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Monday, 14 April 2014

Who is God? The Panic of the Cynic

Cynicism, as I have noted on this blog many times, is a sin. There are some young Millennials who do not believe cynicism is a sin.  There are some Gen-Xers and Boomers who do not believe that cynicism is a sin.

But, some of these skeptics are beginning to panic. They deny hell, but fear death.

Why does a man or woman fear death is there is no hell? Is it the mere thought of annihilation, of nothingness?

Or, is there a deeper truth in the heart which cannot be denied?

Those who say to me that they do not believe in hell say it too often and too loudly.

Interesting. If they really did not care, why bring it up?

If they really did not care and live like they do not care, living in sin and ignoring the basic piety due to God, why do they bring up hell, again and again and again?

One person stopped talking to me about this as my answer is "Just read what Jesus had to say about hell."

A conversation stopper for fallen-away Catholics...

Most of the people who tell me that they do not believe in hell have not been to church in decades. Some are women who have practiced birth-control and see nothing wrong with playing god.

And, yet, they seem obsessed with hell.

The panicking of the secularist is becoming epidemic.

The Pope Emeritus writes this in his book I am reading this week, noting that outbreaks of group stress and anxiety which plagued nations:

"The violence that marks these outbreaks of anxiety an fear is a kind of self-defense againt the doubts that threaten belief in the ideal world of the future, since human beings are by their nature directed toward the furture. We cannto live if this fundamental element of our being becomes void."

He writes that real hope, in the chapter of that title, Hope, is based  on the "true future beyond death".

The false, ideological hope which centers on man's so-called ability to control the future is a sham.

One thinks of a political poster in the not too distant past which touted a false hope. Indeed, the Pope Emeritus was absolutely prophetic in his assertion that any hope based on man rather than the kingdom of God is not only a sham, but truly deceptive.

We Catholics concentrate on God and His Love, not hell, although we should meditate on hell now and then.

Again, the Pope Emeritus writes, "The aim of Christian hope, by contrast, is a gift, the gift of love."

I was so fortunate to have nuns in grade school who taught almost every year that our God is a God Who entered time and history for our salvation. The God Who loves clearly, by His life on earth, shatters the deception of the false ideal of progress and human independence from God.

God entered history over and over in the Old and New Testament records of encounters with God, and still does through His Church

Those I meet who keep bringing up hell are living in an unreal world, one which is not the world wherein Christ entered.

to be continued...

Still fighting a virus

so excuse typos and other errors.

God is good and giving me lots of time to pray for E, E, J's uncle, and many others. May Christ heal all those ill today and bring His Mercy to all those dying today.

Against the Agnostics, Two

I think of poor Christopher Hitchens, who died a confirmed atheist at the age of 62. His suffering could have been redemptive, as all our suffering can be. I think of my own three brothers who are practical atheists, and one a confirmed atheist, one a confirmed agnostic, and the other just living like an unbeliever.

The Pope Emeritus writes this in the book I am looking at today and tomorrow:

"That purely idealistic atheist is beyond Paul's ken." What the Pope Emeritus means is that it is part of our nature as humans to believe, as humans we all have a tendency towards religion and morality. This tendency is part of natural law, denied by many.  The Pope Emeritus writes, "There has always been a knowledge about God" and, therefore, those in our modern times who act as if there is no God, choosing what the Pope Emeritus calls the god of history, the god of progress and what I can the Star Trek ideal of progressiveness, is one of the false "isms" of these times.

The Pope Emeritus notes that the evolutionary ideal of progress is a denial both of heaven and of God's plan for salvation.

Here is the joke of the agnostic false position in that such a person is also usually a cynic, complaining about the evil of mankind, at the same time believing in an evolutionary progressivism.

This is the schizophrenia of the modern ego, refusing humility, refusing to admit that each human is a creature, not a god.

Years ago, I taught a history of western ideas, which included a history of all the heresies. The kids called it the "isms" course.  The final exam involved watching The Wrath of Khan and identifying all the heresies. My students found 20 heresies in the first 30 minutes of the movie.

This lie of the immaturity of the ideals of such a popular genre as science fiction is what the Pope Emeritus describes in beautiful philosophical terms in the first chapter of this book.

More later....thanks again to E. G. for the great book..

Against the Agnostics

I am surrounded by agnostics. Most are practicing aetheists, a subject I have covered in this blog many times.

This past weekend, (despite being in the grip of a virus, which I still have, so keep praying for me),  I have been reading yet another fantastic book by the Pope Emeritus, which he wrote when he was my age. That his holiness shines forth from this book reminds me of how far I need to go. May God give me years to continue purgation.

The book, The Yes of Jesus Christ, is not new. It was first published in 1989, but shows this holy man to be a prophet, always ahead of his time.

Firstly, I want to thank E.G. for sending me this book as an Easter pressie.

Secondly, I shall try to do a little review of some of the main points of this book.

However, for this initial posting, I want to refer to the first chapter, which is on Faith. I shall cover the section on Hope and Love later.

Four short points do not do justice to this "death by chocolate" chapter, but here goes.

One, faith is a gift natural to all men and women by the fact that we are human. We have faith in many things, notes the Pope Emeritus, and live in a society where faith is a necessary component of life. In fact, in order to have any type of community, one must have a natural faith in the human being to be faithful, in friendship, in common goals.

The lack of natural faith marks the narcissist.

Two, the believer must be the person who is "a countervailing force against the powers that suppress the truth, against this wall of prejudice that blocks our view of God."  What these means is that the Catholic life must show a living faith in the world, a faith which is based on truth and not the "isms". Of course, the "isms" of secularism, Marxist, agnosticism, deny what is natural to all men and women-the need for God. The need for God is natural to all, and these "isms" create counterfeit and completely false ideologies based on deceit. And, the Catholic position is the light of a living faith must speak to the world. We are alone in this.

Two, "...God does not reveal himself to the isolated ego and individualistic isolation: being related to God is tied up with being related to our brothers and sisters, with communion with them."

The agnostic is the arch-individualistic, self-centered, person, who is actually out of touch with reality. The Pope Emeritus was describing in 1989 the state of affairs we see today-a nation of prideful people, not willing to cooperate in humility and grace.

The Pope Emeritus notes that the person who loves Truth, loves God and, therefore, other people.

The third point resonates with me and my own life. One must "break through" to God by making hard decisions for Truth. One breaks through the secularism and evil of the world to find God, in one's personal relationship with Him and in the community.

to be continued....

The Church Catholic

How did Americans become so insular? The number of people with whom I have spoken, who have no idea of world events, history, politics, geography astounds me. The young and very young, let me say, between 40 and 20, except for the bright, small minority, have no clues as to the location of the Ukraine, Russia, or even Italy. Their worlds have contracted into small, parochial spheres, wherein their small lives of busyness seem more important than that of the larger world.

I blame both Protestantism and secularism for this shrinking of views. Why?

The Catholic Church has been from her creation by Christ, international, beyond the nationality of the Jews,. The one, true, holy, catholic and apostolic Church quickly became that of the Gentiles.

Christ reached out to the Gentiles, such as the Centurion, whose slave He cured, and to the Syro-Phoenecian woman. Paul has been called The Apostle to the Gentiles. He spread the Faith beyond the boundaries of the Holy Land. Rome became the center of Catholicism early on, with the arrival of the first pope, St. Peter. Clear from the nascent beginnings of the Church, because of the command of God to “go and teach all nations”, the Church became an instution larger than any nation or tribe, clan or province.

Christ’s Church is international. Holy Mother Church spans the entire globe. And, the lack of Catholicism, or the falling into provincialism of some Catholics, has limited some Catholics and many Americans imaginations.

The day of missionary activity has passed, sadly, tragically, because of this provincialism.

The great missionary heart of the Church has shrivele and almost died under the pressures of secularism and nationalism.

Take the Anglican Church, for example. It is and always has been from its inception, a national church, a nationalized church. Here in the States, many Anglicans find themselves yearning for the old days of American history when the American Episcolpalians was the church of power and status.

The same mind-set infected the Lutherans who came to the New World and desired to established the hegemony they experienced in Germany, desiring a national identity, especially in the Midwest.

Those Catholics who pushed the national agenda, thankfully, were defined as heretics by Rome in the mid-19th Century, as the heresy of Americanism was soundly condemned and efforts made by the Vatican to stop the growth of an American Catholic Church.

The Holy Catholic Church cannot be held to boundaries or the whims of government. This stand, this identity, clashes with the nationalistic identity of the Russian Orthodox Church, which will persecute the Catholics, again, in the Ukraine, if Russians take control of certain areas.

Do not kid yourselves into a blind approval of what is happening in Europe. The Catholic Church BECAUSE it is universal, beyond the control of kings, queens, presidents, councils, tyrants, is hated and always will be hated.

The real identity of the Catholic Church defies control and remains independent for one reason. Christ, the Second Person is the Blessed Trinity, is the founder of the Catholic Church and God defies the sordid control of leaders and peoples who desire a national church.

That Americans are ignorant of world affairs can be partly seen as the fact that either they are secular provinicialists, or even narcissistically American, or that their Protestantism ties them to national prejudices.

The days of the WASPS may be fading, but those in power here in the States fall into that category, of white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.

Many of those leaders hate the immigrant Catholic Church. The Church has always been made up of immigrants. St. Paul, a Roman citizen, brought Jews and Greeks with him on his journeys.  He died in Rome, the new capital of the international Church.

Christ became Incarnated at the Fullness of Time, when the world was experiencing the pax Romana, the time of peace wherein missionaries and travelers spreading the Gospel could move about easily. Think of this freedom of movement, as we Catholics will find ourselves more and more marginalized, set apart, excluded from the world stage.

And, this marginalization must be seen as, in part, the fault of the American Catholics.

Too many Protestant, secular and even Catholic Americans simply do not care about the rest of the world. For news on tv to spend five minutes on world affairs in superficial reporting and forty-five minutes on stateside nonsense is shocking and sad.

Without the Catholic perspective , the people of America will continue to isolate themselves not only from the rest of the world, but from reality.

Christ’s Church, the Catholic Church will not be tied up by those who choose to manipulate Her. Truth will prevail, but nations, partly in ignorance, and partly in malice, will continue to be determined to ruin the influence of the Catholic Church in any nation and country.

As we Catholics continue to lose influence in discussions and governments across the globe, we may have ourselves to blame not only for not creating leaders in the home to work in the public sphere, but for allowing those who are provincial to take the reigns of leadership and hold on to these tightly.
To be continued