Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Who am I for?

Image result for "1 Corinthians 1:12" icon

"I am for Paul; and I for Apollos; and I for Cephas; and I for Christ" 1 Cor 1:12
The Church being divided into  partisan groups is what I fear if Pope Francis' papacy goes much further, it is the risk of be distanced from Christ that I dread and Francis and those of his faction seem to want me to take.

Over forty years ago I made the decision that the Catholic Church was true because it alone held fast to the teaching of Jesus on the permanence, until death. of those who it married. It taught this doctrine in cultures and periods of history that rejected it. It alone was willing to condemn kings a emperors because Jesus hmself had taught it. In England, even in the time of corrupt popes the Catholic Church was willing to lose nations and for its clergy and laity to suffer the most grievous tortures.


Image result for Metropolitan Anthony BloomWhen I met Catholics, many were unable to receive Holy Communion because they knew what Jesus had taught and for love him abstained. Others in recognition of his Real Presence lived heroically as brother and sister. This is the Church I joined, the Church I have loved, the Church which I recognise as

True. Protestantism had its attractions, Orthodoxy had its beguiling beauty and with the friendship and spiritual depth and erudition of Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, it almost won me over, especially as Catholic Church post VII, post Humanae Vitae was at a pretty low ebb.

But it was the Catholic Church whose voice rang out as being true, its voice alone which rang out as being in accord with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It strikes me that under Francis we are being stripped of certainties which sustained our forefathers consciences even in prisons dark, The Catholic Church's role is to bring us to Christ, to live united in Communion with him, Schism does indeed beckon and we will all have to ask, "Who am I for?"

For many it will tear our hearts apart.

35 comments:

Ana Milan said...

The choice is utterly clear - either Christ or Satan, as Our Lady predicted. The CC is the One Holy Catholic & Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ on the First Apostles as stated in the Creed said at every Holy Mass. Satan is undercover by way of NWO. The rest of the schismatics /infidels are deadwood. They will be rooted out as they were in previous times. Our Lady's Triumph is close to hand.

tradgardmastare said...

It is so vexing. I came in to the catholic Church in my mid 30s ,felt so rooted under the Pope Emeritus, but now find the current Holy Father a huge challenge. I am not sure what to think and so.I find it hard to see God's plan in all this,hard to see where we are going...
Alan

philipjohnson said...

Fr.We must put our trust in our Blessed Lord and his Blessed Mother!Bergoglio is the snakes head of Modernism today in the Church.Bergoglio ,and his minions ,will be defeated!There is great renewal in our Church already-look at the spread of Traditional orders and Priests .Where i live i have access to Latin Mass in two places .In the north the Dome of Home is doing very good work,also in Warrington and Preston as well.We will be small and very similar to Recusant days so let us praise God for this Purgation and ,eventual renewal of the Church.Mass may be in our houses-so be it.Let the liberal wreckage of Sixties church whither away.Bring it on.

Catherina of Siena said...

Dear Father Ray,

Like you I am also a convert to the One True Church, but much more recently.
My reasons for converting were broadly the same as yours and that of most other converts.

And like you and many others I am worried about this papacy, or in any case what it is managing to bring to the surface: the sorry and confused state of Christianity at present. Because it is something one can see across the board, also in non-Catholic traditions.

I never thought it would manifest also in the Catholic Church but of course I realize now that I have been overly optimistic and just a bit starry eyed when I converted. Still, I do believe it was the right to do at my high age in 2009 even if many of my Protestant friends thought I was crazy and was just lured by Benedict XVI's wonderful serenity, brilliant mind, and beautiful halo of silver hair! (LOL)

Of course,those few Prot friends who had actually read some of his books and speeches thought he was perhaps the greatest thing the Catholic Church had produced in the past century or so because he realized what the Gospel was all about asa highly informed and honest, true Christian scholar and teacher. ("At least he knows Scriptures inside out and opened my eyes even more than Karl Barth did", they said with grudging admiration.)They understood very well why I converted during the papacy of Benedict XVI.
On the otherhand, one of them rhetorically and quizzically asked me recently: "Would you have converted to the RCC because of the teaching of Pope Francis?" I answered: "The Catholic Church is not synonymous with whoever the current pope is"(etc.) But I did know what she (a theologian)meant, looking on from the "other side".

But, let's face it: most people and readers of main stream media and TV-watchers think Pope Francis is the most wonderful pope that ever walked on this planet. These fans include most nominal Protestants, most seculars and a large part of the Catholic faithful.

I do always remember that Christ is the head of our Church. Please Father Ray, don't make yourself sick over recent developments. You are a precious priest and your flock needs you. Trust our Lord and His promises.
















Physiocrat said...

Schism beckons. I wonder if this is not part of something bigger altogether?

We see points of growth but they are so pitifully few that it is fair to ask if they are not the last shoots thrown out by a dying tree? There are a handful of parishes which flourish, but, with the exception of the Oratory congregations, FSSP and IKC, they depend on one priest. What will happen to them when that priest retires? Indeed, such is the fall in the number of priests that it is fair to ask if those parishes will even continue?

I have always told myself "where else is there to go?" I am not so sure any more.

Unknown said...

Father, thank you for putting it so well. Your words give much on which to pray and meditate. Richard McNally ss.cc.

Simon Reilly said...

Having read Iota Unum by Romano Amero, it is apparent that the events of the past four years are merely the culmination of those of the last fifty and if Francis is driving the Church in a direction that is contrary to its mission, he is driving it in the same direction, at a gallop, as his predecessors did, at a trot.

Left-footer said...

"For many it will tear our hearts apart."

Mine for one, but...

“I tell you naught for your comfort,
Yea, naught for your desire,
Save that the sky grows darker yet
And the sea rises higher.”

God bless!

Damasus said...

Thank you Father for expressing especially the feeling of converts to the Church who now have to watch the decline and the derailing of the Una Sancta.
If the Pontiff continues-either the schisma will have to be declared or we will have to look for a new shelter. The Orthodox Church?
Father Blake would you allow us to translate your text into german and to put them in our blog
"Beiboot Petri" with the due reference to this blog and with respective links?

JARay said...

I was thrilled to read the account of your conversion and there are other examples above. I have to admit that I did not have to make the choices that you had to face. I was born into and grew up in a faithful, strong, Catholic family. I look at Scripture and say "How long O Lord? How long?" It's all there folks! Jesus did say "When I come again will I find any Faith there?" Of course he will and he knows that he will. That was just his way of saying that all of this was going to happen. If I'm still alive when it happens then he'll find that Faith in me. And that is what each and every one of us must say! No matter what others do or say I will be true to him. Nothing will shake my Faith! Nothing!

Osusanna said...

I will be with the pre V2 Church, the one in which I was raised. I left it for a while, went to a far country and almost died, but the faith and devotional practices I was taught by the good sisters stayed with me. I've always felt the nine First Fridays they had us make in high school saved my life, as the Sacred Heart promised. (The local V2 church does not even mention First Friday.) That old faith is the pearl of great price to me.

John Webster said...

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God's curse!
Galatians 1:8

We should all pray for discernment, rather than worry.

Frank Karwatowicz said...

Father Ray, this is another great and soul searching post. I thank you for keeping my interest going.
I am not a convert. In fact I am a “cradle catholic.” But my wife of 52 years is a convert and has been the source and unwavering strength of my faith in our Holy Catholic Church. We met accidentally when she was already in the process of converting to RCC. Her conversion was coincidental to our love and future marriage. I was attending a Jesuit University, had to attend several private retreats, graduated but have not been to Mass for 8 years. When I went to an obligatory confession before our wedding, I remember the priest saying “Somebody must have been praying for you all this time.”
Now after 52 years, 4 children, 5 grandchildren she is the defender of our Faith, hers and mine. In the morning before breakfast, I read the gospel for the day and she reads the commentary from a Catholic daily reader. If I mention anything that is critical of our Church or critical of the present pope or anything that implies a schism in our church, she says I don’t want to hear about it. Those are words written and spoken by anti-Christ people whether lay or clerical.
My faith is rooted in my love for her and at the same time I love to read and listen to Catholic meditations, history, philosophy, theology and more. This is why I enjoy reading your blog; because it is not simply a rewriting of the gospel for the day which I have read that morning.
I realize that my life is fragile and not in my control but rather that my faith in Christ, His Crucifixion and Resurrection is what gives me solace in day to day trials and tribulations. What I am trying to say, as Margaret Thatcher would say to Ronald Reagan, “don’t go wobbly on me.” I mean all of us out there who are your cyber-flock and look up to you more than to the present big F. We need steadfastness. After all, God is God and man is not God.

Valdemar said...

2 Thessalonians 2:1-14.

Especially :14.

Liam Ronan said...

Excellent instruction, Father.

Insofar as those who from the very top lead us into apostasy and schism, I recall
1 John 5:16:

"If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death.

There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it."

The Douay-Rheims commentary on this passage states:

"...By a sin therefore which is unto death, interpreters commonly understand a wilfull apostasy from the faith, and from the known truth, when a sinner, hardened by his own ingratitude, becomes deaf to all admonitions, will do nothing for himself, but runs on to a final impenitence..."

Even so, prayers for such is not altogether discouraged insofar as we pray generally for all sinners as conversion of even the most hardened hearts is not unknown.

The link to the full explanation is here:

http://www.drbo.org/chapter/69005.htm

Have Faith and Pray said...

If they drive God from the earth, we shall shelter Him underground. Fyodor Dostoyevsky

We are not with thee, but with HIM, and that is our secret! Notes from the Underground- FM

Fr Ray Blake said...

Damasus, delighted: translate

Physiocrat said...

@Damasus

It is a thought, and a disturbing one that has occurred to me, but from a different perspective. The notion of the Roman church being the one true church is founded on our interpretation of a single verse of scripture.

It would not a matter of finding shelter amongst the Orthodox, but that they may have been right all along. What if we have been mistaken for the past 1200 years? Could the present troubles be a sign that God is trying to tell us something? It is a time for discernment. The Orthodox may be split chaotically into national groups and factions, but they have kept the liturgy and with it, they have kept the faith.

We should also ask ourselves why the present Pope is putting such an emphasis on ecumenism with the Protestants, in particular the Lutherans, even as they are collapsing into irrelevance. What was the visit to Lund last November all about? What was there to celebrate for 500 years after Luther's 95 Theses? Take a look at this ecumenical service, complete with a jolly cross from Toyz r us.

Nicolas Bellord said...

I have come to the view that there is now a greater certainty. There is heresy in the Church without the shadow of a doubt. There is no schism just heresy. I have had to think very clearly where I stand and, I suggest, we must all do likewise. M This is a cleansing of the Church and it will emerge much strengthened. Up to now as a lay person I have been puzzled by many in the hierarchy and clergy. Every day though it is becoming clearer as they announce their positions. There are Cardinals and Bishops who publically trample on the face of Christ and his teaching for far less reason than saving others from torture as in the film 'Silence'. How many of them will have to paraphrase Cardinal Wolsey:

"Would that I had served my God as I have served my Pope"?

JARay said...

Physiocrat writes "but that they may have been right all along"
Never, never, never!
There is much that is wrong with the Orthodox and it is not just the matter of their denial of the Papacy.
Their Theology is suspect. Their knowledge of the necessity of Baptism is completely faulty. Their denial of the fact that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son is yet another fault in their Theology. We are the Church that Satan is attacking. Why is that? The Orthodox are getting a free ride. Why is that?
Open your eyes!

Pelerin said...

Physiocrat writes that the notion of the Roman Church being the One True Church is founded on our interpretation of a single verse of scripture. But is it not also supported by Tradition ever since?

Interesting link to that ecumenical service in Lund. I have seen small versions of the 'jolly cross' in Catholic bookshops. I can't say I like them at all but I presume as they are stocked there must be a call for them. Sad.

We all want to hang on in there as the modern expression goes. I fear that if there is yet another translation of the Mass as it is rumoured it will be even more difficult. Perhaps we ought to give up reading Catholic blogs for lent?

diff said...

I'm afraid I agree with every word you have written here.
I for my part had become somewhat complacent during the previous two pontificates, but the rot was there and it obviously remains. Pope Francis in all of this reminds me of an Old Testament figure, one of the Prophets maybe, who is chastising the new Israel for her many sins, trying to rouse her from her slumber in new and imaginative ways.
I do think (and hope and pray) that Pope Francis is acting as God's instrument in all of this (whether he means to or not is besides the point), drawing to the surface all the puss and poison that has been festering away in the Church for some time now. I think we have in Francis a Holy Roman Poultice for a Pontiff.bHow or when this boil is to be lanced God alone knows, but it will come.

Nicholas Mitchell said...

It occurs to me that if the Catholic Church proves herself to be well and truly "defectible" by caving in on this issue, it makes no sense to convert to Orthodoxy as some may be tempted. Surely, the defection of the only institution with a credible claim to all of unity, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity (there may be elements of holiness in Orthodoxy, and apostolic succession, but they are inherently nationalistic and divided), would make a mockery of Christianity itself. What then? Judaism? Agnosticism? No, we must cling to the Faith - even if it means turning sedevacantist.

TLM said...

Even the Pope himself has commented in a 'joking way' that he may go down in History as causing the 'Great Schism'. PLEASE GOOD AND FAITHFUL CARDINALS.....TIME TO ACT IS NOW!!!!

William Tighe said...


Physiocrat said:

"It would not a matter of finding shelter amongst the Orthodox, but that they may have been right all along. What if It would not a matter of finding shelter amongst the Orthodox, but that they may have been right all along. What if we have been mistaken for the past 1200 years?"

Were I convinced (as I am not) that "we have been mistaken for the past 1200 years," it would not be to the Orthodox, historically speaking, that one should turn, but rather to the non-Chalcedonian "Oriental Orthodox" (Copts, Armenians, Ethiopians, Syrians, etc.). The Council of Chalcedon (451 AD) split Eastern Christianity right down the middle, with its opponents maintaining (a) that the Christology of St. Cyril of Alexandria was the "gold standard" of Christian orthodoxy, as per the Council of Ephesus, (b) that the Christology of the Tome of St. Leo the Great was, if not Nestorian, then "Nestorianizing," and (c) that the Council of Chalcedon had so compromised "pure Cyrilline orthodoxy" as effectively to betray the Faith. Many Easterners who reluctantly accepted Chalcedon seemed inclined to have some sympathy for this perception, as witness the almost universal embrace in the East of the Emperor Zeno's "Henotikon" of 482, which passed over Chalcedon in silence, and declared the dogmas of the councils of Nicaea, Constantinople and Ephesus to constitute Christian orthodoxy. Rome rejected the Henotikon out of hand, and the result was the "Acacian Schism" between Rome and the four eastern patriarchates, which lasted from 482 to 519. The schism ended when a new emperor sought to heal the schism between Rome and the East, even if to do so meant effectively to accept explicitly that "Rome was right and we were wrong" (and implicitly, "because Rome is always right in its dogmatic stances/decisions," which was certainly Rome's view than, as later), and even if that same emperor, Justinian, sought later in his reign to bend a Roman pope to his will. In other words, the Chalcedonian Orthodox are in part a legacy of a fifth/sixth century "papalism" which they later rejected. The "Oriental Orthodox," thus, in my view, have a more cogent claim than the Orthodox - if we have been mistaken for the past 1200 years - to be "the true Church."

Or, to put it briefly, "if Chalcedon, why not Florence; if not-Florence, then why Chalcedon?"

Liam Ronan said...

@diff,

You say:

"Pope Francis in all of this reminds me of an Old Testament figure, one of the Prophets maybe, who is chastising the new Israel for her many sins, trying to rouse her from her slumber in new and imaginative ways."

The present moment for the Catholic Church reminds me of the passage in 1 Kings contrasting the prophets of Ba'al and God's own prophet, Elias, who at Carmel challenged the people of Israel:

"How long do you halt between two sides? if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people did not answer him a word."

Elias called on the True God and his sacrifice was accepted. After which Elias:

"...said to them: Take the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape. And when they had taken them, Elias brought them down to the torrent Cison, and killed them there."

One is entitled to one's opinion, of course, but are we to follow the prophet of Ba'al or one of God?

Pelerin said...

If it is of any help to anyone Rorate Caeli has a good interview (in English) with Bishop Schneider who tells us not to be discouraged during today's crisis and what he describes as unprecedented confusion in the Church.

Frank Karwatowicz said...

Take the prophets of Baal, and let not one of them escape. And when they had taken them, Elias brought them down to the torrent Cison, and killed them there."
I like that. It may in fact become the politically correct and necessary course of action.
It is "prophetic."

Woody said...

In a recent article, Prof. De Mattei covered many of the problems, as he does so well, and then at the end the usual formula about the Church being "holy and immaculate in her essence, but sometimes fragile in men who represent it". And so the question arises: how does it help me if the Church remains "holy and immaculate" in an esoteric manner (which presumably is what "in her essence" means in this context), but in her external appearance and functioning, i.e. teaching and instructing, as well also maybe of "sanctifying"--maybe sometimes not so much-- is "fragile", i.e. prone to communicate error, or even to defraud. Am I supposed to become a gnostic, discerning the essence somehow, like from reading pre-Vatican II stuff which is no longer taught by the current clerical crowd? Or vice versa? If the Church fails in her teaching mission on the exoteric level, why has she not just plain failed, period? And in failing in the mission, how can that be reconciled with holiness and immaculateness? In other words, the whole purpose of the Church is to govern, teach and sanctify the faithful, all of these being external, here and now, actions. If she fails in those external actions, how can one fail to conclude that she has failed in her essential purpose? And then to proceed to the logical conclusion, as Physiocrat may be doing as well. I also do not see the Orthodox in communion with Rome position as a real solution. When it comes down to brass tacks, as per the new UGCC catechism, the UGCC or the Ruthenians just swallow what Rome has promulgated and then go back to their definitely superior liturgies (and how long is it going to be until Francis sets up a commission to revise them?). And if Rome's pronouncements cannot be trusted, then why swallow them?

Woody said...

And just one other thing. Who broke communion with whom? Who slapped the bill of excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia in 1054? Who sacked the City in 1204, desecrating the altars, stealing the relics, which were sent all over Europe, sold, no doubt, by the Venetians? Who split off from the other four patriarchs? Who altered the Creed?

Nicolas Bellord said...

Woody: There are many clergy who will be faithful to the teachings of Christ and his Church. Support them. For those who support heresy make it plain to their faces that you do not accept heresy. Do not support them. Boycott them.

Rod George said...

Father,
Having been brought up in the church prior to V2 and witnessing what has taken place since it
is obvious that the church is under attack not only from without as it always has been but from within.All the popes from John XX111 ( with the exception of JP1 ) to the present day have contributed to where we are to-day.The present pope is simply accelerating the revolution.As catholics we always have to follow Christ and ignore any Pope,Cardinal or Bishop
who tells us otherwise. We have what is necessary to sustain us in these trying times, which will probably get worse before they get better, namely The Traditional Latin Mass and the Rosary.The N.O.Mass is part of the revolution and should be abandoned.This year is the 100th
anniversary of Fatima.Encourage everyone to say the Rosary and make the Five First Saturdays
of Reparation. We have been promised the victory through The Immaculate Heart of Mary.

William Tighe said...

"And just one other thing. Who broke communion with whom? Who slapped the bill of excommunication on the altar of Hagia Sophia in 1054? Who sacked the City in 1204, desecrating the altars, stealing the relics, which were sent all over Europe, sold, no doubt, by the Venetians? Who split off from the other four patriarchs? Who altered the Creed?"

A little transposition:

And just one other thing. Who broke communion with whom? Who closed all the "Latin" churches in Constantinople because they used unleavened bread,and in some cases threw the hosts into the street? Who massacred several tens of thousands of Latins, men, women, and children alike, including the papal legate, in 1182, thus inviting the sack the City in 1204? Who rejected the authoeirt of the See of Peter, ignoring precedents set as early as the time of Leo the Great?

I might say, "there, fixed it," but in reality offenses and affronts can be found on all sides - but they do not prove anything one way or another about the truth or falsehood of conflicting ecclesiological claims.

Maria Anna said...

Woofy but like you now see if you consider someone to be a heretic you break Communion with them. I am Orthodox and the fact of the Schism together with another thing kept me stray on and off with Orthodoxy. In 2008 I received Communion in a Catholic church when the priest said 'those un-confessed cone now'. Ever since I have been struggling with guilt that us Christians aren't that nice. One day God took me back to Orthodoxy and even if I see the reasons for Schism I wish it didn't happen. But I do feel that I am just the girl and this violent manly business of priesthood is not despised by Christ. How can it be? The Apostles may not have been priests themselves but they helped the Church be and each time I invoke them they are so happy with what they helped into being. 'Being bitchy is being gay' I am schyzo maybe but Jesus Christ always tells me when I ask Him to stop Eccu excomunicating non-Eccu Orthodox priests. Not that He encourages Eccu. He just doesn't want a weak Church. This is too macho too Torquenada for me to get, but I accept it. Some bnon-Eccu say 'yea, martial arts that's Orthodoxy..' in an ironic way. I felt for them but I also feel for Rome and I used to feel split but somehow it all is a bigger purpose. Maybe at least while we are concerned for the Church we forget the world which we should? 'Lukewarm burn in hell' some say.

Physiocrat said...

@William Tighe

At this point in history there is little point in trying to apportion blame. The question now is who has kept the faith and who has maintained its Catholicity?

The liturgy has been thoroughly protestantised, to the point that it often indistinguishable from a Lutheran Mass. In fact, the Danish Lutherans still celebrate Ad Orientem! The only difference is that the Catholic ones lack the charm of the real Lutherans, not to mention the buildings.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lMWSR849DA0
https://youtu.be/huvjeBe3fE0 (see after Offertory 55 minutes)

"Lex orandi, lex credentis". Having abandoned Latin, which was both a sign and instrument of our Catholicity, we also have to ask ourselves: how we kept the faith and what remains of our Catholicity?

Underneath that lies another disturbing issue. In 1960, the similarities between the Jewish and Catholic liturgies were so great that an adherent of one religion would have felt at home in the other's. No longer can this be said.