Tag Archives: paganism

Cardinal Sarah on Catholic Doctrine

Excerpts from address given by Robert Cardinal Sarah at Église Saint François-Xavier in Paris, May 25, 2019, just hours after he visited the Cathedral of Notre-Dame of Paris following the catastrophic fire which nearly destroyed it.

And then, dear friends, what else does our cathedral need? It needs solid pillars to support the vaults. What are these pillars? What foundation is needed to support the graceful slenderness of the Gothic rib-vaults? The Catholic doctrine we have received from the apostles is the only solid foundation we can find.

If everyone defends his own opinion, theological hypotheses, novelties, or a pastoral approach that contradicts the demands of the Gospel and the perennial Magisterium of the Church, then division will spread everywhere.

I am wounded when I see so many pastors selling off Catholic doctrine and sowing division among the faithful. We owe the Christian people a clear teaching, firm and stable. How can we allow bishops and episcopal conferences to contradict one another? Where confusion reigns, God cannot dwell! For God is Light and Truth.

Unity of faith assumes the unity of the magisterium across space and time. When we are confronted with a new teaching, it must always be interpreted in continuity with the teaching that preceded. If we introduce ruptures and revolutions, we destroy the unity that governs the holy Church across the ages. This does not mean that we are condemned to a theological fixism. But all evolution must lead to a better understanding and deepening of the past. The hermeneutic of reform in continuity that Benedict XVI so clearly taught is a condition sine qua non of unity. Those who loudly proclaim change and rupture are false prophets! They are not seeking the good of the flock. They are mercenaries let in by deceit into the sheepfold!

Our unity is forged around the truth of Catholic doctrine and the moral teaching of the Church. There are no other means. To try to win media approval at the price of the truth is to do Judas’ work! Do not fear! What greater gift is there for humanity than the truth of the Gospel? What more precious treasure than the light of the Gospel and the Wisdom of God, who is Jesus Christ (1 Cor 1:24)?

Some Christians seem to want to deprive themselves of this light and wisdom. They limit themselves to looking at the world with secular eyes. Why? Is it the wish to be accepted by the world? The wish to be like the world?

I wonder whether, deep down, this attitude masks a fearful refusal to listen to what Jesus himself told us: “You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world.” What an honor, but also what a responsibility! What a duty! To renounce being the salt of the earth is to condemn the world to remain bland and tasteless. To renounce being the light of the world is to condemn it to darkness and abandon it to the shadows of its rebellion against God! We must not let this happen!

(https://www.catholicworldreport.com/2019/06/21/cardinal-sarah-we-must-rebuild-the-cathedral-we-do-not-need-to-invent-a-new-church/)

Blowgun Blowback on the Amazon Synod

In an earlier video, CCM contributor Hank Igitur offered a startlingly effective solution to the priest shortage in the Amazon Basin.  If the hierarchy adopted his revolutionary idea,** there might not even be a need to have the Amazon Synod in the first place!

Well, as you might imagine, there has been considerable feedback on this radical idea.  In this latest video, Hank recaps some of the more interesting comments he’s received!

**The radical idea:  send missionaries.  I know!  Crazy, right?

 

That Amazin’ Amazon Synod!

Yep.  “Amazin'” is the only way to describe the plans afoot for the much-ballyhooed and disturbingly controversial Sinodo para a Amazonia.  Amazonia is a general term for the area encompassing the Amazon basin, which stretches over eight nations covering roughly a third of South America.  The Amazon Synod, planned for October 2019, is an ambitious attempt to address a wide variety of ecological, political, economic, and even religious challenges confronting the inhabitants of that critical–yet troubled–region of our planet.

The working document (Instrumentum Laboris in Latin) for the synod came out a few weeks ago, and it created quite a stir in what Catholic World Report describes as “certainly of the kitchen sink variety. It has all the bullet points: everything anyone could want, and more.”

The document is long. Translated from the Portuguese original, the Spanish version of The Amazon: New Paths for the Church and Integral Ecology comes in at twenty-two thousand words, give or take, footnotes included. It is articulated in three parts: of four, nine, and eight chapters, respectively, over one hundred forty-nine numbered paragraphs. The major divisions are: “The voice of Amazonia”; “Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor”; “A Prophetic Church in Amazonia: Challenges and Hopes.”

There is absolutely no doubt that Amazonia–both the region itself and more particularly its indigenous peoples–have been shamelessly and brutally exploited over the centuries.  That the Church should address such injustices seems to us here at CCM to be entirely proper.  But the working document frequently goes off in odd directions.  (So odd, in fact, that Walter Cardinal Brandmüller calls the working document for the Synod “heretical” and an “apostasy” from Divine Revelation.  

As William Kilpatrick says in an essay for Crisis Magazine:

The most ironic thing about this new venture into the primitive is that some of the prime movers are the leaders of the Catholic Church. Take the upcoming Amazon Synod. The working document for the Synod does makes some valid observations about the biological and climatological importance of the Amazonian region and about the exploitation of the Amazonian people. But when it comes to describing the peoples, the “Voice of the Amazon” sounds suspiciously like the voice of Rousseau—or better, the voice of Rousseau harmonized with the voice of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, and elevated to the cosmic level.  Thus:

  • A fundamental aspect of the root of human sin is to detach oneself from nature… (99)
  • A cosmic dimension of experience (cosmovivencia) palpitates within the families. (75)
  • It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught these people throughout the centuries: faith in the God Father-Mother Creator; communion and harmony with the earth; solidarity with one’s companions … the living relationship with nature and “Mother Earth.” (121)

It’s a sort of 21st Century New Agey re-imagining of Rosseau’s “Noble Savage” construct.  Dwelling overlong on that romantic notion of indigenous peoples tempts one to see them as the teachers, the guardians of profound divine truths that Western civilization desperately needs to learn.  The idea that Catholicism is the legitimate guardian of the divine truths which lead people to eternal salvation has to take a bit of a back seat…at the very least it should zip its lip and listen attentively to “the ancient wisdom of the ancestors.

Another problem the synod will address is that of the priest shortage in Amazonia.  The most practical solution, according to many associated with synod preparation, is to ordain indigenous married elders, presumably using some sort of “fast track” seminary process.  Because these potential priests have wives (who themselves, one must allow, equally well-versed in the wisdom of their culture), these wives could be given some sort of official role in parish life as well…perhaps even as a sort of deaconess or something.

Something for everyone in the Instrumentum Laboris, to be sure!

Here at CCM, we’ll be watching developments closely.  I expect we’ll even have a dedicated section on our home page where our vast readership (all three dozen of you!) can easily keep abreast of each amazin’ twist and turn on the road to the Amazon Synod.

What’s That Stang Thang?

Cartoon depiction of Vatican

Yeah, today’s Halloween.  It’s a special time of the year (except for the raccoons who come to visit me throughout the year; they show up each night expecting treats, and they’re always wearing masks, so every night of the year is Halloween for them, I guess…)

And apparently, even the folks in the Vatican are into dress-up this October.  During the Youth Synod, Pope Francis was seen walking around looking like he was preparing to play Quidditch.  His staff (called a Papal ferula) looked nothing like a traditional bishop’s crozier, and certainly nothing like the trademark Crucifix which adorned the top of St. John Paul II’s ferula.

Observers can be forgiven if they sensed some sort of Wiccan flavor to the staff he was carrying.  It looked far more like a stang of the type favored by those practiced in the dark arts than it resembled anything Christian.  “Not so!” we were assured by Vatican staff (the administrative sort of staff as opposed to the ceremonial walking stick sort of staff).  The new, avantgarde and oh-so-fashionable staff was a gift from “the youth.”  If you look closely (really, really closely) you can almost–if you squint just right–see what might look like a Y-shaped Crucifix.

Taking a shot or two of the local chianti might aid the identification process.

Not only are we laity having trouble with the funny-looking staff, the Papal staff is having trouble with the staff as well…

 

G. K. Chesterton on the re-emergence of paganism in the West

Cover of the book "Heretics" by G. K. Chesterton. The cover shows a gargoyle from the Notre Dame Cathedral.

Great quote from the amazing G. K. Chesterton in his book Heretics

My objection to . . . the reassertors of the pagan ideal is, then, this. I accuse them of ignoring definite human discoveries in the moral world, discoveries as definite, though not as material, as the discovery of the circulation of the blood. We cannot go back to an ideal of reason and sanity. For mankind has discovered that reason does not lead to Chesterton Heretics Book Coversanity. We cannot go back to an ideal of pride and enjoyment. For mankind has discovered that pride does not lead to enjoyment. . . . If they like, let them ignore these great historic mysteries—the mystery of charity, the mystery of faith. . . . But if we do pursue, as a society, the pagan ideal of a simple and rational self-completion we shall end where Paganism ended. I do not mean that we shall end in destruction. I mean that we shall end in Christianity.