Thursday, August 25, 2016

"Theology of the Body" Founders on Settled Teaching, Scripture

Theology of the Body” Founders on Settled Teaching

By Father Kevin M. Cusick

The growth and popularity of the Theology of the Body (TOB) as promulgated by Saint John Paul II has increased and, now, with the canonization of its champion will doubtless find new adherents.

Many orthodox and engaged Catholics, parents and youth group leaders, have reached for this body of teachings on sexuality and marriage in order to encourage and form young people in chastity and better prepare them for marriage in particular.

Don Pietro Leone’s book on marriage and family, “The Family Under Attack”, portions of which are published exclusively on Rorate Caeli ( is available for purchase through Amazon. In his book he makes a bombshell claim: the series of discourses delivered by JPII and later collected as “Theology of the Body” do not constitute development of Church teaching but, rather, a rupture with it:

“‘Theology of the Body’ is the title that Pope John Paul II gave to a series of discourses delivered between September 1979 and November 1984. When we evaluate this doctrine in the light of Tradition, we see that in its principal positions it does not represent a development of Catholic teaching (in the sense of a clarification or deepening of that teaching), but rather a rupture with it, that is to say something novel. For this reason it cannot be described as Catholic doctrine, but rather as a series of personal meditations by the then Pope.”

What are some of the reasons for this “rupture” which means this work must be considered not teaching but personal meditations?

I have long considered the language of TOB lyrically beautiful in the way it describes the love of man and woman in marriage. It calls for the “total mutual self-gift of the spouses” in the marital act and in all of the expressions of love possible for man and woman in holy matrimony. However, when inspected in the light of Revelation, in the entire tradition of our Faith, cracks begin to appear in the TOB edifice.

There is not sufficient space here to cover all the objections that Leone posits in his book. I will offer a few as limits permit but refer readers to the Rorate Caeli article as a further introduction to the book. 

More from Leone:

“As our source for this chapter we take the book ‘Theology of the Body for Beginners’ by Mr. Christopher West (Ascension Press, 2004), which affords a useful summary of this theory. This lecturer and writer has done much to popularize the said theory on the international level.”

The finalities of marriage as taught in settled Catholic doctrine are one of the areas in which the personalist approach favored by JPII in TOB is set on a collision course with the Faith:

“Now the Church teaches that marriage has three finalities: 1) the procreation and education of children; 2) the mutual assistance of the spouses; 3) the remedy of concupiscence (see the Roman Catechism expounded in chapter 10 above). The Church teaches further that the first finality is also the primary finality (see chapter 5 for the relevant declarations of the Magisterium, and for the arguments from Scripture, patristics, and speculative theology).

“In opposition to this teaching, certain modern authors hold the view that the good of the spouses (cf. the second finality) is on the same level as, or on a higher level than, the good of the children (cf. the first finality). We refer the reader to chapter 5 of the present book.”

“This modern view has been condemned by the Magisterium. A Declaration of the Holy See of March 1944 (AAS XXVI p.103) poses the question: ‘Can one admit the doctrine of certain modern writers who deny that the procreation and education of the child are the primary end of marriage, or teach that the secondary ends are not essentially subordinate to the primary end, but rather are of equal value and are independent of it? They replied: No, this doctrine cannot be admitted’. In his Allocution to the Midwives (1951) Pope Pius XII refers to such doctrines as ‘a serious inversion of the order of the values and of the purposes which the Creator has established Himself.’ “        

Leone discusses the related problems presented by the innovations of TOB in the light of sacred Tradition:

“Theology of the Body must be seen against this background. Even if it does not explicitly deny that the procreation and education of children is the primary finality of marriage, it is almost exclusively concerned with spousal love, at best mentioning procreation simply as an adjunct, as when the Pope, in reference to ‘the communion of persons which man and woman form…’ adds: on ‘all this, right from the beginning, there descended the blessing of fertility’ (Nov. 14th 1979, West p.25).”

In the second area of concern Leone treats the TOB theme of “Total Self-Giving Love”.
“Now the foundation of the Theology of the Body is the proposition that the act of conjugal love consists in ‘the total reciprocal self-giving of husband and wife’ (Familiaris Consortio 32, quoted in the The New Catechism 2370). If this proposition is false, then the whole edifice of Theology of the Body falls.

“In chapter 4 of the present book we have argued to the falsity of this proposition: first metaphysically, because the human person is incommunicable; second physically, because the act of conjugal love essentially involves the seeking and taking of pleasure, without which it would indeed be impossible; and third morally, because total self-giving love is commanded (and indeed only possible) to God alone (Lk. 10.27), whereas man is commanded to love his neighbour to a lesser degree, and where conjugal relations are concerned, with modesty and moderation [1] (cf. Roman Catechism on the Use of Marriage). Indeed to love one’s neighbour with a total love would be idolatry .[2]”

Pastors are urged to share this critique in total with parish personnel who may be using TOB in faith formation, youth and marriage prep programs. We are setting our faithful up for failure if we call them to live out ideals that are unachievable as well as in conflict with God’s law to “love your neighbor as yourself” in marriage as well as all the vocations.


Text ends --------------------

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Save by "Narrow Gate" Faith

21st Sunday, C: Narrow Gate Faith 

“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” 
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,"

What’s wrong with a narrow gate? Why does it repel us?

A narrow gate only admits  people who travel lightly, without a lot of baggage, or people who are walking, travelling without a vehicle or horse. 
In other words, a narrow gate is intimidating to anyone who is travelling with a lot of possessions.

We are a travelling people because we cannot we remain here: "we have here no lasting city".

The gate symbolizes for us the passage through that change which happens to us when we “die”.

 What are the things which strike us as narrow, the aspects of life in Christ:

Faithfulness to Sunday Mass
Forgiving and loving others

These ways of living strengthen our faith.
“for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter.
but will not be strong enough”

We all have to pass through the gate; our choices now will determine if we will be strong enough.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

MOTHER OF ACTIVE DUTY SOLDIER Destroys Hillary's Anti-TrumpMuslim Dad With This VIRAL Letter
 August 2016

Only a military mom could write such a fantastic testimony and rebuke to the Muslim pawn used by Hillary’s campaign at the Dem Convention to trash Donald Trump.  The Facebook letter below is so great and so powerful that it has gone viral.   We hope you will read and share because it’s time to support our military 100% in this war against terror!
To the Muslim Gold Star father who spoke at the DNC …
I have some thoughts on your comments.  I am a Blue Star mother.  My deepest condolences on the loss of your son.  No family should have to endure such a loss.  That being said … while your son is a hero, you Sir, are NOT.   My son has served three tours of combat in the countries you and your family came from.   Iraq and Afghanistan were his introduction to adulthood and service to something bigger than our individual selves.  He was blown up by an IED set by your countrymen.   His Purple Heart is a testament to his love of America and our freedoms.  I have suffered through his multiple combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan … never knowing from moment to moment if he would return home in a flag draped coffin.  It is torture when a mother wakes up to this day after day and sees the atrocities happening over there on the news and being helpless to change a thing.  
My comments to you will probably offend you.  I do not apologize.  These things need to be said.  Unlike you, I could NEVER use my son’s death as a pawn piece in support of a woman that left “America’s treasure” (Hillary’s words) to die unaided in Benghazi.  The same woman who says vile things to her military details there to protect her.   You, Sir, are supposed to be a witness to your son’s bravery and sacrifice.   Instead you stood on a stage and promoted the woman who upholds the very people that killed your son.   You became a political PAWN that promotes pandering to our enemy. You desecrated your son’s memory by your words.  You did not utter one word of outrage at anyone but Donald Trump.   Are you forgetting that Trump did not kill your son?   He had nothing whatsoever to do with these wars.   His memory should mean more to you than five minutes of fame on the stage of the party that voted to send your son to war.   The same party that for eight years has denied and cheated our veterans out of their deserved medical care.   Who for the last three years has cut our veterans pay.
Of note … your wife stood SILENT.   She stood with her head covered, never uttering a word about her loss.   She submitted to you being her voice in front of the country.  She abdicated her free voice to you … as would any good Sharia wife and mother.   Let me say, this was not lost on the other American military moms … myself included.   Had it been my son being “used” as a political PROP, no one could have silenced me.   I would be voicing my grief, my pride, my love of him to the world.   A man cannot speak to a mother’s loss.  No man knows her heart at the loss of a child.  She did her heroic son a disservice by her silence.   She should have uncovered her head and her heart to be the American mother you claim. 
And last if all … you dared to flash your picket Constitution and ask if Trump has read it.   I dare to ask you, Sir… HAVE YOU READ IT?  If you say yes, then I dare ask you HOW you could represent that party?   HOW can you support this woman?   How can you affiliate your family with a party and candidate that cannot even call the radicals that killed your son what they are?   How can you support a current administration that diminishes your son’s death by denying he had an enemy?   And if you have read our Constitution, how could you cover your soulmate in colorful submissive sheets and have the audacity to speak FOR her?   Your son died for that Constitution you so carelessly waved around on national TV in support of the very party that exists to destroy it. 
As a soldier’s mother … NO ONE could ever speak for me.   I find your outrage artificial.  I find your party affiliation offensive.  I find your wife’s silence atrocious and offensive.   I find YOU a political FOOL.   I find your son to have been your greatest accomplishment, and you, Sir, have dishonored him.   I hope you memorize that pocket Constitution so you will understand what it means to be a REAL American and hero.   You are not one.   You were USED.   Your son WOULD NOT be proud of you. My only hope is that when MY son goes a fourth time to combat radical Islamic terrorists (and he WILL), he will know that his mother never stood submissively SILENT about an American hero.   Yes, your son was a hero who could not be manipulated, but you, Sir, are a weak minded FOOL. 
I would love to hear your thoughts this morning about the 1500 American soldiers on the air base in Turkey being held as basic hostages as I type.   Not a word from this president or party you adore … or the media that so thoroughly manipulated and used you and your wife.   So … what say you, Sir???   What will you say to a Blue and Gold Star family if these heroes die?   In my opinion, you will say NOTHING.

"Never trust a woman or an automatic pistol."     ~ John H. Dillinger

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Encouraging Vocations Requires Generous Love

Encouraging Vocations Requires Generous Love
By Father Kevin M. Cusick
The martyrdom of Father Hamel in France last month makes clear the continuing need of encouraging priestly vocations. Not only is the aging priesthood retiring at an increasing rate, we now have the growth and spread of radical Islam that demands the shedding of Christian blood to sate the worship of its false “god”. Without the Eucharist there is no Jesus or Church. Without priests there is no Jesus.
We have been blessed in our small parish with the task of fostering the vocation of a young man who believes himself called to the sacred priesthood of Jesus Christ. The presence of this man in our community is a sign of the Lord and His love present and active in our portion of the Body of Christ.
Yet, some who have been infected with a warped and worldly ideology have been heard to sometimes called it “strange” that a young man would spend free time helping in a parish and assisting the priest with the offering of holy Mass, and other activities in the life of the Church, as his time and other responsibilities make it possible.
After we have expended considerable time, talent and treasure in the contemporary Church to proclaim the importance of priestly vocations it’s somewhat shocking to hear of our own people of faith attacking the reality of a vocation when such a blessing does appear in our midst.
The traditional Latin Mass has attracted a group of single young adults to my parish community in a way not seen in surrounding parishes. It is among the members of this age group that a priestly vocation is most likely to surface. In our case this has happened. Ayoung man who loves the traditional Mass has made known to us his belief that he is called to the priesthood and we are blessed to be able to support him. The love of Jesus Christ in every parish by necessity requires the generous acceptance and encouragement of priestly vocations.
We’ve come a long way in the brave new “Church of today” when such inversion, using the word “strange” to describe a young man spending time with a priest, typically by necessity an older man, passes unquestioned from person to person. What is truly strange is to fail to see that it would be highly inconsistent with a man’s stated intention to desire to be a priest and yet to not desire to assist with priestly things. The more generously he were to do so, the better.
Strange, in fact, would be for a young man in the seminary, or preparing to enter formation, to go out with friends and otherwise give in to various worldly distractions in preference to, or in conflict with, generously making time in his life for priestly things. For a man who is not yet ordained, those “priestly” things involve, by necessity, spending time with a priest and sharing in his work. It’s a sad commentary on the disoriented spiritual condition of many Catholics that such a fact needs to be pointed out.
It also may be a sign of jealousy or bad will that otherwise believing or practicing Catholics would attack something that is an undeniable sign of pastoral effectiveness. Bishops spare no effort to encourage every priest in the ecclesial mission of supporting  vocations, making clear that vocations are a blessing for every parish. It could also be that misery loves company.  Some of our people are unfortunately very unhappy for whatever reasons and cannot manage to see the world except through the lens of their discontent.
For whatever reasons that Catholics or others spread calumny or detraction we must pray for them and try to open a dialog with them.  Perhaps the knowledge of a few facts can assist these others to set aside their vain and poisoned imaginings. The frequency of martyrdom tells us very well what the world thinks of Catholics. Catholics should not take on the thinking of the world.
And in all Christian charity, isn’t it possible for us to even grant the possibility that some things are exactly what they appear to be? That a young man who wants to be a priest is generously giving of himself to share in priestly work is a grace for which to be thankful.
The priesthood is the continuation of Christ’s own life and ministry in and through His Church. Just as without Christ there is no divine life for the world, so without priests there is no contact with Christ in His Church. Fostering and encouraging vocations to the priesthood is absolutely necessary for salvation.
Each of us is responsible for remaining alert to the possibility of a call to the vocation in any of our men. Also, even outside the Church some hear that call as today some men continue to enter the priesthood even through a conversion from the Protestant sects.
Vocations are central to the life and mission of the Church. Dedication to prayer and the conferral of grace through the sacraments are tasks entrusted to His Church by Christ Himself. Offering the traditional Latin Mass with regularity in your parish is the primary way for you and your priest to foster the many vocations to the priesthood just waiting to be recognized.
Pray for priests.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

TIME CHANGE: Fight the Ideology of Gender in our Schools; witness at the Charles County School Board Meeting on Tuesday, August 9th at 3:30 pm


Fight the Ideolog of Gender in our County Schools: Attend and witness at the School Board Meeting on Tuesday, August 9th at 3:30 pm (not at 6 pm as originally scheduled).

Dear parents and all members of our Charles County community,

I am asking for your prayers and active participation against the current transgender policy in Charles County Public Schools.  Even if you do not have children in the school system, I urge you to come and pray with us as we stand united in upholding truth.

Thanks in part to your support and participation on June 14th, concerned county residents of all faiths filled the Charles County School Board room resulting in a Board action to readdress the issue of transgendered student use of bathrooms of their choosing regardless of their biological sex at the August 9th Board meeting.

In addition to twice drawing local media attention and a number of editorials, we were contacted by two members of the School Board.  It was suggested by one member that we aim to fill the room to overcapacity on August 9th in order to garner enough attention which may possibly spur discussion at a State level.

I would ask your assistance in disseminating this request as widely as possible.  Contact your pastors and get them involved.  Further, I would ask your help to ensure we pack the next School Board Meeting to overflowing on Tuesday, August 9th at 3:30 (3:00 pm for Public Forum statements) at the Jesse L. Starkey Administration Building, 5980 Radio Station Road., La Plata to express our displeasure at this intrusion on our beliefs.

Also, I would ask that you prayerfully consider making an up to 3-minute Public Forum statement.  You will need to arrive by 3:00 p.m. to sign up to speak.  We will also gather at 2:00 to pray the rosary beforehand in front of the Starkey Building.

Attached at the end of this email is the letter sent out to all Charles County School parents for your reference.

In Christ,


Sunday, July 24, 2016

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion General Principles by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

Note: The following memorandum was sent by Cardinal Ratzinger to Cardinal McCarrick and was made public in the first week of July 2004.] 

Worthiness to Receive Holy Communion

General Principles

by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

1. Presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion should be a conscious decision, based on a reasoned judgment regarding one’s worthiness to do so, according to the Church’s objective criteria, asking such questions as: "Am I in full communion with the Catholic Church? Am I guilty of grave sin? Have I incurred a penalty (e.g. excommunication, interdict) that forbids me to receive Holy Communion? Have I prepared myself by fasting for at least an hour?" The practice of indiscriminately presenting oneself to receive Holy Communion, merely as a consequence of being present at Mass, is an abuse that must be corrected (cf. Instruction "Redemptionis Sacramentum," nos. 81, 83).

2. The Church teaches that abortion or euthanasia is a grave sin. The Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae, with reference to judicial decisions or civil laws that authorize or promote abortion or euthanasia, states that there is a "grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. [...] In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to 'take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law or vote for it’" (no. 73). Christians have a "grave obligation of conscience not to cooperate formally in practices which, even if permitted by civil legislation, are contrary to God’s law. Indeed, from the moral standpoint, it is never licit to cooperate formally in evil. [...] This cooperation can never be justified either by invoking respect for the freedom of others or by appealing to the fact that civil law permits it or requires it" (no. 74).

3. Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.

4. Apart from an individual's judgment about his worthiness to present himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, the minister of Holy Communion may find himself in the situation where he must refuse to distribute Holy Communion to someone, such as in cases of a declared excommunication, a declared interdict, or an obstinate persistence in manifest grave sin (cf. can. 915).

5. Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

6. When "these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible," and the person in question, with obstinate persistence, still presents himself to receive the Holy Eucharist, "the minister of Holy Communion must refuse to distribute it" (cf. Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts Declaration "Holy Communion and Divorced, Civilly Remarried Catholics" [2002], nos. 3-4). This decision, properly speaking, is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.

[N.B. A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia. When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favour of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons.]

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father Rosica's Shameful Whining Thinly Veiled Self-Promotion

By Father Kevin M. Cusick

“Often times the obsessed, scrupulous, self-appointed, nostalgia-hankering virtual guardians of 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!” Fr Thomas Rosica said recently in comments delivered to the Brooklyn Diocesan observance of World Communications Day.

How do you move product? By convincing others you have what they need. And if no one needs what you are trying to sell you have to create a need. This I think is the clue to understanding the shameful behavior of self-promoting clerics like Fr James Martin, SJ and Father Rosica. These and others repeatedly speak on Twitter, their blogs and in publications about nameless enemies of mercy and love without naming any names. They create straw men with the sole purpose of promoting themselves and their tired agendas of rupture and denial of the norms of tradition.

No doubt they are reacting to a critical reception of their own comments, but rather than take on their interlocutors by name or individually they issue general “fatwas” in public fora as fodder for their paid speechifying. Rosica and Martin are both notorious for blocking any critics on social networks rather than respond meaningfully to any challenges or critique.

Fr Rosica is serving as a headline act on the Catholic speaking circuit lately, promoted by bishops as an expert on the Year of Mercy and other things Vatican. He fails to satisfy his own criteria however, delivering as he does a negative message in his blanket condemnation of unnamed others who are guilty as charged by him. 

The days of rule by committee or “subject matter experts” such as Rosica or Martin are over. The advent of the internet with an abundance of information available at the fingertips of anyone who can gain access anywhere and the subsequent growth of social networks allowing like-minded individuals to find each other and influence opinion has changed all that.

The boom market for the new and innovative in the intervening years since the conclusion of Vatican II all began with the Masonic committee headed by Annibale Bugnini, later exiled to Turkey in punishment that came too late to save the Church from incredible and lasting damage. Bugnini’s committee, ostensibly created for the well-sounding intention of ecumenical relations, became the tail that wagged the dog, hijacking Vatican II not to serve the Faith of those already Catholic but to turn things Catholic into something acceptable for those who self-identify as rejecting the Catholic Faith.

The Masonic subterfuge of Bugnini perpetrated error and disobedience that would not be possible today with the internet and social networks that derailed a similar attempts at coups de etats by means of committee in the run-up to the Synod on the Family. The outrageous attempt at normalization of homosexual activity and marital simulation between two men or two women was perpetrated by the change agents of today such as Bishop Forte at the preparatory synods, but eventually frustrated through an outing of his methods by the alert internet guardians bemoaned by Rosica.

The on-line story delivered by Crux informs us that “Rosica and his ‘Salt and Light TV’ Catholic network in Canada have occasionally been targeted for on-line criticism, especially from conservative and pro-life Catholic organizations.”

So what? This storyline is proferred as if Rosica and his network should never subject to any criticism at all and that, therefore, those who offer any critique are always wrong to do so. I am not sure who is supposed to believe this fiction but don’t count me among them. Rosica’s tirade leaves him appearing merely thin-skinned and feeling entitled. 
According to the Crux story,

“The Internet, Rosica said, ‘can be an international weapon of mass destruction, crossing time zones, borders and space.’ He also described it as ‘an immense battleground that needs many field hospitals set up to bind wounds and reconcile warring parties.’”

And on and on he goes, dramatically, endlessly and vaguely critizing anyone and everyone who has ever dared to question his personal spin on Pope Francis, the Year of Mercy or anything else Catholic. It all leaves me feeling as if I’ve been subjected to one long self-promotion disguised as self-righteous ranting. Exactly the thing he condemns in others. Shameful reactionary  whining in lieu of authentic debate or reasoned conversation serves only to perpetuate the situation Rosica professes to oppose.

A fool is born every minute as PT Barnum sagely observed. Certainly charlatans and carpet baggers will continue to prosper as they attempt to get by on their wits. Catholics who choose to be informed of the Faith can now do so. Don’t expect them to put their light under a bushel basket or fail to be salt of the earth after they have made the effort to know the truth. The unparalleled access offered by the internet means that anyone who is engaged, the small and the great, must expect to be confronted by those who disagree.

The very name of Father Rosica’s network reminds us that our agenda must be that of Christ. Whether one’s importance is obvious such as in the case of Fr Rosica, now also serving as English-language advisor for Vatican Communications, or whether one is merely a simple soul with access to the internet forum, all are called to know the truth and be thus set free. The call to be “Salt & Light” is for all, to include those who produce journalism and those who are asked to benefit by it. The exchange of ideas made possible by the internet is a great equalizer not to be resented but from which all may benefit for the sake of truth and Faith.
Thank you for reading and praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever.
Join me on pilgrimage in Italy September 1-9, 2016, to Rome for the canonization of Mother Teresa, Assisi, Florence and Venice. Visit on the web and type “Maryland” in Search and then click on “Father Kevin M. C.” to find and sign up for our group. Or email me for further info.

Thank you for visiting.


Kamsahamnida, Dziekuje, Terima kasih, Doh je, Grazie, Tesekur, Gracias, Dank u, Shukran

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