Our Obedience of Faith
St Paul speaks of the great mystery which God kept secret. For us who know Jesus, we now owe God the obedience of faith.
Maybe obedience isn’t fashionable these days, but the obedience of faith is about our accepting reality. And what more beautiful reality is there than that our God has prepared for us?
Being obedient is a little like trying to be being good on Christmas eve. God’s ‘present’ still contains many wonderful secrets for us. The saints in heaven ever increase in joy because God is so unimaginably wonderful. So, it is good to be exited about the spiritual gifts God may bring us. This expectation makes us feel like little children on Christmas eve who are waiting, being as good as they can, doing what pleases mum and dad, being obedient – so they may receive all the presents their parents (and of course Santa) want to give them out of love for their children.
Being obedient isn’t a bad thing. It reveals that love is alive – in our hearts as trust, and in the heart of the benevolent giver, in whom we place our faith. Our obedience comes from our faith in God’s love.
Christmas is a wonderful time because it opens our heart to faith in love which is the same as faith in God, who is Love! Now I just want to repeat of few words taken from Archbishop Timothy’s Christmas message about Mary’s faith in God’s love, her example of obedience, and the wonderful gift she received for the whole world.
At the Annunciation we see that Mary is a woman of extraordinary faith and total openness to God’s will for her. And yet puzzlement and confusion were present in Mary too. When the angel appeared to Mary, we are told that she was at first greatly disturbed and then confused.
The call to faith in the midst of confusion, to courage in the midst of uncertainty and fear, and to trust in God in the midst of adversity and difficulty, is one which we all face in the circumstances of our own lives. God’s ways and God’s call to obedience are not always easy, comfortable or welcome.
Mary realised that the Lord would support her in all that he was asking of her and gave her unconditional “yes”. She becomes for us a model of what faith looks like in daily life.
In the end, the depth of our faith is revealed by the measure of our trust in God’s fidelity to his promises: to be with us always, to lead us along the paths of life, and to draw us into the mystery of his saving presence in our world. As God has fulfilled his promise, “the Word became flesh and lived among us.” For this we owe God the obedience of faith, but also our gratitude and filial love.
What a beautiful story Christmas is – a story of love and obedience; a story of God’s gift to the world; and a story of everlasting joy. May Mother Mary intercede for us that we may share in this joy! Merry Christmas.
A STORY FOR CHRISTMAS EVE
Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, on the night before Christmas, a little child was wandering all alone through the streets of a great city. There were many people on the street, fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, uncles and aunts, and even grey-haired grandfathers and grandmothers, all of whom were hurrying home with bundles of presents for each other and for their little ones. Everyone was scurrying around, filled with excitement because tomorrow was Christmas!
But the little child seemed to have no home, and wandered about listlessly from street to street. No one took any notice of him except perhaps Jack Frost, who bit his bare toes and made the ends of his fingers tingle. The north wind, too, seemed to notice the child, for it blew against him and pierced his ragged garments through and through, causing him to shiver with cold. Home after home he passed, looking with longing eyes through the windows, in upon the glad, happy children, most of whom were helping to trim the Christmas trees for the coming morrow.
"Surely," said the child to himself, "where there is so must gladness and happiness, some of it may be for me." So with timid steps he approached a large and handsome house. Through the windows, he could see a tall and stately Christmas tree all lit up. Many presents hung upon it. Its green boughs were trimmed with gold and silver ornaments. Slowly he climbed up the broad steps and gently rapped at the door. It was opened by a large man-servant. He had a kindly face, although his voice was deep and gruff. He looked at the little child for a moment, then sadly shook his head and said, "Go down off the steps. There is no room here for such as you."
As the child turned back into the cold and darkness, he wondered why the footman had spoken thus, for surely, he thought, those little children would love to have another companion join them in their joyous Christmas festival. But the little children inside did not even know that he had knocked at the door.
The street grew colder and darker as the child passed on. He went sadly forward, saying to himself, "Is there no one in all this great city who will share the Christmas with me?" Farther and farther down the street he wandered, to where the homes were not so large and beautiful. There seemed to be little children inside of nearly all the houses. They were dancing and frolicking about. Christmas trees could be seen in nearly every window, with beautiful dolls and trumpets and picture-books and balls and tops and other dainty toys hung upon them.
A little girl came to the window and looked out into the dark street where the snow had now begun to fall. She saw the child, but she only frowned and shook her head and said, "Go away and come some other time. We are too busy to take care of you now." …Back into the dark, cold streets he turned again. The wind was whirling past him and seemed to say, "Hurry on, hurry on, we have no time to stop. 'Tis Christmas Eve and everybody is in a hurry to-night."
Again and again the little child rapped softly at door or window-pane. At each place he was refused admission.
The hours passed; later grew the night, and colder grew the wind, and darker seemed the street. Farther and farther the little one wandered. There was scarcely any one left upon the street by this time, and the few who remained did not seem to see the child, when suddenly ahead of him there appeared a bright, single ray of light. It shone through the darkness into the child's eyes. He looked up smilingly and said, "I will go where the small light beckons, perhaps they will share their Christmas with me."
Hurrying past all the other houses, he soon reached the end of the street and went straight up to the window from which the light was streaming. It was a poor, little, low house, but the child cared not for that. The light seemed still to call him in. From what do you suppose the light came? Nothing but a tallow candle which had been placed in an old cup with a broken handle, in the window, as a glad token of Christmas Eve. There was neither curtain nor shade to the small, square window and as the little child looked in he saw standing upon a neat wooden table a branch of a Christmas tree. The room was plainly furnished but it was very clean. Near the fireplace sat a lovely faced mother with a little two-year-old on her knee and an older child beside her. The two children were looking into their mother's face and listening to a story. She must have been telling them a Christmas story. A few bright coals were burning in the fireplace, and all seemed light and warm within.
The little wanderer crept closer and closer to the window-pane. So sweet was the mother's face, so loving seemed the little children, that at last he took courage and tapped gently, very gently on the door. The mother stopped talking, the little children looked up. "What was that, mother?" asked the little girl at her side. "I think it was someone tapping on the door," replied the mother. "Run as quickly as you can and open it, dear, for it is a bitter cold night and no one must be left out in the cold on our beautiful Christmas Eve."
The child ran to the door and threw it wide open. The mother saw the ragged stranger standing without, cold and shivering, with bare head and almost bare feet. She held out both hands and drew him into the warm, bright room. "You poor, dear child," was all she said, and putting her arms around him, she drew him close to her breast. "He is very cold, my children," she exclaimed. "We must warm him." "And," added the little girl, "we must love him and give him some of our Christmas, too."
The mother sat down by the fire with the little child on her lap, and her own little ones warmed his half-frozen hands in theirs. The mother smoothed his tangled curls, and, bending low over his head, kissed the child's face. She gathered the three little ones in her arms and the candle and the fire light shone over them. For a moment the room was very still. Then the little girl said softly to her mother, "May we not light the Christmas tree, and let him see how beautiful it looks?" "Yes," said the mother. With that she seated the child on a low stool beside the fire, and went herself to fetch the few simple ornaments which from year to year she had saved for her children's Christmas tree. They were soon so busy that they did not notice the room had filled with a strange and brilliant light. They turned and looked at the spot where the little wanderer sat. His ragged clothes had changed to garments white and beautiful; his tangled curls seemed like a halo of golden light about his head; but most glorious of all was his face, which shone with a light so dazzling that they could scarcely look upon it.
In silent wonder they gazed at the child. Their little room seemed to grow larger and larger, until it was as wide as the whole world, the roof of their low house seemed to expand and rise, until it reached to the sky.
With a sweet and gentle smile the wonderful child looked upon them for a moment, and then slowly rose and floated through the air, above the treetops, beyond the church spire, higher even than the clouds themselves, until he appeared to them to be a shining star in the sky above. At last he disappeared from sight. The astonished children turned in hushed awe to their mother, and said in a whisper, "Oh, mother, it was the Christ Child, was it not?" And the mother answered in a low tone, "Yes."
And it is said, dear children, that each Christmas Eve the little Christ Child wanders through some town or village, and those who receive him and take him into their homes and hearts have given to them this marvellous vision which is denied to others.
By Elizabeth Harkinson https://archive.org/stream/legendofchristch1891harr/legendofchristch1891harr_djvu.txt
Below is an interview with the Catholic historian, author, and speaker Professor Roberto de Mattei on the nature of the escalating crisis in the Church.
Interview – Roberto de Mattei Discusses the Escalating Church Crisis
Maike Hickson (MH): Many Catholics around the world had hoped that the Dubia Cardinals would publish their public correction of Pope Francis concerning his Post-Synodal Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. What would you tell those among the faithful who are now disappointed and even discouraged in the face of the silence of the princes of the Church? With which words would you try to encourage these faithful to persevere in their hope and in their Faith?
Roberto de Mattei (RDM): The present crisis in the Church did not originate with Pope Francis, and it is not focused in one single person; rather, it dates back to the Second Vatican Council, and, going back even further, to the Modernist Crisis [of the early twentieth century]. Today a large part of the college of cardinals, of the college of bishops, and of the clergy in general, are infected with modernism.3 The few cardinals, bishops and priests who resist ought to take account of this situation, and it is our job to help them. But above all one must not imagine that a single act by one of these players, for example a correctio fraterna of the Pope announced by Cardinal Burke, can, by itself, resolve the crisis. What is needed is a convergence and focus of action by diverse groups of both clergy and laity, each one at their own level and according to their own capability. The sensus fidei can guide the cardinals, bishops, religious, and simple laity how to react [to the present crisis]. The importance of the correctio filialis, signed by 250 scholars, both religious and lay, was that it expressed this sensus fidei. The reaction may be different from one country to another, from one diocese to another, but its characteristics are always those of a profession of the truth and a denunciation of the errors which are opposed to this truth.
MH: But how can this situation be resolved?
RDM: It will not be men who save the Church. The situation will be resolved by an extraordinary intervention of Grace, which however must be accompanied by the militant commitment of faithful Catholics. In the face of this present crisis there are some who think that the only thing to do is to wait for a miracle in silence and prayer. But it is not like this. It is true that we need a divine intervention, but grace builds on nature. Each of us ought to do the maximum that we can according to our ability.
MH: The 2016 letter with which Pope Francis gave his approval to the guidelines laid out by the pastors of Buenos Aires was published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis, with a note written by the Secretary of State, Cardinal Parolin, according to which the Pope himself wanted the two documents – the guidelines and the letter – published in AAS.
RDM: The fact that the guidelines of the Argentine bishops and the approval of the Pope have been published in AAS has made it official that “no other interpretations are possible” of Amoris Laetitia other than that of the Argentine bishops, which authorizes communion to be given to those divorced and remarried people who are in an objective state of mortal sin. The letter was private, but the publication in AAS transforms the position of Pope Francis into an act of the Magisterium. It seems to me that this confirms the thesis expressed by Fr. Giovanni Scalese in his blog, according to which we are entering into a new phase of the pontificate of Pope Francis: moving from a pastoral revolution to the open reformulation of doctrine.3Pope Francis’ discourse of October 11 , on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the promulgation of the new catechism, seems to call for the beginning of a reinterpretation of the Catechism of the Catholic Church in the light of Evangelii Gaudium and Amoris Laetitia.
MH: In a recent essay, in light of how Luther is now being reinstated within the Catholic Church, you stated: “In short, every Catholic is called upon to choose whether to side with Pope Francis and the Jesuits of today, or be alongside the Jesuits of yesterday and the Popes of all time. It is time for choices and to meditate precisely on St. Ignatius’ two standards (Spiritual Exercises, n. 137)* which will help us make them in these difficult times.” Would you explain these words a little more to our readers, not only in light of the question of Luther, but also in light of Amoris Laetitia?
RDM: There are moments in our life and in the history of the Church in which one is obligated to choose between two sides, without ambiguity and compromise. The Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius and theology of history of Saint Augustine in The City of God do nothing other than emphasize the Gospel maxim according to which “no one can serve two masters; either he will hate the one and love the other or love the one and hate the other” (Matthew 6:24). Seen in this light, the recent publication in AAS of the letter of Pope Francis to the bishops of Buenos Aires reduces the matter to two diametrically opposed positions. The line of thinking of those cardinals, bishops, and theologians who maintain that it is possible to interpretAmoris Laetitia in continuity with Familiaris Consortio 84 and other documents of the Magisterium has been reduced to dust.3 Amoris Laetitia is a document which serves as a litmus test: it must be either accepted or rejected in toto. There is not a third position, and the insertion of Pope Francis’ letter to the Argentine bishops [into AAS] has the merit of making this clear.
MH: There are those who deny that the publication of the letter to the Argentine bishops is an act of the Magisterium, because it proposes an erroneous, if not heretical, position.
RDM: Whoever thinks this, it seems to me, begins with a false premise: the idea that the pontifical Magisterium can never err. In reality the guarantee of inerrancy is reserved to the Magisterium only in specific conditions, which are clearly spelled out in the Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus of Vatican I. The existence of errors in the non-infallible documents of the Magisterium, including the pontifical Magisterium, is possible, above all during periods of great crisis. There can be an act of the Magisterium which is both authentic and solemn, but erroneous. This was the case, for example, in my opinion, with the declaration Dignitatis Humanae of Vatican II, which, apart from its pastoral character, is undeniably a Magisterial act and almost certainly contradicts the doctrine of the Church on religious liberty, in at least an indirect and implicit way.
MH: Do you see a formal schism coming, and what would it practically look like? Who would be the creator of that schism, and what would it mean for simple lay people?
RDM: A schism is an internal division of the Church, such as happened in Europe for forty years between 1378 and 1417, when it seemed that one could not identify with absolute certainty where the [legitimate] authority of the Church was to be found. This tearing apart known as the “Great Western Schism” was not a matter of heresy. Generally however, heresy follows schism, as occurred in England at the time of Henry VIII. Today we find ourselves in an unprecedented situation in which heresy, which in itself is more grave than schism, precedes it rather than following it. There is not yet a formal schism, but there is heresy in the Church. It is the heretics who are promoting schism in the Church, certainly not faithful Catholics. And the faithful Catholics who want to separate themselves from heresy certainly cannot be defined as schismatics.1
MH: You seem to suggest that the Pope may be promoting schism and heresy in the Church. What would be the consequences of this most grave situation? Would not the Pope lose his authority as Pope?
RDM: One cannot sum up such an important and complex problem in a few words. On this point it is necessary to have a theological debate, on which topic one may refer to the volume True or False Pope by Robert J. Sisco and John Salza, to the writings of Abbott Jean-Michel Gleize in [the French journal] Courrier de Rome and above all to the study of Arnaldo Xavier da Silveira, Ipotesi teologica di un Papa eretico [Theological hypotheses about a heretic Pope], the Italian edition of which I edited in 2016 and also the next edition in English. The author, whose basic position I share, develops the thesis of the medieval decretists, of St. Robert Bellarmine, and of modern theologians like Pietro Ballerini, according to whom, while there is a basic incompatibility between [holding] heresy and [holding] papal authority, the Pope does not lose his office until his heresy becomes apparent to the entire Church.
MH: And finally, what would your outlook and encouragement be for our readers, at the end of the 100th Anniversary year of the apparitions of Our Lady of Fatima?
RDM: Discouragement is a sentiment which the militant Catholic cannot permit himself. The first weapon to employ against enemies who attack the Church is the use of reason, in order to demonstrate the contradictions in which these enemies live, and by which they necessarily die. Then we need to turn to the invincible help of Grace. One hundred years ago Our Lady of Fatima foresaw the crisis of our time. She announced a chastisement for humanity if it was not converted, but she also made an unconditional and irreversible promise: the triumph of her Immaculate Heart. For his part, Our Lord has promised us to be with us always, until the end of the world (Matthew 28:20). What more can we ask for?
Something is wrong in Rome
Reading Fr John Hunwicke’s blog “Will he never stop …” (http://liturgicalnotes.blogspot.com.au/2017/12/will-he-never-stop-2-pope-francis-our.html) I share his frustration about the current events unfolding in the Vatican.
“What repeatedly ... it seems, almost daily !! ... irritates me about PF is his endless propensity to treat the Depositum Fidei, the Universal Church and what she has inherited from the Apostles or from the generations since, as something which is at his disposal to change, to criticise, or to mangle in any way that appeals to his personal whimsy at any particular moment. He is like a toddler who has been given toys to play with ... a big, boisterous and wilful child who likes to play with them rather roughly; whose commonest phrase is "I want ...". If anyone suggests that he should perhaps handle them rather more gently, he throws a tantrum. I am immensely sorry to have to write like this about Christ's Vicar but, ever since his election, PF has appeared to me to want attention to be drawn particularly to those parts of his personal 'style' which mark him as most radically different from his predecessors. A pope who disliked close scrutiny and the consequent criticism would keep the journalists and cameramen at a distance, say a very great deal less, and speak only after taking competent advice. An ecclesiastic who deliberately sollicits attention is ill-placed to complain if he gets it, nor can his sycophants plausibly do so on his behalf. This pontificate did not invent the unfortunate modern phenomenon of the celebrity pope, but it has shown how very dangerous and divisive that cult is.”
The weight of unfavourable commentary about Pope Francis is astonishing. The most recent is “The Dictator Pope.” What troubles me is the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, and the suggestion that whilst living in an objective state of sin, an individual can be in a state of grace (http://www.johnthebaptistmoora.com/346443107/4390078/posting/tradition-reveals-catholics-are-a-bunch-of-rigid-pharisees). Equally troubling is the way the Dubia Cardinals were treated by Pope Francis.
Something is not right, so I have decided to post the following video which has only been seen by 7 people, as yet. I do not know the source of the information. It may be from the book “The Dictator Pope,” however I keep ‘hearing’ similar content online.
I hope the information is false, but like the dubia, I would like a clarification of these issues …
St. Gallen Mafia https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ipFMSYPCAMY (click to watch).
The Dictator Pope
For your information this article is from an interview with Marcantonio Colonna, the author of the book Il papa dictatore, that is creating great turmoil in catholicity. The book is said to reveal the lucid climb to the power of Jorge Mario Bergoglio.
"For his superior, Bergoglio was not suitable to be a bishop"
https://cronicasdepapafrancisco.com/2017/12/09/per-il-suo-superiore-bergoglio-non-era-adatto-a-fare-il-vescovo/ by Francesco Borgonovo (09-12-2017)
There is a booklet that is attracting the attention of half the world. French, American, Australian newspapers, even some Italian newspapers, talked about it with great caution. And, in fact, it is a hot volume, starting with the title: The Pope dictator .
The cover is occupied almost entirely by a photograph of Pope Francis: the "dictator" in question, of course, would be him.
The author is Marcantonio Colonna. It is a pseudonym, which refers to a really existent character: the viceroy of Sicily, lived in the sixteenth century, among the protagonists of the battle of Lepanto. The sparse biographical notes in the book - available only in the ebook version - explain that the author "graduated from the University of Oxford and has extensive experience in historical research and other fields. He resides in Rome since the beginning of the papacy of Pope Francis, and his book is the result of close contacts with many people working in the Vatican, including the cardinals and other main characters mentioned in the course of the narrative “.
The Truth has succeeded, by e-mail, to get in touch with Marcantonio Colonna, and to be told something more about the pamphlet that is causing so much clamour.
Why did you decide to write this book? And why using a pseudonym?
In essence, I must say that the media image that Pope Francis has benefited in the last five years is one of the most amazing scams of contemporary life. All those who work in the Vatican know the abyss between that image and reality and we should not be surprised that someone eventually reveals the truth. I wrote my book with the name of Marcantonio Colonna, who was the great military champion of the Catholic Church in the sixteenth century, so that anyone who reads the book sees that it is in no way an attack on the Church: it is intended to prevent the Church from again a similar error. That is to elect as Pope a little-known cardinal who turns out to be very different from what he seemed. It was necessary to use a pseudonym because, as the book says, Pope Francis takes merciless revenge on those who oppose him. For example, the three assistants of Cardinal Müller who were dismissed in October 2016 for alleged criticism of the Pope.
In your opinion, why is Bergoglio a "dictator"?
The meaning of the word dictator is that of sovereign who exercises his personal will in the contempt of law and justice. It is something very different from the legal authority that traditionally belongs to the head of the Catholic Church. I could refer again to Cardinal Müller, who tried to defend his three subordinates when they were fired, and received this reply from Pope Francis: "I am the Pope and I do not need explanations for any of my words" . This is not the way in which popes traditionally exercise their authority. But in calling Pope Francis a dictator I also wanted to bring out the close parallels between his style and that of Juan Perón, the dictator of Argentina in the age of Bergoglio's youth. His influence is crucial in explaining Francesco's style. As I say in the book, he is the ecclesiastical transposition of Juan Perón.
In the book, she tells a little-known story about Bergoglio's past. It's about a Jesuit, Father Kolvenbach . What is it about? How did you learn about this story?
In 1991, when Father Jorge Bergoglio was appointed bishop in Argentina, it was necessary to obtain a report from the superior general of his order, Father Kolvenbach. Father Kolvenbach's answer , based on the opinions of the other members of his order, was that Bergoglio was not suitable for being appointed bishop. Father Kolvenbach stated that Bergoglio lacked psychological balance, was of a subtle nature and had been a divisive figure when he was a Jesuit provincial in Argentina. This relationship was widespread among the members of the Congregation for Bishops of the time and was known to a rather large number of people. But Bergoglio, of course, took care to hide it when he became Pope. And the copy that was in the official Jesuit archive in Rome disappeared.
How did you collect the material for your book?
Several journalists have commented, regarding my book, that it contains little new, and in fact most of it is based on articles that have been published in the last four years, for example those by Sandro Magister. It was simply a matter of putting the material together. However, I think an important contribution provided by my book is in the second chapter, which describes the past of Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina, where he was known as a cunning and manipulative politician in the Peronist tradition. Even here, there is little new for an Argentine, but these are facts not known to the rest of the world, because of the language barrier. I was simply the vehicle to translate them. And again: the revelations about the resistance to reform and the reign of fear that now exist in the Vatican are familiar to anyone working there, but it was necessary for someone to publicly say what was well known in secret.
Through which path Bergoglio has become Pope?
My first chapter describes the action of the group of cardinals known as the "Mafia di San Gallo", in the management of the 2013 conclave, to guarantee Bergoglio's rejection. This description comes from the story of one of the members of the group, the Belgian cardinal Danneels, who was so proud of having designed Bergoglio's rejection to reveal everything to the authors of his biography (and let me add that the name "Mafia di San Gallo" comes from same Danneels). He ignored the fact that he was revealing a serious violation of canon law, which forbids conspiracies to influence the papal conclaves. The group of St. Gallen had met secretly for years before the 2005 conclave, when he tried to prevent Cardinal Ratzinger's election to Benedict XVI, and the candidate presented at the time was Bergoglio. When Benedict unexpectedly abdicated in 2013, Bergoglio. When Benedict unexpectedly abdicated in 2013, they took the opportunity to renew the failed attempt eight years earlier.
What is your opinion on the Bergoglio reforms?
The third chapter is titled: "Reform? What Reform? ". Describes in detail how the reform has been completely blocked by the powerful curial figures with which Francesco has deliberately allied himself. In the first place, the reform of the curia has been frustrated, in particular the intention to reduce the exaggerated powers of the secretariat of state, which is now more powerful than ever under Cardinal Parolin. Secondly, the broken promise to act against the scandal of pedophile priests: there have been known cases of priests who have been protected by prominent figures of the curia. Thirdly, the complete inversion of the financial reform that had been imagined when the new Secretariat for the Economy was established by Cardinal Pell. He was opposed by a small group of cardinals who did not want to give up their control and managed to defeat him.Libero Milone , was another victory for those who oppose reforms. Why did it happen? Because Pope Francis, who was elected to reform the Church, has discovered that he can control the curia more effectively through the corrupt figures that depend on him for power. They obey him blindly.
Have there been any reactions from the Holy See to its pamphlet?
My book did not like the Vatican. There have been immediate attempts to understand who wrote it. At one point they thought they had identified the author as someone who was in England and harassed him with telephone threats. What they do not realize is that the book does not represent a solitary voice, but expresses the concerns of many people - in the Vatican and elsewhere - who want the truth to be known.