Sedevacante & The One True Catholic Church (contued) Part VIII

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Sedevacante & The One True Catholic Church (contued) Part VIII

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Edited: Jul 23, 2019, 12:28pm

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Jul 23, 2019, 12:21pm

I guess....if I wish to communicate with John....I am forced to continue this topic!

Jul 23, 2019, 12:25pm

John 20:22-23- “And when He Jesus had said this, He breathed on them and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive, they are forgiven them; and whose sins you shall retain, they are retained.’”

Jul 23, 2019, 12:29pm

Saint Athanasius, to whom it was objected, "You have the bishops against you," answered with Faith: "that proves that they are all against the Church."

- Saint Athanasius (ca. 296-373)

Jul 26, 2019, 12:41pm

et nolite conformari huic saeculo sed reformamini in novitate sensus vestri ut probetis quae sit voluntas Dei bona et placens et perfecta

Jul 30, 2019, 8:31am

“To establish the sacrilegious doctrine of his primacy over the English Church and the Anglican Sect, Henry VIII had to put to death two cardinals, three archbishops, eighteen bishops and arch-deacons, five hundred priests, sixty superiors of religious houses, fifty canons… and an immense number both of the gentry and people. He confiscated to the crown, and distributed among his favorites, the property of six hundred and forty-five monasteries and ninety colleges…”

Edited: Jul 30, 2019, 9:57am

>6 Joansknight:

Interesting statistics. As an English Catholic of course we grew up with stories of the English martyrs. My Catholic grammar school was named after one, Campion, and the school houses and classes had names such as Fisher, Gerard, Southwell, Garnet and More. Margaret Clitheroe was another well known name. But I'd never seen the total figures articulated like this. Of course it also has to be acknowledged that we murdered a lot of Protestants during the same era.

Jul 30, 2019, 10:01am

>7 John5918: I agree....

Jul 30, 2019, 10:04am

>7 John5918: Wait....did I really say that!? Are you not going to ask me why I had to travel by train so often as a child!?

Jul 30, 2019, 10:28am

>7 John5918: I guess you went to bed....

Jul 30, 2019, 1:26pm

>10 Joansknight:

Not to bed. I'm in DC at the moment accompanying one of my Sudanese Catholic bishops. We were at State Department this morning, going to USAID this afternoon. Yesterday we were on the Hill, after a morning meeting with a retired US bishop. Last week we were in New York for meetings in and around the UN.

Jul 30, 2019, 8:15pm

With reference to Joansknight's post number 144 in the older version of this thread:

Vatican: Bones found at cemetery do not belong to missing woman (NCR)

the results of a morphological analysis of bones and bone fragments found at an ossuary in a Vatican cemetery concluded that none belonged to Emanuela Orlandi, a young Italian woman who has been missing for more than 30 years.

Giovanni Arcudi, the forensic anthropologist who led the scientific investigation of the remains found at the Vatican's Teutonic Cemetery, "did not find any bone structure dating back to the period after the end of the 1800s," the Vatican said...

Aug 2, 2019, 5:34am

>11 John5918: Too bad you can not come to Michigan....

Aug 2, 2019, 6:27am

>13 Joansknight:

Yes, it was a hectic and busy trip. The only diversion I managed was a day birdwatching in Delaware with a US friend. We did manage to phone a Sudanese friend in Michigan, though.

Aug 2, 2019, 12:29pm

>14 John5918: Sure....make me jealous!

Aug 4, 2019, 3:55am

You have been told . . . what is good
And what the Lord requires of you:
Only to do the right and to love goodness,
And to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)

"This is the Christian vocation of the laity in the world. Today and every day. It is not an easy vocation for there are temptations to flow in other directions, to leave our own course and follow the so-called “main-stream,” a stream that appears large and exciting but eventually peters out into nothingness. . . ." (Dr. Diana L. Hayes, professor emerita of systematic theology at Georgetown University, link)

Aug 4, 2019, 4:00am

"At their most mature levels, religions have a common goal: union with all beings and with God. Unfortunately, many religions and Christian denominations have over-emphasized differences and claimed that their particular brand is superior to others. Jesus didn’t come to start another religion but to reveal God’s presence in all of us. The Christian name for the universal incarnation is Christ, but it is known by innumerable other names.

Leaders of the Catholic Church have acknowledged the perennial and pervasive nature of truth. For example, the Second Vatican Council teaches that all peoples comprise a single community and share the same origin, “for God made the whole human race to live over the face of the earth. One also is their final goal: God.” (1) The declaration goes on to praise indigenous religions, Hinduism, and Buddhism as they “reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all {people},” and states “the Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions.” (2)" (Fr Richard Rohr)

1. Second Vatican Council, “Nostra Aetate (In Our Time): Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non-Christian Religions,” (October 28, 1965), 1.

2. Ibid., 2.

Aug 7, 2019, 3:31am

"It’s not enough to have wonderful theories about God. Authentic mystical encounter radically changes us and our way of living—our politics, relationships, economics..."

Richard Rohr, link

Aug 11, 2019, 11:34am

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274), quoting Ambrose (another Doctor of the Church, 340–397), “If it is true, it is always from the one Holy Spirit.”

(Thomas Aquinas, De Veritate, q. 1, a. 8. Also Summa Theologia I-II, q. 109, a. 1, ad 1. The statement “Omne verum, a quocumque dicatur, a Spiritu Sancto est” is recorded in Patres Latini, 17, 245; today, the unknown author is called Ambrosiaster.)

Aug 12, 2019, 9:49am

>19 John5918: I love that quote from Ambrose. I've seen it translated "Whatever is true is ours."

Edited: Aug 12, 2019, 11:18am

>20 2wonderY:

Indeed. And it's echoed in the Vatican II document Nostra Aetate, reminding us that whatever is true and good in other religions is to be respected.

The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. She regards with sincere reverence those ways of conduct and of life, those precepts and teachings which, though differing in many aspects from the ones she holds and sets forth, nonetheless often reflect a ray of that Truth which enlightens all {people}... The Church, therefore, exhorts her sons {and daughters}, that through dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life, they recognize, preserve and promote the good things, spiritual and moral, as well as the socio-cultural values found among these men {and women}...

Nostra Aetate, 2.

Edited to include quote.

Aug 16, 2019, 1:24pm

Pope Pius XI (1923): “… the heresies begotten by the Protestant Reformation. It is in these heresies that we discover the beginnings of that apostasy of mankind from the Church, the sad and disastrous effects of which are deplored, even to the present hour, by every fair mind.” (Rerum omnium pertabationem #4, Jan. 26, 1923)

Aug 20, 2019, 11:56am

Well the only question then is what is holy and what is true? What, specifically, is meant by that? This is a problem in some religions that reject Christ and the Trinity and even have blasphemous things to say about them (as is the case with Islam and Judaism). If the good things are just natural goods, such as be nice to others, then to quote the saviour even the pagans do that (Mt 5:48). Apart from the vagueness of Nostra Aetate there's the problem that it's a major rupture with Tradition. If Christ is the Way, the Logos and the Life why would a sincere Catholic want to deprive someone of that path? Vatican II was a disaster, it achieved none of its aims. Unless its aim was to undermine people's faith in Jesus Christ and His Church.

Edited: Aug 20, 2019, 12:23pm

>23 liamfoley: Vatican II was a disaster, it achieved none of its aims

I wouldn't say it achieved none of its aims, but I think it definitely under-achieved. While in my experience it was broadly welcomed by the punters in the pews as well as by the bishops (who were part of it) and a whole generation of priests, nevertheless it was resisted by a small but vocal wing of the Catholic Church, and they succeeded in slowing down the reform, arguably abetted by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Thank God we now have a pope who seems more open to the spirit of reform.

Probably out of date now, but I recall an excellent book by Michael Winter entitled Whatever happened to Vatican II? written about twenty years after the end of the council, arguing that while superficial reforms had been implemented, much of the deeper stuff was still pending.

Aug 22, 2019, 4:01pm

Hope. It's a simple word and yet can mean so much to anyone going through a difficult time. It can mean the difference between hanging on and giving up. It can mean a tiny smile in the face of a devastating diagnosis. It's one word with no true definition — hope can mean anything you want it to.

Edited: Aug 23, 2019, 12:30am

>25 Joansknight:

Thank you for sharing. It's a word I hear often from my South Sudanese colleagues as their decades of conflict and suffering often seems endless. I think they would agree with you that, "It can mean the difference between hanging on and giving up". As they sometimes say to me, "We hope because we have no other alternative".

Aug 23, 2019, 1:33pm

>26 John5918: You have no idea....

Edited: Aug 25, 2019, 1:32pm

>28 Joansknight:

Don't forget that people don't join the seminary to automatically become priests. They join to discern whether or not they have a vocation to the priesthood. Many seminarians leave (or are asked to leave) for all sorts of reasons, and that has always been the case, even in the pre-1958 and pre-Vatican II Church.

Aug 25, 2019, 12:53pm

>29 John5918: Hope is also a prayer....

Aug 25, 2019, 1:34pm

>30 Joansknight:

Indeed it is, although I'm not sure how that relates to >29 John5918:. Seems more connected with >25 Joansknight:, >26 John5918: and >27 Joansknight:.

Aug 25, 2019, 2:58pm

>31 John5918: A miracle....would be more appropriate....than hope....

Aug 26, 2019, 2:40am

>32 Joansknight:

Hope in a miracle? And prayers...

Aug 26, 2019, 2:45am

I wasn't sure where to post the following, but I posted it here because I feel that some of the links posted by Joansknight fall into the category of "weaponising", as the article calls it, ie purporting to be about an issue but actually just an excuse to attack and undermine the pope. Incidentally Crux could not really be considered a "liberal" source, although neither is it extreme right wing.

Case of papal aide captures risks of ‘weaponizing’ sex abuse charges (Crux)

if a cleric is doctrinally and politically suspect, at least in this group’s eyes, then there’s likely moral corruption too.

In other words, what one might call the “weaponization” of clerical sexual abuse charges as part of the wars of culture in Catholicism is nothing new. Decisions to lodge such charges or to make them public, as well as whether people are inclined to believe or reject them, often are tied up with politics, try as reasonable souls might to remain objective...

The attacks... while ostensibly justified in the name of the truth, in reality are motivated by “other ends” - specifically, they said, the goal is “to undermine the credibility of Pope Francis, sowing doubts and suggesting that his teaching and his actions are marked by an incorrect choice of collaborators.”

What’s really going on, the bishops assert, is an effort “to delegitimize a pope who has clearly affirmed that poverty and the destruction of our common home both have their roots in an unbridled economy devoid of humanity.”

The bishops said the reports stem “from certain groups that want to ignore the moral value of the papal magisterium, because they have a different intent”...

Aug 28, 2019, 5:41pm

>34 John5918: For one to attack the pope....there has to be a pope....>33 John5918: not that you care....I am in need of hope....prayers....and a miracle....

Aug 28, 2019, 5:42pm

Pope Leo XIII (1886): “Everyone knows how inimical to virtue these times are and how the Church is attacked. We have much to fear amid such dangers, lest a shaken faith languish even where it has taken strong and deep roots. It is enough to recall rationalism and naturalism, those deadly sources of evil whose teachings are everywhere freely distributed. We must then add the many allurements of corruption: the opposition to or open defection from the Church by public officials, the bold obstinacy of secret societies, here and there a curriculum for the education of youth without regard for God.” (Quod multum #3)

Edited: Aug 29, 2019, 8:43am

>35 Joansknight:

Two issues in this post. If you are claiming (as I know you often do) that there is no pope (sede vacante), then of course we disagree fundamentally and you are out of step with the Roman Catholic Church.

If you are in need of prayers and a miracle, then of course you have my prayers. Why do you assume I don't care? You are often in my prayers. This morning at mass the archbishop invited us to remember all those who have asked for our prayers, and I would include you in that.

Aug 29, 2019, 8:36am

>35 Joansknight: I too am keeping you in prayer. May love and blessings rain down on you.

Sep 1, 2019, 2:34pm

Pope Leo XIII: “The Church, founded on these principles and mindful of her office, has done nothing with greater zeal and endeavor than she has displayed in guarding the integrity of the faith. Hence she regarded as rebels and expelled from the ranks of her children all who held beliefs on any point of doctrine different from her own.” (Satis Cognitum # 9, June 29, 1896)

Edited: Sep 5, 2019, 2:29am

"I reflected on why people are so uncomfortable when we say things like “Christ is in all things.” I’ve been accused of being a pantheist, but that’s lazy thinking, a cheap shot. I’m a panentheist. The Christian word for that is incarnationalism, the manifestation of the divine through the natural, physical, and human world. It’s a Christ-soaked world. Jesus—the Word made flesh—comes out of the world rather than into the world. Christ was here all the time. In Christ all of history and all of us are held together. And you do not have to use the word Christ to experience this radical unity!"

Fr Richard Rohr

A beautiful little reflection on the incarnation, linking also to the awe-inspiring beginning of John's Gospel, "In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God... The Word became flesh and lived among us..."

Edited: Sep 9, 2019, 3:13am

"The face we turn toward our own unconscious is the face we turn toward the world. Read that twice! As Jesus said, “The lamp of the body is the eye” (Matthew 6:22). People who accept themselves accept others. People who hate themselves hate others. Only Divine Light gives us permission, freedom, and courage to go all the way down into our depths and meet our shadow."

Fr Richard Rohr

Sep 11, 2019, 7:01pm

Neque enim Petri successoribus Spiritus sanctus promissus est, ut eo revelante novam doctrinam patefacerent, sed ut eo assistente traditam per apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodirent et fideliter exponerent.

- Vatican Council, Constitutio Dogmatica Prima de Ecclesia Christi (Pastor Aeternus), chap. 4, De Roma

Sep 11, 2019, 7:02pm

Pope Pius X: “That the State must be separated from the Church is a thesis absolutely false, a most pernicious error... Hence the Roman Pontiffs have never ceased, as circumstances required, to refute and condemn the doctrine of the separation of Church and State.” (Vehementer Nos #3, Feb. 11, 1906)

Sep 18, 2019, 6:14pm

Pope Pius IX: “… the new heretics who call themselves ‘Old Catholics’... these schismatics and heretics... their wicked sect... these sons of darkness... their wicked faction… this deplorable sect… This sect overthrows the foundations of the Catholic religion, shamelessly rejects the dogmatic definitions of the Ecumenical Vatican Council, and devotes itself to the ruin of souls in so many ways. We have decreed and declared in Our letter of 21 November 1873 that those unfortunate men who belong to, adhere to, and support that sect should be considered as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church.” (Graves ac diuturnae #’s 1-4, March 23, 1875, on the “Old Catholics” who reject Vatican I’s definition of Papal Infallibility)

Sep 18, 2019, 11:45pm

>44 Joansknight:

Aren't 'Old Catholics' the ones who rejected the teachings of the First Vatican Council? If the good Pope Pius IX were alive today no doubt he would be equally condemnatory of those who reject the teachings of the Second Vatican Council.

Sep 21, 2019, 8:38am

>45 John5918: Confusing....isn't it!?!? I do not think the "Old Catholics" can not truly be compared to those of the VII APOSTASY though...."Old Catholics" were forebears to the VII APOSTASY....they planted the seeds....

Sep 21, 2019, 9:18am

>46 Joansknight:

No, I think you've missed the point. Pope Pius IX condemns those who reject the teaching of a Vatican Council. He refers to them "as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church". What is true of those who reject the First Vatican Council can be applied to those who reject the Second Vatican Council. His words do not apply to those who accept the teaching of the Vatican Council. I'm afraid it refers to those who reject it, which must surely include those who refer to the Vatican Council as an APOSTASY, as you have just done.

Sep 21, 2019, 9:32am

>47 John5918: VATICAN II is NOT a council of the Catholic I am NOT rejecting the teachings of a Vatican Council....I am REJECTING....HERESY....APOSTASY & THE DOCTRINE OF MAN....!

Sep 21, 2019, 9:33am

Pope Pius VIII: “Against these experienced sophists the people must be taught that the profession of the Catholic faith is uniquely true, as the apostle proclaims: one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Jerome used to say it this way: he who eats the Lamb outside this house will perish as did those during the flood who were not with Noah in the ark. Indeed, no other name than the name of Jesus is given to men, by which they may be saved. He who believes shall be saved; he who does not believe shall be condemned.” (Traditi humilitati #4, May 24, 1829)

Sep 21, 2019, 9:59am

>48 Joansknight: so I am NOT rejecting the teachings of a Vatican Council....I am REJECTING....HERESY....APOSTASY & THE DOCTRINE OF MAN....!

That's probably what the Old Catholics said to Pope Pius IX as they merrily went on their way "as schismatics and separated from communion with the Church".

Sep 23, 2019, 2:31am

Every rational creature, every person, and every angel has two main strengths: the power to know and the power to love. God made both of these, but {God is} not knowable through the first one. To the power of love, however, {God} is entirely known, because a loving soul is open to receive God’s abundance. . . . {God’s} very nature makes love endless and miraculous. God will never stop loving us. Consider this truth, and, if by grace you can make love your own, do. For the experience is eternal joy; its absence is unending suffering.

The Cloud of Unknowing with the Book of Privy Counsel, trans. Carmen Acevedo Butcher (Shambhala: 2009), 14.

Edited: Sep 23, 2019, 2:34am

>53 Joansknight:

Missing an h off the beginning of that link.

Edited: Sep 28, 2019, 4:25pm

>50 John5918: Would a schismatic constantly read and refer to The Catechism Of The Council Of Trent St. Charles Borromeo !?!?

Sep 28, 2019, 4:29pm

>50 John5918: Funny how....when you attack one rushes to my defense....

Sep 28, 2019, 4:56pm

>57 Joansknight: That's because no one perceives John as attacking anyone on this site. He is perhaps the most kind and non-confrontational member I've met. He is always willing to meet others more than half way.

He is trying to be a friend to you.

Sep 29, 2019, 5:19am

St. Jerome: “To put it briefly, I have never spared heretics, and have always striven to regard the Church’s enemies as my own… There is one point in which I cannot agree with you: you ask me to spare heretics – or, in other words – not to prove myself a Catholic.” (Pope Benedict XV, Spiritus Paraclitus #38, Sept. 15, 1920)

Sep 29, 2019, 5:59am

>58 2wonderY:

Thanks for your kind words. I do try not to attack people, and I have tried to engage constructively with Joansknight, although clearly I disagree pretty fundamentally with them.

>56 Joansknight:

I think a point I have tried to make frequently is that what you read and refer to is irrelevant; it is the interpretation which counts. You often quote from texts which are part of the Tradition of the Church and so I have no problem with any of those texts. But your interpretation of them is different from that of the Church.

Sep 29, 2019, 6:16am

>60 John5918: You mean....different from VII APOSTASY....

Sep 29, 2019, 6:27am

>61 Joansknight:

No, I mean different from the Roman Catholic Church. You yourself have already quoted what a previous pope, Pius IX, says about those who reject the teaching of a Vatican Council.

Sep 29, 2019, 1:39pm

>62 John5918: Vatican II is NOT a council of the Catholic Church!

Sep 29, 2019, 1:57pm

>63 Joansknight:

You see, that's what I mean. Roman Catholics interpret Vatican II as a council of the Catholic Church; you interpret it differently. Since Vatican II included the pope (two popes, one after the other, in fact) and all the bishops of the Catholic Church, it is rather hard to understand how you can credibly claim that it is NOT a council of the Catholic Church.

Sep 29, 2019, 6:35pm

>64 John5918: You and the other billion of people who claim to be "Catholic" are NOT Roman Catholic....just as I am NOT a millionaire....even though I am rich....and I do NOT mean rich with money!

Sep 29, 2019, 11:21pm

>65 Joansknight:

Then you are using a language which only you understand. There are definitions of both millionaire and Roman Catholic which are widely understood. You apparently use the term millionaire in a way that is in tune with the normal definition thereof, but you have ventured into fantasy land with your definition of Roman Catholic.

Oct 5, 2019, 4:23pm

“And the angels who became devils, who kept not their principality, but forsook their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. As Sodom and Gomorrha, and the neighboring cities, in like manner having given themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. In like manner these men also defile the flesh, and despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.” (Jude, verses 6-8)

Edited: Oct 7, 2019, 12:13pm

Greetings from the Camino to Santiago de Compostela, where my wife and I are currently making a pilgrimage. It's been a pilgrimage route for the best part of a thousand years, so it predates most of the things you disapprove of in the Catholic Church. This is my second time on the Camino. I was on the French Camino 15 years ago, and this time we're on the Portuguese Camino, both of which of course converge on the same holy site which honours St James. A great opportunity for prayerful reflection while undergoing some mild physical hardship. Pilgrimages are an ancient part of our tradition.

Oct 7, 2019, 9:13am

Pope Benedict XIV: “Pope Gelasius in his ninth letter (Chap. 26) to the bishops of Lucania condemned the evil practice which had been introduced of women serving the priest at the celebration of Mass. Since this abuse had spread to the Greeks, Innocent IV strictly forbade it in his letter to the bishop of Tusculum: ‘Women should not dare to serve at the altar; they should be altogether refused this ministry.’ We too have forbidden this practice in the same words in Our oft-repeated constitution Etsi Pastoralis, sect. 6, no. 21.” (Allatae Sunt #29, July 26, 1755)

Oct 15, 2019, 12:31am

>71 Joansknight:

That's a very strange video. The good sister makes it quite clear that she does not give absolution, so she is not talking about a sacramental confession. She is simply doing what many people do every day - listening to someone who needs a listener, and perhaps giving sympathy, support, guidance, advice. Why the right wing has picked on this I don't know, and that priest makes himself look pretty ignorant with his response. Has nobody ever shared/"confessed" a sin/problem with you, and have you never helped them with sympathy, support, guidance, advice?

Oct 16, 2019, 9:59am

Pope Pius XI: “So, Venerable Brethren, it is clear why this Apostolic See has never allowed its subjects to take part in the assemblies of non-Catholics: for the union of Christians can only be promoted by promoting the return to the one true Church of Christ…” (Mortalium Animos # 10, Jan. 6, 1928)

Oct 18, 2019, 5:46pm

Pope St. Leo IX: “The holy Church built upon a rock, that is Christ, and upon Peter or Cephas, the son of John who first was called Simon, because by the gates of Hell, that is, by the disputations of heretics which lead the vain to destruction, it would never be overcome.” (In terra pax hominibus, Sept. 2, 1053, Denz. 351)

Oct 22, 2019, 4:51am

See post 61 in the following thread:

Oct 27, 2019, 10:47pm

Pope Pius X, Communium rerum (#18), April 21, 1909, concerning 11th century England: “Then indeed was it necessary to fight for the altar and the home, for the sanctity of public law, for liberty, civilization, sound doctrine, of all of which the Church alone was the teacher and the defender among the nations…”

Oct 28, 2019, 12:08am

>78 Joansknight:

Interestingly this is the position the Church finds itself in in a number of countries where there is civil war, dictatorship and weak or corrupt governance even today. South Sudan and Congo are two good examples where "the Church alone" is seen by many of the people as the one trusted institution which can be their "defender".

Oct 30, 2019, 1:44pm

>79 John5918: I pray you watch this video and realize how deceived you truly are!

Oct 30, 2019, 1:46pm

>82 Joansknight:

Actually I just watched it and chuckled at the ignorance of the narrator, and at the overdramatic title. End of the world?

Oct 30, 2019, 2:00pm

>84 Joansknight:

There is already official women's ministry at mass. Women can be Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist, can read the scriptures, and can serve at mass. So extending it is not such a big deal.

Are you aware of the leadership role played by many of the great women saints in the Church? Clare, Hild of Whitby, Julian of Norwich, Hildegard of Bingen... these are just a few of the names that spring to mind immediately.

Oct 30, 2019, 2:05pm

>85 John5918: Are you aware you approve of idol worshiping....and you are NOT referring to Catholic Church!?!?

Edited: Oct 31, 2019, 6:35am

>86 Joansknight:

Once again you express the fantasy that the Catholic Church is not the Catholic Church but is something else that you and a couple of ex-lay brothers running a website in the USA define it to be.

Try reading Acts of the Apostles 17:22-28. Try to imagine a situation where huge numbers of people have not even heard of Christ, and they attempt to find God in their own way. As the author of Acts has Paul say, "the unknown God you revere is the one I proclaim to you". If we want people to know Christ, do we come in like colonialists and ride roughshod over their cultures and traditions? Is that likely to bring people to Christ? Or do we start gently, as Paul did, and allow Christianity to be incarnated into their own situation, which in fact is what Jesus himself did. He explicitly said he had not come to wipe away the religion into which he was born (Judaism), but to complete it (Matthew 5:17). Let's remember the words of St Francis, "Preach the Gospel at all times, and use words (only) if necessary". Let's also remember the example of great missionaries like the martyr Blessed Charles de Foucauld who did exactly that, preaching the Gospel by example not by words.

All this must seem very strange to you and your fellow Sedevacantists living in the USA, where the Gospel is well known, if not well followed. But remember that the Catholic Church is universal, and its situation is different in different parts of the world. I've been a missionary in Africa for the best part of forty years, so I can identify with some of the issues raised at the Amazon Synod, and with people like St Francis and Blessed Charles de Foucauld. Try to move outside your familiar comfort zone, my friend. Christ is for all, not only those who come from a "Christian culture" nor indeed from Sedevacantism. And above all, remember that in all things, love must be paramount.

Edted to add the following, which just appeared on my e-mail:

Did Pan-Amazonian Synod Opportunities Evade First Missionaries in Africa? (ACI Africa)

Days after the three-week Pan-Amazonian Synod concluded at the Vatican, an Ivorian religious missionary priest is of the opinion that the kind of opportunities utilized by the fathers of the recently concluded Synod were missed out by the Church in Africa, particularly at the time of implanting the Catholic faith gospel on the African continent.

“When we read the final message about the synod of the Amazonia, we say that if such a missionary vision had been favored for Africa, if the prophetic voice of many of our theologians had been heard, we would have today a more authentic African Christianity and our people would not find themselves living their faith in a constantly syncretic dynamic”...

Nov 1, 2019, 8:33am

From Fr Richard Rohr (link)

Practical, practice-based Christianity has been avoided, denied, minimized, ignored, delayed, and sidelined for too many centuries, by too many Christians who were never told Christianity was anything more than a belonging or belief system. And we only belonged to our own little club or denomination at that! Some of us were afraid to step foot into a house of worship across the street for fear of eternal punishment. Now we know that there is no Methodist or Catholic way of loving. There is no Orthodox or Presbyterian way of living a simple and nonviolent life. There is no Lutheran or Evangelical way of showing mercy. There is no Baptist or Episcopalian way of visiting the imprisoned. If there is, we are invariably emphasizing the accidentals, which distract us from the very “marrow of the Gospel,” as St. Francis called it. We have made this mistake for too long. We cannot keep avoiding what Jesus actually emphasized and mandated. In this most urgent time, “it is the very love of Christ that now urges us” (2 Corinthians 5:14)...

Nov 1, 2019, 4:58pm

Pope Leo XIII: “One day St. Francis was absorbed in ardent contemplation of the wounds of Jesus crucified, and was seeking to take to himself and drink in their exceeding bitterness, when an angel from heaven appeared before him… at once St. Francis feels his hands and feet transfixed, as it were, with nails, and his side pierced by a sharp spear.” (Auspicato #16, Sept. 17, 1882)

Edited: Nov 2, 2019, 1:00am

>91 Joansknight:

Dolan is not one of my favourite cardinals, but good on him in this instance. Thanks for sharing this.

Edited: Nov 7, 2019, 2:13am

Pope Francis: St. Paul Announced Christ to 'idol worshippers' Without Attacking Them (ACI Africa)

St. Paul announced Jesus Christ to “idol worshippers” in Athens without attacking them, but by building bridges, Pope Francis said Wednesday. “We also ask the Holy Spirit today to teach us to build bridges with culture, with those who do not believe or with those who have a creed different from ours. Always build bridges, always reach out, never aggression”...

In his weekly catechesis on the Acts of the Apostles, Pope Francis described St. Paul’s discourse on the Areopagus as an example of inculturation of the Catholic faith in Athens.

“In the heart of one of the most famous institutions of the ancient world, the Areopagus, he achieved an extraordinary example of inculturation of the message of faith: he announces Jesus Christ to idol worshipers, and he does not do so by attacking them, but by becoming … a builder of bridges,” Pope Francis said.

Paul “shudders inside to see a city full of idols,” the pope said, quoting Acts 17:16. He added that this encounter with paganism pushed St. Paul to “build a bridge of dialogue with the culture.”

Looking upon Athens with the eyes of faith, “drives him (Paul) to open a path between the Gospel and the pagan world.”

“In this way Paul observes culture, observes the environment of Athens starting from a contemplative gaze which discovers that it is God who lives in their houses, in their streets and in their squares,” he said.

Francis added: “This makes us wonder about our way of looking at our cities: Do we observe with indifference? With contempt? Or with the faith that recognizes the children of God in the midst of anonymous crowds?”

The pope explained that St. Paul revealed the true identity of the Athenian’s “unknown god” by beginning with creation. “That is, from biblical faith in the God of revelation, leading to redemption and judgment, that is, to the properly Christian message,” he said.

St. Paul “shows the disproportion between the greatness of the Creator and the temples made by man,” Francis said.

“In this way Paul, according to a beautiful expression of Pope Benedict XVI, ‘announces the One whom men ignore, yet they know: the Unknown-Known,’” he said.

Pope Francis said that Paul then invites the Athenians to “go beyond ‘the times of ignorance’ and to decide to convert in view of imminent judgement.”

The pope said that Paul’s announcement of the kerygma “arouses ridicule and derision” and “seems to have failed.” However, some adhered to his word and opened themselves to faith, among them, he said. “Among these is a man, Dionysius, a member of the Areopagus, and a woman, Damaris.”

“Even in Athens the Gospel takes root and can run with two voices: that of man and that of woman,” he said.

Nov 11, 2019, 9:20am

>94 John5918: Once again....Francis IS a APOSTATE & MANIFEST HERETIC....therefore he can NOT be pope!

Pope Pius IX: “Also perverse is that shocking theory that it makes no difference to which religion one belongs, a theory greatly at variance even with reason. By means of this theory, those crafty men remove all distinction between virtue and vice, truth and error, honorable and vile action. They pretend that men can gain eternal salvation by the practice of any religion, as if there could ever be any sharing between justice and iniquity, any collaboration between light and darkness, or any agreement between Christ and Belial.” (Qui Pluribus # 15, Nov. 9, 1846)

Nov 11, 2019, 9:30am

>95 Joansknight:

Once again the fantasy that Pope Francis is not pope, which is connected I suppose with your other fantasy that the Catholic Church is not the Catholic Church. Back in the real world we try to make the best we can out of, er, reality.

Edited: Nov 12, 2019, 12:07am

>95 Joansknight:

Encountering the Spirit in the symbols of the ancestors (NCR)

The past few weeks have cemented for me the sad reality that for too many within U.S. Catholicism there is only one way to be church. Commentaries and actions surrounding the Amazon synod suggest that the only and preferred model is Eurocentric...

Pope Pius IX, despite being a great pope, was almost certainly Eurocentric. It was, after all, 1846.

Nov 24, 2019, 12:02am

Where many saw sinners and evildoers, Jesus saw apostles (Vatican News)

Where many saw only a sinner, a blasphemer, a tax collector, an evildoer or even a traitor, Jesus was able to see apostles. Such is the beauty that his gaze invites us to proclaim, a gaze that transforms and brings out the best in others.” These words, which become flesh in the witness borne by so many Christians in every part of the world, are key to understanding mission as proposed by Francis... Jesus’ gaze is one that “shatters all determinisms, fatalisms and standards”...

Dec 21, 2019, 10:12am

St. Francis Xavier: “Again and again I have thought of going around the universities of Europe, and everywhere crying out like a madman… ‘What a tragedy! How many souls are being shut out of Heaven and falling into Hell, thanks to you!’”

Dec 21, 2019, 10:44am

A fantasy is something you imagine, which might involve dragons, unicorns, or an imaginary best friend. If you live in a fantasy world, you're not worrying much about reality — pleasant, maybe, but not very practical. Fantasy is dreams and imagination. ... But sometimes a fantasy is all you need." This IS the VATICAN II APOSTASY!

Dec 21, 2019, 1:24pm

Good to see you back. Let me take this opportunity to wish you a happy and holy Christmas and a peaceful and blessed new year.

Dec 21, 2019, 1:27pm

>101 John5918: My wife passed away on December 14th after suffering for four months....Christmas means NOTHING to me this year!

Dec 21, 2019, 10:51pm

>102 Joansknight:

My sincere condolences to you. My thoughts and prayers are with you. RIP.

Dec 22, 2019, 10:03am

>103 John5918: Thank you!

Dec 22, 2019, 10:04am

St. Alphonsus (1755): “The proud are hateful before God; He cannot bear them. As soon as the angels yielded to pride, He banished them from paradise and sent them into hell, far distant from his presence. The words of God must be fulfilled: Whosoever, says the Lord, shall exalt himself, shall be humbled (Matt. 23:12).”

Dec 22, 2019, 10:04am

St. Euplius, before his martyrdom, said: “Brethren, love the Lord with all your hearts; for He never forgets those who love Him. He remembers them during life and at the hour of their death, when He sends His angels to lead them to His heavenly country.”

Dec 22, 2019, 12:08pm

>102 Joansknight: Please allow me to give you condolence and comfort as well.
As my family phrases it, born into internal life 12/14/19.

If I were near, I'd offer a hug. Best I can do is proffer a book I've found helpful

Where is God When it Hurts?, by Philip Yancey.

PM me if you feel a need to shout or cry.

Dec 23, 2019, 8:17am

>107 2wonderY: I shout and cry often....thank you!

Dec 24, 2019, 9:47am

Pope Pelagius II: “Those who were not willing to be at agreement in the Church of God, cannot remain with God; although given over to flames and fires… there will not be for them that crown of faith, but the punishment of faithlessness…” (Denz. 247)

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 4:11am

>110 Joansknight:

What Saint John Paul II is criticised for saying in this video is perfectly orthodox and can be found in the teachings of Vatican II (let alone the Acts of the Apostles). Of course those who separate themselves from the Catholic Church by rejecting the teaching of this Vatican Council and claiming that John Paul II was not even a pope would not agree.

Dec 25, 2019, 7:07am

“For a Child is born to us, and a son is given to us, and the government is upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called, Wonderful, Counsellor, God the Mighty, the Father of the World to come, the Prince of Peace.” (Isaias 9:6)

Dec 25, 2019, 7:09am

“I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people: For, this day, is born to you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David… And suddenly there was with the angel a great multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will.” (Luke 2:10-14)

Dec 25, 2019, 9:44am

Blessed & Joyous Feast Of The Birth Of Christ!

Dec 25, 2019, 10:07am

And a blessed day to you!

Dec 25, 2019, 10:12am

>115 2wonderY: Thank you!

Edited: Dec 25, 2019, 12:00pm

We had the mass during the day today so the Gospel reading was from John 1. This is one of my favourite scriptural texts, and I think it contains tremendous depth.

In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came into being, not one thing came into being except through him. What has come into being in him was life, life that was the light of people; and light shines in darkness, and darkness could not overpower it... The Word became flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that he has from the Father as only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth...

Christmas blessings to you both.

Dec 25, 2019, 12:17pm

>117 John5918: Thank you!

Dec 25, 2019, 12:18pm

We had Luke this morning, but Isaiah too. The elderly priest admired granddaughter’s red and purple hair - said he would do the same. A lure for the young people to return, eh?

Dec 25, 2019, 12:20pm

>117 John5918: I wish it had been a true mass you had attended....I would give anything to be able to go to mass and receive our Lord....

Dec 27, 2019, 12:29pm

St. Alphonsus (1755): “The atmosphere of the world is noxious and pestilential. Whosoever breathes it easily catches spiritual infection. Human respect, bad example, and evil conversations are powerful incitements to earthly attachments and to estrangement of the soul from God. Everyone knows that the damnation of numberless souls is attributable to the occasions of sin so common in the world.”

Dec 27, 2019, 12:50pm

>119 2wonderY: Hoping you would PM me back....

Dec 31, 2019, 10:07am

St. Basil, Letter 159: “For if, to me, to live is Christ, Philippians 1:21 truly my words ought to be about Christ, my every thought and deed ought to depend upon His commandments, and my soul to be fashioned after His.”

Dec 31, 2019, 10:10am

Wishing you a peaceful and blessed new year.

Dec 31, 2019, 10:35am

>125 John5918: Thank also!

Edited: Jan 1, 1:48am

Christ is before all things, and in Christ all things hold together (Colossians 1:17).

Before the world was made, we have been chosen in Christ . . . claimed as God’s own, and chosen from the very beginning (Ephesians 1:4, 11) so that God could bring everything together, in heaven and on earth, as a plan for the fullness of times (1:10).

Jan 3, 10:35am

Pope St. Leo the Great: Those who “return once more to the catholic Faith which they had long ago lost, should first confess without ambiguity that their errors and the authors of the errors themselves are condemned by them, that their base opinions may be utterly destroyed, and no hope survive of their recurrence…” (Letter 18, Dec. 30, 447)

Jan 4, 9:36am

St. Francis De Sales (1602): “As to decrees on doctrines of faith they are invariable; what is once true is so unto eternity…”

Jan 8, 10:24am

“Before I go, and return no more, to a land that is dark and covered with the mist of death: a land of misery and darkness, where the shadow of death, and no order, but everlasting horror dwelleth.” (Job 10:21-22)

Jan 8, 10:25am

Neque enim Petri successoribus Spiritus sanctus promissus est, ut eo revelante novam doctrinam patefacerent, sed ut eo assistente traditam per apostolos revelationem seu fidei depositum sancte custodirent et fideliter exponerent. For the Holy Ghost was promised to the successors of Peter not so that they might, by His revelation, make known some new doctrine, but that, by His assistance, they might religiously guard and faithfully expound the revelation or Deposit of Faith transmitted by the Apostles.

- Vatican Council, Constitutio Dogmatica Prima de Ecclesia Christi (Pastor Aeternus), chap. 4, De Roma

Jan 10, 9:05am

Pope Leo XIII (1902): “By his (Christopher Columbus’) toil another world emerged from the unsearched bosom of the ocean: hundreds of thousands of mortals have, from a state of blindness been raised to the common level of the human race, reclaimed from savagery to gentleness and humanity; and, greatest of all, by the acquisition of those blessings of which Jesus Christ is the author, they have been recalled from destruction to eternal life.” (Encyclical, Quarto Abrupto)

Jan 12, 6:40am

“The perverse are hard to be corrected, and the number of fools is infinite.” (Ecclesiastes 1:15)

Jan 13, 8:53am

St. Thomas Aquinas (1262): “Wisdom may fill the hearts of the faithful, and put to silence the dread folly of heretics, fittingly referred to as the gates of Hell.”

Jan 13, 8:58am

Good morning Joansknight. I'm at work, so can't chat. Just wanted to say hello.

Jan 13, 10:07am

>136 2wonderY: Hello....God Bless!

Jan 14, 10:54am

In condemning us, you condemn all your ancestors -- all the ancient priests, bishops and kings -- all that was once the glory of England, the island of saints, and the most devoted child of the See of Peter.

- St. Edmund Campion, English martyr

Jan 14, 10:58am

>139 Joansknight:

Edmund Campion is a particular favourite of mine. The grammar school (high school) I attended was named after him. All the classes and houses in the school were named after English martyrs - Southwell, Clitheroe, More, Fisher, etc.

Jan 14, 11:13am

>140 John5918: they died for thier FAITH....they died for the CHURCH and it's DOCTRINES!

Jan 14, 1:12pm

>141 Joansknight:

Indeed they did. I think English Catholics of my generation were very conscious of that.

Jan 19, 9:17am

Pope Gregory XVI, Mirari Vos (# 10), Aug. 15, 1832: “Therefore, it is obviously absurd and injurious to propose a certain ‘restoration and regeneration’ for her (the Church) as though necessary for her safety and growth, as if she could be considered subject to any failing health or dimming of mind or other misfortune.”

Jan 20, 9:01am

When I saw the definition of the Mass in the instruction that precedes the Novus Ordo, I said: "This definition of the Mass is unacceptable; I must go to Rome to see the Pope." I went and said: "Holy Father you cannot allow this definition. It is heretical. You cannot leave your signature on a document like this." The Holy Father replied to me: "Well, to speak truthfully, I did not read it. I signed it without reading it."

- Charles Cardinal Journet of Geneva (1891-1975), explaining that Pope Paul VI signed texts that he had not re

Jan 21, 9:28am

Pope St. Gregory I (c. 590): “… if you be Christ’s then you are the seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29). If we because of our faith in Christ are deemed children of Abraham, the Judeans therefore because of their perfidy have ceased to be His seed.

Jan 26, 10:29am

He who goes about to take the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass from the Church plots no less a calamity than if he tried to snatch the sun from the universe.

-St. John Fisher, 16th-century English bishop

Jan 27, 9:02am

Besides what happens to be observed by the universal Church wherever it exists,... there are other things that vary according to locale and region.... All such things are a matter of freedom, and there is no better practice for the serious and prudent Christian to follow with regard to them than to act in the way he sees the Church acting wherever he happens to be. For whatever is not contrary to the faith or to good morals ought to be considered as indifferent and should be observed for the sake of fellowship with those among whom one is living.

- Saint Augustine (354-430), Epistulae, 54:1-2

Jan 28, 6:49am

>148 Joansknight:

Thanks for quoting John Fisher, one of our English martyrs. At the time he was writing, the Catholic Church in England was being persecuted and Catholics were prevented from attending mass. Many old Catholic buildings have a "priest hole", a hiding place where the priest could be secreted if the authorities came searching. Of course priests and people braved the persecution and mass was still celebrated, and there are still old Catholic families who can trace their ancestry back before those times and who remained true to the faith despite the persecution. One example is the Vaughan family, which produced the 19th century Cardinal Herbert Vaughan. Sadly Catholics also persecuted the protestants when we had a Catholic monarch. Thank God that the mass is now freely available in England and most of the world, except in those places like the Amazon and parts of Africa where the Catholics are many, the priests are few and the distances and travel conditions are such that people still only get mass once or twice a year if they are lucky.

Edited: Jan 28, 7:02am

>149 Joansknight:

Thanks also for quoting Augustine. Some of my favourite quotes from him are from his writings on the book of Genesis, The Literal Meaning of Genesis. Referring to a literal interpretation of Genesis he says:

But if I make such a statement, I fear I shall be laughed at both by those who have scientific knowledge of these matters and by those who can easily recognize the facts of the case...

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for a nonbeliever to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn...

to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men. If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehood on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason? Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion (I Timothy 1:7)...

He is stating clearly that the book of Genesis is not to be taken literally, and that it is not to be taken as scientific fact: "I fear I shall be laughed at both by those who have scientific knowledge of these matters and by those who can easily recognize the facts of the case". He is also criticising "reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture" who "bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions". This is surely one of the early foundations of our Catholic understanding that the truth of Holy Scripture is not scientific truth and that we need to use the tools of biblical exegesis to understand the bible. Modern evangelical and fundamentalist protestant Christianity often falls into the trap of bible literalism which Augustine calls nonsense, foolish, reckless, unlearned, incompetent and mischievous.

Jan 28, 7:42am

And Fr Richard Rohr's reflection for today strikes me as not unconnected with what Augustine wrote (>151 John5918:)

When Western civilization set out on its many paths of winning, accomplishment, and conquest, the contemplative mind seemed uninteresting and even counterproductive to our egoic purposes. The contemplative mind got in the way of definable goals for progress, science, and development, which were very good and necessary in their own way—but not for soul knowledge. We lost almost any notion of paradox, mystery, or the wisdom of unsayability—which are the open-ended qualities that make biblical faith so dynamic, creative, and nonviolent. Instead, we insisted on “knowing,” and even certain knowing all the time and every step of the way! This is no longer the enlightening path of Abraham, Moses, Mary, or Jesus but a rather late and utterly inadequate form of religion, which is probably why so many individuals, especially in the West, now say they are “spiritual but not religious.” I cannot fault them for that, though it sounds like the dualistic mind speaking.

We must remember that Christianity in its maturity is supremely love-centered, not information- or knowledge-centered. The primacy of love allows our knowing to be much humbler and more patient and helps us to recognize that other traditions—and other people—have much to teach us, and there is also much we can share with them. This stance of honest self-knowledge and deeper interiority, with the head (Scripture), the heart (Experience), and the body (Tradition) operating as one, is helping many to be more integrated and truthful about their own actual experience of God.

Contemplation allows us to see things in their wholeness and thus with respect (re-spect means to see a second time)... This is the essential letting-go lesson (kenosis) of Contemplation 101, but such self-emptying does not yet feel much like “prayer” to the average person, which is probably why many give up too soon and frankly never truly meet otherness—much less the Other. They just keep meeting themselves over and over again. Only at a deeper level of contemplation do we begin to see the correlation between how we do anything and how we do everything else...

Such knowing does not contradict the rational, but it’s much more holistic and inclusive...

Jan 28, 9:26am

Thank you John!

Jan 29, 4:41am

Lift up your heart to God with a gentle stirring of love. . . .

The first time you practice contemplation, you’ll only experience a darkness, like a cloud of unknowing. You won’t know what this is. You’ll only know that in your will you feel a simple reaching out to God. You must also know that this darkness and this cloud will always be between you and your God, whatever you do. They will always keep you from seeing God clearly by the light of understanding in your intellect and will block you from feeling God fully in the sweetness of love in your emotions. So, be sure you make your home in this darkness. Stay there as long as you can, crying out to God over and over again, because you love God. It’s the closest you can get to God here on earth, by waiting in this darkness and in this cloud. Work at this diligently, as I’ve asked you to, and I know God’s mercy will lead you there. . . .

God is incomprehensible to the intellect. . . . Nobody’s mind is powerful enough to grasp who God is. We can only know God by experiencing God’s love. . . .

God can be loved, but not thought.

By love, God can be embraced and held, but not by thinking. . . .

No matter how sacred, no thought can ever promise to help you in the work of contemplative prayer, because only love—not knowledge—can help us reach God. . . .

From The Cloud of Unknowing with the Book of Privy Counsel, trans. Carmen Acevedo Butcher (Shambhala: 2009), 11, 12, 14, 21, 28-29, 156. In place of masculine pronouns used in the original, "God" is simply used.

Jan 30, 6:09am

And here's a reflection by Augustinian priest Fr Martin Laird which relates the insights of The Cloud of Unknowing to the writings of St. Augustine.

The fourteenth-century author of The Cloud of Unknowing acknowledges the distinction (not separation) between what our love can do and our thinking mind cannot. The author likens it to having two faculties, a faculty (or capacity) of the thinking, calculating mind and a faculty for loving. God created each of these. However, “God is forever beyond the reach of the first of these, the intellectual faculty; but by means of the second, the loving faculty, {God} can be fully grasped by each individual being.” {1}

The author {of The Cloud} clearly values the thinking mind. It is necessary for understanding (grasping with the mind) created beings and “to think clearly about them.” {2} Thinking mind functions by means of concepts, images, words, and so on. But God is beyond the grasp of concepts; no word can capture God, no word can have the final word on the Word made flesh, who yet dwells among us (John 1:14). “God can well be loved,” the author says, “but {God} cannot be thought. By love {God} can be grasped and held, but by thought neither grasped nor held.” {3} God is eternal, the human mind is finite. If God could be comprehended, surrounded by a concept, this would make us greater than God. We invent the illusion that God is a thing that we lack and must therefore seek, find, and (attempt to) control. . . .

St. Augustine, the great teacher of love that knows and knowledge that loves, reflects on his own experience of looking for God as an external object, a thing—just huge—that could be located and fixed in space and time. In his Confessions, he relates how all this changed when he at last forgot himself.

But when unknown to me you caressed my head,
and when you closed my eyes lest they see things
that would seduce me,
I began for a little while to forget about myself,
and my madness was lulled to sleep.
When I awoke in you, I saw very differently,
infinite in a very different sense.
But what I saw was not seen with the eye of the body. {4}

For decades Augustine searched for God where God cannot be found—outside himself in conquest, career, and ambition. Only when God casts him into sleep (Genesis 2:21) does something immensely creative happen. Augustine awakes in God and beholds what only the inner eye can behold: the traces of God as luminous vastness. As we journey toward the God who causes us to seek, may we discover our own grounding silence and awake in God who has found us from all eternity.

1. The Cloud of Unknowing, in The Cloud of Unknowing and Other Works, trans. A. C. Spearing (Penguin: 2001), 23.

2. Ibid., 27.

3. Ibid, 27-28.

4. St. Augustine, Confessions, 7, 14, trans. Benignus O’Rourke (Darton, Longman, and Todd: 2013), 286.

Martin Laird, An Ocean of Light: Contemplation, Transformation, and Liberation (Oxford University Press: 2019), xiii-xiv, xv-xvi.

Jan 31, 4:04am

And a reflection on love and knowing by Franciscan Sr Ilia Delio

Love: The Highest Form of Knowing

When I was doing my doctoral work in theology at Fordham University, I was introduced to the master of mystical theology, Denis the Areopagite, or Pseudo-Dionysius (who wrote in the late fifth to early sixth century)... the mysterious person who wrote the most exquisite words stretching into the mystery of the incomprehensible God. . . . God is the name of absolute divine mystery beyond any speech or thought or movement. God’s love is so tremendous, this mystical writer claimed, that God is like a sober drunk, falling over himself in the desire to share divine life.

God, the eros of divine love
God, agape, giving Godself away
God, ek-static, standing outside Godself, in the creation of the world
God, the volcanic eruption of divine life.

Because God’s eros is cosmic, Dionysius claimed, the whole universe is drawn to God, who is always utterly transcendent. God is both hidden and revealed, and there is no access to the hidden God except by way of God manifested in creation. We long for God because God longs for us; God eternally desires to give Godself away in love so we can give ourselves in love; love always stands outside itself in the other.

To be united to God we must “break through” the sensible world and pass beyond the human condition to move beyond knowing to unknowing, from knowledge to love. In his De mystica theologia Denis wrote: “As we plunge into that darkness which is beyond intellect, we shall find ourselves not simply running short of words but actually speechless and unknowing.” {1} . . .

Christian mystics understood love as the core of reality and spoke of a deep relationship between love and knowledge. “Love is the highest form of knowing,” Saint Augustine wrote. {2} Gregory the Great said, “Love itself is a form of knowing” (amor ipse notitia est), meaning that the love by which we reach God implies a form of knowing above ordinary reason. {3} William of St. Thierry put it beautifully in this way: “In the contemplation of God where love is chiefly operative, reason passes into love and is transformed into a certain spiritual and divine understanding which transcends and absorbs all reason.” {4}

Wisdom is knowledge deepened by love. The wise person knows more deeply by way of love than by way of argument because the eye of the heart can see the truth of reality. Hence the wise person is one who knows and sees God shining through everything, even what seems ugly or despised.

1. Pseudo-Dionysius, “The Mystical Theology,” in Pseudo-Dionysius: The Complete Works, trans. Colm Luibhéid (Paulist Press: 1987), 139.

2. For example Bernard McGinn, who writes, “Love and knowledge are intertwined in Augustine’s mystical consciousness.” See Bernard McGinn, "The Foundations of Mysticism: Origins to the Fifth Century, vol. 1" of The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism (Crossroad: 1994), 235.

3. Bernard McGinn, "The Flowering of Mysticism: Men and Women in the New Mysticism—1200-1350, vol. 3" of The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism (Crossroad: 1988), 82.

4. McGinn, "The Flowering of Mysticism", 82.

Ilia Delio, Birth of a Dancing Star: My Journey from Cradle Catholic to Cyborg Christian (Orbis Books: 2019), 5-6, 200-201.

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