February 3, 2000
volume 11, no. 24

To print out entire text
of Today's issue, go to


    Pat Ludwa, a committed lay Catholic from Cleveland, has been asked to contribute, on a regular basis, a lay person's point of view on the Church today. We have been impressed with his insight and the clear logic he brings to the table from his "view from the pew." In all humility, by his own admission, he feels he has very little to offer, but we're sure you'll agree with us that his viewpoint is exactly what millions of the silent majority of Catholics believe and have been trying to say as well. Pat puts it in words that help all of us better understand and convey to others what the Church teaches and we must believe.

    Today Pat questions the rationale of those who would put more weight in modern dissident theologians than in Sacred Scripture and the teachings and doctrines of Holy Mother Church. He shows where their desire to follow their own will over the wisdom of God's Will leads to self-affirmation which leads to self-destruction through their own self-empowerment for they have not empowered themselves but greatly weakened their souls, leaving them vulnerable to actually believe the lies and half-truths spread so insidiously by satan and eagerly championed by those who think they have a better idea through destruction of the Church. They say misery loves company and this was never more evident than through the dissidents who prowl about the world, seeking the disintegration of what Christ established.That is the gist of his column today, Self-affirmation = loss of faith.

    For past columns by Pat Ludwa, click on VIEW FROM THE PEW Archives   If you want to send him ideas or feedback, you can reach him at

Self-affirmation = loss of faith

        "It is not the tendency of human beings to bear the cross and love it, to chastise the body and subdue it, to flee honors and to put up with reproaches, to despise themselves and wish others to despise them, to bear all opposition and losses and not desire any prosperity in this world. If you trust in yourself, you will never accomplish this; but if you put your trust in God, you will be given strength from heaven, and the world and the flesh will be made subject to your command. If you are armed with faith and marked with the cross of Christ, you will not fear your enemy, the devil; for he will have no power over you." (Imitation of Christ by Thomas A Kempis; Royal Road of the Cross, Chap. 12)

        It's in our nature as human beings to avoid conflict, pain, suffering, etc. It's in our nature to seek self-affirmation and self-empowerment. And we seek those who confirm that belief for us and attack those who don't.

        One of the saddest e-mail's I received was by a person who 'elevated' theologians over the 'political' institution of the Church and the Magisterium. And not just any theologians, by the way, but the dissident theologians who affirm this notion of self-affirmation and empowerment. This cannot come from a true faith and devotion to God, but only in a trust of self. A refusal to carry one's cross, to die to oneself, to humbly follow in the path Christ set for us.

        "Simon Peter replied, 'You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.' And Jesus answered him, 'Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father Who is in Heaven. 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. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven'" (Matthew 16: 16-19).

        Here we see clearly that Christ intended to build a church. A visible Church, a Church that would be seen on earth, which were to be given the keys of the kingdom of Heaven. "Christ, the one Mediator, established and continually sustains here on earth His holy Church, the community of faith, hope and charity, as an entity with visible delineation (9*) through which He communicated truth and grace to all. But, the society structured with hierarchical organs and the Mystical Body of Christ, are not to be considered as two realities, nor are the visible assembly and the spiritual community, nor the earthly Church and the Church enriched with Heavenly things; rather they form one complex reality which coalesces from a divine and a human element.(10*) For this reason, by no weak analogy, it is compared to the mystery of the incarnate Word. As the assumed nature inseparably united to Him, serves the divine Word as a living organ of salvation, so, in a similar way, does the visible social structure of the Church serve the Spirit of Christ, who vivifies it, in the building up of the body" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium, Chap 1, The Mystery of the Church, #8).

        "Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. And when they saw Him they worshipped Him; but some doubted. And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in Heaven and on earth has been given to Me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age'" (Matthew 28: 16-20).

        Here, Christ establishes the 'Hierarchy' of that Church, the teaching authority of that Church, to 'teach the faithful'. "For the nurturing and constant growth of the People of God, Christ the Lord instituted in His Church a variety of ministries, which work for the good of the whole body. For those ministers, who are endowed with sacred power, serve their brethren, so that all who are of the People of God, and therefore enjoy a true Christian dignity, working toward a common goal freely and in an orderly way, may arrive at salvation.

        "This Sacred Council, following closely in the footsteps of the First Vatican Council, with that Council teaches and declares that Jesus Christ, the eternal Shepherd, established His holy Church, having sent forth the apostles as He Himself had been sent by the Father; and He willed that their successors, namely the bishops, should be shepherds in His Church even to the consummation of the world. And in order that the episcopate itself might be one and undivided, He placed Blessed Peter over the other apostles, and instituted in him a permanent and visible source and foundation of unity of faith and communion. And all this teaching about the institution, the perpetuity, the meaning and reason for the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff and of his infallible magisterium, this Sacred Council again proposes to be firmly believed by all the faithful. Continuing in that same undertaking, this Council is resolved to declare and proclaim before all men the doctrine concerning bishops, the successors of the apostles, who together with the successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ, the visible Head of the whole Church, govern the house of the living God" (Vatican II, Lumen Gentium; Chap. 3: The Church is Hierarchal, #1).

        So we see, both in Scripture and Church teaching, that trust in the Church IS trust in God. "He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him Who sent Me" (Luke 10:16). But to mistrust the Church, the Magisterium, as nothing more than a patriarchal, political institution, is to say one doesn't trust God, Who promised to be with and guide His Church throughout time.

        They find "If any man would come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" a hard saying. Deny myself? Self denial instead of self affirmation? Humble submission to God and His Church rather than self-empowerment? But better we follow that teaching than risk one day hearing; "Then He will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels;" (Matthew 25: 41).

        So, who are these who would deny Christ and His Church. Who are these 'catholics' who would say God has not, or cannot, guide and protect His Church?

    • "we need people with chisels inside (the church) chiseling away at that institution or it is never going to fall." (Sister Maureen Fiedler; (head of the "We Are Church" Referendum and an active head of Call To Action and other dissident groups)
    • Dignity, which says: "We work for the development of sexual theology leading to the reform of its teachings and practices regarding human sexuality, and for the acceptance of gay,lesbian, bisexual and transgendered peoples as full and equal members of the one Christ." (Dignity's Statement of Position and Purpose)
    This 'reform', of course, is the changing of the Church's teachings on human sexuality. Along with Call To Action, FutureChurch, catholics for a Free Choice, and others, they hope to destroy the Church and supplant it with a 'political institution' of their own making.

        IF the Church was not founded by Christ, but is nothing more than a patriarchal, political institution, then we can move to change it to suit what we want. Such is the role of politics. Through petition, revolt, vote, etc. But if the Church IS founded by Christ, and NOT merely a patriarchal, political institution, then the Church cannot be coerced into exchanging the truth for a lie.

        "I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus Who is to judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom: preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths" (2 Timothy 4:1-4).

        So, desiring what they want, self-affirmation instead of self-denial, etc, they gather around themselves, teachers (theologians) who tell them what they want to hear. All the while putting on the 'airs' of religion and faith.

        "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people. For among them are those who make their way into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and swayed by various impulses, who will listen to anybody and can never arrive at a knowledge of the truth. As Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men of corrupt mind and counterfeit faith;" (2 Timothy 3:1-8).

        They can never arrive at the truth since they deny, essentially, the author of all truth, Christ. And attack the visible instument of His salvation, the Church.

        Donna Steichen, author of "Ungodly Rage; the Hidden Face of Catholic Feminism" writes about their hidden agenda, "...that the vast majority of WOC members 'receive their regular paychecks from the Catholic Church or related institutions, working as pastoral assistants or as teachers at seminaries or Catholic universities or high schools,'...These people are working within the Church to destroy the Church...working as Catholic teachers or theologians, slowly chiseling away from the inside. That's what's shocking. Otherwise, they would just be pathetic and ridiculous."

        Thomas Sheehan, in his book "Revolution in the Church" speaks of the 'liberal consensus' (of which he admits to be a part of) of theologians who, deny Mary was a virgin at Jesus' birth, deny that Jesus was or even claimed to be Divine; the Son of God, deny that He founded or even meant to found, a Church, that He established a priesthood or even a hierarchy; a teaching authority. Since, as Stiechen reports and Sheehan admits, these 'theologians' receive their paychecks from Catholic Diocese's, Universities and schools, since they are the ones who "hold the chairs, get the grants, publish the books and define the limits of scientific exegesis and theology", since they are the darlings of the media, is it any wonder that many are deluded into thinking they are right and the Church is wrong?

        For all the letters following their names. For all their Ph.D's and media exposure, they cannot get around one simple fact: "No doubt the others (Apostles) were all that Peter was, but a primacy is given to Peter and it is thus made clear that there is but one Church and one Chair…..If a man does not fast to this oneness of Peter, does he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he deserts the Chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, has he still confidence that he is in the Church?" (St. Cyprian, 250 AD, "On the Unity of the Catholic Church")

        If they reject the Pope and Magisterium and see it as nothing more than a political institution, then they have lost their faith. If they desert the Chair of Peter, it isn't the Church which has left them, or thrown them out. Rather, it is they who have left the Church.

        Who do you follow? Kung, Curran, Ruether, et al? Or Christ?

    Pax Christi, Pat


February 3, 2000
volume 10, no. 24

To print out text of Today's issue, go to:

The DAILY CATHOLIC Search for anything
from the last three
years in past issues of
the DailyCATHOLIC: