Cleansing Fire

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Fifty Years Ago Today, Humanae Vitae was Promulgated

July 25th, 2018, Promulgated by Diane Harris

Today, July 25th, is the Feast of St. James, the Apostle, one of the sons of Zebedee, and the brother of John the Evangelist. James was the first of the Apostles to be martyred. How suitable that we should remember on his feast day the courage and risk of Pope Paul VI, in promulgating the unpopular but heroic Encyclical Humanae Vitae fifty years ago today.

At the noon Mass at St. Felix Church in Clifton Springs, the pastor of St. Peter Parish, Father Peter Van Lieshout, read from the pulpit the letter written by the Bishop of Rochester, Fulton J. Sheen, which had appeared a week later, on August 2, 1968, in the (then entitled) Rochester Courier-Journal. 

ScreenShot708Bishop Sheen Praises Pope Paul

“He Dared To Oppose the World”

 

Psychology teaches: “Whatever is received, is received according to the nature and the psychological outlook of the one receiving it.”

Black absorbs light and white reflects it. Pour water into a blue glass and the water looks blue; pour it into a red glass and the water looks red; pour it into a crystal glass and the water appears in its true nature.

The words of Our Lord from the Cross, “Father forgive them,” kindled great hate in the thief on the left, but it converted the thief on the right. Seed falling on a highway does not act the same way as seed on fertile ground.

So it is with a Papal restatement on the Sacredness of Life. Those who condemned the Holy Father for not speaking out, will now condemn him because he has spoken out. The blue souls will now sing the “blues,” the “red” souls will now see “red,” for their minds were already made up. But crystal souls will accept the decision for many reasons, one of which is this:

Here is a man, who like Athanasius, dared oppose the world. Same secular minds are in favor of controlling the levers of life. But Paul dared oppose the world, for which he will be crucified, not only by the world itself but by some ecclesiastics, as was Christ on Calvary. “If the world hates you, it hated Me first, as you know well.” (John 15:18)

A dead body will float down stream: it takes a live body to resist it.

If for no other reason than his courage to oppose mass demand for the frustration of life, he will appeal to those who want a Voice to say what is right, not when the world is right, but even when the world is wrong.

To hold the fort, to trumpet out a call to holiness against raging blasts, is heroism with victimhood.

Paul could be the most popular man in the world, if he gave to man the control of life’s begetting, but now he will be the touchstone, the litmus paper, the moment of truth for all who claimed he was their shepherd.

He knows that if total control of life’s beginning is given to man, that the control may be exercised at any moment during duration.

His attitude may be that of Father Tche who was assured by the Chinese Communists on June 2, 1951, that if he denied the Pope, he would be spared. “No,” he answered, “because tomorrow you will ask me to deny Christ.”

At one moment in his life, Peter warmed himself by the fire while Christ was being condemned. But this is the moment when Peter will be crucified upside down, for the sake of the Crucified.

Every now and then in history there are crises or tests of faith. Formerly, they belonged to the order of dogma, such as the Divinity of Christ, the necessity of grace for frustrated man, and a historical succession from the apostles.

Today the test is in the field of morals and is intimately related to two dominant ideas in the modern world: The Death-Wish and Violence.

The Death-Wish is in the song of the young, the increase of suicidism, the flight from life and the mechanical smashing of the infinitely small — the atom — to smash the infinitely great — the cosmos.

Violence is the laying of hands on life, either to maim it, to destroy it, or to annul it.

Knowing how much the Death-Wish has enchained minds, and Violence has terrorized life, the civilized world listens to man who opposes both in the name of nature, and in the name of love, and elucidates for our age what is necessary for salvation. Conscience without the continuing presence of Christ in the Church is much like the smell of perfume that remains in an empty bottle.

Catholics are now at the Cross Roads. They have already agreed with the Council that the Church is the “mystery of salvation for the whole world.”

Now that belief becomes concretized, not on the subject of the Trinity as it was 1500 years ago, but on the subject of Sex. (Does this represent upward evolution or downward devolution?)

Many are in the position of the first Christians who were praying in the house of John Mark. Peter was released from prison. He kept knocking to get into his community of the faithful, but Rhoda, who answered the knock, thought it was a “ghost.” She could not believe it was Peter.

So today, some in the Church hear the knocking, and hear the word of God. They are told that it is the unmistakable voice of Peter, and yet they say “No — it is a dream,” “an angel,” “a voice from the past,” “moral authority outside of the ego no longer holds,” “the Magisterium is in doubt.”

They make distinctions between the “voice” and the “presence,” between the “fact” and its “meaning,” between the “Peter” and his “ghost.”

But Peter continues knocking. While many on the inside shut their ears to his voice and invent comfortable reasons to escape admitting him, he still calls. As a fisherman, he had learned patience. He knows his own.

He cScreenShot709omes burdened with the cares of the world, and sad like the Father of the Prodigal, is waiting for his children to come back. May we who have been blessed by faith know him that knocks at our conscience, for he is actually the Door-Keeper with the Keys of Heaven.

The Lord once spoke of a truth which made the worldly followers complain: “Your words are hard and who can believe them,” and some left. The Lord then turned to Peter — “Do you also want to leave Me?”

From Peter’s heart and from the hearts of all of us, in these days of “hard sayings” we answer: “To whom shall we go? You have the words of Eternal Life.”

                              -pictures added-

 

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