Satan's War on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass
Note: Not an endorsement
As the Canadian Vox Cantoris blog has revealed, Francis has just appointed this sacrilegious character to be the new auxiliary bishop of Merlo-Moreno in Argentina. No true Catholic could view this picture of Mass - complete with vast crumbling loaves, pottery vessels and wine glasses - without experiencing deep interior distress and sorrow. It is above all else a grave offence against the Most Blessed Sacrament. As such, and of course less importantly, it also offends against the sensitivies of genuine Catholics.
As Vox Cantoris also demonstrates, this grave scandal is only intensified by the fact that this sacrilegious priest has spoken in relativistic terms about the life of human embryos and on the theme of homosexual pairings.
Far from being promoted, this priest should be having his priestly faculties suspended by his superiors. I say that for the good of the Church, for the souls of those promoting him, for the priest's own soul and for the salvation of the souls who will be forced to suffer his leadership.
Although shocked, I must say that I am not at all surprised to learn that Fr. Oscar Eduardo Minarro has previously been put in charge of the seminarians in his home diocese.
At so many levels, this latest news gets to the very heart of the crisis searing the Catholic Church. What we are witnessing is nothing short of Satan's war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The Warning of St. Alphonsus
The great St. Alphonsus de Liguori famously warned: ''The devil has always attempted, by means of heretics, to deprive the world of the Mass, making them precursors of the Antichrist, who before anything else, will try to abolish and will actually abolish the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, as a punishment for the sins of men, according to the prediction of Daniel, 'And strength was given him against the continual sacrifice' (Daniel 8:12).''
The War from Without
Some years before finding Catholic Truth, our family spent about a year in the mid-80's attending a ''free-evangelical church'' on Merseyside. The self-appointed ''pastor'' was very anti-Catholic and frequently used his weekly platform to rail against the ''ancient whore of Babylon'' and the ''Antichrist in Rome!''
At a certain point each week, he would put down his King James Bible and raise up a bap of bread in one hand. In a bold and scoffing voice, he would announce that this was only bread and that it would not change its state. After reading the Last Supper narrative from one of the Gospels, he would then tear off chunks from this bread and share them out with a cup of Ribena.
He was right of course.
As a self-appointed minister with no Catholic priesthood, that bap would indeed remain a mere bread roll. Without Holy Orders or communion with Christ's Church, he could only serve people with his own errant interpretations of Scripture and nourish them with mere earthly food.
Looking back, it is amazing to think that such a strand of real Lutheran Protestant bigotry had survived so intact into mid-1980's Britain. Whilst most of the nation grooved into post-modernity to the musical accompaniment of the Communards and Whitney Houston, here was this little group bashing its tambourines to ''Let the Fire Fall'' and babbling in strange tongues...
The point is, this guy hated the Catholic Church, the Catholic priesthood and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. From the amount of time he dedicated to this theme, his hatred for the Catholic Church was clearly a foundational aspect of his entire belief system. As such, he set up his little ''church'' to reflect that hatred with a circle of chairs gathered around his chair and a low, unadorned table, on which he stood the King James Bible, a bap and a mug of fruit juice.
Oh, there was also a buzzing overhead-projector for the words to the praise and worship songs. Well, it was the 80's!
As a true follower of Luther's heresies, this chap waged his personal war against the Catholic Church from beyond its borders.
He was wrong, but he was honest.
That ''pastor'' was right about one thing though: he described Catholic seminaries as ''cemeteries'' where young men go to die spiritually. When he said that, I was a 15-year old Protestant. I never dreamed that I would become a Catholic 6 years later; much less that I would go off to a Catholic seminary 4 years after that. Neither could I have known what trials awaited me there...
The War from Within
Far more sinister than the weekly rantings of that pastor fellow was the war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass that I encountered from within the Catholic Church a whole decade later at Ushaw Seminary.
From 1997-1999, this was the view from my bedroom window at Ushaw on the windswept moors to the west of Durham.
It was consoling to look down at St. Joseph's chapel in the dead of night and see the red Sanctuary Lamp; denoting the Real Presence as it flickered through the stained glass window above the Tabernacle. That faithful red sentinel acted like a beacon of hope in the midst of so many of the spiritual storms that my friends and I weathered in that dark place.
It was especially consoling to look out at that crimson lantern when groups of drunken and effeminate ''gin queens'' partied beyond my locked door, in the early hours, night after night.
As I found out to my cost, complaining only made matters worse...
O Sacrament Most Holy, O Sacrament Divine, All Praise and All Thanksgiving Be Every Moment Thine!
A far more serious cause of sleepless nights in that place though, was the manner in which the Blessed Sacrament was treated.
Upon arriving at the seminary, I had been greatly shocked to hear students disparaging Eucharistic Adoration as ''bread worship''. I had also been greatly troubled to learn that we were not allowed to kneel at Holy Mass, even for the Consecration and Elevations.
I felt like I'd left the world of 90's Britain for the grim times of Nazi or Soviet oppression.
A theologically orthodox priest told me not to rock the boat if I wanted to get ordained. It became an annoying pattern in those days to hear solid priests telling me to ''keep my head down and get ordained''.
I remember thinking that I'd either end up with no faith at all, or else as a totally compromised priest, if I were required to keep my mouth shut about everything bad that was happening to Jesus, to Catholic doctrine and to good vocations in that grim place.
Anyway, that priest recommended that instead of kneeling, I should make a profound bow towards the altar at the key moments in the Mass. I was not happy, but there was no other help forthcoming from anywhere else and I could see no other way to reach ordination.
So much for ''religious liberty'' eh!
Soon after beginning this practice of bowing, a lady on the staff pulled me to one side in the cloister. She made a deep bow towards me and said, ''Ah yes, you are the one who did this!'' As she stood back upright, she narrowed her eyes at me, as if to say, ''I'm on to you young man!''
The next problem concerned the hosts used for Mass. Although not on the scale as that pictured above in Argentina, the breads used were also large, crumbling and powdered. They were circular with triangular segments marked off for ''fractioning'' prior to distribution. Every single day, large particles scattered far and wide from these breads. The hurried ''fractioning'' process carried out by priests and deacons only made this worse.
Holy Communion was administered standing and in the hand only.
One had to develop a way to surreptitiously consume all the powdery fragments that came away in the palm of the hand.
This was because some members of staff kept a close scrutiny on students to see if they checked or licked their hands after Communion to consume all of the fragments of the Blessed Sacrament. Those caught doing so could expect to receive accusations of ''scrupulosity'' on their end-of-term reports.
One morning, a priest stacked about four crumbling triangles of this bread onto my palm as I was the last in the line that day. I never made the mistake of being last in line again...
During the first days at the seminary, each new student was allocated to a small team and told to join them for a ''group Mass'' every Monday evening. Again, I was aghast to discover the nature of these Masses: the priests wore lay clothes with no vestments at all and used a low and unadorned coffee table as the ''altar'', the deacon and students would lounge on bean bags or even lie giggling like schoolgirls across the floor during Mass, students would ''share personal reflections'' or ''bring along something that helps them to pray'' after the Gospel, and the paten of hosts was passed around for each person to help themselves and do their own elevation prior to reception...
We even had one priest in our group who replaced the words, ''Lord, we are not worthy to receive you'', with the phrase ''Sisters and brothers... you are worthy to receive!''
By the way, that whole ''sisters'' thing referred not only to the female lay students, who may be reclining on the beanbags among the seminarians, but to the occasional presence of women who were training to be Anglican vicars at the nearby Cranmer Hall!
As in the burned heretic, Thomas Cranmer...
Due to the ''pass the paten'' procedure prior to the elevation, one had to be careful not to sit next to any of these Protestant lasses, so as to avoid being required to offer them Holy Communion...
To have refused to offer them Communion, or even to have complained of the danger of them trying to receive, would have been one of the fastest tracks right out of the seminary door. Choosing to miss the weekly ''group Mass'' would also have quickly become a damaging ''formation issue''.
During those Masses I always knelt for the Consecration regardless of the consequences. Send me home if you like Jim but, whilst I could just about square bowing toward the altar, lying back on a beanbag was just not on!
Eventually, I was made a sacristan and then head sacristan the following year. This was a brutal crucifixion which included untold difficulties when I discovered that particles of the powdery Blessed Sacrament were literally everywhere.
During that time, I asked the priest in charge of liturgy several times to change to the regular white hosts used by the Universal Church in order to avoid the grave problem of large crumbling fragments. He was not interested because he said I was being ''too scrupulous'' and claimed that the ''bread used at Mass must look like 'real food' since Vatican II''.
I could write a book about the problems that I experienced in that sacristy. Basically, I experienced many months of bullying and mockery for trying to gather up the myriad of crumbs of the Blessed Sacrament after each Holy Mass.
Two incidents will have to suffice as illustrations in the limited space here: A non-Consecrated altar bread was once mopped around a paten containing Consecrated crumbs of the Blessed Sacrament by an aggressive seminarian who then thrust the results in my face with the snarled words, ''Get eating!'' Another time a priest on the staff discovered me and my late friend Fr. Mike Williams checking a corporal cloth for crumbs in the sacristy after an evening Mass. He came up and scoffed, ''Are you checking for crumbs there? What are you going to do when you find them? Take them up to your room and worship them?''
Although it is 17 years since I left Ushaw, I have experienced periods of intense interior anguish every single day since then, with regards to the treatment of the Blessed Sacrament in that place.
I had finally crashed and burned when we were forced to attend a silent retreat led by liberal priests and nuns. One priest sneered when he consecrated the Blessed Sacrament, throwing down the Host and crashing down the Chalice with a sneer each time during his Mass. This fellow, dressed in lay clothes and without any genuflection, also similarly crashed down a Monstrance containing the Blessed Sacrament when he was asked by some of the lads to let us have Adoration during the ''retreat''. Something broke inside me during that guy's Mass and, although I lasted at Ushaw another 6 months, that was the point at which I know that I lost my vocation and began to suffer terribly in the mind. These are very painful things for me to write here, things I have only shared with my dear wife, family, close friends and spiritual directors, but I now think the urgency of the times demand it.
Several years ago, Ushaw College closed its doors as a seminary due to an unsurprising lack of vocations. I've written elsewhere about orthodox students being persecuted for their orthodoxy in classes and so-called spiritual direction sessions; as well as others who were prevented from even joining the seminary by dissenting liberals who grilled them on their selection weekends for admitting to their belief in the hierarchical nature of the Church, expressing their pro-life views or acknowledging their acceptance of Humanae Vitae.
The above picture of a Traditional Latin Mass being offered in one of the small chapels at Ushaw was taken during a Latin Mass training weekend of the Latin Mass Society, in the year that Ushaw ceased to be a seminary. Such beautiful events would never have been allowed to happen when I was there as a seminarian. Indeed, these very chapels used to be used as store rooms for music stands, mops and buckets. I know, because I often used to pray silently in them after Mass on Sundays.
Whilst Masses were regularly offered on coffee tables in bedrooms, lounges and even in the bar, these splendid chapels stood empty for years.
One of my good friends was described as being ''dangerous'' by a leftist nun, when he suggested in her presence that Holy Mass should be offered on one of these altars instead of on a circular coffee table in a lounge.
''Animators of Lay Leadership''
In my first term at Ushaw, the priest-leader came in to our classroom one day and demanded to know our views about having a ''Mass-free ecumenical day'' to ''celebrate the Millennium''. Realizing the danger to our vocations if we crossed swords with him, most of the class remained silent. He then demanded a response from each of us. One student attempted to give an academic response, by speaking hypothetically in the third party. This priest then countered that he was not interested in such academic opinions, but in how his suggestion made us feel emotionally.
When we had all had to answer, mainly in defence of the Mass, this priest-leader gave us an angry lecture about ''sectarianism''. He said that in ''true ecumenism'' we do not just go off and do our own ''little Catholic bit''.
He was speaking about the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass...
The following weekend, this priest used his homily at the main college Sunday Mass to berate our year group in front of the whole college body for supposedly holding ''sectarian views''.
We had given up our whole lives, with good friends, careers and financial security, for the Holy Mass and here we were being persecuted for that love by those who were supposed to be forming us to offer the Mass!
In such an environment, orthodox lads quickly learned to keep their heads down. In fact, they were told to do so by everyone from orthodox priests, to prayerful nuns and on to their own friends and families.
This ''keeping your head down'' business has allowed the evil in the Church to flourish for at least five decades now. It has got to stop.
Even after several years in the place, vocations could be thwarted at the very last minute. I know a good lad whose ordination was delayed 6-months just because he wore clerical dress on Sundays and to visit the sick!
A few months before diaconate ordination, students could suddenly be required to join engaged couples on a pre-marriage course, wherein leaders were speaking against the Church's teachings on contraception.
Other times, just weeks before priestly ordination, they may be required to attend a Mass where a priest would share the altar with a woman vicar ''saying'' her eucharist prayers alongside him in a kind of mock concelebration. In both these cases the student would face a grave moral dilemma - stand up for the Faith or lose their chance to be ordained after so many years. This all ties in to my recent article referencing Hilary White's comments about a purge making it impossible for seminarians to get ordained unless they compromise with the desecration of the Holy Eucharist...
You never knew what was going to happen to you next. I was on two separate occasions made to consume literally dozens of Consecrated Hosts in the Sacristy. These experiences have caused me immense psychological trauma for many years.
The above-mentioned priest-leader who so publicly scolded us for upholding the celebration of Mass for the Millennium also took us for a course of study on Pastores Dabo Vobis, the apostolic exhortation on priestly formation.
Unfortunately, the content of his course did not include much of the actual content of the document! Instead, we were told that our future job as priests would be to act as ''animators'' working to ''empower the laity'' in taking over the leadership and decision-making in the Church. He suggested that the hierarchical ''model'' of the Church was to be replaced by one of lay leadership at the local level.
Again, I've written elsewhere how various priests and laity, who were back-then helping to create a vocations shortage, have since gone on to take on leadership roles in dioceses where they now work to bring on lay leadership in parishes, due to the supposed lack of priests! Archbishop Elden F. Curtiss of Omaha, Nebraska, was not wrong when he suggested that the ''vocations crisis'' was engineered by dissenting liberals...
In our own area, as in so many others in the devasted vineyard of post-Conciliar Catholicism, there are many parishes with aging leftist lay women running things and pushing on with their lay-led ''model of church''. And this goes on even as parishes continue to shrink and close.
''Facilitators at the Eucharistic Assembly Meal''
St. Robert Bellarmine once said: ''When we enter ornate and clean Basilicas, adorned with crosses, sacred images, altars and burning lamps, we most easily conceive devotion. But on the other hand, when we enter the temples of the heretics, where there is nothing except for a chair for preaching and a table for making a meal, we feel ourselves to be entering a profane hall and not the House of God.''
The good saint could have been describing that Protestant pastor in 80's Merseyside!
I see that the above picture was taken during the above-mentioned training weekend of the Latin Mass Society at Ushaw College in 2011. The image shows the majestic High Altar in St. Cuthbert's chapel being used for the celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass, as it was originally intended, after years of standing unloved and neglected.
When I was at Ushaw, this sanctuary area was actually ''fenced off'' by ornate black and gold metalwork. On those occasions when there were sufficient visitors to permit Holy Mass in St. Cuthbert's chapel, the ''fenced-off'' High Altar was never used. In fact priests walked past the grand Tabernacle without even a single genuflection. Instead, Mass was celebrated on a low table-style altar standing on the un-raised chapel floor between the collegiate seating area in the main body of the church.
More often, the Mass was offered in the small St. Joseph's chapel or on the coffee tables I have described above.
In all that has been written here, I have tried to convey the reality of a dynamic that was working to force out students who held that the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was just that.
Students who tried to live from the traditional conception of the Church, the Holy Mass, the priesthood and Catholic moral teaching, experienced bullying, mockery, psychological pressure and ultimate exclusion.
On the other hand, those who viewed the Church as a kind of social-working NGO, the priesthood as a vehicle for therapeutic counselling and the Mass as a community meal facilitated by their entertainment skills, were generally given encouragement towards ordination.
Certainly, lads who enjoyed lying on a beanbag for Mass, because ''it felt like the Last Supper with Jesus and His friends'', would have little problem with the new order of irreverence.
How ironic that the Lutheran ''free-church'' pastor on Merseyside thought seminarians became spiritually dead because of their love for the Mass!
How scary that the theology of those leading the seminary seemed closer to his understanding than to that of Catholic Truth.
Indeed, I would say that he was actually closer to Catholic Truth than them because he at least believed that Christ was our Divine Saviour, Who died to save us from our sins. With some of the staff and students, I am not so sure that they even believed this.
In all that has been said here, who can fail to discern the horrid words of the excommunicated heretic Martin Luther echoing down to our times, ''Take away the Mass, destroy the Church''?
Pope Francis has just appointed the publicly sacrilegious priest Fr. Oscar Eduardo Minarro to the episcopate. In a few weeks Francis will travel to Lund to actually celebrate that same excommunicated heretic Martin Luther.
What we are witnessing seems to be nothing less than the latter stages of Satan's war on the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.
The most grave warnings of St. Pope Pius X a century ago are now upon us!
St. Padre Pio, that great priest whose whole existence was mystically transfigured by the Holy Sacrifice of Calvary, once said that it would be easier for the world to survive without the sun than to survive without the Holy Mass.
May he help us to remain with Jesus, Our Lady, the True Faith and the most august Sacrifice of the Mass in the days ahead.
It's worth checking the last book in the Bible - we know that God wins in the end!
Declaration of Fidelity - Please Sign Urgently!
Torch of The Faith News on Tuesday 27 September 2016 - 07:32:47 | by admin
You remember when some 879,451 Catholics from all around the world signed the Filial Appeal to His Holiness Pope Francis on the Future of the Family, asking him to do the papal thing and defend the sacred Deposit of Faith in the area of marriage and family?
Yes, that's right: the appeal which included in its number around 200 prelates, many priests and a long list of renowned Catholic dignitaries from all across the globe.
And you remember how Francis just ignored this vast appeal from the faithful and went on to similarly ignore similar requests from around 500 British priests and 13 cardinals?
To say nothing of Sacred Scripture and 2,000 years of Sacred Tradition?
And how he just pressed right on with the revolutionary manipulations of Synods '14 and '15 anyway?
And how he next released the hugely problematic Amoris Laetitia?
Oh yes, and how he then went on to ignore the subsequent requests for clarity from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, from countless Catholics on-line, and then from the 45 Catholic scholars, theologians and pastors who took the time to write him a precisely constructed letter?
Well, now there is a fresh attempt to urgently get Francis' attention.
We strongly encourage all of our readers to please sign up as soon as possible and to spread the word about the Declaration of Fidelity to the Church's Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage and to Her Uninterrupted Discipline. (Please search for this on-line as our blog-page will still not permit working links!).
Even if Francis continues to ignore the real smell of the Catholic sheep, at least you know that God will not ignore your best efforts to defend the Faith from the errors which are so widespread today, particularly after the Extraordinary and Ordinary Synods and the publication of Amoris Laetitia.
Please sign and make a stand for Christ and 2,000 years of Sacred Scripture and Tradition.
Dies Domini - Keeping the Lord's Day Holy
Torch of The Faith News on Sunday 25 September 2016 - 09:57:25 | by admin
Going to Church Every Sunday
During one of the early morning Masses at Domus Sanctae Marthae this week, Pope Francis spoke about people who have the ''face of a saint, but inside suffer from an osteoporosis of corruption... people who seem perfect on the outside, going to Church every Sunday and making big charitable donations.''
Whilst this does highlight a potential danger for all Catholics, it is easy enough to see how these words might be taken by sincere Catholics as yet another of his negative depictions of their best efforts. Again, it is not hard to see how these words could be used as grist for the mill of the Church's enemies.
After all, it is not as if we live in an age when the Sabbath is so honoured in the wider culture that its upkeep could become merely conventional on any large scale.
In much of the Western hemisphere, the churches continue to empty out, just as the art galleries, department stores and supermarkets continue to fill up on the Sabbath.
The Bare Minimum
In these secularized times, it is true that faithful Catholics might be tempted to pridefully look down their noses at those who do not honour the Sabbath. We must always remember our own dependence on grace; for by the grace of God go we.
Perhaps Pope Francis' words might provide him, and all of us too, with an opportunity to reflect on the fact that the person who goes to Holy Mass on a Sunday is not so much being perfect, as merely doing the bare minimum that is required by the Third Commandment of God's Holy Law.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: ''The Sunday Eucharist is the foundation and confirmation of all Christian practice. For this reason the faithful are obliged to participate in the Eucharist on the days of obligation, unless excused for a serious reason (for example, illness, the care of infants) or dispensed by their own pastor. Those who deliberately fail in this obligation commit a grave sin.''
Going to Sunday Mass is a bit like breathing: you go because you want to go, but also because you have to go to stay alive spiritually. And that aspect of having to go keeps one's love for God in the realm of the objective, more than just in the emotions or the feelings.
In his book This is the Faith, the great Canon Francis J. Ripley wrote of honouring the Sabbath: ''We are to keep the Sunday holy by hearing Mass and resting from servile works... One who merely goes to Mass and forgets about God for the rest of the day can scarcely be said to keep the Sunday holy, although he may avoid mortal sin. So it is that the Church urges all to attend the other services which she provides for them, such as Rosary, Vespers, Instruction, Benediction, and also to devote some time to pious or religious reading or other exercises for the sanctification of the soul.''
Of course, in these post-modern times, one would be lucky to find such extra services in many parishes today. In our Archdiocese, it would be hard enough to find even a Sunday evening Mass in many parishes.
Some years ago, we were on a coastal walk with a Catholic priest one Sunday afternoon. Upon passing a local Catholic parish, I asked if we might stop off there to say a prayer. I was rather taken aback when the priest, seemingly surprised by my request, replied quickly that the building would certainly be closed ''because it is Sunday!''
At least the Traditional communities who offer only the Traditional Latin Mass also continue to offer liturgies like Sunday Vespers to the laity in their surrounding areas.
Building a ''Culture'' of Sunday
It is essential that Catholics develop a ''culture'' of Sunday in their families through Holy Mass, Rosary, spiritual reading, a family meal, shared relaxation and the visiting of relatives, or of other orthodox Catholics.
We also think that the setting aside of ''Sunday-best'' clothes for attendance at Church is an important aspect which helps to mark Sunday as a special day for the glory of the Lord.
A Post-Modern Scene: Without the holiness of Sunday at the heart of the week, and without the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass at the heart of the Sabbath, the Church is eclipsed and the wider culture begins to reflect the ensuing emptiness.
The Apostolic Letter Dies Domini - Keeping the Lord's Day Holy reminds us: ''Since Sunday is the weekly Easter, recalling and making present the day upon which Christ rose from the dead, it is also the day which reveals the meaning of time. It has nothing in common with the cosmic cycles according to which natural religion and human culture tend to impose a structure on time, succumbing perhaps to the myth of eternal return. The Christian Sunday is wholly other! Springing from the Resurrection, it cuts through human time, the months, the years, the centuries, like a directional arrow which points them towards their target: Christ's Second Coming. Sunday foreshadows the last day, the day of the Parousia, which in a way is already anticipated by Christ's glory in the event of the Resurrection...
... In fact, everything that will happen until the end of the world will be no more than an extension and unfolding of what happened on the day when the battered body of the Crucified Lord was raised by the power of the Holy Spirit and became in turn the wellspring of the Spirit for all humanity. Christians know that there is no need to wait for another time of salvation, since, however long the world may last, they are already living in the last times. Not only the Church, but the cosmos itself and history are ceaselessly ruled and governed by the glorified Christ. It is this life-force which propels Creation, ''groaning in birth-pangs until now'' (Rom 8:22), towards the goal of its full redemption. Mankind can have only a faint intuition of this process, but Christians have the key and the certainty. Keeping Sunday holy is the important witness which they are called to bear, so that every stage of human history will be upheld by hope.''
Each of us needs the graces of Sunday in order to live, move and have our being in Christ. May God give us the grace to always Keep the Lord's Day Holy!
Even if I'm murdered for it, I think I have to speak up - Another fruit of the New Mercy
Torch of The Faith News on Friday 23 September 2016 - 07:25:30 | by admin
We've now had a chance to view parts of the articulate interview which Dr. Josef Seifert has given to Gloria.TV.
The eminent Austrian professor will be known to many readers as a close friend of St. Pope John Paul II and a Catholic thinker whose philosophical work has been greatly influenced by the life and writings of Dietrich Von Hildebrand.
Various websites like LifeSiteNews have already provided helpful summaries of the interview, in which Dr. Seifert explains his recent letter to Pope Francis. That letter is particularly courageous because Dr. Seifert calls upon Pope Francis to not only clarify the ''objectively heretical'' statements in Amoris Laetitia, but even to revoke them.
Dr. Seifert insists that this is necessary to avoid the danger of schism, heresy and ''the complete split in the Church.''
Whilst others have perhaps not yet spoken with such force, Seifert notes that several thinkers - like Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Pope Benedict XVI's friend Prof. Robert Spaemann and the Catholic University of America's Dr. Jude P. Dougherty - have also raised serious concerns relating to the problematic aspects of Amoris Laetitia.
We highly recommend that readers take some time to watch the on-line video coverage of Dr. Seifert's calm and precisely worded commentary during his interview with Gloria.TV.
There is one point in particular that we wish to highlight.
Towards the conclusion, Dr. Seifert reflects, albeit with a certain twinkle in his eye, that he must speak out regardless of the danger to himself.
His actual words are: ''Whatever happens to me... Even if I am murdered for it, I think I have to speak up because one cannot remain silent if one feels that important truths which are also very important for the eternal salvation of the faithful are obscured... even in the document.''
However lightheartedly Dr. Seifert starts to say those words - and in completing the sentence he does become somewhat more reflective - the fact that he utters them at all is very suggestive.
At the very least it reveals that a calm, rational and good humoured man with such a wealth of experience senses that such a danger may perhaps exist in the contemporary situation.
It is not nothing when a renowned philosophy professor and friend of former popes expresses a fear of being murdered for defending the Faith in a letter to a reigning Pontiff!
Whether Dr. Seifert's subjective fear is accurate or not, and where in particular he locates the perceived source of that danger, it only adds to the sense of an all-pervading culture of fear which is being felt by orthodox cardinals, bishops, priests and lay people everywhere in these times.
And that doesn't much seem like the fruit one would expect from a Year of Mercy to us.
Outnumbered and Outdated: 100 Sexual Revolutionaries Schooled by 500 Catholic Academics!
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 22 September 2016 - 12:12:06 | by admin
(Fr.) Johannes Nicolaas Maria Wijngaards will celebrate his 81st birthday next week. As with big collars, lava lamps and glam rock, the arguments in the rebellious Wijngaards Statement are just so 1970's.
Antichrists in the Academy
Bl. Cardinal John Henry Newman once reflected: ''It is a miserable time when a man's Catholic profession is no voucher for his orthodoxy, and when a teacher of religion may be within the Church's pale, yet external to her truth.''
This quote came to mind when I heard that the infamous Wijngaards Institute was launching another - one hesitates to say ''fresh'' - attack on Catholic moral teaching. What makes this latest attack particularly troubling is that it is being done with the support of three powerful United Nations agencies.
Signed by around 100 dissenting ''theologians'' and other non-Catholics (see what I did there!), the release of the Wijngaards Statement is sponsored by the influential and cash-rich UN Population Fund, UN Women and UN Aids.
Welcome to the New World Order folks!
Worse still, the document calls for ''new'' teachings in the Church to be developed democratically by a team of ''experts''.
Perhaps it should come as no surprise that this proposal for such ''experts'' includes a related call for the Church to change its teachings on contraception, masturbation, homosexual relationships and IVF.
Our Lady of Fatima warned that most souls go to Hell because of the sins of the flesh. The signatories to the Wijngaards Statement need to be reminded of this grave warning. Urgently!
Clearly, the teachings of Our Lord Jesus Christ, two millennia of Magisterial authority, the natural moral law and the warnings of Our Lady of Fatima mean little to this self-appointed team of ''experts''.
The hubris which makes grown adults think they can convince faithful Catholics to abandon Christ and the successors of His Apostles for a ''democratic team of experts'' can only be understood in relation to the problems of pride, sin and spiritual warfare. You might also want to factor in globalization and high-finance to that equation.
One of the characteristics of the Wijngaards Statement is that it claims to be rooted in reasoned scholarship.
Aside from the fact that it actually ignores about four decades' worth of serious scholarship - work that has developed a logically and theologically consistent defence of the Church's traditional ethical and moral teachings - the statement itself can be critiqued as a clear example of the misuse of human reason.
This is evidenced right from the outset by the fact that it rejects both the natural moral law and the Magisterial nature of traditional Church teaching.
Let's consider this for a moment.
Any orthodox Catholic should be able to tell you that the more one is converted to God and the life of virtue through grace, then the further one is able to live freely in, and for, the good, the beautiful and the true.
Grace builds on nature and, as nature is restored in Christ, the intellect receives light, and the will is given strength to grow in holiness.
This is the difficult road to Heaven.
On the other hand, the further one slides into the acceptance and practice of sin, then the more one's intellect becomes darkened and the further one's will is weakened.
As one's spiritual state declines from venial sin into mortal sin, and becomes habituated in that dark way of existing, then one's perceptions of reality become gradually inverted. At a certain point, that which is good, beautiful and true is no longer recognised as such. Instead that which is bad, ugly and false becomes normative.
This is the easy slide to Hell.
Anyone who is really honest with themselves and with God will be able to recognise these contrasting patterns at work in their own life history.
This discussion of the darkening of the intellect through sin finds an illustrative echo in Joseph Pearce's discussion of Hamlet, in his book Through Shakespeare's Eyes - Seeing the Catholic Presence in the Plays.
During an exploration of King Claudius' actions in Acts 3 and 4, Pearce reflects: ''It is a common enough psychological twist to find that one unwilling to repent begins to justify the sin by believing that it is in fact not sinful. It is the switch from an uncomfortable objective reality to a comfortable subjective substitute ''reality''. The King will not live virtuously, so he makes a virtue out of his vice in an act of self-justification. He has passed from what is to what seems to be.''
God gave us the gift of human reason in order to find Him, accept His revelation and go deeper into the truth. If we reject God and His revelation, then our intellect becomes dark indeed.
And so, we have the spectacle of many ''educated'' people using their ''learning'' to attack the very Church which has so often paid for them to live and study in the first place. Instead of using their learning to defend God's truth and moral laws, they use it to defend their own rejection of that truth and morality.
It is beyond sad that Fr. John Wijngaards ''resigned'' from his priestly ministry in 1998, in order to protest against the Church's Magisterium for the supposed cause of women's ordination.
He thus chose to support this theological impossibility rather than offer the most august Sacrifice of the Mass in persona Christi. And so, everyone lost out! Please God, he will have a change of heart during the remainder of his life.
500 Faithful Academics Affirm Traditional Moral Teachings
In light of all that has been expressed above, it was refreshing to read that the 100 signatories to the Wijngaards Statement were outnumbered by a ratio of 5:1, when 500 faithful Catholic academics signed a constrasting document entitled, Affirmation of the Catholic Church's Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality.
Game, Set and Match!
In addition to exposing the outdated theological and anthropological errors at the heart of the Wijngaards Statement, the orthodox affirmation by the 500 faithful scholars concludes: ''We, the undersigned Catholic scholars, hold that the Church's teaching on contraception is true and defencible on the basis of Scripture and reason. We hold that Catholic teaching respects the true dignity of the human person and is conducive to happiness.''
A Few Good Men
It was especially encouraging for us to spot a few names that we knew among the list of signatories to the faithful affirmation of Church teaching.
I've already described here how I was taught at Steubenville, a decade ago, by Dr. Scott Hahn and Dr. Michael G. Sirilla. It is great to see that their names are on the list of those defending the true teachings of the Church.
As we've also said previously, Dr. Sirilla has already stuck his neck on the line by being one of ''The 45'' who wrote the letter to Pope Francis about Amoris Laetitia. May God bless him and his family for his fidelity.
Fr. Dan Pattee TOR
Among other familiar signatories to the Affirmation of the Church's Teaching on the Gift of Sexuality is Fr. Dan Pattee TOR.
Fr. Dan and I outside Steubenville's Christ the King Chapel on the day I graduated with an MA from Franciscan University of Steubenville in June 2006. I had clearly been having a few too many of the ''Mrs. Freshley's Honeybuns'' whilst studying for my final comprehensive exams... Those splendid cinnamon buns are another of the great things I miss about America!
I studied St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Bonaventure, the Analogy of Being, metaphysics and critiques of relativism in Fr. Dan's classes at Franciscan University of Steubenville.
As I wrote in my end of year review in 2006, ''Fr. Dan is the best teacher I have ever had. Period.'' Being immersed into the study of St. Thomas and the Analogy of Being has been one of the most positively influential experiences of my whole life. It was a key time of healing, ongoing conversion and growth for my soul.
I was blessed to meet up again with Fr. Dan during the 2009 Catechetical Conference in Rome, when I was working for the Maryvale Institute.
Dr. Andrew Beards
When I was at Ushaw Seminary in the late 1990's, there was a good and orthodox layman on the daytime staff called Dr. Andrew Beards. Within the general atmosphere of dissent, sacrilege and the persecution of orthodox students that prevailed in those dark times, Dr. Beards stood out as a friendly and sympathetic influence.
To the orthodox students, he was known simply as ''Beardsie''. He would often keep us going with his outstanding sense of humour, a word of encouragement or a jokey note pushed under one's door. It was through Andrew's influence and invitation that a group of us began to sneak off on Saturday mornings to the Traditional Latin Mass offered by Fr. Michael Brown in Newcastle.
Perhaps Andrew's personality and support can best be summed up by the fact that, even though he was a married layman and father, he was known to the students as ''Beardsie... the best priest on the staff!''
I was very blessed to work with Andrew, and to share the odd pint of Guinness with him, at the Maryvale Institute in the Midlands several years ago. With other good folks from there, he is now working at the excellent School of the Annunciation in Devon as the Academic Director.
As well as his reliance on grace, one of Andrew's greatest qualities is his almost Chestertonian love for enemies. It is highly likely that, as well as signing the affirmation of Church teaching, he will be quietly praying his Rosary in the chapel for those who have so openly opposed the Church's true teachings. As Jesus said of Nathanael in John 1:47: ''In him, there is no guile!''
Dr. Petroc Willey
I first met Petroc around 2002, when I was working as a PR/Education Officer for a national pro-life charity here in England. He came up to Merseyside to do a talk for us on the Church's authentic teachings on contraception.
I took a huge chance by inviting along a group of women from the local government who I knew were giving out condoms and so forth to kids in local schools. I wanted them to hear the truth from someone of Petroc's calibre. I also invited several religion teachers from ''Catholic'' schools who were very supportive of these women and of the concept of them giving condoms out in their schools.
I wanted all of these people to have a chance to hear the truth explained calmly and clearly to them.
It is a measure of Petroc's humility and his ability to articulate the truth in love that everyone listened to what he had to say. It is also telling that one of the dissenting teachers came up to me at the end of the session and said that the style and content of Petroc's presentation had made him question himself and the ideas he had held up to that day.
That teacher said that he was going to go away and do some serious thinking about his beliefs and approach. Please God, he did!
I next met Petroc most unexpectedly in America in 2004. I had had to resign from my pro-life job on conscience because, lamentably, the team had begun to compromise on the matters of non-directive Rogerian counselling, condoms, ''safe sex'' and other related issues.
Angie and I had just arrived in Steubenville to commence my two years of study there, when Petroc suddenly knocked at the door of our digs! We did not know it until then, but he was a speaker at the annual catechetical conference held on the university campus each summer. It was nice for us to see such a friendly and familiar face when we were some 4,000 miles from home on the other side of the Atlantic!
Petroc came into our lives again in 2009 when we were working for him at the Maryvale Institute in the British Midlands.
Due to the unexpected twists and turns of life, Petroc is now himself living and working at Steubenville as a Professor of Theology.
We give thanks to God that these good people, and all of the 500 souls who signed up to the Affirmation of the Church's Teaching on Human Sexuality, have made such a clear stance in defence of Christ's Truth.
With all the confusion arising from Amoris Laetitia, we pray that they will be given the grace to continue to defend the Faith so clearly and publicly in the times ahead.
Where are the Hierarchy?
As with the courageous stand being made by Christopher Ferrara, Michael Matt and John Vennari, this latest initiative has been a largely lay-led phenomenon.
This again highlights the strange and continuing silence from the hierarchy in the face of the widespread subversion of the Church and her moral teachings.
Being that the Wijngaards Statement has the financial and intellectual support of key UN agencies, and given the growing awareness of George Soros' influence on Francis' Vatican, it is to be hoped that the cardinals and bishops will find their voices soon.
For all our sakes.
In the meantime, and awaiting such clarity from the hierarchy, the dissenters who signed up to the Wijngaards Statement's support for masturbation, contraception, homosexual activity and IVF, need to be reminded that they should not approach for Holy Communion until they have sincerely repented, received sacramental absolution and publicly recanted their support for these things.
They need to do this urgently for the good of their immortal souls and to prevent others from being led into confusion, error and sin.
Ember Days - Wednesday, Friday and Saturday
Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 21 September 2016 - 05:35:33 | by admin
The September Ember Days by Abel Grimmer (1607).
Anyone seeking to live more fully from the traditions of the Catholic Church will want to know that today is Ember Wednesday in the traditional calendar.
The Ember days of September are the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. In 2016, that means today and this coming Friday and Saturday.
Marking the onset of autumn, these days were originally established to invoke God's blessing on the harvest through the prayers and fasting of the faithful. They recall the feast of Tabernacles established by Moses in the 7th month of the Jewish year, which corresponds with September.
Although these fasts are no longer binding on the faithful, it is a good and pious practice to uphold them. The fasts traditionally applied only to healthy adults between the ages of 21 - 59 who were not engaged in labour intensive work. They restricted food to 2 small meals and 1 regular meal on these days. In other words: no outsize meals and no snacking! Fridays, as ever, were meatless. If meat is taken on the Wednesday or Saturday, this is consumed as part of the regular meal only.
Our copy of the Traditional Missal explains that some men were traditionally ordained to the sacred priesthood on the Ember Saturdays. On Ember Wednesday, the names of those due to be ordained were read aloud to the people, so that they might make deposition against any that they knew to be unworthy to receive Holy Orders.
The Missal relates that the Church still requires the assistance of the people - as it is in their interest - to preserve the sanctuary from unworthy ministers. Hence the importance of fasting and prayers on this day.
As the problem of dissenting, heretical and otherwise unworthy ministers is such a large-scale phenomenon today, the continuance of the practices of fasting and prayer on these Ember Days is highly recommended.
Perhaps Mr. Kevin Jones said it best at the LMS Wrexham blog yesterday: ''Unless one does a small amount of penance, Ember Days are meaningless! Our Lord wants us to follow His example as He fasted in the Desert before beginning His public life of 3 years. Christ said that fasting was required to expel some demons. In our own time to combat evil, always inspired by the devil, prayer and fasting seems like a good strategy!''
We pray for many graces and blessings for the Church and for our readers during these Ember Days.
The Priority of Grace in the Christian Life
Torch of The Faith News on Monday 19 September 2016 - 11:03:41 | by admin
That you might know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, Jesus said to the sick man, ''Arise, take up thy bed and go home!''
Grace and the Response to Grace
Yesterday's readings for the XVIII Sunday After Pentecost in the Traditional Missal contained a reassuring thread in relation to the Priority of Grace in the Christian life.
Any true catechesis worthy of the name will always begin with the mysteries of God and His grace. It is only upon these solid foundations that the priest or catechist can go on to call forth responses of acceptance, belief and ongoing conversion in their hearers.
Even then, the authentic teacher of the Faith must rely more on God's grace than on their own abilities. Then they must leave the rest to God: if they have rooted their teaching in Sacred Scripture and Tradition to the best of their ability, and saturated the whole endeavour in prayer from the heart, then they can take refuge in the powerful words of Isaiah 55:11: ''So shall my word be, which shall go forth from my mouth: it shall not return to me void, but shall do whatsoever I please and shall prosper in the things for which I sent it.''
Christ and Us - Keeping the Right Perspective
During times of trial in one's own life, and of intense crisis in the Church such as we are now experiencing to our chagrin, sincere Catholics can sometimes be tempted to imagine that more depends on them as individuals than is truly the case.
Whilst we each have an important contribution to make, we must never overestimate ourselves through pride. This kind of thing can frequently lead to the loss of interior peace and of trust in God. It is important to recognise this tendency and to know that Satan and his minions will do all that they can to exacerbate it.
A good cure for this tendency is to humbly recall the priority of God's grace. One way to recall this is by remembering how each of us originally came to know and love Christ and His Holy Church. We will soon remember that it was all gift!
For, if we are really honest with ourselves, we will recall that there was really little that we did to deserve being blessed with the supreme privilege of knowing Christ. Certainly, that is true in comparison with what Christ has done for us. He gave more than we did in the exchange of love!
Remembering that He has already given us so much more than we ever deserved or hoped for, should help us to trust that Jesus will not abandon us now. In dark times like these for the Church, we do well to remember that the Christian walk is more about Him than about us!
This all puts me in mind of a few further things.
Firstly, I recall old Fr. Pat Walsh in the confessional at the Blessed Sacrament Shrine during those long-ago days when I was completing undergraduate studies in Liverpool. Even after all these years, I can still hear the late father's Irish lilt reassuring me through the curtained confessional grille: ''Sure, the very fact that you are kneelin' there now shows that God's grace is workin' in your life; for it was Him that prompted you to come here in the first place!''
Another is the fact that my late Dad used to often utter that phrase about the ''privilege of knowing Christ''. It actually comes from St. Paul in Philippians 3:8. The Douay-Rheims renders it as the ''excellent knowledge of Jesus Christ my Lord''. When one stops to think just how much of an excellent privilege this knowledge really is, especially in such times as these when so few love God, then one can be moved to deep gratitude and a renewal of trust. Our Lord would not have given us the gift of the Faith if He were not Himself going to sustain us in it. We must trust more to Him than to ourselves.
St. Augustine of Hippo expressed the orthodox Catholic position thus: ''Indeed we also work, but we are only collaborating with God Who works, for His mercy has gone before us. It has gone before us so that we may be healed, and follows us so that once healed, we may be given life; it goes before us so that we may be called, and follows us so that we may be glorified; it goes before us so that we may live devoutly, and follows us so that we may always live with God: for without Him we can do nothing.''
The Church Bringing Us to Christ
This came across particularly clearly in yesterday's Gospel - taken from St. Matthew Chapter 9 - in the Traditional Latin Mass. This Gospel proclaims the occasion when Jesus healed a man of palsy, in order to demonstrate His power to both forgive and to heal.
Most of us were brought to Baptism as helpless babies.
In a certain sense, we were like that palsied fellow being carried to Jesus on his bed. This recalls the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church which states: ''The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism.''
Even if we came for Baptism as adults we were still spiritually powerless to defeat the presence and working of Original and Actual Sin in our lives. Like babes in arms, we too needed Christ and the Sacraments of His Holy Church to bring the forgiveness and healing from our sins that we could not bring for ourselves.
And again like that man being brought to Christ on a bed by his friends, it was Christ's grace that preceded us, accompanied us and remains with us to this day. Thanks be to God!
In addition to this consoling Gospel, yesterday's Traditional Latin Mass also gave related encouragement in the prayers of the Introit and Collect; as well as the first reading from 1 Corinthians 1 on the theme of the grace of Christ at work in the faithful.
May it Please God to Put Us in His Grace
We pray that today's reflections might help some soul somewhere in these times of great trial.
Let us conclude with a phrase of St. Joan of Arc relating to the theme of grace: ''If I am not in God's grace, may it please God to put me in it; if I am in God's grace, may it please God to keep me there.''
Now, we can all say Amen to that!
Fr. Gabriel Amorth - Requiescat in Pace
Torch of The Faith News on Saturday 17 September 2016 - 07:34:29 | by admin
The news that Fr. Gabriel Amorth has died at the age of 91 invites several important responses: to pray for the repose of his immortal soul; to buy a Benedictine Crucifix, have it properly blessed by a good priest and begin to wear it with devotion; to study his writings; and to reflect on some of the key things that he said about the present period of history.
Fr. Amorth will need no introduction to most readers. Born in the Italian town of Modena, Fr. Amorth was ordained to the sacred priesthood in 1951 and became the official exorcist for the Diocese of Rome in 1985.
Four years later, responding to the critical shortage of exorcists around the world, he co-founded the International Association of Exorcists. By 2013, Fr. Amorth is said to have performed anything from 50,000 to 160,000 exorcisms. From all of the people that Fr. Amorth treated, he suggested that around 100 had been cases of actual demonic possession. Of the remainder, some were suffering through ''lesser'' cases of disturbance caused by the Devil, whilst others were simple cases involving mental health issues.
Anyone who has read Fr. Amorth's books An Exorcist Tells His Story, An Exorcist: More Stories and Memoirs of an Exorcist - My Life Fighting Satan can recognise that Fr. Amorth was the ''real deal''. His long years of priestly ministry as an exorcist allowed him deep insights into human nature, spiritual warfare, the problems in the Church and the moment of history through which we are all passing.
Here are some of the key things that Fr. Amorth said which, bearing in mind the increasingly bad news breaking throughout the Church each day, we would be wise to heed:-
On the Consecration of Russia:
''The Consecration has not yet been made. I was there on March 25th in St. Peter's Square, I was in the front row, practically within touching distance of the Holy Father. John Paul II wanted to consecrate Russia, but his entourage did not, fearing that the Orthodox would be antagonized, and they almost thwarted him. Therefore, when His Holiness consecrated the world on his knees, he added a sentence not included in the distributed version that instead said to consecrate ''especially those nations of which you yourself have asked for their consecration.'' So, indirectly, this included Russia. However, a specific consecration has not yet been made. You can always do it. Indeed, it will certainly be done...'' (Faithful Insight magazine, Oct 2015 edition).
On Divine Chastisement
''Without the Lord, progress too is misused. We see it in laws that go totally against nature such as divorce, abortion 'gay marriage'... we have forgotten God! Therefore, God will soon admonish humanity in a very powerful manner. He knows how to remind us of His presence'' (Ibid).
On Harry Potter and Yoga
''Practicing Yoga is satanic, it leads to evil just like reading Harry Potter'' (The Telegraph, November 2011).
On the Rise in the Need for Exorcisms
''People have lost the Faith, and superstition, magic, Satanism, or ouija boards have taken its place, which then open all the doors to the presence of demons'' (National Catholic Register, October 2016).
On the Post-Vatican II Revision of the Rite of Exorcism
Fr. Amorth sharply criticised the revisions to the rite of exorcism that were introduced following the Second Vatican Council. Some sources suggest that he described the revised rite as a ''blunt weapon''. In one interview he spoke of ''legions of demons that have taken up residence in the Vatican''. In that context, he also noted: ''The smoke of Satan enters everywhere... I have no doubt that the Devil tempts especially the leaders of the Church, as he tempts all leaders'' (30 Giorni 2001).
Remain in the Peace of Christ
Just a few weeks before his own death last year, the late Fr. Nicholas Gruner sent out a letter which contained information of a conversation he had recently had with Fr. Amorth in Rome. Fr. Gruner wrote: ''Fr. Amorth told me that unless the consecration of Russia is performed - as Our Lady asked! - by the end of October, 2015, the dark prophecies of Fatima may well come to pass any day after that! I have met and spoken to Fr. Amorth many times over the years. This is the first time he has ever told me in plain language how much time we have left - exactly - before the manifest chastisements of the world could begin!''
We at Torch of The Faith think that everyone would do well to heed these grave warnings today.
This is especially so, given all of the not-so-subtle promotion of sacrilege and heresy now happening throughout the Church, the fact that October is almost upon us once again, and the mysterious ongoing silence of those cardinals and bishops previously thought to be the ''good guys'' in the hierarchy.
Factor in Pope Francis' upcoming October-fest in Lund and there is no mistaking the urgency of this message...
Let us pray for the soul of Fr. Amorth and learn from him by preparing our own hearts, minds and souls for the times ahead. Keep the Faith, Remain in the state of grace and pray the Holy Rosary and Holy Michael Prayer each day!
The worse things get, the closer the Church comes to the promised Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
September 15th - Our Lady of Sorrows
Torch of The Faith News on Thursday 15 September 2016 - 05:45:38 | by admin
Lamentations 1:12: O all ye that pass by the way, attend, and see if there be any sorrow like to my sorrow.
Devotion to the sorrows of Our Lady was fostered during the Middle Ages by the Fathers of the Servite Order. It was these good priests who first enumerated the Seven Dolours of Our Lady. Pope Pius VII extended the celebration of this feast to the Universal Church in 1817, in order to recall the sufferings which the Church had undergone in the troubled period following the French Revolution.
Of course, the forces working through and beyond that revolutionary ideology are still harrowing the Church in our own present times. The difference is that those forces and ideologies have now infilitrated to the very highest levels of the Church and society.
In our times too, the words of Our Lady of Akita have come to pass: ''The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres.''
One can only grieve to think how much suffering Our Blessed Lord and Our Lady of Sorrows must have endured in the Passion when they saw the organized rebellions, both within and against the Church, in the days through which we are now living.
During her life in the 14th-Century, St. Bridget of Sweden received a series of private revelations. Recorded in nine books, these ''Heavenly Revelations'' received the decisive approval of Pope Benedict XIV in the 18th-Century as being orthodox.
There follows an extract of the private revelation that St. Bridget received from the Mother of Sorrows on the subject of the Crucifixion of Our Lord.
Because I was very close to Him during His Passion and did not allow myself to be separated from Him, for I stood right next to His Cross, and because the nearer something is to the heart the keener is its stab, so His suffering was more painful to me than to others. And when He looked down at me from the Cross, and I looked up at Him, tears streamed from my eyes like blood from veins. And when He saw me so overwhelmed with grief, my sorrow made Him suffer so much that all the pains which He felt from His wounds were surpassed by the sight of the grief in which He beheld me. Therefore I boldly assert that His suffering became my suffering, because His heart was mine. And just as Adam and Eve sold the world for an apple, so in a certain sense my Son and I redeemed the world with one Heart.''
During the series of heavenly apparitions at Fatima in 1917, Blessed Francisco Marto said to Sr. Lucia: ''Didn't you notice how sad Our Lady was that last month, when she said that people must not offend Our Lord anymore, for He is already much offended? I would like to console Our Lord, and after that, convert sinners so that they won't offend Him anymore.''
In the century that has passed since those innocent words were uttered, Our Lord has been offended much more than we can possibly imagine.
The personal sins of each one of us have added to the offences caused by an epic falling away from the One True Faith, the acceptance of irreverence and sacrilege at Holy Mass, the destruction of the natural family, the vast brutalities of the two world wars and countless smaller wars, the immense scale of abortion, the global corruption of the young, the widespread persecution of Christians, and the passing of iniquitous laws approving divorce, ''gay marriage'' and euthanasia in country after country.
And now this hideous letter of Pope Francis to the bishops around Buenos Aires. It must be the worst officially headed and signed letter of a reigning pontiff in 2,000 years of Church history. But where is the outcry, or even a fraternal word of correction, from any of the cardinals and bishops?
Look: We must stop offending God with our sins, with our indifference and with our silence in the face of the grave evils and widespread sacrilege inflicting the Church and world in our times!
We have to stop making the Madonna sad!
Collect Prayer from today's Traditional Latin Mass: ''O God, in Whose Passion, according to the prophecy of Simeon, a sword of grief pierced the most sweet soul of the glorious virgin and mother, Mary; mercifully grant that we who celebrate with reverence the memory of her dolours may obtain the blessed effect of Thy Passion. Amen.''
Our Lady of Sorrows - Pray for us!
The Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross!
Torch of The Faith News on Wednesday 14 September 2016 - 05:54:33 | by admin
A Timely Reminder
Today's feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross provides a timely reminder that the ultimate victory will be that of Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
No matter how bad things get for the Church and Her members, we can rely on that great certainty.
During the last couple of days, I have read comments at other sites about people who were getting shaky in their Faith because of all that is happening to the Church: I read of one woman who had decided that Pope Francis had so contradicted previous Magisterial teaching that she had given up on the whole thing; I read of a man who had stopped going to Confession and was now beginning to have doubts about the whole notion of organized religion; and I read of others who thought their efforts to be faithful to Christ had all been in vain.
I feel for people in this situation. I really do. We can make no bones about the fact that these are extremely grim times for Catholics everywhere.
However, it is essential to bear in mind that Christ has promised that He shall remain with His Church until the end of time; and that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her (Matthew 16:18).
As we generally remind ourselves and our readers each New Year's Day: ''Jesus Christ is the Lord of the cosmos and of history. In Him, human history and indeed all Creation are 'set forth' and transcendently fulfilled'' (Catechism of the Catholic Church: CCC 668).
We also do well to have a solid grasp of real Catholic doctrine. For example, the Church teaches that popes are Infallible under certain clear conditions. The Church has never taught that popes are impeccable.
Awareness of Spiritual Warfare
Because of our fallen nature, it is a classical trick of Satan to try and get us to rebel against God, in the manner of our First Parents Adam and Eve, when things either go wrong, or appear to be going wrong for us.
Also, Satan being the ultimate deceiver can confuse us into thinking that things are much worse than they truly are.
Thoughts and feelings of despair come from the infernal enemy of our souls. Inspirations of faith, hope and charity come to us from God's grace; mediated to us by Our Lady, the Saints and our Guardian Angels.
Unfortunately, the person who chooses to despair and give up the Faith has at some deep level made a decision that they know better than God and the Church. This is a classical example of pride. It is important to grasp the fact that this final collapse has normally been achieved through defeats and compromises with incremental attacks from Satan and his minions.
For the person that has practiced the Faith, the destruction wrought by Satan once they leave the protection of the Church would perhaps be swift.
This is why it is essential to remain focused on Christ and His promises to the Church. There is no way that any of us, or even all of us together, could defeat Satan without Christ and His Church. We are fallen creatures with a tendency to sin and intellects far below that of Satan. Without Christ we can do nothing; with Him we can do all things (Philippians 4:13).
A Personal Experience
I have shared before that I was tempted to leave the Church back in 2009, when Modernists seemed to be stitching up the last vestiges of orthodox hopes here in England. I remember thinking that we had been through so much at the hands of dissenters, and that things had become so corrupt, that I was just getting out of the Church.
At that point, I saw a mental picture of myself standing at the edge of a ship, about to step off into a black and storm-tossed sea. Thanks be to God, this helped me to come to my senses and remain lashed to the Barque of Peter by the Sacraments, Sacred Scripture and Tradition, prayer and reading key spiritual writers.
God's grace enabled me to see that I would have been rapidly destroyed if I had tried to fight corruption by leaving the only supernatural means available to do this in this world. That is because I, like everyone else in this world, am also corrupted by my own sins and sinful tendencies.
Humility and Honesty before God
No, we cannot fight Satan by leaving Christ and His Church.
It is a good practice, I think, to pray each day for the graces to keep the Faith and to be given the grace of a holy death in God's friendship.
If we are tempted to give up resisting sin, going to Confession, or believing in the Church's doctrines because of the evil in the Church, we have an opportunity to honestly ask ourselves how much we are truly converted. These tendencies reveal to us that we still have attachments to sin and to our own will. If we are honest, we are really saying: ''They are sinning and getting away with it. Why shouldn't I?'' In all truth, this is hardly a sign of a deep conversion is it? Yet, even learning this about ourselves ought not cause us to despair, but to go to Jesus in prayer and the Sacraments and ask Him to give us a deeper conversion in these areas. In this way, the trials of the Church and of our own lives may become opportunities for ongoing purification.
Victory from Defeat!
Today's feast reminds us that our whole religion was built in the midst of the darkest event in all of human history. In one sense, it could never have been worse than the hours when man attempted Deicide by killing Christ on Good Friday. How the Devil must have ''whooped it up'' to think he had destroyed Christ the Messiah.
And yet, this truly was the darkest hour before dawn. In that defeat God was to bring the definitive victory over the powers of Hell.
The Introit from Galatians 6 in today's Missal for the Traditional Latin Mass proclaims: ''But it behoves us to glory in the Cross of Our Lord Jesus Christ: in Whom is our salvation, life, and resurrection; by Whom we are saved and delivered.''
Keep the Faith friends and thanks for reading!