In this podcast, Tim Gordon and I discuss the two directions Catholic community in America could take via Clint Eastwood’s movie “Gran Torino,” namely love of society or love of the individual.
In this podcast, Tim Gordon discusses where politics meets religion in his new book, “Catholic Republic: Why America Will Perish Without Rome.” Gordon argues that “America is a republic wired Catholic, labeled Protestant and is currently functioning as a secular.”
Most “EWTN Catholics” (for lack of a better term) might be surprised to find that in the Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) world, there is sharp divide down the middle between those who believe that the private revelations of Sr. Faustina Kowalska are authentic, versus those who do not. I am referring to the Divine Mercy Diary, a book of private revelation written by a Polish nun in the 1930s. A modern EWTN Catholic could, in an overly-facile manner, condemn traditionalists who are wary of the Divine Mercy message for just being “Jansenist” or “disobedient.” This would be too easy and not fair. Indeed, one must realize that many traditionalists have good reason to doubt what has come out of the human element of the Church since Sr. Lucia of Fatima explained that a “diabolical disorientation” that would infect a large part of modern Church history. This wariness is not simply a “anti-Vatican II thing.” Many traditionalists who have studied Church history realize that modernism was reaching increasing levels in the Church from the 1920s to the 1950s.
As any reader can tell from the title of this blog post, I am obviously a priest who only does only the pre-1960 sacraments, including the TLM exclusively. However, I very much believe the Divine Mercy apparitions to St. Faustina were not only authentic, but a great gift from heaven to earth in the darkest century of both world history and Church history. Unlike most of my dogmatic blog posts, this is going to be more “experiencey,” based at the intersection of my life and others’ lives with the Divine Mercy message. If the reader wants to delve into the dogmatic battle in the Divine Mercy world, one could read from a good traditionalist priest his opposition to the authenticity of the visions here. If one desires to read an in-depth traditionalist defense of the Divine Mercy Diary, one could read here, here and here.
Again, I fully admit that the above four blog posts are more dogmatically thorough than what you will read below in my three points in favor of Divine Mercy, so please don’t repeat on my Facebook profile the old arguments that are above in the first anti-Divine Mercy link. I love a good debate, so you can bring me new reasons to reject the Divine Mercy Diary, but nothing old, please. So, please read the good and holy Msgr. Perez’ opposition to the Divine Mercy message before battling in my comments. In any case, I publish this on Good Friday because this is the day that the Divine Mercy Diary proposes that we begin the Divine Mercy Novena.
1) No Dogmatic Problems in the Divine Mercy Diary
Anytime otherwise-brilliant theologians come up with weak arguments for their position, I tend to smell a fish in their position on that specific topic. One example of this is how many traditionalists have a problem with this quote that Our Lord allegedly said to St. Faustina on 2 October 1936. “The First Friday of the month. After Holy Communion, I suddenly saw the Lord Jesus, who spoke these words to me: ‘Now I know that it is not for the graces or gifts that you love me, but because My will is dearer to you than life. That is why I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.’”—Divine Mercy Diary (DMD) 707. Many people who go to the Latin Mass say that this line could not be Christ to a nun, because it overturns the unique position of Our Lady as the highest creature. My response to this is common sense: If a Polish nun wanted to deceive her fellow Polish nuns into thinking she was a saint, she surely would not be stupid enough (or deceived enough on the other end!) to believe that Christ placed her higher than the Blessed Virgin Mary. In other words, trads can reject the DMD, but they should use some common sense in not projecting a Protestant world-view upon a Catholic country like Poland in what even a deceiver (or a deceived woman) would have believed.
Secondly, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez had a similar private revelation (actually a prophesy) of St. Peter Claver taking something of a “highest place” in heaven. Being a Catholic in a Catholic country, St. Rodriguez did not need to qualify that the “highest place” of St. Peter Claver actually could never replace Mary and Joseph! Indeed, for a Catholic, such caveats are not needed. As I said on a recent podcast, we need to re-incorporate common sense into our theology.
But my strongest argument in favor of the authenticity of St. Faustina’s private revelation on that DMD 707 line is the following: When Christ said to her, “I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature,” anyone who has studied the ascetical theology of the Catholic Church (something that is dogmatic, not devotional) knows that such is how Christ unites Himself to any soul! This is not me playing with words. St. John of the Cross, the greatest doctor of spiritual theology in the Catholic Church repeatedly wrote about how unique the Blessed Trinity’s union is to each one of us. This is true, even at the lowest levels of holiness, provided we are in sanctifying grace. In other words, it is the spiritual theology teaching of the Catholic Church that Christ uniquely and intimately has united himself to me, Fr. David Nix, in a way as found in the soul of “no other creature.” The same is true for you if you are in sanctifying grace. Thus, anyone who has studied (even at a cursory level) the multivalent gifts of grace in the soul should quickly understand that Christ could very easily say to any and every saint in history that He was “uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.” Our souls are even more unique than our bodies.
2. No Sense of Modernism in the Apparitions
The traditionalists who say that the Divine Mercy Diary smacks of “presumption” have either not read the Sacred Heart apparitions to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque or, perhaps in modern traditionalists’ defense, they have never really read the truly-modernist, truly-presumption-based false apparitions that float around us today. I have been accused of being a “heresy hunter” and indeed, it is true, I have the most sensitive antennae of almost anyone I know for finding heresy (a fact that friend and enemy have both accused me of!) But the Divine Mercy Diary fully passes my “smell test” against the heresy of modernism. Consider the time when Jesus takes St. Faustina to hell, and she sees all of the tortures of hell and then writes this terrifying line: “But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.”—DMD 741. That does not sound like a modernist obsessed with presumption. In fact, I believe that a jarring Good Friday meditation (to see what Christ saved you from by His three hours on the cross) might be to read the tortures of hell as found in her diary, seen in this short footnote: 1
Also, a beautiful Easter meditation might be to mediate on when Christ brought St. Faustina to see the glories of heaven in this footnote here: 2
I do not know her opinion on the Divine Mercy message, but the lovely and brilliant 96 year old traditionalist Catholic, Alice Von Hildebrand (and let me say that she and her deceased husband have both been great heroes of mine) wrote a stunning article called in Crisis Magazine called In Defense of Feelings that included this line: “I would suggest that the enemies of affectivity read the lives of great saints and great mystics and pay attention to how often a St. Teresa of Jesus uses the word ‘feeling.’ Asked by her spiritual director, who prudently doubted the validity of her visions, how she could be certain that Christ was speaking to her, she answered: ‘lo sentia‘ (Vida, Chapter 27).” I add to her words: The heart matters as much as the brain on discerning the authenticity of private revelation, provided the private revelation passes the approbation of the hierarchical Church—something the Divine Mercy Diary has already done (unless one fully denies a valid hierarchy, as only Protestants and sedevacantists seem to do.)
I don’t claim to be a St. Teresa of Avila, or even a Dietrich von Hildebrand, but I do know my sins enough to write this this: The only time, every year, that I totally feel all of my Purgatory time totally relieved is on Divine Mercy Sunday. It is so palpable and so true, that I simply can only repeat with St. Teresa of Avila, “Lo Sentia.” I realize that this is not a strong dogmatic argument in favor of the authenticity of the Divine Mercy diary, so I suppose the more impatient side of me simply wants to say to those who reject the Divine Mercy Diary the following: “If you don’t want your Purgatory time relieved, you don’t have to have it.”
Of course, baptism is the only thing that washes away original sin. If one were to commit a mortal sin after baptism, the only way for that man to be forgiven would be to go to confession to a priest (or in rare instances of perfect contrition, he would be saved if he died before confession. But even if he lived, he could not receive Holy Communion without confessing all of his mortal sins to a priest first.) In any case, one analogy is that a mortal sin is like a nail in the wood of your soul. Confession removes that nail but the hole remains. This is because confession relieves the eternal punishments of sin, but not the temporary punishments of sin. A plenary indulgence granted (following a good confession) relieves all temporary punishments of sin, aka Purgatory. Here on earth, that would be analogous to the wood of your soul already being filled and made healthy.
But such a plenary indulgence may be more difficult to obtain than the typical modern Catholic may realize. In fact, one of the requirements for a plenary indulgence is full detachment from the inclination to not only mortal sin but even detachment from venial sin. Yes, this is required for a plenary indulgence (all the holes of your soul to be filled.) If my understanding of the Divine Mercy message is correct (and I’m open to correction) this is not the case with the Divine Mercy Sunday promise. In other words, I see no rigorous requirements besides what is below in the next picture as found in the FSSP ordo:
Of course, we must always have the intention of avoiding all sin (both venial and mortal) even to make a good confession (as is the case any time in the year.) But the fact that all of our Purgatory time is relieved on Divine Mercy Sunday with minimal requirements does suggest that there may be something novel and even unprecedented about the Divine Mercy message.
In this sense, I understand why traditionalists are wary of it.
But I would answer such traditionalists by saying that perhaps God gave us the novel and unprecedented Divine Mercy pledge of all eternal and temporal effects of sin relieved without perfect detachment by the 8th day of Easter precisely because of the novel “diabolical disorientation” found in the human element of the Church in the 20th century, not to mention a world full of endless temptations online, replete with genocides of entire races and the unborn—equally unprecedented in world history.
My last “experiential proof” of the power of the Divine Mercy message is that many priests who have been going on the tradition thing for longer than me (and who are older, wiser and more holy) also fully support the Divine Mercy message. Two FSSP priests on Sensus Fidelium have also given their full promotion of Divine Mercy Sunday both here and here (with indication that, in some sense, this final day in the Octave of Easter is actually a much older feast than what entered the Church in 20th century)
The Divine Mercy Novena is not required for the relief of Purgatory time, but if you are convinced this message is from God, please join me today, Good Friday, for the beginning of the Divine Mercy Novena and fulfill the requirements in the above picture if you wish not only your time in hell, but your time in Purgatory totally relieved in nine days.
“Today I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. ~ It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large Iand extensive it is! The kinds of torture I saw: -the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; -the second torture is perpetual remorse of conscIence; -the third is that one’s condition will never change; -the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it – a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; -the firth torture is continual darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and, despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both others and their own; -the sixth torture is the constant company of Satan; -the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the dammed together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses: Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God . What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest suffering, than offend You by the least of sin.. (Diary 741)”↩
“Today I was in heaven, in spirit, and I saw its inconceivable beauties and the happiness that awaits us after death. I saw how all creatures give ceaseless priase and glory to God. I saw how great is happiness in God, which spreads to all creatures, making them happy; and then all the glory and praise which springs from this happiness returns to its source; and they enter into the depths of God, contemplating the inner life of God, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, whom they will never comprehend or fathom…The sight of this great majesty of God, which I came to understand more profoundly and which is worshiped by the heavenly spirits according to their degree of grace and the hierarchies into which they are divided, did not cause my soul to be stricken with terror or fear: no, no, not at all! My soul was filled with peace and love, and the more I come to know the greatness of God, the more joyful I become that He is as He is. And I rejoice immensely in His greatness and am delighted that I am so little because, since I am little, He carries me in His arms and holds me close to His Heart”-DM 777, 779 ↩
Edit: USA Today wrote a very important article following my blog post called Death by Donation: Euthanizing Patients for Organs.
Although I am a Catholic priest, I am also an ex-paramedic and I graduated pre-health from Boston College. I am writing this blog post “Why you should say no to organ donation on your driver’s license” as a former paramedic, not as a priest. In other words, this blog post will be practical medical advice for all readers Catholic or non-Catholic. There will be no overt Catholic bioethics below, except these two sentences: The Catholic Church has no problem with organ donation per-se. The problem is that certain organs are always cut out of living people, effecting a homicide for “good reasons.”
Although a liver or a cornea could be harvested from a cadaver for organ donation from a dead body, a heart is always cut out of a living body in first world countries. The term “Brain Death” was invented by a team of Harvard physicians to re-define death for this very purpose. So called “brain-death” essentially means that a patient has an active cardio-vascular system, but with reduced activity on the electroencephalogram (EEG.) An EEG measures electrical activity in the brain. This should not be confused with an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) which measures the electrical activity of the heart. Transplant surgeons prefer to cut the heart out of live patients with active EKGs (but minimal EEGs) because a heart that has stopped beating actually harms the tissue via something called a “hypoxic insult” to the tissue. Remember that the heart must beat oxygen-rich blood not only to the whole body, but to the heart itself.
In lay terms, Cardiac muscle goes so badly so quickly after the heart stops beating that transplant surgeons must find a way to anesthetize the patient so as to cut the heart out of that living body. It should be obvious that a dead body would not need anesthesia! But this sounds too creepy to exist without a cover. Harvard Medical invented the cover, “Brain Death” precisely so as to justify the harvesting of hearts from living people. If you put “Yes” on your Driver’s License to organ donation, and if you were to sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury with no damage to your cardiovascular system, you would certainly be a prime candidate to have your heart cut out of your own living body (deemed brain dead because of a reduced EEG.)
The New England Journal of Medicine recently removed an article formerly found here where they admitted that transplant surgeons were cutting the hearts out of live patients. Their bioethical justification read word-for-word: “Many will object that transplantation surgeons cannot legally or ethically remove vital organs from patients before death, since doing so will cause their death. However, if the critiques of the current methods of diagnosing death are correct, then such actions are already taking place on a routine basis.” Let me translate that into lay terms: “Some people may think it’s wrong to cut organs out of living people, and they might be correct, but it’s irrelevant because they’re simply too late to protest, since we’ve already been doing it for quite a while.”
To be sure, certain organs can be cut from a live person with no challenge from even the most conservative bioethicists. For example, one person could give another person a kidney, and both could go on living. But after certain traumatic events, especially neuro-trauma (head and neck) the transplant surgeons aim to harvest the heart for the next living person that could use it. Again, this must be cut from a living patient who has been declared to have reduced brain activity, aka “Brain Death,” as the cover to appease the more squeamish of bioethicists. Besides the fact that this is justifying murder (as some surgical cut has to stop the heart!) it should be noted that numerous people who had formerly been declared “brain dead” have actually recovered. Dr. Shewmon MD of Pediatric Neurology at UCLA has demonstrated that children who have survived as brain dead for up to 14 years have overcome infections and even their wounds.
For this reason, we must consider that Byrne et. al. in the book Life, Life Support and Death write “No one shall be determined or declared dead unless and until there is destruction of at least the three basic unifying systems of the body, namely, the circulatory and respiratory systems, and the entire brain.”
When I was a priest on loan to Florida last year, I was called to help a Spanish-only speaking family who I had never met. The parents were from Mexico, but they had raised their three children in California. Their 33 year old son, Joel, had been a very popular restaurant-worker there in Jacksonville, FL. For reasons unknown, he was shot in the head one night last year and transported by Jax EMS to Memorial Hospital where he was resuscitated and moved to the ICU. The Gun Shot Wound (GSW) to the head seemed to be incompatible with “a meaningful life.” Thus, the hospital staff wanted to wheel Joel away to harvest his heart from his living body in a separate room. However, this would mean that Joel would not die in the presence of his parents in the ICU. (You can’t exactly have parents watch you cut the heart out of their live son.) I had just arrived to intervene at this time, and I subsequently explained this to the parents the fate of their son. Naturally, his parents refused to have their living son, who was able to make eye contact, killed for his heart.
In response to my intervention and his parents’ wishes, Joel was left in the ICU to starve to death. We protested this decision in both English and Spanish, but were ignored for nearly two days with Joel starving. Finally, I called civil attorneys in Washington DC with a group called Life Legal Defense Foundation. Joel’s parents gave permission for them to publish his story here.
Ultimately, LLDF’s attorney was able to force the hospital ICU physicians to establish a nasogastric tube to feed Joel. Joel received artificial nutrition and hydration (ANH) until he died a few days later in the ICU from the GSW. Although a GSW is not to be considered a “natural death,” it was certainly a more natural death than having his live heart cut out of his living body. As you can see from the above picture, Joel was able to look at me when I took out my phone for a picture with him and his mother. A few days later, Joel died a peaceful death with no narcotics. He died with the sacraments. He died with his parents and brother at his side. None of this would have been possible if hospital staff had been able to cut his heart out of his living body and/or overdose him with narcotics.
My suggestion as an ex-paramedic is to put “No” on your Driver’s License to organ donation. A better option is this: A Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Document is a legal document that lets you name someone else to make decisions about your health care in case you are not able to make those decisions yourself. Should you wish to indicate to that person that you wish to donate, say, liver or kidneys or cornea to patients who need it (in the event that you die) then the person you have made your Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care (who hopefully shares a similar set of bioethics as you) can make that decision for you. It is better to start with a “No” to that organ donation on your driver’s license and let your spouse dial that up, than to start with a “Yes” and have a loved-one unable to stop you from being wheeled away as your heart is cut out of your living body, should you have just sustained a traumatic brain injury.
Between my initial conversion as a teenager (1997) and about halfway through my nine-years of priesthood (2014) I would probably have been described as a small-fish but bold-agent in the “New Evangelization” of Pope John Paul II. I don’t regret those days. I came to know salvation-history through great lay leaders. I saw real miracles in the charismatic movement (as well as some evil things.) As a layman, I had many sins forgiven by priests who did not speak a word of Latin (and some invalid confessions via priests changing the words of absolution.) As much as this blog post might sound primed for a line like “But now I see so much better as a traditionalist!” there are even many things I gained in my eight pre-conversion years under the Jesuits (like a love of the poor.) Most fondly, I look back on my years as a neo-conservative, growing daily in personal conversion and my relationship with Jesus Christ. I truly loved my carefree international missions as a young priest, as well as and late-nights hearing confessions of University students on several campuses. I don’t regret those days of pre-tradition. They formed who I am today.
During that period (1997 to 2014) if someone had asked me why the Catholic Church had lost 50% of her adherents in the Western Hemisphere over the past 70 years, I would not have said “Vatican II.” I would have said, “The sexual revolution.” If someone had asked me why 80% of married Catholics in the West were using contraception, I would not have said “Vatican II.” I would have said “The sexual revolution.” I explained to many people that Catholics were using contraception because they had not heard Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body. In fact, any co-habitating couple who approached me to get married in my early years of priesthood had to first listen to Naked Without Shame by Christopher West. I was truly a non-rad-trad neo-con at the beginning of my priesthood, yes, a big believer in the New Evangelization.
This week, the Vatican pushed the idea that the priest-child scandals were the fault of the “sexual revolution.” In fact, in that 6,000 word document, the word “revolution” (as in “sexual-revolution”) was found twice in the first 300 words. It holds that the sexual revolution was the genesis of same-sex attracted priests doing things to each other, as well as priests doing horrible things to children. Some people were shocked at this explanation. I was not shocked. We used this excuse to explain all the bad apples around us for years. We priests gained a lot of mileage for that “sexual revolution” thing because it allowed us to blame our internal issues on the world around us. Why don’t most Catholics believe in the True Presence of the Eucharist”? We even blamed that on the “sexual revolution.” Oh, and then we tacked on that tired explanation that the main problem in the flagging belief in the Eucharist among Catholics was that bishops “did not implement Vatican II as it was intended by the Council Fathers.” I actually believed these ideas because it was what I was taught by my priestly superiors as a layman and seminarian. I really admired these priests who taught me that. In some sense, I still do admire them.
But they are wrong to blame our current crisis of dogma and sexuality on the “sexual revolution” for three main reasons:
1) The Salt Parable. “Salt is good, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored?.”—Lk 14:34. Salt was often used in ancient times as a preservative to keep meat from going rotten. Thus, the “salt” in the analogy is the Catholic Church and the “meat” is the rotten world around it. Christ’s point is very clear in this parable: Meat can not make the salt rotten! If the salt is salty, both the salt and the meat stay preserved. If the salt goes flat, both the meat and the salt go rotten. Thus, to blame priests raping children on the world around us is a total deflection and cop out. And, it goes directly against Christ’s parable that clearly asserts that if the salt stays fresh, both the salt and the meat stay preserved.
2) The History of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church grew at a rate of 40% a decade during the years of persecution in the Roman Empire of the first three hundred years of Catholicism. It’s not healthy to repeat oneself in a blog post, but here it is: The Christians peppered through the Roman empire grew at a rate of 40% every decade under persecution of a fleshy paganism that was replete with sexual aberrations, paganism and even infanticide. This means that Catholicism actually does well when it is surrounded by sex-obsessed pagans, as long as Catholicism keeps itself from being infiltrated. Christ, because He is God, had the power to program the Catholic Church via His Divine Preview of all future storms to have the power of His own Spirit given to His Bride, the Church, to withstand any persecution by several things that he gave us: The power of His Holy Cross, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the sacraments, the Deposit of the Faith, the Papacy and the intercession of the angels and saints, most especially His Blessed Mother. As long as these did not change from within, the Catholic Church would actually grow big when surrounded by dying pagan empires.
In the 16th century, when 10 million Catholics left the Catholic faith in Europe for Protestantism, something remarkable happened in the Americas: Tens of thousands of Franciscans and Jesuits (from Europe) went to make new disciples in the Americas in the 1500s. Faced with limited success, Our Lady of Guadeloupe appeared not far from the center of the bloody Aztec empire, and by the end of the 16th century, she had converted nearly 10 million Mexicans (creating that very race and term by the mix of Spanish men and Indian women that had united peacefully under her mantle of stars) to be led to baptism by the Spanish missionaries. The point is that even when there is a crisis within the Church (not just without her like the Roman Empire, but within her like the Church in Europe in the 16th century), the faith and dogma remained unchanged, at least enough for the 10 million heretics to be replaced by 10 million baptized Indians. This was the supernatural faith and unchanged liturgy that charged the Franciscan and Jesuit missionaries to make millions of converts in the Americas to the One Holy Catholic Faith, despite the untold dangers they faced on the sea and on land, all for the love of Christ crucified.
The logic that “the sexual revolution has led priests to rape children” should also be offensive to secular readers because they read in this excuse: “Sorry, but you can’t expect our poor priests to can’t keep their pants on if you throw them in that fleshy secular environment you created!” An additional reason that this explanation does not gel with the traditional spiritual and ascetical theology of the Catholic Church is because the Church teaches that at baptism, the soul is infused with the theological virtues of faith and hope and charity. Because those three theological gifts proceed from the very merits of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ, then they make us well-neigh invincible against temptations to sin. The only way to crack those theological virtues would be to change one of those three: faith, hope or charity.
And that is exactly what happened: The Faith changed in the past 70 years. There is an old sardonic phrase about Church history: If there’s a Church crisis, then you can be sure it’s an inside job. But that phrase is perhaps not so sardonic. This old parable is actually quite hope-filled and beautiful because it shows that Christ has not only programmed His Church to withstand every storm via the power of his own charity in the crucifixion transferred to His Bride at Pentecost, but that the Church would grow more when the world is against it! The only way that Satan could stop the growth of the Catholic Church would not be a sexual revolution in the world, but changing the Faith within the Catholic Church via an Infiltration.
In those pre-traditional years of my Catholic life, from 1997 to 2014 (the majority of my life of having a relationship with Christ and His Church!) I believed that the Third Secret of Fatima was Pope John Paul II being shot and yet still living. How could one deny the fact that he was shot on her feast day and then miraculously lived? I still do believe this was a miracle given to the Pope from Our Lady, but I no longer believe this was the Third Secret of Fatima. The Third Secret of Fatima, I am fully convinced, was Our Lady’s warning that there would be a general apostasy from the top-down in the Roman Catholic hierarchy in the 20th century. If you want the full evidence for this, please watch “The Secret Still Silenced” below:
The title of this blog post is “Did Christ Program the Church to Withstand Every Storm?” The reason I can still say “Yes” to that after all the corruption I have seen in the Catholic Church is because of that above video, “The Secret Still Silenced.” Yes, I know this is Christ’s promise in Scripture, but this video enlightens the Deposit of the Faith for me, namely, that God-Himself did not program a changed Faith or changed Liturgy in the past 70 years that tanked the numbers of the Catholic Church in the Western Hemisphere and nearly destroyed all missionary congregations in the Eastern Hemisphere. This leaves only one option, which is ironically quite hope-filled: We have endured an infiltration into the hierarchy who changed the faith. This is hopeful precisely because nobody can say that heaven did not warn us. After watching the above video, you will agree that nobody can say that the Blessed Trinity failed to send Our Lady to tell us to watch out for an apostasy that would lead to globally reduced numbers of priests and baptisms, disrespect for the Eucharist and even priests who are perverted.
No, this perversion was not because of celibacy (like the media says) or the “sexual revolution” (like the Vatican said this week) but because priests lost faith, hope and charity, beginning with a changed faith the past 70 years. I believe that when we repent for our inside job of changing the priesthood and every other sacrament, then we can stop pointing fingers at the secular world for our perverted actions. But if the hierarchy is still unable to repent for a changed Dogma and Liturgy over the past 70 years, then don’t be surprised if the only option for us flavorless salt grains is to bemoan our own stinkiness by pointing the finger at the rotten meat around us. What a cop-out, especially when Christ has programmed the Church perfectly without needing any “updating for modern man.”
If you subscribe to what Our Lady most-likely revealed to the children, namely, that there would be a general apostasy from the top down of the hierarchy, then we can believe that Christ did indeed program the Catholic Church to withstand the sexual-revolution, and that we would have had the power to produce mostly holy priests if we had our dogma without a Protestantization of it. Had we kept the faith without giving into that masonic inside job, then the 1960s would have simply been another storm Christ would have seen come-and-go when He looked through time and into Peters eyes that day years ago in Caesarae Phillipi when He said, “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”—Mt 16:18. Christ also knew at that triumphant and sad moment of seeing all the scandals through history that the hierarchy would always bounce back, but that the hardest would be that one time in history (now) when the very Faith and Liturgy itself would be mongrelized by an inside job.
I love the Catholic Church because when we win a culture through holy saints, we win converts! When we lose a battle on earth via martyrs, we win double the converts!! Satan knew this. Satan himself knew that Christ programmed the Church to withstand every outside storm. Satan knew well the old sardonic phrase: “If there’s a crisis in the Church, you can be sure it’s an inside job.”
If you subscribe to what Our Lady most-likely revealed to the children, namely, that there would be a general apostasy from the top down of the hierarchy, then you can’t blame God for the priests who never had the faith, who were admitted to seminary by modernist bishops, and later who molested children. You can’t blame God. You must blame those who infiltrated the Catholic Church. Perhaps even more, we need to blame those good men who let effeminate masons infiltrate. They changed her priesthood, her dogma and her liturgy. You must blame this crisis not on God Himself who gave us countless holy priests in World War II (many of whom were killed.) God gave that generation and the next the grace to resist a coming storm that would be worse than World War II (and I don’t mean the “sexual revolution”) but rather: a betrayal from within. We straight priests could have handled that perverted world around us like the early priests handled the Roman Empire. What we can’t handle is betrayal from within the Priesthood.
Thus, the only solution left is the one thing that none of the last five Popes have tried: A full return to the one traditional Catholic Faith, Dogma and Liturgy lived by the children of Fatima and encouraged by Our Lady, not a reform of the reform of the reform of the reform. We may not see that full restoration in the next five years, but I believe that total restoration is coming, probably in the lifetime of most people reading this blog post. The Immaculate Virgin Mary obtained for those children (from Her Son) the grace to endure all the mockery and persecution that would come to them for adhering to the Truth. And she will for you, too.
And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.—Jesus Christ in St. Matthew 24:10-14
Why are traditional Catholics so mean to each other? I don’t mean people like Virginia senator Tim Kaine who described himself as a “traditional Catholic.” By “traditional Catholic” I mean people who actually believe that the doctrine and liturgy of the Catholic Church can change by no man. So, why are trad-Catholics so mean to each other? Of course, the most common answer we all hear is: spiritual arrogance and hypocrisy. I don’t deny there is a certain truth to this, even in my life. But on the opposite side of the coin, we also hear that trads are mean because they are reacting as the “spiritually abused children of the Church.” I don’t deny there is a certain truth to this, even in my life. But today’s blog post is neither accusation nor exoneration. It’s a new analogy that I had never heard before, and it came from a friend.
First, let us take a look at a heroic 20th century Catholic priest. Fr. Gommar A. DePauw served as a combat medic in World War II with the 9th Belgian Infantry Hunters Regiment. He was taken prisoner by the Nazis at Dunkirk in 1940. After escaping prison camp, he returned to Belgium and was ordained a Catholic priest. Fr. DePauw’s parents had immigrated to the United States, so he followed them. He served as a priest in New York City, later studied at CUA and even taught at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. He eventually incardinated in the Archdiocese of Baltimore in 1955. During the Second Vatican Council, he was called to Rome to serve as a peritus, meaning he was asked to be a theological advisor to bishops at the Council.
Before looking at his below letter to Pope Paul VI, it should be noted that Fr. DePauw was a combat medic who assumedly rescued both his superiors and his inferiors while fighting the Nazis. The virtue obedience ran deep in his blood stream. He never wanted to disobey his superiors as a medic or as a priest. But when he saw Catholicism being dismantled by the hierarchy in the 1960s, Fr. DePauw felt stretched on the cross between his allegiance to the pure doctrine of Christ and his desire to be obedient to the hierarchy. Notice in these 15 Aug 1967 letter excerpts to Pope Paul VI the deep respect Fr. DePauw holds for Paul VI, even as he holds Jesus Christ and His Divine Revelation higher:
I still vividly remember that December 1, 1965 evening when Your Holiness personally blessed me and my work with the traditionalist Catholics who selected me to be their spokesman ….Today’s condition of the Catholic Church is beyond the point of doctrinal heresy, factual schism, and even apostasy. It is in a state of chaos and utter collapse resulting from the systematic destruction of first our liturgical and other traditions, and now our very beliefs and morals…
In open violation of all past and present liturgical directives, the Roman Catholic Liturgy, once the envy of all other religions, has for all practical purposes been destroyed. And it gives us very little personal satisfaction to know that all those responsible for this destruction were in advance irrevocably anathematized by the still valid solemn decree of the Council of Trent: “If anyone says that the Mass ought to be celebrated in the vernacular only, let him be cursed.”(Canons of the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, n. 9.)
Coercive changes have subrogated our traditional practices with the “litniks”of our Church Establishment daily intensifying their attempts to subjugate the “people of God” to becoming “Protestant” Catholics..But, not only our liturgical traditions have been destroyed. The very beliefs and morals of our Catholic heritage are now up for grabs in our so-called “Church of the Aggiornamento.” Steadily, day in and day out since Vatican II, silt has subversively been shunted in to the minds of the Roman Catholics in America. Our “Catholic” universities, seminaries, and colleges are bluntly rejecting the religious character that justifies their existence, and their teachers of the “new theology” are calling into question, if not outright rejecting, every tenet of our doctrinal heritage ….
Your Holiness …. taking a closer look at the “Conciliar” church forced upon us in the name of Vatican II, and simply judging the tree by its fruits, we are tempted to agree with one of your own immediate collaborators in Rome who has been quoted as characterizing the recent Vatican Council as “a sinister farce acted out by a number of good-for-nothings, some of whom, despite the gold crosses on their chests, don’t even believe in the Holy Trinity or the Virgin.”
Your Holiness, if no immediate action is taken by you, the public reality of the Catholic religion will phase out very soon. Already the memory of a “real” Mass is fading away from the minds of our younger generation, while their elders are growing indifferent or bitter over a Church which, if all her former beliefs and practices were so irrelevant as to be replaced so quickly and drastically, they prefer to forget as the biggest hoax ever on record.
Your Holiness, take one last, hard look at the dying embers of your Church and ours! And decide, bluntly and honestly, whether you wish to be a Pope, Vicar of Jesus Christ, Supreme Pontiff of the one true Church, or to perpetuate your current image of the BISHOP of Rome, the first among equals, with a place of HONOR but without authority within the ranks of a so-called “college” of Bishops …..
May we, the traditionalist Catholics whose unworthy spokesman I am, help Your Holiness out of the impasse your enemies cornered you into, by humbly submitting to you the following requests:
Vatican II must be annulled.
Publicly announce via all available international public media that you are again exercising the prerogatives of the Supreme Pontiff of Christ’s One True Church, and that the interregnum of Vatican II is over …. Maybe it was precisely the fear of this horrendous possibility that caused the Holy Ghost to have Pope John [XXIII] declare from the very start that Vatican II, unlike all previous Ecumenical Councils, was not a doctrinal Council but simply a pastoral one, thus leaving the door open for any future Pope to eradicate it from the records.
Your Holiness, when honest people commit a blunder they admit it and try to undo it as quickly as possible. Vatican II has so far produced nothing but confusion and disunity among the people of God’s Church. It takes humility and courage to admit that even a Pope, outside the realm of his infallible ex cathedra definitions, can commit a blunder. But it is this kind of humility that endears a truly great leader to his subjects. Even so, you know better than all of us together that to lose face is nothing compared to losing souls.
Rescind that falsely interpreted and abused “Collegiality” decree immediately and permanently. The burden of the Papacy cannot be shared and was never intended to be. To Peter and to him alone were given the keys of the Kingdom. Peter and Peter alone was appointed to strengthen the faith of “his brethren,” the first bishops who governed the primitive Church not just with but under Peter. Stop wearing that Bishop’s mitre and place the papal tiara back on your anointed head where it was placed the day you accepted to serve as Christ’s Vicar and Supreme Pontiff. You accepted the job; you have tasted the privileges – now, taste the responsibilities; they are the two sides of the same coin. Give us another opportunity to let the world know once again that: “HABEMUS PAPAM!” We have a Pope!
Your Holiness! If we do not receive a satisfactory answer from Your Holiness or at least are given an opportunity to discuss our requests and proposals with Your Holiness personally – within the next month, we shall consider our requests denied and our proposals rejected, and draw the sad and tragic conclusion that Our Mother the Church has temporarily abandoned the best ones of her children. I pray to God and to His blessed Mother whose Assumption we commemorate today – and millions all over the world are joining me in this prayer – that such a dark and tragic day will never come. But, if we have no other choice, we will jealously protect the small but still burning candle of our traditional Catholic Faith, and patiently carry on our spiritual “Resistance” movement without the hoped-for papal approval ….
Your loyal and devoted son in Jesus Christ,
Fr. Gommar A. DePauw
His full letter is here.
Notice that Fr. DePauw is not asking that he become Pope. Notice that Fr. DePauw is not even asking Pope Paul VI to step down. He is asking for him to exercise his grace of office. As an ex-combat medic, Fr. DePauw simply wanted someone who would lead him into a battle for eternal souls—the souls that he wanted to rescue from Satan! Fr. DePauw would give his life for his Holy Father, and all he asks in return is not power, nor a red-hat or a special appointment from the Vatican. He only wants a spiritual father who will give his life for his flock by keeping Catholicism alive at all costs so that he can follow him into battle. Now, in 2019, Fr. DePauw’s 1967 letter now rings strangely prophetic: “Your Holiness, if no immediate action is taken by you, the public reality of the Catholic religion will phase out very soon.” We know De Fide that the Faith will remain alive in a few hearts, but there is something spooky about that phrase.
We traditional Catholics are often compared to Martin Luther. Our modernist and even neo-con accusers say about us: As Martin Luther was Sola-Scriptura, so “rad-trad Catholics” are Sola Conciliar, relying on their own interpretation of Tradition and tradition to think they know better than the current hierarchy. But Fr. De Pauw’s letter proves that he did not want to overturn the hierarchy. In fact, he clearly wanted to be a follower. People like Fr. De Pauw and many of us “rad-trads” have simply looked for the post-Conciliar Popes to rally us, to lead us, to father us under the battle standard of the Cross of Jesus Christ. Yes, there are some very strange rad-trad cults (especially in the NW of the USA and upstate NY) who live to simply critique the hierarchy. They wouldn’t be happy if Archbishop Lefebvre were raised from the dead and made Pope! But most “rad-trads” are not in that camp of sociopathic cultish complainers. In fact, most traditional Catholics have have been hungering for a leader to take a battering ram to the gates of hell. With some significant exceptions, most “rad-trad” keyboard warriors never wanted to take a battering-ram on the very hierarchy of the Church that they wanted to die with. Most of us want all nations to come to know Jesus Christ and His Catholic Church.
So, what does this have to do with why traditional Catholics are so mean to each other? I said this would not be an accusation or an exoneration. But in full disclosure, I will admit this is closer to an exoneration of traditionalists than an accusation. I was talking to a friend about why “rad-trads” are always fighting in the social media and she came up with a this brilliant analogy about what she knew about horses. (Her speciality is super-weapons for military, so she would admit her limited knowledge on horses. Thus, if any horse enthusiasts write me with corrections, I will certainly edit this paragraph.) In any case, my friend explained to me that when the male-leader of a herd of wild-horses is absent, all of the other male horses will fight and even bite each other. However, when the alpha-male returns to lead the herd, not only do the other male wild-horses obey, but they actually stop biting each other. In fact, the band of male wild-horses not only stops fighting, but they fall into hierarchical order themselves!
Does this remind you of the debates that Latin Mass Catholics have on line all the time? Look: We recognize the post-Conciliar Popes as Popes. But it seems that most modern Popes have been concerned with showing the world (and the flesh and the devil) that they don’t have to be so afraid of Catholics. Catholics are not so different from you! It’s like the message is: We too believe in a better world and progressive humanity! Same with the bishops. Now that the Western hierarchy has moved past the 1970s social justice kick, the “conservative ones” now want to show the Western world that we’re essentially hipster Protestants, tacking on the Eucharist and Our Lady. Perhaps this helps maintain the “conservative” title in order to keep Republican neo-con Catholics in giving their big money. A message has now become one of damage control: We are not all child-molestors. We are not all believers in the Inquisition. We are not all against gays. We want Jesus to reign in all hearts (but let’s not talk about Him as King of Nations.)
All the while, the rad-trad men who actually believe in the Social Reign of Christ the King keep studying St. Thomas Aquinas, and biting each other on line and in-person. We debate each other with vicious teeth on whether it is permitted to go to an SSPX Mass. We debate each other with hateful spite on who is the true reigning Pope. The women even debate each other on how long dresses need to be, all the while maintaining satanic hatred under their breath while using pious feminine modest language. Just this past week a rad-trad called me in a private email: “compromised Bergoglian clergy.” Just this past week, a famous non-rad trad but conservative neo-con leader of the Catholic world (who is usually hailed as being on his way to “canonization” at his own enormous conferences) sent me a private message on Facebook: “You, You need to shut the hell up on social media.”
Some of it is arrogance. Some of it is woundedness. But I propose today that a large part of it is that we need a leader and a father. We miss a Pope who cares for us and wants to conquer the entire world for Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. We will indeed fall into line under an alpha-male Pope. Scratch that: Most of us will fall into line under the alpha-male Pope who holds traditional dogma and liturgy. But note well that it’s not just us looking for our rad-trad tendencies to finally be rubber-stamped in a letter red seal so that we can feel our socially awkward time machine to the 18th century or 1950s has been vindicated. It’s more that a future Pope will make Catholicism one again where there will be only one Mass and one dogma, and those who hold to this will no longer be called “schismatic.” The only thing to be debated will be truly speculative theology. Even for that, I see that for wild-horses to stop biting each other on speculative theology, we will need an alpha male at the very head of the flock who will take the battering-ram not to us traditionalists, but straight to the gates of hell that Christ said would never prevail against the Church. (Mt 16:18)
I blogged here on the two possibilities of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart either being the return of Jesus Christ or the era of peace being the move from this fifth age of the Church to the sixth age of the Church, an era described by many prophets and saints as “an era of peace” that would have the Great Council to hammer out more heresies than any council in the past, ruled over by “The Great Monarch” and “The Great Pope.” When you read the ancient prophesies of that “Great Pope” you see a man who is an alpha-male leader, a man who will not care for ecumenism. He will not conquer for his religion like a Muslim Sultan, but he will be a man of compassion who will lead martyrs to shed their blood in peace and charity for the furthering of the only Gospel under Heaven on Earth, the Holy Catholic Church.
Remember from the analogy above that the male wild-horses not only respect their new leader. They stop biting each other. They not only stop biting each other. They actually fall into a hierarchy or order of obedience and rank themselves. Until that alpha-male wild-horse Papa lead us into that peace, I simply suggest that rad-trads first stop biting each other and secondly meditate on these Scripture verses:
For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.—Gal 5:14-15
For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.—Titus 3:3-7
Only let your manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear sign to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God.—Phil 1:27-28
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.—John 13:34-35
In today’s podcast Leila Miller and I talk about the complementarity of men and women including headship of family, modesty, transgender issues, male-only priesthood in the Old and New Testament, personal conversions and practical advice to those already married and a bit for those in marriage prep.
“Have you noted the measure of obedience? Pay attention to love’s high standard. If you take the premise that your wife should submit to you, as the church submits to Christ, then you should also take the same kind of careful, sacrificial thought for her that Christ takes for the church. Even if you must offer your own life for her, you must not refuse. Even if you must undergo countless struggles on her behalf and have all kinds of things to endure and suffer, you must not refuse. Even if you suffer all this, you have still not done as much as Christ has for the church. For you are already married when you act this way, whereas Christ is acting for one who has rejected and hated him. So just as he, when she was rejecting, hating, spurning and nagging him, brought her to trust him by his great solicitude, not by threatening, lording it over her or intimidating her or anything like that, so you must also act toward your wife. Even if you see her looking down on you, nagging and despising you, you will be able to win her over with your great love and affection for her.”—St. John Chrysostom
About 15 years ago, I went to Colorado Springs to visit both the Focus on the Family Visitor Center and New Life Church. The latter is a Protestant community nearby with nearly 14,000 congregants. I always half-joke that Colorado Springs is the “Protestant Vatican,” but I am half-serious: These two centers alone are the engines for countless missions in dozens of countries, not to mention the hundreds of other Protestant communities in Colorado Springs. In Colorado Springs, many Catholics might be surprised to see that Protestants have a relatively unabashed approach to “sacramentals.” Many Protestant Mega-Church communities now sell “holy water” from the Jordan and “holy oil” made from olives from the Garden outside Jerusalem. You can purchase small bottles with labels of oil from the Holy Land and bring it home for personal anointing. In fact, for all the history of iconoclasm in Protestantism, you can even see a statue of a modern-day Protestant “saint” near Dr. James Dobson, seen below as founder of Focus on the Family.
This is not a Protestant-bashing post. My point is that Protestants have gained a desire for physical expressions of faith while many Catholics the past 50 years became embarrassed regarding the incarnational side of our Faith. Was this to please the very Protestants who would one day hunger for incense and candles in “emergent communities”? In fact, many of the early founders of Campus Crusade for Christ actually became Antiochian Orthodox Christians because of Divine the Divine Liturgy. Fr. Peter Gillquist recounts, “I remember a short time after that I was reading John 6, which is where Jesus teaches extensively that ‘unless you eat My flesh and drink My blood you have no life in you.'” I fondly recall that some of my favorite parishioners from the time when I was briefly with the FSSP on the East Coast were ex-Protestants. They had a relationship with Christ, and now they wanted that relationship taken up to heaven in the glory of the Traditional Latin Mass.
Driving around the Southwest of the United States this past year, I noticed that the above phenomena of faith were happening in art, too. I took note of the modern design of Catholic Churches. The most striking thing was when I noticed that a relatively-newly built Catholic Church looked suspiciously like a burger joint:
But you can’t just say that the above resemblance is coincidental based on regional similarities of the Southwest United States. In fact, I then found a Methodist Church that looked exactly like an old Catholic Spanish mission:
Boomer Catholics have rejected traditional buildings while young Protestants now hunger for them. Happily, the new and upcoming Generation Z of Catholics have no desire for their Catholic Churches to look like adobe-built Five-Guys burger joints. Art follows faith and life (and of course, art leads faith, as seen in the Charlton Heston movie, The Agony and the Ecstasy.) Faith will always be expressed incarnationally, try as iconoclasts might to suppress it. (This is more proof that the heresy of modernism is truly the synthesis of all heresies, including even iconoclasm!) But no heresy will ever win, including iconoclasm. We see the faith-hunger of Generation Z, and their desire for total Catholicism instead of half-Catholicism. Thus, I have a great hope that the Catholic Churches of the Southwest USA will one day look like the glory of Christendom that arrived there at the hands St. Junipero Serra a few hundred years ago, as seen in the featured image at the top of the mission in San Diego, or this San Juan Capistrano mission built in 1776, an important year in this country for more than one reason:
Will there be animals in heaven? Is St. Gallen’s mafia real? Will the Greek Orthodox unite with Rome? How many Muslims believe in sharia? What about Garabandal? Is there Biblical evidence for Mary as Queen of Heaven and Earth?