Wednesday, July 29, 2015

How a Mystic prepares for Holy Communion

The mystic Luisa Piccarreta was a victim soul, confined to her bed and living solely on the Eucharist and the Divine Will for some 60 years She received the command of obedience from her confessor to reveal how she prepares herself to receive and thank Jesus at Holy Communion. Here is what she wrote on April 10, 1910:   

I write to obey, but I feel my heart crack from the effort I am making. But, Viva Obedience – Viva the Will of God! I write, but I tremble, and I myself don’t know what I am saying. Obedience wants me to write something about how I prepare myself and thank blessed Jesus at Communion. I don’t know how to say anything about it, because my sweet Jesus, in seeing my incapacity and that I am good at nothing, does everything Himself: He prepares my soul, and He Himself administers the thanksgiving to me; and I follow Him.

Now, the way of Jesus is always immense, and together with Jesus, I too feel immense, and as if I were able to do something. Then Jesus withdraws, and I remain always the stupid one that I am, the little ignorant one, the little naughty one. And it is exactly because of this that Jesus loves me – because I am ignorant, and I am no one, and I can do nothing. Knowing that I want to receive Him at any cost, so as not to receive dishonor in coming into me, but rather, highest honor, He Himself prepares my poor soul. He gives me His own things, His merits, His clothing, His works, His desires – in sum, all of Himself. If necessary, also that which the Saints did, because everything is His own; if necessary, also that which the Most Holy Mama did. And I too say to all: ‘Jesus, give honor to Yourself in coming into me. My Queen Mama, Saints, all Angels, I am so very poor; everything that is yours – put it in my heart, not for me, but for the honor of Jesus.’ And I feel that all of Heaven contributes to preparing me. And after Jesus has descended within me, I seem to see Him all pleased, seeing Himself honored by His own things; and sometimes He tells me: “Brava, brava, my daughter, how happy I am – how pleased I am. Everywhere I look within you, I find things worthy of Me. Everything that is mine, is yours; how many beautiful things you made Me find!”

Knowing that I am so very poor, that I have done nothing, and that nothing is mine, I laugh at the contentment of Jesus, and I say: ‘Thank goodness Jesus thinks like this! It is enough that He came – this is enough for me. It doesn’t matter that I have used His own things – the poor must receive from the rich.’ Now, it is true that a few glimmers here and there remain in me about the way Jesus has at Communion, but I am unable to reunite these glimmers together, and form a preparation and a thanksgiving. I lack the capacity; it seems to me that I prepare myself in Jesus Himself, and that I thank Him with Jesus Himself.

From the approved Volume Nine of the spiritual "Diary" Book of Heaven, of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Did St. Paul withstand St. Peter to his Face?

There is ample evidence to suggest that he did not - that the person he rebuked in this Biblical incident was not Simon Peter, but another “Cephas.”


     It is an almost universal assumption in today's Catholic world that St. Paul did in fact rebuke the first Pope to his face. As is written in Galatians 2:11: “But when Cephas was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed.” This assumption is used to justify the concept that it is acceptable in extreme circumstances to publicly confront a Pope with what one believes to be his errors, and it is also an argument used to justify “resisting” the ordinances of a Pope. 
    However, while reading a short but well-documented biography of St. Peter, which I came across in an 1892 collection of Catholic writings, the following paragraph immediately struck me: 
"That the Cephas who was reprehended by St. Paul for the inconsistency of his conduct with respect to the Mosaic rites, was not St. Peter, is the opinion of the best writers.  Eusebius quotes Clement Alexandrinus as maintaining that this Cephas was one of the seventy disciples.  This opinion is followed by the most learned writers of antiquity, by St. Jerome, by St. Gregory the Great, by St. Anselm, and by many others."
    This surprising statement has caused me to investigate this issue further. 
    James Likoudis wrote a two-part article in the late 1990's entitled “Were the Apostle Peter and Cephas of Antioch the same person?” He admits that some of the greatest Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and contemporary exegetes contend that the person confronted by Paul was Simon Peter. However, he then presents arguments published by Jesuit Fr. D. Pujol over a century ago “. . . effectively demonstrating that the Apostle Peter and the Cephas of Antioch and Corinth could not have been the same person.” Fr. Pujol asserted that “Whether the dispute at Antioch between Paul and Cephas occurred before or after the Council of Jerusalem, it was chronologically impossible that Peter could have been there at either time.”

    Likoudis also mentions a vision by the stigmatist Theresa Neuman (d. 1962) in which she revealed:
"Cephas of the Epistle to the Galatians, whom Paul withstood to his face was not Peter, the prince of the Apostles. That there is no mention of this important personage in antiquity is based on the fact that Cephas was drowned in the sea while on a mission tour and thereupon the opinion arose that he did nothing in his new field of endeavor or even fell away from the faith." 
    Likoudis summarizes the work of other scholars on this issue, and concludes “That Peter and the Cephas (of Antioch and Corinth) are two different personages needs to be seriously re-examined and not be testily dismissed as a 'cockeyed theory'." He further states: ”The upshot of all the above is that in Gal. 2:7-14 where Petros is mentioned and then followed by a shift to Cephas, two distinct personages are differentiated.” 

       A quite intriguing article by James M. Scott delves into a 1708 work in Latin by French Jesuit Fr. Jean Hardouin called Dissertatio: In Qua Cepham a Paulo Reprehensum Petrum Non Esse Ostenditur (An Examination in Which It Is Demonstrated that Cephas Rebuked by Paul Is not Peter).
  The following quotes are representative of the views of Fr. Hardouin: 
Hardouin opens in AD 49, the year of the Jerusalem Council of Acts 15. The general line of this argument is that the Cephas in Antioch in Gal 2 cannot be Peter, since for chronological and motivational reasons Peter could not have returned to Jerusalem for the Council. “
Hardouin maintains that it is all but impossible that Peter, who never had seen Antioch within the 14 year period from Paul’s conversion, would in the fifteenth year “have raced in unbelievable speed” (“incredibili celeritate advolasse”) from Jerusalem to Antioch, been rebuked there by Paul, and within a month have hastened back to Jerusalem to be consulted by Paul about the very controversy back in Antioch.” 
Hardouin says that Peter must be “clean from any blemish of heresy” (“immunem haereos labe…Petrum”) and that it is unthinkable that any “Summus Pontifex” would withdraw himself from baptized Christians solely because they were not circumcised. “

    For a thorough scriptural analysis of this controversy, I recommend this article by Bryan Davis. Although it is in the interest of Protestants to contend that Peter/Cephas are one and the same, since it implies fallibility, weakness and even sin to Peter, Mr. Davis, who is not Catholic, concludes with:

The evidence, both biblical and historical, is overwhelming that the man Paul confronted in Galatians is not the apostle Peter. That man was named Cephas, likely a Jew who sympathized with the Judaizers.

Because of Peter’s faithful defense of the Gentiles and their reception of the true gospel at every turn, it is important to make sure we do not denigrate Peter’s legacy with the false charge that he dissembled in Galatians chapter two. After the Holy Spirit indwelt him at Pentecost, he was sure and steadfast. Let us honor the truth about Peter and clear his name in the church, especially among those who have so greatly benefited from his faithful stand for our inclusion in the faith.

    Personally I am convinced that St. Paul did not rebuke St. Peter. Of course this blog post is certainly not going to resolve the problem, and scholars, pundits and bloggers will continue to debate the issue. However, it is clear that there is sufficient room to doubt the conventional scenario that St. Paul withstood St. Peter to his face. Catholics who take comfort in this incident in order to contemplate a public reproof of their pope or resist his teaching should take heed.

View all of my books.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theology of the Community of Believers

Progressivist rationale for altering Catholic Doctrine.

From the time of the Council and even before, numerous progressivist authors have been demeaning the importance of Scripture and Tradition as the only sources of Revelation, in order to promote the inner experiences of the ecclesial community as a valid font of the Truth. This of course is in keeping with the Modernist concept of immanence, whereby each person primarily hears and senses the word of God spoken from within and only secondarily may hear it from a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, all people of any religion whatsoever have something to offer. Hence the call for an ecumenical dialog with these omnipresent elements of sanctity, and the need to consider the religious feelings of the believing community as indicators of God's ongoing revelation for the Church.

This progressivist rationale for modifying dogmatic Catholic doctrine has been brought to light in the well-researched and thoroughly documented study by prolific Catholic author Atila Sinke Guimarães. He asserts that along with Scripture and Catholic Tradition, and the dogmatic teaching of the Magisterium, progressivists consider that Faith as an object of belief will also encompass an ensemble of the 'divine experiences' of the community. In his book Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), Guimarães uses direct quotations from these thinkers to convincingly document their belief that salvation history as it unfolds in the religious experiences of the ecclesial community, is an additional criterion for determining doctrine.

As far back as 1970, Fr. Walter Kasper wrote:
. . . the charism of truth does not fall to the competence of a single individual, but to the unanimous testimony of the whole community of the faithful.” Kasper cites Lumen Gentium chapter 12, wherein we read:
The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when 'from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful' they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.”
It's a matter of dialog!

Kasper continues: “From this, a new, less static and more dynamic and dialogical conception of orthodoxy is born. The correct understanding of the Faith today must be periodically established through an open and public dialogue among all charisms, services and orientations existing in the Church, and by means of a communitarian listening to the Gospel”. [p. 339; Will He Find Faith?]
The Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey

According to Fr. Karl Rahner: [p. 321] “Catholic exegesis and biblical theology are seriously questioning themselves today regarding the words of Jesus, asking what can be literally considered an original word by the historic Jesus himself, and what …. is already a formulation of the 'theology of the community'.” “For not every word of the historic Jesus can be identified with the concept of an original revelation.”

Fr. M .D. Chenu: [p. 334] “As a consequence of the Council, theology is now conceived as 'salvation history'. Tradition is substantially qualified as living tradition.”

The Jesuit Fr. Alberto Franzini: [pp. 323-4] “Then one understands why the transmission of revelation is not confided only to preaching and teaching, but also to the witness of faith of all the believers.” “Finally, one understands how in the Church the Scripture is 'insufficient' to disseminate the revelation of Christ without the reality of the ecclesial community's living Tradition.” Franzini states that there must be a socially visible presence of salvation, “a presence that can be adequately assured by an ecclesial-communitarian form of believers. “

Thus it should not be a surprise that the Catholic understanding of marriage, the family, and reception of Holy Communion is now subject to the Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey, in the Pope Francis era. If this tactic succeeds in actually altering any traditional doctrine in the upcoming Synod or thereafter, then in this blogger's opinion, Modernism will have triumphed in the Vatican. The true Church, however, will persist like live coals under the ashes, even without the support of the hierarchy.

Guimarães' book, Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), from which the above quotes are taken, traces the history of the progressivists' influence on the Church and on the fruits of the Council. He demonstrates that to them, the Faith is subjective rather than objective, and is relative rather than absolute. After presenting an overview of Scholasticism, he turns to a consideration of modern thought from the Cartesian revolution and the French Enlightenment, through liberalism, modernism and existentialism. He quotes profusely from conciliar theologians such as Karl Rahner, Hans Von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Edward Schillebeeckx, and lesser known “lights.” The book is Volume VI of his indispensable eleven volume study of Vatican II.

Atila Sinke Guimarães' books on the Council are available Here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Effeminate Priests

Our Lord laments to Luisa Piccarreta about effeminate Priests, sacrilegious Masses, and the laity touching the Blessed Sacrament with their hands. 

From the Church-approved Volume Seven of the spiritual "Diary" Book of Heaven, of the Servant of God Luisa Piccarreta.  Imprimatur of Archbishop Joseph Leo and Nihil Obstat of (now Saint) Fr. Annibale Di Francia. 

The Lord, in a very afflicted state, lamented to Luisa: “My daughter, so much bitterness is given to Me by creatures that I cannot contain it all. For this reason, I wanted you to participate in it [as a victim soul]. In these times, all is effeminate. Even the clergy have lost the masculine character, and have acquired feminine manners. It has become more difficult to find masculine Priests, since there is an abundance of effeminate ones around. Oh, in what a deplorable state humanity is found in.” Luisa then wrote that she did not understand the meaning if what He had told her, but she still writes it down because she is under obedience to do so. (Oct. 23, 1906.)

My note: Since Luisa did not understand about effeminate priests, this appears to have been a prophetic utterance on the part of the Lord, who was talking about a future time, as He frequently does with Luisa. Seminarian Francesco Forgione, now known as St. Padre Pio, in that same year of 1906, was undergoing his formation in southern Italy, where Luisa lived. His training for the priesthood was very rigorous and demanding. Padre Pio himself in later life admitted that his seminary regimen could have been less severe and strict. It is not likely that there was a problem with effeminate priests in that era.

Three days prior to the above experience, Luisa had a vision which also appears to have been prophetic. Here it is revealed that Jesus considers that the laity, by putting their hands on the Holy Sacrament, entering the Sanctuary, and touching the Priests, are guilty of profanations deserving of severe chastisements.

In this vision Luisa found herself in a church where many people were taking part in the sacred ceremonies. Then, it seemed that with the approval of those in authority, other persons entered who began to profane the Sanctuary. Scurrying here and there, they sacrilegiously put their hands on the Holy Sacrament and also upon the Priests. Luisa, upon seeing this, cried out to the Lord to stop them from profaning His Sacred Temples, and she feared for the severe chastisements that He would pour out upon men for such horrible sins.

But the Lord replied that these enormous crimes are caused by the sins of the Priests. First, they profaned in a hidden manner His Holy Church with sacrilegious Masses, by mixing impure acts in the administration of the Sacraments. Committing these acts under the guise of holiness, they have arrived at not only profaning His churches of stone, but also at violating His living temples which are the souls, and profaning His very Body.

All of this eventually filtered down to the laity. Not seeing in the Priests the necessary light for their own progress, finding instead only shadows, they have become so darkened as to lose the beautiful light of the Faith; and without this light it is no wonder that they have come to such grave excesses. Prayer is needed so that the Priests may become a light for the people, permitting the seculars to reacquire the light to see the errors they are committing. Seeing them, the they will be reluctant to continue these grave excesses, which will be the cause of equally grave chastisements.

I have freely translated the above from the original Italian found Here. 
To learn more about the mystic Luisa Piccarreta, click Here.