JBap Blog

18. Jul, 2019


ROME, July 17, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — Another respected theologian is sounding the alarm on the upcoming Amazon Synod, saying it is an attempt to “create another church” by “demolishing” the true Church from within.

Monsignor Nicola Bux, a theologian and former consulter to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during Benedict XVI’s pontificate, said in a recent interview that “what we are facing is an the attempt to genetically modify the Church.” 

Asked why he believes the working document [Instrumentum laboris] for the upcoming synod has been so roundly criticized, Msgr. Bux, who now serves as theologian consulter to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, said “in a certain sense, the answer was recently given by Pope Benedict [in an essay published after the Vatican sex abuse summit]: it is yet another attempt to ‘create another Church, an experiment already that was tried and failed.’”

“These clerics do not ask themselves the great question at the basis of Christianity: what did Jesus really bring us if — as we can see — he did not bring world peace, well-being for all, and a better world?,” Msgr. Bux said. 

“Jesus Christ came to bring God to earth, so that man might find the way to heaven: that is why he founded the Church,” the Italian Monsignor said. “Instead, today’s clerics take care of the earth as if it were man’s permanent and lasting home. What is the symptom? They do not speak of the soul and therefore of its salvation.”

Msgr. Bux further noted that ideas once “denounced” by Joseph Ratzinger (as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) are now “coming to maturity” with the Amazon Synod.

“The Church is no longer considered the Mystical Body of Christ and the People of God oriented toward salvation, but a sociological phenomenon; thus it must deal with economics, ecology and politics, where at most it could intervene only for a moral judgment,” Msgr. Bux said.

He added that, under the influence of modernism, proponents of these ideas claim that “times have changed” and with them, “a new dogma” is needed. Yet he pointed out “this doesn’t answer the questions: who decided that times have changed? And is change always good?”

In the interview, which was republished on Pan-Amazon Synod Watch, Msgr. Bux also expressed concern over the working document’s downplaying of the need for faith in Christ, in order to be saved. 

“Doubts that the Lord Jesus is the only Savior of mankind has been spreading in the Church since the post-conciliar period,” Msgr. Bux explained. “For some sectors of the Church, evangelisation has been reversed into ‘being evangelized,’” leading many “parishes and seminaries” to invite “atheistic or doubtful thinkers” to speak “rather than clear and definite Catholics.”

Msgr. Bux said “this has led to confusion and disorientation,” especially given the weak catechesis that many Catholics received in recent decades. 

If it were not the case, he noted, “one could not explain the spectacle of vices and corruption that is gripping Italian and European society.” Nor could one explain how everyone is invited to “receive Communion at Mass, regardless of whether they are in the state of grace,” or even Catholic.

“The pastors of the Church must set forth doctrine according to the apostolic form in which it was entrusted to them (Rom 6:17),” the theologian said. “As Monsignor Carlo Maria Viganò recently replied in an interview [with the Washington Post]: ‘Dishonorably rebellious are those who presume to break or change the perennial tradition of the Church.’”

Speaking to the working document’s use of “inculturation,” Msgr. Bux said “it is presented in an inverted way: the intention is to return the Church in the Amazon to animism and spiritualism, making it withdraw from the Word that was announced to it through evangelization. ‘A natural religion with a Christian mask,’ as Cardinal Brandmüller said in his recent statement.”

Asked about the working document’s praise for the “cosmovision” of indigenous peoples, Msgr. Bux said it represents a “blurring of reason” and a return to “natural religion” and “spiritualism.”

Yet nature does have valuable lessons to teach us about the Church, the Italian theologian argued. 

“The very development of nature, which happens in an organic way (so that what is false yesterday cannot be true today) should help us to understand that the Church’s teaching is a doctrinal, organic corpus,” he said. 

“Instead,” he observed, “clerics are infected by a kind of Darwinism that results — as Cardinal Brandmüller wrote — in doctrinal and moral evolutionism; precisely the opposite of the organic development of a subject who remains faithful to its own identity.” 

“Only this body can be called the Church, at least on the basis of the Vatican I and II Consitutions, Dei FiliusLumen Gentium and Dei Verbum,” he said.

Msgr. Bux, who is also a liturgist, said signs of this Darwinian infection can be seen in the working document’s treatment of the sacraments, particularly Holy Orders. 

“After all the pre-conciliar and post-conflict debate on the inseparability of power of order and jurisdiction,” he said, “the Instrumentum Laboris proposes the opposite in order to justify the ordained ministry for women. Thus, we move further away from the Eastern Churches.” 

“Episcopal, priestly and diaconal identity must be understood from God who calls and the Church confirms it by ordination; not from the community, as if the Church were a democracy.” 

Rejecting the document’s proposal to ordain married men, or viri probati, Msgr. Bux said “the history of the Church teaches that the crisis of priestly vocations is resolved through living faith: where the faith is alive, missionary vocations are born, until the emergence of institutes for the formation of indigenous clergy. The Lord always calls men to follow him!”

Regarding the working document’s proposal that the rite of Mass be adapted to local Amazonian customs, Msgr. Bux observed that the Roman Rite has been transmitted to various peoples across the world and is “an expression of the communion of all believers in Christ beyond language, nation and race.” 

“While respecting cultures, the liturgy invites them to purify and sanctify themselves,” he said. “In truth,” he said, the working document’s treatment of the liturgy “is a question of an ill-concealed opposition to the Church of Rome.”

Msgr. Bux said it is “strange” that they want to do this centuries after the evangelization of the American continent, and the adoption of the Roman Rite. “Who informed the natives of the Amazon that ‘they were naked,’ i.e. without their own rite?,” he asked. 

He said the proposed adoption of non-Christian customs into the liturgy is “incompatible” and “contradictory” with the Roman Rite, unless one wants to engage in “hybridization and syncretism that lead the faithful into error.” 

“We are faced with the attempt to genetically modify the Church, calling into question the faith and unity of the Roman rite that expresses it (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium nn 37-38),” he said.

In the interview, Msgr. Bux also said he finds it “incredible” that the Amazon is being considered as a “theological place,” i.e. a special source of revelation. 

Seconding Cardinal Walter Brandmüller’s critique of the Instrumentum laboris, Msgr. Bux said that by calling into question divine Revelation, the document “detaches itself from the truth of the Catholic faith,” and amounts to “apostasy.” 

Msgr. Bux noted said it is “significant” that the Instrumentum laboris has received the “enthusiastic approval — and perhaps the advice — of Leonardo Boff, a former Franciscan priest, a historical exponent of liberation theology who, in the 1970s, was admonished by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.” 

The respected theologian concluded the interview, saying:

There is no liberation without conversion to Christ. The Instrumentum Laboris never mentions this term, which is at the beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but, as cardinals, priests and faithful have already observed, contradicting in decisive points the binding teaching of the Church — that is, to which every true Catholic is bound — it can be qualified as heretical. An attack on the foundations of the faith, which reduces the Catholic religion to pure subjectivism. It almost seems that it is Jesus Christ who must convert to the new Amazonian divinity. But is this “the Catholic faith transmitted by the Apostles,” as we pray in the Roman Canon?

17. Jul, 2019


Vatican City, Jul 16, 2019 / 09:19 am (CNA).- Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, who was prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith from 2012 and 2017, presented an analysis with a series of objections and criticisms of the Instrumentum Laboris, or working document, of the Synod on the Amazon, to be held in Rome in October.

The following is the full text of Cardinal Mueller's analysis:

“For any other foundation no man can lay, but that which is laid; which is Christ Jesus.” (1 Cor 3:11)

On the Concept of Revelation as presented in the Instrumentum Laboris for the Amazon Synod

Cardinal Gerhard Mueller

1. On the method of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL)

Nobody would question the goodwill of all those involved in the preparation and implementation of the synod for the Church in the Amazon, nor their intention of doing everything possible to promote the Catholic Faith among the inhabitants of this vast region and its fascinating landscape.

The Amazon region is to serve for the Church and for the world “as a pars pro toto, as a paradigm, as a hope for the whole world.” (IL 37) The very wording of these terms of reference suggest the notion of an “integral” development of all of humankind at home on the one Earth, for which the Church now declares herself responsible. This notion appears again and again in the text of the Instrumentum Laboris (IL). The document is divided into three parts: 1) The Voice of the Amazon; 2) Integral Ecology: The Cry of the Earth and of the Poor; 3) A Prophetic Church in the Amazon: Challenges and Hope. These three parts are put forward following a pattern also applied in Liberation theology: Seeing the situation – judging in light of the Gospels – acting to achieve better living conditions.

2. Ambivalently defined terms and goals

As is so often the case when texts are produced as a team effort, by groups of people with a similar mindset contributing, there are many tiresome redundancies. If one were strictly to take out all the repetitions, the text could easily be cut down to half the length or less.

The main problem however is not quantitative, is not the excessive length. Rather, it is the fact that the key terms are not clearly defined and then excessively deployed: what is meant by a synodal path, by integral development, what is meant by a Samaritan, missionary, synodal, open Church? By a Church reaching out, the Church of the Poor, the Church of the Amazon, and other such terms? Is this Church something different from the People of God, or is she to be understood merely as the hierarchy of Pope and Bishops, or is she a part of it, or does she stand on the opposite side of the people? Is the term People of God to be understood sociologically or theologically? Or is she not, rather, the community of faithful, who, together with their shepherds, are on the pilgrimage unto eternal life? Is it the bishops who should hear the cry of the people, or is it God Who, just as He once did it with Moses during Israel's slavery in Egypt, now tells the successors of the Apostles to lead the faithful out of sin and apart from the godlessness of secularist naturalism and immanentism unto his salvation in God's Word and in the Sacraments of the Church?

3. Upside-down Hermeneutics

Has the Church of Christ been put by her Founder, as though she was some kind of putty, into the hands of bishops and popes, so they may now – illuminated by the Holy Spirit – rebuild her, into an updated instrument with secular goals, too?

The structure of the text presents a radical U-turn from the hermeneutics of Catholic theology. The relationship between Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition on the one hand, and the Church's Magisterium on the other, has been classically determined in such a way that Revelation is fully contained in Holy Scripture and Tradition, while it is the task of the Magisterium – united with the sense of the Faith of the whole People of God – to make authentic and infallible interpretations. Thus, Holy Scripture and Tradition are constitutive principles of knowledge for the Catholic Profession of Faith and its theological-academic reflection. The Magisterium, on the other hand, is merely active in an interpretative and regulative manner (Dei Verbum 8-10; 24).

In the case of the IL, however, the very opposite is the case. The whole line of thought revolves, in self-referential and circular ways, around the latest documents of Pope Francis' Magisterium, furnished with a few references to John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Only little is quoted of Holy Scripture, and the Church Fathers barely at all, and then only in an illustrative manner, for the sake of supporting pre-formed convictions. Perhaps one wishes thereby to show a special loyalty to the Pope, or one thus believes oneself to be able to avoid the challenges of theological work when one constantly refers back to his well-known and often repeated keywords, which the authors call – in a pretty sloppy manner – “his mantra” (IL 25). This flattery is then being carried to its extreme when the authors also add – after declaring that “the active subjects of inculturation are the indigenous peoples themselves” (IL 122) – the following odd expression: “As Pope Francis has affirmed, ‘Grace supposes culture.’” As if he himself had discovered this axiom – which is of course a fundamental axiom of the Catholic Church herself.  In the original, it is Grace which presupposes Nature, just as Faith presupposes Reason (see Thomas Aquinas, S. th. I q.1 a.8).

Next to the confusing of the roles of Magisterium on the one side and of Holy Scripture on the other, the IL even goes so far as to claim that there are new sources of Revelation. IL 19 states: “Furthermore, we can say that the Amazon – or another indigenous or communal territory – is not only an ubi or a where (a geographical space), but also a quid or a what, a place of meaning for faith or the experience of God in history. Thus, territory is a theological place where faith is lived, and also a particular source of God’s revelation: epiphanic places where the reserve of life and wisdom for the planet is manifest, a life and wisdom that speaks of God.” If here a certain territory is being declared to be a “particular source of God's Revelation,” then one has to state that this is a false teaching, inasmuch as for 2,000 years, the Catholic Church has infallibly taught that Holy Scripture and Apostolic Tradition are the only sources of Revelation and that no further Revelation can be added in the course of history. As Dei Verbum states, “we now await no further new public revelation” (4). Holy Scripture and Tradition are the only sources of Revelation, as Dei Verbum (7) explains: “This sacred tradition, therefore, and Sacred Scripture of both the Old and New Testaments are like a mirror in which the pilgrim Church on earth looks at God, from whom she has received everything, until she is brought finally to see Him as He is, face to face.” “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture form one sacred deposit of the word of God, committed to the Church.” (Dei Verbum 10).

Besides these striking statements and references, the organization Rete Ecclesiale Panamazzonica (REPAM) – which has been tasked with the preparation of the IL and which was founded for that very reason in 2014 – as well as their authors of the so-called Theologia india [Indian Theology] mostly quote themselves.

It is a closed group of absolutely like-minded people, as can easily be gleaned from the list of participants at pre-synodal meetings in Washington and Rome, and it includes a disproportionately large number of mostly German-speaking Europeans.

This group is immune to serious objections, because such objections could only be based on monolithic doctrinalism and dogmatism, or ritualism (IL 38; 110; 138), as well as on clericalism incapable of dialogue (IL 110), and on the rigid way of thinking of the pharisees and on the pride of reason of the scribes. To argue with such people would just be a loss of time and a wasted effort.

Not all of them have direct experience with South America, and are only invited because they toe the official line and determine the agenda at the synodal process of the German bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics currently underway (i.e. abolishing celibacy, [ordaining] women to the priesthood and promoting them to key positions of power so as to tackle clericalism and fundamentalism, conforming Catholic sexual morality to gender ideology and an appreciation for homosexual practices) that is simultaneously taking place.

I myself have been active in the pastoral and theological field in Peru and other countries for 15 consecutive years, always for two to three months on end. It was mainly in South American parishes and seminaries, and thus I do not now judge with a purely Eurocentric perspective, as some would like to tell me in a reproachful manner.

Every Catholic will agree with one important intention of the IL, namely that the peoples of the Amazon may not remain the object of colonialism and neo-colonialism, the object of forces solely dedicated to profit and power at the expense of the happiness and dignity of other people. It is clear in Church, society, and state that the people who are living there – especially our Catholic brothers and sisters – are equal and free agents in their lives and work, their Faith and their morality, and this in our common responsibility before God. But how can this be achieved?

4. The Point of Departure is God's Revelation in Christ Jesus

Without doubt, the proclamation of the Gospel is a dialogue which corresponds to the Word (=Logos) of God addressed to us - as well as our response to it by the free gift of obedience to the Faith (cf. Dei Verbum 5). Because this mission comes from Christ the God-Man and because He passed His Mission on from the Father onto His Apostles, the seeming tensions between a dogmatic approach “from above” versus a pedagogical-pastoral approach “from below” are rendered pointless, unless one were to reject the “divine-human-principle of pastoral ministry” (Franz Xaver Arnold).

However it is man to whom Jesus addresses the universal missionary mandate (Matthew 28:19), “the universal and sole mediator of salvation between God and all mankind” (John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:4 seq.), and man can reflect, by way of reason, upon the meaning of life, from birth to death, a life shaken by the existential crises of human existence, and he sets in life and death his hope in God, the origin and goal of all being.

A cosmovision with its myths and the ritual magic of Mother “Nature,” or its sacrifices to “gods” and spirits which scare the wits out of us, or lure us on with false promises, cannot be an adequate approach for the coming of the Triune God in His Word and His Holy Spirit. Much less can the approach be a scientific-positivistic worldview of a liberal bourgeoisie which accepts from Christianity only a comfortable remnant of moral values and civil-religious rituals.

In all seriousness, in the formation of future pastors and theologians, shall the knowledge of classical and modern philosophy, of the Church Fathers, of modern theology, of the Councils now be replaced with the Amazonian cosmovision and the wisdom of the ancestors with their myths and rituals?

Should the expression “cosmovision” merely mean that all created things are interdependent, it would be a mere commonplace. Due to the substantial unity of body and soul, man stands at the intersection of the fabric of spirit and matter. But the contemplation of the cosmos is only the occasion for the glorification of God and His wonderful work in nature and history. The cosmos, however, is not to be adored like God, but only the Creator Himself. We do not fall on our knees before the enormous power of nature and before “all kingdoms of the world and their splendor” (Matthew 4:8), but only before God, “for it is written, the Lord thy God shalt thou adore, and Him only shalt thou serve.” (Matthew 4:10) It is thus that Jesus rejected the diabolical seducer in the desert.

5. The Difference between Incarnation of the Word and Inculturation itself as a Way of Evangelization

The “Theologia indigena and the eco-theology” (IL 98) is a brainchild of social romantics. Theology is the understanding (intellectus fidei) of God’s Revelation in His Word in the Faith-Profession of the Church, and not the continuously new mixture of world feelings and world views or religious-moral constellations of the cosmic feeling of all-in-one, the mixing of the feeling of one’s own self with the world (hen kai pan). Our natural world is the creation of a Personal God. Faith in the Christian sense is thus recognition of God in His Eternal Word which became Flesh; it is illumination in the Holy Spirit, so that we recognize God in Christ.  With the Faith, the supernatural virtues of hope and charity are communicated to us.  That is how we understand ourselves as children of God, who, through Christ, say to God in the Holy Spirit Abba, Father (Rom 8:15). We put our whole trust in Him, and He makes us His sons, who are free of the fear of the elementary forces of the world and of the demonic appearances, gods and spirits, which maliciously await us in the unpredictability of the material forces of the world.

The Incarnation is a unique event in history which God has freely determined in His universal will of salvation. It is not an inculturation, and the inculturation of the Church is not an incarnation (IL 7;19;29;108). It was not Irenaeus of Lyon, in his 5th book of Adversus haereses (IL 113), but Gregory of Nazianzus who formulated the principle: “quod non est assumptum non est sanatum – that, which has not been assumed, is not redeemed either.” (Ep. 101, 32) What is meant here was the completeness of human nature against Apollinaris of Laodicea (315-390) who thought that the Logos in the Incarnation only assumed a nature, without a human soul. That is why the following sentence is completely abstruse “Cultural diversity calls for a more robust incarnation in order to embrace different ways of life and cultures.” (IL 113)

The Incarnation is not the principle of secondary cultural adaptation, but concretely and primarily also the principle of salvation in the “Church as Sacrament of salvation of the world in Christ” (Lumen Gentium 1:48), in the Church's Profession of Faith, in her Seven Sacraments, and in the episcopacy with the Pope at the head, in Apostolic succession.

Secondary rites from the traditions of the peoples can help to ingrain in culture the Sacraments, which are the means of salvation instituted by Christ. They may, however, not become independent, so that, for example suddenly marriage customs become more important than saying “I do” to the very Sacrament of Matrimony itself. The sacramental signs, as they have been instituted by Christ and the Apostles (word and material symbol), cannot be changed at any price. Baptism cannot be validly administered in any other way than in the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, and with natural water, and in the Eucharist, one may not replace with local food the bread made of wheat and the wine from the vine. That would not be inculturation, but an inadmissible interference with the will of Jesus as founder of the Church, and also would constitute a destruction of the unity of the Church at her sacramental center.

When inculturation here is referring to the secondary external celebration of divine worship and not to the Sacraments – which is ex opere operato, through the living Presence of Christ, the founder and true giver of Grace in these sacramental signs – then the following sentence is scandalous, or is at least thoughtless: “Without this inculturation the liturgy can be reduced to a ‘museum piece’ or ‘property of a select few.’” (IL 124)

God is not simply omnipresent and equally present in all religions, as if the Incarnation were merely a stereotypically Mediterranean phenomenon. In point of fact, God as Creator of the world is present as a whole and in each individual human heart (Acts 17:27seq) – even if the eyes of man are often blinded by sin, and his ears are deaf to God’s Love. But He comes by way of His Self-Revelation in the history of His chosen people Israel, and He comes very close to us ourselves in His Incarnate Word and in the Spirit which has been poured into our hearts. This self-communication of God as a Grace and life of each man is spread in the world by way of the Church’s proclamation of her life and her cult – that is to say, by way of the mission for this world according to the universal mandate of Christ.

But He already works with His helping and prevenient Grace also in the hearts of those men who do not yet know Him expressly and by name, so that, when they hear about Him in the Apostolic proclamation, they can identify Him as the Lord Jesus, in the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 12:3).

6. The Criterion of Discernment: the Historical Self-Communication of God in Jesus Christ

What is missing in the IL is a clear witness to the self-communication of God in the verbum incarnatum, to the sacramentality of the Church, to the Sacraments as objective means of Grace instead of mere self-referential symbols, to the supernatural character of Grace, for which reason the integrity of man does not just consist in communion with biological nature, but in the Divine Sonship and in the grace-filled communion with the Holy Trinity and for which reasons eternal life is the reward for the conversion to God, the reconciliation with Him, and not only with the environment and our common world.

One cannot reduce the notion of integral development to merely mean the provision of material resources. For man receives his new integrity only by way of perfection in Grace. We receive it presently in Baptism, whereby we become a new creature and children of God, and one day in the Beatific Vision in the community of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit and in communion with His saints. (1 John 1:3; 3:1 seq).

Rather than proposing an obscure approach comprised of vague religiosity and a futile attempt to turn Christianity into a science of salvation by sacralizing the cosmos, nature’s biodiversity and ecology, one must turn to the very center and origin of our Faith: “In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature.” (Dei Verbum 2)

14. Jul, 2019


Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, rejects without appeal the Instrumentum Laboris of the Synod for the Amazon: "It comes from an ideological vision that has nothing to do with Catholicism". «They treat our Creed as if it were our European opinion, but the Creed is the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who lives in the Church. There are no other beliefs. "" We must absolutely reject expressions such as "ecological conversion". There is only conversion to the Lord, and as a consequence there is also the good of nature ». "The sacraments are not rituals that we like and the priesthood is not a sociological category". "The Revelation of God in Christ becomes present in the sacraments, and the Church has no authority to change the substance of the sacraments".

"The Synod of the Amazon is a pretext to change the Church, and the fact that it is done in Rome wants to emphasize the beginning of a new Church". Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, does not use half words in judging what is happening in preparation for the Amazon Synod which will take place next October in the Vatican. From his home, a stone's throw from St. Peter's Square, he scrutinized what was happening and agreed to examine with us the Instrumentum Laboris , or the document that will serve as the basis for discussion during the Synod, the source of many controversies and for which also our newspaper asked that it be rejected by the synod fathers ( click here): "It is only a working document that has no magisterial value - said Cardinal Müller - so only ignorant people can say that those who criticize him are an enemy of the Pope. Unfortunately this is their trick to avoid any critical dialogue, if try to make an objection you are immediately labeled as an enemy of the Pope ». Clarification more than appropriate because the text of the Instrumentum Laborisit is disconcerting in describing the Amazon and the peoples who inhabit it as a model for all humanity, an example of harmony with nature, a perfect synthesis of what is meant by integral ecology. It is a document that presents an idyllic picture of the Amazon, including indigenous religions, so much so as to render Christianity useless, if not for the "political" support it can give to keep these peoples untouched and defend them from predators that want to bring development and "Steal" resources.

Eminence, you say "they want to change the Church", but what are the clear signs of this will? 
The Instrumentum Laboris approachit is an ideological vision that does not directly deal with the theological approach to the self-disclosure of God in Jesus Christ, who is the incarnate Word, true God and true man. They want to save the world according to their idea, perhaps using some elements of Sacred Scripture and Apostolic Tradition. Not surprisingly, although we are talking about Revelation, Creation, sacraments, relations with the world, almost no substantial reference is made to the texts of the Second Vatican Council which define these aspects: Dei Verbum, Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et Spes. There is no mention of the root of human dignity, of the universality of salvation, of the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation for the world. There are only profane ideas, which can also be discussed, but they have nothing to do with Revelation.

In this regard it seems to me important to mention the no. 39 of the Instrumentum Laboris , where it speaks of «a broad and necessary field of dialogue between the spiritualities, the creeds and the Amazonian religions that requires a friendly approach to the different cultures». And he says: "The sincere openness to the other, as well as a corporate attitude that reserves salvation exclusively for one's own belief, are destructive of that very creed". 
They treat our Creed as if it were our European opinion. But the Creed is the answer illuminated by the Holy Spirit to the Revelation of God in Jesus Christ, who lives in the Church. There are no other beliefs. Instead, there are other philosophical beliefs or mythological expressions, but no one has ever dared to say, for example, that Plato's Wisdom is a form of God's revelation. In the creation of the world, God manifests only his existence, his being a point of reference of conscience, of natural law, but there is no other revelation outside of Jesus Christ. The concept of Lógos spermatikòs(the "seeds of the Word"), taken up by the Second Vatican Council, does not mean that Revelation in Jesus Christ exists in all cultures independently of Jesus Christ. As if Jesus were just one of these elements of Revelation. St. Justin, the martyr, rejected all pagan mythologies and said that the elements of truth in philosophies are the property of Christ (II. Apol. 13), in which are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge "(Col 2: 3).

Then you agree with Cardinal Brandm üller, when he talks about "heresy" about this document ( click here ). 
Heresy? Not only that, it is also a lack of theological reflection. The heretic knows the Catholic doctrine and contradicts it. But here there is only great confusion, and the center of everything is not Jesus Christ but themselves, their human ideas for saving the world.

In the document the "cosmovision" of indigenous peoples is a model of integral ecology, which would be a conception in which spirits and deities act "with and in the territory, with and in relation to nature". And it is associated with the "mantra of Francis:" everything is connected "" (no. 25)
The "cosmovision" is a panaturalist conception or - said in the modern European materialistic context, similar to that of Marxism, in the end we can do what we want. God is not nature, as Baruch de Spinoza (1632-1677) formulated. But we believe in God, creator of the Universe. Creation is for the glorification of God but it is also a challenge for us, called to collaborate with God's saving will for all men. Our task is not to preserve nature as it is, but we have the responsibility for the progress of humanity, in education, in social justice, for peace among peoples. This is why Catholics build schools, hospitals, this is also part of the Church's mission. Nature cannot be idealized as if the Amazon were an area of ​​Paradise, because nature is not always loving towards man. In the Amazon there are predators, there are infections, diseases. And even these children, these young people are entitled to a good education, to benefit from modern medicine. One cannot idealize, as is done in the synodal document, only traditional medicine. It is one thing to treat a headache, another thing when there are serious illnesses, complicated operations. Man not only has the right, but also the duty to do everything to preserve or restore health. Even the Council values ​​modern science, because thanks to this we have defeated so many diseases, we have lowered infant mortality and also the risks for the mother. The modern technique is not for itself the devil, but must serve to solve the many problems of human existence.

However, the traditional cultures and religions of the Amazonian indigenous peoples are described as a model of harmony with nature. 
After original sin there is no harmony with nature. Many times it is man's enemy, in any case it is ambivalent. Think of the four elements: earth, fire, water, air. Earthquakes, fires, floods, storms are all manifestations of nature, dangers for man. And man has become an enemy of his brother instead of a friend (adulterers, robberies, lies, murders, wars). "We know in fact that the whole creation groans and suffers together with the birth pangs until the present moment. Not only it, but we too, who have the first gift of the Spirit, in our turn groan in ourselves, awaiting adoption at children, of the redemption of our body. " (Rom 8, 22-23).

Everything is read in the key of a dutiful "ecological conversion" ...
We must absolutely reject expressions such as "ecological conversion". There is only conversion to the Lord, and as a consequence there is also the good of nature. We cannot make ecologism a new religion, here we are in a pantheistic conception, which must be rejected. Pantheism is not just a theory about God but also contempt for man. God who identifies himself with nature is not a person. God the creator instead created us in His image and likeness. In prayer we have a relationship with a God who listens to us, who understands what we mean, not a mysticism in which we can dissolve personal identity. "In fact you did not receive a spirit of slavery so as to be again in a state of fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption as children, in union with which we cry out: Abbà, Father". (Rom 8:15).

... And we consider the Mother Earth. 
Our mother is a person, not the Earth. And our mother in faith is Mary. The Church is also described as a mother, as the bride of Jesus Christ. But these words must not be inflated. It is one thing to have respect for all the elements of this world, another to idealize or deify them. This identification of God with nature is a form of atheism, because God is independent of nature. They totally ignore the Creation.

Already in the early 1980s of the last century, the then Cardinal Ratzinger saw that in the churches there was no more preaching on the Creation and foresaw the dramatic consequences.
In fact all these mistakes are born from the confusion between Creator and creature, from the identification of nature with God, which among other things generates polytheism, because each natural element is associated with a deity. The essence of biblical monotheism is the ontological difference between Creator and creation. God is not part of his work, he is sovereign above all created things. This is not contempt, but an elevation of nature. A fundamental axiom of Catholic theology says: "Gratia non tollit naturam sed perficit eam" (S.Tommaso de Aq., Summa theologiae I, q. 1 a.8). And men are no longer slaves to the elements, they no longer have to worship the god of fire, or make sacrifices to the god of fire to pacify us with an element that scares us. Man is finally free.

In this pantheistic vision that is espoused by the Instrumentum Laboris, there is also a critique of anthropocentrism, which the Church itself should correct.
It is an absurd idea, to pretend that God is not anthropocentric. Man is the center of Creation, and Jesus became man, he did not plant himself. This is a heresy against human dignity. On the contrary, the Church must emphasize anthropocentrism, because God created man in his image and likeness. Man's life is infinitely more worthy than the life of any animal. Today there is already a reversal of this principle: if a lion is killed in Africa it is a world drama, but here children are killed in the womb of the mother and all is well. Stalin also argued that this centrality should be removed from human dignity; so he could call so many men to build a canal and make them die for the sake of future generations. Here is what these ideologies are for, to make some dominate over all others. But God is anthropocentric, the Incarnation is anthropocentric. The rejection of anthropocentrism comes only from a hatred of oneself and other men. The man in Christ as a child of the Father is theocentric and never the center. Love of God above all things and love of neighbor, this is the gravitational field of human existence.

Another magic word of the Instrumentum Laboris is inculturation, often associated with the Incarnation.
Using the Incarnation almost as a synonym for inculturation is the first mystification. The Incarnation is a unique, unrepeatable event, it is the Word that is embodied in Jesus Christ. God did not incarnate in the Jewish religion, he did not incarnate in Jerusalem. Jesus Christ is unique. It is a fundamental point, because the sacraments depend on the Incarnation, they are the presence of the incarnate Word. Certain terms that are central to Christianity cannot be abused. The Church in the symbols of catechesis and secondary liturgy is expressed in the forms of particular cultures. But the sacramental signs (word and egnis) carry out the supernatural grace of the present Christ. For this reason the liturgy should not be despised as "a museum piece or a possession of a few" (no.124). The "substance of the sacraments"

Let us return to inculturation: from the synodal document we understand that we must adopt all the beliefs of indigenous peoples, their rituals and their customs. A reference is also made to how early Christianity was inculturated in the Greek world. And it is said that as we did then we must do today with the Amazon people.
But the Catholic Church has never accepted the Greek and Roman myths. On the contrary, he rejected a civilization that despised men with slavery, rejected the imperialist culture of Rome or the typical pederasty of the Greeks. The Church's reference was to the thinking of Greek culture, which had come to recognize elements that opened the way to Christianity because of reason. The relationship between revealed faith and human intellect is the basis of our relationship with God, the origin and end of all creation. Aristotle did not invent the ten categories: they already exist in being, he discovered them. As it happens in modern science: it is not something that concerns only the West, but rather the discovery of some structures and mechanisms that exist in nature. The same applies to Roman law, which is not any arbitrary system. Instead, it is the discovery of some legal principles, which the Romans found in the nature of a community. Certainly other cultures have not had this depth. But we do not live in Greek, Roman, Gothic, Lombard, Frankish culture. Christianity has completely transformed Greek and Roman culture. Certain pagan myths can have a pedagogical dimension towards Christianity but they are not elements that found Christianity.

In this process of inculturation, the Instrumentum Laboris also "rereads" the sacraments, especially with regard to sacred orders, under the pretext that there are few priests in such vast territory.
It is here that it is further demonstrated that the approach used is sociological and not theological. The Revelation of God in Christ becomes present in the sacraments, and the Church has no authority to change the substance of the sacraments. These are not some rituals that we like, and the priesthood is not a sociological category to create a relationship in the community. Any cultural system has its rituals and its symbols, but the sacraments are means of divine grace for all men in all times and places, for this reason we can change neither content nor substance. Nor can we change the rite when this rite is constituted by Christ himself. We cannot do baptism with any liquid, we do it with natural water. At the Last Supper Jesus Christ did not take any drink or food, he took grape wine and wheat bread. Some say: but wheat does not grow in the Amazon, let us take another thing. But this is not inculturation. They do not want to change only what is ecclesiastical law, but also what is of divine right.

Eminence, one last thing, you often refer to "them" who want to change the Church. But who are these "them"?
It does not depend on a single person or a specific group of people. It is a self-referential system, immune from any critical topic, a thought that must open up disqualifying other Catholic believers and theologically morally stamping them as Pharisees, doctors of the law, rigid, conservative. One speaks with great respect of the wisdom of the ancestors and despises the long tradition of the Church, and treats the popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI as by now outdated. We want to adapt to the world: indissoluble marriage, celibacy, women priests, apostolic authority as if it were a political problem: everything must be changed in the conviction that in this way there will be a new springtime for the Church, a new Pentecost - this is also a bizarre idea , since the outpouring of the Holy Spirit is a unique event, eschatological and is valid forever. As if the example of the Protestants were not enough to deny this illusion. They do not see that instead they destroy the Church, they are like blind men who fall into the pit. The Church must develop according to the principles of Catholic theology and not of sociology or naturalism and positivism (cf. Dei Verbum 8-10). "The sacred theology is based on the written word of God, together with tradition, as on a perennial foundation, and in it it vigorously consolidates and rejuvenates itself, scrutinizing in the light of faith all the truth contained in the mystery of Christ" (Dei Verbum 24). The Church must develop according to the principles of Catholic theology and not of sociology or naturalism and positivism (cf. Dei Verbum 8-10). "The sacred theology is based on the written word of God, together with tradition, as on a perennial foundation, and in it it vigorously consolidates and rejuvenates itself, scrutinizing in the light of faith all the truth contained in the mystery of Christ" (Dei Verbum 24). The Church must develop according to the principles of Catholic theology and not of sociology or naturalism and positivism (cf. Dei Verbum 8-10). "The sacred theology is based on the written word of God, together with tradition, as on a perennial foundation, and in it it vigorously consolidates and rejuvenates itself, scrutinizing in the light of faith all the truth contained in the mystery of Christ" (Dei Verbum 24).

11. Jul, 2019

We cannot live without the Eucharist

Ask and it will be given to you. Did you notice that Jesus suggests we pray for staples such as bread, fish and eggs? We need these kinds of things to keep us alive, not Nintendo games or luxury items or ‘status’ symbols. Then he adds that our heavenly Father will give his children, as earthly parents give their children, the best he can for them, for us. The twist for some is that the Father gives spiritual gifts, not earthly staples. Without a flourishing spiritual life we will not survive.

And the Lord teaches us to pray for this; to pray for the coming of God’s kingdom, for bodily nourishment and also spiritual nourishment through receiving the Eucharist. Also, we understand the importance of the sacrament of penance that allows us to be reconciled with God and one another. We need to receive forgiveness to be able to extend forgiveness to others.

We are so lucky. We have all we need and perhaps don’t appreciate the gifts God gives us. I heard this homily given by an American priest last month about whether the Mass might become illegal in North America. He went on to talk about the times when the Mass was made illegal, first during the religious persecution of Henry VIII and then at the time of the martyrs of Abitinae.

In 303 the Roman Emperor made attending Mass a capital crime in Abitinae and other places of North Africa, just like Henry the VIII did in England. However, a group of 46 believers refused to stop meeting and partaking of the Eucharist. They freely admitted to their persecutors that they would not stop celebrating the Lord's Supper. Their life would mean nothing to them if they could not have Christ in the Eucharist so they willingly gave up their lives.

From this group we get the Latin expression "non possumus." In the face of death their answer to Diocletian’s representative was “We cannot live without meeting on Sunday to celebrate the Eucharist.” And so they died.

"Non possumus." We cannot live without the Eucharist. How these martyrs would have done anything to be living in our times, in our town. Doesn’t their love for the Lord put us this community to shame for our lukewarmness and hardness of heart we show towards Jesus who gave his life to come to us in the Eucharist?

We cannot live without the Eucharist. Father give us today our daily bread but first forgive us our apostasy; our Catholic community has become a remnant because of a lack of love for your Son, Jesus. Forgive us our lack of love, forgive us our sins. Sweet Jesus, intercede for us that we may amend our way of life for it is not possible to live without you.

Link to Fr. Joseph Illo's Homily 6/23/2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z3X28fxpavw

10. Jul, 2019

Mary v Martha: One makes time for the Lord

The reading from the Book of Genesis is a wonderful reading, having similarities with the Annunciation because of the angels that announce the birth of Isaac. Later, because of those three angels, this story becomes the basis of the great icon of Rublev that is symbolic of the Holy Trinity. However, today the Genesis story is meant to be contrasted with the Gospel because of the hospitality shown by Abraham and Sarah.

In today’s Gospel, when Jesus comes to Bethany, Martha demonstrates hospitality by welcoming Jesus into the home she shares with her sister Mary. She then busies herself with the tasks of serving their guest. Martha is said to be ‘distracted, worrying and fretting about so many things’ whilst Mary just plonks herself down at the Lord’s feet.

I think there are two levels to this story. On the surface level isn’t Jesus so right? Mary had chosen the better part. It’s true to say that we also tend to get caught up in so many things whilst avoiding what is truly important. Who has gone out to dinner lately with family? Sharing family life, deepening and enriching human bonds, communication – all go out the window as everyone avoids each, not because they are distracted by their phone, but because they prefer it!

But Martha’s criticism is more substantial. "Lord, don't you care that I'm doing all the serving by myself?" She is doing what needs to be done. Her part is necessary. Even so, can’t we put aside the things we consider so important at those times when there is an even more important task at hand? There is a time for serving but what is more vital is that we sit and rest in the presence of our God, to hear his words of grace and truth, to know that we are loved and valued as children of God, to be renewed in faith and yes, strengthened for service. Martha’s approach was unbalanced.

This leads to the second level in this story, the distinction between contemplative and active lives in the service of God. We must achieve a balance but also understand the importance of prayer over other, more active duties – particularly contemplative prayer. And this is not just for religious, but everyone.

So what is contemplative prayer? St. Teresa answers: "Contemplative prayer ...is nothing else than a close sharing between friends; it means taking time frequently to be alone with him who we know loves us." Contemplative prayer seeks him "whom my soul loves." ...[T]o desire him is always the beginning of love, and we seek him in that pure faith which causes us to be born of him and to live in him (Catechism 2709).

Isn’t that beautiful? Don’t you deserve to have that time alone with the Lord? If you say you haven’t the time maybe you are avoiding what is truly important. I’ll finish on one last quote:

The choice of the time and duration of the prayer arises from a determined will, revealing the secrets of the heart. One does not undertake contemplative prayer only when one has the time: one makes time for the Lord (Catechism 2710).