We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Hey diddle diddle... and Luther ran away with the spoon.

There's been a lot of talk lately regarding the Reformation. What follows are a few more digital lines of script expressing this Catholic's bewilderment (frustration, deep concern...) that any Catholic would want to join a "celebration" of an event which led to a series of events which drove a stake into the heart of the Church and which very likely led to the loss of countless souls who embraced heresy, i.e., the "other gospel" self-serving propaganda of Luther, Calvin, et al.

It's one thing to celebrate a healing of memories (cf., 52, Ut Unum Sint, Pope St John Paul II). It is quite another to celebrate a divorce in the Church. Then again, in these confused times in which we live, divorce is hardly an obstacle to feel-good gatherings with the separated brethren. While we're at it, why don't we celebrate Bluff King Hal's divorces and serial adultery? Ice the cake; sip a glass of sherry. All is good. Meh.

For those who have crossed the Tiber and who know the fulfillment in the Catholic Church of one's childhood faith first awakened or nurtured in a protestant or other community, the joy of said fulfillment—that is, of coming home to God's Church—will guide one past the vapid sentimentalism of those in the Catholic Church who, happy with their protestant-in-flavour Masses, are enthralled with their cake-and-balloons celebrations of manmade (Lutheran) religion.

It rarely occurs to giddy ecumenists that unity without truth—i.e., an omission of the necessity of historical fact and theological truth—is no unity whatsoever. Let one celebrate what is truly good and truly beautiful in other religions, as is permissible to those who recognize the Truth when they see or hear it. Let no one, however, get carried away with how good it makes one feel pretending that there are no lies in paganism nor any obstacles to unity. There can only be unity in the Truth. Any other form of unity—e.g., "Hey, let's go along to get along!"—is the product of mental evasion and therefore doomed to further complicate matters.

Martin Luther and the other Protesters could have chosen a path like earlier legitimate reformers—Francis of Assisi, Dominic and other mendicants who, while calling Catholics back to a more fervent witness to Jesus Christ, preserved the communion of the Church. The protestant "reformers" could have maintained communion with Jesus' Church, but they didn't. They didn't. They chose, instead, to appropriate authority properly belonging to the Office of Peter, the office Jesus' established.

Now, before someone jumps on the 'but, but... the Church was soooo corrupt', or the 'Rome, the whore of Babylon didn't want needed reforms' bandwagons to justify the Reformers' departure, let us bear in mind that it is one thing to behave badly and deserve censure, and quite another to run off with another woman, or nun (Katharina von Bora) as the Augustinian monk Luther did, and then accuse the faithful spouse (Christ-bearing Catholics in communion with Rome) of being unfaithful. Sure, there were a few very badly behaved popes and bishops, badly behaved priests, and many badly behaved lay people in Luther's time. Plus ça change, plus c'est le même chose. None of that bad behaviour justifies abandonment of the Church that is the visible communion established by Christ. To paraphrase a popular meme (i.e., "If being hurt by the Church causes you to lose faith in God, then your faith was in people, not God."):
If being hurt or scandalized by badly behaved clergy causes you to start your own religion, then your faith was in people, not God.
The Reformers, of course, would object to the charge that they started their own religion. The burden of proof is upon the Reformers and their offspring, however, to show how they and not the Church that Christ promised to protect from error are, indeed, the faithful remnant. As one who swam the Tiber some three-and-a-half decades ago and who was persuaded by the historical and theological evidence which clearly favours the Catholic position that the Catholic Church alone is the one true Church, the One and Holy and Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ, this blogger can state with confidence that all other ecclesial communities save one, the Catholic Church, have abandoned Jesus' teaching against divorce and remarriage (i.e., the Protestant embrace of adulterous unions), for starters. Other than those in communion with Rome that are the some 24 distinct rites or particular churches of the Catholic communion, all others have departed to a lesser or greater degree from the teaching of Jesus Christ.

Christ prophesied that wolves would come among the sheep. He never said the Church would (need to) be re-founded. Did Jesus, our Lord and Saviour, lie when He promised the Holy Spirit would protect the very Church He founded? If Protestants have a beef with the way the Church was and is founded, their beef is with Jesus Christ, not the Office of Peter which Jesus established. Of course, the Church is always willing to defend with reason that which Jesus taught. Are there any ears willing to listen to such a defence?

The question that Catholics rightly ask of non-Catholics is, "When and by who was your church started?" Of course, the obvious implication is that any church not founded by Jesus Christ upon the apostles is no church of Christ.
For if some one comes and preaches another Jesus than the one we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you submit to it readily enough.—2 Corinthians 11:4
The so-called Reformers, it must be said, were not faithful. Well,... they were faithful to their disordered inclinations. They were proud, and their many headed hydra-religion is saturated with that founding pride. They could have and should have remained faithful to the one, true Church founded by Jesus on the Apostle Peter. Instead, they chose to pursue their enterprise apart from any legitimate reform which, truth be told, was ongoing in the Church when the likes of Zwingli, Calvin and Luther appointed themselves popes.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, If any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed.—Galatians 1:8-9
If current events are proof of anything, the division unleashed by the so-called Reformers has led to further division and anarchy among non-Catholics. The ever dividing Protestant communities is proof that their often competing theologies are, collectively, merely another gospel, a gospel of division and confusion far different from the Gospel of Jesus Christ which, realized in and through the Holy Eucharist, is the way to unity in the truth.

If it comes down to a choice between following the badly behaved "Reformers" (out of the Church), or staying in (or returning to) the Church even while certain of her bishops behave badly, the much better choice is the latter. Do recall that Jesus chose Judas to be one of His apostles. When Judas betrayed our Lord, did any of the apostles leave the Church and start their own religion apart from the community founded upon Saint Peter? If your answer is 'no', then you have an obligation to come home to the Catholic Church.

The Apostles may have been shaken by the crucifixion, but the Lord Jesus Christ Himself restored the Apostles to confidence.

Jesus did not go looking for a new gang of friendlies to flirt with, as much as mormons who imagine themselves to be God's reinvented elect might believe. Jesus restored Peter—"feed my lambs,... feed my sheep..."—and through Peter the other apostles to the mission Jesus started. Jesus is always faithful to His elect, His Bride, the Body of Christ, the Holy Catholic Church, i.e., those in communion with the Bishop of Rome.

If your bishop or priest asks you to participate in a celebration of the Reformation, just say 'thanks, but no thanks'. Fast and pray that all may come home to Christ and His One True Church.

Pray that God through His saints may draw all people to His Catholic Church, for the sake of their souls and the sake of the world which is so badly in need of healing and unity in the truth.

Pray!!! Now! Whole-heartedly.

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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.