Category: Church

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

“Even If The Pope Were The Devil Incarnate… “

St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin and Doctor of the Church

Saint Catherine of Siena: “Even if the Pope were the Devil incarnate….”
Catherine set high standards – for herself, for her friends, for priests and prelates, and especially for the Holy Father. Again and again she urged the popes, first Gregory XI and later Urban VI, to act like Christ: manly, forgiving, honest, loving. Even if a pope did not act like “sweet Christ on earth,” Catherine believed that the faithful should treat him with the respect and obedience they would show to Jesus Himself. “Even if he were an incarnate devil, we ought not to raise up our heads against him – but calmly lie down to rest on his bosom.”
She wrote to the Florentines, who were rebelling against Pope Gregory XI: 


“He who rebels against our Father, Christ on earth, is condemned to death, for that which we do to him, we do to Christ in heaven – we honor Christ if we honor the pope, we dishonor Christ if we dishonor the pope… I tell you that God will and has so commanded that even if the priests and the pastors of the Church and Christ on earth were incarnate devils, it is seemly that we are obedient and subject to them, not for their sake, but for the sake of God, out of obedience to Him, for He wills that we should act thus.


“Know that the son is never in the right against the father, even if the father is ever so evil and unjust, for so great is the good which he has received from the father, that is, life itself, that he can never repay him for it. And we have received the life of grace from the Church, which is so great a benefit, that we can never, by any kind of homage or gratitude, pay the debt we owe.”
From Anne Baldwins Catherine of Siena: A Biography. Huntington, IN: OSV Publishing, 1987, pp. 95-6.
*Saint Catherine of Siena – (Third order of St. Dominic) TOSD (25 March, 1347 in Siena – 29 April 1380 in Rome), was a tertiary of the Dominican Order and a Scholastic philosopher and theologian who had a great influence on the Catholic Church. She is declared a saint and a doctor of the Church.

7 Misconceptions I Held About The Catholic Church Before Becoming Catholic 

7 Misconceptions I Held About The Catholic Church Before Becoming Catholic 


In my Protestant life, I held a lot of default positions that I had never given much thought.

One of my main default positions was that the Catholic Church was, at least in some very important ways, wrong.

I had this default because of growing up where I did, and how I did. I didn’t even think about it. I didn’t even know the reasons I rejected Catholic teaching, I just believed they were wrong based on things people said to me over the years. It was the view I was taught. But I realized, as I found myself restless in my faith, that just because I grew up with something was not enough of a justification for me to assume it as correct.

It was an important step for me to acknowledge the default position I learned, but it was also important not to assume that default position I held was necessarily the right one.

Below are some of my Protestant default positions, and then the questions I started asking to allow myself to be more fair and balanced in determining from what viewpoint I was going to approach my faith.

I believed that if there was Truth out there, my taking an honest and fair evaluation of my default positions would lead me closer to it. Truth need not fear an inquiring and honest heart.

Default 1) The Catholic Church is in error.

Questions that challenged my default view

What valid justification do I have to not give the Catholic Church a fair and objective examination? Is it possible my lack of knowledge about what the Catholic Church teaches is impacting my opinion of it? What gaps do I have in my own understanding of the development of my Christian faith that has informed this belief?

Default 2) The Catholic Bible has books that are not canonical

Questions: Why does the Protestant church have 7 less books than the Catholic Bible? Where in history did that happen? Which books were removed, and for what reason? Did those who made those changes have the authority to do so?

Default 3) We all pretty much believe the same thing, the differences aren’t important

Questions: God gave us an infallible book- wouldn’t he have given us a means to interpret it correctly? Is it fair to assume that it isn’t important to God if the Truth’s of Scripture are known accurately by Christians, or is it? And if it is, who has a claim to interpretive authority that can be backed by the history of the Christian faith as well as the scriptures?

Default 4) Praying to saints is wrong

Questions: What do Catholics mean when they use the word prayer in this context? Do they mean the same thing I mean when I use the word ‘pray?’ Are those in heaven aware of those of us on earth? And if they are aware, why don’t I ask those who have gone before me and are now in heaven to pray for me?

Default 5) Sola Scriptura, Bible Alone

Questions: Where is the evidence for sola scriptura in scripture? It is an authority but is there anywhere in Scripture that claims it to be the final and ultimate authority? What did the earliest Christians do before the New Testament was written and before the canon was confirmed? What does the Bible have to say about the role of the Church and Tradition?

Default 6) Worship should be relevant to the culture.

Questions: What role does church history and traditional Christian practices have in the church today? What value could be found in practicing our faith in a manner similar to the earliest Christians? And what have we lost in the name of cultural relevance?

Default 7) Catholics focus too much on Mary

Questions: What did the early Christians attribute to Mary and why? How can I justify the differences in my view of Mary and the view of Mary of the historical church- including certain views held by Luther and Calvin? Is my discomfort with these teachings due to their falsehood or due to the fact that I am too far separated from the beliefs of the historical Christian Church?

A Default of Ignorance

I found, in my exploration, that I was so entirely ignorant of Catholic teachings because of these original default positions. But I was also ignorant of the history of our faith and what the earliest Christians professed to be true.

Once I opened myself up to the possibility of a different position than the default I had grown up with, I was both surprised and not surprised. Each and every default I had against the Catholic Church turned out to be a misconception. Something I misunderstood or understood incompletely. And once I opened a small crack in the door to the idea to give that which I thought was so wrong a fair shot, I was overwhelmed with depth and truth. Logic and consistency. The beauty of a combination of the thoughts of many, many Christian souls who had gone before me.

And I found myself on my way to living a life of gratitude and peace within the Catholic Church.

Lorelei Savaryn

Lorelei Savaryn

Lorelei is a passionate Catholic Convert, mom to three, and wife to one. She loves writing, singing (mostly in church, sometimes at karaoke), reading, fair trade chocolate, and spending time with her family. Lorelei currently blogs at This Catholic Family, and is a columnist at Catholic Stand

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 

Ten Reasons Pope Francis Silence Is A Disaster 

    TEN REASONS WHY POPE FRANCIS’ SILENCE IS A DISASTER.

    I was amazed to read the Pope Francis’ supporters, Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier have been comparing the Pope’s silence on the Vigano accusations to Our Lord’s silence before Pilate. Cardinal Napier tweeted, and Fr Spadaro re-tweeted:

     

    There are so many problems with this that it is hard to know where to start.

    First of all, when you or the person you support is under fire for something of which that person may be guilty it is not a good idea to play the victim….not even a little bit. But to compare the person under fire to Jesus at his trial? No. Just don’t go there. Playing the victim card doesn’t work anymore. It’s a worn out ploy. After the blizzard of snowflakes and faux victims we can see through that trick now.

    Secondly, if the person in question is a privileged person don’t play the victim card at all. Would you pity Donald Trump or Hilary Clinton if they played the victim card? No. If a person is a powerful and privileged person and you play the victim card it is a big own goal. The pope is one of the most powerful people in the world. He’s right up there with the Queen of England as an international leader and he is therefore on the top of the heap. When the big guys play the victim card it is not only ridiculous, it is a gross insult to all the true victims in the world.

    Third, once his supporters have played the Pope as a victim in all this, the result is disastrous for the pope and the papacy. Suddenly we see all his foot washing of prisoners, kissing of disabled people and embracing immigrants as the big show off fakery some of us thought it was all along. When the pope is in hot water and plays the victim he makes his showy advocacy of victims look like a cheap publicity stunt

    Fourth, the pope may be the Vicar of Christ, but he’s not the successor of Jesus. He’s the successor of Peter. When Jesus was on trial, we should remember that there was another person who was also silent and did not stand up for his friend who was the Way , the Truth and the Life. It was Peter. I think maybe Fr Spadaro and Cardinal Napier need to get their Bibles down off the shelf, blow off the dust and read the story again.

    Fifth, this needn’t be such a big deal that the Pope has to go all publicly sanctimonious, play the silent suffering savior and hope the storm blows over. If he wants to be like Jesus he should calm the storm. He could deny Vigano’s accusations and produce the paperwork on the whole McCarrick affair, prove Vigano wrong and take positive action to clean up the Vatican and command his bishops around the world to do the same in their dioceses. His silence only prolongs the whole sordid affair.

    Sixth, while Vigano’s testimony may seem leaky. (Philip Lawler discusses the evidence here). there is enough background evidence based in Pope Francis’ previous actions to make it credible. I outlined some reasons here. Instead of silence the Pope could easily appoint an external, independent investigator to present a report on the matter. His silence and seemingly passive stance isn’t helping anyone, and most of all it is not helping him. Instead it is moving him closer to the lame duck papacy I predicted here.

    Seventh, the pope’s withdraw into silence is revealing him to be a hypocrite in a very important situation. He has presented himself as a listener, one who gets the smell of the sheep and who comes close to the wounded, the upset, the confused and bewildered–those who are alienated from their own church. Does he not realize that there are a huge number of his sheep in the United States and worldwide who are at the brink of despair over the sex abuse crisis and the bishops’ incompetence and sleazy behavior? These people need to be listened to. They also need to be comforted and led with a strong and compassionate hand. Casting them as the Pharisees and hiding behind a fake humility and the “silence of Jesus on trial” is just about the dumbest thing any spiritual leader could do, and his tin eared sycophants don’t seem to get it….at all.

    Eighth, the silence is un necessary and destructive for him and his papacy. My own view about Pope Francis is more moderate than some. I don’t want him to resign. We don’t need three popes. I don’t think he’s a bad man and I’m dubious about some of the worst gossip about him. I do think he’s out of his depth and has surrounded himself with the worst possible advisors and supporters. But the silence is not necessary, and he’s a big enough man to do something positive. When he realized he had messed up badly in the case of the Chilean bishops’ cover up of sex abuse he back tracked, admitted his mistakes and tried to put things right. So its not like this sort of thing is impossible for him. He could do that in this case if Vigano’s accusations are on target.

    Ninth, playing the Jesus victim here is simply over the top. Nobody is trying to crucify Pope Francis. Sure, there are some extremists who want him to resign, but most of us simply want him to be the firm, compassionate and intelligent leader we expect of a pope. We don’t want him to be a victim and we don’t want him dead, but we would like him to answer the accusations of Vigano with a strong, open and understanding answer. We’d like him to then take action. If he is guilty as charged, then to make amends and put things right. If he is not, then to ask independent investigators to make a report with full access to documents, explaining exactly what did happen.

    Tenth, playing the victim actually plays into the hands of Henry Sire–the author of The Dictator Pope. Sire portrays Pope Francis as an opportunistic, cynical manipulative operator. He portrays the pope as a man who plays both sides of the house against each other. He portrays the pope as a Jesuitical Jesuit who manipulates the truth according to his own whims and tinkers with people and situations to get his own way. By putting on a long face and playing the victim, Pope Francis is, unfortunately, helping to make Sire’s devastating thesis seem plausible.

    This article was originally written by Fr. Dwight Longenecker.

    An Exorcist Explains How To Recognize Demonic Activities In Recent Church Scandals.

    An Exorcist Explains How To Recognize Demonic Activities In Recent Church Scandals.

    By sexually abusing children…He (Satan) wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child.”

    Father Gary Thomas 


    “Who is going to believe you?” It is the devil’s taunt, according to exorcist, Father Gary Thomas. It is a message to silence sexual abuse victims. And we have learned that same message silenced or impeded the truth of the sexual scandal in the Church from getting out for so long.

    Fr. Gary Thomas is the exorcist for the Diocese of San Jose, California. His training in Rome was the subject of the 2010 book The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist by Matt Baglio. Hollywood made it into a movie in 2011 starring Anthony Hopkins.

    I recently interviewed Father Thomas for an article about horror movies, although he pointed out that The Rite is really about faith. Although there are horrific scenes in it, he explained that spiritual warfare between the devil and God is very real and it can get scary as it plays out through humanity. It seems that all conversations lead to Rome these days, and that is where ours eventually went — to the real-life horror story within the Church.

    Catholics know that the devil seeks our destruction and is forever looking for openings to destroy God’s Church and harm souls. The sex abuse scandal reveals that he found hospitality among those who should have turned him out.

    Icon of the Kingdom

    “It’s only going to get worse,” Father Thomas said, “but as bad as it is, it has to come out. It is unacceptable.” According to him, the devil used his old standby threat to keep people silent: Who’s going to believe you? We know now that among those that spoke out despite that taunt, the devil’s agents did indeed show disbelief or apathy.

    “Convincing people that no one will believe them is what Satan says when something is so outside the bounds of what is reasonable as to be unbelievable,” Father Thomas said. “Reading the accounts of what those children in Pennsylvania went through [as detailed in the Grand Jury Report] we wonder, how could this happen?” he asked. “It’s other-worldly—outside what people thought was possible — that’s what makes it demonic.”

    In an article about becoming the solution, Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D., founder and president of the Ruth Institute, pointed out that if abusers thought people would speak up and be listened to, they would not have gotten away with so much for so long. If people had listened to poor “James,” when he was abused at 11-years-old, the now 60-year-old man abused by Father Theodore McCarrick, would not have had to suffer in silence for decades. “James tried to tell his parents,” Morse wrote. “They did not believe him, against the word of a respected priest. James began getting into trouble, doing alcohol and drugs. The family thought Father McCarrick could straighten him out. They encouraged him to spend more time with their son.”

    Father Thomas noted that sexual abuse involving children, both inside and outside of the Church, is especially heinous. “By sexually abusing children, Satan desires to destroy the icon of the kingdom of God. He wants to destroy the most innocent version of humanity, which is the child.”

    The scandalous behavior, in his opinion, was clearly demonic. “With natural disasters, people die sometimes,” he said. “Even if there’s great destruction, we don’t consider that evil because it’s in the realm of the natural. When there’s a car accident, we don’t call it an act of evil. But when it’s outside the bounds of what is conceivable—like murder—we call it evil. ISIS is a satanically driven organization because they have a premediated will to kill as many as possible who don’t believe their way of life. Even drug cartels are demonic and often pray to Satan to curse their drugs and they refer to Satan as their father and pray to him. I’ve seen documentaries on this and attended workshops with government task forces and prayed over some of the cops because of what they are dealing with.”

    Pray and Fast

    For the sake of the Church, Father Thomas calls on all Catholics to pray and fast and to act wherever possible to root out evil. “It can’t just be the removal of a few,” Father Thomas said. “It has to be a complete reshaping of the paradigm of the way our Church governs; we need a complete cleaning up. We need a lay commission to set up an independent study. The bishops can’t do it; they don’t know how to do it.”

    In his work as an exorcist, Father Thomas fasts and prays before confronting the devil. He pointed out that he does so in a reasonable way — not starving himself to the point of weakness — but makes it sacrificial to strengthen him to fight evil. “Prayer, fasting and the sacraments are efficacious,” Father Thomas said, “but it cannot be without the intentionality of action that comes out of prayer. We want prayer to change us and we are praying for a change in the whole Church, all the way up. And we are also praying for the victims who have gone through decades of terrible trauma.”

    Father Thomas encouraged Catholics to be strong and be prepared to persevere. “We are in for a long storm,” he said. “The clouds are just starting. However, our primary concern must be the victims who have been violated and firmly and without doubt prevent new victimizations from taking place in the future. There can be no tolerance for sexual misconduct perpetrated by clergy or lay people within the Church now or ever again.”

    Source: 

    National Catholic Register

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