Friday, December 7, 2018

Scandal in the Church

It is becoming common for dioceses to release the name of priests who've been credibly accused of sexual misconduct.  This week, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Syracuse released just such a list, going back to 1950.

All of the offending priests who are still alive are in positions where they cannot do any harm now. In fact, that has been the practice of most, if not all, US dioceses since the scandal first broke in the early years of the last decade.

Now, it's claimed that not all offending priests are listed there, and, by all accounts, the diocese is cooperating in searching records to bring out all names. 

With the extra names, the list will reach maybe 100 names.

100 priests over 70 years.

Now, let's get some perspective.  How many priests have served in the diocese during the same period?

There are currently 127 parishes in the diocese.  Given the recent number of parish closings, let's say that there were 150 parishes 20 years ago.  And, at the time, many parishes had as many as 5 priests in residence, so, let's take 3 as an average.

So, we're talking about a minimum of 450 priests active in parishes 20 years ago.  The number was certainly higher, since not all priests are in parishes.

Using figures for the shrinking number of priests, we arrive at roughly 1200 priests active in 1950, the first year of the report.

There certainly have been many more priests active in the diocese in the last 70 years, but let's use 1200 for the sake or argument.

What does that tell us?
1 out of every 12 priests (in this scenario) are offenders. They betrayed Christ.

Jesus picked 12 men, and one out of those 12 was an offender. He betrayed Christ.

There is NO excuse for these 100 men, none whatsoever.
Remember his words? "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him to have a heavy millstone hung around his neck, and to be drowned in the depth of the sea".  Matt 18:6

God will take care of them.

But, will you abandon Peter because of Judas?
Will you abandon the Sacraments because of Judas?

Will that clean up Judas's action, or will it just hurt you?

Don't leave the Church because of those who've betrayed Christ.
Don't hurt yourself to spite them.
12/7/2018


12/10/2018 - update


I came across this article to further support the idea that abandoning the Church at this time, for this reason, is foolish at best.
Enough, Mr. Dreher! (An Open Letter from a Concerned Catholic Priest)

MN Prof Criticizes God For 'Impregnating' Mary Without Consent

A Minnisota Professor Criticizes God for not getting Mary's consent.

The story -> Steyn Blasts MN Prof Who Criticized God For 'Impregnating' Mary Without Consent
OK.
So, we have to remember, the only source for the story of God "impregnating" Mary is, in fact, the account of the Annunciation as recorded in the Gospel of Luke 1:26-38. What does it say?


In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, full of grace,[e] the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High;
and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David,
and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever;
and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I have no husband?” And the angel said to her,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you,
and the power of the Most High will overshadow you;
therefore the child to be born[h] will be called holy,
the Son of God.

And behold, your kinswoman Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son; and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible.”

And Mary said, “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Strange, but seems to me (and probably any thinking person, I would think) that "let it be to me according to your word" is granting consent.

What're your thoughts?



A comment from my sharing this on Facebook:
Good points. Another point is the simple fact that she is “full of Grace” means she invited God to wholly (Holy?) fill her being. This is what allowed her to conceive a Holy child. 

But the original comment that reviles God for impregnating Mary doesn’t understand that Mary’s will was completely given over to God’s Will. This is a stumbling block to post modernist thought that declares being self centered is paramount over being God centered. Of course, nothing is modern about that sentiment since it is the same one expressed by Lucifer before he was cast from heaven for rejecting God’s Will and therefore rejecting charity and mercy. So one cannot expect charity be given to God by someone who does not understand humble, willful submission to God’s Will as being a fruitful and Holy choice.







My friend, Dick Fitzgerald, comments:

My friend, Dick Fitzgerald, writes:

We are entering an anti-Christian, anti-reason Dark Age. Those who attempt to exist in this chaos without a solid knowledge of totalitarian thought and politics do so at their own peril. Remember St. Dominic's directive to be knowledgeable about the signs of the times. 

I recommend the following book as an important source in our quest to preach for the salvation of souls in this traumatic time--- The Popes Against Modern Errors: 16 Papal DocumentsActually a lecture/PowerPoint series could be produced using this book as the main text.

May God have mercy on the culture that produced this blasphemy. May this culture repent for its sins.

Friday, November 30, 2018

We need renewal

Cardinal Gerhard Müller: Spiritual renewal is the Church’s foremost need



Too often, we fall into the trap of believing that this politician or that one will solve our problems.
Scripture addresses this attitude.
"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no help" - Ps 146:3
That's not say that we ought not be responsible citizens and vote, but it DOES tell us that we ought not expect too much.

Granted, when we cut through the biased reporting, it appears that Trump is doing a good job - but, he's still a man. He's not a savior.

The ONLY real hope for this nation - or for this world - requires that we drop to our knees.
"if my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land." - 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Let me ask you
Have you humbled yourself?
Have you prayed?
Have you sought His face?
Have you turned from your wicked ways? (And, that doesn't mean confessing on Sunday - or Saturday - and then going out on Monday to commit the same sin. It means repenting).

I'll confess that I don't always do this.
So, like everyone else that hasn't done this, I'm part of the problem.
When we, as Christians (those who are called by His name) do this, THEN, and only Then, can we expect Him to
Hear from heaven
Forgive our sins
Heal our land.

The choice is yours.
You can continue to be part of the problem, or you can be part of the solution.

Which Old Testament?

Growing up Protestant, I was always told that Catholics had a different Old Testament, with the implication that the differences — seven extra books — were added by the Catholics.

As I've matured and researched the issue, and having come to embrace the Catholic Faith, I've found that my earlier understanding couldn't be further from the truth.

Facts about the Septuagint


1) Those seven extra books are part of the Septuagint (LXX - so called because it was done by seventy elders), the Greek translation of the the Old Testament which predates the birth of Christ.

2) Almost every New Testament citation of the Old is not a direct translation from the Hebrew, but taken from the LXX.

3) Jesus celebrated The Feast of Dedication, i.e., Hanukkah (John 10:22-23).  While not a Levitical feast, neither is the Feast of Purim.  But, Purim is a Biblical feast, as is Hanukkah (if one accepts the LXX)

4) I'd always heard that the Book of Esther was the one book of the Bible without reference to God.  But, God is mentioned in the LXX version

5) A Second-Century Christian Apologist, Justin Martyr, in his Dialogue with Trypho states

“But I am far from putting reliance in your teachers, who refuse to admit that the interpretation made by the seventy elders who were with Ptolemy [king] of the Egyptians is a correct one; and they attempt to frame another. And I wish you to observe, that they have altogether taken away many Scriptures from the translations effected by those seventy elders who were with Ptolemy, and by which this very man who was crucified is proved to have been set forth expressly as God, and man, and as being crucified, and as dying; but since I am aware that this is denied by all of your nation, I do not address myself to these points, but I proceed to carry on my discussions by means of those passages which are still admitted by you. For you assent to those which I have brought before your attention, except that you contradict the statement, ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive,’ and say it ought to be read, ‘Behold, the young woman shall conceive.’ And I promised to prove that the prophecy referred, not, as you were taught, to Hezekiah, but to this Christ of mine: and now I shall go to the proof.”


6) It was the Bible of the Early Church

7) The textual tradition of the LXX is supported by many of the Dead Sea Scrolls.

So, what can we say?

It makes much more sense to use the LXX as a Christian Old Testament than to use the Hebrew, Masoretic text (which, according to Justin, was altered in the Second Century).

Where to find the Septuagint?


The Orthodox Study Bible is a new translation.

And Lancelot Brenton translated it in middle of the nineteenth century.

Sadly, the original Vulgate is not based on the LXX.

Why?

"When he was asked by Pope Damasus to make a new Latin translation, around 400 CE, he chose the post-Christian Hebrew text as the basis for his work.  Augustine warned him that this was a mistake, since it implied that the Greek text was less valuable than the Hebrew. Jerome went ahead, using both the current Hebrew text and the Hebrew canon. His reason? So that the Jews would not be able to say that the Church had false scriptures."  (Margaret Barker, Temple Mysticism, SCPK, 2011)


The preceding was posted by me on another blog on 15 Dec 2014.
I would like to add the following passage from a paper by independent Bible Scholar, Margaret Barker.
The paper is entitled Restoring Solomon, and the passage begins at the bottom of page 8.

Now the transmission of any sacred text is a difficult matter to determine, but there are several clear examples of a Hebrew text used at Qumran being different from the one that  became the standard ‘Masoretic’ Hebrew text at the end of the first century CE - the beginning of the Christian era. According to the great Isaiah scroll from Qumran,17 Isaiah told king Ahaz to ask for a sign from the Mother of the LORD your God (Isaiah 7.11), and he gave the prophecy of the Virgin who would bear a son. The Masoretic Hebrew has ‘Ask a sign from the LORD your God’ - no Mother. This difference requires changing one letter into another that is very similar.18. According to the great Isaiah scroll from Qumran, the mysterious servant of the LORD was an anointed man, but the Masoretic Hebrew has a disfigured man (Isa.52.14). This difference requires removing, or adding, one letter to the end of the word. The Christians understood the word as ‘anointed’ and said this was a prophecy of Jesus, but the Masoretic text excludes this understanding. The Targum of Isaiah, however, the Aramaic translation made by a Jew, did have a text that said ‘anointed’. So too the texts of Deuteronomy 32.8 and 32.43 are different in the Qumran and Masoretic forms, and in each case, the Masoretic text excludes the Christian interpretation of the verse. From this we could conclude that the Masoretic Hebrew text is not reliable as evidence of the scriptures that the Hebrew Christians knew and used, and so not the best source for what they knew about the first temple and its teachings.




Novena for Congress

Friends,

There are many members of Congress - both in the House and Senate - who, although Catholic, support principles opposed to the faith they confess.
Of course, Nancy Pelosi, the likely next Speaker of the House, is among them.
Will you join me in a novena for them, a novena to the Immaculate Conception, with the intent that they remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism?







The Athanasian Creed
Our Father
Hail Mary
To your Cross
Miraculous Medal Prayer

O God,  who by the Immaculate Conception
of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son,
we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain,
so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession,  to come unto You.
Through the same Lord Jesus Christ,  Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, world without end. 

Amen. 


Day One
O most Holy Virgin, who was pleasing to the Lord and became His mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on me as I implore your powerful intercession. O most Holy Mother, who by your blessed Immaculate Conception, from the first moment of your conception did crush the head of the enemy, receive our prayers as we implore you to present at the throne of God the favor we now request that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.
Amen.



Day Two
O Mary, ever blessed Virgin, Mother of God, Queen of angels and of saints, we salute you with the most profound veneration and filial devotion as we contemplate your holy Immaculate Conception, We thank you for your maternal protection and for the many blessings that we have received through your wondrous mercy and most powerful intercession. In all our necessities we have recourse to you with unbounded confidence. O Mother of Mercy, we beseech you now to hear our prayer and to obtain for us of your Divine Son the favor that we so earnestly request in this novena that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.
Amen.


Day Three
O Blessed Virgin Mary, glory of the Christian people, joy of the universal Church and Mother of Our Lord, speak for us to the Heart of Jesus, who is your Son and our brother. O Mary, who by your holy Immaculate Conception did enter the world free from stain, in your mercy obtain for us from Jesus the special favor which we now so earnestly seek that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.
 Amen.


Day Four
O Mary, Mother of God, endowed in your glorious Immaculate Conception with the fullness of grace; unique among women in that you are both mother and virgin; Mother of Christ and Virgin of Christ, we ask you to look down with a tender heart from your throne and listen to our prayers as we earnestly ask that you obtain for us the favor for which we now plead that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. Amen.

Day Five
O Lord, who, by the Immaculate Conception of the Virgin Mary, did prepare a fitting dwelling for your Son, we beseech you that as by the foreseen death of your Son, you did preserve her from all stain of sin, grant that through her intercession, we may be favored with the granting of the grace that we seek for at this time that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. Amen.



Day Six
Glorious and immortal Queen of Heaven, we profess our firm belief in your Immaculate Conception preordained for you in the merits of your Divine Son. We rejoice with you in your Immaculate Conception. To the one ever-reigning God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, three in Person, one in nature, we offer thanks for your blessed Immaculate Conception. O Mother of the Word made Flesh, listen to our petition as we ask this special grace during this novena that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. Amen.


Day Seven
O Immaculate Virgin, Mother of God, and my mother, from the sublime heights of your dignity turn your merciful eyes upon me while I, full of confidence in your bounty and keeping in mind your Immaculate conception and fully conscious of your power, beg of you to come to our aid and ask your Divine Son to grant the favor we earnestly seek in this novena... if it be beneficial for our immortal souls and the souls for whom we pray.
May all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.



Day Eight
O Most gracious Virgin Mary, beloved Mother of Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, intercede with him for us that we be granted the favor which we petition for so earnestly in this novena...O Mother of the Word Incarnate, we feel animated with confidence that your prayers in our behalf will be graciously heard before the throne of God. O Glorious Mother of God, in memory of your joyous Immaculate Conception, hear our prayers and obtain for us our petitions.
May all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will.


 
Day Nine


O Mother of the King of the Universe, most perfect member of the human race, "our tainted nature’s solitary boast," we turn to you as mother, advocate, and mediatrix. O Holy Mary, assist us in our present necessity. By your Immaculate Conception, O Mary conceived without sin, we humbly beseech you from the bottom of our heart to intercede for us with your Divine Son and ask that we be granted the favor for which we now plead that all Catholic members of Congress remember and live by the promises made for them at baptism.
O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. Amen.


And, We conclude with the St. Michael Prayer

Sunday, September 9, 2018

A prayer appeal

The Church is in bad shape at the moment.
Allegations of sexual abuse of minors, or covering up that abuse, are in the news. And there are allegations of the corruption reaching into the Vatican, even the Pope himself.
I am not in a position to determine the truth or falsity of these allegations, but, even if they're false, much harm has been done to the Church's credibility, and therefore its message.
I've even seen where one American Jesuit has tweeted that "The Holy Spirit knows what SHE is doing". (my emphasis)
How many have been driven away because the allegations?
How many clergy - bishops, priests, and deacons - have been wounded - certainly emotionally, and, in some cases physically, by those retaliating.
And, if the allegations are true, how many have been wounded by the evil they report?
We can petition that the charges be answered, but such petitions can be ignored.
But, there is one judge - the ULTIMATE Judge - who will listen to our petitions, and those petition must be necessarily for judgment of the evil, but for the strengthening of the Church.
Therefore, I believe the Holy Spirit is leading me to call for as many of my friends to join me in prayer.
Next Friday September 14, is the Feast of the Triumph of the Holy Cross on both the Roman and Byzantine Calendars.
I ask you, each of you, each day, to join with me in praying
1) The Athanasian Creed, that we can declare the True Faith, the faith in the Most Holy Trinity and the Two Natures of Christ.
2) The Chaplet of the Holy Cross
3) The Litany of the Holy Cross.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

A Response to the Current Crisis

From Christ, Our Pascha, the Catechism of the Ukrainian Catholic Church

h. The Church is Holy

  1. In Holy Scripture, the Lord God refers to himself as the Holy One: “For  I  am  God  and  no  mortal,  the  Holy  One  in  your  midst”  (Hos11:9). This God calls humankind to become like him in holiness: “For I am the Lord your God; sanctify yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:44). God’s holiness is the source of holiness for the Church.Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendour, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish (Eph 5:25-27).The  Church  affirms  this  holiness  liturgically,  inviting  the  faithful  to  approach Communion with the words: “The holy Things for the holy.”
  2. The Church is where we are to grow in the holiness that is granted by the  grace  of  the  Holy  Spirit.  The  Holy  Spirit  leads  us  on  the  path  of  holiness, offering the grace of repentance and divinization in the Holy Mysteries of the Church. The Holy Spirit reveals to us the truth that “the Church, embracing in her bosom sinners, [is] at the same time holy and always in need of being purified.”(Vatican Council II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium [Light of the Nations], 8) Those who enter the Church through the doors of repentance, pass through the doors of Paradise into God’s sanctification and blessing. The greatest miracle that takes place in the Holy Church is the transfiguration of a sinner into a saint. As members of the Church grow in holiness, the Lord transforms all creation, liberating it from the dominion of “this world” and its forces, and directing it towards the fullness of the “new earth” (see Rev 21:1).

Even if the worst allegations against Pope Francis are true, the Church's holiness remains untouched.
Why?

We must remember that, yes, although the Church is the Body of Christ, it is still made up of individuals.

  • Does the Church teach sexual abuse of minors?  Of course not!
  • Does the Church teach excusing those guilty of such abuse?  Of course not!
What has happened is horrendous, and guilty parties should be held accountable - ecclesiastically and civilly.  But, even though they were in positions of authority over those whom they abused, or over those whose sins were covered up, none of it was done with the authority of the Church.  All of it was done by individuals abusing their position within the Church.

The Church is holy, and will remain holy.
If it is not holy, then it's a fraud - and Christianity is a fraud.  But history shows that it cannot be a fraud.

Let us consider this past Sunday's Gospel reading in the Byzantine Rite:
The Lord told this parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be likened to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. He dispatched his servants to summon the invited guests to the feast, but they refused to come. A second time he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those invited: “Behold, I have prepared my banquet, my calves and fattened cattle are killed, and everything is ready; come to the feast.”’ Some ignored the invitation and went away, one to his farm, another to his business. The rest laid hold of his servants, mistreated them, and killed them. The king was enraged and sent his troops,
destroyed those murderers, and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The feast is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy to come. Go out, therefore, into the main roads and invite to the feast whomever you find.’ The servants went out into the streets and gathered all they found, bad and good alike, and the hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to meet the guests he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment. He said to him, ‘My friend, how is it that you came in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was reduced to silence. Then the king said to his attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet, and cast him into the darkness outside, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.’ Many are invited, but few are chosen.” Matt 22:2-14
In this Epistle to the Colossians, St. Paul tells us to "put on love".
Not only love, we are to clothe ourselves in holiness.  Those who don't do so are like the man who comes to the banquet without a wedding garment.
Now, I'm not sitting in judgment over those priests and bishops who've sinned, or covered up. I'm merely pointing out that their sins are not those of one who wears that garment, who is clothed in holiness. And, so, their actions are not those of Christ's Holy Church.

So, what are we to do?
Consider the Latins' Gospel reading from this past Sunday:
Many of Jesus' disciples who were listening said,
"This saying is hard; who can accept it?"
Since Jesus knew that his disciples were murmuring about this,
he said to them, "Does this shock you?
What if you were to see the Son of Man ascending
to where he was before?
It is the spirit that gives life,
while the flesh is of no avail.
The words I have spoken to you are Spirit and life.
But there are some of you who do not believe."
Jesus knew from the beginning the ones who would not believe
and the one who would betray him.
And he said,
"For this reason I have told you that no one can come to me
unless it is granted him by my Father."

As a result of this,
many of his disciples returned to their former way of life
and no longer accompanied him.
Jesus then said to the Twelve, "Do you also want to leave?"
Simon Peter answered him, "Master, to whom shall we go?
You have the words of eternal life.
We have come to believe
and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God." John 6:60-69

Our Church is the Church of the Holy One of God.
Through Him, it has the words of eternal life.
Where would we go?

Scandal in the Church

It is becoming common for dioceses to release the name of priests who've been credibly accused of sexual misconduct.  This week, the R...