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Monday 27 April 2015

False Humility

Reading daily now in Fr. Rodriguez' book, I am in the section in Volume II on humility.

One of the thought of his which struck me as applicable to the Synod, which I shall attempt to highlight this week here.

An anecdote illustrating false humility seems to apply to those who want to change the rules regarding marriage, sacramental theology and grace at the Synod.

Plato invited the scruffy and dirty Diogenes to a lavish dinner at his house. Plato decorated the dining hall with beautiful, woven tapestries as a backdrop to his dinner. When Diogenes entered the hall, he pulled violently each tapestry off the walls and trampled on them with his filthy feet. Diogenes then  exclaimed that he had destroyed the pride of Plato. Nonplussed, Plato replied that it was the pride of Diogenes which which was manifested in these actions, not humility.

True humility cannot be seen in rebellions, revolutions, or reforms such as those of Luther or Calvin. What we are seeing in the Middle East, with the destruction of the beginnings of art and architecture from ancient times is not a humility but the violent pride of the iconoclast.

Iconoclasm reared its ugly head in the Byzantine revolt against images in the reign of Leo III the Isaurian in the 8th Century, among others. Both the Muslims and the Protestants destroyed priceless art depicting Christ, Mary and the saints from the earliest day of the Islamic conquests up through the Protestant Revolt.

Iconoclasts thinks violently-wanting to get rid of rules and cultures, usually based on ideologies of purity, which deny the Incarnation of Christ and the redemption of nature through the Passion and Resurrection of the Saviour. 

The word iconoclasm is from the Greek, eikonoklasmos, meaning "image-breaking". One has to remember that monks were killed in the Byzantine iconoclast revolt, and monasteries, as well as churches, ruined.

The Council of Trent repeated the decision of Second Nicea in stating clearly that images were not only allowed, but encouraged in worship.

The twenty-fifth session of the Council of Trent (Dec., 1543) repeats faithfully the principles of Nicaea II:
[The holy Synod commands] that images of Christ, the Virgin Mother of God, and other saints are to be held and kept especially in churches, that due honour and reverence (debitum honorem et venerationem) are to be paid to them, not that any divinity or power is thought to be in them for the sake of which they may be worshipped, or that anything can be asked of them, or that any trust may be put in images, as was done by the heathen who put their trust in their idols [Psalm 134:15 sqq.], but because the honour shown to them is referred to the prototypes which they represent, so that bykissing, uncovering to, kneeling before images we adore Christ and honour the saints whose likeness they bear (Denzinger, no. 986). Catholic Encyclopedia

Thomas Aquinas and others clarified dulia from latria. Dulia is honor to the saints. Latria is worship due only to God.

Now, I am getting to the Synod, which has seen many clerics opposing the long teaching on non-Communion for those in adultery, in irregular marriages. The problem is that these men are iconoclasts, wanting to change not only the teaching of the Church, but the culture of the West, by undermining the long, sacred teaching on marriage.

Iconoclasts do not care about anything but their own violent ideologies of a false purity and a false simplicity.  We saw what iconoclasts did in the reckovation of beautiful churches during the 1970s, '80s, and '90s.

Real simplicity has nothing to do with whitewashed buildings or the lack of statues. The Zen philosophy is not that of the Catholic Church, which for centuries was the greatest patron of art in the world. The Catholic Church supported beauty not only in art an architecture, but in music. The famous cathedrals in Europe give testimony to this love of beauty, which adore and praises God, Who is Beauty.

What those clerics in the Synod who want to supposedly "simplify" the rules regarding marriage and Communion have missed in their twisted ideologies of tolerance and even greed, is the center point of worship, which is that God deserves worthy worship, not unworthy worship. The ideal of worthy worship has been lost in the modern world which allows Eucharistic Ministers to wear "booty-yoga pants" and shorts at Sunday Mass. We have lost entirely the sense of what it means to worship God as He not only deserves to be worshipped, but as He demands to be worshipped, as God.

Those cardinals and bishops who push for the unworthy reception of Communion by those in mortal sin have forgotten that one must prepare to receive Christ, that one is not altogether ever worthy, but one must not be in serious sin, and, in fact, as those of you who read the blog know, one cannot receive grace is one is in mortal sin.

Iconoclasts are not picky about what they destroy. They destroy everything in their wake to make a point of ideology. I actually fear for the souls of iconoclasts who want to seemly level the playing field for those in serious sin to receive Communion, destroyed even the semblance of worthy worship of God.

Yes, none of us are truly worthy, but venial sins and imperfections do not keep us from receiving Christ in the Eucharist, and we can receive grace upon grace from receiving Christ in humility.

The main sin of the iconoclast, as Plato noted, is pride. These iconoclasts believe that they have a new insight, a new truth which transcends that of the Catholic Church.  Diogenes was a nihilist, not merely content to be a prophetic voice against the rich, but actually hating most people and things.

This type of hate is not the holy self-hatred of humility, which is self-knowledge of one's sins before God. This type of hatred scorns any mention of sin. Diogenes publicly sinned against nature, proclaiming himself above natural law as well as the laws of Athens. Cynicism is a sin, a sin of negativity, pride in one's own feelings of superiority and not humility.

Integrity only comes from humility, not cynicism or atheism. God has created us to worship Him in spirit and in truth, and this fact has been forgotten by the rebellious clerics in the Synod, who seek the very thing even Diogenes would criticize them for,....seeking the approval of men. Those clerics, who sadly may be found in every Western country, including the States, draw attention to themselves in their prideful disobedience.

I shall continue a look at the heresies, some of which I already defined on this blog, under the tag

Highlighting a book by

...a priest I know well from when my son and I attended the TLM in the Quad-Cities, a long time ago.

Buy this and if someone wants to buy it for me, great!,e529e071-9599-5b7d-a6de-808f855a0c0a

Father Driscoll was with Father Ripperger for a while. Good references....

Friendship in the Lord, Two or Three!

I have many friends and several great friends. The one thing my closest friends and I have in common is friendship in the Lord. This phrase indicates that we put God first, always, in our lives, and family, friends, work, play, seconds.

Perhaps the greatest virtue, besides the love of God and love of His Church, which I share with these few close friends, is detachment. We are not dependent upon each other in a worldly manner. In fact, when we speak together, we talk of the things of God, not the things of men. Our conversations center around the spiritual life, prayer, miracles, saints, intercessions, and Scripture.

My sister-friends love God and love His Church. My closest brother-friends love God and love His Church. These friends also, of course, love Mary, Our Mother. Ties may been made on other principles, such as sharing activities when our children were young, or Church activities, but those ties quickly changed into something deeper and more lasting-love of Christ, the Bridegroom.

I am blessed in my friends, whom I rarely see. Without the cell phones or Internet, we would be even farther apart. But, with some of my friends, we can not talk to each other for months and still pick up as if distance and time did not matter. Such is real friendship in the Lord, which transcends time and space.

When we get to heaven, God willing, our primary relationship with each other will be brothers and sisters in Christ. How sad that too many Catholics do not know what this means. I know Catholics who do not know how to be a brother or a sister, perhaps never having Christian relationships in the home, or, worse, only relating from a sexual foundation. This twisting of friendship cannot be tolerated in those who desire friendship in the Lord. No manipulation or unsaid desires can impinge on true friendship, which must be free of compulsion or constraints, either psychological, emotional, physical or spiritual.

In times past, especially in American who experienced immigration and prairie life, distance and time destroyed family ties, almost forcing the small communities to rely on the local churches. And, indeed, in the Midwest, where I am now for a short period of time, until I cross the Mississippi, people congregated around the pastor, either Catholic or Lutheran or Methodist, in this area, an formed communities based on friendship in the Lord.

These types of communities have faded in modern times. Except for a few parishes where I have experienced real community, such as in Alberta with the Byzantine Catholics, or in Alaska, with Catholics dedicated to real Catholic education, or in Mississippi, after Katrina, when all were working for a common cause, I have not encountered true community life since I left a highly organized one in 1979. That community taught me what friendship in the Lord was really about....freedom.

Freedom in friendship must be a topic rarely raised. Commitment demands that a person has incorporated some freedom in their personal lives. I am convinced that only in relationships of marriage or in a community of religious, such as a monastery or convent can people become mature enough for real friendship in the Lord.

There are so few really, truly unselfish people. Most of us have some level of self-love which needs to be destroyed before one can experience the freedom necessary for friendship in the Lord. It is not that we have to be perfect in order to enter into real friendship, but a certain amount of distance and detachment is necessary. Without some emotional distance, one falls into the same patterns of falsity one did before conversion, or in dysfunctional families.

Friendship in the Lord happens when one decides to follow Christ and take the life of virtues seriously. As one gets closer to Christ, one is able to love in a righteous manner. Dying to self creates real friendships. Only when one is through the purification of the emotions and the senses can one truly be a friend.