So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter (2 Thess. 2:15). Guard what has been entrusted to you. Avoid the godless chatter and contradictions of what is falsely called knowledge, for by professing it some have missed the mark as regards faith (1 Tim. 6:21-22).

Monday, July 21, 2014

Who are you calling a fanatic?

St. Andrew's Cathedral, 2014. CS

It is zeal for your house that has consumed me.—Psalm 69(68):9.

These days when people hear the word 'fanatic' they tend to think of a suicide bomber, a raving lunatic or intolerant ideologue frothing at the mouth.

No frothing, please.
noun: fanatic; plural noun: fanatics
—a person filled with excessive and single-minded zeal

a person with an obsessive interest in and enthusiasm for something, especially an activity.

mid 16th century (as an adjective): from French fanatique or Latin fanaticus ‘of a temple’ from fanum ‘temple.’—Google Dictionary.
If you agree with Winston Churchill, or at least a phrase associated with the British Bulldog, then
A fanatic is someone who can't change his mind and won't change the subject.
Churchill's definition applies to today's socialist and/or secularist ideologues who are trying (and far too often succeeding) in co-opting and corrupting public education and government policy to gain approval for what was a generation ago considered dangerous and immoral behaviour.

I would like to propose that the world, the West in particular, needs more Catholic fanatics. Holy fanatics; zealots perhaps, but not lunatics, terrorists or bullies. Not a sedevacantist ostrich with his head stuck in the sand nor a milquetoast progressivist toad who has surrendered her soul to the world, the flesh and the devil.

Then Mattathias cried out in the city with a loud voice, saying:
“Let every one who is zealous for the law and supports the covenant come out with me!”—1 Maccabees 2:27.

I propose the world needs more fanatics who wear Christ 24/7/365, not just on Sundays. That is to say, we can do without more cultural Catholics who dangle a crucifix round their necks for mere decoration. We need real zealots who may don a crucifix and are fanatics in the sense that they are utterly possessed by the Truth (note: capital 'T' Truth!) of the Incarnation, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. We need zealots humble enough to stand their ground when their feet are held to the fire by the tolerance police who, resenting any kind of confidence except their own absolute belief that there are no absolutes, attempt to bully them into changing their allegiance. The bumper sticker on the car belonging to a fanatic reads "This driver doesn't burn incense to the emperor."

For I resolved to live according to wisdom, and I was zealous for the good;
and I shall never be put to shame.—Sirach 51:18

The saints are fanatics. What's that, you don't agree?
  • Blessed (Mother) Teresa of Calcutta was labelled "a fanatic, fundamentalist and a fraud" by the likes of none other than Christopher Hitchens who, in a 2003 article, took diabolical delight in his attempt to slander one of the most beloved saints of the modern era. Blessed Teresa, if it needs to be said, was possessed by the desire to serve Christ in the poorest of the poor. She and her Missionary Sisters of Charity have helped millions know the love and joy of Christ while tending to people's physical and spiritual needs.
  • Or, how about any of the Mexican saints martyred during the Cristero Wars? Among the 25 martyr saints canonized by another saintly fanatic—Pope St. John Paul II—was St. Toribio Romo González. St. Toribio received a special dispensation to be ordained to the priesthood when he was just 21 years old. He was killed when he was 28 years old for being a priest. Fr. Toribio was told by representatives of the state not to pray the Rosary in public, the same government that imposed a form of education that was intended to be "a socialist one and, in addition to excluding all religious doctrine, shall combat fanaticism and prejudices by organizing its instruction and activities in a way that shall permit the creation in youth of an exact and rational concept of the Universe and of social life." (Sounds like the policy of more than a few Canadian provinces, eh?) Like the many other saintly fanatics who perished at the hands of the politically correct tyrants of his day, Fr. Toribio challenged the status quo simply by being who and what he was—a humble, faithful priest.
  • Who can doubt the holy fanaticism of one, Mary Wagner, Canadian, pro-life advocate and frequent political prisoner who has been arrested half-a-dozen times for walking into the lion's den and witnessing to abortion mill staff and mothers, begging them to reconsider the destruction of unborn babies? Mary's peaceful and faithful (fanatical) witness puts most us to shame. In total, Mary has spent some two years behind bars for her various nonviolent challenges to the status quo.

Mary Wagner

Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is right?—1 Peter 3:13

Saints have heads, hands and voices in this world and hearts in the next. Fanaticism and sainthood go together like nail and cross. Fanatics are prepared to suffer for the Faith. Unlike the kind of martyr who straps a bomb to his body and in so doing causes others suffering and death, the Christian fanatic suffers for the sake of others. The Catholic martyr suffers with (compassio) others, shares in carrying another's burden and binds another's wounds.
The (Conventual Franciscan) brothers housed 3,000 Polish refugees, two-thirds of whom were Jewish, and continued their publication work, including materials considered anti-Nazi. For this work the presses were shut down, the congregation suppressed, the brothers dispersed, and Maximilian (Kolbe) was imprisoned in Pawiak prison, Warsaw, Poland on 17 February 1941. 
On 28 May 1941 he was transferred to Auschwitz and branded as prisoner 16670. He was assigned to a special work group staffed by priests and supervised by especially vicious and abusive guards. His calm dedication to the faith brought him the worst jobs available, and more beatings than anyone else. At one point he was beaten, lashed, and left for dead. The prisoners managed to smuggle him into the camp hospital where he spent his recovery time hearing confessions. When he returned to the camp, Maximilian ministered to other prisoners, including conducting Mass and delivering communion using smuggled bread and wine. 
In July 1941 there was an escape from the camp. Camp protocol, designed to make the prisoners guard each other, required that ten men be slaughtered in retribution for each escaped prisoner. Francis Gajowniczek, a married man with young children was chosen to die for the escape. Maximilian volunteered to take his place, and died as he had always wished – in service.—SQPN
The true Catholic fanatic does not cause others suffering, he accepts his suffering and offers it up to God. By taking on suffering, he becomes more like his Master:
Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ’s afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the Church, of which I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Him we proclaim, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man mature in Christ. For this I toil, striving with all the energy which he mightily inspires within me.—Saint Paul's Letter to the Colossians 1:24-29.
Here are a few ways one might become a fanatic and behave like a convinced believer:
    "The phrase subsistit in is intended not only to reconfirm the meaning of the term est, that is, the identity of the Church of Christ with the Catholic Church. Above all, it reaffirms that the Church of Christ, imbued with the fullness of all the means instituted by Christ, perdures (continues, remains) forever in the Catholic Church".—K.J. Becker, "'Subsistit in' — (Lumen Gentium, n. 8)" (cf. L'Osservatore Romano English edition [ORE], 14 December, pp. 11-14). Quoted in an article by Fernando Ocáriz.
  • Insist that the Mass be celebrated with reverence and decorum according to the rubrics. Be obsessed with liturgical beauty and goodness. Promote ad orientem liturgies. Don't let forty years of deviant practice(s) dissuade you from convincing others that the proper orientation of the Liturgy is ad orientem, i.e., toward the liturgical East. Express your convictions with enthusiasm and charity. Start by enlisting others to the cause and propose to your pastor that once a month an ad orientem Mass be celebrated. If you are a priest—preach on ad orientem worship and, in due course, offer the Ordinary Form ad orientem. Back up your enthusiasm with ongoing catechesis in the parish bulletin and in your homilies. Search HERE for information items for your parish bulletins.
  • Be prepared to lose friends over your choice to be faithful to Christ and His Church in all things. Keep Jesus' commandments. Love God; love His Church. “If a man loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him."—St. John 14:23.
  • Practice limitless mercy. Be quick to forgive and equally ready to seek forgiveness. Go to confession once a week. Examine your conscience at the end of every day before bedtime. Ask God for forgiveness. Practice the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.
  • Love until it hurts, then keep on loving.
  • Do not shy away from fraternal correction. Offer it gently and receive it eagerly.
  • Begin and end your day in prayer. Pray for priests, the Holy Father, your family, your country, etc.
  • Attend daily Mass and prepare for Mass by reading the Bible readings ahead of time. The fanatic belongs in the fanum, i.e., the temple.
  • Volunteer as a server, lector or choir member.
  • Model/demonstrate obedience. Strive to be a saint. Read the lives of the saints.
  • Be joyful because God has rescued you from sin and death, is rescuing you daily and will rescue you when you surrender your spirit at death if, upon Him, all your hope is founded. Trust in Jesus. Confess your sins to a priest. Convert daily! See you all in the lineup to the confessional.
Therefore, brethren, be the more zealous to confirm your call and election
 for if you do this you will never fall.—2 Peter 1:10

Therefore, beloved, since you wait for these,
be zealous to be found by him without spot or blemish, and at peace.—2 Peter 3:14

Those whom I love, I reprove and chasten; so be zealous and repent.—Revelation 3:19

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"A multitude of wise men is the salvation of the world(.)—Wisdom 6:24. Readers are welcome to make rational and responsible comments. Any comment that 1) offends human dignity and/or 2) which constitutes an irrational attack on the Catholic Faith will not go unchallenged. If deemed completely stupid, such a comment will most assuredly not see the light of day. Them's the rules. Don't like 'em? Move on.

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