Mark Mallett…

THE NEW PAGANISM – PART II

 

THE “new atheism” has had a profound effect on this generation. The often nugatory and sarcastic quips from militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, Christopher Hitchens etc. have played well to a “gotcha” culture cynical of a Church robed in scandal. Atheism, like all the other “isms”, has done much to, if not eradicate belief in God, certainly erode it. Five years ago, 100, 000 atheists renounced their baptisms beginning the fulfillment of a prophecy of St. Hippolytus (170-235 A.D.) that this would come in the times of the Beast of Revelation:

I reject the Creator of heaven and earth; I reject Baptism; I refuse to worship God. To you [Beast] I adhere; in you I believe. —De consummat; from the footnote on Revelation 13:17, The Navarre Bible, Revelation, p. 108

If the majority have not renounced their baptisms, many cultural “Catholics” live as though they have—what is called “practical atheism.” Atheism’s cousin is moral relativism—the idea that good and evil are whatever one makes them to be based on one’s feelings, the majority consensus or political correctness. It is the pinnacle of individualism whereby all that’s left as “the ultimate measure,” says Benedict XVI, is “only one’s ego and desires.”[1] Pope St. Pius X called it “apostasy”:

Who can fail to see that society is at the present time, more than in any past age, suffering from a terrible and deep-rooted malady which, developing every day and eating into its inmost being, is dragging it to destruction? You understand, Venerable Brethren, what this disease is—apostasy from God… When all this is considered there is good reason to fear lest this great perversity may be as it were a foretaste, and perhaps the beginning of those evils which are reserved for the last days; and that there may be already in the world the “Son of Perdition” of whom the Apostle speaks. —POPE ST. PIUS X, E Supremi, Encyclical On the Restoration of All Things in Christ, n. 3, 5; October 4th, 1903

It is this apostasy (“rebellion”) which is the Seedbed of Revolution. Over a hundred years have passed since those ominous words. We have clearly entered into the final stages of the collapse of the old order whereby “archaic” notions such as natural law, moral absolutes, and personal sin are quickly becoming artifacts of the past.

 

INTENDED TO FAIL

However, Satan knows full well that atheism and individualism will ultimately fail because the human heart is created for the supernatural, created for communion. That ancient serpent was witness to that first community of humans when God created Eve for Adam, Adam for Eve, and both of them for God. Jesus points to this divine design-for-communion in summarizing the entire moral law in two commandments:

…love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your being, with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself. (Luke 10:27)

Hence, the Great Vacuum that Satan desires to fill is a result of that deprivation of communion with God through the loss of faith, and second, the loss of communion with one another through individualism.

We cannot deny that the rapid changes occurring in our world also present some disturbing signs of fragmentation and a retreat into individualism. The expanding use of electronic communications has in some cases paradoxically resulted in greater isolation… Also of grave concern is the spread of a secularist ideology that undermines or even rejects transcendent truth. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, speech at St. Joseph’s Church, April 8th, 2008, Yorkville, New York; Catholic News Agency

Satan’s ancient plan is not to abolish man’s deepest desire for communion but to provide a counterfeit. This has been largely prepared through the twin sisters of materialism and evolutionism that emerged from the Enlightenment period. They redefine humans and the universe as mere random particles of matter. These sophistries, particularly in the West, have by and large changed man’s focus from the transcendent to the temporal, the supernatural to the natural, to what can only be seen, touched or rationalized. Everything else is, well, a “God delusion.”[2]

But Satan is “a liar and the father of lies.” [3] The intention all along has been to redirect man’s deepest longings for the supernatural to somewhere else…

 

THE NEW PAGANISM

Thus, humanity has arrived at the nexus of a broad rejection of the Judeo-Christian God. In a text that is remarkably prophetic, St. Paul writes:

Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. As a result, they have no excuse; for although they knew God they did not accord him glory as God or give him thanks. Instead, they became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless minds were darkened. While claiming to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for the likeness of an image of mortal man or of birds or of four-legged animals or of snakes… They exchanged the truth of God for a lie and revered and worshiped the creature rather than the creator… Therefore, God handed them over to degrading passions… (Rom 1:19-26)

Paul has, in a nutshell, described the progression of atheism toward individualism where the new trinity of “Me, Myself, and I” becomes the center of devotion. But then he reveals how individualism, in turn, leads back to supernaturalism. Why? As explained in Part I, man is inherently a religious being. Interestingly, statistics show more and more people consider themselves “spiritual” as opposed to religious.[4] This shift away from traditional religion, but not spirituality, has given way to a new paganism evidenced in the recent astronomical rise in the occultwitchcraft, astrology, and other forms of pantheism. And just as St. Paul predicted, this trajectory has resulted in widespread hedonism as clearly evidenced in worldwide events such as parades attended by millions that exalt, celebrate, and even simulate sexual immorality. Or debaucherous events like Burning Man in the Nevada desert, which attracts tens of thousands each year. But most obvious: the global orgy of pornography presented on the largest stage of all, the World Wide Web.

The web that is woven over all nations. (Isaiah 25:7)

 

THE NEW AGE

This reemergence of paganism often falls beneath a broader banner called “New Age,” according to the Vatican’s prophetic six-year study on the subject.

In the great wave of reaction against traditional religions, specifically the Judaeo-Christian heritage of the West, many have revisited ancient indigenous, traditional, pagan religions. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 7.2 , Pontifical Councils for Culture and Inter-religious Dialogue, 2003

This comprehensive study explains how ecology is, to one degree or another, at the heart of this movement through various forms of “implicit pantheism.” But it goes further: it is the beginning of a global transformation.

What has been successful is the generalisation of ecology as a fascination with nature and resacralisation of the earth, Mother Earth or Gaia, with the missionary zeal characteristic of Green politics… the harmony and understanding required for responsible governance is increasingly understood to be a global government, with a global ethical framework… This is a fundamental point which pervades all New Age thought and practice. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 2.3.1

Thus, what appears to be a disconnected mish-mash of beliefs is becoming a deliberately coordinated “global spirituality, incorporating all existing religious traditions.”[5] At the heart of this neo-paganism is the ancient satanic lie in the Garden of Eden: “you will be like gods.” [6] But far from being an elevation of human dignity in the Christian sense, it is a reduction of the human person to the same level as every other part of creation—the microbes, the dirt, the snakes, the trees, the humans—it is all One, interconnected by “cosmic energy.” “There is talk of God,” says the study, “but it is not a personal God; the God of which New Age speaks is neither personal nor transcendent. Nor is it the Creator and sustainer of the universe, but an ‘impersonal energy’ immanent in the world, with which it forms a ‘cosmic unity.’”

Love is energy, a high-frequency vibration, and the secret to happiness and health and success is being able to tune in, to find one’s place in the great chain of being… The source of healing is said to be within ourselves, something we reach when we are in touch with our inner energy or cosmic energy. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 2.2.2, 2.2.3

Those who think the New Age was just a 90’s thing are mistaken.

Some might be tempted to think that “…the so-called New Age movement was just a fad, that the New Age movement is dead. Then I submit it’s because the major tenants of the New Age have been so firmly engrained in our popular culture, that there is no longer any need for a movement, per se.” —Matthew Arnold, former new ager and Catholic convert

This is clearly evident in the startling emergence of biocentrism: the belief that the rights and needs of humans are no more important than those of other living things.

Deep ecology’s emphasis on biocentrism denies the anthropological vision of the Bible, in which human beings are at the centre of the world… It is very prominent in legislation and education today… in the ideological theory underlying population control policies and experiments in genetic engineering, which seem to express a dream human beings have of creating themselves afresh. How do people hope to do this? By deciphering the genetic code, altering the natural rules of sexuality, defying the limits of death. —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 2.3.4.1 

Indeed, in Argentina, an ape was granted the human rights of “life, liberty, and freedom.”[7] In New Zealand and India, three rivers were granted human rights and are to be considered “living entities.”[8] In Bolivia, they went much further granting natural human rights to Mother Earth. ‘The law,’ reported The Guardian, ‘had been heavily influenced by a resurgent indigenous Andean spiritual world view which places the environment and the earth deity known as the Pachamama at the centre of all life.’[9]

Pachamama. Now there’s a familiar word that recently, and controversially, entered Western Catholic vocabulary. Fr. Dwight Longnecker writes:

…the cult of Pachamama is very fashionable not only among tribal peoples in the jungle, but among the intelligentsia and the social elite. Reports from Colombia, Peru and Bolivia are of government leaders–most of them left wing–who are clearing the government offices of all vestiges of Catholicism and putting up pagan images and hiring shamans to be on their councils and offer rituals rather than the usual Catholic priest to pronounce a blessing. —“Why Paganism and Pentecostalism are Popular”, October 25th, 2019

But it’s not just restricted to South American countries. In fact, Mother Earth is at the very heart of an agenda for a godless global governance that is rapidly taking shape…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

MARK will be speaking and singing in Texas

this November at two conferences in the Dallas/Fortworth area.

See below… and see y’all there!

 

 

THE COMING ERA OF PEACE

A day retreat…

 

DIVINE WILL INTERNATIONAL UNITY CONFERENCE
Click the following image for details:

Mark Mallett

THE NEW PAGANISM – PART I

 

WHAT kid doesn’t like candy? But let the same child loose in a candy store to gorge on whatever he wants… and pretty soon he’ll be craving vegetables.

 

THE GREAT VACUUM

When Archbishop Chaput of Philadelphia visited Canada a decade ago, he made a surprising admission:

…there’s no easy way to say it. The Church in the United States has done a poor job of forming the faith and conscience of Catholics for more than 40 years. And now we’re harvesting the results—in the public square, in our families and in the confusion of our personal lives. —Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Rendering Unto Caesar: The Catholic Political Vocation, February 23rd, 2009, Toronto, Canada

But it’s not just the United States:

The spiritual crisis involves the entire world. But its source is in Europe. People in the West are guilty of rejecting God… The spiritual collapse thus has a very Western character. —Cardinal Robert Sarah, Catholic HeraldApril 5th, 2019

For many decades, much of the preaching and teaching from the pulpit, with exceptions to be certain, has been “candy”—the empty calories of modernist novelties that have drained the richness of Sacred Tradition of all things mystical and supernatural. The miracles of Christ? They’re just stories. The apparitions of Our Lady? Pious hallucinations. The Eucharist? Just a symbol. The Mass? A celebration, not a Sacrifice. The charisms of the Holy Spirit? Emotional hype.

 

RELIGIOUS BY NATURE

But man, by nature, is a spiritual being. We were made for the mystical and destined for the supernatural. “You have made us for Yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in You,” said Augustine. This is key to understanding the near future of the Church and the world at the end of this era.

The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God… In many ways, throughout history down to the present day, men have given expression to their quest for God in their religious beliefs and behavior: in their prayers, sacrifices, rituals, meditations, and so forth. These forms of religious expression, despite the ambiguities they often bring with them, are so universal that one may well call man a religious being. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 27-28

I’m always amazed at how people who aren’t church-goers are able to engage a spiritual conversation. Indeed, from the dawn of creation, man has searched for the transcendent: we want to see God.

 

THE FULFILLMENT

The fulfillment of this desire came by way of the Incarnation and revelation of Jesus Christ. When the early Church exited the Upper Room, filled with the Holy Spirit, Christianity literally exploded overnight. Thousands converted from Judaism and paganism to Catholicism—a religion of signs and wonders, of beautiful symbols and anointed songs, of sound philosophy and deep theology that ultimately transformed the Roman Empire. In the following centuries, this mystical reality became encased in sacred art, towering cathedrals, sublime hymns and holy liturgies that transported the soul through rising incense, blazing candles, and glorious sacred theatre. How many souls encountered the Divine Spark simply by entering a Catholic Church!

But now, a Great Vacuum has been created. The dry intellectualism and hyper-rationalism of the Western Church has emptied Catholicism of the supernatural. Our love has grown cold; our devotion has smoldered; the flame of faith is all but a flicker in many parts of the globe. Thus, what does the Church have to offer the world if she hardly knows It herself? Without the connection of the supernatural (ie. the living, flowing power of the Holy Spirit), even our finest cathedrals are becoming nothing more than museums.

 

SATAN’S CANDY

At the very same time, the “errors of Russia,” as Our Lady of Fatima called them, have been spreading throughout the world: atheism, Darwinism, materialism, Marxism, socialism, communism, relativism, radical feminism, etc. These are Satan’s candies—sophistries that have titillated man’s pride and falsely promised the sweetness of a temporal utopia. Like the gleaming fruit on the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, that serpent has promised a bin full of irresistible goodies: “you will be like gods.” [1] Thus, he has led humanity slowly, decade by decade, toward the seemingly most delicious candy of all: individualism whereby we can become lords who not only redefine our natures but alter the very elements of the cosmos, including our DNA. The new “man” in this anthropological revolution is not a man at all:

The New Age which is dawning will be peopled by perfect, androgynous  beings who are totally in command of the cosmic laws of nature. In this scenario, Christianity has to be eliminated and give way to a global religion and a new world order.  —Jesus Christ, The Bearer of the Water of Life, n. 4, Pontifical Councils for Culture and Inter-religious Dialogue

The problem is worldwide!… We are experiencing a moment of the annihilation of man as the image of God. —POPE FRANCIS, Meeting with Polish Bishops for World Youth Day, July 27th, 2016; vatican.va

This assertion of the ego as supreme, however, is being accompanied by tell-tale signs that the gleaming fruit is poisonous inside. Suicide rates are soaring; drug use is spiralling out of control; pornographyvideo gaming and mindless “entertainment” are numbing countless souls as many reach for antidepressants to offset the nausea of empty saccharine promises. Why? Because postmodern man is fundamentally the same: he is “by nature and vocation a religious being,”[2] and thus, senses he’s been fed a lie—even as he drinks the Koolaid and reaches for another dopamine hit. Something, deep within, longs for the supernatural; his spirit thirsts for the transcendent; his mind hungers for purpose and meaning that only the spiritual dimension can provide.

Yes, souls today are awakening. The “woke” have begun a revolt against the status quo. The Great Revolution I have been warning you about is now unfurling at an exponential rate toward an epic “final confrontation.” This generation of Greta Thunbergs, David Hoggs, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortezs have begun pounding down the doors of the Candy Store.

They’re ready for vegetables again.

But where are they going? To a Church that, according to the media they watch, is a pedophile ring? To a Church that, if they do go there, appears as though a funeral is taking place? To a Church that, increasingly, sounds like little more than an echo chamber of the spiritus mundi — the spirit of the world?

No, they are turning elsewhere. And that has been Satan’s plan all along…

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

 

MARK will be speaking and singing in Texas

this November at two conferences in the Dallas/Fortworth area.

See below… and see y’all there!

 

THE COMING ERA OF PEACE

A day retreat…

 

DIVINE WILL INTERNATIONAL UNITY CONFERENCE
Click the following image for details:

Mark Mallett

 

WHO IS SAVED? PART II

 

“WHAT about those who are not Catholic or who are neither baptized nor have heard the Gospel? Are they lost and damned to Hell?” That’s a serious and important question that deserves a serious and truthful answer.

 

BAPTISM — STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN

In Part I, it is clear that salvation comes to those who repent from sin and follow the Gospel. The doorway, so to speak, is the Sacrament of Baptism through which a person is cleansed of all sin and regenerated into the Body of Christ. In case someone thinks this is a medieval invention, listen to Christ’s own commands:

Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; whoever does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16). Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. (John 3:5)

Admittedly, to an outsider today, Baptism must appear as a lovely “thing we do” that results in a nice family picture and a good brunch afterwards. But understand, Jesus was so serious that this Sacrament would become a visible, effective, and necessary sign of His saving action, that He did three things to underscore it:

• He was baptized himself; (Matt 3:13-17)

• water and blood gushed forth from His Heart as a sign and source of the sacraments; (John 19:34) and

• He commanded the Apostles to: “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit…”(Matthew 28:19)

This is why the Church Fathers often said, “Outside of the Church, there is no salvation,” for it is through the Church that the sacraments, willed by Christ, are accessed and administered:

Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 846

But what of those who are born into Protestant families? What about people who are born in Communist countries where religion is prohibited? Or what of those who live in remote regions of South American or Africa where the Gospel has not yet reached?

 

INSIDE THE OUTSIDE

The Church Fathers were clear that one who deliberately rejects the Catholic Church has placed their salvation in jeopardy, for it is Christ who established the Church as the “sacrament of salvation.”[1] But the Catechism adds:

…one cannot charge with the sin of the separation those who at present are born into these communities [that resulted from such separation] and in them are brought up in the faith of Christ, and the Catholic Church accepts them with respect and affection as brothers… —Catechism of the Catholic Church, 818

What makes us brethren?

Baptism constitutes the foundation of communion among all Christians, including those who are not yet in full communion with the Catholic Church: “For men who believe in Christ and have been properly baptized are put in some, though imperfect, communion with the Catholic Church. Justified by faith in Baptism, [they] are incorporated into Christ; they therefore have a right to be called Christians, and with good reason are accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church.” “Baptism therefore constitutes the sacramental bond of unity existing among all who through it are reborn.”—Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1271

This does not, however, mean that we can or should accept the status quo. Division among Christians is a scandal. It prevents us from realizing our “catholicity” as a universal Church. Those separated from Catholicism suffer, whether they realize it or not, the deprivation of grace for the emotional, bodily and spiritual healing that comes through the sacraments of Confession and the Eucharist. Disunity hampers our witness to unbelievers who often see sharp differences, disagreements and prejudices between us.

So while we can say that those who are baptized and profess Jesus as Lord are indeed our brothers and sisters and are on the path of salvation, this does not mean that our divisions are helping to save the rest of the world. Sadly, it’s quite the opposite. For Jesus said, “This is how all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” [2]

 

FAULT vs. REASON

So, what of the person born in a jungle who, from birth to death, has never heard of Jesus?  Or the person in a city raised by pagan parents who has never been presented the Gospel? Are these unbaptized hopelessly damned?

In today’s Psalm, David asks:

Where can I go from your spirit? From your presence, where can I flee? (Psalms 139:7)

God is everywhere. His presence is not only within a Tabernacle or among the Christian community where “two or three are gathered” in His name,[3] but extends throughout the universe. And this Divine Presence, says St. Paul, can be perceived not only within the heart but by human reason:

For what can be known about God is evident to them, because God made it evident to them. Ever since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes of eternal power and divinity have been able to be understood and perceived in what he has made. (Rom 1:19-20)

This is precisely why, since the dawn of creation, mankind has had religious tendencies: he perceives in creation and within himself the handiwork of One greater than himself; he is capable of coming to a certain knowledge of God through“converging and convincing arguments.”[4] Thus, taught Pope Pius XII:

…human reason by its own natural force and light can arrive at a true and certain knowledge of the one personal God, Who by His providence watches over and governs the world, and also of the natural law, which the Creator has written in our hearts… —Humani Generis, Encyclical; n. 2;vatican.va

And so:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience—those too may achieve eternal salvation. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 847

Jesus said, “I am the truth.” In other words, salvation remains open to those who try to follow truth, to follow Jesus, without knowing Him by name.

But isn’t this contrary to Christ’s own words that one must be baptized in order to be saved? No, precisely because one cannot be charged with refusal to believe in Christ if they’ve never been given the chance to; one cannot be condemned for refusing Baptism if they were never aware of the “living waters” of salvation to begin with. What the Church is saying essentially is that “invincible ignorance” of Christ and the Scriptures does not necessarily mean complete ignorance of a personal God or the demands of the natural law written within one’s heart. Hence:

Every man who is ignorant of the Gospel of Christ and of his Church, but seeks the truth and does the will of God in accordance with his understanding of it, can be saved. It may be supposed that such persons would have desired Baptism explicitly if they had known its necessity. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1260

The Catechism does not say “will be saved,” but can be. Jesus suggests as much when, in his teaching on the Final Judgment, He says to the saved:

I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? When did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? When did we see you ill or in prison, and visit you?’ And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me. (Matt 25:35-40)

God is love, and those who follow the law of love are, to one degree or another, following God. For them, “love covers a multitude of sins.” [5]

 

COMMISSIONED

By no means does this absolve the Church of preaching the Gospel to the nations. For human reason, though capable of perceiving God, has been darkened by original sin, which is the “deprivation of original holiness and justice” that man had before the fall. [6] As such, our wounded nature is “inclined to evil” giving rise to “serious errors in the areas of education, politics, social action and morals.”[7] Thus, the perennial warning of Our Lord rings like a clarion call to the Church’s missionary vocation:

For the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (Matt 7:13-14)

Moreover, we should not assume because someone does selfless acts of charity that sin does not have a grip on their lives elsewhere. “Do not judge by appearances…” Christ warned[8]—and this includes “canonizing” people whom we really don’t know. God is the final Judge of who, and who is not saved. Besides, if it is hard for us as Catholics who are baptized, confirmed, confessed, and blessed to deny our flesh…  how much more the one who has not received such graces? Indeed, speaking of those who are not yet joined to the visible Body of the Catholic Church, Pius XII states:

…they cannot be sure of their salvation. For even though by an unconscious desire and longing they have a certain relationship with the Mystical Body of the Redeemer, they still remain deprived of those many heavenly gifts and helps which can only be enjoyed in the Catholic Church. —Mystici Corporis, n. 103; vatican.va

The fact is that there is no way for man to rise above his fallen state, save by the grace of God. There is no way to the Father except through Jesus Christ. This is the heart of the greatest love story ever told: God did not abandon mankind to death and destruction but, through the death and resurrection of Jesus (ie. faith in Him) and the power of the Holy Spirit, we can not only put to death the works of the flesh but come to share in His divinity.[9] But, says St. Paul, “how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach?” [10]

Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 848

For salvation, ultimately, is a gift.

But it must not be thought that any kind of desire of entering the Church suffices that one may be saved. It is necessary that the desire by which one is related to the Church be animated by perfect charity. Nor can an implicit desire produce its effect, unless a person has supernatural faith: “For he who comes to God must believe that God exists and is a rewarder of those who seek Him”(Hebrew 11:6). —The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in a letter of August 8, 1949, by direction of Pope Pius XII; catholic.com

 

 

Mark is coming to Arlington, Texas in November 2019!

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Mark Mallett

 

WHO IS SAVED?

 

 

CAN you feel it? Can you see it? There is a cloud of confusion descending on the world, and even sectors of the Church, that is obscuring what true salvation is. Even Catholics are beginning to question moral absolutes and whether the Church is simply intolerant—an aged institution that has fallen behind the latest advances in psychology, biology and humanism. This is generating what Benedict XVI called a “negative tolerance” whereby for the sake of “not offending anyone,” whatever is deemed “offensive” is abolished. But today, what is actually determined to be offensive is no longer rooted in the natural moral law but is driven, says Benedict, but by “relativism, that is, letting oneself be tossed and ‘swept along by every wind of teaching,” [1] namely, whatever is “politically correct.” And thus,

A new intolerance is spreading, that is quite obvious. There are well-established standards of thinking that are supposed to be imposed on everyone… With that we are basically experiencing the abolition of tolerance… an abstract, negative religion is being made into a tyrannical standard that everyone must follow. —POPE BENDICT XVI, Light of the World, A Conversation with Peter Seewald, p. 52

The danger, ironically, is that people no longer see the danger. The realities of sin, eternity, Heaven, Hell, consequences, responsibilities, etc. are rarely taught, and if they are, are downplayed or injected with false hope—such as the novelty that Hell, someday, will be empty and that everyone will eventually be in Heaven (see Hell is For Real). The other side of the coin is an overreaction to this moral relativism whereby some Catholic commentators feel that no conversation is complete without a good stern warning to their listeners that they will be damned unless they repent. Thus, both the mercy and justice of God are tarnished.

My intention here is to leave you with as clear, balanced and true as possible a representation of who and how one is saved according to Scripture and Sacred Tradition. I will do this by contrasting the prevailing relativist’s interpretation of Scripture and then give the authentic and constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

 

WHO IS SAVED?

I. Act of the will, act of faith

In today’s Gospel, we read the beautiful passage of a shepherd leaving his entire flock to rescue a “lost sheep.” When He finds it, He places it on His shoulders, returns home, and celebrates with his neighbours and friends. The relativist’s interpretation is that God takes in and welcomes into His home every “lost sheep,” no matter who they are or what they’ve done, and that everyone eventually gets to Heaven. Now, take a closer look at this passage and what the Good Shepherd says to his neighbours upon returning home:

Rejoice with me because I have found my lost sheep. I tell you, in just the same way there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who have no need of repentance. (Luke 16:6-7)

The lost sheep is “found,” not only because the Shepherd went looking for it, but because the sheep was willing to return home. That willing “return” in this passage is denoted as a “sinner who repents.”

The Maxim:  God seeks out every “lost” soul on earth. The condition for returning home in the Savior’s arms is an act of the will that turns away from sin and entrusts oneself to the Good Shepherd.

 

II. Leaving the past behind

Here is a contrasting parable whereby the main protagonist does not go in search of the “lost.” In the story of the prodigal son, the father lets his boy choose to leave home to indulge in a life of sinful pleasures. The father does not search him out but rather allows the boy to exercise his freedom which, paradoxically, leads him into slavery. At the end of this parable, when the boy begins his journey home, the father runs to him and embraces him. The relativist says this is proof that God does not condemn or exclude anyone.

A closer look at this parable reveals two things. The boy is unable to experience the love and mercy of the father until he decides to leave his past behind. Second, the boy is not clothed in a new robe, new sandals and a ring for his finger until he confesses his guilt:

The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.” (Luke 15:21)

If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing… Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed… ( 1 John 1:9, James 5:16)

Confess to whom? To those with the authority to forgive sin: the Apostles and their successors to whom Jesus said:

Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained… (John 20:23)

The Maxim: We come into the Father’s House when we choose to leave behind that sin which separates us from Him. We are reclothed in holiness when we confess our sins to those with the authority to absolve them.

 

III. Not condemned, but not condoned

Jesus reached down into the dust and raised to her feet a woman caught in adultery. His words were simple:

Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more. (John 8:11)

The relativist says this is proof that Jesus does not condemn people who live, for example, in “alternative” lifestyles such as an active homosexual relationship or those cohabiting before marriage. While it is true that Jesus did not come to condemn the sinner, that does not mean that sinners don’t condemn themselves. How? By after receiving the mercy of God, deliberately continuing in sin. In Christ’s own words:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him… Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God remains upon him. (John 3:17, 36)

The Maxim: No matter how terrible a sin or sinner is, if we repent and “sin no more,” we have eternal life in God.

 

IV. Everyone invited, but not all are welcome

In Tuesday’s Gospel, Jesus describes the Kingdom of God like a banquet. Invitations are sent (to the Jewish people), but few respond. And so, messengers are sent far and wide to invite absolutely everyone to the Master’s table.

Go out to the highways and hedgerows and make people come in that my home may be filled.(Luke 14:23)

The relativist would say this is evidence that no one is excluded from Mass and Communion, much less God’s Kingdom, and that all religions are equal. What really matters is that we “show up,” one way or another. However, in the synoptic version of this Gospel, we read another crucial detail:

…when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment; and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?’ (Matt 22-11-12)

The guest was then forcefully removed. What is this wedding garment and why is it so important?

The white garment symbolizes that the person baptized has “put on Christ,” has risen with Christ… Having become a child of God clothed with the wedding garment, the neophyte is admitted “to the marriage supper of the Lamb” [the Eucharist]. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1243-1244

Baptism, then, is the prerequisite for entrance into the Kingdom of God. It is the Sacrament that washes away all our sin and unites us, as a free gift of God’s grace, to the mystical body of Christ to partake of the Body of Christ. Even then, mortal sin can undo this gift and exclude us from the Banquet, in effect, removing one’s baptismal garment.

Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace. If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1861

The Maxim: Every person on earth is invited to accept the free gift of eternal salvation offered by God, acquired through Baptism, and assured through the Sacrament of Reconciliation should a soul fall from grace.

 

V. The name says it all

According to Scripture, “God is love.” Therefore, says the relativist, God would never judge or condemn anyone much less cast them into Hell. However, as explained above, we damn ourselves by refusing to walk across the Bridge of Salvation (the Cross), extended to us through the Sacraments precisely by virtue of God’s great love.

That, and God has other names too, above all: Jesus Christ.

She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)

The name Jesus signifies “Savior.”[2] He came precisely to save us from sin. It is a contradiction, then, to say that one can remain in mortal sin and yet claim to be saved.

The Maxim: Jesus came to save us from our sins. Thus, the sinner is only saved if they let Jesus save them, which is accomplished through faith, which opens the doorways of sanctifying grace.[3]

 

SLOW TO ANGER, RICH IN MERCY

In summary, God…

…wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

All our invited—but it’s on God’s terms (He created us; how He saves us, then, is His prerogative). The whole plan of salvation is that Christ could unite all things in creation to Himself again—a union that was destroyed by original sin in the Garden of Eden.[4] But in order to be united to God—which is the definition of happiness—we have to become “holy as God is holy,” [5] since it is impossible for God to unite to Himself anything impure. This is the work of sanctifying grace in us that is brought to completion through our co-operation when we “repent and believe the good news.” [6]

Jesus does not want us to be afraid of Him. Time and again He reaches out to the sinner, precisely when they are in the state of sin, as if to say: “I did not come for the healthy but I came for the sick. I am looking for the lost not those already found. I shed my blood for you in order that I may wash you clean through it. I love you. You are mine. Come back to Me…”

Dear reader, do not let the sophistries of this world deceive you. God is absolute, and therefore, His commandments are absolute. Truth cannot be true today and false tomorrow, otherwise it never was truth to begin with. The teachings of the Catholic Church, such as those on abortion, contraception, marriage, homosexuality, genderism, abstinence, moderation, etc. may challenge us and seem difficult or contrary at times. But these teachings are derived from the absolute of God’s Word and can not only be trusted but depended upon to bring life and joy.

The law of the Lord is perfect, refreshing the soul. The decree of the Lord is trustworthy, giving wisdom to the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart. (Psalm 19:8-9)

When we are obedient, we show ourselves to be humble, like little children. And to such as these, Jesus said, does the Kingdom of God belong.[7]

O soul steeped in darkness, do not despair. All is not yet lost. Come and confide in your God, who is love and mercy… Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet… I cannot punish even the greatest sinner if he makes an appeal to My compassion, but on the contrary, I justify him in My unfathomable and inscrutable mercy. —Jesus to St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1486, 699, 1146

Were a soul like a decaying corpse so that from a human standpoint, there would be no [hope of] restoration and everything would already be lost, it is not so with God. The miracle of Divine Mercy [in Confession] restores that soul in full. Oh, how miserable are those who do not take advantage of the miracle of God’s mercy! —Jesus to St. Faustina on the Sacrament of Reconciliation, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 1448

The sinner who feels within himself a total deprivation of all that is holy, pure, and solemn because of sin, the sinner who in his own eyes is in utter darkness, severed from the hope of salvation, from the light of life, and from the communion of saints, is himself the friend whom Jesus invited to dinner, the one who was asked to come out from behind the hedges, the one asked to be a partner in His wedding and an heir to God… Whoever is poor, hungry, sinful, fallen or ignorant is the guest of Christ. —Matthew the Poor, The Communion of Love, p.93

 

RELATED READING

To Those in Mortal Sin

The Great Refuge and Safe Harbour

My Love, You Always Have

 

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To Rise Again: Scott Hahn Reflects on the Thirty-Second Sunday in Ordinary Time

Icon of Christ Pantocrator from Macedonia, 14th c.
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Readings:
2 Maccabees 7:1–29–14
Psalm 17:15–6815
2 Thessalonians 2:16–3:5
Luke 20:27–38

With their riddle about seven brothers and a childless widow, the Sadducees in today’s Gospel mock the faith for which seven brothers and their mother die in the First Reading.

The Maccabean martyrs chose death—tortured limb by limb, burned alive—rather than betray God’s Law. Their story is given to us in these last weeks of the Church year to strengthen us for endurance—that our feet might not falter but remain steadfast on His paths.

The Maccabeans died hoping that the “King of the World” would raise them to live again forever (see 2 Maccabees 14:46).

The Sadducees don’t believe in the resurrection because they can’t find it literally taught in the Scriptures. To ridicule this belief they fix on a law that requires a woman to marry her husband’s brother if he should die without leaving an heir (see Genesis 38:8Deuteronomy 25:5).

But God’s Law wasn’t given to ensure the raising up of descendants to earthly fathers. The Law was given, as Jesus explains, to make us worthy to be “children of God”—sons and daughters born of His Resurrection.

“God our Father,” today’s Epistle tells us, has given us “everlasting encouragement” in the Resurrection of Christ. Through His grace, we can now direct our hearts to the love of God.

As the Maccabeans suffered for the Old Law, we will have to suffer for our faith in the New Covenant. Yet He will guard us in the shadow of His wing, keep us as the apple of His eye, as we sing in today’s Psalm.

The Maccabeans’ persecutors marveled at their courage. We too can glorify the Lord in our sufferings and in the daily sacrifices we make.

And we have even greater cause than they for hope. One who has risen from the dead has given us His word—that He is the God of the living, that when we awake from the sleep of death we will behold His face, and will be be content in His presence (see Psalm 76:6Daniel 12:2).

Yours in Christ,

Scott Hahn, PhD

P.S. Do you want your friends, family, and coworkers to know the treasures of the Catholic faith through the treasure of God’s Word? Then join me in praying for the work of the St. Paul Center and please make your most generous financial contribution today. You can donate now by credit card at our secure, convenient website at StPaulCenter.com.

Mark Mallett

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PUTTING THE BRANCH TO GOD’S NOSE

Posted on November 2, 2019 by Mark

 

 

IT is no coincidence that I have heard from fellow believers all over the world that this past year in their lives has been an unbelievable trial. It is not a coincidence. In fact, I think little happening today is without enormous significance, especially in the Church.I have focused recently on what took place in the Vatican Gardens in early October with a ceremony that many cardinals and bishops have lamented as being, or at least appearing to be, pagan. I think it would be wrong to see this as a single isolated event but rather the culmination of a Church that has moved little by little from her center. A Church that, one could say, has generally become desensitized to sin, casual in her mandate, if not aloof to her responsibilities to one another and the world.

…as the Church’s one and only indivisible magisterium, the pope and the bishops in union with him carry the gravest responsibility that no ambiguous sign or unclear teaching comes from them, confusing the faithful or lulling them into a false sense of security. —Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; First Things, April 20th, 2018

We laymen are no less culpable. I stand convicted. When we consider the heroism of the early Church, the martyrdoms of the first centuries, the generous sacrifices of the saints… has not

the Church of our day become generally lukewarm? We seem to have lost our zeal for the name of Jesus, the focus of our mission, and the courage to carry it out! Almost the entire Church is infected with what seems a silence whereby we are more concerned with offending others than offending God. We keep silent so as to keep our friends; we refrain from speaking truth to “keep the peace”; we withhold the truth that will set others free because our faith is a “private thing.” No, our faith is personal but it is not private. Jesus commanded us to be “salt and light” to the nations, to never hide the light of the Gospel beneath a bushel basket. Perhaps we have arrived at this moment because we have come to embrace, either consciously or subconsciously, the falsehood that what’s most important is that we simply be kind to others. But Pope Paul VI shattered that notion:

…the finest witness will prove ineffective in the long run if it is not explained, justified… and made explicit by a clear and unequivocal proclamation of the Lord Jesus. The Good News proclaimed by the witness of life sooner or later has to be proclaimed by the word of life. There is no true evangelization if the name, the teaching, the life, the promises, the kingdom and the mystery of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God are not proclaimed. —POPE ST. PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 22; vatican.va

I believe, in fact, that St. John Henry Newman’s prophetic words about what will happen to the Church prior to the coming of Antichrist have become a concrete reality in our times:

Satan may adopt the more alarming weapons of deceit—he may hide himself—he may attempt to seduce us in little things, and so to move the Church, not all at once, but by little and little from her true position. —St. John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist; see Newman’s Prophecy

What happens next, according to St. John’s vision in Revelation, is that God begins the purification of His Church, and then the world:

So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, ‘I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,’ and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked…. Those whom I love, I reprove and chastise. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. (Rev 3:16-19)

Divine Mercy, like an elastic band, has stretched and stretched for this generation because God “wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth.” [1] But there will come a point when Divine Justice must also act—otherwise, God will not be God. But when?

 

IDOLATRY TRIGGERS JUSTICE

After the Five Corrections of Jesus in the first Chapters of the Book of Revelation, the vision of St. John moves to the necessary chastisement of an unresponsive Church and world. Think of it as a Great Storm, the first part of a hurricane before one reaches its eye. The Storm, according to John, comes with the breaking of “seven seals” that bring what appears to be a world

war (second seal), economic collapse (third seal), the fallout of this chaos in the form of famine, plague and more violence (fourth seal), a minor persecution of the Church in the form of martyrdoms (fifth seal), and at last a kind of world-wide warning (sixth seal) that is like a judgment-in-miniature, an “illumination of conscience” that draws the entire world into the eye of the Storm, the “seventh seal”:

…there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev 8:1)

It is a pause in the Storm to allow the nations a chance to repent:

Then I saw another angel ascend from the rising of the sun, with the seal of the living God, and he called with a loud voice to the four angels who had been given power to harm earth and sea, “Do not damage the land or the sea or the trees until we put the seal on the foreheads of the servants of our God.” (Revelation 7:2)

But what causes the Lamb of God to take up the scroll in the first place that begins the definitive breaking open of these seals?

In a vision of the prophet Ezekiel, there is nearly a carbon copy of the events of Revelation chapters 1-8 that, I believe, answers that question. Ezekiel’s vision also begins with God lamenting the state of His people as the prophet peers into the Temple.

The spirit lifted me up between earth and heaven and brought me in divine vision to Jerusalem to the entrance of the inner gate facing north where the statue of jealousy that provokes jealousy stood… Son of man, do you see what they are doing? Do you see the great abominations that the house of Israel is practicing here, so that I must depart from my sanctuary? You shall see even greater abominations! (Ezekiel 8:3)

In other words, it is idolatry that provokes Our Jealous of God, that causes Him to “depart from the sanctuary” (see Removing the Restrainer). As the vision continues, Ezekiel witnesses what is taking place in secret. He sees three groups of people engaged in various forms of idolatry:

I went in and looked… all the idols of the house of Israel, pictured around the wall. Before them stood seventy of the elders of the

house of Israel… Then he brought me to the entrance of the north gate of the house of the Lord. There women sat and wept for Tammuz. (v. 14)

Tammuz, brothers and sisters, is the Mesopotamian god of fertility (the statues in the Vatican Gardens were also referred to as symbols of fertility).

Then he brought me into the inner court of the house of the Lord… twenty-five men with their backs to the Lord’s temple… were bowing eastward to the sun. He said: Do you see, son of man? Are the abominable things the house of Judah has done here so slight that they should also fill the land with violence, provoking me again and again? Now they are putting the branch to my nose! (Ezekiel 8:16-17)

In other words, the Israelites were combining in their Temple pagan beliefs with their ow as they bowed down to false “images” and “idols,” as well as creation itself. They were, in a word, engaging in

syncretism.

The syncretism evident in the ritual celebrated around an immense floor covering, directed by an Amazonian woman and in front of several ambiguous and unidentified images in the Vatican gardens this past October 4, should be avoided… the reason for the criticism is precisely because of the primitive nature and pagan appearance of the ceremony and the absence of openly Catholic symbols, gestures and prayers during the various gestures, dances and prostrations of that surprising ritual. —Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop emeritus of Caracas, Venezuela; October 21, 2019; lifesitenews.com

Participants sang and held hands while dancing in a circle around the images, in a dance resembling the “pago a la tierra,” a traditional offering to Mother Earth common among indigenous peoples in some parts of South America. —The Catholic World Report, October 4th, 2019

After weeks of silence we are told by the Pope that this was not idolatry and there was no idolatrous intention. But then why did people, including priests, prostrate before it? Why

was the statue carried in procession into churches like St. Peter’s Basilica and placed before altars at Santa Maria in Traspontina? And if it isn’t an idol of Pachamama (an earth/mother goddess from the Andes), why did the Pope call the image “Pachamama?” What am I to think?  —Msgr. Charles Pope, October 28th, 2019; National Catholic Register

As one reader surmised, “Just as Jesus was betrayed in a garden 2000 years ago, so He has been again.”  It appeared that way, at least (cf. Defending Jesus Christ). But let’s not reduce it to that event by any means. The past half century has seen modernism, apostasy, pederasty, and even “blood money” going in and out of the Church linked to abortion and contraception. Not to mention the New Age and eco-feminist spirituality that has been promoted in Catholic retreat houses and convents, moral relativism in our seminaries, and the removal of the sacred from our churches and architecture.

It is a spirit of compromise that, in Scripture, provokes God’s “jealous” anger.

The work of the devil will infiltrate even into the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres…. churches and altars sacked; the Church will be full of those who accept compromises… —Our Lady to Sr. Agnes Sasagawa of Akita, Japan, October 13th, 1973

It is this syncretism that triggers the purification of the Temple in Ezekiel—but sparing those who do not participate. Just as the first six seals of Revelation begin the purification of the Church, so too, God sends six messengers to the Temple.

Then he cried aloud for me to hear: Come, you scourges of the city! And there were six men coming from the direction of the upper gate which faces north, each with a weapon of destruction in his hand. (Ezekiel 9:1)

Now, the “six seals” in Revelation begin the purification of the Church, but not so much by the hand of God. They constitute a warning to the world by man reaping what he has sown as opposed to God directly sending punishment to the unrepentant. That will come in the last half of the Storm. Think of the Prodigal Son who blows his inheritance and brings himself into destitution by his own actions leading him to an “illumination of conscience” when he finally repents. Yes, the first half of this Storm, this great hurricane, is self-inflicted.

When they sow the wind, they will reap the whirlwind… (Hosea 8:7)

Like the Prodigal Son, it serves to “shake” the Church and the world and, hopefully, bring us to repentance. The arrival of the “six men” is a warning to those in the Temple before

God’s direct chastisement. It is a last chance to pass through the “Door of Mercy” before they must pass through the “Door of Justice.”

Write: before I come as a just Judge, I first open wide the door of My mercy. He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice… —Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary of St. Faustina, n. 1146

Pass through the city, through the midst of Jerusalem, and mark an X on the foreheads of those who grieve and lament over all the abominations practiced within it. To the others he said in my hearing: Pass through the city after him and strike! Do not let your eyes spare; do not take pity. Old and young, male and female, women and children—wipe them out! But do not touch anyone marked with the X. Begin at my sanctuary. (Ezekiel 9:4-6)

How can one not recall the Third Secret of Fatima at this point?

Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious [were] going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God. —Sr. Lucia, July 13th, 1917; vatican.va

Just like Ezekiel’s vision of three groups in the temple, there is a purification of three groups in the Fatima vision: Clergy, religious, and the laity.

For it is time for the judgment to begin with the household of God; if it begins with us, how will it end for those who fail to obey the gospel of God? (1 Peter 4:17)

 

OUR TRIBULATION

In closing, I want to turn again to the present trials that so many of us are experiencing and reflect on them in light of the “first seal.” There is a bigger picture unfolding, and has been for

over a century, that I think we ought to ponder.

I looked, and there was a white horse, and its rider had a bow. He was given a crown, and he rode forth victorious to further his victories. (6:1-2)

Pope Pius XII saw the rider of this horse as representing “Jesus Christ.”

He is Jesus Christ. The inspired evangelist [St. John] not only saw the devastation brought about by sin, war, hunger and death; he also saw, in the first place, the victory of Christ. —Address, November 15, 1946; footnote of The Navarre Bible, “Revelation”, p.70

St. Victorinus said,

The first seal being opened, [St. John] says that he saw a white horse, and a crowned horseman having a bow… He sent the Holy Spirit, whose words the preachers sent forth as arrows reaching to the human heart, that they might overcome unbelief. —Commentary on the Apocalypse, Ch. 6:1-2

Could not the present trials we are experiencing in our personal lives and families also be those Divine arrows that are piercing and painful and yet, at the same time, expose to us the deep, hidden and “secret” areas within our hearts where we have not repented and where we still hold onto idols? In this Marian era, are not many of us who are consecrated to Our Lady’s heart seemingly participating in that mysterious prophecy of Simeon?

…you yourself a sword will pierce so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed. (Luke 2:35)

To me, the first seal is like the first light of dawn that heralds and foreshadows the rising sun (the sixth seal). God is gently purifying and shaking us now before what will be for many a very painful illumination and shaking in a moment (see Fatima, and the Great Shaking). 

 

A NEW WARNING?

A noteworthy event may have taken place on October 6th, two days after the strange ritual that took place in the Vatican Gardens. According to an unverified report, Sr. Agnes

Sasagawa, who received that message in Akita, Japan, allegedly received another on the 6th (I spoke with a friend who knows a priest close to the circle of Sr. Agnes, and he confirms this is what he has also heard, though he too is awaiting more direct confirmation). The same angel who spoke to her in the 1970’s seventies allegedly appeared again with a simple message for “everyone”:

Put on ashes [see note 2] and pray for a repentant rosary every day.—source EWTN affiliate WQPH Radio; wqphradio.org; the translation here seems awkward and might possibly be translated, “pray a rosary for repentance every day.”

The accompanying note from the “messenger” was to read Jonah’s prophecy (3:1-10), which was also the Mass reading on October 8th, 2019 (that day, the Gospel was about Martha putting other things before God!). In that chapter, we read Jonah being instructed to warn Nineveh: “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” Is this a warning for the Church that we have, at last, put the branch to God’s nose?

As Christians, we are not helpless. Through prayer and fasting, we can cast out the demonic from our lives and even suspend the laws of nature. I think it’s time that we took the call to pray the Rosary seriously, which was specifically one of the remedies given at Fatima to avert “the annihilation of nations.” Whether that recent message from Akita is authentic or not, it’s right. But it’s not the first prophetic voice to exhort us to take hold of a this weapon to fight against the increasing darkness of our times…

The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary… the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation. —POPE ST. JOHN PAUL II, Rosarium Virginis Mariae, 40

Mark Mallett

 

DEFENDING JESUS CHRIST

Peter’s Denial by Michael D. O’Brien

 

A BLAZING FIRE has been stoked in my soul on two particular occasions this year. It is a fire of justice springing from a desire to defend Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

 

ISRAEL SPARK

The first time was on my journey to Israel and the Holy Land. I spent several days contemplating the incredible humility of God to have come to this remote place on earth and walk among us, clothed in our humanity. From Christ’s birth to His Passion, I followed along His trail of miracles, teachings and tears. One day in Bethlehem, we celebrated Mass. During the homily, I heard the priest say, “We don’t need to convert the Muslims, Jews, or others. Convert yourself and let God convert them.” I sat there stunned, trying to process what I’d just heard. Then the words of St. Paul flooded my mind:

But how can they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how can they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone to preach? And how can people preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring [the] good news!” (Rom 10:14-15)

Since then, a “mother bear” like instinct has arisen in my soul. Jesus Christ did not suffer and die and send the Holy Spirit upon His Church so that we could hold hands with unbelievers and feel good about ourselves. It is our duty and truly our privilege to share the Gospel with the nations who are waiting, searching and even longing to hear the Good News:

The Church respects and esteems these non Christian religions because they are the living expression of the soul of vast groups of people. They carry within them the echo of thousands of years of searching for God, a quest which is incomplete but often made with great sincerity and righteousness of heart. They possess an impressive patrimony of deeply religious texts. They have taught generations of people how to pray. They are all impregnated with innumerable “seeds of the Word” and can constitute a true “preparation for the Gospel,”… [But] neither respect and esteem for these religions nor the complexity of the questions raised is an invitation to the Church to withhold from these non-Christians the proclamation of Jesus Christ. On the contrary the Church holds that these multitudes have the right to know the riches of the mystery of Christ—riches in which we believe that the whole of humanity can find, in unsuspected fullness, everything that it is gropingly searching for concerning God, man and his destiny, life and death, and truth. —POPE ST. PAUL VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, n. 53; vatican.va

I consider that day in Bethlehem a great grace, because the fire to defend Jesus has been burning ever since…

 

ROMAN SPARK

The second time this fire billowed in my soul was when I watched the tree-planting ceremony in the Vatican Gardens and the accompanying rituals and prostrations before indigenous wooden carvings. I waited several days before commenting; I wanted to know what these people were doing and to whom they were bowing. Then answers started coming. While one woman is heard on video calling one of the figures “Our Lady of the Amazon,” which Pope Francis blessed, three Vatican spokesmen vigorously rejected the idea that the carvings represented Our Lady.

“It is not the Virgin Mary, who said it is the Virgin Mary? …It is an indigenous woman who represents life” …and is “neither pagan nor sacred.” —Fr. Giacomo Costa, communications official for the Amazonian synod; California Catholic DailyOctober 16th, 2019

[It is] an effigy of maternity and the sacredness of life… —Andrea Tornielli, editorial director for the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communications. —reuters.com

[It] represented life, fertility, mother earth. —Dr. Paolo Ruffini, Prefect of the Dicastery for Communications, vaticannews.va

Then the Pope himself referred to the statue under the South American title of “pachamama,” which means “Mother Earth.” Indeed, the Italian Bishops’ publication arm produced a pamphlet for the Synod that included a “prayer to Mother Earth of the Inca peoples.” It read in part:

“Pachamama of these places, drink and eat this offering at will, so that this earth may be fruitful.” —Catholic World NewsOctober 29th, 2019

Dr. Robert Moynihan of Inside the Vatican noted that, during the final Mass of the Synod, an Amazon woman presented a flower pot, which was then placed on the altar where it remained during the Consecration and thereafter. Moynihan notes that “a bowl of soil with plants in it is often connected with ceremonial rituals involving Pachamana” where “food and drinks are poured [into it] for the enjoyment of Pachamama” and then covered “with dirt and flowers.” It is recommended, the ritual states, “to do it with your hands to connect with the energy of the ritual.”[1]

 

WHAT ARE WE DOING?

I have been careful not to impugn anyone’s motives or intentions, whether it is the Pope’s or the participants. The reason is that the motives at this point are irrelevant. What took place in the Vatican Gardens, by all exterior appearances, is a scandal. It resembled nothing short of a pagan ritual, whether it was or not. Some have tried to downplay the incident by insisting (against the Vatican’s official response) that the images were “Our Lady of the Amazon.” Again, that’s irrelevant. Catholics do not bow prostrate to the ground before statues of even Our Lady or the saints much less indigenous artifacts and symbols. Furthermore, the Pope did not himself venerate those images as such, and at the final Mass of the Synod, appeared to have brought in and properly venerated a typical image of Our Lady (which says a lot). Nonetheless, the damage has been done. Someone recounted to me how their Episcopalian friend has now accused us Catholics of worshipping Mary and/or statues.

Others I have spoken with insist that the prostrations before the objects were ultimately directed to God—and anyone who suggests otherwise is racist, intolerant, judgmental and antipapal. However, even if that was the intention of the worshippers, what the world witnessed did not look anything like a Catholic prayer service but a pagan ceremony. Indeed, several clergymen have stated this very point:

It is not understandable to an observer that the publicly displayed veneration of Pachamama at the Amazon Synod is not meant to be idolatry. —Bishop Marian Eleganti of Chur, Switzerland; October 26th, 2019;lifesitenews.com

After weeks of silence we are told by the Pope that this was not idolatry and there was no idolatrous intention. But then why did people, including priests, prostrate before it? Why was the statue carried in procession into churches like St. Peter’s Basilica and placed before altars at Santa Maria in Traspontina? And if it isn’t an idol of Pachamama (an earth/mother goddess from the Andes), why did the Pope call the image “Pachamama?” What am I to think?  —Msgr. Charles Pope, October 28th, 2019; National Catholic Register

The syncretism evident in the ritual celebrated around an immense floor covering, directed by an Amazonian woman and in front of several ambiguous and unidentified images in the Vatican gardens this past October 4, should be avoided… the reason for the criticism is precisely because of the primitive nature and pagan appearance of the ceremony and the absence of openly Catholic symbols, gestures and prayers during the various gestures, dances and prostrations of that surprising ritual. —Cardinal Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop emeritus of Caracas, Venezuela; October 21, 2019; lifesitenews.com

Herein lies the fire that has been stoked: where is our zeal to defend Jesus Christ and respect the First Commandment that forbids “strange gods” among us? Why are some Catholics trying to split hairs at this point to make a blatantly compromising activity look acceptable?

Put it this way. Imagine my wife and children walking into the bedroom and finding me holding another woman in our marital bed. The other woman and I then climb out as I explain, “There were no adulterous intentions here. I was just holding her because she does not know Christ and needs to know that she is loved, welcomed and that we are ready to accompany her in her faith.” Of course, my wife and children would be angry and scandalized, even if I insist that they are just being intolerant and judgmental.

The point is that our witness, the example we give to others, is essential, especially to the “little ones.”

Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea. (Matthew 18:6)

The invocation of the statues before which even some religious bowed at the Vatican… is an invocation of a mythical power, of Mother Earth, from which they ask blessings or make gestures of gratitude. These are scandalous demonic sacrileges, especially for the little ones who are not able to discern. —Bishop Emeritus José Luis Azcona Hermoso of Marajó, Brazil; October 30th, 2019, lifesitenews.com

That, at least, is the take of a prelate more familiar with the pagan worship of Mother Earth in those regions. The main point, however, is that what we say, what we do, how we behave, must always lead others to Christ. St. Paul went so far as to say that “it is right not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that makes your brother stumble.” [2] How much more, then, ought we to be careful to never give a witness to others that money, possessions, power, our career, our image—much less secular or pagan images—are the object of our love.

Pachamama is not and never will be the Virgin Mary. To say that this statue represents the Virgin is a lie. She is not Our Lady of the Amazon because the only Lady of the Amazon is Mary of Nazareth. Let’s not create syncretistic mixtures. All of that is impossible: the Mother of God is the Queen of Heaven and earth. —Bishop Emeritus José Luis Azcona Hermoso of Marajó, Brazil; October 30th, 2019, lifesitenews.com

 

FAITHFULNESS TO JESUS

Before I went to Israel, I sensed the Lord say that we must “Walk in the footsteps of St. John” the beloved apostle. I have not fully understood why, until now.

As I wrote recently On Vatican Funkinesseven if a pope were to deny Jesus Christ (as Peter did after he received the Keys of the Kingdom), we ought to hold fast to Sacred Tradition and remain faithful to Jesus unto death. St. John did not “blindly follow” the first pope into his denial but turned in the opposite direction, walked to Golgotha, and remained steadfast beneath the Cross at the risk of His life. I am not suggesting in any way that Pope Francis has denied Christ. Rather, I am making the point that our shepherds are human, including Peter’s successor, and we are not required to defend their personal follies. Our faithfulness to them is obedience to their authentic magisterium, bestowed on them by Christ, regarding “faith and morals.” When they depart from that, either by non-binding statements or personal sin, there is no obligation to support their words or behaviour. But there is, however, an obligation to defend the truth—to defend Jesus Christ, who is Truth. And this must be done in charity.

Do not accept anything as the truth if it lacks love. And do not accept anything as love which lacks truth! One without the other becomes a destructive lie. —St. Teresa Benedicta (Edith Stein), quoted at her canonization by St. John Paul II, October 11th, 1998; vatican.va

We have completely lost the narrative of why the Church exists, what our mission is, and what our purpose is if we fail to love God, first, and our neighbour as ourselves.

The whole concern of doctrine and its teaching must be directed to the love that never ends. Whether something is proposed for belief, for hope or for action, the love of our Lord must always be made accessible, so that anyone can see that all the works of perfect Christian virtue spring from love and have no other objective than to arrive at love. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 25

It’s absolutely horrific how Christians have begun to tear one another apart today, especially “conservative” Christians. Here, St. John’s example is so powerful.

At the Last Supper, while the Apostles were busy trying to lay blame on who would betray Christ, and Judas was quietly dipping his hands in the same bowl as Jesus… St. John simply lay against the breast of Christ. He silently contemplated His Lord. He loved Him. He adored Him. He clung to Him. He worshipped Him. Therein lies the secret of how to pass through the Great Trial that is now upon us. It is absolute fidelity to Christ. It is abandonment to the Heavenly Father. It is An Invincible Faith in JesusIt is not compromising our beliefs for fear of conflict or not being politically correct. It is not focusing on the storm and the waves but the Master in the boat. It is prayer. As Our Lady has been telling the Church for nearly forty years now: pray, pray, pray. Fast and pray. Only in this way will we have the grace and strength not to cave into our flesh and the principalities and powers that, in this hour, have been given sway to test the Church.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Mark 14:38-39)

What are we to watch? We are to watch the signs of the times but to pray for the wisdom to interpret them. This was the key that led John alone among the Apostles to stand steadily beneath the Cross and to remain faithful to Jesus, despite the storm that raged around him. His eyes observed the signs around him, but he did not dwell on the terror and dysfunction. Rather, his heart was fixed on Jesus, even when everything seemed utterly lost.

Brothers and sisters, the trials that surround us are just the beginning. We have scarcely begun the hard labor pains. These days, I often hear in my heart the Scripture: “When the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?” [3]

The answer is yes: in those who follow in the footsteps of St. John.

 

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