Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Caveat on Entering Very "Relevant" Catholic Seminaries and Convents

I once knew of a young, very devout Catholic girl, who went to daily Mass and was often seen kneeling down after Mass praying her rosary with great devotion.  She often spoke to me of her fervor to give her life to God and to live free from sin.  She then entered a convent of sisters where for many years she stayed and even professed perpetual vows.  At one point in their formation, the sisters would be sent to a theological school to undergo theological training, and once there, they were schooled in “modern” spirituality, theology, and “pastoral” practice.  Some years after perpetual profession, I heard that this girl left her convent for good.  I made effort to contact her and through her friends and relatives was finally able to meet her at a local coffee shop.  The once youthful vibrant and pious girl I knew looked haggard, grumpy, and acerbic.  After some conversations in trying to cheer her up, she opened herself: “You know, I cannot go back to my old days… I used to pray the rosary with delight, on my knees, with tears on my eyes.  I would attend Mass with great consolation, pray novenas, and have great devotion to the saints.  Now whenever I would attempt to pray the rosary, a trillion doubts would enter into my mind, so many questionings about authenticity and relevance according to this and that theologian who were our teachers in convent, this and that “lay” master of spirituality, those exegetes we listened to in our theology formation years,  Ahhh! And tears would fill my eyes... Not because of devotion, but because of all these doubts and coldness inside.  I don't know if I still believe.  If only I knew, I would never have undergone those formations! All devotion from me is lost, all piety which we have been taught of as childish navel-gazing, inward-looking, not relevant for the poor and hungry of this world.”

Ah, the stench of Modernism in our convents! I can only sigh with pity for her.  Which is why we can say with certainty that Modernism has no sons and daughters for it does not inspire.  Everything liberalism and Modernism touches is doomed to die.

I remembered the great mystic and Doctor of the Church, St. Teresa of Avila cautioning the people in her day to be very discerning and cautious in choosing what monastery to enter (and for that matter, the same can also be said of convents and seminaries) :

"If parents would take my advice since they do not want to place their daughters in an environment where the path to salvation is more dangerous than in the world…they should prefer a marriage of much lower status for their daughters than to placing them in monasteries like these… [i.e. the ones she speaks of as being corrupt] they should keep them [i.e. their daughters] at home.  For if a daughter desires to be bad, she will not be able to conceal it for a more than a short time (blogger’s note: for such bad attitude would be eventually noticed by family members and friends), but in a monastery she can [hide such] for a long time… She does harm not only to herself but to all.  And at times, the poor thing is not at fault, because SHE FOLLOWS AFTER WHAT SHE FINDS. It is a pity that many who desire to withdraw from the world, thinking they are going to serve the Lord and flee worldly dangers, find themselves in ten worlds joined together without knowing how to protect themselves or remedy the situation.  For youthfulness, sensuality, and the devil incite them and make them prone to follow after things that are of the very world [i.e. worldliness]  And yet, these are accepted as good, so to speak.  It seems to me that somewhat like the unfortunate heretics, THESE RELIGIOUS DESIRE TO BE BLIND AND TO MAKE OTHERS THINK THAT THEIR PATH IS A GOOD ONE, and they believe it to be so without believing it, for within themselves dwells one who informs them that it is bad. 
(St. Teresa of Avila, Autobiography, Chapter 7 #4, emphasis and comments mine)

Parents, and those of you who feel attracted to the priesthood and religious life, I say this: BEWARE OF THE CONVENT, THE RELIGIOUS ORDER AND THE SEMINARY YOU ARE APPLYING FOR.  Not only because a seminary is considered “Catholic” that you should seriously enter into it.  Rather, think twice if you hear a seminary or a religious convent who have twisted ideas about piety, theology, the vows, and the Catholic Church.  St. Teresa of Avila once spoke about them during her day -- religious who have made twisted ways their ideal for good! Ah like the devout Catholic girl I knew who was wasted in her faith and devotion by Modernist nuns, priests, and liberal theologians; if you survive their formation, get professed or ordained, you end up being corrupted yourselves.

And to add to the warning, I even hear of seminaries in the Philippines, in which formators would even encourage their seminarians to go to gay bars as part of their self-actualization.  Convents who teach witchcraft to their sisters [yes! Witchcraft, which for them is just the channeling of “cosmic” energy through objects, crystals, and spells to benefit from the "merciful" and "powerful" womb of “Mother” Nature].  Religious who would eliminate praying the Divine Office but instead just read aloud the daily newspaper in the chapel for all to hear as their “very relevant” and “up-to-date” morning prayer in order to “immerse” themselves in the “hidden God” active in the faces of the poor and the suffering of the world.  Religious living in their own posh apartments justified by their argument for relevance and openness to modernity… The list seems endless.  And you have priests and nuns who with contorted sophistry would openly advocate gay-marriage, contraception, and abortion, and they bombard their seminarians, and novices that all this because of the great springtime of Vatican II!  People of piety and devotion, BEWARE of MODERNIST CONVENTS, SEMINARIES, PRIESTS AND NUNS!

Monday, September 17, 2012

On Ecumenism and Being Nice with Non-Catholics

One of the most politically correct statements that you hear nowadays is that all religions are equal, we all worship the same God, whether it be Buddha, Allah, Vishnu, Krishna or Christ.  It is just a matter of difference of giving him different names...  And even in the pandemonium that has overwhelmed the Church these days since the days of Vatican II, a lot of Catholics think that it is triumphalistic (in a negative way), rude, bigotry, and medievalistic (again in a negative way) to insist that the Church still teaches that there is but one God, who is not a mere perception suited to the taste of different cultures to which people give different names.  There really is ONE GOD who revealed Himself in definitive historical events, who is active in human history, and who made Himself known as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit according to the life, teachings, and claims of a certain Jesus of Nazareth, and who Himself claimed to be God in the flesh...

ALL RELIGIONS ARE NOT THE SAME!  Precisely because in the conviction of Catholic Truth, all religions other than the Catholic Faith are mistaken notions or approximations of the one truth revealed with finality in Our Lord Jesus Christ and transmitted in His Church.  And yet being convinced of this truth of our faith in the Lord Jesus and in His Church has nothing to do with being bigots, or with being mean with other people.  Conversely, telling non-Catholics with heartfelt charity that they oftentimes get it wrong and muddled up when they teach about God or about the Lord Jesus, or about the Blessed Mother, or the Saints, or the Eucharist, or the Church (such as the Mormons, Jehovah's witnesses, INCs, so-called "Born-agains", and other Protestants) is different from being mean and disrespectful of their convictions especially when they sincerely believe in their ERRORS.

What therefore should be our attitude to them?  We should respect them.  We should be good to them.  Let us be nice with non-Catholics who are fellow men and women, fellow citizens of this earth, fellow creatures created by the same God who created us all: as indeed we all ought to be nice with every people of good will on this world.  And yet being nice is one thing and being convinced of the truth is another... to tell them in charity that they are mistaken, and to speak about the truth to them if they are willing to listen.  Otherwise, if they won't accept the truth we teach, we still ought to be good and nice to them and leave them be where they are (in what we are certain of as errors).  Our attitude ought to be the attitude of our Lord Jesus Christ -- He never backed down from His claim that He is the Son of God, and yet still prayed for them who were wrong about Him: "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do."

That is why ecumenism has nothing to do with being deaf, dumb, and blind... as if all religions are all the same, as if with simplistic sophistry and naive equivocation, we can sweep away or water down the enduring truth of the claims of the Catholic Faith about our Lord Jesus Christ, about His Church... because the Lord Jesus and the Apostles themselves preached the truth even unto the laying down of their lives and never even for a second told people who did not believe their message that it is ok to stay where they are, that they need not change an iota of their perceptions, their beliefs, and their worldview.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Mass facing the People (Missa versus Populum): Implementing Vatican II

How interesting to see that even after Vatican II, the mind of the authorities implementing the changes regarding the orientation of the celebrant (whether facing the eastern wall of the church or facing the people) NEVER RECOMMENDED THAT THE WHOLE MASS BE CELEBRATED FACING THE PEOPLE.

Latin:  Utrum stabiliter extrui liceat altare portatile ante altare maius ad celebrandam Missam versus populum?

English: Whether it is allowed that a portable altar be constructed in a stable way before the high altar [the one facing the wall] for celebrating Mass facing the people? (my translation)

Latin: Resp.: Per se licet, sed non consulitur. Nam Missa ad normam novi Ordinis celebrata, optime participatur a fidelibus etiam si altare ita extruitur ut celebrans terga ad populum vertat. Tota enim liturgia verbi celebratur versus populum, ad sedem vel ad ambonem.

English: By itself, it is allowed, but not advised. For the Mass celebrated according to the norm of the new Order is best participated in by the faithful even if the altar is constructed in such a way that the celebrating (priest) turns (his) back to the people. The whole liturgy of the word however is celebrated facing the people, either at the chair or at the ambo. (my translation)

- Response to a dubium.  Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments, Notitiae 1 (1965), 251, n. 32.


And that is why it is perfectly legal, even liturgically and theologically sound for a priest to celebrate Mass like this:

Which is why the brilliant mind of the earthly Vicar of the Church's Chief Pastor finds no problem in doing this:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mass as Meal? I am sorry to hate such exaggerations in our Mass today...

Mass as "festive meal"?
Which is why we can have "clown Masses"?

Nowadays, you hear a lot of liturgists tell us that the Mass is "the meal of love" and that the focus of the "liturgy" is to "gather around the table of the Lord" for the "sharing" and the "eating and drinking". Some would even go to the extent that the Mass should be "like a fiesta" with dances and flaglets, complete with rock bands and drama skits to emphasize the "communal nature" of the Mass arising out of the understanding of Mass-as-meal. They say these because they point out that the first Mass is the Last Supper (which was a meal time) and that the Last Supper was in itself a Passover meal.

But I think... the melodramatic and histrionic emphasis of liturgists regarding the “meal” aspect of the Mass in the aftermath of the Bugnini reform has really obfuscated the authentic understanding of the focus of the Passover meal, that of the Last Supper, and ultimately that of the Mass.

If we read Exodus and examine closely the intent of the Passover, one can readily notice that the main focus of the Passover meal is NOT THE MEAL per se; rather, it is to recreate in a concrete and sensible way the experience of that night in which the Angel of Death “passed-over” the houses of the people of Israel sparing their first-born sons from death and their eventual deliverance from slavery in Egypt. It was to constantly remind Israel and to perpetuate the experience of that night of their salvation that the Passover came to be: thus, you have the bitter herbs, the “haste-bread” (unleavened bread, because they had no time to wait for the dough to rise), and the retelling of the story of the Exodus. Eventually, every generation of Israelites would re-live, re-enact, and re-experience the saving work which God had wrought to them.

"Do this in remembrance of Me."
It was in this context that the Lord Jesus shifted the meaning of the Passover. From the perpetuation of the experience of Israel’s salvation from slavery in Egypt, the Lord gave to His disciples His own Body and Blood and commanded them to do so “in remembrance of me”. That command was similar to what the Jews were doing with their Passover: so as to perpetuate for all time, the experience of that night in which He suffered and would eventually die for “the sins of the many”. And holy mother Church has fulfilled this command from her Lord when at every Mass, she makes present in a physical, sensible, though sacramental way (veiled under the eucharistic signs of bread and wine), the very Body given up on Calvary and the very Blood shed on the Cross for the salvation of many. And we signify and claim for ourselves the fruits of that sacrifice when we receive Holy Communion.

The Great Sacrifice of the Altar:
"Do this in memory of Me"
And so what of the meal aspect? The meal of the Passover together with that of the Last Supper and eventually that of the Mass (because there is eating and drinking) is NOT THE FOCUS, it is BUT THE MEDIUM through which the re-enactment and the re-living of God’s saving work is achieved. The focus of all three is on the renewal, the making present of God's salvific work. Though generations may not have witnessed the actual events in history, nevertheless, the saving work is still constantly experienced, and as for us Catholics, the full power of that saving sacrifice is made perceptible and actual in the here and now of our earthly sojourn.

I therefore assert that the emphasis in the “meal” is a great mistake and corruption of the main focus of the Mass. The emphasis on meal per se is the reason why we find the abominable exaggerated emphasis on community and the get-together in the Mass nowadays. If we are to re-orient the focus of the Mass as worship and as God’s perennial interaction with us, we should work to de-emphasize the “meal” of the Mass and explain that the meal IS BUT A MEDIUM AND NOT THE FOCUS of the great Sacrifice of the Altar.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Eye opener for Europe and the rest of the world about Islam

Sometimes (if not oftentimes) it is healthy to hear criticisms from other people directed against oneself.  It helps make a person pause and think about how one appears to others.  Criticism from others occasions self-criticism and (hopefully) to self-reform.

Christianity, and the Catholic Church in particular have been subjected throughout the centuries through numerous criticisms some of which are true which in effect have helped the Church examine herself, self-correct, and reaffirm her commitment to faithfulness to her Lord.  Sadly, this is not the case of Islam.  Shielded by political correctness on the one hand, with the backward bending "ecumenical" mindset on the other hand, and with the Islamic terroristic threat against the ones considered as "enemies", it is as if Islam is a religion that can never be criticized.  Criticism of Islam is sadly long overdue.  We need people like the Austrian MP, Ewald Stadler, standing up against  the intolerance and terrorism that seems to be standard in the Islamic religion and which urgently needs much criticism and purification.

The video below is an eye opener for politicians and for those who parrot the politically-correct statement (sadly even parroted by "ecumenical" priests, bishops, and nuns) that Islam is a "religion of peace".

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Moral Conscience and the Objective Norm: Why Individual Consciences Cannot Change the Moral Law on Contraception

* In my previous post, I have attempted to present the Church's rational teaching on contraception.  Now, I would situate the role of consciences in making moral judgments and how it relates to the current debate on contraception.

We hear it said nowadays that God judges people by their consciences.  In the current debate on contraception, many theologians, notable among them some Jesuits here in the Philippines and abroad, and dissenting priests, nuns, and prominent lay Catholics, would emphasize the role of conscience in the decision to use artificial contraceptives and to do away with the Church's teaching on contraception.

What is the place of conscience in morals? Can the primacy of conscience do away with the Church's perennial teaching on the non-use of contraceptives?

The Ten Commandments, the so-called
Natural Law, together with Sacred Scripture
as understood and proclaimed in the constant
Tradition of the Church determine the
objective moral norms.
Every moral action, always involves two elements: the objective moral norm and the subjective moral culpability.  The objective moral norm is known from the Ten Commandments, the so-called natural law, and from the Scriptures as understood in the Sacred Tradition of the Church.  Moral declarations of the Magisterium are based on these objective sources.  They are norms set in nature, discoverable through the light of human reason, and even made known and illuminated by Divine Revelation.  As such, they are not subject to any person's judgment nor are they dependent on any person's consent.  Subjective moral culpability, on the other hand, is a person's "praiseworthiness" or "blameworthiness" in the doing of any moral act.  Call it the gravity of a person's blame, or even his innocence in relation to the moral law.  A person's subjective moral culpability depends on the situation in which a moral act was committed, the gravity/importance of an action, and the intention of the act together with the honest-to-goodness decision to do the action according to the state of a person's judgment (which is no other than the person's conscience).  Thus within the subjective moral culpability is found situation, intention, gravity, intensity of an act, and conscience.

We can illustrate the interplay of these two in day-to-day experience:  take for example, the case of not telling the truth (lying).  We are all called to abide by the truth and to tell the truth always.  And yet there are a lot of instances in which we resort to half-truths, to falsehoods, and to lies.  The objective moral norm always calls us to stay in the truth.  Yet the subjective moral culpability of a person depends on the fact that the telling of a lie is always done within a particular situation, with a particular intention, which in turn determines the gravity of the wrongdoing.  If a lie is told to hurt, to destroy a person's reputation, to steal, to sabotage, to seduce and even to kill then you may have a very grave situation of sin.  But if a lie is told to entertain, or to conceal something important or to keep something out of public rumormongers, then you have a very different subjective culpability.  The objective moral norm however stays the same.  It doesn't mean that even though we sometimes can tolerate falsehoods, our ideal and objective norm with regard to the truth is now to tell lies and falsehoods.  NO! That is a fallacy, I always encounter from people.  "We do this, we do that, they are not the ideal things to do; nevertheless many people do it, so now it is what we should have as the ideal."  Wrong!

Intentions and the person's blameworthiness
or non-blameworthiness in every moral act
can never change God's moral laws.
With regard to contraception, the above illustration is similar.  There are a lot of people who cannot live up to the ideals of the Church's teaching on contraception, or who have skewed consciences (maybe because they don't want to be told what to do, they don't want any objective moral norms telling them what is right or what is wrong, or they are just simply uninformed).  There may be a lot of reasons why people are blameworthy, or are not gravely blameworthy why they cannot live up to the ideals of contraception.  Nevertheless, the subjective moral culpability of any person does not change in any way the call and the challenge of the objective moral norms.  We can push our argument further: if it is true that individual judgment which deviates from objective moral norms can change the objective moral norms themselves, why do we not, as I have argued in my previous post, idealize and legalize child porn, wife-beating, drug trafficking, prostitution, corruption, etc. since they are all deviations from moral norms whose culpability may sometimes be lessened by the situation, even by the so-called state of a person's conscience?  A prostitute may tell you that he or she needs to resort to selling his or her body after exhausting all other means so that his or her family may have something to eat, otherwise they would die.  If such a reason is really honest-to-goodness (yes, it may be a possibility if not in fact, at least in theory), the person's culpability is somewhat lessened compared to the lazy guy or woman who does not want to explore other options and who just take the easy money route with pleasurable sex.  In such a case however, are we going to say then that prostitution is praiseworthy and something which we ought to promote as an ideal and as a new moral norm?  Does this deviation although somewhat lessened in its moral culpability, the new standard of morality?  Far from it.  The same is also true with lying.  Although we tell a lot of lies, we do not idealize lying nor do we institutionalize it (I hope I am not mistaken that no sovereign state does this).  That is why there is no date on any calendar that celebrates "National Lying Day".

Remember this false argument: a lot of people contracept, a lot of people use condoms, IUDs, vasectomies, injectables, etc. etc.  and a lot of people cannot live up to the ideals of the Church's teaching; so let us just change the teaching, and understand the so-called deviations are not anymore deviations but the reality!  No, no, no, no! There is a big difference between what is the ideal and what is real.  People in reality always fail in living up to the ideal.  But that doesn't change the ideal.  With regard to the objective moral norms, people may have a host of reasons why they fail to live up to the ideal.  And their blameworthiness or innocence will be scrutinized through their consciences honest-to-goodness before God.  But as I have said, not even less culpable deviations can change the moral norms.  God does not fail to call us to the ideals of His commandments.  Yes, we fail left, right, and center.  And He forgives.  That is true.  God is a compassionate God.  But He will never cease to call us to the ideals of His moral laws... until we learn our lessons in this world or in the next.

So that's it folks.  The Church's teaching on contraception has been constant throughout the ages because of her firm regard for the sacredness of the marriage vow and how it is lived out in the marital exchange in the sacred act of intercourse.  (And for those dissenting Catholics who do not believe this, just read this for yourselves and stop saying that Church teaching on contraception only began with Pius XI's Casti Conubii in 1930). There may be a myriad of different reasons why people fail in living up to the ideals.  Yes, we recognize them.  But we are not going to change the ideal because of the failures in the real world.  In my next post, we will discuss how the Catholic faith treats of deviations from the ideals of God's moral law and specifically how best to deal with the problem of deviations in practice on the teaching on contraception.