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Saturday 28 September 2013

Second statement from STM

There is a difference between a false pope and a not-so-good pope. I am sick of the false seers and their followers around the globe declaring Pope Francis as a false pope, which he is not.

If we expect every pope to be a scholar or to be holy, we are mistaken.

I abhor the cult of personality, about which I have written before.

I am not going to put out all the bush fires started by remarks which are based on faulty translations, faulty ideas of tradition, or just plain emotional as opposed to rational thought.

The pope is man trained in the modern seminaries. He is not European but South American. What do people expect? We have a pope who has not fallen into the heresy of liberation theology, thank God, but one who has not the appreciation of the long tradition of the Church.

I do not need to defend him or criticize every statement. If people need clarification as to Church teaching, that I can give.

If people are confused on infallibility, they only have to read the posts I have here on this blog under the labels infallibility.

We are in for a rough ride in the Church. God has allowed this. If the Church needs to suffer persecution and has a good man who does not understand the times at the helm, so be it.

The laity have to take care of their own salvation and not hang on to the words of a man who needs to learn the evil ways of the world. God bless him. He is lacking in many of the perspectives of so many adult Catholics.

I am not worried about the future of the Church. We have had bad, very bad men as popes, which I have written about before on this blog. If we have a pope now who is not sensitive now to the real issues of the day, pray for him.

Find the remnant groups who understand the long teaching heritage, and who will not lose faith because of magazine interviews, or too many media sound bites.

The Church is bigger than one man, even a pope.

I wrote this recently on a famous blog.

We have got the pope we deserve and who was formed in the rot of the seminary training which caused Vatican II, and set in between the wars, and in the 1950s, when he would have been in seminary. He is not a pope who is a scholar. He is not one trained in good Thomistic philosophy. He is not speaking to priests, as did Benedict , over and over.
He does not have the Germanic bent for logic, not the Polish instinctual love of democratic freedom.
The Church is going into a time of deep and widespread persecution. We have a leadership crisis. He is not evil, he is not bad, but neither is he “the man of the hour”. I believe the Holy Spirit is in charge of the Church and that God allowed this man to be elected. But, perhaps his persecution, when it comes, like ours, will be part of his salvation.
My faith, thank God, is stronger than one man, and I am not into the cult of personality. I pray daily for Pope Francis. When he moves back into the Vatican apartments, I shall know he has come to accept his real role, which he has not, in my mind and that is the leader of a Church under siege, which he just does not see.

St. Wenceslaus

Today is the Feast of St. Wenceslaus. Now, he is important in my family. My maternal grandmother's name was Ludmila, as she was named after the saintly grandmother of Wenceslaus. One of her brothers was named Vaclav, which is another translation of Wenceslaus. (My mother's middle name is Ludmila as well.) As some of you know, my ancestors came from what is now the Czech Republic and the first to come on the maternal side was a missionary priest. He wrote to his brother to come help set up a school, and the rest, as we say, is history. The oldest Czech school in America is in northern Iowa, where my ancestors first settled and which my ancestors helped build, as well as being married in the Church, and building the Church in Little Turkey, Iowa. I miss these beautiful places.

Oldest Czech School in America

St. Wenceslaus is loved as the patron of Bohemia, and some of my ancestors were from there, others from Moravia.  That he was a lay person and a martyr also endears him to the family.

Pray to St. Wenceslaus today for Catholic men to be protectors and leaders. We need his intercession more than ever. His body was translated on the day my only sister died when she was a baby, on March 4th. There are no accidents, only God-incidences.

St. Wenceslaus Church in Spillville, Iowa

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

Duke, martyr, and patron of Bohemia, born probably 903; died at Alt-Bunzlau, 28 September, 935.
His parents were Duke Wratislaw, a Christian, and Dragomir, a heathen. He received a good Christian education from his grandmother (St. Ludmilla) and at Budweis. After the death of Wratislaw, Dragomir, acting as regent, opposed Christianity, and Wenceslaus, being urged by the people, took the reins of government. He placed his duchy under the protection of Germany, introduced German priests, and favoured the Latin rite instead of the old Slavic, which had gone into disuse in many places for want of priests. Wenceslaus had taken the vow of virginity and was known for hisvirtues. The Emperor Otto I conferred on him the regal dignity and title. For religious and national motives, and at the instigation of Dragomir, Wenceslaus was murdered by his brother Boleslaw. The body, hacked to pieces, was buried at the place of murder, but three years later Boleslaw, having repented of his deed, ordered its translation to the Church of St. Vitus in Prague. The gathering of his relics is noted in the calendars on 27 June, their translation on 4 March; his feast is celebrated on 28 September.

Here is a beautiful painting of his grandmother, St. Ludmila, giving out bread to the poor. She is also a martyr.

Understanding the Four Cardinal Virtues in the Hidden Years.

Many good Catholics do not understand the cardinal virtues in daily life. Many can see how these operate in extreme circumstances, such as in martyrdom or the life of holiness. To understand how these virtues operate in the ordinary life of the Catholic, one can look to the Hidden Years of Christ in Nazareth.

God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, existed before time in Eternal Union in the Trinity lived in total worldly darkness, that is, in the unknown, for thirty years.

The Scriptures state, in Luke 2:51-52, that Christ, the Messiah, the Lord, the Son of God lived in subjection to Mary and Joseph, advancing in grace and wisdom before God and man.

Now, as God, Christ had all grace and all wisdom from before time, but as man, this was not manifested but slowly, and finally, in the epiphanies of the Baptism and the Transfiguration, culminating in the showing of His Godhead in the Resurrection.

Christ knew Who He Is from His Conception. In fact, it is a condemned heresy to state that He did not know He was God until His Baptism. One of the points of the narration of Christ being lost in Jerusalem and found explaining the Scriptures to the elders, was to show to all that He knew Who He Is.

But, we can meditate on the four cardinal virtues as lived out by Christ in those hidden years. In the next few posts, I shall go over these virtues, but before I do, I want to revisit St. Ignatius' clear definitions on the differences between sacrifice, penance and temperance, as temperance is the first virtue I want to examine in this context.  Temperance, Ignatius reminds us, is doing away with the superfluous. As in eating, one would not take seconds, for example. This is not the same as penance, which is denying something which we actually need.

Suffering and sacrifice involve penance, but temperance is a daily virtue. It is not extraordinary.

Penance actually causes some pain. Temperance does not. Penance would be feeling and being hungry or sleep deprived in order to pray more, which causes some discomfort.

Temperance is the denial of extras. Our example, of course, is Christ. He gave up all the extras. All the glory due to Him was given up in the Incarnation. Becoming a baby, a child, a man, He experienced the denial of the worship due to Him while He was on earth. He also denied Himself certain power.

Temperance in living the daily life of a carpenter and a poor one at that, would have entailed not having seconds, or large portions of food and working long hours, incurring fatigue, in order to meet His duties as the adopted son of a carpenter.

This is hard for us moderns, who rarely deny ourselves anything, to imagine.

That Christ endured more for us, that merely what was His to restrain or moderate, is obvious in the Passion and Death.

One can hardly imagine the Son of God in the humble home of Nazareth....

to be continued....

Delineating Personalism

The editor of the Wanderer and another gentleman scholar in an interview were using the term "personalism" which I have criticized on this blog as a form of subjectivism. However, the term when referring to political systems means something a bit different and perhaps some clarifications are necessary. There are, in other words, good and bad personalism, as the term is vague and too encompassing.

I would have used a different term in the debate, but I think those involved were pointing to the latest developments of the use of the term.

Augustine and Aquinas taught the uniqueness of human creatures over all over creatures and the personal relationship each human has, because of the soul and the intellect, with God.  Also, because there are Three Persons in One God, the Personhood of each may be stressed as separate and true.

So far, so good. The personalism of Aquinas and Augustine would have been the basis for Maritain's idea of the sanctity of the person in various systems of governance, as against communism and socialism, both which deny the sanctity and hierarchy of personhood.

Now, the isms, such as communism and socialism, deny the importance of personalism. Most people understand this.

However, the long and excellent philosophical aspect of personalism in the Catholic Church has been changed in recent times.

The problem is the locus of understanding the importance of self in reference to God. That we all have a character which is unique and a unique soul and the fact that the person is never a means to an end, that is, cannot be used or manipulated for either a government or another person, is clear to most of us.

But, the problem is the almost universal misunderstanding of self-fulfillment. The idea that a person can be fulfilled outside of God is simply false. Without a personal understanding that each one gets an identity from God, first as creature, then as adopted daughters and sons, and then as friends, and finally as lovers, we self-fulfilled. Period.

When Blessed John Paul II and the Pope Emeritus spoke of self-fulfillment, they did not mean the understanding of the world and many liberal theologians, who claim that there is a natural fulfillment without grace.

No. Personalism must be based on the definitions given by the Catholic Church of what a person is, both pre-baptism and post-baptism. And, to add to the confusion of a lack of the traditional definitions of person coming from the great Church Fathers, is the denial of the need for grace.

On top of this, is the belief that men and women are the center of their individual lives, instead of God.

So, the bad personalism rests on a total separation of men and women from God. I suggest a keen reading of Benedict's Deus Caritas Est ,and my commentaries on it here and here and here.....

Prayers Please

For a little girl who died tragically and her family and for B., who is having surgery for a tumor. Thank you.

Excellent Article by Ralph Martin

Jesus knew what was in the hearts of human beings and knew that the fear of hell, while not the end point of the Christian life, is a very good beginning if it motivates repentance.
And while “perfect love casts out fear” of punishment and of the Day of Judgment (1 John 4:17-18), the spiritual wisdom of the Church makes clear that we can’t jump to the end of the journey without a good beginning, patiently working through each step of purification and cleansing.
St. Catherine of Siena notes how the initial stage of the journey is characterized by a very useful fear of hell, a “slavish fear,” as she puts it, which later moves on to what she calls “mercenary love” and, finally, on to “perfect love.” You don’t jump to perfect love without a good beginning.
St. John of the Cross presupposes that before people are really ready to undertake the spiritual journey they have been deeply struck by the shortness of life, the narrowness of the road leading to life (Matthew 7:14), the strictness of the judgment, how “the just one is scarcely saved” (1 Peter 4:18), how “perdition is very easy and salvation very difficult” and the need for profound repentance from sin and wholehearted surrender to God (The Spiritual Canticle, Stanza 1;1).
St. Ignatius of Loyola, in his Spiritual Exercises, acknowledges that the most important motivation for serving God is pure love, but he also cites the useful role of “servile fear” in the spiritual journey (as also does St. Francis de Sales)

This is just a snippet. 

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