Monday, February 29, 2016

I AM NOT LIKE THEM.....and the virtue of Penance.

1. I am not like them. 
     Pride, the sin of the devil, is difficult to discern.
And likewise, all the more, its opposite, humility; though both being in the natural level can be easily understood. But man, because of his fallen nature, has become totally incapable of knowing if he is proud; since pride makes him blind to his sins. This makes repentance impossible for him. Humility, on the other hand, being contrary to the fallen human nature, though natural, is even more difficult to discern; because of the pride that is natural in man. 

     To repent one must know that he is proud. To know if we are inside the Catholic Church or not, all that we must do is to be humble; since humility is the first degree of the Beatitude and the first degree of membership inside the Church.

     The literature of the Catholic Church is filled with treatises on Pride and humility. So there is no reason why we can remain ignorant of both. St. Gregory the Great had a comparative study of both pride and humility in his  'Pride according to St. Gregory the Great -  a Study of the Moralia.' And humility is discussed by almost every saint; from St. Gregory the Great, St.Augustine, St. Benedict, St. Thomas of Aquinas and even St. Ignatius of Loyola which makes me wonder why they say Pope Francis is humble when he does not have an iota of Christian humility as described even by St. Ignatius. Pope Francis only have PR, like the politicians and movie stars. 
    As prophesied, the pride of life will rule the world today. And this is confirmed by the 3rd Sunday of Lent. 

2. The Gospel described the Galileans whose blood was mixed by Pilate with their sacrifice and the 18 upon whom the tower of Siloam fell. Both groups were going against  existing authorities, sort of people's power, which is a sin (consult 'Mirari vos' of Pius IX.)  But they alleged that they were not revolting but merely obeying the command to honor God and not the state. 
     The occupying powers punished them severely. Then the Jews confronted Christ with the question; 'how come they were punished by God when they were doing something good while we are not being punished. Is that a sign we are better? No.! Christ said; You are no better unless you repent.

3. Christ, in effect, said; the Galileans and the 18 men were guilty of trying to overthrow duly constituted authority. And this is a serious sin, as clearly explained by Pius IX. The first Christians never demonstrated against the most cruel emperors. So the Galileans and the 18 were duly chastised with death. When the Jews commented to Christ that they are better because they have not been chastised, Christ answered; you are as bad as they are for one reason; 'because you have not repented.' Note that the sin of not being in the state of repentance is a very serious sin.

4. The rule on the virtue of Penance.
     The third Sunday of Lent goes deeper into explaining the virtue of Penance which is the spirit of Lent. To have our past sins forgiven we must repent for each and every mortal sin. Repentance consist in four steps; one, to know each and every mortal sin. Second, to be contrite for all those mortal sins. Third, to resolve not to sin again. And fourthly, to make reparation to both God and neighbor. These four steps must be applied to each and every mortal sin to have all past mortal sins forgiven. This is a tedious process though it is only an act of the mind and the will.
     
5. The above are the four steps of repentance; and if done properly leads to developing the virtue of Penance. 
     Now, that the past sins are forgiven what next? The next is to avoid committing those mortal sins again in the future. How do you do that? But continuing the life of repentance by practicing the virtue of Penance. An example of one who continuously is repenting for those past forgiven mortal sins is St. Peter, who up to the time he was being crucified had in mind his sin for having denied Christ. How can a saint still be thinking of his past  forgiven sins? Because that is the way to avoid those sins again in the future. As Psalm 50 (51) states: 'and my sins are always before me.'
     One repents to have his past sins forgiven; and one continues to repent to avoid those past forgiven sins in the future. That's the only way to avoid future sins...continuously living the virtue of Penance. A Christian repents,... repents..... and repents from the beginning of his life up to the last second of his life. 
     The sin of the Jews questioning Christ is that...... just because they were not being chastised by God, they thought they were alright and pleasing to God. No!! God said; the mere fact that you are not repenting is already a sin.  

6. This is the common sinful state of all men. Not only are they sinning; they are not putting into practice the virtue of Penance that makes a soul worthy to receive sanctifying grace that forgives all their past sins and prevents them from sinning in the future  Remember, if your past sins had been forgiven because you have repented.....but if you stop for a while repenting, your soul returns to the state of sin ....just by the mere fact that you stopped repenting, St. Thomas wrote in his treatise on the Sacrament of Penance. When you stop repenting even for a while, the sin committed is called 'ingratitude.'

7. The Jews did not know that 'not to be in a state of repentance' is a sin.  This is what the Gospel is trying to teach. This is, also, what we do not know. 'My sins are always before me,' means you must never forget your sins and you must constantly be contrite for those sins up to the end of your life.  Forget this virtue just for a second and that is a sin, which Christ is explaining to the Jews in today's Mass. 

8. All are committing this 'strange' sin, from the Pope, down to the Cardinals, bishops, priest and almost every men. The way of life in the modern world and the present state of the  Catholic Church are perfect for making man forget the need for continuously practicing the virtue of Penance. And the result? We are like a fig tree without fruit; without the fruits of repentance.
     The Gospel states that Christ approached the fig tree for three years and found it had no fruit. It does not say whether there were fruits in the first or second year. But clearly there were no fruits after the third year. Why three years? These are the three stages in the age of man; childhood, adulthood and old age. They represent the three ages of the life of the Catholic Church. Probably childhood is around Pentecost, adulthood in the 15th century and old age is today, year 2016. And Christ saw that the Church is completely devoid of the virtue of Penance; she has no fruit of repentance.  Is this true? Just look at all the headlines. Paul VI was right. All around we see sins because all around are the devils on the loose. 

9. The unrepentant Church.
     Instead of practicing the virtue of Penance for the forgiveness of sins, the whole  Catholic Church is, instead committing serious sins. From the Pope we see him teaching wrong doctrines, encouraging divorce, pushing adulterer to receive Holy Communion sacrilegiously, etc. Instead of teaching the Church the virtue of Penance the Pope, himself, is teaching people to sin. And most of the Cardinals and Bishops are agreeing with  the Pope's mind to allow contraception in case of the Zika virus.        

     Contraception is intrinsically evil; it cannot be allowed for any reason. And even the President of the Philippine CBCP endorsed this sin to all the bishops and it seems no one disagreed. Maybe a few disagreed silently but one cannot disagree silently. That is like assenting to the error. 
       There is a worldwide effort to make the whole world commit serious sin......instead of teaching them to repent. Even the infamous missionary of mercy will not be going around to teach the virtue of Penance which they are probably ignorant of. They will simply absolve all the sins of unrepentant souls and make them erroneously believe they will all go to heaven. The world is piling up sins upon sins and they don't know it.
     The fig tree, the Catholic Church, is surely alive! But it has not fruit.....and probably no leaves.   The angry words of Christ is very clear; 'Cut it down.'

10. A reprieve.
     But the gardener, who is Christ, begs the Father to give it one last year, And He will try to do some extraordinary gardening, like hoeing around the fig tree and applying manure. If this still does not work and the Catholic Church still does not bear fruit, then this Church will be chopped down.......condemned. What? The Catholic Church chopped down? No. 
     Infidelity, the absence of fruits, is the present state of the Catholic Church. Joseph Ratzinger's article on this lost of Faith is the first one I read as a young seminarian. And proof of it abound now. The last one is Bouyer's (a convert and now a liturgist) article on the same topic. The three years of inspection is over and as prophesied the vineyard of Lord has been devastated by the men of the Church. 
     But it was allowed a reprieve of one year (which can be an hour or a week.)  What is this emergency procedure described by the  Gospel. We will try to explain it lengthily in another future posts but here is a short answer given to us by Pope Benedict quoting St. Bonaventure who had been waiting for the event of the  fruitless fig tree. The emergency procedure of hoeing and applying manure is a description of the monastic life according to St. John Climacus. This is quite a unique form of monasticism different from St. Benedict or Bernard or Romuald.  Pope Benedict and Bonaventure described it as 'new monasticism' upon which is based the 'new evangelization.' Only this procedure can make the fig tree bear fruit. Otherwise expect it to be chopped down and thrown into the fire. But be sure we are not part of it. St. Climacus' monasticism is the ICU of the terminally sick soul.  St. Peter Damian used it to cure gays and homosexuals. 

11. Like the Jews who viewed the Galileans and the 17 men as deserving of punishment,  we, also,  look at other men as evil; Hitler, Stalin, even our own presidents like Nixon and Marcos. Christ's message to us; 'unless you repent' you are no different from them. In fact, they might be better than you because they were chastised on earth and, therefore,  could go to heaven. If you are not being chastised and, worse, if  you are not repentant, you shall be candidate for the chopping board. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

WALLS AND BRIDGES.


1. 'Rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,' from Psalm 50, by King David.
     These words in Psalm 50 was given to the Church by the Holy
Spirit. The psalm is one of the Penitential psalms of King David. It expresses most  the spirit and virtue of Penance that earned the king the forgiveness of God. In the Catholic Church, we pray this Psalm every morning for Lauds. Here, we clearly see the Holy Spirit commanding to 'rebuild the walls of Jerusalem.' 

     In the first level of interpretation, the Psalm is telling the Chosen People to physically rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. But the deeper meaning of the text is to rebuild the spiritual walls of the Catholic Church. How do you do that?

2. Sacramental meaning. 
     Many things in the Catholic Church are sacramental, i.e. they are visible signs expressing invisible realities. The 'rebuilding of the walls' is a visible sign that reminds us of invisible and spiritual realities. So, in the Catholic Church we visibly 'rebuild walls' to express 'the building of spiritual realities.' The spiritual realities does not minimize the importance of the visible sacramental signs, without which it is impossible to understand the spiritual realities. 

3. Importance of 'walls.'
     If the Holy Spirit mentioned the 'building of walls' this must be important. In which case we must examine Pope Francis' statement to 'remove walls and build bridges' instead because Francis' statement would go contrary to what the Holy Spirit is saying. 

4. Physical walls.
     Physical walls are used to prevent the entry of crimes into one's property. It can, also, prevent the entry of evil into one's soul. So the physical wall can, also, represent a spiritual wall. So the visible wall if a sacrament expressing the importance of a spiritual invisible wall. 
     Pope Francis contradicting the Holy Spirit is due to his inability to rise up to the spiritual level. All his words and actions, from the beginning of his papacy up to the present are all in the natural level; and often below the natural level. He is too concerned with  public relation gimmicks that he has not uttered any spiritual doctrine. In the few attempts he did so, his statements were so confusing. So it is expected to contradict the Holy Spirit since he had been contradicting Jesus Christ, Himself, and all the previous Popes, too.

5. Walls are essential to the ascetical life of the Catholic Church.
     Walls have two purposes; first, to preserve those who are within. And second, to keep those outside outside. Walls allow those who are inside to pursue their goal of worshiping God while keeping the evils outside. 
     When God chose His own people in the Old Testament, the first thing  He did was to separate them from the rest of the world by telling them two things; first, not to associate with unbelievers. And secondly, to live in community following God's commands. To obey this the Chosen people built walls. The walls of Jerusalem should be sufficient proof. 

      In the New Testament, when the first Christians begun establishing the Church, in continuity with the Old Testament, they lived in mountains, forests, deserts and enclosed themselves with walls. Ancient monasteries will attest to this practice, like the monastery in Mt. Sinai. Even up to the present, monasteries of Carmelites, Benedictines, Camaldolese, etc. are surrounded by tall walls. These walls are expensive and were not built for mere decorations. They were meant to keep the world outside outside; while those inside pursue the work of self sanctification. That was the purpose of the walls in the Old Testament, and that is still the purpose of walls today.
      There is a bridge between the world and the walls. Only one bridge and it is well guarded. In Sinai, there is only one entrance high up on the wall. To enter, a basket is lowered by a monk, the visitor rides the basket; is pulled up and that is his bridge into the monastery. In the parable of the Gospel, there is only one door leading into the wall. And it is guarded by the Father of the groom checking if the guest are wearing wedding gowns. 
      We cannot remove the walls. We cannot ease entrance through the bridge because that is not how it was done by God in Scriptures. The walls have to be high and strong. And entrance through the bridge is very strict with God the Father, Himself, being the sentry. 
     What Pope Francis is saying is just the opposite. He wants the walls torn down and bridges multiplied; and rashly judges those who do not do so as un-christian. His instruction is tantamount to allowing all the evils in the world (since the Lenten season tells us that the world is Satan's) to enter the Catholic Church and to destroy the Faith of those who are inside by destroying the proper ambiance for self sanctification. 

6. Again.
    The purpose of walls is to keep the world (which Satan said belong to him) outside while those inside are being properly evangelized. That is the essence of the monastic life; the giving up of the world in order to attain the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. Pope Francis, in effect, is destroying the Catholic means of evangelization and substituting it with his own  which we do not know where it leads.
     When he suggested to Israel to remove the fences and suggested in Mexico to remove the US walls, it was very bad politics because it goes against the natural tendency for men to take good care of themselves and their families besides being  accompanied with insults. But it was even worse in that Pope Francis completely demolished the entire ascetical theology of the Catholic Church.   

      From the beginning of his papacy, Pope Francis had been demolishing huge portions of Catholic Theology and substituting them with his own personal beliefs. In his first talk as Pope, entitled 'Love without dogma' he demolished the entire treatise on the Theological virtues. In his telephone interviews with Scalfari he demolished the entire treatise on Divine Providence. In his comment on walls and bridges he demolished the entire spirituality of monasticism. He had completely undressed the Catholic Church of her doctrines. And he looks as if he does not know what he had done. 

 7. Summary.
     The Psalms states we must build walls; first, that we might have a protected place within which we can peacefully seek the kingdom of God. And secondly, that we may protect ourselves from the world of which the devil is the prince. That is a spiritual wall. We must also build a physical wall against many physical evils, starting with a wall in our house and a wall around our lots.
     There is only one narrow bridge as  entrance.  It must made by God and it is well guarded by the Father checking whether those who enter have a wedding garment or not. 
      Don't just tear down those walls just because a Pope politician is campaigning for world popularity. And don't just build bridges made by men with no competent guard to watch it. 
      Pope John XXII said something about opening windows to let the Spirit enter. Everybody misunderstood him. The Holy Spirit is already inside the Church.....the true Church. There is no need to open anything to let him in. John meant to open your hearts, not the Church. Opening your hearts mean to acquire the virtue of Penance, the main message of the Lenten Season. Everybody opened the wrong doors. And what happened? Pope Paul VI, himself, answered; 'Satan entered the Church.' See what happens when we tear down wrong walls and build wrong bridges. Unwelcome guest enter. 
      The command of the Holy Spirit is clear; 'rebuild the walls of Jerusalem,' rebuilt the walls around yourselves, around your families, around your nation but over and above all, around your souls and the true Church.
     Why is Pope Francis saying so many wrong things? Maybe, as the New Hampshire Representative defending Trump said; he is the anti-Christ.  Well, the anti-Christ will be a layman head of state, not a bishops. Like Robert Benson wrote in his book in the 1800.....probably the President of the USA. When a bishop is an anti-Christ, he is still an anti-Christ but he is referred to  as an anti-pope. Benson had a bishop who joined forces with the US president anti-Christ and became the anti-pope of the anti-Christ. His name was Francis. 
     Well, that is something to think about.  Pope Francis is leading us. We must make sure where he is leading us. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

2nd SUNDAY OF LENT - The TRANSFIGURATION

1. The three levels of interpretation
     The teachings of the Catholic Church have three levels of interpretation; call it simply, the level of the Old Testament, the level of the New Testament and the eschatological level. This is one of the proofs that the Catholic religion is the true religion. Because the Catholic God had been very consistent in teaching us the same lesson from the Old Testament, through the New Testament and up to the present. Blessed John Cardinal Newman referred to this as the continuity of Christian Doctrine; this is the fact that the teachings of God had been identical all through the history of man. There had been changes in one's ability to understand or comprehend the teachings but there has been absolutely no changes in the essence of the teachings. 

2. Man needs graces to understand these three levels; actual graces in understanding the first level, and the higher kinds of graces to understand the second and third level.
     God made it such that any man can gradually understand all His teachings if man seriously pursue a life dedicated to knowing Him. In the early times, this way of life was referred to as the 'monastic life.'  St. John Chrysostom defined monastic life as 'man seriously seeking his God.'
     
3. The main activity in learning these three levels of understanding the teachings of God is through prayer; praying the Divine Office, which is the official prayer of the Catholic Church. As the Catholic Church prays the Psalm, she gradually learns the first level meaning of God's teachings; then as she grows deeper in her spirituality she begins to learn the second level and eventually as she reach the Mystical life, she learns the third level which is the eschatological meaning of the Psalms.
     This is the important reason why the Psalms are the obligatory prayer of the Church; she is 'ecclesia orans'. She learns the entire teachings of God through praying the psalms.

4. The teachings of God is taught exclusively through the Liturgy of the Mass and the Divine Office. During the Mass and through the three readings and the homily, the three levels of knowledge is taught to the Church; i.e. the message of God as found in the Old Testament, as fulfilled in the New Testament and as should be expected  in the eschatological future or at the present time. Let us take an example; God's message in the Second Sunday of Lent. Let us see how God taught us this lesson in the Old Testament, how it was fulfilled in the New Testament and how it will be realized today year 2000 AD. All these three levels are present in the Liturgy of the Mass and in the Divine Office. The priest is just supposed to lay it down clearly to the Faithful for their knowledge and understanding; this is evangelization.

5. The 2nd Sunday of Lent - the Transfiguration.
     The Gospel is, first, pre-figured in the days of creation and in the Psalms. Then in today's Gospel it begins by describing the incident as the 6th day. The 6th day, which is Friday, begins with the following events. First,  Christ brings Peter, James and John to a mountain where He was transfigured wherein the three apostles saw His Divinity in His humanity. Then they heard the voice of God affirming that Christ was His beloved Son. And that He was now going to undergo His passion.
     All of the above knowledge was prophesied in the Old Testament. These prophecies was the way the New Testament apostles could know that Christ was, indeed, the Messiah. Because they had been told beforehand. So here we see the importance of God insisting on the continuity of the doctrine He taught in the Old Testament, how it would be fulfilled exactly in the New Testament that we may know how to interpret it today.

     The second incident. That all the priests, the high priest, the Pharisees, the Sadducees went against Christ. And joining them was one of the first Bishops appointed by Christ, Himself, Judas Iscariot. This was pre-figured in the Old Testament when God stopped sending the Jews His prophets because of their unbelief. As long as there were no prophets the Jews could not learn the way to salvation.

     The third incident. The temple veil was cut in half and exposed the Holy of Holies. And everyone saw that the Ark of the Covenant which was God's presence among His people was gone (in fact the Ark of the Covenant was already missing since the time of the Maccabees, hidden away by a prophet Jeremiah as punishment for the infidelity of the Jews.

6. Now, let us see if this prophetic event is being fulfilled eschatologically today. This is precisely the purpose of a priest's homily......to explain the eschatological fulfillment of the Gospel narrative. 

7. The three levels of meaning of the three historical facts.
     The events in Sacred Scriptures are not merely historical events. They are doctrines with three levels of meaning. And these three level of meaning can be learned patiently and through the mercy of God in the Psalmody. If the Church have been praying the Psalms faithfully and meditatively, the Church would know what I am talking about. If the Church is praying the Psalms the way it is prayed after Vatican II where many psalms had been omitted and the few left are truncated, then we have nothing to discuss because our minds will be in two different wavelengths. 

    The three events in the Gospel occurring in three different times in history and which we should expect to happen today are:
     First; pre-figured by Peter, James and John who were the first members of the Catholic Church,  the incident on Mt. Tabor will be repeated.  There will be a small church, personally chosen by God, who will come to see the Divinity of Christ in His Humanity, not through human efforts, but purely by the grace of God. This small church will suddenly come to know the complete teachings of  Christ; as if they were perfectly evangelized according to the Apostolic Commission. But this church will told not to tell anybody what they saw until after the 8th Day. Like in Tabor, preparing the little church  (pre-figured by Peter, James and John) is in preparation for the next following events. 

     Secondly; all the priests, from the Pope down to the cardinals, bishops, priest and most laymen.....just like on the 6th Day (Good Friday) will be completely ignorant of the teachings of Christ as found in Divine Revelation. Caiaphas pre-figured by the top men of the hierarchy represents most bishops and cardinals who will be unbelievers and persecutors of the Mystical Body of Christ.  While Judas pre-figures an anti-pope; a bishop who will betray the Church by teaching false doctrines. This state of affairs will literally undress the Mystical Body of Christ of all her teachings, crucify the Church until she bleeds to death. Pope John XXIII saw this happening while studying 'The five wounds of the Church' by Antonio Rosmini, a holy priest greatly persecuted by the Vatican, even by the Pope, but recently beatified by Pope Benedict XVI. 
Rosmini's exposition of Catholic theology motivated Pope John to speedily call Vatican II in an effort to slow down the death of the Church. But circumstances hasten, instead, the death of the Mystical Body of Christ. 

      Thirdly; due to the rampant disobedience to the commands of God, due to this lack of Faith,  God would punish the infidelity of the priests by withholding their power to absolve sins and consecrate the Eucharist. This third naturally follows from the second. It had been prophesied in the Old Testament and in the New Testament. This prophecy should be fulfilled any time now. 

       Many other things happened on Good Friday and onward but we are only explaining St. Thomas' commentary on the Gospel of the Second Sunday of Lent; on the 'Transfiguration.' We would like to describe the little Church on Good Friday with the back drop of the chaotic confusion in Jerusalem on that fateful day.
      We see the privileged status of the Catholic Church on this 6th Day. How it was organized; who were chosen; what graces they were given. What Christ did to them is what Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI described today as the 'new' evangelization. It describes how the Catholic Church will look like on the final 6th Day. Benedict based his study on the work of St. Bonaventure entitled 'Theology of History,'  where he described the last 6th day but wrongly thought that it was occurring during the time of St. Francis of Assisi because the group of St.Francis looked very much like that; with St. Francis having a similar experience in Mt. Alverno. Though St. Bonaventure, himself, found out that this was not so. The last 6th day was not occurring during St. Francis' time. It looks more like during Pope Francis' time.
     This was a challenge to the young priest Ratzinger whose thesis was on that work of Bonaventure. Even during his Papacy he was not yet sure when it would be. Until one day in the middle of his Papacy, he became convinced......or as some suspects, he was informed through a mystical experience that it is time for the final 6th day. After that all the three incidents that happened in the Gospel of the 2nd Sunday of Lent begun to unfold within the Catholic Church throughout the world.  
     During the last 'ad limina' visit of the Filipino bishops in the Vatican, Pope Benedict was still asking them if they have seen anywhere in the Philippines the little Church described by St. Bonaventure. 
     Pope Benedict knows the Gospel. And he knew that he is supposed to be the Pope of this little Church and not the Pope of Chosen People who would crucify Christ. He knew he must join the Mystical Body in the tomb during the Sabbath by his token resignation,  to rise with the Church on Easter. 

     Let us all look around and analyze the signs of the times. Look at such religious activities like the Bishop's Synod, like 'The Flame,' like the Eucharistic Congress. Can you see the signs of the 6th day?




    

Saturday, February 20, 2016

The VIRTUE OF PENANCE vs the SACRAMENT OF PENANCE.

1. The virtue of Penance vs the sacrament of Penance.
    These two are parts of the same thing but there had been much confusion with regard to these two that we shall separate them for the purpose of explaining each better.
     The confusion was noticed during the 2012 Bishop's Synod. That time Pope Benedict had ordered the Secretary of the Synod, Bishop Eterovic that the Synod should tackle the 'new evangelization,' initiated by Pope John Paul II. And to particularly discuss the 'life of repentance,' the first step of evangelization.
     In issuing the 'Instrumentum Laboris' the Secretary clearly stated that all bishops should know very well the topic since they all often go to confession. He omitted the topic and programmed other topics instead. The Synod discussed the 'new evangelization' but gave, only,  a token attention to the 'life of repentance.' The token gesture wherein they discussed the 'life of repentance' was so confused and unclear; that if this is what was meant 'they know very well the topic since they all often go to confession' then, they were all making very bad confessions. This was noticed by both Pope Benedict and the International theological commission (which by this time had been raised into a Pontifical Commission.)

     Since 2012, the concept of 'life of repentance' began to disappear as Bishop's Synod were held. By the year 2015, the Bishop's Synod were no longer mentioning 'life of repentance' or how to avoid sin or how to have past sins forgiven. Instead they were discussing how to sin freely; the exact opposite! 

2. Definition of terms.
    The virtue of Penance is a spiritual power that improves the soul of a person. The Sacrament of Penance  are human signs that essentially have no beneficial effect on the soul unless it goes hand in hand with the virtue of Penance. Another way of saying it is; the virtue of Penance is the 'matter' of Penance, while the Sacrament is the 'form' of the Sacrament. In Baptism, water is the 'matter,' while the words applied on the water ('I baptize you....') is the form that makes the water effective in forgiving original sin.
     If there is water (the matter) in Baptism but there are no words (the form) said.....there will be no forgiveness of original sin. In the same way, if there is no 'matter' (the virtue of Penance) even though there is a form (the absolution), there will be no forgiveness of past sins. Let us focus our attention on these two items; the 'matter' and the 'form' and explain what they are. 

3. The 'matter' - the virtue of Penance.
     The 'matter' is the answer to the question, 'what is taken away,' or what is forgiven? The answer is; past sins are forgiven. To have those past sins forgiven a person must perform the following mature, human acts. First, he must know his sins; all his mortal sins and partially his venial sins. This is commonly called examination of conscience.  Secondly, he must be sorry for his sins; this is called contrition. Thirdly, he must promise to avoid these sins in the future; this is called purpose of amendment. And fourthly, he must make reparations for the sins he had committed; this is called reparation  or restitution. Now, let us go for a moment to the 'form.'

4. The 'form' is the Sacrament of Penance. 
     The 'form' is the answer to the question; 'how will the priest apply the redeeming action of Christ to remove the past sins of the penitent. Well, he will absolve the penitent by the power of the keys given by Christ to Peter and passed on by Peter to the Bishops down to the priest-confessor. The 'form' is the penitent going to confess his sins to a validly ordained priests-confessor, the confessor absolving the penitent by the power invested on him by the Bishop called the power of the keys.

5. Often, the two go together but they should really be separated. If we read our catechism, the matter and the form are put together but they should really be separated because the matter is exclusively the part of the penitent while the form is exclusively the part of the confessor. Putting them together can cause some confusion as what is happening today with Pope Francis and the missionaries of mercy. 

6. 'The matter.'
     The following makes up the 'matter' of penance; it is also what we call the virtue of Penance. It consists in the penitent knowing all his mortal sins, the penitent being sorry for all his sins, the penitent promising never to commit those sins again and the penitent making reparation for those sins. These are four steps which are impossible for most people to do. Why impossible?
     To know one's mortal sin, one must know the list of mortal sins as found in Divine Revelation. Since most evangelizers had not obeyed Christ's command 'to teach all My commands and how to do them" most people do not know what are the commands of Christ, disobedience to which is what we call sin. If it is impossible to know the list of mortal sins, it will be difficult to know what are one's sin. If it is difficult to know one's sin, it will be difficult to be sorry for one's sin.....etc.....etc. So for most people it is nearly impossible for them to have the 'matter,' the virtue of Penance without which the absolution of the priest-confessor becomes completely useless. 

7. The 'form.'
     The 'form' which is the absolution of the priest perfects and completes the 'matter,' i.e. the 'form' is meant to work on the 'matter.'  Just as the 'form' of baptism (the baptismal formula) works on the water by enabling the 'matter' to be able to remove original sin, which ordinarily water cannot do, the 'form' of Penance (the words of the absolution) enables the priest to remove the 'matter' (the sins) from the penitent; assuming that the penitent has the 'matter.'

8. 'Matter' without 'form.
     In the Sacrament of Penance, the important thing is the virtue of Penance. The virtue is what removes the sin; the sacrament is just a ministerial gesture from a priest, but it is God who really forgives the sins. And St. Augustine greatly emphasized this fact; that there is a danger for priest to give absolution when God had not first forgiven the sins. The priest should first know if God had forgiven before he announces as a minister that the penitent's sins are forgiven. 
     Since it is really God who forgives, the 'matter is of the utmost importance. It is good to receive the 'form' i.e. the absolution of the priests to perfect the 'matter' but the absolution is not absolutely necessary, again, because it is really God who forgives. If God had forgiven because the 'matter' is present then the past sins are forgiven even without the priest absolution. This is clear in the writings of St. Thomas of Aquinas.
     Proof of the above is the fact that all the heroes of the Old Testament, like King David, had their sins forgiven at a time the Sacrament of Penance had not yet been instituted. Even the Apostles, the sinful woman and Dimas did not receive any absolution and yet all their past sins were forgiven. 
     The theology of Monasticism is based on that fact that monastic life is a life developing the virtue of Penance, i.e. perfecting the four steps mentioned above. Monks seldom went to sacramental confession for obvious reasons. They usually had no priest and they were living in far away places inaccessible to priest. Sacramental confession once a year was the common rule. The principle is clear; concentration must be in the 'matter' because God can easily provide the 'form' without the need of a confessor. 
     Frankly, how many people die with the comforts of the Sacrament of Penance or Extreme Unction? Those who die of heart attack, children who are aborted, patients who are euthanized, soldiers in battle, vehicular and air plane accidents. In my monastery where there are many priest, all the monks who passed away died without the Sacrament of Penance. God knows that. So He made it so that the most important lesson in Lent is to learn the elements that make up the 'matter,' those four steps mentioned above. The priest-confessor and his absolution?  Well, if you are lucky enough to have one, fine, If not, do not worry. Just concentrate on the virtue of Penance and you have nothing to worry. 
     Pope Francis granted the missionaries of mercy super-power to forgive sins.......if you do not have the virtue of Penance, all those powers are useless. Even the priest-confessor is useless. Even the Jubilee Year is useless. 
     So Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI exhorted the Catholic world that during this era of the 'New Evangelization' we should all concentrate on.......what??? Benedict wrote quoting St. Bonaventure, 'in living the 'new monasticism.' What? We should all become monks. No!!! But to do what the first monks did; develop the virtue of Penance by first, mastering what are the sins which God considered as 'mortal'. Secondly, be sorry for having committed those sins because those sins will surely send you to hell. Thirdly, pray that God gives you the grace never to do them again. And fourthly, make reparation; first to the person you have hurt and secondly, to God to whom you have, also, sinned. For almost every sin is a sin against God and against you neighbor. 
     Concentrate on the virtue of Penance and don't worry about those missionaries of mercy. When you die they won't probably be around. 
     

Friday, February 19, 2016

DONALD TRUMP and POPE FRANCIS

1. Trump and Francis.
     Pope Benedict had presented to us excellent example of Blessed John Newman. Newman was exemplary in his quest for the truth. This zeal for the truth is what brought him into the Catholic Church, into the priesthood, into the cardinalate and finally into being one of the Blessed in heaven. 
     John Newman got no help from any human being; not from a priest, not from a bishop, not from his friend a cardinal and not even from the Pope; even if the quest hurt him so much and hurt so many around him.  
     He went back to the rich fountain of Divine Revelation, to the so-called Fathers of the Church, like St. Augustine, prayed a lot, meditated a lot.......and, voila!...he became a Catholic and a saint even before he was baptized and even before he was canonized. 

2. Man was made for the truth and the good. 
    God made man with a mind to seek the truth; and a free will to love the good. Before we can chose what is good for us we must first find out if it is the truth. 
     I am a Catholic priest. I read the news about the Pope and Donald Trump. And my natural reaction should be; 'hey, don't you dare touch my Pope.' But no. I am a creature created by God with a mind for the truth and a free will for the good. I must search for the truth because that will be what is good for all of us.

3. Pope Francis' comment; 'Trump is not a Christian.'
    My past posts have been focused on this most important topic that confronts us today. Who is Catholic and who is not. Or who is a Christian and who is not. Almost all of those who had made judgments that this or that person is or is not a Catholic never gave any proofs for their allegation. Most of them are bishops.
     A popular international news magazine made that attempt some time ago; 'Is the Pope Catholic?' It answered; 'Yes,' then it gave the wrong reasons. 

4. Visible proofs of those who are Catholic or Christian. 
    The proofs that one is a Catholic is identical to the proofs that one is a Christian because the proofs were established by Christ, Himself, and, therefore, should apply both to Catholics and Christians alike. In fact, it should apply to all religions because those proofs came from the only true God who created all things. 
These proofs can be found in the natural law. But it can be found more specifically and concretely from Divine Revelation. 
     And the official proofs that one is a Catholic or Christian can be found in the Nicene Creed; One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. And the Fathers of the Church had elaborated their explanations of these four visible signs. My favorite is the recently English translated work of the Jesuit saint and Doctor of the Church, St. Robert Bellarmine, upon whose work the document on the Church 'Lumen Gentium' is based on. Bellarmine describes 15 Marks of the true Church; this should also be the true marks of a true Christian or Catholic. And it should also be the mark of a  Christian.  All visible signs must be present for any church or person to deserve to be called Catholic or Christian.
     At this point we will have to throw 'whom am I to judge' to the dogs because we are forced to judge. Somebody started it. 

5. Is Pope Francis judgment that Trump is not a Christian right? 
     Since he had judged Trump, let us see if his judgment is right.
     Does Donald Trump have the four visible signs of a Catholic as found in the Nicene Creed? Well, no. Trump does not have all of them. And as expected he does not have the 15 expanded marks of the true Church enumerated by St. Robert Bellamine either. 
     Trump may belong to a Christian sect not recognized as Catholic because it does not have the four visible signs of the true Church found in the Nicene Creed. These churches are those who claim they follow Christ but do not have the four visible signs or the 15 marks of the true Church. In this sense Trump belongs to this Church. So Pope Francis is wrong. Trump is a Christian in this sense but not in the sense of being a Catholic which Trump does not claim to be. 

     But Pope Francis does not have the four visible signs of the Church as we have proven in previous posts. He does not have neither the 15 marks of the true Church enumerated by his confrere St. Robert Bellarmine, the Jesuit saint. Without those signs Pope Francis is neither a Catholic nor a Christian. In which case, not only is he wrong in calling Trump as not a Christian; he had no right to judge Trump because he is neither because we cannot find any of the visible signs of true Catholicity or Christianity in him. Maybe he has those signs but we cannot find them. But judgments are  based on what we see.
     Not having the signs of Catholicity as enumerated in the Nicene Creed of the 15 marks enumerated by St. Bellarmine, maybe Pope Francis is at least a Christian like Trump. Basing it on Pope Francis' book 'Church of compassion and mercy,' written earlier in Argentina as a Bishop, it seems he is a Christian without the visible signs found in the Nicene Creed. Then he would be just like Trump. Being on equal ground, he cannot belittle Trump's not being Christian enough. 
     Conclusion? Pope Francis was wrong in calling Trump not a  Christian. At first sight, the two of them are of the same kind, Christians without the visible signs of Catholicity. And no one should look down on the other. That would be un-christian. 

6. Trump's judgment that the Pope's comment was disgraceful.
     If one takes the ideas of Trump and compare them with the ideas of Pope Francis, some of Trump's ideas are more Catholic than the Pope. Not perfectly Catholic but closer to the teachings of the Catholic Church than the Pope's. For example, Trumps idea on how to handle immigrants, like from Mexico, is more in accordance to the teachings of the Catholic Church as proposed by past Popes than the idea of Pope Francis which is more like the secularist, modernist ideas of Obama and the European relativist heads of states who are the good pupils of the French Revolution.
     And Trump is probably right that when ISIS attack the Vatican Pope Francis would want this non-christian Trump to be around to defend the Vatican.  
     Is the Pope disgraceful? Well, maybe very irrational and slightly ignorant of his theology and 'Lumen  Gentium' a document he helped write. So, is the Pope disgraceful? Why don't we just say 'who are we to judge,' and go to more important things like 'am I ready to die and face my Divine Judge?' Isn't that more exciting?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The DEVIL and the DESTRUCTION OF MEN - FIRST Sunday of LENT.

1. The devil, man and the destruction of his soul.
     To understand our topic today, we have to be aware of the three levels of knowledge mentioned by St. Augustine. The highest level of knowledge called supernatural knowledge; the middle level called philosophy or natural knowledge; and the lowest level called unnatural knowledge.
     The highest knowledge is possessed by those with the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity; i.e. those who are truly within the Catholic Church. The second knowledge is possessed by the common natural man, like the philosophers of Greece.  And the third knowledge is possessed by those in a psychiatric ward. 

2. Talking points.
     When we talk about the devil, about man and about his soul, we are talking in the supernatural level. When we talk about man being tempted by the devil, we are in the philosophical level. When man falls into sin we are visiting him in the psychiatric ward.

3. The Gospel of the First Sunday of Lent.
    Two Sundays before Ash Wednesday and all through the season of Lent, Holy Mother the Church will be teaching us the 'Life of Repentance.' The 'Life of Repentance' is the way of life by which we are able to win for ourselves God's forgiveness for all our past sins thus making us worthy to receive the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity. These three virtues is what makes us worthy to attain eternal life in heaven. 

4. The lesson of Lent.
     Let us look at the three levels of knowledge again. In the highest level, the supernatural knowledge, we have the knowledge of God, his nature and His commandments. 
     Then, we have the knowledge, which is partially supernatural and partially philosophical,  about man as being a creature of God. He has two faculties; the intellect and the free will. These were given to him by God that he might KNOW and LOVE God. 
     Lastly, we should have a supernatural knowledge of the existence of the devil, who tempts man away from God by attracting his mind and heart to the world, which was given to the devil and of which the devil is the prince.....by God's permission as described in the second temptation. 

5. The three temptations.
     Note that there is nothing wrong with the three objects of temptation; namely, food, the kingdoms of the world and to fly from the parapet of the temple down to the earth. There is nothing wrong to eat some food when hungry; there is nothing wrong to be the president of a tech company; and there is nothing wrong to occasionally  play superman and fly from some tower down to earth. So why are those called temptations and when do we fall into sin through the temptations of the devil?
     Sin is when the mind and heart are removed from God and focused  on these three objects, food, the world and attracting attention. St. Augustine described sin as 'aversio a Deo' and 'conversio ad creaturam.' Sin is loving creatures more than God. So there is nothing wrong with the objects; the defect is in the faculties of man.
     That is why it is nearly impossible to convince men of what is sinful. Because everything looks good and well. What is evil is spiritual; it is in the spiritual faculties of man.
     The attraction or conversion towards creature is incidental; to sin; the essence of sin is the aversion or dislike towards God. The aversion towards God is already sin; one does not have to be converted ;or attracted to creatures.  Often, the reason why souls develop aversion towards God is because of their attraction towards creature, though this does not necessarily follow. 
     Here is another example. Nobody in his right mind believe that to love one's wife, husband or children is evil. Absolutely no one! Yet Christ said; 'He who loves husband, wife and children more than me is not worthy of Me.' 
     See! It is not the loving  of one's family that is sinful; it is loving them 'MORE THAN GOD' that is sinful. And this is the definition of mortal sin; the sin that brings us to hell.

6. Main message of Lent.
    The main message of the Catholic Liturgy is that we must love God above all things; with all our minds, wih all our hearts and  with all our strength. To do otherwise by focusing that mind and heart away from God and towards creatures is a mortal sin. And the virtue of repentance taught by Lent is to restore to God what is His right; the two coins gifted by the widow to the temple box....the symbol of our mind and heart. 

7. The spiritual state of the world.
     The mind and heart of the world are focused on the things of the world; first, on what to eat, what the other senses can enjoy, to be known, to be loved, all the natural knowledge of the different sciences and on what is going on in the world. Engrossed on the things of the world, as the three temptations of today's Gospel enumerates, most men cannot think of God and  the concept of sin.....both concepts being in the spiritual level. 
     
     Having an aversion or dislike for God, they cannot think of God, they cannot think of sin, they are in the state of mortal sin and are going straight to hell.....and they do not know it. What a tragic situation. And yet, most of my loved one, my friend priest and bishops are in that situation. They are more concerned with Global warming, the problem of immigrants, jobs for the unemployed youth and the sadness of the elderly more than the state of their souls.  They know everything that is going on in politics; but do not know that they do not have the four visible signs of the Catholic Church mentioned in the Nicene Creed. 

8. Signs of ignorance.
    A man may love another man; this is called friendship. A married man can love another married woman; this is, also, called friendship. Man is supposed to love his neighbor even his enemy.       But if the person concerned have an aversion or dislike for God, this cannot be friendship. This aversion is sin and the punishment  is that he is only capable of having a perverted love for another man; while the married man is punished by simply being capable of having a lustful desire for the married woman.  
    Take these statements; 'the gays can also love God,'  'the adulterers can have a meaningful relation,'  'atheist can be saved,' and 'we must save the world.'
     These words show aversion towards God.  They have, already, committed mortal sin before they were attracted towards creatures of the same sex, towards adulterers, towards they own thinking and towards love for the planet. Their attraction or conversion towards creatures is the aftermath of their mortal sin, so everything that follow after mortal sin are part of that sin.
     As we have seen above; to love your family more than God is a mortal sin. As a consequence you cannot love your family because there is no love in you being in the state of sin. 
      An adulterer cannot love his mistress because he has no love in him being in the state of mortal sin. A gay person cannot love his partner because he has no love in him being in the state of mortal sin. Mortal sin is the total absence of love and the perfect presence of hate.  Pope Francis often encourages men to show love for creatures, like the world, for men and married women and those in the peripheries of society,  without mentioning that this love of creatures cannot be the result of aversion from God. Otherwise those acts are mortal sins.

9. The morality taught by the church today.
     The morality taught by the men of the church today is completely devoid of the concept of aversion or dislike for God which is the concept of sin.  It is based only on love or conversion towards creatures. With that kind of thinking there is absolutely no morality. 'Is it wrong to love food, to love being CEO of a company, to love flying through the skies? Nothing, nothing, nothing. What is wrong is that you have loved these things more than God. What is wrong is that you have an aversion for God; i.e.  you are not thinking and not loving God first. 
     The world had fallen into the trap and temptation of Satan. They cannot see what is wrong with loving their families, with loving food and with loving their jobs. They cannot see that they are loving these worldly things more than God. This is a complete lost of the sense of sin; it is the inability to rise up to the spiritual and supernatural level. It is the total lost of the  Catholic spirit. 
     What do we do? Repent. Do Penance.
     We shall explain these as we go through the spirit of Lent.

      
      

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The SINNER and the CONFESSOR

1. The sacraments have matter and form. 
     The matter for baptism is water. And the form is the words uttered "I baptize you...." as the water is poured on the forehead. The matter and the form must more or less go together. If the water is poured and the words said 10 minutes later, there is doubt that the Sacrament is valid. That is how important the matter and the form are for the validity of the Sacrament. 
     The matter and the form make up the solemn act whereby something is so done that we may understand it to signify the holiness which it confers, writes St. Thomas of Aquinas.
     The matter in the sacrament of Penance are the acts of the Penitent, while the form is the act of the absolving priest. The Penitent, by word and deed, shows his heart to have renounced sin. The priest by his deed and word with regard to the penitent, signifies the work of God Who forgives his sins. 
     Penance, like Baptism, is a Sacrament with matter and form. 
     While in Baptism the matter are corporeal things like water, in Penance external sensible actions  are the matter. The matter in Baptism is applied by a minister of the Church who shows that the power by which the Sacrament operates is from Christ. In Penance, the matter is human actions which comes from human inspirations, whereby the matter is not applied by the minister but by God working inwardly. The confessor only furnishes the compliment of the Sacrament when he absolves the penitent. 
    
2. The Sacrament in Penance.
     The Sacrament in Penance are the acts performed outwardly both by the repentant sinner and by the priest in giving absolution.
     That which is reality and Sacrament are
 the sinner's inward repentance
     That which is reality and not sacrament is the forgiveness of sin.
The former, which is the outward acts of the repentant sinner (knowing one's sin, sorrow for having sinned, promise not to sin again and reparation for one's sins) and the sinner's inward repentance are the cause of the latter, the forgiveness of one's sins.

     As St. Thomas clearly explained, the absolution of the confessor will only be effective if the sinner had undergone his outward and inner repentance. The latter is most dependent on the former. 

3. The confessor.
     The words and deeds of the Penitent makes up the matter of the this Sacrament. The part of the confessor takes the place of the form. The matter is perfected in the form. The matter in Baptism is perfected in the use of the matter. In the Holy Eucharist the matter is perfected by the consecration of the matter.
     The perfection in the Sacrament of Penance is not in the use of the matter nor in the consecration of the matter but in the removal of the matter, i.e. sin. This is done by when the priest says; 'I absolve thee......'which is the form of this Sacrament.

4. The 'misereatur.' 
     The 'misereatur.' or  'May Almighty God have mercy.....May God grant thee abolution...etc....are not Sacramental absolutions and are recited before the Sacramental absolution. It is a preparatory prayer to dispose the penitent to have the matter ready for this Sacrament which consist of acts and deeds which are absent in Baptism and Confirmation. This prayer is recited before the confessor gives the absolution; it is also recited at the foot of the altar at the beginning of the Mass and before giving Holy Communion. It seldom recited today and this could prevent the penitent from having the proper matter for the Sacrament. 
    'God alone absolves from sin and forgives sins authoritatively;  priests do both ministerially, because the words of the priest in this sacrament work as instruments of the Divine Power, as in the other sacraments; because it is the Divine power that works inwardly in all the sacramental signs, be they things or words.'

5. The matter of Penance.
     The matter in Penance is the desire of the penitent to have his sins forgiven. The form in Penance is the actual forgiving of his sins by God and ministrally by the confessor. The matter are the acts of the penitent by which he knows his sins, he is sorry for his sins, he promises not to sin again and for him to make reparations for his sins. These four acts makes up the matter for the Sacrament of Penance. It is completed by the form by which God forgives the sinner through the ministry of the Confessor. God is the one who forgives since He is the One being offended while the confessor is merely the minister of the act of forgiveness. And being the minister, he cannot do otherwise except to minister the dictates of the Primary author of forgiveness. 

6. The present situation.
     Both sinner and confessor, since 2012 were ignorant of the matter of the Sacrament of Penance due to the neglect of the Secretary of the Bishop's Synod of that year who worked on the erroneous assumption that all Catholics know now to repent and, therefore, doesn't have to be taught the matter and form of the Sacrament of Penance. It was a serious neglect because since that time knowledge on the matter and form of Penance never appeared again in the language of the Catholic Church specially during the following Bishop's Synod. Together with the disappearance of the knowledge of the matter and form, the concept of the virtue of Penance and the life of repentance, also, disappeared. Pope Benedict and the International Theological Commission noticed this serious neglect but seems to have been able to do nothing to remedy it. Today, in the Papacy of Pope Francis, absolutely nothing on the virtue of Penance, the life of repentance, the matter and form of Penance had ever been mentioned again. 
     This is a disaster because the rest of the teachings of the Catholic Church is founded on this foundation. Without this foundation the whole Catholic edifice had collapsed. 

7. Because of this omission these are the consequences.
     Because most of the Bishops in the Synod of 2012 were ignorant of 'repentance' most of the faithful had not been taught the proper matter for the Sacrament of Penance, hence, therefore, the form that will be given by the super confessors will be invalid. 
     Since most of the super confessors are, also, ignorant of the form for Penance, therefore, they have no power to forgive.
    It is God who forgives not the confessor. The confessor only have a ministerial role. God commands, the confessor just obeys. So he cannot be a super confessor really who can absolve serious sins. Because the power to forgive is in God and not in him. Sadly, the super confessors are just heretical Pelagians who claim they can do what only God can do. The power to forgive is from God and not from the Pope. Even the Pope cannot forgive sins if there is no matter in the penitent. 
     Confessors are ignorant regarding the matter of Penance because it was never taught in the seminary or theological schools since the 18th century. Even if they knew it they would not be able to teach it to the penitent in the confessional because it takes 30 years to teach this as shown by the 'hidden life' of Christ. The super confessors are false advertisements. There is no such thing.  The problem in the Church today, among others things, is that penitents do not have the matter for confessions, and the confessors do not have the form of the sacrament. A pure problem of ignorance. 
      
     

Friday, February 12, 2016

IS THE POPE CATHOLIC?

1. Is the Pope Catholic?
    I don't remember buying it but it had been on my desk for weeks. It is a magazine. The cover states; 'Is the Pope Catholic?' And it answers its own question; 'Of course he is. You just wouldn't know it from his press clips. The question was not answered. Rightly, you wouldn't know it from his press clips. You wouldn't know it either from L'Osservatore Romano, from all the Jesuit periodicals, from the Pope's own writings, or from the Internet. 
     One immediately gets a chill up his spine; what is this? Is the Catholic Church in her Bishops and Jesuits totally ignorant on how to find out who is a Catholic? Why, this is one of the most important question all Catholics must answer and God had given a-very easy-to-learn answer so everybody can find eternal salvation by joining the true Church.
     Then the article proceeds to criticize Bishop Cordileone. Ahhhh..I was right. This confirms it, the Catholic Church is no longer Catholic. 

2. How do we check true Catholicity?
     There is only one way to check if someone or if a Church is the true Catholic Church established by Christ. This is proclaimed loudly every time the Nicene Creed is recited; I believe in One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. There is absolutely no other way to checking if one is Catholic. The catechism repeats it and gives no other way of identifying the true Church of Christ.
     These four visible signs were instituted by God, Himself, to enable all men to easily know the true Church and, thus, enter it. So all men can easily recognize these signs. And these signs are visible though they are based on spiritual realities. 

3.The Fathers and the Saints expanded the four visible signs. 
    The explanations of these four signs are rather a little difficult to understand. One has to have an intellect without malice otherwise he cannot see the signs. 
     The Fathers and the Doctors of the Church came to the rescue by expanding the four visible signs into 6 up to 15 Marks of the true Church. The Treatise on the Marks of the Church by St. Robert Bellarmine, Jesuit saint and doctor of the Church is easy readying. For a long time written in Latin, it was translated into English just a few months ago and it is causing some commotion. Many reading the treatise are finding out that they are not Catholics at all.

4. The only reliable basis for analysis.
     These four visible signs mentioned in the Nicene Creed and lengthily discussed by St. Robert Bellarmine should have been used by the magazine in answering the question; 'is the Pope Catholic.' And its answer would be correct because that is the only way Catholicity can be proven. There is no other way. 

5. We should check everything.
    We should master these four visible signs and fortified with the 15 explanation by St. Robert Bellarmine check everything. Check if your Church, your bishop, your priest, your Mass, your sacraments, your theology, your nuns, your wife, and your children are truly Catholics by looking for these visible signs. Check your diocese, your parish, your organization and your friends if they are Catholics.

6. God meant these signs for me to be able to identify the true  Church easily and immediately. Negligence to study these signs and applying them to identify the true Catholics is a serious sin against Faith.
     Armed with this knowledge, both from the Nicene Creed and the treatise of St. Robert  Bellarmine and believing that God in His wisdom had made these signs easily recognizable  I begun to try applying them in everything Catholic. First, to my monastic order, my parish and my diocese. But I could not find any of the visible signs of Catholicity in them. Then I tried it on other  Catholic organizations, Catholic parishes and Catholic Dioceses. Still I could not fine any visible sign of Catholicity in them. Then I tried it on the Bishop's Synod and Bishop's conference and, still,  I could not find any visible sign in them. Notice, I said I could not find any visible sign. Maybe, they had signs but I could not find them in my stupidity. 
     Then, I could not resist the temptation; I tried it to find the visible signs on the Vatican and in Pope Francis. I could not find any visible signs of Catholicity in either of them. Not even in the last two Bishop's Synod.

7. Partial presence of the visible signs. 
    Some Bishops in the two last Bishop's Synod showed visible signs of the true Church. But they only showed partial signs of the true Church. They did not show the complete visible signs. Though some African Bishops showed partial visible signs of the true Church, their Diocese and parishes did not show the visible signs. 
     This could only mean that the Bishops did not have all the visible signs perfectly so they could not communicate it to their parishes or Dioceses. This is possible. The bishop has to work a little harder to help their parishes or dioceses produce the visible signs. It should come out gloriously when the parish or dioceses have truly become Catholic.
     Bishop Cordileone showed partial visible signs of Catholicity but San Francisco had no visible signs.  
     The sight of seeing bishops and priest with some partial visible signs of true Catholicity is common; but in most cases their parishes or dioceses have no signs at all.

8. Answer to the question.
     Is the Pope Catholic? Basing it on the only dependable norms as found in the Nicene Creed and the works of the Fathers and doctors of the Church like St. Robert Bellarmine.........No! I could not find a single visible sign of Catholicity as enumerated by St. Robert Bellarmine. I have begged the Jesuits to write an article proving their confrere the Jesuit Pope Francis is a Catholic based on the Nicene Creed and the works of St. Bellarmine........of course he is. You just wouldn't know it from his press clips. But you can know it for sure from the four visible signs from the Nicene Creed and from the 15 Marks enumerated by St. Robert Bellarmine. But I could be wrong and would be happier to be so. But can some one else try it. 

     

POPE BENEDICT XVI

1. The discussion on the Papacy of Benedict XVI.
     Everybody has not gone over the fact that Pope Benedict had resigned from the Papacy. Why did he resign? And with the things going on now in the Vatican, the cry is getting louder. Why? Up to now articles had been appearing suggesting reasons why he resigned. I cannot help getting involved in the discussion because this issue must be settled. So much depend in the resolution of this issue; in fact, the very salvation of souls. But few had realized this. Nobody is bothered by it. And this unresolved issue is very disturbing.

     We had entered into this discussions from the very beginning and we have made a stand basing our reasoning from Divine Revelation, specially on the prophecies from Scriptures; and then confirmed our stand from the writings of the Fathers, Saints and spiritual writers, together with the messages of the Blessed Virgin during her approved apparitions.

2. First consideration: The ascetico-theological principle. 
     This principle states that one who knows the  'Will of God' will never resign from doing God's Will. No one can resign from the work of preaching the Word of God, or resign from saving souls, or resign from guiding the Church or resign from doing battle for the Church or resign from being Charitable or resign from being human or resign from being a saint. St. Thomas wrote that a bishop cannot resign being a bishop; he is obliged to continue becoming a perfect bishop.

      To resign doing God's will can redound to one's damnation.  Popes know this. And it is for this reason that no Pope had ever resigned. Knowing the work of the Pope, it is unimaginable that he would resign. To do so is like imposing one's own personal will against  the Will of God. 
     Pope John Paul II was totally incapable of running the Papacy during his last days but he knew he had to remain as Pope up to the end because that was God's Will.

    The case of Pope Celestine had not been analyzed in depth. Being a holy monk he was doing his Papal job up to the end. Basing it on the above principle, Celestine never resigned, as we shall clarify a little later. Pope Benedict, being a holy man,  cannot resign from doing God's will that has no expiry date.

    It is possible for God to withdraw his favor from a chosen soul if that soul is unfaithful to his calling  as in the case of King Saul. But none of the Popes that we know were unfaithful to their calling. Definitely not Pope Benedict XVI. So it is impossible for God to have withdrawn his election from Pope Benedict. Knowing how knowledgeable Benedict  was in both ascetical and dogmatic theology, he had no valid reason for resigning from doing God's Will. It is impossible that God had told him to do so, unless he did a King Saul, which evidently he never did. In his situation there is absolute nothing that can be seen why God would ask him to resign. 
     It is for this reason that many were shocked at his resignation and it was a greater shock for those who have more knowledge. He cannot do that!! As this article progress we shall see that he did not do that.

3. Second consideration; The Sedevacante.
     The Sedevacantist movement is a group who believe that the chair of the Pope is vacant; i.e. that there is no Pope, that his seat is vacant. This occurs usually between the death of a previous Pope until the election of the new Pope. They say the seat of the Pope is vacant canonically. But is it vacant in reality, considering that it is God who appoints Popes.
     From the beginning, God had always selected the Popes often working through the previous Popes; like when St. Peter selected his successor.  God does not wait for a Conclave to select a Pope. He chooses who is the Pope without informing the press.  Because the Papacy is an important ingredient of the Mystical Body of Christ. The Pope must confirm the Church in her Faith. He cannot leave it empty even for a while. So God either selects the Pope using the previous Pope as Pope John Paul II selected Ratzinger when he was very ill, and that appointment was valid or God simply selects Whoever He wants and just reconfirms His selection during the following Conclave. In effect, there was a Pope even before the Conclave. 
     When a Pope passes away, as in earlier times, he selects the next Pope. That was the practice in the Church until the unhealthy entry of Democracy where the Popes were elected through a Conclave. That was never God's way. That was the human  modernistic way. Nevertheless God had used this human conclave to accomplish His Will. But He never waits for a Conclave to chose a Pope. 
     When God intervenes in this way nobody knows who is the Pope except living saints. Usually, the same person is eventually selected by a Conclave.  
     There was never a moment when the Church did not have a Pope. Maybe, politically or canonically speaking there was no Pope, but in reality there is always a Pope. It is possible that God may chose His own Pope and the Conclave chose another Pope. This should explain the many questions about the papacy in the past. The historian's list of Popes does not necessarily tally with God's own list of Popes. 
     
      Keep in mind that it was never God's plan to select the Popes through the conclave.  God, always, selected the Pope He Willed and He had clearly showed His direct interventions during Conclaves. In the fourth consideration we shall show how to detect God's chosen Pope.  

4. Third consideration; The split in Papal rule. St. Peter in the roof.
     The Papal office is a spiritual office; an office meant to help souls find their spiritual God. There is absolutely nothing worldly in this office. But the Church, though not of this world is IN THE world. So the Church has worldly activities being in the world; but have the more important spiritual activity of saving soul. 
     St. Peter while praying at the roof top distinguish the two activities; emphasizing the importance of the spiritual activity over the worldly activity. Presented with the problem of the Greek widows Peter told the Church to appoint deacon for the worldly activities because he must concentrate on the work studying and preaching the Word of God. The separation of the two roles of the  Church was clear and who must attend to them. The Popes must concentrate on Divine Revelation, the deacons may help with the widows, the immigrants, the Lutherans, the Evangelicals and the divorcees.  
     After the first Pope and during Constantine the Great, most of the Popes combined the two conflicting roles. And this was the cause of so many problems for the Church until  during the Papacy of Pius IX God sent a clear message; 'No more politics, widows and migrants.  She suddenly lost all her political domain. The Church was left with only one thing; her spiritual rule over the Church. Suddenly she could do her one most important job full time without the encumbrances of being a king and a president. Though, like the hard headed Jews, the Vatican continued with such secular matters like secularism and socialism in liberation theology, still thinking of poor widows and poor migrants while completely disregarding the primary job of studying and preaching the Words of God. 

     History clearly showed with those events in the 18th century onward that the political aspect of the Papacy was not important and can be set aside for the greater welfare of the Church. The Church have ceased to be an empire with a King. She became what she should have been, a spiritual kingdom on this world but not of the world. But that was a lesson most bishops could not learn, who continued to be little princes and dukes that prevented them from their more important spiritual obligations. 
     The world was not interested in heaven; it wanted to make the earth its heaven. It was being fooled into believing that Charity is feeding the Greek widows and not in the Love of the Incarnate Word of God. So unlike St. Peter, the first Pope. 
     
     Vatican II was filled with prince and dukes out to reclaim their own little kingdom where their own personal whims reign; allowing adulteries all over, same sex couples roaming around, atheists assured of their salvation, and heretics destined to sit side by side with angels in heaven. There was a cardinal surge to abolish the difficult Church of Christ preached by the apostles and substitute it with an entirely man made Protestant sect made up of parts manufactured from all over the world but assembled in Argentina. 
     This was no human battle; not even a battle among barbarians. It was a battle between the spiritual forces of evil and of good. A battle first mentioned in Genesis between the serpent and the Woman. Ratzinger was, at first, naivete. He thought it was just a theological debate between theological schools like Bologna and Milan, between theologians like Hans Kung and Octaviani.  
     In his book 'Highlights of Vatican II' Ratzinger saw that the road to eternal life had become bumpy and unsure. Though the defenders of the Old Religion fought hard, the errors of their opponents somehow entered the documents. The documents were filled with minefields ready to explode at the lightest touch. 

5. Fourth consideration;  The four visible signs of the Church from the Nicene Creed. What Pope Benedict saw.
     A reliable guide to the truth is; 'is it Catholic or not?' But how can we know if it is Catholic? By the four visible signs mentioned both in the Nicene Creed and the Catechism. These signs were expanded and better explained by the saints, like St. Augustine who expanded the four signs into six and St. Robert Bellarmine who expanded the four signs into 15 marks.

     During Vatican II, Ratzinger saw that the Church was going the wrong way. But he was young and hoped that the error could be corrected. And he tried during the Council. 
     He continued to work hard to direct the Church in the right direction as head of the CDF condemning those of doubtful orthodoxy. Of course, today he is seeing that all those he had condemned are being rewarded, raised to high Vatican positions and bestowed with honors. Let us not go too much ahead.
      As Pope he used the full power of his office to direct the Church in the right direction. His encyclicals taught us the original teachings of Christ on how to be saved. His audiences on the Fathers and catechesis confirmed all the original teachings of Christ and the Apostles. He restored the Liturgy in her original beauty. He did everything to restore the Church in the right direction.  But 'everything' was not enough. The cancer was malignant. It was fourth stage. It was hopeless.
      Benedict was a theologian. He knew the signs of the true Catholic Church as enumerated in the Nicene Creed. He explained them in his 'compendium.' He, also, knew the other signs mentioned by St. Augustine and probably knew the 15 marks of the Church by St. Robert Bellarmine. He saw the signs were nowhere in the Church of the Vatican. 
     But he knew it must be somewhere because the Church cannot disappear from the face of the earth. He is known to have looked for her closely among the new ecclesial communities. The Neo-cathecumenical way, the Charismatics, etc. He asked every bishop who came for their 'ad limina' visit if they had a church or community that corresponds to the Church described by St. Bonaventure. No one had seen such a Church. In fact, most bishops did not know what the Pope was talking about. 

6. Pope Benedict's conclusion. What he did. 
    Like St. Peter, the first Pope, the Church of the Vatican approached him complaining about the Greek Widows, the Syrian immigrants, the Mexican laborers, the adulterers, the unemployed youth and sad elderlies. And Benedict tells them; 'my work is to save their souls for heaven. Not to give them food or jobs or new husbands and wives. Let the deacons do that. If some cardinals and bishops are free, let them help.  They can even dress up like popes if they wish. But my work as Vicar of Christ is to contemplate  and preach the Word of God.
    So Benedict split the office of the Papacy as St. Peter did on the roof top. He could not be the Pope of the worldly aspect of the office that did not have the four visible signs of the true Church. So he set up its presidency for grabs between the cardinals of South America and Manila. Anyway Benedict knew he did not belong to it and, therefore, he has no business being its head.  
     But Benedict knew it was God's Will that he be head of the true Church with the four visible signs. He had to find that Church that, also, has the 15 Marks of the Church described by St. Robert Bellarmine. St. Bonaventure described that Church, too. And Bonaventure's treatise was Ratzinger's thesis. He should know it. Those visible signs were placed there by God precisely for all men to be able to easily find her. 

     Isn't the picture in the Vatican very clear? We have two persons in white. One praying for the Church like Peter. The other one caring for widows, adulterers and immigrants. The former is called Pope 'emeritus'. The other one is called Bishop of Rome. Well?

7. Conclusion.
    I have read the aching hearts of  Catholics faced with the confusion in the Church today. They do not know what is going on and they do not know what to do. The four principles mentioned above are from the  Doctrine of Divine Providence.  They will clarify and explain what is going on in the Church today. It will guide anyone walking through the labyrinth road the  Church is treading. It will even show the end of the road, eternal salvation, that all men of good will is looking forward to. 
     When the Church was tossed by a storm, like now, didn't St. Peter, the first Pope, leave the boat (the Vatican) for a while to go to Christ and beg Him in prayer to save the boat? Then didn't St. Peter, the first Pope, return to the boat with Christ and brought the boat to the shore, which St. John in his last chapter in the last Gospel described as the end of the story of which nothing else follows?