On today’s podcast, Oz and I discuss peaceful vigilance in lay people approaching both catechesis and priests, and how we want to avoid the two extremes of both negligence and panic.
In the photo above, a priest baptizes a baby that will be raised by two women. This took place at St. Cecilia’s in California on 7 May 2017. P/C USA Today’s Desert Sun.
When a large homeschooling family brings their 9th baby to be baptized, that infant, at the moment of baptism, dies to the original sin in which it was born, comes out of the water risen with Jesus Christ and is a tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity, now beginning life as a son or daughter of God. When two same-sex guardians bring an infant to be baptized, that infant, at the moment of baptism, dies to the original sin in which it was born, comes out of the water risen with Jesus Christ and is a tabernacle of the Blessed Trinity, now beginning life as a son or daughter of God. Did you catch the difference between the two? There is no difference at the moment of baptism. Both infants are validly baptized, regardless of the sins or lack of catechesis of the parents, regardless of the orthodoxy of the baptizing priest.
However, the new Code of Canon Law that was released under Pope John Paul II in 1983 says that for any child to be baptized, there must be a “well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion.”—Can. 867.2.2. Many Catholic apologists and even canon lawyers today are making the mistake in believing that “the Catholic religion” includes only the sacraments. This is absolutely false. The Catholic religion has always, in every century, included these three things: Faith, Morals and the Sacraments.
So, can the Catholic faith be transmitted by same-sex guardians to a child? Yes. I am sure that many Catholic same-sex guardians of children can teach a child to believe in the Divinity of Christ and even the sinlessness of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Will same-sex guardians bring a child to other sacraments after baptism? Yes. I am sure that many baptized children will be brought by same-sex couples also to their First Communion. But what about teaching a child all the morals of the Catholic Faith? Will same-sex guardians include in their daily catechesis all sins against the sixth and ninth commandment? Will they include that sodomy is the most grievous sin against the 6th commandment? No, of course they will not include that in their catechesis. If they will not teach that, then they can not honestly say that there is a “well-founded hope that the child will be brought up in the Catholic religion.”—Can 867.2.2.
Objection 1: But won’t most children of even heterosexual parents also grow up with poor catechesis? Wouldn’t it be the heresy of Jansenism to assert that only the most-well catechized children should be admitted to the saving waters of baptism?
I respond: There is a different between negligence and opposition. There has always been a difference in the pastoral discernment of the Church’s eyes between parental negligence in catechesis (which the Church has always been quite patient with) versus active opposition to morals of the Catholic Faith (a malice against the salvation of a child which the Church has not been patient with.) In fact, if a “straight couple” told me that they were going to expose their child to “straight porn” from the age of five years old onwards, I would also refuse to baptize that baby. Such an attitude indicates opposition to the salvation of a child, as well as opposition to the articulated faith and morals of the Catholic Church. So also with sodomy. Sodomy is not only a mortal sin against the 6th commandment. It is one of only four sins that the Catholic Church infallibly teaches “cries out to heaven for vengeance.” The other three are homicide (including abortion), oppression of the poor (especially the widow and orphan) and injustice to the wage-earner. Thus, a family missing Sunday Mass for a soccer game is indeed a mortal sin, but it is not a mortal sin that “cries out to heaven for vengeance.” If the legal guardians of a child are going to teach that sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance are not offensive to God, then they can honestly not raise that child in the Catholic faith.
Objection 2: Homosexuals actions may be serious sins, then, but does any child deserve to be sacramentally-deprived for the sins of his or her guardians or parents?
Certainly, any child in danger of death, regardless of the sins of its straight parents or “gay guardians,” should immediately be baptized. But for a priest to baptize a healthy child without a well-founded hope of success in catechesis in later teenage years is actually more of a detriment to the salvation of that child than not. Demons target a baptized child more than an upbaptized child, just as demons target a priest more than a baptized layman. To increase the cross-hairs on a child’s head without the toolbox to engage in spiritual warfare (including the rejection of the sins of sodomy) would only be to exacerbate the spiritual attack that such child is subjected to. Sodomy is a magnet for diabolical oppression in a home, and even full possession of its inhabitants. Even if you do not believe in demons as much as me, ask yourself a practical question: Do you really expect a child being raised in a household of constant and unrpentant sodomy will make it to the age of 10 without some type of sexual sin, even if heterosexual sin? Let us see what the Holy Spirit in the Bible tells us about returning to habitually and unrepentant grave sin after coming to Christ via Baptism. The Holy Spirit tells us through the first Pope, St. Peter, that “the last state has become worse for them than the first” and that “it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness.” See here:
For if, after they have escaped the defilements of the world through the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would have been better for them never to have known the way of righteousness than after knowing it to turn back from the holy commandment delivered to them. What the true proverb says has happened to them: “The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”—2 Pt 2:20-22
Objection 3: So do you just want that child to go its whole life without baptism?
I respond: Of course I want that child (and its same-sex guardians) to come to all the sacraments, but faith and repentance must come first. If the same-sex guardians of a baby actually do claim to teach the fulness of the Catholic faith to that child while growing up, then perhaps there is a good chance that he or she will want to be baptized a Catholic in his or her teenage years. This decision may also include the difficult decision of that teenager having to reject the homosexual sins of his or her guardians, at least in an implicit manner (as no charitable priest would demand an explicit rejection of such sins in public!) In any case, I would baptize such a teenager who was raised by same-sex guardians if he were to strive his best to be a Catholic. Notice that there is no request of moral perfection (à la Jansenism) for anyone approaching baptism or even confession. Nevertheless, the blatant and conscious and manifest rejection of any part of the Catholic Faith (including the 6th Commandment) is not an acceptable approach to any sacrament.
The early Catholic Church in the Roman Empire often baptized children of the age of reason who had rejected the paganism of their parents, even if the teenager’s approach to Christ was opposed by his or her parents (See Lk 14:26 and Mt 10:37.) Of course, it would be even better if his or her parents would accept Jesus Christ and also be saved. This is the same today for those in same-sex civil unions. In fact, if a same-sex couple had confessed their sins with repentance and firm resolution of amendment never to commit sodomy again and then approached me for the baptism of their baby or toddler, I would indeed baptize that baby. Still, I would ask that couple to refrain from Holy Communion until they lived separately, yes, even after a good confession. This is because Holy Communion is a public act, and reception of Holy Communion (even by celibate chaste people living together) is still a scandal. I hold this even for heterosexual couples awaiting an annulment, too, even if they are chaste. In other words, any straight or “gay” couple receiving Holy Communion while living together (even in continence) remains a public scandal.
Many beginning Catholic bloggers and even seasoned but misguided apologists today believe that the Council of Trent (an infallible Council of the 16th century) promoted the sacraments while Protestantism promoted faith. This is not true. A closer look at Trent reveals that no adult should approach baptism (or other sacraments) without first demonstrating supernatural faith and repentance of all their sins. What about infant baptism? Can an infant demonstrate supernatural faith? Of course not, as infants do not have much reason. Thus, the Church has always taught that either the parent or the godparent must demonstrate supernatural faith in proxy (in place) of the child. Remember: The sacraments are not magic tricks. The sacraments are not only ineffectual without faith, but even dangerous to salvation without faith. In short, the sacraments are quite worthless to salvation without supernatural faith. The Council of Trent below refers to an adult preparing for baptism, but the same must be said about the required supernatural faith (as well as hope and charity and adherence to all the commandments) in proxy of the infant via the total repentance of the godparents:
For, although no one can be just, but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth, by the Holy Spirit, in the hearts of those that are justified, and is inherent therein: whence, man, through Jesus Christ, in whom he is ingrafted, receives, in the said justification, together with the remission of sins, all these (gifts) infused at once, faith, hope, and charity. For faith, unless hope and charity be added thereto, neither unites man perfectly with Christ, nor makes him a living member of His body. For which reason it is most truly said, that Faith without works is dead and profitless; and, In Christ Jesus neither circumcision, availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith which worketh by charity. This faith, Catechumen’s beg of the Church-agreeably to a tradition of the apostles-previously to the sacrament of Baptism; when they beg for the faith which bestows life everlasting, which, without hope and charity, faith cannot bestow: whence also do they immediately hear that word of Christ; If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments. Wherefore, when receiving true and Christian justice, they are bidden, immediately on being born again, to preserve it pure and spotless, as the first robe given them through Jesus Christ in lieu of that which Adam, by his disobedience, lost for himself and for us, that so they may bear it before the judgment-seat of our Lord Jesus Christ, and may have life everlasting.—Council of Trent, Session VI on Justification, Chapter 7
And whereas the Apostle saith, that man is justified by faith and freely, those words are to be understood in that sense which the perpetual consent of the Catholic Church hath held and expressed; to wit, that we are therefore said to be justified by faith, because faith is the beginning of human salvation, the foundation, and the root of all Justification; without which it is impossible to please God, and to come unto the fellowship of His sons: but we are therefore said to be justified freely, because that none of those things which precede justification-whether faith or works-merit the grace itself of justification. For, if it be a grace, it is not now by works, otherwise, as the same Apostle says, grace is no more grace.—Council of Trent, Session VI on Justification, Chapter 8
In today’s podcast, we discuss a NYT article on Venezuela, Marxism in general and secondly the question that many traditional Catholics get on obedience and authority.
I attempted to prove in World Religions part I and part II that Catholicism is the only world religion that even claims to deliver lasting fulfillment to modern man. In this blog post, I will attempt to show that an “updated” Catholicism can never do this. Only real Catholicism can serve as “an antidote to chaos” to borrow a term from the best-selling book by Jordan Peterson. Yesterday, I drove from Denver to Chicagoland to be with my grandma for what may be her last month on earth. I am vigiling by her bed with both an iPad to get some work done and the old Collectio Rituum to begin the Litany of the Dying and De Expiratione if she should begin to actively die. (As I write this blog post at her side, she is sleeping peacefully and in no pain at 103 years old.) A few hours ago, before she fell asleep, I gave her extreme unction and the Apostolic Pardon. Below are the last words that a Catholic is supposed to say on earth before he or she goes before the judgment seat of Christ the Lord. If the dying person can not repeat the following words spoken by the priest (in the green squares of De Expiratione below) the priest will pray the following words in proxy for his dying parishioner:
Although we are not at the point of expiration with my grandmother, notice the beginning of the green boxes above: “O my God, I believe everything that the holy Catholic and Apostolic Church believes and teaches. In this belief, will I live and die.” Of course, these words were removed from the new rites. This is just one of a thousand things that we trashed that has led to chaos in the Catholic Church. When I was in seminary, I asked our dogmatics professor why we changed so much of the sacraments and dogma. He said that modern man’s “sensitivities” could not handle classic terminology. I believed him at the time. Another cup of modernist kool-aid I repeatedly regurgitated in seminary went like this: “Medieval man loved pomp and circumstance, but the early Christians just wanted simple faith and liturgy.” However, the answer to both errors is actually very simple: The early Church did not change her liturgy or dogma one iota to condescend to the “sensitivities” of the fleshy Roman Empire.
In an article by Edward Pentin, Msgr. Bux said this stunning line two years ago: “Perseverance in teaching and obedience to doctrine leads souls to eternal salvation. The Church cannot change the faith and at the same time ask believers to remain faithful to it.” Although this is a powerful theological statement, it is actually also a sociological statement that applies to even non-religious organizations: You can not rapidly change the mission statement of the Red Cross or Amnesty International and then expect the most passionate adherents to stick around in the club that lost its passion for a weaker creed. One more time that powerful line from Msgr. Bux: “The Church cannot change the faith and at the same time ask believers to remain faithful to it.” Indeed, we must ask: How could lay people expect anyone to take us priests and bishops seriously if we changed our religion to be more “sensitive”?
As I watch my grandmother during her last day or week or month on earth, I realize again there is no pendulum swing of Church dogma through time like a political cycle. It is not like my great, great, great, great great grandmother was a liberal Catholic in Ireland and my great, great, great, great grandmother was a conservative Catholic in Ireland and then my great, great, great grandmother was a liberal Catholic again. Catholicism was Catholicism was Catholicism until the 20th century. It had an unchanged dogma and liturgy. We can not change the faith and expect anyone to stick with it. The only fulfilling religion in the world is: Real Catholicism. It is the only thing that will restore order within the Catholic Church, and that—a restored Catholic Church in dogma and liturgy—is the only thing that will bring any semblance of a lighthouse to a shiprecked secular world.
Only real and unchangeable Catholicism can restore order to the current hierarchal chaos (diabolical disorientation) found in the clergy of the Catholic Church who can’t even agree if it’s night. Satan chose his targets cleverly, for we priests and bishops comprise the only tenable spiritual fatherhood that can restore order to the chaos found in the catechesis of the Catholic laity. The fifth chapter in Jordan Peterson’s book says the entire blueprint we need to institute the coming restoration of the Catholic Church: “Clear rules make for secure children and calm, rational parents.”—Jordan Peterson Rule #5 in 12 Rules for Life.
Apply this rule to the Catholic Church in the 21st century and it goes like this: Only a Catholic hierarchy that is “rational” (first of all, not so gay) will engender a Catholic laity that is “secure and calm.” This is why we need a real and total Catholicism to be re-instituted with no more of this childish fence-riding dubbed the “the hermeneutic of continuity.” This effeminate game has been tried, and it must now end. Real Catholicism is the only answer to bringing order to the Church, and the Church to the world, so that we can again prove what I tried to prove in my first two blog posts of this series: Only the blood of Jesus Christ transmitted through the Catholic Church can give glory to God on earth and save souls for heaven.
When we return to real Catholicism, we will be able to hear Our Lord again say to His bride on earth: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”—Matthew 5:14-16
Oz discusses a Florida bishop from the 1980s who reflected the courageous acts of an ancient saintly bishop, Saint Ubaldo of Gubbio. I then discuss the conversion of grandmother, now 103, seen in the featured picture above. Please pray for her failing health. Finally, sorry about the bad sound quality—we recorded this podcast while I was driving across the country and we are working on getting better recording equipment.
On today’s podcast Andromeda and Fr. Dave discuss persecution of Christians in the USA as well as what it means for a priest to wear his cassock or habit. As will be the custom, we will always close with a quote from the Life of the Virgin by St. Maximus the Confessor. It can be found on Amazon here.
In today’s podcast, we hear the conversion of Michael Voris, founder of Church Militant.
In today’s podcast, we hear Oz’ conversion story. Oz will be my co-host for every Thursday’s RomeCast as we dwell into news and commentary on the Catholic world. Today I also talk about a new Benziger Brothers re-make of Parish Ritual that includes all the old sacraments of the Roman Rite in both Latin and English.
Because this blog post will inevitably raise the question “Who can be saved?” I would like to give the two bookends within which all Catholic orthodox answers must fall. One the one end, Pope Pius IX wrote, “By Faith it is to be firmly held that outside the Apostolic Roman Church none can achieve salvation. This is the only ark of salvation. He who does not enter into it, will perish in the flood. Nevertheless equally certainly it is to be held that those who suffer from invincible ignorance of the true religion, are not, for this reason, guilty in the eyes of the Lord.” (Denzinger 1647, Ott 312.) Invincible ignorance means a person is ignorant of Christ and never had the chance to learn about Christ. There is a small chance an ignorant pagan could be saved if he had an implicit baptism of desire. However, the person who would have, could have, should have learned about Christ and His Church but chose not to out of laziness is still under vincible ignorance. Such a person can not be saved without a radical last-minute grace of perfect contrition. This is extremely rare.
The other bookend is found in the words of Christ: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”—Mt 7:21. That not all will be saved is also infallibly defined in the Council of Trent: “But though He died for all, yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated; because as truly as men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, so if they were not born again in Christ, they would never be justified, since in that new birth there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace by which they are made just.”—Chapter 3, Session 6, Council of Trent, 13 January 1547 under Pope Paul III. Therefore, it is a heresy to say that there is even a chance that all men are saved.
Today, the most simple members of the Catholic Church have heard over and over during the past few years that even atheists can go to heaven and/or that hell is either empty and/or that wicked souls are mysteriously annihilated before arriving in hell. If such heresies were true, then Jesus never had to die on the cross. If atheists go to heaven and nobody is in hell, then Jesus never had to rise from the dead, “and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”—1 Cor 15:17. Modern theologians can not be correct on “good atheists” going to heaven because this would deny the words the Holy Spirit gave us through the Apostle Paul: “Whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists.”—Hebrews 11:6. Although Christ’s cross will never be emptied of its power objectively, if simple people go on believing our “top theologians” that atheists can go to heaven (and hell is either empty or not eternal) then more and more Catholics will ironically go to hell.
Last year when I needed a home, a family near Los Angeles gave me a small trailer home on a mountain overlooking the city. One day I was in Los Angeles at a Korean market to get some food. The place was so alive with hundreds or thousands of joyful people carrying strange fish with tentacles that looked like it would be served at a bar in Star Wars. It was a beautiful day in Los Angeles and I marveled at how Jesus Christ died for each one of these people. I thought about how I longed like St. Francis Xavier to preach the Gospel to all of Asia, and yet here they all were in a market in Los Angeles.
In the parking lot outside this market, I was listening to an audio book by Jordan Peterson called 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos where the author talks about how he was once overwhelmed to the point of despair as he encountered all the evil in history books describing Communist gulags. Peterson explained that when you lose all purpose in life due to evil, suicide becomes a possible way out. But then, without ever naming himself a Christian, Peterson reveals that we must begin to recognize humanity is already tainted with a pervasive selfishness (original sin?) and that the only other answer besides suicide would be “a responsible atonement” for all the evil in the world. With Asians from all over the Eastern world around me as I listened to his audio book, it hit me at that moment like a ton of bricks that Christianity was the only world religion that could even claim to bring meaning to people’s lives amidst so much suffering. With the cross and the cross alone, suffering is transformed into love. What I knew intellectually became so clear by experience that only Catholicism could bring order to society that is riddled by chaos, even if peppered by daily moments of happiness.
In the parking lot of that Korean market I began thinking of all the world’s religions. I thought of how Islam can not offer meaning or order precisely because their view of Allah is ultimately arbitrary, exemplified in that nominalism that Pope Benedict XVI named at the Regensburg conference. Pope Benedict XVI was correct that the Muslim view of God is nothing more than a capricious bully living out Nietzsche’s will-to-power. Muslims attempt in vain to grasp a divinity who lives so arbitrarily as to function in a manner that can only be described as “willy-nilly.” Practically speaking, if Allah tells you to crash two airplanes into two large towers full of people, you just don’t look for reasons or justification. You just do it. Some extreme Muslims (I mean, sharia-abiding Muslims) find meaning in this, but most Muslim consciences are deeply troubled by such a moral theology. Indeed, it must be lonely to believe in a God who has not made our brains in His own image and likeness. “Allah the Merciful” might be a common term in the Qur’an, but Allah’s peace only comes when the rest of the world submits to the sword of his rulers.
At that Asian market I began to think of the Asian world religions of the far East. The lay professor of a priest friend who taught in Minnesota once explained that when you boil truth down to the two simplest forms, the only two world religions presented to us are Catholicism or Buddhism. Here’s why: If truth matters, you should be Catholic. If truth does not matter, you should be Buddhist. But the modern Buddhist has only two options: Maximize pleasure or extinguish the desire for pleasure. Notice that both of these are essentially individualistic and selfish. This is why all the Caucasians who try out Buddhism in Boulder end up leaving their rice-bowls to drive Beamers. In some sense, I don’t blame them for this, because if there is no meaning to life, you might as well live it up with as much pleasure as possible! If we have no eternal destiny, then we should either extinguish our annoying itches for pleasure, or simply give into them. Both Buddhism and epicureanism essentially have nothing to do with anyone except: Myself. I blogged about both of these options in my last post on World Religions Part I: Three Options.
As I listened to Jordan Peterson in that Korean parking lot, I was watching so many beautiful families who were smiling and walking under the Los Angeles sun. I realized that modern-man can not live in the selfishness of Islam or Buddhism and still hope to survive here on earth, much less heaven. The families I saw made me realize in a new way that only Christ and His Cross could bring meaning through what Jordan Peterson called “responsible atonement” precisely because we were made not for pleasure, or the willy-nilly violence of Islam, or the selfish ascetic feats of Hinduism and Buddhism. We were made for an eternal relationship with God who is Love, and who transfers this love in many ways, including redemptive suffering. No universalist loopholes on salvation can rid us of this infinite desire ant eternal destiny.
The worst evil Peterson described in his book was Unit 731 where 3,000 men, women and children were used as living scientific experiments by the Japanese government between 1937 and 1945. How could there be any hope in humanity if live children could be experimented upon as they shrieked for hours in horrible pain? I hope Peterson sees that Christianity is the only religion that has God encounter the innocent suffering on the cross. Only Christianity can give any meaning to a world of sex-slaved children. CS Lewis points out that although thirst in the desert does not prove there is water in the desert, the reality of thirst does prove that there is water somewhere! Our hunger for our suffering to become redemptive in these days of relativism means that Christ is still offering to be our Living Water. Yes, as I watched all these people from around the world walk in and out of that bustling enormous LA market with smiling children and chests of ice and octopus tentacles, I realized that there was, more than ever, today the offer of Christ as the Eternal Living water being offered them.
Probably half of those Koreans I saw in that market were already Christian, but I want to stay on this question of Buddhists or pagans or Muslims obtaining heaven. Is it enough for a good Buddhist following his conscience to get to heaven? I know the post Vatican II answer is an immediate “Yes!” but such would not be the answer of a St. Peter Claver or a St. Junipero Serra. Although an implicit desire for baptism can save a non-Catholic person (as even Pope St. Pius X says in his catechism) this does not overturn the absolute necessity of baptism. In fact, baptism by water, fire or desire (even if implicit) is the only way to transmit to a sinful soul (every single one of us) the infinite merits of the Passion, death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ to the soul.
With that Nota Bene out of the way, let’s try that question with in blue-collar Catholicism answer: Why couldn’t a good Buddhist get to heaven? Answer: Because the natural goodness of a good life can not reach the supernatural goal of heaven. For that supernatural life, we need the sacraments. Try, for a minute, to see this as a medical equation instead of a legalistic equation on salvation. A man can only do natural good. Therefore, only with supernatural help can man hope to reach a supernatural goal. This is transmitted through grace, beginning with the sacraments. Christ is not a privileged way, like some privileged theologians say. Rather, “the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”—Romans 6:23.
Never has the world been more hungry for the sacraments of the Catholic Church but never have erudite theologians been so embroiled in intellectualism so as to squash all international missionary congregations (and undeniable fact that happened to every missionary congregation immediately following Vatican II, with exceptions that can now be counted on one hand.) What would someone like St. Francis Xavier say to our “most educated” theologians today? St. Francis Xavier wrote this excerpt from Asia to Europe in the 16th century, but it could be written today to everyone in American seminaries today who promote that Jesuit priest Von Balthasar’s “Dare We Hope that All Men Might Be Saved?” For my part, I’ll trust the theology of the Jesuit saint who raised the dead. St. Francis Xavier wrote: “Many, many people hereabouts are not becoming Christians for one reason only: There is nobody to make them Christians. Again and again, I have thought of going round the universities of Europe, especially Paris, and everywhere crying out like a madman, riveting the attention of those with more learning than charity: ‘What a tragedy: how many souls are being shut out of heaven and falling into hell, thanks to you!’ I wish they would work as hard at this as they do at their books, and so settle their account with God for their learning and the talents entrusted to them.”
So, I ask myself today: How can we sit around Roman coffee-shops outside the Biblicum or Angelicum or “the Greg” in 2019 and lazily declare that a loving God would not send good pagans to hell? First, we must must begin by realizing that Christ longs for loving relationship with pagans more than us lazy theologians writing blog posts, for it is Christ Himself who says these shocking words: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.”—John 6:53-55. Secondly, we Catholics must realize that “He who knew no sin made Himself sin for us that we might become the righteousness of God.”—2 Cor 5:21. In that sentence, “sin” is not a verb but a noun. In other words, Jesus Christ took upon Himself the filth of my sin, without Himself actually doing it, all with the goal of transmitting to me the holiness of God. This is an exchange that has been labeled Protestant, but substitution theology is in all the Church Fathers (linked at ) and this explains why I can not get to heaven without Jesus Christ’s bloody cross. Salvation must begin here on earth by surrender to Christ, not via last minute mind games with God (as all modernists all bank on.)
Can you imagine what a crushing exchange this must have been in the Sacred Humanity of Jesus Christ to take on my sins and give me His blood? Think for a minute that the eternal Son of God would transfer His love to me, while all I had was hatred of Him (Rom 5.) How can we contemplate that the pure Son of Mary would transfer His own purity to my soul while I scourged Him with my own sins? The scourging of Jesus at that pillar is said by all the mystics to have been the main atonement for sins of sexual impurity, giving Christ that weird word that is in both the Old and New Testament: Stripes. Yes, Christ took my sin in this marvelous exchange of love, so “that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by Whose stripes ye were healed.”—1 Pt 2:24 KJV. Here St. Peter, the first Pope, is recalling under inspiration a direct prophesy of what Isaiah foretold in the suffering Messiah 600 years before the birth of Christ: “He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed.”—Is 53:5 KJV.
Even the nicest person alive today in Los Angeles or Nairobi or Paris has somehow, in some way, offended the infinite goodness of the Blessed Trinity. How could an infinite repair be made by a finite being? We are faced with a harsh truth from both the Old and New Testament: “Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.”—Hebrews 9:22. Doubly-difficult is the fact that not even the blood of goats in the Old Testament could forgive sins since goats could never provide a boundless and blameless sacrifice. Even the lambs of the Old Testament that were found in the flesh to be “spotless” and ready for sacrifice in the Temple could never be considered “boundless” to atone to an infinitely good God Who is also infinitely offended by sin. Thus, the only blood that could repair a single sin of mine or a billion sins of humanity against an infinitely good God would have to be the very blood of God-Himself. But God is pure spirit, so how could He have blood? Only by becoming a perfect man. But man is sinful, so how could flesh be carry the Divinity to earth? Even if this God-man wanted to die for the whole world, what vessel could contain such commensurate purity? Ah, this God would have to take flesh from something equally pure as Himself—the Blessed Virgin Mary. Mary gave God the one thing He did not have: The ability to die for you and me.
We Catholic must tell the world about this wonder, not how they are already saved without Christ. What a blasphemy and a mockery of the cross of Christ it is to promote Von Balthasar on this topic. The cross of Christ will never be emptied of its power objectively, but if we continue to let modernist theologians teach the loopholes of the faith to seminarians and would-be missionaries, the cross will be nearly emptied subjectively. May it never be. May we begin to recognize bow down before that exclusive but all-embracing cross of Jesus Christ. May all priests begin at the restoration of the Catholic Church be able to repeat with St. Paul: “For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”—1 Cor 2:2-5
This is a picture I took of the enormous and lit mountain cross above the road that also contains my hermitage a bit farther up the road. ↩