Gloria Olivae

To promote the messages of Pope Benedict XVI and harness small monastic Benedictine communities in his and the service of the Church.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

THE SINS OF THE MEN OF THE CHURCH


1. The men within the Church do not sin; they have no sins because they have repented and their sins had been remitted. They have an abundance of faith plus the guidance of St. Peter and his successors.
Those who are within the church are in the state of habitual grace possessing the three theological virtues and the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit. That is a spiritual state that is impregnable to sin and errors. The Church is the Bride of Christ and God would not allow the slightest evil to stain that Bride. St Cyril wrote saying that the Church is holy with no sin, no errors and no heresies. She is the killer of heresies. And Pope Benedict repeated this teaching at the feast of St. Peter and Paul.

If ever sin or error enter the Church then the gates of hell had prevailed against her, which is contrary to the promise made by Christ to St. Peter, says St. Thomas of Aquinas. And the Holy Father in the same homily said the same thing. That the danger to the Church today is from the atheistic and secularistic society whose influence prevent souls from entering the Church.

2. So what are these much talked about sins of clerics that are haunting the Church today? These sins of abusing children and of improper sexual conducts with other males are sins of those who are outside the Church. And these are what are preventing the priests from entering the Church and becoming Catholics.

The title of this article should be: the sins of the men who think they are inside the church but who in fact are outside the church. Let us see these so-called sins of the men of the Church.

3. In Moral theology there are two kinds of sins: the sins of the soul and the sins of the flesh. This is based on the fact that man has a body and a soul. Examples of sins of the soul are Pride and heresy while the sins of the flesh are fornication, adultery and the much publicized sexual abuse of a few priests.

The sins of the soul are worst sins. The sexual abuse sins are less grievous compared to the sins of the soul. Of course sins of the flesh are more shameful and more embarrassing to the Church. But they are less grievous as an offense against God. The sin of the angels was a sin of the soul because they had no bodies. They were not given a second chance. While the sin of Adam and Eve was more a sin of the body, gluttony.

When one commits a sin of the flesh there could be a consent of the soul or none as in the case of the sins of passion. But when we analyze sin for the reform of our lives we are supposed to look for our 'predominant fault.' In the sin of sex abuse the predominant fault is Pride, injustice and sin against the virtue of religion. Sex abuse is just the symptom of the predominant fault. We must remedy both the predominant fault and the symptom but emphasis must be placed on the predominant fault.

4. It is devilish that the Church's attention, efforts and expenses are focused on these sins of the body making the Church neglect the more serious evils among her clergy. Comparing the sins of the Scribes with the sins of prostitutes and Publicans, Christ said that more prostitutes enter the kingdom of heaven than pharisees. In enumerating the sins besieging the Church the Holy Father mentioned vanity (a form of pride) but did not mention sex abuse. So why concentrate on the prostitution of the clergy that makes them like prostitutes and neglect their pride that makes them like devils. To focus on the sex abuse and neglect the sins of Pride and ignorance would be a grave error in the spiritual life.

5. The great saints, like St. Gregory and St. Thomas of Aquinas wrote strongly about overcoming Pride because that is the foundation of all evils in men. The sexual abuse sins of the clergy can only be remedied by overcoming pride with humility, just like all other sins. That's why Christ required of us simply to learn humility and meekness, "learn from Me." He did not tell us to learn how to cure sex abuse. That would make spirituality too complicated

Even Pope Benedict obviously is giving only lip service in apologizing for these sex abuse crimes probably pressured by his Curia. And his reluctance is obvious because he knows we have greater problems that need immediate attention, like the combined problem of pride and ignorance common among the priests that prompted him to call the 'Year of the Priest' which unfortunately did not seem to have attained its goal. No fault of the Holy Father. Many Bishops did not follow the schema given by the Pope in his opening address.

6. If we miss this point the problem of the priests will never be solved. Right now we are solving it like giving aspirin for all illness. The aspirin just removes the fever but not the cause of the fever. And all published remedies given by bishops for this spiritual ailment have so far consisted in covering up the symptoms or merely reducing the symptoms rather than curing the illness. Didn't the monk St. Peter Damian during his time aided the Pope in solving exactly this same problem by analyzing the problem and giving the right solution? This crime of our priests is just another vice, a consequence of original sin. And the Catholic Church has all the solution to cure vices. St. Thomas, himself, gave us all the solutions in his Summa. His treatise had been reprinted in popular form in a book entitled "The Secret enemies of the Priesthood." The Catholic Church has a treasury of knowledge on how to handle this problem which is small compared to Pride and injustice.

7. The sins of pride and injustice are worst and difficult to overcome. The very training in the seminary seems to foment these vices. Many graduates in the seminary thinks they know everything. And these are the people who become future bishops and curial officers. For the past years their pride and injustice had victimized countless priests. We cannot imagine the number of priests that had been unjustly treated by superiors, bishops, parochial, diocesan and even curial offices as high as the Roman Rota. And their victims are priests. We are not even talking of the injustices done to husbands and wives whose marriages were summarily annulled at the caprice of the matrimonial courts because a party believing their marriage is valid had not cooperated in the investigation. Let us look back at the life of Blessed Antonio Rosmini and Padre Pio. Weren't they treated badly. And this mistreatment had become common fare in the lives of saintly priests. But since the victims were precisely saintly the news never hit the newspapers. The greater evil that is preventing souls from entering the Church are pride and injustice. Pope Benedict added 'Greed' quoting the Benedictine monk St. Ambrose of Aulpert who noticed this vice devastate the Church during his time.

8. Today we see the bishops stumbling in panic in preventing their diocese going bankrupt to pay the suits while summarily dismissing priests who had served the Church for so long but doing nothing to cure the malady. Isn't ingratitude more serious than this sin of the flesh? There is no end to the list of sins more serious than the sins of the flesh.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Eschatology of PENTECOST

A preacher can speak well on the topic of the Holy Spirit and the Gifts. But the New Testament is eschatological. The preacher is supposed to explain how Pentecost should prepare souls for the second coming of Christ. In the New Testament we are all supposed to be prepared, not so much for death, as for the second coming of Christ. That is Catholic spirituality. We do not await death. We await the Second Coming of Christ 'with joyful hope.'

The apostles were the first members of the Catholic Church (aside from Mary, etc..). There were three stages in the development of this apostolic church. The first stage of this Church would begin when the apostles left all things to follow Christ. The second stage is when it developed to maturity during the passion of Christ. And the third stage is when it became perfect on Pentecost day. Pentecost was the grand finale in the development of the budding 'Apostolic church.'

In the first stage the disciples received the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity making them members of the Church (it is faith that brings us into the Church. The Holy Spirit perfects our membership in the Church.) The other people following Christ, like the five thousand during the multiplication of the bread, were unable to enter the Church due to their inability to repent and reach faith. They remained outside the Church.

These virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity come with the state of grace following their life of Repentance. But at this initial state their virtues were weak and could easily be lost with the slightest storm.

The second stage is when their Faith, Hope and Charity begun to grow and mature. They begun to understand the deeper messages of Christ, especially the deeper meaning of the parables that was not given to those without Faith. But at this time some were beginning to lose Faith in Christ due to His hard sayings. Judas was one such person due to avarice.

The third stage begun at the Last supper when, as St. Thomas of Aquinas mentioned, Judas was expelled from the Apostolic Church without him knowing it. It was the time for the purification of the apostolic Church. Christ described this as when the Tares were being removed from the wheat field. And the Apostolic Church proceeded to greater perfection at the Crucifixion and Easter. The theological virtues of those who made up the Apostolic Church at this time were fully perfected on Pentecost day.

Here we see the Apostolic Church with the Virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity perfected by the seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit, a perfect picture of the Apostolic Church and the way the global Catholic Church should look like TODAY. Just as every one in the room was perfect on Pentecost Day, every one in the Catholic Church should be perfect today.

As the Church after Pentecost begun to go to all nations to recruit new members she should follow the same three stages in her development. But this time in a world-wide manner.

After Pentecost the apostles begun to preach and gather members in the same way Christ did. And as the hearers repented and had their sins remitted they entered into the realm of Faith thus entering the Catholic Church. Of course, the apostles could not stop unbelievers from physically entering though spiritually they remained outside the church. The so-called 'crowd' really remained outside the Church.

There were also those who believed at the beginning but who would later on lose their faith. But as long as they had Faith they were inside the Church. This was the first stage in the world wide Church as she imitated the first pattern of the Apostolic Church.

Then the Church grew up to the second stage. This is when those with Faith begun to mature in their theological virtues, while those who lost their Faith were removed from the Church. With Arius, Pelagius and eventually Martin Luther etc.. we see the Church in her second stage made up of those with Faith together with those who had Faith but who eventually lost it. With regard to the latter the angels would remove them from the Church. So they will be outside. Like Judas most of them would not know they were expelled. The History of the Church is witness to this apostasy and heresy. This continuous mixture of tares and wheat has occurred rather too long in the Church that like the apostles we tend to ask 'when will you remove the tares?' That the Church might reach the third stage the Tares had to be removed for the Church to grow to the perfection of her theological virtues.


Though the so-called four marks of the Church are present in the Church in her three stages, these marks will appear progressively more perfect as she progresses to the third stage. More perfect in the spiritual sense and, therefore, more difficult to recognize.

The third stage in the development of the Church is difficult to visualize. Christ described them as 'doing greater things than this.' Catholic souls today will be doing things greater than what the early Church was doing!!!....even what the apostles did? Well, that was what Christ said. Though He did not mean more spectacular deeds in the natural or physical level. He meant in the spiritual level, in the level of the soul which are usually invisible in nature. This is what makes it difficult to detect. This will be in the contemplative and mystical spheres.

On Pentecost, the theological virtues of the apostles were perfected but they did not have enough time to perfect it further because having accomplished their mission they were martyred. The apostles had three years for the Holy Spirit to perfect their virtues. The Catholic Church have more than 2000 years. So we expect the Spirit to have done a better job today. So Christ's statement "they will do greater things."

Apparently after 2000 years the Church should have reached this third stage when the 4 visible signs of the Church takes a deeper and more profound character and would be more difficult to detect even to the eyes of the so-called 'Catholics.' The late Pope John Paul II had cried looking for the 'Oneness' of the Catholic Church the mark of the church in which the other three depends. Has anyone ever try looking for the 4 visible signs of the Church even in religious order? How about just her 'Oneness' from where the three proceeds.

Today the world-wide Catholic Church should look exactly like the small community in that room at Pentecost. Or as St. Augustine wrote commenting on the Gospel of John: they should have the theological virtues perfected by the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit pictured by the 153 fishes caught after Easter in Lake Tiberias. This is truly a work of the Holy Spirit, a Pentecost occurring within the Catholic Church.

But this is not the picture we see today. Pope Benedict in his "Caritas in veritate'' bewailed that we are still in the arduous mission of evangelizing the world. What??? We still have to preach "Repent and believe" to the world! And the Holy Father adds that the reason is man's inability to enter unto himself. What??? He is commenting about the Prodigal Son. The world not only has no faith but has not repented!!!! Then he further adds that this was due to the fact that man today has not focused his mind on God...this is like saying that man is unable to make an act of faith as defined in the Catechism.

This is the problem and the analysis of the problem. The problem is that man has no faith and, therefore, outside the Church. And the reason is because he has not focused that faculty of the soul called mind on God and the things of God as St. Paul says. That the Church today should be made up of Catholics whose virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity had been perfected by the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit just like on Pentecost day. What is the Holy Father further saying? That we must all have perfect Faith, Hope and Charity. He used the words 'perfect spirituality' or ' we must be 'contemplatives.' What he is not saying is: that the Church should look like this right now, just like the apostolic boat in lake Tiberias after Easter.... and that most Catholics do not know it but they are outside the Catholic Church. The Holy Father is left with only one question: where is that boat? Wherever it is, the Pope is vehemently urging us in most of his addresses to just get in that boat, which his thesis on St. Bonaventure is telling him is approaching the shore where Christ is waiting. When it hits the shore it will be too late for many of us.

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