Robert Lockwood has written a great article how far the enemies of the Church will go to raise up “heroes” of their secular faith.
How Fact Becomes (Anti-Catholic) Fiction
Robert P. Lockwood
Robert Lockwood has written a great article how far the enemies of the Church will go to raise up “heroes” of their secular faith.
How Fact Becomes (Anti-Catholic) Fiction
Robert P. Lockwood
My response: “Giordano Bruno died from a massive ego, intellectual pretension, a singular dishonesty, an overactive libido, and for being a miscreant priest who allowed himself to be ordained when he didn’t believe any essential truths of the faith. He’s a walking billboard for the inquisition.”
Okay, maybe Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the recently retired Secretary of State of the Holy See, said it more diplomatically on the 400th anniversary of Bruno’s death in 2000: He called his death “a sad episode,” but refused to apologize for the actions of his inquisitors.
Giordano Bruno had been forgotten to history until he was resurrected as a martyr for modern science in the late 19th century, though he was about as far from a scientist as one could get. His tale is a lesson in how Catholic urban legends are made.
Bruno was born in Nola, part of the Kingdom of Naples, in 1548. He entered the Dominican monastery and was ordained a priest at the age of 24.
Early in his novitiate, Bruno demonstrated a distinctly odd theology. He stripped his cell of all religious art—particularly art devoted to the Blessed Mother—and later criticized a fellow seminarian for his devotional reading.
By the age of 18, he had already rejected the divinity of Christ and belief in the Trinity. In contemporary understanding, that made Bruno not merely a heretic, but an atheist. (In the 16th century, atheism was defined not as a complete rejection of the existence of God—a simply incomprehensible position—but rejection of Christ.)
But Bruno kept these views to himself and was ordained a priest for the Order of Preachers in 1572. At this point he began to develop a mish-mash of ideas, a combination of Plato, Protestant theology, Hebrew mysticism, his own “atheism” and the philosophical wanderings of a 15th-century German priest and cardinal, Nicholas of Cusa (1400-1464).
Bruno had come to believe that God had created—and continues to create—an infinite number of worlds, both in an infinitely large outer space, and an infinitely small inner space, if you will. It was that belief in an infinitely small “inner space” of creation that led some to see him as the originator of modern science, with our understanding of a world made up of atomic and subatomic particles.
But in this, he was simply regurgitating Cardinal Cusa’s speculations, which were philosophical musings, not scientific investigations. Cusa’s goal was to find the proof of God—the action of God’s creation—in all matter great and small.
Bruno’s goal was different, describing an endless universe of endless creating that God needed, rather than a universe that needed God. As one of his cellmates in Venice put it: “He said that God needed the world as much as the world needed God, and that God would be nothing without the world, and for this reason God did nothing but create new worlds.”
If that sounds like mumbo-jumbo, it’s because it is mumbo-jumbo.
Trying to get to the root of Bruno’s beliefs is like wrestling with an eel. The scientific methods employed by a true nascent scientist like Nicholas Copernicus were processes the free-thinking Bruno loathed.
That is what makes him such an odd pick for a scientific martyr. Though possessing knowledge of contemporary mathematics, Bruno had little use for calculations or observation, preferring to borrow ideas from across the landscape and to fuse them into unintelligibility. Bruno’s “science” is as meaningless today as it was in his own time.
Bruno gained what actual reputation he had in his own life from feats of memory. From his Dominican training, he adapted mnemonic systems that allowed for preaching that could last for hours but had a remarkable orderliness to it. As a young priest, Bruno traveled to Rome to demonstrate his skill to Pope Pius V.
But even here, Bruno was a failure. Apparently, he was unable—or unwilling—to teach his mnemonic skills, either fearful that his “tricks” would be stolen by others, or simply incapable of conveying his system in an orderly fashion.
Bruno remained with the Dominican Order for roughly 10 years. In 1576, fearing that his ideas would bring him face-to-face with Church authorities, Bruno took to the hills.
He wandered about Italy and France until finally landing in Geneva in 1579, where he announced himself a Calvinist. He then proceeded to insult a prominent Calvinist professor and soon became an excommunicated Calvinist. Under those circumstances, he decided to flee to Paris, where King Henry III engaged him in mnemonic training.
In France he published a number of works on mnemonics and works meant to allegedly spell out his “natural philosophy.” By then, though he had expressed an interest in returning to his order, “his escape from the convent also meant an escape from the vows of chastity and obedience, and he pursued women with Falstaffian mater-of-factness rather than poetic pining” (Ingrid D. Rowland, Giordano Bruno, Philosopher Heretic, 159).
His works written in France are a mix of bombast, insults, bizarre mysticism, and sheer crackpot ideology. In the midst of trying to explain this disorganized philosophy, he celebrated “magic”—which his biographer Rowland wants to de-stigmatize by explaining it away as some kind of earthly wisdom. But he embraced magic, believing in the occult qualities of numbers and objects. He also claimed that demons caused disease, which could be cured through a king’s touch or by a seventh son’s spittle .
As King Henry began to assert his Catholic faith more strongly against Huguenot claims, Bruno decided that France might not be the best home for an excommunicated Dominican. In 1583, he arrived in England. But in a rare example of good sense in Elizabethan England, Bruno was laughed off the stage at an Oxford debate. By October 1585 he was back in Paris, then onto Germany.
In 1588 he served as a professor in Helmstedt but was then excommunicated by the Lutherans—who accused him of being a Calvinist.
Now excommunicated by the Catholic Church, the Calvinists, and the Lutherans—and never once based on his alleged “scientific” beliefs—Bruno traveled to Frankfurt, where he hoped to make a living among the printers and booksellers.
At this point, he made clear once again his refusal to believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Christ as the Son of God, or original sin. But in 1591, he decided to return to Catholic Italy anyway.
He secured what appeared to be a pretty soft position—tutoring his Venetian host. Either because his host felt cheated or because of Bruno’s unseemly attention to his wife, he turned Bruno over to the Venice inquisition in 1592.
Most cases brought before the inquisition in Venice resulted in acquittal. But this was different: Here was a renegade priest who faced serious charges, including outright heresy and blasphemy.
Though Bruno subscribed (somewhat) to the Copernican view of the universe with the rotating earth orbiting the sun, he was not prosecuted for those beliefs. The Church had not condemned the Copernican view in Bruno’s day. More than three decades after Bruno’s death, Galileo would be charged for holding similar views, but only because he taught those views as absolute fact, rather than hypothesis. Though Bruno loathed any kind of religious authority, he had absorbed the heresies of his day and they infused his thinking and writing.
The Holy Office in Rome, finding out that Bruno had been charged in Venice, sought his extradition. Venice generally rejected such requests, but in Bruno’s case, Venice wanted him out. Though Bruno made a less-than-sincere offer to retract some of his views, Church officials did not believe him. On February 20, 1593, Venice shipped him off to Rome.
His trial in Rome would take seven years. At first Bruno relied on the defense that most of his heresies were jests not to be taken seriously, but as the process dragged on he grew more obstinate. He eventually turned from what could be interpreted as negotiation over his views to defiance. He refused to retract his heresies and maintained that the judges had no authority over him. The judges had no choice but to condemn him based on his own admissions and turned him over to the secular authorities in Rome. He was executed on February 17, 1600.
Thus would have ended the “sad affair” of Giordano Bruno. He died not as a scientist or for scientific beliefs, but because he had rejected the fundamental truths of the faith he had promised to uphold at his ordination—the divinity of Christ, the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the Trinity. He had embraced every passing fancy from reincarnation to divination.
While it is difficult today to understand how scandalous this would be to his contemporaries, at that time such views—especially from a priest who had fallen into “sins of the flesh”—were seen as endangering the salvation of souls and the basic harmony of the community. His fate was sealed when he refused to recant.
Bruno essentially disappeared from history for 300 years, until he was resurrected in anti-clerical Italy in the late 19th century.
The unification of Italy in the 19th century had been conducted by confiscating the centuries-old Papal States, concluding with the seizure of Rome in 1870.
But that didn’t end the anti-clerical, anti-papal rioting, and demonstrations which became an ordinary part of Roman life. In 1876, a group of Roman students decided to raise funds to erect a statue in Bruno’s honor, though no one but a few scholars had heard of him, his works were unread, and even those few who ventured to do so found him unintelligible.
But since he was deemed a victim of the inquisition and honoring him seen as an insult to the papacy, anti-clerical forces throughout Italy rallied to the cause.
Donations were solicited from all over secular Europe, and contributions came in from the likes of Victor Hugo of France and Henrik Ibsen in Norway. They had not a clue who was being honored but since the statue was to be a potshot at the Catholic Church, they were willing to lend their names.
Bruno was now reinvented as a martyr to science and reason. On June 9, 1889, over 2,000 anti-clerical organizations rallied at the erection of the statue of Bruno. “Today,” they announced, “the date of the religion of reason is established.”
Within a generation, Italy would be a Fascist state.
In a very important blog post below Father Carota makes a crucuial point that we all need to take to heart when making our confession. He says that the majority of the confessions he hears are sacrilegious mostly because he rarely hears true contrition for the sins being confessed. Let us all pray for true contrition. God will not ignore such an important plea because he wants us to be with him in heaven!
Worthy Traditional Catholic Confession
Probably, after we die, and if we make it to heaven, we will be thankful mostly for these two Sacraments, Holy Communion and Confession.
The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass gives us the true Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus into our souls by means of Holy Communion. He gives us the strength and graces to do God’s will and to avoid offending Him.
Holy Confession has the double effect of giving us supernatural graces to avoid sinning and the opportunity to be forgiven, if, by such a disgrace, we may have committed a MORTAL SIN, which merits damnation. (Confession also forgives us of our venial sins too.)
We will be forever thankful in heaven to Jesus for dying on the cross to forgive us our sins in Holy Confession. There we will truly understand the great great gift our Confessions were when we see the JUST REWARD OF ANY MORTAL SIN; ETERNAL DAMNATION TO HELL and HOW THE CONFESSING OF OUR SINS SAVED US FROM THIS TERRIBLE ETERNAL DESTINY.
We will also be extremely thankful to the priests, (if they make it to heaven), through whom Jesus pardoned our sins. Without these priests there would have been no absolution and a sure place in hell for all eternity. Every time you go to confession, thank God and the priest with all your heart.
But without certain conditions, our Confessions are literally SACRILEGIOUS. I might even say that MOST CONFESSIONS today are SACRILEGIOUS. I say this because they lack these elements.
If you happen to be stuck in what is called ‘Habitual Sin’, are truly sorry, and really want to stop sinning, I want to STRONGLY advise you to go to confession every time that it is offered, (In our parish that means 4 times a week), and to go to daily Latin Mass. I am not saying this so you can keep on sinning. NO this is so you can stop sinning. You say, I made it to confession with out sinning mortally this day, then the next two days, until you are free from the grave possibility of falling into sin again.
A great help is to run to Jesus and Mary at the slightest thought or temptation to sin. Pray a Hail Mary. Pray the St. Michael’s Prayer. Then run away from what ever is causing the temptation. Avoid thoughts, actions, people and things that lead you to fall, right away.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to be able to go to daily Holy Latin Mass and to Confession often, so as to avoid offending God and going to hell for EVER.
Philip Kosloski presents below some needed theology on how we can use our guardian angels to discern God’s will for us. A big thanks to Philip for this reminder.
Can Our Guardian Angel Help Discern God’s Will?
Discerning the will of God can often be a hard and laborious undertaking. However, one source for inspiration that we often overlook is our guardian angel.
The English word “angel” comes from the Latin angelus, meaning “messenger of God.” The Latin stems from Greek ἄγγελος ángelos, which is a translation of the Hebrew mal’ākh, meaning “messenger.”
This name we give to these celestial beings refers to their principal role. They are “messengers” of God’s divine plan and have continually relayed to men His holy and glorious will. From the very beginning of the Bible to the very end, angels are present and are commissioned to communicate God’s will to the His children.
It makes sense then how our guardian angels are meant to play a vital role in our personal lives. Their mission is to communicate to us God’s divine plan, yet we often never turn to them. It is interesting to think how often we pray special novenas and prayers to particular saints in Heaven, but never think of asking our guardian angel, who is right beside us!
In a very real sense our guardian angel is just waiting for us to ask his assistance and to reveal God’s plan.
So the next time you are discerning God’s will (especially your vocation), ask your guardian angel for help. Your angel is waiting patiently to relay a message of hope to you. All we need to do is ask.
Newsflash Protestants! Your whole belief system of sola scriptura is built on sand. Its high time to give up your pride and humility and submit your self to Christ’s Church. The void that Protestantism has created is being filled by islam and paganism. We unite or we die. Please read the excellent article below on the reasons sola scriptura is wrong.
Why I’m Catholic: Sola Scriptura isn’t Scriptural, Part I
When I began to look a the idea of sola scriptura, the most important question in the mind of this evangelical Protestant and Bible Christian was: What does scripture say about this?Does the Bible teach sola scriptura? Does the New Testament actually teach us that the Bible is to function in our lives as our “sole” and “sufficient” infallible rule for deciding what we are to believe and how we are to live as Christians? Does the Bible teach us that “the Bible — nothing more, nothing less, and nothing else — is all that is necessary for faith and practice”?
After all, since sola scriptura says that a Christian should believe only what can be shown to be clearly taught in Scripture, surely the New Testament must clearly teach sola scriptura.
If it doesn’t, then wouldn’t the doctrine seem to refute itself?
When we look into the New Testament, what do we see?
1. We see firm faith in the authority of sacred scripture.
For Jesus, the apostles and the earliest Christians scripture is the inspired and authoritative revelation of God. Three times Jesus responds to the temptations of the devil by quoting scripture as authoritative and final: “It is written, it is written, it is written!” He cites scripture constantly as binding.
The apostles do the same. For them scripture is the inspired Word of God.
Paul tells us in 2 Tim 3:16,17 that
All scripture is inspired by God (“God-breathed”) and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good.
But of course there’s no dispute on this. Protestants and Catholics agree that Scripture is divinely inspired and authoritatively binding. So let’s move on.
2. When we look at the practice of those living during New Testament times we also see firm faith in the oral teaching of Jesus and the apostles.
This also is taken as binding.
Now, of course this would be true of our Lord. After all, Jesus didn’t always say, “It is written.” Sometimes he said, “Truly, truly, I say to you…” and when He did, his words carried the very authority of God speaking. As the Son of God, the spoken word of the Messiah was as binding on those who heard him as the written words of inspired Scripture.
And the same was true of the Apostles, with some clarification.
The apostles weren’t “inspired” in the sense that everything they said was word-for-word special revelation from God. But when Jesus sent them out, he gave them his Spirit and his authority and said to them, “The one who listens to you listens to Me…” (Luke 10:16). And it’s clear that the apostles taught with an awareness of divine authority, with an awareness that the substance of their teaching was as binding spoken as it was when written down.
On the day of Pentecost, Peter stood and addressed the crowds in Jerusalem, “Men of Israel, listen to these words…” He went on to announce to them authoritatively things that had never yet been written down in the pages of inspired scripture and yet were to be received as God’s word to them.
Paul wrote to the believers in the Greek city of Thessalonica,
For this reason we also constantly thank God that when you received from us the word of God’s message, you accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God (1 Thess 2:13)
So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.
Whether it was something Paul wrote in a letter to the Christians in Thessalonica or taught them when he was with them, it was to be received with docility as the Word of God.
When you think of it, wouldn’t it be a bit absurd to think that when Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first,” his words were authoritative and binding, but when he was teaching in Thessalonica and he said the same thing, his words weren’t necessarily authoritative and binding on those who heard him?
No. The oral teaching of Christ and the Apostles is viewed in the New Testament as authoritative.
So, we see faith in scripture as authoritative. We see faith in the oral teaching of Jesus and the apostles as authoritative. But there’s another aspect to this issue of authority.3. We also see faith in an authoritative Church.
In Acts 15 we read about the first serious theological dispute in the early church. I’m going to quote from this passage at some length because of how much light it sheds on our subject.
Some men came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the brothers: ‘Unless you are circumcised according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question.
Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements…
The men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message
Again, we’re doing nothing more at this point than describing what we actually see in the practice of those believers living during the time of our Lord and his apostles. And at least at this point, we emphatically do not see sola scriptura. We do not see what Protestant Anthony Lane has described as being “the heart of sola scriptura” — the idea that for the individual Christian “Scripture remains the final authority, to which one can appeal against all ecclesiastical authority.”
Not at this point, at least.
As a matter of simple fact, in terms of a basic pattern of practice, what we see in the New Testament is what we see throughout church history and to this day in the Catholic Church: (1) the authority of sacred scripture, (2) the authority of apostolic tradition, and (3) the authority of the church, especially when it’s leaders meet in council to settle disputes and decide important matters relating to doctrine and morals.
Objection, Your Honor!
At this point the thoughtful Protestant will respond:
May I approach the bench? With all due respect to my Catholic brother, this proves absolutely nothing! Obviously Christians weren’t practicing sola scriptura at that early time in the church’s existence. How could they when the New Testament was still in the process of being written and the apostles were still in their midst, possessing the ability to speak with the authority of Christ himself?
The question that needs to be asked, therefore, is not, What was the practice of believers living during the time in which revelation was still being given? but rather, What should the practice of believers be now that revelation is no longer being given?
What should the practice of believers be now that there are no longer inspired apostles and prophets possessing divine authority to author and infallibly interpret inspired scripture, now that there are no longer apostles who can meet in council and decide issues and issue letters that begin with words such as ”It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us”?
That’s the question we need to ask!
Objection sustained.So let’s ask that question. And in good sola scriptura fashion, let’s examine the New Testament to see how Jesus and the apostles themselves answer it.
And as we think this through, it’s important that we have clarity on what exactly is being proposed by Protestantism. What Protestantism proposes is that the rule of faith and practice for Christians fundamentally and radically changed with the death of the apostles.
While the apostles were still on earth, authority within the church was not the Bible alone. Instead it involved (1) scripture, (2) the oral teaching of the apostles, and (3) the ability of the church’s leadership, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to meet in council when needed and authoritatively decide issues of faith and practice, to settle disputes and issue decrees that were binding on all believers.
After the apostles died, binding authority resided in the Bible alone.
This is what Protestantism proposes.
What Catholicism proposes (keeping it simple at this point) is that the basic pattern of practice we see while the apostles were alive didn’t radically change once they died — that Christians continued to look to (1) scripture, (2) the apostolic tradition, and (3) the ability of the church’s leadership, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to meet in council when needed and authoritatively decide issues of faith and practice, to settle disputes and issue decrees binding on all believers.
(Important to remember that apostolic tradition is not conceived in Catholicism as some word-for-word transcription or recording of the apostle’s oral teaching but rather as the substance of what the apostles taught as it was preserved in the belief, practice and worship of the early church.)
With this in mind: In our next lesson: from the data of the New Testament, what do Jesus and the apostles lead us to believe would be the Christian’s rule of faith and practice once they were no longer on earth, after the apostolic age, once revelation was no longer being given?
Are there any direct statements to the effect that with the death of the apostles scripture will become the sole and sufficient infallible rule of faith and practice for each believer? Are there hints in the New Testament writings that the apostles understood that once they had departed the scene, authority would reside in scripture alone? Do we see the apostles preparing the churches they established for such a fundamental change in how Christian doctrine would be determined and how disputes would be settled?
What do we actually see in the inspired writings of Paul and Peter and John and the others?
Please read or watch the latest Vortex. We shared it with our protestant family and friends. We recommend you do the same. It is a great explanation of about what causes people to go to hell once their time on earth ends. Its not because they weren’t Catholic necessarily but because they died in a state of mortal sin. This applies to Catholics as well of course that die in mortal sin. The question then becomes how does one leave that state of mortal sin . . . and the answer is through the sacrament of reconciliation.
Do Non-Catholics Go to Hell?
April 24, 2015 | The Vortex
Do all non-Catholics go to Hell? It’s a question that has been the subject of many heated conversations.
But there is a deeper question here, because there is a deeper principle involved. The deeper principle beyond being a “card-carrying, on the parish rolls” Catholic is: How does one actually attain salvation? What is necessary for salvation? What is necessary to get to Heaven? That is the more fundamental question here, the foundation from which springs the further question about being in the Catholic Church.
The Church teaches that one must be in a state of grace upon death to achieve salvation. And a person can only be in either a state of grace or a state of mortal sin. If a person dies in a state of unrepented mortal sin, he descends immediately and directly into Hell for all eternity, where he suffers the tortures of his demonic masters—but is most tortured from his everlasting separation from God, whom he knows he was created to be with and yet detests at the same time.
So the primary question is: How does a person achieve a state of grace? A state of grace is the state where the life of the Blessed Trinity is present in the soul. Sanctifying grace comes to the soul for the first moment in baptism and helps to sustain the supernatural virtues: the theological virtues of faith, hope and charity. A man dying without these virtues dies without God. He is owned by Hell.
It is impossible to possess these virtues without sanctifying grace. Mortal sin (mortal coming from the Latin morte, “death”) means the supernatural life of the soul is now gone. The soul is dead spiritually. It still for a while possesses its natural aspect of giving life to the body, animating the flesh—but when the end comes, not only is the body dead, but the soul remains in a perpetual state of death: the Second Death of which the Scriptures speak. Its now everlasting pain is to have to endure death when it was created for divine life.
How to avoid this worst of all realities is to die not in a state of deadly sin, but in a state of life—divine life. Our Blessed Lord points out the way most vividly and lovingly: “If you love Me you will keep My commandments, and My Father and I will come to you and We will make Our home in you” (John 14:15). This is the most direct way to understand what is meant by a state of grace—that the Holy Trinity takes up residence in our souls. God lives in us; we are in a perpetual state of possessing divine grace—divine life.
The only thing that can alter this most precious of all realities is to commit mortal sin. When that happens, God immediately flees, for He cannot abide sin. It is an abomination to Him. Purity cannot abide that which is impure.
So the key to the question “Is there salvation outside the Church?” is to first understand that the Church’s role is to assist souls in attaining and maintaining a state of grace. This is the sole purpose for the sacraments: to infuse supernatural grace into the soul, visible signs instituted by Our Lord for the imparting of grace.
Now true, God’s grace is not bound by the sacraments. He can certainly operate outside of them. He did in such manifest cases as the conversion of St. Paul, for example. Saul received a singular grace of conversion. And while that grace was not mediated through a formal sacrament, it nevertheless did come through the Church—as all graces do. It was after all the Church that was praying non-stop for relief from the murderous Saul. In answer to the prayer of the Church about Saul, God sent them Paul.
The purpose of the Church in the grand scheme is to create saints, to make us holy. As St. Peter tells us, “You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of His own” (1 Peter 2:9). When he wrote his first letter, the first Pope was speaking to the first Catholics. We Catholics sometimes forget this truth, owing to the Protestant co-opting of the Scriptures as though they belonged to them. They most certainly do not. They never have.
The Bible, the canon of Scripture is Catholic, period. So the formula laid out for us in Scripture has specific and singular reference to those souls who are alive within the body of Christ—His Catholic Church. When Catholic souls plunge into spiritual death through committing mortal sin, they have a sacramental remedy to be resurrected: the sacrament of confession.
But when a non-Catholic soul, even one baptized in some Protestant denomination, falls into mortal sin, what remedy does it possess? Short of an act of perfect contrition prior to death, nothing. Such a man dies in his mortal sin.
The debate over salvation outside the church is kind of a moot question then, as it’s generally argued. The example case is always brought up: Does the “good” Protestant husband and father go to Hell because he wasn’t Catholic?
That question is framed totally incorrectly. It should not be asked, “Will he go to Heaven if he wasn’t Catholic?” but, “Was he in a state of grace—and if he wasn’t Catholic, how was it possible for him to be in a state of grace?” Now, we can never know with any certitude, of course, the disposition of any particular soul; that is completely in the realm of Our Lord as Judge. But in the hypothetical discussions people engage in, we can ask these questions. We speak in hypotheticals because principles of understanding fall from them.
And the singular principle that falls from all of this is: It is much more difficult to be saved if you are not a Catholic with access to the sacraments to restore you to and keep you in a state of grace. Faithful sacrament-frequenting Catholics are much more likely to be saved than anyone else because such a man is much more likely to die in a state of grace—which is necessary to be saved.
This is the whole point of evangelizing: to help people understand the perilous risk to which they are exposing their souls if they do not become Catholic and faithfully receive the sacraments given to us by Our Lord Himself for our salvation.
All salvation comes through the Catholic Church, and outside of Her there is no salvation.
Below is a great short lesson you can send your protesting friends and family on the FACT that Jesus started one Church. He didn’t start the Mormon Church. He didn’t start the Jehovah’s witness. He didn’t start the River of Life Church (nor its gift shop and bookstore).
Please read and share so we can bring more people into Holy Mother Church and then save the world one soul at a time. Its only the Catholic Church that can save the world because that is its God given mission.
In concert with His redemptive act, Jesus did three things that established the framework of His Church. First, He chose humans to carry out His work. He appointed Peter to be the visible head of the Church. Jesus said to Peter, “You are Rock and on this rock I will build my Church.” (Matthew 16: 18) Jesus said “build,” as in to create a structure. Jesus built His structure on specifically chosen human beings Peter and the apostles.
Second, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles the power and authority to carry out His work. “Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven.”(Matthew 16:19; 18:18) “Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven, whose sins you retain, they are retained.”(John 20:23)
Third, Jesus gave Peter and the apostles commands as to what that work should be. At the last supper, He commanded, “Do this in memory of Me.” (Luke 22:19) He commanded them to “Make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19), and to “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)
The early Church was structured in a hierarchical manner as it is today. We see in Acts, chapter 15 how the apostles and the elders came together under the leadership of St. Peter to decide the question of what was required of Gentiles. We also see how St. Peter was regarded as the head of the Church when St. Paul, “Went up to Jerusalem to confer with Kephas [Peter] and remained with him fifteen days.” (Galatians 1:18) There is no Scriptural evidence of independent local churches.
The Catholic Church is the only church that can claim to have been founded by Christ personally. Every other church traces its lineage back to a mere human person such as Martin Luther or John Wesley. The Catholic Church can trace its lineage back to Jesus Christ who appointed St. Peter as the first pope. This line of popes has continued unbroken for almost 2,000 years.
God rules, instructs and sanctifies His people through His Church. Under her teaching office, the Catholic Church preserves the Word of God. She is the custodian, keeper, dispenser and interpreter of teachings of Christ. And she accomplishes this under the protection of the Holy Spirit.
The America Needs Fatima group (AmericaNeedsFatima.org) sent this story out in an e-mail. Enjoy!
A French Medieval Tale
etween Normandy and Brittany, in a faraway place and time, there lived a lord of awesome renown. He possessed a castle near the sea that was so strong, so fortified, and so well defended that he feared no king or prince, duke or count. He was rich, and of great stature and handsome bearing. Despite his distinguished noble lineage, however, he was vain, cruel, treacherous, and proud, fearing neither God nor man. He spread terror about the land, ambushing and killing pilgrims and merchants on the roads and byways. He observed no fasting or abstinence, attended no Mass,
and heard no sermons. No one had ever known another person as wicked as he.
One Good Friday, having awakened in a jovial mood, he summoned his cooks, shouting, “Prepare the game I hunted yesterday, for today I want my dinner early.”
Upon hearing this, one of his knights exclaimed: “My Lord, today is Good Friday, everyone is fasting and abstaining, and lo, thou wishest to eat meat! Believe what we say: God will eventually punish thee!”
“By the time that happens, I shall have assaulted and hanged many people!” replied the lord scornfully.
“Art thou so certain that God will continue tolerating this much longer?” inquired the knight. “Thou shouldst hastily repent, beg for pardon, and weep for thy sins. A man of great sanctity, a hermit-priest, dwells deep in the neighboring woods. Let us go there for confession.”
The lord reacted sharply: “I? I go to confession?” Then swearing, he remarked, “I would go there only if he had something I could despoil him of.”
His vassal responded patiently, saying: “Accompany us, at least.”
Smiling ironically, the lord protested: “I acquiesce for your sakes. But I will do nothing for God.” And so they took to the road.
Arriving at the hermit’s retreat, in the heart of the quiet and solitary forest, the knights entered the abode of the holy man. But their lord remained outside on his horse.
After confessing their sins as sincerely and diligently as they could, the knights pleaded with the hermit: “Father, our lord, who remained outside, is not in a good state of soul. Please entreat him to come in for confession.”
Leaning on his staff, the hermit went out to meet the lord. Addressing him with calm dignity, he said: “Welcome, Sir. Being a knight, thou must surely be courteous. Accept my invitation, then. Dismount, and let us go inside to speak.”
With a churlish oath rising to his lips, the lord answered impatiently: “Speak with thee? What for? Speak about what? We have nothing in common! Besides, I am in haste and wish to take my leave.”
Undismayed, the hermit insisted: “For the sake of the order of chivalry, please come in to visit my chapel and my abode.”
Overcome by the hermit’s insistence and especially by the forcefulness of his personality, the lord grumbled to himself: “What a misery I fell into agreeing to come hither this morning!” Very much against his pleasure, he conceded. Hoping he would somehow succeed in quickly ridding himself of this bothersome hermit, the lord dismounted.
The hermit took him by the arm and led him into the chapel. When they were before the altar, the man of God said to him: “Sir, consider thyself my prisoner. Kill me if thou wishest, but I shall not freely let thee go from hence before thou hast told me all thy sins.”
The lord, almost beside himself, glared at the hermit with incredible fury. After a few alarming moments of suspense, the lord exclaimed: “I will tell thee nothing! Moreover, I do not see why I should not slay thee right here and now!”
The holy hermit risked his life once again. “Brother, tell me, then, just one sin, and God will help thee confess the others.” Swearing anew in exasperation, the lord barked, “Wilt thou not leave me alone? All right, I will confess. But I shall repent of nothing, absolutely nothing!”
With mighty arrogance, he told all the sins of his stormy life at one fell swoop.
Heartbroken at the sight of such callous impenitence, the hermit began to weep. Then he ventured another request. “Sir, give me at least the consolation of allowing me to subject thee to a penance.”
“Penance? Art thou trying to make a fool of me? What penance wouldst thou give me?”
“In atonement for thy sins, offer God a fast on every Friday for the next three years,” the monk stated.
“Fast? For three years?” protested the lord. “Hast thou taken leave of thy senses? Never!”
“One month, then,” the holy man said indulgently.
“Then, for the love of God, go to a church and recite a Pater Noster and an Ave.”
“I would find that very boring,” scoffed the lord, “and a waste of time as well.”
“For Almighty God’s sake, do at least one kind deed. Take this little barrel to the nearby brook, fill it with water, and return it to me!”
“Hah! If I can so easily rid myself of thee, I consent. Give me the barrel. On my word, I shall fill it to the brim and quickly bring it back, and then I can be on my way at last.”
With great strides, the lord hastened down to the stream and dipped the barrel in the clear water – but not a single drop went in. Puzzled, he tried again, first one way, and then another, but the barrel remained completely empty. “What!” he exclaimed. “What is this supposed to mean?”
Again he dunked the barrel in the water, but to no avail. Baffled and gritting his teeth in anger, he sprang to his feet and ran swiftly back to the anchorite’s dwelling. Upon finding him, he exclaimed: “By all the saints in Heaven, thou hast placed me in a great predicament with this accursed barrel! I am unable to put a single drop of water in it!”
The hermit listened to him and then lamented: “Sir, what a sad state thine is! A child could have brought this barrel back to me brimful with water. But thou, thou hast not been able to fetch a single drop! This is surely a sign from God to thee on account of thy sins.” In an outburst of anger and pride, the lord retorted, “I swear to thee that I will not wash my head, or shave, or trim my fingernails until I have filled this barrel and fulfilled my word. Even if I have to go around the whole world, I will yet fill this barrel to the brim!”
With the little barrel hanging from his neck, the lord departed, taking with him only the garments he wore and having no escort – except for God and his guardian angel.
At every brook, river, and lake he encountered, he attempted to fill the barrel, but always in vain. In hot and cold weather alike, through wet and dry, he journeyed on, across mountains and valleys, through forests and fields, tearing and bloodying his skin on brambles and stones. His days were painful; his nights worse yet. Famished, he was reduced to begging for food. At times he unwillingly fasted for two or three days on end, not being able to obtain even a piece of stale bread to appease his hunger.
Seeing this man, so tall and vigorous, but so unkempt and bronzed by the sun, people were wary and fearful of receiving him. So, many a night he found no lodging and had to sleep exposed to the elements. In addition, he faced mockery and insults, but he stubbornly went on. Nothing and no one was able to curb his pride or to soften even slightly his cruel heart.
He journeyed through England and France, Spain and Italy, Germany and Hungary. There is scarcely a country he did not cross and virtually no waters he did not try in his efforts to fill the little barrel. But all was in vain.
Such long, arduous, and fruitless journeying gradually took its toll. He wasted away and became almost unrecognizable, with his hair disheveled, his skin clinging to his bones, his eyes sunken, and his veins protruding. So weakened, he needed a staff to steady himself. The empty little barrel had become an enormous burden for him, yet he continued to carry it tied about his neck.
Another Good Friday
After nearly a year of these fruitless efforts, he decided, in both anger and frustration, to return to the hermit’s abode. It was an exhausting journey, but at last he arrived, exactly on Good Friday!
The holy hermit failed to recognize the man who came to his door, but upon seeing the little barrel, he asked: “What has brought thee here, dear brother? And who has given thee this barrel? It has been a year now since I gave it to a fair lord. I know not whether he is alive or dead, for he has not returned.”
Enraged, the stranger replied: “I am that lord, and this is the state to which thou hast reduced me!” Then he told the hermit all his misadventures, still without showing any sign of repentance!
The man of God listened attentively and grew indignant at such hardness of heart. “Thou art the worst of men! A dog, a wolf, or any other animal would have filled this barrel! Ah, well do I see that God has not accepted thy penance, for thou hast done it without contrition.”
Seeing the lamentable state of that hardened soul, he began to weep. “O God, look upon this creature Thou hast made and that so madly gambles with the salvation of his soul. Ah! Holy Mary, obtain mercy for this man. Sweet Jesus, shouldst Thou have to choose between the two of us, unleash Thy wrath upon me, but save this creature.”
Mystified, the lord stared at the weeping and praying hermit, and he thought: “There is nothing linking me to this man but God. Yet he suffers and weeps at the sight of my sins. Indeed I must be the worst of men and the greatest of sinners, for he is desolate and ready to sacrifice himself on my account. Ah! Make me repentant, O God, so that this holy man may have at least the consolation of my contrition. O King of Mercy, I beg Thee, forgive me for everything of which I am guilty!”
Thus did God do His work in that soul. The lord’s hardened heart was finally moved, and his contrition was so deep that his eyes began to well up with tears. A large teardrop spilled from his eye, ran down his face, and fell right into the little barrel that still hung about his neck. Lo, that single tear was enough to fill the barrel to its very brim! It was a sign that God had forgiven him his sins.
At that, the hermit and the lord embraced, shedding tears of joy.“Father, if you permit, I want to confess again,” said the lord with unaccustomed but sincere meekness, “but this time with contrition for my many sins.” And so, falling to his knees, he confessed, deeply repentant and weeping abundantly.
After absolving the lord, the hermit asked him if he wished to receive Communion. “Yes, Father. But hurry, please, for I feel that I am about to die.”
Having received Holy Communion, the lord was completely purified and clean, no stain of sin remaining in his soul. “Father, thou hast done me all manner of good. In return, my whole being is thine. I am in thy hands. The end approaches. Pray for me.” Then the lord sank into the hermit’s arms and breathed his last. At that moment, the chapel filled with light, and angels descended to lead that soul to Heaven in a magnificent cortege, wonders the hermit could see on account of his exalted virtue.
Following this, there remained before the altar only the body of the lord, clothed in rags and with his little barrel hanging from his neck.
This account is based on the books Beauté du Moyen Age by Regine Pernoud (Gautier-Languereau, 1971), and Poetes et Prosateurs du Moyen Age by Gaston Paris (Hachette, 1921).The Little Barrel – Illustrated by Helene A. Catherwood & A. Phillips
Please read one of the better articles we have found that explain, in simple terms, why an anti-authority and anti-Catholic protestant converted to the one true faith. This one man’s conversion proves that Catholicism is a faith of logic and reason.
If you are thinking about converting, or are interested in the Catholic faith at all, please open your heart and mind and read this article. The only thing you risk by not reading it is your eternal soul . . . No pressure right :)!
We discovered the outstanding response to a “protester” attacking the Church in a comment section in regards to the following question: “Was St. Joseph a Virgin or a widower with Children?”
“The Catholic Church was the one that compiled and canonized the 27 books of the New Testament at the Councils of Carthage, Rome and Hippo in the 4th and 5th centuries. At the time there were over 700 writings and over 50 gospels. Protestants didn’t come into the picture until 1,000 years later, yet they accept the same 27 books that the Catholic Church accepted as inspired by God but refuse to accept Holy Tradition along with those 27 books. How then are Protestants so sure that the Catholic Church was correct in accepting those books and not the other ones if the Catholic Church is a “cult” as they say? Besides, not everything is written in the Bible, St. John the Apostle says so in his Gospel Chapter 20:30 and 21:25. So much for the Protestant teaching of Sola Scriptura by Martin Luther.
From the earliest times, the Catholic Church has believed that Mary remained a virgin all through her life, even the Eastern Orthodox Church believes this. St. Joseph, being a just man knew that Mary was the spouse of the Holy Spirit and that her womb was consecrated for Jesus the Son of God alone. St. Joseph respected this and was her chaste spouse and the protector and provider of Jesus and Mary. They weren’t your average couple. Protestants have rejected Tradition and accept what they want to, there is no Magisterium. That’s why there are more than 30,000 different Protestant churches with conflicting beliefs since Martin Luther’s “reformation” in 1517 AD. Each Protestant church interprets scripture as it sees fit, so then, who is “lost?” certainly not the Catholic Church. If the Blessed Virgin Mary had other children there was no reason for Jesus to put her under the care of St. John the Apostle at Calvary. When Joseph and Mary were looking for the 12 year old Jesus and found him preaching at the temple there is no mention of any other brothers or sisters with them. The Bible never says that the “brothers” and “sisters” of Jesus were the children of Mary. Not one verse says the sons and daughters of Mary or Mary their mother. In the Aramaic language that Jesus spoke there was no word for cousin. Uncles, cousins and extended relatives were called brothers and sisters and it was common for them to live within the same area and travel together to the temple, etc.. St. Jerome, who was born in the 4th century was a scholar and was the first one to translate the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into Latin. He wrote that the brothers and sisters of Jesus were His cousins, the sons and daughters of the other Mary at Calvary, the wife of Cleophas, who tradition says was the brother of St. Joseph. Mary the wife of Cleophas is called the “sister” of Mary the Mother of Jesus in St. John’s Gospel but she was her sister in law. In Aramaic there was no word for sister in law either.
The Protestant reformers like Luther and Calvin believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity and that she was the Mother of God even after they broke with the Catholic Church. The founder of the Methodist Church, John Wesley also believed in Mary’s perpetual virginity. Fundamentalist anti Catholic Protestants need to go to the Catholic Answers website and look up these doctrinal issues and also get a copy of the Catechism of the Catholic Church instead of listening to the same old anti Catholic diatribe.”