Monday, August 31, 2009

Do Catholics Worship Mary as a god?

No we don't.

St. Luke 11:27-28: "Blessed is the womb that bore thee, and the paps that gave thee suck. But he said: Yea rather, blessed are they who hear the word of God, and keep it."

We honour the Mother of God, as God Himself desires us to do.  None have heard the word of God, nor kept it, more greatly that the she who was chosen out of all the world for that single greatest favour ever bestowed upon a created being - namely to bear the God-man in her own womb, being closer to God than any other.  Such a blessing is not bestowed on "second best" hearer and keeper of the word.

Please also read:
The Seven Dolours of Mary (listen to audiobooks here)
The Scriptural Rosary

I invite all to consider logical argument and analogy, in regard to the relationship we ought to have with the Holy Virgin Mary:

I am going to visit my boss at home, to ask a favour. If I knock on the door of his house, and his mother answers, what should I do?

a) Brush past her and ignore her completely?
b) Say a curt greeting and then walk right on in?
c) Politely ask her to go see if he will come speak with me?

I imagine any sensible person picked c). Even if my boss is known to be a hard man, I might even score a couple points by being very kind and respectful to his mother. If I do this, does it mean that I am now working for my boss's mother? If she sends me on an errand for her and promises to butter up my boss for me, does THAT mean I am now working for my boss's mother, or that I am no longer working for my boss?

I am going to visit the king of the land, to plead my case. He is known for bestowing his abundant favour on his friends and for treating very harshly his enemies, and as of yet, I do not know for sure which way he will look at me; am I his friend or his foe? Crossing the courtyard, I see his mother in the way. How can I enhance my chance of being well received by the king?

a) Take my chances on my own, and rely on my own merit and charming personality?
b) Tell the king's mother that she has no authority and no power and that her son the king doesn't need her, so she should just buzz off?
c) Take this rare and fortunate opportunity to show her respect and reverence, and ask her to put in a good word for me with the king?

If I pick a) I am being prideful and should not be surprised if the king turns me away, or worse yet, chastises me for wasting his time.

If I pick b) I should rightly EXPECT chastisement from the king, who loves his mother dearly.

If I am smart, and pick c) does this mean that I am now pledging allegiance to the king's mother, and withdrawing it from the king? What if the king's mother asks me to do something in return for putting in a good word, does this mean that I have committed treason against the king?

I am seeking to win favour with God, the Creator of the world, who has condescended in His great mercy to be born of a virgin in time. I also know that I am infinitely less than He, being made of nothing, and that I have already offended Him more times than I can count. When I think on this my heart is broken within me, all my bones tremble, at the presence of the LORD, and at the presence of his holy words.

My courage falters even more as I remember the intended fate of the unfaithful people Israel that is related by Moses.

"The LORD said to me: I see that this people is stiffnecked: Let me alone that I may destroy them, and abolish their name from under heaven, and set thee over a nation, that is greater and stronger than this."

But Moses, who already had favour with God pleaded with Him.

"And when I came down from the burning mount, and held the two tables of the covenant with both hands, and saw that you had sinned against the LORD your God, and had made to yourselves a molten calf, and had quickly forsaken his way, which He had shewn you: I cast the tables out of my hands, and broke them in your sight. And I fell down before the LORD as before, forty days and nights neither eating bread, nor drinking water, for all your sins, which you had committed against the LORD, and had provoked Him to wrath: For I feared His indignation and anger, wherewith being moved against you, He would have destroyed you. And the LORD heard me this time also. And He was exceeding angry against Aaron also, and would have destroyed him, and I prayed in like manner for him."

An entire nation saved by the prayer of Moses! Oh if I could only ask Moses to pray for me! If only he were not dead!

At this thought, my conscience rebukes me sharply, bringing to mind the words of the Saviour, Christ Himself.

"And concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read that which was spoken by God, saying to you: I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living."

Then... Moses lives! I may certainly ask for him to pray for me to the LORD our God! He interceded so willingly for an entire nation, which had offended God so grievously, and on account of his prayers they were spared from destruction!

By now my conscience tells me: "Fear not: your God, and the God of your father hath given you treasure."

What treasure is this? What treasure can give me, such a wretched sinner, greater courage to approach the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the army of heaven standing by Him, than to ask for the prayers of Moses?

"When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own."

The Apostle St. John took Jesus' mother for his own! Of course! Who better to help us go to God, than she, by whom He chose to come to us! And should we not imitate St. John and take her for our own mother? The Apostle St. Paul says we should.

"That we might give ourselves a pattern unto you, to imitate us."

It is clear. The mother of the living God, the Blessed Virgin Mary was chosen out of all the creatures of God for the greatest honour of all, that of raising and caring for God Himself, made flesh. There is therefore, no creature who merits higher favour than Mary, who is indeed living in heaven, with her Divine Son.

Blessed Mary, ever a virgin, be thou my mediator of intercession with the one mediator of redemption between God and man, thy Son Jesus Christ. Polish my virtues, remove whatever there is of me that is displeasing to thy Son, as only thou art able, and may the LORD accept my humble offerings and prayers at thy immaculate hands. Amen.

V. The Angel of the LORD declared unto Mary.
R. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary, etc
V. Behold the handmaid of the LORD.
R. Be it done unto me according to Thy word. Hail Mary, etc
V. And the Word was made Flesh.
R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary, etc
V. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray.
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O LORD, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His passionate cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection, through the same Christ our LORD. Amen.

[Said during Eastertide, instead of the Angelus.]
Queen of heaven, rejoice. Alleluia
For He whom thou didst deserve to bear, Alleluia.
Hath risen as He said, Alleluia.
Pray for us to God, Alleluia.
V. Rejoice and be glad O Virgin Mary! Alleluia.
R. Because our LORD is truly risen. Alleluia.

Let us pray.
O God, who by the resurrection of Thy Son, our LORD JESUS Christ, hast vouchsafed to make glad the whole world, grant, we beseech Thee, that, through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may attain the joys of eternal life. Through the same Christ our LORD. Amen.

Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary! that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, and sought thy intercession, was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly unto thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother! To thee I come, before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate! despise not my petitions, but, in thy mercy, hear and answer me. Amen.

The most excellent way to honour and petition the Mother of God is the Most Holy Rosary.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Creation vs. Evolution Science Audios

Please read also the article "Not All Change is Evolution" and "Comprehensive Catechism: Worldwide Flood and Creation".

This is a full 46 minute talk by a creation scientist. He explains the correct way to understand the fossil evidence and how it relates to the books of the Old Testament. It's also been split up into manageable parts below for those who don't have all day to listen to the whole talk at once or who don't have great bandwidth.  You can either download them for later, or open them from the web.

Disclaimer:  He calls the earth a "planet", but this is incorrect.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Sinners' last words

This life is given us to prove our worth in the sight of the Almighty, to prove our worthiness of joining Him in eternity. Many people have abused their lives and spurned this great and most important opportunity. The longer one lives without God, or rather the longer a person spends running away from Him, the harder it is going to be in the end to repent and gain His favour, and forgiveness. We should all profit by paying heed to the words of those enemies of God who, on their death beds, have made some startling remarks about the hell they never believed in during the better part of their lives.

O, but they say the tongues of dying men enforce attention like deep harmony. Where words are scarce, they are seldom spent in vain for they breathe truth that breathe their words in pain.

- The life and death of King Richard the Second,
William Shakespeare

Julian the Apostate was Roman emperor from 361-63. In May, 362, Julian left Constantinople for Asia and made active preparations at Antioch for a great war with Persia. While at Antioch in the winter of 362-63, he wrote his books against the Christians. In March, 363, he advanced from Antioch into Mesopotamia, successfully crossed the Tigris, and fought a successful battle with the Persians. Burning his supply fleet, he now marched into the interior of Persia, but soon found himself obliged by lack of provisions to begin a retreat, during which he was beset by the Persian cavalry. On 26 June, 363, he was wounded in the side by an arrow in a small cavalry skirmish, and died during the night. Various reports concerning the circumstances of his death have come down to us. Both Christians and pagans believed the rumor that he cried out when dying:

“Nenikekas Galilaie (Thou hast conquered, O Galilean)”.

Sir Thomas Scott (1535-30 December 1594), of Scot's Hall in Kent, was an English Member of Parliament (MP). In Parliament, Scott seems to have been a consistent scourge of the Roman Catholics. He told the Commons that in his view there was "more danger by advancing Papists into place of trust and government than by anything”. His last words are as follows:

“Until this moment I thought there was neither a God nor a hell. Now I know and feel that there are both, and I am doomed to perdition by the just judgment of the Almighty.”

Thomas Paine wrote The Age of Reason; which criticizes institutionalized religion and challenges the legitimacy of the Bible. On his deathbed, Thomas Paine uttered the following words:

"I would give worlds, if I had them, if 'The Age of Reason' had never been published. O Lord, help me! Christ, help me! Stay with me! It is hell to be left alone."

Sir Francis Newport (of Her Majesty's Most Honourable Privy Council), died aged 88 in 1708 in Twickenham. On his deathbed, he wailed in anguish:

“What argument is there now to assist me against matters of fact? Do I assert there is no hell while I feel one in my own bosom? That there is a God I know, because I continually feel the effect of His wrath. That there is a hell, I am equally certain, having received and earnest of my inheritance in my own breast.”

Lest his friends should think he was going insane he said to them, “You imagine me melancholy or distracted: I wish it were either, but it is part of my judgment that I am not. My appreciation of persons and things is more quick and vigorous than when I was in perfect health. O! that I was to lie a thousand years upon the fire that never is quenched to purchase the favor of God, and be reunited to Him again! But it is a fruitless wish. Millions and millions of years will bring me no nearer to the end of my torments than one poor hour! O Eternity! Eternity!” As death seized him, he uttered a groan of inexpressible horror and cried out, “O! The insufferable pangs of hell! O Eternity! Forever and forever!”

Charles Churchill (February, 1731 - November 4, 1764) was an English poet and satirist. Of genuine love to humanity he seems to have been as destitute as of fear of God, or regard for the ordinary moralities. While he lay dying he repeated some manly but not very Christian lines from his own poetry. His final deathbed utterance is reported as follows:

“What a fool I have been!”

William Pope, who died in 1797, was a leader of a company of infidels who ridiculed everything religious. One of their exercises was to kick the Bible around the floor and tear it up. Friends present in his death chamber spoke of it as a scene of terror while he died crying. These were the last recorded words of this depraved man:

"I have no contrition. I cannot repent. God will damn me! I know the day of grace has see one who is damned forever...Oh, Eternity! Eternity! Nothing for me but hell. Come eternal torments... I hate everything God has made, only I have no hatred for the devil -- I wish to be with him. I long to be in hell. Do you not see? Do you not see him? He is coming for me!"

Honoré Gabriel Riqueti, Comte de Mirabeau (9 March 1749 – 2 April 1791) was a French writer, popular orator and statesman. During the French Revolution, he was a moderate, favoring a constitutional monarchy built on the model of the United Kingdom. He unsuccessfully conducted secret negotiations with the French monarchy in an effort to reconcile it with the Revolution.

“My sufferings are intolerable; I have within me a hundred years of life but not a moment's courage. Give me more laudanum (alcoholic herbal preparation of opium) that I may not think of eternity.”

Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord was an agent of the French Revolution under Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Philippe. He was ordained a priest in 1779. In 1780, he became a Catholic church representative to the French Crown, the Agent-General of the Clergy. In this position, he was instrumental in drafting a general inventory of church properties in France as of 1785, along with a defence of "inalienable rights of church", a stance he was to deny later. He assisted Mirabeau in the secularisation of ecclesiastical properties, betraying the Catholic Church. At his deathbed in 1838, King Louis asked Talleyrand how he felt, and his reply was thus:

“I am suffering, Sire, the pangs of the damned.”

It has been well said that nobody ever repented of being a Catholic on their deathbed. Please, repent and convert while the day of grace has not yet been extinguished by the dusk of eternity.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Pope Pius IX and Invincible Ignorance

There is, sadly, a common error, which asserts that Pope Pius IX taught that persons may be saved while invincibly ignorant of the one true Faith of the one true God.

What did Pope Pius IX teach concerning invincible ignorance? Did he teach that a person, who is invincibly ignorant of the true religion, may be saved by this invincible ignorance, as some modern day heretics imagine?

Definitely not. To assert that he taught this is to ignore the many defenses he made of the dogma that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church, as well as ignoring the objective sense of the teachings, so often misapplied by heretics, which speak on the topic of invincible ignorance.

Let us begin by understanding what is generally meant by the term "invincible ignorance".

St. Thomas Aquinas, Prima Secunda Partis, Q. 76, Art. 2: "Now it is evident that whoever neglects to have or do what he ought to have or do, commits a sin of omission. Wherefore through negligence, ignorance of what one is bound to know, is a sin; whereas it is not imputed as a sin to man, if he fails to know what he is unable to know. Consequently ignorance of such like things is called "invincible," because it cannot be overcome by study. For this reason such like ignorance, not being voluntary, since it is not in our power to be rid of it, is not a sin: Wherefore it is evident that no invincible ignorance is a sin. On the other hand, vincible ignorance is a sin, if it be about matters one is bound to know; but not, if it be about things one is not bound to know."

The above quotation from St. Thomas will provide the necessary ground work for understanding what Pope Pius IX taught concerning invincible ignorance.  From his teaching, it would follow that those who are unable to know the Gospel have not committed a sin by their ignorance (though they would still be in original sin and would be stained by the guilt of all their actual sins), and this is exactly what Pope Pius IX taught, as we will see.

It is a very well known among true Catholics that explicit knowledge and belief in certain dogmas are necessary for salvation, as attested by Pope Benedict XIV:

Pope Benedict XIV, Cum religiosi, 1754 (Many Ignorant of Mysteries of Faith): "We could not rejoice, however, when it was subsequently reported to Us that in the course of religious instruction preparatory to Confession and Holy Communion, it was very often found that these people were ignorant of the mysteries of the faith, even of those matters which must be known by necessity of means; consequently, they were ineligible to partake of the Sacraments."

Scripture itself also proposes the same for our belief:

Hebrews 11:6: "But without faith it is impossible to please God. For he that cometh to God, must believe that he is, and is a rewarder to them that seek him."

Is that all that we must believe in? Though? That "He Is, and is a Rewarder to them that seek Him."? What does Scripture say?

Romans 10:17: "Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ."

Therefore one must hear the Gospel in order to have the Faith that saves, the divine and Catholic Faith, else one is not a child of God, nor pleasing to Him.

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8-9, ex cathedra: "Wherefore, by divine and Catholic faith all those things are to be believed which are contained in the word of God as found in Scripture and tradition, and which are proposed by the Church as matters to be believed as divinely revealed, whether by her solemn judgment or in her ordinary and universal magisterium.  Since, then, without faith it is impossible to please God and reach the fellowship of his sons and daughters, it follows that no one can ever achieve justification without it, neither can anyone attain eternal life unless he or she perseveres in it to the end."

The Mysteries the Trinity and the Incarnation are examples of such dogmas that must be believed by necessity of means, defined by Pope Eugene IV in the dogmatic Athanasian Creed.

Now let us examine the texts in which Pope Pius IX is falsely accused of teaching that souls may be saved, despite dying in invincible ignorance:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "For it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood; but, on the other hand, it is necessary to hold for certain that they who labor in ignorance of the true religion, if this ignorance is invincible, are not stained by any guilt in this matter in the eyes of God."

So first of all, if a person has not ENTERED into the Faith, the ONLY ark of salvation, then he shall perish. He goes on to teach that ignorance itself will not excuse a person from the guilt of infidelity to the true religion (which includes subjecting oneself to a publicly heretical antipope, or being raised in a Protestant sect), but invincible ignorance alone. Notice also that the teaching of Pope Pius IX does NOT state that such persons will be exonerated from the guilt of original sin or any other sins against morality. Pope Pius IX never taught that persons who die in the state of invincible ignorance of the true Faith could be saved, but that their just and eternal punishment would not include punishment for the sin of infidelity. This is perfectly in line with God's justice.

As for people who began as Catholics and subjected themselves to a heretical religious superior, these are also objectively members of a false religion, and here again, it must be held that only invincible ignorance will remove guilt in this matter in the eyes of God. However, it is not for us to speculate as to who is invincibly ignorant and who is not, as Pius IX goes on to relate in the continuation of the above quotation:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "Now, in truth, who would arrogate so much to himself as to mark the limits of such an ignorance, because of the nature and variety of peoples, regions, innate dispositions, and of so many other things? For, in truth, when released from these corporeal chains 'we shall see God as He is' (1 John 3.2), we shall understand perfectly by how close and beautiful a bond divine mercy and justice are united; but as long as we are on earth, weighed down by this mortal mass which blunts the soul, let us hold most firmly that, in accordance with Catholic teaching, there is "one God, one faith, one baptism" (Eph. 4.5); it is unlawful to proceed further in inquiry."

Another quotation used by heretics in support of their perverse doctrine is the following:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem, 1856, #7:
"This hope of salvation is placed in the Catholic Church which, in preserving the true worship, is the solid home of this faith and the temple of God. Outside of the Church, nobody can hope for life or salvation unless he is excused through ignorance beyond his control."

At first glance this one sentence may appear to teach that a person may be saved outside of the Catholic Church. But we already know Pope Pius IX censures this proposition as a very grave error. So what is he really saying? He says that nobody can HOPE for life or salvation, not that nobody can ATTAIN it. He is speaking of those who, again, are ignorant INVINCIBLY, that is beyond their control - people who have no way whatsoever in their power to learn of the true Faith of Jesus Christ. Such people, following the Law of God written on their conscience, may indeed hope for life and salvation, since they have not rejected that Faith, of which they are unable to be aware. This hope is made possible by the mercy of God, at whose pleasure such a person may be profitably enlightened with the Gospel.

A person who is CULPABLY ignorant on the other hand, does not have this excuse, and is guilty before the Lord of the sin of negligence. The only hope of life and salvation for these people is a vain hope, since they have failed in their important obligation to learn and profess the one true religion of the one true God, or worse yet, they have willfully rejected it. Such a person cannot hope for life or salvation, until they profitably correct their culpability and embrace the true religion.

If it seems like a stretch to understand the words of Pope Pius IX in this manner, consider what he has stated in the paragraph immediately preceding this one:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem, 1856, #6: "The Church has always condemned and continues to condemn the conduct of those who abuse their reason; those who do not fear to foolishly and criminally prefer reason to the authority of what God Himself says; those who boldly exalt themselves; those who, blinded by their pride and their vanity, lose the light of truth and proudly spurn the faith of which it is written: "Whoever does not believe will be condemned." Full of confidence in themselves, they deny that we must believe in God for Himself and accept what He taught us about Himself."

So he is stating that those who have rejected the Church have no hope for salvation, but those who may be of good will yet have hope, specifically the hope that their invincible ignorance may be overcome and they will be brought into the true Faith.

The next quote offered by modern heretics begins thus:

Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, 1863, #7: "Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching."

Okay, first he states that it is an error to believe in salvation outside of the Church. No problem here. He goes on:

"There are, of course, those who are struggling with invincible ignorance about our most holy religion. Sincerely observing the natural law and its precepts inscribed by God on all hearts and ready to obey God, they live honest lives and are able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace. Because God knows, searches and clearly understands the minds, hearts, thoughts, and nature of all, his supreme kindness and clemency do not permit anyone at all who is not guilty of deliberate sin to suffer eternal punishments."

Wonderful! What does the objective sense of this text state? Does it state that a person WHO DIES in that state will be saved, or even may be saved? No. It simply states that God will not suffer such a person to be eternally punished. What does this mean, in the context of his encyclical and of Catholic dogma? The obvious answer, the ONLY answer, is that God will get that person, who stained only with original sin and has never willingly consented to actual sin, though they had the opportunity to do so, baptized, bringing him into His faith so that he may merit eternal life. The words of Pius IX are justly understood in this light, since there is no contradiction here with the Catholic dogma.

A great example in history of a person who followed the natural law written on his heart is Blessed Caius of Korea. The man was obviously given great grace by God, until such a time as his conscience was illuminated by the light of the Gospel, in short, to use the words of Pope Pius IX in the previous paragraph, he was "able to attain eternal life by the efficacious virtue of divine light and grace." And it was even Pope Pius IX himself who beatified him.

Now, about Pius IX, his words are simply not heretical as they stand, and in fact have a very important meaning. One would have to change his words to make them heretical, but this is not necessary at all for them to have a Catholic understanding. Furthermore, Pius IX was indeed vociferous in preaching the salvation dogma:

Pope Pius IX, Qui Pluribus, 1846: "For this mother and teacher of all the churches has always preserved entire and unharmed the faith entrusted to it by Christ the Lord. Furthermore, it has taught it to the faithful, showing all men truth and the path of salvation. Since all priesthood originates in this church, the entire substance of the Christian religion resides there also. The leadership of the Apostolic See has always been active, and therefore because of its preeminent authority, the whole Church must agree with it. The faithful who live in every place constitute the whole Church. Whoever does not gather with this Church scatters."

Pope Pius IX, Nostis et Nobiscum, 1849: "In particular, ensure that the faithful are deeply and thoroughly convinced of the truth of the doctrine that the Catholic faith is necessary for attaining salvation"

Pope Pius IX, Amantissimus, 1862: "In addition, he decreed that the Church will endure as long as the world, embrace all peoples and nations of the whole world, and that whoever accepts his divine religion and grace and perseveres to the end will attain the glory of eternal salvation."

Pope Pius IX is accused of ambiguity, despite the fact that the meaning of his words can be drawn from the context of the very same encyclicals in which he spoke them. Here is the relevant context for his words in each of the three documents, where he speaks of invincible ignorance:

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quadem, December 9, 1854: "For it must be held by faith that outside the Apostolic Roman Church, no one can be saved; that this is the only ark of salvation; that he who shall not have entered therein will perish in the flood"

Pope Pius IX, Singulari Quidem, 1856: "There is only one true, holy, Catholic church, which is the Apostolic Roman Church. There is only one See founded in Peter by the word of the Lord, outside of which we cannot find either true faith or eternal salvation. He who does not have the Church for a mother cannot have God for a father, and whoever abandons the See of Peter on which the Church is established trusts falsely that he is in the Church."

Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, 1863, #7: "Here, too, our beloved sons and venerable brothers, it is again necessary to mention and censure a very grave error entrapping some Catholics who believe that it is possible to arrive at eternal salvation although living in error and alienated from the true faith and Catholic unity. Such belief is certainly opposed to Catholic teaching."

Pope Pius IX, Quanto Conficiamur Moerore, 1863, #19: "Let us pray that the errant be flooded with the light of his divine grace, may turn back from the path of error into the way of truth and justice and, experiencing the worthy fruit of repentance, may possess perpetual love and fear of his holy name."

If that is not enough to prove that it is a false allegation that he was deliberately inculcating heresy, consider also that he ordered a syllabus of condemned propositions to be released on the same day as his encyclical Quanta Cura, which also condemned the errors of the time. This syllabus clearly upholds the only lawful belief that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that each person be a member of the body of Christ, the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church, and condemns any belief in salvation outside of Her, whether invincibly ignorant or otherwise.

Pope Pius IX, Syllabus of Errors, 1864:

Condemned Proposition #15: "Every man is free to embrace and profess that religion which, guided by the light of reason, he shall consider true." -- Allocution "Maxima Quidem," June 9, 1862; Damnatio "Multiplices inter," June 10, 1851.

Condemned Proposition #16: "Man may, in the observance of any religion whatever, find the way of eternal salvation, and arrive at eternal salvation." -- Encyclical "Qui Pluribus," Nov. 9, 1846.

Condemned Proposition #17: "Good hope at least is to be entertained of the eternal salvation of all those who are not at all in the true Church of Christ." -- Encyclical "Quanto Conficiamur," Aug. 10, 1863, etc.

Against religious indifferentism so zealously advocated in our days, and made as it were a state creed, he said: “It is assuredly not unknown to you, venerable brethren, that in our times many of the enemies of the Catholic faith especially direct their efforts toward placing every monstrous opinion on the same level with the doctrine of Christ, or of confounding it therewith, and so they try more and more to propagate that impious system of the indifference of religions. But quite recently, we shudder to say it, men have appeared who have thrown such reproaches upon our name and apostolic dignity, that they do not hesitate to slander us, as if we shared in their folly and favored the aforesaid most wicked system. From the measures, in no wise incompatible with the sanctity of the Catholic religion, which, in certain affairs relating to the civil government of the Pontifical States, we thought fit in kindness to adopt, as tending to the public advantage and prosperity, and from the amnesty graciously bestowed upon some of the subjects of the same States at the beginning of our pontificate, it appears that these men have desired to infer that we think so benevolently concerning every class of mankind, as to suppose that not only the sons of the Church, but that the rest also, however alienated from Catholic unity they may remain, are alike in the way of salvation, and may arrive at everlasting life.

“We are at a loss from horror to find words to express our detestation of this new and atrocious injustice that is done us. We do indeed love all mankind with the inmost affection of our heart, yet not otherwise than in the love of God, and of our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to seek and to save that which had perished, who died for all, who wills all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth; who therefore sent his disciples into the whole world to preach the gospel to every creature, proclaiming that they who should believe and be baptized should be saved, but they who should believe not should be condemned; who therefore will be saved let them come to the pillar and ground of faith, which is the Church; let them come to the true Church of Christ, which in its bishops and in the Roman Pontiff, the chief head of all, has the succession of apostolical authority, never at any time interrupted; which has never counted aught of greater moment than to preach and by all means to keep and defend the doctrine proclaimed by the apostles, by Christ’s command; which, from the apostles’ time downward, has increased in the midst of difficulties of every kind; and being illustrious throughout the whole world by the splendor of miracles, multiplied by the blood of martyrs, exalted by the virtues of confessors and virgins, strengthened by the most wise testimonies of the fathers, hath flourished and doth flourish in all the regions of the earth, and shines refulgent in the perfect unity of the faith, of sacraments, and of holy discipline.”  - John Gilmary Shea, LL.D., The Life of Pope Pius IX and the Great Events in the History of the Church During His Pontificate, New York: Thomas Kelly, 1878, pp. 98-103.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The importance of Modesty (especially for women)

Please also read
St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life: Decency in Attire
Modesty and Natural Law
Natural Law

Modesty in the way we dress is especially important today and always. How we dress can tell a very clear story about our internal dispositions toward God and the world. If we dress immodestly, showing our flesh and contour, as the world wants us to, for the pleasure of the sense and the incitement of lusts, then it is most likely that we have more love for the world.

If we dress modestly, hiding our flesh and contour, then we are rendering the task of those would look on us to lust after us so much more difficult as to make ourselves less the occasion of sin for others, no matter how attractive we may be underneath it all.

In the end, we will be rewarded by the master we loved (and obeyed) the most.

Without getting into a long winded article about the importance of modesty as it relates to our own sanctity and salvation, let us simply take a quick lesson from the Holy Scriptures on the matter.

First, we know that adultery is a sin, which condemns a soul to hell:

1 Corinthians 6:9-10: "Know you not that the unjust shall not possess the kingdom of God? Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God."

Second, we know that to lust, even in our thoughts, is to COMMIT the sin of adultery:

St. Matthew 5:27-28: "You have heard that it was said to them of old: Thou shalt not commit adultery. But I say to you, that whosoever shall look on a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart."

And finally, we know that to give another person scandal, that is to be an occasion of sin to them, lead them into sin, or encourage them to sin, is itself punishable:

St. Matthew 18:
6-7: "But he that shall scandalize one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone should be hanged about his neck, and that he should be drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of scandals. For it must needs be that scandals come: but nevertheless woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh."

Finally, Scripture also advises us of the great glory of the virtue of modesty, and the importance to live and walk therein:

Ecclesiasticus 7:21: "Depart not from a wise and good wife, whom thou hast gotten in the fear of the Lord: for the grace of her modesty is above gold."

Galatians 5:22-26: "But the fruit of the Spirit is, charity, joy, peace, patience, benignity, goodness, longanimity, Mildness, faith, modesty, continency, chastity. Against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's, have crucified their flesh, with the vices and concupiscences. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another."

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Legacy of Antipope Benedict XV

When Joseph Ratzinger chose the name Benedict XVI, some people in the Vatican II sect sighed in relief that he had honored the memory of who they believed to be a pre-Vatican II 'pope', and there were several optimistic accounts presaging better days ahead for traditional 'Catholics' since “Benedict XV was a 'pope' of reconciliation and peace during World War I, he had a great devotion to Pius X and his voice would choke when he spoke of him."

Some people concluded that Ratzinger was promising to return to tradition and bring peace to the world and the Church.

For those who may be fooled by similar optimistic appraisals, a little history review is in order.

First, the supposed grand friendship between Benedict XV and Antipope Pius X is quite imaginative. Under Pius X, "Archbishop" Della Chiesa (the future heretic antipope Benedict XV) had been sent to Bologna in exile from the Roman Curia because he was distrusted as a protégé and supporter of Cardinal Rampolla, a known modernist and Freemason. Further, Pius X withheld the cardinal’s hat that normally went with the Bologna Archbishopric for seven years, a patent sign of his distrust and a deliberate humiliation to the arrogant Della Chiesa. Only three months before the conclave did Della Chiesa finally become a "Cardinal".

In revenge, his first act after he became Pontiff was to send the valorous anti-modernist Cardinal Merry del Val packing, and to choose as Secretary of State the modernist Pietro Gasparri, another Rampolla protégé and his closest assistant. This act alone marked a clear break with the pontificate that had just ended. It certainly indicated no great devotion for Pius X, as we are told today, but rather fidelity to the modernist Rampolla.

This information was not found in hidden archives - it is available at the library, just by reading through works on the Papacy and the Catholic Encyclopedia. The election of Giacomo Della Chiesa was “as explicit a reaction against the preceding regime [of Antipope Pius X] as it was possible to get.” (1)

To understand Benedict XV, one needs to know something about his mentor, Cardinal Mariano Rampolla, Secretary of State under Leo XIII. At the turn of the 20th century, Rampolla was already well-known for championing the heresies and spirituality that Antipope Pius X would term Modernism. A Vatican insider, he patiently and steadily prepared the way for Vatican II.

At the conclave after the death of Antipope Leo XIII in 1903, it was expected that Cardinal Rampolla would be the next "Pope", which would have been a great victory for the modernist faction. Actually, he was leading in votes when his election was suddenly vetoed. The Emperor Franz Josef of Austria-Hungary, through his representative the Cardinal of Krakow, exercised an age-old privilege and vetoed the election of Rampolla. The Emperor had been presented irrefutable evidence that the Cardinal, besides being a modernist, was a member of Freemasonry and Grand Master of the secret sect known as the Ordo Templi Orientalis. (2)

During the anti-pontificate of Pius X, Rampolla was forced out of the Curia. From his Nunciature in Madrid, he had to take steps backward and move his seriously injured modernist faction underground. But at the next conclave, Rampolla was ready to settle scores. This time one of his protégés would sit occupy the Vatican. It was Giacomo Della Chiesa, a perfect candidate. He was a graduate of the Instituto Capranica, the most liberal seminary in Rome teeming with strange new theological doctrines and modernist heresies. And he had a very close affiliation with Rampolla, who had chosen Della Chiesa as his private secretary.

Benedict XV came into his occupation of the Vatican as Europe was entering World War I. In his first Encyclical, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum, issued November 1, 1914, the Benedict XV, who refused to take sides in the Great War, made a dramatic call for peace between the warring factions of Europe. He also made it clear that inside the Church he was calling for a stop to the war against the modernists.

Even while he referred to the “admirable fruits” of previous pontificate, he called for concord among the members of the Church, that is, the modernists and the ultramontanes – the traditional Catholics who had been strengthened by Pius X. This “peace” orchestrated by Benedict XV is what gave the modernists the opportunity to emerge from their dark, semi-occult caverns back into the light of day with a comfortable position in the Church.

1 Thessalonians 5:3: "For when they shall say, peace and security; then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape."

Next, Benedict XV targeted the most militant bloc that had organized to fight against the modernist errors, the group called the Sodalitium Pianum in France. This association of lay men supported by many priests were dedicated to keeping vigil on expressions of heresy in teaching, preaching, and publishing, following the norms set forth by Antipope Pius X, and which prescribed that all teachers in seminaries and clerics before their ordination take an oath denouncing Modernism and supporting Lamentabili Sane and Pascendi Dominici Gregis. Antipope Benedict XV and his Secretary of State Cardinal Gasparri dissolved the Sodalitium Pianum, calling a halt to the “anti-modernist witch hunt” in the name of reconciliation. (3)

In agreement with Rampolla and Gasparri, Benedict XV opened the doors for modernist errors to infiltrate the seminaries and schools of Europe.

1. Eamon Duffy, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes, (Yale University Press, 1997), p. 253.
2. Mary Ball Martínez, The Undermining of the Catholic Church (Hillmac, Mexico: 1999), pp. 32-33.
3. Duffy, Saints and Sinners, pp. 254-5.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Test the Spirits

From Book 4, Chapter 23 of The Revelations of St. Brigitta of Sweden

The Blessed Virgin Mary's words to Saint Birgitta of Sweden about how the good spirit is recognized by seven signs and the bad spirit is discerned by as many signs.

My daughter, you can recognize both the Holy Spirit and the unclean spirit through seven signs. First, the Spirit of God makes a man deem the world worthless and consider in his heart all worldly honor as mere air. Second, it endears God to the soul, and all delight in the flesh grows cold. Third, it inspires him to patience and to glorying only in God. Fourth, it stimulates the mind to be loving and compassionate with one's neighbor and even with one's enemies. Fifth, it inspires him to all kinds of abstinence, even from licit things. Sixth, it makes him trust in God in the midst of hardships and even to glory in hardships. Seventh, it gives him the desire of wanting to depart and to be with Christ, rather than to prosper in the world and become soiled.

The evil spirit has seven effects to the contrary. First, it makes the world seem sweet, and heaven distasteful. Second, it makes a man seek honors and forget about the meaning of his life. Third, it arouses hatred and impatience in the heart. Fourth, it makes him bold toward God and obstinate in his own plans. Fifth, it leads him to make light of his sins and to make excuses for them. Sixth, it inspires in him frivolity of mind and every carnal impurity. Seventh, it inspires in him the hope of a long life and a feeling a shame about going to confession. Guard your thoughts carefully, then, so that you do not get deceived by this spirit.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Saints and Church Fathers on the absolute necessity of water baptism

St. Prosper of Aquitaine, The Call of All Nations 1, 17; 2, 24: “For in this respect they are in the same condition as the greatest sinners; regenerated in baptism they are alike in sanctity; take away baptism, and they perish all together.  It is a fact then, that grace seeks its adopted sons even among the worse sinners in their very last moments, and that many who looked less wicked are denied this gift.  But who could say that these facts escape God’s ruling or that He decrees them without a profound justice? …It is obvious that all who die without baptism are lost.”

Anyone who argues that the Church Fathers were unanimous in teaching baptism of blood, or baptism of desire, or who say that those who did never retracted or taught contrary to it, are simply one of two things: They are liars, or they are parrots, and they ignore the fact that once the Solemn Magisterium makes a declaration, the matter is infallibly and irreformably settled. It is clear, by the words of the Fathers themselves, that baptism of desire and baptism of blood were in fact NOT settled issues, until the Church made dogmatic decrees concerning the matter. Furthermore, the Council of Trent, which decreed it unlawful to interpret Scripture in a manner contrary the unanimous consent of the Fathers, had no problem in also decreeing that baptism is necessary for salvation and that water is necessary for baptism, the logical conclusion being that (who would have guessed!) WATER BAPTISM is necessary for salvation!

Before we delve into the quotations, remember that the Patristic era ended well before the Council of Vienne, which first dogmatically defined that there was no salvation without the sacrament of Baptism, therefore any Fathers who thought contrary were not heretics, but merely erroneous. This principle was authoritatively put forth by Sixtus IV:

Pope Sixtus IV, Grave Nimis, 1483 (Denz. 735): "Although the Holy Roman Church solemnly celebrates the public feast of the conception of the immaculate Mary ever Virgin, and has ordained a special and proper office for this feast, some preachers of different orders, as we have heard, in their sermons to the people in public throughout different cities and lands have not been ashamed to affirm up to this time, and daily cease not to affirm, that all those who hold orassert that the same glorious and immaculate mother of God was conceived without the stain of original sin, sin mortally, or that they are heretical' who celebrate the office of this same immaculate conception, and that those who listen to the sermons of those who affirm that she was conceived without this sin, sin grievously...

"We reprove and condemn assertions of this kind as false and erroneous and far removed from the truth, and also by apostolic authority and the tenor of these present [letters] we condemn and disapprove on this point published books which contain it . . . [but these also we reprehend] who have dared to assert that those holding the contrary opinion, namely, that the glorious Virgin Mary was conceived with original sin are guilty of the crime of heresy and of mortal sin, since up to this time there has been no decision made by the Roman Church and the Apostolic See."

Interesting, no?

Here are some teachings from the Church Fathers on the necessity of baptism:

St. Augustine († AD 430), A Sermon to Catechumens on the Creed: "In three ways then are sins remitted in the Church; by Baptism, by prayer, by the greater humility of penance; yet God does not remit sins but to the baptized. The very sins which He remits first, He remits not but to the baptized. When? When they are baptized. The sins which are after remitted upon prayer, upon penance, to whom He remits, it is to the baptized that He remits. For how can they say, Our Father, who are not yet born sons? The Catechumens, so long as they be such, have upon them all their sins. If Catechumens, how much more Pagans? How much more heretics? But to heretics we do not change their baptism. Why? Because they have baptism in the same way as a deserter has the soldier's mark: just so these also have Baptism; they have it, but to be condemned thereby, not crowned. And yet if the deserter himself, being amended, begin to doduty as a soldier, does any man dare to change his mark?"

St. Aphraates, Treatises, 6:14:4, AD 340: "From baptism we receive the Spirit of rist. At that same moment in which the priests invoke the Spirit, heaven opens, and he descends and rests upon the waters, and those who are baptized are clothed in him. The Spirit is absent from all those who are born of the flesh, until they come to the water of rebirth, and then they receive the Holy Spirit. . . . [I]n the second birth, that through baptism, they receive the Holy Spirit"

This next passage is to show an example of how the Fathers were NOT unanimous in their teachings concerning baptism.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, AD 350, Catechetical Lectures 3:10, 12, AD 350: "If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation. The only exception is the martyrs, who, even without water, will receive baptism, for the Savior calls martyrdom a baptism [Mark 10:38]... Bearing your sins, you go down into the water; but the calling down of grace seals your soul and does not permit that you afterwards be swallowed up by the fearsome dragon. You go down dead in your sins, and you come up made alive in righteousness"

So St. Cyril of Jerusalem, while allowing for the possibility of baptism of blood, makes no mention of baptism of desire, and even condemns the notion by stating "If any man does not receive baptism, he does not have salvation."

Tertullian, AD 203: "We have indeed, likewise, a second font, (itself withal one with the former,) of blood, to wit; concerning which the Lord said, "I have to be baptized with a baptism," just as John has written; that he might be baptized by the water, glorified by the blood; to make us, in like manner, called by water, chosen by blood."

Tertullian (acknowledged by some as a Father, though he fell away and died outside of the Catholic Church) in fact reiterates that baptism of blood is a second font, and that though we are called by water baptism, it is the baptism of blood, whereby we are truly chosen. This makes perfect sense, considering that a true baptism of blood does indeed remit all sins that a person has committed, since the day they received BAPTISM IN WATER. And they are never able to sin again, hence, those baptized persons who are blessed by God to receive the second baptism (of blood), truly are chosen.

St. Cyprian of Carthage († 258), Treatise 12 (Against the Jews), #24: That by this alone the Jews can receive pardon of their sins, if they wash away the blood of Christ slain, in His baptism, and, passing over into His Church, obey His precepts.  "And when you stretch forth your hands, I will turn away my eyes from you: and when you multiply prayer, I will not hear: for your hands are full of blood. Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes"

St. John Damascene echoes the understanding of baptism of blood as a second baptism after true sacramental baptism and brings it out more clearly and explicitly:

St. John Damascene († AD 749): "These things were well understood by our holy and inspired fathers; and mindful of the Apostle's word that we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, they strove, after holy baptism, to keep their garment of immortality spotless and undefiled. Whence some of them also thought fit to receive yet another baptism; I mean that which is by blood and martyrdom. For this too is called baptism, the most honourable, and reverend of all, inasmuch as its waters are not polluted by fresh sin; which also our Lord underwent for our sakes, and rightly called it baptism."

St. Gregory obviously rejected the notion of baptism of desire.

St. Gregory Nanzianzus, Oration 40, 381: "But then, you say, is not God merciful, and since He knows our thoughts and searches out our desires, will He not take the desire of Baptism instead of Baptism? You are speaking in riddles... And I look upon it as well from another point of view. If you judge the murderously disposed man by his will alone, apart from the act of murder, then you may reckon as baptized him who desired baptism apart from the reception of baptism. But if you cannot do the one how can you do the other? I cannot see it. Or, if you like, we will put it thus:— If desire in your opinion has equal power with actual baptism, then judge in the same way in regard to glory, and you may be content with longing for it, as if that were itself glory. And what harm is done you by your not attaining the actual glory, as long as you have the desire for it?"

St. John Chrysostom, Homily 3 on Philippians, 392: "Weep for the unbelievers; weep for those who differ in nowise from them, those who depart hence without the illumination, without the seal! They indeed deserve our wailing, they deserve our groans; they are outside the Palace, with the culprits, with the condemned: for, Verily I say unto you, Unless a man be born of water and the Spirit, he shall not enter into the kingdom of Heaven."

Pope St. Leo the Great († AD 461), Epistle 15, #10: "And because through the transgression of the first man the whole stock of the human race was tainted, no one can be set free from the state of the old Adam save through Christ's sacrament of baptism"

Pope St. Gregory the Great, Forty Gospel Homilies 6, AD 590: “Forgiveness of sin is bestowed on us only by the baptism of Christ.”

The Church Fathers, while many of them have taught the opinion that baptism may be had by the unbaptized either through desire, or by shedding one's blood, were clearly not unanimous in this teaching, and anyone who asserts that they were unanimous are leading souls into a very deadly heresy.  After the dogmatic decrees which eliminate lawful belief in baptism of desire, it cannot be believed without believing heresy.

In fact, people, who believe that the Fathers were unanimous in teaching baptism of desire or baptism of blood, necessarily find themselves succumbing to Modernism, in that they refuse to believe the dogmatic decrees of Holy Mother Church as Holy Mother Church has infallibly declared them.

It is quite fitting to assert that baptism of desire and baptism of blood are the mother of modern heresies against the salvation dogma.  It is this heresy, which paved the way for the belief that those invincibly ignorant of Jesus Christ and His true religion may be saved. It is this heresy, which paved the way for religious indifferentism and false ecumenism, and the widespread rejection of that most holy and salutary dogma, No salvation outside the Catholic Church.

Renounce baptism of desire. Renounce baptism of blood. Abjure this heresy and enter the Catholic Church, or you cannot be saved.

The Dogma of the Absolute Necessity of Water Baptism

Addendum: please see I have to stop fighting baptism of desire and admit that I am more confused about the Crisis now than I was when I thought I had a tidy answer

The Church Fathers had preached countless sermons to the faithful in the early years of Christianity, and sometimes proposed theories that a catechumen might be able to attain eternal life without actually having received baptism, or rather by being baptized spiritually after they had died, so long as their lack of baptism was not due to their own negligence in acquiring the sacrament. It is important to note, however, that even if all these Fathers at one point held to this belief, it was never taught so constantly and so uniformly as to constitute Divine revelation, and many of these Fathers also taught the opposite on several occasions, - that unbaptized catechumens were on the road to hell, irrevocably, save for the sacrament of baptism. This point eliminates the possibility that baptism of desire or baptism of blood were Divinely revealed contents of the deposit of faith handed down by the apostles, otherwise, the the Fathers would be heretics for ever teaching the absolute necessity of water baptism.

Now it happens that these theories, know today as baptism of desire and baptism of blood, are in fact incorrect theories. After the Patristic Era, which ended around the 8th century, the Church made a series of several dogmatic decrees, which eliminated any lawful belief in baptism of desire, or baptism of blood.

Let us see what the Solemn Magisterium has to say, bearing in mind the infallible nature of these decrees, starting with the more recent decrees:

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Solemn Profession of Faith, AD 1870, ex cathedra: "I, Pius, bishop of the Catholic Church, with firm faith believe and profess [...] that there are seven sacraments of the new law, truly and properly so called, instituted by our lord Jesus Christ and necessary for salvation, though each person need not receive them all."

The pope, from the Chair of St. Peter, is professing and defining the religion that he is the head of, and anyone claiming the name Christian who rejects any part of his profession is a heretic.

Pope Pius IX professes that sacraments are required for salvation, though each person need not receive them ALL. So it clearly follows that at least one sacrament must be received.

Note that he did not say, "necessary for salvation, though each person need not ACTUALLY PHYSICALLY receive them," but this is the position that baptism of desire people argue. However baptism of desire is NOT a sacrament, nor is there any true and natural water involved.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session VII, Canons on Baptism, Canon II, AD 1547, ex cathedra: "If any one saith, that true and natural water is not of necessity for baptism, and, on that account, wrests, to some sort of metaphor, those words of our Lord Jesus Christ; Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost; let him be anathema."

So the sacrament of baptism is dogmatically defined as being the sacrament of water baptism. Not spiritual water, not heavenly water, but pure and natural water, and in this, the Council simply echoed a previously defined dogma.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, AD 1439, ex cathedra: "Holy baptism holds the first place among all the sacraments, for it is the gate of the spiritual life; through it we become members of Christ and of the body of the Church. Since death came into the world through one person, unless we are born again of water and the spirit, we cannot, as Truth says, enter the kingdom of heaven. The matter of this sacrament is true and natural water, either hot or cold. The form is: I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit."

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, AD 1439, ex cathedra:All these sacraments are made up of three elements: namely, things as the matter, words as the form, and the person of the minister who confers the sacrament with the intention of doing what the church does. If any of these is lacking, the sacrament is not effected."

Matter (water), form (the words) and minister (someone to speak the words and apply the water) must be present, or there is no sacrament effected. No matter how much a person may desire the sacrament, it cannot be effected without matter, form and minister. This is yet another dogma, to deny which is heresy.

Similarly, nobody who has not yet been baptized in water, can possibly attain sanctification, justification or salvation, even if they shed blood in the name of Christ, since they have not passed through the gates of the spiritual life, nor entered the Church:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, AD 1442, ex cathedra: "It firmly believes, professes and preaches that all those who are outside the Catholic church, not only pagans but also Jews or heretics and schismatics, cannot share in eternal life and will go into the everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels, unless they are joined to the Catholic Church before the end of their lives; that the unity of the ecclesiastical body is of such importance that only for those who abide in it do the church's sacraments contribute to salvation and do fasts, almsgiving and other works of piety and practices of the Christian militia produce eternal rewards; and that nobody can be saved, no matter how much he has given away in alms and even if he has shed his blood in the name of Christ, unless he has persevered in the bosom and the unity of the Catholic Church."

Pope Clement V, Council of Vienne, AD 1311-1313, ex cathedra: "All are faithfully to profess that there is one baptism which regenerates all those baptized in Christ, just as there is one God and one faith'. We believe that when baptism is administered in water in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the holy Spirit, it is a perfect means of salvation for both adults and children."

So there is only ONE baptism, baptism in water, that regenerates ALL who are baptized in Christ. Baptism in water is a perfect means of salvation (in that it remits all guilt and temporal punishment due to sin, as opposed to penance, for example which is an imperfect means, remitting only the guilt, but not the punishment of the sins confessed).

Baptism of desire heretics try to argue that if baptism of desire really were heresy, then this means that the Church Fathers were heretics. This is not so at all, rather this simply manifests the nature of humanity, that we are capable of falling into errors, and that it is only God who can provide the light we need to see clearly, especially in matters relating to faith. And this light, He does indeed provide, in accordance with His promise to St. Peter and the Apostles.

St. Luke 22:31-32: "And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

St. John 16:13: "But when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will teach you all truth. For he shall not speak of himself; but what things soever he shall hear, he shall speak; and the things that are to come, he shall shew you."

Acts of the Apostles 1:8: "But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth."

God provides this light by the ex cathedra decrees of the Holy See.

Without faith in Jesus Christ, nobody is saved, and no person who is yet unbaptized has this faith.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 11, AD 1442, ex cathedra: "It firmly believes, professes and preaches that never was anyone, conceived by a man and a woman, liberated from the devil's dominion except by faith in our lord Jesus Christ"

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session VI, Decree on Justification, Chapter VII, AD 1547, ex cathedra: "This faith, catechumens beg of the Church - agreeably to a tradition of the apostles - previously to the sacrament of Baptism."

Pope Innocent III, Lateran Council profession of Faith, AD 1215, ex cathedra: "There is indeed one universal Church of the faithful, outside of which nobody at all is saved"

Needless to say, one is not of the faithful until he is baptized. Unbaptized catechumens are not of the faithful.

St. Thomas Aquinas lived, taught baptism of desire and died after the Patristic Era but before the decrees of the Holy See, which rendered his erroneous doctrine heretical.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Monday, August 10, 2009

What is the point of infallibility?

Addendum: please see I have to stop fighting baptism of desire and admit that I am more confused about the Crisis now than I was when I thought I had a tidy answer

The pope is given the charism of infallibility by Almighty God, as the Bible tells us, because he is also given, as the Bishop of Rome, supreme authority over the body of Christ on earth, the Holy Catholic Church. This has been understood ever since the dawn of Christianity, and is contained in the Word of God. It took many centuries, however, before this dogma was definitively laid out by Pope Pius IX at the Vatican Council. Nevertheless, Catholics have always understood that when Rome has spoken, the discussion is over.

But there are many people who believe, these days, that a dogmatic decree, even though it may be infallible, is just too hard to understand, and so for this reason we need theologians, saints and doctors to interpret them for us. They basically say that due to imperfections in language, changes in the meaning of words, or other such causes, we would be absolutely lost without this array of men to expound doctrine to us. They argue that the words on the page may not convey the actual meaning of the dogmatic truth, and that it is just too difficult for average people to know what the truth really is.

No, it is not all that difficult. You see, the dogmas say it all. The dogmas are crystal clear and perfect.

What you have to do is read what the dogmatic definitions say very carefully, and FULLY assent to what the dogmatic definitions say. People who argue that "these dogmas do not actually mean what they say", or that "due to changes in the use of language we may suddenly re-interpret the dogma" are in fact uttering another condemned proposition that, ironically, they bring up themselves from time to time, as though it supports them in their various heretical views, such as baptism of desire, baptism of blood, or limbo of infants (without fire).  The condemned proposition is as follows:

Pope Pius VI, Auctorem Fidei, #1, AD 1794: "The proposition, which asserts "that in these later times there has been spread a general obscuring of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ,"—heretical.

The first question is this: Spread by whom? Is it heretical to say that the truths are being obscured by heretics? Of course not, that's what heretics do! Is it heretical to say that well meaning people may make mistakes about dogmas? No, because men are fallible and are prone to such mistakes. This proposition can only be heretical, if it denies a Divinely revealed truth. It has never been part of the Deposit of Faith that the truth could not be obscured by false teachers, so for this to be heretical it can only be condemning the statement if it is an assertion about one person: The pope exercising his infallible capacity, through whom the words of God infallibly come to us as clear and perfect Truths fallen from heaven.  Not every decree of the pope is considered infallible mind you, but only those which are "ex cathedra".  To learn the exact scope and definition of infallibility and to to learn more about the various levels of the Magisterium; read "What is Sound Catholic Theology?".

The opposite of this statement condemned as heretical by Pope Pius VI, then, must be a Divinely revealed truth, since heresy is the denial of a Divinely revealed dogma. What, then, is the opposite of this statement?  What is the dogma?

How about something like this: "in these later times there has been preserved a perfect clarity of the more important truths pertaining to religion, which are the basis of faith and of the moral teachings of Jesus Christ,"

What important truths are the basis of faith and morals? Dogmas. And the dogmatic Tradition shows that we are indeed to hold the meaning of dogmas EXACTLY as they have been declared, and that we are never to deviate from this meaning:

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 4, #14, ex cathedra: "Hence, too, that meaning of the sacred dogmas is ever to be maintained which has once been declared by Holy mother Church, and there must never be any abandonment of this sense under the pretext or in the name of a more profound understanding."

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 4, Chapter 4, #9, ex cathedra: "Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable."

Who makes the definitive declaration? The pope, and the pope alone, and ONLY when he is exercising the full authority of his teaching office. Yet people argue that the definitions and decrees that he makes in this capacity are sometimes too obscure to be readily understood by simple laymen, that the dogmas have been obscured, or are so obscure that we must rely on individual fallible men to tell us what the infallible statements mean. No! This destroys any tangible benefit of infallibility. How can a person say that a statement is infallible, if the statement is meant to be understood in a way other than how it is declared, other than the words that are plain as day?

The problem that many people have in fully accepting infallibility, however, is that theologians and clergy in the Church, saints and doctors even, have at times taught errors in doctrine that would later be condemned, or even that had already been condemned. This does not necessarily mean that these men were evil, but they may simply not have been aware of the variance between their opinions and the truths proposed by the Church - or that would later be proposed by the Church. Pope Benedict XIV, in 1749, made a very insightful remark that we can apply to such situations:

Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolica Constitutio, #6, June 26, 1749: "The Church’s judgment is preferable to that of a Doctor renowned for his holiness and teaching."

It is fortunate for us that Pope Benedict has said this, for it gives us breathing room, and reminds us again that it is the pope, when he speaks ex cathedra, who has the gift of infallibility; no other individual on earth does. Not even the greatest of the Church Doctors.

When all is said and done, it is to be firmly held that the dogmas are absolute truths which have come from above, and which need no "interpretation", since they are clear and perfect, and to be understood exactly as they have been declare. If a person were to argue that they need interpretation, then they are suggesting that the Magisterium is somehow incapable of providing a clear understanding of the truths of the Catholic faith, or of providing a genuine and understandable interpretation of Scripture:

Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 2, #8, ex cathedra: "Now since the decree on the interpretation of Holy Scripture, profitably made by the Council of Trent, with the intention of constraining rash speculation, has been wrongly interpreted by some, we renew that decree and declare its meaning to be as follows: that in matters of faith and morals, belonging as they do to the establishing of Christian doctrine, that meaning of Holy Scripture must be held to be the true one, which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true meaning and interpretation of Holy Scripture."

So it is a dogma that "private interpretation" of Scripture, when it deviates from how the Magisterium has already interpreted it, is absolutely wrong and heretical, yet so many people ignore the dogmatic definitions and run to the Scriptures to find support for all kinds of perversions.  These same people would run to the doctors, saints and theologians, who while reliable, can never overrule the judgment of the Church, the solemn decrees of the Holy See.

The point of infallibility is this: We know what God spoke and that His words are perfect, and therefore we must make sound epistemological judgments about the world based on these words. A person who does this will know, for example, that he cannot worship in communion with heretics or schismatics, he cannot be part of the Novus Ordo false religion.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?