Saturday, May 29, 2010

The "Bahai Faith"

Please read also:
Critical Thinking, A Necessary Tool

The following is how the "Bahai Faith" describes itself:

"Throughout history, God has revealed Himself to humanity through a series of divine Messengers, whose teachings guide and educate us and provide the basis for the advancement of human society. These Messengers have included Abraham, Krishna, Zoroaster, Moses, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad. Their religions come from the same Source and are in essence successive chapters of one religion from God."

Anybody who knows anything at all about the individual religions from which Bahai draws its claims of truth, knows that most of these religions are FUNDAMENTALLY OPPOSED one to the other. The only way that a person can hold to Bahai is to strip each religion of its essential elements and retain only the lowest common denominator.

But what is the lowest common denominator among all these religions?


Is it belief in one God?

Catholicism teaches one God, Islam teaches one god, Judaism teaches one god. Okay so far. Hinduism teaches many gods, Buddhism teaches that we are all god... Okay that's not the common denominator. So Bahai has failed to achieve any character of truth in the very beginning of our analysis, in the most BASIC of any religious tenet that one could propose: the nature of God. As truth cannot contradict truth, Bahai is immediately falsified and shown to be nothing more than the inconsistent musings of men.

Neverhtless, can we salvage anything of this system of belief? Is there any common denominator, even from a moral viewpoint?


Is it belief in the Golden Rule?


Christianity teaches that we must love our neighbours as ourselves, Hinduism and Buddhism teach essentially the same thing and that good "Karma" is the result.

But Judaism teaches this:

Sanhedrin 57a: "When a Jew murders a gentile (Cuthean), there will be no death penalty. What a Jew steals from a gentile may be retained."


Islam teaches this:

Sura 9.014
"Fight them (infidels) and Allah will punish them by your (muslims) hands"

Sura 9.052
""Allah will afflict you (infidels) with punishment from himself (Allah) or by our (muslims) hands".

Sura 2:187-189: "And kill them wherever ye shall find them, and eject them from whatever place they have ejected you; for civil discord is worse than carnage: yet attack them not at the sacred Mosque, unless they attack you therein; but if they attack you, slay them. Such the reward of the infidels...Fight therefore against them until there be no more civil discord, and the only worship be that of God: but if they desist, then let there be no hostility, save against the wicked."

Obviously the Golden Rule is not the common denominator either. There is no common denominator. No system of belief that is based on one true religion and a whole bunch of false ones can ever have coherence.

The "Bahai Faith" is simply the most illogical religious proposition I have ever heard of, and once a person takes any time at all to think about its logical conclusions, it requires quite a bit of dishonesty to maintain belief in it.  Pope Pius VIII, who lived nearly two hundred years ago, would agree with me.


Pope Pius VIII, Traditi Humiliati, #4, 1829: "Among these heresies belongs that foul contrivance of the sophists of this age who do not admit any difference among the different professions of faith and who think that the portal of eternal salvation opens for all from any religion. They, therefore, label with the stigma of levity and stupidity those who, having abandoned the religion which they learned, embrace another of any kind, even Catholicism. This is certainly a monstrous impiety which assigns the same praise and the mark of the just and upright man to truth and to error, to virtue and to vice, to goodness and to turpitude.

"Indeed this deadly idea concerning the lack of difference among religions is refuted even by the light of natural reason. We are assured of this because the various religions do not often agree among themselves. If one is true, the other must be false; there can be no society of darkness with light. Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the lamb outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark.  Indeed, no other name than the name of Jesus is given to men, by which they may be saved. He who believes shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned."




What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Friday, May 28, 2010

Which prayer does God hear?

Please also read the articles:
Pray Well
How Must We Pray?
Can non-Catholics pray to God?


Conditions of Prayer

Its object must be worthy of God and good for the one who prays, spiritually or temporally. This condition is always implied in the prayer of one who is resigned to God's will, ready to accept any spiritual favour God may be pleased to grant, and desirous of temporal ones only in so far as they may help to serve God.

Next, faith is needed, not only the general belief that God is capable of answering prayer or that it is a powerful means of obtaining His favour, but also the implicit trust in God's fidelity to His promise to hear a prayer in some particular instance. This trust implies a special act of faith and hope that if our request be for our good, God will grant it, or something else equivalent or better, which in His Wisdom He deems best for us.

To be efficacious prayer should be humble. To ask as if one had a binding claim on God's goodness, or title of whatever colour to obtain some favour, would not be prayer but demand. The parable of the Pharisee and the Publican illustrates this very clearly, and there are innumerable testimonies in Scripture to the power of humility in prayer.

Psalm 50:19: "A contrite and humbled heart, O God, thou wilt not despise"

Ecclesiasticus 35:21: "The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds".

Without sacrifice of humility we may and should try to be sure that our conscience is good, and that there is no defect in our conduct inconsistent with prayer. The principal motives of one's confidence are God's goodness and the merits of Christ.

Sincerity is another necessary quality of prayer. It would be idle to ask favour without doing all that may be in our power to obtain it; to beg for it without really working for it; or, at the same time that one prays, to do anything inconsistent with the prayer.

Earnestness or fervour is another such quality, precluding all lukewarm or half-hearted petitions. To be resigned to God's will in prayer does not imply that one should be indifferent in the sense that one does not care whether one be heard or not, or should as lief not receive as receive; on the contrary, true resignation to God's will is possible only after we have desired and earnestly expressed our desire in prayer for such things as seem needful to do God's will. This earnestness is the element which makes the persevering prayer so well described in such parables as the Friend at Midnight (Luke 11:5-8), or, the Widow and the Unjust Judge (Luke 18:2-5), and which ultimately obtains the precious gift of perseverance in grace.


Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heretics will drag you to Hell, "Imposing" or Not

Please read also:
Sacraments from Undeclared Heretics - Debate Analysis
Feast Day of St. Hermenegild

I'm sure many have seen the Dimonds' article about where to receive the sacraments. But are you aware that the ONLY authoritative source they use (the Fourth Council of the Lateran) has actually been twisted by them to mean something other than what it actually says?

They propose that the heretics themselves are the ones that must first be pointed out by the Church, before we are bound to avoid them. But this is sheer buffoonery on their part, whereby they would have you commit the same sin of SCHISM that they commit themselves by going to a Byzantine priest who is subject to Fr. Ratzinger, the current antipope. They go to him for COMMUNION. They are in COMMUNION with heresy and disobeying dogmatic decrees!

The quote, as presented by the Dimonds:

"Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, Constitution 3, On Heretics, 1215: “Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics… If however, he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater the punishment. If any refuse to avoid such persons AFTER THEY HAVE BEEN POINTED OUT BY THE CHURCH [postquam ab ecclesia denotati fuerint], let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction. Clerics should not, of course, give the sacraments of the Church to such pestilent persons nor give them a Christian burial…”"


Notice the smoke and mirrors where they whip out the Latin and say "Look at this part here! Focus in on this only because if you read the whole thing you'll see we are perverting what the pope decreed!".  But now let us see the whole paragraph and let us examine what it REALLY says:

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council (Tanner Edition):
"Catholics who take the cross and gird themselves up for the expulsion of heretics shall enjoy the same indulgence, and be strengthened by the same holy privilege, as is granted to those who go to the aid of the holy Land. Moreover, we determine to subject to excommunication believers who receive, defend or support heretics."

Alright, the pope just said that those who receive, defend or support heretics are to be excommunicated.

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, cont'd: "We strictly ordain that if any such person, after he has been designated as excommunicated, "

Keep in mind that we are still talking about non-heretical people who have been excommunicated for in some way helping a heretic...

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, cont'd: "refuses to render satisfaction within a year, then by the law itself he shall be branded as infamous and not be admitted to public offices or councils or to elect others to the same or to give testimony. He shall be intestable, that is he shall not have the freedom to make a will nor shall succeed to an inheritance. Moreover nobody shall be compelled to answer to him on any business whatever, but he may be compelled to answer to them. If he is a judge sentences pronounced by him shall have no force and cases may not be brought before him; if an advocate, he may not be allowed to defend anyone; if a notary, documents drawn up by him shall be worthless and condemned along with their condemned author; and in similar matters we order the same to be observed. If however he is a cleric, let him be deposed from every office and benefice, so that the greater the fault the greater be the punishment."

"If he be a cleric," a cleric who is NON-heretical and has been excommunicated for in some way helping a heretic. Do you see? Email the Dimonds and see if they can weasel their way around this, like they try and weasel their way around St. Thomas' teaching by saying that he was talking about heretic priest where he was really talking about sinful priests.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Part III., Q. 82, A. 9: "But not all who are SINNERS are debarred by the Church's sentence from using this power: and so, although suspended by the Divine sentence, yet they are not suspended in regard to others by any ecclesiastical sentence: consequently, until the Church's sentence is pronounced, it is lawful to receive Communion at their hands, and to hear their mass".

St. Thomas was talking about how a priest with private mortal sin is not suspended by the Church's sentence (not formally) even if he sins every time he confects the sacraments on account of the Divine suspension. Why do others not share in his sin in this case? Because it is PRIVATE sin that they do not or cannot know about. Plain and simple. Heretics, on the other hand, are by definition PUBLICLY and OPENLY contrary to the dogmas of Holy Mother Church. So their heresy CAN and OUGHT to be know about by such as would have subjected themselves to his "authority", and we are right back to the exhortations of St. Paul:

Galatians 1:8-9: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA. As we said before, so now I say again: If any one preach to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, LET HIM BE ANATHEMA."

Titus 3:10-11: "A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, AVOID: Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment."

Pope Innocent III, Fourth Lateran Council, cont'd:
"If any refuse to avoid such persons after they have been pointed out by the church, let them be punished with the sentence of excommunication until they make suitable satisfaction. Clerics should not, of course, give the sacraments of the church to such pestilent people nor give them a Christian burial nor accept alms or offerings from them; if they do, let them be deprived of their office and not restored to it without a special indult of the apostolic see. Similarly with regulars, let them be punished with losing their privileges in the diocese in which they presume to commit such excesses."

To the Dimonds, those gatekeepers of hell: This decree has NOTHING to do with HERETICS being pointed out by the Church, O ye lying wolves! The whole thing is talking about those whom the Church has excommunicated for DEALING FAVOURABLY WITH HERETICS, even if they are not heretics themselves.

The Dimonds are making a mockery of good willed souls who truly want the truth. They are undeniably evil and do not be surprised if they are laughing at all of their followers behind closed doors.

This article is one in an important series on The Dimonds' soul damning errors

There is an alternative to confession, one that does not require asking heretic priests to commit the MORTAL SIN (which we would be then sharers in) of exercising their sacramental power outside the Church. Please read the article "Daily Examination of Conscience for Future Saints".

1 Corinthians 10:20: "But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils."



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Baptism, Minister and Intention

Holy Office decree, under Pope Alexander VIII, Errors of the Jansenists, #28: "Baptism is valid when conferred by a minister who observes all the external rite and form of baptizing, but within his heart resolves, I do not intend what the Church does." - CONDEMNED

Some people advocate an interpretation of the above decree, whereby "intention to do what the Church does" means anything from "remitting original sin" to "incorporating the baptized into Christ's body", etc.

But can that be what "intention to do what the Church does" really means?  If one were to take this  position, he is likely going to find himself in heresy for denying the Council of Trent:

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 7, Canons on Baptism, Canon 4, ex cathedra: "If any one saith, that the baptism which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the Church doth, is not true baptism; let him be anathema."

And the Council of Florence:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, 1439, ex cathedra: "But in case of necessity not only a priest or a deacon, but even a lay man or a woman, even a pagan and a heretic, can baptize provided he or she uses the form of the church and intends to do what the church does."

Either the Council of Florence and God the Holy Ghost made something into a divinely revealed dogma that is ludicrous and preposterous (that a pagan can have a true intention to remit original sin - something he doesn't even believe in!), or there is a more reasonable way to understand "intention to do what the Church does".

For starters, the minster of any sacrament must do so in earnest:

Pope Julius III, Council of Trent, Session 14, Chapter 6, ex cathedra: "For neither would faith without penance bestow any remission of sins; nor would he be otherwise than most careless of his own salvation, who, knowing that a priest but absolved him in jest, should not care fully seek for another who would act in earnest."

Secondly, he must at least have a habitual intention:

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q.64, Art. 8, Reply to Objection 3: "Although he who thinks of something else, has no actual intention, yet he has habitual intention, which suffices for the validity of the sacrament; for instance if, when a priest goes to baptize someone, he intends to do to him what the Church does. Wherefore if subsequently during the exercise of the act his mind be distracted by other matters, the sacrament is valid in virtue of his original intention. Nevertheless, the minister of a sacrament should take great care to have actual intention. But this is not entirely in man's power, because when a man wishes to be very intent on something, he begins unintentionally to think of other things, according to Psalm 39:18: "My heart hath forsaken me." "

It would seem that as long as baptism is administered correctly using the Catholic rite (i.e. "what the Church does"), a Catholic is to presume a right intention, and this makes perfect sense, as an intention (i.e an act of the will) is REQUIRED to effect the movement of the faculties. However malicious a minister may be, if he does externally what the Church does, then he intended to do so. Otherwise how could a minister perform that which he intends not to? If he initially intended not to do "what the Church does", but then in fact did it, the worst that can be said is that he did it with a begrudging intention, but intended to do it nonetheless.

Note also that the Holy Office decree says "a minister who observes all the external rite and form of baptizing", not "a minister who CORRECTLY AND EARNESTLY observes all the external rite and form of baptizing".

In other words, the Holy Office decree above is in harmony with the dogmatic Councils of Trent, Florence and the doctrine of St. Thomas, in that if it were to happen that the external rites and form were performed by a minister who intended not to do what the Church does, this intention would be externally manifested, either by an error in carrying out what the Church does, or by performing it such a way as to be obviously mocking it; there would be defect of form, matter or earnestness as a result of the defect of intention.

The only alternative to the reasonable position presented above is to say that no man can ever be sure of the intention of the minister, and that therefore, no man can ever be sure of whether or not he is truly baptized.  But this is not only illogical, but it is not at all consonant with the merciful God's command to be baptized, "For God commands not impossibilities" (Pope Paul III, Trent, Session 6, Decree on Justification, Chapter 9).  Nor did He intend for believers to be continually seeking conditional baptism.

Nevertheless, if you have a reasonable cause to suspect that your baptism may have been invalid, you DEFINITELY need conditional baptism.

St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Tertia Pars, Q. 82, Art. 7, Reply to Obj 2: "Baptism alone is allowed to be conferred by heretics, and schismatics, because they can lawfully baptize in case of necessity; but in no case can they lawfully consecrate the Eucharist, or confer the other sacraments."



Monday, May 24, 2010

Self-Refuting Nature of Pantheism

Please read also:
Critical Thinking, A Necessary Tool
A Logical Worldview


Pantheism (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, et al.) is self-refuting, especially all forms that claim individuality is an illusion caused by my mind. For according to pantheism, individual minds are themselves aspects of the illusion and can therefore provide no basis for explaining it.

If the mind is part of the illusion, it cannot be the ground for explaining the illusion. Hence, if pantheism is true in asserting that my individuality is an illusion, then pantheism is false, since there is no basis for explaining the illusion.

Pantheism also fails to handle the problem of evil in a satisfactory manner. To pronounce evil an illusion or as less than real is not only frustrating and hollow to those experiencing evil, but it seems philosophically inadequate. If evil is not real, then what is the origin of the illusion? Why have people experienced it for so long, and why does it seem so real? Despite the pantheist's claim to the contrary, he or she also experiences pain, suffering, and eventually will die. Even pantheists double-over in pain when they get appendicitis. They jump out of the way of an on-coming truck so as not to get hurt.

If God is all, and all is God, as pantheists maintain, then evil is an illusion and ultimately there are no rights and wrongs. For there are four possibilities regarding good and evil in a Pantheistic belief structure (as opposed to the one true explanation of evil):


1) If God is all-good, then evil must exist apart from God. But this is impossible since God is all - nothing can exist apart from It.

2) But if God is all-evil, then good must exist apart from God. This is not possible either, since God is in all.

3) God is both all-good and all-evil. This cannot be, for it is self-contradictory to affirm that the same being is both all good and all evil at the same time. Further, most pantheists agree that God is beyond good and evil. Therefore God is neither good nor evil.

4) Good and evil are illusory. They are not real categories.


Option four is what most pantheists believe. But if evil is only an illusion, then ultimately there is no such thing as good and evil thoughts or actions. Hence, what difference would it make whether we praise or curse, counsel or rape, love or murder someone? If there is no final moral difference between those actions, absolute moral responsibilities do not exist. Cruelty and non-cruelty are ultimately the same. One critic made the point with this illustration:

'One day I was talking to a group of people in the digs of a young South African in Cambridge. Among others, there was present a young Indian who was of Sikh background but a Hindu by religion. He started to speak strongly against Christianity, but did not really understand the problems of his own beliefs. So I said, "Am I not correct in saying that on the basis of your system, cruelty and non-cruelty are ultimately equal, that there is no intrinsic difference between them?" He agreed. The student in whose room we met, who had clearly understood the implications of what the young Sikh had admitted, picked up his kettle of boiling water with which he was about to make tea, and stood with it steaming over the Indian's head. The man looked up and asked him what he was doing and he said, with a cold yet gentle finality, "There is no difference between cruelty and non-cruelty." Thereupon the Hindu walked out into the night.'

If pantheists are correct that reality is not moral, that good and evil, right and wrong, are inapplicable to what is, then to be right is as meaningless as to be wrong. The foundation for morality is destroyed. Pantheism does not take the problem of evil seriously. If you do not take the distinctions between good and bad seriously, then it is easy to say that anything you find in this world is a part of God. But, of course, if you think some things really bad, and God really good, then you cannot talk like that.

In this and other ways, the concept of the pantheistic "god" is incoherent. To say God is infinite, yet somehow shares his being with creation is to raise the problem of how the finite can be infinite, which is what absolute pantheists say. Otherwise, one must consider the finite world less than real, though existing. We have seen the problems with the first, absolute option. But the second option makes God both infinite and finite, for it is said to share part of its being with creatures which entails an Infinite Being becoming less than infinite. But how can the Infinite be finite, the Absolute be relative, and the Unchanging changed?

Pantheism's "god" is unknowable. The very claim, "God is unknowable in an intellectual way," seems either meaningless or self-defeating. For if the claim itself cannot be understood in an intellectual way, then it is self-defeating. For what is being affirmed is that nothing can be understood about God in an intellectual way. But the pantheist expects us to intellectually know this truth that God cannot be understood in an intellectual way. In other words, the pantheist appears to be making a statement about God to the effect that no such statements can be made about God. But how can one make a positive affirmation about God which claims that only negative affirmations can be made about God? Plotinus admitted that negative knowledge presupposes some positive awareness. Otherwise, one would not know what to negate.

Critics further claim that the denial of many pantheists of the applicability of logic to reality is self-defeating. For to deny that logic applies to reality, it would seem that one must make a logical statement about reality to the effect that no logical statements can be made. For example, when Zen Buddhist D. T. Suzuki says that to comprehend life we must abandon logic, he uses logic in his affirmation and applies it to reality. Indeed, the law of non-contradiction (i.e. A cannot both be A an not A) cannot be denied without using it in the very denial. Therefore, to deny that logic applies to reality, one must not make a logical statement about reality. But then how will the position be defended?



What Must You Do to Get to Heaven?

Saturday, May 22, 2010

A Preliminary Response to Ron Conte Jr.'s "Heresy of Magisteriumism"

I have read an interesting article by the schismatic Ron Conte, who is subject to heretical religious superiors, namely the antipopes of the 20th century and of Vatican II, in which he proposes a new "heresy", the "heresy of Magisteriumism". Some of his points are addressed below. Note that he is right about many things, but he leaves a lot of important things out and leaves room for deadly errors to creep in. Specifically, the most deadly error that may ensue from reading this man's article is this: "Dogmas may be lawfully "interpreted" in a manner contrary to how they are proposed by the Solemn Magisterium of Holy Mother Church." Such a belief is heresy in opposition to the following dogmatic definitions of Pope Pius IX:
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 2, #14, ex cathedra: "Likewise I accept Sacred Scripture according to that sense which Holy mother Church held and holds, since it is her right to judge of the true sense and interpretation of the Holy Scriptures; nor will I ever receive and interpret them except according to the unanimous consent of the fathers."

Speaking of the Magisterium, Mr. Conte fails to adequately make a very important distinction between the various levels of Magisterial authority exercised by members of the clergy, so it behooves the reader, before delving into this article, to read another, entitled "What is Sound Catholic Theology?". Mr. Conte's words appear in red and my responses to him, in which I will correct his false assertions, eliminate his ambiguities or add what he has left out, will appear formatted as above.

[...] One of the most severe of these heresies, and among the most difficult to eradicate, is Magisteriumism.

[...]

Now those who hold to the heresy of Magisteriumism tend to believe some or all of the following heretical ideas, at least in some form.
The idea that the Magisterium is above Tradition and Scripture

The root of the Magisterium heresy is found in the over-emphasis and exaltation of the Magisterium of the Church, to such an extent that Tradition and Scripture, as well as the role of the ordinary faithful, are diminished and deprecated. This is expressed in a number of different ways and has a number of effects, as this article will describe.

In truth, the Catholic Christian Faith is based on Tradition first, Scripture second, and Magisterium third, so that, of these three pillars of the Faith, the Magisterium is not first or preeminent above the others. Tradition preceded Scripture and Scripture flowed from Tradition and is confirmed by Tradition. And the Magisterium, as the guardian and interpreter of the Divine Revelation of Tradition and Scripture, is its servant, not its Master. The Master and Lord over Tradition and Scripture is the Most Holy Trinity, from which all Divine Revelation proceeds. Exalting the Magisterium above Tradition and Scripture gives the Magisterium a role which only God can have, therefore, Magisteriumism is a heresy which can lead to idolatry.

What Mr. Conte is doing here, whether he realizes it or not, is he is leaving open the possibility for error. Namely, a person might draw the erroneous conclusion that one may go to Scripture of Tradition when he is unsatisfied with what he reads in the Solemn Magisterium. The truth is that to St. Peter ALONE was it given to DEFINE the faith.

St. Luke 22:31-32 (Douay Rheims Challoner): “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. Luke 22:31-32 (Latin Vulgate): “ait autem Dominus Simon Simon ecce Satanas expetivit vos ut cribraret sicut triticum ego autem rogavi pro te ut non deficiat fides tua et tu aliquando conversus confirma fratres tuos

Notice that when Christ warns St. Peter of Satan’s desire, “that he may sift you as wheat”, the Vulgate records this as vos, the plural for you, yet when he talks about the prayer for the unfailing faith (unfailing and infallible mean the same thing), he uses “thee”, from the Latin te, the singular form.

What we learn from this is that it is St. Peter and his successors, to whom the office of DEFINING THE FAITH, that is defining the correct understanding of Scripture and Tradition, belongs.

Therefore it is unlawful for a Catholic to propose that this verse from Scripture dogmatically means this, or that piece of Tradition is a divinely revealed dogma, UNLESS it has already been proposed by the Church as such in the Solemn Magisterium or in the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, lest he schismatically call others who disagree with his self-proclaimed dogmas heretics (as does Mike Bizzaro).

"The idea that the Magisterium is above reproach or correction by the faithful

They idolize the Magisterium, so that, when anyone criticizes or disagrees with even an ordinary teaching of the Magisterium, or a non-doctrinal decision of the Pope or Bishops (which they confuse with magisterial decisions), they are convinced that such a person is disloyal to the Magisterium and therefore unfaithful to God. They see the relationship between the Magisterium and the faithful as that of Master and servant, so that the faithful are merely to obey and believe whatever the Magisterium teaches; anything else is sinful. They don't believe that the Magisterium is ever in need of correction. They think that the faithful should listen to the Magisterium, but that the Magisterium has no need to listen to the faithful.

In truth, the Magisterium is a gift which God gives to the whole Church. The Magisterium is exercised by the Pope and the Bishops, but it belongs to the whole Church, since it is a gift to us all. Also, just as the Son of man came to serve, not to be served, so also do the Pope and the Bishops exercise the Magisterium to serve the faithful, not so as to dominate or rule over them.
The problem here is that Mr. Conte has failed to adequately distinguish between the various levels of Magisterial authority, namely the Solemn Magisterium, the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium and the Ordinary Magisterium. Only the Ordinary Magisterium is subject to correction, and even then it is not subject to correction by the Faithful, but by a decision of the pope. The belief that the Solemn Magisterium or the Ordinary and Universal Magisterium may be corrected by ANYONE is HERESY, in opposition to the following dogmatic definition of the Solemn Magisterium:
Pope Pius IX, Vatican Council, Session 3, Chapter 3, #8:, 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.”

As this dogma undeniably states, Scripture and Tradition are indeed the basis for the dogmas of Faith, but no understanding of these two sources of revelation may be held as dogmas until the Church so “confirms the brethren” in such an understanding (solemn judgment – Solemn Magisterium), OR until the Church (Fathers) has shown to be unanimous in such an understanding (Ordinary and UNIVERSAL Magisterium.)

The idea that the faithful can only learn the truths of the Faith from the Magisterium, not from Tradition or Scripture directly

They know that the Magisterium teaches from Tradition and Scripture, but they also think that the faithful cannot reliably learn the truths of the Faith from Tradition and Scripture themselves. They say that we should only believe what the Magisterium teaches. They compare anyone who tries to learn directly from Tradition or Scripture to the Protestants, who try to understand Scripture themselves and so fall into error. For them, the Magisterium stands between the faithful and the Deposit of Faith (Tradition and Scripture), so that the faithful only access the truths of the Faith through the Magisterium.

In truth, the faithful are obligated by the moral law to learn directly from Tradition and directly from Scripture, while being guided in their understanding by the teachings of the Magisterium. For the faithful have always learned first from Tradition, and second from Scripture, and third from Magisterium. In the early Church, there were very few, if any, magisterial documents, and very few definitive teachings of the Magisterium. They learned the faith as it was handed down to them by the words and examples of fellow Christians, not only the Apostles and Bishops, but every Christian down to the least little child. They lived the faith based on their own imperfect understanding of ineffable Divine Revelation, just as all the faithful throughout history have done. One does not attain to a perfect or complete understanding of Divine Revelation by claiming to believe and to have understood all that the Magisterium teaches.
Anybody who claims to UNDERSTAND all the Magisterium teaches is phony. The Magisterium teaches about God, and nobody can ever understand God fully, because nobody has an infinite intellect. That being said, we certainly CAN believe all that the Church teaches in the Solemn and Ordinary and Universal Magisterium, and WE ARE BOUND TO. To deny this is heresy, as shown above.”

The idea that the teaching of the Church is nothing other than the teachings of the Magisterium

They believe that there are no teachings in the Catholic Faith, which we ought to believe, other than the teachings of the Magisterium. And they think that every teaching of the Magisterium has been written down in various magisterial documents, so that if anyone says to them that something is the teaching of the Church, they reply by asking which document contains that teaching. If there is no magisterial document, then they do not accept that it is a teaching of the Church, even if it was clearly taught by a Saint, a Doctor of the Church, a Father of the Church, or was the practice of the Church for hundreds of years, or is clearly taught in Sacred Scripture.

In truth, the teaching of the Church is everything taught by Sacred Tradition, even those truths that have never been taught by the Magisterium, and everything taught by Sacred Scripture, even those truths that have never been taught by the Magisterium. The Magisterium teaches from Tradition and Scripture, but it has not and will never explicitly teach every truth of the Faith found in Tradition and Scripture. And the Magisterium has no teachings of its own; all its teachings are of Tradition and Scripture.
There is danger lurking in the above paragraphs of Mr. Conte yet again. The danger is that a person may be tempted to believe that ANYTHING that has been considered “tradition” at one point or another may be true, or that any teaching of a Saint or Doctor can be true, - or at least not heretical, even if the Solemn or Ordinary and Universal Magisterium CONTRADICTS IT. This is simply not true, however.

For a simple example, consider St. Cyprian. At one point he wrote a long treatise in defense of what he viewed as the “tradition” of the Church, wherein the baptisms administered by heretics were invalid.

St. Cyprian, Epistle 73, #12: “Therefore, dearest brother, having explored and seen the truth; it is observed and held by us, that all who are converted from any heresy whatever to the Church must be baptized by the only and lawful baptism of the Church, with the exception of those who had previously been baptized in the Church, and so had passed over to the heretics.”

But he was later contradicted in this by rulings of the Solemn Magisterium.

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, Session 8, 1439, ex cathedra: “The minister of this sacrament is a priest, who is empowered to baptize in virtue of his office. But in case of necessity not only a priest or a deacon, but even a lay man or a woman, even a pagan and a heretic, can baptize provided he or she uses the form of the church and intends to do what the Church does. The effect of this sacrament is the remission of all original and actual guilt, also of all penalty that is owed for that guilt. Hence no satisfaction for past sins is to be imposed on the baptized, but those who die before they incur any guilt go straight to the kingdom of heaven and the vision of God.”

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 7, Canons on Baptism, Canon 7, ex cathedra: “If any one saith, that the baptism which is even given by heretics in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, with the intention of doing what the Church doth, is not true baptism; let him be anathema”

That is not to say that a person who does not hold the Faith of Christ is sanctified. The effect of baptism is indeed remission of all sins, but it does not get applied to a person who receives it until his dispositions are correct, that is until he is subject to the whole law of Christ (which includes being IN the Church - St. Matthew 18:17), as defined later by the Council of Trent.

Pope Paul III, Council of Trent, Session 7, Canons on Baptism, Canon 7, ex cathedra: “If any one saith, that the baptized are, by baptism itself, made debtors but to faith alone, and not to the observance of the whole law of Christ; let him be anathema.”

Of course anybody out of communion with the Holy See is not observing the whole law of Christ.

St. Cyprian was in error. Remember that Christ expressly gave the unfailing faith to St. Peter, not to all the Apostles, and so we have one concrete example of a case where the Magisterium MUST be preferred to a teaching of Saints or Doctors (in this case a FATHER of the Church), as Pope Benedict XIV (14th) himself decreed:

Pope Benedict XIV, Apostolica Constitutio, 1749: “The Church's judgment is preferable even to that of a Doctor renowned for his holiness and teaching.”

This article may be expanded to cover more of Mr. Conte's points as time permits, but I'm confident that what has been said thus far is sufficient to allay any possible errors that may stem from reading his careless and inadequate treatise.






Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Antipope Pius XII, the Judeo Freemason: Supplement

This article is a supplement to previous articles on Pius XII.


Antipope Pius XII, the Judeo Freemason

Pius XII and so-called 'Natural' Birth Control

Antipope Pius XII: "Infidels are our brothers in Christ"


This article is offered in response to an email I received. The email basically reads as follows: "I only just found your website, within the last few days. The picture of "Pius XII" using the devil symbolism is very interesting, but can you tell me, in depth, what other information you have that proves he was a "Freemason"?"

The following quotes serve to clearly demonstrate the apparent Masonic agenda of Antipope Pius XII, using his own words, spoken in the capacity of his "office" as (anti)pope. But before we get into them, it is well to recall that the Freemasonic establishment's primary goal is the establishment of one world government; a New World Order. In this Order there would be no place for the Catholic religion, since the government of the world state would serve as the final arbiter on all matters, including those of morality. This is easily seen to be their aim when one considers how steadily the State has marched forward in its agenda to protect and even encourage and educate children and youth in all manner of sins, contrary to God's eternal natural law, by means of the media, schools and universities and legislation.

Antipope Pius XII, Christmas Message of 1942: "Mankind owes that vow to the countless dead who lie buried on the field of battle: The sacrifice of their lives in the fulfillment of their duty is a HOLOCAUST offered for a NEW AND BETTER SOCIAL ORDER."

World War II cannot in any way be considered progress towards any kind of order that a Catholic ought to desire for the world or for individual states.

Antipope Pius XII, Proofs for the Existence of God in the Light of Modern Natural Science, 1951, #19: "The first very modest attempt to break down the nucleus (of nitrogen) goes back to hardly more than three decades ago, and it is ONLY IN RECENT YEARS that it has been possible, by bringing into play tremendous forces, to produce very numerous processes involving the formation and the breaking down of nuclei. Although this result-which, insofar as it contributes to the cause of peace, is certainly to be inscribed among the glories of our century-represents in the field of practical nuclear physics no more than a preliminary step, nevertheless, it provides for our consideration an important conclusion, namely, that atomic nuclei are indeed, by many orders of magnitude, more firm and stable than ordinary chemical compositions, but this notwithstanding, they are also, in principle, subject to similar laws of transformation, and hence are mutable."


In other words, the NUCLEAR BOMB is one of the glories of the century because of its contribution to the cause of peace. Unbelievable as it may be, there is really no other way to understand this statement. Also note that he says nothing at all about how this very same technology was used by "bringing into play tremendous forces" against two Japanese cities "only in recent years" (six years previously to this 'encyclical').

Or did he mention it after all?

Antipope Pius XII, Proofs for the Existence of God in the Light of Modern Natural Science, 1951, #21: "Also, in modern physical laboratories, through bombardment with particles endowed with tremendous energy or with neutrons, successful efforts are being made to effect transformations of nuclei, as can be seen in the example of the atom of URANIUM. In this connection mention must also be made of the effects of cosmic radiation which can break down even the heaviest atoms, thus not infrequently liberating entire swarms of sub-atomic particles."

"The Hiroshima bomb, a gun-type bomb called "Little Boy", was made with URANIUM-235, a rare isotope of uranium extracted in giant factories in Oak Ridge, Tennessee." - Wikipedia

Was he specifically thinking of the bombing of Hiroshima? From his words it may be debatable, but the evidence is definitely there.  Add to that the following:

Antipope Pius XII, Christmas Message of 1944: "62. The decisions already published by international commissions permit one to conclude that an essential point in any future international arrangement would be the formation of an organ for the maintenance of peace, of an organ invested by common consent with supreme power to whose office it would also pertain to smother in its germinal state any threat of isolated or collective aggression.

"63. No one could hail this development with greater joy than he who has long upheld the principle that the idea of war as an apt and proportionate means of solving international conflicts is now out of date.

"64. No one could wish success to this common effort, to be undertaken with a seriousness of purpose never before known, with greater enthusiasm, than he who has conscientiously striven to make the Christian and religious mentality reject modern war with its monstrous means of conducting hostilities."

That is Orwellian doublespeak if there ever was such a thing!  In paragraph 62 he says decisions giving supreme  power to an organ (eventually the UN) whose office it would be to smother threats should be met with enthusiasm by those who reject monstrous modern war.  The organ he describes would be using the very same technology as the monstrous modern wars!

While it is true that none of this constitutes undeniable proof that Pacelli, a.k.a Pius XII was a Freemason, it is nevertheless MORE THAN SUFFICIENT to demonstrate UNDENIABLE PARALLELS between what he publicly espoused and what the Freemasonic establishment espouses (i.e eugenics, depopulation, etc.). Combine this with the heresies he taught in the links at the beginning of this article (and therefore the theological untenability of calling him a Catholic pope) and all of a sudden whether he was a "card carrying Mason" or not becomes irrelevant to every Christian's duty of rejecting him as a non-Catholic antipope.



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

On the Unity of the Church

All Catholics know that the Church is ONE. But do all Catholics necessarily know exactly what this means? Unity can be considered under many aspects, and while the Church is certainly one, it is not necessarily one under all possible aspects. For example, members of the Church who live in two nations that are at war, while they are one in faith, are nevertheless divided in their temporal interests.

So for the Church to pray for unity does not mean that She is denying the unity She already possesses, which is the unity of Faith and obedience to the Chair of St. Peter, but rather She prays that all her members may be united in charity.

There is, however, a heretical denial of the Church's Divinely bestowed unity that must be addressed:



Antipope Paul VI, Unitatis Redintegratio, #3: "Even in the beginnings of this one and only Church of God there arose certain rifts, which the Apostle strongly condemned. But in subsequent centuries much more serious dissensions made their appearance and quite large communities came to be separated from full communion with the Catholic Church-for which, often enough, men of both sides were to blame. The children who are born into these Communities and who grow up believing in Christ cannot be accused of the sin involved in the separation, and the Catholic Church embraces upon them as brothers, with respect and affection."

To say that they cannot be accused of sin is incompatible with Catholic theology and a denial of the principle set forth, first by St. Thomas and then by Pope Pius IX on invincible ignorance.


St. Thomas Aquinas, Prima Partis, Q. 76, Art. 2: "...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."


Antipope Paul VI, Unitatis Redintegratio, #3, cont'd:
"For men who believe in Christ and have been truly baptized are in communion with the Catholic Church even though this communion is imperfect. The differences that exist in varying degrees between them and the Catholic Church-whether in doctrine and sometimes in discipline, or concerning the structure of the Church-do indeed create many obstacles, sometimes serious ones, to full ecclesiastical communion. The ecumenical movement is striving to overcome these obstacles. But even in spite of them it remains true that all who have been justified by faith in Baptism are members of Christ's body, and have a right to be called Christian, and so are correctly accepted as brothers by the children of the Catholic Church."

That is a heretical denial of the unity of faith and discipline proper to the Church. It is a denial that only those who profess this faith are able to attain to the fellowship of the children of God, as proven from the following dogmatic definition:


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."
But the heretics and schismatics that Antipope Paul VI is referring to do NOT accept Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium of the Church. They CANNOT be called the brothers of Catholics, since in order to be so they must first have reached the fellowship of the sons and daughter of God, which can only be done through holding the Faith of the Father and the Son.

Antipope Paul VI, Unitatis Redintegratio, #3, cont'd: "Moreover, some and even very many of the significant elements and endowments which together go to build up and give life to the Church itself, can exist outside the visible boundaries of the Catholic Church: the written word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, and visible elements too. All of these, which come from Christ and lead back to Christ, belong by right to the one Church of Christ."

It is true that all of these elements belong to the one Church of Christ, but there is neither the life of grace, which is sanctifying grace, or the remission of sins, nor the theological virtues or interior gifts of the Holy Ghost OUTSIDE the Church, as can be plainly discerned from the dogmatic definition and the papal teaching that follow:

Pope Eugene IV, Council of Florence, ex cathedra: "[A]ll 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 Vigilius Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: “…we bear in mind what was promised about the holy church and him who said that the gates of hell will not prevail against it (by these we understand the death-dealing tongues of heretics)…”

Pope Vigilius, Second Council of Constantinople, ex cathedra: "And about that claim of the Apostle: Even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed. As we said earlier, I repeat once more: If anyone preaches to you a gospel contrary to what you have received, let him be accursed.  Since the Lord declares that the person is judged already, and the Apostle curses even the angels if they instruct in anything different from what we have preached, how is it possible even for the most presumptuous to assert that these condemnations apply only to those who are still alive? Are they unaware, or rather pretending to be unaware, that to be judged anathematized is just the same as to be separated from God? The heretic, even though he has not been condemned formally by any individual, in reality brings anathema on himself, having cut himself off from the way of truth by his heresy. What reply can such people make to the Apostle when he writes: A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, avoid: Knowing that he, that is such an one, is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned by his own judgment. (Titus 3:10-11)"



Monday, May 3, 2010

St. Vincent Ferrer, The Spiritual Life: On the means of persevering in sobriety and abstinence

St. Vincent Ferrer, The Spiritual Life, Chapter IX: "In order to continue in abstinence and sobriety, live always in fear, remembering that this virtue comes only from God; and beg of Him grace to persevere in its practice. If you would be upheld therein without failure, neither judge nor condemn others; stifle the movements of indignation which you feel against those who observe not the necessary rules in regard to eating. Pity them, pray for them, and excuse them as much as you are able. Bear in mind that you are no more than others in this respect; that it is Jesus Christ Who upholds you by His grace, not in consideration of your merits, but solely by His mercy. You will remain firm, if you cherish these thoughts."

"For, why have so many, who courageously began and made great progress in abstinence and other virtues, fallen into bodily dejection and weariness of spirit? It is because presumption and pride made them confident of themselves, and filled them with indignation against others whose judges they constituted themselves, and whom they interiorly condemned. Hence, God withdrawing from them the gifts of His grace, they lost their primitive fervor; and falling into the opposite extremity and into a state of indifference, they have become sick and infirm; so that in the end, by striving to recruit their health, they have exceeded in this the bounds of strict moderation, and are become more delicate and intemperate than those whom they previously condemned.

"I have known many such who have fallen into this misfortune; God permitting, as usual, that they who rashly condemn others should fall into the same faults which they reprove, and sometimes even into much greater. Serve then the Lord with fear and trembling; and when you are elated at the remembrance of His bounties which He has bestowed on you, reprehend and correct yourself, fearing lest He be irritated against you, and you perish by departing from the right path. Act thus, and you will remain firm and stable; for these are the means most agreeable to the All-powerful Lord, whereby you can resist."


The above words of St. Vincent should be applied not only in matters of the carnal appetite but , especially in these troubled times, they should also be applied to others who do not hold to the Catholic Faith. For the same is true, it is not by our own industry or power or merit that we have come to know and believe God's truth, but rather by God's mercy, by which He pleases Himself to call the lowest of the low, such as myself, who am struggling against my own multitudes of imperfections, faults and temptations.

HOW DARE we think we are BETTER than any other person, for God could just as easily have called any of the number of bad willed Protestants or atheists or Muslims in the world to the Truth, and left us in our own prior bad will.

Certainly we must admonish bad willed heretics and non-Catholics not only ONCE but TWICE, before avoiding them, but we must not allow ourselves to succumb to the deceit of the devil, whereby he flatters us and puffs us up with self-righteous pride. If God withdraws His grace, which He DOES NOT OWE US, then it is us who could become the bad willed heretics, by our own perverse machinations.

Praise be to Almighty God, our Saviour Jesus Christ, whose judgments are unsearchable!

O Lord, sustain us!
Blessed Mary Ever Virgin, Mother of God, help us!

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Church, the Pillar and Ground of the Truth

The promise of Christ:

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."

And yet it has been asserted that, "human language is more adaptable to miscommunication than it is to communication. Including the writings of Popes, Saints, Fathers, and Doctors of the Church.  At present it seems safer to me to take a broad/"tolerant" view of what ideas/opinions are heretical and what are erroneous."

If St. Paul called the Church the "Pillar and ground of the truth," and yet if the Church is incapable of conveying this truth, through the instrument of human language, through St. Peter and his successors, then the promise of Christ is meaningless, as is the belief in the Church as the pillar and ground of the truth.

What other instrument did God create and bestow upon man, but human language, whereby He willed to have the knowledge of Himself imparted to the souls of men He wished to save from their sins and from all error?

It is BLASPHEMY for any person to assert that human language is an inadequate tool for the conveyance of truth, since it is God Himself who ordered the power of human speech to precisely this purpose. DID HE MAKE A MISTAKE?

Mark 13:11: "And when they shall lead you and deliver you up, be not thoughtful beforehand what you shall speak; but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye. For it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost."

It is the Holy Ghost who spoke through the mouths of the holy martyr and apostles when they stood before kings and pharisees and tyrants. Is it not the Holy Ghost who speaks through the mouth of the Pope when he makes an ex cathedra pronouncement? Indeed it is, otherwise how could he be held to be infallible, or at least how could we not reduce the infallibility of St. Peter to a meaningless figure of speech, devoid of any tangible substance or effect? Do we say that when the Holy Ghost speaks, using created language (created for the very purpose of communicating God's truths to us), that we cannot discern His true meaning? God forbid!

Otherwise, how can you call ANYTHING heresy?

To those who make this assertion: Reconsider your rash, illogical and blasphemous position, which can do none other than lead you into heresy or communion with heresy, while you yet have time.

Romans 10:16-18: "But all do not obey the gospel. For Isaias saith: Lord, who hath believed our report? Faith then cometh by hearing; and hearing by the word of Christ. But I say: Have they not heard? Yes, verily, their sound hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world. "

Galatians 3:1-5: "O senseless Galatians, who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are you so foolish, that, whereas you began in the Spirit, you would now be made perfect by the flesh? Have you suffered so great things in vain? If it be yet in vain. He therefore who giveth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you; doth he do it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of the faith?"



What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?

St. Francis de Sales, Introduction to the Devout Life: All Evil Inclinations must be purged away

[W]e have certain natural inclinations, which are not strictly speaking either mortal or venial sins, but rather imperfections; and the acts in which they take shape, failings and deficiencies. Thus St. Jerome says that St. Paula had so strong a tendency to excessive sorrow, that when she lost her husband and children she nearly died of grief: that was not a sin, but an imperfection, since it did not depend upon her wish and will.

Some people are naturally easy, some oppositions; some are indisposed to accept other men’s opinions, some naturally disposed to be cross, some to be affectionate—in short, there is hardly any one in whom some such imperfections do not exist. Now, although they be natural and instinctive in each person, they may be remedied and corrected, or even eradicated, by cultivating the reverse disposition. And this, my child, must be done.

Gardeners have found how to make the bitter almond tree bear sweet fruit, by grafting the juice of the latter upon it, why should we not purge out our perverse dispositions and infuse such as are good? There is no disposition so good but it may be made bad by dint of vicious habits, and neither is there any natural disposition so perverse but that it may be conquered and overcome by God’s Grace primarily, and then by our earnest diligent endeavour.

I shall therefore now proceed to give you counsels and suggest practices by which you may purify your soul from all dangerous affections and imperfections, and from all tendencies to venial sin, thereby strengthening yourself more and more against mortal sin. May God give you grace to use them.

PRAYER

1. PRAYER opens the understanding to the brightness of Divine Light, and the will to the warmth of Heavenly Love—nothing can so effectually purify the mind from its many ignorances, or the will from its perverse affections. It is as a healing water which causes the roots of our good desires to send forth fresh shoots, which washes away the soul’s imperfections, and allays the thirst of passion.

2. But especially I commend earnest mental prayer to you, more particularly such as bears upon the Life and Passion of our Lord. If you contemplate Him frequently in meditation, your whole soul will be filled with Him, you will grow in His Likeness, and your actions will be moulded on His. He is the Light of the world; therefore in Him, by Him, and for Him we shall be enlightened and illuminated; He is the Tree of Life, beneath the shadow of which we must find rest;—He is the Living Fountain of Jacob’s well, wherein we may wash away every stain. Children learn to speak by hearing their mother talk, and stammering forth their childish sounds in imitation; and so if we cleave to the Savior in meditation, listening to His words, watching His actions and intentions, we shall learn in time, through His Grace, to speak, act and will like Himself. Believe me, my daughter, there is no way to God save through this door. Just as the glass of a mirror would give no reflection save for the metal behind it, so neither could we here below contemplate the Godhead, were it not united to the Sacred Humanity of our Saviour, Whose Life and Death are the best, sweetest and most profitable subjects that we can possibly select for meditation. It is not without meaning that the Saviour calls Himself the Bread come down from Heaven;—just as we eat bread with all manner of other food, so we need to meditate and feed upon our Dear Lord in every prayer and action. His Life has been meditated and written about by various authors. I should specially commend to you the writings of St. Bonaventura, Bellintani, Bruno, Capilla, Grenada and Da Ponte.

(St. Bonaventura, Louis of Grenada, and Da Ponte’s works are still available and are admirable helps to meditation.)

3. Give an hour every day to meditation before dinner;—if you can, let it be early in the morning, when your mind will be less cumbered, and fresh after the night’s rest. Do not spend more than an hour thus, unless specially advised to do so by your spiritual father.

4. If you can make your meditation quietly in church, it will be well, and no one, father or mother, husband or wife, can object to an hour spent there, and very probably you could not secure a time so free from interruption at home.

5. Begin all prayer, whether mental or vocal, by an act of the Presence of God. If you observe this rule strictly, you will soon see how useful it is.

6. It may help you to say the Creed, Lord’s Prayer, etc., in Latin, but you should also study them diligently in your own language, so as thoroughly to gather up the meaning of these holy words, which must be used fixing your thoughts steadily on their purport, not striving to say many words so much as seeking to say a few with your whole heart. One Our Father said devoutly is worth more than many prayers hurried over.

7. The Rosary is a useful devotion when rightly used, and there are various little books to teach this. It is well, too, to say pious Litanies, and the other vocal prayers appointed for the Hours and found in Manuals of devotion,—but if you have a gift for mental prayer, let that always take the chief place, so that if, having made that, you are hindered by business or any other cause from saying your wonted vocal prayers, do not be disturbed, but rest satisfied with saying the Lord’s Prayer, the Angelic Salutation, and the Creed after your meditation.

8. If, while saying vocal prayers, your heart feels drawn to mental prayer, do not resist it, but calmly let your mind fall into that channel, without troubling because you have not finished your appointed vocal prayers. The mental prayer you have substituted for them is more acceptable to God, and more profitable to your soul. I should make an exception of the Church’s Offices, if you are bound to say those by your vocation—in such a case these are your duty.

9. If it should happen that your morning goes by without the usual meditation, either owing to a pressure of business, or from any other cause, (which interruptions you should try to prevent as far as possible,) try to repair the loss in the afternoon, but not immediately after a meal, or you will perhaps be drowsy, which is bad both for your meditation and your health. But if you are unable all day to make up for the omission, you must remedy it as far as may be by ejaculatory prayer, and by reading some spiritual book, together with an act of penitence for the neglect, together with a steadfast resolution to do better the next day.

What Must You Do To Get to Heaven?