Rough cuts from Act II of the coming documentary Divine Beauty, which is in post-production.
Rough cuts from Act II of the coming documentary Divine Beauty, which is in post-production.
The Mystical Body of Christ – the Church
A lot of questions, contentions and assertions, often contradictory, have arisen lately about the matter of who is, or is not, part of the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ. Some have been correct. However, by far, the larger part of the contentions and assertions have all been either just partially correct or flat-out wrong. Some have been fueled by inadequate knowledge; others have been fueled by partisan denominational agendas. Misunderstandings and misrepresentations abound. Let us look, therefore, at who and what constitutes the Church.
The Church is made up of three parts: the (1) Church Triumphant, which consists of all those persons who are now in Heaven, enjoying the Divine Family in a direct manner. The (2) Church Suffering, which consists of all those souls who are still being purified in Purgatory, but who have now attained the assurance of reaching Heaven once their purification has ended. And (3) the Church Militant, the visible Church that consists of all those people on earth who are part of the Body of Christ.
How does one become part of the Mystical Body of Christ, the Church?
Entrance into the Body of Christ is through baptism of which there are three kinds: (1) the baptism of water, (2) the baptism of blood, and (3) the baptism of desire. Any person who receives any one of the above kinds of baptism is Christian, hence part of the Mystical Body of Christ (Paul VI, 1964. Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church). This is the official teaching of the universal Church, the fullness of which resides in the Catholic Church. (more…)
The question was asked, “What it God’s will for only Satan and demons to be in Hell?” The answer is, it was never God’s will that anyone be in Hell (angel or human) or that Hell even be made to exist in the very first instance. Hell resulted from the fall of the most beautiful angel to ever have been created, Lucifer, and the cohort of angels that decided to rebel together with him.
The statement was made that “Hell is for demons” – a statement that, at its most basic, is incorrect. Hell is not just for demons, but also for all those who die with at least one single mortal sin on their soul and of which they have not genuinely repented. That is the stark reality.
Preach the Gospel and if necessary use words – Saint Francis of Assisi
More than a few Christians in America and beyond these days, but particularly in the United States, attempt to evangelize by thumping others on the head with their ‘values’ under a variety of rationalizations. Their judgmentalism, moreover, can oftentimes be considered nothing short of phenomenal. There can be no doubt that many of these Christians, including Catholics, are fundamentally sincere in their underlying intentions. However, they seem to have forgotten (1) that the above is not evangelization, but proselytization (which is “nonsense” – Pope Francis); (2) the words of Saint Paul in his first Letter to the Corinthians, and (3) the words of Christ in the Gospel of Matthew: “By their fruits you shall know them.”
Look at how much they love one another – Tertullian
No one has ever been attracted or won over to the One, True Faith by force. On the contrary. The more one name-calls others in a self-congratulatory manner in an attempt to ‘convert’ them – you know, those “over there” – the more seekers are driven away not brought closer to God. They are repulsed.
God gave every man and every woman free will when He created humankind in His own image and likeness. He, in fact, respects the decisions taken by our free will even when some of our choices cause Him great grief and sorrow. The sole conclusion that can, therefore, be reached from all of the above is that these Christians and Catholics do not know God other than by Name because if they did – if they knew Him, if they had truly met Him, at the very least, deep down in their hearts – they would know beyond doubt that, first and foremost, God is Love; Infinite Love.
Cain said to the Lord, “My punishment is greater than I can bear. Behold, You have driven me this day away from the ground; and from Your face I shall be hidden; and I shall be a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will slay me.”
Then the Lord said to him, “Not so! If any one slays Cain, vengeance shall be taken on him sevenfold.”
And the Lord put a mark on Cain, lest any who came upon him should kill him. Then Cain went away from the presence of the Lord and dwelt in the land of Nod, east of Eden (Gn 4:2-16).
Some claim to be ‘pro-life.’ In fact, they will stop at nothing to hold back a mother-to-be from aborting her baby-in-the-womb, for abortion is manslaughter-by-another-name at the very least. And rightly so.
It should be noted, however, that the many of those who call themselves pro-life these days and actively belong to that movement in the US are not genuinely pro-life. They are simply pro-birth and pro-rationalization of whatever will quieten their conscience in the moment, to retain their personal and public delusions of being ‘a true Christian’ or ‘a faithful Catholic,’ despite the intractable beliefs with different intent which remain deeply in their hearts.
You shall not kill (Ex 20:13).
Specifically, these individuals defend capital punishment – the death penalty; another name for homicide – tooth and nail, despite the fact that only God and no one else has the right to take the life of another human person, no matter the actions, honorable or dishonorable, of the latter. In a celebratory manner reminiscent of that of a herd of fools rather than that of a herd of sheep, these individuals and this movement disregard the teachings of the Church and the repeated calls of Saint John Paul II, among others, to end this “cruel and unusual” punishment. It is a punishment that only declared barbarians, irrevocable sadists, radical extremists, and those possessed by Satan would ever endorse in this day and age.
Here are some excerpts of Saint John Paul II’s calls in relation to the death penalty:
Human life belongs only to God: for this reason, whoever attacks human life, in some way attacks God Himself . . . Not even a murderer loses his personal dignity, and God Himself pledges to guarantee this . . . God, who preferred the correction rather than the death of a sinner, did not desire that a homicide be punished by the exaction of another act of homicide (Evangelium Vitae, 1995).
A sign of hope is the increasing recognition that the dignity of human life must never be taken away, even in the case of someone who has done great evil. Modern society has the means of protecting itself, without definitively denying criminals the chance to reform. I renew the appeal I made most recently at Christmas for a consensus to end the death penalty, which is both cruel and unnecessary (Homily at the Papal Mass in the Trans World Dome, St. Louis, Missouri, January 27, 1999).
May the death penalty, an unworthy punishment still used in some countries, be abolished throughout the world (Prayer at the Papal Mass at Regina Coeli Prison in Rome, July 9, 2000).
“Do you think I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. From now on, a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law” (Lk 12, 51-53).
“Woe to you, scholars of the law! You have taken away the key of knowledge. You yourselves did not enter and you stopped those trying to enter” (Lk 11:52).
Revisionists of history, revisionists of the Word and the Truth, legitimizers of disorder and chaos; betrayers of God, the People of God, and of humanity. That is what you are, anti-priests of the Western world, no matter your rank in the priesthood, for you serve neither God nor His children despite your call and the indelible mark on your souls. You act as spiritual counselors of the people in both the internal and the external fora, but you lead without hesitation the most vulnerable and oppressed of the children of God in the direction of the desires of your own hearts and of the Evil One, instead of in the direction of God their Almighty Father.
Quo vadis, sacerdotes?
Thieves of the souls created and ever-so-loved by the Father, first degree murderers of the innocents whose blood bathes your hands in a mystical way, and ruthless persecutors of those brethren of the cloth who dare speak truth to your power, you differ not from Hophni and Phinehas, the sons of Eli the high priest, and the bishop Judas Iscariot. In their company you belong! You counsel and enable women, at some of the most vulnerable and confused times of their lives, to proceed with having abortions when they ask you if they can licitly do so within the context of their Catholic faith. You give said counsel under the psychologization of saving the life of the mother, while knowing full well the spiritual and material consequences to your victims of such actions. Yes, victims! For these women and their unborn children, in reality, are no other than victims of your self-serving, thieving, and murderous hearts – envious hearts as neither women are you, nor men in your identities.
How can you call yourselves fathers after the Divine Heart of God the Father and priests after the Sacred Heart of Christ the Priest (cf. Jer 3:15)? You are anything but!
Dying to reconstruct and promulgate the faith in accordance with the deepest darkness of your desires and despite knowing that the immaculate Father, Son, and Holy Spirit cannot come to live in souls where the mortal darkness of unrepentant impurity resides, you actively facilitate both the illicitly married priesthood (opposite- and same-gender) in the Latin Rite Church and bless same-gender unions, in repeatedly compulsive attempts to legitimize the back alley acting-out of your own unintegrated sexualities, disordered inclinations, and challenged identities. You do this under the psychologizations that the law is continually evolving and that such marriages are preferable to the use of onanism as a substitute for intimate human relations. But according to whose supernatural wisdom does the bind of either one option or the other option of sexual acting-out necessarily have to be in effect, in the daily life of those not validly bound in the sacrament of matrimony? Whenceforth your failure in both faith and reason? Wherefore the abdication on your priestly part with regard to the third option: the potent, tangible action of grace and the equally tangible power of purity? Do you think they do not exist and this in the lives of common persons, including priests who are humble? To whom, moreover, do the souls of the persons you counsel and interact with in this manner belong: to your grasping, lustfully greedy, and darkness-filled selves, or to the Father who wants them home with Him despite all their frailties?
Whereto, therefore, the clerical abuse of power? For that is what it is. The abuse of the spiritual trust placed in you by the persons in question and by God Himself – erudite men of the cloth, yet wolves in sheep’s clothing; anti-priests of the Western world – given the intrinsic nature of your call? And whereto the eternal destiny of your own souls?
What accounting are you going to give at your particular judgment in relation to all those souls you have stolen and keep on stealing without compunction from the Almighty Father?
Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia (as released by the Vatican Press Office).
“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God the Father and the fellowship of the holy Spirit be with all of you” (2 Cor 13:13).
1. By God the Father’s will, from which all gifts come, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the help of the Holy Spirit Consolator, we, Pope Francis and Kirill, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia, have met today in Havana. We give thanks to God, glorified in the Trinity, for this meeting, the first in history.
It is with joy that we have met like brothers in the Christian faith who encounter one another “to speak face to face” (2 Jn 12), from heart to heart, to discuss the mutual relations between the Churches, the crucial problems of our faithful, and the outlook for the progress of human civilization.
2. Our fraternal meeting has taken place in Cuba, at the crossroads of North and South, East and West. It is from this island, the symbol of the hopes of the “New World” and the dramatic events of the history of the twentieth century, that we address our words to all the peoples of Latin America and of the other continents.
It is a source of joy that the Christian faith is growing here in a dynamic way. The powerful religious potential of Latin America, its centuries–old Christian tradition, grounded in the personal experience of millions of people, are the pledge of a great future for this region.
3. By meeting far from the longstanding disputes of the “Old World”, we experience with a particular sense of urgency the need for the shared labour of Catholics and Orthodox, who are called, with gentleness and respect, to give an explanation to the world of the hope in us (cf. 1 Pet 3:15).
4. We thank God for the gifts received from the coming into the world of His only Son. We share the same spiritual Tradition of the first millennium of Christianity. The witnesses of this Tradition are the Most Holy Mother of God, the Virgin Mary, and the saints we venerate. Among them are innumerable martyrs who have given witness to their faithfulness to Christ and have become the “seed of Christians”.
5. Notwithstanding this shared Tradition of the first ten centuries, for nearly one thousand years Catholics and Orthodox have been deprived of communion in the Eucharist. We have been divided by wounds caused by old and recent conflicts, by differences inherited from our ancestors, in the understanding and expression of our faith in God, one in three Persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are pained by the loss of unity, the outcome of human weakness and of sin, which has occurred despite the priestly prayer of Christ the Saviour: “So that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you … so that they may be one, as we are one” (Jn 17:21). (more…)
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 (more…)