Saturday, April 30, 2022

My latest column: "No Doctrine, No Christ"

No Doctrine, No Christ

April 28, 2022


“People over doctrine.” That is the best way I have heard, from individuals far more knowledgeable than I, to describe Pope Francis’ agenda for the Church. This especially in light of his efforts to give Communion to those in adultery by means of the famous footnote in Amoris Laetitia (AL).

Readers will recall that the Argentinian bishops interpreted the AL footnote in question, number 351, to mean that Communion can be given under certain circumstances to Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried. The Pope responded by stating that their interpretation is the only correct one and by placing the document in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the Acts of the Apostolic See, giving it the highest authority and leaving no doubt as to the direction in which he wanted his vague footnote to lead the Church.

The Pope also frequently takes occasion to comment negatively about Catholics who see doctrine as an enduring, guiding force in Catholic life and discipline. Terms such as “rigid” and other negative descriptors demeaning those who take canon law for what it is, a rule for bringing faith and life into unity for the sake of salvation, further the agenda to garner sympathy for a concept of “people over doctrine.” The fallacy that canon law is an end in itself which does not serve the real needs of persons is thus advanced. The truth that the greatest need for any of us is our eternal salvation is at the same time frustrated.

The Pope has also in effect told Protestants, in so many words, that they are able to receive Communion. A Lutheran woman married to a Catholic asked the Pope to speak on the matter during his visit to an Evangelical church in Rome in November 2015. She clearly demonstrated by her question that she has no intention of “swimming the Tiber,” though living already so close to it and the City of the Vatican spread on it banks. It is not only acceptance of the fact of the Lord’s true and Real Presence in the Eucharist that is necessary for reception of the Eucharist, however she or others outside of visible communion may share it. Required also is full assent of intellect and will to all that the Church teaches in matters of faith and morals. This is the reason why a potential convert must undergo a period of formation before entering the Church by means of profession of faith or Baptism.

Only in danger of death may a baptized non-Catholic receive the sacraments, and then only if professing Catholic faith in the sacraments.

Pope Francis might have responded to the Lutheran, when she asked “how do we reach communion in this point” of Communion reception, that only the truth can be the basis for communion in the faith. This he did not do. After giving a nod to Catholic discipline which forbids intercommunion, he contradicted himself and told her “Speak with the Lord and go forward,” implying that she could give herself permission to communicate at Catholic Mass if her conscience permits her to do so. The principle of non-contradiction applies: One cannot decide that the consequences of the truth apply differently from one person to another when the facts of each case are identical and insist that truth is the guiding principle for decision-making.

As if to eliminate any doubt as to his disparagement of the truth behind doctrine as a guiding force for faith, he set up a false opposition between acts in conformity with the Commandments, such as attending Mass on the Lord’s Day, and the following of the corporal words of mercy, such as feeding the poor. When we meet the Lord, he said, “Which will be the questions that the Lord will ask us that day: ‘Did you go to Mass? Did you make a good catechesis?’ No, the questions are on the poor, because poverty is at the center of the Gospel.”

But Christ is the center of His Gospel. He is “the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” It is because of Christ and His Gospel that we both observe the Commandments and pursue social justice with like solicitude and sincerity. A false opposition between these two aspects of the one life and truth in Christ is an anti-Gospel. When we meet Christ He will ask us if we loved Him more than others, attending Mass for that reason, and others for His sake, and thus feeding, clothing, and sheltering them.

Canon 915 is not based on subjective interpretation. A connubial couple is either married sacramentally or not. If they are, there is no impediment to receiving Communion based on their relationship. They would be free, if otherwise in a state of grace, to approach the Communion rail at Holy Mass. Their intentions or other circumstances have no bearing on their freedom to marry. Either a person is previously validly married and the spouse is still living or not.

Christ, the Divine legislator, spoke more clearly about marriage than about any other matter of morality. Christian marriage is clearly an exclusive relationship, open to new life, until death. It is for this reason that every couple approaching the altar for the purpose of matrimony are examined on these matters before permitted to commence marriage preparation.

These doctrinal matters do not change from one individual or situation to another. Personal circumstances or existential vicissitudes are irrelevant. One may attack this as “rigid” if one likes, but in the light of truth the individual who attacks the truth or resists it is the one who is in fact rigid in a negative sense.

The sacraments and marriage are matters governed, at least until now, by canon law. Thus, one would normally turn to canon lawyers for enlightenment when documents or statements seem to contradict divine Revelation or existing Church practice, as this seems certainly to do.

Edward Peters, a canonist, states on his personal blog, In the Light of the Law, in an article dated April 10, 2016, that the Pope cannot change canon law by means of apostolic exhortation, which type of document Amoris Laetitia indeed is. The law in question is canon 915, which states that the Eucharist must be withheld from those who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin.” This is the same document the truths underlying which spurred our U.S. bishops to consider a public statement about President Biden and other pro-aborts, such as Nancy Pelosi, who uselessly and sacrilegiously receive Communion.

You may recall that curial officials assisting the Pope, and some U.S. bishops who visited the Vatican possibly for the purpose of procuring assistance in the matter, attempted to quash episcopal discussion of withholding Communion from Biden and his ilk. I think it is pretty obvious to the casual observer that Rome reacted in such a way to keep intact any momentum gained for Amoris Laetitia, or at least avoid any potential inconsistencies that might derail the agenda of “people over doctrine.”

“Love one another” is one of two greatest commandments. Loving others means seeking to fulfill their needs, certainly. We must all care about others, those who are saintly do so to a heroic degree. But caring for others is not enough to be saved, the specific mission of Christ and His Church. When have departed from the realm of truth, and agree only with the world, we have also departed from the realm of the Christ who is truly present in the Eucharist and cannot then receive Him thus unto salvation. People are not “over” doctrine. Rather, doctrine serves people’s path to Heaven, their highest and greatest need on this earth.

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia! The Lord is truly risen, Alleluia! A blessed Easter season to all of our readers. Praised be Jesus Christ, our risen Lord, now and forever.

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Friday, April 29, 2022

So Father Mike Schmitz gets a tattoo from a 700 year old parlor in Jerusalem. We have a Mass that’s over 700 years old. Has Fr Schmitz gotten Jesus from that?

In one of his many videos Father Mike Schmitz talks about going to Jerusalem and being impressed with the fact that there is a 700 year old tattoo parlor there for Christian tattoos. By his own confession it was in part the venerable patina of years of tradition behind it that convinced him to avail himself of the wearable art vended by that exotic establishment.

In response to Father Schmitz I propose that the Church has something even more wonderful and even older than that: we have a 700+ year-old Mass where you can get Jesus, not just ink on your epidermis, but the very Flesh and Blood of God to give grace to your human flesh and blood. Are you at least as impressed with the traditional Latin Mass as you are with a tattoo parlor of lesser antiquity? To be consistent, when will you be offering the traditional Latin Mass and getting, not a tattoo, but Jesus Himself from this ancient tradition?

Now, perhaps I labor under a false assumption. Perhaps Fr Schmitz does indeed offer the holy Mass of All Time. If so, when will we be blessed to also view a video of that?

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Sudden rise in “sudden” deaths

But in nearly all such cases it is the considered medical opinion of doctors involved that the vaccine is ruled out as a possible cause. This too is a sudden change: in the practice of medicine itself.

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Do these people even read the Bible anymore?

“The poor you will always have with you.”

It will be our constant work until the end of the world to take care of the poor. They are not going away: they are our privilege as constant companions on the way to salvation. They help us as much or more than we help them.  $44 billion won’t do it.

Does this guy have any shred of self awareness remaining as he literally quotes Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of God Himself in the flesh, our Lord Jesus Christ?

Or, perhaps as has been suggested, he’s just a CIA plant.

And with regard to the usefulness of Twitter, any social platform where nearly 17k people applaud a putative Catholic priest as he self-condemningly and unironically  quotes Judas Iscariot says more than I can possibly offer in regard to its credibility or utility.

Sunday, April 24, 2022

Cultural Diversity

Cultural diversity is a current touchstone in the Church. A nearby archdiocese has planned some high visibility meetings about the matter next month. Expectations are high for attendance and participation.

The Church by her nature as both one and universal is culturally diverse. This is God’s plan and it is good. Many different languages and nations make up the universal Body of Christ.

Race, however, is not the only criterion for cultural diversity. We will impoverish ourselves intellectually and spiritually if we define terms down in order to speak to the surrounding zeitgeist while neglecting to uplift the conversation by enriching it with unique insights possible from the perspective of Faith.

Culture finds its root in the word “cult”, which helps us to understand that true culture is an outgrowth or fruit of religion or faith. The culture of the West, born of Christianity and specifically the Catholic Church, now under ferocious assault in many places, is one such outgrowth made possible by millennia of life in tandem with worship which many of us already share.

Cultural diversity can also be found in the different kinds of cult. If it is asserted that the Mass of Vatican II is one authentic source of cultus, religious faith, the worship which expresses it and the daily life it upholds, how much more so the missa antiquior, the traditional Latin Mass, from which the missa recentior comes, with its vast treasury of musical and other arts that both support it and express its spirit.

Cultural diversity in the Church is upheld by different forms of prayer, all of them legitimate and none of them taking away from the unity of the Church any more than people from different languages or cultures need by that reason be divided.

Unity is never threatened by diversity of any kind. That unity brought by God through Catholic worship old or new is not threatened by diversity any more than political, intellectual or economic society is threatened by immigrants old or new from wherever they might come.

The only threat to diversity is hatred of another people or another culture’s gifts or legitimate expressions, however different from one’s own.

Cultural diversity in the Church depends upon acceptance and flourishing of many different kinds of worship, if in conformity with revealed truth and thus equally helpful for religious faith and the fruits of love of God through public prayer.

Because there is no diversity of culture without diversity of cultus one could in fact say that acting with prejudice toward any cult of worship, whether old or new, is harming or wounding the true sources of both diversity and culture. At the same time unity is wounded and weakened and, with it, the reflection of God which is found where all sources of division are put aside.

(In photo above the sanctuary of Saint Francis de Sales Catholic Church in Benedict, Maryland, dressed for Dominica in Albis and Divine Mercy Sunday.)

Sunday, April 17, 2022

AIDS-Like "Chronic Covid" is Taking Over Europe, Australia and NZ


The Boosted Cannot Clear Covid Easily and Keep Getting Reinfected

This article will explain exactly why endless Covid reinfections happen, and the dangerous consequences that they lead to, based on recent scientific advances. 

What’s happening?

When Omicron appeared around December of last year, the powers-to-be in most Western countries found themselves in a situation of mass vaccine failure, where a Covid variant Omicron, about infectious as measles, was spreading like wildfire, while at the same time evading vaccine immunity. 

So, the clever solution was to abolish containment altogether, wish “illness and death” on the unvaccinated people, and hope that the vaccinated world gains “herd immunity” while enjoying relatively low mortality.

Unfortunately for them and for us, things did not work out this way. Hospitals are overwhelmed by the vaccinated. Endless Covid short term reinfections, plaguing the UK and the rest of the Western world, are sliding towards “Chronic Covid”. Herd immunity is enjoyed only by unvaccinated countries.

Chronic Covid is a situation where the vaccinated cannot develop natural immunity, cannot quickly clear infections, and remain ill and infectious for extended period of time. Such repeat infections progressively damage their immunity to the point of not being able to clear Covid at all. That would lead to people being chronically infected, infecting others, and overwhelmed with toxic Covid viral proteins, while remaining immunosuppressed.

Igor’s Newsletter
UK: Covid Becoming CHRONIC, like AIDS, and Will Take us Down
I would like to discuss very disturbing statistics from the UK, that clearly shows that Covid is becoming a chronic disease, in the same sense as AIDS is a chronic disease. Covid, for many Brits, is an illness that will just not go away. Endless bouts, recurrence, or even never-ending disease, is now the norm and not the exception, and will lead to a ca…
Read more

This article describes scientific mechanism and shows why this is happening. Using three recent studies, I will show that

  • The vaccinated cannot develop “natural immunity”

  • The boosted cannot clear the virus quickly upon infection

  • Covid virions invade and damage monocytes, the blood cells providing immunity, due to Antibody Dependent Enhancement (ADE), leading to gradual destruction of the immune system. Sars-Cov-2 also infects immune T-cells.

    Read the rest:

Saturday, April 16, 2022

Resurrexit sicut dixit, Alleluia! Our new apse mural unveiled

Happy Easter from the priest and people of Saint Francis de Sales Church in Benedict, Maryland

Our sanctuary dressed for Lent with large veil concealing the mural. The veil was opened at the intoning of the Gloria at the Easter vigil.

(Photo taken Easter morning 2022)

At the vigil this year we unveiled the newly completed apse wall mural, visible in above photo, for the first time to the public. Thanks goes to our Lord, and our parish patron Saint Francis de Sales upon whom we ever rely for the graces of intercession, and to our parishioner-artist Bob and the other parishioners who assisted in the project. 

Details include golden rays and clouds surrounding the Lamb window at the top, below that Saint Francis de Sales with angels in glory and architectural details at the bottom with cherubs surrounding the blue and gold reredos.

Above the sanctuary are hanging three brass sanctuary lamps and two Waterford chandeliers.

These appointments are in addition to two previously completed trompe l'oeil murals atop the sacristy doors, also visible in photo above. A roundel above the entrance to the priest sacristy features patron of parish priests, Saint John Vianney, and a second, over the entrance to the server sacristy depicting Roman boy martyr for the sake of Our Lord in the Eucharist, Saint Tarcissius.

We offer this work for the glory of God and the salvation of souls through the traditional Latin liturgy of our Roman rite which we offer daily in our parish.

See at the following link the video of the unveiling during the Gloria at the Easter vigil mass:

Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia!

Holy Saturday: “After three days I will rise again.”

On Psalm lxiii, 7

We shall attain to thoughts that are very deep: but God shall still be exalted. The enemies of our Lord had communed of laying snares privily; they had said, Who shall see them? They had searched out iniquities; they had accomplished a diligent search. And Man attained even unto (the realization of) their counsels, for the Lord, as Man, suffered Himself to be taken. For He had not been taken at all, unless He had been a Man, or seen, unless He had been a Man, or smitten, unless He had been a Man, or crucified, unless He had been a Man, or have died, unless He had been a Man. Man therefore, He attained unto all those sufferings, which had had nothing in Him, unless He had been a Man. But if He had not been Man, man had not been redeemed. And the Lord as Man attained to thoughts that were very deep, yea, secret; showing the Manhood to the eyes of men, and keeping the Godhead within Him; veiling the form of God, as touching Which, He is Equal to the Father, and manifesting the form of a servant, as touching which, He is inferior to the Father.

How far did the accomplishment of their diligent search reach? Even to the setting a watch of soldiers at the sepulchre, to guard the Lord, even after He was dead and buried. For they said unto Pilate: Sir, we remember that that deceiver Matth. xxvii. 63. This was the term by which they designated the Lord Jesus Christ, and the remembrance that He was so named is a sweet consolation to us His servants, when we are called impostors. So they said unto Pilate, that deceiver said, while He was yet alive: After three days I will rise again. Command therefore that the sepulchre be made sure until the third day, lest His disciples come and steal Him away, and say unto the people: He is risen again from the dead: so the last error shall be worse than the first. Pilate said unto them: Ye have a watch; go your way; make it as sure as ye can. So they went and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch.

So they went, and made the sepulchre sure, sealing the stone, and setting a watch and anon, behold, there was a great earthquake, and the Lord arose. So great wonders were wrought about the sepulchre that the very soldiers, which were put to guard it, were witnesses thereto, if only they would have told the truth. But the same love of money which had made a slave of that disciple who was a companion of Christ, made slaves also of the soldiers that were put to watch His sepulchre. Some of the watch came into the city, and showed unto the chief-priests all the things that were done: and when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, saying: Say ye, His disciples came by night and stole Him away while we slept. In good sooth, their diligent search had been accomplished and ended before this. What didst thou say, O stupid cunning? Wast thou indeed so utterly void of the light of godly wisdom, and confounded in the bottomless pit of thine own falsehood as to tell them to say: His disciples came by night, and stole Him away while we slept? Part of the testimony of thine eye-witnesses was that they were asleep at the time: thou thyself wast asleep not to be able to see that on their own testimony, their testimony must have been worthless.

From the Treatise of St. Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Upon the Psalms

Thursday, April 14, 2022

My latest column: “Our church Easter reno reveal”


April 14, 2022


Just as with great anticipation the Church in Lent awaits the new life of the Lord’s Resurrection, so our little church in Benedict, Md., awaits at the same time the great unveiling of the final details of our extensive years-long renovation — “reno” — and redesign project.

Renovation of course means “to make new again.” What will be revealed — beginning on Palm Sunday with the hanging of our lamps and chandeliers and then fully exposed at Easter with the lowering of a great canvas and scaffold to reveal a monumental apse mural — is new in one aspect. The work, materials, persons, and energies involved may be new, but the inspiration is old.

Classic church decoration and architectural traditions have inspired our church’s return to its roots since the beginning of my work as pastor here in 2010.

Our first task involved removing a wood backdrop placed in the 1980s between the antique marble altar and the apse wall. It had become darkened after a fire in the church in 2010. It was removed and the apse wall restored in places where wainscoting and plaster had been ripped out. The wall was adorned with a pediment element of classic rectangle molding surmounted by a triangle. A brass crucifix which originally hung in a Jesuit chapel at Woodstock, Md., replaced a wooden “resurrectifix” in the central location over the altar.

A carrara marble floor was then installed in the sanctuary to replace the blue wall-to-wall carpeting and to match the marble of the altar and extant altar rail.

These improvements remained for a few years as the sole attempts to return the church to its 1924 roots. Later the central molding pediment was painted “de Sales blue,” after the distinctive hue of the habit typical of portraits of our patron St. Francis de Sales. A Holy Spirit dove with gold rays was hung in the surmounting triangle.

As new families joined the parish, attracted to our full weekly schedule of Traditional Masses, sacraments, and devotions, with them came new inspiration to more fully embrace our Catholic roots. Parishioners designed, built, painted, and installed a gradine behind the altar to hold the candlesticks, flower vases, and reliquaries that were filling out our growing collection of traditional adornments.

Years ago, the side altars under our statues of the Sacred Heart and our Lady had disappeared. This no doubt was a result of the fad in the 60s to have only one Mass with numerous celebrants. We wished to restore the teaching of the importance of every Mass offered by every priest daily. Nothing emphasizes the importance of each Mass and the necessity of having more Masses offered than the side altars of every church.

A Mennonite cabinetmaker was commissioned to build our side altars which were then both installed with predellas and marbleized by parishioners. The altars were designed with open fronts so that, through a door on their sides, the liturgical colors of their frontals can be more easily changed with the various colors of cloth on backings.
Gates for our altar rail were found in a church goods warehouse in Pennsylvania where a metal worker restored them and fabricated new hardware to mount them. Our altar rail opening had been widened in the 1980s by cutting off portions and remounting the end pieces at the cuts. We corrected this by having a stone company come in and move the altar rails back toward the center, leaving the proper gap needed for the refurbished gates. These were then installed and anchored by a parishioner.

During the COVID 19 scare we confirmed the century-old ceiling of our church was in a state of near collapse. We called in a plaster renovation firm from New Jersey to begin the nearly quarter-million-dollar project which would shore up and restore the ceiling and walls, replace compromised sections of plaster, and paint the entire interior of the church.

We also took advantage of this work to remove all the pews, rip out the carpeting, and replace it with an eight-inch pine plank floor treated four times with tung oil. We hung four new brass chandeliers in the main church. All of the other lighting, to include fluorescent, was replaced with used vintage fixtures.

The ceiling and two saint inserts above the side altars were painted a very light celestial blue. Details were gilt with metallic gold. The wainscoting of the main church walls a terra cotta. Details such as window frames and sills and molding on the walls and ceiling vent surrounds was painted a dark gray. A rich brown was used for door frames and floor molding. The industrial ceiling vents were covered with decorative screens painted gold and floor vents with decorative brass covers.

A crucifix and Holy Face shrine with a place to kneel for prayer was added to the church near the main front doors. The cry room/confessional/baptistry was painted with a yellow wainscoting and green on the pine floor. Plans call for a real wood confessional to replace our current screen and chair.

Among our new parishioners, I noted that one was an experienced painter. A former Naval aviator, Bob had attended art school and hung out his shingle as a painter of military aircraft. He had been commissioned by George Bush to paint the aircraft carrier named for the president. After noting his artistic abilities, yet with some doubt as to their adaptability to church decoration, I encouraged our designer to contact him and begin discussions.

The two started conferring and agreed to an initial project of trompe l’oeil door lintel murals over the server and priest sacristy doors in our sanctuary. Bob quickly gained expertise in the method and completed the faux “carvings” with roundels depicting St. John Vianney, patron of parish priests over the entrance to the sacerdotal sacristy, and St. Tarcisius, an excellent model for servers, over the door which the acolytes enter to prepare for Mass.

Plans for painting a monumental mural on our apse wall then proceeded, commencing this Lent with construction of a scaffold to support the artist and a canvas to conceal its genesis. The mural is topped by golden rays and clouds “emitted” by the antique window of the Lamb on the book with seven seals. Below that St. Francis de Sales ascends in glory among the rays and clouds supported by two angels.

The mural surrounds the central classical pediment with Baroque columns topped by carved cherubs. The project will continue after Easter with further painting of “sculpted” saints framing the altar and Renaissance style “curtains” on rods around the base of the walls as seen at sites like the Sistine chapel.

Through the generosity of a benefactor, we have acquired two matching Waterford chandeliers and two brass hanging candle lamps to match our central tabernacle lamp. These additional four lamps will be hung to frame the tabernacle lamp in time for Palm Sunday.
At the Easter vigil, with the chanting of the Gloria and the triumphal organ music, we will lower a great violet veil which covers the sanctuary wall, to reveal the beautiful new apse mural. We hope you can join us in spirit, if not in person, as we experience the true joy of total commitment to every aspect of our ageless eternal traditional Catholic faith in a time of betrayal, confusion, and malaise in many areas of ecclesial life.

A blessed Holy Week and a most joy-filled Easter to you and to our families. Surrexit Dominus vere, Alleluia! Praised be Jesus Christ, risen Lord, now and forever.

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

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