were to them,” Ryan explains. “I mentioned to the students that I didn’t know if a prison book project existed in West Virginia. It turns out, there wasn’t one in the entire region. So, we carved out those six states, and committed ourselves to sending books to people who wanted them.”

Ryan’s all-volunteer organization started its work from a church basement, then operated briefly out of a graduate student’s apartment, then finally found a home inside the Aull Center, a historic building in downtown Morgantown where the small, donated office space — which Ryan says has “an ineffable spirit” and volunteers frequently reference in magical terms — is stacked high with incoming letters and outgoing books. At any given time, there are up to a dozen volunteers, all of whom have been trained in the APBP system, matching inmate request letters with books on hand — or putting out feelers to rustle up a book on the topic (or by the author, or in the language) requested. The majority of books donated are from the local Morgantown community, but APBP also regularly receives packages filled with novels, how-to guides, and beyond from across the country. Soft-covered books are preferred to hardbacks (which are more difficult to get into prisons), and when it comes to anything small-press or handmade — comic books, zines — staples are a no-go. The entire process is powerful in its simplicity: Once a letter is paired up with a proper book, volunteers simply record it in a handwritten log as a “match,” then deliver it to the post office.

Retrieved November 13, 2018 from https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/sarahbaird/appalachian-nonprofit-sends-free-books-prison-inmates

Saint of the Day & The Cardinal Abuser, A Case From Church History

Today, November 14, 2018, is the feast day of St. Didacus, Confessor, “the patron of the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego” (1400-1463) according to the Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), and you can read about this saint at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots352.htm and a more detailed article at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Didacus_of_Alcal%C3%A1

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

The Cardinal Abuser, A Case From Church History

The single greatest chronicler of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in our time is Randy Engel and her article Monday in Renew America is a classic.

An excerpt.

Introduction

It’s been more than 23 years since the Cardinal Hans Groër, O.S.B sex abuse scandal erupted in Vienna, Austria.

Recently, while researching the Cardinal McCarrick case, I had occasion to go back over my notes on this high-level Church scandal that took place in Austria, and it struck me how little accurate information and follow-up details on clerical abuse issued by Catholic media sources actually reaches Catholics in the pews.

It appears that official Catholic news sources including Vatican Information Service, and Catholic News Services, an organ of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, do everything possible to obfuscate and minimize the real nature and consequences of these sexually-related scandals in the Church today – or perhaps, better stated, in the Counterfeit Church that passes for the true Roman Catholic Church today.

So, I decided to do a follow-up article to see what, if anything, the reader remembers about the accusations against Cardinal Groër, and how those memories measure up to the unreported facts which eventually came to light many months or years later.

After you read this scenario regarding Cardinal Groër, please ask yourself, “Did the Catholic media, at the time, provide me with sufficient information that would permit me, as a faithful Catholic, to make a conscious and accurate evaluation and understanding of this unforgettable scandal?” If the answer is “no,” then the next question is “why not?”

Also, ask yourself if the Vatican’s dealings with the case of Archbishop Theodore McCarrick and his minions will be any better.

Early Revelations About the Groër Case

The first time that most American Catholics heard about Cardinal Hans Groër, Archbishop of Vienna, was on September 14, 1995, when he resigned his post following allegations of pederasty (the sexual molestation of adolescent boys), brought by one of Groër’s former student. Afterwards, John Paul II arranged for Groër to be sent to his old Benedictine monastery in Maria Roggendorf where the cardinal was made prior, until new accusations of past criminal deeds reached the pope’s ears.

The second time that Groër made American headlines was on April 14, 1998, when Pope John Paul II finally forced Groër to relinquish all ecclesiastical duties and privileges as an archbishop and cardinal-priest, although he kept his title as Archbishop Emeritus of Vienna.

Background on Cardinal Groër

Included in the Vatican announcements of Groër’s dramatic fall from grace were some generic biographical notes on the cardinal.

Groër was born on October 13, 1919 in Vienna to Sudeten German parents. The family later moved to Czechoslovakia where they set up residence for a decade and then returned to their homeland. Groër received his seminary training in Hollabrunn and Vienna and was ordained for the diocesan priesthood on April 12, 1942. He then served as a military chaplain in Petronell and Bad Vöslau until 1946 when he became Prefect of Studies at the Minor Seminary of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria. He obtained a doctorate in theology in 1949. Later he became a Professor of Religion at the Hollabrunn Seminary.

According to Groër, it was in the early 1950s that he developed a special interest in Marian devotions and devoted himself to the restoration of the pilgrimages to the shrine of Our Lady of Roggendorf. In 1980, That same years he was named Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary (Legio Mariens) in Austria.

Subsequent testimony from Groër’s early victims support the charge that during this same time period that he reported receiving a message from Our Lady and was conducting pilgrimages to the popular shrine, the priest was routinely molesting young members of the Legio.

In 1974, Groër made a significant career change from diocesan priest to monk. In retrospect, the change may not have been entirely voluntary.

That year, he joined the Benedictine monastic community of St. Joseph’s Priory located in the historic pilgrimage center of Maria Roggendorf in Hollabrunn. He entered the novitiate at Göttweig monastery in 1976 and took his solemn vows as a Benedictine monk on September 8, 1980.

To the surprise of many, the obscure monk was appointed the 15th Archbishop of Vienna by Pope John Paul II on July 15, 1986 and made Cardinal-Priest of Santi Gioacchino ed Anna al Tuscolano two years later at the consistory of June 28, 1988.

A Note on the Austrian Hierarchy

Although demographically small with a total population of about eight million, Austria has always played a significant role in the history of Europe and the Roman Catholic Church. Its hierarchy is composed of two archbishops, one for the Archdiocese of Vienna, and the other for the Archdiocese of Salzburg, although, for all practical purposes, the Archbishop of Vienna is the ruling prelate; seven bishops for the Dioceses of Eisenstadt, Linz, Sankt Polten, Graz-Sckau, Gurk, Feldkirch and Innsbruck; the abbot of the Cistercian Territorial Abbey of Wettingen-Mehrerau and the military bishop of the Military Ordinariate of Austria.

In recent years, the Catholic population of Austria has been hemorrhaging from 89% in 1961 to 58% in 2017 due, in part, to migration and the increased secularization of Austrian society, and more recently, to the large numbers of clerical sexual abuse cases – 837 in 2010 alone – about 75% of which involved male homosexual clerics and at least two high-ranking prelates including Hans Groër and Archabbot George Becker, OSB, of St. Peter’s Archabbey in Salzburg, the oldest monastery in the German-speaking world.

However, what makes the story of Cardinal Groër so unique in Church annals is not only the four decades-long duration of his predatory crimes, and the incredible number of young boys he sexually molested, but also the role played by Pope John Paul II, and Cardinal Josef Ratzinger as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later as Pope Benedict XVI, in the continuing rise of Groër up the Vatican’s hierarchal ladder to the office of Cardinal, despite Groër’s early predator track record.

Let’s begin with a look at that record.

Groër Case Breaks in 1995 in Profil

On March 27, 1995, the weekly Austrian magazine, Profil, published an interview with Josef Hartmann, 37, who alleged that when he was a student at Hollabrunn junior seminary, Father Groër, one of his seminary teachers, had sex with him repeatedly for four years, from 1972 to 1976.

Hartmann’s statement was backed up by the testimony of Rev. Udo Fischer, who had attended the same boys’ school in the 1960s and early 1970s. Fischer stated that he had been molested by Cardinal Groër when they worked together on a youth movement devoted to the Virgin Mary in the early 1970s, and that he had observed him acting inappropriately with others who were not willing to come forward. Fischer noted that referred to the young boys he surrounded himself with as “little angels.”

To his credit, in 1985, Fischer reported Groër’s criminal activities to his abbot, Dr. Clemens Lashofer, OSB, at Göttweig Abbey. Three years earlier, Lashofer had become the Abbot President of the Australian Congregation of Benedictines, so he was in a position of considerable power and influence. But Fischer’s accusations including his personal testimony that he himself was sexually abused by Groër apparently fell upon deaf ears. Lashofer remained silent.

It was not until one year later, when the Vatican announced Groër’s appointment as archbishop of Vienna that the angry Fischer re-contacted with Abbot Lashofer and asked him why he had not denounced Groër to the proper ecclesiastical authorities when he learned that Groër’s name was being put forth as a candidate for the office of archbishop. The abbot, who died in 2009, responded that the papal nuncio had never questioned him regarding Groër’s suitability as archbishop before his selection. To which Udo made the profound observation that, “If they really did not ask him, they did not want to know.” Who the “they” were will be discussed later in this article.

The Vienna branch of the Legion of Mary (Legio Mariens) was formed on February 21, 1949. A former member of the Legio for ten years, recalls that he witnessed Groër, grabbing hold of boys’ genitals, but he did not interpret the action as sexual abuse at the time. After all, Groër had enjoyed a visitation by Our Lady and had a reputation for “sanctity!”

Similar recollections were made by many of Groër other victims who recounted how the priest/monk would ask them to come to his room for confession, demand they take off their clothes and then abuse them. Others reported the priest/monk would fondle their genitals in the shower under the guise of conducting a medical exam.

At the time that these revelations were being made public, I believe it would be fair to state that few Austrian Catholics really believed that Groër really committed these crimes against seminarians and monks and other young boys and young men with whom he came in contact. The scales did not begin to fall from their collective eyes until 1998 with the publication of Hubertus Czernin’s exposé on the Groër scandal.

Das Buch Groer: Eine Kirchenchronik Lights the Fire

On January 1, 1998, Das Buch Groër: Eine Kirchenchronik (The Book Groer: A Church Chronicle) by Hubertus Czernin hit the streets of Vienna. It forever put to rest any argument that Groër was innocent of the charges of sexual abuse made again him.

Born on January 17, 1956, into an aristocratic family in Vienna, Czernin studied art history at the University, but later decided to become a journalist and investigative reporter. Czernin started at the bottom of the ladder at Profil, and eventually worked his way up to editor.

The startling conclusion of Czernin’s investigation was that Groër had sex with over 2,000 young men, mostly seminarians and monks, starting in the 1950s and ending in the 1990s. That’s no misprint. The figure put forth by Czernin was over 2,000, although the actual figures remain unknown. Czernin died on June 10, 2006 at age of 50, three years after the 83-year-old Groër went to meet his Maker. Although Czernin had the satisfaction of living long enough to see Groër removed from office, the Viennese prelate never faced an ecclesiastical court, much less a criminal trial in a secular court.

Retrieved November 13, 2018 from http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/engel/181112

Saint of the Day & Religion of Social Justice

Today, November 13, 2018, is the feast day of St. Stanislas Kostka, (1550-1568) according to the Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), and you can read about this saint at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots351.htm and a more detailed article at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanislaus_Kostka

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Religion of Social Justice

One of my favorite thinkers, Camille Paglia, writes about this.

An excerpt.

In an interview with Quillette, renowned scholar Camille Paglia argued that “social justice” has become a “pseudo-religion.”

Paglia, a professor at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, spoke with Quillette Magazine founder Claire Lehman for an interview that was recently published.

Paglia covered topics ranging from postmodernism to the #MeToo movement.

Lehmann asked Paglia about her views on the “social justice” movement, which many have argued has morphed into a sort of religion.

“As an atheist, I have argued that if religion is erased, something must be put in its place. Belief systems are intrinsic to human intelligence and survival. They “frame” the flux of primary experience, which would otherwise flood the mind.

“But politics cannot fill the gap. Society, with which Marxism is obsessed, is only a fragment of the totality of life. As I have written, Marxism has no metaphysics: it cannot even detect, much less comprehend, the enormity of the universe and the operations of nature. Those who invest all of their spiritual energies in politics will reap the whirlwind. The evidence is all around us—the paroxysms of inchoate, infantile rage suffered by those who have turned fallible politicians into saviors and devils, godlike avatars of Good versus Evil.”

Paglia also commented on the recent confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. She expressed concern that Kavanaugh’s accusers were given “blanket credulity.”

“The headlong rush to judgment by so many well-educated, middle-class women in the #MeToo movement has been startling and dismaying. Their elevation of emotion and group solidarity over fact and logic has resurrected damaging stereotypes of women’s irrationality that were once used to deny us the vote. I found the blanket credulity given to women accusers during the recent U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh positively unnerving: it was the first time since college that I truly understood the sexist design of Aeschylus’s Oresteia, whose mob of vengeful Furies is superseded by formal courts of law, where evidence is weighed.”

You can read the full interview at https://quillette.com/2018/11/10/camille-paglia-its-time-for-a-new-map-of-the-gender-world/

Retrieved November 12, 2018 from https://www.breitbart.com/tech/2018/11/12/camille-paglia-social-justice-has-become-a-pseudo-religion/

Saint of the Day & Are Protestants Christians?

Following yesterday’s feast day of St. Martin of Tours, today, November 12, 2018, is the feast day of anther St Martin, St. Martin, Pope, Martyr, (590-655) according to the Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), and you can read about this saint at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots350.htm and a more detailed article at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Martin_I

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

 Are Protestants Christians?

Not according to traditional Catholic teaching as this bracing 2007 article from Tradition in Action notes.

An excerpt.

It is very common today to hear Catholics call a Protestant “a Christian,” or even, “a good Christian.” In the United States, it was already a practice before Vatican II because of the tendency of American Catholics to accommodate Protestantism, whose tonus dominated the social and business spheres. Then, there was the question of adaptation as prominent Protestants joined the Catholic faith, or Catholics entered into marriages with Protestants. It was just easier to call everyone “Christian.” Supposedly it underplayed differences. It was meant to create the impression that Catholics and Protestants were cousins in one big, happy family. Pope Leo XIII condemned this tolerance toward Protestantism under the name of Americanism, the heresy of Americanism, to be more precise.

After Vatican II, needless to say, the practice of calling Protestants Christians has snowballed, with the official conciliar documents assuming this same impropriety. Hence, the Holy See, Prelates and priests have made its use as widespread as possible. Accommodation to Protestantism in our days has reached such a point that some Catholics, to distinguish between Catholics and their Protestant “separated brethren,” call themselves Catholic Christians. A redundancy if I’ve ever heard one. Only Catholics can be true Christians. No one who dissents from the Roman Catholic Church can be a Christian. The terms are synonymous.

Every time I hear the term Christian used for Protestants, I cringe. Its usage clearly nourishes a trend toward a dangerous religious indifferentism, which denies the duty of man to worship God by believing and practicing the one true Catholic Religion. It is an implicit admission that those who deny the one Faith can nonetheless be Christians, that is, be in the Church of Christ. Inherently it leads to the progressivist notion that men can be saved in any religion that accepts Christ as Savior. A “good Lutheran,” a “good Anglican,” a “good Presbyterian – what does it matter so long as they are good people and sincerely love Christ?

Regardless of who is applying this usage today, I want to stress that it is at variance with the entire tradition of the Catholic Church until the Council. To consider heretics as Christians is not the teaching of the Church.

Before Vatican II, the Magisterium was always very clear: It is not a matter of an individual’s character or traits. No one can be in the Church of Christ without professing the ensemble of the truths of Catholic Faith, being in unity with the Chair of Peter and receiving the same Seven Sacraments. The only Christian is one who accepts Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church he established. Who can have God for Father and not accept the Church for Mother? (Pope Pius IX, Singulari quidem of March 17, 1856) Who can accept the spouse Christ, and not his mystical bride the Church? Who can separate the Head, the only begotten Son of God, from the body, which is His Church? (Pope Leo XIII, Satis cognitum of June 29, 1896). It is not possible.

In short, only those who profess the one Catholic Faith and are united with the Mystical Body of Christ are members of the Church of Christ. And only those members can legitimately bear the title of honor of Christian.

The Protestant sect started as a revolt, protesting the Church of Christ and, pretending to accept Christ without Peter, the authority He established on earth. With this split, they left the Church and became heretics. This used to be clearly said and understood, without sentimental fear of offending one’s neighbors or relatives: A Protestant is a heretic because he severed himself from the Body of the Church. He is not a Christian, and certainly not a “good Christian.”

Scriptures confirm this truth

My friend Jan thought I was being too severe on this topic. “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” she said. “Don’t Scriptures teach us to love our neighbor and not be judgmental?”

It is the same old post Vatican II story, claiming that it is “judgmental” to correct bad practices and false teachings and arguing with disputable interpretations of Scriptures.

Well, despite these subjective interpretations, the inspired words of Scriptures provide an unambiguous defense that the custody of the vineyard has been committed by Christ to the Catholic Church alone. Let me quote just a few verses:

  • “He who hears you (Peter) hears me, and he who rejects you, rejects me, and he who rejects me, rejects him who sent me (Lk 10:16).” It could not be clearer: the Protestant who rejects the head, rejects Christ himself, and should not be granted the name Christian.
  • Christ establishes one Church with a single head: “And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Matt 16:19).
  • St. Paul is severe in his condemnation of false teachers, e.g. Protestants: “If any man preaches any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal 1: 9).
  • In another passage he instructs Catholics to remove themselves from the bad society of non-Catholics: “And we charge you, brethren, in the name of Our Lord Jesus Christ that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly and not according to the Tradition which they have received of us” (2 Thess 3:6).
  • The Apostle St. John forbade any intercourse with heretics: “If any man come to you and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into the house or welcome him” (2 Jo 1:10)”

Holy Scriptures are clear on the point that only those who belong to the one Church founded by Christ, the Catholic Church, can rightfully be considered Christians.

Popes reiterate this teaching

The traditional Papal Magisterium was also clear on this topic. Let me offer a few texts by way of exemplification.

Pius XII stated unequivocally: “To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth” (Allocution to the Irish pilgrims of October 8, 1957). How is it possible to be clearer than this about those who can be called Christian?

Leo XIII makes it plain that separated members cannot belong to the same body: “So long as the member was on the body, it lived; separated, it lost its life. Thus the man, so long as he lives on the body of the [Catholic] Church, he is a Christian; separated from her, he becomes a heretic” (Encyclical Satis cognitum of June 29, 1896).

Emphasizing the fate of those who break away from the one Faith, he says: “Whoever leaves her [the Catholic Church] departs from the will and command of Our Lord Jesus Christ; leaving the path of salvation, he enters that of perdition. Whoever is separated from the Church is united to an adulteress” (ibid.). Certainly, they do not share with us the same title of Christian.

Pope Pius IX stated: “He who abandons the Chair of Peter on which the Church is founded, is falsely persuaded that he is in the Church of Christ” (Quartus supra of January 6 1873, n. 8).

Retrieved November 12, 2018 from https://www.traditioninaction.org/religious/m013rpProtestantsChristians.html

 

Saint of the Day

Today, November 11, 2018, is the feast day of St. Martin of Tours, (316-397) according to the Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), and you can read about this saint at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots349.htm and a more detailed article at Tradition in Action, https://traditioninaction.org/SOD/j046sdMartin11-11.htm

A story about him when he was bishop of Tours, is found in the Golden Legend:

“A cult began to develop around an unknown who was alleged to be a martyr. Bishop Martin could learn nothing about his life or his merits; so one day he stood at the tomb and prayed the Lord to make known who was buried there and what had been his merits. Turning to his left he saw a pitch-black shade standing there. The shade, challenged by Martin, said that he had been a robber and had been put to death for his crimes. Martin therefore ordered the immediate destruction of the altar that had been raised beside the tomb.” (p. 680)

Jacobus de Voragine (1229-1298). The Golden Legend: Readings on the Saints. (Translated by William Granger Ryan, Introduction by Eamon Duffy) Princeton University Press: Princeton & Oxford. (1993)

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Saint of the Day & Screwtape Speaks

Today, November 10, 2018, is the feast day of St. Andrew Avellino, (1521-1608) according to the Lives of the Saints by Fr. Alban Butler (first published in 1887 under the title Lives of the Saints–With Reflections for Every Day in the Year), read about this saint at http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/lots/lots348.htm and a more detailed article at Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Avellino

Reading about these saints is a wonderful daily reflection; such marvelous lives the saints lived, such an army, the Church Triumphant, who has our back in heaven.

Screwtape Speaks

 One of the great books of Catholicism is The Screwtape Letters and this quote is certainly appropriate for today.

Screwtape writes to Wormwood:

“One of our great allies at present is the Church itself. Do not misunderstand me. I do not mean the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners. That, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans. All your patient sees is the half-finished, sham Gothic erection on the new building estate. When he goes inside, he sees the local grocer with rather an oily expression on his face bustling up to offer him one shiny little book containing a liturgy which neither of them understands, and one shabby little book containing corrupt texts of a number of religious lyrics, mostly bad, and in very small print.” (pp. 5-6)

C. S. Lewis. (2001). The Screwtape Letters with Screwtape proposes a Toast. Harper Collins Publishers: HarperSanFrancisco.

The “Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, terrible as an army with banners” that is the Church—of archangels, warrior monks and saints and legendary knights—that will convert criminals.