November 4
vol 13, no. 128

"What manner of man is this?"

Rather than the Gospel according to Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we are being fed the Gospel of Ecumenism. One is Roman Catholic, the other Pelagianism!

    Editor's Note: In his sermon for the 24th Sunday After Pentecost, taken from the Fourth Sunday After Epiphany, Father Louis Campbell speaks of the divinity of Christ. It was Peter, the first Pope, who first acknowledged Jesus as the Christ, the Son of the living God. For only One such as this could calm the seas and the winds. The winds of heresy and the seas of novelty need to be calmed today for sadly the supposed successor of Peter in these times - John Paul II - is afraid to rock the boat by acknowledging to Jew, Muslim, Hindu and the rest that Christ is the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity - Three Persons - Father, Son and Holy Ghost - in One God. In shying away from the truths in favor of a pan-religious Pelagianism, it would seem John Paul II is afraid to offend the mind of man. Sadly the leaders of the conciliar church shy away from their ultimate responsibity to uphold what St. Paul affirms in Hebrews 11: 6, "Without faith it is impossible to please God." That faith is contained only in the Faith handed down by the Son of God; the only Faith with the four indelible marks - One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic. No where in there is the word "Ecumenical."

   The chosen apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ were fortunate to be able to follow Him for three years, listening to His words, observing His actions, contemplating His features, no doubt unwilling to miss even the smallest word or the least incident. Their question, "What manner of Man is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him" (Mt.8:27), would be answered by one of them - Peter - at Caesarea Philippi, "Thou are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Mt.16:16).

   Those who would know the true God, Who is Father, Son and Holy Ghost, must believe as Peter did, because Christ is our Mediator, our one Way to the Father. In His own words, "No one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him" (St. Matthew 11:27). That we might know God the Father, God the Son came among us as a man, so that in knowing Him we might know the Father. "He who sees Me, sees the Father," He told the Apostle Phillip (St. John 14:9). When the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how to pray, He replied, "Pray like this, 'Our Father, Who art in Heaven…'"

   The Church has always prayed to the Father, but through the Son, and in the Holy Ghost. Her liturgical prayers - the prayers of the Mass and the Sacraments - are usually addressed to the Father, ending: "Per Dominium nostrum Jesum Christum, filium tuum…,"-"Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God, forever and ever." But the Son is also God, and the Holy Ghost is God, so the Church at times addresses her prayers to the Son, as on the Feast of Christ the King, or to the Holy Ghost, as at Pentecost.

   Our usual approach to the spiritual life, then, should be, first of all, to contemplate the life of the Son, Jesus Christ, as we do in reading and meditating on the Holy Scriptures, praying the Rosary or the Stations of the Cross, and in other devotions. In this way we get to know Him, to know "what manner of man" He is. And in knowing Him we know the Father as well. Our prayers ascend to the Father through the Son, as we see in the prayers of the Mass, "through Him, with Him, and in Him." And all the while we are dependent upon the power of the Holy Ghost, Who prays within us. Like the Church, we may also pray directly to Christ, Who is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity, or to the Holy Ghost, Who is God, the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Praying to the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints is a different matter. We do not address them as divine persons, but as our friends in Heaven, that they may intercede for us.

   The conciliar church today, however, is carefully ecumenical, using that term in the broad sense. In public addresses, for instance, there is no mention of the word "Father" if it can be avoided. One must not offend the Muslims, who don't look upon God as a Father. And don't offend either the Jews or the Muslims, by hinting that there might be such a thing as a Blessed Trinity. Just use the word "God." If the name of Christ must be mentioned, lets not suggest that He was more than just a man, even if a very special one. Even many Catholics today, I am told, do not understand that Jesus Christ is God, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity.

   This past Wednesday at the Vatican, the pilgrims heard the usual address at the general audience. Continuing a series of commentaries on the Scriptures, John Paul II reflected on Chapter 33 of the Book of Isaias, saying: "…the canticle begins with the announcement of a powerful and glorious entrance of God onto the stage of human history…" He refers to "…the Lord who resides in the Temple who has chosen to walk with them (the Jews) in history and transformed himself into 'Emmanuel,' 'God-with-Us.'" What a perfect opening to preach about the great mystery of the Incarnation of the Son of God! But this "glorious entrance of God onto the stage of human history" is portrayed simply as an event in the history of the Jews. It would not be ecumenical, of course, to suggest that it refers to the birth of Christ. Neither is the word "Father" mentioned, but the words "God" and "Lord" are together mentioned about fifteen times.

   After speaking of Isaiah giving a list of six moral commitments for the "true believer," John Paul says, "…whoever chooses to follow this honest and righteous conduct (observing the six moral commitments) will have access to the Temple of the Lord, where he will receive the security of that external and internal well-being that God gives to the one who is in communion with him."

   It would appear, then, that one is justified by the observance of the Law, and that faith in Christ is not necessary for justification, as the Church has always taught. Anyone, be he Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Christian, or whatever, can earn his way to Heaven, much like working your way through college - if you can pass the exams you get the degree. We have a word for that - Pelagianism. It is true that those who have faith do receive merit for their good works, but without faith in Jesus Christ our good works have no supernatural value. Behavior may be righteous in itself, but it does not merit an eternal reward without faith in Christ. As St. Paul explains, "Without faith it is impossible to please God" (Hebrews 11:6).

   There are in the address a couple of harmless references to Christ, such as the one at the tail end referring to His redemptive death, but there is no suggestion that one must believe in Him, as did Peter and the other saints. On the contrary, "whoever chooses to follow this honest and righteous conduct will have access to the Temple of the Lord."

   How ecumenical! What Jew, Muslim or Buddhist could disagree? They are challenged to live a righteous life, but not to believe in the One who makes that righteous life possible - Jesus Christ. Live a good life, and you have access to the Temple of the Lord. All can go away reassured and reaffirmed in their false religious beliefs, their eyes not opened, their souls not healed.

   No wonder that the darkness of sin and unbelief is spreading over the world, and that war is on the horizon. The conciliar church, enamored of this world, has given up the true Gospel for the "gospel of ecumenism," and Jesus Christ, the Light of the world, is consigned to the shadows.

   But those who keep the faith give glory to our Lord Jesus Christ, and await His glorious return on the clouds of Heaven. Their destiny is assured: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing on high in Christ. Even as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blemish in His sight in love. He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ as His sons, according to the purpose of His will, unto the praise of the glory of His grace, with which He has favored us in His beloved Son" (Ephesians 1:3-6).

Father Louis J. Campbell

November 4, 2002
vol 13, no. 128
"Qui legit, intelligat" Father Louis Campbell's Sunday Sermons