1. Is the Chair of Peter Vacant? An Argument for Sedevacantism
2. Last Sunday after Pentecost
3. Saint Sylvester
4. Family and Marriage
5. Articles and notices
This past week the secular holiday of Thanksgiving was celebrated here in the United States of America. For American citizens it is the signal to begin the frenzy of buying gifts—one of the rituals that seemingly still unites the materialistic minded in the world. Thanksgiving is, though, on the positive side, a time for families to unite and celebrate being a family. Yet, for those who have had their families torn apart by greed and selfishness, or whose husband or wife, mother or father entered an even deeper servitude through vice by drugs, alcohol and lust, it is a time of suffering a profound sense of loss. Loneliness is something contrary to the nature God made man to be. Formed in the image and likeness of God, in whom are the Three Divine Persons, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, man is a social being. The Triune nature of God is of necessity; and the procession, the action within God, is within the Three Divine Persons by absolute nature. This giving, this living is reflected within the nature of man, too. It is not an internal action, but external, a giving of necessity that must be toward another person. Thus, in Genesis, God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost) said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself. (2:18) A baby cannot survive without another; a child cannot thrive without the giving by another. When we are adults, we can choose who to give ourselves too, and for those who choose marriage it is to the spouse and with that love united to the children if they are blessed with them. The person who depends upon another giving, but cannot return that love fails miserably as a person. This is seen too often in marriages today, where one of the spouses cannot live for the other but yet expects the other to be there for them—it covers the loneliness on their part, but they do not see that the other is lonely because the other spouse does not receive the love he or she is supposed to have.
Therefore, we witness a man works to have all his material desires but neglects his family. We witness the woman only thinks of herself and personal beauty and social attention but cannot dedicate herself to the difficult task of raising her children. This selfish or vicious person expects the other spouse and the children to give to them, but they themselves cannot give. The children already feel abandoned; the other spouse is frustrated at being treated just like the floor. And, when finally the devil introduces another lonely person who also doesn’t want to give, the spouse feels liberated but not alone because evil then espouses evil.
Now the children feel that nature has betrayed them because those who should be there for them are absent. They then learn that loneliness is expected in life and the other person in a relation is there only to be used for relieving bodily impulses. The cycle begins where, remaining lonely but able to relieve themselves, they continue life as though other persons did not exist.
If we have a family, let us enjoy and give thanks that we are not alone and that, in giving we receive the benefits of knowing we still share a common life. If alone, and it is not our fault, let us bear the sufferings in reparation for the sins causing this loneliness and that those being tempted receive the grace to reject the thought of abandoning their marriage.
If we are guilty of abandoning our marriage, let us ask for forgiveness and once more take up our obligation to give (love) by uniting our family once again and putting that first—grateful that if this is what will bring us and our families to heaven it is very little God is asking of us; but knowing that if we cannot even do this but shut out our family so will a just God do to us.
Christmas, which we will now prepare for, should be a joyful season with “peace to men of good will.” (Luke 2:14) May we not be among those who, not finding peace and lonely, turn to vice. On the contrary, may we seek peace and find ourselves amongst others doing good this season, finding friendship and joy because of our goodwill. May the birth of Christ in the stable at Bethlehem remind us that we don’t focus on the ox, or the donkey or the stable, but the Holy Family; and this is what we will focus on: our family being holy.
As always, enjoy the readings and commentaries provided for your benefit. —The Editor
Is the Chair of Peter Vacant?
An Argument for Sedevacantism
by Rev. Courtney Edward Krier
Fifth Contradiction: Church: Indefectible or Defectible?
In the words, then, of Pope Leo XIII, Freedom or Liberty is in choosing to live according to right reason and choosing to live according to right reason is choosing to live according to the eternal law of God, be it written in the heart or as taught through divine revelation as held by the Church.
Therefore, the nature of human liberty, however it be considered, whether in individuals or in society, whether in those who command or in those who obey, supposes the necessity of obedience to some supreme and eternal law, which is no other than the authority of God, commanding good and forbidding evil. And, so far from this most just authority of God over men diminishing, or even destroying their liberty, it protects and perfects it, for the real perfection of all creatures is found in the prosecution and attainment of their respective ends; but the supreme end to which human liberty must aspire is God.
These precepts of the truest and highest teaching, made known to us by the light of reason itself, the Church, instructed by the example and doctrine of her divine Author, has ever propagated and asserted; for she has ever made them the measure of her office and of her teaching to the Christian nations. As to morals, the laws of the Gospel not only immeasurably surpass the wisdom of the heathen, but are an invitation and an introduction to a state of holiness unknown to the ancients; and, bringing man nearer to God, they make him at once the possessor of a more perfect liberty. Thus, the powerful influence of the Church has ever been manifested in the custody and protection of the civil and political liberty of the people. The enumeration of its merits in this respect does not belong to our present purpose. It is sufficient to recall the fact that slavery, that old reproach of the heathen nations, was mainly abolished by the beneficent efforts of the Church. The impartiality of law and the true brotherhood of man were first asserted by Jesus Christ; and His apostles re-echoed His voice when they declared that in future there was to be neither Jew, nor Gentile, nor barbarian, nor Scythian, but all were brothers in Christ. So powerful, so conspicuous, in this respect is the influence of the Church that experience abundantly testifies how savage customs are no longer possible in any land where she has once set her foot; but that gentleness speedily takes the place of cruelty, and the light of truth quickly dispels the darkness of barbarism. Nor has the Church been less lavish in the benefits she has conferred on civilized nations in every age, either by resisting the tyranny of the wicked, or by protecting the innocent and helpless from injury, or, finally, by using her influence in the support of any form of government which commended itself to the citizens at home, because of its justice, or was feared by their enemies without, because of its power. (Ibid., 11-12)
And it is in this sense that one can understand those passages of Scripture that speak of liberty, such as the following:
Saint Paul: For you, brethren, have been called unto liberty: only make not liberty an occasion to the flesh, but by charity of the spirit serve one another. (Gal. 5:13)
Saint James: But he that hath looked into the perfect law of liberty, and hath continued therein, not becoming a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work; this man shall be blessed in his deed. (James 1:25) So speak ye, and so do, as being to be judged by the law of liberty. (Ibid. 2:12)
Saint Peter: As free, and not as making liberty a cloak for malice, but as the servants of God. (1 Peter 2:16) Promising them liberty, whereas they themselves are the slaves of corruption. For by whom a man is overcome, of the same also he is the slave. (2 Peter 2:19)
Therefore, one is free to do the Will of God and therefore one has the obligation to find out what is the Will of God. One is not free to do whatever one wants. Courtney Murray wanted to separate Church and State and therefore separate Freedom and Divine Law, making the state, as the will of the people, supreme as understood by Freemasonic Republics, not the Will of God as taught by the Church. Leo XIII, in writing his encyclical knew full well this was the intention of those who propagated freedom of conscience and so he continues to reveal and condemn this notion:
. . . But many there are who follow in the footsteps of Lucifer, and adopt as their own his rebellious cry, “I will not serve”; and consequently substitute for true liberty what is sheer and most foolish license. Such, for instance, are the men belonging to that widely spread and powerful organization, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.
What naturalists or rationalists aim at in philosophy, that the supporters of liberalism, carrying out the principles laid down by naturalism, are attempting in the domain of morality and politics. The fundamental doctrine of rationalism is the supremacy of the human reason, which, refusing due submission to the divine and eternal reason, proclaims its own independence, and constitutes itself the supreme principle and source and judge of truth. Hence, these followers of liberalism deny the existence of any divine authority to which obedience is due, and proclaim that every man is the law to himself; from which arises that ethical system which they style independent morality, and which, under the guise of liberty, exonerates man from any obedience to the commands of God, and substitutes a boundless license. The end of all this it is not difficult to foresee, especially when society is in question. For, when once man is firmly persuaded that he is subject to no one, it follows that the efficient cause of the unity of civil society is not to be sought in any principle external to man, or superior to him, but simply in the free will of individuals; that the authority in the State comes from the people only; and that, just as every man’s individual reason is his only rule of life, so the collective reason of the community should be the supreme guide in the management of all public affairs. Hence the doctrine of the supremacy of the greater number, and that all right and all duty reside in the majority. But, from what has been said, it is clear that all this is in contradiction to reason. To refuse any bond of union between man and civil society, on the one hand, and God the Creator and consequently the supreme Law-giver, on the other, is plainly repugnant to the nature, not only of man, but of all created things; for, of necessity, all effects must in some proper way be connected with their cause; and it belongs to the perfection of every nature to contain itself within that sphere and grade which the order of nature has assigned to it, namely, that the lower should be subject and obedient to the higher. (Libertas, 14, 15)
Freedom of Religion must be distinguished from civil freedom of religion, that is, the state’s obligation to not interfere with religion, and freedom of religion as in the right to choose any religion or none at all. Without fear of what non-Catholics may object, the Church will insist on the State allowing the Catholic freedom of his religion based on the civil Constitution, but cannot tolerate freedom of religion that is in opposition to the acceptance of the absolute truth of Divine Revelation, which must be accepted. Therefore, again, quoting Pope Leo XIII:
To make this more evident, the growth of liberty ascribed to our age must be considered apart in its various details. And, first, let us examine that liberty in individuals which is so opposed to the virtue of religion, namely, the liberty of worship, as it is called. This is based on the principle that every man is free to profess as he may choose any religion or none.
But, assuredly, of all the duties which man has to fulfill, that, without doubt, is the chiefest and holiest which commands him to worship God with devotion and piety. This follows of necessity from the truth that we are ever in the power of God, are ever guided by His will and providence, and, having come forth from Him, must return to Him. Add to which, no true virtue can exist without religion, for moral virtue is concerned with those things which lead to God as man’s supreme and ultimate good; and therefore religion, which (as St. Thomas says) “performs those actions which are directly and immediately ordained for the divine honor,”[Summa theologiae, lla-llae, q. lxxxi, a. 6. Answer.] rules and tempers all virtues. And if it be asked which of the many conflicting religions it is necessary to adopt, reason and the natural law unhesitatingly tell us to practice that one which God enjoins, and which men can easily recognize by certain exterior notes, whereby Divine Providence has willed that it should be distinguished, because, in a matter of such moment, the most terrible loss would be the consequence of error. Wherefore, when a liberty such as We have described is offered to man, the power is given him to pervert or abandon with impunity the most sacred of duties, and to exchange the unchangeable good for evil; which, as We have said, is no liberty, but its degradation, and the abject submission of the soul to sin.
This kind of liberty, if considered in relation to the State, clearly implies that there is no reason why the State should offer any homage to God, or should desire any public recognition of Him; that no one form of worship is to be preferred to another, but that all stand on an equal footing, no account being taken of the religion of the people, even if they profess the Catholic faith. But, to justify this, it must needs be taken as true that the State has no duties toward God, or that such duties, if they exist, can be abandoned with impunity, both of which assertions are manifestly false. For it cannot be doubted but that, by the will of God, men are united in civil society; whether its component parts be considered; or its form, which implies authority; or the object of its existence; or the abundance of the vast services which it renders to man. God it is who has made man for society, and has placed him in the company of others like himself, so that what was wanting to his nature, and beyond his attainment if left to his own resources, he might obtain by association with others. Wherefore, civil society must acknowledge God as its Founder and Parent, and must obey and reverence His power and authority. Justice therefore forbids, and reason itself forbids, the State to be godless; or to adopt a line of action which would end in godlessness – namely, to treat the various religions (as they call them) alike, and to bestow upon them promiscuously equal rights and privileges. (Ibid., 19-21)
In the United States, its citizens live in a pluralistic society where the state supposedly does not give preference to any religion, therefore in the civil sphere, as citizens of a Republican form of government, Freedom of Religion, according to the Constitution of the United States, is granted as viewed under Article VI, in which one reads:
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by Oath or Affirmation, to support this Constitution; but no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.
And the Bill of Rights, First Amendment, the very first words which declares: Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof . . .
(To be continued)
Fr. Leonard Goffine
The Ecclesiastical Year (1880)
INSTRUCTION FOR THE LAST SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST
The Introit of the Mass consoles and incites us to confidence in God who is so benevolent towards us, and will not let us pine away in tribulation. The Lord saith: I think thoughts of peace, and not of affliction: you shall call upon me, and I will hear you: and I will bring back your captivity from all places. (Jer. xxix. 11. 12. 14.) Lord, thou hast blessed thy land: thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. (Ps. lxxxiv.) Glory &c.
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH. Quicken, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of Thy faithful: that they, more earnestly seeking after the fruit of divine grace, may more abundantly receive the healing gifts of Thy mercy. Thro’.
EPISTLE. (Col. i. 9-14.) Brethren, We cease not to pray for you, and to beg that you may be filled with the knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding: that you may walk worthy of God, in all things pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God: strengthened with all might according to the power of his glory, in all patience and long-suffering with joy, giving thanks to God the Father, who hath made us worthy to be partakers of the lot of the saints in light; who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love, in whom we have redemption through his blood, the remission of sins.
EXPLANATION. In this epistle St. Paul teaches us to pray for our neighbor, and to thank God especially for the light of the true, only saving faith. Let us endeavor to imitate St. Paul in his love and zeal for the salvation of souls, then we shall also one day partake of his glorious reward in heaven.
GOSPEL. (Matt. xxiv. 15-35.) At that time, Jesus said to his disciples: When you shall see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place: he that readeth, let him understand: then they that are in Judea, let them flee to the mountains: and he that is on the house-top, let him not come down to take anything out of his house: and he that is in the field, let him not go back to take his coat. And woe to them that are with child, and that give suck, in those days. But pray that your flight be not in the winter, or on the Sabbath. For there shall be then great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, neither shall be: and unless those days had been shortened, no flesh should be saved: but for the sake of the elect, those days shall be shortened. Then, if any man shall say to you: Lo, here is Christ, or there: do not believe him: for there shall arise false Christs and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders, insomuch as to deceive (if possible) even the elect. Behold, I have told it to you before hand: if therefore they shall say to you: Behold, he is in the desert, go ye not out; Behold, he is in the closets, believe it not. For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. Wheresoever the body shall be, there shall the eagles also be gathered together. And immediately after the tribulation of those days, the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be moved: and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven, and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with much power and majesty: and he shall send his angels with a trumpet and a great voice, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from the farthest parts of the heavens to the utmost bounds of them. And from the fig-tree learn a parable: when the branch thereof is now tender, and the leaves come forth, you know that summer is nigh. So
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