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Monday 29 July 2013

On the myth of why the Church is unpopular

On a famous blog today (not Fr. Z's), there are many comments which indicate that people believe that the horrible child abuse scandal has caused the Church to be unpopular.

This is a myth. The Church has ALWAYS been unpopular. The Catholic Church has endured over 2,000 of hatred and persecution, and not necessarily because of the sins of Her members.

As many of you know, following this blog. several members of my family were abused by a priest for years and years as very young children.

All four never gave up the Church, married good Catholics, raised their children Catholics and are still Catholics. They forgave the priest, even though his despicable actions caused them pain their entire lives in one way or another.

Catholics have been treating people badly for a long time. Some Catholic priests have embezzled thousands if not millions of dollars. This happened in my own diocese, which also went bankrupt because of paedophilia and homosexuality among priests.

The sex scandals are not new, folks. And there have always been scandals in the Church.

There is only one reason why the Church is unpopular-because the Fullness of Truth lies within the Church. The true Gospel is taught by the Catholic Church.  Truth, Who is a Person, is Present on every altar daily, in the Eucharist.

The Church is not popular because She speaks the truth in season and out of season. The Church will prevail because it is Christ's Mystical Body and the institution created by Christ to lead us all to salvation.

Those who leave the Church or do not join it because of evil priests, evil bishops, evil cardinals, are not looking at themselves. We are all sinners. Look at Christ, not men.

All of us have failed God and brought disrespect to the Church by some action or another. There is no person on earth who is without sin.

It is horrible that we have had to witness the scale of the evils in the Church. But, we are about to witness a purging of the Church not seen in decades, and witnessed by some of our ancestors hundreds of years ago.

Remember, all but one bishop went with Henry VIII and that was St. John Fisher. The rest finally repented under Queen Mary, but terrible damage was done by their apostasy.

The Church has been, is, and always will be unpopular. So what? The truth will prevail and those who want the truth, who seek it, will find it. And, those who want to continue the myth, will do so.

I find the arguments puerile. Pray for the Church, and pray for holy priests, holy bishops, holy cardinals. Pray for holy lay people.

On Conversion and Justification

 In Santa Maria del Popolo The Conversion on the Way to Damascus by Caravaggio 

In the perfection series, I placed a graph of Garrigou-Lagrange, on the steps of the spiritual life in a post towards the end of the series. As I repeated before, none of these steps can be skipped. But, the first stage merits revisiting.

This is the stage of the First Conversion. St. Thomas Aquinas describes this as an overwhelming moment of grace when one's life is changed. St. Paul is one of our greatest examples. He was murdering Catholics and then became one of the greatest of saints, an apostle to the Gentiles.

This First Conversion is pure gift from God. The CCC is clear on this grace of justification.

1989 The first work of the grace of the Holy Spirit is conversion, effecting justification in accordance with Jesus' proclamation at the beginning of the Gospel: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."38 Moved by grace, man turns toward God and away from sin, thus accepting forgiveness and righteousness from on high. "Justification is not only the remission of sins, but also the sanctification and renewal of the interior man.39
1990 Justification detaches man from sin which contradicts the love of God, and purifies his heart of sin. Justification follows upon God's merciful initiative of offering forgiveness. It reconciles man with God. It frees from the enslavement to sin, and it heals.
1991 Justification is at the same time the acceptance of God's righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ. Righteousness (or "justice") here means the rectitude of divine love. With justification, faith, hope, and charity are poured into our hearts, and obedience to the divine will is granted us.
1992 Justification has been merited for us by the Passion of Christ who offered himself on the cross as a living victim, holy and pleasing to God, and whose blood has become the instrument of atonement for the sins of all men. Justification is conferred in Baptism, the sacrament of faith. It conforms us to the righteousness of God, who makes us inwardly just by the power of his mercy. Its purpose is the glory of God and of Christ, and the gift of eternal life:40

Grace heals us in ways which God chooses. We do not choose the way in which God desires to purify us. Most of the time, healing comes in and through the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

Paul was a harsh and fanatic man before his conversion. But, after he was knocked from his horse, he humbly had to asked for healing from a stranger. After that, he writes that for some time, he went into the desert to pray and let God work in him. This would have been Paul's time of purification and entering into the Illuminative Stage, and then, the Unitive Stage, about which he also writes.

But, the First Conversion following the immediate gift of grace, involved a giving up, a denying of self, as Paul lost all his worldly status and standing with the Jewish Sanhedrin. He had to change and become a new person in Christ.

Without the First Conversion, there is no relationship with Christ in a personal way. For many, this happens in the home, even in the grace of Baptism as an infant. For some, this happens as an adult.

To be continued....

For New Readers, Posts on Grace and Connected Topics

Grace Posts


22 Mar 2013
Justification is to be derived from the prevenient grace of God, through Jesus Christ, that is to say, from His vocation, whereby, without any merits existing on their parts, they are called; that so they, who by sins were alienated ...
22 Mar 2013
Internal helps, which are either permanent (such as infused habits, for instance, sanctifying grace, the virtues and gifts) or transient (such as supernatural movements which excite in us indeliberate acts, pious thoughts and ...
22 Mar 2013
The CCC is clear on merit and grace and this is like a summary of the perfection series! I do not think a commentary is necessary here. These selections from the CCC have been repeated in the Doctors of the Church series ...
23 Mar 2013
This grace, which is always followed by its effect, is refused to us, as we said, only if we resist the Divine, auxilium praeveniens, sufficient grace, in which the efficacious help is already offered us, as fruit is in the flower.
23 Jul 2013
Grace is not fairy dust. Grace is the life of God given to us in several ways. There are also many posts on grace. One can use the search bar or the labels or the tags. Sacramentals. Here is merely the section on sacramentals ...
17 Jul 2013
Wherefore I beseech You, through grace and mercy, that, from today henceforward, I may never again wander from the path of Your doctrine, given by Your goodness to me and to whoever wishes to follow it, because without ...
07 Apr 2013
I reiterate this point today as many converts coming from the Evangelical and Lutheran, as well as Anglican communities do not understand this interplay of grace and will. Grace is not a feeling. It is not a consolation. It is the ...
22 Mar 2013
We differ greatly from the Protestants, as we believe that Christ wants all to be saved. Grace is available to all men and women, but God gives as He wills, not as we will...We also believe that reason is an important faculty in ...
24 Mar 2013
Nice reminder on grace from another blog. Posted by Supertradmum · · Email ThisBlogThis!Share to TwitterShare to Facebook.
21 Jan 2013
Who would be sufficient without God's grace to give continual attendance to reading and constant earnestness in work, receiving no advantage of present gain? And all these matters, as we cannot desire them continuously ...
22 Jan 2013
I am discovering young, intelligent, holy Millennials who far outstrip their parents' generation in virtue and knowledge. They are all converts or reverts. Grace is freely given. God is preparing a great generation. I can see this ...
09 Mar 2013
Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God's ...

24 Mar 2012
I find that the recent plethora of false visions do not help the real concept of Mary as Mother of God, but only emphasize her role as petitioner, not even her role as Mediatrix of All Grace. The quicker Rome clarifies her position ...
16 Feb 2012
Of course, if the child has had good catechesis and good parenting, that child will have the advantage of grace building on nature-that is, the life-changing gifts of Baptism imprinted on the soul, aiding nature to move towards ...
03 Jun 2012
The phrase Dei Gratia, is part of the title of the monarch of Great Britain. By the grace of God, she reigns. Now, Americans have a hard time with this overlap of religion and politics. And, this weekend's amazing celebration of ...
07 Jun 2013
First of all, that sanctifying grace, called "the grace of the virtues and the gifts," is "much more excellent," as St. Thomas says,(13) than the graces gratis datae, like the gift of miracles, that of tongues, or prophecy which ...

09 Mar 2013
The Protestants do not make an distinction between actual, that is, temporary grace, and sanctifying grace. Catholics believe in the Indwelling of the Holy Trinity-a grace given at baptism and throughout life in the Sacraments ...
20 Jan 2013
Further, it is creative grace which gave existence to the will ; it is saving grace which giveth it moral success ; it is the will itself which bringeth about its own moral failure. Accordingly, free choice maketh us possessed of will ...
19 Jun 2013
in which he positively established the existence of original sin, the necessity of infant baptism, the impossibility of a life without sin, and the necessity of interior grace (spiritus) in opposition to the exterior grace of the law (litera) ...
04 Mar 2013
Through this forgiveness of sin, we live in grace, moving towards the call to perfection. 6. Only Christ and the Church ... We are saved by grace, just at the saints of the Old Testament were saved by grace. The Commandments ...

15 Jan 2013
And, yet, experiencing Love, Who is God, had been through an other, his beloved friend, whom he wanted to marry, whom he had hurt rather inadvertently, which caused this moment of grace. This person said that his small ...
27 Aug 2012
But, she had made a vow and the vow brought grace. She also stated that because of the days in which she lived, ten years after being a religious, at an older age and some maturity, she had virtually no counsel from priests ...
04 May 2012
Two: it makes us co-heirs with Christ in eternal life and in the life of God on earth, with is the life of grace. Without baptism, we do not inherit heaven, nor the life of God, the Kingdom of God within. We receive the Indwelling of ...
09 Mar 2013
The Council asserted that salvation is the work of God's grace and that even the beginning of faith or the consent to saving grace is itself the result of grace. By our natural powers, we can neither think as we ought nor choose ...

13 Mar 2012
There is no other way to obtain sanctifying grace except through the Sacramental Life of the Church. There is no running around the goal post in order to score. When the Church teaches that we are all saved through the ...
10 Mar 2013
1255 For the grace of Baptism to unfold, the parents' help is important. So too is the role of the godfather and godmother, who must be firm believers, able and ready to help the newly baptized - child or adult on the road of ...
20 Feb 2013
The second person born in the Holy Spirit was not conceived without Original Sin or sanctifying grace, but was given it at six months, when the Mother of God visited his mother, Elizabeth. Now, we know this is St. John the ...
16 Jan 2013
(13) God knows them individually and He wills to have them perform meritoriously acts that are required for entering heaven. He wills to give them the grace to persevere until the end, this being what St. Paul means when he ...

21 Jun 2012
Here is Leo XIII on the matter--"the Sacraments of the New Law, as sensible and efficient signs of invisible grace, ought both to signify the grace which they effect, and effect the grace which they signify" in Apostolicae Curae.
20 Apr 2013
At the beginning of this work, (1) we stated that the life of grace is the beginning of eternal life, according to the traditional formula: "Grace is the seed of glory." It is essentially the same life in its basis, in spite of two differences: ...
15 Apr 2013
St. John of Avila says: "I believe every saint has had the desire to be higher in grace than he actually was. ... They were content with the degree of grace God had meted out for them, though actually God had given them less.
25 Jan 2013
It was for this reason that Augustine wrote On Grace and Free Will only one year before his primary work on election, On the Predestination of the Saints. Every man has the ability to choose that which he desires; every man ...