Category Archives: Ecclesiology

Love persists

It’s hard being Catholic these days.  Not just in the normal ways, either:  bad liturgy, bad music, bad homilies, pray, pay, and obey, “God loves a generous giver”, except from the Church when something is requested, it ONLY flows ONE way!  But, in addition to those, it’s just hard.

I’ve been an activist for victims of clergy sexual abuse since 2007, but somehow, later, it’s harder.  Stages of grief?  Maybe.  Shock first.  Feeling nothing, or less.  Then now.  A funk, really, a funk.  But, love persists, through funks and worse.  Love persists.  It’s how we prove our love to Him, to others.  Being faithful doesn’t mean being devoted when its fun or popular.  That’s easy, of course.

I remember being at the victim impact statement part of the trial of a prominent convicted Jesuit.  A male relative of his was there, but no “confreres”, for all the talk/ink/pixels spilled about that by religious orders; even sinners, even betrayers, even Judas’.   Family, but not “brothers”?  The definition of being faithful occurs especially when it’s not easy.  Love exists in action; not mere sentiment, not wishing, but doing.  Love persists.  It does.  Persist, with me.  And, please, pray for my persistence.

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

Presence of God – Lord, grant that my love for You may not be content with words, but prove itself in generous deeds.


“Love is never idle.” (Teresa of Jesus Interior Castle V, 4). When the true love of God enters the soul it begins in it an interior change so strong and forceful that it spurs it on to seek ever new ways of pleasing the Beloved, and makes it diligent in devising fresh means of proving its fidelity to Him. Love, in fact, is not nourished by sweet sentiments or fantasies, but by works. “This love,” says St. Teresa, “is also like a great fire which has always to be fed lest it should go out. Just so with these souls [in which God Himself kindles the flame of charity]; cost them what it might, they would always want to be bringing wood, so that this fire should not die” (The Book of Her Life 30). The soul that truly loves does not stop to examine whether a task is easy or difficult, agreeable or repugnant, but undertakes everything in order to maintain its love. It even chooses by preference tasks which demand more sacrifice, for it knows that love is never truer than when it urges the sacrifice of self for the One loved. Hence, through love, “there is caused in the soul a habitual suffering because of the Beloved, yet without weariness. For, as St. Augustine says, ‘Love makes all things that are great, grievous, and burdensome to be almost naught.’ The spirit here has so much strength that it has subjected the flesh and takes as little account of it as does the tree of one of its leaves. In no way does the soul here seek its own consolation or pleasure, either in God, or in aught else” (John of the Cross Dark, Night of the Soul II, 19,4).

This explains the attitude of the saints, who not only embraced wholeheartedly the sufferings with which God strewed their paths, but sought them with jealous care, as the miser seeks gold. St. John of the Cross replied to Our Lord, who had asked him what recompense he desired for the great services he had rendered Him: “To suffer and to be despised for Your love.” And St. Teresa of Jesus, seeing her earthly exile prolonged, found in suffering embraced for God the only means of appeasing her heart, a thirst for eternal love; and she entreated: “To die, Lord, or to suffer! I ask nothing else of Thee for myself but this” (The Book of Her Life 40).

In heaven we shall have no further need of suffering to prove our love, because then we shall love in the unfailing clarity of the beatific vision. But here below, where we love in the obscurity of faith, we need to prove to God the reality of our love.


“He who truly loves You, Lord, has only one ambition, that of pleasing You. He dies with desire to be loved by You, and so will give his life to learn how he may please You better. Can such love strong and active love remain hidden? No, my God, that is impossible! There are degrees of love, for love shows itself in proportion to its strength. If it is weak, it shows itself but little. If it is strong, it shows itself a great deal. But love always makes itself known, whether weak or strong, provided it is real love.

“O Lord, grant that my love be not the fruit of my imagination but be proved by works. What can I do for You, who died for us and created us and gave us being, without counting myself fortunate in being able to repay You something of what I owe You?

“May it be Your pleasure, O Lord, that the day may finally come in which I shall be able to pay You at least something of all I owe You. Cost what it may, Lord, permit me not to come into Your presence with empty hands, since the reward must be in accordance with my works. Well do I know, my Lord, of how little I am capable. But I shall be able to do all things provided You do not withdraw from me.

“It is not You that are to blame, my Lord, if those who love You do no great deeds; it is our weak-mindedness and cowardice. It is because we never make firm resolutions but are filled with a thousand fears and scruples arising from human prudence, that You, my God, do not work Your marvels and wonders. Who loves more than You to give, if You have anyone that will receive; or to accept services performed at our own cost? May Your Majesty grant me to have rendered You some service and to care about nothing save returning to You some part of all I have received” (Teresa of Jesus Way of Perfection 40 – Interior Castle III, 1 – The Book of Her Life 21 – Foundations 2).”

Love & faithful persistence in love of Him,

Nov 9 – “Mi Mamá Me Ama!!”, My Mother Loves Me, Holy Mother Church

Today, Nov 9, is the Feast of the Dedication of St John Lateran Church in 325 AD.

As to the Church, where else shall we go, except to the Bride of Christ, one flesh with Christ? Though she is a harlot at times, she is our Mother.” –Servant of God Dorothy Day, a convert from nominal Christianity, to Episcopalianism, to Catholicism, as documented in her book The Long Loneliness.

“The Church is our mother. She is our “Holy Mother Church” that is generated through our baptism, makes us grow up in her community and has that motherly attitude, of meekness and goodness: Our Mother Mary and our Mother Church know how to caress their children and show tenderness. To think of the Church without that motherly feeling is to think of a rigid association, an association without human warmth, an orphan.” -Pope Francis, 9/15/2015, homily at Mass, Casa Santa Marta.

-by Br. Josemaría Guzmán-Domínguez, OP

“I was taught to write cursive as a child back home in Venezuela. The typical method of instruction involved painstaking copying of letters or short sentences several times. I still remember that to learn how to shape the letter ‘m,’ my workbook presented the short alliterative sentence, “mi mamá me ama.”

Mi mamá me ama. “My mother loves me.” What an excellent sentence for a child to repeat, to write many times on his workbook, and to inscribe on the tablets of his heart. It is a sentence expressing a key truth of our lives. “Mi mamá me ama” ought almost to read as a tautology. My mother, our mothers, should, in the right order of the world, incarnate for me and for us the truth of unconditional love. For us children, the gift of our mothers should mean the gift of knowing we are loved.

Mi mamá me ama. “Does she?” asks the teenager. When we begin to notice the flaws in our mothers, especially their faults in their loving us, this question becomes tempting. And when we see the situation of a person who cannot truthfully think, write, or speak that sentence, we witness a tragedy. Since the love of human mothers toward their children does admit of failure, even of grave transgressions, the confidence in love that their love ought to give us is called into question.

Today Catholics celebrate a mother, Holy Mother Church, symbolized by the Cathedral of Saint John Lateran, the Pope’s cathedral. Therefore, it stands as “the mother and head of all the churches in the city and the world.” So today we can remember, “Mi mamá me ama.” Our Mother the Church—one, holy, catholic, and apostolic—loves us. She gave birth to our faith through her preaching and nourishes our hope by her sacraments. She inflames our hearts with charity for God and one another through sharing with us the Spirit who dwells in her. She points us toward happiness and teaches us how to live so as to attain it. She walks with us throughout our lives and leads us to our loving Father.

But does she really love us, this Church who so often appears to us negligent, distant, or even downright abusive? Can we really trust in the motherly love of a Church that like Jerusalem of old so often seems utterly corrupted? Would it not be best to distance ourselves from her, forget her, and assert our independence?

We understand the appeal of such impulses. The Church, as sometimes mothers, may strike us as hurtful and hypocritical. She seems to teach one thing and live another. She is the spotless bride of Christ and yet she seems to act like the whore of Babylon. This difficulty confronts Christians, saints and sinners, of every age. Sinfulness has been so prevalent in her members and her hierarchy that some see in this impurity the true mark of the Church.

However, we know in faith that the Church is our mother and a most loving mother at that. We know that she was formed by God from the pierced Heart of Jesus, the new Adam. She is the new Eve, the mother of all those who live by God’s grace. Such is the profound, mystical, often hidden identity of Holy Mother Church, perfectly symbolized in the person of our Holy Mother Mary.

Yet only eyes full of faith can see true face of the Church. Only a heart purified by charity can cut through the muck of sin with which her members defile the Church to embrace her words of wisdom and acts of love. Let us in these days beg these gifts from God in order to appreciate the Church’s true character and to remember that most fundamental of truths: Mi mamá me ama.”


Spiritual Platitudes

Pope Francis leads the Angelus Sept. 16 from the window of his studio overlooking St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican. (CNS photo/Favio Frustaci, EPA) See POPE-ANGELUS-FAITH Sept. 17, 2018.

-by Junno Arocho Esteves • Catholic News Service •  September 17, 2018

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — True followers of Jesus profess their faith not through pre-packaged platitudes but rather through concrete actions of love for their neighbors, Pope Francis said.

When He asks the disciples who they think He is, Jesus wasn’t interested in “ready-made responses (or) quoting famous personalities of Sacred Scriptures because a faith that is reduced to formulas is a myopic faith,” the pope said Sept. 16 during his Sunday Angelus address.

After praying the Angelus prayer, the pope welcomed the pilgrims gathered in St. Peter’s Square and said he wanted to give them a gift to commemorate the Sept. 14 feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.

Pope Francis said the gift, a silver crucifix distributed by the papal almoner’s office, wasn’t an “ornamental object” but a “sign of the love of God Who, in Jesus, gave His life for us.”

“I invite you to receive this gift and place it in your homes, in your children’s room or your grandparent’s (room); in any place but it must be seen in your home,” he said. “By looking at Jesus crucified, we are looking at our salvation.”

Before praying the Angelus prayer, the pope reflected on the Sunday Gospel reading in which Peter professes his faith in Christ, and Jesus explains the price that is paid for following Him.

“Whoever wishes to come after Me must deny himself, take up his cross and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it,” Jesus said. (-Mt 16:24)

Christ’s words, the pope explained, affirm that His mission and those of His disciples “isn’t carried out on the wide road of success but on the arduous path of the suffering servant: humiliated, rejected and crucified.”

Like Peter who objected to Jesus’ assertion, Christians can also “protest and rebel because this doesn’t meet our expectations,” he said.

Professing one’s faith in Christ, Pope Francis added, doesn’t “stop at words but must be authenticated by concrete choices and gestures, by a life marked by God’s love, a great life, a life with so much love for one’s neighbor.”

“Often in life, for many reasons, we take the wrong path, looking for happiness only in things or in people who we treat like things,” the pope said. “But we can only find happiness when love, that true love, finds us, surprises us and changes us. Love changes everything.”


Here comes everybody!!

-James Joyce, Zurich, Switzerland, 1915

A very dear friend recently sent me a link to a scurrilous video on Youtube, much like Church Militant, and such, of which I am distinctly and decidedly not a fan.  Where is the Inquisition (you say it like it’s a bad thing? 🙂 when you need them!!?   He asked me what I thought.  Here is my response:

“Dear (friend),

Meh. Jn 8:31-58. “I have no need to fear the truth, what need have I to fear lies.” -Thomas Jefferson to George Logan, 20 June 1816. A universal (Catholic) Church is just that, universal. It has everybody. “Here comes everybody.” -James Joyce, Finnegan’s Wake, 1923, speaking of the Church. And, yes, we’ve got everybody. When I participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults (RCIA) which is how adults become Catholic, if a candidate says to me, “I’m not happy (not that that is the point, but ok), I can’t find X.” I say, “Hold on a minute. I will be your concierge. I know we’ve got it here somewhere.” And, we do.

Vatican II was an updating of the Church. A two thousand year old institution, the longest continuous in Western (the world’s?) history needs to do this from time to time. The Church’s cycle time is 400 years. The joke in the Vatican goes, “Come see me next Tue, and I’ll get back to you in 300 years.” But, seriously, the Church moves very intentionally slowly, and not quickly, to make sure the Church is clearly comprehending the truth the Holy Spirit is indeed revealing. Mt 16:18. Notice in that Scripture verse it did not say, rather it clearly said, they would try. And, they’ve been trying ever since. I am confident upon careful inspection of the authors of the video clip’s credentials, they would prove most scurrilous and discredited. Faith and Reason. Fides et Ratio.

Sometimes the Church and its Sacraments are used as weapons. You can tell when this is happening because they are being used to make people feel “other”, inferior, subordinate, unqualified, not worthy, etc., etc. We’ve got everybody: cranks, crackpots, loonies, wackos, nut jobs, freakazoids, you name it, on any side of any multi-dimensional spectrum you choose to hallucinate. We’ve got ’em. I wouldn’t have it any other way. That way, I know we are living up to our name, Universal.

People don’t like change, and get their jollies from conspiracy theory. “If it weren’t for people, we could all be holy!”-Mother Angelica. How true, Mother. How true. “Other people are Hell.” – Jean Paul Sartre.

We even have pervert priests and immoral bishops, priests who steal from their parishes, who do drugs, who murder, who commit suicide, suffer from mental illness, etc. Priests, and nuns, and lay people are sinners, too, regardless of their profession. Do not be too scandalized when people sin. It should be expected, even if highly saddening, disappointing, unwelcome, etc., just like our own. News Flash: The Church is full of sinners!!!! Eating with sinners, prostitutes, and tax collectors. Guess who we’re at Church with? It would seem that’s the idea.”

The problem with Catholics is Catholics.


Oct 15 – Preachers & Mystics

I have been reading a great deal about Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross, recently.

-by Br Juan Macias Marquez, OP

“In recalling today’s feast of the glorious and spirited reformer St. Teresa of Avila, I can’t help but recall, as a Dominican myself, the great gifts that the Order of Preachers and the Carmelites together have given to the Church. This is particularly noted in the interaction between the intellectual contributions of the Dominicans and the mystical legacy of the Carmelites.

One of the most dynamic engagements between the two Orders began in Spain’s famed siglo de oro, the Golden Age. During this period, Spain experienced an incredible flourishing in nearly all of the liberal arts and also a revival in philosophical and theological Scholasticism and Catholic mysticism. Catholic Spain had become arguably the stronghold of the Faith after the onset of the Reformation, especially with the unification of the peninsula by los Reyes Católicos, Fernando II of Aragon and Isabella I of Castile. As a result, an orthodox and vibrant Catholic renewal was fostered. With regards to the intellectual life, the Dominican Francisco de Vitoria helped establish the historic tradition of academic excellence and made expansive developments in law and philosophy at the school of Salamanca. After him would come many learned friar preachers, like Domingo de Soto and Domingo Bañez, seeking to preach not only to Spaniards but to all those they might meet in the New World.

In mysticism, we find the two chief figures, both Carmelites, St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila. These two legendary reformers were for the most part not directly involved with the schoolmen but neither were they far removed from them. Their culture still retained a dogged commitment to the medieval understanding of the integral nature of the Catholic life; one did not separate intellectual study and the mystical life with as strong a tendency as is common today. For example, St. Teresa herself was a voracious reader, and she was not afraid to make this known, which was bold for a woman in the sixteenth century. In addition, she insisted that her sisters “go from time to time beyond their ordinary confessors and talk about their souls with persons of learning, especially if the confessors, though good men, have no learning; for learning is a great help in giving light upon everything” (The Way of Perfection, Ch. 5). Especially as the reformer of the Carmelite monasteries, she knew that establishing a firm intellectual foundation grounded in the font of the Church’s wisdom would be necessary if her reform was going to perdure. She would pick, for a large portion of her life, a succession of Dominican confessors and advisors trained in the rigorous intellectual tradition of St. Thomas Aquinas. The most famous of those that St. Teresa sought out was the aforementioned Domingo Bañez. He was her confessor for six years and her advisor off and on for many more.

Jumping ahead a few centuries, we stumble upon a daughter of the holy Mother Teresa, St. Elizabeth of the Trinity. It was not the case for St. Elizabeth that she sought out a Dominican confessor or director, but it happened that Divine Providence allotted her one. The preaching of Fr. Irénée Vallée, a popular Dominican preacher in France at the time, captivated her, becoming one of the catalysts for her deep growth in the spiritual life. Saint Elizabeth spent a meager twenty-six years on this earth, so the development of her interior life happened rather quickly. Many of her writings attest to the great advances she made in the understanding of divine mysteries as a result of the doctrine she learned from Fr. Valleé. The friar also was edified by the future saint. He readily refers to her as his daughter. So, here too we see a similar edifying relationship between a Dominican spiritual director and a Carmelite nun.

The last mention goes to the great spiritual master of the twentieth century, Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Father Lagrange is arguably most well known for his project of fusing the thought of St. John of the Cross and St. Thomas Aquinas in his spiritual theology. He recognized the obvious foundations of St. John’s mystical theology on Thomistic principles and thought that he could reunite these disciplines, which were becoming more and more disparate in modern times. He wanted to prove that the serious Christian could find spiritual nourishment in rigorous Scholasticism and the mystical tradition. In his project, Fr. Lagrange shows the fecundity of the relationship between the charisms of the two Orders.

In this fallen world, harmonious things often become separated over time. The saints and theologians mentioned above are a refreshing witness to the power of collaboration for the building up and unification of God’s kingdom. Let us, then, call upon St. Teresa of Avila to help us to live more fruitful, unified lives in the mystical body of Christ.”

Christ has no body but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks with
Compassion on this world.

Yours are the feet with which He walks to do good,
Yours are the hands, with which He blesses all the world.
Yours are the hands, yours are the feet,
Yours are the eyes, you are His body.

Christ has no body now but yours,
No hands, no feet on earth but yours,
Yours are the eyes with which He looks with
Compassion on this world.
Christ has no body now on earth but yours.


Jesus gave His authority to His Church

-“Christ Giving the Keys to St Peter”, Pietro Perugino, 1481-1482, fresco, Sistine Chapel, 330 cm × 550 cm (130 in × 220 in), please click on the image for greater detail

What Does Teaching Have to Do with Authority?

We live in an age skeptical of authority. “Think for yourself” is a standard piece of advice, and slogans like “Question authority” appear on bumper stickers, buttons, and T-shirts. Following crises like the Vietnam War, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and other scandals, trust in government officials is at a historic low.

In the twentieth century, an age of radical individualism began, and even if 1960s sayings like “Do your own thing” have passed from the scene, the idea that individuals should make up their own minds about what they should do and believe has remained. The rise of modern science contributed to the anti-authoritarian attitude of our day. Scholars are not supposed to just tell us what to believe. Instead, they should provide evidence supporting the views they endorse.

Between science, individualism, and scandals involving authority figures, moderns are skeptical of authority, and that includes the connection between authority and teaching. People today hold that if a teaching is true, we should be able to produce reasons for it and should not simply accept it on someone’s “authority.”

Jesus Shares Authority with the Church

Although Jesus’ authority as the Son of God is unique to Him, He chose to associate human beings with His mission and gave them a share of authority. Thus when He appoints the Twelve, we read:

‘And He called to Himself His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity.’ (Matt. 10:1).

The authority He shared was not just that to work miracles. The twelve disciples were His students (that’s what “disciple” means), and He prepared them to become teachers and sent them on preaching missions:

“These twelve Jesus sent out, charging them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles, and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And preach as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand!’”(Matt. 10:5-7).

Later, when sending out an even larger group, He underlined the teaching authority He had given them, stating:

‘He who hears you hears Me, and he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.’ (Luke 10:16).

Jesus also gave the Twelve the authority to govern His Church. He first gave Peter the authority “to bind and loose” (Matt. 16:19), and later He shared this with the other disciples (Matt. 18:18).

As the Church grew, authority to teach and govern was transmitted to others in the local churches.

Thus Paul writes, “God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers” (1 Cor. 12:28; cf. Eph. 4:11). It is because of its teaching function that the Church serves as “the pillar and bulwark of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15).

Similarly, there are those with governing authority in the Church. The letter to the Hebrews exhorts Christians to “obey your leaders and submit to them; for they are keeping watch over your souls, as men who will have to give account” (Heb. 13:17; cf. 1 Thess. 5:12).

Teaching and governing authority are therefore intrinsic to the structure of the Church.”

(While I concur with the author, the need to provide reasoning to the modern person is a blessing to the Church, imho. We must recall crises (“These things must come…”) have always been the impetus for the Church to greater define her teaching and doctrine, improve her catechesis, to call councils, and to initiate reform. Tragic, unpleasant, yes, but necessary. How many humans do you know who change easily? Reform quickly? Admit their shortcomings, mistakes, sins readily? Me neither, especially yours truly. Similarly, in our own lives, tragedy and crises give rise to us growing and deepening our understanding of Scripture, life’s meaning, the importance of gifts and our lives. Wisdom, institutional or individual, and particularly regarding yours truly, with the exception of Solomon, seems not to be granted in a miraculous flash, but hard won. SEE = Significant Emotional Event. Then, we remember, not just in the head, but in the heart and soul, too. Brilliant. Praise Him! Praise Him, Church!!)


1 Cor 12:26 – one suffers, all suffer…

Jesus, You who have accepted me as a member of Your Mystical Body, grant that I may not be in it as a stranger, but that I may work for the good of all my brethren.

“If a thorn,” says St. John Chrysostom, “gets into the sole of the foot, the whole body feels it and is solicitous for it: the back bends, the hands reach down to draw it out, the head is lowered, and the eyes watch very carefully and anxiously.

The cause of all evils lies in the fact that we consider as alien the things that concern our own body [the Mystical Body of Christ]. No one is fulfilling his own duty if he ignores his neighbor’s salvation. If you dare to contend that you have nothing in common with your fellow member; if you think you have nothing in common with your brother, then neither have you Christ for your Head.”

“O Lord, turn Your merciful eyes upon Your people and upon Your Mystical Body, the Holy Church, since You will receive more glory from pardoning many souls than You will by pardoning only me, a wretched creature who has offended You so often. I beseech You, therefore, divine eternal Charity, to avenge Yourself on me and be merciful to Your people; I shall never depart from Your presence until I see that You have shown mercy to them. How could I be happy if I had eternal life and Your people were condemned to death?… Therefore, I wish, and as a favor I implore You, to show mercy to Your people by that same charity which moved You to create man to Your image and likeness so that He might have a share in You and in Your life.

O Lord, I offer You my life now and forever, whenever it shall please You to take it, and I offer it for Your glory, humbly beseeching You, by the merits of Your Passion, to cleanse and purify Your Spouse, the Church, from every defect; delay no longer!… I turn my gaze in another direction and I see the lost souls of countless sinners. My heart is broken at the sight of them, or rather, it is dilated by the force of bitter regret. I am overcome with compassion, and I cannot help weeping for their misery as if I found myself—like them—soiled with the mire of their guilt.

Lord, during Your mortal life, You bore the weight of two crosses by carrying in Your body the heavy burden of our sins. In order that I may be conformed to You, You have burdened me with the weight of two crosses: one crushes my body with infirmities and other distresses, the other transfixes my soul which grieves for the perdition and blindness of so many poor, obstinate sinners.” (St. Catherine of Siena).

Love & compassion, literally “to suffer with”,

Infallibility & Inerrancy

“To me, this always has been the root question, the answer to which answers most other questions in religion. Who—or what—is the (Christian) authority? Is it a living Church, endowed with a magisterium guaranteed, in some way, to hand on faithfully the deposit of faith and capable of deciding fresh questions in a definitive way, or is it the individual Christian, relying on what appears to him/her to be the perspicuity of Scripture?

The claim that the Bible is the final authority reduces to the claim that its reader is the final authority. This perhaps can be appreciated best when discussing infallibility. The Catholic position is that the Church itself is infallible and that its infallibility may be manifested in one of three ways: by formal decrees of ecumenical councils, by highly-circumscribed decisions of popes making definitions on their own, and by the centuries-long, consistent teaching of the Church. (Ed.  It DOES NOT MEAN Popes, or the lesser, are not sinners!!!  Pssst…the Church is FULL of SINNERS!!!!  That is its raison d’ etre!!! Mk 2:17, Lk 5:31-32, Mt 9:12.  I look at infallibility as I look at my father when I was a child calling a definitive halt to debate in our house.  The reason being the debate was becoming more destructive than resolution would have been beneficial, if possible, which it was not looking like by the time he called a halt, imho.)  Protestant churches have no equivalent of the magisterium, even those that have structures that formalistically mirror those of the Catholic Church, such as an episcopacy and councils. If these churches admit infallibility, that charism, by the end of the discussion, is found always and only in Scripture itself. Proponents says that it is the Bible that is infallible. That is a misuse of the word. The Bible is inerrant—that is, its teaching, when properly understood, contains no error. This is a necessary consequence of the inspiration of Scripture: God could not inspire a sacred writer to propose as true what in fact is false. But inerrancy is not infallibility. Inerrancy is a static thing. It is a testament that both testaments are accurate in conveying the truths they attempt to convey…Inerrancy is a good and, for the economy of salvation, a necessary thing—the Bible would not be of much utility if it were awash in errors—but inerrancy is not infallibility.

Infallibility is the inability, under certain circumstances, of deciding or defining in error. Infallibility means not being able to make a mistake. Its existence suggests the possibility, under other circumstances, of a wrong decision being made. It is this second status that all of us are familiar with, since we make wrong decisions regularly. It is the very making of wrong decisions that lets us imagine that it might be possible to have a situation in which making wrong decisions is not possible.

Only an active agent can make a decision, right or wrong. To make a decision, a decider is required. No book, not even the Bible, can decide anything. Even an inspired book is a static thing. It is purely passive. It does not have within itself the power of judgment, of discrimination, of reasoning. It may be inerrant, as the Bible is inerrant, but, on its own, it is incapable of drawing inferences from its own text. Something or someone outside the text is required for that. This means that a person may be infallible, or an institution (such as the Church) manifesting itself through one or more persons may be infallible, but no book is infallible…(Ed. it simply can’t be by definition of the word “infallible”.)

(Ed. Tradition is inescapable, even for Protestants. Not Catholic Tradition, but their own. And, of course, that individual interpretation leads to Protestant unity (sic), etc.)…What simple, unscholarly Christian in fact derives his belief in the Trinitarian doctrine of the Athanasian Creed from his personal reading of the Bible text?…

…Just look at the hodge-podge of books that make up the New Testament: “four fragmentary records of Christ’s life and teaching,” “an inadequate sketch of the early years of the apostolic age,” “some letters,” and “a prophecy.” Nothing suggests that this collection of documents, none of which purports to be a compendium of doctrine, contains everything that the Apostles learned from Christ or that they considered important. . . . The doctrine of the inspiration of Scripture does not involve a belief that Scripture is our sole available source of Christian truth. And, hackneyed though the argument is, it must be pointed out that it is by Tradition and the authority of the teaching Church that we know both the number of the inspired books and the fact of their inspiration.”

-Keating, Karl. Booked for Life: The Bibliographic Memoir of an Accidental Apologist (Kindle Locations 2276-2299, 2309-2310, 2312-2319). Catholic Answers Press. Kindle Edition.


Nice words

Fernando Karadima, Chile’’s most infamous pedophile priest, sits in court before testifying in a case that three of his victims brought against the country’’s Catholic Church in Santiago, Chile, Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2015. The Vatican ordered Karadima to life of penance and prayer in 2011 for abusing three young boys. A local judge determined the abuse allegations were truthful but absolved Karadima because the time limit had expired for prosecution. The three victims who filed the suit accuse the Chilean Catholic church of a cover up.

From left James Hamilton, José Andrés Murillo and Juan Carlos Cruz

A Wounded Church

Alter Christus

-by Rev Gabriel of St Mary Magdalen, OCD, Divine Intimacy, Baronius Press, (c) 1964

Presence of God – O Jesus, deign to imprint Your likeness on my poor soul, so that my life may be a reflection of Yours.


The imitation of Christ should not be limited to some particular aspect of His life; it means living Christ and becoming completely assimilated to Him. The life-giving principle of our resemblance to Christ is grace: the more grace we possess, the greater our resemblance to Him. The principal characteristic of Christ’s soul is the unlimited charity which urges Him to give Himself entirely for the glory of His Father and the salvation of souls. This same charity increases in our souls in the measure in which we grow in grace and live under the influence of Jesus, who is the source of grace, and to the degree in which our souls are directed by the same divine Spirit that directed the soul of Jesus. Each one of us will be an alter Christus (another Christ) in the measure in which he receives Christ’s influence, His grace, His virtues, the gifts of the Holy Spirit and, above all, the motion of the Holy Spirit, which urges us to make a complete gift of self for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor. However, in order to accomplish this fully, we must continually die to ourselves, “always bearing about in our body the mortification of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be made manifest … in our mortal flesh” (2 Corinthians 4:10, 11). Jesus lived a life of total abnegation in order to save us; we too must follow in His footsteps that He may live in us and we in Him. “For to me, to live is Christ.” (cf Philippians 1:21) is the cry of the Apostle who had so lived Christ that He was able to say, “I live, now not I but Christ liveth in me.” (Galatians 2:20).


“O my Christ, Whom I love! Crucified for love! I long to be the bride of Your heart! I long to cover You with glory and love You … even until I die of love! Yet I realize my weakness and beg You to clothe me with Yourself, to identify my soul with all the movements of Your own. Immerse me in Yourself; possess me wholly; substitute Yourself for me, that my life may be but a radiance of Your life. Enter my soul as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior!

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, descend upon me and reproduce in me, as it were, an incarnation of the Word; that I may be to Him a super-added humanity wherein He may renew all His mystery!” (St Elizabeth of the Trinity, Elevation to the Most Holy Trinity).

O my Jesus, this is my great desire: to be an extension of Your humanity, so that You can use me with the same freedom with which You used the humanity that You assumed on earth. Now in Your glory in heaven, You continue to adore the Father, implore Him on our behalf, give grace to our souls; You continue to love us and offer the merits of Your passion for us; but You can no longer suffer. Suffering is the only thing that is impossible for You, who are glorious and omnipotent, the only thing which You do not have and which I can give You. O Jesus, I offer You my poor humanity, that You may continue Your passion in me for the glory of the Father and the salvation of mankind. Yes, Jesus, renew in me the mystery of Your love and suffering; continue to live in me by Your grace, by Your charity, by Your Spirit. I want my humble life to be a reflection of Yours, to send forth the perfume of Your virtues, and above all the sweetness of Your charity.

You know O Jesus, that the world needs saints to convert it—saints in whom it will be able to recognize and experience Your love and infinite goodness, saints in whom it will find You again. O Lord, although I am so miserable, I also want to be of the number of these Your faithful followers in order that through me You may continue to win souls for the glory of the Blessed Trinity. O Jesus, give us many saints and grant that many priests may be counted among them.”