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Readings of the New Testament

Readings of the New Testament

Readings of the New Testament on December 20, 2016

Why do you boast of mischief, mighty man? God’s loving kindness endures continually. Your tongue plots destruction, like a sharp razor, working deceitfully. You love evil more than good, lying rather than speaking the truth. You love all devouring words, you deceitful tongue. God will likewise destroy you forever. He will take you up, and pluck you out of your tent, and root you out of the land of the living. The righteous also will see it, and fear, and laugh at him, saying, «Behold, this is the man who didn’t make God his strength, but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.» But as for me, I am like a green olive tree in God’s house. I trust in God’s loving kindness forever and ever. I will give you thanks forever, because you have done it. I will hope in your name, for it is good, in the presence of your saints.

Your church needs you

Your church needs you posted in Faith and religious, Jesus, Teachings, The old testament on July 12, 2016

The idealism and self-sacrificing commitment of that wartime generation are harder to find in our society today. But as Christians, we are challenged to rediscover that commitment. Jesus is saying to his people today the same sort of thing Uncle Sam said in those posters. Jesus is saying to us, “Your church—my church—needs you!”

Two Journeys

Two Journeys posted in Eleison Comments on January 19, 2013

Journeys since mid-December, to North America and France, have enabled me to observe within the Society of St Pius X a dangerous state of indetermination. Where the District Superior is not blind, the danger is for the moment held back somewhat, so that resistance is puzzled. Where however the District Superior is a willing servant of SSPX headquarters, there the movement towards the Newchurch forges ahead, but also the Resistance is taking shape. What is at stake?

Ever since the breakout of Protestantism, the world has been sliding further and further away from God. Thanks to the Council of Trent (1545–1563), the Catholic Church held firm, but thanks to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965) the official Catholic Church joined in the slide. Then thanks mainly (but not only!) to Archbishop Lefebvre (1905–1991), relics of the Church of Trent gathered themselves together to form amidst the desert of modernity a Catholic oasis, the SSPX. But where the mighty Church had not been able to resist, it was, sure enough, merely a matter of time before the puny SSPX would be tempted in its turn to join in the slide.

However, just as at Vatican II the Church’s official leadership was obliged to pretend that it was not breaking with the Tridentine Church (such is, for instance, Benedict XVI’s “hermeneutic of continuity”), so the SSPX’s official leadership is now obliged to pretend that it is not breaking with Archbishop Lefebvre. Thus, like most politicians of the last 500 years, these SSPX leaders are talking to the right while walking to the left, because that is what a large number of people want, namely the appearance of Christianity without its substance (cf. II Tim. III, 1–5, especially verse 5). Like Descartes, such leaders “advance behind a mask,” seeking to disguise their move to the left beneath words to the right, or words clearly ambiguous.

What happened in the SSPX last spring, as Fr Chazal says, is that the mask came off, because the SSPX leadership must have calculated that the time had come for it to make its open move back into the mainstream Church. Alas for these leaders, there emerged between March and June enough resistance to block at the SSPX General Chapter in July any immediate attempt to join the Newchurch. And so from that Chapter onwards, the mask has gone back on. But liberals do not convert, short of a miracle of grace, because leftwardness is their real religion. That is why the SSPX leaders are surely waiting for the modern world, flesh and devil to continue their work of pulling SSPX clergy and laity to the left so that within a few years at most there will no longer be any significant resistance, as there was last summer, to the SSPX rejoining the Newchurch.

This leaves the SSPX betwixt and between. However, as the common sense of Archbishop Lefebvre remarked, superiors mould subjects and not the other way round. That is why, unless the present SSPX leaders are displaced by a miracle, the SSPX is doomed to be dissolved within the Newchurch. One can hardly say the punishment would not have been deserved. But let us pray to the Mother of God for some miracles of her Divine Son’s mercy.

Kyrie eleison.

State Religion – II

State Religion – II posted in Eleison Comments on December 10, 2011

According to the religion of liberalism – it cannot be said too often that liberalism serves as a substitute religion – it is absolute heresy to declare that every State on earth should support and protect the Catholic religion. Yet if God exists, if Jesus Christ is God, if any natural society of human beings, such as the State, is a creature of God, and if Jesus Christ founded the Catholic Church as his one and only instrument for the saving of men from the eternal fires of Hell, then unless a State wants to be an enemy of mankind, it is bound to favour and protect the Catholic Church. But there are objections to this conclusion. Let us look at three of the most common:—

First objection: Our Lord himself said to Pontius Pilate (Jn. XVIII, 36) that his Kingdom was not of this world. But the State is of this world. Therefore the State should have nothing to do with his Kingdom or his Church.

Solution: Our Lord was telling Pilate that his Kingdom and the State are distinct but he was not saying that they should be separate. A man’s soul is distinct from his body, but to separate them is the death of the man. Parents are distinct from their children, but to separate them (as Child Agencies today are liable to do) is the death of the family. Church and State are as distinct from one another as life on earth is distinct from eternal life, but to separate them is to put a gulf between the first and the second, and it is to increase greatly the number of citizens who will fall into Hell.

Second objection: The Catholic religion is true. But Truth can be left to make its own way. Therefore the Catholic religion needs no coercive power of the State to help it, such as the suppression in public of the practice of all other religions. Solution: In itself, indeed “The truth is mighty and will prevail,” as the Latins said, but amongst us men it will not prevail easily, because of original sin. Were all human beings (except Our Lord and Our Lady) not afflicted ever since the Fall with the four wounds of Ignorance, Malice, Weakness and Concupiscence , then much less would get in the way of truth prevailing, and Thomas Jefferson might be right in proclaiming that truth needs only to be exposed in the market-place to prevail. But Catholics know what the Church teaches, namely that man remains even after baptism subject to the downward drag of original sin, so that to find that truth without which he cannot save his soul, he needs all reasonable help from his State. That reasonable help excludes the State’s trying to force anyone to be Catholic, but it includes the State’s keeping dangerous anti-truths out of Jefferson’s market-place.

Third objection: Great power can be greatly misused. Now the union of Church and State is very powerful for them both. Therefore it can do great harm – just see how the Conciliar Church and the secular New World Order are empowering one another! Solution: “Misuse cannot stop use,” said the Latins. Should Our Lord not have given us the Holy Eucharist on the grounds that it can be gravely misused? The Conciliar Church re-uniting with the liberal State is a powerful misuse of the union of Church and State, but it proves the wrongness of liberalism, not the wrongness of the union of Catholic State with Catholic Church.

Kyrie eleison.

Tomato Stakes – II

Tomato Stakes – II posted in Eleison Comments on November 12, 2011

When “Eleison Comments” quoted (Sept. 10, 217) the Russian proverb likening woman and man to a tomato-plant and the stake around which that plant clings and climbs to bear fruit, it used the comparison to expound on the nature and role of woman. A woman reader then asked how it applies to men. Alas, our crazy age is trying to wipe out all these basics of human nature.

On God’s design for man and woman, profoundly different but sublimely complementary, there is of course much more to be said than a mere comparison from the garden can say. At every Catholic wedding Mass, the Epistle compares the relations between husband and wife to those between Christ and his Church. Worthy of note in this passage (Ephesians V, 22–33) is how St Paul lays out at length the consequent duties of the husband, briefly those of the wife. Already we may suspect that today’s men are greatly responsible for the loss of sanity between contemporary man and woman, but let us leave the supernatural mystery for another occasion and return to the garden, because it is above all the natural basics that are being attacked today by the enemies of God and man.

For a tomato-stake to serve a tomato-plant it needs two things: it must stand tall and it must stand firm. If it does not stand tall, the plant cannot climb, and if it does not stand firm the plant cannot cling, or wrap itself around the stake. The firmness, one might say, depends on a man’s wrapping himself around his work, while the tallness depends upon his reaching for God, no less.

As for the firmness, in all times and places where human nature has not been twisted out of all recognition, the man’s life revolves around his work while the woman’s life revolves around her family, starting with her man. If the man makes the woman the centre of his life, it is as though two tomato plants were clinging together – both will finish in the mud, unless the woman takes on the part of the man, which she was never meant to do, and which she should at least never wish to do. A wise woman chooses for husband precisely a man who has found his work and loves it, so that while he is firmly wrapped around it, she can wrap herself around him.

As for the tallness, just as the stake must point to the sky, so a man must reach for Heaven. Leaders need a vision with which to inspire and lead. Archbishop Lefebvre had a vision of the restoration of the true Church. Similarly when the faith of Cardinal Pie (1815–1880) saw unmanliness in the men of the 19th century all around him, he attributed it to their lack of faith. Where there is no faith, he said, there are no convictions. No convictions, no firmness of character. No firmness of character, no men. St Paul was thinking along the same lines when he said, “The head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God” (I Cor.XI, 3). Therefore to recover his manliness, let a man turn to God, put himself in order beneath him, and it will be that much easier for a wife to put herself in order beneath her man, and the children beneath both of them.

But “beneath” is not to be understood as any kind of tyranny, either of husband over wife, or of parents over children. The stake is there for the tomato. It was a wise Jesuit who said that the best thing a man can do for his children is to love their mother. Men do not run on love as women do, so they can easily fail to understand how women need to love and to be loved. In fact, a teaspoonful of affection, and she is good for another hundred miles. The Holy Ghost says it rather more elegantly: “Husbands, love your wives and be not bitter towards them” (Col.III, 19).

Kyrie eleison.