A Sad Memory, Indeed

This video recounts one of the saddest days of my life, an event that seemed to be the end of my dearest dream.  On the brighter side, it was also one of the causes that led me to create this apostolate, especially The Fullness of Truth Radio Program.

Regardless of that devastating period and experience, which put a final end to my seeking a religious vocation, I remained firm in the conviction that evil must be overcome by Good.  We must all fight the good fight of faith in the circumstances God has placed us, even if we feel like a hopeless mass of handicaps and shortcomings, and less qualified to serve than any other person on the face of the earth.  Sometimes, that is just the disposition God requires for a task – the painful awareness of one’s own weaknesses.  By the grace of the Almighty, the nobody becomes a somebody.

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Ideal Catholicism

Brook FarmMany years ago, when I was a flaming heretic and was far from God and His Holy Church, I was at the same time a devoted idealist.  While attending Quaker meetings and studying Quaker writings, including the Journal of George Fox,  I even more immersed myself in Transcendentalism, the philosophy of Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Amos Bronson Alcott, Margaret Fuller, Orestes Brownson, and so on.  Transcendentalism was a distinctly New England school of thought that rejected traditional western religion in preference for eastern religion.  It held a romanticized pantheistic view of nature, and practiced a simpler more organic manner of living.  It denied such Christian doctrines as preternatural evil and fallen nature, emphasized individual freedom and responsibility, and regarded every person as reformable through education and culture.  Transcendentalism was also intrinsically idealistic, in that it conceived of a relatively perfect society as attainable.  Given enough thought, experience, and experimentation with forms, humanity would ultimately resolve the problems it had created and at last raise a new Tower of Babel that would not collapse in a state of confusion.  In a word, Transcendentalism was utopian in spirit.

The Transcendentalists George and Sophia Ripley put their idealism to work with the founding, in 1941, of the Brook Farm Institute of Agriculture and Education in West Roxbury, Massachusetts.   This farm was an attempt to establish a self-supporting utopian community whose life comprised a balance of work and culture.   It was founded on both Transcendentalist principles and the socialist theories of Charles Fourier.  A number of famous American literary figures either lived on, or regularly visited, Brook Farm.   Nathaniel Hawthorne joined the community at its beginning, but remained there for only six months, until he had realized that such a life was not conducive to writing.  His novel, The Blithedale Romance, is a hilariously sarcastic account of his less than ideal experiences living at this utopian experiment.

Brook Farm survived only until 1847 – a mere six years from its founding.  It was never financially stable, and after a period of moderate growth, was devastated by a fire, and later, by an outbreak of smallpox.  And that was the end of Brook Farm; reality was its end.  Apparently, there were elements within man and the world that made the utopian dream an impossible fantasy.  And yet, the fantasies of socialism continue even in our own day

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Long ago, I abandoned the utopian hope.  It was not so much the story of Brook Farm that liberated me.  No, it was Gospel truth that set me free from such foolish vanity.  Holy Scripture, the theological riches of Sacred Tradition, and even daily experience have demonstrated to me the inescapable realities of fallen nature and preternatural evil.  Angelic and human sin are real, and everything that man does is directly impacted by them.  And the remedies to these are found, not in man, but in God alone.

Nevertheless, many people in the last two thousand years have turned to the Gospels as a basis for a sort of Christian utopianism.  Within limits, this can actually work, for the simple reason that such people have turned to God, rather than to human ingenuity.  Many holy individuals have established religious orders with constitutions or “rules” based entirely on Gospel principles.  And unlike those godless utopian experiments, these orders have endured for many centuries, successfully formed members in the life of communal charity and piety, and served as centers of learning and Catholic culture.  The Rule of Saint Benedict is, for example, both a spiritual classic and an extraordinarily successful example of such a constitution founded on the Gospel.  Fifteen hundred years later, the Benedictine order is still flourishing.

However, even the Holy Gospel is checked by a morbid reality.  Indeed, it is the very best manual on the inescapable dilemmas of reality, of the existence of fallen nature and preternatural evil, for it proposes the divinely established solution to both: the salvific intervention of Jesus Christ.   The problem is, the Holy Gospel is ultimately rejected – in part or in whole – by most persons and by many Christians.  Hence, even within the walls of a monastery, convent, or parish, the inability to govern all members and their activities by Gospel principles is a fact of daily life.  Tragically, relatively few souls adamantly strive for the perfection of Christian charity; few seek to acquire a deep knowledge and understanding of the ancient and perennial faith; and even fewer strive to share in the Church’s mission of spreading and defending the Catholic religion.  Most Catholics are content simply to know just a bit about their religion, to practice it on Sunday mornings, and to generally be “nice” people, according to the common definition of that adjective.  And if pressed to be a bit more pious, their response might be, “I’d rather be lukewarm than fanatical.”  As if those were the only two choices!

The truth is – and this is perfectly in accord with Our Lord’s warnings – religion is filled with persons who are only moderately religious, as well as many who are actually irreligious.  And living under a Gospel-based constitution of whatever form – whether in a monastery, convent, or parish – will do little to change the Church’s tepid religious climate.

If this is true in the case of insular Catholic communities, it is all the more true in the case of larger societies such as cities, counties, and countries where there are all sorts of persons with all sorts of beliefs and non-beliefs.  Such diverse communities should be governed by the natural law.  But the Gospel?  In my opinion, it’s simply impossible to govern them by the Gospel, for they have not individually embraced it.

I have arrived at this radical conclusion only after decades of religious searching, studying, reflecting, praying, and teaching.  The Holy Gospel is meant, not for the masses, but only for those persons who would freely and fully embrace it.  It was not given in order to form the constitutions of large communities; rather, it was given to the saints, to those who would repent, believe, be faithful, and by the grace merited upon the Cross by Jesus Christ, be saved.

Christ was not a utopian theorist establishing the basis for a new world government.  He testified before Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world, even if His Church – the beginning of that Kingdom – was first established in it.  His holy Gospel, in all its sacred glory, was intended by Christ to guide, not nations, but individuals and small communities – those who would respond to His call to come and follow Him into a life that this world would mock as absurd and reprehensible.

The Gospel should be offered to every human being.  It should be preached with power and persuasion in every nation and to every religion, philosophy, culture, and world view, to both Jew and gentile, and theist and atheist.  The mission of the Church is to draw into the Kingdom of God the elect, to fill that Kingdom with all who will be saved.  But only so many people will care to listen to the Church’s message.  Some will respond to the divine invitation, others will only appear to respond to it, and many will firmly reject it.  This was all foreseen and predicted by Christ.  One could even say that the mass rejection of the Gospel message is part and parcel of the Gospel message.  As Jesus warned,

“Now this is the judgment: The light has come into the world, yet men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil” (Jn. 3:19).

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Let me take this theme one step further.

It is reasonable for a Catholic to want to live in an ideal Catholic environment, to be surrounded by the blessed sights, sounds, and scents of the true faith, to hear the prayers of the Holy Sacrifice in the morning, the pealing of the Angelus bell at noon, the singing of psalms at evening prayer, and the chanting of the Salve Regina before retiring for the night.  It is understandable that he or she would like to be daily inspired and comforted by a rich Catholic culture, by Dante’s Divine Comedy, Chesterton’s essays, O’Connor’s short stories, Palestrina’s Mass settings, Frescobaldi’s organ works, and Gothic architecture.  It would be wonderful if the Church’s faith could be appreciated by all, so that these pious cultural treasures could be found and enjoyed wherever one wandered on God’s green earth.  But this requires a degree of acceptance of the Catholic Church and faith on the part of the world, and such an acceptance is a grave threat to the integrity of Catholicism.

The hard truth is that the Catholic religion is at its best when it is generally rejected, Catholics are at their best when they are generally persecuted, and the Church is purest, not when her leaders are adored by the world, but when they are generally despised.

I’m not implying that a brutal Islamic State is the cure to all that spiritually ails the Church.  I’m not suggesting that we Catholics must at all times be enduring an apocalyptic degree of persecution, in order to be authentic.  I’m only pointing out the obvious – that the world is not the believer’s friend, and the ideal Catholicism is the result of struggle

I do not want to live in a Catholic country, in a society and culture where the Church is empowered and privileged.  She is, due to the fallen nature of her clergy and laity, as easily corrupted as any merely human institution, and perhaps even more so.  And she can, in the worst of cases, degenerate into a truly satanic state, as can be realized by a brutally honest examination of the clerical sex scandals.  These were the result of weak men who were corrupted by a potent mixture of sexual deviancy, ecclesiastical authority, and the secular world’s adulterous embrace.  Perversity, power, and popularity brought down the Church, and it is a lesson we Catholics must never forget.

Yes, we are every bit as vulnerable to the influences of evil as is the godless world, and perhaps even more so.  For more than any other people or institution on the earth, a preternatural adversary seeks to devour us as a roaring lion – morning, day, and night.  Therefore, we cannot afford to indulge in arrogant utopian fantasies.  We cannot hope to govern the world with the Gospel or convert the masses to the faith of the Saints.  We can just barely maintain the rudiments of the faith in our own little corner.  Even within the sanctuary of the Church, we must courageously recognize that, wherever the Holy Spirit is renounced, absolute power does and will corrupt absolutely.

The faithful are, and are meant to be, only the remnant of a remnant.

Brook Farm Phalanstery

 

 

Response to an Irish Atheist

Fetus IIThe following piece is part of an online exchange I recently had with an Irish atheist who claims to be a medical doctor and enthusiastically voted for abortion.  He obviously feels that Ireland has gradually emerged from its Catholic darkness, with the outcome of the referendum of May 25 being only the latest proof.  I do expend a lot of time and effort responding to such people, with the expectation that I will probably not be given a response from them.  Regardless, my comments are there for others to read, so it’s worth the effort.

I’m posting this exchange because I think it offers a useful example of the manner in which a Catholic should respond to such charges made by an opponent of this nature.  I do not believe in the milk toast, saccharin, hyper-sensitive, coddle-them-like-little-babes approach that is common today.  If such an approach were effective, then the Church would be filled to overflowing with converts, since everyone in the Church has been using it for decades – popes, bishops, priests, deacons, and lay people.  The fact is, such an approach was not used by Our Lord when confronting His staunch opponents, nor by the Apostles, nor by the great apologists and evangelists of the Church.  It has the effect of misrepresenting the Christian religion as an ideology for the timid and effeminate, so I do not use it.  At all times, Christian charity – absolutely – but charity often requires firmness and directness, as every parent knows.  Treat people like adults, and they just might behave like them.  Treat them like babies, and babies you’ll have.

The atheist’s comments have been altered for obvious reasons, but the substance is exactly the same.  I’ve also given him a new name which I think is appropriate, in reference to Herod the Great, that maniac responsible for the slaughter of the Innocents.  His taunting comments are typical anti-Catholic rubbish such as we hear all the time, which is the reason I’ve decided to post them, along with my response.

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Doctor McHerod’s Comments:

I’m thrilled to know that you admit Ireland is no longer a Catholic country!  Catholicism is a rancid wicked body of beliefs that I had the misery of enduring for a long time.   But now the pedophile priests have had their day and I’m very happy about it.

The Catholic Church bears the responsibility for the happy outcome of the abortion referendum.  You folks have driven away the good and enlightened people of Ireland, so that they can’t get far enough away from you.   But I noticed in your previous comments that you enthusiastically encouraged people to vote against the introduction of abortion in Ireland.   Well, where were you during the pedophile rampage?!  I couldn’t find your enthusiastic posts denouncing such crimes.

The Catholic religion is so filled with flaws, as are all religions.  There are 7,000 supposed gods, and none of them exist, just like your god.   And that’s the reason you don’t stand a chance.

The Irish today are an especially well-educated people that can easily perceive your deception.   But you can’t, so you are doomed!  They have voted for divorce, contraception, gay marriage, and now abortion.  And you still don’t understand it all; you haven’t gotten the message.

The Irish people are finally awake, and they no longer want you around.  So, GOOD BYE FOREVER!!!  CHEERS!!!

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My Response:

Doctor McHerod,

Let me answer your questions directly.  I live in the United States.  When it was discovered that perverted priests and bishops were molesting people here and elsewhere, I was immediately screaming about it more angrily than you are now, – online, in the classroom, and on the radio, and at some risk to myself in my own diocese.  So please spare me the self-righteous finger-pointing.

I noticed that you twice referred to “pedophile” priests.  Nice dodge.  The vast majority of sexual crimes committed by priests – approximately 90% in the US – were not between men and very young children, but between men and boys and men and young men.  That’s not pedophilia, that’s homosexuality, so call it what it is.  The Catholic Church was, and still is, a rat’s nest of homosexual clergy.  As a man who went to seminary for one year and almost entered a religious order, who’s been Catholic since 1990 and worked in the Church all that time, I can tell you this firsthand.

And by the way, what’s so bad about men sodomizing children?   The only aspect your side really objects to is the forced nature of the act, that it was rape.  Well, I couldn’t agree with your side more on that point, but I would go much further with my outrage.  The evil in these sexual attacks is not only that they were forced on others, but in the very nature of the act itself: sodomy.  Whether it’s forced or consensual, whether it’s between a man and a child, a man and another man, or a man and a woman, sodomy is a disgusting, unnatural, perverse, and damnable act.  Do you agree with this?  I don’t know; let’s hear from you.  But if you do disagree, as the radical left does, then the only thing that actually upsets you in these scandals is the forced nature of the acts, and not the acts themselves; which means that, if only they had been consensual acts of sodomy, you would have been fine with them.  And that is disgusting.  But again, I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt for now and let you answer for yourself.  But that’s the social, cultural, political left – crying out with indignation over the sex scandals in the Catholic Church, while promoting and defending sodomy far and wide, night and day, as just another intimate expression of affection.

Now go ahead and say it: “You should be ashamed to still be a Catholic.  You’re directly supporting and condoning an institution of rapists.  If you were truly opposed to it all, you would have left the Church years ago.”

No, Doctor McHerod, I’m directly condoning and supporting an institution of truth and grace that helps people of every type to grow in wisdom, sanctity, and the love of God, and to attain the end for which they were made – salvation.  But are there rotten apples in the Church?   To answer in the affirmative would be an understatement.  There are rotten orchards in the Church – whole hillsides of stinking decaying fruit!  But all such rot is the antithesis of Catholicism.  If you want to know what genuine Catholicism produces, look to the saints, not the unrepentant sinners.  Saints are the by-products of authentic Catholicism, while unrepentant sinners and scandal-mongers of all types are the result of the rejection of it.  So, to heap the whole Catholic Church into one mass of guilt is to make an entirely emotional judgment, not a rational one.  It is to accuse the numberless innocent Catholics – both clergy and laity – of guilt by association.  Well, in that case, we are all guilty because we are all associated with corruption – both that of others, as well as our own.

I know how to support the good in the Church, but avoid the evil, how to condone the Gospel, the virtues, and the sacraments, but condemn whatever is contrary to them.  I direct my resources and support very carefully and attend only the best of churches.  Any Catholic who cared enough could do the same.  If I see something contrary to goodness in the Church, then I withhold my support from it.

How about yourself?  Do you support evil of any type, in any way?  Yes, you do.  You just supported it with your pro-abortion vote.  You are part and parcel of a movement that kills many millions of innocent human beings in the womb.  They will die for the “crime” of being young and defenseless in a society with no heart for them.  In order to pacify your consciences, you redefine them as non-persons.

And do these “non-persons” feel pain?  Why don’t you watch a video of an abortion, and see for yourself whether that tiny victim embraces the abortionist’s deadly instruments, or desperately tries to escape them.  No pro-life propaganda in that approach, but just the demonstrable facts.

Instead of looking to these pre-born children with any sense of humaneness, you take from them their right to live, and concern yourself only with their mothers, whom you care for by allowing them to become the murderers of their own flesh and blood.   In taking from one the most fundamental right of life, you give to another the invented liberty to kill the innocent.

And apparently, this is motivated by your hatred for the Catholic Church and religion in general?  Killing babies in the womb – babies who aren’t even Catholic – is a strange way of getting back at the Church.  In fact, it’s a complete miss that strikes dead a perfectly innocent party.

But let’s take another approach.  By any chance, do you pay federal taxes?  Is your government in any way corrupt?  Have any of your officials committed crimes, been bribed by donors, or failed to fulfill their campaign promises?  Has your government ever supported unjust violence or war any place in the world?  Those were rhetorical questions, of course.  But do you at all give financial support to your government?

Did you ever attend a public school or a college?  Our public schools are filled with sex scandals.  There are now countless instances of female teachers having sex with very young male students.  The latest involves a thirty-two-year-old Ohio woman who had sex in her classroom with a fourteen-year-old boy, and who told him to lie about it to the principal.  The pictures of middle-aged women accused of rape have become a semi-regular feature in the news these days.  Out of a consistent indignation, should we not, therefore, denounce the public school system as a whole?  Should we not withhold all taxes that will be used to support it, and withdraw our children from it?

And what about Hollywood and its decades-long practices of systematic widespread abuse, harassment, and rape of countless girls and boys and women and men?  You know, those rich and famous Hollywood elites who live in mansions or gated communities, who are outspoken anti-gun activists, and yet, make a living shooting guns and glamorizing violence on the big screen?   Surely you’ve heard about Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein, Oliver Stone, Kevin Spacey, and most recently Morgan Freeman – that darling of the left?  Except for Harvey, who interestingly has a knack for distributing anti-Catholic films through his company Miramax, all of these people are still out free and enjoying life.  I’ll stop there with the names, but the list goes on and on.

Now are you still supporting the horribly corrupt institution of Hollywood by watching its movies, or have you been too busy taking part in anti-Hollywood protests?  And can you point me to your outrage online?   By your own reasoning, you should be publically denouncing and permanently boycotting Hollywood by refusing to enjoy any of its movies.

Come to think of it, are any of our famously outspoken social justice warriors presently boycotting Hollywood and all its movies?  Hmph, I can’t think of even one that is.

What about the medical field?  Have you ever considered the barbaric practices of medicine in recent centuries, including the horrific mental institutions and state hospitals from the twentieth century which used, for example, electro-shock therapy?  Have you considered the countless doctors in all fields of medicine who have groped women during examinations, or neglected or misdiagnosed patients who then went to early deaths?  How about the countless surgical errors that have resulted in the mistaken removal of healthy limbs or organs, or the errors on the operating table that resulted in worse health crises than the patients had when being prepped?

Doctor McHerod, have you been busily denouncing your own field of medicine and all its personnel for their intolerable cruelties to the innocent?  Or rather, do you save all your indignation and righteous anger exclusively for the Catholic Church, or for religion in general, which you personally dislike?  I see a double-standard of righteous anger here.

We could play this game all day and all night, moving on to such fields as science, the military, the police, and the media.  I hope by now you’ve gotten my point.

The fact is, if you want to play the indignation game and be consistent about it, then you need to withdraw from all institutions and society as a whole to the innocent woods, where you can live in peace with your sensitive social conscience and high standard of social justice.  Until you’ve done so, please spare me the selective indignation directed only at the Catholic Church.  It’s old-fashioned calculated bigotry of the most obvious kind.

The truth is, you’re perfectly fine with corruption and injustice.  The proof is in the fact that last week you voted for the most corrupt and unjust act imaginable – the slaughter of the innocent in the womb.  The abused, the molested, and the raped have a second chance.  With counseling and the compassion and support of others, they have the hope of recovery and a new beginning.  But for the aborted there can be no such hope, but only a voter-approved agonizing end to their brief little lives.

May the God that you reject move you to repentance with His grace, restore your empathy and understanding, and have mercy on your soul before the Day of days when the opportunities for repentance will be past.  I am praying for you, Doctor McHerod.

Addendum:

If anyone would like to propose atheism as a solution to the problems of religion turned rotten, please consider the following atheistic regimes casualty numbers:

  • Jozef Stalin (USSR 1932-39 only): 15,000,000 people murdered
  • Pol Pot (Cambodia, 1975-79): 1,700,000 people murdered
  • Kim II Sung (North Korea 1948-94): 1.6 million people murdered
  • Tito (Yugoslavia 1945-1987): 570,000 people murdered
  • Suharto (Communists 1967-66): 500,000 people murdered
  • Ante Pavelic (Croatia 1941-45): 359,000 people murdered
  • Ho Chi Min (Vietnam 1953-56): 200,000 people murdered
  • Vladimir Ilich Lenin (USSR, 1917-20): 30,000 people murdered
  • Adolf Hitler (Germany 1939-1945): 12,000,000 people murdered
  • Mao Ze-Dong (China, 1958-61 and 1966-69, Tibet 1949-50): 49-78,000,000 people murdered

Dwarfing these numbers is the casualty count of abortions in America since 1973: 61,000,000 babies murdered.  The present US rate is about three thousand per day.

According to the CDC, the deaths of women due to abortion is a matter of voluntary reporting by abortion clinics.  Chillingly, the number is therefore unknown.

Ireland Legalizes Murder

WeepingIt’s official.  Ireland is a pagan nation.  It is pro-homosexuality, pro-contraception, pro-divorce, and pro-abortion.  It is liberal, secular, leftist, and progressive.  It is faithless, immoral, and godless.  It is conformed to the age and has embraced the spirit of the times.  It has burned the banner of the Holy Gospel and stomped on the Word of God.  It has insulted the saints, desecrated the sacraments, and blasphemed Our Eucharistic Lord.  Ireland is a pagan nation.  Period.

The vote to repeal the Irish Constitution’s Eighth Amendment by a two-third’s majority is a victory for ignorance.  Why?  Because a people formed after the Gospel, who affirmed the two Great Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Beatitudes, the Ten Commandments, and the natural law, and who understood the necessity of these moral principles in creating and maintaining a civilization founded on charity and justice for both the strong and the weak, would never have even considered such a repeal.  It would have been morally unthinkable.  But ignorance of the faith has prevailed, and now it will be helpless pre-born children who first pay the price.  And this price will increase, as the abortion mentality stretches its rancid tentacles throughout Irish society, corrupting its culture, art, and education, strangling Christian virtue, and founding a hundred abortion-related practices and industries.

Legalized abortion will produce laws restricting public opposition and free speech, and will establish abortion mill zones where the Rosary cannot be prayed or pro-life counseling offered to desperate pregnant women on the verge of murdering their own flesh and blood.  Funding for abortion facilities will be drawn from federal taxes.  The government you make YOU fund the killing.  Medical students will be required to take part in abortions as a part of their training, or they will not be licensed.  An underground body parts industry will establish itself, whether legally or illegally.  And any person who openly objects to the new “culture of death” will be regarded as a backwards lunatic who hates women and practices a religion that is a threat to Irish culture and freedom.  You will feel like an unwelcome alien in your own home, among your dearest friends.  Pro-life Catholics will be regarded as potential terrorists for their views.  And then, one deranged individual among the pro-life fold will attack or kill an abortionist, and the laws against pro-life beliefs and activism will suddenly grow shockingly severe.    On and on the abortion infection will spread, like a bacteria from hell, until the same methods that successfully introduced homosexual marriage and abortion will be re-employed to introduce the next leap into the bottomless pit of perdition: euthanasia.

I know the Irish. I’ve lived among them and listened to the stories of their lives for thirty years now.  The Irish clergy left them hopelessly ignorant of the Catholic faith, precisely as happened in the United States.  Catholics were formed to be mere Mass-goers, pew-sitters, and sacramentalists who couldn’t offer an effective word on behalf of the faith they professed, because they studied neither the Bible nor the Catechism.  They were cultural Catholics who received Holy Communion weekly or daily and prayed the Rosary in ten minutes, members of the institutional Church, rather than disciples of Jesus Christ who were willing and prepared to spread and defend the faith, as every Catholic is commissioned to do by virtue of their Confirmation.

I have always identified Irish Catholicism as being unusually deficient in the catechetical domain – and directly related to this, superstitious as well, due to its infatuation with a pre-Christian Celtic spirituality that seems to saturate the Irish soil itself.  All of this has left the Irish folk intellectually lame and spiritually vulnerable to the lies of the irreligious left, until good seemed evil and evil good, until murder seemed like equality and liberty for all.  Finally, add to this the anger aroused by the horrific scandals among the Irish clergy and religious, including the Magdalene Sisters and the Christian Brothers, and perhaps the future was inevitable.  One might even say that the abortion vote signified a denunciation of the Catholic Church itself.  As morally insane as it is, many voted for abortion as a means of registering their opposition to the Catholic Church.  The fact is, the Church lost the Irish people many years ago, so that this political outcome was entirely predictable.  Indeed, in light of the vote in favor of homosexual marriage, a vote in opposition to abortion would have made no sense whatsoever.

Saint Patrick – that holy Brit – has been rebuked by brogues.  Perhaps King Herod the Great – that murderer of the Holy Innocents – would now be a more fitting patron for Ireland.  The druids have arisen to reclaim the Irish ignoramuses for the powers of darkness, with their “black laws of pagandom.”  Yes, child sacrifice is returning to the Emerald Isle, as the land of saints and scholars, once known for producing countless Catholic missionaries who brought the ancient and perennial faith to a world living in heathen darkness, now degenerates into a Guinness-soaked godless domain.  As Father John Hardon once warned, there is nothing as anti-Christian as a formerly Christian nation.

And all of this…in the month of Mary.  May Our Lady of Knock still intercede before her offended Lord.

The battle goes on.  The soldiers of Christ know no white flags.  We do not surrender to evil.  We make no deals with the devil, even as he takes our homes from us.  Jesus Christ, His Holy Gospel, and His Holy Church have already won this war.  All that matters now is fidelity to the true faith, even as our co-religionists burn incense to Baal and offer their firstborn to Moloch.  There is no middle ground here, no neutral position, no moderate view, no place for conscientious objectors.  There is no way to abstain from the battle between God and Satan, between the true Church and the anti-church.  The only option is to choose your side – the right or the left, the sheep or the goats, the wheat or the weeds.

Be faithful…or be damned.

 

Pray for Ireland

Pray for Ireland, which will have a referendum on abortion on May 25, 2018.

It is inconceivable that Catholic Ireland could possibly have come to this point, but the fractures in the faith were clearly revealed when the Irish legalized gay so-called marriage in 2015, making Ireland the first country in the world to do so by popular vote.  Clerical sex scandals have continued to disgrace the Irish Church and eliminate the voice of the faith in public discussions of morality.  It is all evidence of the tireless dedication of evil to its own cause, but also, of the failure of the Church to teach the faith clearly and thoroughly and to defend it courageously.

How easy it is to mislead Catholics who are either unformed or ignorant of the faith they profess.

Pray, pray, pray for Ireland.

An Imaginary Letter from Saint Faustina to Pope Francis

Divine MercyDear Holy Father,

Praised be Jesus Christ!  All glory to the Most Holy Trinity on this Divine Mercy Sunday!  Adoration to the Father of mercies, His adorable Son, and the sanctifying Spirit of Truth!  May eternal hymns of thanksgiving and honor be offered to the God who has rescued humanity from it’s tragic fall, sending His Son to teach, suffer, die, and rise again, that the chambers of limbo may be emptied and the halls of heaven filled with the just.

Holy Father, you who hold the keys of Saint Peter and the power of binding and losing on earth and in heaven, who govern here below the kingdom of Christ our divine Savior, I write to you with the profoundest love and respect during this glorious season of victory over sin, death, and all the wicked powers of the fallen spirits – those cunning deceivers who strive to draw to the eternal pits of hell frail and tepid souls.

I have heard with the deepest sadness of the confusion and division that presently afflict the Church of Christ, and that you presently find yourself at the center of this chaos.  How audacious is that lying murderous serpent to dare to approach the See of Peter, as if to proclaim his morbid errors from the very heart of Mother Church.  As we know, all confusion that denies or obscures the doctrines and morals of the Church, that misleads well-meaning but simple souls, so that those who seek the saving Truth are unable to find it, or to discern the hard and narrow way of salvation from the broad and easy path of eternal perdition – all such confusion is the work of that pernicious preternatural tempter, Satan, the ancient serpent whose sole objective is to deprive, once and for all, God Almighty of His precious children.

I know you are aware of the divine inspirations I have received; even more, of the blessed promises our Most Merciful Lord delivered through his humble handmaid, requesting that I serve as His unworthy apostle and secretary of mercy.  Yet, throughout these visions of hope and trust, Our Lord revealed to me as well many warnings of a horrible nature, scenes and proclamations of perpetual agony for unrepentant sinners.  And I suspect, Holy Father, that such visions were revealed to me precisely for times such as these.

Therefore, I lovingly offer to you – no, Jesus Christ, the Lord of the universe, declares to you – the truth about these matters, so that you may recognize the signs of the times and urgently bring a resolution to the confusion and division that daily harass the Holy Roman and Catholic Church.  For, although we have been promised that the powers of hell will never prevail against the Church of the Living God, still, this same promise has been tried as never before, so that many of the sincerest faithful, loving Christ’s Kingdom with all their hearts, are presently suffering trials of a purely spiritual type, such as would have caused the martyrs of ancient centuries to tremble.   For even in the worst of times, the faithful were always certain that their proverbial houses were built on the firmest rock of divine revelation, rather than the shifting sands of human caprice.  Hence, this scandalous mayhem must not be allowed to continue, for the salvation of countless souls is at risk, including the salvation of those shepherds whose solemn duty it is to lead Christ’s flock into the rich pastures of eternal truth – the same truth once delivered for all time by the supreme Good Shepherd, Christ Our Lord.

Holy Father, the following excerpts are taken directly from my Diary.  They are a small selection of the passages that concern the existence of hell, its eternity, and the never-ending conditions of the many wretched souls who have merited to enter its firy caverns.  Of course, all such private revelations can add nothing to that sublime deposit of faith delivered by Christ to the Apostles, and carried through the centuries on the Divine Spirit’s wings of Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition.  They simply emphasize that which Holy Mother Church has always, everywhere, and to everyone, proclaimed for the glory of God and the salvation of souls.

 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

153:  One day, I saw two roads.  One was broad, covered with sand and flowers, full of joy, music, and all sorts of pleasures.  People walked along it, dancing and enjoying themselves.  They reached the end without realizing it.  And at the end of the road there was a horrible precipice; that is, the abyss of hell.  The souls fell blindly into it; as they walked, so they fell.  And their number was so great that it was impossible to count them.  And I saw the other road, or rather, a path, for it was narrow and strewn with thorns and rocks; and the people who walked along it had tears in their eyes, and all kinds of suffering befell them.  Some fell down upon the rocks, but stood up immediately and went on.  At the end of the road there was a magnificent garden filled with all sorts of happiness, and all these souls entered there.  At the very first instant they forgot all their sufferings.

965:  Jesus looked at me and said, Souls perish in spite of my bitter Passion.  I am giving them the last hope of salvation; that is, the Feast of My Mercy.  If they will not adore My mercy, they will perish for all eternity.  Secretary of My mercy, write, tell souls about this great mercy of Mine, because the awful day, the day of My justice, is near.

1728:  Write: I am Thrice Holy, and I detest the smallest sin.  I cannot love a soul which is stained with sin; but when it repents, there is no limit to My generosity toward it.  My mercy embraces and justifies it.  With My mercy, I pursue sinners along all their paths, and My Heart rejoices when they return to Me.  I forget the bitterness with which they fed My Heart and rejoice at their return.

Tell sinners that no one shall escape My hand, if they run away from My Merciful Heart, they will fall into My Just Hands.  Tell sinners that I am always waiting for them, that I listen intently to the beating of their heart…when will it be for Me?  Write, that I am speaking to them through their remorse of conscience, through their failures and sufferings, through thunderstorms, through the voice of the Church.  And if they bring all my graces to naught, I begin to be angry with them, leaving them alone and giving them what they want.

741:  Today, I was led by an angel to the chasms of hell.  It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is!  The kinds of torture I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it- a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies.  These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings.  There are special tortures destined for particular souls.  These are the torments of the senses.  Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned.  There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another.  I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me.  Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin.  I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. 

I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I may tell souls about it and testify to its existence.  I cannot speak about it now, but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing.  The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God.  What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw.  But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those that disbelieved that there is a hell.  When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright.  How terribly souls suffer there!

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Holy Father, I ask that you would reflect especially on this last vision.  The denial of hell, its eternity, and the truth that both angelic and human beings will be punished there forever – such a denial is a pernicious heresy that itself can bear eternal loss, as I painfully recounted in the above Diary passages.

I must emphasize the most outstanding warnings to all preachers and teachers of the faith, especially those who mistakenly believe that, if only they speak no longer about a particular doctrine, the reality on which that doctrine is based will cease to be real.  No, it is impossible for the creature to alter in any way the truths established by the Creator.  Nor did Christ reveal His Holy Gospel so that sinners could whimsically select from it only what they liked, or only what was popular among the lukewarm masses, and omit the rest.  God forbid!  Even a claim of ignorance of hell will provide no protection from it.  To the contrary:

” I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like.” 

“But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those that disbelieved that there is a hell.”

In closing, Holy Father, if you would pardon my boldness in offering you one small piece of advice.  For the good of the Church, scrap the Scalfari interviews.  Have nothing to do with that proud heathen, whose “reconstructions” of papal interviews are only calculated efforts to place heresy on your lips, for the purposes of confusing and dividing the faithful and emboldening the many heretics in the Church who have long been betraying the True Faith by spewing such lies.  After all, that mischievous atheist to whom you have revealed your heart is not so deeply moved by your accompanying him in his unbelief as to actually become a believer himself.  On the contrary, he has only devised a means of hijacking the sublime Petrine Ministry in order to promote his own unbelief.  And you, apparently, have either overlooked this strategy, or else – Lord have mercy on us all – are pleased to see the denials of defined Catholic teaching seemingly acquire a dignity and status, such as only your lofty office could render.  No, Holy Father, I tremble at such a thought, at so malevolent a suggestion.  I cannot believe it.  Yet, I cannot deny that such has been the inevitable effect of these miserable interviews, and such will be the predictable effect of any future encounters with this vandal.

Praised be Jesus Christ!  I pray that you will kindly receive this letter from your servant, and recognize in it nothing other than the purest love for Our Lord, love for His Bride, and love for you, as you carry out your difficult ministry on behalf of all the Christian faithful of every continent and condition.  May the risen Lord guide and strengthen you, and one day find abundant reasons to reward you with the happy and beautiful vision of His Glorious Face!

 

Your Servant in Jesus Christ,

Sister Maria Faustina Kowalska
Jesus, I trust in Thee

[Please note, this is an entirely imaginary letter of my own making.  But the remarkable excerpts from St. Faustina’s Diary are real and accurate.]

Pope Francis and Hell

Dante's InfernoThere is a report presently circulating Catholic and non-Catholic media sites claiming that Pope Francis has denied the Church’s teachings on the existence of hell and the damnation of souls.  The report comes from an interview with the pope by 93-year-old atheistic philosopher Eugenio Scalfari, which was printed in the Italian newspaper, La Repubblica.  However, Scalfari’s notorious method is to neither electronically record an interview nor take notes by hand.  Hence, as has repeatedly happened in the past, his interviews with Pope Francis more often contain his own poor memory of the exchange, or even worse, his personal views placed on the lips of the pope.   This has led to the presumption that the pope denies defined Catholic teachings, or at least questions their veracity.

According to the story, Pope Francis said the following:

“They are not punished.  Those who repent obtain the forgiveness of God and enter the rank of souls who contemplate him, but those who do not repent and cannot therefore be forgiven disappear. There is no hell, there is the disappearance of sinful souls.”

According to this claim, unrepentant souls are annihilated – a belief contradicted by defined Catholic teaching and clearly expounded in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium.  The Vatican quickly responded to the confusion by releasing the following statement:

“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

I suppose this response is better than silence, but it certainly doesn’t inspire a confidence that the pope said nothing of the sort.  It still allows for the possibility that, although the pope’s words were not directly quoted, nevertheless, Scalfari correctly reported their meaning and substance.   As usual, the faithful are left wondering if the head of the Catholic Church on earth actually holds the Catholic faith in its entirety.  What is needed – immediately – is a clear and firm statement from the pope himself, affirming Catholic doctrine on hell and damnation and denying the whole substance of the Scalfari’s report.  And it wouldn’t hurt to hear a few courageous statements from our own clergy as well, affirming their personal adherence to the concerned doctrines.  But I’m not holding my breath for either.

First and foremost, interviews with journalists are not organs of official Catholic teaching, nor are conversations, newspapers, periodicals, websites, Saturday Night Live, or MAD Magazine.  The proper means for declaring Catholic doctrine is the papal or conciliar document.  But without getting caught up in the usual media-generated hysteria over Pope Francis’ alleged statements, and keeping in mind that he has mentioned hell in the past, the best way for a properly-formed Catholic to respond to this sort of confusion is always with the same two words: He can’t.  Period.  Pope Francis does not have the authority to eliminate from the deposit of faith defined Catholic teaching.  No one does.  The magisterium of the Church has the commission and authority only to declare and expound truth, not to invent or deny it.

Yes, there is a legitimate development of doctrine over time, by virtue of the Spirit of Truth Who guides the Church into all the truth, and the magisterium plays a central role in determining what is, or is not, of this Holy Spirit.  In a similar way, this happens even in the short life time of a Bible Christian who reads the same Bible over and over; and with each reading, he or she gradually develops a biblical interpretation.  All the more is this true for the ancient Church that has been teaching, studying, praying, living, and dying for the biblical faith for two thousand years.

However, denial of a previously held doctrine is not development, but just the opposite.  Denial is just denial, a pitiable act of unbelief by a non-believer.

The ongoing chaos of the present pontificate has induced many Catholics – both good-willed and ill-willed – to conclude that Catholicism is nothing more than a collection of cherished opinions and personal preferences held by a currently reigning pope.  This view is just absurd.  If such were the case, then no one could speak of the “Catholic religion” in a meaningful sense, or without making a quick phone call to the Vatican in order to find out what the pope was thinking and feeling today.  Then Catholicism would be merely an ever-revolving ideological door directed by the whim of one man, and the sources of its teachings – Holy Scripture and Sacred Tradition – would be regarded as only pious but foolish literature.  In fact, this is precisely how modernists view Scripture and Tradition.

But if such were the case, how could a presently reigning pope be the one exception?   If Scripture and Tradition are discredited, then so, too, is the papacy; for it is within these two sources that we learn about the papacy.  If they go, then the pope goes with them.

To put it another way, if the Church of past centuries was wrong when teaching definitively on matters of faith and morals, then why in the world would we trust the same Church in modern times to teach on the same, and even to pronounce against her teachings of the past?  Specifically, if she was wrong in teaching about the existence of hell and the eternal damnation of souls and angels, then could she not also be wrong if she later denied these doctrines?  If she was wrong then, could she not also be wrong now?  And if she was wrong then, could she not also be wrong now in her corrections of her past teachings?  Absolutely.  This is what modernists just do not “get” about their own methods and claims.  To the degree they discredit the Church, they discredit themselves as well.  And any bishop or priest who denies the Church’s teachings from the pulpit should expect never to see the pews filled again.  For who needs a gravely erring Church?  Only the devil does.

It seems as if the excerpt below needs to become a permanent virtual signature that, in this era of catechetical chaos, accompanies every Catholic news item.  Catholics always and everywhere must know and remember what the Catechism prudently teaches:

“Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it.  At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication, and expounds it faithfully.  All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith” (CCC 87).

 

 

 

What Is Religion?

IsaiahIntroduction

Religion is an extremely unpopular subject in the modern world.  Critics like to complain that it is, and always has been, a cause of division between people and of war between nations.  The implication is, of course, that if only the human race were to abandon all religion, then peace and harmony could prevail.  By this reasoning, however, the human race should also abandon all forms of government, economic systems, property, and even human rights, since these also are, and always have been, causes of division and war.

One would expect certain people to be highly critical of religion; for example, atheists, agnostics, secularists, and humanists. Such persons hold to ideologies that despise formal religion, so that their criticisms of it are only natural and consistent with their principles.  But alongside these critics are also many people whose comments are a bit ironic and inconsistent with their own daily practice.  I refer to Christians, who, in spite of their name and beliefs, make nearly as many disparaging remarks against religion as do the atheists.  Such Christians often frame their anti-religious remarks in the following way:

“Jesus Christ established a spiritual movement based on the Gospel. But unfortunately, men have turned this movement into a religious institution, a hierarchical Church with all sorts of dogmas, rules, regulations, and obligatory devotions.  Christ preached a simple faith for the ordinary folk, but men have spoiled this faith by enlarging it into yet another complicated world religion with all the usual systematic trappings.”

I’ve heard similar comments many times from Bible Christians who feel that the most effective approach to take against the Catholic Church is to criticize it from the bottom up, by deriding it as…gasp…a religion, a religious institution that is the modern equivalent of the Pharisaism of Jesus’ times.  But in doing so, such Christians only increase the volume of the modern world’s anti-religious bigotry, and they share in the assaults of the anti-Church.

The all-important question is, then, what is religion? What does the Catholic Church mean when she uses the term religion?

 

Part I

The word “religion” is derived from the Latin word “religio,” which in turn seems to be derived either from “relegere” or “religare.” Relegere means, “to recollect,” and religare means, “to bind.”  The etymology of the word “religion,” therefore, suggests two harmonious ideas: first, that of recollection or reflection, and second, that of binding oneself to God.

To give another example of the confusion caused by anti-religion religionists: I once heard an Evangelical preacher say that the word religion means, “to bind.” Correct, so far.  But he then wrongly claimed that religion binds man to religion and to its many man-made customs and beliefs.  Such may have been his personal opinion or attitude, but he was incorrect.  In fact, this opinion is quite common among Bible Christians, who claim to be not religious at all, to abhor religion as a corruption of the simple Gospel, and who relish criticizing Catholics for their overt religiosity nearly as much as do atheists.

To put aside all prejudice, now, and get at the heart of the issue: the term religion, as used by the Catholic Church, refers to an interior life in which one freely and willingly binds or attaches oneself to God. The direction of true religion is upwards to the one true living God and to the things of God.  Religion concerns man’s relationship with the Almighty. It is centered on the transcendent, rather than the mundane, and the eternal, rather than the temporal.

This is not to say that religion is unconcerned with the problems of this world, with poverty, injustice, and violence.  By no means.  But, consistent with its transcendent nature, religion addresses such problems in light of the good and the true, in light of a divine moral law, and in light of the ultimate end of man, which is not merely to live in this world for as long as possible, but to finally live forever with God.

Can religion be abused? Can persons in the religious domain give themselves primarily to mundane pursuits, to greed, hatred, hedonism, and even perversity?  In this age of Church sex scandals, we can only respond emphatically in the affirmative.  But in such cases, religion and religious institutions have ceased to be authentically religious.  They have betrayed the essence and purpose of true religion, which is always to lead man upwards to God through truth, grace and prayer.  But to conclude that all religion should be abandoned, due to the failure of a few or even of many, would be absurd.

Are there not many corrupt doctors and nurses who neglect or abuse their patients and charge them outrageous fees for “care” that actually does them harm? Are there not misdiagnoses that overlook serious ailments such as cancer, which then lead to the unnecessarily early death of the patient?  And are there not cases in which a wrong limb or organ is surgically removed?  Yes, such tragic cases are not even rare.  But only an irrational simpleton would conclude that, therefore, all doctors and nurses should be mistrusted, and the field of medicine itself should be abandoned.

On the contrary, many people take advantage of the failures and scandals caused by religious individuals as opportunities to irrationally blame the very idea of religion, as if religion itself were the cause. But why should the sins and crimes of a relatively small number of persons produce a permanent reputation for the many, as if it were a matter of grave guilt by association?  This makes no sense whatsoever. And yet, it is a common view among many opportunistic people towards religion alone.  They offer a generous tolerance and patience towards countless fields and professions, but then exercise an extreme impatience and intolerance towards God, religion, and religious people.

 

Part II

Authentic religion entails three areas of teaching: belief, behavior, and devotion.  It declares what we should believe about God, how we should live before Him, and how we should pray to Him.  Any group of people that teaches or promotes these three fields is, by Catholic standards, a religious group, and that which they proclaim is a religion.

Thus, Christians who self-righteously criticize religion are just kidding themselves.  Their Gospel faith, if it is at all consistent with that which Jesus Christ taught, is entirely concerned with belief, behavior, and devotion.  Whether or not they are willing to admit it, they are religious.  And rather than join their voices with the shouts of atheists, agnostics, secularists, and humanists, they should courageously join the ranks of those of us who suffer at the hands of the world because we are openly, professedly, and proudly religious.

The truth is, the problem with modern Christianity is not that it is religious, but rather, that it is not religious enough. It is too often concerned exclusively with humanity, with human interests, and with the here and now.

Missionary statements are very popular in the contemporary Church. One can find them posted in Church bulletins, vestibules, and on parish lawns and websites.  These statements can often be painfully mundane, describing the Church’s mission as serving the community, developing peoples’ gifts, and creating a safe environment for people of all ages, lifestyles, and sexual orientations.  The homilies one hears at Mass, and the songs used as well, often speak of these same themes.  The Gospel is perfunctorily proclaimed, but then our Lord’s often difficult teachings, which can be quite contrary to the spirit and practice of the times, are carefully avoided.  Instead, one hears about the obligations to be tolerant, open, and non-judgmental towards others, to love and believe in oneself, and of course, to recycle one’s bottles.  In other words, the homilies are often non-religious in content, and sound more like campaign speeches filled with self-help platitudes.

The Catholic Church, however, has an official missionary statement that was given to her by her founder, Jesus Christ.  Immediately before His Ascension into heaven, Jesus said to His apostles,

“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and behold, I am with you all days, even unto the consummation of the world” (Mt. 28:18-20).

This is the authoritative missionary statement of the Church, and it should be posted in every Church bulletin and vestibule, and on every Church lawn and website. It is the mission given to the Catholic Church by God Almighty Himself.  And it is inescapably and undeniably religious.  The divine mission of the Church is to proclaim all of the doctrinal, moral, and spiritual teachings of our Lord to all people for all time, and to sanctify with the sacrament of Baptism all those who would respond to Our Lord’s teachings.

In addition, at the Last Supper Jesus said, “Do this in remembrance of me” (Lk. 22:19). How is the Church to worship the thrice-holy God?   As revealed and commanded by Christ, she is to “do this”.  The Church is to worship God with that unique and extraordinary act of worship called the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, which is the most perfect act of divine adoration that is possible this side of heaven.

In this manner, by means of doctrinal, moral, and spiritual truth, together with the grace of the sacraments – and most especially the Holy Mass – the faithful are to freely and joyfully “bind themselves” to God. And this constitutes what we can and must declare to be the one true religion.

Brother R. G. Stair Gets His Due

StairAlas, the self-proclaimed End Times prophet of God, Ralph Gordon Stair, has been taken into police custody on eight criminal charges.  Stair leads the “Overcomer Ministry,” a virtual cult compound with about seventy members located near Walterboro, South Carolina, with a global outreach “ministry” through AM, FM, satellite, and shortwave radio broadcasts.  He has been charged with criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping, second-degree assault, first-degree burglary, and third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a minor.

This is not the first time Stair has been in police custody.  In 2002, he served two thirty-day jail terms for fondling two young female members of his cult.  He later claimed, “It was a consensual simple act of committing fornication or committing adultery… It was not a rape or an assault.”

As is common among cult leaders, groping and raping are simply a way of life.  They feel they have divine rights to the women in their compound, married or otherwise.  And if the women dare to resist the leader’s sexual advances, they are warned they are resisting the will of God and risking both expulsion from the community and eternal damnation.  In other words, manipulation through fear and guilt.

Because the Overcomer Ministry program airs on WACE, I’ve followed Stair for about fifteen years.  He regularly makes such statements as,

  • ‘I am the last prophet of God.’
  • ‘If you disagree with me, you disagree with God.’
  • ‘Jesus Christ will return before I die.’
  • ‘This is the last generation.  Prepare to meet your God.’

Perhaps the most ludicrous statement Stair has regularly made is, “Jesus Christ is coming in your lifetime!”  In your lifetime?  In whose lifetime?  In the lifetime of a two-year-old or a ninety-year-old?  Stair, who is himself eighty-four years old, is shrewd.  He’s invented an motto for his sensational predictions which, in order to disprove, you’ve got to die.

A constant feature of Stair’s broadcasts is his virulent anti-Catholicism.  He denounces the Church as pagan and satanic, and has many times referred to the popes as antichrists.  I well remember him mocking Pope Saint John Paul II as he was dying of Parkinson’s Disease and bearing heroic witness to the values of both life and suffering before a world that respects neither.  Stair implied that, if the pope was truly a man of God, then he wouldn’t be dying.  The suggestion was that John Paul’s Parkinson’s Disease was a divine punishment.

Stair once so angered me with his anti-Catholic rantings that I contacted him by email.  He had claimed the Church was leading the world in its rebellion against God, and that the popes were collaborating with such national organizations as the United Nations in an effort to control the world.  I asked him why, if such was the case, was the Church experiencing an increasing amount of persecution for her teachings – including from the UN – and why, in fact, was she shrinking in both size and influence.  Clearly, the world was becoming increasingly opposed to all things Catholic, including the pope himself (Pope Benedict XVI, at the time).

We went back and forth for a day or so.  His emails contained a curse, misspellings of common words, and nearly incoherent sentences.  The gist of his response was, ‘I can’t explain why what you’ve said is the case, but I still believe what I’ve said anyway.’  So much for trying to reach a “prophet” with truth and fact.  It was a pointless exchange.

The video below shows several of the recent events at his services that led police to investigate him.  Note the laughter and approval of the congregation as Stair touches the girls and refers to them basically as sexual objects.

One has to wonder exactly what this chronic fondling and raping of young girls has to do with being a prophet of God and declaring the world is at its end.  Surely such behavior badly impacts the message.

We can only hope and pray that Stair’s Overcomer Ministry is quickly approaching its own “end times”.

 

“Answering Common Objections” Talks

Saint Justin Martyr, Patron Saint of Apologists and PhilosophersCatholics are often confronted with difficult questions about the faith. Today, there are so many competing denominations, religions, spiritualities, and philosophies, as well as those that claim nothing at all is true: Protestantism, Islam, Wicca, Modernism, and atheism, to name a few.  What are the faithful to do amid such confusion?  First and foremost, they must know the truths of the Catholic faith and understand those beliefs and practices that contradict such truths.  As Christ said, only the truth can set us free.

Beginning on October 5, 2017, Timothy O’Keefe of The Fullness of Truth Apostolate will continue the talks entitled Answering Common Objections that examine and respond to some of the many challenges made to Catholic teaching. The talks will be held in the Holy Trinity Parish Center cafeteria on the first and third Thursdays of each month, from 7-8:30 pm.  They are held from October to June.  There is no set fee, but donations to the apostolate are greatly appreciated.

Holy Trinity Parish Center is located at 331 Elm Street, Westfield, MA.

The Fullness of Truth Apostolate can be reached at:

Phone:
(413) 568-4429

Mailing:
The Fullness of Truth Apostolate
P. O. Box 2301
Westfield, MA
01085

Email:
thefullnessoftruthapostolate@juno.com