Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Diocese of Worcester, Constructive Criticism and New Age Spirituality

In his Encyclical Letter Redemptor Hominis, No. 4, Pope John Paul II emphasized that the Church, “...should have a critical sense with regard to all that goes to make up her human character and activity and..should always be very demanding on herself.” Reminding the faithful that constructive criticism has a role within the Church, John Paul says in this same paragraph that such criticism “should have its just limits...otherwise it ceases to be constructive and does not reveal truth.”

But the critical sense called for by Pope John Paul II is not welcome within the Diocese of Worcester. Recently, Stacy Trasancos, a columnist for The “Catholic” Free Press, the official newspaper of the Diocese of Worcester, advanced an erroneous concept of loyalty to the Church’s hierarchy when she asserted that a Bishop should never be criticized . It’s not surprising that Trasancos’ view was published in The “Catholic” Free Press while my rebuttal was censored. For years, diocesan officials have promoted and tolerated dissent from the Magisterial teaching of the Church while welcoming those who advance New Age spirituality.

And these same officials obviously believe that they are “above criticism” or any need for a critical sense.

Pride goeth before a fall.

A few weeks ago, Sister Joyce Rupp, a Servite Sister who promotes New Age spirituality, was once again received by the Diocese with open arms. An article in The “Catholic” Free Press (October 5th edition, p. 8), makes mention of the fact that Joyce Rupp’s books are available at the diocesan book store at the Chancery. This is what happens without the critical sense. No one at the Chancery is concerned over Sister Rupp’s New Age background or the fact that respected Catholic personalities such as Johnette Benkovic have expressed concerns over her troubling views and New Age spirituality.

New Agers will freely admit that Jesus Christ is God but insist that He is no more God than anyone else. They believe that the “Christ” is a divine principle, a “Christ consciousness” attainable by all people. New Age guru Benjamin Creme, in his work entitled “The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom,” writes that, “Christ is not God, he is not coming as God. He is an embodiment of an aspect of God, the love aspect of God. He is the embodied soul of all creation. He embodies the energy which is a consciousness aspect of the Being we call God.” (P. 135).

Catholics and other Christians believe that Jesus Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, True God and True Man Who came to Redeem us from our sins and to deliver us from the prince of this world. New Agers hold that Christ is merely an energy force - the basic evolutionary force within creation.

The Bishop of Worcester, The Most Rev. Robert McManus, is deserving of criticism for his decision to carry Sister Rupp’s books at his Chancery. Her writings will only serve to confuse some of the faithful. Even if the specific books being carried by the Chancery bookstore are not objectionable, readers will nevertheless be introduced to a woman whose ideas regarding spirituality (not to mention her attitude toward the Church’s hierarchy) are gravely disturbing.

If only the Diocese of Worcester could learn to be more demanding of itself. Without the critical sense, this is unlikely. It’s far more easy to deflect any criticism, no matter how constructive it may be, and to embrace complacency and a smug, self-satisfied attitude. But just as individual Catholics are required to be honest with themselves when preparing for the Sacrament of Penance, so too it is necessary for the spiritual health of a diocese for its leaders to embrace honesty and the spirit of self-examination.

The darkness spreads.  The Man of Sin approaches.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Social "Gospel" spreads: Preparation for the Reign of Antichrist.

I've said it many times over the past twenty years, as we move toward one world government, the new humanitarian religion will become more and more aggressive. Catholicism, its greatest enemy, must be overcome at all cost. To this end, ecclesiastical masonry (see here and here) has inflitrated the Church.

Through one of the characters in his book The Lord of the World, Robert Hugh Benson describes this humanitarian religion which is to overcome the Catholic Church: "Humanitarianism...is becoming an actual religion itself, though anti-supernatural. It is a Pantheism. Pantheism deifies all nature, God is the world, but naturally, man above all is God since he is the highest expression of nature. It is a religion devoid of the 'super' natural, because since God is nature itself, there is no longer a distinction between Creator and creature. The creature is God and hence arbitrator of his own destiny and establishes the moral law for himself. Nature, and man is its highest expression, has all the divine attributes. Humanitarianism is a religion devoid of the supernatural. It is developing a ritual under Freemasonry; it has a creed, 'God is man'; and the rest. It has, therefore, a real food of a sort to offer religious cravings: it idealizes, and yet makes no demands upon the spiritual faculties. Then, they have the use of all the churches except ours, and of all the Cathedrals; and they are beginning at last to encourage sentiment. Then they may display their symbols and we may not..."

The new humanitarian religion, which is anti-supernatural, must absorb Christianity as it prepares for the entrance of the Man of Sin. Catholics who maintain a devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady must be first ostracized and later eliminated as incompatible with the New Order.

The Man of Sin will soon reveal himself.  There is preparation for this event.  There is a new television series entitled "666 Park Avenue."  Children are being tagged with RFID technology and soon the entire populace will be subjected to mandatory microchipping.  Here in the Worcester Diocese [Massachusetts], the Chancery is selling books written by New Age advocate/Pantheist and dissident Servite Sister Joyce Rupp who has publically denounced the Church's hierarchy while agitating for a change in Catholic teaching. 

Seldom is a sermon heard in local parishes which deals with sin, heaven, hell or purgatory.  The justice which Christ came to establish for men is the interior justification which makes them children of God in grace.  And the kingdom which Christ came to establish is a spiritual kingdom  of interior holiness.  But  many (if not most) of our local clergy no longer preach the Gospel of Christ and have succumbed to what Dietrich von Hildebrand referred to as "this-worldliness" - a transfer of the center of gravity from eternity to this world.

Dr. Hildebrand writes, "The this-worldly tendency can be detected in various pastoral letters, and above all in countless sermons.  One speaks more about the fight against poverty and for social justice and world peace - in a word, more about improving the world - than about offending God by our sins, sanctifying the individual, about heaven and hell, eternity and the hope of eternal union with God in the beatific vision.  The this-worldly tendency emphasizes the earthly future more than eternity, and this is an unfortunate heritage of the evolutionism of [Pere] Teilhard de Chardin.  The sancitification of the individual soul and the eternal salvation of the individual is pushed aside to make room for the evolution of mankind on earth, for progress in what concerns man's earthly existence." (The Devastated Vineyard, pp. 128-129).

I witness this phenomenon on a regular basis at my parish.  The "pastor" there is more concerned with raising monies for Food for the Poor (a most worthy charity to be sure) than he is with saving souls.  During last Sunday's homily he told a story about a man sentenced to hell for only giving a quarter to the poor.  But never has this priest told a story about someone going to hell for having an abortion, for having contracepted, for engaging in fornication, adultery or sodomy.  It would seem that, for this priest, the only sin which merits hell is a failure to practice the corporal works of mercy.

Which is not to say, of course, that we will not be judged on such works.  Even a cursory read of Matthew 25 by even the most intellectually-challenged amongst us will quickly reveal the necessity of sharing the good things which God has provided us.  But, having succumbed to a false social "gospel," clerics who have fallen into this-worldliness fail to understand that temporal justice is not an essential message of the Gospel and, as Father Vincent Miceli reminded us, "...has nothing to do directly with God's economy of salvation as revealed in the life and teachings of Jesus.  Christ Himself stressed this truth when He urged His listeners to act as follows concerning their natural needs: 'Therefore I say to you, do not be anxious for your life...for your Father knows that you need all these things.  But seek first the Kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be given you besides.'" (Essay entitled "St. Thomas, Justice and Marxism," citing Matthew 6: 25, 32-33).

As the false humanitarian "gospel," the "social gospel," continues to spread, we will witness more and more hostility toward supernatural faith and those who still have a sense of sin. 

Prepare.  For soon persecution will overcome the Church for a time.  The day is fast-approaching when those who kill us will believe that they are serving God in truth.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Letter submitted to the Editor of The Catholic Free Press

To the Editor:

In his important work entitled The Devastated Vineyard, Dr. Dietrich von Hildebrand examines three false responses to the devastation within the Catholic Church while emphasizing that, "the most dangerous one would be to imagine that there is no devastation of the vineyard of the Lord" and that "our task as laymen is simply to adhere with complete loyalty to whatever our bishop says." Dr. von Hildebrand warns that, "the basis of this attitude is a false idea of loyalty to the hierarchy." (p. 246).

The Church's pastoral authority is not totalitarian. Her authority is subordinate to the theological virtues of faith and love, both of which redeem and perfect persons instead of merely subjecting them to a particular ideology. There are some who believe that the laith should never criticize a bishop because "it is impossible for a lay person to know all that goes into his decision-making process" and because "it just seems backwards to mistrust a man who authoritatively speaks in the name of Christ."

But a bishop only teaches authoritatively if he offers a teaching which conforms to that of the Church's Magisterium. And while the laity may not always be privy to all the factors that go into a bishop's decision-making process, they still are able to see the results of a particular decision and "have the right and even at times a duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church." (Canon 212).Dr. Germain Grisez reminds us, "That the Church is a communion of faith and love does not mean popes and other bishops may ignore the conditions necessary for the just use of authority in any human community. Like any community's leaders, the Church's pastoral leaders can make wise decisions only if they deliberate well. The other members of the community should contribute to their deliberation by responsibly expressing their opinions on matters concerning the Church's good."

Pope John Paul II said that there is room in the Church for constructive criticism. Sometimes such criticism must be directed toward a bishop. Especially when he sets himself against the Church's teaching or fails to protect the faithful entrusted to his care.

Paul Anthony Melanson

This letter may or not be published.  But many today, including sadly many Catholics, equate criticism with condemnation.  Dr. Montague Brown explains the difference between the two nicely: “Criticism is the honest appraisal of the value of ideas or actions…Pursued in the right spirit, it is a positive undertaking whose purpose is to gain an accurate understanding for the sake of growing in wisdom and virtue….Condemnation goes beyond evaluation of an idea or action to a declaration of the worthlessness of a human being. It is never fair and is a wholly negative judgment, referring only to weaknesses. Because condemnation is unreasonable, it serves no purpose in our quest for wisdom and virtue.” (The One-Minute Philosopher, pp. 28,29).

“We invite you to criticize our institutions without reserve. One is not insulted by being informed of something amiss, but rather gets an opportunity for amendment, if the information is taken in good part, without resentment.” – Plato, Laws, Bk. 1, 635a

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