Saturday, December 26, 2015

UNCEASING PRAYER


Introduction.
     The teachings of the Catholic Church can be compared to a jig saw puzzle. The, sometimes, thousand of parts are so made that they cling to one another like a leach.  If you lift one part  you can lift the whole thing because by design they cling to one another.

     The same with the truths of the Catholic Church. They cling to one another. Remove one part and the whole structure collapses. St. James described it thus; disobedience to one is disobedience to all. rejection of one truth is rejection of all truths. Rejection of one morals is rejection of all morals. If you commit adultery, you are guilty of murder, stealing, lying, homosexuality, etc.

    Christ commanded us to pray without ceasing. If you disobey the command on how to pray, you disobey all the other commands.
    Though sinners end up disobeying all the commands of Christ by their disobedience to one command, there is, often, that one specific command that he had disobeyed that, as a consequence, caused the disobedience to all the commands.  He must find out what is that specific command. True repentance for that specific command can remove all the rest of the sins that came with that one disobedience.
     So in analyzing the complete lost of Faith in the Church, know that the lost of Faith is, often, due to the one disobedience to God's command that is equivalent to disobedience to all.  In conversion,  just discover that one specific sin that caused the avalanche of sins.  This sins is described by St. Thomas of Aquinas as the 'predominant sin.'
    Of course, the predominant sin could, also, be a hundred predominant sins
    But for now, let us concentrate on one  predominant sin of the Catholic Church today. This is the inability to obey the command of Christ to pray as Christ commanded,..... without ceasing. This is a sin against Faith.  This is the one sin that has caused the destruction of souls today. The Church cannot be destroyed because it always prays unceasingly, that is why she was called 'ecclesia orans' before.

1. According to Divine Revelation, the life of repentance that leads to Faith consist of three acts; fasting, prayer and good works. Among the three, prayer is what makes fasting and good works pleasing to God and vice versa, fasting and good works makes our prayer pleasing to God.

2.  Fasting is essentially fasting of the senses for the avoidance of evil.  Evil must be avoided. But many do not know what is evil. Many in the Vatican do not know that adultery is evil.
     So prayer is needed to know what is evil. Evil cannot be known without the actual grace that comes from prayer.
     When evil is known, it is still difficult to avoid evil. So again, prayer is needed to be able to avoid evil.
     So Fasting and prayer always go together. While fasting helps us avoid hell, it is good works that helps us go to heaven.
   
3. The superior Christian good works can not be known without prayer. The way a true Christian feeds the hungry is superior to the way an ordinary care giver feeds an octogenarian. Prayer is needed to know what are the New Testament good works. So Good works and prayer must go hand in hand.
     And when we know what is good, it is still impossible to do that good. So again prayer is needed to enable us to do that good. Good works and prayer go hand in hand.
     So we have the three elements of repentance; fasting, prayer and good works. Prayer stands in the center to enable man to fast and perform good works. Pope Benedict emphasized this at the end of his encyclical 'Deus Caritas est.'

4. Repentance is unceasing fasting, prayer and good works. But it is prayer that must really be unceasing;  because it is difficult to fast and do good works unceasingly. It could kill.
      Unceasing prayer is a sign of Faith, thus, a sure supernatural sign of Catholicity. The lack of which is a sign that one has no Faith and, therefore, not a Catholic.

 5. What is unceasing prayer? It is the intellectual consciousness of one's sinful presence before the majestic justice of God during one's wakeful hours without having to utter a single word. Words, songs, gestures and other movements may be added to  enhance it but they would not be an important part of unceasing prayer.

     In the concrete, it is the activity of the mind and heart in the presence of God with the aid of the 150 psalms during one's wakeful hours. When done well, this continues even during sleeping hours. Thus prayer becomes, indeed, unceasing.

6. Gradual development.
     It is impossible to pray unceasingly right away. It is a gradual process; from praying a few minutes a day to eventually praying the whole of one's waking hour.
     Again, when is prayer unceasing? Since it is impossible to gauge prayer, let us try to gauge it quantitatively. Unceasing prayer would be ----intellectual consciousness of one's sinfulness in the presence of the Just God, with the agreement of the will to one's state of soul and the intellect's efforts to use the intellectual knowledge of the 150 psalms in the period of one day. This is how the first monks, the first lay Christians, prayed.
   
7. Coming down to the minimum
     The above description of unceasing prayer is impossible for most. Is it that difficult to enter the Kingdom of heaven? Well, Christ said 'yes.'    
     But Christ considered the weak in the Church and had established 'minimums'  below which we cannot go to heaven. In the history of Christianity this was lessen into praying with one's mind and will, with the aid of the 150 psalms spread out in a week in eight divided Divine Offices while making ejaculations in between the eight Divine Offices. This was what was adapted by St. Benedict in his Holy Rule. He calls it the minimum, or the prayer for beginners in the spiritual life. We are not supposed to remain there. We must grow to the higher degrees of prayer.

8. The Official Liturgical prayer of the Catholic Church.
     The eight Divine Office became the official liturgical prayer of the Catholic Church.  This prayer is an intellectual act with the concurrence of the will during the whole waking hour.  This prayer aided by 150 psalms spread out in a week. Anything less than this is no longer unceasing prayer.

9. The deterioration of prayer in the Church.
    With Vatican II, the liturgical prayer for diocesan priests was reduced to 3 or 5 out of 8 divine office, i. e. around 150 psalms a month.

10. The devil had been around.
     When the Church had been first established by Christ, He chained the generals among the devil to allow His Church to grow easily while He continued to allow the private among the devil to continue to test the Church. When the first apostles tried to fight these privates they could not win. Asking Christ how come, Christ answered; 'This kind can only be driven by fasting and prayer.' And these were the privates!

      The high ranking devils were scheduled to be released after God had given the Church enough time to develop in relative peace. The gradual release seems to have started with Pope Pius IX and is in full blast at the beginning of the 20th century. With Vatican II the Church is in the eye of the storm.  Complete  devastation can be seen all around. The destruction of dogmas, of morals, of the governments, of families, of the sexes, of the ecology, of the psyche of religious, priests, bishops and cardinals....and the destruction of the office of the Papacy.

     If the privates among the devil could not be overcome by the apostles who were praying the minimum as described by St. Benedict, do you think you can overcome the Generals with the same minimum? Of course not.

     And from the Pope down to the cardinals, bishops, all diocesan priest, priests and religious brothers and nuns are just doing one third of the dosage of the minimum, 3 or 5 Divine Office out of 8. And considering that if they pray less, they would surely lessen their fasting, good works and private prayer in between!

11. The losing battle.
      With the entire hierarchy, from Pope (since the Jesuits are not known for Liturgical prayer) down to the parish priest, the new instructions to pray is under prescribed (like drinking one anti-biotic when the prescription calls for 5 a day.) they would not even have enough spiritual energy to save their own souls. How much more to save other souls.
     They will not be able to fight the generals; not even the privates, not even the baby devils. They cannot help anybody. 'Without Me you can do nothing.' We possess Him through prayer, fasting and good works as He grants us the gift of Faith. How do we know this state of the Church? Because Christ prophesied it. And the past Popes with the collaboration of the Blessed Virgin had announced that we are in that age.

12. These high ranking devils can only be overcome with unceasing prayer and fasting. With reduced prayer and minimized fasting, the Catholic church is at the mercy of the evil spirits. And this is the situation in the Church today. The evil spirit had completely overwhelmed the Church.
      With the whole world under the power of the devil, as Christ Himself described it in the Mount of temptation, from whom can we learn the way to heaven? From no human being, neither  priests nor Pope. From whom then, for goodness sake?
      The Advent Liturgy, as usual, gives us the right answer. From angels and from stars. As long as, like the shepherds, we leave our homes, our families, the cities and stay in vast, empty fields  watching over the goodness, the sheep. that is in our souls and driving away the evil, like the wolves, in our hearts . If we are like the Magi, looking and studying only heavenly things, like the stars. If and when we are completely detached and unconcerned with the things of the world like them, then we shall learn from angels and stars, not from men. And this is the 'new' evangelization of John Paul II and Benedict XVI....the only sure way to learn how to be saved during these very bad times when the generals among the devils are at war with the Church in this last battle for souls. We shall learn from 'unceasing prayer' as we go to our rooms and lock the door, as the Gospel says.

13. The Shepherds and Magi were not evangelized by missionaries. There were none that time. Neither Chesterton, Newman, Hyde, Benson, Knox. Those excellent converts to Catholicism. And though converts, they defended the Church as the Fathers of the Church did before them. No, they did not learn from missionaries of mercy, nor from seminaries in Louvain or in Rome. They learned from 'unceasing prayer,' using their intellect and free will, praying the 150 psalms in a day, or at least in a week and as much ejaculations in between. "Unceasing prayer" is the 'new' evangelization of John Paul II and Benedict XVI; not the 'new' evangelization propagated after the Bishop's Synod of 2012 up to the present.

Friday, December 18, 2015

The THREE EVANGELIZATIONS.....the 4th Sunday of Advent.

1. There is only one evangelization.
     What is evangelization? It teaches the way that leads to eternal life as taught by Christ. Its formula is found in the Apostolic Commission given by Christ to His Apostles and can be found in the last chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew. There is only one way of evangelizing. Any other way will not work.
     There is only one way of evangelization. But like food, it is given to the people according to their abilities. In the form of milk for babies, mush solids for toddlers and solid meat for adolescents. In the same way, God evangelized the human race according to the three stages of their human development; age of the Old Testament, age of the New Testament and eschatological age.

2. The first stage of evangelization.
     The first stage of evangelization is when God the Father sent prophets to a select group called the Chosen people representing the early Church. The prophets, like John the Baptist preached a set of commands containing the sins man must avoid.  The people listened and kept the list of sins in their minds. The mind, then, communicates with the free will to convince it to consent to avoid what it knows. The free will consents to avoid the evil and informs the intellect accordingly. Having received the free will's consent the intellect now makes an assent to the consent of the free will. And the intellect acts by avoiding the sins learned from the commandments of God.

     This is the first stage of evangelization; it consists in avoiding sins as listed in the 10 commandments. It is the 'Life of Repentance.' This is evangelization; but it is incomplete and not sufficient for salvation. The Fathers of the Old Testament who died in this state had to wait in Limbo because of their incomplete training. It is from Limbo that Christ picked them up after His Resurrection to bring them to heaven.
     Note that there was a prophet who preached the Word of God to the minds of the Chosen people. The mind informed the will to detest sins. The will consented and informed the intellect about it. And the intellect receiving the consent of the will makes its own assent which makes the person make the Act of Repentance.

     This Act of Repentance is what was often forgotten and eventually omitted during the 2012 Bishop's Synod making it impossible for all Catholics to repent and be evangelized.

3. The second stage of evangelization.
     Since man had progressed in his development, he is now capable of higher learning. So God the Son introduced the second stage of evangelization. It is still the same but Jesus Christ added the commands of the New Testament to the commands of the Old Testament. But the procedure is the same. There is still a preacher, like the first prophets. The preacher, Christ and eventually the apostles, preached the Word of God combining the commands of the Old Testament of avoiding evil;  with the commands of the New Testament to do good.
     This was directed to the hearing of the listeners, the Jewish people at the time of Christ.  The listeners will record the Words in their mind will have to inform the free will of these two commands, to avoid evil and do good. The will must consent to avoiding evil and to do good. When the will consents it will, in turn, inform the intellect about its consent. The intellect will respond to the consent by assenting to the learned commands. Finally, the intellect will give the 'signal' for the soul to act by obeying the commands. And this is Faith; an improvement from the life of repentance from the Old Testament. With Faith, the soul enters into the realm of the New Testament.

     Because the Bishop's Synod of 2012 omitted the first stage Old Testament evangelization, they could neither learn nor do the second stage New Testament evangelization. So we have a Catholic Church which is neither Old nor New Testament Church. What we have is a pagan church.

4. The third and final stage of evangelization.
     Evangelization during the eschatological age is identical with the previous evangelization. The eschatological age is now! Though everything else is identical with the previous evangelization, a slight difference must be kept in mind. Now, i.e. as we approach the General Judgment Day, there will be no purgatory, that place of purification for imperfect souls. So its either heaven or hell. So there must be some finality in the process of evangelization. Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI described it as 'new' evangelization. It is the same evangelization but we must pass all test by hook or by crook.

     The third and final stage of evangelization is destined for the future and cannot be described in Sacred Scriptures. Scriptures ended with St. John. The Fathers of the Church ended around the 7th century. We still have occasionally Doctors of the Church but it is becoming rarer and rarer. In fact, they are almost gone. So we cannot read this third stage of evangelization anywhere except in the form of type or figures in the Gospel. And this is precisely described in the Gospel of the 4th Sunday of Advent.

5. The third and final stage of evangelization in Mary and Elizabeth.
     Mary went to Elizabeth and greets her. As Elizabeth heard Mary's greetings, the child in her womb leapt. And the child cause her mother to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
     We have just described the classical evangelization. Like the above we have a preacher, Mary. We have a listener, Elizabeth who received the greeting of Mary in her mind. The Greeting in her mind is sent to the free will, personified by the baby John who leapt with joy thus showing his consent. And upon experiencing the consent and joy of the will the intellect, personified by Elizabeth was filled with grace because of the assent of her mind to the truth before her. Confronted by Mary with the Infant Jesus in her womb, Elizabeth responded with an act of Faith inspired by John in her womb.

     There is absolutely no difference between the three different stages. They are identically describing the Act of Faith that is the result of proper evangelization.

6. Let us go into detail in describing the Gospel showing why it is the 'new' evangelization of John Paul II and Benedict.
     First; there is a preacher. Here the preacher is Mary, the personification of the Catholic Church, and she is with the child Jesus in her womb. The preacher must be the entire Catholic Church that is already united with the humanity of Christ which is the first degree in being inside the Church. The entire community must have all the visible signs of the true Church of Christ; either the four visible signs enumerated in the Nicene Creed or the 15 Marks of the Church described by St. Robert Bellarmine in in 'de controversiis.'
     No. The evangelist must not be one person. It must be the entire community. When St. Augustine evangelized England, he brought with him a whole community. When St. Boniface evangelized Germany he preached together with an entire community. In fact, all of them were martyred.
     Here the whole community is preaching the truths of the Catholic Church. It does not consist in the community preaching but in showing their way of life to others. While the others learn, not from an individual, but from the entire community. Remember that the lesson of 'Love of neighbor' can only be taught by a community; and not by an individual. "See, how they love one another." The pagans wouldn't say that unless they are beholding an entire community. They would not say that if they only see one person preaching.
     Mary with child, therefore, personifies the whole Catholic Church that had entered the Catholic Church and are in the degree of being united with the humanity of Christ.
    
     Secondly; Mary preached to Elizabeth who was not in the city. She was in the mountains. Just as the listeners of John went to the desert to listen to him, Elizabeth was in the mountains awaiting the Word of God who would go to her. The Catholic community, personified by Mary with Child goes to preach only to those in the mountain, separated from worldly pleasures thus have hearts, personified by John, that are not attached to worldly things, but only to the Word of God.
    
     Thirdly; Mary utters words. Elizabeth listens to the words and treasures them in her heart, personified by John. While John recognizes the treasures and rejoices at it. John's consent to the word enable Elizabeth to be filled with grace that will enable her to assent with her mind.

     Fourthly; Elizabeth's will, personified by John and Elizabeths intellect, personified by Elizabeth, join together to cause an act of Faith......Elizabeth believed that Mary was the mother of God and that the child in her womb is God. Elizabeth believed that she was face to face with the true Catholic Church. This is the 'new' evangelization that John Paul II and Benedict were talking about. It is the only evangelization that will work in these days described by the Sundays of Advent when the Sun, the moon and the stars will lose its light thus bringing total darkness in the world. A darkness where almost all know nothing about the truths; and the few who know the truth are living lives of unceasing prayer.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

HOW TO RECEIVE THE MERCY OF GOD......3rd Sunday of Advent

1. Advent is preparation for General Judgment Day.
     We read news on many people killed by terrorists. And the news are concerned on who are the terrorists and what weapons they used. We read news about passenger jets crashing. And governments are more concerned about the black box and where the missing tail and wings are. We read about global warming. And the world is concerned on how to maintain a 1 degree rise in temperature to avoid death and destruction caused by storms.
     But nobody ever asked what happened to the souls of those thousands who have perished. Are they in heaven or in hell. Really. Not a bit of concern on the eternal destiny of those souls. Even the Vatican never asked that question being more concern on how to enjoy this world by allowing divorce for married couples and citizenship for migrants.
     But what about the souls of those innocent babies in abortion clinics, Christians in the Middle East, excursionists on crashing planes, vacationers in tsunamis devastated beaches, bishops and priests who do not know the way to heaven, dioceses and parishes who do not have a single visible signs of the true church, and those attending concerts in France......what about their souls?

2. The lost of the sense of the spiritual.
     There are two realistic realms in the world; the spiritual and the natural. Everybody is conscious of the natural realm. A handful is conscious of the spiritual realm. And yet it is the spiritual realm that matters. The natural realm last only a life time. The supernatural realm last for all eternity. Though we have a spiritual faculty, the intellect, it cannot perceive the supernatural without the grace of God.
 
     The mind needs the grace of God to perceive the realm of the spiritual.And grace is not given to everybody. It is given to very few; it is given only to those who are inside the Catholic Church.  How do we enter the true Church and receive this grace? The answer is given by the 3rd Advent Gospel  Mass message.

3. Grace is given to the humble of heart.
    The Beatitudes are the eight different degrees of grace and holiness. We receive more graces as we ascent to the higher Beatitude. But the lowest degree of Beatitude that is the proper disposition to enable us to receive the grace of God, like mercy, is 'to be poor in Spirit.'
     To be poor in spirit is to be humble in a spiritual sense.

4. How to become humble in spirit.
     We must be humble in the faculties of our spirit. And the faculties of the soul are the mind and the heart. And this is the way to be humble in spirit as taught by the Catholic Church on the 3rd Sunday of Advent.
     Fasting.....prayer......and good works. These three activities had been taught in the Old Testament and perfected in the New Testament. They are three activities of man's human nature and described in the three Readings in the 3rd Sunday of Advent.

5. Fasting
    The first is Fasting. This is exemplified by the publican and soldier who questioned St. John; what shall we do? Publicans, like tax collectors, and soldiers tend to be corrupt. The first, because they handle money that is their own and tend to demand more  than what is their due.as Soldiers, because they carry firearms they  tend to bully others. John told them to avoid their sinful tendencies. That is fasting. To refrain from sinning.

6. Fasting and prayer.
     But it is impossible for most men to know what is evil because of his tendency to rationalize all his deeds. So man needs to pray to know his sins. Man must pray to know all his sins, specially his secret sins. So Prayer must accompany all attempt to examine one's conscience in preparation for confession.
     And after man has known his sins, it becomes nearly impossible for him to avoid those sins in the future. So man must pray to get the help needed to avoid those sins in the future. So here, man needs prayer both to know his sins and to avoid them in the future. It is this lack of prayer that he is unable to do both. Fasting and Prayer is the baptism of water that St. John was preaching.

7. Good works.
     Avoiding sin saves us from hell but does not bring us to heaven. What brings us to heaven is doing good works. What are good works. The New Testament specifically enumerates good works. We are, often, acquainted with the corporal and spiritual works of mercy but there are countless good works. The Rule of St. Benedict list more than 70 in his 'Instruments of Good Works.'
    No one can do Good Works unless he has learned what is evil and have avoided them. Only then will he be ready to think about and do good works as described in the New Testament. You have to finish the Old Testament before you can begin with the New Testament.

     You can only understand the realm of Good works after you have abandoned the realm of sin. And to know what are the Good works pleasing to God, you need grace which can be attained through prayer. So there we have, again, the combination of Good Works and Prayer. And to be able to put any good work into action we still need more graces which comes with prayer.

8. The importance of prayer.
     See the importance of prayer. It has to go hand in hand with fasting and good works. In fact, it has to go hand in hand with practically everything you have to do for the salvation of your soul. With fasting, prayer and good works, prayer is more important .

9. Winning God's mercy.
     There are two kinds of mercy. The first kind is mercy as a virtue; this is an act of the intellect and the will as all virtues are perfect human acts. As such it is based on the virtue of Justice as its root as can be seen in the list of Beatitudes. And its flowering is in purity of heart. The 3rd Sunday of Advent mass (the above) describes how to receive this virtue of mercy.
     The second kind of mercy is purely emotional. It is not a human act thus does not entail an act of the intellect and will. It does not come from Justice and does not lead to purity of heart. It leads towards a licentious life of passion and vice. And this is the mercy of the 'Year of Mercy.' No matter how many cathedral doors you enter will not get an ounce of mercy for your soul.
     The present 'Year of Mercy' is not the mercy of the Gospel. It is a relatively new concept; less; than 60 years old. And so, according to St. Robert Bellarmine it cannot be the mercy of the Gospel but a protestant-emotional mercy.
   

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Worse thing I ever did.


1. Teaching catechism
    I am teaching the 'Compendium' of the catechism of Pope Benedict XVI when the topic on the four visible signs of the Catholic Church caught my attention. This is part of the  the Nicene Creed; 'I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.' I, always had the impression that all Christian sects would have these same signs until I noticed that these were four visible signs exclusively belonging to the Catholic Church and which differentiates the Catholic Church from all other religions and sects.
     These visible signs were not chosen by the Catholic Church. It was instituted by God, Himself, from the beginning of time. Today even the Catholic Church does not have them.
     It gradually dawned on me that this is the only way the Catholic Church can be picked out from the many christian sects and the true Catholics from the fake Catholics.  Only the true Church have these visible signs, no one else have them. The ones who have  these visible signs are Catholics and those who do not have them are not Catholics. This should be very clear.
                                                           
2. Study the signs carefully.
     So we mastered  these four signs mentioned in the Nicene Creed; One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. A cursory search in the Internet and we found an avalanche of different signs of all religions presenting their own versions of signs. But Catholics are supposed to stick to the visible signs in the Nicene Creed. They are the most convincing visible signs of the true Church because they were established by God and not by Catholics.

3. Aiming the visible signs at oneself.
    The four visible signs mentioned in the Nicene Creed is slightly difficult to understand. So let us use its expanded version according to St. Robert Bellarmine described in 15 Marks. These are easier to understand and easier to apply; but remember these are just the expanded version of the four visible signs from the Nicene Creed.
    The first natural thing to do is to find out if I am a Catholic.  All attempts to convince myself that I am a Catholic failed. I did not have three of the visible signs. The more visible signs the better. But I only had 'one,' 'One' because I am one but that was not what it meant. So  0 out of four.
                                                                       
4. Aiming the visible signs outside of self.
     I tried to apply these visible signs to the religious monastic congregation I belong to.  Note my observation: I, also, could  not find any of the visible signs of the true Church in my order. Of course, if my monastic congregation has the visible signs, I, being a member, should, also,  imbibe those same signs. Though it is possible for my monastic congregation to have the signs while I don't have them, myself,  since it is possible for the congregation to be the wheat, while I am the cockle. But both of us did not have the visible signs of the true Church.

5. Aiming the visible signs at my bishop and his diocese.
     After mastering these signs I added more to my scarce knowledge by studying the writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.  I, then pointed my attention to my bishops and the diocese,  I used the four visible signs from the Creed and the 15 Marks according to St. Robert Bellarmine whose 'De controversiis' discussing the expanded visible marks of the Church had just been translated into English.
     Not that they did not show the visible signs of the true Church.... but  I could not find any of the visible signs of the Catholic Church in the diocese and in the three bishops. It could be because both my readings and application were defective. But remember that these signs should be visible for all men to see. And they should be visible in those who are truly Catholic. Distraught that I could not find any sign in my Diocese......
      I applied the visible signs again to other bishops of other dioceses here in my country. Now,  a handful of bishops seems to have a few of the signs.... not all; but their diocese did not have any of the visible signs of Catholicity. This means that the signs were not sipping down from the bishop to the laymen. Though it can sip down later on. It is beginning to appear that, though a handful of bishops had a few of the visible signs of Catholicity, their dioceses did not show any sign.

     It is possible for a layman to have the signs while his own diocese and bishop do not have the visible signs of Catholicity. By applying these visible norms to other bishops and dioceses showed St. Bellarmine's Marks and my application is working because the difference between true Catholics and fakes are appearing.

6. Aiming the visible signs at bishops and dioceses abroad.
     Since the four visible signs of the true Church and St. Bellarmine's 15 Marks of the true Church  are visible marks of the true Church and can be applied by all men to all men, then, I must be able to apply them to bishops and dioceses abroad.
      I am in contact with the local bishops, but I am not in contact with the bishops abroad. But I can get information about them through books, writings, news and videos about them. The next  likely target is the Bishop's Synod.
     It was immediately evident I could not find any of the signs of true Catholicity among a few German and Swiss bishops, though they could have had of which I was not conscious.  While some of the Polish and African bishops had visible signs, at least, a few of the visible signs of the true Church. (When a person have a few of the visible signs, the probability is great that he has or will eventually have the rest of the visible signs. The signs appear accordingly as the community grows in Catholic Spirituality. The more spiritual, the more signs appear.
     While many African bishops show that they are truly Catholic through the visible signs of Catholicity, however, the videos of the papal visit to Africa showed visible signs that the Diocese were not quite Catholic. Which means, again,  that the Catholicity of the Bishops are not sipping down to the Faithful. While  the signs visible among  the Bishops of Poland seems to be sipping down to the faithful.

7. Aiming the visible signs at Pope Francis.
     Using the treatise of St. Robert Bellarmine 'On the Notes of the true Church'  and applying on me and those around me was fun. I could clearly see through the visible signs who were Catholic and who were not. The 15 visible signs of St. Bellarmine, which is the expanded version of the four visible signs of the Nicene Creed, was so clear there was no danger of making a mistake in judgment who was Catholic and who was not. Of paramount importance now for all Catholics is; 'is the Pope Catholic.'

8.  Aiming at the Pope.
    Then there was the controversy about the validity of the papacy of Pope Francis. Many arguments were used that could not resolve the issue.  It was clear that if we use the official norm by which the Catholic Church can be recognize, it would be very easy to settle the issue. It is so simple. If Pope Francis did not have the four or 15 marks of the Church, then he is not a Catholic. In which case he cannot be Pope because he is not even a Catholic.
     I first applied, both the four and 15 visible signs to Pope John Paul ll,  using his encyclical 'Veritatis Splendor.' That encyclical alone shows Pope John Paul II having the most important visible signs. It did not show all the signs but as we mentioned all the signs appearing together is rare to see because of lack of information. Then I applied the visible signs to Pope Benedict XVI.
     Since Pope Benedict has more writings it was easier to find all the signs present in him. Specifically  sign no. 12 in St. Bellarmine, which is rare even among the many of those who have most of the signs,  was present in Benedict. This can be seen in his treatise 'Theology of history of Philosophy according to St.Bonaventure.'
     The successful applications on Pope John Paul II and Benedict  prompted us to apply the test to Pope Francis. Confident in knowing that he is a Jesuit and might have known the treatise of St. Robert Bellarmine who was also a Jesuit, he should have checked himself if he was a Catholic.

9. My heart sunk.
     To resolve the ongoing discussion on the papacy of Pope Francis, I applied both the four visible signs from the Nicene Creed and the 15 Marks of St. Robert Bellarmine on Pope Francis to find out if he is Catholic or not. I repeat, there is no other way of finding out if a person or a church is Catholic except this way.
     Again, I am not saying that Pope Francis does not have any of the visible signs of Catholicity; neither the four nor the 15 signs. What I am saying is that I could not find any of those signs; either the four nor the 15. Instead, what I found were the signs of protestantiam which St. Robert Bellarmine described as  the opposites of the 15 Marks of the true Church.
     Probably I am working on this post too late at night and I could be mentally tired in analyzying. So my plea is this: can one of Pope's colleague, any Jesuit, pick up this treatise of St. Robert Bellarmine, their colleague, and show that Pope Francis, another colleage, has the 15 visible signs that he is a Catholic. I have tried and found none of the signs in him nor in the Vatican.
   
10. Conclusion
     Now, I have a stock pile of research information on the visible signs of the true Church as found in the Nicene Creed.  These are the findings: that I and my confreres in the religious monastic community do not have the four visible signs of the Catholic Church. That I cannot find any of these signs in my three bishops and the entire diocese. That I cannot find, also, any of the visible signs amongst  the parishes  though a few priests show a few signs, which is a sign of hope for the parish. That I can find a few visible signs in a few  other bishops, but they  are ruling diocese that have absolutely no visible sign of Catholicity. In short, like Ireland, the Philippines, formerly the only Catholic nation in the Far East,  does not have a single visible signs that it is the true Church of Christ. .
     Further study shows that many bishops and their entire dioceses abroad, like in the US and Europe, do not have the visible signs of Catholicity; though a few bishops have a few signs, which is good enough, but we cannot find any sign in the dioceses.
     That many of the African Bishops have visible signs of Catholicity but their parishes and dioceses do not show the same signs as was evident in their protestantized liturgy. And lastly, that I cannot find a single visible sign of Catholicity mentioned in the Nicene Creed and by St. Robert Bellamine in Pope Francis and in the Vatican.
      I do not know what to do with all these information.  This study is the worse study I ever did. It has given me nightmares.  Shouldn't everybody make the same study in their own locality basing their study both on the four visible signs as found the Nicene Creed; and basing the study also on the 15 Marks of the Church by St. Robert Bellarmine (which had been timely translated into English for our own convenience)?  And see if you get the same results.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

The IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

1. The Liturgical Year and the Immaculate Conception.
     The Immaculate Conception occurs in the Liturgical Year when we are approaching the Day of General Judgment celebrated during Christ the King. Though it teaches us how to prepare for the Day of Judgment, it is celebrated after Christ the King but still is a preparation for Christ the King.
     Preparation for Christ the King is two fold; the negative preparation wherein we are warned of the evil things that will happen. And secondly, the truths we must know to save our souls.
     With regard with the first, the Gospels before Christ the King and their attachments which is the Sundays of Advent remind us that during these days the sun, moon and stars will darkened. This refers to the priests, bishops and cardinals who will be utterly ignorant of the Catholic Faith.
     With regard with the second, the Gospels had been describing to us the Church. Today the Church must be like Mary, the Immaculate Conception. The Church must be immaculate in that her members must be free from mortal sins. This is commonly referred to as the wheat. While the evil elements are referred to as the cockles.

2. This vision of the Catholic Church as the Immaculate Conception is confirmed by the narration of the apostolic boat trip in Lake Tiberias wherein the fishes caught were only good and holy fishes. Further confirmation of this image is shown in the second visible sign of the true Church of Christ that we recite in the Nicene Creed......Holy. The Church was not immaculately conceived but it must be immaculate by the end times, that is why this feast  continues to  preparing us for the General Judgment of God.

3. The Church as personified by Mary's Immaculate Conception
     During the time of St. Augustine, the Donatist believed that the true Church of Christ was existing only in Africa. Augustine refuted them but the controversy was so intense both sides went into a civil war. And confusion on which is the true Church continued through the centuries. It was intense during the Great Schism and worsened during the time of Luther. Today there are thousands of Christian sects that it is impossible for most to know which is the true Church.
     God, from the beginning knew this would happen so He gave His true Church four visible signs that are enumerated in the Nicene Creed. And the Fathers of the Church elaborated on these four signs and spread it out into 7, 9 and even up to 15 as St. Robert Bellarmine did.

4. There is absolute no other way by which we can know the true Catholic Church except through these four visible signs or through, my favorite, the 15 Marks of the true Church according to the Jesuit Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine. When both four visible signs and 15 Marks describe 'Holy', they always refer to the  fact that the true Church is 'Immaculate' like the Blessed Virgin Mary.

5. The feast of the Immaculate Conception is immediately followed by the feast of  Our Lady of Guadalupe, principal patroness of the Philippines. The feast tells us where to find the Church. Our Lady of Guadalupe is the Woman of the Apocalypse who left the cities of sin and flew to the purifying desert. This tells us where to find the Church. The Jubilee Year of Mercy does not tell us where to find the Church. Though Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI did tell us.
     An Immaculate Church in the desert amidst a hierarchy that is in darkness,  should tell us where to look for her.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

THE HOUR OF GRACE - during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.

1. Rosa Mystica during the  Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
     There is a devotion introduced during an apparition of Rosa Mystica specially for men and women religious; and the diocesan priests. This devotion was meant to help raise their level of spirituality. It is popularly known as the apparition of Our Lady under her title of Rosa Mystica.
   
2. This devotion is practiced  during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception.
     It is called the 'Hour of grace.' It is similar to the 'Year of Mercy' except that it is better. It only takes one hour. It is prayed from 12:00 to 1:00 pm on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. It begins with praying Psalm 50 (Miserere Mei) three times with extended arms. Then it is followed by silent prayer where petitions for forgiveness of one's sins, for the conversion of one's loved ones and perseverance at the hour of death are made.
     Our Lady promised numerous graces during this hour. It is superior to Pope Francis 'Year of Mercy' because the 'Hour of grace' contains all the elements taught by Christ for souls to receive the mercy of God; namely, prayer, fasting and good works. These three elements were already taught in the Old Testament but it was further explained in the New Testament. It makes up the so called 'life of repentance.'  In Scriptures, God promises to be merciful to whoever repents.
     We can obtain mercy within one hour in praying 'the hour of grace.'  Of course, this occurs only once a  year during the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. Doing it once a year during the Immaculate Conception should be very effective because the three elements that makes us deserving of God's mercy are present.
     There is the prayer of repentance with the prayer of King David. This is repeated three times to create the atmosphere of unceasing prayer. This prayer is accompanied by outstretched arms to add inconvenience in the spirit of fasting. Then it is followed by silent prayer for neighbor which is a form of good works. Again, these three are the elements of repentance that makes one worthy to receive graces from God, specially mercy.

3. This is superior to the "Year of Mercy," in that the latter does not have the elements which Christ taught as necessary for the reception of Divine Mercy. Without those important element taught by the Old Testament and perfected by St. Augustine nothing will happen the whole 'Year of Mercy.'
     God had promised to show His Mercy to all who are repentant. Without repentance one is in danger of facing the Justice of God.

4. With the tendency of tolerating sins as evident during the last Bishop's Synod, there is the danger that the 'Year of Mercy' will end up instead a 'Year of Justice.' And we don't want that.  Since no one can escape the Justice of God

5. The Immaculate Conception is aptly celebrated during Advent. Advent being a prolongation of the preparation for Christ the King, which reminds us of the General Judgement of God. Thus the importance of learning the elements of repentance so we can approach the Judgment seat of God with confidence. Once a year, for one hour, Rosa Mystica reminds us what is needed to surely receive a favorable judgment from the throne of Christ the King.

Monday, December 07, 2015

THE DESERT. 2nd Sunday of Advent


1. The desert.

     St. Thomas of Aquinas, in commenting on the Gospel of St. Luke, wrote that the desert was the symbol of 'the Catholic Church.' Referring to the words; 'the word of the Lord was spoken to John son of Zechariah 'in the desert.' God talks directly to souls that are in the 'mystical' desert, the Church.
     John was preaching in the desert. And people who wanted to learn from John went to him in the desert. The classroom seems to be the desert, the Church.
     The Jewish people when they were slaves in Egypt was brought by God to the desert. Prophets were usually living in the desert. Christ, Himself, frequented the desert and His 30 years of hidden life was described as a desert experience.
     In the New Testament, while Christ was living His hidden life, John was living in the desert and preached in the desert. Both the 'hidden life' of Christ at home and Johns life in the desert were considered as 'living in the desert.'
     The first Christian communities of the New Testament were found either in the desert, the forests, in an island or on top of a mountain. In any way, they were isolated as if in a desert. And the word 'mystical desert' have been used to describe that experience. The Church was 'the desert.'

2. What is the 'Mystical desert?'
     It is a place where the baptism of repentance is accomplished in preparation for the forgiveness of sin; the forgiveness occurs upon  receiving the supernatural virtue of Faith that makes a soul a Catholic. The baptism of repentance preached by St. John did not forgive sins. It led to the forgiveness of sins; which is accomplished by the virtue of Faith. So it is Faith that forgives sins, of which repentance is the preparation.

     In the New Testament,  both the baptism of repentance and the Faith which forgives sins are accomplished within the Catholic Church or within 'the desert.'  Repentance is the preparation while Faith is the entrance into the Church. Both repentance and Faith continue towards their  perfection  within the desert or within the Catholic Church. The life of repentance and the life of Faith continues towards the perfection of Charity.
                                                                     
3. The 'Mystical desert' is the monastic life.
     In Patristic spirituality, the life of repentance leading to the life of Faith is often referred to as the beginning of the monastic life. And this life leads towards the perfection of Charity in the eremitical life. In fact, this is how things were in the early Christian times. Candidates to the Catholic religion entered a monastic community for their catechumenate where they proceed towards the life of Faith until they reach Charity. Monasticism was not invented by monks. It is none other than the process of baptism of repentance that leads to the forgiveness of sin and initiation into the Catholic Church.
     In short, monasticism is the process by which persons enter the Catholic Church.
    
      Sadly, this is not what is happening today. Souls do not enter the Catholic Church through the monastic experience, which is the proper doorway that leads to the sheepfold. They enter through other doors which are not the proper doors.
      And monasteries are no longer doorways that lead to the sheepfold but doorways that lead to the wide road that leads somewhere else.  Instead of being a desert apart from the world by which repentance and the virtue of Faith is attained, monasteries had become worldly traps where vices accumulate.

4. The desert, like monasteries, were places where souls make ready the way for the Lord.
    Within the desert or monasteries crooked ways are straighten, valleys are filled, hills are leveled. In short, it is in monasteries that virtues are developed and vices are removed. This work is easier accomplished in the perfect ambiance of the monastery; it is impossible in the world. It is possible, only, within the Catholic Church. It is impossible outside the Church.
     In previous posts we have seen the importance of knowing whether we are  inside or outside the Church. And we shall, still, continue to dwell in this important topic since the Advent season is showing us the importance of being in the desert like John the Baptist.

5. All men 'in the desert' shall see the salvation of God,' the Gospel ends.     So, it is easier to see the salvation of God within a good monastery than any where else. Today it is still difficult to accomplish this in monasteries because this knowledge of monastic spirituality is  no longer available in most monasteries. . St. Augustine had taught it well. St. Benedict taught it well. But though the Rule of St. Benedict was considered for beginners, many monasteries have found it too difficult to put into practice.

6. St. Bonaventure's 'new monasticism.'
     St. Bonaventure wrote about the 'new monasticism.' For him 'new monasticism' is the way to prepare for the second coming of Christ. It is the the same monasticism introduced by St. John the Baptist and St. Benedict.  It is living in the desert wherewith the Word of God can come to the soul. These words in the Gospel wherein 'the Word was spoken to John' is the 'new evangelization'  in preparation for the second coming of Christ. This is  pre-figured during  Advent.

7. The two comings of Christ.  Learning from preachers and learning directly from God.
     The classical evangelization as taught in the Gospel of St. Matthew and as connected with the first coming of Christ, we see men preaching to men. So we see prophets teaching the Chosen people in the Old Testament.  When Christ came the first time during Christmas Day,  He chose 12 apostles so men can continue to preach to men.

     The 'new evangelization' pre-figured by St. John is when God directly teaches men who are staying in the desert. Unlike the 'classical' where men teach men; the 'new' is when God teaches men.  In the 'new' evangelization' of John Paul II and Benedict XVI the Word of God is spoken by God to souls in the desert as it occurred to John. Pope Benedict had rightly called it contemplation.

8, The 'new evangelization' of John Paul II and Benedict XVI is this.
     today, like St. John the Baptist, souls will be led by the Holy Spirit (through actual grace) to go to the 'mystical' desert (like the privacy of one's private room). There God, Himself, will come to this soul through the Word. The Word will teach the soul in the desert the baptism of repentance. And as the soul puts into practice the life of repentance, the Word will bestow on him the gift of Faith that will forgive all their past sins.
     Upon learning all the commands of Christ through the Word, he will begin to go around the region of his own Jordan to preach what he had learned from the Word. So people would be going to him as people went to John in the desert. It is by teaching the baptism of repentance in the desert to people who are going to the desert that the soul grows in the virtue of Charity thus becoming a perfect Catholic.
     In effect, the soul goes to the desert; upon attaining the baptism of repentance that leads to the forgiveness of sins, he will occasionally leave the desert to go to the world of unbelievers to invite them to go to the desert to listen to preachers with the spirit of John the Baptist. These unbelievers upon listening from the 'new' Johns will in turn live in the desert to put into the practice the baptism of repentance. This will make them worthy to receive the gift of Faith that will forgive all their past sins. And the process of the 'new' evangeliation continues.

9.  This is the Advent spirit in the 'new evangelization' of John Paul II and Benedict XVI which nobody seems to know. The Bishop's Synod of 2012 was supposed to discuss this so the bishops can master it, but instead they omitted the topic to the surprise of Pope Benedict.

10. Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Therese of Lisieux.
     Both our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Therese are the patroness and co-patroness of the 'new' evangelization. They are, also, the symbols of the Church now in the desert. Both did what St. John the Baptist did.
      St. Therese was a Carmelite nun who entered the monastic life (the desert)  where she learned so much, not from human teachers but directly from the Word. Thus she became a contemplative after she had entered the monastic desert experience. Then, she never physically left the desert or monastery. From inside she preached to those outside in the world and invited them to, likewise, leave the world and enter the desert to learn the baptism of repentance of St. John that is a preparation for the forgiveness of past sins.  St. Therese was an excellent example of the 'new evangelization' in that she was a contemplative who preached to the world without having to leave the monastic life.
     Our Lady of Guadalupe  better represents the idea of the Catholic Church in the desert. This is described in the Apocalypse with the the Great Sign in the Sky, a Woman clothed with the Sun. Note that she was once in the world. And then, God gives her two giant wings. With these she leaves the world and flies to the desert in a place specially prepared by God for her and her children.
     Take note of the Gospel about the vineyard where God dissatisfied with the unfaithful tenants take away the vineyard from them and gave it to others who would better take care of it. The Church is taken away from unfaithful tenants ( priests, bishops, cardinals) and will given to others. To whom?
To the contemplatives of the 'new' evangelization.
     Our Lady of Guadalupe (the Great Sign of the Apocalypse) and St. Therese are personifications of the Catholic Church, who like John the Baptist in the Advent Gospels, left the world and went to the desert (the contemplative life through the  'new' monasticism of Bonaventure) where the Word of God came directly to them giving them perfect knowledge on how to receive the baptism of repentance leading to receiving Faith, the consequence of which is the forgiveness of all their past sins without the possibility of committing those sins again.
   
11. The last battle begins.
     With the devil controlling the world and the Catholic Church in the desert with the Woman, the last battle begins. The devil is trying to drown the woman in the desert by flooding it with worldliness. But God opens the desert floor to swallow the waters of worldliness.
     By this time the lines had been drawn; the left and the right. The angels are in between sorting out each soul. The time of polarization is going on right now. The angels are approaching each souls binding them up according as whether they are cockles or wheat. All signs are showing that it is separating time. Where are the angels putting each one of us?  The latin work of St. Robert Bellarmine has just been timely translated into English. It is entitled the 15 notes of the True Church. It is an enhanced explanation of the four visible signs of the true Church enumerated in the Nicene Creed, expanded into 15 signs. They are the signs that we are inside the Catholic Church; the signs that we are in the desert with John the Baptist, with St. Therese and Our Lady of Guadalupe (the personification of the Woman of the Apocalypse). Using the 15 Marks of St. Robert Bellarmine, we must all find out where we stand; inside or outside the Catholic Church. Because on this will depend our salvation or damnation.

Thursday, December 03, 2015

IS POPE FRANCIS CATHOLIC?


1. What is he?
     Pope Francis had been described in many ways; from Pope to heretic. And he had been really a cause of great confusion lately that many cannot make out what he is. They say he is  gay for having seen him wearing the rainbow insignia of the gay movement and walking hand in hand with a gay priest in the Vatican gardens. He had been called a Protestant for introducing a new kind of Christianity based on his book 'Church of compassion and mercy' which is very Protestant.

2. The first serious accusation.
     One of the earliest accusation is that Pope Francis' election was invalid for the violation of Conclave rules. A conclave rule made by Pope John Paul II prohibited cardinals to campaign in any way and for any group to agree with any candidate for any course of action alien to the sanctification of the  Church.
     Cardinals Martini, Daneels, Kasper et al, who opposed Joseph Ratzinger and lost continued to push their agenda during the last conclave by campaigning for a course of action with  Mario Bergoglio  in starting a new protestant sect based on the spirit of the world. Having won the papacy based on this violation of conclave rule, some feel Bergoglio's election was invalid.
    This seems difficult to prove so nobody have pursued this venue.

3. Another popular writer introduced the invalidity of the resignation of Pope Benedict which would make the Papacy of Francis, also, invalid. The main argument consist in an analysis of the resignation letter of Pope Benedict. This is, also, quite difficult to pursue.

4. Lately, the more popular basis used for doubting the papacy of Francis is heresy. The Catholic Church has a list of heresies found in the Syllabus of Pius IX and Pius X. While almost every cardinal, bishop and priest can be seen as guilty of one heresy or another, it appeared that Pope Francis is guilty of several serious heresies specially liberalism, modernism and apostasy based on his behavior during the last two Bishop's Synod.  This is easy to prove and had been proven by a few very good theologians, one of whom is Cardinal Arinze, former head of the Congregation of worship and the sacraments.
     If Pope Francis is guilty of heresy, he cannot be Pope because a heretic cannot be head of the Catholic Church.
     The hierarchy, no longer used to study and condemn heresies, can  hardly pursue this line of thinking.

5. Newsweek came up with this rhetorical question which is worthwhile pursuing. 'Is Pope Francis Catholic?' If this question can be answered it will settle all the issues confronting the confusing Papacy of Pope Francis.
     Can this question be answered? Of all the queries above pertaining to the state of the papacy of Pope Francis, this is the easiest question to answer; and this will resolve all the questions raised on the papacy of Francis and lay the above issues to rest.
                                                                        
6. Answering the question of Newsweek.
     Yes, the Catholic Church has the capability of answering that question; and with great facility and clarity. Because of the so-called visible signs of the true Church mentioned in the Nicene Creed that Catholics recite every Sunday at Mass. 'I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.'
      That is the only way a Church can be recognized as Catholic and a person  be identified as Catholic. It is the only way a Diocese or a parish can be identified as Catholic. It is the only way the occupant in the Vatican can be recognized as Catholic.
     There are many other ways but this is considered classically as the most reliable visible sign of Catholicity. If these signs are present, it is Catholic and everything else follows. If these signs are absent it is not Catholic and everything else follows.

     Newsweek asked the right question. It gave some answers supporting that he is not Catholic but gave unconvincing answers. Then the journal gave reasons why he is Catholic but they are not the doctrines mentioned in the Nicene Creed. So at the end of the article the question remained unanswered.

7. Why is it easy to answer that question.
     The visible signs of the true Church was given by God to His Church from the very beginning, so all men can visibly recognize the true Church easily and immediately. So that all men may be converted and enter His true Church for the salvation of their souls.
     These four signs, One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic......are signs visible to the senses. Even the blind can know the true Church. And since the salvation of souls depends on knowing and having these signs, God made it easy for all men to know these signs.....but quite difficult to possess these signs. 

8. Knowing and having these signs.
     It takes very little effort to know and understand these signs; though it is quite difficult to possess these signs.  It is easy to know and understand these signs, and God made it so for the benefit of man's salvation. In effect, it is easy for a person to know if he has these signs or not. And it is easy, also, for any person to know if others have it or not......precisely because they are visible, human signs meant to be recognized by all men.
     It is man's obligation to know if he has the four visible signs; also, to know if his wife and children have these signs, for obvious reasons. He should know if his parish priest and diocesan bishop has these signs, otherwise he should have nothing to do with them. But most important all Catholics should know if the Pope has the four visible signs. Yes, we can know if he is Catholic with the Catholic Church's ancient visible signs recited during Sunday Mass.

9. Other expanded explanation.
     The four visible signs in the Nicene Creed is slightly difficult to understand. Some good theology is needed to do so. So some Fathers of the Church expanded on the same four signs so that most men can easily understand them. St. Augustine expanded then into six, while St. Jerome reduced them in two. St. Vincent of Lerin into three while Diredo and Pedro de Soto added three others. Nicholas Sanders expanded them into six while Miguel de Medina into eleven. Gunter of Peter places twelve visible signs. My favorite is S. Robert Bellarmine's 15 Marks of the true Church.  With these 15 marks one can with great certainty judge if one is a Catholic or if a Church is truly Catholic.

10. So, if we wish to find the possible answer to the above questions the four visible signs of the Nicene Creed or the 15 Marks of the Church of St. Robert Bellarmine, is the only way to get the answer. And from there we can make the other conclusions.
     This is the challenge. To answer the above question we must first ask ourselves; 'are we Catholics.' From there we can safely go to asking the question; 'is the Pope Catholic.'  And from here we can proceed to, is our parish priest, is our bishops, is our cardinal, etc, etc...Catholic? And spend the rest of our lives with sleepless nights, because the answer will shock us.

11. So? Is he or is he not?
     First, ask yourself that question. Then, ask yourself if Pope Francis is or is not. Unless you answer the first question you cannot answer the second.