Catholics Battle Blasphemy at College of the Holy Cross

Pro-homosexual ring leader chants: “What do I study? Blasphemy!”

You know it’s a dark day for Catholic education when blasphemy passes for scholarship. Unfortunately, the Jesuit-run College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass., is standing by its theology Prof. Tat-Siong Benny Liew, who penned horrific blasphemies, claiming that Our Lord was an erotic cross-dresser with “queer desires.”

Scores of complaints condemning the blasphemous writings of Prof. Liew, including a statement from the Most Rev. Robert McManus, Bishop of Worcester, did not prompt any meaningful response from the Jesuit college so far.  Instead of upholding fidelity to their baptismal vows, college officials are hiding behind “academic freedom” to justify blasphemy within their religion department.  Therefore, as long as young souls are exposed to Prof. Liew’s twisted interpretation of the Bible, the scandal continues.

Protest at the Gates of Holy Cross

“Reparation, reparation, reparation!” echoed down College Street on April 7, 2018 as a throng of fervent Catholics from Massachusetts and neighboring states gathered to express their outrage at the gates of the Catholic college.  Pro-life advocates, Holy Cross students, college alumni all joined forces for the TFP-sponsored rally on the sidewalk that cold Saturday morning.

Large 12-foot banners expressed the purpose of the peaceful protest. “Prof. Liew: Disavow or resign” read one, and another featured a quote by Bishop Robert J. McManus: “Clearly the biblical conclusions that Professor Liew has reached in his writings are both false and perverse.”

Twenty-seven TFP Student Action volunteers drove in from Pennsylvania with banners, signs and bagpipers to oppose the blasphemy.  The rosary was prayed over a bullhorn and the faithful lining the sidewalk responded while they displayed signs such as “Why the endless insults to Jesus?” “Stop Queer Theology” “Crusader mascot is ‘offensive,’ but blasphemy is OK?”

Ban Crusader, but Allow Blasphemy?

In a March 14 statement, Holy Cross president Fr. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., decided to do away with crusader imagery that might offend others.  “… the visual depiction of a knight, in conjunction with the moniker Crusader, inevitably ties us directly to the reality of the religious wars and the violence of the Crusades…. the College will gradually phase out the use of all knight-related imagery.”

As campaigns of legitimate self-defense, the crusades were convoked and promoted by numerous Popes and Saints.  Why is it that Holy Cross decided to ban innocent crusader imagery, while allowing its theology department to showcase pro-homosexual blasphemy against Our Lord?

Students Who Support Blasphemy

It became sadly apparent how the blasphemous mindset trickles down from professor to students.  Shortly after the rosary of reparation began, some twenty Holy Cross students came out to counter-protest in favor of Prof. Liew’s blasphemous writings.  Waving rainbow flags, the pro-homosexual activists interrupted the recitation of the rosary with chants such as “Love thy neighbor” and “Who are you to judge?” At least one student carried a blasphemous sign mocking Our Lord: “I (heart) my drag Jesus.”

The ring leader of the group was heard shouting:

“What do I study? Blasphemy!
“When do I study it?  All the time!
“Where do I study it?
“Right here at the Cross!” (pointing to the Catholic college)

16,422 Anti-Blasphemy Petitions Presented

More than 16,422 people have signed TFP Student Action’s anti-blasphemy petition, urging the College of the Holy Cross to dismiss Prof. Tat Siong Benny Liew.  Those petitions were presented by TFP volunteers before the gates of Holy Cross in the hope that Fr. Boroughs will correct the scandal and restore moral values on campus.

While at the gates, TFP volunteer Zechariah Long talked with two Holy Cross students.  One had a rosary wrapped around his hand and lamented the state of his campus. “Here, if you try to do anything good and stand up for the truth, you will be persecuted,” he said.

Why Blasphemy is Worse Than Murder

Saint Thomas Aquinas explains why blasphemy is such a grave offense.

“If we compare murder and blasphemy as regards the objects of those sins, it is clear that blasphemy, which is a sin committed directly against God, is more grave than murder, which is a sin against one’s neighbor. On the other hand, if we compare them in respect of the harm wrought by them, murder is the graver sin, for murder does more harm to one’s neighbor, than blasphemy does to God. Since, however, the gravity of a sin depends on the intention of the evil will, rather than on the effect of the deed, as was shown above (I-II:73:8), it follows that, as the blasphemer intends to do harm to God’s honor, absolutely speaking, he sins more grievously than the murderer.” (Summa: 2-2, q. 13, a.3)

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Rise

 

BEFORE Easter, I published two writings addressed particularly to men: On Becoming a Real Man and The Hunted. There are hundreds of other writings here to help men and women to become authentic lights in the world. It is especially crucial that men start to become men again in this hour…

That said, I want to encourage my male readers to take the “RISE” challenge, which began yesterday. It’s a series of very short videos that, I have a hunch, are going to greatly bless you. I started it today with my sons (it’s not too late to start… and worth catching up, which only takes a few minutes).

The series is presented by Chris Stefanick & Bill Donaghy. It’s beautifully shot and powerfully communicated. It only costs $32US (I am not affiliated with this organization in any way). I just feel this is going to bless many of you in ways that you will not expect….

Go to menriseup.org

Why Are You Troubled?

 

AFTER publishing The Shaking of the Church on Holy Thursday, it was only hours later that a spiritual earthquake, centered in Rome, shook all of Christendom. As chunks of plaster reportedly rained down from the ceiling of St. Peter’s Basilica, headlines across the world rattled with Pope Francis allegedly having said: “Hell Does Not Exist.”

What I assumed at first was “fake news,” or perhaps an April Fool’s joke, turned out to be true. Pope Francis had granted another interview with Eugene Scalfari, a 93-year-old atheist who never takes notes nor records his subjects’ words. Rather, as he explained once to the Foreign Press Association, “I try to understand the person I am interviewing, and after that, I write his answers with my own words.” Scalfari then conceded the possibility that “some of the Pope’s words I reported, were not shared by Pope Francis” in his 2013 interview with the Pontiff. [1]

It is hard to know what is more surprising—the admission of sloppy, if not unethical journalism, or the fact that the Pope has entrusted this man with yet another interview (this is apparently the fifth).

The response heard around the world has ranged from the cheering of “liberals” to declarations from “conservatives” that the Pope is an agent of the Antichrist. Perhaps representing the voice of reason, Boston College theologian and philosopher, Dr. Peter Kreeft, responded to the uproar saying, “I doubt he said that, because it’s heresy outright.” [2] Indeed, the existence of Hell is a core doctrine of Christianity, taught by Our Lord, and affirmed for 2000 years in Sacred Tradition. Moreover, Pope Francis has himself previously taught of the existence of Hell and frequently spoken of the reality of Satan as a real fallen angel. As long-time Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. noted:

First, there’s basically zero plausibility that Francis actually said what Scalfari cites him as saying on Hell, at least as quoted, since Francis has a clear public record on the subject—he actually talks about Hell more frequently that any pope in recent memory, and he has never left any doubt that he regards it as a real possibility for one’s eternal destiny. —April 30th, 2018; cruxnow.com

Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, issued a statement regarding the recent interview with Scalfari (that appeared in La Repubblica and was translated by Rorate Caeli):

What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.Catholic News Agency, March 29th, 2018

Unfortunately, nothing was said to confirm Catholic doctrine. And so far, the Pope has remained silent.

Thus, the “damage,” it would seem, is done. Whether the Pope said it or not may be irrelevant. Billions of people have now heard, allegedly from the mouth of Christianity’s chief representative, that Hell does not exist. Some have applauded the news that “finally” the Church is dropping such an “unmerciful” doctrine; Evangelical Christians and schismatics have gone into high gear confirming their suspicions that Francis is an “antipope” or “false prophet”; faithful Catholics, exhausted by one papal controversy after another, have publicly voiced their dismay on social media, some even calling Francis a “traitor” and a “Judas.” One reader said to me, “I pray for the Pope. But I no longer trust him.” Expressing his exasperation, Cardinal Raymond Burke responded to this latest guffaw saying:

It has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many people in the secular world who have respect for the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them… This playing around with faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalized.La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, April 5th, 2018 (English translation from LifeSiteNews.com)

The Church is indeed shaking… but not destroyed. 

 

JESUS IS RISEN, YES?

As I pondered what to write today, I sensed in my heart the words, “Do what you always do: turn to the daily Mass readings.” 

In today’s Gospel, the Risen Lord enters the room where the Apostles are gathered and asks them:

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

The last time Jesus asked them this question was when they were in the midst of a great storm. They woke Him, crying out:

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” (Matt 8:25-26)

What Jesus asked of the Apostles before and after His Resurrection was total trust in Him. Yes, Jesus would build His Church upon Peter, “the rock”, but their faith was to be solely in God—in His promises—not human abilities.

The Lord publicly proclaimed it: ‘I’, he said, ‘have prayed for you Peter that your faith may not fail, and you, once being converted, must confirm your brothers’… For this reason the Faith of the Apostolic seat has never failed even during turbulent times, but has remained whole and unharmed, so that the privilege of Peter continues to be unshaken. —POPE INNOCENT III (1198-1216), Can a Pope be a Heretic? by Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, Oct. 20th, 2014

“But”, one might ask, “hasn’t the Apostolic seat failed through this apparent denial of Hell?” The answer is no—the teachings of the Church have not been overturned, even in Amoris Laetitia (though, they have been heterodoxically misinterpreted). The Pope can make mistakes like everyone else except when making ex cathedra statements, that is, infallible declarations that confirm doctrine. That is the teaching of the Church and the experience of 2000 years.

…if you are troubled by some statements that Pope Francis has made in his recent interviews, it is not disloyalty, or a lack of Romanita to disagree with the details of some of the interviews which were given off-the-cuff. Naturally, if we disagree with the Holy Father, we do so with the deepest respect and humility, conscious that we may need to be corrected. However, papal interviews do not require either the assent of faith that is given to ex cathedra statements or that internal submission of mind and will that is given to those statements that are part of his non-infallible but authentic magisterium. —Fr. Tim Finigan, tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh; from The Hermeneutic of Community, “Assent and Papal Magisterium”, October 6th, 2013; http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.co.uk

The Petrine promises of Christ still hold true, even though great waves are smashing against the Church… even though enemy ships are battering her hull and “Peter” himself seems to be steering the Barque toward rocky shoals. Who, I ask, is the wind in her sails? Is it not the Holy Spirit? Who is the Admiral of this Ship? Is it not Christ? And who is Lord of the seas? Is it not the Father?

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

Jesus is Risen. He is not dead. He is still the Governor and Master Builder of His Church. I’m not saying this to dismiss the controversies or excuse the Pope, nor downplay the grave trials we are facing (read The Shaking of the Church). But I think those who are jumping overboard ought to listen to what Christ is saying—especially those who slander the Pope or betray an evident lack of trust in Jesus. Frankly, they too become a “stumbling block” to others and source of division. It’s worth repeating what the Catechism teaches regarding what we should do when someone, even the Pope, seemingly fails us:

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.Catechism of the Catholic, n. 2476-2478

 

CHRIST DOES NOT LIE

This too is a fact: Pope Francis holds the keys of the Kingdom, even though he may hold them loosely… perhaps too loosely. Not a single Cardinal, including Burke, has contested the validity of this papacy. Francis is the Vicar of Christ, and thus, the Petrine promises of Jesus will prevail. Those who persist in the belief that there was a “palace coup” and that Benedict is still the lawful pope ought to hear what Benedict XVI himself has to say about that: see Barquing Up the Wrong Tree.

I recall at the Synod on the family how Pope Francis allowed a multitude of opinions to be put on the table—some of them beautiful, others heretical. At the end, he stood up and issued Five Corrections to both “liberals” and “conservatives.” Then,
he declared:

The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”. —POPE FRANCIS, closing remarks on the Synod; Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014 (my emphasis)

Suddenly, I no longer heard the Pope speaking but Jesus. The words resounded in my soul like thunder, literally striking me to the core. You see, it is Christ who has prayed that Peter’s faith may not fail. That’s a pretty dependable prayer. And we have come to understand that it doesn’t mean the Pope cannot personally sin or even fail his duties; rather, that the Spirit of Truth will safeguard the “food” which Christ has given us in Sacred Tradition. Indeed, the Pope’s interview with Scalfari means little in that light. The True Faith has already been handed on and cannot change.

Somehow, in some way, we will see this guarantee fulfilled. Really, we already are, as The Papacy is Not One Pope.

 

EVEN JUDAS

Even Judas was entrusted with power and authority. Yes, he was also in that gathering of disciples when Jesus declared:

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

That is, whoever did not listen to Judas was rejecting the Lord himself. That was the case for those three years that the future betrayer was with the Lord. We should ponder that.

And even Peter, post-Pentecost, was corrected by Paul for straying from the true Gospel. [3] There’s something important to be learned here too. Does infallibility mean that the Pope can never misstep, or rather that his steps will always be made straight again?

As I said not long ago, our personal duty is to listen for the voice of Jesus speaking through Pope Francis and the bishops in communion with him. Only the most cynical hearts will fail to hear the often beautiful, encouraging, and true words that these men speak—despite their faults.

While preparing last year for an Advent Mission in the parish I was speaking at, I saw a large poster on the pastor’s wall. It detailed the history of the Church through a timeline. One description caught my eye in particular:

It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes the spiritual condition of the Church is no better than the spiritual condition of society as a whole. This was true in the 10th century. In its first 60 years, the office of the pope was controlled by Roman aristocrats who were unworthy of their high office. The worst of them, Pope John XII, was so corrupt that God delivered the Church from him through a secular ruler, Otto I (the Great), the first Holy Roman Emperor of the German nation. Otto and his successors used the Church as an instrument to help restore order to the empire. Lay investiture, the selection by emperors of bishops, and even popes, was one of the primary ways to control the Church. By God’s mercy, the popes nominated by the German emperors during this period were of high quality, especially Pope Sylvester II. As a result, the Western Church began to revive, especially through the renewal of monastic life. 

God permits evil (and confusion) to allow a greater good. He will do so again.

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

 

RELATED READING

Hell is for Real

 

Your gift keeps me going. Bless you.

 

To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.

Why Are You Troubled?

 

AFTER publishing The Shaking of the Church on Holy Thursday, it was only hours later that a spiritual earthquake, centered in Rome, shook all of Christendom. As chunks of plaster reportedly rained down from the ceiling of St. Peter’s Basilica, headlines across the world rattled with Pope Francis allegedly having said: “Hell Does Not Exist.”

What I assumed at first was “fake news,” or perhaps an April Fool’s joke, turned out to be true. Pope Francis had granted another interview with Eugene Scalfari, a 93-year-old atheist who never takes notes nor records his subjects’ words. Rather, as he explained once to the Foreign Press Association, “I try to understand the person I am interviewing, and after that, I write his answers with my own words.” Scalfari then conceded the possibility that “some of the Pope’s words I reported, were not shared by Pope Francis” in his 2013 interview with the Pontiff. [1]

It is hard to know what is more surprising—the admission of sloppy, if not unethical journalism, or the fact that the Pope has entrusted this man with yet another interview (this is apparently the fifth).

The response heard around the world has ranged from the cheering of “liberals” to declarations from “conservatives” that the Pope is an agent of the Antichrist. Perhaps representing the voice of reason, Boston College theologian and philosopher, Dr. Peter Kreeft, responded to the uproar saying, “I doubt he said that, because it’s heresy outright.” [2] Indeed, the existence of Hell is a core doctrine of Christianity, taught by Our Lord, and affirmed for 2000 years in Sacred Tradition. Moreover, Pope Francis has himself previously taught of the existence of Hell and frequently spoken of the reality of Satan as a real fallen angel. As long-time Vatican correspondent John L. Allen Jr. noted:

First, there’s basically zero plausibility that Francis actually said what Scalfari cites him as saying on Hell, at least as quoted, since Francis has a clear public record on the subject—he actually talks about Hell more frequently that any pope in recent memory, and he has never left any doubt that he regards it as a real possibility for one’s eternal destiny. —April 30th, 2018; cruxnow.com

Vatican spokesman, Greg Burke, issued a statement regarding the recent interview with Scalfari (that appeared in La Repubblica and was translated by Rorate Caeli):

What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the literal words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.Catholic News Agency, March 29th, 2018

Unfortunately, nothing was said to confirm Catholic doctrine. And so far, the Pope has remained silent.

Thus, the “damage,” it would seem, is done. Whether the Pope said it or not may be irrelevant. Billions of people have now heard, allegedly from the mouth of Christianity’s chief representative, that Hell does not exist. Some have applauded the news that “finally” the Church is dropping such an “unmerciful” doctrine; Evangelical Christians and schismatics have gone into high gear confirming their suspicions that Francis is an “antipope” or “false prophet”; faithful Catholics, exhausted by one papal controversy after another, have publicly voiced their dismay on social media, some even calling Francis a “traitor” and a “Judas.” One reader said to me, “I pray for the Pope. But I no longer trust him.” Expressing his exasperation, Cardinal Raymond Burke responded to this latest guffaw saying:

It has been a source of profound scandal not only for many Catholics but also for many people in the secular world who have respect for the Catholic Church and its teachings, even if they do not share them… This playing around with faith and doctrine, at the highest level of the Church, rightly leaves pastors and faithful scandalized.La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, April 5th, 2018 (English translation from LifeSiteNews.com)

The Church is indeed shaking… but not destroyed. 

 

JESUS IS RISEN, YES?

As I pondered what to write today, I sensed in my heart the words, “Do what you always do: turn to the daily Mass readings.” 

In today’s Gospel, the Risen Lord enters the room where the Apostles are gathered and asks them:

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

The last time Jesus asked them this question was when they were in the midst of a great storm. They woke Him, crying out:

“Lord, save us! We are perishing!” He said to them, “Why are you terrified, O you of little faith?” (Matt 8:25-26)

What Jesus asked of the Apostles before and after His Resurrection was total trust in Him. Yes, Jesus would build His Church upon Peter, “the rock”, but their faith was to be solely in God—in His promises—not human abilities.

The Lord publicly proclaimed it: ‘I’, he said, ‘have prayed for you Peter that your faith may not fail, and you, once being converted, must confirm your brothers’… For this reason the Faith of the Apostolic seat has never failed even during turbulent times, but has remained whole and unharmed, so that the privilege of Peter continues to be unshaken. —POPE INNOCENT III (1198-1216), Can a Pope be a Heretic? by Rev. Joseph Iannuzzi, Oct. 20th, 2014

“But”, one might ask, “hasn’t the Apostolic seat failed through this apparent denial of Hell?” The answer is no—the teachings of the Church have not been overturned, even in Amoris Laetitia (though, they have been heterodoxically misinterpreted). The Pope can make mistakes like everyone else except when making ex cathedra statements, that is, infallible declarations that confirm doctrine. That is the teaching of the Church and the experience of 2000 years.

…if you are troubled by some statements that Pope Francis has made in his recent interviews, it is not disloyalty, or a lack of Romanita to disagree with the details of some of the interviews which were given off-the-cuff. Naturally, if we disagree with the Holy Father, we do so with the deepest respect and humility, conscious that we may need to be corrected. However, papal interviews do not require either the assent of faith that is given to ex cathedra statements or that internal submission of mind and will that is given to those statements that are part of his non-infallible but authentic magisterium. —Fr. Tim Finigan, tutor in Sacramental Theology at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh; from The Hermeneutic of Community, “Assent and Papal Magisterium”, October 6th, 2013; http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.co.uk

The Petrine promises of Christ still hold true, even though great waves are smashing against the Church… even though enemy ships are battering her hull and “Peter” himself seems to be steering the Barque toward rocky shoals. Who, I ask, is the wind in her sails? Is it not the Holy Spirit? Who is the Admiral of this Ship? Is it not Christ? And who is Lord of the seas? Is it not the Father?

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

Jesus is Risen. He is not dead. He is still the Governor and Master Builder of His Church. I’m not saying this to dismiss the controversies or excuse the Pope, nor downplay the grave trials we are facing (read The Shaking of the Church). But I think those who are jumping overboard ought to listen to what Christ is saying—especially those who slander the Pope or betray an evident lack of trust in Jesus. Frankly, they too become a “stumbling block” to others and source of division. It’s worth repeating what the Catechism teaches regarding what we should do when someone, even the Pope, seemingly fails us:

Respect for the reputation of persons forbids every attitude and word likely to cause them unjust injury. He becomes guilty:

– of rash judgment who, even tacitly, assumes as true, without sufficient foundation, the moral fault of a neighbor;
– of detraction who, without objectively valid reason, discloses another’s faults and failings to persons who did not know them;
– of calumny who, by remarks contrary to the truth, harms the reputation of others and gives occasion for false judgments concerning them.

To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. If that does not suffice, let the Christian try all suitable ways to bring the other to a correct interpretation so that he may be saved.Catechism of the Catholic, n. 2476-2478

 

CHRIST DOES NOT LIE

This too is a fact: Pope Francis holds the keys of the Kingdom, even though he may hold them loosely… perhaps too loosely. Not a single Cardinal, including Burke, has contested the validity of this papacy. Francis is the Vicar of Christ, and thus, the Petrine promises of Jesus will prevail. Those who persist in the belief that there was a “palace coup” and that Benedict is still the lawful pope ought to hear what Benedict XVI himself has to say about that: see Barquing Up the Wrong Tree.

I recall at the Synod on the family how Pope Francis allowed a multitude of opinions to be put on the table—some of them beautiful, others heretical. At the end, he stood up and issued Five Corrections to both “liberals” and “conservatives.” Then,
he declared:

The Pope, in this context, is not the supreme lord but rather the supreme servant – the “servant of the servants of God”; the guarantor of the obedience and the conformity of the Church to the will of God, to the Gospel of Christ, and to the Tradition of the Church, putting aside every personal whim, despite being – by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” and despite enjoying “supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church”. —POPE FRANCIS, closing remarks on the Synod; Catholic News Agency, October 18th, 2014 (my emphasis)

Suddenly, I no longer heard the Pope speaking but Jesus. The words resounded in my soul like thunder, literally striking me to the core. You see, it is Christ who has prayed that Peter’s faith may not fail. That’s a pretty dependable prayer. And we have come to understand that it doesn’t mean the Pope cannot personally sin or even fail his duties; rather, that the Spirit of Truth will safeguard the “food” which Christ has given us in Sacred Tradition. Indeed, the Pope’s interview with Scalfari means little in that light. The True Faith has already been handed on and cannot change.

Somehow, in some way, we will see this guarantee fulfilled. Really, we already are, as The Papacy is Not One Pope.

 

EVEN JUDAS

Even Judas was entrusted with power and authority. Yes, he was also in that gathering of disciples when Jesus declared:

Whoever listens to you listens to me. Whoever rejects you rejects me. And whoever rejects me rejects the one who sent me. (Luke 10:16)

That is, whoever did not listen to Judas was rejecting the Lord himself. That was the case for those three years that the future betrayer was with the Lord. We should ponder that.

And even Peter, post-Pentecost, was corrected by Paul for straying from the true Gospel. [3] There’s something important to be learned here too. Does infallibility mean that the Pope can never misstep, or rather that his steps will always be made straight again?

As I said not long ago, our personal duty is to listen for the voice of Jesus speaking through Pope Francis and the bishops in communion with him. Only the most cynical hearts will fail to hear the often beautiful, encouraging, and true words that these men speak—despite their faults.

While preparing last year for an Advent Mission in the parish I was speaking at, I saw a large poster on the pastor’s wall. It detailed the history of the Church through a timeline. One description caught my eye in particular:

It is an unfortunate fact that sometimes the spiritual condition of the Church is no better than the spiritual condition of society as a whole. This was true in the 10th century. In its first 60 years, the office of the pope was controlled by Roman aristocrats who were unworthy of their high office. The worst of them, Pope John XII, was so corrupt that God delivered the Church from him through a secular ruler, Otto I (the Great), the first Holy Roman Emperor of the German nation. Otto and his successors used the Church as an instrument to help restore order to the empire. Lay investiture, the selection by emperors of bishops, and even popes, was one of the primary ways to control the Church. By God’s mercy, the popes nominated by the German emperors during this period were of high quality, especially Pope Sylvester II. As a result, the Western Church began to revive, especially through the renewal of monastic life. 

God permits evil (and confusion) to allow a greater good. He will do so again.

Why are you troubled? And why do questions arise in your hearts?

 

RELATED READING

Hell is for Real

 

Your gift keeps me going. Bless you.

 

To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.

Always Victorious Posted on April 1, 2018 by Mark

 

Many forces have tried, and still do, to destroy the Church,
from without as well as within,
but they themselves are destroyed and the Church
remains alive and fruitful…
She remains inexplicably solid…
kingdoms, peoples, cultures, nations,
ideologies, powers have passed,
but the Church, founded on Christ,
notwithstanding the many storms and our many sins,
remains ever faithful to the deposit of faith
shown in service;
for the Church does not belong to
popes, bishops, priests, nor the lay faithful;
the Church in every moment belongs
solely to Christ.
—POPE FRANCIS, Homily, June 29th, 2015
www.americamagazine.org

 

HE IS RISEN!
ALLELUIA!

 

To journey with Mark in The Now Word,
click on the banner below to subscribe.
Your email will not be shared with anyone.

The Shaking of the Church

 

FOR two weeks after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, a warning continually rose in my heart that the Church was now entering into “dangerous days” and a time of “great confusion.” [1] Those words greatly impacted how I would approach this writing apostolate, knowing that it would be necessary to prepare you, my readers, for the Storm winds that were coming.

And what has been coming? The Passion of the Church when she must pass…

…through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers… The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.Catechism of the Catholic Church, 675, 677

Today, the same confusion and pain that hung in the Upper Room at the Last Supper also pervades the Church at this hour. The Apostles were shaken by the words that Jesus must suffer and die; shaken that His entrance into Jerusalem was not the triumph they were anticipating; shaken to find that one among them would betray their Master.

Then Jesus said to them, “This night all of you will have your faith in me shaken, for it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock will be dispersed’… (Matthew 26:31)

On this eve of the Church’s Passion, so too, we are being shaken and in much the same way: through the striking of the shepherd, that is, the hierarchy.

 

THE ASS

The sexual scandals that continue to surface have struck the priesthood so deeply that, in many places, the Church has lost her credibility altogether. It’s as though she too now rides an “ass of humiliation” into Jerusalem.

As a result, the faith as such becomes unbelievable, and the Church can no longer present herself credibly as the herald of the Lord. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Light of the World, The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times: A Conversation With Peter Seewald, p. 25

At the same time, Pope Francis has, in often very strong language, challenged the priesthood to embrace a state of life in closer imitation of Our Lord’s humility: to greater simplicity, transparency, and availability.

Behold, your king comes to you, meek and riding on an ass… (Matt 20:5)

The shunning of everything from the standard papal headquarters, to limousines, and even papal dress has caught the attention of the world. They too have cried out a kind of “Hosanna” as they perceive something admirable appearing.

…when he entered Jerusalem the whole city was shaken…

But just as the people’s perception of Jesus was misguided—seeing Him still as a mere prophet of their false messianic hopes—so too, the message of mercy of Pope Francis has been misunderstood by many as somehow permission to remain in sin.

“Who is this?” And the crowds replied, “This is Jesus the prophet, from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

THE BETRAYALS

The shaking did not end with Christ’s entrance, but continued to reverberate in the Upper Room when He announced that one of them would betray Him.

Deeply distressed at this, they began to say to him one after another, “Surely it is not I, Lord?” (Matthew 26:22)

One thing is certain of the pontificate of Francis: it is leading to a great sifting at this hour, one in which the “faith” of each of us is being tested to one degree or another.

…as Christ told Peter, “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat,” today “we are once more painfully aware that Satan has been permitted to sift the disciples before the whole world.” —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 21st, 2011

The spontaneous style and unfamiliar ambiguity of this pope has led to not only sharp differences in interpreting papal documents, but to various camps claiming that they are the ones who are most faithful to the Gospels.

Peter said to him in reply, “Though all may have their faith in you shaken, mine will never be.” (Matthew 26:33)

In the end, it was not only Judas, but Peter who betrayed Christ. Judas, because he rejected Truth; Peter, because he was ashamed of It.

 

JUDAS AMONG US

What we are witnessing today something akin to the Last Supper where Judases are now emerging. Bishops and priests who had been somewhat in the shadows are now, like Judas, feeling emboldened by the program of Pope Francis, playing upon the ambiguities that his leadership style has brought about. Rather than interpret these ambiguities as they should—through the lens of Sacred Tradition—they have risen from the Table of Christ and sold the Truth for “thirty pieces of silver” (that is, hollow and empty hopes). Why should this surprise us? If it was in the context of the Holy Mass that Judas would rise to betray the Lord, so too, it will be those who share the Divine Banquet with us who will also rise to betray the Lord in the hour of our Passion. 

And how are they betraying the Body of Christ?

There came a crowd, and the man called Judas, one of the twelve, was leading them. He drew near to Jesus to kiss him; but Jesus said to him, “Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?” (Luke 22:47-48)

Yes, these men have arisen to “kiss” the Body of Christ with a false and Anti-Mercy, the casuistry of words that appear as “love”, “mercy”, and “light” but are darkness in reality. They do not lead to that truth which alone sets us free—to Authentic Mercy. Whether it is entire bishop’s conferences twisting Tradition, Catholic universities giving platforms to heretics, Catholic politicians selling out, or Catholic schools teaching explicit sex education… we are seeing a deep betrayal of He who is Truth on nearly every level of society.

In fact, many Catholics feel abandoned most especially by Pope Francis for seemingly ignoring the apparent crisis. Questions remain for some as to why he has gathered many of these “liberal” men around him; why he permits these Judases to operate freely; or why he does not explicitly answer the Cardinals’ “dubia”—their request for clarification on matters of marriage and objective sin. I believe one answer is that these things must happen as the hour of the Church’s Passion has come. It is Christ, ultimately, who is permitting this since it is He—not the Pope—who is “building” His Church. [2]

Meanwhile, while Judas was betraying Him and the Apostle’s were drawing swords to stop all the nonsense, Jesus was preoccupied with showing mercy to the very last minute—even to those who would arrest Him:

Jesus said, “No more of this!” And he touched his ear and healed him. (Luke 22:51)

 

PETER’S DENIAL

Sadly—perhaps even more sadly than Judas’ inevitable betrayal—are the Peter’s among us. I have been deeply struck this past week by the words of St. Paul:

Therefore, whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall. (1 Corinthians 10:12)

It is not the heretical priests or progressive bishops rising into the night that have surprised me; it is those whom have turned against the Church with the same anger and denial that Peter unleashed on that sorrowful night. Recall when Peter first objected to the notion that Jesus would “suffer and die”:

Then Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, “God forbid, Lord! No such thing shall ever happen to you.” He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are an obstacle to me. You are thinking not as God does, but as human beings do.” (Matt 16:22-23)

This is symbolic of those who cannot accept a Church not made in their own image. They are disgruntled with the confusion of this present pontificate, the impoverished post-Vatican II liturgy, and general lack of reverence (all of which is true). But rather than remain with Christ in this Gethsemane, they are fleeing the Church. They are not thinking as God does, but as human beings do. For they do not perceive that the Church must undergo her own Passion as well. They cannot see that this present distress is actually a test to see if their faith in Jesus Christ, or in the past glory of an institution. They are ashamed, as Peter was of Jesus, to see the Body of Christ in such poor estate.

At that he began to curse and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately a cock crowed. (Matthew 26:74)

We too find it hard to accept that he bound himself to the limitations of his Church and her ministers. We too do not want to accept that he is powerless in this world. We too find excuses when being his disciples starts becoming too costly, too dangerous. All of us need the conversion which enables us to accept Jesus in his reality as God and man. We need the humility of the disciple who follows the will of his Master. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 21st, 2011

Yes, I love chant, candles, icons, incense, high altars, statues, and stained-glass windows as much as any sedvacanist. But I also believe that Jesus will strip us completely of these in order to bring us again to the center of our Faith, which is the Cross (and our duty to proclaim it with our lives). The fact, however, is that many would rather celebrate the Mass in Latin than they would preserve the unity of the Body of Christ.

And His Body is being broken all over again.

JOHN’S FIAT

For us, the empty places at the table of the Lord’s wedding feast… invitations refused, lack of interest in him and his closeness… whether excusable or not, are no longer a parable but a reality, in those very countries to which he had revealed his closeness in a special way. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Mass of the Lord’s Supper, April 21st, 2011

Brothers and sisters, I say these things on this somber evening, not to accuse, but to awaken us to the hour in which we are living. For, like the Apostles in Gethsemane, many have fallen asleep…

It’s our very sleepiness to the presence of God that renders us insensitive to evil: we don’t hear God because we don’t want to be disturbed, and so we remain indifferent to evil… the sleepiness’ is ours, of those of us who do not want to see the full force of evil and do not want to enter into his Passion. —POPE BENEDICT XVI, Catholic News Agency, Vatican City, Apr 20, 2011, General Audience

“Surely it is not I, Lord?”…. “Whoever thinks he is standing secure should take care not to fall.”

According to the Gospels, when the time of sifting came, all the Apostles fled the garden. And so, we might be tempted to despair saying, “Will I too, Lord, betray you? It must be inevitable!”

Yet, there was one disciple who did not ultimately abandon Jesus: St. John. And here is why. At the Last Supper, we read:

One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was lying close to the breast of Jesus. (John 13:23)

Even though John fled the Garden, he returned to the foot of the Cross. Why? Because he had been lying close to the breast of Jesus. John listened to the heartbeats of God, the voice of the Shepherd that repeated over and over again, “I am mercy. I am mercy. I am mercy… trust in Me.” John would later write, “Perfect loves drives out fear…” [3] It was the echo of those heartbeats that guided John to the Cross. The song of love from the Savior’s Sacred Heart drowned out the voice of fear.

What I am saying is that the antidote to apostasy in these times is not a mere strict adherence to Sacred Tradition. Indeed, it was the legalists who arrested Jesus and the Pharisees who demanded His crucifixion. Rather, it is the one who comes to Him like a little child, not only obeying everything He has revealed, but more than anything laying their head upon His breast in a constant communion of prayer. By this I do not mean simply rote words, but prayer from the heart. It is not just to pray to God, but to have a relationship with Him… a close sharing between “friends.” All this takes place, not just in the head but most especially in the heart.

The heart is the dwelling-place where I am, where I live… the heart is the place “to which I withdraw”… It is the place of truth, where we choose life or death. It is the place of encounter, because as image of God we live in relation: it is the place of covenant…. Christian prayer is a covenant relationship between God and man in Christ. It is the action of God and of man, springing forth from both the Holy Spirit and ourselves, wholly directed to the Father, in union with the human will of the Son of God made man… prayer is the living relationship of the children of God with their Father who is good beyond measure, with his Son Jesus Christ and with the Holy Spirit. The grace of the Kingdom is “the union of the entire holy and royal Trinity… with the whole human spirit.” Thus, the life of prayer is the habit of being in the presence of the thrice-holy God and in communion with him. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2563-2565

As we enter now into the Easter Triduum, I leave you with Our Lord’s own alleged words regarding the “passion, death, and resurrection” of the Church, given on Pentecost Monday of May, 1975 in St. Peter’s Square in the presence of Pope Paul VI:

Because I love you, I want to show you what I am doing in the world today. I want to prepare you for what is to come. Days of darkness are coming on the world, days of tribulation… Buildings that are now standing will not be standing. Supports that are there for my people now will not be there. I want you to be prepared, my people, to know only me and to cleave to me and to have me in a way deeper than ever before. I will lead you into the desert… I will strip you of everything that you are depending on now, so you depend just on me. A time of darkness is coming on the world, but a time of glory is coming for my Church, a time of glory is coming for my people. I will pour out on you all the gifts of my Spirit. I will prepare you for spiritual combat; I will prepare you for a time of evangelism that the world has never seen…. And when you have nothing but me, you will have everything: land, fields, homes, and brothers and sisters and love and joy and peace more than ever before. Be ready, my people, I want to prepare you… —given to Ralph Martin at a gathering with the Pope and the Charistmatic Renewal Movement