Saturday, December 16, 2006

On Earth Peace to Men of Good Will



A useful form of the word "Xmas" based on the Chi Rho Christogram for all those Christians so animated by their Christian identity that they wish to make a practical faith statement to the world in their use of the word "Christmas."

The oft used form "Xmas" simply makes matters worse.


Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.
Luke 2:14

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Message to the Conservative Party of Canada

LET CANDIDATES ANSWER ABORTION QUESTIONNAIRES!!!

Hey, and why not all questionnaires for that matter!

According to LifeSiteNews.com the Conservative Party will not allow candidates to answer pro-life questionnaires.

Mr. Harper, don’t we believe in transparency, or do we have something to hide?

Does the Conservative Party of Canada have something to hide? Can our elected representatives not be permitted or trusted to speak out on issues which concern life and death for thousands and thousands of our fellow Canadians? Abortion takes the lives of over 100,000 innocent human beings each year in Canada.

Is this not therefore the gravest injustice taking place in our land every day? Don’t the people who elected these candidates deserve a clear response on a question of such tragic proportions?

Along with Big Blue Wave, I call upon all Canadians to let the Conservative Party of Canada know that this matter is a great distress to you.

Who is a representative? Is it not someone who represents us; someone who embodies our wishes, our values, our hopes and our dreams? How are we to arrive at a useful (and genuine) form of democratic, representative government if the leader(s) of a party wishes to obscure or distort the will of large segments of society by taping shut the mouths of those who represent those segments?

Isn’t this really the same kind of thing the Liberals did recently in order to bring same sex marriage into law? Granted it may not be exactly the same formula but the essence of the offense is the same: prevent representatives from representing their districts at a point when it is crucial to the future of our country for their voices to be understood and heard.

FELLOW BLOGGERS: If you agree with this message to the Conservative Party, please blog a similar post.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Baptists, Birth Control and Talk Radio

Albert Mohler is a Baptist. In fact he’s currently the president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary-the flagship school of the Southern Baptist Convention and one of the largest seminaries in the world.

Dr. Mohler came to my attention over a year ago when I discovered that he had written an article challenging evangelicals (and Baptists) to engage in a good debate and discussion centered on the moral issue of contraception. In fact he stated that an increasing number of Protestants were raising concerns about the relative silence of their churches on this issue.

About the same time he opined himself that deliberate childlessness among Christian couples is "moral rebellion" and "an absolute revolt against God's design."

Sadly, Dr. Mohler was right when he also said: “Thus, in an ironic turn, American evangelicals are rethinking birth control even as a majority of the nation's Roman Catholics indicate a rejection of their Church's teaching.”

It seems to me that it is somewhat rare today to find Christian leaders who are able to balance faith and reason in the context of their own cultures. Dr. Mohler hosts a daily radio talk show, as well as a website and blog and overall seems to have achieved just such a balance.

He’ll certainly challenge you to think your way through your Christian walk. One of Dr. Mohler’s recent talk shows dealt with the contraceptive culture. It’s certainly worth a listen.

To take other examples of Albert Mohler’s claim that Baptists and Evangelicals are aligning themselves in greater numbers to traditional (and scriptural) Christian teaching on birth control, check out this fundamental Baptist site.

Shades of Dr. John R. Rice!!!

This pastor is dead serious in his preaching against reproductive “innovations” such as contraception and in vitro fertilization.

These are audio files of his Sunday morning messages and I believe the man deserves credit for doing his homework. If you'd like to, you can download the mp3 files from this page and listen to them when you get the time. These messages will also challenge you to think.

Warning: Fundamental Baptists seem to have an entirely offensive manner of constantly castigating the Catholic Church and so there may be some negative references in these messages, but try to overlook that. After all, whether the preacher acknowledges it or not, he’s preaching the pure Catholic faith in these two sermons!

Another very illuminating article, Evangelical Group's Motto: Breed to Succeed that I stumbled upon just today takes the reader through a vast array of insights on the growing opposition by certain groups of Christians to contraception and how they see it’s tragic effects on our present day society. Excellent reading here too, so be sure to take advantage of this helpful summary.

All in all, fruitful endeavours...and long overdue!


Monday, November 13, 2006

Repairing Scandal the Catholic Way

How can the current Church scandal (of homosexuality and pedophilia) be properly and effectively dealt with?

Dr. Jeffrey Mirus, a leader in Catholic education and in advancing the Catholic Faith through CatholicCulture.org recently offered his contribution.

It’s worth a read. He makes some very helpful points.

Best of all, it’s such a short read and IMHO the good Dr. gets right to the heart of the matter!

A forthright return to the basics of the hierarchical system is the only way. The bishops must eliminate bureaucracy, strip away administrative habits that distract them from essentials, and eliminate whatever detracts from their direct impact on the quality and quantity of their priests. They must first reignite their own spiritual fire and then go out and challenge young men throughout their dioceses to join them in their quest for souls. They must demand high standards of priestly training and priestly virtue, and then trust these same priests to form good parishes as well as good diocesan and parish schools.

Why Confess Sins to Anyone Besides God?

The Pope gave some clues earlier this week as he met with the Bishops of Switzerland who are in the Vatican for their five-yearly visit.

He asked priests “to rigorously observe the Church's norms on the sacrament of penance, in particular, those affecting general absolution.” He spoke of "the crisis the sacrament of reconciliation is going through" and urged the prelates "to relaunch in your dioceses a penitential pastoral program which encourages individual confession."

Benedict XVI said: "Exhort the faithful to frequent the sacrament of penance regularly, which enables one to discover the gift of God's mercy and pushes one to be merciful as he is toward others."

Confession "helps us to form our conscience, to fight against our evil inclinations, to allow ourselves to be healed by Christ, to progress in the life of the Spirit," the Holy Father said quoting the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Indeed, individual confessions are a rare phenomenon in the lives of many Catholics today. If in fact confession helps in the areas mentioned by Benedict XVI, then no doubt neglect of this sacrament accounts for much of the weak and tragic spirituality of today.

Perhaps what is needed is a fresh look at the practice of “confession.”

Protestants have a long list of objections to Catholic teaching regarding confession.

The short (and scriptural) version on why Catholics confess their sins to a priest.

A very brief guide for the Catholic on the practice of confession is here.

We keep this method that a penitent relates certain sins that bother him the most. Even if thousands and thousands of worlds belonged to me, I would lose everything rather than give up the smallest part of confession in the church. Yes, rather would I accept the Papal tyranny on Fasts, Celebrations, Vestments, Cities, Plates, and Hats and whatever I could bear without destruction of the faith than that confession should be taken from the Christians.

Martin Luther 1533 “Warning to Certain People in Frankfurt am Main”
WA 30III:566, 29-30 and 569, 6-11.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Moral and Sexual Shape of The Buster Generation

Ever wonder whether young people today (Christians included!) care about traditional Christianity? Ever wonder what drives their moral and sexual behaviors and attitudes? For all the “new” rules of tolerance, compassion and kindness, does it promote more civility, respect, or patience among the Busters? What percentage of Busters hold to the concept of “absolute truth” in relation to their parents’ generation? What’s behind the skepticism of the Busters? How can churches and church leaders connect with Busters to help them live more morally healthy and fulfilled lives?

I'm a Boomer.

My daughter and son-in law are Busters.

Sometimes I struggle to understand the way they think and why. Today I had an extended conversation with my son-in-law about capital punishment and what Christians today think of it.

Some hard facts...some troubling realities...began to surface. I had to pray for insight and understanding.

Then I stumbled upon a new study just released by the Barna group. Thank you Lord.

It's rather startling and eye opening. You’ve probably heard bits and pieces of this kind of research before but now it’s in an easily digestible and conceptual framework.

Here are what I consider to be interesting highlights:

  • “Busters” are those born between the years of 1965 and 1983. Currently, Busters are ages 23 through 41.
  • In none of the 32 facets of lifestyle or attitude studied were Busters more likely to possess a conventional moral position when compared with the older crowd of “pre-Busters.”
  • Busters defy sexual convention in their attitudes, for example,
    • More than two-thirds said that cohabitation and sexual fantasies are morally acceptable behaviors, compared with half of older adults.
    • Almost half of Busters believed that sexual relationships between people of the same sex are acceptable, compared with one-quarter of older adults.
    • Busters were more likely than older adults to say that in the past month they had used illegal drugs and had gotten drunk.
  • Less civility, respect, and patience show up in the interaction which Busters have with others. Busters were twice as likely as their parents’ generation to use profanity in public, to say mean things about others behind their back, to do something to get back at someone who hurt or offended them, to take something that didn’t belong to them, etc. etc.
  • Young adults were significantly more likely to accept gambling, profanity, intoxication, and illegal drug use as morally acceptable behaviors.
  • Nearly half of all pre-Busters said they view moral truth as absolute, but only three out of 10 Busters embraced the concept of absolute truth.
  • Nearly half of Busters said that ethics and morals are based on “what is right for the person,” compared with just one-quarter of pre-Busters.
  • On eight of the 16 behaviors, the profile of born again Busters was virtually identical to that of non-born again Busters.
  • Born again Busters were much less likely to act in a “moral” manner than were born again adults over 40.
  • The lifestyles of young and old were indistinguishable in a few ways. Out of the 16 areas of moral behavior, adults across the generations were equally likely to have given someone “the finger” while driving, to smoke, to buy a lottery ticket, and to place a bet or gamble.
  • Busters’ perspectives were no different from that of their elders on three issues: the acceptability of abortion, allowing the “f-word” on broadcast television, and deeming divorce not to be a sin.

The research director’s summary:

  • The moral profile of today’s young adult is more likely to resemble that of their peer group than it is to take shape around the tenets of a person’s faith. This research paints a compelling picture that moral values are shifting very quickly and significantly within the Christian community.
  • Busters have a more disconnected, individualized, less trusting spin on morality. They are trying to create a sense of identity because they feel that shaping influences such as family, church, and community have failed them.
  • The Buster’s mindset of sexual entitlement translates into increased appetites for pornography, unfiltered acceptance of sexual themes and content in media, and continued dissolution of marriages due to infidelity.
  • Churches must help Busters grasp sexuality from a biblical perspective in ways that do not demean people’s personal struggles in the blunt and permissive culture we inhabit.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Abortion: Just Another Issue?

A chicken and a pig were walking down the street one day and noticed some poor children who looked as if they hadn't eaten anything for days. Moved with compassion, the chicken said to the pig, "I have an idea! Let's give those children a nice breakfast of ham and eggs." The pig contemplated the chicken's suggestion and said, 'Well, for you, that would involve a small sacrifice; but for me, it would involve total commitment!"

There’s gambling and pornography. There’s immigration and there’s women’s rights. There’s the fishery and there’s poverty.

And then there’s abortion.

Is it just another issue among many? Consider this question. Under what conceivable standard could you lump the killing of innocent children with the issue of gambling? Or with the fishery? Or with poverty? If you walked out onto the street and saw a young child being attacked, perhaps killed, how many options do you have? Is it simply another “issue” which you can take or leave, about which you can feel passionate or not depending on your experience, background or special interests?

Is it really just one more of many social issues?

Haven’t you heard it said, “You’ve got your issue, your agenda and I’ve got mine. We all bring our issues to the table. Yours is abortion, mine is pornography.”

Let’s put this in perspective. As long as we view abortion as “just another issue,” it is similar to the pig’s situation, and it will mean total commitment for the unborn. They will continue to pay for the “issue” with their lives while special interest issues, even though deeply felt as in the case of the chicken, will simply demand some degree of sacrifice.

The question really is: How deep is the spiritual darkness in our land when we as Christians fail to see abortion as the life and death struggle of a fellow human being created in the image of God?

In Canada and America, the darkness can deepen or recede on election day.

How will you vote?

Christ Has Deprived Death of Its Venom Says Pope

In my previous posting today, I spoke of the need to be “born again.”

I liked what Pope Benedict had to say about death today in St. Peter’s Square. It fits well.

To be “born again” is to share in the victory over death which Christ has won for us.

Enjoy!

****************************


Today Benedict XVI addressed several thousand people gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

During these days that follow the liturgical commemoration of the dead, many parishes celebrate the octave of the dead, an appropriate occasion to remember our loved ones in prayer and to meditate on the reality of death, which the "civilization of comfort" often tries to remove from people's conscientiousness, immersed in the concerns of daily life.

To die, in fact, is part of life and not only of its end, but, if we pay attention, of every instant. Despite all the distractions, the loss of a loved one makes us discover the "problem," making us feel death as a radically hostile presence contrary to our natural vocation to life and happiness.

Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death. He did so with his teaching, above all by facing death himself. "Dying he destroyed death," says the liturgy of the Easter season. "With the Spirit that could not die, Christ defeated death that was killing man," wrote a Father of the Church (Melito of Sardis, "On Easter," 66). In this way, the Son of God wished to share our human condition to the end, to open it to hope. Ultimately, he was born to be able to die and in this way to free us from the slavery of death. The Letter to the Hebrews says: "that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone" (2:9).

Since then, death is no longer the same: It has been deprived, so to speak, of its "venom." The love of God, acting in Jesus, has given new meaning to the whole of man's existence and in this way, has also transformed death. If in Christ human life is a departure "from this world to the Father" (John 13:1), the hour of death is the moment in which this departure takes places in a concrete and definite way.

Those who commit themselves to live like him are freed from the fear of death, no longer showing the sarcastic smile of an enemy but offering the friendly face of a "sister," as St. Francis wrote in the "Canticle of Creatures." In this way, God can also be blessed for it: "Praise be to you, my Lord, for our Sister Bodily Death." We must not fear the death of the body, faith reminds us, as it is a dream from which we will awake one day.

The authentic death, which one must fear, is that of the soul, called by the Book of Revelation "second death" (cf. 20:14-15; 21:8). In fact, he who dies in mortal sin, without repentance, locked in prideful rejection of God's love, excludes himself from the Kingdom of life.

Through the intercession of Mary Most Holy and of St. Joseph, let us pray to the Lord for the grace to prepare serenely to depart from this world, when he wills to call us, with the hope of being able to be with him eternally, in the company of the saints and of our deceased loved ones.

[Source]

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Are Catholics “Born Again?”

What does it mean to be “born again” and how important is it?

First of all, it’s PLENTY important. Jesus said,

“"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3).

That means it’s plenty important. You can’t get into heaven without it.

But what does it mean?

From Catholic Answers, “Is Baptism Merely a Symbol?” By Kenneth J. Howell
OBJECTOR: I heard the most absurd thing the other day—a Catholic said baptism is necessary for salvation. That certainly can’t be true, because the Bible says in Acts 4:12 that Jesus is the only "name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."

CATHOLIC: Baptism is necessary for salvation because 1 Peter 3:21 also says "baptism . . . now saves you." Jesus as the only Savior uses the waters of baptism to save people from their sins. Further, our Lord once said, "He who believes and is baptized will be saved" (Mark 16:16).

OBJECTOR: But that’s impossible. Baptism is a symbol of our faith in Christ. It is not the Savior himself. The Catholic doctrine confuses the symbol and the reality.

CATHOLIC: The Catholic doctrine of baptism unites the symbol and the reality. It is because of the union of the symbol—water—with the reality—the Holy Spirit—that the apostle Peter can say, "baptism now saves you." It is the same idea as Jesus said in John 3:5, "Unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God." Being born of the water and the Spirit is an explanation of what he says in verse 3, "Unless one is born anew, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

OBJECTOR: But surely Jesus is not speaking here of baptism. Either he is speaking metaphorically or he is referring to the "water" that comes out during natural birth. He is saying that a person must be born twice: once naturally and once spiritually.

CATHOLIC: So you would agree that Jesus meant a spiritual birth, or regeneration, when he spoke of "being born of the Spirit"?

OBJECTOR: Yes, when he spoke of "being born again," he used the Greek word anothen, which means both again and from above. He intended to draw on the systematic ambiguity of the word to show that a supernatural birth is involved in being born again.

CATHOLIC: I agree. But tell me: When does a person have this experience of "being born again" or "being born from above"?

[Read the rest of the dialogue here.]

And so it goes. The Protestant challenges the Catholic view of being “born again.”

But it is important stuff. In fact, the most important kind of stuff.

If you’re ready to deepen your understanding [perhaps even discover how to save your soul!], I offer the following:

An evangelical-friendly discussion of questions surrounding the “born again” issue.

A more scholarly reply [but engaging] from a Catholic apologist.

To answer the question Are Catholics ‘born again?’ Steve Ray, a well known Catholic convert, offers a downloadable [Word document] short tale of “Andy.”

According to the Bible, not everyone makes it to heaven.

My aim is to enter heaven. I’d like to see you there too. Jesus has a plan. If I can help you find your way, please email me.

Anti Catholic Bias and Pope Pius XII

Anti-Catholic bias is a particularly stubborn and vile creature.

There’s no question that in my early Christian years I was influenced significantly in a calculated manner by it, yet with my permission because, well…simply because I wasn’t Catholic. And everyone knew you couldn’t be FOR the Catholics. We just knew we weren’t on the same side and never the twain would meet.

That’s a hard mindset to beat.

But it got worse when I joined the fundamental Baptists. I was forthrightly and adamantly informed that the Catholic faith was entirely corrupt, antagonistic to God and to the Gospel, and was the precursor to the Antichrist. All Catholics were lost and needed to abandon their cult in order to find Christ and salvation.

Only by a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit is it possible to see past all that poison and the corruption that actually does exist in the lives of many Catholics (including clergy) and to see the Church as the authoritative voice of Christ in this world. I thank God for His mercy and patience in this process and for the remarkable ways in which He was able to accomplish such a work.

******************

I’ve been meaning to blog about Pope Pius XII and the criticism which has been leveled against him most recently over his alleged complicity in the Nazi holocaust. Just last week I was alerted to a “new discovery about Pope Pius XII [which] shows the recent slander and dishonest charges against him are fallacious and should be condemned.”

The story of "Be Proud to be a Jew" refutes the spin of modern "historians' and "scholars" who have misinformed the public about the position of Pope Pius XII in relation to the Nazis and the Jews.

I just have not had the opportunity to include the story in a blog entry on this subject.

Until now.

Today I received an email from a well meaning fundamentalist Baptist whose emails occasionally come my way. The following was the entire content of that email.

Question: Are you aware of the letter dated June 22, 1943 from Pope Pius XII to President Roosevelt recently discovered in the U.S. Archives? It very clearly expresses the Pope's opposition to allowing the Jews to establish a homeland in Palestine. If you are aware of it, do you have any comments?

Answer: Yes, the discovery and contents of the letter have been fairly widely reported, though I don't believe the letter has received the attention it deserves. For forty years there has been a controversy surrounding Pius XII. He has been faulted for his failure to speak out publicly in opposition to the Holocaust, which he surely knew was in process. Roman Catholic apologists have attempted to explain this away and pointed to his help in hiding many Jews in Italy from the Nazis. It has also been argued that had he spoken out publicly it would only have inflamed Hitler and made matters worse, in spite of the fact that it couldn't have been worse than it was. (We dealt in depth with this subject in July 1993, July 1994, and September 1998.)

It was actually Sister Pascalina (the nun who was his housekeeper and close associate and confidante for many years) who introduced the Pope to the idea of savingJews and who conceived and carried out the clever and secretive way in which this was accomplished. Her biographer reports that she "risked everything for the Jews...and issued hundreds of papal identity cards...so [that Jews] could pass as Christians through Nazi lines for safety in the Vatican." This fact, however, is never mentioned by those praising the Pope for saving Jews.

This June 22, 1943 letter is devastating for those who have defended the Pope. In part this is what it said: "It is true that at one time Palestine was inhabited by the Hebrew Race, but there is no axiom in history [what about God's Word!] to substantiate the necessity of a people returning to a country they left nineteen centuries before. If a 'Hebrew Home' is desired, it would not be too difficult to find a more fitting territory than Palestine. With an increase in the Jewish population there, grave, new international problems would arise." His language and intent is clear.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, calls the letter "an indictment of Pius XII, because it basically says that when the Pope wanted a point of view expressed about how he clearly felt, he said it clearly. Where is a similar letter to Adolf Hitler, telling Hitler that the Vatican finds his policies against the Jews repugnant? But at the height of the Holocaust, the Vatican knew how to oppose the State of Israel."

Furthermore, we have a copy of Pius XII's first letter to Hitler upon becoming pope. In part it said, "To the Illustrious Herr Adolf Hitler, Führer and Chancellor of the German Reich! We recall with great pleasure the many years we spent in Germany as Apostolic Nuncio, when we did all in our power to establish harmonious relations between Church and State. Now...how much more ardently do we pray to reach that goal...." Remember, this was 1939 and Hitler's evil had been exposed to the world.

As the war neared its end, the Pope pleaded with the Allied Forces to deal leniently with both Hitler and Mussolini. Both were Catholics to their death. Pius XII never excommunicated either of these master criminals in spite of their unspeakable evils. Pius XII himself merely reflected centuries of anti-Semitism on the part of his predecessor popes and Church involving the most vicious persecution and death of multitudes of Jews.

Commenting upon the discovery of this letter, Rabbi David Rosen, head of the Israel office of the Anti-Defamation League, remarked, "It has been well known for a long time of the shameful policy the Holy See maintained during that period, and this is just one [more] confirmation of that fact."

In fact, we are dealing with more than anti-Semitism. In this letter, the Pope placed himself clearly in opposition to God who throughout the entire Old Testament repeatedly promised the land of Israel to His chosen people in perpetuity. There are so many prophecies promising that God would bring the Jews He had scattered all over the world back to their promised land in the last days and that the Messiah would return to reign over them on David's throne in Jerusalem (and over the world), that the popes (who claim to be Christ's vicars) cannot be excused on the grounds of ignorance. They have, in fact, wilfully opposed the plain teaching of Scripture concerning Israel. Therefore, it is not surprising that Roman Catholicism stands in such opposition to the biblical teaching on salvation.

This is a classic case of virulent anti-Catholic bias; something becoming of especially fundamental Baptists and Seventh Day Adventists. The last sentence was so "original" and an overwhelming "coup de grace" don't you think? As if to say further "See. This is what we always said about Catholics. And this only adds more proof!"

Pleeeease!

What did I do? I simply replied to his email,
I suppose if one hates the Catholic Church as the epitome of all that is evil and opposed to God, it really doesn't matter whether you attempt an objective assessment. Sad, and so truly un-Christian.

And then for his perusal I included the full contents of a book review by Sir Martin Gilbert. Gilbert is Winston Churchill’s official biographer and the author of ten books on the Holocaust. He reviews Jewish Rabbi David G. Dalin’s book The Myth of Hitler's Pope: How Pope Pius XII Rescued Jews From the Nazis

Gilbert clears the air. Eye opening.

For those ready to have their eyes opened.

[More insight here and here.]

Saturday, November 04, 2006

The Pope on Sainthood and Intimacy With Jesus

Unless you subscribe to Vatican Information Service, you might have missed Pope Benedict’s recent sermon on saintliness which was given on November 1, All Saints Day.

If you are Protestant [maybe even Catholic], you might think that Catholics believe the only ones who are saints are those who have made it to heaven.

Not so.

The pope made it clear that "saints are not an exclusive caste of the chosen few” but include the “baptized from every age and nation who have sought to enact divine will with love and faithfulness."

Benedict XVI dispelled the myth that sainthood is dependent on extraordinary actions or charisms. “What is above all necessary is to listen to Jesus and then to follow Him without losing heart in the face of difficulties."

In conclusion, the Pope left the faithful with an exciting possibility: “the greater our intimacy with Jesus, and the more united to Him we are, the more we enter into the mystery of divine sanctity.”

Of course the entire message was contained in a freshly wrapped reminder to contemplate the shining example of the saints.

*********************

The authentic Catholic message is Intimate Friendship With Jesus.

Always has been. Always will be.

Good Catholics and Bad Catholics: Mortal Sin

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, sin is "an utterance, a deed, or a desire contrary to the eternal law." CCC#1849
 
Furthermore, the Church makes a distinction between two types of sins. Venial sins are sins of a less grave nature which do not cut us off from Christ. However, venial sin does weaken grace in the soul and damages our relationship with God. A person who frequently indulges in venial sin is very likely to collapse into mortal sin if they persist in their evil ways.

The most serious and grave sins are referred to as mortal sins. Mortal sins destroy the grace of God in the heart of the sinner. By their very grave nature, a mortal sin cuts off our relationship with God and turns man away from his creator. Mortal sins cannot be done "accidentally." More here and here.

Some thoughts from a former Protestant here.

A person who commits a mortal sin is one who knows that their sin is wrong, but still deliberately commits the sin anyway. This means that mortal sins are "premeditated" by the sinner and thus are truly a rejection of God’s law and love. A person who dies in mortal sin cannot enter the kingdom of heaven and is doomed to eternal suffering in hell. For an extensive listing of mortal sins read this.

It is essential to spiritual health and safety that Catholics confess sins on a regular basis, and without delay in cases of mortal sin. The person who repents of their sin, intends to live a new life of grace, and receives the Sacrament of Reconciliation will be forgiven of all their sins. Because Jesus Christ paid for the price of human sin by dying on the cross for the redemption of humanity, our sins can be forgiven. Jesus Christ, true man and true God, was the perfect sacrifice for human sin and as a result saved those who are baptized, repent and believe in him.

Considering
1. what the Catholic Church teaches about mortal sin, and
2. that the Church’s teaching on faith and morals is infallible,

I believe I am right then to say that Catholics who deny the truth or reality of mortal sin, as taught by the Catholic Church, and who live in mortal sin, will not make it to heaven. Regardless of whether they are deemed to be good Catholics by attendance at Mass on Sundays, or by regular reception of the Eucharist, or by any other standard, they are deceived and lost. 

Sad to say there is a vast multitude of Catholics in Canada and the U.S. who deny and demean Catholic teaching by their criticism and daily lives. These people and the church leaders they emulate have created a counterfeit Catholicism that is worthy of only scorn and disdain by sincere Catholics and by other orthodox Christian believers. 

It should also be obvious that Catholic priests and bishops who would foster or encourage such disobedience and deception will themselves be doubly guilty and likewise be shut out of heaven. I hasten to add of course that God alone is able to make such judgments. I am simply drawing what are obvious conclusions to Catholic teaching.

To illustrate what I am saying, consider the almost universal practice in our society of contraception. Catholic teaching has been constant and extremely clear: contraception is fatal to the faith and to eternal life.

Yet Catholics contracept at probably the same rate as non-Catholic Christians and many priests and bishops are silent (if not outrightly defiant to Church teaching) in speaking on the subject. [The leaders of evangelical Christians have been seriously neglectful as well in teaching their flocks of the history and dangers of the contraceptive mentality. More here.]

If mortal sin cuts one off from God and denies that person entrance to heaven and if contraception is a mortal sin, why aren’t priests and bishops (and even other Christian leaders) warning constantly of the danger to the souls of their people?

How many possible answers can there be? Either for some (unacceptable) reason these leaders deny/disregard the teaching or they are apathetic to the grave danger posed to their flocks. Either way, it may be enough to send them to a Christless eternity.

If I am wrong on any of this I am ready to be corrected.

 

Missouri Stem Cell Amendment and Big Business

Recently I blogged on the controversy surrounding Michael J. Fox, Embryonic Stem Cell Research and the Missouri Stem Cell amendment. My goal was to help clarify the issue and to point out that ESCR ALWAYS takes the life of an innocent human being in the earliest stages of development and is particularly heinous because all such research aims from the very beginning to destroy the embryo.

I did point out clearly that ESCR has produced no successful medical therapies in humans yet those who promote ESCR make bold (and misleading) claims that it is immensely promising and that it has the potential to relieve or cure dozens, even hundreds, of serious human illnesses such as cancer, Parkinson's and diabetes.

What I did not mention was the extreme degree of lobbying that takes place by special business interests who would love to take advantage of the enormous sums of venture capital that would flow once these sorts of amendments are passed into law.

Fox News is now reporting on a billionaire couple whose firm invests significantly in the healthcare sector and who is pumping a whopping $29 million into advertising in order to win votes for the Missouri amendment. Records indicate that this couple has also donated significantly to lawmakers sympathetic to such research and they run an Institute that has made a $300 million expansion project contingent on Amendment 2 passing.

The MSM hype about ESCR is really all about one thing…big business influence and the Almighty Dollar. Who cares how many “invisible” human beings in embryo form get killed?

God help us to speak up for life.

h/t Michelle Malkin

Friday, November 03, 2006

Anglican Archbishop to Meet Benedict XVI

This is a good thing...maybe some much needed perspective will rub off on the Anglican chief.

Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the world's Anglicans, will make his first official visit to Pope Benedict at the Vatican on 23 November.

The timing is significant because this year marks the 40th anniversary of the historic meeting between his predecessor, Archbishop Michael Ramsey, and Pope Paul VI in 1966.

That was the first formal meeting between the heads of the two churches since England's King Henry VIII broke with Rome in the 16th Century.In the past 10 years, relations between the two Churches have been strained over the issue of women priests and homosexual bishops.

The blessing of same-sex unions in Canada's Anglican Church and moves to ordain women bishops in the Church of England are two issues that are driving Anglicans and Catholics further apart after decades of optimistic dialogue.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Courageous Bishop is Role Model (and more!) to His Priests

LifeSiteNews.com reports on Bishop Robert Morlino of the Diocese of Madison Wisconsin, who is taking very extraordinary measures to see that his flock is properly instructed before the American elections and before a special Wisconsin vote on November 7 on marriage amendment and embryonic stem cell research.

May God bless and prosper this modern day apostle, who exerts his authority for the good of Mother Church and society and for the glory of God.

A priceless event!

Oh, for more Bishops like this!

Note: Be sure to click through on the diocesan website for a more complete picture of the work of an authentic Catholic Bishop.

h/t Suzanne at Big Blue Wave

P.S. Suzanne makes an excellent suggestion to contact this godly Bishop and commend him for his faithfulness and courage.


LifeSiteNews.com story follows below in its entirety.

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MADISON, WI, November 2, 2006 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Bishop Robert C. Morlino is a man of courage. The 59-year-old who has been a bishop for seven years, serving the last three in the diocese of Madison, has taken steps to ensure that his teaching on voting in favour of life and family get transmitted to the faithful.

After hearing reports of "isolated cases" of priests refusing to convey, or even publicly contradicting, the bishops' messages on these important topics, he went to the extraordinary step of ordering all of the priests in his diocese to play a recorded message of his own at weekend Masses on November 4-5 in the place of the homily.

In an October 25 letter marked "personal and confidential", Bishop Morlino apologized for having to resort to such a method of operations. He explained, "I apologize in advance for this second paragraph that I must write, and I would very much prefer otherwise. My office has received reports that in isolated cases, priests have refused to cooperate with my requests in terms of preaching in defense of marriage and have even expressed disagreement with my clear wishes in this matter."

To demonstrate the gravity of the matter, Bishop Morlino warned of "serious consequences" for priests who would contradict the vital teachings of the church in these matters. "I must make it very clear that any verbal or non-verbal expression of disagreement with this teaching on the part of the priest will have to be considered by myself as an act of disobedience, which could have serious consequences," he said.

The Bishop assured the priests that his message was "non-partisan" and laid out clearly that all priests in the diocese are expected to give "a simple introductory statement that the bishop has required this message to be played during the homily time at all Masses of obligation on November the 4th or the 5th." The bishop added, "If you can express some support for the message that I offer that would be appreciated but not expected."

The 14-minute recorded message from the bishop addresses three issues two of which are coming up for a vote in Wisconsin on November 7 - the marriage amendment, the death penalty and embryonic stem cell research. On both homosexual 'marriage' question and embryo research the bishop exposes the "baloney" being used to garner support for the practices which are contrary not only to Church teaching but also to reason. On the death penalty the bishop explains that it is not necessary in the US for protection of citizens, and thus serves only to increase the climate of violence.

The move, according to the newspaper which received copies of the letter presumably from at least one disgruntled priest, has some of the priests in the diocese "furious at what they see as a threat."

Rather than cower from the public exposure of his letter to his priests which was intended to be "personal and confidential", Bishop Morlino used its publication as a teachable moment. The Bishop published the full letter to priests on his website, "so that the full truth regarding the content of the letter can be known."

The letter indicates that the Bishop is very thankful for the holiness of many of his priests. "Make no mistake that I am far more impressed by that holiness, goodness, and inspiration (among the priests), than I am troubled by the difficulties that we may encounter with each other along the way."

Accompanying the reprint of the letter on the Bishop's website is an audio link to his full homily.

At the conclusion of the exercise, the score stands at three-nothing for the Bishop. Not only will his message to the faithful get conveyed at all Sunday Masses this weekend, the general public has been alerted to the Bishops concerns from the front page (above the fold) in the Wisconsin State Journal, and a second article in the paper has Bishop Morlino defending his actions.

With all the controversy surrounding the upcoming broadcast of his remarks, the pews will likely be filled this weekend in Catholic Churches in Madison.

See Bishop Morlino's full letter:
http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2006/nov/061102a.html

More on Fr. Raymond Gravel...updated!

I blogged previously here and here about the Quebec priest, Father Raymond Gravel, who is making a run for politics in the Bloc Quebecois party.

Fr. Gravel's drama is unfolding and once again it's obvious that it is more a scandal of the Bishop than the priest.

Stefan at Inquisition.ca has a great update and adds commentary and further perspective. Rightly so, he raises the question of Pope Benedict XVI's role and responsibility in this Canadian Catholic outrage.

But best of all I believe he makes an oft-neglected and excellent point in his conclusion when he states:
I'm not in favor of e-mail storms. I feel like saying that if you haven't yet publicly made your Profession of Faith, don't bother asking your superiors how come they are not doing their job. Do yours first.

Amen! Stefan.

That's putting out a challenge to all those Catholics who are voicing concern but who, perhaps, have not stopped to realize that the first step to a solution is to make plain and public their own profession of faith.

Mine is here.

Stefan's article cuts to the chase and links up to some other very relevant analysis contained in his resource website. Be sure to click through on his article and the other links you find there.

Update Nov 3
Yesterday's edition of The Catholic Register,
"Canada's Catholic news source," reports on the story and reiterates the "painful situation" described by the Bishop.
No analysis...no questions raised...no commentary.
I guess the Bishop's statement now puts the whole issue to rest.
The Catholic Register is peculiarly "unCatholic" in its omissions.
Part of the solution or part of the problem?

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Dollars and Cents of One Human Life

One life denied (contraception), one life taken (abortion); what’s the difference? In God’s eyes I’m really not sure. We humans seem to think there’s a huge difference.

But at least in terms of dollars and cents there’s very little difference.

Let’s get our eyes and hearts open.

From Stephen J. Mosher, in his must read article It’s the Birthrate Stupid

… what is the economic value of an American baby at conception? The Department of Agriculture estimates the cost of raising a child born in 2005 at around $200,000 over twenty years, a substantial (and probably exaggerated) sum of money. But the future earnings of the child from 2025 to 2070—assuming that wages continue to rise at their current rate—will be well over ten times this amount, probably in the neighborhood of between $4 and $5 million. Discounting these future costs and benefits to the present produces a figure of around $600,000. How many people realize that every abortion is the death of a small fortune—and another nail in the coffin of Social Security?

From Mark Steyn, Strange Death of the Liberal West

Most 20-year projections - on global warming, fuel resources, etc - are almost laughably speculative. They fail to take into account the most important factor of all - human inventiveness: "We can't feed the world!" they shriek. But we develop more efficient farming methods with nary a thought. "The oil will run out by the year 2000!" But we develop new extraction methods and find we've got enough oil for as long as we'll need it.

But human inventiveness depends on humans - and that's the one thing we really are running out of. When it comes to forecasting the future, the birth rate is the nearest thing to hard numbers. If only a million babies are born in 2005, it's hard to have two million adults enter the workforce in 2025 (or 2033, or 2041, or whenever they get around to finishing their Anger Management, Systemic Racism and Gay Studies degrees). If that's not a political issue, what is? To cite only the most obviously affected corner of the realm, what's the long-term future of the Scottish National Party if there are no Scottish nationals?

How often is too often to discuss the snare of contraception? The devastation of abortion?

I don’t know. But we’re not anywhere’s close.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Pandora Box of Euthanasia

The subject of euthanasia is coming before our MP's again.

Several months ago I dedicated some time to preparing an article on euthanasia for the local newspaper, an article which never did get published due to wording restrictions.

Euthanasia is a growing threat throughout the Western world and will likely soon come to a town near you unless Christians get sufficiently energized and organized to put up a strong opposition by means of proclamation of the truth.

I think it would be ideal if our Bishops gave greater attention to this menace than minor issues like capital punishment because legal euthanasia threatens to be a holocaust of far greater proportions than ever abortion could be.

May the Holy Spirit help our Bishops to not wait until the horse has bolted the stable before finally making a little noise in the legislatures and writing a few letters to the Prime Minister or the Minister of Justice.

And if only Catholics would wake up and in a grand enterprise demand accountability of their Bishops to the Magisterium (body of official teachings) of the Church (after first submitting themselves), this would transform the Canadian landscape in so many exciting new ways!

In any case, I present the article here and now.

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The Pandora Box of Euthanasia

Some time ago Canada’s Bill C-407 died. But it seems inevitable that a future government is likely to introduce other legislation to make euthanasia and assisted suicide legal in Canada.

Polls show that many Canadians are in favour of the notion of legal euthanasia but their support falters when presented with the specifics of following through. Why is this? Quite simply because euthanasia or “mercy killing” reveals itself at the critical point to be much less about “mercy” and much more about “killing.”

The recent case of Terri Schiavo graphically illustrated that distinction. But the urgent question is how might Canadians be best and wisely informed about euthanasia?

Important Definitions

First, two important definitions will be useful. Euthanasia has been described as the deliberate killing of someone by action or omission, with our without that person's consent, for what are claimed to be compassionate reasons. A doctor’s lethal injection is usually implied, thus we have the term PAS, physician assisted suicide.

Palliative care (PC), according to the World Health Organization, is the active total care of patients whose disease is not responsive to curative treatment. Control of pain, of other symptoms, and of psychological, social and spiritual problems is paramount. The goal of palliative care is the achievement of the best possible quality of life for patients and their families.

Philosophy of Euthanasia

Interestingly, in modern times it was the Nazis who popularized the term “euthanasia” which they described as a program to eliminate "life unworthy of life." Some of our current thinking, similar to Nazi philosophy and contrary to age old Christian truth, is in the area of utilitarianism which measures life by its usefulness. People are thereby treated as disposable objects, noticeably so when they no longer show evidence of being useful or productive members of society, or when they become burdensome financially or emotionally to other more productive citizens.

Another faulty foundation of euthanasia is the belief that life has meaning only as long as an individual is achieving goals or receiving pleasure. Pain, suffering or hardship is rejected as having no purpose or value and renders a life “unworthy” to be lived. Proponents of euthanasia also believe that the individual (and nobody else, including God) has the right to choose life or death in “hopeless” situations.

Arguments for Euthanasia

PAS is purported to offer relief from untreatable, chronic, physical (or even mental) pain at the end of life. Yet with conventional medications such as morphine which are able to control up to 97% of pain, it is unlikely that anyone would be required these days to make the awful choice between intolerable pain and suicide.

Incidentally, in Oregon, USA, after the first year of legal euthanasia, all but one individual requested suicide not because of pain but for fear of losing functional ability, autonomy, or control of bodily functions. More than half the doctors surveyed said the main reason given by patients for seeking death was “loss of dignity.”

This naturally brings us to the “dignity” argument for PAS. It is said that suffering and physical deterioration, such as the inability to get out of bed or get onto the toilet, leads to an undignified death. People say they can’t stand the thought of a mother or a husband wiping their behind and they should be spared such indignity by ending their own lives at will.

But someone has wisely said that we cannot simply inject dignity into somebody’s bloodstream when they are at their lowest point. Indeed suffering, sorrow and loss are common to the human experience. Like many of our enjoyable times each one of these painful aspects of life makes us who we are and contributes, with God’s grace, to the richness of our personalities. Dignity is a prized possession derived from a lifetime of such living.

PAS will inevitably lead to the so-called “duty to die.” Do our parents have a duty to die and make room for younger generations? Is this the flip side of the cruel coin that calls to abort babies because they will interfere with the lifestyles and future of parents? Ask many older people and already they report that their one remaining goal in life is not to be a burden to their loved ones. Their rationale for death is their love for family members. To place the serious psychological pressure of choosing death upon vulnerable citizens such as the elderly and disabled because they view themselves as burdensome is surely immoral in itself.

This ‘choice’ mantra of PAS could very well play into the hands of unscrupulous family members who already conspire in a significant amount of well documented elder abuse in this country. Also, having a legal option to die would actually lure vulnerable people into death due to a LACK of choices because they lack good health care, or in-home support, or the prospect of a nursing home terrifies them. This is fake freedom and bogus autonomy.

Any useful discussion of legalized euthanasia must include the reality of depression, since it is the most common factor in requests for PAS. A request for assisted suicide must be considered a call for help. People facing new disabilities or terminal illness frequently go through initial depression and suicidal feelings but later adapt well and find great satisfaction in their lives. Unfortunately this takes longer than the mere two week waiting period proposed by some euthanasia advocates.

Radical exploitation of PAS

Remember Terri Schiavo. It’s a frightening time to be disabled, chronically or terminally ill in Canada. Hospital and healthcare bureaucrats are already assessing quality of life criteria, sometimes overruling doctors’ treatment decisions, sometimes hastening patient’s deaths in an effort to balance dwindling and depleted health care budgets.

Food and fluids are being re-categorized as ‘medical treatment’ to make it ‘ethical’ to remove this most fundamental basic care from the medically vulnerable. A lethal medication is far cheaper than the cost of treatment for most long term medical conditions so if PAS were legalized, the incentive to save money by denying treatment would be overwhelming.

In addition to healthcare economics, other factors such as care giver burdens and prejudice against people with disabilities, the chronically ill and the frail elderly leave the doors wide open for the abuse of legal PAS.

Euthanasia an insatiable evil

Voluntary euthanasia is a stepping stone to involuntary euthanasia. Of course the “experts” will protest but as proof look at the Netherlands where, over the past two decades, they have moved from assisted suicide to active euthanasia. Doctors have decided patients should die without consultation with the patients.

Active euthanasia, which is the legalizing of lethal injections by doctors, is an inevitable next step for Canada if it accepts assisted suicide as a legitimate legal option.

A wise and loving counterproposal

Dr. Barrie deVeber M.D. of Children's Hospital in London sums it up well:

To truly care for a dying person is to ensure that someone is with them in their time of need, that their pain and symptoms are compassionately managed, that their life is treated as sacred until its end.

The determined provision of universal palliative and hospice care services is one powerful means of stopping the call for legalized euthanasia. More research and training in the field of pain control is required, as well as better-funded home-care so that loved ones can be looked after in a comfortable environment as they face their final days.

These are the commitments that Canadians need to be demanding from their elected representatives during this election campaign. It might appear to be a costly proposition but it never costs to live as humane and compassionate people; rather it pays because it promotes the strongest possible society.

What you must do

Euthanasia and assisted suicide is a moral, ethical and financial whitewash! Oppose any political action aimed at legalizing euthanasia or assisted suicide.

Advance planning about healthy care is not only for those very sick and very old. Considering that some health care providers have taken it upon themselves to put Do Not Resuscitate (DNR) orders in place without the patient’s authorization, it’s wise for anyone 18 years or older to have an advanced directive.

The most protective and the most flexible type of advanced directive is the Power of Attorney for Personal Care (health care) which is recognized in all provinces in Canada. With this type of document you designate someone else to make health care decisions on your behalf if you’re temporarily or permanently unable to make these decisions for yourself. Info is available from the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition www.epcc.ca or 1-877-439-3348

Canadians at crossroads

Canadians are at a very unique crossroads right now. They are being called upon to decide laws about how they themselves in the not too distant future will be treated during their failing difficult years. If they choose to open the Pandora Box of euthanasia they will be the very ones who first live (and die) regretting it.



Please Lead, Kind Bishops



Are we watching another Canadian Bishop-scandal unfolding?

Another scandal resulting from long term infidelity to Church teachings?

No point in closing your eyes to it.

And no point in shooting the messenger either.

Ignore this post if you’ve got the whole ugly Bishop-scandal figured out. Yes, I said Bishop-scandal, not Priest-scandal.

By all means, skip this post if you've got a strategy to help turn the whole mess around and you're proceeding with it.

Otherwise, maybe there’s some truth in what I’m saying.

When a soldier fails to do his duty, the commanding officer must take responsibility. When there’s confusion, a loss of morale and dereliction of duty, the C.O. will answer.

Let’s illustrate with well known facts. In last year’s catastrophe in New Orleans after hurricane Katrina, specifically with respect to the failure to immediately address the emergency needs of the victims, President Bush eventually took responsibility.

Why?

It’s all about authority, and the chain of command. To refer once again to President Bush, he repeatedly says that the war on terror will not be abandoned on his watch. What does he mean?

He has a watch. He has a duty. He is duty bound to defend American interests and safety. If there is failure, he will be held accountable. He has agreed to take this role and to fulfill the duties and responsibilities accompanying it.

What happens with the soldier on the ground in Iraq invariably reflects on the commander in chief, the President. If the soldier is ill equipped, poorly trained, improperly positioned, inadequately supervised, glitches (and worse) will appear in the system. Word travels fast in the chain of command and corrections are made. Specifications for weapons and supplies change. Tactics are improved and updated. Training guidelines are revamped. Commanders are moved. Sometimes soldiers are discharged. Sometimes colonels are demoted. Sometimes officers are court marshaled.

Why?

Because you’re in a war. Or you’re training for a war. Same thing really.

And the goal is to win the war. To defeat the enemy.

The duty of the Bishops, amongst other things, is to lead the Church onward in this spiritual warfare, having the promise of Christ that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church, if Bishops will be but faithful.

When the enemy prevails over the souls of the faithful, it is not because Christ is insufficient or because He has failed His Bishops. It is most often because the Bishops have failed Christ. They signed on for the job. They are the commanders. They are duty bound and must answer for the casualties of war.

Remember that as Shepherds, they take their lead and cue from the Great Shepherd Christ. He is the perfect Shepherd, feeding His sheep and protecting them from the wolves outside. Let’s remember this analogy so that when in doubt we will remember very clearly what the duty of a Bishop truly entails.

There is no deficiency of resources to curtail the Bishops’ success or to excuse their lack of it. The promises of Christ are sufficient. He will move heaven and earth to care for His sheep, to protect His Bride. The armour of war and the strategy for war are His. Besides love,which is an all too obvious necessity, He desires and requires only one thing. Fidelity.

You may be asking at this point: What about the Pope? What’s his role in all this? That’s a good question. That’s an excellent subject for another post. But such a question really doesn’t distract from my discussion of the responsibility of Bishops.

Is it too much to assert that the Bishops are accountable for every success or every failure in their diocese or realm of responsibility? I don't think so. After all, this is what they signed on for. It is indeed their high and holy calling and vocation.

I believe we do a disservice to the office of Bishop if we deny the responsibility of that office to any degree. We also do a disservice to the office if we place obedience to a Bishop ahead of truth. Every Catholic is bound to confront and to correct error, particularly grave error and sin, wherever it is encountered. It is a danger to the faith and a sin before Christ to remain silent in the face of error and injustice, irrespective of the individual involved or the office attached to that person.

The words that are used to register the opposition or correction are not as important as actually accomplishing the feat. And feat it truly is when a Bishop is involved. It is an intensely spiritual event. It is not to be taken lightly or without a good deal of prayer, but neither is it to be avoided or denied.

If appeal to or correction of the Bishop is unsuccessful, then every Catholic is encouraged and has the right and duty to refer the matter to the Holy Father himself. This is the prescribed method, but in any exceptional circumstances, a Catholic is permitted to address the matter directly to the Pope if circumstances seem to warrant it.

How is such correction or appeal accomplished? The circumstances will dictate the correct means. A letter is probably the most commonly used and effective approach. A direct word is generally less effective, more difficult to accomplish and perhaps also ill advised, except in extreme cases of possible public scandal. A Catholic’s best resort in all such scenarios is a heavy reliance on the Holy Spirit.

Don’t expect things to change at all until Catholics keep their Bishops accountable.

Don’t expect a Bishop to repent and start doing the right things just because you prayed. Don’t expect the scandal and corruption to ease up because we’ve got a new German Shepherd Pope. It won’t change until Catholics raise their expectations of the Bishops to Catholic standards and demand nothing less than faithful Bishops.

We can’t expect that all corrupt Bishops will repent. Nor will they likely resign. They have simply lived in mortal sin for too long and are unmoved by the Holy Spirit, dead in their conscience and acting out their degeneracy, delusions and perversions. We’ve been hearing their stories now for years. Very sad, shocking and painful to say but such ones are headed for hell and, if removed from office, will have to be removed by the Pope.

And it won’t happen until sufficient numbers of Catholics are prepared to do their part.

Until then the loss and disintegration continues. Last week Bishop Bruskewitz put much of it in perspective.

We have lost much already. Confidence in our Priests. Confidence in our faith. Knowledge of the Catechism. Respect for the Sacraments. Our Liturgy. Our Catholic schools. Our Catholic news media.

But the phase to come will be even more painful, as we watch with our own eyes the final fruits of our apathy, indifference and disobedience.

Next are our parishes and church buildings themselves, being lost to strategies such as the cluster concept.

Following that will be our Priests themselves. And then Mass itself. Where, when and how far will we be required to go to find Jesus in the Eucharist? What will be left of our faith for the children and grandchildren? Will there even be any children or grandchildren to carry on the faith?

Only chance we might have in Canada is the immigrants who bring an authentic lively Catholicism with them. But even those numbers are unlikely to save the day.

Sound ridiculous? Too much doom and gloom?

It can happen. What are we prepared to do to prevent it?

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[Notes and quotes:

It is the universal and perpetual teaching of the church that when the clergy or even bishops rebel against the Pope, or the laws of God or the Church, it is not only the right but also the duty of the faithful to oppose them. St. Thomas Aquinas explains that bishops are not to be obeyed in all things, since sometimes the directives of bishops go against the law of God, and in such a case, "it is necessary to obey God rather than men." A bishop's order can directly oppose the Law, in which case, the subject is bound to obey the greater authority. Furthermore, a subject is not obligated to obey his superior "if he is given an order in a matter in which he is not subject." (Summa Theol. 2-2.104.5)

The Second Vatican Council expressly prescribes "reasoned obedience" to the legitimate ecclesiastical authority.

In his Summa Theologica, SSP. Q.33 Article 4, Thomas Aquinas points to Augustine who says in his Rule: “Show mercy not only to yourselves, but also to him who, being in the higher position among you is therefore in greater danger. But fraternal correction is a work of mercy. Therefore even prelates ought to be corrected.”

He makes the distinction between correction which is an act of justice through the coercive nature of punishment and the fraternal correction which is an act of charity.

He further says that “when a subject corrects his prelate, he ought to do so in a becoming manner, not with impudence or harshness, but with gentleness and respect.”

In respect of public settings, Aquinas observes that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly. Hence Paul, who was Peter’s subject, rebuked him in public, on account of “the imminent danger of scandal concerning faith.” A noteworthy result of this exercise is that “Peter gave an example to superiors, that if at any time they should happen to stray from the straight path, they should not disdain to be reproved by their subjects.”

Aquinas says that “there is no presumption in thinking oneself better in some respect, because, in this life, no man is without some fault. We must also remember that when a man reproves his prelate charitably, it does not follow that he thinks himself any better, but merely that he offers his help to one who, being in the higher position among you, is therefore in greater danger, as Augustine observes in his Rule quoted above.”

Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in an address to the Knights of Columbus:

"Who is going to save our Church? Not our bishops, not our priests and religious. It is up to you, the people. You have the minds, the eyes, the ears to save the Church. Your mission is to see that your priests act like priests, your bishops like bishops and your religious act like religious."