Wormwood and Loyalty

 

From the archives: written on February 22nd, 2013…. 

 

A LETTER from a reader:

I totally agree with you — we each need a personal relationship with Jesus. I was born and raised Roman Catholic but find myself now attending the Episcopal (High Episcopal) church on Sunday and becoming involved with the life of this community. I was a member of my church council, a choir member, a CCD teacher and a full-time teacher in a Catholic school. I personally knew four of the priests credibly accused and who confessed of sexually abusing minor children… Our cardinal and bishops and other priests covered up for these men. It strains belief that Rome didn’t know what was going on and, if it truly didn’t, shame on Rome and the Pope and the curia. They are simply horrid representatives of Our Lord…. So, I should remain a loyal member of the RC church? Why? I found Jesus many years ago and our relationship has not changed — in fact it is even stronger now. The RC church is not the beginning and the end of all truth. If anything, the Orthodox church has just as much if not more credibility than Rome. The word “catholic” in the Creed is spelled with a small “c” – meaning “universal” not meaning only and forever the Church of Rome. There is only one true path to the Trinity and that is following Jesus and coming into relationship with the Trinity by first coming into friendship with Him. None of that is dependent upon the Roman church. All of that can be nourished outside of Rome. None of this is your fault and I admire your ministry but I just needed to tell you my story.

Dear reader, thank you for sharing your story with me. I rejoice that, despite the scandals you have encountered, your faith in Jesus has remained. And this doesn’t surprise me. There have been times in history when Catholics in the midst of persecution no longer had access to their parishes, the priesthood, or the Sacraments. They survived within the walls of their inner temple where the Holy Trinity resides. The lived out of faith and trust in a relationship with God because, at its core, Christianity is about the love of a Father for his children, and the children loving Him in return.

Thus, it begs the question, which you have tried to answer: if one can remain a Christian as such: “Should I remain a loyal member of the Roman Catholic Church? Why?”

The answer is a resounding, unhesitating “yes.” And here is why: it’s a matter of staying loyal to Jesus.

 

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Personal Relationship With Jesus

PersonalRelationship
Photographer Unknown

 

 

First published October 5th, 2006. 

 

WITH my writings of late on the Pope, the Catholic Church, the Blessed Mother, and the understanding of how divine truth flows, not through personal interpretation, but through the teaching authority of Jesus, I received the expected emails and criticisms from non-Catholics (or rather, ex-Catholics). They have interpreted my defence of the hierarchy, established by Christ Himself, to mean that I do not have a personal relationship with Jesus; that somehow I believe I am saved, not by Jesus, but by the Pope or a bishop; that I am not filled with the Spirit, but an institutional “spirit” that has left me blind and bereft of salvation.

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When the Spirit Comes

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Lent, March 17th, 2015
St. Patrick’s Day

Liturgical texts here

 

THE Holy Spirit.

Have you met this Person yet? There is the Father and the Son, yes, and it is easy for us to imagine them because of Christ’s face and the image of fatherhood. But the Holy Spirit… what, a bird? No, the Holy Spirit is the Third Person of the Holy Trinity, and the one who, when He comes, makes all the difference in the world.

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Calling His Name

THE NOW WORD ON MASS READINGS
for November 30th, 2013
Feast of St. Andrew

Liturgical texts here


Crucifixion of St. Andrew (1607), Caravaggio

 
 

GROWING up at a time when Pentecostalism was strong in Christian communities and on television, it was common to hear evangelical Christians quote from today’s first reading from Romans:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (Rom 10:9)

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Charismatic? Part III


Holy Spirit Window, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City

 

FROM that letter in Part I:

I go out of my way to attend a church that is very traditional—where people dress properly, remain quiet in front of the Tabernacle, where we are catechized according to Tradition from the pulpit, etc.

I stay far away from charismatic churches. I just don’t see that as Catholicism. There is often a movie screen on the altar with parts of the Mass listed on it (“Liturgy,” etc.). Women are on the altar. Everyone is dressed very casually (jeans, sneakers, shorts, etc.) Everyone raises their hands, shouts, claps—no quiet. There is no kneeling or other reverent gestures. It seems to me that a lot of this was learned from the Pentecostal denomination. No one thinks the “details” of Tradition matter. I feel no peace there. What happened to Tradition? To silence (such as no clapping!) out of respect for the Tabernacle??? To modest dress?

 

I was seven years old when my parents attended a Charismatic prayer meeting in our parish. There, they had an encounter with Jesus that profoundly changed them. Our parish priest was a good shepherd of the movement who himself experienced the “baptism in the Spirit.” He permitted the prayer group to grow in its charisms, thereby bringing many more conversions and graces to the Catholic community. The group was ecumenical, and yet, faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church. My dad described it as a “truly beautiful experience.”

In hindsight, it was a model of sorts of what the popes, from the very beginning of the Renewal, wished to see: an integration of the movement with the whole Church, in fidelity to the Magisterium.

 

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Charismatic? Part II

 

 

THERE is perhaps no movement in the Church that has been so widely accepted—and readily rejected—as the “Charismatic Renewal.” Boundaries were broken, comfort zones moved, and the status quo shattered. Like Pentecost, it has been anything but a neat and tidy movement, fitting nicely into our preconceived boxes of just how the Spirit should move among us. Nothing has been perhaps as polarizing either… just as it was then. When the Jews heard and saw the Apostles burst from the upper room, speaking in tongues, and boldly proclaiming the Gospel…

They were all astounded and bewildered, and said to one another, “What does this mean?” But others said, scoffing, “They have had too much new wine. (Acts 2:12-13)

Such is the division in my letter bag as well…

The Charismatic movement is a load of gibberish, NONSENSE! The Bible speaks of the gift of tongues. This referred to the ability to communicate in the spoken languages of that time! It did not mean idiotic gibberish… I will have nothing to do with it. —T.S.

It saddens me to see this lady speak this way about the movement that brought me back to Church… —M.G.

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Charismatic? Part I

 

From a reader:

You mention the Charismatic Renewal (in your writing The Christmas Apocalypse) in a positive light. I don’t get it. I go out of my way to attend a church that is very traditional—where people dress properly, remain quiet in front of the Tabernacle, where we are catechized according to Tradition from the pulpit, etc.

I stay far away from charismatic churches. I just don’t see that as Catholicism. There is often a movie screen on the altar with parts of the Mass listed on it (“Liturgy,” etc.). Women are on the altar. Everyone is dressed very casually (jeans, sneakers, shorts, etc.) Everyone raises their hands, shouts, claps—no quiet. There is no kneeling or other reverent gestures. It seems to me that a lot of this was learned from the Pentecostal denomination. No one thinks the “details” of Tradition matter. I feel no peace there. What happened to Tradition? To silence (such as no clapping!) out of respect for the Tabernacle??? To modest dress?

And I have never seen anyone who had a REAL gift of tongues. They tell you to say nonsense with them…! I tried it years ago, and I was saying NOTHING! Can’t that type of thing call down ANY spirit? It seems like it should be called “charismania.” The “tongues” people speak in are just jibberish! After Pentecost, people understood the preaching. It just seems like any spirit can creep into this stuff. Why would anyone want hands laid on them that are not consecrated??? Sometimes I am aware of certain serious sins that people are in, and yet there they are on the altar in their jeans laying hands on others. Aren’t those spirits being passed on? I don’t get it!

I would much rather attend a Tridentine Mass where Jesus is at the center of everything. No entertainment—just worship.

 

Dear reader,

You raise some important points worth discussing. Is the Charismatic Renewal from God? Is it a Protestant invention, or even a diabolical one? Are these “gifts of the Spirit” or ungodly “graces”?

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The Coming Revelation of the Father

 

ONE of the great graces of the Illumination is going to be the revelation of the Father’s love. For the great crisis of our time—the destruction of the family unit—is the loss of our identity as sons and daughters of God:

The crisis of fatherhood we are living today is an element, perhaps the most important, threatening man in his humanity. The dissolution of fatherhood and motherhood is linked to the dissolution of our being sons and daughters.  —POPE BENEDICT XVI (Cardinal Ratzinger), Palermo, March 15th, 2000 

At Paray-le-Monial, France, during the Sacred Heart Congress, I sensed the Lord saying that this moment of the prodigal son, the moment of the Father of Mercies is coming. Even though mystics speak of the Illumination as a moment of seeing the crucified Lamb or an illuminated cross, [1]cf. Revelation Illumination Jesus will reveal to us the Father’s love:

He who sees me sees the Father. (John 14:9)

It is “God, who is rich in mercy” whom Jesus Christ has revealed to us as Father: it is His very Son who, in Himself, has manifested Him and made Him known to us… It is especially for[sinners] that the Messiah becomes a particularly clear sign of God who is love, a sign of the Father. In this visible sign the people of our own time, just like the people then, can see the Father. —BLESSED JOHN PAUL II, Dives in misercordia, n. 1

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