One of Call To Action's gripes comes in the area of dialogue, where they, because they are not in union with the Church thinking, want to change the Church to suit them. " We see theologians silenced, constructive opposition condemned, loyalty oaths imposed and blind obedience demanded. We call for open dialogue, academic freedom, and due process"
Here we see that Call To Action would have supported Arianism, Pelagianism, and other heresies which rocked the Church. Constructive opposition is a euphemism for doing as they say. The loyalty oath (given once before) is nothing more than the Creed and Act of Faith which, supposedly, they say every Sunday, and affirm with the renewal of their baptismal vows. In short, error should be protected and given as a truth. Again, Cardinal Law pointed out that: "Dialogue as a way to mediate between the truth and dissent is mutual deception."
But deception is what Call To Action is essentially all about. " We see groups marginalized in our church because of race and ethnic identity. We call for church leadership to speed up the enculturation of diverse peoples through new forms of liturgy, language and leadership drawn from the native culture of people."
We have to understand that does not consider race and/or ethnic identity as a 'qualifier'. The black Catholic is no different than the white, the European from the Asian. We are One Church, One People. It is probable that St. Augustine was black, but you will never know that, because his race doesn't matter to the Church. His soul and teachings do. And culture is considered in the liturgy in various places. Religious dance is accepted, for example, in various African nations because dance was part of their religious expression. However, it was never a part of Western religious expression.
Call To Action also demand a change in the ecclesiastical ranks. " We see many Catholics deprived of the church's sacramental life because of the declining number of priests. In particular, we see Catholics denied regular access to the Eucharist, the center of our worship and spiritual life. We call upon the church to discard the medieval discipline of mandatory priestly celibacy, and to open the priesthood to women and married men, including resigned priest, so that the Eucharist may continue to be the center of the spirtual life of all Catholics."
Now here is a good one. Everyone, even the Vatican, is concerned with the decrease in religious vocations, particularly the priesthood. (Though there is evidence that this trend is reversing) Without going into the obvious arguments that priestly celibacy is a discipline which may be changed (though they like to lump it together) whereas the ordination of women is closed, it is interesting to note that one reason for this lack of vocations may very well be caused by those who follow Call To Action's agenda. Depriving serious and qualified candidates from entering a seminary if they are deemed "too orthodox". ("Crisis in vocations?" Bishop Curtis of Omaha, Our Sunday Visitor, Oct. 8, 1995)
We also know from the conferences among themselves, that the continuation of the priesthood is the last thing they want. Firstly, why would they be obedient to any bishop then if they aren't now? Secondly, they prefer "community based facilitators", not priests. " We see women experiencing oppression, violence and inequality. Yet Vatican II's Church in the Modern World expresses respect for the fundamental rights of every person, and asserts that 'every type of discrimination is to be overcome and eradicated as contrary to God's intent.' We call upon Church officials to incorporate women at all levels of ministry and decision making."
Here we see the fairness card being played. First, we're asked to believe that the Church is anti-women; a patriarchal monolith working feverishly to keep women poor, ignorant, and under foot. It matters little to them that while the rest of the world had Queens as political footballs, window dressing, and king-making machines, the Church had them founding Orders, running Abbey's, Orders, giving theological teachings, etc. Many were even held up for ALL mankind as examples of Christian faith and courage. Hardly the actions of a Church which is anti-woman. In fact, the Church HAS incorporated women in all levels of ministry. This is both a blessing and curse. The Vatican's representative to the Beijing Conference was a woman (though tainted by Catholicism). However, Call To Action have their own representatives established in Diocese's, spreading the gospel of dissent through the Diocese, Religious Education, Liturgists, etc.
" Twenty-five years ago Vatican II clarified the mission of The Church in the Modern World to be a sign of God's saving work and a servant to the entire human community. The world is wracked by terrible problems-ecological perils, poverty and injustice, conflict and violence. To be a clearer sign and a better servant to God's global family, our church must reform its own structures. We call on all people within our church, in the spirit of co-discipleship and co- responsbility, to use their imagination and creativity. For the world's sake, let us make the church more faithful to its mission."
Note here, no mention of people changing their hearts. No mention of following Christ, only that the Church has to change to suit the world, or their definition of the world. Their call for "co-discipleship" and "co-responsibility" is a sham. Their recent "We Are Church" Referendum garnered less than .02% of "American" Catholics. So this .02% of "American" Catholics "demands" the Church change to suit them. However, their document IS an example imagination and creativity, otherwise known as rationalization and justification. For the world's sake, we cannot follow this 'Call To Apostasy,' but rather must heed the true call of Gaudium et Spes, that is, to bring the true message of Christ to a cold, dark, world ensnared in the culture of death. Not to change that message to make it more 'palatable' for those who "refuse to serve." As a Vatican spokesman said: "Schism is terrible, but better schism than heresy."
Just as in the Judaic rite, the sacrificial part of the ritual was an essential element of the Mass. The only difference was that in the New Covenant the sacrifice was an unbloody one on the altar of love - the reenactment of the Sacrifice of the Lamb on Calvary whereas in the Old Testament it was the Zebah Todah in which a lamb was sacrificed on the altar of fire and that which was not consumed by the flames was distributed to those who offered it. This became both a sacrifice and a meal, which the Mass truly is for after the transubstantiation of the bread and wine into His Body and Blood there is a "communion" - a sharing of this miracle and graces with all who are worthy or in the state of Grace. Thus, the phrase "Holy Communion" came to be.
Though there have been accounts of "breaking of bread", most do not verify if it were truly leavened bread or large pieces of unleavened bread. Also, just as Jewish law dictated that the bread used would be unleavened so also the Church today continues to direct us to use unleavened hosts as bread in the liturgy of the Mass. This has been the mainstay of contemplative orders for centuries - making unleavened hosts.
Another preservation taken from Jewish custom is the Psalms, which are read at every Mass. While we remember the Old Testament, we do so in relationship to what Jesus Christ taught and instituted.
This was the heart of what the Apostles taught and as they grew in wisdom and piety, so also the persecution intensified for their zeal could not be hidden. This is chronicled in Acts 3 and 4 when Peter and John were interrogated about their healing and preaching and ordered to be silent. But, in a move which clearly illustrated their break with Jewish law and their embracement of the New Covenant, the Apostles said "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, decide for yourselves. For we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard" (Acts 4: 19-20) and "We must obey God rather then men. The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you put to death, hanging Him on a tree. Him God exalted with His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to grant repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to all who obey Him" (Acts 5: 29-32).
Thus began the open persecutions that still continue nearly 2000 years later. The first persecutor of the Christians was, of course, Saul, a Pharisee who made it his personal crusade to flush out and convict these radical people who persisted in a religious zeal that threatened the Jewish order of things. Saul'' first "trophy" was the martyr Saint Stephen who was stoned to death as "cried out with a loud voice, saying, 'Lord, do not lay this sin against them'" (Acts 7: 59-60).
There were persecutions both from outside and within. Vicious slander was spread that these Christians were cannibals - practicing human sacrifice.
Meanwhile many of the Apostles had begun to scatter abroad preaching the Word away from Jerusalem. Philip, Peter, and John were evangelizing in Samaria, and other regions, all the while baptizing and celebrating the Eucharist with additional prayers that were being added to the liturgy over time.
So possessed was Saul with destroying this new "cult" that he would do anything he could to bring them into bondage. Little did he know at the time that the only one in bondage was Saul himself. This realization hit home when, on his way to Damascus, he was struck by "a light from Heaven" (cf. Acts 9) and saw his soul as only God can, which was a forerunner of the great illumination we will all encounter soon
. Through supernatural phenomena and the disciple Ananias, Saul became one of the greatest saints and crusaders for Christ this world has ever known: Saint Paul.
After convincing the Apostles that he was truly converted, he was sent first to Tarsus, then Antioch and to Cyprus where he became Paul. Though converted, Paul maintained his Jewish teaching showing how Jesus had employed the Old Covenant to uphold the New Covenant. Many Jews were transformed but upon returning to Jerusalem, Paul broke completely from the Jewish law when he said in Acts 13: 46-47: "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first, but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord commanded us, 'I have set thee for a light to the Gentiles, to be a means of salvation to the very ends of the earth.'"
Thus, Paul made it evident there was no need to continue Jewish rites and liturgy to be a disciple of Jesus. In addition, in Jewish law women were not allowed to participate in worship in the synagogue, where in the New Sacrifice there was no segregation save that they be baptized and be sincere in the state of Grace. All were equal in the eyes of God (cf. Gal 3: 27-28). Yet, in keeping with tradition and as Christ had passed on, only men were allowed to officiate as celebrant of the New Sacrifice; something that has been perpetuated to the present day even though the modernist manifesto of such groups as Call To Action and other radical factions would like to change it, but, thanks to Pope John Paul II the Church has been faithful to what Our Lord set down.
NEXT WEDNESDAY: Installment Six The Early Popes - The First Century
Mary is truly beside herself. She starts toward the other women, but halts. There is another path, which winds through the garden. She begins to run down the path, stumbling in her haste, her heart crying out over and over, "O, my master!"
She goes about a hundred feet when she sees a man, plainly clothed, higher up upon the slope. He seems to be ending to this part of the garden.
"Whom do you seek?" The man inquires of Mary in a gentle voice.
The Magdalene falls to her knees. All strength seems to have gone from her now. She looks up, her eyes swimming with tears, blurring her vision.
"The Master. Please, if you know where they have taken His body, tell me. I will not speak of it to anyone."
"Why do you seek the living among the dead?" the man inquires again, even more gently. But Mary is heart-broken and can only cry. The man comes forward toward her and says: "Mary!" Instantly the Magdalene raises her head. She brushes aside her tears and it is then that Jesus reveals Himself to her. Mary's whole being is ecstatic. She scrambles to her feet, runs forward, and falls to her knees, near the Man she now recognizes.
"No, Mary, do not touch Me, for I have not yet gone to the Father."
"Master! O! Master, it is true."
"Yes, Mary, and your faith has deserved to witness the truth. Go now. Return to the house and report to My Apostles what you have seen and heard. Tell them that I precede them. I go to Galilee where I shall greet them."
And He is gone. Not as it was when He appeared to His Mother. He is simply gone and Mary remains on her knees, kissing the ground where His Sacred feet were placed.
Then His words, His command to her penetrates. Once again, she is on her feet and she runs. She does not stop for anyone. Her face is filled with joy beyond description. She must announce the news. She must hurry! And I am barely able to keep up with her as she literally tears along the path and heads back to Jerusalem. She wants to shout to all of Jerusalem of the Resurrection, but she is also obedient. She will tell the Apostles, and, of course, His Mother. O! How great is her joy!
NEXT INSTALLMENT: Part four: Our Lady's Meditation on "Whom do you seek?"