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Monday, October 20, 2014

“From some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”

 There is a statement oft quoted that is attributed to Pope Paul VI, now Blessed Paul VI.  The statement, “From some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.” This sentence has been the fodder of conspiracy theorists worldwide over decades.  Using this phrase, these theorists conclude that this means "masons" have entered the Church and are trying to destroy it from the inside.  Radical Traditionalists use this phrase to justify their adhering to the "old ways" and not adopting the new ways that Vatican II introduced.  Many even say that Pope Paul VI was murdered and an evil imposter took his place!  These theories run rampant on the internet, and are a favourite among the anti-Catholic crowd.

So, did Pope Paul VI really say that Satan has entered the Church, and thus we shouldn't trust her anymore?  Like everything else in the media,  we must look at the context.  First we must understand that there is no verbatim transcript of his homily given on 29 June, 1972, on the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul.  There is only a translated summary by Father Stephanos Pedrano. I will not post the entire homily here, but only the section that contains the sentence in question with emphasis added by me,

Perhaps our being in communication with God obligates us to renunciations, to sacrifices; but at the same time that it deprives us of something it multiplies its gifts.  Yes, it imposes renunciations, but it makes us superabundant in other riches.  We are not poor, rather we are rich, because we have the riches of the Lord.  The Pope adds, “And so, we should wish to tell these brothers—whose absence we feel as it were in the guts of our priestly soul— how close they are to us, how much we love them now and always, and how much we pray for them, and with how much effort we seek to pursue, surround and repair the interruption that they themselves have imposed on our communion with Christ.
Referring to the situation of the Church today, the Holy Father affirms that he has a sense that “from some fissure the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God.”  There is doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation.  There is no longer trust of the Church; they trust the first profane prophet who speaks in some journal or some social movement, and they run after him and ask him if he has the formula of true life.  And we are not alert to the fact that we are already the owners and masters of the formula of true life.  Doubt has entered our consciences, and it entered by windows that should have been open to the light.  Science exists to give us truths that do not separate from God, but make us seek him all the more and celebrate him with greater intensity; instead, science gives us criticism and doubt.  Scientists are those who more thoughtfully and more painfully exert their minds.  But they end up teaching us:  “I don’t know, we don’t know, we cannot know.”  The school becomes the gymnasium of confusion and sometimes of absurd contradictions.  Progress is celebrated, only so that it can then be demolished with revolutions that are more radical and more strange, so as to negate everything that has been achieved, and to come away as primitives after having so exalted the advances of the modern world.

It is notable that directly after the "satan" reference, Pope Paul VI explains his statement, if indeed the translation was accurate.  Pope Paul VI is speaking of doubt, incertitude, problematic, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation, lack of trust of the Church, trust of PROFANE PROPHETS who speak in "some journal" or "some social movement".  In other words, the doubts of Catholics worldwide following false prophets and laying aside the tenets of the Church have introduced the "smoke of Satan" into the Church. And what is "the Church"?  Here, Pope Paul VI refers to not just the Vatican, but all Catholics who make up the Temple of Christ; the Body of Christ.  Any of us who have been alive in the past several decades know exactly what Pope Paul VI means!  The smoke of Satan has indeed infiltrated into the minds and hearts of Catholics in our modern society!

It is ironic and interesting that the false prophets, apparition chasers, and conspiracists of this world use a phrase by Pope Paul VI that refers to THEM, but, like the evil one, they turn that phrase against the Church itself!

Our Church and her Magisterium stand strong under the leadership of the Canonically elected Pope Francis. Now she has much more work ahead in drawing us wayward Catholics back into the fold through the upcoming series of Synods.  Pray the rosary for our Holy Mother Church, as Pope Francis guides this embattled ship safely into harbour!

Source:  Catholic Stand

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Vindicated: Why a maligned Pope will be beatified

Paul VI, who will be beatified at the Synod on the Family's closing. Credit: UN Photo.

By Matt Hadro

.- He had the unenviable task of being Pope during a most “tumultuous” era for the Church, but  Paul VI stood “deeply rooted in Christ” through it all, a theology professor has said.

“Pope Paul VI suffered greatly from the growing apostasy of the world from Christian values and from the distortions of the teaching of Vatican II,” said theology professor Dr. Alan Schreck of the Franciscan University of Steubenville. “Through it all, he remained deeply rooted in Christ and the Holy Spirit.”

Giovanni Battista Montini – soon to be Blessed Paul VI -- will be beatified Oct. 19, at the conclusion of the Synod on the Family.

His cause for beatification moved forward after a miracle was attributed to his intercession by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and approved by Pope Francis in May.

Benedict XVI had affirmed his “heroic virtue” in 2012, officially recognizing him as “Venerable.”

As Pope, Paul VI lived “heroic virtue” because though he “suffered” much turmoil and dissent in the Church, he directed major church reforms and supported renewal of faith amongst the laity and religious, was a prophet about the errors of the age, and was even a well-traveled “pilgrim pope.”

The reforms of Paul VI included reforms of the Roman curia and the College of Cardinals, as well as support for renewal movements within the Church... Read more: Catholic News Agency

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Synod: Immutable Doctrine vs. Pastoral Care

Catholic doctrine is carried out to the faithful through pastoral care by our bishops and priests.  Pastoral care has been increasingly challenged more than ever in the past several decades as social acceptance of homosexuality, contraception, divorce, remarriage, couples living together before marriage, and other issues grows.  Complicating matters is the fact of sexual abuse carried out by priests, thus breaking the trust of the faithful, many of whom have left the Church in disgust, and others who remain Catholic in name only. These same will attend mass for family milestones or major holidays like Christmas and Easter, but find no reason to participate in regular attendance. The warning, "It's a mortal sin to miss mass," doesn't faze them.  Local Catholic parishes struggle to stay afloat.  Traditional Catholics abandon their local parishes in search of what they consider more reverent "old fashioned" masses. Latin masses in the few Catholic churches that provide them are full, and many devout will travel miles to attend one.  Catholic schools are no longer overflowing with students and are forced to advertise and market their benefits which must extend beyond simply being Catholic in order to draw in new families.  The future of Catholicism looks weak. 

Enter the Synod called together by Pope Francis.  Excitement and hope fill some hearts, while worry and concern fill others.  Can the actions and opinions of the Cardinals and Bishops through the Synod permissably change the teachings of the Church? There is no simple answer.

There is a difference between Catholic dogma and Catholic doctrine, and these can be complicated to define. The Church's ability to establish dogma and doctrine was given by Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew 18:18, "Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven."  Catholic dogma, which consists of faith and morals as defined by the Church, is immutable.  For example, Purgatory is a Catholic dogma and must be believed as true by all Catholics and is an immutable teaching.  However,  Catholic doctrines are Catholic teachings which consist of Dogma, Canon Law, and theology.  Some of these doctrines are unchangeable, while theological opinions about which the Church has not made a formal pronouncement can be altered or carried out in a new way.

The Synod is a process of open and honest discussion among the Bishops and Cardinals about all the social issues facing Catholics today.  These shepherds are considering how far the pastoral care of their flocks can go without stepping over the bounds of Catholic doctrine.  There are no plans to change immutable teachings of the Church. However, Christ did step over some teachings of the Judaic Law in order to help those who were disenfranchised. Consider John 9:16 of the Gospel, "Some of the Pharisees said, 'This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath.' But others asked, 'How can a sinner perform such signs?' So they were divided."  Also consider the words of the Apostle Paul who teaches that all of Christ's actions are worthy of imitation in 1 Cor. 11:1, "Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ."  

 I have seen and heard some Catholics expressing joy and others worry in their opinions that Pope Francis is going to change Church teachings. It can't happen quickly in any case.  This is only the first of the Synods that Pope Francis plans to call to improve the pastoral care for the members of the Body of Christ.

Please pray the rosary with good meditation of the Gospel stories for the Bishops, Cardinals and Pope Francis to make wise Godly decisions for our Catholic Church through their difficult work.