Friday, 29 September 2017

Divine Authority and the Catholic Church

                                                  St Peter - Paolo Besenzi  (17th c)

(the following, with slight modification, is taken from an article in the latest edition of  ‘The Flock’, the newsletter of Pro Ecclesia and Pro Pontifice,  editor Graham Moorhouse (Le Tocsin) -  with thanks)


- Graham Moorhouse

Man's attitude to religion can be put into three broad categories: atheism, natural religion and revealed religion.


Atheists are simply materialists who deny the existence of the divine. Today, the ranks of atheists have been swelled by a world -wide flight from Islam. Sadly, many, possibly most, ex-Muslims finish up as atheists. This, while regrettable, is very understandable. People leave Islam because of the conflict between God's law written on their hearts and the laws of the sick deity preached by Islam's homicidal, misogamist, paedophilic, "prophet". Unfortunately, because they have had the laws of this sick deity rammed down their throats from birth, their subconscious concept of God is very negative indeed, so many, understandably, abandon God when they leave Islam. A God who loves man, His creature, so much that He became man and died for him, is not something they can easily get their heads round, when they have all their life been instructed to worship a God who calls for the slaughter of non-believers, war, rape, legalised adultery (for men, not women), sex slavery, the beating of wives and the death penalty for apostates, etc.

Natural Religion

Those that believe in natural religion, hold that man has an innate desire for the divine. For the believer in natural religion, the different creeds are merely different traditions that have evolved over time in different cultures as a result of this inherent longing. The believers in natural religion tend towards pantheism, i.e. the god within, not a being who exists outside of His creation. For the believer in natural religion it makes absolutely no sense to talk of one religion being true or another false. All religions are merely human traditions, and therefore just a matter of choice or custom.
Most ecumenists are believers in natural religion. What they hope to achieve by jaw-jaw is that the different religions will slowly morph one into the other, so that what we will finally end up with is a sort of one-world homogenised religion - which will, of course, serve the ends of Masonic, globalist masters.

Believers in natural religion hate miracles. And when I say "hate", I mean really hate with a passion that borders on the demonic. That is why some of our post-Conciliar "shepherds" have torn down any sign of the miraculous from Catholic places of pilgrimage. The Holywell shrine (on the Dee Estuary, northern Wales) is a case in point. Before the Council it was bedecked with abandoned crutches and similar artefacts. Today, it is has been stripped bare of any hint of the miraculous. The miraculous, you see, exposes their philosophy as a sham. The miraculous requires a God who is outside nature, who is the author of the laws of nature, and who is consequently capable of suspending those same laws.

One of the great mysteries of the post-Conciliar Church is why churchmen who apparently embrace natural religion, which is the clear antithesis of the Catholic faith, continue in their positions. 

In my opinion, an example  of a believer in natural religion is  Cardinal Walter Kasper. He is actually on record of having said something to the effect that a God who reveals Himself is theological nonsense. Nearer home, Fr Rolheiser who writes in the Universe, is in my view, another believer in natural religion. He will write ecumaniac-gibberish like, ‘if we dig wells with the devotees of other religions we will find God together at the bottom of the well.’ How that is supposed to work is anyone's guess, and is never, of course, explained.

As matters stand, the as yet, unclarified and contentious papal encyclical 'Amoris Laetitia', suggests the Pope may be inclined in this direction, aware of it or not. His attempt to update and amend Christ's teaching on the indissolubility of marriage makes perfect sense from the perspective of natural religion. If religion is just man-made traditions, and Christ was merely a Rabbi, of course you can, and perhaps even should, update His teachings to better fit the spirit of the age. Pope Francis's constant banging on about rigidity also fits into this picture. If religion is merely  the blind stumbling of man towards the divine, than inflexibility makes little sense.

At the Last Supper, Christ said to the Apostles, "Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me." Listen to their responses carefully. All the Apostles, except Judas, replied, "Is it I Lord?" But Judas replied instead, "Is it I, Rabbi (teacher)?" At that moment, Judas revealed himself as a believer in natural religion. While one may have enormous respect for a teacher, one does not worship a teacher. Teachers are ultimately merely human. Human knowledge advances and the teachings of even the greatest teachers of antiquity have to be viewed through the lenses of modernity.
We should see Judas Iscariot not just as an individual but as a type. Judas Iscariot will always be with the Church. The Venerable Fulton Sheen wrote, "The Mystical Body on earth today will have its Judas Iscariot, and he will be the false prophet. Satan will recruit him from our bishops."

Revealed Religion

The final category is revealed religion. For the believer in revealed religion, a certain rigidity makes perfect sense, because the believer in revealed religion holds that true religion is the result, not of man seeking God, but of God revealing Himself to man. There are four main factions claiming such revelation: Protestantism, Islam, Judaism and Catholicism.

The differences between Protestantism and Islam are of course huge, nevertheless, they have one quaint idea in common: the belief that God has revealed Himself through a book, and this book is the foundation stone of their respective belief systems. It is difficult to convey just how irrational this idea is. For starters, it is not just one article of blind faith, it is at least three articles of blind faith: one must first embrace the assertion that there is actually such a thing as a book dictated or inspired by God; secondly one must embrace the idea that either the Koran or the Bible is so inspired; and finally, that other books are not so inspired.

The only possible basis for such an utterly improbably notion, is if someone or something with the requisite authority should reveal it to be so. To claim that the book itself claims to be inspired is a logical non-starter. It is the intellectual equivalent of carrying oneself around by one's own bootlaces. Muslims, for example believe that Muhammad is the most perfect man to have ever lived, because the Koran, a book purportedly written by Muhammad, says he is the most perfect man who has ever lived. How nuts is that? Yet followers of this barbaric creed will kill you for merely questioning it!

 Protestantism is, from this perspective, even more irrational than Islam, for the Bible  is not one book but seventy-three books written at different times, in different places by different men. On what possible basis can any mere man know that these particular seventy-three books are inspired, or even special?

The original canon, i.e. list of books to be included in the Bible, was drawn up by the Church, but Protestants reject the Church, so what possible rational grounds do they have for retaining the list? It gets even sillier, because Luther, the inventor of Protestantism, took five books out of the Bible because he didn't like what they taught! If Luther, a mere man, can take out these five books simply because he didn't like what they taught, why can't Joe take out another dozen or so for similar reasons - or Mary add half a dozen other books for that matter? The original canon took some time to be universally agreed in the Church. The inspiration of the book of Revelations, the last book of the Bible, was rejected by some early Christians. And a beautiful letter from St Clement, the third pope, was regarded as inspired and worthy of inclusion in the Scriptures by some Christians. In fact, in the early Church, it was regularly read out at Mass as if it was Scripture.

Judaism and Catholicism

Judaism and Catholicism can be considered as one thing. Judaism looked forward to the coming of the Messiah and of His kingdom, i.e. the coming of Jesus Christ and the founding of His Church, whereas the Church looks back to the coming of Jesus Christ and Her founding and commissioning by Him. The founding of the Catholic Church by Christ rendered Judaism fulfilled and in that sense obsolete.

The Church treats the intellect of non-believers with respect and therefore does not require them to do anything quite so daft as embrace, without any rational basis for so doing, the dogma that a bunch of old books are the inspired word of God. The Church treats the Bible, especially the four Gospels, as historical books. She invites you to evaluate those four books using the same criteria as a professional historian would use to evaluate any other historical document.

Once one has satisfied oneself as to the validity of these books as historical records, we quickly learn that the "hero" portrayed therein claimed divinity. We further learn that he validated his claim with miracles, especially His own resurrection from the dead. We also learn from this and other sources that some twelve of His closest followers gave their lives for the truth of what they had witnessed and to which they had testified.

                                                                             The Four Evangelists
Detail in stained glass window, Bosbury church
Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in stained glass east window of Bosbury church.
© Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

We further learn that Jesus Christ founded a Church and bestowed on that Church His own authority and mission. That Church teaches that everything passed down to us from the early Church constitutes sacred tradition and must be revered. Further, some of that sacred tradition has been codified, i.e. written down for our edification. Further still, just some of these written, i.e. codified, records, the Church further teaches, were inspired by the Holy Spirit. Now, at last, because the Church teaches with the authority of Christ, we have a rational reason for accepting the inspiration of the Scriptures.

Without that authority, unless we were to wake up one morning and find the entire canon of the Scripture written in the sky by a miraculous cloud formation, or learn  that something like this was witnessed, like the miracle of the sun at Fatima, by 10,000s of people, belief in the inspiration of the Scriptures, without the authority of a divinely commissioned Church, is mere superstition - and, moreover, can, in the wrong hands, be dangerous superstition.
                                   (ack. Graham Moorhouse (Le Tocsin)
Feast of St Michael - 29 September.    

                          St Michael the Archangel  - Guido Reni (1636)

'In the Mass for the dead, the Church prays:  May the standard bearer, St Michael, bring them into the holy light.   The learned explain this prayer by saying that St Michael has the honourable office of presenting to Jesus Christ, the Judge, all the souls that depart this life in the Grace of God.'

(ack. Thoughts from St Alphonsus.- compiled by Rev C McNeiry C.SS.R)

Mary and Piety-- Ballade of Illegal Ornaments' by H. Belloc.

                         'Maddona and Child'  by Montagna             'Mary and Piety'  by T S Gregory We do not lo...