NEW: Icons as resistance: Challenging the new iconoclasm in the Catholic Church

ICONS AS RESISTANCE Front Cover GoodThe Western Catholic Church is fast losing her centuries-old sense of the uncreated beauty of God, as manifested through the created beauty of sacred art, by buying into postmodern minimalism for new churches. This loss is occurring despite the Church’s longstanding tradition as Patroness of the Arts and the 1999 call of Saint John Paul II for the urgent need to return to “epiphanies of beauty” in Catholic churches worldwide. In the meantime, icons and iconographic frescos that populate Orthodox churches remain much sought after by believers and non-believers alike for their timeless beauty and inescapable sense of the transcendent. Will the People of God be able to resist the new iconoclasm characterized by facelessness in the Western Church through the triumphant and hidden power of icons?

​This book documents a series of engaging conversations about the role that icons have in the Church at large and the role they can play at present in the Roman Catholic Church itself. These conversations were held between the author and a group of traditional Catholics earlier this year. Available in ebook edition from the usual outlets.

Are the Orthodox part of the Roman Catholics in the Book of Revelation?

This is happening now. It was originally written in September 2014.

THE DIVINE HEART OF GOD THE FATHER

The question was asked, “Are the Orthodox part of the Roman Catholics in the Book of Revelation?” In brief, the answer is a resounding “yes, of course!” I was surprised when I found the above question because the Book of Revelation does not pertain to a single denomination, no matter how much various denominations of one stripe or another may desire to hijack this part of Scripture – indeed, any part of Scripture, if we come to that – to accomodate their self-serving, self-righteous agendas. It is also not non-denominational as the term is currently understood, to be crystal clear.

What is presently happening in our world is a sifting – of those who truly desire the Triune

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Icons as Resistance

The Father and the Mother sacrificed their only Son

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Return, O Israel, unto HaShem your God, for you have stumbled in your iniquity (Hos 14:2).

Not even a spark of reverence exists in His Presence any longer. All is dead, despite the appearance of being alive, for love in the hearts of this people has grown cold and bitter. Love Himself is neglected and abandoned. Nothing is offered to Him that He desires and has ceaselessly begged for. Only that which He does not desire is given to Him, if at all.

The flame of true love and true life has gone out in the hearts of this people because love in Persona is unwanted. You who know Him, love Him “with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul and with all your strength” (Dt 6:5; Mt 22:37; Mk 12:30; Lk 10:27). For the most beautiful, tender, patient and loving God is neither loved nor wanted any more.

Discerning the true Church from the false church

1024px-Pope-peter_pprubensThe question has been asked, “How can we know which one is the true Church and which one is the false church in the confusion that is arising?” The short answer is simple.

As evidenced in Sacred Scripture, Jesus Christ said, “I say to you, ‘You are Peter and on this Rock I will build My Church, and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. Whatsoever you shall bind upon the earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven, and whatsoever you shall loose upon the earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven'” (Mt 16:18-19). Thus, Saint Ambrose said, “Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, ibi Deus [Where there is Peter, there is the Church and there is God],” because Peter – the Pope – is the Rock, the guarantor of the Faith, and this by divine appointment. Christ Himself prays to the Almighty Father for the Pope.

Several, over the past few days, cognoscenti and otherwise, with an attempt at ‘strength in numbers,’ have claimed that the current Peter – that is, Pope Francis – is “propagating heresies.” But the very premise upon which their claims stand is false, because Christ Himself, Who is God, has declared the true Church to be indefectible. The Pope is, thus, himself indefectible in terms of the Faith and what is needed to be saved, precisely because the Church is indefectible. This is true not just when the Pope teaches ex cathedra under the charism of infallibility, as so many have both failed and keep failing to understand, but also when he teaches non-infallibly, albeit not at the personal level.

The guarantor of the Faith, the Rock, can never fall into the grave sins of apostasy, heresy or schism, because he is safeguarded from doing so by the prevenient grace of God – the operating grace, not the cooperating grace. Throughout the entire history of the Catholic Church, in which resides the fullness of the Church that was established by Jesus Christ while still on earth, no canonically-elected Pope has ever fallen into any one of these three sins or combination thereof while reigning as Pope, despite repeated claims to the contrary, precisely because of the ongoing gift of prevenient grace. Those who would claim otherwise are either inadequately schooled in the actual particulars of history or wilfully misunderstanding said history.

The above-referenced gift of grace, which has been granted to Peter and each one of his successors, and will keep on being granted to their successors until the end of all time, is not provided by God for the personal benefit of the Pope. It is provided for the benefit of all humanity, in order that the ark of salvation, which is the Church, never fails and the gates of Hell do not prevail.

The true Church, therefore, can easily be discerned to be where the Pope is, not where some might claim it to be or even desire it to be, because it is the Pope and no one else who has been granted the divine gifts of the charism of truth and the charism of a faith that never fails.

Regarding the ‘filial correction’ of Pope Francis

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Protestants in everything but name

A small group of professional Catholics has issued a formal ‘filial correction’ of Pope Francis, namely Correctio Filialis De Haeresibus Propagatis, in relation to seven purported heresies in the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia [The Joy of Love]. A parallel group of laity is trying to do the same under the spearheading of a Bachelor’s-level American Catholic.

It should be noted that the above-referenced correction usurps, in both essence and fact, the role of the official Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Catholic Church. The signatories are lower-level theologians and clerics, together with a bishop who is actually in schism (SSPX, the Lefebvrites) from the Church. Most of them are well-known, staunch supporters of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (pre-Vatican II), rather than the Ordinary Form. The correction has been organized by the Chair of the UK’s Latin Mass (Tridentine) Society.

Ubi Petrus, ibi Ecclesia, ibi Deus [Where there is Peter, there is the Church, there is God] – Saint Ambrose.

The following should be thus taken into consideration:

In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking (Lumen Gentium #25, 1964, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church).

Magisterial decisions in matters of discipline, even if they are not guaranteed by the charism of infallibility, are not without divine assistance and call for the adherence of the faithful (Donum Veritatis #17, 1990, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian).

Even if the doctrine of the faith is not in question, the theologian will not present his own opinions or divergent hypotheses as though they were non-arguable conclusions. Respect for the truth as well as for the People of God requires this discretion (cf. Rom 14:1-15; 1 Cor 8; 10: 23-33 ) . For the same reasons, the theologian will refrain from giving untimely public expression to them. The preceding considerations have a particular application to the case of the theologian who might have serious difficulties, for reasons which appear to him wellfounded, in accepting a non-irreformable magisterial teaching (Donum Veritatis #27-28).

If, despite a loyal effort on the theologian’s part, the difficulties persist, the theologian has the duty to make known to the Magisterial authorities the problems raised by the teaching in itself, in the arguments proposed to justify it, or even in the manner in which it is presented. He should do this in an evangelical spirit and with a profound desire to resolve the difficulties. His objections could then contribute to real progress and provide a stimulus to the Magisterium to propose the teaching of the Church in greater depth and with a clearer presentation of the arguments. In cases like these, the theologian should avoid turning to the “mass media”, but have recourse to the responsible authority, for it is not by seeking to exert the pressure of public opinion that one contributes to the clarification of doctrinal issues and renders service to the truth.

It can also happen that at the conclusion of a serious study, undertaken with the desire to heed the Magisterium’s teaching without hesitation, the theologian’s difficulty remains because the arguments to the contrary seem more persuasive to him. Faced with a proposition to which he feels he cannot give his intellectual assent, the theologian nevertheless has the duty to remain open to a deeper examination of the question (Donum Veritatis #30-31).

Deification of man in Christianity – 3 – Illumination, deification, theoria and the Divine Light

Deification of man in Christianity – 2 – Deification versus salvation / The Church Fathers on deification

Deification of man in Christianity – 1 – What is deification? / On deification

Schism in the Catholic Church in America

REFLECTIONS FOR THE SOUL

Lightning Vatican

On the outside, everything seems fairly regular to the unknowing eye. On the inside, however, de facto schism is in full swing these days in the Catholic Church in the United States of America. This schism, which has now become pervasive and proven truly recalcitrant to reason, is being fuelled not by ‘leftie’ clerics who may have become apostate, as may appear prima facie, but by lay Catholics of a rather traditional and conservative stripe, who deliberately keep on refusing to accept that Pope Francis is the reigning Vicar of Christ, despite all public evidence to the contrary. Continue reading here.

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The haters in the Catholic Church

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There are lots of them; lots. Especially in the United States; in particular, the South. And they all seek one thing: to stop the direction in which Pope Francis is taking the Catholic Church. A spiritual delusion born of unacknowledged pride and, yes, hatred.

Attempting to regain the 'glory' days of old both in the Church and in the public square (not going to happen in the expected way/s as we are moving toward increased brotherhood as the Church was in the beginning, not greater hierarchy), they mix politics with religion under the pretense of knowing more than others the will of God for both His Church and for humanity. They experience neither guilt nor shame in recruiting and attempting to impose their 'cause' by force on everyone else. By their own deeds, they fail to understand the very meaning of the word Catholic at its most basic.

Described as "American fundamentalists," "Catholic integralists/militants/Bible-thumpers," and so on, these individuals and cliques of individuals have been baptized into the Catholic Church, but they manifest to others neither its goodness nor its motherhood. They only show what exists deep down in their own heart – a "cesspool of hatred, venom and vitriol," that is neither Christian nor Catholic. Roundly condemned for their proselytizations on multiple occasions by the Pope himself (and not just by this Pope), these armchair theologians - evangelizers of "this rotten world," or "the [purported] remnant; foot soldiers for Christ," as they call themselves – operate on the premise that the more you 'thump,' the more people will listen to you and come around to your way of thinking. A fallacious, boastful premise if one ever existed.

Promoting schism instead of unity in the Church, they consider themselves the only ones who are going to save the Catholic Church from utter ruin and destruction; this even from her own clergymen, according to them. A proven delusion on both counts, given what Christ said about His Church. Moreover, woe betide anyone who either dares to disagree with them or points out the cognitive dissonance in their thinking, in particular within the contexts of the universal versus the tribal (skewedness evident to even a five-year-old), for they will revenge themselves by engaging in libel, slander, and then some; making a public mockery of the very God they profess to defend, turning both the internet and social media into "a graveyard of corpses strewn all around."

As one senior clergyman said, these

obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering, virtual guardians of the faith or of liturgical practices are very disturbed, broken and angry individuals, who never found a platform or pulpit in real life, and so resort to the internet and become trolling pontiffs and holy executioners.

They conveniently forget that speaking in the manner in which they speak and acting in the way/s they act, they are scourging anew Christ Himself in His own Body. But who cares about that? For the record, never has Pope Francis said anything against the deposit of faith. Never. Not once. If they truly knew Scripture and the teachings of the Church, they would know that. But blinded by pride and ideology, these individuals 'know better.'

One thing seems to repeatedly elude these Catholics in their unbridled fanaticism. It is this: God is God and He will not be mocked. Not even by you; no matter what you may try. He will not be mocked, in particular by those who claim to speak in His Name.

The poison and cultism of fundamentalist Catholics

tentación

“How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while there is still a beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! First take the beam out of your own eye and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye” (Mt 7:5).

They seek to rebuild the Catholic Church into their own image – a cult – far, very far, from the Spirit of God. They claim, both in public and in private, to be the sole ones to possess and preach the ‘untainted’ Word of God in this time of worldly confusion, but in reality have neither one nor the other in their minds and mouths as their hearts are very far from God out of pride. Despite the shiny allure of initial appearances to the contrary, fundamentalist Catholics are never able to genuinely nourish other Catholics, other Christians, and seekers at the spiritual level with the Truth, apart from more of those of their own ilk, because they only have poison to give. One can tell by the constant negativity that comes out from them in particular toward those who refuse to agree with them.

God is not like that.

They claim to be humble, but in everyday life and in their public behaviors, they are anything but. They lie – yes, they are liars; children of none other than the father of lies who was a murderer from the beginning, as Christ said, and this despite having been baptized into the Catholic Church, which they so profess with their lips to love and ‘protect.’

Pharisees, therefore.

They lie without shame or compunction, and attempt to get away with as many lies as possible, to satiate their rage for having been exposed by the truth. In addition, they lie to continue denying, to their own selves, their multiplicity of sinful behaviors toward others; a multiplicity that is as endless as the rage lying impotent and unresolved in their own hearts. Fundamentalist Catholics thus manifest no problem fabricating stories in endless ways about the members comprising the People of God from both the top down and the bottom up, even while knowing these stories to be false and a grievous sin in their own right, since their underlying intent is no more and no less than virtual murder. The desire for revenge of these Catholics knows no limits in this regard, blinded as they are with the lust in their own hearts to be the sole ones in the whole world to ever possess the Truth. And, more close to home, to satisfy that insatiable lust for the ‘power’ to decide who is ‘in’ and who is ‘out’ of the Church, hence Heaven through the power of binding and loosing – a power they decidedly do not have.

Above all, fundamentalist Catholics speak without cease about carrying out all of the above in the Name of the Lord and in the name of ‘righteousness’ – to all intents and purposes, perversion. Blasphemy and sacrilege, therefore, if ever these were known to exist.

Only eight words of wisdom suffice for such Catholics: Go to confession and repent of your ways.