It is no coincidence that the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals is being held these three days leading up to Ascension Thursday. You see, it coincides with Rogation Days. Oh, you probably aren't aware of these three days when processions were held to implore God's blessings upon mankind. You see this time, long a necessary tradition of the Church, in which the faithful focused three special days for all supplication to God, was eliminated from the liturgical calendar after Vatican II. Why? That's a good question, especially when you consider we need them more than ever today!
Rogation Days originated in the fifth century after earthquakes and other natural calamities tormented the Diocese of Vienne in Dauphine, France. At that time the bishop of the Diocese Saint Mamertus instituted a penitential procession beseeching the faithful to partake in this for three days before Ascension Thursday. The prayers to Heaven were heard and they continued this for several centuries. In 816 Pope Leo III decided to adopt it as an authorized observance for the universal Church.
The ritual of this was the Litany of the Saints, psalms and prayers all to be sung during solemn processions on these three days. Rogation is derived from the Latin rogare, meaning "to ask." The objective being to gather as one to ask Heaven to appease the anger of God and avert the scourges of His Justice, as well as praying for a bountiful harvest.
Have you noticed over the past several decades how the weather has intensified? How devastating earthquakes have increased one-hundred fold? How floods, hurricanes, thunderstorms, tornadoes and typhoons are occurring in lands hitherto protected? How fires, mud slides and droughts are occurring more and more? Lately records are being set in the areas of record heats, icy temperatures, snow fall and rains in what media reports are more commonly calling "biblical proportions" for lack of a better superlative. Have you noticed also with all this natural devastation, very few lives have been lost in respect to the great property damage done? God is so merciful. He has been trying to warn us, but we are so stubborn. The Blessed Mother of God has echoed these warnings time and again in her apparitions on every continent since the early 19th century at Rue de Bac. Have we listened? I don't think so!
Have you noticed this increase of natural disasters, the increase of human suffering the world over has occurred during the 'false peace' from before the Vietnam War through the Cold War to today's supposed detente? Have you noticed this heightening of natural rumblings only intensified after the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel was eliminated after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass? After Rogation Days were scratched? Are not the calamities today - which includes both natural and 'unnatural' or man-made disasters - much worse than Vienne in the 400's? Would you say if ever there was a time to reinstitute Rogation Days, this would be the time? I would. Where is today's St. Mamertus?
Could he be in Rome today among the over 180 cardinals convening for the Consistory? Could he be the last cardinal to be elevated to the Papal Throne in 1978? I would hope and pray that were true. Sadly, however, Rogation Days are the farthest thing from the minds of those who wear the red birettas this week. They seem to have more important things on the agenda than calling on Heaven's help.
You see, they have to deal with such humanistic things as the declining sexual mores that have so depleted society and how to respond to the question of homosexuality and abortion. They will discuss how to address the discrepancy between what Catholics have been led to believe since Vatican II on sexual and family matters and how the common Catholic's view differs from Catholic doctrine. We have the answer to their query: go back to the absolutes! 'Cafeteriaism' has no place in a Church of absolutes! Abortion and homosexuality are wrong! There can be no compromise, no rationalization on that fact. The path the Church in America has been taking over these past thirty years has greatly jeopardized souls. I venture to say the problem is universal in regards the Holocaust of the Womb and the spread of sodomy. As we have said so often, we can no longer sit back and passively do nothing. Whatever the cardinals and bishops have been doing over the past three decades isn't working. I hope they realize that. Accountability has been put on the shelf. It is time for our prelates to act responsibly and send a message to the world - to those Catholics who continue to promote 'cafeteriaism' that it won't wash in the Roman Catholic Church. It is time for the cardinals to agree collectively to issue the proclamation that anyone who knowingly votes for a pro-abort candidate or legislates for abortion, they have incurred automatic excommunication ('latae sententiae'). Only by making that clearly evident will Catholics wake up or walk. Its time to fish or cut bait! Instead of espousing "human rights" and other secular humanistic terms, we beg the prelates to espouse the absolutes of Catholic doctrine.
Had the Church kept the absolutes, the Prayer to St. Michael, even the Rogation Days, and not rationalized everything after Vatican II, I daresay the sodomite agenda and the disrespect for holy conjugal love would not have made the inroads satan has wanted and gained. Yea, I daresay even the Catholic school system would still be intact. I know we would have had more vocations, more priests and nuns to guide the misguided generations of today.
The Princes of the Church will be discussing how the world's mass media can better be used to convey Catholic values. Again, the answer: Be truthful and fall back on the rock-solid absolutes of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. Let the world know the Catholic Church will not stand for abortion or tolerate the sinful sodomy agenda, and any Catholic who does has incurred automatic excommunication. Yes, those are radical measures, but the time has come to either do that or resurrect the Inquisition! The media, the world and Catholics everywhere must realize that we don't have to answer to man, but God first and foremost. Don't worry how the world will view us, but how the Heavenly Father will. Christ has told us the world will hate us because it hated Him. That's our legacy and I not only can live with that, I want nothing else. So also should every cardinal, every bishop, every priest, every nun, every lay person baptized in the True Church.
The cardinals will be discussing this week how to defend the Church and the "originality of its sacraments" in the face of New Age sects and other aberrations that offer 'alternative spirituality,' which, in essence, is not of God but of the darker spirits. The return of the absolutes would be a good place to start in tackling this universal problem and not catering to their ritualistic ceremonials would help immensely. This means refusing to take part in any rite that is not in full communion with Rome. Before Vatican II it was a sin to partake in any non-Catholic ceremony. Despite the fact Pope to prelate, priest to lay person might have, it is still wrong before God. What was once sin is still a sin! God cannot change His mind. It has been set in stone!
Those granted red-hats will be discussing how to tackle world poverty and globalization. It can't be done in three days. One of the problems is that there can be no peace of mind without a piece of bread. The Church is right in seeking to serve the poor and enticing world powers to give of their wealth as God asks throughout Sacred Scripture. We are indeed our brother's keeper. But we cannot do it at the expense of globalization which is an euphenism for a One-World-Order, a One-World-Religion. Ecumenism is fine in seeking to bring those fallen away from the true Church, but not at the cost of compromising our own Faith. Never!
The Consistory will address whether the Church as a whole is projecting holiness "in all its evangelical radicality." As I wrote before, the Church will reflect holiness when its bishops reflect it. We cannot have a holy laity without holy bishops. Men of holiness are never intimidated; men of holiness place God's laws above all else; men of holiness seek to bring all into the fold but not to compromise the Faith; men of holiness are loyal to their calling; men of holiness are merciful but also just; men of holiness are not of this world and seek to lead through their example; men of holiness do not make excuses; men of holiness defend the great Deposit of the Faith with no exceptions; men of holiness care little for worldly trappings or glory; men of holiness seek to emulate the Apostles and the saints in every way in bringing sinners to grace. One cannot be brought to grace if one continues to sin! Where, oh where, are our holy men to lead us? I would hope they are there in red robes in Rome this week.
However, I fear satan is also very much present and it is he who is spurring on many to discuss the issue of collegiality. You and I know this is really another term for democracy, a kind of democracy that many of the prelates want extended to the universal Church. There is no room for this. The only place where collegiality has any place in the Church is in the Sacred Conclave when these same cardinals as the Princes of the Church meet and call on the Holy Spirit to guide them in selecting the next Sovereign Pontiff.
And that brings us to the final point and the crux of the Consistory: the possibility of changing the Papacy. Even His Holiness Pope John Paul II has expressed this could happen through his controversial encyclical Ut unum sint. The Pope is quoted as expressing concern that others won't accept the Primacy of Peter, "How can we not remember that the ministry of Peter, the visible principle of unity, constitutes a difficulty for other Churches and ecclesiastical communities?" Yes, it probably does. It has from the beginning. So what are we to think today? That mankind has wised up and the role of the Sovereign Pontiff is only a figurehead? Consider what Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said in Il Giornale on April 3: "The Pope is not the bishops' ruler, he is a servant of the community." He went on to say, "Orthodox think that the Catholic Church has distorted communion by becoming an absolute monarchy. This is not the case. There exists a community of local Churches which have the Pope as their reference point."
With the reverence and respect we have always expressed for the Keeper of the Keys, we have never heard him refered to as a "reference point." The Cardinal is wrong and this is the great danger of the knowledgable men meeting this week in Rome. Just how knowledgable are they? If Cardinal Ratzinger and the others were, they would realize that "Peter alone was honored with the true and proper primacy of jurisdiction, to the exclusion of the Apostles, be they considered individually or as a group." [bold for editor's emphasis]. This comes right from Vatican I and the decree Pastor Aeternus in defining the Papacy.
Furthermore, in his Apostolic Letter Ex Quo Pope Saint Pius X reaffirmed the condemnation of the belief the Church is not a monarchy. It has been from the time Jesus gave Peter the Keys of the Kingdom (cf. Matthew 16: 17-19). The Pope alone is the Keeper of the Keys - the gold key for Spiritual Powers, the silver key for temporal powers. No one else can usurp these powers.
This is the great fear so many concerned, loyal Catholics have: That our leaders today are not following the doctrines and teachings that were so absolute with no gray areas prior to Vatican II. Because this point of preserving the Papacy is so pivotal and pertinent, with permission, we are beginning today the first of several installments of an Urgent Plea directly to the Holy Father that will outline more clearly than we can put in words why it is so important not to tamper with what God has set in stone! We have received permission from Atila Sinke Guimar„es who, along with Michael Matt, John Vennari and Dr. Marian Horvat, have written a brilliant Open Letter to His Holiness that will clarify - for all - the dangers of collegiality. It is respectful, but insistant on maintaining the Primacy of Peter as it must be, regardless of how those outside the Church might view it as an obstacle. If it is an obstacle to those not in union with Rome, then so be it.
During these days which used to be Rogation Days, there is nothing wrong with praying in supplication to appease the anger of the Almighty, to avert His Justice as the Cup overflows, to pray His ordaining Will be followed by those consecrated men in red who are gathering today in Rome. God has allowed the transgressions to be visited on His children lo these past 37 years by His permitting Will, not ordaining Will. He allows man free will. But to push Him to the limits by challenging what He set down is taking it too far. That is what collegiality will do: Democratize the Church and strip her of the universal marks of the Church that have made her unique and true for 2000 years.
The Pope is many things, from Vicar of Christ to Servant of the servants of God, but he is not a 'reference point;' he is not just 'another bishop;' he is the successor of Peter, set apart by Jesus from all the other Apostles. It is through the unbroken succession of the Keepers of the Keys that the Church has survived over two millennia with the assurance that "...the gates of hell shall not prevail against it."