Monday, August 14, 2017

Prayers For Non-Catholics



 Praying for someone's conversion to the One True Church is a most Catholic act. You would think that there would be no controversy attached to this topic, but somehow controversy seems to find its way into almost every aspect of Traditional Catholic teaching these days. Without a pope, division is the logical result because "Strike the Shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered..." (Zechariah 13: 7). We should strive to have as much unity as possible on topics where there is no clear answer. Too often Traditionalists forget the maxim of St. Augustine, "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity."

Now, when it comes to straightforward prayers for Mr./Miss/Mrs. X who is a (Jew, Protestant, Hindu, Moslem, atheist, member of the Vatican II sect, etc.) to be enlightened by the grace of God to become a Traditionalist, we have no problem. However, someone raised the query, "Is it OK to pray for the soul of a deceased relative who was Protestant?" Ask the Vatican II sect clergy, and they will say it's OK to canonize him. Ask a Feeneyite, and they will tell you they are burning in Hell so don't waste your time. In medio stat veritas. "The truth stands in the middle." In this post I will explain and defend Church teaching against the infamous Dimond brother Feeneyites, and I will also revisit the Una Cum issue I tackled in my post of 7/10/17.


Are Prayers For Deceased Non-Catholics Permissible?

  There's an old aphorism, "A proof-text without context is a pretext." If you take something out of the context in which it was written and hold it up as "proof" for a preconceived notion, you're not interested in the Truth, just validating your point; "My mind is made up, so don't bother me with the facts." This is the hallmark of Fred and Bobby Dimond of "Most Holy Family Monastery" (MHFM). In their article Catholics May Not Pray For Deceased Non-Catholics, Fred and Bobby contort Church teaching. They begin with this general statement:

It’s a dogma that there is no salvation outside the Catholic Church.  All who die as non-Catholics go to Hell.  Therefore, prayers may not be offered for people who die as non-Catholics.  If a person was a non-Catholic or a heretic during life, unless there is evidence of a conversion to the true faith in the external forum, the person is considered to have died as he or she lived (i.e. as a non-Catholic and outside the Church).  Therefore prayers may not be offered for a person who, based on the last available evidence, was a non-Catholic or a heretic on the hope that there was a conversion in that person’s final days.  Prayers may only be offered for people who die with the true faith.  Here are some quotes that reiterate the Church’s teaching that Catholics may not pray for (or consider among the faithful departed) those who die as non-Catholics or without the true faith. (See http://www.mostholyfamilymonastery.com/catholicchurch/catholics-may-not-pray-deceased-non-catholics/#.WYvioNQrKt_).

It is true that there is no salvation outside the One True Church and all non-Traditionalist Catholics who die as such go to Hell. The rest is woefully wrong. They claim that unless there is evidence that the person converted, prayers may not be offered in the hope that there was a conversion in the person's final days.

Let's see what the Church has to say:

1. 1917 Code of Canon Law 
Canon 1240 speaks to the types of persons to be denied ecclesiastical burial. They include Masons, excommunicates, those who committed suicide, those who live as public and notorious sinners, etc. However, Canon 1241 says a person deprived of Christian burial "shall also be denied any funeral Mass, even an anniversary Mass, as well as all other public funeral services. Priests may say Mass privately for him and the faithful may pray for him. (See canonists Abbo and Hannon, The Sacred Canons, 2: 495-497; Emphasis mine). Obviously the Church does not give up hope in a last minute repentance/conversion, but Fred and Bobby do.

2. Theologian O'Connell
"So far as the dead are concerned, the Exequial Mass and Anniversary Mass (or other public funeral offices)may not be offered for a person to whom ecclesiastical burial had been denied...It is not, however, forbidden to offer a Mass privately for such persons." (See The Celebration of Mass, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee [1941], pg. 45; Emphasis mine).

3. Theologian Szal
"But if he [a schismatic] gave no signs of repentance, then Mass can still be said for him, but only privately and in the absence of scandal." (See The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, CUA Press, [1948], pg. 181; Emphasis mine).

What proof did the Dimond brothers give for claiming Catholics can't pray for deceased non-Catholics? A quote from St. Thomas Aquinas, "St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, Suppl. Q. 71, A. 5. “Gregory says (Moralia xxxiv): There is the same reason for not praying then (namely after the judgment day) for men condemned to everlasting fire, as there is now for not praying for the devil and his angels who are sentenced to eternal punishment, and for this reason the saints do not pray for dead unbelieving and wicked men, because, forsooth, knowing them to be already condemned to eternal punishment, they shrink from pleading for them by the merit of their prayers…” Yes, THE SAINTS do not pray for dead and unbelieving men because they know for certain who they are, and we do not (except for Judas Iscariot, for the Catechism of the Council of Trent teaches, "...but the priesthood brings to them [i.e., evil clerics] in its train the same rewards the Apostleship brought to Judas--eternal perdition." pg. 213).

The other quotes from, e.g., Pope Gregory the Great, clearly mean prayers are not offered for non-Catholics publicly, because no one but God knows what happens between Him and a soul prior to death except by special revelation. We know the canonized saints are in Heaven; that is an infallible decree. We know Judas is in Hell. For everyone else, we may hope they were saved by God in the last moments of life, being brought into the Church infused with faith and sanctifying grace, because nothing is impossible with God. Prayers said for them, if they did not convert, are not "wasted;" they will be used by God for another poor soul--the same as prayers for someone whom is now (unknown to us) in Heaven are never "wasted."

Una Cum --Revisited

 In my post of 7/10/17 entitled "Una Cum," I defended the permissibility of attending a True Mass offered with the name of false pope Francis in the Canon when no other option is available. I specified that "It must be offered by a validly ordained priest who professes the Integral Catholic Faith whole and entire, who is not in actual union with Modernist Rome and specifically rejects all the errors of both Vatican II and the post-conciliar "popes."  Please refer to the aforementioned post for the background of the issue.

 In the comments section of that post, my conclusion was challenged by a reader who alleged to pass on a comment from Fr. Cekada who holds the view that Una Cum is impermissible to attend. I don't know if the anonymous commenter was the same person who sent me an anti-Una Cum article written by the late Patrick Henry Omlor. I also have no way to verify if the alleged comment was actually made by Fr. Cekada or not (I will assume, for sake of Charity, it was not). My training as a lawyer (and my thirst for knowledge when challenged) made me do further research. Fr. Cekada is alleged to have written, "There is no citation in the article to any Vatican decree. The author merely provides a link to an 1806 Latin-English missal for the laity in which [the] Latin text of the Canon contains the phrase “pro Rege nostro N.” (for our King, N.). The Missal of Pius V discontinued the mention of the king or civil rulers in the Te Igitur, and the practice was allowed only by way of privilege (as in Spain and Austria), where the ruler was a Catholic. Until I see an actual Vatican decree, therefore, I will treat the claim as nonsense."

I went back and examined Fr. Cekada's article The Grain of Incense available to view/download at traditionalmass.org. On page 10, footnote 50, Fr. Cekada writes, "... From [theologian Fr. Ignatius] Szal (183), though, it seems that the most the Holy See occasionally tolerated was a prayer for a lay heretic or schismatic in his capacity as a head of state (King, President, etc.) — but never one for a heretical or schismatic cleric." Here, Fr. Cekada cites to theologian Szal and admits that heretics and schismatics were prayed for liturgically! So why would he need a Vatican decree to support praying for the heretical King of England, to give credence to this already established fact? There is direct confirmation the King of England was mentioned liturgically, as you will read below. 

This changes his argument substantially to, "It's permissible to pray for a heretical head of state, but not a heretical cleric." Says whom? When I say, "whom" I mean what approved theologian, canonist, or decree of the Holy See supports this contention? Now Fr. Cekada is inferring something not expressly addressed. He also asserts that the heretic is prayed for "in his capacity as a head of state." I don't know where he got this idea, but it was not from Szal. Here is what Szal has to say on page 183 of his book The Communication of Catholics With Schismatics (cited previously in this post):

Benedict XIV, in an encyclical letter of March 1, 1756, condemned the practice of mentioning liturgically the name of the Bishop or Patriarch when he was recognized as a heretic or a schismatic. However, a favorable reply was given by the Holy Office on February 23, 1820, for the Archdiocese of Quebec. It was revealed in this case that prayers were said for the Pope, for the Bishop, and for the King, at Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. And at Solemn Mass there was sung the "Domine, salvum fac Regem." The continuance of both practices was tolerated. Here, then, there was question of a heretical monarch, but the same principle of tolerance could also find application when there was question of a schismatic.

 The foregoing answer was evidently within the memory of the Holy See in the following case. The President of the Greek States had asked that prayers be said for him. The Bishop had proscribed the words, Domine, salvum fac Praesidem after the "Domine, salvum fac Regem." The Holy See replied the arrangement could stand. 

 In another instance the Catholic Latin bishops were asked by the local governor to solemnize the feasts of the courts in their churches. They limited the solemnity to the Ambrosian hymn and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament, after which the accustomed triple acclamation, "viva il Re," was made. In its response to the Bishop of Santorin the Holy See recalled former similar instructions, and stated that the prayers were to be directed not only for the temporal welfare of the governor, but also for his true happiness, namely, that he receive the precious gift of faith. 

The implications of the foregoing cannot be overstated. 

  • We have positive proof that the Holy See has tolerated using the name of heretics and schismatics in the liturgical functions of the Church. 
  • The general prohibition on mentioning heretics in the liturgy cannot be of Divine positive law, but only of ecclesiastical precept, for the Church cannot make exceptions to Divine positive law. There is nothing in the text of what Szal wrote to indicate you are only praying for the office. There is a declaration from the Holy See that prayers be directed not only to the office of a heretical governor, "but  also for his true happiness, namely that he receive the precious gift of faith" (conversion to the True Church). An office doesn't convert or have happiness; the individual does. 
  • Even if a distinction could be made between the office and the heresy, what about permission to mention the King given for the Archdiocese of Quebec in 1820? Canada has no King--the King in question was the King of England! Furthermore, whomsoever holds the office of monarch in England also holds the office of the Head of the (false) Sect of England. He therefore has clerical authority as the head of a false religion. 
  • Can't the points above be said of Bergoglio, and we pray for his conversion as Head of the Vatican City-State and perhaps as material-only pope, for his conversion? 
Few people have the time or ability to vet an article, such as the one written by Fr. Cekada. I have approximately four thousand (4, 000) books in my personal library, and I made the time to learn thanks to my readers. (We learn even when we disagree with each other). I am now more convinced than ever of the correctness of my position set forth in my post of 7/10/17 on "Una Cum."

Conclusion

 We should pray for the conversion of non-Catholics, that they may become Traditionalists (true Catholics) in this time of near universal apostasy. They need our prayers, and our help to see the truth. Do not bother with Fred and Bobby Dimond's "theology." Also, as much as I respect and admire Fr. Cekada, I call on him to re-think his position. Re-read Szal. If we are to get a pope back, we must get more unity than we have, and a "follow me or die" attitude helps no one on matters not settled. When dealing with non-Traditionalists (or even Traditionalists with whom we disagree), never forget the words of 1 Peter 3: 16-17, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." 

Monday, August 7, 2017

Singing For Satan


 In the comments section of my post two weeks ago, I mentioned how in the early 1990s I had done an informal study of rock and popular music. Several of my readers expressed an interest in my findings. Therefore, this will be the first of a rotating series of posts (one per month), about my discoveries during the roughly five years (1991-1996) when I did this on my spare time. Why did I perform such a study? When I was a young teenager, I wanted to be a radio DJ. Back before satellite radio and iTunes, your favorite DJ was spinning the records you wanted to hear with commentary that would make you laugh or think. He/she became like a family friend whose voice you'd frequently hear on your favorite frequency! In my twenties, I actually was on a smaller radio station here in New York, reading the news as a part time gig. I got to know the radio business rather well, and although I never pursued a career in radio, I learned a lot about the music.

   My favorite radio station was WPLJ-FM, New York City, which from 1968-1983 played an AOR ("album oriented rock") format. Tony Pigg (real name Anthony Pignotti) was my favorite DJ with the most awesome and distinctive on-air voice I've ever heard to this day. His banter was witty and you could tell he loved his job; speaking and playing rock music to the largest city in America. Upon becoming a Traditionalist in 1981, there were certain messages in rock music that disturbed me, and I avoided those bands. There were those who sang openly about Satan, such as the band AC/DC and their songs Highway To Hell and Hell's Bells. On the cover of one album, a band member sports devil horns. (AC/DC was also street lingo in the 1970s for being bisexual).

 I stopped listening to the overtly evil music above. Of course, AC/DC claimed Highway To Hell was a song about how touring as a band on the road can be living "hell." A nice try to deflect criticism, but the lyrics to the song say something different:

No stop signs, speed limit
Nobody's gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it
Nobody's gonna mess me around
Hey Satan, paid my dues
Playing in a rocking band
Hey mama, look at me
I'm on my way to the promised land, whoo!
I'm on the highway to hell

"Hey, Satan, paid my dues" is about life touring on the road? Please. Hell's Bells proclaims, "Satan's gotcha, Satan's gonna getcha." People will also say "it's a gimmick, they don't really worship Satan;" perhaps in this case, but some musicians (like Marilyn Manson and King Diamond) are professed Satanists. So, I thought to myself, if I just stay away from the evil wackos, the rest of the music is OK.

 Something didn't feel right. The music I was listening to was leaving me feeling slightly depressed afterwards. In 1989, I met someone with whom I am still good friends today. He was a DJ on a small station in NY, playing CCM ("Contemporary Christian Music") which included "Christian Heavy Metal"! I learned quite a bit from him. He told me that the problem with secular rock and pop music are the lifestyles of the artists and the lyrics. He did not condemn all secular music. He does not claim that everything is evil unless specifically religious. He did bring out the need to beware and use discernment.

 As a father, he was vigilant as to what his children listened to and encouraged CCM. He told me what I already knew, that we are at war with the devil, the flesh, and the world. He reminded me that  not only was the overtly Satanic King Diamond evil, but so were those who (perhaps) used Satan for "shock value." Their lyrics and lifestyles tend to corrupt listeners because they send messages that are for the world--- and the values of the world--- which oppose God. I was fascinated. I began to research not just overtly Satanic (or Satanic-like) bands, but the ones considered "tame" and "good." I found many to be neither when I examined how they live and what they sing. There is power in words. Professional research now backs up what my friend knew decades ago. According to Pediatrics, a peer-reviewed articled appeared stating,
"Parents often are unaware of the lyrics to which their children are listening because of the increasing use of downloaded music and headphones. Research on popular music has explored its effects on schoolwork, social interactions, mood and affect, and particularly behavior. The effect that popular music has on children's and adolescents' behavior and emotions is of paramount concern. Lyrics have become more explicit in their references to drugs, sex, and violence over the years, particularly in certain genres. A teenager's preference for certain types of music could be correlated or associated with certain behaviors." (See http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/124/5/1488)

 So I began my research project with gusto, thinking that perhaps I'd put out a booklet warning people, and especially parents, about the dangers of rock, rap, and popular music. Life so often gets in the way of our plans, and I've amassed a lot of information, but no booklet. Now, I'm going to look over what I learned in the past,edit my notes and present it in a once-per-month post.  As the Vatican II sect does nothing to warn people of modern dangers (indeed, they even promote them), I feel it my duty as God's unworthy instrument to sound the alarm. Please, if you have a moment, leave a comment and let me know if you think continuing this series would be worthwhile.


The Evil Elements In Rock and Popular Music

   I don't need to state that as Traditionalists, we live in an unprecedented time of near universal apostasy.  Music exerts a powerful influence on listeners, as I found out on my own from personal experience. There are seven elements that pervade today's music:

1. Violence/Murder/Suicide
2. Nihilism/Despair
3. Drug and alcohol glorification
4. Adultery/ Fornication and sexual perversion
5. The occult
6. Rebellion against lawful superiors
7. Blasphemy against God, Jesus Christ in particular, and the Church

These elements are present in most of today's secular music in the form of the lyrics and lifestyles of the artists. Please remember these points:


  • No one is without sin except Our Lord and His Blessed Mother. It's one thing if a singer was an alcoholic or drug addict and now repents, as opposed to someone who glorifies it by their songs or thinks it's "no big deal" in their own life.
  • You must discern what is appropriate music for you once you have the facts. Would you feel comfortable listening to a song you like while Jesus and the Blessed Mother were sitting next to you? If not, you might want to re-think what you allow yourself to hear. 
  • Don't delude yourself that YOU are not affected by the music because you are an adult. There's a reason advertisers are willing to spend $5 million dollars for a half-minute during the Super Bowl. People are persuaded through the media. Now consider the HOURS per week the average person listens to music. 
  • "I only listen because I like the beat." Yes, but subconsciously, your mind hears the lyrics. You might even sing them to yourself without taking into conscious account what those lyrics really mean.  When lyrics are depressing, you can become depressed. When lyrics glorify what is wrong, you might come to regard it as less of an evil than it really is, thereby giving an opening to temptation and sin.
  • CCM is Protestant, but most of it is general in theology (love of God and neighbor). If the lyrics are theologically heretical, avoid that particular song. I'm not advocating CCM, nor am I condemning it, since it is a viable alternative (especially for kids) to the secular music. It certainly does not belong in Church, but it is (for the most part) a wholesome alternative that makes us think of God.
  • There is no such thing as an "evil beat." My spiritual father, the late, great Fr. DePauw was once accused by someone in the congregation of playing "an evil hymn"--Holy God We Praise Thy Name!  Father devoted a sermon (as only a former professor of Moral Theology could do!) to the topic. God allows us to make music. There is no "intrinsically evil" music. It is the lyrics that make it good or bad. There is the Catholic Holy God We Praise Thy Name, and the Protestant version which corrupted the lyrics! We, of course, used the Catholic hymn. 
  • This is information, not a booklet. Use it to learn and teach others of the pitfalls in music. Some are going to have an emotional reaction, much like when I wrote a post against teaching kids about Santa Claus because it involves parents lying to children about a God-surrogate which could weaken trust in parents and belief in God.
  • I will present the artists/groups in no particular order. Most are from circa 1964-1996. However, as this is an interest of mine, I also have added information over the years on more contemporary artists and kept up with developments of those who still perform. It's funny how some of the groups considered "hard rock" in the 1970s and 1980s are now played on Adult Contemporary "Lite Music" stations--once reserved for elevator muzak! 
  • Remember the inspired words of St. Paul, "Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. –Philippians 4:8
Let the exposing of the music groups and artists begin!

A Journey You May Not Want To Take

 Considered one of the "tame" groups, Journey was among the super-groups of the 1970s, hitting superstar status in the 1980s. They still put out albums today, and every lead singer must sound like the legendary Steve Perry whose incredible vocals made them world famous. Perry was ranked by Rolling Stone magazine as # 76 of the "100 Greatest Singers of All Time." Journey is tainted by two elements: the occult and promotion of sexual sins (adultery, fornication). 

1. The Scarab Beetle
Most of Journey's album covers feature a scarab beetle. The Evolution album and subsequent work depict the "winged globe" which signifies the omnipresence of the false sun "god" Ra. The album Captured shows the scarab beetle in a mirrored image. According to McClung Museum, " By far the most important amulet in ancient Egypt was the scarab, symbolically as sacred to the Egyptians as the cross is to Christians. Scarabs were already known in the Old Kingdom, and in the First Intermediate Period the undersides were decorated. They were probably sacred in the Prehistoric Period and had a role in the early worship of animals, judging from the actual beetles that were found stored in jars buried with the deceased and from those found in graves during the time of King Den of Dynasty I. A scaraboid-shaped alabaster box from Tarkhan seems to confirm that the scarab was already venerated at the beginning of Dynasty I. Scarabs are the most numerous amulets and were produced well beyond the dynastic periods." (See museum.unl.edu/research/entomology/Egyptian_Sacred_Scarab/egs-text.htm--Emphasis mine). 

Beetles of the Scarabaeidae family (dung beetle) roll dung into a ball as food and as a brood chamber in which to lay eggs; this way, the larvae hatch and are immediately surrounded by food. For these reasons the scarab was seen as a symbol of a "heavenly cycle" and of the idea of rebirth or regeneration. This explains their presence in being buried with the deceased.  The world of Egyptian magic has long been embraced by secret societies condemned by the Church, including Rosicrucian orders, Freemasonry, Theosophy, and the Golden Dawn. According to Perry, on his FB page, "Apparently, the scarab beetle appears on the majority of the Journey album covers because the band's former manager, Walter "Herbie" Herbert decided upon using this artwork for Journey's album covers, although there seems to be no explanation for why this was done." No one from the band ever questioned it? It seems to be an interesting way of getting the image of a false god introduced into your house; especially before iTunes. Would you want a pagan Egyptian "god" introduced in your home along with beautiful and proper images of Jesus, Mary, the angels and saints?

Remember what Deuteronomy 7: 25-26 says: "Neither shalt thou bring any thing of the idol into thy house, lest thou become an anathema, like it. Thou shalt detest it as dung, and shalt utterly abhor it as uncleanness and filth, because it is an anathema." "Detest it like dung"-- what an appropriate condemnation for a filthy dung beetle with false ideas of reincarnation and an associated symbol of Ra.  

Jonathan Cain, the original keyboard player, now claims to be an "evangelical Christian," and his wife is a minister. He got into a public dispute with member Neal Schon who wants not to "mix religion and the band." Too late, Mr. Schon! See the picture of the album Captured below. 


2. Glorification of Sex in the Lyrics

 The song Lovin,' Touchin,' Squeezin' tells the story of a man cheating on his wife, while the wife's lover is also cheating on her:


Lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other
When I'm alone all by myself
You're out with someone else
Lovin', touchin', squeezin' each other

You're tearin' me apart
Every, every day
You're tearin' me apart
Oh what can I say?
You're tearin' me apart

It won't be long, yes, till you're alone
When your lover, oh, he hasn't come home
Cause he's lovin', who he's touchin',
He's squeezin' another

The song Anyway You Want It is about a nymphomaniac who needs sex "all night," and the man willing to give it to her.

Any way you want it
That's the way you need it
Any way you want it
She loves to laugh
She loves to sing
She does everything
She loves to move
She loves to groove
She loves the loving things
Ooh, all night, all night
Oh, every night
So hold tight, hold tight
Ooh, baby, hold tight

Their multi-platinum selling album Escape (1981) features the ubiquitous power ballad Don't Stop Believin.'  The song has been used on the successful TV series the Sopranos and young couples have (unfortunately) used it as their wedding song. It tells the story of a one night stand between two strangers. Not exactly the theme you want at your wedding.

Just a small town girl
Livin' in a lonely world
She took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere
Just a city boy
Born and raised in South Detroit
He took the midnight train
Goin' anywhere

A singer in a smokey room
The smell of wine and cheap perfume
For a smile they can share the night
It goes on and on, and on, and on (Emphasis mine)

Conclusion

There are many who knowingly or unwittingly sing for Satan. Some, like Marilyn Manson, are avowed Satanists. Others, like Journey, do Satan's work as his "useful idiots," or perhaps covertly.  In any case you must learn to discern--especially if you have young children and teens. Don't place your faith in this rotten world and its evil music. Rather, don't stop believin' in the One True Church of Jesus Christ.  

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Theory Of Everything


 In last week's post, I defended the dogma of Transubstantiation against pseudo-scientists who believe religion is the result of contact with extraterrestrials. However, there are many people who feel that legitimate science has rendered God "obsolete." God was a human invention to explain things we didn't understand, but now we know better. For many, science is the new "religion," and scientists the "priests."  One of the primary reasons the majority of scientists are agnostics or atheists is because of their attempted application of science to areas where science has nothing to say, for example, morality or metaphysics. Science cannot be used to determine right from wrong in morals. What experiment or equation "proves" adultery to be wrong? You can claim you disapprove of it, or you don't think it's advantageous, or you think you should treat others the way you want to be treated, but it's all subjective on the atheistic point of view. There can be no objective morals (i.e., right and wrong actions that would be that way no matter what anyone thought) unless there is a transcendent God.

 The "chief priest" among today's scientific establishment is Dr. Stephen Hawking, considered the most brilliant scientist alive (and one of the greatest geniuses ever). Born in 1942, Hawking is a theoretical physicist, having received his PhD in applied mathematics and theoretical physics from Gonville and Caius College in 1966.  In 1974, he made a theoretical formula and argument for radiation predicted to be released by black holes, due to quantum effects near the event horizon. This radiation has subsequently been named Hawking Radiation. Should it be verified experimentally, he will receive a Nobel Prize. He taught at Oxford where he held the Lucasian Professorship, a chair once held by Sir Issac Newton. He has a plethora of academic honors and awards that would yield a list pages long. Most incredibly, he lost all control of his body as a result of ALS, a degenerative disease of the nervous system. He is confined to a wheelchair and speaks through an electronic voice synthesizer.

 Hawking has brought physics to the dinner table in the form of popular books such as the bestselling A Brief History of Time, published in 1988. His life was turned into a 2014 movie The Theory of Everything. Indeed, that is what Hawking wants to do; in his own words, "My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all." As Hawking is a professed atheist, his answer will not be found in theism in general or a particular religion. He thinks science can explain our purpose. His 2010 book, The Grand Design (co-authored by Leonard Mlodinow, a fellow scientist and author), claims the laws of physics are the real explanation as to how the universe came into being.

 My purpose in this post is not to engage Dr. Hawking in a debate on science; as a former NYC science teacher, I'm woefully unqualified for the task. He's an expert in the highest degree, and I'm not. What I hope to show is that it is a categorical mistake to try to apply the scientific method to queries outside its field of competence. It's analogous to asking your medical doctor for legal advice; the doctor could be brilliant, but you can't diagnose a problem in contract law using medical knowledge. The Grand Design (hereinafter "TGD") asks many questions, several of which are beyond the scope of science to answer. These logical mistakes and flaws will be put forward to demonstrate that Hawking's thesis of a "self-caused universe" must fail.

Posing Questions Science Can't Answer

 In TGD, Hawkins asks some questions that humanity has thought about for ages, many of which science can answer. However, there are three queries that are outside the scope of empirical verification and have no place being answered by physics, to wit:

  • Why is there something rather than nothing? 
  • Why do we exist? 
  • Why this particular set of laws and not some other? 

Attempting to answer these questions scientifically is absurd. I believe that my father and mother (God rest their souls) loved me. How can science prove or disprove if they loved me? It can't. I can offer many and good logical reasons for thinking they did love me, and I'm not being irrational for holding this belief.

Hawking states on page 180 of TGD that, "Because there is a law of gravity, the universe can and will create itself out of nothing." That sentence caused me to do a double take. (For an amazing response to Hawking please see God and Stephen Hawking by Dr. John C. Lennox, a mathematician and professor at Oxford. Dr. Lennox is Protestant and has debated atheists publicly. Many of these insights I owe to him).  My training as a lawyer helps me spot a bad argument and faulty premises. I studied Constitutional Law for part of a semester under the great Associate Justice Antonin Scalia. He was fond of saying, "Just because a law is stupid doesn't make it unconstitutional. Don't think that anyone is immune from making stupid arguments or doing stupid things." The same holds for the brilliant Dr. Hawking.

 What, exactly, does Hawking mean by "nothing"? He can't mean non-being as in Neo-Scholastic  philosophy. The law of gravity is obviously something. Secondly, how can a law of physics, such as gravity, create anything? A scientific law is descriptive of the universe. This presupposes a universe that exists and is capable of description in the first place. Descriptions have no causal power. The laws of mathematics tell me 100 + 100= 200. I would be a fool to think if I have $100, and put it in my dresser drawer, the law of arithmetic will somehow cause my money to increase by $100.

Hawking's statement that "the universe can and will create itself out of nothing," is self-contradictory nonsense. It is a logical axiom known by all that "out of nothing, nothing comes." Many times when scientists speak of "nothing" they mean a quantum vacuum. Again, a quantum vacuum is not non-being, it is something! So the universe (which is something) was created by "nothing" which he identifies as gravity, and gravity is something, not non-being. The very statement is self-contradictory; the universe creating itself presupposes the universe had existence in order to give itself existence (if your head is spinning with all this illogic, it should be!). Poor Dr. Hawking isn't doing too well in making a case for a "self-creating universe."

 Kinds of Causation

 In Neo-Scholastic philosophy, we distinguish four kinds of causes, first expounded by Aristotle. 

1.  Material Cause. Think of a statue of The Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. The material cause would be, for example, marble. It's the material stuff out of which things are made. 

2. Formal Cause. This would be the image carved in the marble of the Sacred Heart. It tells us what the object is. 

3. Efficient Cause. This would be the sculptor. It is that by which the effect is produced.

4. Final Cause. That for the sake of which the activity is performed. In this case, to foster love and devotion to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ. 
(See An Introduction to Philosophy, by Fr. Daniel J. Sullivan, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, [1957], pg. 194)

 Hawking reduces all causes to material and formal causes, as scientists want to know what things are; this is the basis of experimentation. However, it would be ridiculous to think that a statue of the Sacred Heart appeared that way without a sculptor (efficient cause) and for no reason (final cause).  Since science cannot by its very nature of inquiry, answer questions pertaining to efficient or final causes, questions like "Why do we exist?" are not within the realm of the competence of science. Many scientists believe that only physics, chemistry, etc,  can answer questions about the world, therefore they will either dismiss the questions or answer on an atheistic point of view. Hawking claims God does not exist, nor are there any spiritual entities. The belief in life after death, he says, is a "fairy story for people afraid of the dark." And again, "We are just an advanced breed of monkeys on a minor planet of a very average star. But we can understand the Universe. That makes us something very special." Hawking believes we are devoid of purpose and have no Creator because of the limitations of science to answer metaphysical questions. 

Does God Need A Creator?

 Hawking has rejected God as Creator. Inevitably, people who so reject God somehow find the idea of "nothing creating something" as more intellectually satisfying than God Who always Is ("I AM WHO AM"). Someone will always ask, "who created God?" If the clear and convincing evidence points to God (which it does and I cannot go into it in a short post), then it must be so. 

Once I had a bad case of vomiting and diarrhea. Every few weeks, I would get another episode. I went to my beloved family doctor, who sent me for all kinds of tests, which revealed nothing. I went to specialists who were perplexed. Finally, a brilliant gastroenterologist asked me a strange question; "Have you ever been to a river in Africa?" I assured him that I had not. He thought I might have a rare bacteria (found in the Dark Continent) in my colon that would only respond to a certain powerful drug. I took the drug and was cured! I asked him how I got the bacteria. His response was, "I don't know, but who cares? You're better, so we got to the cause." Just because we can't explain the origin of the bacteria doesn't mean that it wasn't the cause of my illness. Likewise, even if we can't explain God's existence, that doesn't mean He didn't create the universe. 

 Hawking's Strange Views

 God seems needless and irrational to Dr. Hawking, but just like the "Raelian scientists" I wrote about last week, he seems to be fascinated (and frightened) by extraterrestrial life. Hawking claims he is more certain than ever that highly evolved aliens exist, but we shouldn't make contact. 

Theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking has once again opened up about his fears and warned the world to be hesitant about making contact with alien life. He said planet Gliese 832c potentially had alien life but said humans needed to be wary."One day, we might receive a signal from a planet like this, but we should be wary of answering back," he in the documentary, Stephen Hawking’s Favourite Places. "Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn’t turn out so well." He claimed alien life could be "rapacious marauders roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder, and planets to conquer and colonize". His fears have not changed since he first spoke out about it on the Discovery Channel in 2010. He said as he grew older he became more convinced humans were not alone. "After a lifetime of wondering, I am helping to lead a new global effort to find out," he said.

(See http://www.foxnews.com/science/2017/07/28/stephen-hawking-is-deathly-afraid-aliens.html). 

Hawking also claims that "global warming" necessitates looking for another planet where we can all go and live (maybe with the aliens who colonize us?). 

Conclusion

God and science do not conflict when rightly understood. You cannot answer metaphysical questions by the scientific method. Hopefully, Dr. Hawking will realize that the answer to the "Theory of Everything," i.e., the cause and purpose of the Universe, lies in God. Then maybe he will find the true Faith before he dies. Unfortunately, because of his intelligence and prestige, many will think that atheism is the only rational worldview. People would do well to remember the words of Justice Scalia, "Don't think anyone is immune from making stupid arguments..."

I'll end with the following anecdote. In France, at the end of the 19th century, a young scientist was on a train seated next to an elderly gentleman praying the Rosary silently. The young scientist couldn't contain himself. He said, "Pardon me, sir. I can't help but notice those superstitious beads you use to pray." "Superstitious?" responded the old gentleman with shock. "Yes. You must understand that science has shown us there is no God." The old man still looking shocked said, "There isn't a God?" "No. I'm a scientist, and I know this to be true. I realize that you're old and were raised to believe in these things but they're just made-up stories and nonsense. You wouldn't understand the latest scientific theories, like me, but if you'd like I can send you some literature written in simple language so you'll understand that God, Rosaries, and Catholicism are all superstition and not real." "I would like that very much," said the frail older gentleman, still clutching his beloved Rosary.  "Great, please give me your address, so I can mail it to you."  The gentleman put down his Rosary and took out a business card, handing it to the young scientist. "This has my name and address on it."

As the young scientist read the card, a shiver went down his spine. He hung his head in shame, left his seat, and never came back to that seat for the rest of the trip. And who could blame him? The card read, "Dr. Louis Pasteur."


Monday, July 24, 2017

The Real Change You Can Believe In


 I have often expressed my disdain for those who preoccupy their time with strange topics rather than applying real Catholic principles to our extraordinary times. One such example is the fascination with UFOs. Fred and Bobby Dimond, the wannabe "monks" of Most Holy Family Monastery (sic), want to sell you DVDs on the subject, and Francis actually claimed in 2014 that he would "baptize Martians if they asked for the sacrament." ( See http://time.com/99616/for-pope-francis-its-about-more-than-martians/). This is most interesting coming from a man who claims atheists can go to Heaven! So we have both ends of the spectrum, false Traditionalists (the Dimonds) and Modernists in the extreme (Bergoglio), talking about UFOs.

 There's a real danger to dwelling on such subjects. In 1968, Eric Von Daniken wrote a runaway bestseller entitled Chariots of the Gods. It sold more than seven million copies worldwide and was made into a movie of the same name in 1970. The thesis of the book is that extraterrestrials came to Earth and are the basis of religion. For example, the angels of the Bible were really aliens in spacesuits, and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was by an alien nuclear weapon. These aliens also allegedly explain the pyramids of Egypt and Stonehenge which were built by them. (For a great debunking of Von Daniken, See Crash Go The Chariots by Clifford Wilson).

  There is a quasi-religious and "scientific" movement called Raelianism or the Raelian Movement. It was founded by Claude Maurice Marcel Vorilhon (b. 1946), a sports car journalist who changed his name to "Rael" after an alleged encounter with a UFO in 1973. He met a being which he blasphemously claimed was called Yahweh. Rael wrote a book which states that advanced alien scientists from another planet with 25,000 years of scientific advances created all life on Earth through DNA manipulation.These scientists, RaĆ«l said, were originally called Elohim or "those who came from the sky." Rael claims on October 7, 1975 an alien spacecraft took him to their planet where he met Buddha, Mohammed, Moses and Jesus Christ, all of whom were presumably aliens, the same as those he met.

 At this point you're probably wondering why I'm writing on this subject. Obviously, Vorilhon ("Rael") and his followers are either (a) psychotic, (b) liars looking for notoriety, no matter how weird, (c) deceived by demons, or (d) any combination of a,b,c. True enough, and I'm not going to talk about sensationalist end times scenarios either. What got me angry was an article published by "Raelian scientists"  Damien Marsic, PhD and Mehran Sam, PhD. There is no indication as to which discipline(s) they received their doctorates, or from what accredited institute(s) of higher learning. I suspect they are "trained scientists" as much as the Dimond brothers are "trained theologians."

Marsic and Sam have claimed to have "scientifically proven false" the dogma of Transubstantiation! The purpose of my post shall therefore be to give the correct understanding of this most magnificent truth of the Faith, and to show the pathetic deficiencies in the arguments of "Raelian scientists" and others who dare to assail it.

The Dogma of Transubstantiation

 The Council of Trent infallibly declared, "And because that Christ, our Redeemer, declared that which He offered under the species of bread to be truly His own body, therefore has it ever been a firm belief in the Church of God, and this holy Synod doth now declare it anew, that, by the consecration of the bread and of the wine, a conversion is made of the whole substance of the bread into the substance of the body of Christ our Lord, and of the whole substance of the wine into the substance of His blood; which conversion is, by the holy Catholic Church, suitably and properly called Transubstantiation."

CANON I.-If any one denieth, that, in the sacrament of the most holy Eucharist, are contained truly, really, and substantially, the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, and consequently the whole Christ; but saith that He is only therein as in a sign, or in figure, or virtue; let him be anathema.


CANON II.-If any one saith, that, in the sacred and holy sacrament of the Eucharist, the substance of the bread and wine remains conjointly with the body and blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, and denieth that wonderful and singular conversion of the whole substance of the bread into the Body, and of the whole substance of the wine into the Blood-the species Only of the bread and wine remaining-which conversion indeed the Catholic Church most aptly calls Transubstantiation; let him be anathema.


Transubstantiation Attacked "Scientifically"

 In an article entitled DNA Analysis of Consecrated Sacramental Bread Refutes Catholic Transubstantiation Claim (See http://atheistcreationist.org/news/dna-analysis-of-consecrated-sacramental-bread-refutes-catholic-transubstantiation-claim.html), Sam and Marsic state, like atheists, that they want to "debunk" the dogma to "...encourage others to engage in similar studies and help religious organizations rid themselves of superstition and irrational beliefs, thus contributing to elevate fellow human beings." (Please remember these "champions of rationality" follow a guy who takes trips in UFOs that no one else sees and without any tangible proof other than his own ipse dixit). 

 To attack Transubstantiation as "irrational" is not new. Sam Harris (b. 1967), one of the so-called "New Atheists," is fond of calling those who believe in it "mentally ill." He has said, "If your neighbor were to claim that every morning he mumbled some words in Latin over his pancakes and they became the body and blood of Elvis Presley, we would say he is mentally ill, and seek to have him committed. However, if it's a priest who mumbles the words over  bread and wine claiming they are now the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, for some reason he's considered sane." 

 Harris was raised in a non-religious home by a Quaker father and Jewish mother. Interestingly, he talks about Latin being mumbled even though too young to have been exposed to the True Church, and the Vatican II sect doesn't use Latin or the secret voice in the Novus Bogus "mass." Satan has a way of getting his pot shots at the True Religion, even by one such as Harris. Where his analogy to the crazy neighbor breaks down, is that Elvis Presley never claimed to be God, wrought miracles, or rose from the dead. We have good reasons to believe that Our Lord is True God and True Man, and what He told us about the Eucharist is true. That's the huge difference Harris' slipshod analogy fails to grasp. 

 The "scientific article" attacks Transubstantiation from a new (and woefully ignorant) angle; to test for human DNA within a "consecrated" host at a Vatican II sect church. To quote the article:
Consecrated hosts (sic) were collected during communion in 5 different Catholic churches in the United States and Canada and immediately placed into clean plastic bags to avoid contamination. A sample of cultured HEK-293 cells was used as the human control. Unconsecrated altar bread purchased from a church supply store was used as the wheat control.

This is both a stinging indictment against "communion in the hand" and proof that the Vatican II sect only gives lip service to belief in the Real Presence. Two pseudo-scientists have their followers take hosts from Vatican II "masses" to be profaned. Communion in the hand made it easy, and the cavalier way they handle their wafers is a systematic and tacit denial of the Real Presence. Thank God the hosts were not validly consecrated! How did Sam and Marsic justify this unethical confiscation? 

"This study could be criticized on ethical grounds for using deception to collect samples. Indeed, the individuals who provided us with the consecrated hosts obtained them during communion, pretending to be believers, and transferred them discretely into plastic bags instead of ingesting them. However, these individuals were all former Catholics who had felt victimized by the Church's dogmatic teachings and saw this action as contributing to their recovery. The moral dilemma of obtaining samples through deception is to be contrasted with the ethics of enrolling non-consenting newborns into a religious organization, endoctrinating children with unquestionable dogmas and instilling fear, guilt and shame in them with long-lasting consequences for their psychological well-being. Anyway, in agreement with our results, we are confident that no sentient being was physically harmed in the course of this study."

In other words, stealing wafers is justified because raising a child to believe in religion is a form of "child abuse." (However, allowing a child to be raised by two sodomites who commit acts contrary to nature is considered in our sick society to be "in the best interest of the child."). Why is Transubstantiation "false"? In their words, "As believers themselves agree that the appearance, taste and texture of sacramental bread are retained after consecration, it is unclear what the 'substance' that is allegedly transformed could be. If the host still looks like bread and tastes like bread after having been consecrated, the molecules responsible for the taste and texture can not have been affected. This leaves DNA as the most probable candidate. Indeed, if wheat DNA in a piece of bread could be replaced by human DNA, the change would not affect the bread's texture or taste." So unless the consecrated Host contains Christ's human DNA, no change must have occurred.  

Why Substance Matters--and Why Matter Isn't Substance

The whole attack on Transubstantiation revolves around ignorance regarding the philosophical term "substance." When I was a NYC science teacher, I would tell my class things like "water is a substance comprised of two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen expressed as H2O." These two pseudo-scientists assume that the substance which changes in the bread must be at the molecular or atomic level; in this case DNA. 

 In Neo-Scholastic Thomistic philosophy, we distinguish between substance and accidents in all beings which exist. According to Thomistic philosopher Fr. Daniel J. Sullivan, "...all being is either being that exists on its own...or in another, in such a way that it has no existence apart from the other. The first way of being is found in such things as a maple tree, a robin, a race horse, a human being---independent centers of existence and activity, beings that go on being what they are behind the restless face of everyday change...we may define substance as a being whose nature it is to exist in itself." (See An Introduction To Philosophy, The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee, [1957], pg. 221; Emphasis in original.) Accidents are a being whose nature it is to exist in another, like the green of a leaf, or the movements of a bird in flight. Something needs to be green, and the movements of the bird are real but not the bird itself.

Can we subject substances to the scientific method? No. According to Fr. Sullivan, "Substance as such cannot be perceived by our senses: we cannot see it , touch it, imagine it. Our senses do indeed perceive beings which are substances, but it is the color, the shape, the taste of the thing that is known by our senses, not its being or substance. The existence of substance is known only by an insight of the intellect, which sees that behind the becoming of sense phenomena there exists the substance which is the subject of the change." (Ibid, pg. 223). Substance is therefore metaphysical--or "beyond the physical"--the very ground of existence. It is not molecules and DNA. Even had they gotten (God forbid!) a True Host at a Traditional Mass, they could not detect that which is not subject to sensory perception; with or without the use of scientific equipment. They sought to disprove a philosophical concept by equating it with matter. Pure ignorance. 

Conclusion

 Transubstantiation is the change by which one substance (bread or wine) becomes another substance (Christ) with only the accidents (sensible attributes) of bread and wine remaining. It gives us Traditionalists something the Vatican II sect no longer has--the Real Presence of Jesus Christ, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist. It is imperative that we know the Faith. Don't waste your time dwelling on subjects not directly the objects of our Holy Religion. You see the sheer absurdity which results when people don't know the Faith, and attack a dogma on grounds they don't understand (or perhaps willfully misrepresent to lead whom they can astray). 

Leave speculation about UFOs and extraterrestrials to the likes of the Dimond brothers and Bergoglio.  Pick up a book by an approved pre-Vatican II theologian and grow deeper in the Faith; the truth is in there. 
  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Whose Life Is It Anyway?


 There's an old saying in law school, "Hard cases make bad law." In simple terms, it means that an extreme case should not be the basis for a law of general applicability. Hard cases are also used as the wedge for people to accept as good (or morally acceptable) things that are not. In 1981, the movie Whose Life Is It Anyway? (based on the play of the same name by Brian Clark) presents us with actor Richard Dreyfuss in the lead role of Ken Harrison, a well-known sculptor who is involved in an horrific car accident leaving him a quadriplegic. Harrison becomes depressed and wants to die, so he hires a lawyer to sue for the so-called "right to die." The judge decides that Harrison is of sound mind and grants his request. The attending physician tells him that he will not have to leave the hospital if he chooses, and they will respect his wish to discontinue dialysis for his defunct kidneys. No attempt would be made to revive him when he slips into a coma. Harrison is returned to his bed; he looks at a sculpture he made and smiles as the end credits roll.

 Of course, "quality of life" wins, and the character of Ken Harrison is used to evoke pity and empathy for the nascent physician assisted suicide ("PAS") movement. Fast forward 36 years. According to the federalist.com, "Politicians in the Netherlands are discussing the possibility of legalizing euthanasia for healthy people. The proposed 'Completed Life Bill' would allow any person age 75 or over who decides their life is 'complete' to receive euthanasia. It doesn’t matter if they are otherwise perfectly healthy." (See https://thefederalist.com/2017/06/30/netherlands-considers-euthanasia-healthy/--Emphasis mine).

 On February 13, 2014, Belgium (formerly one of the most Catholic countries on Earth) legalized euthanasia by lethal injection for children. Young children will be allowed to end their lives with the help of a doctor in the world’s most radical extension of a euthanasia law. Under the law there is no age limit to minors who can seek a lethal injection. Parents must agree with the decision, however, there are serious questions about how much pressure will be placed on parents and/or their children. Here in the U.S. California became the fifth state to permit PAS beginning June 9, 2016, joining Vermont, Oregon, Washington and Montana.(Governor Jerry Brown, who signed the California bill into law, trained to be a Jesuit priest in the 1950s).

The aforementioned movie asked the right question, but gave the wrong answer to "Whose life is it anyway?"

Common Arguments for PAS and Rebuttals

1. The argument from personal autonomy; It's my life and I don't want to suffer.
Libertarians are big on personal autonomy, but short on theology. First, just because someone wants to end their life, doesn't mean they should be permitted to do it. Wouldn't even the most ardent libertarian urge someone on a ledge not to jump? They may have depression, etc. However, what if someone is under a lot of pain and has no "quality of life"? What if they are rational? One must weigh the personal autonomy against the policy change any new law entails and how it impacts others. In May 1994, the New York State Task Force on Life and the Law, was convened by former Governor Mario Cuomo (no Traditionalist Catholic--or his pro-sodomite, pro-abortion son, now Governor Andrew Cuomo). The unanimous decision was surprising: A law allowing assisted suicide "would be profoundly dangerous for many individuals who are ill and vulnerable." According to the Task Force, the "... risks would be most severe for those who are elderly, poor, socially disadvantaged, or without access to good medical care." (See the report When Death is Sought, pg. ix).

 People will feel pressured to die so as not to be a "burden" to those they love. There is much good palliative care so that people need not suffer much. Remember, too, that suffering has a God-given purpose to expiate sin and share in the Passion of Our Lord. Life comes from God, not from ourselves.
Condemned proposition # 3 of the Syllabus of Errors, states "Human reason, without any reference whatsoever to God, is the sole arbiter of truth and falsehood, and of good and evil; it is law to itself, and suffices, by its natural force, to secure the welfare of men and of nations."

2. The argument of an "outdated Hippocratic Oath." 
"First, do no harm" means helping patients who want to end their lives to do so. The patient needs to dictate what they think is best for them. 

This argument is open to the same objections in #1 above. Furthermore, The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, reports that medical errors may be the third leading cause of death in the United States at 225,000 deaths per year. Half are medical mistakes, including 2,000 deaths/year from unnecessary surgery; 7000 deaths/year from medication errors in hospitals; 20,000 deaths/year from other errors in hospitals; and 80,000 deaths/year from infections in hospitals. There are many good physicians and many bad ones, just like any other profession. With this alarming number of mistakes, do we really want to make a decision about our very life on what could be a "mistake"?

 A very good friend of mine was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer when he was young, and before I met him. He went to Sloan Kettering for treatment here in NYC. It is considered one of the best cancer hospitals in the world. My friend was only 17 at the time, and after three years of painful treatments (chemo, radiation, etc.) the doctors gave up. They told his parents the cancer had spread to over 80% of his lymph nodes and he would not live to see his 21st birthday. He was moved into hospice. Every day he said he woke up and thought this would be the day he died.

 When his 21st birthday arrived, not only was he alive, but he had put back on much of the weight he had lost and his hair came back in. The doctors took him out of hospice and subjected him to a battery of tests; three times repeated. His parents demanded to know what was going on. The head of oncology told them, "I have no explanation for what I'm about to tell you. There's not a single cancer cell in your son's body!" He was the only patient released from that hospice alive! He is now 60 years old, a partner in a NY CPA firm and happily married. Imagine if they were given the option of PAS and his parents were made to feel guilty for "allowing your son to suffer," and my friend was told, "your parents are going through a lot watching you like this." There might have been a very different ending.  Miracles do happen!


3. PAS will save money on people who will die anyway. Palliative care is not always enough.

We all "die anyway," so that justifies PAS to save on money? According to Wesley J. Smith, JD, "Studies show that hospice-style palliative care 'is virtually unknown in the Netherlands [where euthanasia is legal].' There are very few hospice facilities, very little in the way of organized hospice activity, and few specialists in palliative care, although some efforts are now under way to try and jump-start the hospice movement in that country...

The widespread availability of euthanasia in the Netherlands may be another reason for the stunted growth of the Dutch hospice movement. As one Dutch doctor is reported to have said, 'Why should I worry about palliation when I have euthanasia?'"  (See Forced Exit [1997] 132).

Conclusion

 It's a truism that life is a gift from God, and whether we live or die is in His Hands (See Psalm 16:15). The just man is depicted not as seeking deliverance from the burdens of old age, but as putting his trust in God’s loving providence.  Jesus Christ reveals the life-giving value of suffering. Christ’s sacrifice redeemed the whole world, but in appropriating this redemption for ourselves, we are instructed to follow Jesus’ example and carry our own crosses with God's grace.

Facing our own mortality is the most difficult thing any of us will ever do. I don't know how I will react; I pray for the grace of Final Perseverance every day so that God will grant me great graces to face the end with courage like a true Traditionalist. "And you shall be hated by all men for my name's sake: but he that shall persevere unto the end, he shall be saved." (St. Matthew 10: 22). None of us knows when, where, or how we shall die, except by special revelation from God. We must, therefore, make the most we have of our time here and not allow it to be cut short by ourselves, an immoral doctor, or the government via PAS.

 Remember, if we don't stop the mad push for PAS, the so-called "Right to Die" movement will become the "You're Old (Sick, Unwanted, etc) and Have a Duty To Die" movement that will be coming after us. 

Monday, July 10, 2017

Una Cum


 As you read this post, I'm enjoying myself with my family on the first extended vacation I've had in over two years.  As always, I enjoy and invite comments, but please remember that I cannot respond as quickly as I usually do when I'm not on vacation. Speaking of comments and vacations, "Where do I go to Mass when I'm away from home?" is a commonly asked question. So is the issue of "Can I attend a Mass offered una cum?" (i.e. with the name of false pope Francis in the Canon). A reader of my blog sent me an article written by Mr. Patrick Henry Omlor, one of the first Traditionalists, for whom I have the greatest respect. This reader was a personal acquaintance of Mr. Omlor and wanted my opinion on the issue of attendance at an Una Cum Mass (Mr. Omlor was decidedly against attendance at such a Mass and was the subject of the article he wrote).

This is bound to be controversial, but understand: (a) I'm not a theologian, nor do I claim to be one. I'm just trying to find my own Catholic way through the Great Apostasy. There are issues that are not (and cannot be) settled without a pope. This is one of them. (b) Feel free to disagree with me. I'm just expressing my opinion based on the principles taught by the Church, and I'm comfortable with the conclusions I have reached before God. It is possible that someday I may change my mind on this issue as I'm always open to fraternal correction because I try to follow the evidence where it leads.


What Does Una Cum Mean in The Canon of the Mass?

 Relevant to this discussion is the March 2007 article by Mr. Omlor entitled, The SSPX and the Una Cum Problem, and the article of Fr Anthony Cekada, The Grain of Incense: Sedevacantists and Una Cum Masses. Mr Omlor states that Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) is not a true pope but a heretic and cannot possibly be the Vicar of Christ. I agree wholeheartedly. The same holds true for Bergoglio (Francis). Mr. Omlor passed less than two months after Bergoglio's "election" in March 2013, at the age of 81. 

Fr. Cekada, like Mr. Omlor,  writes about the problem of "...a traditional Latin Mass offered by a validly ordained priest who utters a phrase in the Canon referring to Benedict, our Pope. This practice is followed by all priests who offer the recently instituted Motu Masses, as well as by priests of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX), its affiliated organizations and the majority of 'independent' traditionalist priests." These Masses are referred to as Una Cum Masses after that phrase in the Canon which translates as "together with." What does it mean to offer Mass "together with Francis, Our Pope"? Is it permissible to attend?

 Mr. Omlor quotes from theologian  Father Maurice de la Taille, in his book Mystery of Faith, 2: 316-318: 
"This [i.e. certain ancient customs] was all the more reasonable, because priests gradually became more accustomed to commend no living person in these public suffrages of the Church, except those as could be reckoned among those with whom he was considered to be offering the sacrifice."

He continues, "This brings out the fact that the celebrating priest offers the Mass with those whose names are mentioned, who in a sense become co-offerers. Hence Benedict XVI[now Francis] is a co-offerer in Masses of priests who recite his name in the Te Igitur." 

Quoting theologian de la Taille, Mr. Omlor continues, "The same is clear also from the actual formula found in our own Roman Missal at the end of the prayer Te Igitur, the first prayer of the Canon, where the celebrant says:' WE OFFER . . . together with our Pope N. and our Bishop N. (and our King N.) and with all orthodox worshippers of the Catholic and apostolic faith.' " Note: The ellipsis (. . .) and also the capitalized words "WE OFFER" appear as such in the original text. Again this underlines the fact that the Mass is being offered in union with those named (Benedict XVI). It has been claimed that we merely "pray for" those whose names are mentioned in the Te igitur prayer of the Canon of the Mass. This is proven to be completely false in light of the words of Fr. de la Taille : "WE OFFER . . . together with our Pope N. and our Bishop N.(and our King N.) and with all orthodox worshippers of the Catholic and apostolic faith."

Fr. Cekada correctly lists four ways the Latin grammar could be construed:

(1) Adjective modifying Church = one with, or united with: "The heretic/false pope Bergoglio is united to the Catholic Church and vice versa."

(2) Adverb modifying we offer = we offer together with: "The heretic/false pope Bergoglio jointly offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass along with the priest and he Church."

(3) Appositional link with Church = for thy Church, which includes:
"The heretic/false pope Bergoglio is among the members of the Church for whom the priest and the Church intercede through the offering of the Mass."

(4) Coordinating conjunction with Church, bishop, all true believers = and for Thy servant, the pope: "The
priest and the Church offer the Mass for the servant of God and heretic/false pope Bergoglio. 

Hopefully, all now see why this issue is important. We cannot pray "together with" a heretic. That would be the mortal sin of communicatio in sacris, described in Canon 1258 of the 1917 Code of Canon Law. According to canonists Abbo and Hannon, "The reasons for this prohibition are founded in the natural and divine positive law. Among them are the following: the Catholic Church is the only Church in which, by divine ordinance, worship may be rendered to God; such communication with non-Catholics in their services involves a threat of perversion to Catholics or at least the danger that they will gradually become indifferent in religious belief; Catholics who observe it may take scandal from it; and non-Catholics may see in it a quasi-approbation of their services or of their erroneous belief...Though not mentioned by the Code, the active and public participation by non-Catholics in Catholic worship is always forbidden, since it would promote indifferentism through the impression given that there is no essential difference between the Catholic Faith and the errors of the sects. " (See The Sacred Canons 2: 512-513).

 Before I continue with my analysis, let me remind my readers precisely what type of Una Cum Mass to which I am referring. It must be offered by a validly ordained priest who professes the Integral Catholic Faith whole and entire, who is not in actual union with Modernist Rome and specifically rejects all the errors of both Vatican II and the post-conciliar "popes." The SSPX would currently fall into that category, but not if they "reconcile" with Bergoglio.

Una Cum is NOT Preferred Yet NOT Forbidden

 I agree that Masses that mention Bergoglio should be avoided whenever possible and the Mass of a sedevacantist should be the ideal. However, there are reasons I must respectfully disagree with Mr. Omlor and Fr. Cekada that they cannot be attended under pain of sin. 

1. In the early nineteenth century, the king was mentioned by name in England within the Canon. 

This would show that interpretation # 4 above is correct. The Mass is offered for the heretic, not in union as co-offerers. It is offensive to pious ears to believe that Pope Pius VII would allow Mass to be offered with the Anglican heretics King George III and IV. (See https://archive.org/details/a550137400unknuoft). Mr. Omlor cites theologian de la Taille: "Hence were anyone to mention by name an infidel, heretic, a schismatic or an excommunicated person (whether a king, or a bishop, or any other [e.g. Ratzinger] ), either in the prayer Te Igitur or in our commemoratio pro vivis [i.e. the commemoration of the living in the second prayer of the Canon], he would certainly violate the law of the Church." Obviously, this is mere ecclesiastical precept, not one of divine positive law or natural law. Therefore, we cannot be talking about the sin of communicatio in sacris. There was an allowance for the King of England under Pope Pius VII. If a priest is mistaken about the identity of the pope, he may objectively violate a precept of the Church, but be subjectively guiltless. Furthermore, a breach of a precept in good faith is not "contagious." You do not thereby sin, especially in the current Great Apostasy, where there is a grave necessity for the reception of the sacraments.  But isn't the priest speaking a lie by calling Francis "our pope"? Not necessarily, as I shall set forth the reason why below. 

2. Would mentioning Bergoglio in the Canon effectuate the sin of communicatio in sacris by being schismatic
Going back to Canon 1258 and its proper interpretation by canonists Abbo and Hannon, how does the name of Bergoglio turn the Mass into a non-Catholic service? Fr. Cekada cites theologian Merkelbach: "The Sacrifice of the Mass," says the theologian Merkelbach, is directly offered only for members of the Church."
For this reason, the Church does not offer intercessory prayers for heretics and schismatics during the course of the Mass, nor can a heretic or a schismatic be mentioned by name in a liturgical prayer." (Internal citation omitted). Again, how does this square with mentioning the King of England? The prohibition is purely ecclesiastical. Furthernore, according to theologian Szal, "...a schismatic professes belief in the sovereign power and primacy of the Pope, but out of malice refuses to be subject to him and obey him as the Head of the Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth." (See The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, [1948], pg. 2) It is precisely because the priest does not want to risk being schismatic that he recites the name of Bergoglio. He is not acting out of malice to refuse obedience to a real pope, nor is he in actual union with Bergoglio. Una Cum Masses cannot be considered schismatic.

3. Does Una Cum involve scandal? 

Does the Mass of an SSPX priest  "...involve a threat of perversion to Catholics or at least the danger that they will gradually become indifferent in religious belief; Catholics who observe it may take scandal from it; and non-Catholics may see in it a quasi-approbation of their [non-Catholics] services or of their erroneous belief..."? (See Abbo and Hannon, above).

I don't think that it necessarily would. Some SSPX priests are "crypto-sedevacantists" themselves, and are afraid of expulsion. Remember that although both logical and true, the position that Bergoglio is not pope is not de fide. The SSPX priests (as of this writing) are not in actual union with Modernist Rome and hold to the faith by rejecting the errors of Vatican II. I agree it is not ideal to mention the false pope. However, I can't say it is a non-Catholic service or a sin to attend. Those not strong in the Faith may need to stay away. How vocal (if at all) is the priest about Francis as "pope"? Will your children be confused? Will they think the Vatican II sect is the Catholic Church? These things need to be considered on an individual basis, not as general prohibition based on scandal.

 As I wrote in a previous post, "Do not let the position of the SSPX on the 'pope' make you soft. Rather, use it as an opportunity to forge friendships and influence others in that chapel (including the priest) to re-think their position on Francis with some well placed questions. In so doing you might get others to reject Antipope Francis and further expose his sect of darkness. Deo gratias."

4. Traditionalist Priests who offer the Una Cum and become sedevacantists, do not have to abjure their errors. 

As Bp. Pivarunas of the CMRI noted, this means it can't seriously be maintained as heretical or schismatic to do so. If offering the Mass with the name of Bergoglio ipso facto makes them actually "in union with him," then we must shun them as non-Catholics. Interestingly, I've never heard Fr. Cekada or Mr. Omlor profess that Traditionalists can't go to SSPX priests for Penance outside the danger of death. Yet this would be the case if they somehow were in union with Bergoglio simply by the use of Una Cum. In August of 2002, Bp. Pivarunas declared,

  "Although C.M.R.I. does not accept John Paul II as a legitimate successor of St. Peter, it does not consider such traditional priests (who offer "una cum" Masses) as schismatic. For, if such priests were schismatic in the canonical sense of the word, then they would be required, upon their recognition of the vacancy of the Apostolic See, to abjure their error and be received back into the Church.

"Nevertheless, it has never been the practice of any traditional bishop or priest to require this abjuration of error of any priest who at one time mistakenly recognized John Paul II as a true pope.

"This does not mean that C.M.R.I. in any way endorses the theological contradiction of those traditional priests who maintain that John Paul II is a true pope.

"Lastly, we exhort the faithful to use great discretion when they approach such priests for the Sacraments. This is especially true in regard to their children, who may be confused by their erroneous opinions on the Papacy and on the infallibility of the Church."

Bp. Mark Pivarunas, C.M.R.I., Superior General
The Priests of C.M.R.I.

To be fair, Fr. Cekada does not claim Traditionalist priests who offer Una Cum Masses to be excommunicated heretics or schimatics (nor did Mr. Omlor in his article). Both claim that you  participate in a lie, profess union with a false pope, etc. Such is not necessarily true, because see #4 below.

4. Another possibility is that we offer the Mass with the OFFICE of the pope and king, not the actual person as such. 

Fr. Cekada thinks that you cannot pray for a "material" pope (placeholder), without invoking the formal part of the office (his authority), as in the case of sedeprivationists who claim Bergoglio a "material" but not "formal" pope. However, I find his objection to be without merit. He claims that," The various linguistic and theological meanings for the una cum in the Canon, however, can only be applied to a true pope who possesses papal authority —e.g., head of the Church, Vicar of Christ, Successor of  Peter, principle of unity, visible pastor, etc." This is unpersuasive. Fr.Cekada does not cite why someone who possess potentially the office of pope cannot be prayed for as the holder of the office and why. You would look to him as the potential principle of unity and pray that he renounces his errors. It's probably why the name of the King of England can be inserted; we pray for the office he holds, not the heresy that comes with the person holding the office. In this case we would NOT be participating in a lie! Since no theologian of which I'm aware has ever tackled this question head on, I'm not going to tell people to stay away from an Una Cum Mass based on what some people indirectly construe in the writings of theologians; in the case of Mr. Omlor, a single theologian. Fr. Cekada cites several sources, it is true, however we are left with his interpretation, not a black and white reading of the material. We have Church practice that goes directly against what he wrote in the case of mentioning the King of England.  Without a hierarchy such opinions (pro and con Una Cum) can certainly be maintained, but not enforced.

Conclusion

I will conclude with my summary from a previous post about attendance at SSPX chapels. To read it in its entirety go to http://introiboadaltaredei2.blogspot.com/2013/11/can-traditionalist-attend-mass-at-sspx.html.

Here is the summary of deciding where to go for Mass, on vacation or otherwise:


  • Judge the priest(s) theological positions, not the organization.
  • Always attend the Mass of a Traditionalist sedevacantist priest whenever feasible. (Some SSPX priests are "crypto-sedevacantists" who can't say what they believe or face expulsion).
  • Ask the priest the name of his ordaining Bishop, and if the Traditional Rite of ordination was used to make sure he is a valid priest.
  • NEVER attend the Mass of a "priest" who is in union with the Modernist Vatican (even if validly ordained) such as the Fraternal Society of St. Peter (FFSP) and certain "Motu" priests. 
  • Ask if he rejects the errors of Vatican II (he must or he is a heretic)
  • Ask if he accepts BOD [Baptism of Desire] and BOB [Baptism of Blood]; (he must or he is a heretic)
  • Ask what Missal he uses. 1954 is best, then 1958, then 1962.
  • Any priest who refuses to answer such questions has something to hide and must be avoided at all costs.

Using these principles, if there is no option for you except an SSPX chapel, you may attend provided he rejects Vatican II's errors in principle and was validly ordained in the Traditional Rite. All SSPX priests are taught to reject the Feenyite heresy and they use the 1962 Missal with some pre-1962 rubrics. I know there are those who will disagree with my positions on the validity of Thuc Bishops [I believe them to be valid] and attending the so-called "una cum" Mass (using the name of Francis in the Canon). However, I am comfortable before God with the positions I have taken and conclusion I have drawn. I hope this helps Traditionalists in deciding where to attend Mass and receive the sacraments. [I also hope the day will come when we fight less among ourselves as Traditionalists and realize Francis as the enemy. We can all be sedevacantists on that glorious day, and hasten an imperfect general council for the election of a true pope with whom we can ALL be UNA CUM.---Introibo]