Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Fr. Joseph Ratzinger on Patriarchate vs. Papal Primacy

"The more new Rome (which could not dream of calling itself ‘apostolic’) obscured the old idea of the apostolic see in favor of the patriarchal concept, the more; the more Old Rome emphasized the completely different origin and nature of its authority. Indeed, this is something entirely different from a primacy of honor among patriarchs, since it exists on quite a different plane, wholly independent of such administrative schemes. The overshadowing of the old theological notion of the apostolic see – an original part, after all, of the Church’s understanding of her own nature – by the theory of five patriarchs must be understood as the real harm done in the quarrel between East and West."

Read the whole article HERE

Friday, March 17, 2017

Bieszad: A Massive Apostasy Is Taking Place Right Now As American Evangelical Christianity

An interesting article from Andrew Biezad on the failing Evangelical groups in America, as well as the failing of many Catholic Churches in America:


"The essay by Rod Dreher that Eric Metaxas is referring to is well worth the read. In summary, American Christianity is rapidly disappearing, having lost its social strength and becoming a target of scorn and rejection by the greater society. In his view, Christians need to adopt a “Benedict option.” Named in honor of St. Benedict of Nursia, the patron saint of Europe and exorcists, Christians need to form small communities in which to transmit and pass down their faith as the greater society around them dissolves just as Christians of the world of antiquity did:

Millennials, even those who identify as Christian, are shockingly illiterate, both in terms of what the Bible says and more generally regarding what Christianity teaches. I trust you don’t need me to repeat again Christian Smith’s findings showing that Moralistic Therapeutic Deism — a bland, undemanding, non-specific religion parasitic on Christianity — has taken over US religious institutions and has displaced authentic Christianity, especially among the young.

In my own informal conversations with college professors — both progressive and conservative, and both at Christian and secular institutions of higher learning — this finding has been abundantly confirmed. The ignorance is so widespread and profound that most of their students don’t even know what they don’t know. Which leads us to:

If we lose the middle and upper classes, we lose the church. For various reasons, churchgoing in America is primarily something that educated middle and upper class Americans do. Charles Murray, among others, has highlighted research showing that the working class has largely abandoned church. If Christianity is to survive in the US, it cannot afford to lose middle class Americans. Of course Christianity must especially be for the poor and working classes, but at this point in its history in the US, the poor and working classes have already left, and the middle classes are hemorrhaging.College is (at least for now) a common middle class experience. If we lose these kids in (or by) college, they’re gone. According to my anecdotal information, supplemented by the research from Smith et al., this has already happened. (source)

Both of these articles are well worth the full read, as they discuss major issues that are often times ignored. They are well reasoned and thought provoking.

But I’ll give a simpler and more daunting reason why “American Christianity” is collapsing. That reason is because “American Christianity” is a social religion. It is a product of and subject to the spirit of the times in which it lives, existing an independent organism with a false conception of its very self. It could never survive long-term because it was inherently heretical and doomed from its inception, and what we are witnessing is its natural and really, inevitable death.


Now it is only fair that at the same time in mentioning the evangelical Protestant sects, one also address the dire situation of the Catholic Church in the United States. Having been highly influenced post Vatican II by a desire to become like the world instead of standing in resistance to it (which was a major criticism of the encyclicals Gaudium et Spes and the infamous Rerum Novarum). This desire to become “Americanized” is a huge problem and has caused much of the scandal, heresy, and problems in the Church in America in the past and today. Just like the Evangelicals, the Catholic Church is also suffering its own free-fall collapse in the main Novus Ordo ranks. ..."

Read the whole article HERE

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

VHE IX: Dietrich von Hildebrand’s question for Lent: are we ready for a radical change?

A few good articles have come out recently in regards to the Von Hildebrands:

Dietrich von Hildebrand’s question for Lent: are we ready for a radical change? (Catholic Herald)

"In the first chapter, “The Readiness for Change”, von Hildebrand uses his insight in human psychology to help the reader see that the phrase “to die to self” implies a radical change. Many people are persuaded to change some of their bad habits or vices but are too afraid or obstinate to entrust themselves entirely to Christ. The author distinguishes between “the decisive cleavage” which “separates the unreserved radical readiness to change from the somehow limited and partial one.”

We sometimes fear we will lose our “individuality” in following Christ. The author reminds us that grace perfects our nature and brings to fruition the particular talents which God has entrusted to us. Indeed, the greatest examples of attractive and engaging individuality are the saints; he cites St Catherine of Siena and St Francis of Assisi as two very different personalities who share in the same holiness."...

Read the rest of the article HERE


Equal But Not the Same: The Two Sexes

I am so incredibly grateful we live in a world where both men and women exist.

Seriously though, think about it for a moment. Picture a universe that is completely and utterly man, or completely and utterly woman. Why do we even have two sexes in the first place? Why not three? Why didn’t the creator of the universe just make one. Is there a point to any of it? ...

Dietrich and Alice von Hildebrand, as well as Karol Wojtyla, write extensively about this topic. The book Man, Woman, and the Meaning of Love by Dietrich von Hildebrand is quickly becoming one of my favorite philosophical works. In it, he has many great philosophical insights into the nature of who we are, and how we relate to the other sex. He writes:

“What matters in our context is to understand, first, that man and woman differ not merely in biological, and physiological direction, but that the are two different expressions of human nature; and second, that the existence of this duality of human nature possesses a great value. Even if we prescind for the moment from all biological reasons as well as from procreation, we must see how much richer the world is because this difference exists, and that it is in no way desirable to efface as much as possible this difference in the spiritual realm, a trend which is unfortunately very widespread today.” (2)." ...

You can read the rest of the article HERE

Appeal: Help Keep the Roman Forum going

The ethos for the Symposium, as always, is the one laid out for us by Professor Dietrich von Hildebrand, with his concern for rooting all of our work in an ever-deeper study of the theology of the Mystical Body and the exalted understanding of “transformation in Christ” that this probing of the full significance of the Incarnation yields. It is that Christological approach, closely connected with devotion to the Sacred Heart, that has made the Roman Forum so eager to seek to cure our world’s “sickness unto death” by insisting upon the need to infuse all aspects of natural life---philosophical, political, economic, familial, fraternal, artistic, sportive, culinary; the serious and the festive together---with that Catholic teaching and grace that correct their flaws and raise them up in a hymn of praise to God. It is this approach that caused von Hildebrand already in 1970 to insist that the Roman Forum fight for the full restoration of “a liturgy that does not turn its back to God”. Gardone, 2017 will insist upon the necessity of following this Christological path, in all realms of human activity, as the sole, infallible route to the fullness of life instead of naturalist, secularist death.

2017 also marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Roman Forum’s Church History Lectures in New York City. The 2016-2017 session is entitled “Even Now the Devastation Is Begun---And Half the Business of Destruction Done”, and deals with the dramatic years between 1748 and 1799. Beginning in March, talks will be available on Sound Cloud (https://soundcloud.com) for free consultation by everyone.

You can read the rest of the appeal HERE

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Choosing one's penance

In case you are waiting until this morning to decide on what you will do for Lent, consider the Gospel from Luke 10: 38-42:

"Now it came to pass as they went, that he entered into a certain town: and a certain woman named Martha, received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sitting also at the Lord's feet, heard his word. But Martha was busy about much serving. Who stood and said: Lord, hast thou no care that my sister hath left me alone to serve? speak to her therefore, that she help me. And the Lord answering, said to her: Martha, Martha, thou art careful, and art troubled about many things: But one thing is necessary. Mary hath chosen the best part, which shall not be taken away from her."

The desire to do many things out of Charity for God is right and just, but be careful to place the emphasis on the amount of things you can do. Mary had left her worldlyness behind her, even to the point of pouring out her expensive perfume on Christs feet, offering what she had to Christ. Her response was simple and ordered toward perfect Charity, her one desire, her singular work was now to follow Christ even to the Cross where she would once again reside at his feet.

When Christ was asked by the young man what else he must do to have eternal life, he told him to sell all he had and follow him (for Christ is the Pearl of great price), yet it was the repentant and simple Mary, and not the young man, who put behind her the world to focus on Christ.

A joyous Ash Wednesday to you

Photo: Carl Spitzweg's "Ash Wednesday"