Summer Hiatus Issue
vol 14, no. 33

E-mail       Print
Portrait by Al Hirschfeld "Thanks for the Memories"

Two international, beloved giants who expressed the Face of Hope

    Bob Hope was the consummate comedian, but what passes today is not funny. That is evident in the fact God is not amused at how much we have lost because we abandoned the ideal of St. Pius X: "To Restore All Things in Christ."

   It is with mixed feelings that we observe the 100th anniversary of the election and coronation of His Holiness Pope Saint Pius X this month. Emotions of joy and nostalgia swell up within in recalling all that was right and good with the Roman Catholic Church just a scant 100 years ago. From the solid Latin foundations established over 19 centuries, the Church was the universal beacon for truth, a guiding light to steer the faithful on the rough waters beginning to swirl and convulse even harder against the Barque of Peter at the turn of the century. The humble, wise and loving but firm Giuseppe Melchiorre Cardinal Sarto, who chose the name Pius in respect for Pope Pius IX under whose pontificate Sarto was ordained, was truly a holy man and his adherence to the theological virtues confirmed that he lived the ideal expressed in his motto "To Restore All Things in Christ" - Instaurare Omnia in Christo. The promise for the Church at the beginning of the 20th century looked bright on the surface.

   However, Pius knew in his heart what was lurking beneath for it was his immediate predecessor Pope Leo XIII who had been given the mystical vision of the fact that the time was near when God would allow the devil 100 years of free access to unloose lucifer's lies and deceptions in a last hurrah, if you will. In order to safeguard the Church against this unwielding, terrible and formidable force and through the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Leo composed the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel and decreed that this prayer, along with three Hail Mary's, a Salve Regina, Oremus prayer, and three Cor Jesu Sacratissimum, miserere nobis ejaculations be said aloud by the faithful, led by a priest immediately after every Low Mass universally. These became known as the "Leonine Prayers" which were faithfully followed until the mid-sixties. Is there any reason to wonder that heresy began showing its reptilian face in the open only after Paul VI abolished, yes, abolished these safeguards?

   Look back over these past 100 years where we have had two world wars, several other conflicts of similar magnitude, unrest worldwide, a total breakdown of morality and respect for authority. Look back over these past 100 years and you will see that we have had 9 popes and 18 presidents. One man who lived throughout that, who was born during the pontificate of Leo XIII, when Russia still had a Czar, and when Teddy Roosevelt was president, was Bob Hope.

   Hope, who made a living out of laughing at himself, often made it a point to hold himself up as an example that God truly does have a sense of humor. That was evident in the person He created in Bob "the centurion of centenarians" Hope, who passed from this world on Sunday, July 27, 2003. While all realize he died of pneumonia, few realize he died on the Traditional Feast of St. Pantaleon, a Roman martyred in 305. He is the patron saint invoked for lung disease, of which pneumonia is one of the chief final cripplers. Yet, Robert Leslie Townes Hope died as he lived: happy. He was at peace with God, evident by his happy death with his family and a priest at his bedside in his home in Toluca Lake, a stone's throw from the home we at one time occupied in the late 80's while living on "the other side of the tracks" in that community.

   Indeed, we had the opportunity to meet this national treasure a few times, but that is not important. What is important is whether this man who brought so much happiness to countless millions will have the opportunity to meet and spend the rest of eternity with His Maker, the Triune Divinity. We believe 'ol "ski nose" will slalom right into Heaven, yet there is no direct indicator that a person is in Heaven or hell except when the Church proclaims one a saint - though the process over the past 40 years leaves this very much in doubt - but more on that later. The inevitability is that the vast majority of Catholics spend a considerable amount of time in Purgatory as their time of purification before being spotlessly prepared to enter the realms of the Beatific Vision. Just as you wouldn't invite someone into your home with mud on their shoes, so also God would not invite someone into His Immaculate Home with mud on their soul. That is the reason, through the mercy of God and the merits warranted for us by Christ's death on the Cross and His Resurrection, for the existence of Purgatory, an infallible teaching in the dogma of the Communion of Saints, consisting of the Church Triumphant (Heaven), the Church Militant (this world), and the Church Suffering (Purgatory).

   I bring this up in order to refute the error being spread by Protestant evangelist Bill Keller about Bob Hope and Catholic teaching. In his recent piece about "Where is Bob Hope going to spend eternity?" Keller espouses the following heresy:

    "We don't die and go to some special place where people can pray us into Heaven over time. The moment we die, our body is no longer of any use, and our soul lives on for eternity, either forever with God, or forever separated from Him. That eternal destination is determined by only ONE THING, our relationship with Jesus Christ. Being a member of a certain church CANNOT save you. Being baptized as a baby CANNOT save you. The faith of your parents CANNOT save you. Good works CANNOT save you. A pastor or priest simply praying over you while you are dying CANNOT save you. The ONLY THING that can save you is putting your faith in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. It is a choice, a conscious choice, that YOU and YOU ALONE have to make BEFORE you die."

   First of all, by his statement Bill Keller has become the very person the Apostle St. Paul warned against in Galatians 1: 8, for Keller's statements that "being baptized as a baby CANNOT save you," contradicts Christ's charge specifically to His eleven remaining Apostles - in Matthew 28: 19: "All power is given to Me in Heaven and in earth. Going, therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in th name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world." One of those present was the beloved Apostle St. John the Evangelist, the same who conveyed in the last paragraph of his masterful gospel, "But there are also many other things which Jesus did, which if they were written, every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written" (Jn 21: 25).

   This confirms Apostolic Tradition which from it came the compilation of the New Testament. Contrary to other anathemas rampant today, it did supercede the accord of the Old Testament by the will of the Son of God in union with the Father and the Spirit. The Old Testament is included in the Bible because it was recognized by Christ, approved by Him, and often quoted by Him specifically because God is the Author of the Bible and cannot contain any error as so purely translated by St. Jerome in the Latin Vulgate, but since the Reformation has been bastardized by so many versions; such as the King James Version and other abhorrent accounts that have not only changed the meanings, but altered words, eliminated entire books, thus proving not to be the ultimate authority of the Word by their omission. Those embracing these error-tainted versions have veered from the truth of the Word by interpreting the scriptures to suit their agenda and appease man. This sad adaptation and script change of the Word has plagued Catholic versions as well since 1965.

   Therefore, for Bill Keller to say what he does is pure anathema for baptism is a sacrament, instituted by Christ as an outward sign to give grace. There are three things absolutely necessary to constitute a sacrament: 1. institution by Christ; 2. an outward sign; and 3. power to give grace. This Our Lord conferred on the Apostles and those legitimate successors of the Apostles down through the ages by His charge in Matthew 16: 18-19 and John 21: 15-17. Since the Roman Catholic Church is the only institution in which the sacraments have been handed down in their original form with the three necessary things, it stands to reason why St. Cyprian, one of the Fathers of the Church, first expressed the phrase Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus - Outside the Church there is No Salvation - in the middle of the third century, well over a full century before the Bible was fully compiled. This dogma was approved as infallible by the Council of Florence in the mid 15th century and holds true forever, even if the modern Vatican II church has deviated from these truths. The holy Doctor of the Church St. Alphonsus Liguori, who foretold of these times and the abomination of desolation which has occurred by taking away the eternal sacrifice for a time, wrote of this doctrine simply: "It is de fide." This means it is "of the faith" and therefore required to be believed by all Christians.

   Though schismatic churches broke away over the years from the true tree of Christianity established by Christ, and though they may claim to have the sacraments, they cannot of themselves have the sacraments because the Church in, and of itself, does not have the power to institute sacraments. Therefore, whatever church Bill Keller belongs to, if it is not the Roman Catholic Church tracing its roots back to Christ Who appointed Peter as its head, then he is an apostate and not able to receive the sacraments which ALONE can assure salvation.

   Also, as you can see missing in Keller's accursed statement is the acknowledgment of sanctifying grace, which is the ONLY THING that will save you. Since Sanctifying Grace can only be conferred once through Baptism and as often as necessary through the Sacrament of Penance, the Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus statute stands.

   Every person except for one - the Blessed Virgin Mary chosen to be the Mother of God Theotokos - was, is, and will be born with original sin on their soul, a consequence of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, our first parents. Through Christ's institution of the sacrament and the merits He gained for us, Baptism takes away original sin. This sacrament also wipes away actual sins and all the punishment due to them if the person baptized is guilty of any actual sins and is truly sorry for them. Naturally a child who has not reached the age of reason is not culpable and therefore, if baptized, will enter Heaven contrary to what Bill Keller states above. In fact, Keller in another paragraph states, in referencing Bob Hope,

    " He was baptized as a baby in the Catholic church. However, baptism does not make you a Christian."
That statement by a man who should know better, dear friends, is pure anathema as we have documented above. Besides, Hope was buried in San Fernando Catholic Cemetery with proper Christian burial.

   Also, is Mr. Keller aware that, outside of Baptism, the only other means of sanctifying grace is through the Sacrament of Penance? It is also a fact that the only one who can carry out the Sacrament of Penance in the confessional, the only one who has the "power" - as conferred on Peter and the Apostles per Christ's authority in Matthew 16: 19 "And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in Heaven; and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in Heaven" and John 20: 21-23, "Receive the Holy Spirit; whose sins you shall forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained." - is a man who has been ordained by one with the legitimate authority passed down through uninterrupted apostolic succession to the bishops. They alone can ordain priests. The validly ordained alone can legitimately forgive sins. They alone have the authority from God to say, on Christ's behalf as an outward sign of His will, "Ego te absolvo".

   While Keller is right that good works alone cannot assure salvation, he is so wrong that faith alone can. He subscribes to the heretical position of Martin Luther and the sola fides (faith alone) and sola scriptura (scripture alone) false beliefs so compromised by modern Rome today. In truth, the true Church - traced directly to Christ - affirms in its infallible dogmatic teaching that it is through the constant state of living in the state of sanctifying grace, through the spiritual mark placed on a soul, that one is eligible for everlasting life. Without sanctifying grace one cannot be saved. Christ confirmed this in Mark 16: 15, "Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believeth not, shall be condemned." Only through baptism can one receive sanctifying grace; only through baptism can one become a Christian!

   It is not by just saying "Lord, Lord, You are my savior" that one is saved as Keller and Protestants surreptitiously teach. Indeed, Christ warned against this heresy in Matthew 7: 21, immediately following His expression of good fruits borne out in good works and grace, "Not every one that saith to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven: but he that doth the will of My Father, Who is in Heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven.". Therefore, to remain in the state of grace, one must live the teachings of Christ which includes both the two fonts of the apostolic Sacred Deposit of Faith - Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The latter is responsible for the former, since it was the Church of Rome which preserved the Old Testament and, under the direction of the 37th successor of Peter Pope St. Damasus I, compiled the Sacred Tradition of the Hebraic writings handed down, appointing the holy Doctor of the Church and scholar extraordinaire St. Jerome to translate all of these into the official Latin Vulgate Bible in the late 4th century. Is it not ironic that had the Church not directed her monks to make hand copies to pass down the tradition of the scriptures for so many centuries before the invention of the printing press, Bill Keller and all others - who interpret the scriptures rather than discerning what the Holy Ghost intended and revealed through Christ's Church to those the Savior conferred the Apostolic succession - wouldn't have the Bible to quote?

   Because of the misconceptions and departure from the constituted evangelic traditions, today any interpretation can be made and established as "gospel." Did not our Lord say in Matthew 14: 4-35? "many will come in My name" (4) and "Then if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or there: do not believe him. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if it were possible) even the elect" (23-24).

   Though Keller and so many apostate evangelists and ministers like him rightly assail the world, the flesh and the devil, and may mean well in their ignorance, one can see that by the fact they are espousing even one heresy defies Christ's affirmation that a good tree cannot bear bad fruit. Heresy is bad fruit. Ergo, in regard to Bill Keller and all others who do not uphold the infallible dogma of Extra Ecclesiam Salus Nulla - including those within the Vatican II church who have so deviated from the truths as they were always faithfully taught and handed down and preserved until 1960 - then we are to heed Christ's warning: "do not believe him"

   This brings us finally to the crux of this month's commentary, and that is how far we have fallen by rejecting the wisdom of holy Saint Pius X. Each heart should be heavy and sad, because collectively we heeded not the wisdom of the Church and Pius' own warning in his masterful encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis, a no-nonsense condemnation of Modernism and the errors that so permeate this age and are even embraced by the Vatican II church. Pius was truly a prophet. That is evident by just the first few paragraphs of Pascendi:

    1. One of the primary obligations assigned by Christ to the office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord's flock is that of guarding with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and the gainsaying of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body, for owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking "men speaking perverse things,"[1] "vain talkers and seducers,"[2] "erring and driving into error."[3] It must, however, be confessed that these latter days have witnessed a notable increase in the number of the enemies of the Cross of Christ, who, by arts entirely new and full of deceit, are striving to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, as far as in them lies, utterly to subvert the very Kingdom of Christ. Wherefore We may no longer keep silence, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be set down to lack of diligence in the discharge of Our office.

    2. That We should act without delay in this matter is made imperative especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; but, what is to be most dreaded and deplored, in her very bosom, and are the more mischievous the less they keep in the open. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, and, what is much more sad, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, animated by a false zeal for the Church, lacking the solid safeguards of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, put themselves forward as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the Person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious audacity, they degrade to the condition of a simple and ordinary mall.

    3. Although they express their astonishment that We should number them amongst the enemies of the Church, no one will be reasonably surprised that We should do so, if, leaving out of account the internal disposition of the soul, of which God alone is the Judge, he considers their tenets, their manner of speech, and their action. Nor indeed would he be wrong in regarding them as the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For, as We have said, they put into operation their designs for her undoing, not from without but from within. Hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain from the very fact that their knowledge of her is more intimate. Moreover, they lay the ax not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fibers. And once having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to diffuse poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth which they leave untouched, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skillful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious devices; for they play the double part of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and as audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for irreproachable morality. Finally, there is the fact which is all but fatal to the hope of cure that their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

    Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them to a better mind, and to this end We first of all treated them with kindness as Our children, then with severity; and at last We have had recourse, though with great reluctance, to public reproof. It is known to you, Venerable Brethren, how unavailing have been Our efforts. For a moment they have bowed their head, only to lift it more arrogantly than before. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have overlooked it; but the security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore We must interrupt a silence which it would be criminal to prolong, that We may point out to the whole Church, as they really are, men who are badly disguised.

    4. It is one of the cleverest devices of the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement, in a scattered and disjointed manner, so as to make it appear as if their minds were in doubt or hesitation, whereas in reality they are quite fixed and steadfast. For this reason it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out their interconnection, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil results.

   The entire encyclical is a prophecy, as if Pius were shown the mystical blueprint of destruction to see into the future and warn all of exactly what would occur within 100 years. Indeed, it has. We encourage all to read this encyclical to see how right on he was and why he instituted the mandatory Oath Against Modernism to try to stave off the destruction from outside forces and from within the very Church of Jesus Christ herself.

   Look at the Church in the first decade of the 20th century; now look at the Church in the first decade of this 21st century. Is there any resemblance? No! The latter more represents those schismatic entities that broke away in the 16th century. In fact, many of the Protestant rites have become more 'Catholic' in liturgy and fundamentalism than the synthetic liturgy adopted by the novelty-riddled all-inclusive, don't-make-waves church of Vatican II. True obedience to God and His Church necessitates that Catholics adhere to the teaching that God, through the Catholic Church, has absolute authority over our conscience. But inevitably we cannot be blindly obedient to accept whatever the pope or bishops say is right and must be obeyed when it contradicts Divine Revelation and espouses the very dangers infallible dogmatic Councils, Doctors, and many good Popes, particularly St. Pius X, condemned. Therefore, we would be wise to observe this Centenary of Pius X by reading and understanding what he indicates in his teachings, that only through adhering to the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church can we hope "to restore all thing in Christ."

   While Bob Hope made so many laugh over 8 decades, over that same period of time - escalated in the last four decades - just as Pius X warned, society and the hierarchy have deteriorated to such a devastating degree that we can know for certain God is not laughing. Though we are relatively certain Bob is on his way along the "Road to Utopia," we can also say we are relatively certain the vast, vast majority of civilization today are, so tragically, too far along the "Road to Perdition." While we can say, in tribute to the Will Rogers of our time, "Thanks for the memories", it is vital to get serious and remember the lessons in history and the Scriptures, for we have reached that point in time where, no matter how many joke about the situation, God is not amused over how much we have lost!

   We must never forget our roots, our traditions. We must cling to them. Were it not for Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, who named his orthodox Society after the holy Pius X, and were it not for his courageous St. Athanasius-like actions of going against the grain and his staunch adherence to the Truths and Traditions professed by the infallible, perennial Magisterium of the Church, it might have been more difficult to remember what the Church was like 100 years ago. To Bob Hope, but moreso to St. Pius X, Bishop Lefebvre, his Society, other Traditional orders, and to every priest who still obeys the infallible perpetual decree of Pope Saint Pius V's Quo Primum, we say in all sincerity: "Thanks for the Memories."

Michael Cain, editor

      AUGUST 2003
      Summer Hiatus
      vol 14, no. 33