America

More discernment

A person who publicly incites his or her subjects to hatred or animosity against the Apostolic See or the Ordinary, because of some act of ecclesiastical authority or ministry, or who provokes the subjects to disobedience against them, is to be punished by interdict or other just penalties (Code of Canon Law #1373).

In relation to the voices arising in America, clerical and lay, that are calling for the resignation of Pope Francis, ask the following questions:

  • What spirit/s is/are motivating this voice/these voices?
  • Is this call coming from God or from Satan?
  • What tone is being employed?
  • In what manner are they calling for the pope’s resignation?
  • Are truth and charity both present in the process of the call or is one of them lacking? If so, what exactly is lacking and to what degree?
  • Is the call universal (taken up by the entire Catholic Church in the whole world) or is it parochial (located to a subset of people in a localized region of the Church)?
  • Is entitlement present in the call or otherwise? Does the call further unity or division* in the Mystical Body of Christ?
  • Is peace present or absent in the very process of the call?
  • What is the role of hatred in this call?”

Because something may appear to be desirable or good at face value, especially if it is in keeping with the modus operandi of the secular culture of a particular nation, it does not necessarily mean that the underlying motivation for it is coming from God. And because something may appear to be undesirable does not equally mean that it is not coming from God.

Discern.

The truth underlying this call for resignation of the Vicar of Christ is self-evident if you discern.

Examine all the facts, therefore, and discern. Do not be taken in by ‘famous’ names in American Catholic media and/or reporting. They all have underlying personal-professional agendas at stake.

Discern – and discern wisely.

*The furtherance of division never originates with the Holy Spirit. Neither do confusion, condemnation, and holier-than-thou proselytization.

The Pennsylvania grand jury report and the Catholic Church in America

The Pennsylvania grand jury report has been released.

Three things:

  1. About time;
  2. Much-needed purification at last of a fraction of the Catholic Church in America (the rest similarly needs to be purified – and this includes Catholic ‘reporting institutions’, not just dioceses and clerics. The rot is everywhere and there is written evidence of it);
  3. Again, about time.

Pray for everyone involved, in particular the victims and all those who remain in denial.

Abuse in the Catholic Church in America

It is a topic quite in the news these days in the United States. But abuse in the Catholic Church in America is neither limited to clerics nor is it restricted to sexual abuse. For the perpetration of abuse, and serious abuse at that, is also to be found among ‘professional’ lay Catholics in the nation – Catholics who purport to teach the Faith to others. This includes those who are part of the Third Order Franciscans in the US, some of whom blog for conservative and ‘reputable’ Catholic mainstream media outlets.

For example, you will find among the above, with black-on-white evidence, men who claim to be lay missionaries and say the Liturgy of the Hours daily, to fulfil their Third Order obligations and “pursue holiness” – while telling women to go and prostitute their bodies for money (concurrently mocking their physical appearance), and to also commit self-abuse. And this even to women who are consecrated to God. These are men who, at the same time, love pontificating to anyone about the nature of mortal sin under the rubric of hamartiology.

You will find men – White, middle-class, ‘respectable’, (presumably) heterosexual, aging Catholic men (ergo privileged men) – who write repeatedly about the lives of the saints and how they find them inspirational – while, at the same time, threatening different kinds and levels of violence toward women in revenge, if (when) their threats are ignored; even lying without compunction to priests who do not know them personally, in an attempt to fraudulently extort large sums of money from their victims. Men who file false statements with multinationals under penalty of perjury and who threaten women with pennilessness and homelessness.

Men who receive the Eucharist – it must be said, given the above – to their own eternal damnation unless they attain the grace of genuine repentance. Laymen who attempt (in vain) to arrogate to themselves both the power and the authority of the institutional Church.

And you will find men who consider themselves ‘good Catholic gentlemen’ – while using all kinds of unrepeatable adjectival language toward women in what has been described as sadistic hate mail bordering on the level of psychological torture; also attempting (futilely) to blackmail others in order to gain one thing and one thing alone: money.

For Mammon is their god. Like the historical Judas Iscariot, only Mammon do they truly worship under their mask of public piety. Not the God of Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yakov, from whose Spirit none of the above behaviors come.

Poseurs and tartuffes, therefore. Hypocrites par excellence.

Fraudsters, as has been said by others who saw the evidence first-hand.

No better words describe such men. This is just the tip of the abuse iceberg, the rot, that is present among the Third Order Franciscans and the ‘professional’ lay Catholic class in the US.

And it needs to be cleaned out, once and for all.

Ideologization of the Catholic Faith in America

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The past few years, but with much greater intensity and pervasiveness over the last two years, there has been a strong ideologization of the Catholic Faith by the laity and “professional Catholics” (but not limited to them) in the United States for political and/or self-serving purposes. Many conservative Catholics, in particular the “Bible-thumpers” who go around attempting to ‘evangelize’ with Scripture in the one hand and guns in the other hand, have tried hijacking the Faith into a spiritual doppelgaenger of Trump’s Republican Party – proselytization for political ambition. Other Catholics, many of them liberal (but not all), have used it as ‘currency’ to overtly try currying favor with the ‘pro-lifers’ as anti-abortion, while in reality believing in nothing but themselves as “intellectually, morally, and spiritually superior” persons (little g gods) and covertly voting for Clinton and the Democratic Party – proselytization for monetary gain. Neither of the above, however, is genuine Catholicism; just garden-variety perversions of the Faith, which need to be explicated in order for the unaware or the insufficiently aware to have the choice of not falling headlong into their traps.

Opposite Sides of the Same Coin

The former camp loves to speak a lot about God and the Catholic Church, giving the impression of great piety and leadership in particular on social media, yet at heart and in fact dismisses as irrelevant core tenets of Catholic teaching. The latter camp also speaks a lot about God and the Church, giving the impression of great knowledge and scholarship, yet in the same way brackets as inadequately relevant other core tenets of the Catholic Faith. Neither camp presents the fullness and the comprehensiveness of the Faith in both justice and fairness to the Truth Who is Christ, the Truth they so profess to love, because neither of them finds the fullness of the Truth digestible or adequately suitable for their underlying respective agendas.

Where, therefore, is God and where is the Holy Spirit in all of the above? Can either camp truly lead people to Christ and to the Father if they insist on presenting just a partial truth, which is no truth at all?

One thing is clear. Both camps have attempted and keep on attempting to refashion both the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church into their image, consequently trying to remake God Himself into their image and likeness and presenting that to the people (the literal inversion of the father of lies), instead of attempting to discover, with a modicum of humility, what God wants, which is to make them into His own image and likeness.

Christianity is not what you are trying to make it out to be

img_0201“Arrest him/her!”

“Attention Patriots!”

“Demand action!”

“Fascists!”

These are just a tiny fraction of the calls coming out of the mouths of many Christians – in particular, nationalist-minded White Christians and Catholics – in the United States of America at present; a nation that used to pride itself on the greatness of its heart and its Judeo-Christian heritage. But Christianity is neither what you think it is, nor what you are trying to make it out to be, as Jesus Christ became incarnate to bring love, not hate, to a suffering world and the above samples of calls are nothing but examples of hate and/or incitements to hatred. Restoration, true life, and love have zero relationship to hatred.

By their fruits you shall know them (Mt 7:16).

Christianity has never been, nor is, neither will ever be about the dehumanization and scapegoating of the other – in particular, the disagreeing, the disagreeable, the non-White, the non-believing, or the differently-believing other, as God has granted free will to every human person. Violence in any way, shape, or form, and weapons are never the answer; never! Neither is attempting to restore Christianity as the order of the land through the end of a legislative barrel. God does not act like that; neither should the People of God.

Look at how much they love each other (Tertullian).

When self-identifying Christians and Catholics act or speak in the above-referenced manner, it should be noted that this is not genuine Christianity by any means, no matter what these persons may write or say they are and/or profess. That such individuals tend to do so under the name of Christianity, under the name of Catholicism even, makes it more of an abomination! Only a perversion of Christianity can produce such statements, such declarations, such calls, in accordance with the darkest desires of their hearts, not genuine Christianity illuminated by the Spirit of God. It is a deception at best.

Peace, love, charity, and unity shall not return to the land until We, the People – both left and right; Christians and non-Christians of all stripes – return to God with sincere repentance in the heart, because only Him Who Is Peace can grant the grace of true peace to the land and to the world. Only the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit can re-gather the people, the nations, into unity and fraternal love. Nothing else; no one else.

Christians in America – Am I my brother’s keeper?

With joy you call yourselves Christians and Catholics both in the public and in the private spheres. Indeed, you wear these labels proudly as an identity. You declare that you raise your children, if any, in the faith; even homeschooling them if necessary, and attend Mass in accordance with the holy days of obligation of the Catholic Church. You reportedly receive the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharistic with regularity and “do good works” whenever you can. 

But are you – Christian?

You are blind to the plight, sorrows, sufferings, and tribulations of the people in your midst including the fatherless, the orphaned, the widowed, the isolated, the lonely, the grieving, and the strangers. You speak about Catholicism with authority, especially in relation to the need to give, the need for solidarity, the hot button issues of abortion, euthanasia, same-sex unions, communion for the divorced-and-remarried, and so on and so forth. But do you know how to give your life for others? 

Do you know how to give one half of everything that you possess, like the widow with the mites and with joy in your heart, so that less fortunate others may start living in the dignity that befits all human persons? Or do you just give from your ready surplus, if even that?

You place a premium on strength as an indicator of adulthood and maturity, including spiritual maturity, considering those who are weaker, more vulnerable, as “losers” rather than “winners.” You do this all the while thanking God in your heart that you are, thanks to His grace, “not one of them.” But Christ came to eloquently anoint human weakness or human strength? How can the divine strength enter into a human person and become manifest throughout their being and actions, except in the presence of weakness, littleness, and vulnerability – the very qualities of losers according to your way of thinking?

You are deaf to the repeated pleas and cries for help from those suffering among you. You sleep at night; they do not sleep. You eat during the day; they do not eat except perhaps for the crumbs left over by the dogs. It is suggested that you actively help others who need your assistance, but you displace your responsibility to do so by responding “there are programs for that.” 

Who is a Christian?

The scandal of affluent churches in the United States

How I would love a church that is poor and for the poor (Pope Francis, General Audience, 2013).

There are millions of people who are homeless in America. Millions, not thousands; old and young alike. Yet newly built, protestantized churches like the above abound – and they call themselves Catholic. Not one flower is to be seen near the tabernacles in which God the Most Holy Trinity resides, or near the statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Yet they pride themselves in being Catholic. Was Christ born in a cold and dirty stable in Bethlehem, because his Mother and foster father were homeless and no one took them in, or was He born in the palace of Herod?

You have left your first love (Rv 2:4).

Where is your love? Do you even know what love means? Where is your devotion and fidelity to God? In the parking lots full of sports utility vehicles and ‘trucks,’ the vast majority of which seem to have been released within the past few years – while your own people, your very own people, sleep in the streets or under bridges, and eat food out of dumpsters behind big box stores? Are you a first world nation, America, or a third world nation? Where are your hearts, O People of God?

Whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord unworthily will have to answer for the body and blood of the Lord. A person should examine himself, and so eat the bread and drink the cup. For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body, eats and drinks judgment on himself. That is why many among you are ill and infirm, and a considerable number are dying (1 Cor 11:27-30).

What about your Masses, often standing room only and with innumerable stations for communion under both species, the distribution of which at times lasts almost 20 minutes – only to find not more than 20 people, if that, for the sacrament of confession on any given Saturday? And that when confession is even offered.

What about not a few of your priests, more often than not prancing around for homilies and during which some, for example, on a Solemnity in the Catholic Church, dare to ask if any of the faithful in the pews have dressed up as a lobster on Halloween? Not to mention a narration by one cleric, during the homily, about how much he enjoyed visiting Graceland and the house of Elvis Presley, ‘the King.’ What King? Who is the real King? Where is God? Is this “very reverent” as was said? Is this the “return to the solemnity of the Mass” as was claimed?

And the king will say to them, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me’ (Mt 25:40-45).

And what about the ‘welcome packets’ that are sent by these kinds of churches – packets containing nothing more than a thick stack of envelopes for tithing? Is this the desire of the heart of the Divine Father toward those who cross your thresholds? Do you even know what God wants from His people in relation to others?

Christ, on His visit to the temple centuries ago, flew into a rage, made whipping cords and used them to drive the marketeers out of the house of the Heavenly Father, as the anti-priests of the time had turned the temple into a veritable marketplace (Jn 2:15). And it is happening again. Saint John Paul II, when a simple parish priest, had nothing but a single change of clothing and one pair of shoes to his name. He did not even own a coat, despite the hard, cold weather. Benedict XVI has stated without equivocation that the spirit of the liturgy has been lost in such places. Francis has called without hesitation on a number of occasions for a poor Church for the poor.

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mt 19:23-24).

Yet the affluent churches in the United States do not hesitate to call themselves Catholic.