CATHOLIC ANSWERS’ cowboy apologist, Jimmy Akin, continues to have a burr under his saddle over our sister website, Countdown to the Kingdom. Here is my response to his latest shootout…Continue reading
IT’S not every day you get called a heretic.Continue reading
What’s around the bend?
IN an open letter to the Pope, cf. Dear Holy Father… He is Coming! I outlined to His Holiness the theological foundations for an “era of peace” as opposed to the heresy of millenarianism. cf. Millenarianism: What it is and is Not and the Catechism [CCC} n.675-676 Indeed, Padre Martino Penasa posed the question on the scriptural foundation of an historic and universal era of peace versus millenarianism to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “È imminente una nuova era di vita cristiana?” (“Is a new era of Christian life imminent?”). The Prefect at that time, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger replied, “La questione è ancora aperta alla libera discussione, giacchè la Santa Sede non si è ancora pronunciata in modo definitivo”:
THE “culture of death”, that Great Culling and The Great Poisoning, are not the final word. The havoc wreaked upon the planet by man is not the final say on human affairs. For neither the New nor the Old Testament speak of the end of the world after the influence and reign of the “beast.” Rather, they speak of a divine renovation of the earth where true peace and justice will reign for a time as the “knowledge of the Lord” spreads from sea to sea (cf. Is 11:4-9; Jer 31:1-6; Ezek 36:10-11; Mic 4:1-7; Zech 9:10; Matt 24:14; Rev 20:4).
All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD; all the families of nations will bow low before him. (Ps 22:28)
I WANT to give a message of hope—tremendous hope. I continue to receive letters in which readers are despairing as they watch the continual decline and exponential decay of society around them. We hurt because the world is in a downward spiral into a darkness unparalleled in history. We feel pangs because it reminds us that this is not our home, but Heaven is. So listen again to Jesus:
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
PART III — FEARS REVEALED
SHE fed and clothed the poor with love; she nurtured minds and hearts with the Word. Catherine Doherty, foundress of the Madonna House apostolate, was a woman who took on the “smell of the sheep” without taking on the “stench of sin.” She constantly walked the thin line between mercy and heresy by embracing the greatest of sinners while calling them to holiness. She used to say,
Go without fears into the depths of men’s hearts… the Lord shall be with you. —from The Little Mandate
This is one of those “words” from the Lord that is able to penetrate “between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.” cf. Heb 4:12 Catherine uncovers the very root of the problem with both so-called “conservatives” and “liberals” in the Church: it is our fear to enter men’s hearts as Christ did.
|cf. Heb 4:12
PART II — Reaching the Wounded
WE have watched a rapid cultural and sexual revolution that in five short decades has decimated the family as divorce, abortion, redefinition of marriage, euthanasia, pornography, adultery, and many other ills have become not only acceptable, but deemed a social “good” or “right.” However, an epidemic of sexually transmitted diseases, drug use, alcohol abuse, suicide, and ever multiplying psychoses tell a different story: we are a generation that is bleeding profusely from the effects of sin.
IN all the controversies that unfolded in the wake of the recent Synod in Rome, the reason for the gathering seemed to have been lost altogether. It was convened under the theme: “Pastoral Challenges to the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” How do we evangelize families given the pastoral challenges we face due to high divorce rates, single mothers, secularization, and so forth?
What we learned very quickly (as proposals of some Cardinals were made known to the public) is that there is a a thin line between mercy and heresy.
The following three part series is intended to not only get back to the heart of the matter—evangelizing families in our times—but to do so by bringing to the forefront the man who is really at the center of the controversies: Jesus Christ. Because no one walked that thin line more than Him—and Pope Francis seems to be pointing that path to us once again.
We need to blow away the “smoke of satan” so we can clearly identify this narrow red line, drawn in Christ’s blood… because we are called to walk it ourselves.
THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for March 18th, 2014
Tuesday of the Second Week of Lent
St. Cyril of Jerusalem
“SO why do you Catholics call priests “Fr.” when Jesus expressly forbids it?” That’s the question I am frequently asked when discussing Catholic beliefs with evangelical Christians.
ON THE FEAST OF THE CHAIR OF ST. PETER
FOR two weeks, I have sensed the Lord repeatedly encouraging me to write about ecumenism, the movement toward Christian unity. At one point, I felt the Spirit prompt me to go back and read the “The Petals”, those four foundational writings from which everything else here has sprung. One of them is on unity: Catholics, Protestants, and the Coming Wedding.
As I began yesterday with prayer, a few words came to me that, after having shared them with my spiritual director, I want to share with you. Now, before I do, I have to tell you that I think that all of what I’m about to write will take on new meaning when you watch the video below that was posted on Zenit News Agency’s website yesterday morning. I didn’t watch the video until after I received the following words in prayer, so to say the least, I have been utterly blown away by the wind of the Spirit (after eight years of these writings, I never get used to it!).
SOME questions and answers on the “era of peace,” from Vassula, to Fatima, to the Fathers.
Q. Didn’t the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith say that the “era of peace” is millenarianism when it posted its Notification on Vassula Ryden’s writings?
I have decided to answer this question here since some are using this Notification to draw flawed conclusions regarding the notion of an “era of peace.” The answer to this question is as interesting as it is convoluted.
NOT only can we hope for the fulfillment of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart, the Church has the power to hasten its coming by our prayers and actions. Instead of despairing, we need to be preparing.
What can we do? What can I do?
AS Pope Francis prepares to consecrate his papacy to Our Lady of Fatima on May 13th, 2013 through Cardinal José da Cruz Policarpo, Archbishop of Lisbon, Correction: The consecration is to happen through the Cardinal, not the Pope in person himself at Fatima, as I mistakenly reported. it is timely to reflect on the Blessed Mother’s promise made there in 1917, what it means, and how it will unfold… something that seems more and more likely to be in our times. I believe his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, has shed some valuable light on what is coming upon the Church and the world in this regard…
In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. —www.vatican.va
|Correction: The consecration is to happen through the Cardinal, not the Pope in person himself at Fatima, as I mistakenly reported.
I WANT to conclude my thoughts on the “era of peace” based on my letter to Pope Francis in hopes that it will benefit at least some who are fearful of falling into the heresy of Millenarianism.
The Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
The Antichrist’s deception already begins to take shape in the world every time the claim is made to realize within history that messianic hope which can only be realized beyond history through the eschatological judgment. The Church has rejected even modified forms of this falsification of the kingdom to come under the name of millenarianism,(577) especially the “intrinsically perverse” political form of a secular messianism.(578) —n. 676
I deliberately left in the footnote references above because they are crucial in helping us understand what is meant by “millenarianism”, and secondly, “secular messianism” in the Catechism.
TO His Holiness, Pope Francis:
Dear Holy Father,
Throughout the pontificate of your predecessor, St. John Paul II, he continually invoked us, the youth of the Church, to become “morning watchmen at the dawn of the new millennium.” POPE JOHN PAUL II, Novo Millennio Inuente, n.9; (cf. Is 21:11-12)
…watchmen who proclaim to the world a new dawn of hope, brotherhood and peace. —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Address to the Guanelli Youth Movement, April 20th, 2002, www.vatican.va
From Ukraine to Madrid, Peru to Canada, he beckoned us to become “protagonists of the new times” POPE JOHN PAUL II, Welcome Ceremony, International Airport of Madrid-Baraja, May 3rd, 2003; www.fjp2.com that lay directly ahead of the Church and the world:
Dear young people, it is up to you to be the watchmen of the morning who announce the coming of the sun who is the Risen Christ! —POPE JOHN PAUL II, Message of the Holy Father to the Youth of the World, XVII World Youth Day, n. 3; (cf. Is 21:11-12)
Prayer, by Michael D. O’Brien
SINCE the abdication of Peter’s seat by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, there have been many questions surrounding private revelation, some prophecies, and certain prophets. I will attempt to answer those questions here…
I. You occasionally refer to “prophets.” But didn’t prophecy and the line of prophets end with John the Baptist?
II. We don’t have to believe in any private revelation though, do we?
III. You wrote recently that Pope Francis is not an “anti-pope”, as a current prophecy alleges. But wasn’t Pope Honorius a heretic, and therefore, couldn’t the current pope be the “False Prophet”?
IV. But how can a prophecy or prophet be false if their messages ask us to pray the Rosary, Chaplet, and partake in the Sacraments?
V. Can we trust the prophetic writings of the Saints?
VI. How come you do not write more about Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta?
IN light of recent historic events in the papacy, and this, the last working day of Benedict XVI, two current prophecies in particular are gaining traction among believers regarding the next pope. I am asked about them constantly in person as well as by email. So, I am compelled to finally give a timely response.
The problem is that the following prophecies are diametrically opposed to one another. One or both of them, therefore, cannot be true….
THE point of this entire series on the charismatic gifts and movement is to encourage the reader to not be afraid of the extraordinary in God! To not be afraid to “open wide your hearts” to the gift of the Holy Spirit whom the Lord wishes to pour out in a special and powerful way in our times. As I read the letters sent to me, it is clear that the Charismatic Renewal has not been without its sorrows and failures, its human deficiencies and weaknesses. And yet, this is precisely what occurred in the early Church after Pentecost. Saints Peter and Paul devoted much space to correcting the various churches, moderating the charisms, and refocusing the budding communities over and over again upon the oral and written tradition that was being handed on to them. What the Apostles did not do is deny the often dramatic experiences of believers, try to stifle the charisms, or silence the zeal of thriving communities. Rather, they said:
Do not quench the Spirit… pursue love, but strive eagerly for the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy… above all, let your love for one another be intense… (1 Thess 5:19; 1 Cor 14:1; 1 Pet 4:8)
I want to devote the last part of this series to sharing my own experiences and reflections since I first experienced the charismatic movement in 1975. Rather than give my entire testimony here, I will restrict it to those experiences one might call “charismatic.”
PENTECOST is not only a single event, but a grace that the Church can experience again and again. However, in this past century, the popes have been praying not only for a renewal in the Holy Spirit, but for a “new Pentecost”. When one considers all the signs of the times that have accompanied this prayer—key among them the continued presence of the Blessed Mother gathering with her children on earth through ongoing apparitions, as though she were once again in the “upper room” with the Apostles… the words of the Catechism take on a new sense of immediacy:
…at the “end time” the Lord’s Spirit will renew the hearts of men, engraving a new law in them. He will gather and reconcile the scattered and divided peoples; he will transform the first creation, and God will dwell there with men in peace. —Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 715
This time when the Spirit comes to “renew the face of the earth” is the period, after the death of Antichrist, during what the Church Father’s pointed to in St. John’s Apocalypse as the “thousand year” era when Satan is chained in the abyss.Continue reading
AS we look at the Charismatic Renewal today, we see a great decline in its numbers, and those who remain are mostly grey and white-haired. What, then, was the Charismatic Renewal all about if it appears on the surface to be fizzling? As one reader wrote in response to this series:
At some point the Charismatic movement vanished like fireworks that light up the night sky and then fall back into the darkenss. I was somewhat puzzled that a move of Almighty God would wane and finally fade away.
The answer to this question is perhaps the most important aspect of this series, for it helps us to understand not only where we’ve come from, but what the future holds for the Church…