As Catholics we must remember this, in spite of the present crisis the Church now finds herself in, we have Our Lady’s promise at Fatima that in the end, her Immaculate Heart will prevail. What does this mean in the midst of our present crisis? Before we dive into that, let’s review what we actually know about the crisis first.
We know this present crisis was spawned by the infiltration of Freemasonry and Modernism into Catholic academia and hierarchy as far back as the 1800s. This is why Pope Pius IX warned the Church about them during his 19th century pontificate. Pope Leo XIII warned us about their influence in the world, particularly in the area of Marxism, and Pope Pius X sounded the alarm against the brainchild of Freemasonry (Modernism) in the early 20th century. To be clear, Modern Theological Liberalism, or Modernism, is the natural outgrowth of the Protestant Reformation (particularly as a product of Sola Scriptura) and the Enlightenment which followed. Freemasonry, also a product of the Enlightenment, became the agent through which Modernism was spread into various Protestant denominations and the Catholic Church, reaching an infiltration level so alarming by the late 19th to early 20th century, that full papal encyclicals were needed to condemn it.
Then came the apparitions at Fatima, during the reign of Pope Benedict XV in 1917. At Fatima, Our Lady warned us that Russia would infect the world with her errors (Marxism in the form of Communism, Socialism, and Liberalism). Russian-style Marxism picked up where Freemasonry and Modernism left off. Indeed, they’re all one in the same, with singular mind and purpose, which is to destroy the influence of the Catholic Church and the social kingship of Jesus Christ. Freemasonry, Modernism and Marxism: each on the same mission, but each tailored for what various men will accept. Not all Freemasons are Marxists, obviously, just as not all Modernists are Freemasons, for not everyone will tolerate the same things. For example: Americans are generally opposed to Marxism, or at least they were in generations past, but Americans are generally agreeable to Freemasonry, because after all, the United States has a long and friendly history with Freemasonry. Consequently, most American Freemasons are basically Modernist in belief on various religious matters. Russians, on the other hand, don’t care much for Freemasonry, but during the 20th century, they were the chief promoters of Marxism around the world. Marxism also embraces Modernism, but on a much more militaristic level. The three ideologies of Freemasonry, Modernism and Marxism were different, and agreeable to different people for that reason, but each of them had interconnections, common points of thought, particularly through Modernism, which allowed them to work together masterfully against a common enemy — the Roman Catholic Church.
The third and final infiltration of the Catholic Church began in the 1920s and 30s from Marxism. It is well documented that Communist agents, in Europe and North America, worked in conjunction with the Soviet Union to recruit men into the Catholic priesthood, who were either communists themselves, or else “men of poor moral character,” who could be easily manipulated and controlled (Episcopal Sodomy, The Infiltration of the Priesthood, Alice Von Hildebrand Interview). These three infiltrations of the Catholic Church: Freemasonry in the early 1800s, and Modernism in the middle to late 1800s, to Marxism in the early 1900s, is what led to the present crisis the Catholic Church now finds herself in.
Vatican II was not the cause of the crisis in the Church. It was a product of it. To be clear, many good things came out of Vatican II, but also many ambiguous things. We have learned now that the ambiguity was by design, so that orthodox Catholics could still interpret the council in an orthodox way, but at the same time, Modernists within the Catholic Church could use these ambiguities later to further their agenda. This activity became known as the “Spirit of Vatican II.”
Modernism is defined as the convergence of secularism, liberalism and relativism. You can read more about it here (Modernism: The Synthesis of All Heresies). Within the Catholic Church now, we recognize the voice of Modernism whenever we hear Catholics talking about ordaining women to the priesthood, or that doctrine (and dogma) can evolve to mean something different from what it previously meant, or that liturgy should be more about entertainment, or that there should be a strict separation between Church and state, especially on “moral issues of a pelvic matter.” How bad is the infiltration? We can answer that question with a few more questions. How many Catholics vote for pro-abortion politicians? or for legalizing fetal stem-cell research? or euthanasia? or legalizing same-sex marriage? How many Catholics think homosexuality is perfectly moral and acceptable? The polling data is clear. It’s about 50%. That’s the magnitude of the Modernist infiltration into the Catholic Church. It’s not just the laity who have been contaminated by this ideological cancer, but the clergy have as well. Countless priests, and a large number of bishops, archbishops and cardinals fall into the Modernist camp. This is what allows many bishops to justify the continual ordination of actively homosexual men into the priesthood. This is what allows many bishops to excuse such behavior, and cover for them, which leads to covering for pederasty as well. (The latter is what’s getting them into legal trouble now.) This is also what allows many priests and bishops to accept the principles of Marxism, and even teach it to the faithful as “Catholic Social Justice” when in fact, real Catholic Social Justice is the opposite of Marxism, and is more accurately portrayed in the economic principles of Distributism. Almost never a word about Distributism is preached from the pulpit, but entire books have been written by Catholic priests and bishops endorsing the principles of Marxism.
That’s the crisis, and that’s how we got here. So now what?
The crisis has caused faithful, orthodox and traditional Catholics to scatter into multiple different groups. Some of these have deviated into positions that are just as problematic (if not worse) than the crisis itself. The worst of these deviations is sedevacantism, which is the idea that the pope is not the real pope, but rather an impostor, and the Chair of Peter has been vacant since the death of Pope Pius XII in 1958! Another deviation is anti-conciliarism, which is the notion that Vatican II was false council of the Church and should be rejected entirely. Such deviations are a dead-end street, leading their adherents to a kind of spiritual hopelessness and apocalyptic worldview.
On the other end of the spectrum, most Catholics have chosen to ignore that a crisis even exists, carrying on as if nothing has changed, accepting Modernist innovations in liturgy and doctrine insofar as they are able, ignoring what they can’t accept, and make-believe everything is okay. Their resilience is admirable, but as the edifice of the Church continues to crumble under the doctrinal chaos coming from Rome and other high-ranking sources, compounded with the increasing sex-scandals (one after another) in the clergy, and now the intervention of law enforcement into the affairs of the Church, ignoring the problem is getting harder to do. Eventually, the majority of Catholics are going to have to make a choice; either they can “red pill” and join the ranks of Traditional Catholics, or they can “blue pill” and just accept the crisis as the new normal, with no hope of reform. If my experience as a former Anglican tells me anything, at least half of European and American Catholics will choose the “blue pill.” While the other half that chooses the “red pill” will not do so all at once. It will happen in waves, very slowly over years.
So what are we to do?
The first thing we have to do is recognize that this crisis was a long time in the making. Basically, the devil has been working hard on this for about 200 years, since the end of the Enlightenment until now. When we stop and think about that, it’s actually pretty impressive that it’s taken the devil this long to get this far. Nevertheless, we are approaching the end game, probably within our lifetime. However, recognizing that it’s taken 200 years for things to get this bad, means we should understand that it’s not going to get better overnight. There isn’t going to be one great big battle that’s going to bring it all to an end. A new pope, even a holy and wise pope, couldn’t fix this mess by himself. No one man ever could. The crisis requires two things. First, it requires religious and moral renewal on the part of faithful Catholics. Second, it requires divine intervention. Our Lady of Fatima promised us that the second will come only after the first is obtained. In other words, “penance, penance, penance!” We have to reform ourselves first, and only after doing that, will God send the miracle we need to reform the hierarchy and restore the Church.
So how is this done?
Like everything in the Christian life, it all begins with prayer. Our Lady of Fatima asked for a particular kind of prayer — the Rosary. We should pray it every day — literally — every… single… day! So when we say the Rosary, we should make this intention before we start…
Most Blessed Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), I offer this Rosary up to you today for the following intentions: (1) for the holy restoration and renewal of myself and my immediate family, (2) for the holy restoration and renewal of my priest and my parish, (3) for the holy restoration and renewal of my bishop and my diocese, and (4) for the holy restoration and renewal of the pope and the entire Catholic Church. Amen.
Once you start doing this, every day, changes will come, not only in your life, but in the lives of those around you. It is not within the scope of this blog to address the manifold ways that we could all work toward penance of our sins, leading to the holy restoration and renewal of our lives in Christ. This I will leave to you and your spiritual confessor. However, in coping with the crisis in the Church, there is a proper attitude to have, and it’s best summarized in the “Recognize and Resist” strategy.
RECOGNIZE AND RESIST
- Recognize Francis as the Pope.
- Recognize Vatican II as a legitimate Church council that must be properly interpreted in continuity with previous Church tradition.
- Recognize the new mass as legitimate, even if it’s not always ideal or edifying.
- Recognize bad bishops and priests when they reveal themselves as such.
- Recognize heresy.
- Recognize immorality.
- Recognize liturgical abuse.
- Recognize that the Church was infiltrated and corrupted, but it’s still the Church founded by Jesus Christ.
- Recognize that it is Christ’s Church and he will rescue it.
- Recognize that Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart will prevail and that victory is inevitable.
We cannot resist properly unless we recognize the above things first…
- Resist by praying the Rosary every day for the holy restoration and renewal of ourselves, our families, our priests, our bishops, the pope and the Church.
- Resist the “Spirit of Vatican II” which is a Modernist bastardization of the real Vatican II.
- Resist Modernist innovations to the liturgy and try restoring Tradition in your parish, with the recognition that this might not be possible in some parishes, and may require you to move to a parish where this is already being done.
- Resist by financially supporting traditional parishes, dioceses and jurisdictions.
- Resist by using the Baltimore Catechism in your own home.
- Resist by raising your children to be crusaders and counter-revolutionaries to the Modernist and Marxist spirit of this age.
There are some additional things that must be addressed here…
First, all Catholics are required to go to mass on all Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation. That means you’ve got to go to mass, even if a traditional mass is not available to you. You still have to go. You can’t just “skip it” if there isn’t a traditional liturgy nearby. I’m sorry, but that is one of the five precepts of the Church. If you’re “skipping it” whenever a traditional liturgy isn’t provided, you’re not only failing to be Traditional, but you’re failing to be Catholic! Sometimes you can find new masses that are done in a reverent way. If you can find one, this might be a place where you can work with the priest and parish to eventually get more elements of traditional liturgy added to the celebration: bells, incense, Gregorian chant, traditional hymns, maybe even an altar rail, communion on the tongue, and ad orietem posture for the priest during the Liturgy of the Eucharist, etc. However, not all parishes will be open to this. If you find yourself in such an area that is not open to the restoration of Tradition, and the new mass just isn’t working well for you at all, then there is only one solution. It’s time to move! Relocate your home near a regular and reliable traditional Catholic parish. For convenience, I’ve provided three easy links to find one. Any one of these three will do…
Second, attitude is everything. There is something that Traditional Catholics should never do, but sadly, we do it all the time. This is an area of penance that we need to work on. What’s our problem? The problem is we’re too snobbish and snooty. Traditional Catholics, all too often, have a tendency to look down upon other Catholics because they’re not Traditional, and look down upon other Christians because they’re not Catholic. This is the sin of pride, and it repels people. It repels regular Catholics away from Tradition, and it repels Protestants away from the Catholic Church. In the end, it makes us our own worst enemy. We end up repelling people away from us, when the only way to end the crisis is to attract people toward us. The way to conquer this sin of pride is to be humble enough to recognize that it’s possible for a non-traditional Catholic to be far more holy and reverent than a Traditional Catholic sometimes, and I’ve seen it done. I know many non-traditional Catholics that would put Traditional Catholics to shame with their personal holiness and regular devotion. The same goes for non-Catholic Christians. I know some Protestants who would put most Catholics to shame with their personal holiness, zeal and devotion. God can do amazing things in people, even people with very limited spiritual resources. It’s important to remember that being Traditional doesn’t automatically make you a better Catholic, just like being Catholic doesn’t automatically make you a better Christian. You can have Tradition and still be a lousy Catholic, just like you can be Catholic but still be a lousy Christian. Holiness is not obtained by membership, affiliation or association. Holiness is obtained by humbly approaching our Lord with a penitent heart, and with a love for God and others. Being Catholic simply gives you more resources to do that, it doesn’t guarantee you will do it. Being a Traditional Catholic gives you even more resources, better resources, but it still guarantees nothing. This is the proper attitude we should have toward our fellow Catholics and separated brethren. As Traditional Catholics we have better resources, but that doesn’t necessarily make us better people.
Third, we have to live in this world but not of it. What does this mean? It means we can’t be hermits. While it is good to surround ourselves by holy things and holy people, we can’t do that all the time. The Church has a particular vocation for those who want to isolate themselves from the world in a life of prayer. It’s called monasteries and convents. If you’re called to that, God bless you, but if you’re like most Christians (Catholic or otherwise), you’re likely called to the sacrament of matrimony to raise children. This means you’re going to be interacting with the world, and you’re called to do just that. While we must guard ourselves against the occasion of sin, at the same time we still have to interact with people in society. Forbidding our children from relatively harmless fun and socialization is a good way to drive them away from Tradition, and maybe even the Catholic faith too! Teenagers should be allowed to meet their friends at parks and shopping malls. Children should be allowed to watch a reasonable amount of television and movies (time-monitored of course, and making sure what they’re watching is age-appropriate). Children should be allowed to go to public swimming pools and the beach, wearing appropriate swimwear of course, but the fact that others don’t wear appropriate swimwear should not deter us from allowing our children to participate. Such things should be used as a teaching opportunity. For example, I teach my children about modesty, and when we go out for swimming fun, I make them wear swim shirts, not only for ultraviolet protection from the sun, but to remind them of modesty. Sometimes in my observation of the behavior of Traditional Catholics, I am reminded of those Evangelicals who hide in their homes on Halloween, with their lights off, hoping that no trick-or-treaters show up on the front porch. Hiding from the world is a good way to insure that the crisis in the Church continues to go on for as long as possible. Look, I believe in The Benedict Option, but a lot of people misunderstand what the Benedict Option means. It’s not about hiding from the world, and becoming like the Amish. The Benedict Option, understood properly, means we need to get ourselves living in communities around Traditional Catholic parishes of some type. Once we do this, we must engage the world, but we must do it on our terms. Living in community around Traditional Catholic parishes gives us the strength to do that.
Fourth and finally, we have to have a victorious outlook. We’re not going to lose this war. That I promise you, but you don’t need to take my word for it, you have the word of Our Lady, who said “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will prevail.” The crisis will end — eventually. Tradition will be restored to the Church — eventually. The Church will be renewed and revived — eventually. Victory is assured. We’re not going to lose because we can’t lose. We are on the side of Our Lord Jesus Christ and his Blessed Mother. Believe me, the future belongs to Traditional Catholics, not to the Modernists. Their future is coming to an end. Ours is just beginning. This crisis may not be over any time soon. It may take a full generation to run its course, but it won’t take longer than that. Our job in the right here, right now, is to carry the torch, and light a few more torches along the way. I hope this essay will help you do just that.
Thank you for this excellent summary of our situation. I hope to share it widely! God bless your endeavors!
Great post Shane.
There is a certain reductionism that came with the reformation, scripture ALONE, faith ALONE, Perspicuity of scripture, ditching of the church fathers, of Tradition, of the sacraments, etc.
This was contemporaneous with modern philosophy which emerged around the same time, ditching the Aristotelean/Thomistic teleogical worldview in favour of the modern mechanical vision of Descartes, Hobbes, Locke, Hume, etc. No coincidence there.
If you want a great read on what got us to where we are, at least from a philosophical point of view, which of course feeds into the religious outlook, have a look at Edward Feser’s “The Last Superstition” – required reading.
Modern philosophy introduced a myopic perspective to science, the focus upon the specific to the detriment of the overall view, the ditching of God to focus on the purely material. Similarly with religion we see the reformation focusing on specific doctrines/beliefs and at the same time losing an all encompassing view of what Jesus came to do: to found a church (one) to carry out his work. They lose track of the mission of Jesus in the detail.
Overall an excellent article with a number of good suggestions for Catholics of all stripes. There are 3 points I would make though.
(1) Francis as Pope: This is up for grabs at present because of the language of Benedict XVI’s “resignation” and the actions of Francis. He would have done better to say to respect the genuine magisterium of the Church and its unchanging teaching. See Ann Barnhardt, et al for more.
The Church has had a number of anti-Popes in the past. If Francis is one we can survive as Catholics in the past by holding fast to the Faith. It is written down, follow it and not whatever Francis blurts out.
(2) Vatican II was not a Council of the Church in the same was as was all preceding general Councils of the Church. Vatican II was a new thing, a “pastoral council”, whose decrees were to be non-doctrinal and pastoral. Also, the Council was deliberately called to destroy the Church from within – see the heavily documented works of Leon de Poncins and Maurice Pinay, for example.
It is true that the “spirit of Vatican II” is much more dangerous than the Vatican II documents, which can be interpreted in an orthodox form.
(3)Liberal Catholics being more holy than traditional Catholics. This can be true because the uneducated, uncatechized Catholic may be instinctively be trying to be Catholic in all aspects, but most are not, again because they do not know what that is or entails..
For non-Catholics this is a misconception between natural goodness and supernatural goodness. A man not within the Church may be more naturally good, more religious, more spiritual seemingly than a traditional Catholic. However, God demands not natural goodness but supernatural goodness which comes only from God through the means of grace that He has established through the Church, sacraments and sacramentals. It is the difference between illicit sacraments which do not confer grace, and licit sacraments which do. See Fr. Fahey’s works, such as “The Social Rights of Christ the King”, for an understanding.
All in all though, a good article. The thought that “Vatican II was not the cause of the crisis in the Church. It was a product of it.” is one that all Catholics should mull upon and understand.
I don’t see why Modernism is the outgrowth of both the Protestant Reformation (particularly as a product of Sola Scriptura) and the Enlightenment which followed. I believe that the printing press widened the availability of all information before that time, including Scripture. This is what contributed to the increased diversity of thinking. If Sola Scriptura was a problem, why would the Bible lead to non-Biblical thinking? Separating yourself from Scripture is the real cause of Modernism in Christianity. The infiltration of Modernism happened in both Protestant denomination and in the Catholic Church. All need to get back to Scripture.
Modernism’s roots go back to Don Scotus and Ockham, ca. 1300-1350, and Ockham’s view that there is no shared human nature as such and no basis for a rational system of ethics, and that God can only be known by faith and not reason, opening the way for the modernists to put God to one side and focus on the material alone.
The Protestant reformation participated in this movement towards reductionism, as noted above, turning to scripture ALONE, faith ALONE, Perspicuity of scripture, ditching the church, the church fathers, Tradition, of the sacraments, etc, concurrently with the modernist philosophy that swept Europe.
I recommend , again, Edward Feser’s “The Last Superstition”, a great summary of the development of modern philosophy from the 14th century till now, its break from the Aristotlean/Thomistic worldview and its obsession with reductionism.
In Romans 1:20, Paul acknowledges that God’s existence can be known by observing His creation; but faith comes by hearing the word of God. I don’t see how we can know and understand the plan of salvation without Scripture.
@aiello01, I don’t think anyone has suggested that truth can be known without Scripture. Wherever did you get that idea?
In the Church, there has been an emphasis on the use of reason in formulating doctrine, both official and unofficial doctrine. Greek philosophy has been used. I prefer an emphasis on Scripture.
While it is true to say the Church has put an emphasis on reason and philosophy, that should not be misconstrued as to suggest that this emphasis in any way detracts from the revelation of Sacred Scripture. It does not. If anything, it complements it. All Church doctrine comes from divine revelation, which is manifested in Scripture and Tradition.
Reason and philosophy are only secondary things, which act in support of Scripture and Tradition, not in competition to it.
Paul clearly says as you point out that God can be known by his works, and that those who do not recognise this are guilty.
One of the problems protestants face, and I take it you are one, is that they conceive of the word of God as being limited to scripture. But that is not the case.
Firstly, the word of God is Jesus, the Logos of John 1. And Jesus can communicate to any man through the Holy Spirit prompting them to follow their conscience and do what is right. That is why those who have not yet heard the gospel may go to heaven, even if this is considerably more difficult for them, as they do not have the support of the Christian community, the church to form them and guide them, and they are surrounded by unChristian values.
Isaiah 55:10-11 — “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and return not thither but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes forth from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” This demonstrates that “the Word of God” is not Scripture but, rather, God’s creative word.
THE INSPIRATION OF GOD.
Luke 3:2-3 — “[T]he word of God came to John the son of Zechariah in the wilderness; and he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance….”
This refers to the inspiration that St. John the Baptist received, as he was sent forth to preach the gospel of repentance and preparation for Christ.
Luke 4:44-5:1 — “[Jesus] was preaching in the synagogues of Judea. While the people pressed upon Him to hear the word of God…”
Luke 8:11-15 — “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. The ones along the path are those who have heard; …the ones on the rock are those who, when they hear the word, receive it with joy; but these have no root, they believe for a while and in time of temptation fall away…. And as for that in the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.”
Notice that the emphasis in this last verse is on hearing the word of God; an obvious reference both to Christ’s own preaching ( as well as to apostolic preaching (cf. 1 Thes 2:13), as well as the continual preaching of the gospel by the Catholic Church to all creatures in all ages (c.f. Mt 28:19-20; Rom 10:14-15).)
John 1:1, 14 — “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”
This passage, of course, refers to Christ the “Logos”, who is also the Incarnate Christ.
Acts 4:31 — “And when they had prayed, the place in which they were gathered together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God with boldness.”
THE APOSTLE’S TEACHING AND ORAL TRADITION.
1 Thessalonians 2:13 — “[W]hen you received the word of God which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers.”
Here Paul is specifically pointing to oral Tradition, not to Scripture. This was his first epistle to the Thessalonians. Notice that he doesn’t enjoin them to go solely by what is found in Scripture, but he reminds them to adhere to the oral teachings he had handed on to them.
GOD AS JUDGE.
Hebrews 4:12-13 — “For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. And before Him no creature is hidden, but all are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.”
This last passage is frequently quoted out of context by Protestants, as if it meant Scripture. But notice that it speaks of the Word of God as a “Him,” not an “it,” and that it is before “Him [Christ]” that the secrets of our hearts are laid bare and judged. The next time a Protestant quotes this verse out of context, ask him to explain how it is that the Bible can “discern the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Then ask him if it isn’t nonsensical to think of this as Scripture, and conversely, ask him if it’s not eminently reasonable, even demanded by the context, to see the “Word of God” here to be in reference to Christ.
GOD AS CREATOR
Hebrews 11:3 — “By faith we understand that the world was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was made out of things which do not appear.”
This passage in Hebrews only reinforces the conclusion we draw from Hebrews 4:12-13 that the Word being spoken of here is not the Bible. Clearly, no Protestant will posit that “the world was created” by the Bible.
Luke 10:16 “16 ‘Anyone who listens to you listens to me; anyone who rejects you rejects me, and those who reject me reject the one who sent me.'” –
Hebrews 13:17 “17 Obey your leaders and give way to them; they watch over your souls because they must give an account of them; make this a joy for them to do, and not a grief — you yourselves would be the losers.”
Actually, I am a cradle Catholic who pays lots of attention to what is in the Bible.
I like what Vatican II says in Dei Verbum 21: “Therefore, like the Christian religion itself, all the preaching of the Church must be nourished and regulated by Sacred Scripture.” The Church has restricted itself to being regulated by Scripture. I do the same thing in my personal life. I found things in the Bible that became essential in my personal life, which were not taught to me in my Catholic upbringing. This is why I value it so much. I am grateful for its present accessibility, which was not always the case throughout history.
Obviously, not all word of God is written down; but apparently, there is enough of the word of God in the Bible to suit the Church, which it compiled for itself in the fourth century.
During the gospel period and shortly thereafter, the only Bible that existed was the Old Testament. The New Testament books took about 70 years to be completed. Paul, as well as other apostles and disciples, wrote down a lot of their oral teachings which became part of the Bible.
The Church has always had a special place for Scripture. All of the readings in the Liturgy of the Word at the mass are from Scripture. None are from Tradition even though V2 defines the word of God as both Scripture and Tradition.
In regards to those who have never heard the gospel, I wonder how the Holy Spirit can prompt them in the same way as those who have the Holy Spirit abiding in them. Those with the Holy Spirit have a special discernment that others do not have. It is called the mind of Christ (1Corinthians 2:9-16).
I see what you are saying about Hebrews 4:12-13. I didn’t notice that before.
You are right that Christians have a supreme advantage over non Christians in being prompted by the Holy Spirit, but God still leads all his creation, and through his conscience a non Christian can move towards God, and God’s grace is not unavailable to him.
As far as scripture is concerned, we are on the same page. I read and study it daily and attend three groups for general discussion, very profitable indeed.
What has had the greatest impact on my understanding of scripture is William A. Jurgens: “The Faith of the Early Fathers” in three volumes. It has a doctrinal index, which makes the thoughts of the fathers over the first seven centuries on any given topic available at will. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
I tend to be interested in the mysticism or spirituality of the Bible. I get the impression that it began to be superseded by other mysticisms at Christianity’s earliest stages. The Desert Fathers would be an example. Not being of the world does not require us to go into the desert or to isolate ourselves physically.
aiello01, you are correct that the existence of God cannot be known. But what God demands of us cannot be known through purely natural phenomena – it requires revelation. And revelation, given in sacred Scripture (which by the way was weighed, selected, and put together into the Bible by the Catholic Church) cannot give us the proper understanding and perception of the revelation/scripture. That requires an authority that can tell us what proper doctrine is, and what the scripture means; which requires an indefectible Church that cannot err in these matters – which is the Catholic Church founded by Christ upon Peter and guaranteed not to fail or to lead into error as per Matt. 16:18.
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God also prompts us to listen to our conscience and is constantly urging us to do what is right. Revelation is not through scripture only, nor is the “Word of God” limited to the bible.
Shane Schaetzel: When reason and philosophy are used for supporting a Church teaching, this needs to be viewed on a case by case basis as to whether they support or detract from a teaching. I do not automatically assume that they support a teaching.
Matamoros: Vatican II’s Lumen Gentium 12 says: “The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, (111) [cf. 1 Jn 2:20, 27] 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” (8*) [Cf. 1 Cor. 10: 17] they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals. That discernment in matters of faith is aroused and sustained by the Spirit of truth.”
When we have the Spirit of Truth within us, we can all contribute our understanding of what we are reading in Scripture to the Church.
aiello01, the spirit of Truth is the Holy Ghost. But we already know that the indwelling of the Holy Ghost does not lead us into all truth by ourselves. This is the error of the Protestants with sola scriptura.
This is the problem with Vatican II documents. So many are deliberately ambiguous so that the “spirit of Vatican II” could lead the Church into truth. But it didn’t. It lead the Church into destruction.
I would posit that the “The entire body of the faithful” properly understood with the lens of tradition is the Church and its divine magisterium and not the individual members. Further, that the indwelling, while given to each Catholic in confirmation, leads the Church into all truth and protects her from error in doctrine – but not individuals, as witness Francis. speaking as a man, and one would suppose as a Catholic. That is why even Saints must adhere to the doctrines once for all time delivered without innovations.
Matamoros: Vatican 2’s Lumen Gentium 12 footnotes 1John 2:20, 27 which says: “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things…But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
Sounds like V2 and Scripture are in agreement. We are individually guided.
Amen! To Jesus through Mary!
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