Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Father Ratzinger Predicts the Future of the Church

“The future of the Church can and will issue from those whose roots are deep and who live from the pure fullness of their faith. It will not issue from those who accommodate themselves merely to the passing moment or from those who merely criticize others and assume that they themselves are infallible measuring rods; nor will it issue from those who take the easier road, who sidestep the passion of faith, declaring false and obsolete, tyrannous and legalistic, all that makes demands upon men, that hurts them and compels them to sacrifice themselves.
To put this more positively: The future of the Church, once again as always, will be reshaped by saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone, a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered.
If today we are scarcely able any longer to become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can see only with his heart, then how blind we are!
“How does all this affect the problem we are examining? It means that the big talk of those who prophesy a Church without God and without faith is all empty chatter. We have no need of a Church that celebrates the cult of action in political prayers. It is utterly superfluous. Therefore, it will destroy itself. What will remain is the Church of Jesus Christ, the Church that believes in the God who has become man and promises us life beyond death. The kind of priest who is no more than a social worker can be replaced by the psychotherapist and other specialists; but the priest who is no specialist, who does not stand on the [sidelines], watching the game, giving official advice, but in the name of God places himself at the disposal of man, who is beside them in their sorrows, in their joys, in their hope and in their fear, such a priest will certainly be needed in the future.
“Let us go a step farther. From the crisis of today the Church of tomorrow will emerge — a Church that has lost much. She will become small and will have to start afresh more or less from the beginning. She will no longer be able to inhabit many of the edifices she built in prosperity. As the number of her adherents diminishes, so it will lose many of her social privileges. In contrast to an earlier age, it will be seen much more as a voluntary society, entered only by free decision. As a small society, it will make much bigger demands on the initiative of her individual members. Undoubtedly it will discover new forms of ministry and will ordain to the priesthood approved Christians who pursue some profession. In many smaller congregations or in self-contained social groups, pastoral care will normally be provided in this fashion. Along-side this, the full-time ministry of the priesthood will be indispensable as formerly. But in all of the changes at which one might guess, the Church will find her essence afresh and with full conviction in that which was always at her center: faith in the triune God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man, in the presence of the Spirit until the end of the world. In faith and prayer she will again recognize the sacraments as the worship of God and not as a subject for liturgical scholarship.
“The Church will be a more spiritual Church, not presuming upon a political mandate, flirting as little with the Left as with the Right. It will be hard going for the Church, for the process of crystallization and clarification will cost her much valuable energy. It will make her poor and cause her to become the Church of the meek. The process will be all the more arduous, for sectarian narrow-mindedness as well as pompous self-will will have to be shed. One may predict that all of this will take time. The process will be long and wearisome as was the road from the false progressivism on the eve of the French Revolution — when a bishop might be thought smart if he made fun of dogmas and even insinuated that the existence of God was by no means certain — to the renewal of the nineteenth century.
“But when the trial of this sifting is past, a great power will flow from a more spiritualized and simplified Church. Men in a totally planned world will find themselves unspeakably lonely. If they have completely lost sight of God, they will feel the whole horror of their poverty. Then they will discover the little flock of believers as something wholly new. They will discover it as a hope that is meant for them, an answer for which they have always been searching in secret.
“And so it seems certain to me that the Church is facing very hard times. The real crisis has scarcely begun. We will have to count on terrific upheavals. But I am equally certain about what will remain at the end: not the Church of the political cult, which is dead already, but the Church of faith. It may well no longer be the dominant social power to the extent that she was until recently; but it will enjoy a fresh blossoming and be seen as man’s home, where he will find life and hope beyond death.”

Father Ratzinger, 1969

Transubstantiation: The CCC quotes the Council of Trent

“And his servants went out into the roads, and gathered all whom they found, both good and bad; and the marriage feast was filled with guests. Now the king went in to see the guests, and he saw there a man who had not on a wedding garment. And he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ But he was speechless. Then the king said to the attendants, ‘Bind his hands and feet and cast him forth into the darkness outside, where there will be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen.” Matthew 22

The Council of Trent summarizes the Catholic faith by declaring: "Because Christ our Redeemer said that it was truly his body that he was offering under the species of bread, it has always been the conviction of the Church of God, and this holy Council now declares again, that by the consecration of the bread and wine there takes place a change of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of his blood. This change the holy Catholic Church has fittingly and properly called transubstantiation."206

The CCC section on the Eucharist begins with number 1326. This teaching is given in number 1376, implying a secondary importance to this aspect of the Sacrament.

Every other teaching on the Eucharist follows from the dogma of transubstantiation, including the fact that a person not in a state of grace could not benefit from receive Our Lord truly present.

We are baptized and confirmed in a state of grace to remove the stain of original sin and to be fed with the Lord’s Body and Blood so as to grow in grace, “a fountain welling up to eternal life”.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

"The great thing about being a Catholic is you can take Sundays off."

Leading Souls Astray at a Funeral Mass

By Father Kevin M. Cusick

“You need to smile more.”

It’s a sure sign a fellow Catholic has lost immunity to error afforded by firm assent to truth when he says this after you’ve together just witnessed a chapel full of souls misled by heresy.

I recently attended a funeral in a neighboring diocese. My decision to remain seated in the pews was rewarded: I didn’t have to struggle to keep a poker face in the sanctuary while innocent souls were lied to and their salvation was put in serious jeopardy by a heretic in a chasuble.

Many stand-up comedians lost out on their true calling when they were ordained priests in the 70’s. Some of them will even stoop to joking about a deceased person wandering off before the funeral because they successfully escaped from their unit in the nursing home a number of times while alive. But that’s not the worst of it. The desire to keep things light and avoid the issue of sadness in death extends to actually deceiving souls starving for truth about the possibility of eternal damnation.

How many already benighted by error are told every week in the US that they are assured of salvation by an official representative of the Catholic Church? That is the logical conclusion when everyone who dies is proclaimed to be in heaven. Last I checked some people are still attempting to use their God-given logic.

Why does an otherwise rational grown man get up in front of a group of people and tell them he knows the deceased is in heaven? Then he proceeds to offer Mass for the deceased and the living present as if such is any longer needed if he speaks the truth. In the fallout from such error the whole concept of a crucified God, His image hanging in carved wood on the wall behind the altar, becomes a countersign.

Prayer itself becomes useless when there is no longer anything that we could possibly do that would prevent us from going anywhere other than heaven when we die. That could be the reason why so many people talk in church and so few pray. This could be a significant contribution to the collapsing numbers of practicing Catholics.

The “presider”, an ordained priest, invited family and guests seated in the chapel in anticipation of the Mass to “wander around and chat” while waiting for the musician to arrive.

The chapel itself was dedicated to universal salvation, many of the kneelers ripped out, except in the side aisles for those few who might still be “tempted” to pray.

The signature symbol of Vatican II abuses and the denial of God was also enshrined: Our Lord Himself, sacramentally present in the Blessed Sacrament was relegated to the corner pocket.

The few Catholics still possessing some vestigial awareness of the sacred knelt after the praying of the Sanctus despite the priest’s invitation to be seated. It’s a brutal irony when the prayer and posture of the few still cleaving to the signs of universal Catholic worship are reduced to a kind of protest.

The deceased was a good Catholic woman, but like many Catholics of her time she went to Mass every day except Sunday. For many years Catholics were led to believe that Saturday evening Mass was the same as Sunday. They weren’t properly informed that if you can go on Sunday you’re supposed to go on Sunday.

The priest in summary gave us the line of the day: “That’s the great thing about being Catholic: you can take Sundays off”. Just what the non-practicing family members needed to hear: affirmation of the fact that they’re already taking Sundays off because they never attend obligatory worship on the Lord’s Day to begin with.

The deceased practiced her faith as best she could in the circumstances afforded her. I have few worries for her soul and fervently pray she rest in peace. Many lay people today patiently and quietly suffer the predations visited upon the sacred liturgy by unfaithful priests. It is a relief for priests blessed to share the holy aspects of the life of the deceased. These are helps toward the hope of salvation. But the homily is not to take the form of a hagiographical canonization as the Catechism makes clear:

The liturgy of the Word during funerals demands very careful preparation because the assembly present for the funeral may include some faithful who rarely attend the liturgy, and friends of the deceased who are not Christians. The homily in particular must "avoid the literary genre of funeral eulogy"189 and illumine the mystery of Christian death in the light of the risen Christ.” (CCC 1688)

Weddings and funerals are the occasions in which the vast majority of mankind intersects with the Catholic Church. It is for this reason that many perhaps mistakenly believe that there are only three songs in the entire Catholic repertoire: “Be Not Afraid”, “On Eagle’s Wings” and “Amazing Grace”. It is true that more people tend to sing when they have the words memorized.
One question occurs: why are we still cautioning people to “Be Not Afraid” while we are telling them in funeral homilies that everyone goes to heaven?

The role of the priest is to do what the Church does, commending all souls to the mercy of God:

The Eucharistic Sacrifice. When the celebration takes place in church the Eucharist is the heart of the Paschal reality of Christian death.190 In the Eucharist, the Church expresses her efficacious communion with the departed: offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit the sacrifice of the death and resurrection of Christ, she asks to purify his child of his sins and their consequences, and to admit him to the Paschal fullness of the table of the Kingdom.191 It is by the Eucharist thus celebrated that the community of the faithful, especially the family of the deceased, learn to live in communion with the one who "has fallen asleep in the Lord," by communicating in the Body of Christ of which he is a living member and, then, by praying for him and with him.” (CCC 1689)

Note that priest on behalf of the deceased and the people asks God “to admit” the deceased into heaven.

I received good news in conversation following the liturgy. An acquaintance asked me for prayer, informing me that a young man was taking a high school equivalency test that day for mathematics as he had dropped out of a Catholic school. He was seeking admission to the seminary for a traditional order of priests. This after a priest on the staff had behaved inappropriately with him in the confessional, precipitating his departure from the school. This is just one of many miracles keeping the faith and sacramental grace alive in our time.

As many age out, the biological solution will bring some improvement to the quality of the life of prayer for our people. Many young candidates today are seeking ordination despite great scandal and many reasons for discouragement. Pray for them.

Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

My 90-day Twitter fast ends soon. See you see @IntroiboAdAltar!

Monday, August 26, 2019

My 90-Day Twitter Fast

My fast from tweeting is almost over. What will I give up by getting back into the verbal scrum of social media?

By Father Kevin M Cusick 

Doctors studying Alzheimer’s patients in the search for a cure have landed on fasting as a possible answer to eliminating the disease. It’s another case of Church tradition proved right for more than spiritual reasons.

It turns out that if one skips a morning collation, waiting 12 hours before breaking one’s fast each day, the body uses more of the stored fat that aids in brain function, to include accessing memories which begins to fail in persons with the disease.

The traditional Catholic fast from midnight, it turns out, is beneficial for physical as well as spiritual reasons.

For years Catholics, obedient as they were to Church discipline surrounding reception of the Holy Eucharist only after a lengthy fast, ensured that the Body of Christ was the first meal of the day. Often this would be closer to noon on Sundays, resulting in a fast sometimes of more than 12 hours. What was a purely religious discipline fed the mind through bodily denial, as well as the life of the spirit, working together as they do in the life of faith.

The mind must be deployed in grasping the truths proposed to the understanding of the believer. The more powerful operation of the mind enabled by bodily fasting from other food enables a more effective encounter with Our Lord upon reception of Him as the Food of the Eucharist. The mind as well as body and soul are to be fed by grace through faith.

The Eucharistic fast in fact enables the body to use what was previously consumed in a more efficient manner.

My nearly concluded 90-day break from posting on the Twitter social network has similarly brought spiritual benefits.

Some may remember I came under attack by thousands of persons on Twitter in early June in a shouting match over the choice of words I employed about a dress code incident at Mass.

After I emptied my “verbal magazines”, going down fighting under the barrage of tens of thousands of tweeted assaults, the result was an excessive number of posts over a 24-hour period. I happened to be on a day off away from the parish when it happened, but nothing in the life of a priest is free of examination by others, living as a public person as he must. That rate of posting could lead to questions over prudence and detachment.

My period of three months away from the social media platform resulted.

Distance always provides objectivity. The same ability to see the speck on someone else, or to provide very convincing advice to others that we may be struggling to follow, demonstrates the ease with which we can see the truth about others more clearly and easily than we sometimes do for ourselves. It is emotion-free distance that makes such clear vision possible.

For those who engage in verbal sparring on Twitter it is a deep investment of self in a conversation at times about very personal issues. The lack of authentic conversation so often witnessed on Twitter is a reflection of the high degree of personal investment bringing out concomitant emotions with an attendant lack of objectivity.

Quick access to a brief, public expression of thought at the wrong moment for ourselves can result in perceived injury to others with highly toxic results.

On Twitter, as well as in every other human interaction, reflection and often also prayer are necessary before reacting if one is to offer the emotion-free objectivity that truly benefits others in more effective communication.

Filters that are employed before Tweeting which can enable inspection for and elimination of emotion-laden ambiguities open to misinterpretation are helpful. Tweet yourself before you treat others to your thoughts. 

Looking in on the platform as I did while fasting from actual participation gave me the strengthened ability to see the truth about so many conversations that take place there. I observed that people were processing their emotions through successive tweets, thereby avoiding conversation invited by others in a given thread.

Recently a beloved and respected pro-life warrior, wife and mother, jumped into a thread started by another exemplary Catholic woman, resulting in a stunted exchange hampered by emotion.

One tweeted a teaching from the Roman catechism on the laudable and necessary role of the mother in the home. The other, who often goes on the road for her work, evidently felt slighted in some way and responded several times as if wounded. Some name-calling further muddied the waters as the first individual tried innocently though unsuccessfully to engage with the truths presented in the teaching.

This is just one unfortunate example of many occasions in which Catholics, who agree on essentials, talk past each other because effective aids to objectivity, such as getting off the social network and talking face to face, are lacking.

Such individuals could agree to meet or phone at a future date, afterward publishing an edifying piece on the encounter for the benefit of all.

Non-verbal signals made possible by personal encounter often derail avoidable conversational flash points and help both parties involved to focus on the real issues at hand.

Texting a friend and asking for advice, waiting before tweeting to test the importance of speaking out sooner rather than later and on one issue rather than another, and taking breaks from social media all can help aid in a more edifying use of Twitter for its undeniable benefits to Catholic interaction and evangelization.

Working one's thoughts out in blog format and then linking via a tweet to draw traffic and conversation can also prevent disedifying train wrecks.

Even Twitter admits its own limitations by advising that more than 20 Tweets per day results in decreasing benefits to the user.

Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Friday, August 16, 2019

The problem with Catholics ...

... when they want to be liked more than Jesus was.

So they tinker with the message. Change something here or there.

And then what they have is no longer truly Christian but an attempt to be liked.

Christianity is not about being liked; it’s about dying to self for the sake of the Father’s will so as to live with Him.

“Greater love no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends.” Laying down one’s life in authentic love for friends means sharing the truth in a disinterested manner.

If you want to be a true Christian stop trying to turn the Faith into a popularity contest.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Coming soon: Father Cusick’s “First Tweet” after 90 day Twitter fast

Vote for your choice for my first tweet after my 90-day Twitter fast @IntroiboAdAltar.

1. Hello

2. Everyone is doing just fine, attending Mass as before and there was no pastoral crisis after all.

3. Of course men have self control just like women do. It’s an insult to anyone’s intelligence to suggest they didn’t know that. (Thanks for the compliment, Twitter mob).

4. Your suggestions 

Thank you for visiting.


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