Saturday, November 02, 2013

The End of Christianity

I was a bit disappointed by attendance at Mass this morning, Saturday is not normally that good but I thought for the Holy Souls it might be better.
It strikes me there is a lot of confusion about our end, and consequently about the 'ends' of the Church and of Jesus Christ himself. What I mean is simply; why did Jesus come, what did he achieve? His Death and Resurrection according to survey after survey are a source of confusion. One well known Prelate who writes regularly for a Catholic newspaper seems to deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ without correction from any Bishop. It is is a not uncommon minimisation of what scripture and Tradition reveals. So many organisation within the Church seem more concerned with changing Church structures, discipline and doctrine. The Vatican Council above all was concerned about the return to kerygma, the central proclamation of Christianity: that Christ has come to Redeem us (see 1 Corintians 15 below). Christianity is about redemption and salvation above all. If we fail to see that then the Church really has no purpose, and we are left directionless as Christians.
Christ's death and resurrection opens Heaven for us, it is an act by God of recreation, it is essential that we understand it in the way it is presented in Revelation together with the subsequent doctrines of Judgement, Heaven and Hell, the Communion of Saints etc. To minimise or to substitute that for some modern speculative theology, for example Fr Robert Baron's 'hell exists but it could be empty', or Chardin's 'cosmic Christ' or Rhanner's 'anonymous Christians' does serious damage to Christianity at its very core.  Ultimate what is being said is Christ has done nothing and he and his mission are unimportant.

" I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me." If we loose sight of that we lose sight of everything.

[1] Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you have received, and wherein you stand; [2] By which also you are saved, if you hold fast after what manner I preached unto you, unless you have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins, according to the scriptures: [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day, according to the scriptures: [5] And that he was seen by Cephas; and after that by the eleven.
[6] Then he was seen by more than five hundred brethren at once: of whom many remain until this present, and some are fallen asleep. [7] After that, he was seen by James, then by all the apostles. [8] And last of all, he was seen also by me, as by one born out of due time. [9] For I am the least of the apostles, who am not worthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. [10] But by the grace of God, I am what I am; and his grace in me hath not been void, but I have laboured more abundantly than all they: yet not I, but the grace of God with me.
[11] For whether I, or they, so we preach, and so you have believed. [12] Now if Christ be preached, that he arose again from the dead, how do some among you say, that there is no resurrection of the dead? [13] But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen again. [14] And if Christ be not risen again, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. [15] Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God: because we have given testimony against God, that he hath raised up Christ; whom he hath not raised up, if the dead rise not again.
[16] For if the dead rise not again, neither is Christ risen again. [17] And if Christ be not risen again, your faith is vain, for you are yet in your sins. [18] Then they also that are fallen asleep in Christ, are perished. [19] If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. [20] But now Christ is risen from the dead, the firstfruits of them that sleep:
[21] For by a man came death, and by a man the resurrection of the dead. [22] And as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.


Shirelands Goldadors said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Supertradmum said...

Thank you for this. I have issues with Fr. Barron on this point which he got from von Balthasar, and other points, obviously wrong in his book Catholicism, which I read with a red pencil and found at least eleven errors, including a whopper misquotation of Lumen Gentium.

The denial of sin leads to the denial of hell. And, as to purgatory, I have heard too many sermons in the States on how most people go straight to heaven. Nope, state the great saints and the Doctors of the Church. Your article is true and sad.

Writing on purgatory today again on my blog. God bless you always, Father.

Genty said...

@ Jackie Parkes
Who exactly? I think we should be told.

Long-Skirts said...

Fr. Blake wrote:

"One well known Prelate who writes regularly for a Catholic newspaper seems to deny the physical resurrection of Jesus Christ without correction from any Bishop... for example Fr Robert Baron's 'hell exists but it could be empty', or Chardin's 'cosmic Christ' or Rhanner's 'anonymous Christians' does serious damage to Christianity at its very core. Ultimate what is being said is Christ has done nothing and he and his mission are unimportant."


We are St. Joan,
Philomena, Campion,
The Faith in its whole
Is what we do champion.

We are St. Margaret,
Pearl of York,
Where the bowels of the Faith
They tried to torque.

We are Sir More,
That's Thomas the Saint,
Whose reputation
They could not taint.

We are vocations
Large families and kneeling
Praising His presence
It's not just a feeling.

We are disciples
Of Christ and beggin'
To stop all the men
Who are turning us pagan!

We are the poor,
Uneducated ones
But in faith well-informed
The heretic shuns.

And when we are told,
"Don't believe anymore."
On the Feast of All Souls -
We're at Mass and ADORE!!

Long-Skirts said...

Jackie Parkes said...

"I think the problem with hell is that some bloggers would love to see it full"

What an unkind thing to say.

-from C.S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters:

"On the other side of the room another says, “I’ve got the plan. I’ll tell ‘em there’s no hell.”
“No good,” he says. “Jesus, while He was on earth, talked more of hell than of heaven. They know in their hearts that their wrong will have to be taken care of in some way. They deserve nothing more than hell.”
And one brilliant little imp in the back stood up and said, “Then I know the answer. I’ll just tell them there’s no hurry.”


Yes, I know November
The tolling of the bell
The whispers of the suf’ring souls
From mountain top to dell.

The chilly, gray, damp mornings
The rusting of the leaves
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Like moans from one who grieves.

And in the windy noon-time
When clouds fight 'gainst sun's might
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Cry, "Sanctuary light!"

So 'fore the red-glassed candle
Compelled I go to pray
The whispers of the suf'ring souls
Plead, "Sacrifice today!"

Now deep, dark sanctuary
Is lit by candle bold
The whispers of the suf'ring souls...
"Your prayers are autumn gold!"

So like the leaves of autumn
I fall to kneeling posture
The whispers of the suf'ring souls beg,
"Say a Pater Noster!"

The flicker in the red glass
Burns hotter now with Creed.
Oh, yes I know November
The month of Hope...souls freed!

Patricius said...

I, too, was somewhat surprised at how few there were at mass this morning. Indeed there were more present than on a normal Saturday but not as many as I had expected. I can't claim to speak for anyone else but I suspect that part of the cause is related to what has been done to the holy days of obligation- and, yes I do know that All Souls is not one. By moving feasts of the Lord to the Sunday and doing the same with those others that occur on a Saturday or a Monday the traditional "rhythm" of Catholic life has been undermined. I should not be surprised if there are people who take the view that if such days of obligation can be so easily shifted about then they cannot be of such great importance after all.

LukeTogni said...

I actually think Jackie is right. I recall back in the days when Angelqueen had a forum there was a tendency to see people defend the the fullness of hell with such a vigour that seemed to be a good.

Although I was initially reticent to go along with Balthasar's hope, I now find it compelling. That is, that hell is absolutely real, that many, especially I myself, deserve to go there but that we can hope in Christ. Balthasar was deeply opposed to the notion of the Anonymous Christian. This hope however, cannot be a presumption, and so we must entreat the Lord without ceasing, not because the warnings of the Church about the reality of hell and the many who will go there (e.g. the thge Syllabus), but precisely because they are true.

-Luke Togni

johnf said...

In his homily today our Parish Priest remembered that when he was a lad, Catholics invariably expressed the hope that when they died they would get to Purgatory. Today, everyone seems to expect that they will go straight to Heaven. "Well", said our Parish priest, "they are in for one hell of a shock"

nickbris said...

Perhaps All Souls Day should be transferred to the nearest Sunday, I have never seen so few at Mass

Physiocrat said...

In "atheist" Sweden, All Souls Day is a public holiday and people go to the cemeteries and light candles at the family graves. A good custom.

Do you think more people would have come to Mass if it had been a sung EF one at 11 am?

Pelerin said...

It must be disappointing for Priests when their flock do not turn up in great numbers for such an important day as All Souls Day.

If it is any consolation I think that there were far more than usual for a Saturday Mass in Westminster Cathedral today for the midday All Souls Mass. (And I did spot at least one other parishioner there)

By the Saturday evening Sunday Mass the Cathedral was absolutely packed with standing room only all down the side aisles. I got the impression that even the authorities were surprised at seeing so many people there having come to venerate the relics of St Antony of Padua. And what a magnificent reliquary it is too.

Those in the media who love to talk about empty churches should have been in the Cathedral today. Equally last week in Notre-Dame Cathedral Paris the Mass I attended was a special Festival for South Americans living in the area and absolutely packed an hour beforehand. The homily being in Spanish was a mystery to me but there was no doubt about the piety and enthusiasm of those present celebrating their Festival.

Regarding Hell - I can remember many years ago being told from the pulpit that there was no proof that anyone had ever been consigned to hell - not even Hitler - and I have been surprised at the criticisms of the American Priest Fr Barron as I was under the impression that he was very 'orthodox' and enjoy watching his short talks and learn from them.

George said...

A good point, Father.

Along a similar line, I thought to myself while managing 7 kids at a 7 PM Mass on All Saints, that throughout most of Christian history, Holy Days were days of religious festivity and recreation. I would imagine that the great preponderance of men throughout history looked forward to the "holy days" on the calendar.

I can't say that's true anymore. Certainly it's not true with regard to modern men in general. But I dare say it's generally not true even among devout Catholics. Sundays and the other Holy Days are full of burdens. American society is totally devoid of any sympathy to the Holy Days. Without the general society in support, the Holy Days become burdensome -- characterized among devout Catholics as days of "requirements" - lists of things that must be done or must be avoided.

I know that the general sentiment among Traditionalists is to bemoan when the various bishops conferences move the observance of a Holy Day to a Sunday. But increasingly I'm starting to see the merits of those decisions. Until Holy Days stop being merely "days which impose certain requirements upon Catholics," I think we should move them all to Sundays.

George said...

After posting the last comment, I read on Fr Z's page something about the Irish birthrate falling below replacement levels. Fr. Z lays blame on the Irish bishops. I'm sure a lot of responsibility lies there.

However, I see this problem of birthrate tied to the point I made previously. Our modern society is designed in such a way as to maximize the burden of procreation. The problem with low birthrate is framed as if Catholics for nearly two millennia were desirous of having less children but the Church of Rome kept them from this. This simply is not true. Men and women by nature historically did not need to be told to be fruitful and multiply. Indeed the universal impulse in the West to *not* want children is a relatively new phenomenon. Society changed radically, obviously, in such a way as to radically alter man's relationship to nature herself! This is something the likes of Fr. Z. would never really touch upon. Because to do so, would lead one directly to issues regarding the moral economy. The economic materialists of the political Right and Left would rather the Church keep out of that debate. However, until the Church reclaims her rightful place in society, the "life issues" will seem like burdens upon Catholics. The Church needs to do more than proclaim and defend Life. She needs to reinsert herself into the debate over the basic structures of the society.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me that saying 'hell exists but it could be empty' might be within the bounds of orthodoxy. We do not know for certain that any individual has been damned, (we do know with certainty that many individuals have been saved - the saints) and we hope that the mercy of God through the merits of Christ is very great indeed. So while this opinion may tend to engender complacency in some people's minds, he does not say that no one ever can be damned, which is clearly wrong. He rather suggests the possibility of it working out that way in practice. Our Lord's warnings and parables in Scripture do seem to count strongly against his view, and Our Lady's warnings in private revelation too, but is it actually heresy?

Fr Ray Blake said...

To suggest Hell is empty would surely suggest the Son of God tells lies.

He does talk an awful lot about it.

Cosmos said...

Fr. Blake,


Our Lady of Good Success-pray for us. said...

The 'modern speculative theology' of so many leaders conditions a 'vain faith': maybe, maybe not, doesn't really matter, 'All will be well': the reality of the Truth of the Way the Truth and the Life is preached plainly rarely. There was nothing speculative in Christ's warnings about living only for this life at the cost of the next. Confusion about the basics of Salvation is being promulgated by people we sheeps are supposed to take notice of.

Cardinal Óscar Andrés Rodríguez Maradiaga, University of Dallas, on October 25th:

'The Church could not continue posing as a reality [!!the world is false the Church as real as it gets this side of Heaven] facing the world, as a parallel “perfect society,” which pursued her own autonomous course, strengthening her walls against the errors and the influence of the world. This antithesis of centuries needed to be overcome.The Church did not have a monopoly on truth anymore, nor could she pontificate on a thousand human matters, or hold stances denoting arrogance or superiority. Instead, she should go out into the common arena, plainly and humbly, and share in the common search for truth.Dialogue should precede the mission, as a simple attitude of listening, to build on what is common, rather that to insist in what divides, and to count on the contribution of humanisms and of non-Christian religions, which will take us back to the foundation of any creed, any ideology. What is Christian has its substrata, first and foremost, in what is human.'

With teachings like this I reckon, close your ears, go back to the rosary, attend Mass trying to hear Heaven, trying to see Heaven.

"I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me. But you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep. My sheep hear my voice: and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them life everlasting; and they shall not perish for ever, and no man shall pluck them out of my hand. That which my Father hath given me, is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father."

Long-Skirts said...

Pray for the poor souls, friends.


Five a.m. my coffee
Rosary in my hands
All upon my lap-desk
My soul inhales expands.

And then I spy the HOLY card
Upon my desk it lay
A relic token, keepsake
Memento for the day

From those who’ve gone before us
We hope decked out in grace
And yet so often leave their cards
Sometimes in strangest place.

One side…their names and dates
The other, Christ or Saint,
Prayers to persevere for them
Make sacrifice don’t faint.

So when you spot such HOLY cards
Behind it is a story,
That you’ve been chosen, asked to help
Free souls from Purgatory!

Gungarius said...

How many church going Catholics actually understand the importance of attending Mass on All Souls Day. ie that you can obtain a plenary indulgence for someone in Purgatory?

For that matter how many church going Catholics know what purgatory is?

Deacon Augustine said...

"To suggest Hell is empty would surely suggest the Son of God tells lies.

He does talk an awful lot about it."

Exactly so, Fr. Ray. Unfortunately so many Catholic clergy just do not seem to believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture anymore - which is exactly what started off the "post-enlightenment", modernist crisis in the first place. They seem to believe that the clear teaching of Our Lord and the apostles can be dismissed as culturally-conditioned baggage which can be dispensed with or adapted to modern opinions.

If hell is empty, there is no need of the Catholic Church, sacraments or prayer, and there is certainly no need of Catholic clergy. We may as well all just eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow we die.

gtaylor said...

Hell as Our Lord said, is all too real. Maybe too real for our sophisticated chattering after Mass classes, who feel the need to hide their heads in the sand with their incessant gossiping in the aisles and pews after the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass has ended.
We need priests who preach, teach, catechise.

JARay said...

Nickbris writes:-
"Perhaps All Souls Day should be transferred to the nearest Sunday, I have never seen so few at Mass"
We always have quite a good attendance at Mass on Saturday mornings, particularly if it is the first Saturday of the month when Mass is followed by Benediction. Last Saturday we certainly got many more than the usual number. We normally get around 60 on a Saturday morning but last Saturday I would recon that there were about 200.

Don Wachtel said...

Pope Benedict XVI Homily at Vespers in Aosta, July 31, 2009 - "The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity – 1968 * We shall return later to discuss today this enlarged perspective which is at last beginning to gain currency in the Western consciousness as well, especially as a result of stimuli from the work of Teilhard de Chardin. Page 85
* It must be regarded as an important service of Teilhard de Chardin's that he rethought these ideas from the angle of the modern view of the world … Page 236
* This leads to a further passage in Teilhard de Chardin that is worth quoting … Page 238
* From here it is possible to understand the final aim of the whole move¬ment as Teilhard sees it … page 238
* To use Teil¬hard de Chardin's terminology … Page 304
* The first of these two concepts can be accepted again today without argument; and after what we have learned from Teilhard, the second should no longer be entirely incomprehensible, either. Page 318

Pope John Paul II, Gift and Mystery, page 73
"The Eucharist is also celebrated in order to offer 'on the altar of the whole earth the world's work and suffering' in the beautiful words of Teilhard de Chardin."

Anonymous said...

Because there are so few praying for the Poor Souls, it has fallen to the few who believe to vastly increase the numbers of people for whom they pray and offer sacrifice. There are so many souls now with no one praying for them. Try to remember all of the people you have ever been acquainted with, even those from childhood.

JARay said...

Maybe it is because I am not very familiar with the work of Teilhard de Chardin but I have long regarded him with a great deal of suspicion.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

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