THURSDAY     February 10, 2000    vol. 11, no. 29    SECTION ONE

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SECTION ONE Contents: Go immediately to the article:
  • Pat Ludwa's VIEW FROM THE PEW - Heresies are nothing new, just the way they're spun today!
  • THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS - Sunday's Angelus
  • Medjugorje Message for January

  • The pendulum will only swing back when the fulcrum is the Blessed Sacrament

       In his column today, Pat Ludwa debunks the worn-out phrase used by dissidents trying to rationalize the "spirit of Vatican II" that "in the early Church it was done that way." They use this for advancing their agenda of women priests and deaconesses, for forcing changes that fly in the face of tradition and solid Church doctrine and rubrics, for watering down the Mystery of the Transubstantiation. He backs this up with excellent quotes from great saints and fathers of the Church who had to contend with the same tripe from earlier heretics who sought to change the Church to their way of thinking as well as the sage English Catholic writer G.K. Chesterton who authenticates why the Church has survived against these waves of opposition and indifference. He shows that today, with a revival of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, the Church is once again gaining strength rather than dying as so many liberals would infer. For his column today, New ideas, old heresies, see VIEW FROM THE PEW

    New ideas, old heresies

    • "So far as a man may be proud of a religion rooted in humility, I am very proud of my religion; I am especially proud of those parts of it that are most commonly called superstition. I am proud of being fettered by antiquated dogmas and enslaved by dead creeds (as my journalistic friends repeat with so much pertinacity), for I know very well that it is the heretical creeds that are dead, and that it is only the reasonable dogma that lives long enough to be called antiquated." --- G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), the English literary giant. From his Autobiography (1936)

        The thing about our faith is that it's tried and true. It has withstood the test of time. Other 'faiths' have come and gone. Some have been renewed and reworked, but remain the same dead creeds.

        There was a song which went, "Everything old is new again." The mantra of many dissidents is that something was done in the Early Church so it must be right and correct to do so again.

        For example, it's said that the idea of the priest facing the people for Mass was something that the Early Church did. Well the fact is that only four churches could be documented as doing so in the Early Church, and then, only after Christianity was no longer a capitol offense in the Roman Empire, so that Catholic worship could be public. Before that, Mass was held in whatever space they could. That is, the catacombs, someone's home, etc. The other problem with their analogy is that the Church stopped doing something for a reason, so to go back to it would be to say the Church was wrong for ending it.

        Some of these changes could be re-instituted with the proper education. For example, the Church used to have deaconess. But not in the sense we hear about them today. They were generally widows who assisted the priest with dealing with the women of their parish. They were present when a woman was given instruction, baptized, etc. It was done so that no impropriety could occur, or be accused. It was never an 'ordained' office. But when some of the 'deaconess' took upon themselves the duties and office which belonged only to the priest, the Church was forced to end the position of deaconess

    • "We completely reject the consecration of widows, whom they call deaconesses, from our region...."( The Council of Epaon, c. 517 AD)
    • "How wanton are the women of these heretics! they dare to teach,.to dispute, to carry out exorcisms, to undertake cures, it may be even to baptize." (Tertullian,"The Prescription of Heretics" 41)
    • "That woman who first through marvels or deceptions of the demons did many things to deceive the faithful,among other things...she dared to do this, namely that by an impressive invocation she feigned she was sanctifying bread, and offering a sacrifice to the Lord." (Firmilian, in "Epistle" 75.1-5 to Cyprian,tells of a woman who went into an ecstasy and came out a prophetess.)
    • "If women were ordained to be priests for God or to do anything canonical in the church, it should rather have been given to Mary....She was not even entrusted with baptizing...Although there is an order of deaconesses in the church,yet they are not appointed to function as priests, or for any administration of this kind, but so that provision may be made for the propriety of the female sex [at nude baptisms]. Whence comes the recent myth? Whence comes the pride of women or rather, the woman's insanity?" (St. Epiphanius, "Against Heresies" 79.304)

        Yet today, we hear that, supposedly, the Early Church had women priests and deaconesses.

    • "Divine law has excluded women from the sanctuary, but they try to thrust themselves into it." (St. John Chrysostom, "On the Priesthood", 3.9)

        But if we look at the Gnostics, who claimed to be Christian, we see female priests. St. Augustine, being at one time a Gnostic, was very familiar with them.

    • "They give such principality to women that they even honor them with priesthood." (St. Augustine, "On heresies" 27)

    So, the Church ended the ministry of the deaconess, not because it was wrong, but because it was abused. Who would be the deaconess' today? The Nuns and Sisters!

        We see many of these re-invented 'creeds' coming back as a return to true Catholicism, Christianity. But the reality is far different. Monika Hellwig ( a contributor to Renew 2000), for example, says that "[Jesus saying this is My Body] more probably was intended to mean that His action of blessing, breaking, sharing and eating in such an assembly in His Name and memory was to be seen as the embodiment of the presence and Spirit and power of Jesus in the community."

        This fits what Ulrich Zwingli taught, but not what the Church, through the Apostles and Early Church Fathers taught. It works fine for those who want to renew the heresy of Montanism and make the 'community' the focus of worship in the Mass instead of God, but it denigrates the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament.

    • "I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the bread of God, which is the flesh of Jesus Christ, Who was of the seed of David; and for drink I desire His blood, which is love incorruptible." (IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH (110 AD Epistle to the Romans, 7:3)
    • "Take note of those who hold heretodox opinions on the grace of Jesus Christ which has come to us, and see how contrary their opinions are to the mind of God...." (Ibid)
    • "They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, flesh which suffered for our sins and which that Father, in His goodness, raised up again. They who deny the gift of God are perishing in their disputes." (IGNATIUS OF ANTIOCH ; Epistle to the Smyrnaeans, 6:2; 7:1)
    • "We call this food Eucharist, and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration [baptism] and is thereby living as Christ enjoined." (JUSTIN MARTYR (148 AD)
    • "For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nurtured, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus." (JUSTIN MARTYR (148 AD) (First Apology, 66:1-20)
    • "If the Lord were from other than the Father, how could He rightly take bread, which is of the same creation as our own, and confess it to be His body and affirm that the mixture in the cup is His blood?" (IRENAEUS OF LYONS (180 AD) Against Heresies, 4:33:2)
    • "He has declared the cup, a part of creation, to be His own blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own body, from which He gives increase unto our bodies. (Ibid)
    • "When, therefore, the mixed cup [wine and water] and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life--flesh which is nourished by the body and blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of Him?" (Ibid, 5:2)

        The Eucharist is no longer the Real Presence of Christ, but merely a symbol. Fr. Karl Rahner writes that the Eucharist is a "transfinalization" or "transignification" and claims the "meaning" of the bread changes after Consecration - a symbol - rather than the Bread really and truly changing into the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ. Forget that this doesn't correspond with the teachings of the Scriptures, the Early Church Fathers, and was specifically condemned in the Pope Paul VI Eucharistic Encyclical Mysterium Fidei.

        Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx says the same thing. And Anthony Wilhelm writes that "When we say that the bread and wine 'become Christ' we are not saying that bread and wine are Christ ... What me mean is that the bread and wine are a sign of Christ present."

        All of this is done in the name of the 'spirit' of Vatican II, and they are teaching their errors to others as facts and authentic Christianity and Catholicism. Is it any wonder that a Time/Life poll showed that less than 50% of American Catholics believe in the Real Presence of Christ? Is it any wonder that many in the Church today think they are the teaching authority of the Church and can 'vote' on the truth?

        As one Web site points out (Our Lady's Warriors) they are more like Judas, than Christ. Just Undermine Doctrine And Spirituality. Their aim seems to be to destroy authentic Christianity/Catholicism in favor of a neo-gnostic, New Age, feminist theology. A false spirituality covered only with the fašade of Catholicism and Christianity.

    • "I look at the New Theology, however, and find that it is an old Theology, that it is even more than that - that it is something older and duller than Theology itself; that it is the dim and vague cosmogony which men required before they were intellectual enough to require Theology." (G. K. Chesterton;"Creed and Deed," The Illustrated London News, 2 February 1907)

        But the good news is that their agenda is failing. They're ranks are getting older and smaller. Recently the Pope has said that the ranks of the priesthood are beginning to grow; much to the consternation of those seeking women and married priests to 'address the shortage of priests'. Fr. Benedict Groeschel noted that the recent "Pro-Life March" in Washington DC, showed a significant increase in young Catholics returning to the true authentic teachings of the Church. Churches are returning to authentic Catholic architecture, tabernacles are finding themselves back as the focal point of the church rather than a side room. The sacred hymns of the Church are seeing a renewal instead of the bland, camp fire songs of dissident liturgists and music directors.

    • "I suspect that we should find several occasions when Christendom was thus to all appearance hollowed out from within by doubt and indifference, so that only the old Christian shell stood as the pagan shell had stood so long. But the difference is that in every such case, the sons were fanatical for the faith where the fathers had been slack about it. This is obvious in the case of the transition from the Renaissance to the Counter-Reformation. It is obvious in the case of a transition from the eighteenth century to the many Catholic revivals of our own time . . . Just as some might have thought the Church simply a part of the Roman Empire, so others later might have thought the Church only a part of the Dark Ages. The Dark Ages ended as the Empire had ended; and the Church should have departed with them, if she had been also one of the shades of night. (G. K. Chesteron; The Everlasting Man, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1925, pp. 250-252)

        Why this turn around? Are we getting better at defending the Church? Maybe, but I really feel that two other things are at work here.

  • First, the increase in Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration. Over a thousand parishes have this ministry going on. 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
  • Secondly, "And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My Church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it" (Matthew 16:18).

        Are we out of the woods yet? Far from it. Rather I suspect even greater efforts to undermine the Church. A cornered animal doesn't sit by and let itself go without a fight. But the fight was over even before it began.

    • "At least five times, . . . with the Arian and the Albigensian, with the Humanist sceptic, after Voltaire and after Darwin, the Faith has to all appearance gone to the dogs. In each of these five cases it was the dog that died. (G. K. Chesteton: The Everlasting Man, Garden City, NY: Doubleday Image, 1925, p. 254)
    • "I have said this to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world" (John 16:33).
    • "As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God" (Romans 14:11).

    Pax Christi, Pat

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    Holy Father extolls Sanctity of LIfe in recognizing "Life Day" in Italy during Sunday's Angelus while extolling the blessings of the Blessed Trinity in yesterday's Papal Audience

       Today, we bring you a double treat: the words from His Holiness Pope John Paul II's Angelus message from this past Sunday in celebrating "Life Day" throughout Italy and his words yesterday as he continued on his treatise of the Blessed Trinity. On Sunday he chose as his topic the Sanctity of Life with the fact that every child is a gift and one we should all cherish, reiterating the sacredness of marriage vows and extended the culture of life to the sick for which he will participate in special Jubilee ceremonies this weekend honoring those who are afflicted and encouraging all to help in whatever way they can through prayer, compassion and aid. For his Papal Audience in St. Peter's Square before over 13,000 he extolled on the basis of the Blessed Trinity from Sacred Scripture and the fulfillment of the reality of the Triune Divinity's existence. See THE VICAR OF CHRIST SPEAKS

    Angelus Address from Sunday, February 6, 2000
    Every Child is an Immense Gift

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      1. Today Italy celebrates "Life Day", which has "Unto us a Child is Given" as its theme; an echo of the oracle of the prophet Isaiah (9:5) proclaimed in the Christmas liturgy. In their traditional Message for this Day, the Italian Bishops reminded the faithful that every child is an immense gift: for parents, for the family, for the Church and for society.

          The worrisome demographic decline registered in recent years cannot but be a motive for attentive reflection and a stimulus for renewal in Italian society, both of its mentality and its cultural, political, and legislative choices. It is the task, certainly, of public institutions, which are called to overcome difficulties that place obstacles before the family. But above all it is up to married couples to re-establish a culture of love and life, rediscovering the mission of parenthood assumed on their wedding day.

      2. A culture of life is the ideal context not only for welcoming children, but also for respect and attention towards every person, starting with the weakest and most defenseless. In this regard, I am pleased to take advantage this occasion as a reminder that next Friday, February 11, memorial of Our Lady of Lourdes, the Jubilee of the Sick and Health-Care Workers will be celebrated.

          This special Jubilee celebration sheds light upon the importance of human life in the plan of Redemption: Christ used the curing of the sick as a privileged sign of the Kingdom of God; and by his Passion and Death, he -- the Good Samaritan of humanity -- redeemed us from sin, to give us the gift of health of spirit and body. Following in his footsteps, the Church has drawn close to suffering men and women in every place and at all times by means of innumerable works for the good of the sick, especially the poorest and the abandoned.

          In preparation for the Jubilee of the Sick, a meeting will take place in the Vatican this Wednesday and Thursday to study the identity of Catholic health professionals, and the challenges that face them at the beginning of the third millennium. On Thursday a Holy Mass will be celebrated for the sick in the Basilica Saint Paul Outside the Walls, whereas I myself will preside the one held on Friday the 11th here at St. Peter's. Finally, on Saturday, there will be a Stations of the Cross at the Coliseum and, in the evening, a festive gathering in Paul VI Audience Hall.

      3. We entrust the efforts of the Church to defend and promote human life, in Italy and in the whole world, to Mary Most Holy. Of her, Mother of those who suffer and Health of the sick, we ask her special intercession, so that each person passing through difficult moments may find light and comfort in the Gospel of Life.

    Wednesday Papal Address from yesterday, February 9, 2000
    The Glory of the Trinity in History

      Dear Brothers and Sisters,

      1. As you heard from the lectors, this encounter was opened by the "Great Hallel," Psalm 136 (135), which is a solemn litany for soloist and choir: it is raised to the "hesed" of God, that is, to his faithful love as revealed in the events of salvation history. In particular it refers to the liberation from slavery in Egypt and to the gift of the promised land. The Creed of God's Israel (cf Dt 26:5-9; Gen 24: 1-13) proclaims divine action within human history: the Lord is not an impassable emperor, encircled in light and relegated to a gilded heaven. He sees the misery of his people in Egypt, listens to their cry and comes down to liberate them (cf Ex 3:7-8).

      2. We will now seek to illustrate this presence of God in history, by the light of Trinitarian revelation, which was fully realized in the New Testament, and which was in some ways anticipated and concealed in the Old Testament. Let us begin, then, with the Father, whose characteristics can be glimpsed in God's intervening action in history as a father Who is tender and thoughtful towards the just ones who call to Him. He is "father of orphans and protector of widows" (Ps 68:5); He is also a father in confronting a rebellious and sinful people.

          Two prophetic texts of extraordinary beauty and intensity introduce God's delicate interior dialogue in dealing with His "degenerate children" (Dt 32:5). God manifests his constant and amorous presence in the tangle of human history. In Jeremiah the Lord exclaims: "For I have become a father to Israel... Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he the child I delight in? As often as I speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore I am deeply moved for him; I will surely have mercy on him" (Jer 31:9,20). Another of God's marvelous confessions is found in Hosea: "When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called My son... it was I who taught Ephraim to walk, I took them up in My arms; but they did not know that I healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love. I was to them like those who lift infants to their cheeks. I bent down to them and fed them... My heart recoils within Me; My compassion grows warm and tender" (Hos 11:1,3-4,8).

      3. From these biblical passages we must draw the conclusion that God the Father is not the least bit indifferent in the face of our events. On the contrary, he goes as far as sending His only -begotten Son into the heart of history, as Christ himself attests in his nocturnal dialogue with Nicodemus: "For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:16-17). The son is inserted into time and space as living and life-giving center that gives definitive sense to the flow of history, saving it from dispersion and banality. In particular, all of humanity converges with its joys and tears, with its troubled succession of good and evil, on Christ's cross, the wellspring of salvation and of eternal life: "And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself" (John 12:32). With a resplendent phrase, the Letter to the Hebrews will proclaim the perennial presence of Christ in history: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" (13:8).

      4. In order to discover beneath the ebb and flow of events this secret and effective presence, to sense that the Kingdom of God is even now in our midst (cf Lk 17:21), it is necessary to go beyond the superficialities of data and of historical occurrences. Here, the Holy Spirit goes into action. Even if the Old Testament did not yet present an explicit revelation of the person of the Holy Spirit, certain salvific initiatives can be "appropriated" to Him. It is He Who moves the judges of Israel (cf Jud 3:10), David (cf 1 Sam 16:13), and the Messiah-King (cf Is 11:1-2; 42:1). But above all He spreads out through the prophets, who have the mission to reveal the divine glory veiled in history, the design of God underneath our events. The prophet Isaiah presents us with a text of great efficacy, which will be taken up again by Christ in His programmatic discourse in the synagogue of Nazareth: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor" (Is 61:1-2; Lk 4:18-19).

      5. The Spirit of God not only unveils the sense of history, but imparts the strength to collaborate in the divine project that is accomplished in it. By the light of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, history ceases to be a succession of events dissolved in the chasm of the dead, but becomes fertile ground for the seeds of eternity, a path that brings us to that sublime destination in which "God may be all in all" (1Cor 15:28). The Jubilee Year of 2000, which evokes "the year of mercy" announced by Isaiah and inaugurated by Christ, is meant to be the epiphany of those seeds and of this glory so that all may hope, sustained by the presence and the help of God, in a new, more authentically Christian and human world.

          Each of us then, in stammering something of the mystery of the Trinity working in our history, is faced with the adoring wonder of St. Gregory Nazianzen, theologian and poet, when he sings: "Glory to God the Father and to the Son, King of the universe. Glory to the Spirit, worthy of praise and all holy. The Trinity is one God who created and fills everything... giving life to everything with his Spirit, so that each creature exalts his wise Creator, single cause of life and endurance. More than anything else, a reasonable creature always celebrates him as great King and good Father" (Dogmatic Poems, XXI, "Hymnus Alias": PG 37:510-511).

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    January 25th Medjugorje Monthly Message

    NOTE: We respectfully recognize and accept the final authority regarding apparitions, locutions and prophecies presently being reported around the world rests with the Holy See of Rome and the Magisterium of Holy Mother Church to whose judjment we humbly and obediently submit.

      "Dear children! I call you, little children, to pray without ceasing. If you pray, you are closer to God and He will lead you on the way of peace and salvation. That is why I call you today to give peace to others. Only in God is there true peace. Open your hearts and become those who give a gift of peace and others will discover peace in you and through you and in this way you will witness God's peace and love which He gives you. Thank you for having responded to my call."

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    February 10, 2000     volume 11, no. 29
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