Sat 1st Nov 2014 | Last updated: Fri 31st Oct 2014 at 16:19pm

Facebook Logo Twitter Logo RSS Logo

Latest News

Pope: Be careful you are not ‘masquerading’ as a Christian

By on Thursday, 27 June 2013

The Pope preaches at a Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

The Pope preaches at a Mass in the Domus Sanctae Marthae (CNS)

Catholics should be wary not to simply “masquerade as Christians” said Pope Francis at Mass this morning.

In his homily in the chapel of his residence, the Domus Sanctae Marthae, he said that neither being a Christian without Christ nor being a Christian in a “perpetual state of mourning” can bring true joy.

Reflecting on today’s Gospel reading, he said: “In the history of the Church there have been two classes of Christians: Christians of words – those ‘Lord, Lord, Lord’ – and Christians of action, in truth.”

He said the two types of “Christians of words” were the “gnostics” who favour beautiful words and “Pelagians” who lead “starched” lifestyles. He said that both types masquerade as Christians. The former “float on the surface of Christian life”, he said, and the latter “confuse solidity, firmness, with rigidity”.

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis urged Christians to resist the temptation of becoming a “superficial Christian”. He explained that Jesus Christ was the foundation of belief, saying: “They do not feel that they rest on Jesus, with that firmness which the presence of Jesus gives. And they not only have no joy, they have no freedom either.”

He concluded his sermon saying: “It is the Spirit who gives us the freedom! Today, the Lord calls us to build our Christian life on Him, the rock, the One who gives us freedom, the One who sends us the Spirit, that keeps us going with joy, on His journey, following His proposals.”

  • Jon Brownridge

    That makes the message much clearer. Thanks.

  • WSquared

    This is a great discussion, so I apologize for the length. To simply toe the line is to miss out on the adventure of why the line exists in the first place.

    “I see this frequently in conservative Protestant congregations that preach often on morality and go on and on about immorality to the point that the Christian message is lost.”

    Wholeheartedly agreed. The thing about Catholicism is that it’s not just about “morality”; it’s about metaphysics. It’s also not just about “doing stuff,” but about orientation and re-orientation. And I think that’s what’s gotten lost in the cross-pollination on the Catholic side, certainly in the U.S. The reason why something is ever good or bad is whether or not it is contrary to God, Being Itself and the giver of Life itself, and whether or not it is truly contrary to human flourishing, whereby our understanding of the latter is always contingent upon the fullness of the truth of the human person. What we do will most certainly have an impact on how and what we are to be. It also affects our understanding of God, because it reflects our relationship with Him. So that kind of overly stringent moralism never gets beyond the “no” for the sake of “no,” whereby Catholicism orthodoxy’s approach is that we say “no” to No in order to say “yes.” It’s also holistic on a micro and macro level. This has been the approach of Pope Emeritus Benedict (yes, “God’s Rottweiler” really is an affectionate and staunchly loyal chap– all speaking to your excellent point about the failure, both “left” and “right,” inherent in decentering Christ as He Truly Is in any way).

    What gets lost in stringent morality that never gets past the “no” is– e.g. in the case of contraception– is that it can breed the defiance that cuts one’s self off from the grace that the Church gives one when she tells us that yes, you CAN be a smart, educated woman, and that you don’t need contraception to do it. It then cedes ground to the premise that contraception is the only “sensible” and “realistic” way to go. To that, the Catholic Church says, “aw, get real! Think bigger, please.” This is also not about what you are merely able to do based on raw talent, but how that talent will truly bear fruit; it’s how God will make you a saint with what He’s given you. If you want to see how much you truly are and can be without contraception, and how much your idea of being a wife and mother will expand for having regained a spiritual and theological understanding of both, then you have to make the repeated decision to receive the Eucharist worthily: without Me, you can do nothing. It will not come all at once, but it will come. For one, you’ll find out about how one’s gifts and talents are taken up and integrated, through, with, and in Christ into that larger vocation of motherhood and fatherhood that we’re all called to. So yeah, it’s not just about the “rules,” but what gives them life; it’s about the meat on the bones. We have to point out that it’s about connecting the dots. Morals matter. But moralizing is petty, just as permissiveness is: both are narrow for the simple reason that they are less-than.

    “It is also about making certain rules, often the ones that have to do with sex, a “litmus test” for whether one is a “real Catholic”.
    (Although this is more similar to Donatism than Pelegianism.)”

    Yes. And we are reminded of the Prodigal Son and his older brother. Here, we really do have to be clear and prudent in our approach so that we don’t fall into overly stringent moralism out of fear or frustration– especially frustration with bad catechesis and fear that we’ll be irresponsible and therefore let all manner of crap overwhelm us. Pope Francis is also spot on about superficial, false joy, because it comes with the danger of witnessing to a Christ who is not worth following. If we find “Buddy Christ” nauseating, that’s a good sign. I agree that this should not be about trying to discover who’s a “real Catholic,” which often becomes a form of elitism (e.g., “my seven children makes me a ‘true’ Catholic more than your two children do, and by the way, that means you’re on the pill!” I’ve often pointed out that the Ratzingers only had three children, and perhaps some people would like to write to Pope Benedict and tell him that his parents weren’t “open to life”).

    But it is nonetheless true that overly permissive attitudes toward sex that have convenience for the sake of hedonism as their true end are not “real Catholic” teaching. Coming the other way, the idea that “the Catholic Church only wants women to pop out as many children as humanly possible” is not truly Catholic, either, and those who insist as much without having read “Humanae Vitae” or anything that both Pope John Paul II and then-Cardinal Ratzinger have written about the reverence due women and the gifts they have been given should not be permitted to keep speaking untruth: to speak the Truth in love means giving the person a chance to step away from prior ignorance, else to expose what they say as lies, whereby the choice remains clear. Again, it’s probably a matter of approach, in which it always has to be about how God is Love (and what God means by Love is not what our consumer culture presumes to mean by it). And it’s not about who’s a “true Catholic,” but that it’s about Truth, period. It’s about how unduly stringent moralism boils down to keeping a wonderful and precious gift all to ourselves when we are commanded to share it.

    It’s also an acknowledgment that beliefs have logical consequences. It’s all well and good for someone to publicly claim that they’re a “devout, practicing Catholic,” but if they trot out their Catholic “street cred” and espouse something contrary to what the Catholic Church teaches, then the rest of us have every good reason to inquire what “Catholicism” this person is in fact practicing. Given that being Catholic can often be treated as though it’s just another form of ethnicity among some in the U.S., what it truly means to be Catholic is an important, and not necessarily snide, question. One will often hear any number of variations on the themes “I was ‘born and raised Catholic’; I’ve received all the Sacraments, come from a long line of Catholic families (going back to the Old Country), have had 12 years of Catholic school (and more “religion” classes than the Pope), etc. etc.” followed up by demands that the Church change her teaching, based as those demands are on a wrong-headed idea that the aforementioned pedigree means that one knows all there is to know about the Catholic faith. That’s not even enough to make one a practicing Catholic, which is a painful reality to anyone who has ever left the Church and come back. It is also based on the wrong-headed assumptions that We, the People are Church, when we cannot be Church without Christ, and that regarding spirituality, matter doesn’t matter when professed belief in the Incarnation means that matter and spirit both matter is in fact what we believe, regardless of how we feel, What Everybody Else Knows, and what we think is convenient . Christ may be the one mediator, and here we agree with our Protestant brothers and sisters, but how He mediates is at His discretion, not ours. He calls the shots, not us. So “having a relationship with Jesus Christ” isn’t just about us being with Jesus; it’s also about Jesus being with us.

    We are not free to make up what we mean by “Catholic” as we go along, because the faith is given to us as a gift. Else, we’d lose sight of Christ. If, on certain sexual matters, say, one’s attitude regarding faith and morals is “those old, celibate, white guys in Rome can’t tell ME what to do!” then how does this comport with a professed belief every Sunday Mass in “I believe in One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church…”? Either Apostolic Succession means that the Pope and our Bishops have authority given to them by Christ to teach the Truth or not. And if they do, then what business or reason does anyone have to claim Catholicity and dissent from the Magisterium at the same time? Likewise, if professing a belief in the Real Presence, one cannot persist in a state of mortal sin– not because “the naysaying Church” is being “mean” to anyone, but because it is spiritually untenable to claim to choose Jesus while actively choosing Not-Jesus because it is logically untenable. The consequences are spiritually disastrous: namely we will become those who say, “Lord, Lord,” but who will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven for not recognizing Him. The shift moves from right and wrong for the sake of right and wrong to why we have the distinction at all: Love, or Not Love.

    It is scandalous and outrageous to suggest otherwise to others of the faithful, because the wages of sin is death: given that “if we do not live what we believe, we will believe what we live” as per Ven. Fulton Sheen, this is not a habit that one should wish to get into– they give us ears that do not hear and eyes that do not see, and ultimately, hearts that cannot love: salvation is not something that one just decides to do near the end of one’s life, since one’s constant habits may inure one to not seeing to get back on track at all. We also know neither the day nor the hour. Talk about eating and drinking condemnation upon ourselves. It is one thing to stumble and fall, because everybody does, and God understands that we do. …that’s why we have Confession (and not going really would be a step in the direction of Pelagianism). But essentially saying “I’m taking my toys and I’m going home!” or “it’s 2013, and the Church needs to get with the program!” is something else entirely. Besides, if we truly believe that Christ is alpha and omega, beginning and end, and therefore, past, present, and future, the latter suggestion that the Church “get with the times” on certain “hard teachings” we say we don’t “like” is nonsense.

    We admonish sinners so that we don’t persist in confusion, though mercy and charity dictate that we don’t bludgeon people with the truth, either. Where we should have faith, hope, and charity also is that we should never underestimate the power of the Sacraments. That faith is a gift is also why the short prayer, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!” is helpful.

  • WSquared

    I agree that he’s great. I miss and love Benedict dearly, but I’m seeing how love of Benedict has enabled me to love Francis (I attend both the Novus Ordo and the TLM in case anyone is wondering, and I’ve found that the latter helps me pray the former better than I’ve done in my life). Francis also prompts us to seriously rethink what we mean by “poor.” They exist on the peripheries, as he’s so succinctly put it. And those peripheries exist at all levels of existence.

    Bad catechesis and bad liturgies, for example, produce one sort of poverty, just as material deprivation produces another. The Church means to meet them all. It’s why we have both the spiritual and corporal works of mercy, neither of which can be separated from the other, for the simple reason that the human person is both matter and spirit. A beautiful liturgy without mercy is as much giving someone a stone when they ask for bread as throwing money at someone when their souls cry out for love and their spirits for beauty. This is something Dorothy Day reportedly understood well.

    “but do not spread the message to Christ died for us, longs for us to turn to him because he loves us…”

    Using the examples of both the Novus Ordo and the TLM together, where the TLM helps is to reorient our focus. The sober, yet joyful and hopeful, focus on Christ is much, much clearer. The Mass is sacrifice, and not just a communal meal: in fact, why that meal is truly communal at all is because of the ultimate sacrifice that bought it so dearly. That’s still there in the Novus Ordo in that it’s still a valid Mass. But one has to be retrained to see it. That’s where ad orientem worship– facing East– helps: we all face the Lord; we all turn back to Him, and with everything we’ve got. Because He loves us. That’s part of knowing that intimately so that we can spread that message more effectively.

  • WSquared

    Nocastus, your question about relevance is a pertinent one.

    So I’m going to ask you: relevant to Whom– or What– exactly? If we can’t answer that question, or refuse to, then we will indeed inevitably fail in our commission to “go and make disciples of all nations,” and indeed, we will not even have tried.

    I’m not sure that the TLM makes us spiritual tourists at all, although certain kinds of attitudes to it might well make us such.

  • WSquared

    For those who are feeling offended at what Pope Francis is saying, please don’t be. He’s not specifically talking about you or condemning you (because depending on what situation “masquerade Christianity” applies to, it can cut both ways: that it does comes up every time the topic of discussion is the liturgy, for example). If anything, there should be some contemplation, some relief: if we’ve done either of these things, they will ultimately impede spiritual growth. But there’s a way of getting back on track.

    What he says actually applies at the micro level to all of us when we think about what spiritual growth entails, and when we do regular examinations of conscience. Sometimes, we’re more complacent than we should be. Other times, we’re more rigid than we should be. That’s part of the learning curve. It takes a lifetime. We never get the balance perfect. But we get better at it than we used to be. We can learn to be better grounded, and we can learn to let go.

    As Pope Francis has also said, we’re going to make mistakes. And when that happens, back on the bike.

  • WSquared

    I don’t think the Holy Father sees you as ugly, Burt. And for what it’s worth, I certainly don’t, either. I’m right in there with you, looking at what you’re looking at. And by the way, my parents were in your shoes, and I did what your children did. I know I hurt my mom and dad, my mother especially, terribly. But she never stopped praying for me, and my dad treated it as a case of the Prodigal Son. I came back.

    I’m likely somewhat younger than you are, and I don’t yet have kids. My parents were growing up before Vatican II, and the “Silly Season” of the 80s and 90s was the only “Catholicism” I knew, not that I cared much about learning more about the faith, either. But I know people among my family and friends who don’t practice, be they the pre- or post-Vatican II type, so I’m not sure that if Vatican II had never happened, your kids would still be practicing– “non serviam!” produces the same results in whatever age. Else, the Reformation wouldn’t have happened. My mother has become more devout after being a bit more rigid when she was younger. That she became more balanced and reasonable the more devout she became was actually one of the many prompts that nudged me to give The Catholic Thing another go– it gave better shape to what I was trying to put a finger on and tap into, but didn’t quite know how, even if I instinctively “knew” it was there.

    Prompts back to faith also happen as droplets, other times as a trickle, and sometimes, as a great roar. What I found while intensely provoked by a lot of things that had built up over time and had come to a head at a particularly vulnerable time (wedding planning), was that there were a lot of things, presumptions, and assumptions about who I was, what I was supposed to want, and what I had to have, that ultimately realized I could say a big, fat “no” to, because I came to learn that the Catholic Church would back me, and I discovered how she went to bat for me every time. It’s interesting how that “twitch upon the thread” works.

    God’s not done with your kids, Burt, and He’s not done with you, either. If you’ve been doing your best, the rest is in His hands; all you can do is keep being open to grace in order to be a better witness. I’m not trying to minimize what must be considerable pain and anguish for you, but I can tell you that I feel some of it, myself, especially when I think about the prospect of raising kids while in some cases having to defend the Catholic faith and the Catholic Church in my own family– and sometimes, I feel fearful, discouraged, and just plain annoyed. But I have to keep going, and I have to learn to be joyful in the little things. Your kids are adults, and they’re responsible for their own relationship with God. But keep praying for them, and never underestimate the power of the Sacraments or what He will use to bring them back. So if you don’t have joy at the moment, you can at least have hope. It will come.

    I’ll pray for you and your family.

  • Burt

    Thank you very much for that encouraging message WS. I am glad to hear how Grace is working so effectively in your life. I acknowledge your very valid point regarding the reformation, although I will add that IMO both the Reformation and Vatican II are examples of weakness and betrayal of those who Shepherds who have elected to abandon their flocks.
    I really do appreciate your hopeful message and am grateful for you prayers. God bless you.

  • Ethan Clarke

    This Pope ought to practice what he preaches. This man is not even Catholic by the historical Traditions, Doctrines, and Dogmas. Today Rome is Catholic in name only.

  • WSquared

    You’re most welcome, Burt.

    “both the Reformation and Vatican II are examples of weakness and
    betrayal of those who Shepherds who have elected to abandon their
    flocks.”

    Not doubting that that has happened at all in quite a few cases, though I would be a little careful regarding Vatican II– I think what some people did in the name of Vatican II is being shown for its true worth. But the Lord did warn us about wheat and tares, up until the very end of the age. And He can permit suffering to bring about a greater good. We all hold His precious gift in earthen vessels. That He will still continue to build His Church on Peter nonetheless should again give us hope.

  • WSquared

    Not sure I agree with your assessment of Pope Francis telling us off all the time, but I will agree with this, albeit for a different reason:

    “I find it ironic that Pope Benedict provided me with (for want of a
    better phrase) a relationship with Christ which led me to be a better
    allround Catholic (and less sin), but with Pope Francis I just feel like
    I’m getting told off all the time.”

    It is ironic, at least in light of all the rubbishing of Pope Benedict as “der Panzerkardinal” or (insert Bad Stereotype of German Sternness Here). Yet, Pope Benedict talked a lot about joy, and was joyful, too. It’s just that he was more of an introvert (and so what?). I also agree with your point about Pope Benedict’s focus on a relationship with Christ. But Fr. Z has a pretty helpful take: “read Francis through Benedict.” Take what Pope Benedict has given us and connect the dots when it comes to Pope Francis.

  • WSquared

    “the greater understanding of human nature we achieve through science”

    This is only partially true, or true only as far as it goes. What science explains is the physical world. Nothing wrong with that, and in fact it’s a great good. But it falls short when it deals with spiritual and theological matters, because that is simply not its purview. …and since human beings are both matter and spirit, then it would seem that your “greater understanding of human nature we achieve through science” is only firing on one cylinder for its restrictiveness, and will fall short, if not flat, and therefore will hardly be “greater.” If you want a greater understanding of human nature, you will need theology and philosophy as well as science (note, after all, that when somebody receives a Ph.D. in any discipline, including any of the sciences, “Ph.D.” stands for “Doctor of Philosophy”– that involves not just knowing the expansive content of your discipline, but knowing its borders and limits), none of which are opposed to each other in Catholic understanding and belief. The problem with your “progress” is that it doesn’t think big enough on either the micro or macro level of human existence and being.

    “blasphemes by painting an institution which has always been formed of entirely fallible human beings (under the guidance, but not the dictatorship, of the Holy Spirit) as a perfect reflection of God. ”

    And yet, grace builds upon nature; the Holy Spirit of God elevates matter– wheat, tares, earthen vessels, and all that, notwithstanding. It’s why the Church is not a club for saints, but a hospital for sinners; God works through, with, and in human weakness as He draws all to Him (and yes, if you recognize that last part from the Mass itself, it’s with good reason). I would think that the Church reflects God’s work in elevating and sanctifying matter perfectly in that regard.

    “”When I call myself ‘Progressive’, what I mean is that we must always go forward.”

    Well, great. But forward towards WHAT, exactly? Not only does this “Progress” of which you speak not limited, but if it can’t answer the question of direction and orientation, it doesn’t know where the hell it’s going. Progress without direction is meaningless.

    And if we’re not going toward Christ, then it’s always a step backward toward inhumanity. Furthermore, you discount the possibility that sometimes, we have to regain our past in order to move forward, because we cannot do so without knowing who we really are. This is not loving old things for the sake of antiquarianism, just as it is equally foolhardy for the sake of loving new things for the sake of novelty. We assess these things for their true worth in Christ Who, by the way, is the Lord of all time, and thus Lord of all history: we assess these things for their true worth regarding whether these clearly reflect what we believe about our relationship with Him and His with us, or not.

    “I just have to speak the truth as I see it.”

    …and the way you see it appears to be rather limited. Catholic orthodoxy is just bigger, because Who Jesus Truly Is is “just bigger.”

    And please don’t insult the Novus Ordo by slotting the likes of “Kumbayaa” or similar drivel into it: the Novus Ordo is still a valid Mass, and it’s still about Jesus. …but one wouldn’t know it from the dreck getting in the way. Excellent hymns? By what standard? If the hymns of which you speak barely reflect what Catholics truly believe about God, and the relationship between God and Man, how are they “excellent”?

  • WSquared

    “To obey the moral teaching IS a cross for many, I know. But we are called to do exactly that.”

    But note that we’re not meant to do it alone.

    I think the problem that I have with both the likes of “Humanae Vitae” not being preached from the pulpit often enough and overly stringent moralism (in so far as it exists; I don’t like hippy-dippy niceness masquerading as goodness and holiness, either…), is that people don’t hear enough about how we’re enabled by “Humanae Vitae,” and how the Sacraments enable us to live the “hard stuff.” We don’t hear enough about what the Church is offering us.

    It’s okay to feel apprehensive or scared of “Humanae Vitae,” but know that once you read it, you’ll find that you shouldn’t be. The Church doesn’t just give us this teaching and say “you’re on your own.” She gives us the grace to live it when we avail ourselves of the means she gives us.

  • Benedict Carter

    I agree entirely that the Sacraments have been eclipsed completely, replaced by a very protestant focus on the “Word of God” which apparently Catholics hadn’t heard of before 1965.

  • WSquared

    “replaced by a very protestant focus on the “Word of God” which apparently Catholics hadn’t heard of before 1965.”

    Oh, good grief. It’s when I read what you’ve just described that I inwardly shout: “AND THE WORD WAS MADE FLESH, AND DWELT AMONG US!”

    I’m also reminded of Catholics who see or hear “former Catholics” attest to our Protestant brothers and sisters that they never heard the Gospels or the Bible, period, while they were Catholic. …whereby any Catholic observing such a thing has every good reason to ask, “what the heck were these people doing during Mass all that time?!” …and this so obviously applies to the Novus Ordo. With the TLM, one is beaten over the head with TWO Gospels and a New Testament Epistle, and all of the Propers of the Mass are based on the Psalms. Every Mass ends with the Last Gospel, which it’s too bad we don’t have anymore, because it makes clear what Catholics mean by “Word of God.” …as a bit of a shorthand, I pray the Angelus when I attend the Novus Ordo.

  • WSquared

    “I got a feeling he is blind to the real situation of a weakened
    secularised amoral generation on the brink of societal suicide on
    account of having lost their (Christian) morals.”

    He’s not, Burt. His calling out Pleagianism applies to secularism, also. To think that the material world is all there is comes off not only as narrow, but shallow, and rather boring, because human self-sufficiency that rejects the divine has only itself– and its profound limits– to fall back on. It becomes empty. Despairing. Drained of any true color and life in its fullest sense…sounds pretty “starched,” to me.

    We tend to see “starched” as strait-laced and high-bourgeois, faux-Christian “respectability”– as in the “Church Lady” kind. And people are quick to jump on traditionalists or anyone who loves tradition. Okay, yes, that can be true– at least if we’re hiding behind that tradition, not realizing that we’ve been given such a wonderful gift that we are called to share (as someone who attends both Novus Ordo and TLM, where the TLM helped me pray the Novus Ordo better, I can attest that there’s tons of joy to be received and had at the TLM, provided that one disposes one’s self to it by going in with an open heart and open mind). But again, I don’t think that “conservative Christianist starchy” is the only idea of “starched” that we can come up with.

  • WSquared

    …and P.S.: anyone want to know what made that relationship with Christ and how joyful it is clearer to me than it’s ever been?

    The Traditional Latin Mass. Joseph Ratzinger. Eucharistic Adoration.

    That doesn’t mean disregarding or blowing off the Novus Ordo. I just take what I learned at the TLM and plug it into the Novus Ordo, whereby I watch the Mass unpack itself as a very vibrant form of catechesis as well as spiritual nourishment that reaches the very fibers of one’s being.

    That the TLM necessarily produces rigidity without joy is simply false. Go in with the right attitude, and you can find yourself with the wonder of a kid in a very big candy store. Solemnity is not at all diametrically opposed to delight or joyful praise; what that solemnity does is to concentrate both of those things. Solemn silence allows you the time and the space set apart from the mundane to simply say “WOW.” There is something profoundly transcendent and personal about Gregorian chant and polyphony at once: it reflects what’s truly Bigger Than You that at the same time is very, very intimate. It’s like that Bigger Than You intimately embraces you and draws you outward and upward towards Himself.

    Besides, re “rigidity,” one can say the same about any rigid enforcement of banality and bad catechesis. In Pope Francis’s discussions of a Church of the poor, he’s cautioned against an ideology of poverty, too, citing how Judas doesn’t know how to appreciate beauty, and doesn’t know how to love.

  • WSquared

    Everyone is redeemed through Christ. …whether we accept his offer of salvation, however, is something else entirely.

    It’s one thing to respect and value those who are not Catholic and their points of view, but that’s not the same as saying that their views and Catholicism are equally valid, only that some, if not a good deal, of truth exists in them. Rather, they can teach us to go deeper in the Catholic faith we profess, and also to better invite them along for the adventure. For Pope Francis to say “do good, we will meet there” is to acknowledge the truth that one doesn’t need to be Catholic or even to believe in God to do good. But being holy and being a saint is something else entirely. And this is where the Church meets others as the crossroads of doing good, and says, “that’s great. But now, go further!” If we believe that the Church has the fullness of the Truth, guided into it as she is by the Holy Spirit, then that invitation is hers to extend, because she simply can.

    …one can, for example, think that helping out at a soup kitchen excuses one from, say, promoting contraception and abortion. Well, helping the poor is a good thing to be commended. But how is reducing children to a matter of convenience or inconvenience a good thing? The Church can build on whatever good anyone does, but challenges us and others to accountability, integrity, and consistency. She also promises sanctification– to really take the good that someone is doing and make it fruitful and multiply it, like those loaves and fishes.

    But the catch to knowing that is that we must know who we are, and who and what Christ truly Is, and what, therefore, it authentically means to be Catholic. Christ was only ever Himself when taking on human form, therefore remaining truly human and truly divine. The Church cannot but be herself as well, which means that she will be and must be counter-cultural.

  • szfc@sasktel.net

    Not obvious? He is talking clearly about those who outwardly are christian, or at least act as one to some degree, but in actual practice they are not one.

  • James

    Secularists are some of the worst rule-driven Pelegianists I know. Many secularists are moral perfectionists with no room for grace, mercy, or redemption.

    And they aren’t very happy either.

  • Agnus

    The Reformation never ended. – It just entered the Church!

    Once, dissenting Catholics left the Church and became Protestants, -NOW the dissenting Protestants, Communists, free thinkers, Masons etc….. enter the Church and call themselves” Catholics.”…..Then they try to turn Our Church into THEIR’S – Shang-hai-ng us like Pirates trying to steal and re-route the Barque of Peter.

    Stalin press-ganged Bella Dodd into infiltrating 1100 Priests into The Catholic Church – Her confession is now on Youtube.

    “In the 1930s we put eleven hundred men into the Priesthood in order to destroy the Church from within.” She said that they had made their way up into the highest levels in the Church.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=isxEwBxmS5c

    The Apparitions of Fatima and those of the deliberately maligned (yet Church approved) Apparitions of La Salette prophecised these events

    I have just finished reading a wonderful biography about Melanie, one of the most ill-treated visionaries of La Salette. What spite that poor woman was put through, yet she was apparently a Stigmatic. She was hounded out of France by the Bishops, then, literally held prisoner in a Convent in England, (until she managed to get passers by the have her released,)she was verbally abused by the Clergy – yet had some Holy, Princes of the Church, who knew her well and stated that she was a true Saint.

    Unfortunately the Message of La Salette – (like Akita in 1973 and Garabandal in 1965) criticised the Priest Hood so badly, their only option was to say she was mad and to discredit her reputation as much as they could!

    History has proved her an authentic visionary. The Apparitions of La Salette were accepted by the Church after only 5 years!