Folly

I have generally steered clear of Pope Francis and his controversies.  The dioceses I reside in have enough Modernism, Montanism, and Protestant-Wannabeism (courtesy of the megachurch “bible belt”) without me having to look up what the Bishop of Rome is up to.  I have enough on my mind and enough problems just outside my own door and – even more – within my soul to occupy me.

And yet, it is still impossible to entirely escape.  The revelation that Pope Frank knew more about sex abuse scandals than he was letting on has caught my attention.  The allegation that he is just as guilty in coverups as many of his brother bishops strikes a cord that I cannot ignore.

It brings me no joy that the First Bishop’s hands are dirty.  I am not filled with the envious and demonic shaudenfreude many today feel when their “enemies” fall.  I do not gloat at the thought of seeing him pulled into the mud even if he deserves it, for such things always damage the papacy.  Every wicked pope that dragged the See of Peter through the mud ensured that their successor had to put great effort to restore it.  The Chilean Abuse Scandal is no victory for tradition; it is a tragedy and a temporary triumph of evil that sex abuse and coverups of this sort happen at all.

This may well be the end of this “popular” Pope’s temporal influence.  I did a quick search this night on what the trending news was for him and found this:

“Pope reinstates sex abuse commission” (a necessary act, especially currently)

“Pope Francis: Same Sex Marriage is a Diabolical Attack on the Family” (I imagine his former “allies” in Germany will not appreciate this reversal)

“Pope backs down in Nigerian Bishop controversy” (Local clergy can oppose the will of the Vatican, and win?!)

“Pope Francis reveals he meets with sex-abuse victims on Fridays” (In all sincerity, if he really does this then I applaud him)

I am not the Pope’s judge, only God holds that power.  It is clear to me though that the goodwill he won from the world by seeming like a “hip pope” who was going to “open the Church to the gays and the world” is dried up.  Bishops defy him (with Conservatives becoming eerily SSPX-like in a “recognize and resist” stance and leftists in Germany saying they might start blessing the “unions” regardless of what the Vatican says), most ground-level Catholics I’ve met hardly notice his presence, the media and mammon he seemingly worked so hard to please is disenchanted with him…. there is no one on this earth who seems to side with him.

And, for once, I sympathize.  I too have gone down one or two rabbit holes in defiance of my Church, knowing full well it was wrong.  When one reaps the empty fruit of sin, there is no where to run but back to God like the prodigal son while also resolving to never sin in that manner again (some of us are stupid that way).

Some of the most recent articles like those above appear to tell a story of a pope who is losing his grasp, and is falling back on orthodoxy in some respects.  I only hope that he sees the folly of trying to please the world and takes a firm stand for the Church he was installed to steward.  Only then, will he be liked and have the respect he seems to value so much.

I myself once tried to please mammon and learned my lesson.  Never again.

I only hope the Holy Father has learned as much.

Deus Vult

 

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The Charismatic Heresy: Return of the Montanists

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“For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and produce great signs and omens, to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.” – Matthew 24:24

Tertullian is not a canonized saint.  Tertullian wrote some of the best composed defenses of Christianity in the early Church.  Tertullian defended the Church from Gnosticism and Paganism with great energy.  Tertullian has sometimes been seen as the Theological Father of the early Latin Church even as much as Sts. Augustine and Ambrose.

Yet, Quintus Septimius Florens Tertullianus has never been a canonized saint.

This is not a case like that of Origen, who died a martyr’s death only to have his less fortunate speculations dug up long after (leading to a condemnation centuries after he was unable to deliver apologies or clarification).  No, while Tertullian lived he fully endorsed a heresy that has barred him from any hope of canonization regardless of whatever actually happened at his judgement day.

And the heresy he endorsed, like the “First Order” in the new “Star Wars” films, has seen a recent re-emergence from copycats.  The Montanist heresy has returned…  After nearly 1800 years, it has returned bigger, badder, and far more effective than its predecessor.

a recent convert, Montanus by name, through his unquenchable desire for leadership, gave the adversary opportunity against him. And he became beside himself, and being suddenly in a sort of frenzy and ecstasy, he raved, and began to babble and utter strange things, prophesying in a manner contrary to the constant custom of the Church handed down by tradition from the beginning. Some of those who heard his spurious utterances at that time were indignant, and they rebuked him as one that was possessed, and that was under the control of a demon, and was led by a deceitful spirit, and was distracting the multitude; and they forbade him to talk, remembering the distinction drawn by the Lord and his warning to guard watchfully against the coming of false prophets. But others imagining themselves possessed of the Holy Spirit and of a prophetic gift, were elated and not a little puffed up; and forgetting the distinction of the Lord, they challenged the mad and insidious and seducing spirit, and were cheated and deceived by him. In consequence of this, he could no longer be held in check, so as to keep silence. Thus by artifice, or rather by such a system of wicked craft, the devil, devising destruction for the disobedient, and being unworthily honored by them, secretly excited and inflamed their understandings which had already become estranged from the true faith. And he stirred up besides two women, and filled them with the false spirit, so that they talked wildly and unreasonably and strangely, like the person already mentioned. And the spirit pronounced them blessed as they rejoiced and gloried in him, and puffed them up by the magnitude of his promises. But sometimes he rebuked them openly in a wise and faithful manner, that he might seem to be a reprover. But those of the Phrygians that were deceived were few in number. “And the arrogant spirit taught them to revile the entire universal Church under heaven, because the spirit of false prophecy received neither honor from it nor entrance into it. For the faithful in Asia met often in many places throughout Asia to consider this matter, and examined the novel utterances and pronounced them profane, and rejected the heresy, and thus these persons were expelled from the Church and debarred from communion.

– Eusebeus of Caesarea

Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: “Behold this is new!” for it has already gone before in the ages that were before us.  There is no remembrance of former things: nor indeed of those things which hereafter are to come, shall there be any remembrance with them that shall be in the latter end.  Vanity of Vanities, all is vanity.

I have met the charismatics.  I have had “hands laid on me” by one of their lay followers (to zero effect).  I have studied and had explained to me how they intend to learn the Charisms of the Holy Spirit.

What they do is not from Christ.  It is not of the Holy Spirit.  It is man-made concoction.

They purport that by praying a prayer faster and faster the sound that results is a “spoken tongue”.  Aside from the blasphemous act of saying the words of a prayer fast instead of… you know, praying it, I would like to point out what anyone with uncommon common sense would; saying “I am the very model of a modern major-general” extraordinarily fast and “in the spirit” will not give me the ability to speak Sanskrit.  If, at point in my life, I do begin to speak Sanskrit I would hope that someone with me has the ability to procure a genuine exorcist quickly.

They claim that the final act to be a member of their group involves one of their number laying hands on an initiate to give them the charisms.  Aside from the fact that I know from experience that this act gives no spiritual power, it dogmatically sets an opposition to the Holy Orders of the Church: a neo-Protestant “ordaining” so some laity with weak foundations in the Faith can go out to LARP and pretend they are the apostles.

Nothing they do has any power in the spiritual realm.  When one has a genuine spiritual experience, they know.  Anyone who has had any real contact with a spirit, whether good or malevolent, can affirm that the charismatic movement is just pretending by grown adults.

Why would it be anything else?  Why would the Holy Spirit grace with his charisms a bunch of thrill-seekers gathered in a room looking for an emotional experience?  Why would He give His gifts to those who demand them and use psychological quasi-sorcery to “obtain” them?

He never has given them to such as these.  All those who have been blessed with the charisms were those holy enough to not want them.  Every saint (and there are quite a few) who ever spoke in tongues did so when God chose to give them it as an unasked-for gift and to suit a specific need: addressing to Christians of many languages (St. Anthony of Padua), giving spiritual strength to Christians who sought them out (St. Paul of the Cross), or to preach to non-believers (the Apostles on Pentecost and many others).  Never did any saint seek for fame or worldly renown for this gift.  St. Dominic even charged one of his monastic brothers to keep secret an instance where they spoke in tongues until the saint died “lest the people should take us for Saints who are but sinners.”

Where is this spirit in the Neo-Montanists of today?  Nowhere.  Their acts are never done in secret, are never done for the intents of converting those who they cannot communicate with, and often result in the weaker of them having ecstatic flights of imagination with no spirituality whatsoever.

And, what of the excuse, “But it is approved by the Church!  You have to accept it!”

Are we bound to accept that the act of digging up a corpse to put it on trial is a good one?  Were Christians ever bound to kiss the Q’ran, murder our enemies, set up “vigilance councils” in our parishes to denounce “modernists”, or endorse Arianism just because that was the bad example set by some clerical authorities?  If your mother and father rob a bank, are you bound to follow their lead?

No, it is the duty of a Christian to try to stay true to the objective orthodox truth of the Church.  It is our duty to first tend to the well-being of our own soul and then to resist heresy when we see it.

Stay true to Faith and never let the evils of the world uproot the Charity in your hearts.

Until next time, this has been your sinful vigilante.

Deus Vult

Pharisees and Sadducees

A general misconception about the Pharisees in the New Testament is that they and the high priests were the same people.  Not only is this not true, but the pharisees were in fact opposed to the group to which many of the high priests were aligned: The Sadducees.

Why is this seeming trivia important?  Because the two groups have direct parallels in the Church today.  Indulge me for a bit, if you will, as I explain who these people were.

The Sadducees were a group within Judaism that supported only the written letter of the law and believed that anything beyond could safely be ignored; and what they defined as the “written word” included only the Pentateuch.  They did not believe in the resurrection of the dead,  angels and devils, and many did not even believe in the soul. Paying your dues to the temple and everything associated with honoring/obeying the priestly classes was given highest priority in their interpretation of the law.  Coincidentally, most of them were in some way associated with the temple, the priestly classes, and those who profited when temple dues were paid (or buying and selling was done in the temple.

In opposition to them stood the Pharisees.  Unlike the Sadducees, their beliefs were not popular among the upper echelons of the temple and priestly classes.  The people in this movement were primarily either non-priestly Jews or “lesser rabbis” (the way Christ was a lesser rabbi).  They believed in the full extent of the law and that it should be practiced without question.  They saw it as their duty to follow the law perfectly as the corrupt Sadducees were not doing so.  They were the protectors of tradition and true Judaism as far they saw it.

Ultimately, what we see in both of these groups is legalism taken to both extremes: minimalism and maximalism.  When Christ enters the scene He takes not the side of either faction, but makes enemies of both.

He throws out the buyers and sellers from the temple, He praises the woman who gives her one drachma over the rich man who gives a generous offer, and He outwits the Sadducees when they attempt the “Is it lawful to pay tribute to Caesar?” trap.  Christ and his followers are a threat to the Sadducees authority for He declares that the mere letter of the law is insufficient.

At the same time, this holy rabbi shockingly (at the time) does take the side of Pharisees and denounces them constantly for both their excesses and for missing the point entirely.  Most who have read the Gospels are more aware of the Pharisees than their opponents precisely because of all the times Christ calls them out (“hypocrites”, “swallowing the camel, but straining out the gnat”, the parable of the Pharisee and the Publican, and lastly all of Matthew Chapter 23).  This is necessary for, even though there are many holy and good Pharisees, a great many are spiteful angry hypocrites who care only about the external appearance of holiness.

It is no surprise then, that the Crucifixion sees the vast majority of the crowd fully hostile to the condemned Christ.  He has refused to validate their positions and exposed their failings.  He has taken neither of their side and refused to play their games.  For that, He must die.  In this one thing, the Pharisees and the Sadducees manage to find unity.

In our own time, one can see the echoes of these groups.  We must beware the temptation to become a secular Sadducee, worried about appearing Catholic when convenient while putting our true allegiance to the world and our own lazy desires.  We cannot allow a superficial worship of “obedience” to cloud our vision of what is right and what is wrong.  This Lent, we must do more than the bare minimum.

On the same note, let us avoid becoming a Pharisee.  Let us not look down on those who say… go to a different Mass than we do (“I go to a Latin Mass, aren’t I so much better than those Novus Ordo Catholics!” or “Oh God, I thank you that I am not like the rest of Catholics and instead go to a Praise and Worship Mass which is really the true best Mass ever!”).  Let us not let our fasting be a point of pride for us and remember that it is better to be Charitable and not fast than to “abstain from beasts and birds but bite off the head of our brothers and sisters.”

And those of us who know Pharisees and Sadducees in the Church, let us pray for their reform and not hate them as some of them hate us.

Deus Vult

 

The Sacrament of Marriage

When one opens his heart to a woman and prepares to consecrate the Sacrament of Matrimony the third set of challenges they must overcome together (the first being lust and the second being the mutual selfishness of the future spouses) is a seemingly endless routine of diocese-mandated seminars, classes, and meetings. It is enough to tempt one to try to find an agreeable priest and a handful of witnesses in order to arrange a quick elopement. Alas (or perhaps thankfully) the chances of that are almost nonexistent.

So, one is resigned to sit through TOBIT classes (where unmarried speakers are paid to lecture future couples on how wonderful their bodies are), counseling with sponsor couples (theoretically, a much-needed good idea), and NFP classes (where you are taught to plot graphs on the female cycle despite the fact that there are purchasable mini-computers that will do the hard work for you). The process is not without its merits and there are many items that are there specifically to learn from past mistakes (more on that in a moment), but when there are deficiencies… Boy, Howdy! There are deficeincies.

So, with this said, I’m sure those reading are wondering… Where does the Vigilante stand on so-called NFP now that he is preparing for marriage? Considering that a mere three days ago the infamous sexual revolutionary Hugh Hefner met his eternal reward, what better time could there be to tie in my very strongly-held view on NFP with the American Sexual Revolution?

Part 1:  The Myths of Era-ism
There is an ongoing myth that refuses to die in the popular consciousness: That the decade of the 1950s was (if you are on the political right) a pure upright time of perfection, decency, greatness, and the United States at its finest that was shattered instantly by the onslaught of the “dirty g**damnn hippies”; or (if your leanings are far to the political left) that it was a backwards mini-era where McCarthy and an American gestapo-like organization named the “John Birch Society” could lynch anyone as a communist until the Beatles and the flower power of Rock ‘n Roll liberated society from this backwards existence.

What both these ahistorical fantasies ignore is what was going on in the households of regular, everyday, and newly TV-induced Americans who possessed at-the-time unprecedented luxuries at their disposal. In the post-WWII world, gone were the days when a father was forced to parent his son or watch the consequences of not doing so.  Gone were the days when a man would return from work to gather his children around the fireplace to pray and read the Bible as a family. Gone were the days when men could amuse themselves with fruitful hobbies and give good examples to their children to combat the old adage, “an idle mind is the playground of the devil”. The television was the new hobby, the new altar, the new parent, and the new reality of this decadent time.  A man could work during the day, hit the bar with his buds, and return home to his couch where his wife was sure to have cooked him his dinner; and she would dutifully deliver it to him as good loving wives always had done. The difference between this man and generation before him was that he now had all the benefits and less than half the work.

Why did he have to do any cooking or cleaning? That was a wife’s duty! Why did he need to instill an example of religion in his children through example? That was why he sent his kids to sunday school. Why would he need to ever play with his children? They had friends at school didn’t they? Why did he ever need to learn how to discipline his kid or understand his wife’s womanly feelings? They could both take the back of his hand if they ever got too annoying.

And spiritual fatherhood? You mean like priesthood?  Well, good old “Father O’Insert Irish Name Here” has got that covered. He’s good with young boys. Why, he’s even taken a liking to our little Tommy…

The age of Western greatness had ended, it was buried on the battlefields of 1914-1918. The time of Western Man’s fight for survival was finished. He was now to take his place in a hell of his own choosing, as a breathing vegetable.

Is it any wonder, then, that pornography would catch on like wildfire among such males (or males raised by such males) when made commercially available and socially acceptable? In the Parable of the Sower, Christ demonstrates that plants sown will not prosper unless the ground is made ready. In 1953 the ground was quite fertile for Hugh Hefner to launch the project that would make him a household name.

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Pictured: A Playboy subscriber and his family

The sexual revolution had begun. It would take root in the 1950’s with pornographic magazines, under-the-table abortions, and the underground homosexual culture that festered beneath the all-too-perfect image. But it would not achieve a substantial victory until a new twisted perversion of human science (already a cliche in that century by that point): the poison commonly known only as “the pill”. Woodstock did not destroy the bonds of marriage in the average conservative house of the 1960s. The men of such houses were already convincing their wives to poison their wombs, knowing and caring nothing of St. John Chrysostom’s denunciation of this exact thing.

Pope Paul VI would issue the much-needed Humanae Vitae, only to find from the negative backlash within the church that he had been far too late. The smoke of Satan had indeed penetrated the Church. Then Pope John Paul II years later gave a series of talks that would later be known as “Theology of the Body”. It was in the debate over these works that the true deficiencies of marital understanding and teaching among Catholics – both past and present – would be revealed.

Unfortunately (?) this post ran longer than I expected, so I will conclude with Part 2 as soon as I can.

The Dark Vigilante Returns (Apologies to Frank Miller)

I would like to apologize to my readers for the months-long lack of posts or updates. Life has been… interesting to say the least for the last few months. There is going to be a “whammy” of an entry coming that ties directly into these circumstances.

The blog is still up and running so you can expect posts, but it probably will not be on a weekly basis. I think it better to give fewer and more substantive entries than more regular trite entries. I am not NCR, Rorate, or Patheos. This endeavor is the hobby of one man for no profit. I will give posts whenever I feel I have something important to say.

And, as I am preparing to receive a new Sacrament, I feel I must speak.

Pax Christi

Titus 3:9-11

But avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

A Rare Word on World Affairs

It isn’t often that I feel the need to speak on this.  In fact, I started this blog with the intention of mostly avoiding it.  However, I felt I had enough on my mind to say something.

Europe

With the inevitability of Brexit under Theresa May and the very real possibility of an electoral victory by Marine Le Pen in France, the EU bureaucrats are likely sweating profusely underneath their smug frowns.  Although Anti-EU waves were held off in Austria (barely) and the Netherlands (though, Wilders was never going to win outright so that was a foregone conclusion), these amounted to minor victories in a war they are losing everywhere else.  Spain is broke and turbulent as ever with the Basques and Catalans agitating for independence or more de-evolution/federalism, Ireland and Portugal are stuck in bankruptcy and irrelevancy, it is only a matter of time before the Greeks decide it is better to be broke and free than to be a slave but broke anyway, and then Italy at some point is going to collapse financially.  It is not a matter of if but when.  When it happens, Deutsche Bank falls and the EU falls with it.

This is only part of the picture.  Those who have followed the EU and the declining birth rates in Europe (see Pat Buchanan’s ‘Death of the West’) have known for at least 15-20 years that Europe has been headed towards a series of civil wars.  The only question for the longest time was where it would begin, with the most level-headed suspecting France.  Whether Le Pen wins or not, this is already true if one looks at how many ordinary French people have been killed by Islamist attacks in the past two years.  That nation is in the opening stages of a civil war that will ignite whether Le Pen wins and rallies the French people against the invader or Macron wins and has the French security forces lie down and take it.  Upon the aforementioned and inevitable collapse of Italy and the Deutsche Bank the chaos and bloodletting will spread next to Germany.  There, the brow-beaten people will need to decide whether to confront the fact that a little nationalism is not the worst thing imaginable when their very lives are at stake.  The other northern and western nations of Europe will all face similar scenarios while the southern bankrupt ones will go their own way and face their problems on their own.

And then there is Eastern Europe, more specifically the mini-Bloc of Poland, Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.  All four nations are generally weaker than the west and accept handouts on a regular basis.  But, faced with the threat of taking in thousands of Islamist migrants who will never integrate, they have shown themselves willing to spurn the aid and deny the western nations’ demands.  It would be unwise to underestimate the ability or the will of Eastern Europe to defy Western Europe as the former have recently experienced savagery far beyond that which the west has.  The East has living memory of Stalin, life behind the Iron Curtain, brutal repression, underground Christians, and the fight to bring down tyranny.  They have known brutal and murderous leaders, and thus the threats of the polished, clean cut, limp-wristed, western Eurocrats likely have them laughing.  Besides, with the events going on in the Ukraine and Russia, Poland has far more pressing and immediate security concerns from a truly capable military force run by a leader not afraid to use it.  To them and Hungary, the whining of cushy Western European leaders about “reproductive rights” or “migrants’ rights” is a mere annoyance.

What then of Britain, who has managed to break free of the EU and has seemingly begun a bold path forward?  The bad news is that they have too many migrants, proportionally more even than many of their EU counterparts.  Unfortunately, these migrants are not all poor Polish handymen or Hindus from India opening tasty Masala Shops and Indo-Pak grocery marts, but a great number of Pakistanis and others from Islamist nations.  Any dreams that perhaps they won’t be as radicalized is pure fantasy.  Some of the most radical of them are in the UK.  The UK is headed for a bloodbath possibly as bad as the ones France and Germany will undergo.

Only Eastern Europe has the possibility of being spared much of the Islamist civil war in their own countries.  If nations like Hungary, Ukraine, or Poland could heal the wounds left by Communism, throw off Western and American materialism/liberalism/progressivism, and rediscover the Faith of their fathers then they could be the saviors of any sort of the old European Christian culture.  The American Order has failed miserably in Europe.  Materialism and rationalism turned out to be false gods, Globalism is an impossible joke, and any notion that Muslims from war-torn hellholes can understand – much less live – Enlightenment ideas of a decrepit and prosperous West is only clung to by elitists in their ivory towers and TV-fed middle class brainwashed fools.

Only morality, the Faith, and security in who they are can save the Europeans.  Without these, even the entire US and Russian nuclear arsenals are nothing.

To be Continued…