Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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Ticker Posts — August 2019

August 16th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

What do you think about the lawsuits against the Catholic Church?

Posted August 16, 2019

There is much to dread from the announcements (of the lawsuits) just made, and those expected in the coming months. I’m not going to enumerate the scandal, embarrassment, doubts, fears, anxiety, shame and so much more that is associated with this horrible but incredible moment in Church History. It can, and will, fill books. Instead, I want to say something about the historic perspective on suffering along with the Church, and as the people of God. And what our response might be.

Either those affected will deserve the suffering and participate in making atonement, or they will be given an opportunity to suffer with the — yes, still — One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We begin with the truth that the Bride of Christ is still Holy, even when the leaders create and harbor huge personal sin. Thank God that is true, or we’d be fearful that everything from baptisms to marriage, and from holy orders to forgiveness of sins, would be invalid if every priest, bishop and even Pope in the ‘chain of command’ had to be free of serious sin. But that is not the way Christ founded His Church. In the very scripture in which Christ acknowledges Peter’s coming primacy (Matthew 16:18), He nevertheless calls him ‘Satan’ just a few verses later (Matthew 16:23). On the very night of the Resurrection, Christ conveys that most important power to the Church and to the individual apostles to forgive sins. The Lord seems to have had little expectation of sinlessness even among the hierarchy. But He did have an expectation of suffering: “But take heed to yourselves; for they will deliver you up to councils; and you will be beaten in synagogues; and you will stand before governors and kings for my sake, to bear testimony before them.” Mark 13:9

And because we are so connected to each other in the Body of Christ, there are times when the whole Body suffers because of one damaged part; perhaps this is just such a time. Not everyone who suffers can say they are without guilt. We read in Hebrews 12:4 “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.” There is almost always a point (prior to martyrdom) where we each can say “I could have done more.” At the very least, that is an admission ticket into the suffering flock. We see even before the founding of the Church how the sins of the leaders of the Israelites are visited upon their children. Consider, for example, we read how God sent out a prince from each tribe to scout the land of Canaan, and 10 of the 12 did not trust in God’s ability to bring them victory, and so were condemned to wander in the desert for 40 years, until all those who were adults at the time of leaving Egypt (except the two scouts who supported God) had themselves perished. Was every single one of them guilty? Or did they each have to bear the sin of the Princes?

Consider too how God used even pagan kings to administer His discipline to a fallen away, disobedient people. The centuries of Assyrian exile resulted in many people in the Northern Kingdom losing their identity as Jews. Even the Southern Kingdom, with all the protections of the Messiah’s line, went into exile in Babylon for decades, as God used King Nebuchadnezzar to administer the discipline deserving to those “Chosen People.’ So, one explanation for what is happening as we all suffer to varying degrees (and even possibly the Chinese Catholics suffering is directed to these moments as well, as their being the most betrayed) is that God is purifying His Church. And it hurts.

Yet, one has to think that perhaps a reasonable response to the current situation, once we get past all the emotional response, is one of GRATITUDE. Really? Yes, gratitude that finally all is coming to light and leading to a cleansing.  Because the hierarchy of the Church did not impose the discipline of cleansing and purification of so many evils among those entrusted with the most, Christ has given the Body over to a civil cleansing, just as He gave the Southern Kingdom over to King Nebuchadnezzar. So, when I am asked, how do I feel or what do I think about what is happening, how can I not say “Grateful”?

To the extent that the civil authorities lack the ability to draw a bright line of guilty vs not guilty, we can expect some miscarriage of Justice in the process. Yet, who bears the guilt for an unevangelized and clueless civil authority? Isn’t it especially those charged with teaching all nations what Christ has commanded us? Decay in the public square has a wide net of guilt. But these times are not without opportunity for spiritual growth. And we are not ‘left alone,’ because the Holy Spirit has been promised to us as Advocate. Thus, being ‘grateful’ is not mere words, but necessary to receive all the inherent graces of our suffering. And NONE of us finds that easy to do.

 

Is Christ Missing from the Amazon Synod? 

Posted August 3, 2019

Abp. Carlo Maria Viganò  has stated (LifeSiteNews August 2, 2019) that the figure of Christ is absent from the Amazon Synod working document. His conclusion can be found here: https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/archbishop-vigano-the-figure-of-christ-is-absent-from-amazon-synod-working-document.

In summary, Abp. Viganò has warned that the Amazon Synod is a mega attempt by the forces of Liberation Theology to become the post Christian Catholic Church, a many decades long effort by the Jesuits in particular. A signer of the dubia and the prior Prefect of the Congregation for the Faith (CDF) have also criticized the Synod preparation and the spread of false or heretical teaching.

Readers are encouraged to read for themselves this short article from LifeSiteNews, giving the justification for Vigano’s accusation that “… the current situation [is] the ‘triumph of a 60-year-old plan, the successful execution of a well-thought out plan to bring a new sort of thinking into the heart of the Church, a thinking rooted in elements of Liberation Theology containing strands of Marxism, little interested in traditional Catholic liturgy or morality or theology, but rather focused on ‘praxis’ in the field of social justice… seeking to implement ‘their own ideological agenda, which is a married clergy in Europe, and then to have it in the whole Latin Church.’” The focus principally on the ordination of women may well be a mere distraction while the rest proceeds in the October Synod. The prior Synod seems like just a dry run for forcing through the agenda being now revealed.

But…

Abp. Vigano’s concerns deserve serious consideration; however, while it is fair to say that Christ and His Teaching are missing from the documents, agenda and guidance of the Synod, it also might be worth considering the opposite view; i.e. that the Body of Christ is very much present and that His Bride, the Church, or at least a Remnant Church, joins Him in His suffering. It is not too great a leap to recognize that Christ is very much present as, once again, He becomes the object of hatred and scorn, and He is betrayed or deserted by those closest to Him, assaulted by lies, and tried by a Vatican Sanhedrin-like Synod about to pass illegal and false judgment upon Him and His Work. Who will determine the truth? Only the Pilate-like figure who asks “What is Truth?” and finds Him unrecognizable in his own heart.

There is much more to say. But if this understanding has even a grain of truth, it is hard to endure too much more for the moment.

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