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STATE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH


 

by:

 

 Dom Basilio Magno

 

 

The Hemorrhaging of the Catholic Church

     

A.    How is the Catholic Church

   

Host:         How is the Catholic Church, Guardian?

 

Guardian: As Christ, Himself, had prophesied, even if you looked for her with a lamp, you won’t find her.  

 

Host:         Now, wait a minute, there are millions of Catholics and it is hard to find the Catholic Church?  

 

Guardian: True Catholics are very few and hard to find.  

 

Host:         And what do you call the others?  

 

Guardian: I guess heresiarchs and schismatics.  

 

Host:         Heresiarchs and schismatics?  Why I thought they existed only in the middle ages?  

 

Guardian: Sadly, there are more today, and they exist in a more vicious form.  

   

B.    Heresy and Schism

   

Host:         What is heresy?  

 

Guardian: The rejection or exclusion of a truth revealed by God and proposed by the Church...usually one-half of the whole truth.  

 

Host:         Can you illustrate this?  

 

Guardian: You see, the Catholic Religion has many apparent contradictions.  You have to have a deep understanding of her for the contradictions to disappear.  Unable to reconcile the contradictions, Catholics embrace what suits them and reject what does not suit them.  For instance, Christ is God and also man.  Heretics, like the Arians, believe one-half -- that Christ is God...in this they are Catholic; but they deny the other half -- that He is man...in this they are heretics.  

 

Host:         How does one become a heretic?  

 

Guardian: Heresy begins in morals, not in dogma.  The error is first in the person’s way of life, not in the truths.  Then it is translated to dogma.  

 

Host:         Would you say, therefore, that the rejection of a truth is just a symptom...?  

 

Guardian: ...of an immoral life.  So Henry VIII was first immoral in having committed adultery before his break with Rome.  

 

Host:         I am sure you are familiar with St. Gregory’s “Heretica.”  

 

Guardian: A little.  There, if I remember right, he described a heretic as one who imposed upon Holy Mother the Church his own opinions, presenting them as solutions to comfort the Church.  They are enemies who present themselves as friends.  

 

Host:         How do you explain the Church’s almost hostile attitude towards heretics?  

 

Guardian: Heretics mix good with evil that they may easily deceive others.  They tone down their evil with good, and with good, they conceal their evil, like a cup of poison whose brim is honeyed sweet.  And heretics don’t just sit down;  they go out of their way to corrupt others, they propagate their errors.  And they always speak in the name of God.  

 

                   It is a cardinal rule that no one should proselytize where the Christian foundation has been established, precisely because the foundation has been established.  And Catholics usually observe this.  

 

                   But why do other Christian sects proselytize among Catholics?  Surely, not to establish the foundation of Christ since it is already established; it is in order to deceive, to steal the sheep from the, unfortunately, sleeping shepherd or hireling.  

 

                   In a situation where Protestants and Catholics live together side-by-side, the Catholics tend more to become Protestants than vice versa.  So, in Ecumenism, Catholics become Protestants.  

 

Host:         And which is the most insidious of all heresies?  

 

Guardian: Still Modernism, which suggests that Truth can be adjusted to fit the temper of the times.  

 

Host:         The few priests I know speak this way.  

 

Guardian: They are usually priests who want to try something new but have never tried the old...the Gospel.  

 

                   Theologians forget that their role is to go deep into the deposits of Faith and not “create” new faiths.  

     

C.    Root Cause of All Evils in the Church

   

Host:         What is the source of all evils?  

 

Guardian: From the beginning of time the cause of evil is in the free will and not in the intellect.  It is a problem wherein dialogue or discussions or explanations are impotent.  This is what caused original sin.  There was no original sin when the angels and our first parents sinned.  

 

Host:         Was this the cause of the fall of the angels and of our parents?  

 

Guardian: Exactly.  They were very intelligent; their problem was in their free will.  It is the eternal problem of choosing between God’s will and man’s will, and the eternal tragedy of God’s creatures always choosing their will.  

 

Host:         And when man begins choosing his will over God’s will...

 

Guardian: ...then he is easily led to errors.  An immoral bishop will reject the infallibility of the Pope; an immoral priest will reject the need for celibacy; an immoral layman will reject the sanctity of life.  Aggravated by the effects of original sin, man is condemned to choose always his will over God’s will.  

 

Host:         Who are the likely candidates for heresy?  

 

Guardian: All men...specially sensual-living men of the world who feel that the Church’s requirements for the proper amendment of their lives are too burdensome; they quickly follow after heresies and fiercely support them.  These men think that those heresies will lead them to a smoother path than what Holy Mother the Church proposes.  

 

Host:         What do we do to protect ourselves?  How do we free ourselves from this tendency?  

 

Guardian: Live a holy life and have nothing to do with heretics.  Don’t even try to recall them back to the faith for “whoever touches pitch will be defiled by it.  For while you labor to rescue them from the errors, they might drag you into the abyss of error,” says St. Isidore.  

 

Host:         Would you say, therefore, that ignorance of the way to holiness or the refusal to take the narrow way is the reason for all the problems in the Church?  

 

Guardian: For us today, yes.  God became man to give us the prescription for holiness; without the proper prescription, that is, Christian living, the vices and the passions will dominate the free will.  

 

                   In any language, this is a formula for disaster, whether for the family, for society or for the Church -- man insisting on his own prescription rather than God’s.  He hasn’t learned from Eden that his own choices are wrong.  

 

                   The crisis in the Church is tantamount to saying that Christian living is not reasonable and, therefore, impossible to practice today.  This thinking is what emptied the seminaries and convents.  

 

Host:         How long will it take me to learn Christian living?  

 

Guardian: There is no end to learning virtuous living.  

 

Host:         I am afraid to ask this question, but... to whom must the finger be pointed as the one responsible for this state of the Church?  

 

Guardian: The priests, the bishops, the religious superiors and the parents, because they are the shepherds.  

   

D.    Contributing Causes

   

Seminaries, Convents and Catholic Schools.  

 

Host:         Man’s free will, before the fall, was already self-centered rather than God-centered.  This became more so after the fall, i.e., with original sin.  Would there be more contributing causes to this state of affairs?  

 

Guardian: Seminaries, convents and Catholic schools are worsening the state of men by teaching a Catholicism which appears only as a catalogue of uncertainties designed to keep as many Catholics within the fold; and these uncertainties are mostly an adulteration or a rejection of Catholic teaching.  We are producing priests who are not sure of the things they say and laymen who are so sure of what they are doing.  The priest and the family have sacral roles, that’s why Holy Orders and Matrimony are Sacraments;  today they have been reduced to social roles.  

 

                   All curricula on catechesis present a shattered catechesis:  you cannot find the whole teaching of Christ in even a three-inch book on catechism.  Yet Christ’s teaching can be presented in five pages.  

 

Host:         And this happens in seminaries and convents?  

 

Guardian: The theological curriculum in the seminaries that I know have no semblance, whatsoever, of the Catholicism Christ preached.  

 

                   Then there is the entrance in convents and monasteries of unexamined, untested, and untried psychological and social tendencies, purely human conjectures which are totally incapable of satisfying man’s longing for God or solving the problems of man’s fallen nature.  Then there are the convents of nuns who greet the morning sun with some Asiatic tradition of pagan origin.  

 

                   The stricter orders suffered minor damages due to their austere life.  The spirituality of the less strict convents simply hemorrhaged to death.  

 

Host:         How about in Catholic schools?  

 

Guardian: Catholic schools are a complete disaster when teaching Christian Living.  In fact, they don’t teach it at all.  They have a subject called religion but teach loudly that sex, good food, trendy clothes, a nice house, a fine car, and a weekend home in the mountains are the primary goals of life.  They teach sex education but do not teach chastity.  

 

Host:         I am really appalled at the products of the Catholic schools.  

 

Guardian: Catholic schools no longer teach the commands of Christ nor the glories of the Faith.  Before, priests and nuns taught religion, even if not so well.  At least that was the only contact children had with religion.  Now, the teachers of religion are ex-priests, ex-nuns, feminists, lay theologians steeped in heresies, divorced or adulterous lay teachers, and, in one college, an avowed atheist.  

 

Host:         Where are the priests and nuns?  

 

Guardian: In Business Management and other unheavenly fields.  

 

Within the Family

 

Host:         And within the Christian family, what would aggravate this crisis?  

 

Guardian: Parents have absolutely no hand in the training of their children and, as such, have no control over their children.  Their so-called quality time is just a nice label for no time.  Besides, parents are not trained to train even themselves in the Catholic religion.  The mother working outside the home is the greatest single factor that has caused the downfall of the Catholic family.  

 

Host:         She abandoned her role . . .?  

 

Guardian: The most important role in the formation of the Christian family...the formation of the conscience and character of her children.  Father and mother have God-given spiritual roles;  today their roles have been reduced to functionality in a social context with no spiritual advantage for either family or Church.  

 

Catechesis and Sex Education

 

Host:         You mentioned sex education . . .

 

Guardian: Teaching sex education in Catholic schools violates all rules of catechesis and all the rules in teaching Christian Living.  It is an ascetic rule of teaching that you teach the virtues, like chastity, and never the vices like lust;  because if you teach the vices, considering that man has a fallen nature, he will choose the vice.  Also, the moment they learn the vice first, like lust, they will reject all teachings about the opposite virtue, like chastity, because it is contrary to what fallen man likes.  

 

                   Catechesis is no longer a comprehensive, all-embracing formation in the Faith.  Christ commanded, “teach MY commands,” . . . Christ’s commands.  Christ’s commands are nowhere in any catechism, not even in the New Catechism...leaving all Catholics without a comprehensive view of their religion.  

 

                   Sex, apart from motherhood and procreation, is as meaningless as puffing a cigarette; it becomes a mere gratification of one’s desire which is insatiable -- this is the universal right to do what I want even if it hurts everyone... the wife, the children, etc.  

 

From Society

 

Host:         And from society?  

 

Guardian: Society’s concept of human rights has long crossed the boundaries of pure stupidity.  Now there are rights to sin, rights to become perverts, rights to do what you want, and even rights to spread Aids.  In short, society’s list of rights is portraying that the Catholic religion is unbelievable and that there is no God:  “what I like is what is right”.  And Christian living is a threat to these rights.  

 

                   Wealth and power, the goals of a westernized society, is the worst ambiance for growth in the spiritual life; opulence makes people spiritually dumb.  

 

The Youth

 

Host:         How about the statement that the youth is the future of the Church?  

 

Guardian: With the factors we mention above, we have the formula for mass destruction.  Our youth are lost.  Only by God’s direct intervention can a few youths be raised for the service of the Church.  The rest will be fighting against the destruction of the corals, of the forests, of the tigers, but none against the destruction of the soul.  A few will clap their hands and sing their alleluias, a gasping gesture to save souls but their efforts are ineffective because their doctrines are incomplete:  “Woe to you who add or subtract from what I have taught . . .”  

 

Host:         The authority of the Catholic Church and the truth she defends and teaches are threatened both from within and from without, and, unlike the early times, there are hardly any champions today standing up for her cause.  What else contributes to this crisis?  

 

Guardian: We have no champions that would speak clearly.  The way people speak is full of deceit.  The murdering of babies is called family planning; the killing of patients is called the movement against suffering.  

 

Conscience

 

Host:         And how about the much-used phrase:  follow your conscience?  

 

Guardian: With the consciences of some people, they don't need the devil.  Pope Pius XII reminded us that conscience is not a teacher but a pupil.  

 

Host:         You don't follow your conscience; you first teach it...  

 

Guardian: Yes -- with the commands of Christ; then you follow it.  What is right and wrong, what is good and evil, is God’s decision, not ours.  But man desires only one thing:  to be his own master and own creator, deciding what is right and wrong.  

   

The Youth

 

Host:         Robert McNamara, in a speech describing the future of civilization, groaned, “Our children...”  What do you think he was trying to say?  

 

Guardian: The Church has lost the youth by default.  She has lost the youth because her hierarchy did nothing to win them.  We have not attracted them to any ideals they can die for, like the ideals of the Catholic Church. Youth programs are mainly worldly programs; thus the youth was lost to the world, not won to the Faith that offers only a life of crucifixion.  

 

Host:         Is this the reason why, in Catholic countries like Italy, Poland, and Ireland, abortion and divorce have become government policies?  

 

Guardian: Yes, it is the supreme proof of a Catholic Church that is completely leaderless and inutile.  

   

E.    Christ’s Remedy for all the Evils

 

Host:         I guess there is a remedy for all these evils because there are good angels and many holy saints.  

 

Guardian: Pinpointing the problem in the Church is easy, and pinpointing the solution is also easy.  Christ established the Church for all, not merely for theologians.  So His teachings -- the remedy -- ought to be simple, not complex.  

 

Host:         The remedy is simple?  

 

Guardian: Yes.  Christ came to teach us a way of life, not a set of dogmas...though dogmas were part of His teachings.  And this way of life is embodied in a set of commands.  To subtract from or disobey one of these commands is moral heresy.  

 

 Host:        And what is the remedy for all the evils?  

 

Guardian: Obedience to Christ’s commands...Christ’s.  It is by obedience to His commands that man is saved, and not his visible membership in the Catholic Church.  

 

Host:         And what is the cause of all these evils?  

 

Guardian: Disobedience to Christ’s commands.  In the case of the angels and our first parents, it was pure disobedience because they were imbued with wisdom.  For most of us, it is ignorance of His commands, which also leads to disobedience.  Since ambiguity is the mark of the demon, all of Christ’s teachings must be learned with absolute clarity, and this is attained only through humility.  

 

Host:         Is this why Christ, in His apostolic commission, commanded His apostles, first, to teach ALL His commands to remove ignorance and foster obedience?  

 

Guardian: Ignorance of the Christian way of life is the devil’s most primitive but most effective weapon for the destruction of souls.  If you are ignorant, the devil doesn’t bother destroying your soul because, anyway, you are on the way to self-destruction.  If you are lucky to overcome this ignorance and learn the commands of Christ, there is still the more difficult task of obeying them, like the angels and our first parents who were both given wisdom; they fell, not because of ignorance but, because of disobedience.  

 

Host:         Ignorance seems to be an intellectual problem.  

 

Guardian: Yes -- and the easier problem to solve.  Disobedience is a problem of the free will, and herein is the big problem -- the freedom of the free will, which, because of fallen nature, tends to make man choose himself over God.  

 

Host:         Now that you mention it, there seem to be no dogmas involved in the fall of the angels and of our first parents.  

 

Guardian: Indeed.  It was a matter of creatures saying:  I know better than God . . .which, of course, is a heresy.  

 

Host:         How pervasive is this sad state of affairs in the Church?  

 

Guardian: It is so pervasive it makes her seem like the largest among the Protestant sects.  

 

Host:         How come so few know the commands of Christ?  

 

Guardian: Because knowledge of these commands is given to a few; this knowledge is not taught “by the flesh and blood but by the Father in heaven,” and He gives it only to the humble.  

 

Host:         No wonder Christ insisted that we learn humility from Him, and, am I right -- and nothing else?  Not Canon Law, not Church history, not...  

 

Guardian: This is unnerving, but you are right; the only things Christ wanted us to learn are humility and meekness...and from HIM, not from anybody else.  

 

Host:         To be humble is an effort beyond human nature?  

 

Guardian: In fact, contrary to human nature, humility is knowing our inability to remedy our situation.  We are born opposed to the love of God; that’s why we are born guilty.  

 

Host:         Is this crisis threatening the stability of the Church?  

 

Guardian: No, no crisis can threaten the Church because it is built on rock.  It is the individual souls of both the lay and the cleric that are being lost -- that is the problem.  Any crisis in the Church begins with “the men in the Church” -- the bishops, the priests and the religious orders.  

 

                   The traditional religious orders, which were pillars of the Church, have completely crumbled under the onslaught of modernism; they have forgotten who they are and why they were founded.  And the more erudite orders have fallen into the trap of Eve, putting more trust in knowledge than in the commands of God.  

 

                   And the entrance of democracy, the rule by consensus or, as Pascal described it, the rule of the dumb majority, a practice so alien to the monarchical Church, transformed religious houses into new religions.  

 

                   And so the priest, the symbol of strength, resisting the tendencies of the world, has become a sign of weakness succumbing to the “reasonable” realities of today; the crucifixion of Christ, meant to be a privilege, has become a burden.  

 

                   But the Catholic Church has the power within herself to convert others and renew herself.  Because of this inherent power, she does not need arguments to convince, unlike other religions that need powerful arguments or even physical force; since they have no strength of their own...their beliefs are imposed.  

 

Host:         Why is humility central in our religion?  

 

Guardian: Because Divine knowledge, required for the attainment of virtues, is given only to the humble.  Without this knowledge, man tends to go into excesses.  On one hand, he thinks his nature is perfect; he believes in his excellence and sinks into devilish pride.  On the other hand, he may feel himself hopeless and sink into despair and cowardice.  Catholicism helps us avoid both extremes.  

   

F.    Vatican II

 

Host:         This problem seems to disturb you.  

 

Guardian: Yes, it is sad to see that Christ’s actions within the Church does not guarantee the salvation of man because of man’s lack of cooperation.  

 

Host:         Are you referring to the saying that God will not save man against his will?  

 

Guardian: Sort of.  

 

Host:         Would you say Vatican II did not lead the way forward?  

 

Guardian: What do you mean...forward?  When it comes to teachings or doctrines, there is no such thing as forward, backward, or sideward.  There is only a deeper understanding of the same, old teachings.  

 

Host:         So what did Vatican II accomplish?  

 

Guardian: It merely reminded us of the age-old doctrine -- that man is called to participate in Divinity itself, but reminds him that he bears within himself a corrupt nature that leads to error, misery, sin, and death.  So the Church tempers fear and hope, grace and sin.  She can cause more dejection than mere reason, but without despair.  She can give us more exaltation than the highest pride but without puffing us up.  So in the Catholic Church we see the most excellent men and the most deplorable.  

 

Host:         So man’s free will, aggravated by his fallen nature with its tendency to disobey, is the source of sin.  The Catholic Church was entrusted by Christ to cure this ailment but, it seems, most Catholics don’t know this cure.  

 

Guardian: This is the crisis.  All that is being taught is politeness, ethics, and good manners -- mere panaceas -- but not the cure for man’s rottenness.  

 

Host:         This is such a paradox:  that man is both great and nothing.  

 

Guardian: And he must know the reason for both.  And only the Catholic religion does.       

 

Host:         With such convincing wisdom, why is the Catholic Church not as popular as other Christian sects?  

 

Guardian: The more popular sects are those that consist in externals; externals are for the not-so-clever.  On the other hand, a purely intellectual religion attracts the clever.  The Catholic religion, however, consists of externals and the intellectual, thus attracting both.  But most men, lazy to exert intellectual effort, will tend to go to sects that consist in externals.    

 

Host:         The achievement of Vatican II does not seem significant.  

 

Guardian: On the contrary -- it is a great achievement.  Nobody seems to remember these teachings.  The Church is experiencing general amnesia.  

 

Host:         The general perception is that Vatican II occasioned the mass exodus of priests and religious.  

 

Guardian: Well, they used Vatican II as an excuse.  The council separated the grain from the chaff.  The chaff made the exodus.  

 

Host:         I remember a Pope saying that Vatican II was meant to let the Holy Spirit come into the Church but the stench of Satan, instead, came in.  

 

Guardian: You don’t have to open anything to let the Spirit come in; He is always in the Church.  And you don’t need a Vatican Council to let the Spirit come in because He is always there to guide, renew, and protect the Church.  

 

Host:         You don’t seem to be worried about the Church.  

 

Guardian: We shouldn’t be; God takes care of the Church.  We should be worried about ourselves, our personal sanctification.   Everything is all right with the Church -- but not the members who are members only in name.  

 

Theologians

 

Host:         Vatican II had some problems with the theologians who claimed that their search for the truth was being curtailed.  

 

Guardian: What truths are they looking for?  Everything has been revealed to us.  All these years, have theologians discovered any new truths?  Man makes ideas, opinions and fantasies, maybe, but not truths.  And because of man’s insistence to make up fantasies, our seminarians are learning a theology ridden with errors, conjectures, dissents, fantasies and false liberations.  In their desire to be creative, theologians have created new truths and new ways of transmitting Christianity that have aggravated rather than resolved the crisis.  

 

                   Christianity is not an object of speculation; it is not a construction of the mind; it is not man’s work.  It is a revelation to be discovered.  

 

                   A Catholic’s first step towards destruction is to be natural...well, that is definitely a step towards the opposite direction of being supernatural, which is Christian living.  And man’s first natural act is always unnatural.  Or the first step could be towards liberation; and his first free act is usually an act of personal enslavement.  

 

Vatican II (more)

 

Host:         What was the general reaction to Vatican II?  

 

Guardian: Most did not like it.  The conservatives thought it was too much; the progressives thought it was too little.  It is like, as Pascal once noted, a short and a tall man looking at an average man.  The short man thinks the average man is too tall; and the tall man thinks he is too short.  But the defect is in them, not in the average man.  

 

Host:         If Vatican II merely reiterated old truths, it was pointless holding it?    

 

Guardian: No.  The purpose of Councils is not to introduce new truths, but merely reiterate old truths which were forgotten or disobeyed in the era they were held.  

 

Host:         What would you say was the greatest good of Vatican II?  

 

Guardian: It gave us a good view of the state of the Church.  Pope Paul VI described it succinctly saying:  we aimed at self-criticism and ended up in self-destruction; we began with enthusiasm and ended up in boredom and discouragement.  

 

Host:         Discouragement?  

 

Guardian: Because we thought there was a new, wider road to heaven, but discovered it is still the same narrow one.  We thought Vatican II would be a break from the past; it was a return to the past, to the roots.  

 

Host:         Would you say this is like Christ telling us to build His Church and giving us His plan but most of us are insisting on our own plans?  

 

Guardian: And we thought Vatican II would approve our plans.  But it did not.  

 

Host:         In this day and age where information is fast and much, how could ignorance of Christ’s commands be so prevalent?  

 

Guardian: We always forget St. Paul’s warning:  “We are living in an age when the Rebel will deceive those who are bound for damnation because they would not grasp the love of the truth which could save them.  The reason why God is sending a power to delude them and make them believe what is untrue is to condemn all who refuse to believe in the truth and choose wickedness instead.”  

 

Host:         What are you driving at?  

 

Guardian: People, today, don’t love the truth.  St. Paul says they only love themselves and money.  The truths of the Church are supernatural. They cannot be learned in a natural way; you need faith to understand and remember them.  So it is said, if you have faith no explanation is necessary, if you don’t have faith no explanation is possible.  

 

Host:         What else has Vatican II done?  

 

Guardian: It condemned the heresy that everything new is necessarily better.  It also separated the cockle from the wheat and is now separating the grains from the chaff, like a winnowing fan.  

 

Host:         Would you say that, like Trent, Vatican II will renew the Church?  

 

Guardian: History attests that whenever a council is held there are saints involved.  It is the saint at the time of the council that God uses to directly renew His Church.  Not the council; it merely produces documents; documents cannot renew the Church.  

 

Host:         You mean I’ll be seeing saints walking our streets.  

 

Guardian: Yes, and these are people who will attain great holiness without the help or guidance of the hierarchical Church; which shows they were raised by God directly for this purpose.  Like St. Francis of Assisi -- who do you think taught him how to be holy?  The wave of holiness that follows does not come from the council but directly from God.  And God usually chooses the most unlikely candidates.  

   

G.    New Communities

 

Host:         Where should we look for them?  

 

Guardian: Look at the new movements within the Church, which nobody planned nor called into being, which have sprung spontaneously from the inner vitality of the Faith itself.  Look at young people in whom there is wholehearted adhesion to the whole Faith of the Church, young people who want to live the gospel fully; their prayer life is intense and their Catholicity undivided.  

 

Host:         Where do they fit in the hierarchical Church?  

 

Guardian: The hierarchical structure of the Church, though divinely instituted, is too human in its operation.  The above movement is Divine and so they don’t fit in this human structure.  And they grow better outside these structures, just like the monastic movement in the early Church.  

 

Host:         But won’t there be any conflict with the hierarchical Church?  

 

Guardian: These movements are from the Holy Spirit and the Church is enlivened by the same Spirit, so how can there be a conflict?  If there is any conflict, it would be something human...some vested interest or personal feelings.  

 

Host:         I have noticed many communities deeply involved in the Bible, studying, discussing, and even memorizing it.  Are these the communities you are referring to?  

 

Guardian: Well, the Bible-carrying Christian is not the true picture of a Christian.  You see, the Catholic religion has never been a book religion.  It has always been a “tradition” religion.  After all, we had Tradition even before we had copies of the Bible.  In fact, the Bible is merely part of Tradition.  St. John states that the bigger part of Christ’s teachings, the amount of which could not be contained in all the libraries of the world, had not been written down.  The bible is the “table of contents” of Tradition.  

 

Host:         What are you driving at?  

 

Guardian: We Catholics do things not because the Bible said so, but because the early Christians did so.  

 

Host:         Do you mean that the Bible is not sufficient in teaching us the truths of salvation?  

 

Guardian: Yes, it is enough; in fact, just one gospel or one apostolic letter or even one mere paragraph in the Bible can teach us the way of salvation.  But the correct interpretation of those teachings and commands can only be attained from Tradition.  The Bible, without Tradition, is merely a book of history or archaeology.  

 

Host:         Now, how can I avail of this unprinted Tradition?   

 

Guardian: Fortunately for you and me, the early great saints of the Church, finding some spare time, wrote it down.  So the saying goes -- if you know Tradition, you know the Bible and its correct interpretation.  But, if you know the Bible, you know the Bible but not its correct interpretation.  

 

Host:         Is this the reason Catholic laymen were not encouraged to study the Bible by themselves?  

 

Guardian: Yes.  If they do this they will tend to give their own interpretation rather than God’s.  The Bible, without Tradition, is just like any other book.  

 

                   When a Catholic says, “The Bible said...”, they tend to become like Protestants.  In fact, many Protestant sects were started by Catholics who exclaimed, “The Bible said...”, then gave their own interpretation. When Protestants ask about what the first Christians did, they become Catholics, like the Oxford movement.  

 

                   Besides, most translations of the Bible were made to suit the private interpretation of the authors rather than an attempt to find out God’s meaning.  

   

H.    The Devil and New Communities

 

Host:         Would you consider all the new communities as inspired by the Holy Spirit?  

 

Guardian: Heavens, no!  For every one community raised by God, the evil one surrounds it with his own countless fake communities to confuse the people around.  

 

Host:         And how would you distinguish the true one from the fakes?  

 

Guardian: From their fruits . . . and if they are too young to bear fruits, from their teachings.  

 

Host:         How are their teachings compared to those of the hierarchical Church?  

 

Guardian: While many clerics are sincerely trying to renew the Church, although according to their whims, these new authentic movements tend to return to the roots of the Catholic Church.  

 

Host:         I have to admit there is a discrepancy between the message of Christ and the lives and teachings of some men in the Church.  

 

Guardian: This discrepancy is what we have to remove because this is what hinders the spread of the Catholic Church.  

   

I.    Loss of a Sense of Sin and Other Symptoms  

 

Host:         What are other symptoms of one’s ignorance and disobedience?  

 

Guardian: Loss of a sense of personal sin, as shown in our present mass.  In the old mass, we prayed, “Look not upon my sins...”; now we say, “Look not upon OUR sins...”  Who told us to mind other people’s sins?  Or is this a way of absorbing our sins into everyone else’s sins to remove personal guilt, which is of the essence of sin?  Collective sin, with the exception of original sin, does not exist in Catholic theology.  

 

                   The devil has a favorite refuge -- anonymity; he wants man to forget that the devil exists.  With this, man loses his sense of sin.  

 

Host:         Now, our sin is everybody’s fault...the defect of a child is blamed on the parents or on one’s genes.  

 

Guardian: Like saying...it is not really all our fault.  And this is terrible because as long as we don’t admit our personal guilt, we will not repent, which is the first step in the following of Christ.  And as long as we don’t repent, we do not belong, strictly speaking, to the Church, the virgin Bride of Christ.  

 

                   Today, even the direct interventions of the devil are merely attributed to culture and “the times”.  

 

Host:         So any reform in the Church should start here?  

 

Guardian: Yes:  that each of us realize our personal guilt or sins, thoroughly repent, thus reforming ourselves first.  Then, and only then, can God use us to reform others...by making us teach others what we have already learned.  

 

Host:         What do you say about all those seminars and conferences and meetings on renewal and reformation?  

Guardian: Only God can renew the Church; and He uses only holy persons to do that.  All these seminars and conferences only produce documents which we already have in abundance.  

 

Host:         What are the other symptoms of this serious illness?  

 

Guardian: When the clergy does not take the Vicar of Christ seriously.  In the early Church, when this happened, the Pope usually traveled and went directly to the ordinary people.  

 

Host:         You mean the Pope traveling around extensively is not new?  

 

Guardian: No, it is not.  When the people lose respect for their priests and bishops, the Pope has to go to them personally to show that the Catholic Church is still the true Church.  

 

Host:         And it seems to work because the ordinary people look with awe at the Holy Father; and this happens everywhere.  

   

J.    Fallout of Priests  

 

Host:         To what do you attribute the great fallout of priests?  

 

Guardian: As young men, they all entered with the noble intention of finding God.  They did not find Him in convents, monasteries and seminaries, because nobody around knew how.  And the few who knew were considered either old-fashioned or weird.  

 

Host:         But some of these are learned priests from religious orders known for erudition.  

 

Guardian: Yes, and since knowledge puffs up, St. Paul says, instead of following Christ’s commands or the spirituality of their founders, they made up their own spirituality which leads we-don’t-know-where.  

 

Host:         No wonder most priests today speak more authoritatively on politics, ecology, economics and ozone layers than on spirituality.  

 

Guardian: St. Peter Canisius calls this “default”; he who is ignorant of things of the spirit will always talk of things not of the spirit;  he mentions politics in particular.  

 

Host:         Priests seem to be more enmeshed in the world...

 

Guardian: They are trying to save souls in a purely natural way--through psychology, sociology.  Or they socialize too much in their effort to attract people to the Faith.  It is painful to be confronted with the illusion, so essentially anti-Christian, which is present among priests and theologians, that a new man and a new role can be created, not by calling each individual to repentance but only by changing the social and economic structures.  That’s like curing the sore by pouring perfume on it.  Without repentance, you cannot even change the social structure.  

 

Host:         Would inculturation also be naturalizing something supernatural?  

 

Guardian:          Yes.  The souls of the Germans, the Africans and the Syrians are the same.  Inculturation is unnecessary.  Religion talks to the soul, not to the German ear.  When Christ said to preach to all nations, there was no provision for inculturation.  And the holy preachers will attest to this.  

 

Host:         Inculturation, therefore...

 

Guardian: ...has compromised the teachings of Christ for the sake of cultures.  When you say “the African Church”, you have just destroyed the universality of the Church.  

   

K.    Democracy

 

Host:         Why don’t they all convene and get their act together?  

 

Guardian: It is precisely this democratic process which entered the Church that has done great damage, St. Robert Bellarmine says.  There are few holy and intelligent people; majority are unholy and foolish.  Pascal says that democracy is the rule of this unholy and foolish majority.  

 

Host:         I would imagine democracy would benefit the religious congregations in that they can bring their bright ideas together and elect the best priests as superiors.  

 

Guardian: As St. Benedict warned us, since there are more sinners than saints in convents and monasteries, the majority end up electing the ones who would cater to their whims rather than those who would impose the full observance of their vows.  Democracy introduced the ideas of the corrupt majority into the monasteries.  

 

Host:         Would you say the same in the election of the Popes?  

 

Guardian: Much more so.  The Popes always selected their successor, precisely because the Church is monarchical.  The election by a conclave is a recent invention alien to the practice of the Church.  Why, if we believe that the Pope is infallible, wouldn’t he be the best man to choose his successor?  

   

L.    Source of Ignorance and Disobedience

 

Host:         You have mentioned the free will aggravated by ignorance and disobedience -- the fruits of original sin -- as the main cause of the crisis in the Church.  I guess these two, anywhere, whether in an office or in the kitchen, can cause chaos.  

 

Guardian: While ignorance is the consequence of original sin, disobedience existed before original sin.  But both are symptoms of a deeper malady.  You see, if a soul truly desires to be holy or to seek God, ignorance and disobedience will be replaced with wisdom and holiness.  

 

Host:         With no effort on our part?  

 

Guardian: With no effort on our part, we will know the way to holiness and will tend to obey.  

 

Host:         Where is our effort?  

 

Guardian: In the free will’s desiring, says St. Augustine.  The desire, alone, he continues, is the most pleasing prayer to God wherewith we can obtain everything we need and ask for.  

 

Host:         So, ignorance and disobedience are symptoms of what?  

 

Guardian: That you do not desire to be holy or to follow Christ or love God.  This was basically what was wrong with some angels and our first parents.  

 

Host:         What do such persons desire?  

 

Guardian: To please themselves; and for modern men, the love of money, Scriptures say.  There is something diabolical in the cold-blooded perversity with which man is corrupted in his desire for money and profit.  It makes him vulnerable to all temptations.  A culture is hellish which persuades men that the sole aim of life is pleasure and self-interest.  

 

Host:         Isn’t it a paradox that the saints, who were often uneducated on the origins, exegesis, the historical-archaeological basis of the Bible, and on the Bible itself, are the ones who understood the Bible best?  

   

M.    Episcopal Conference  

 

Host:         Since the cause of the crisis in the Church is so simple and the solution is similarly very simple, why doesn’t the Episcopal Conference do something about it?  

 

Guardian: The Episcopal Conference as an institution has no theological basis for its existence; it is man-made.  And God seldom blesses man-made endeavors.  They usually accomplish nothing decisive for the Church.  The structure of the Church is this:  the bishop is fully responsible for his diocese answerable to the Pope alone. A situation where their responsibilities crisscross over diocesan boundaries, in fact, violates the Church structure.  

 

Host:         Would you say it is more a social gathering?  

 

Guardian: I think that is the appropriate description; and as happens in such gatherings, everyone tries to be nice by agreeing with everybody else and approving everything just to get it over with -- sort of patting each other on the back.  The group spirit, the wish to live quiet, peaceful lives of conformity, shying away from the odium of their compatriots make them give up being the salt and leaven so needed today.  

 

                   Episcopal conferences have no teaching missions and their documents are not binding; though a bishop can choose to impose them on his diocese, another can totally reject them.  

 

Host:         Is this an example of the people getting the leader they deserve or the leader getting the people they deserve?  

 

Guardian: Scriptures have it:  “The time is sure to come when far from being content with sound teaching, people will be avid for the latest novelty and collect for themselves a whole series of teachers, according to their taste; and then, instead of listening to the truth, they will turn to myths.”  People today want novelty and myths; and the clergy, in their desire to be popular, give them what they want...novelty and myths.  Today, to preach the truth, you have to be brave because you will be tried...of all people, by the Church.  

 

Host:         Truth is so easily found, and yet so elusive.  

 

Guardian. On the contrary, it is truth that looks for a dwelling place...a humble soul.  It is elusive only to the proud...those who think that truth and falsehood can be decided by balloting, like the issue of abortion.  Truth can only be found; it cannot be created.  

 

Host:         You know so much on the state of the Catholic Church.  I mean, have you done a research or sat down to make an analysis of her state?  

 

Guardian: No, I just read, “The State of the Church” by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  The dissertation is also entitled, “The Ratzinger Report”.  

 

Host:         Do you mean these are not your ideas?  

 

Guardian: These are my ideas, but I used the words of Cardinal Ratzinger so I don’t get into trouble.  With his legal (or hierarchical) and obviously spiritual stature, they bear more authority than if they merely came from me.  The good Cardinal, in a way, confirms my thinking.  

 

 

Conclusion

 

Host:         Can you summarize your thoughts?  

 

Guardian: We cannot conform to the spirit of the times where most Catholics think that Christian Living, as Christ preached it, is difficult, impossible and unreasonable; where Christian morality is neither obvious nor normal; we must conform to Christ.  A Christian cannot live just like everybody else.  

 

                   Reform in religious congregations is mere disguised relaxation from traditional austerities.  And renewal programs consist in introducing comforts. In monasteries, time for Divine Office has been reduced and time to watch TV has been increased.  

 

                   Thus, their Liturgy has become a cheap stage show, and “participation” in the Liturgy, instead of being participation in the life of the Church, has become speaking, singing, shaking and clapping of hands.  Liturgy is a learning process...from God; so, everyone should be silent and listen.  Gregorian Chant is the official song of the Church -- not those worldly, catchy songs of the world.  A worldly liturgy, if such exists, reflects a worldly congregation.  And they are worldly, precisely, because they worship the world.  

 

                   The mass is a mystery; don’t try to explain it.  Understanding of the mass is dependent proportionately to one’s holiness.  Without holiness, it is impossible to understand the mass.  

 

                   A true Christian is a minority within the Catholic Church; he must oppose everything that appears good, obvious or logical to the eyes of the worldly.  To do this, he must rediscover the spirituality of “flight from the world”.  

 

                   The men in the Church are in crisis, borne, firstly, by the crisis in priests and religious.  I feel the crisis has not reached its height.  It will grow worse, and, as Christ predicted, it will never get better.  But the true Church, the virgin Bride of Christ, those who have obeyed all of Christ’s commands, those who have given up all things for Christ’s sake, the chosen few -- they will always be all right.

 

 

 

 

(updated 01-03-02)

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