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Boston Catholic Journal - Critical Catholic Commentary in the Twilight of Reason

Boston Catholic Journal

Martyrology for Today


CRITICAL CATHOLIC COMMENTARY


in the Twilight of Reason



Mary, Conceived without Sin, Pray for us who have Recourse to Thee

 

 

Mary, Conceived without Sin,

pray for us who have recourse to Thee



 

Vindictive, Arrogant, Despotic, and Vengeful

Francis is a Pope but not a "Holy" "Father" in any meaningful sense of either word

Francis is a Pope ...
but
not a “Holy” “Father”

 

Understand this:

To love the pope is to will him every good and no evil.

This is what it means for a Catholic to love anyone.

We love Pope Francis in this way; we will him every good and no evil.

Do we admire him? Absolutely not! Do we esteem him. No! Is he dear to us? Not in the least.

He is, canonically, our pope — but few of us would predicate of him the two consecutive words historically associated with the Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth: “Holy Father.” He has consistently demonstrated himself to be neither.

Holiness is not vindictive, arrogant, despotic, and vengeful.

A Father does not abuse his children, favoring some, punishing others, giving shelter to those who please him while leaving those who do not please him out in the cold, generously feeding his favored ones, while starving the ill-favored in the hope that they will soon perish.

Such a man, whatever he may be, is neither holy nor a father in any accepted understanding of either word.

A holy man does not do these things.

A father does not do these things.

Ergo, a “Holy Father” does not do these things.

But Francis does.

Consider his treatment of virtually every Catholic, whether cleric, episcopal, or lay, who adheres to the Traditional Latin Mass that has been loved and practiced for the entire 2000-year history of the Church — until it was brutally quashed by an edict from Francis in his motu proprioTraditiones Custodes” on 16 July 2021, callously depriving them of their most cherished patrimony as Catholics in continuity with every Catholic for the past … not 20 years, not even 200 years, but 2000 years! … and with the simple stroke of a pen wielded by an authoritarian hand that tolerates no opposition and crushes all dissent.

This is Francis (“the humble”) who famously encourages all others to “walk in spiritual accompaniment1 and “to listen to and hear one another” 2  — as long, apparently, as they walk, lockstep, with him and agree with him in all matters spiritual, social, socio-sexual, environmental, economic, and even political.

In living memory no other pope has been so remorselessly, so openly punitive toward those he deems to be impediments to his radically progressive agenda to remake the Church in his own image, an image presciently sculpted in the background by Fazzini in the Modernist Pope Paul VI Audience Hall; an image of things distorted and ultimately hideous.

Cross Francis and your career is over, your position is lost, your vocation itself is in peril and your very livelihood will likely be suspended; you will never be granted an audience with him, no matter how high your ecclesiastical rank (think Cardinal Zen of China whom Francis has refused to see as he pursues his own Ostpolitik with Communist China). Francis is nothing if not vindictive. Were the Vatican a crime syndicate (it is not …. is it?)  Frankie would be a real “Capo” … less any pretensions to refinement.

Consider this: bishops have lost their dioceses. Joseph Strickland of Tyler, Texas is the most notable to come to mind in America.

Priests by the scores have been “cancelled” (too many to enumerate. See Coalition for Canceled Priests) — they have had their faculties for celebrating the Mass and the Sacraments revoked, and their means for living removed.

One Cardinal and critic of Francis (Raymond Burke) was punished twice: first, by being removed by Francis as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, the court of final appeal at the Vatican: and then, not satisfied, Francis then went on to take away his living quarters in Rome and still not satisfied, stopped his stipend for living! I did say “Capo,” yes? Un bell'uomo, sì? 3

So, what are we, as Catholics, to make of Francis?

It is a question I struggle with daily. There are, I think two categories that we are contending with in addressing this question. Much like a Venn Diagram 4 there are areas where they overlap and become particularly problematic, and I think that this is intentional on the part of Francis as a means of obfuscating issues that would, of themselves, be clearly distinguishable and susceptible to clear interpretation.

I believe that Francis wishes to avoid precision because precision makes no allowance for ambiguity: it redounds to unmistakable clarity which then calls for a necessary resolution. It is particularly within that ill-defined penumbra on the margins of issues where Francis feels that his arguments may at least provisionally survive as minor or temporary premises, at least long enough to carry forth what is essentially an enthymeme or sorites to what he realizes is an an illegitimate conclusion. But it is the conclusion, nevertheless, that he strives for, that he wishes to achieve at any cost. We must understand that it is a matter of arriving at the conclusion that is important to Francis, regardless of the means or the legitimacy of the conclusion. In this sense, his logic, if you will, is not an extension, but merely an expression of his will. Friedrich Nietzsche would understand this at once as an expression of his famous axiom, “der Wille zur Macht,” or the “the Will to Power.”


An Abusive Father

Still, even as an abusive father, we love Francis as we ought.

It is the way Christ commanded us to love others; even, given the present environment in the highest echelons of the Vatican, those who hate us; those who vigorously persecute us; those who very clearly have no good will toward us.

However — because we will him every good and no evil (that is to say, because we love him — and, a fortiori — love Christ all the more) we do not and will not follow so many of Francis’s “moral teachings,” for they do not accord with the Truth, which, for Catholics,  is not simply a  “logically consistent proposition”, but a Person: Jesus Christ and what He Himself taught. 5  Most often they touch upon things in which he has no competence and certainly no mandate: economies, politics, nation-state issues, liberal social-sexual and moral issues in which he demonstrates very clear partisan preferences, environmentalism, the evils of select economic systems, an overweening affection for “mother earth” and indigenous things, a soto-voce reproach of an unstated evil implicit in western culture in particular and civilization in general, especially vis-à-vis the motherly humus of the Amazonian model nurtured by Pachamama in Brazil.

His “spiritual” teachings are less clear. They are not always consistent with the authentic and historical teachings of the Church that we find in the Sacred Deposit of Faith and the Magisterium of the Church. Nor are they (meager as they are in comparison with his “moral teachings”) always consistent with Sacred Scripture, and this is particularly troubling.

His “moral teachings,” however, especially as they come to us through his simpering alter ego “Tucho” Fernandez are particularly pernicious inasmuch as they are intentionally invested with the authority of the office of the Dicastery of the Doctrine of the Faith which, up to eight months ago, was an office of serious matters headed by individuals with serious intellects and profound theological credentials. That this is no longer so, is abundantly clear.

The DDF appears to have become merely another facet of Francis’s ego writ large. This is quite an accomplishment for a (proudly) humble man. But a humble man becomes a dangerous man when the currency of his humility is found to be counterfeit. When it is revealed that the carefully curated “persona” and the “real” person of whom it is a publicized fiction are no longer negotiable, predictable alliances can result.  This is where “Tucho” comes in. He is as famously bright as Francis is famously humble and this is a useful collaboration where there are things to be done in the dark, things that would redound both to the rehabilitation of Francis’s image that has become tarnished of late, and to the progression of his agenda that appears to have become stymied. Tucho, ever eager to comply, is the man for the job; a noted “creative” writer of fiction-of-sorts, especially of the type that would now avoid scrutiny and publicity in polite company, what better choice for becoming Francis’s alter-persona?

Francis will find impenetrable shadows in that man, both moral and intellectual; shadows that will play with light … while eluding it; never permitting too bright a light to penetrate a lurking darkness where evil things come to light.     
 

Making Our Choice

If we must choose between what the Church and Sacred Scripture has taught for 2000 years — and what Francis teaches, our choice as Catholics is determined right out of the gate: Scripture and two unbroken millennia of Church teaching prior to Francis and Vatican II.

Yes, both.

Why both? Because Francis declared that he himself is the only pontiff bold enough to fulfill what had been proposed by that most unfortunate Council known as Vatican II, and up to his own pontificate never fully enacted. It can broadly be summed up in one (rather long) word: Ecumenism — understood as “religion-in-general-and-no-religion-in-particular-especially-not-Catholicism-and-perhaps-no-religion-at-all. Ecumenism is generally understood as the endeavor to restore a recalcitrant “Christian unity” between the Catholic Church and nominally Christian communities that had separated themselves from the Catholic Church subsequent to disputes concerning doctrine or dogma. Most often it was both which, for various reasons, they had found unacceptable, inconvenient, or impractical to purposes at hand, resulting in virtually hundreds, if not thousands, of ecclesial bodies with contradictory, conflicting, and theologically irreconcilable beliefs, not only with the Catholic Church but between the mutually opposing denominations themselves.

The Second Vatican Council, having failed to achieve this ecumenical unity (Protestants did not return to the Catholic Church, so the Catholic Church gradually Protestantized itself to minimize the conflict in doctrine, dogma, liturgy, and worship, effectively achieving a kind of unilateral ecumenism through adopting Protestantism for all practical purposes. The next logical step in this radical “progressive” impetus was, of course, native Interreligious/Interfaith Dialogue. Following this, in a still more natural progression, is Indifferentism: all religions — however incompatible, and despite being logically and theologically contradictory and inconsistent, are nevertheless equally true ... even if the realization of several, or one, is achieved through abolishing all the others.  That this is, in the minds of rational men,  illogical, impossible, and therefore madness, is quite beside the point: it simply pleases us to maintain that this is so. We saw this repeatedly in Assisi under three pontiffs: John Paul II (twice), Benedict XVI, and, of course, Francis (twice). Not to be outdone, Francis brought Indifferentism (and blasphemy), into Vatican Gardens themselves with Pachamama.

One day, perhaps not far off, Vatican II will be remembered and understood for what it was and is: a scourge on the Church and — as every great heresy has ever been from Gnosticism to Protestantism — the calamitous defection from what is good and holy to what is ultimately banal and absurd.

It is man apart from God. For all its pretensions, it is nothing more than this.
 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

Wednesday May 8, 2024
Feast of the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

__________________________________
 

  1. https://www.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/audiences/2023/documents/20230104-udienza-generale.html

  2. https://www.vaticannews.va/en/pope/news/2022-01/listening-is-essential-for-communication-says-pope-francis.html

  3. “A Nice guy, yes?”

  4. Venn Diagram:



Photo source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/quran-burning-pope-francis-sweden-b2368339.html

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Is the Novus Ordo Mass Valid?

Is the Novus Ordo Mass Valid?

Because of the Incessant Abuses We Witness,
This Question Will Not Go Away


Perhaps no other question is more routinely asked us than this

The Novus Ordo Mass is a valid Mass: Jesus Christ is truly present after Transubstantiation under the hands of the priest acting in persona Christi. The Novus Ordo Mass itself is, at least in most places within America (and most of Europe) quite nearly a travesty of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that had been celebrated for 2000 years (and briefly during the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI) before that needless novelty we understand as “Vatican II”. It is, too often, nearly blasphemous, and my heart sinks when I think of the shameful things to which Our Blessed Lord is often subjected prior to His coming to us in Holy Communion in such parishes.

If you are within a reasonable distance to a Traditional Latin Mass, or are among the fortunate few to have found a Novus Ordo parish with a priestly pastor who clearly understands and exercises the vertical dimension of his vocation (calling his flock to sanctity and to God; not to social justice, correctitude, and other irrelevant absurdities) I earnestly suggest avoiding the Novus Ordo Mass as an impediment, and often even a detriment, to your Faith and your life in Christ. It is such a sad but necessary statement make.

However, for all the banality of the Novus Ordo Mass and its conspicuous lack of anything verging on sanctity, it is at least for the 3-4 minutes when the Sacred Species are Confected into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ … Him, present to us!

We must see Him very much as we would have seen Him on the Cross: disfigured, mocked, even unrecognizable within all that surrounds Him! But it is, nevertheless, Him! And for those 3-4 minutes we come face to face with our Lord and our God: we encounter Him … in the crowd that does not know Him or even see Him, He sees us!

We must understand ourselves, as it were, as being in the crowd among the Roman soldiers, the Pharisees and the Sadducees; among those who ridicule Him and mock Him, and who would even spit upon Him! That is to say, among those who do not know Him, Who He is, nor whence He is.

Those who do know Him there are small in number: Mary His Holy Mother, Mary Magdalen, Saint John, Dismas, Longinus … and although we are not saints, us! Yes, us …. if only because we know Him and see Him in that mindless crowd and in that bitter humiliation that was Calvary and that has become the Novus Ordo Mass.

This does not mean that we are saints and that we will go to Heaven. No! It means that we recognize the depths of our sinfulness and our unworthiness even to be counted among those who tormented Christ — for we do no less … each and every time we sin! But still He looks upon us at the moment of Transubstantiation! Just because we recognize Him does not mean that we are worthy of Him! No! But at the very least … we know that He is there, and that He knows that we know that He is there.

Find the Tridentine Mass, the Most Holy Mass of 200 centuries, at all costs! But if you cannot because of the wiles of the Evil One and the complicity of evil men at the highest levels in the Church, go to Him where no one else seems to find Him, or even knows that He is there. Sit quietly in your pew and engage in none of the nonsense and noise that would call you away from Him. But when the time of Canon of the Mass comes, and even the most wicked priest cannot change the words of Institution to his own liking — thenthen, kneel before our God, and tell Him that you have come for Him, and Him alone. He will know.


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
May 21, 2024
Feast of Sts. Andrew Bobola and Eugene de Mazenod

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Counsels and Admonitions

from Saint Francis

Consilia et Admonitiones quae cessarunt tertio die mensis Octobris anno Domini millesimo ducentesimo vigesimo sexto, quando imago Christi compleretur in persona Francisci servi sui.
 

St. Francis of Assisi Maker of Men in the Imago Dei

Maker of Men



A New Series:
 

Saint Francis was a maker of men.

What he demanded of himself, he demanded no less of others, however much he was filled with compassion, love, and kindness toward everyone who failed — not him — but themselves, in their own pursuit of the perfection Christ required of them and which they found possible in him. Those who followed St. Francis were (and some, perhaps, still are) among the greatest examples of men God ever created: examples of selflessness, discipline, perseverance, fortitude, courage, determination, goodness; in a word, the best of what is manliness.

He was relentless in his pursuit of holiness, and whatever stood between him and God was unsparingly tossed underfoot or cast aside as an affront to God and an enemy to his salvation and the salvation of the souls God placed in his path and in his care. He took this responsibility absolutely personally and altogether seriously. His focus was singular: God — His glory, His honor, His most holy will — and nothing other and nothing less.

I emphasize this to break the persistent myth surrounding narratives of St. Francis (especially since the 1960s) that would have us see him as something of an innocuous Flower Child more concerned with Mother Earth, animals, and offending no one; a soft, almost androgynous, if not feminine figure emblematic of a spirituality largely foreign to Catholicism. Such an understanding of St. Francis does not simply fail to agree with the reality of the person and history of this great saint, but grossly distorts him to the point that an accurate presentation becomes so startling that it may appear to be the fiction, rather than the saccharine pulp presentations that have largely made him acceptable to popularly pious sensitivities. This is a great injustice to St. Francis, although I think that he would be the first to see the inanity in it.

But to the point: if you would really understand St. Francis, you must first (of course) understand Jesus Christ, and three particular teachings that He enunciates, apart from which you will never understand anything at all about St. Francis, his life, and his history. Indeed, they are so central to the life and spirituality of this great saint that we may say that, in a sense, they constitute the very fabric of his being:


Enter at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and those who enter it are many. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leads to life: and few there are that find it!(St. Matthew 7.13-14)

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it.(St. Matthew 16.24)

If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you. (St. John 15.19-20)


Once we dwell upon these three points sufficiently, we can venture further, and deeper, into — not just St. Francis — but our own lives in Christ, where they are, where they are taking us, and where they are likely to end.

I know that this is hubris. But if I am not brave in this venture, I will accomplish nothing good: not in my own soul, still less in the souls of those who endure this series.

I hope for good. But only God can accomplish any good in me, and if He does not, then all praise and glory be His forever and ever: Sanctus. Sanctus. Sanctus!

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
April 25, 2024
Feast of Saint Mark, Evangelist
Comments? Write us:  editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

_____________________________________________________



 

  • Some Admonitions Concerning the Body:

“Many people, when they sin or receive an injury, often blame the Enemy or some neighbor. But this is not right, for each one has the real enemy in his own power; that is, the body through which he sins. Therefore, blessed is that servant who, having such an enemy in his power, will always hold him captive and wisely guard himself against him, because as long as he does this, no other enemy, seen or unseen, will be able to harm him.” (The Admonitions X )

the flesh is always opposed to every good.” (The Admonitions XII)
 

  • How Even the Least of Gods Creatures Serve Him Better than We Do —
       and what is more frightening still ...

“All the creatures under Heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know, and obey their Creator better than you. And even the demons did not crucify Him, but you, together with them have crucified Him and crucify Him even now by delighting in vices and sins.”
(The Admonitions V)
 

  • Woe to those who die in mortal sin!

“Praised be You, my Lord, through our Sister Bodily Death, from whom no living man can escape.
Woe to those who die in mortal sin.
Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the Second Death shall do them no harm.”
(The Canticle of Brother Sun )

 

  • Who Our Real Friends Are

“Our friends, then, are all those who unjustly inflict upon us trials and ordeals, shame and injuries, sorrows and torments, martyrdom and death; we must love them greatly for we will possess eternal life because of what they bring upon us.”
(The Admonitions XXII.1 )

 

  • What We Must Hate

“We must hate our body with its vices and sins, because by living according to the flesh, the devil wishes to take from us the love of Jesus Christ and eternal life and to lose himself and everyone in Hell. For through our own fault we are rotten, miserable, and opposed to good, but prompt and willing to embrace evil.”
(The Admonitions XXII.5 )

 

more to follow ...

 


 

Cardinal Victor Fernández:
 

“The Mystical Passion:

Spirituality and Sensuality”

The Mystical Passion: Spirituality and Sensuality: a Profound Disfiguration of Mystical Theology

(from the back cover of the book)

A Profound Disfiguration

of Mystical Theology

It is embarrassing.

Academically as much as morally.

This is a book by a mature 36-year-old man that should never have been printed; not because it is lascivious (it is) but because it is the product of a mind that had no acquaintance with serious study and no founding in Catholic primary sources — a “cardinal sin,” if you will, of any author, especially a Catholic author who illicitly invokes the names of saints and in so doing pretends to adduce their support for a thesis that is not simply contrary to their writings, but is a caricature of them. This is damnable!

Fernández was not, as he also pretends to be, still a formative young man who later wrote “more serious” treatises on Mystical Theology such The Healing Force of Mysticism and The Transforming Force of Mysticism, neither title of which inspires me to believe that they contain any more mature theological insights than their “less mature” works, including Heal Me with Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing.

Fernandez's grasp of Mystical Theology is shockingly inadequate. Consider the following:
 

“[in] a kind of fulfilling orgasm in our relationship with God … God manages to touch the soul-corporeal centre of pleasure.”

Or:

“The mystical experience God touches the most intimate centre of love and pleasure…” [emphases added]

 

These are but two absolutely fundamental misconceptions, or complete distortions, of the very nature and possibility of mystical experience articulated by the sources he appeals to.

I have argued elsewhere, with clear and indisputable citations to primary sources that:
 

  • Sensuous negation, or what St. John of the Cross, [the First Doctor of Mystical Theology in the Catholic Church], calls the “Night of the Senses.” is therefore absolutely necessary to that union in which the soul becomes one with God.”
     

  • “In the opening sequences of Book One of the Ascent, St. John discussed the night of the senses relative to the will. There we found that the disparity between God and created nature emphasized the lack of proportion, of commensurability, between God and the soul in its relation to God through created nature, and in so doing demonstrated the inherent impossibility of a sensuous apprehension of God. And the conclusion, of course, was that if God is to be apprehended at all, he must be apprehended extra-naturally; not through a sensuous manifold accessible to the will — nor, as St. John will now argue, through any conceptualization available through ordinary understanding.” 
     

  • the contemplative must not defer to the senses; however credible their reports may appear. Moreover, St. John argues, in their tangible dimensions, these sensuous communications cannot, in reality, bear any proportion to, and are in fact the ontological opposite of, the spiritual reality which they purport to convey.”  *


What is more, absolutely fundamental to Western Christian Mysticism is the the notion of apophasis, the understanding of God by a negation of what He is not, commonly called the Via Negativa, or the Negative Way. Because of the ontological disparity between man and God inasmuch as God is eternal where man is temporal, infinite where man in finite, God is absolute where man is contingent, God is Uncreated Spirit and man created spirit and flesh who was created in imago Dei (the image of God) in time and not eternity, and we cannot predicate of God anything corporeal” for everything sensible and corporeal is eo ipso not God nor predicable of God since it is material, temporal and finite.

The absolutely contradictory and utterly incoherent notion of something that is “soul-corporeal is nothing less than an absurdity, and to argue that it can be radicated in some imaginary “centre of pleasure is beyond absurd. To understand, in any measure, God reflected, however analogically, in the completely sensual act of sexual climax is not simply bizarre, it is an utter failure to grasp even the most fundamental elements in Christian theology and philosophy.

More absurd still is that this less than pedestrian mind is directing the very office  — the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith — where the most mature and incisive intellect is required in making determinations concerning the very Doctrine of the Faith itself. That it should have been given by Francis to a man of such questionable character and limited intellectual ability is astounding! It is the highest office in the Church next to the papacy and should not have been given as a reward for loyalty, or as a favor to a friend and fellow-countryman with the same horizontal and anthropocentric agendum. The Church is far beyond the narrow and calculated reach of any individual who would fashion what is divine into the marred image of a man.

That Fernández has chosen to articulate this most superlative love of God for the soul and the reciprocal love of the soul for God, not just in sensuous terms, but in what is tantamount to the pornographic terms which he appears to use in characterizing love in any of its manifestations is not just “regrettable”, or even “scandalous” — it is, as I have said earlier and now say with greater vigor still, damnable.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello   
Editor of the Boston Catholic Journal
and Author of       
* The Metaphysics of Mysticism  
A Commentary    
on the Mystical Philosophy of  
St. John of the Cross

January 12, 2024
Feast of
 
the Holy Martyrs Zoticus, Rogatus, Modestus, Castulus, and forty soldiers In Africa

 

   Printable PDF Version
Comments? Write us:  editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

 




 

A Reflection on the Legacy of a Steward

Francis: the unfaithful steward
Francis, Ecumenism,

and the Divisions within us

All are Welcome, Except All the Children ...


Francis will diealthough we do not wish his death, nor the death of any man — but it is, withal, the temporal end of every man, pontiff or layman, commoner or king. Reflecting on this as Francis recently celebrated his 87th birthday, we are moved to observe something very simple about his stewardship over the House that the Lord has entrusted to him.

For 10 years now, Francis has attempted to renovate a House that is not his, but only placed in his care as a steward. The majestic facades, the incense-imbued silence within, dimly colored with the stained-glass light of a late afternoon; the soaring spires that proclaimed the great Triumph of the Cross abroad for all to see — these were not his to depredate: they belonged to God and to His simple servants who raised them to His glory through the coppers they gave and through the rough, calloused, hands that engraved every niche in stone by dint of a devotion every bit as indestructible as the tip of the chisel the stone yielded to.

Some of these Francis and his bishops simply tore down; others they emptied by consolidating them with other Catholic parishes who were equally bleeding parishioners and sold them to Muslims whose adherents grew as exponentially as ours diminished. Some were sold to Evangelical Protestants (especially Hispanic), others to developers who gutted them and turned them into trendy condominiums. And others are left simply abandoned and ruined. This was part of the growth spurred by the innovations of Vatican II that was supposed to bring the Church into the World but brought, instead, the World into the Church.

And the faithful fled, seeing little difference between the two.

Renovation

A far more destructive renovation is much closer to the heart of Francis, however, than the mere obliteration of what was symbolically holy in the external presentation of the Church. And it concerns the very heart of the Church: its Mass and its Liturgy. These were the two  greatest impediments to the holy grail of Vatican II: Ecumenism. And inextricably bound up with them were the Sacred Deposit of Faith, and Sacred Tradition. They had been quietly but indelibly preserved in Latin despite nearly 70 years of experimentation in the Vernacular Mass that somehow had promised, but could not deliver upon, an organic evolution of worship into something ecumenically acceptable to all men in all religions.

Perhaps the New Order of the Mass, the Novus Ordo constructed by Bishop Luca Brandolini and Anabile Bugnini,1 could still lend itself as the vehicle to a universal worship of God under the auspices of Ecumenism: each religion to its own god to be worshipped as the one, true god in Catholicism — but not in Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, or Hinduism, each of whom keep their respective gods without conflating them with any other god, especially the Catholic God. To use Francis’s dismissive term for Traditional Catholics,“indietrists2 are much too caught up in trifles like logic to enter emotionally into the “spirit” of Ecumenism where, apparently, the Law of Non-Contradiction 3 is not admissible and contradictory affirmations are compulsory.
 

All are Welcome ... Except All the Children ...

Certainly, this New Order of Mass, the Novus Ordo of Paul VI — unlike the Latin Mass — has proven itself to be extremely versatile and spontaneously creative, possessing nothing of that loathsome “ridigity” so detested by Francis in the “Old Latin Mass.” We have witnessed this spontaneity, this tossing off of the shackles of customary ritual in nearly every Mass; so much so, in fact, that we never quite know what to expect at a Mass the next town over if a Catholic Church still remains there. It could be a “Charismatic Mass” that could vie with, or even surpass in excess, any uninhibited Protestant Revival Meeting. It could be a “Healing Mass,” or a “Children’s Mass.” It may not even be in your language. It could even be an “Ecumenical Service” with your local Protestant Minister, Jewish Rabbi, or Muslim Imam. So many Masses we now have! Except Latin Masses.

“All are welcome!” ... except Latin rite Catholics. ... the unwelcome step-children of Vatican II ... the only children not allowed to “walk in accompaniment” with Francis & Friends; a “privilege” reserved to “other” Catholics, non-Catholics, and atheists alike. Francis's own rigid insistence on the Novus Ordo Mass to the exclusion of any Mass preceding Vatican II is, in fact, completely understandable in light of his determination to fulfill  the Ecumenical pledge of Vatican II: not just the unification of all Christians in spite of doctrinal, ecclesiological, and Confessional differences, but more ambitiously, the unification of all believers in some form of transcendental reality. This is a very, very, broad category comprising nearly everything beyond sensibility, and even sensibility is not categorically excluded. So understood, the term becomes so broad as to become almost meaningless. It is much like claiming to achieve an ultimate Hegelian synthesis that claims to reconcile all contradictions but cannot explain how, and so becomes unintelligible and therefore worthless.

This is becoming too dense for the casual reader so I will not pursue it. Nor should the casual reader regret the omission. Really, it is hardly worth it.

For Francis to scornfully dismiss those who are not persuaded that his ecumenical agendum is the principal reason behind his effectively abolishing and outlawing the Latin Mass (although he disingenuously — really, quite dishonestly — states that it is to preserve unity in the Church) is a failure in charity to acknowledge real and legitimate issues among the faithful concerning the very unity he pretends to seek while actively striking discord within it. For Francis to claim that he is trying to preserve unity through this autocratic move is both shamefully and manifestly untruthful. That the Latin Mass, together with the theology upon which it has been articulated, has been so forcefully repudiated by Francis is an indication of how desperate a measure he is willing to resort to in order to implement, or better yet, to force, an increasingly brittle ecumenical paradigm on clergy and laity alike. Pieces of that ecumenical puzzle that are not of Bergoglio's making either will not fit, or refuse to fit, however much force he applies to them.
 

A Happy Failure

It will be a happy failure that Francis could not, for all his intrigue and ill-designs, bring to an end what faithless princes and kings, heretics and apostates through 20 centuries had been unable to achieve: the destruction, and the utter removal from living memory, of the inextinguishable sanctity of the Latin Mass of All Times and All Places. .

It will be a sad epitaph for Francis in many ways, and history will not look kindly upon his persecution of the faithful in the very house given them and entrusted to him to keep them. It is all the more sad, not that he failed to keep them, or even that he refused to keep them, but that he sought to drive them out. Seeking to please men, he drove out the children. It is a tragedy of great depth. It is also one that calls for deep, even the most profound, prayer; prayer that must extend to the hand that strikes, as well as to the stricken, for none of us is without sin.

Listening to Christ, let us put aside all contention, and remember not so much what has been done to us, but rather what remains for us to do:

Love your enemies: do good to them that hate you: and pray for them that persecute and calumniate you.” (St. Matthew 5.44)


 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal
January 10, 2024
Feast of Pope St. Agatho
 

   Printable PDF Version

Comments? Write us: editor@boston-catholic-journal.com

_______________________________

1 “I can’t fight back the tears. This is the saddest moment in my life as a man, priest and bishop”, Luca Brandolini, a member of the liturgy commission of the Italian bishops’ conference, told Rome daily La Repubblica in an interview on Sunday. “It’s a day of mourning, not just for me but for the many people who worked for the Second Vatican Council. A reform for which many people worked, with great sacrifice and only inspired by the desire to renew the Church, has now been cancelled.” — Bishop Luca Brandolini (principal architect of the Novus Ordo Missae, or the Vernacular Mass)

2 Franciss Italian neologism meaning: backwardists.

3 Contradictory propositions cannot, at one and the same time, and in the same sense, be both true and not true, e.g.
   “It is true that the god worshipped by Muslims is not the same God worshipped by Catholics.
   “It is true that the God worshipped by Catholics is same the god worshipped by Muslims.
   “It is true that the God worshipped by Catholics is not the same god worshipped by Muslims.
   “It is true that the god worshipped by Muslims is the same God worshipped by Catholics.

 


 

The Queer and Impulsive God of

The Recreant Steward and the Captain of the Tower Guard

Fiducia supplicans

 

This “declaration on Catholic doctrine,” which is more properly an aberration of it — is Francis’s latest effort to appease a coterie of his most ardent supporters by attempting to legitimize “irregular” — which is to say, “sinful”— “unions” of actively-engaged homosexuals by invoking “blessings” upon them. It is effectively summarized in paragraph (31)

FS 31. “These forms of blessing express a supplication that God may grant those aids that come from the impulses of his Spirit—what classical theology calls “actual grace”—so that human relationships may mature and grow in fidelity to the Gospel, that they may be freed from their imperfections and frailties, and that they may express themselves in the ever-increasing dimension of the divine love.”

There are two very serious problems with this statement. Once concerns the manipulation of language, and one concerns a calculated misrepresentation of the notion of Actual Grace. Both are intended to mislead the casual reader, and to promote an agendum (specifically, homosexuality as acceptable to God and the Catholic Church — other supposed “irregular unions” implied are simply intentional distractions) that is not simply contrary to Catholic Teaching, but is militantly hostile to it.

Let us look at the first:

   “These [so-called “pastoral”] forms of blessing express a supplication that God
may grant those aids that come from the impulses of his Spirit …”


This is a very queer notion. First, God does not have “impulses.” Consider the definition of “impulse” from four respectable sources:

  • “a sudden spontaneous inclination or incitement to some usually unpremeditated action” 1

  • “a sudden strong wish to do something” 2

  • “a sudden desire to do something” 3

  • “a sudden wish or urge that prompts an unpremeditated act or feeling; an abrupt inclination4

Italicized above are all the words in each definition that do not, and cannot, possibly pertain to God.

What God is Not

  • God is never “spontaneous” [happening or done in a natural, often sudden way, without any planning or without being forced”]. He does not act with “out of the blue” spontaneity. Spontaneity implies a sudden change in God, but God does not change.

  • Neither is God ever “motivated:” He is His own cause: nothing “other” than Himself motivates Him.

  • Nor is God ever “inclined” to do something or anything, for this would imply a change within Him from potentiality (or as the Schoolmen called it, “potency”) to act; as it were, from His possessing something potentially but not choosing to actualize it, or cause it to be. But that would mean that the Being of God is not a pure Act, but has the potential to be more than it is — and this is not what we understand by “God”: that is to say, we do not understand by God one who can be more than He is and chooses not to be, for such a being, capable of being more than He is, cannot be God, for He would be less than He could be, and such a being we do not understand to be God.

  • Neither is God susceptible to “incitement” for the same reasons outlined above — still less to “unpremeditated action” (an omniscient, all-knowing, God cannot possibly possess anything “unpremeditated”, i.e. something He did not know or purpose).

  • Nor is God susceptible to “desires,” since He possesses all that could be desired in the possession of Himself.

  • For the same reasons He does not “wish” for anything, nor is He “inclined” toward anything, or have “urges” for anything. Even anthropologically understood, they cannot be predicated of God or in any way pertain to Him.

All these things pertain to the notion of “impulses.”

No Blessings Can Come from What is Not God

There are no blessings, then, that can possibly come from the fiction called “the impulses of his (sic, presumably God’s) Spirit,” for God the Holy Spirit, as we have gone to pains to demonstrate, does not have, and cannot have, “impulses.”

Furthermore, to conflate this illegitimate and meaningless notion of God behaving “impulsively” with the legitimate theological concept of Actual Grace is nothing less than an attempt at theological legerdemain (trickery). In a word, the connection between the two is spurious.

Perhaps the most succinct description of Actual Grace is along these lines: It is the grace given to the achievement of, and not enduring beyond, a salutary action that itself, as inherently good (for God will not and cannot give us grace to do something evil), and which is granted through the merits of Jesus Christ.

More to the point, it is an irreconcilable contradiction to claim that people living in objectively sinful relationships — or the sins that Francis, Fernández & Friends prefer to verbally sanitize as “irregular unions” — are, in fact, capable of receiving an actual blessing that will assist them in achieving an action that is neither spiritually nor naturally salutary or good, for the action (active homosexuality) is intrinsically sinful, and as sinful, eo ipso evil.

 Few appear willing to state this inescapable conclusion for fear of being “socially incorrect” or “hurting the feelings of others.” However, “hurting the feelings” of others so that their immortal souls may avoid Hell and attain to Heaven is an inestimably good act. It is an act of love, for love ever wills the good of the other and no evil.

Not on Merit

Since Francis is keen to discourage piety in Catholics (dismissing reverence toward the Holy Eucharist as an attitude of regarding it as “a prize for the perfect” 5 — as though any Catholic deems himself perfect) or filial adherence to long established Church teaching as “rigidity,” “backwardness,” and more 6,  we must hasten to add that the objection to a “blessing” of the sort proposed is not based on a matter of “merit,” since no one — absolutely no one — “merits” the grace of God in any form, Sanctifying, Habitual, or Actual. Francis cannot implicitly argue (as he did, concerning the Eucharist) that heterosexual couples (“proudly”) deem themselves meritorious of blessings (and are therefore unworthy of them), while (“humble”) homosexual “couples” recognize they are not worthy of them (and are therefore worthy of them). Why? We had just stated it: No one is deserving or worthy of them.

But for this reason, are we to understand that the notion of sin no longer applies to human actions? For this reason is murder, or adultery, or active homosexuality not a sin? How did we even arrive at the semblance such ridiculous argumentum ad absudum?

It is simple: the proposition — Fiducia supplicans — itself is absurd: that God can and will bless what is sinful and abhorrent to Him.

 

Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
Boston Catholic Journal

December 29, 2023
Feast of St. Thomas Becket

   Printable PDF Version

_______________________

1 https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impulse

2 https://dictionary.cambridge.org/us/dictionary/english/impulse

3 https://www.collinsdictionary.com/us/dictionary/english/impulse

4 https://www.thefreedictionary.com/impulse

5 Evangelium Gaudium 5.47

6 Fundamentalists [who] keep God away from accompanying his people, they divert their minds from him and transform him into an ideology. So, in the name of this ideological god, they kill, they attack, destroy, slander”, “narcissists,” idolaters”, “rebels”, “legalists”, “inflexible”, cf. https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/popes-rhetoric-against-fundamentalist-catholics-could-help-pave-way-for-act/

 



Martyrology for Today

Semen est sanguis Christianorum (The blood of Christians is the seed of the Church) Tertullian, Apologeticum, 50

 

ROMAN MARTYROLOGY

Thursday May 30th in the Year of Grace 2024

Time after Pentecost


This Day, the Thirtieth Day of May

At Rome, on the Aurelian road, the birthday of St. Felix, Pope and martyr, who was crowned with martyrdom under the emperor Aurelian.

At Torres, in Sardinia, the holy martyrs Gabinus and Crispulus.

At Antioch, the Saints Sycus and Palatinus, who endured many torments for the name of Christ.

At Ravenna, St. Exuperantius, bishop and confessor.

At Pavia, St. Anastasius, bishop.

At Caesarea, in Cappadocia, the Saints Basil and his wife Emmelia, parents of St. Basil the Great, who lived in exile in the fastnesses of Pontus during the reign of Galerius Maximian, and after the persecution rested in peace, leaving their children the heirs of their virtues.

At Seville, in Spain, St. Ferdinand III, King of Castile and Leon, surnamed the Saint, on account of his eminent virtues, and celebrated for his zeal in propagating the faith. Having conquered the Moors, he quitted his kingdom on earth to pass happily to that of Heaven.

And elsewhere in divers places, many other holy martyrs, confessors, and holy virgins.


Omnes sancti Mártyres, oráte pro nobis.  (All ye Holy Martyrs, pray for us, from the Litaniae Sanctorum, the Litany of the Saints)

Response: Thanks be to God.

 



Roman Martyrology by Month




Why the Martyrs Matter



Each day we bring you a calendar, a list really, of the holy Martyrs who had suffered and died for Christ, for His Bride the Church, and for our holy Catholic Faith; men and women for whom — and well they knew — their Profession of Faith would cost them their lives.

They could have repudiated all three (Christ, Church, and Catholic Faith) and kept their lives for a short time longer (even the lapsi * only postponed their death — and at so great a cost!)

What would motivate men, women, even children and entire families to willingly undergo the most evil and painfully devised tortures; to suffer death rather than denial?

Why did they not renounce their Catholic Faith when the first flame licked at their feet, after the first eye was plucked out, or after they were “baptized” in mockery by boiling water or molten lead poured over their heads? Why did they not flee to offer incense to the pagan gods since such a ritual concession would be merely perfunctory, having been done, after all, under duress, exacted by the compulsion of the state? What is a little burned incense and a few words uttered without conviction, compared to your own life and the lives of those you love? Surely God knows that you are merely placating the state with empty gestures …

Did they love their wives, husbands, children — their mothers, fathers and friends less than we do? Did they value their own lives less? Were they less sensitive to pain than we are? In a word, what did they possess that we do not?

Nothing. They possessed what we ourselves are given in the Sacrament of Confirmation — but cleaved to it in far greater measure than we do: Faith and faithfulness; fortitude and valor, uncompromising belief in the invincible reality of God, of life eternal in Him for the faithful, of damnation everlasting apart from Him for the unfaithful; of the ephemerality of this passing world and all within it, and lives lived in total accord with that adamant belief.

We are the Martyrs to come! What made them so will make us so. What they suffered we will suffer. What they died for, we will die for. If only we will! For most us, life will be a bloodless martyrdom, a suffering for Christ, for the sake of Christ, for the sake of the Church in a thousand ways outside the arena. The road to Heaven is lined on both sides with Crosses, and upon the Crosses people, people who suffered unknown to the world, but known to God. Catholics living in partibus infidelium, under the scourge of Islam. Loveless marriages. Injustices on all sides. Poverty. Illness. Old age. Dependency. They are the cruciform! Those whose lives became Crosses because they would not flee God, the Church, the call to, the demand for, holiness in the most ordinary things of life made extraordinary through the grace of God. The Martyrology we celebrate each day is just a vignette, a small, immeasurably small, sampling of the martyrdom that has been the lives of countless men and women whom Christ and the Angels know, but whom the world does not know.

“Exemplum enim dedi vobis”, Christ said to His Apostles: “I have given you an example.” And His Martyrs give one to us — and that is why the Martyrs matter.

  • A Martyr is one who suffers tortures and a violent death for the sake of Christ and the Catholic Faith.

  • A Confessor is one who confesses Christ publicly in times of persecution and who suffers torture, or severe punishment by secular authorities as a consequence. It is a title given only given to those who suffered for the Faith  —  but was not  killed for it  —   and who had persevered in the Faith until the end.


Geoffrey K. Mondello
Editor
editor@boston-catholic-journal.com
Boston Catholic Journal

Note: We suggest that you explore our newly edited and revised De SS. Martyrum Cruciatibus — The Torments and Tortures of the Christian Martyrs for an in-depth historical account of the sufferings of the Martyrs.

* Those early Christians who renounced their Catholic Faith in times of persecution. When confronted with the prospect of torture and death if they held fast to their faith in Christ, they denied Him and their Faith through an act of sacrificing (often incense) to the pagan Roman gods and in so doing kept their lives and/or their freedom and property.


 

Boston Catholic Journal

Totally Faithful to the Sacred Deposit of Faith entrusted to the Holy See in Rome

Scio opera tua ... quia modicum habes virtutem, et servasti verbum Meum, nec non negasti Nomen Meum 
I know your works ... that you have but little power, and yet you have kept My word, and have not denied My Name.
(Apocalypse 3.8)

Copyright © 2004 - 2024 Boston Catholic Journal. All rights reserved. Unless otherwise stated, permission is granted by the Boston Catholic Journal for the copying and distribution of the articles and audio files under the following conditions:  No additions, deletions, or changes are to be made to the text or audio files in any way, and the copies may not be sold for a profit. In the reproduction, in any format of any image, graphic, text, or audio file, attribution must be given to the Boston Catholic Journal.
 

 

 

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