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Wednesday 3 September 2014

Heads Up from Mr. Voris on A New Book

If someone would like to send this to a certain sem, STM would be mighty happy.

It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment,

Luke 9:1-9

Believe it or not, Christ did not expect His apostles, disciples, or us to beat our heads against a brick wall when evangelizing. This may come as a surprise to some of my readers, but even though we are called to evangelize by our baptismal vows, God understands the hearts and minds of people.

Not all people respond to the Good News. I was speaking to a dear old lady this morning from Church. She talked about how in the old days, over 100 years ago, when her ancestors were the first generation born here, that most people fell away from, as she said it, "being Church-going people".

In other words, after their parents had come from Ireland or France, or England, the next generations fell away. Some, who were Episcopalians, converted when they married Catholics, but the Faith was not strong, and some slid back.

There are two main points in the passage from Luke I want to emphasize.

One, Christ sent his disciples out in TWOS. Individual evangelization is too hard, and does not bear the fruit a team can muster.

When I worked as a college "lay" minister years ago, in three colleges and in the student "parish", I worked with a team of four. Four of us split up twelve colleges and universities, (this was in London), and we each went individually into three. It was hard work. But, working mostly with the other three was a great comfort and joy. We encouraged each others' gifts.

I worked in the Royal College of Art, Chelsea Art College, and Imperial College of Science, Technology, and Medicine. I had to create my own ways of evangelizing.

After three months, it was clear that no one at Chelsea was interested in either being a Catholic or in coming to Bible studies, Masses, events, or being catechists, etc.

So, I concentrated on the two other colleges and the student hostel, organizing Catholic women's groups, organizing a series on the sacraments with priests coming in to give excellent talks, retreats, Bible studies, etc.

Three vocations to the priesthood came out of those groups.

I dusted the dust off of my feet and went where people were responding and worked with those students. It was very rewarding. I loved every minute of the day.

Christ's point is that not all people will respond to His grace to be converted and follow Him. But, some do. The evangelist who wastes times trying with one group may be starving the other groups who needs his attention.

Sometimes, one just has to walk away.

This is not "un-Christian", as the words come from Our Lord Himself.

[1] Then calling together the twelve apostles, he gave them power and authority over all devils, and to cure diseases. [2] And he sent them to preach the kingdom of God, and to heal the sick. [3] And he said to them: Take nothing for your journey; neither staff, nor scrip, nor bread, nor money; neither have two coats. [4] And whatsoever house you shall enter into, abide there, and depart not from thence. [5] And whosoever will not receive you, when ye go out of that city, shake off even the dust of your feet, for a testimony against them. 

Three more points. 

"for a testimony against them" means a warning. In other words, those people had the chance to change, to convert, to begin the journey to Christ and did not. Christ, therefore, removes His ministers as a warning that these people do not have the luxury not to respond.

Did some of those villages never convert? Did some regret not taking in Andrew, James, John and later, Paul?

Did some of those people go to hell for refusing to listen?

Sometimes we cannot "leave" as the unbelievers are in our families or at work. Then, our loving example may bring them around. We may have to suffer much. 

Scott Hahn had to wait for his wife to change her heart about the Catholic Church. It was hard, but real men can take suffering. The love they shared got them through the hard times.

But, if we are around people, (another aspect to consider), who are dragging us down and attempting, even passively, to tear us away from our Faith, we must get away from those people. Some people are, sadly, malicious, and against religion. But, some people are just lazy, unwilling to change, bound up with the goods of this world.

But, here is the last point. When does one decide to leave a situation?

I have one friend who has been trying to convert her family for years. When she visits them, she is actually verbally abused.

This is not what we are supposed to do. We are not to put ourselves in abusive situations. This is a false martyrdom. If suffering comes to us, fine. We are not to seek it out.

So, when do we leave? We need to pray about this and pray that God will bring other people into the lives of these closed ones to open them up to hear the Good News.

Here some examples of leaving and dusting the dust off of one's sandals.

I tried to get some charismatics away from a New Age false healing "ministry" which was pretending to be Catholic. I spoke with these women six or seven times. Then, realizing they were not open, I walked away.

I tried to stop some good people from following The Warning. After three months, I walked away, as they were too enamored with the false writings to be open.

I tried help a man in a bad relationship with his wife-he was a close relative and an alcoholic. He had married an alcoholic. She refused to discuss this and so he did not address it. Now, they are divorced and both are still drinking. I tried for about two years. And, then I walked, as I had to move.

I go to those who want to deepen their Faith and learn to be holy. I want to teach those who are open.

For those who evangelize the pagans, which I do sometimes, I suggest much fasting and prayer.

Only the Holy Spirit can move hearts, and some people just do not want to be moved.

One more example.

Eve sinned first. Adam did not have to cave in and sin as well. They both knew perfectly well what they were doing.

If Adam had not sinned, we would not be in Original Sin at birth. The sin is the sin of Adam as he was Eve's authority. He did not want to "leave" her or "upset" her.

Too many men sin because of their wives and too many wives sin because of their husbands.

Maybe, sometimes, to save one's own soul, to be true to God, one must walk. Adam chose Eve over God.

I know one person who did this, as her husband refused to repent of several mortal sins. After some  years, she divorced him as he was dragging her down. She got an annulment.

Pray, reflect, act. Remember, Jesus never ran after anyone. He called them. And, some He had to let go, like the Rich Young Man.

In the last two generations, there are many, many rich young men and young women. They do not want to enter the narrow gate. Too many young people have never had to work for anything, so working for their salvation and the salvation of others is not their "thing".

From Matthew 10:

[11] And into whatsoever city or town you shall enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and there abide till you go thence. [12] And when you come into the house, salute it, saying: Peace be to this house. [13] And if that house be worthy, your peace shall come upon it; but if it be not worthy, your peace shall return to you. [14] And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words: going forth out of that house or city shake off the dust from your feet. [15] Amen I say to you, it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.


Hmmm; next may be twilight anesthesia

quotation from the article...

 So we wouldn’t have fussed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine if not for Facebook? Or worried about terrorists taking over much of Syria and Iraq if not for Twitter? This explanation, following Obama’s indiscreet admission Thursday that “we don’t have a strategy yet” for military action against the Islamic State, adds to the impression that Obama is disengaged.

Mini-Series IV

 I am forced to skip some points and the other "four wounds" at this time. I urge you, Readers, to consider that time is very short for the physical support of the Church in the West. We shall soon see fines, imprisonments of the clergy, and a general wearing down of the property of the Church across America and Europe.

Perhaps some of Blessed Antonio's ideas will urge you to consider the near future.

163. Finally, I would like to indicate briefly a seventh and last requirement, that is: "the Church should administer her temporalities watchfully and carefully." The Church has always insisted on this from those entrusted with her administration; her possessions belong to God and the poor, and any loss through negligence or inertia on the part of administrators would amount to sacrilege. It was disregard of this important requirement which gave governments greater opportunity for taking over churh administration and perpetuating the restrictions imposed on the Church and her temporalities.
164. It is true that the Church, persecuted and oppressed, has always been at odds with temporal authority, whether friendly or otherwise. She has also had the much greater burden of providing for the good of souls. There has never been sufficient time available for her to obtain perfect method in administration, nor a completely secure organic economy. If we consider what the Church has received during the centuries of her existence, and how much has been lost through lack of serious, careful administration, we can only imagine where the Church would be now if her temporalities had always been wisely administered. But the limited energy of the human spirit is never enough for two simultaneous undertakings, despite their mutual connection. The spiritual aims of the Church necessarily absorbed almost all her attention, and very little practical application could be devoted to the care of her temporalities until the more important part of her legislative discipline (directly concerned with the salvation of souls) could be finalised. Moreover, only experience could show the immense damage inflicted on the spiritual element in the Church by neglect of her material affairs.
Christ's example is sufficient to persuade me that at the beginning it is impossible, and not even fitting, to pay much attention to temporalities. I think he made do with an unfaithful administrator even amongst the apostles to show us that the rule of the spirit was to be the one object which did not permit of distraction, even at the risk of material failure. Let me conclude by pointing out that Pascal II's generous proposal of renouncing all fiefs is sufficient evidence for what I say. The great man had laid the axe to the root of the evil tree, but his own time was too soft to sustain such a remedy.
165. This book, begun in 1832 and completed a year later, lay forgotten for some years. The time did not seem ripe for publishing what had been written only as a release for my own sorrow at the sight of the afflictions endured by the church of God. But now (1846) that the invisible head of the Church has chosen as pope a person [Pius IX] who seems destined to renew our age and give the Church the impetus necessary for a new, glorious stage of unimaginable development, I have remembered these pages and willingly entrust them to friends who have shared my sorrow, and now look forward with me in hope.

Mini-Series III

The reason I am highlighting this Blessed's work on the Five Wounds of the Church is that unless the people of God return to the simplicity and charitable attitudes of the early Church, the remnant will be forced to destitution and displacement.

I have seen this coming in my own person, and in the Protestant ideas which too many Catholics have adopted.

If Catholics keep insisting that it is the job of the government to take care of the poor, and not their own, we shall see chaos very soon.

The governments will stop carrying for the poor and use other means to control the populations.

The freedom of the Church to help those in need has been usurped by governments, which can as easily change policies overnight to undermine the poor. Do not kid yourselves on this point. We have the example of Stalin in modern times, enforcing a famine to destroy an ethnic group.

Catholics who trust in politics rather than Divine Providence will wake up one day realizing they had chosen a false god.

There is a fema camp two hours from where I am today. The locals know about it. The military know about it as it is on military land. Who do you think these camps, many, many in the States, are going to hold? The rich? No. The secular? No. 

My time for writing is severely limited by finances, but this fact is giving me the boldness to state that many Catholics will collude with evil in days to come.

54. The fourth requirement governing church temporalities and safeguarding the integrity of the clergy was that "ecclesiastical wealth used for pious, charitable purposes, should also be assigned to fixed, determined works to prevent arbitrariness and self-interest from interfering in disbursement of finances." As church riches grew and abuses increased, the Church intervened, although defects in administration were spasmodic and contained. Church resources were allotted to definite purposes according to a fourfold division: for the support of the bishop, the lower clergy, the poor, and the upkeep of church buildings and cult. The Councils of Agde, 506, and Orleans, 511, decreed this division on the basis of older canons. Gregory the Great recalls it in many of his letters (41). It is certain that the best remedy against the corruption accompanying riches was the establishment of laws regulating the precise uses to which they could be applied (42). Abuse is inevitable if the employment of great wealth is left to the arbitrary decision of the person to whom it is entrusted. The corruption and ruin of many monasteries has almost certainly to be attributed to the lack of a law definite enough to determine the principal uses of the great riches possessed by religious houses. As a result, abbots and other superiors controlling finances spent the income as they pleased.
155. But feudalism amongst ecclesiastics made this requirement impossible. Feudalism can be reduced in principle to an armed aristocracy whose interests, along with the interests of the local lords, demands the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the great families, that is, in very restricted circles. Worldly power depended upon this concentration of wealth, and consequently opposed its equitable distribution in brotherly love. Benefices were thus a necessary institution to assure the maintenance of the weakest elements in the clergy, who would have starved to death without some safeguard against the rapacity of the great lords, bishops included. Bishops no longer formed part of the people as in ancient days when episcopal ordination entailed the profession of poverty (however noble one's origins) and acceptance of a place amongst the poor; they were now members of a ruthless, dominant aristocracy. Henceforth, abuse became law. The Church's canons were either evaded by endless sophistry (43) or openly and violently broken. The fourfold division of church wealth, and the application of income for fixed purposes, became intolerable. The ancient rule sank without trace, along with its guiding spirit.
156. The fifth requirement safeguarding the Church from the danger of riches in the centuries before feudalism was "a generous spirit, prompt to give, slow to receive." The great rule fixed in human hearts was Christ's noble, astounding word: "It is more blessed to give than to receive" (44). This was the good news the Church brought to a world enslaved by selfishness; it was a light shining in all that the Church did and undertook. Bishops considered temporalities and their administration a burden, to be borne only from motives of charity (45). Laws making difficult the alienation of donated property were not yet in force; offerings were accepted reluctantly, and distributed freely. St. Ambrose refused donations and legacies if he knew that poor relatives of the donors would suffer as a result : non quaerit donum Deus de fame parentum... misericordia a domestico progredi debet pietatis officio (46) ["God does not look for offerings that leave relatives hungry... mercy must begin at home"]. The Church could do this because its spirit was unfettered, especially by the so-called protection exercised by secular rulers.
One effect of the restrictions forced upon the Church by this system was her inability to act with the splendid generosity so often shown by early bishops. I have already mentioned the ideas of St. Augustine in this respect. In a sermon preached to the people, the bishop of Hippo had to defend himself against the accusation that "bishop Augustune gives with total generosity, but takes nothing." What a glorious accusation! (47). As a result, so the complaint ran, the church of Hippo received no benefactions and no legacies. Possidius, in his life of Augustine, tells how the bishop restored property donated to the church by one of the wealthy townsmen who, despite having no further legal claim to the land, asked for it back on behalf of his son. Augustine returned it, and refusing a large sum which the man sent for the poor, reminded him that he was doing wrong.
Possidius also mentions Augustine's reaction to the envy of one of the lower clergy because of episcopal control of church finances (48). The bishop who, like all bishops of his time, spoke about everything to the people of God, referred to this in a sermon. He said that he would gladly have lived on collections from God's people rather than be burdened with responsibility for finances, which he was ready to cede to the people so that all God's servants and ministers might live by sharing at the altar as did the priests of the Old Testament. But the laypeople refused his offer absolutely (49).
157. St. John Chrysostom explained in a sermon to his people why the Church accepted fixed, regular donations rather than live, as it had done previously, on occasional collections from the faithful. The clergy were forced to do this not for themselves, but for the sake of the destitute affected by the lessening of charity amongst the faithful. "Your tightfistedness has brought the Church to this state. If things were done according to the laws reaching back to apostolic times, the Church's income would flow without fail and without fear of diminution from your good will. But you are all seeking treasure on earth now, and locking up your wealth in vaults, while the Church has to spend money on widows, virgins, travellers, captives, the handicapped and mutilated, and other needy persons. So how can the Church act otherwise?" (50).

Mini-Series II

Blessed Antonio's Rosmini's work must be considered prophetic for us today. He was writing about the changes in Italy, the suppression of the Church, the divisions between the clergy and the people.

When his writings first appeared, some were put on the Index, but after consideration, Rosmini's works, re-examined, were accepted by the Vatican. Some of his works are still not considered worthy of reading. Some of his ideas were condemned by Pope Leo XIII, and many of his ideas were not supported by the Jesuits. However, this book provides insights into the problems we see today of the people in the Church, the laity, not supporting the temporal needs and, indeed, authority, of the Church.

One may disagree with some of his statements, but one should take his insights seriously.

Several points to consider: one, the necessity for temporalities in the Church; two, the necessity for trusting in Divine Providence and not entertaining modern things such as trust funds, expensive lifestyles, (as seen by too many American bishops and even some cardinals); three, the necessity for the Church to provide for the poor and not the State, if separated from religion; four, the lack of support of the laity for the Church as a serious problem both for the Church and for the souls of those who do not tithe.

I have written on this blog several times that the Church in America has become too "middle-class".

Rosmini would agree. By the way, his situation reminds us that not all writings of the saints have the same authority, unless these saints are either the Fathers of the Church or the Doctors of the Church. The infallibility of canonization does not sift down to all the writings of the saints in general.

The Pope Emeritus saw fit to declare Rosmini Blessed in 2007.

147. We need to realise that when an idea or a form impresses itself on human intelligence and imagination, it becomes the norm or model of all other thoughts and ways of acting capable of absorbing it. Notions unable to assimilate it become subordinate and accessory to it, like dependents crowded around their master. In the Church's early history, unity was the dominant idea in christian minds. As a result, everything the faithful and clergy said and did in church dispositions, in their reciprocal care of one another, and in the administration of possessions was illumined and governed by the unity of Christ. Feudalism, on the other hand, was founded on the totally different idea of division, which springs from the notion of lordship or dominion. This system governing the temporal order impressed its fundamental form of lordship deeply in the minds of ecclesiastics with disastrous consequences for the Church.
148. Force, violence, personal valour and lordship constituted the norm for the barbarians who conquered Europe. Little by little the Church imbued their uncouth minds with its own contrary idea. Naturally, the opposed notions struggled for mastery, and the conflict took on an aspect common to every engagement between two societies dominated by contrasting ideas. On the one hand, they fight quite openly, each side using its own weapons; on the other, they attempt some kind of conciliation and fusion. Each idea becomes partly subject to the other, although they preserve their mutual incompatibility.
In our case, barbarian governments, while oppressing the Church, tried to subject and remodel it completely in accordance with their idea of mutual, individual lordship sustained by force. Almost unwittingly, however, they absorbed intimately the contrary idea of service, morality, unity and spirituality proper to the Church. Hence the contradictory features of actions which expressed immense piety and generosity towards the Church, and extremely injurious despotism and irreverence. The type of action depended upon subjection to their own original outlook, or to that acquired from the Church's teaching.
The same occurred with the clergy. They taught ferocious barbarians the meekness of the gospel, opening their minds to the ecclesial idea of unifying charity. At the same time, they themselves suffered in the great conflict by absorbing the opposite idea. The result was an extraordinary mixture from within clerical ranks of holy, heroic efforts to maintain the unity of Christ, combined with sacrilegious disorders, degrading abasement and individualistic tendencies destroying the unity of the christian, ecclesial community. Conflict between the two ideas, and contradictory actions in both temporal and ecclesiastical orders, is characteristic of the middle ages, and is alone sufficient to explain all the occurrences of the period, but especially the strife between empire and Church. The Church and its dominant idea can never perish because Christ's word lives on, although heaven and earth may pass away. Whenever the idea of violent, temporal domination and disunion - so contrary to the idea proper to the Church - prevails and compromises the very existence of the clergy, the Church rises like an awakening giant, repels the invader and renews in herself and in her ministers the idea on which her life depends (29).
149. All this helps to explain the vicissitudes suffered by church temporalities. Medieval lords, acting in accordance with their idea of individuality and lordship, not only looked upon the Church's unfettered possessions as fiefs, but appropriated them, disposed of them as though they were their own, bestowed them on lay people, and alienated them. Usurpations of this kind provided ample fuel for conflict between rulers and the Church which fought the abuses with conciliar enactments, papal decrees and canonical penalties.
Bishops loyal to the rulers absorbed the idea of individuality along with their fiefs. It led them to dispose of church properties as their own possessions. Unmindful of common ownership, prelates alienated church temporalities which they enfeoffed, exchanged, bestowed on laymen, and spent on high living and making war. The Church replied with innumerable canons and decrees whose effect was to tie the Church still closer to the alienation, administration and disposal of church property. Simultaneously, the lower clergy were divided from the bishops, and had to be protected assiduously by the Church against the despotism and cruelty of their pastors. One consequence was the frequent dissension between chapters and bishops, which often lives on today; another was the irremovability of parish priests, which deprives bishops of the power to remedy promptly the scandals and spiritual afflictions imposed on the people.
150. But the Church's divine Founder did not want the principle of communion in church temporalities to perish, either relative to their possession or to their administration and use. Monasticism and religious life, which make express, public profession of this saving principle, rose and flourished at this time. The faithful, guided by christian instinct that never fails them, became more inclined to bestow their offerings and donations on the regular clergy who upheld the ancient requirement, than upon the secular clegy. When the 3rd Lateran Council (1179) decreed the restitution of tithes enfeoffed on laypeople, the latter restored them for the most part to the monasteries rather than to the churches owning them. This was later permitted by the popes, provided the local bishop gave his consent (30).
151. A third, precious requirement in ancient days was that "the clergy should use church temporalities only for the strict needs of their maintenance; the remainder to be applied to pious works, especially in alms for the poor." Christ founded the apostolate on poverty, and on abandonment to Providence which would have moved the faithful to support those evangelising them. He himself was the perfect examplar: "Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head" (31), and he made his own way of life the condition for those wanting to follow him. Peter had abandoned even his humble nets in order to follow his naked Master. Although the apostolic college had its own fund supported by the offerings of the faithful, the money was held in common as an example for later Church practice. When the paralytic asked him for alms, Peter could reply: Argentum et aurum non est mihi ["I have no silver and gold"] (32). Needs were satisfied by the apostles' right to live in the homes of the welcoming faithful who thus received more than they gave. St. Paul instructed his disciple, Timothy, in the same way of life: "There is great gain in godliness with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world; but if we have food and clothing, with these we shall be content" (33).
Hence in the finest period of the Church, entering the ranks of the clergy was equivalent to a profession of evangelical poverty (34). The phrase "secular clergy" had not been invented, and appeared only in times of ecclesiastical decadence when the clergy seemed to have sided with the world. The profession of poverty was for long the glory of the priestly ministry; the majority of men called to the priesthood abandoned their possessions or gave them away to the poor. As Isidore of Pelusium said: tum voluntaria paupertate gloriabuntur ["they will glory in voluntary poverty"] (35).
The administration and distribution of the Church's wealth could thus be entrusted to sincerely disinterested persons acting as trustees for the poor. Julian Pomerius, after speaking of the voluntary poverty of bishops Paulinus of Nola and Hilary of Arles, who abandoned great wealth to become poor men of Chirst, adds: "It is easy to understand, therefore, that holy men like this (who had renounced everything to become followers of Christ) were perfectly aware that the Church's possessions are made up simply of the devotion of the faithful, of satisfaction for sins, and of what belongs to the poor. They never used this wealth for their own benefit as though it belonged to them, but accepted it in trust for the poor. The Church holds its possessions in common with those who have nothing, and cannot therefore share them with people who already have enough of their own. Benefiting the well-off means throwing away what is distributed" (36).
The clergy, as poor men themselves, took their maintenance from the common purse proper to the needy. The bishop, as first amongst the poor and the one responsible for the distribution, could rightly take something for himself (37) and the lower clergy. This rule was so deeply rooted in people's hearts that it was not judged fitting for a priest to live off the Church if he had his own patrimony. Because he did not belong to the poor, he had no right to depend upon the Church, nor take from the needy what was theirs. This was correct, and reaffirmed by Julian: "Those with their own money, who still want a share in the distribution, sin gravely when they accept what belongs to the poor. The Holy Spirit is surely speaking about the clergy when he says: 'They feed on the sin of my people.' The poor, who have nothing, receive the nourishment they need, not sins; the rich do not receive nourishment - they have that already - but take upon themselves the sins of others. The same applies to poor people who can work to support themselves; they should not presume to take what belongs to the weak and sick.
The Church should not have to disburse assistance to those not in need, lest she should be unable to help the indigent. And those who serve the Church are altogether too worldly if they imagine they should receive earthly wages (38) rather than eternal rewards... If a minister of the Church has not enough to live on, the Church gives him what is necessary but nothing over and above, so that he may not lose the reward which he can now look forward to with certainty, as the Lord himself has promised. As for those who ask for nothing, but nevertheless live off the Church without any real need - well, it is not for me to say what kind of sin they commit by depriving the poor of their food. People like this should assist the Church with what they have, not burden her with what they waste as if they had the right to live in the community without intending to feed the poor, help our guests, or use their own money for our daily needs" (39).
152. Prior to the middle ages abuses against this noble requirement were the result of human weakness; they were not characteristic of clerical life which, in fact, repudiated them. But the standard could not be maintained, generally speaking, when the Church's possessions, having lost their original nature, fell under the feudal system, and the principal churchmen themselves became feudatories. From that moment, the disbursement of goods was governed by another law; instead of flowing down to the poor, they either remained stationary or finished in the rapacious hands of the local lord. The idea of "trust", the first concept characterising the possession of church temporalities, perished or at least lost its force for many; absolute ownership prevailed, and sacred trust was violated.
153. The division of common holdings into benefices assigned to individual clerics also prevented episcopal distribution of subsidies to the clergy in proportion to their labours and deserts. A human stimulus to the fulfilment of their sacred duties was thus lost to the clergy, who became financially independent of their bishops.(40)
Another serious disadvantage was the decline of the splendid example of public, ministerial maintenance of the poor on the part of the Church, which inevitably led also to neglect of spiritual instruction for the needy. The constant care taken by the Church for the poor, whom it considered its very own, had enabled its material assistance to be viewed as spiritual instruction, so that the needy had a twofold stimulus for gratitude towards her maternal care. She merited and received love and reverence as mother of body and soul.

But with the withdrawal of the clergy from this work, the daily practice of charity was, as it were, secularised. Separate institutions were established for various works of charity which gradually came under the control of lay people. In the designs of Providence the great advantage here was the immense increase of zeal amongst Christians in the exercise of works of charity; on the other hand, works of charity, having been cut off from the spiritual wisdom proper to the Church, now became exercises in philanthropy without reference to God and the salvation of souls. The seed was sown for modern social assistance, and only when the clergy renews its generosity and largeheartedness will the characteristics of divine love be restored

The New Mini-Series I

I cannot continue with the new mini-series as the book is only available to me online.

I can share this much: from Blessed Antonio Rosmini's book The Five Wounds of the Church.

I want to point out the relevancy of the times. The Church in America is facing a great loss of freedom. The Church in Europe will see the same, but from a different perspective. Read this and think on the loss of property, movement, resources.

133. The early church was poor, but free. Persecution did not deprive her of freedom of government, nor did the violent appropriation of her possessions damage her true liberty. She was free of vassallage and enforced protection; she was no man's ward and paid no compulsory legal fees. But restrictions on the use of church temporalities were introduced by conditions which made it impossible for the Church to maintain her own traditional standards in the acquisition, administration and use of material benefits. As she gradually declined from these standards, which served to neutralise the corrupting and illusory aspects of temporalities, she was threatened by increasing danger. Let us see what these standards were.
134. The first requirement was that the acquisition of temporalities should depend upon spontaneous offerings. "Whatever house you enter, first say, 'Peace be to this house!'... And remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they provide, for the labourer deserves his wages" (1). The last words express the rule of the apostles, repeated more than once by St. Paul (2). Christ obliged the faithful to maintain those working for the gospel, and bestowed upon the latter the right to be maintained. But although Christ commanded maintenance, its obligation did not reduce the spontaneity of the offering which depended upon the deeper, free acceptance of his gospel, and willing incorporation into the body of the faithful. Human spontaneity ceases only when moral obligation is enforced with violence. Christ's one sanction was the words: "And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet as you leave that house or town" (3). Punishment for refusal to accept the obligation was left to divine justice, in the spirit of meekness proper to the divine lawgiver who promised nevertheless that justice would be done in good time (4).
The story of Ananias and Sapphira proves the same point: Peter said: "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your own disposal?" (5). In the same way, the collections ordered by St.Paul in the churches of Galatia and Corinth on behalf of the needy at Jerusalem were left to each believer's spirit of charity and discretion: "On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside, and store it up, as he may prosper" (6).
135. Moreover, the obligation Christ imposed on the faithful of maintaining the clergy did not extend beyond the strict needs of the preachers of the gospel who were told: "to remain in the same house, eating and drinking what they may provide," edentes et bibentes quae apud illos sunt. St. Paul used Christ's own expression when he wrote: "Do we not have the right to our food and drink?" (7). If it were left to the faithful to decide spontaneously what was necessary for the basic, obligatory maintenance of the clergy, offerings which exceeded the limits of this need would naturally depend even more upon the people's own initiative.
136. Tertullian is a witness that heartfelt spontaneity was still the rule at the end of the second and beginning of the third century. "Each one who can, puts aside some money monthly, or when he decides. No one is forced; all give spontaneously. These funds are the investments of piety" (8).
This rule reappears more or less clearly in the Church's finest centuries. She insisted that the faithful were not to be forced or fraudulently solicited to make offerings. At the end of the 9th century, the 3rd Council of Chalons issued decrees against these abuses in order to safeguard spontaneity of the gifts offered to the Church by the faithful (9).

137. Tithes, which God had assigned in the Old Testament to the Levites, were not confirmed by Christ under the new law. The reason, I think, is that the Author of grace did not want to add any extra burden to that required by the nature of things. Circumstances imposed only the maintenance of the clergy upon the faithful for whom they were working. There is no mention of any specific offering because needs would vary according to the number of workers. A predetermined amount would sometimes be excessive, sometimes insufficient. However, the Lord did not forbid tithes; he left them dependent upon the discretion of the faithful. As a result, the old rule was kept spontaneously in the first centuries, especially by
Christians coming from the synagogue (10). As late as the 6th century, Justinian forbade the forceful exaction of offerings and the use of ecclesiastical penalties for their non-observance. The decree seems to have been published at the insistence of bishops who wanted to preserve ancient customs (11).
The Church could and did command what had previously been custom. She first did this spasmodically during the 6th century (12), and later extended the precept universally when she found it fitting or necessary in order to ensure the maintenance of the clergy. Spontaneity only ceased when the offerings were enforced by sanctions imposed by the secular arm. This came about with the advent of feudalism in the 8th century (13).