It's official. The Catholic Knight is retired.  I'm hanging up the helmet and passing the torch. There will be no more articles, no more commentaries, no more calls to action. THIS BLOG IS CLOSED. I've spent a very long time thinking about this, I believe the time has come, and is a bit overdue.  I want to thank my readers for everything, but most especially for your encouragement and your willingness to go out there and fight the good fight. So, that being the case, I've spend the last several weeks looking for bloggers who are fairly active, and best represent something akin to the way I think and what I believe.  I recommend the following blogs for my readers to bookmark and check on regularly. Pick one as your favourite, or pick them all. They are all great..... In His Majesty's Service, THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Why Obama is a Blessing to the U.S. Catholic Church

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: I know this may seem strange to say, but it would seem that Barack Obama has done more to UNITE the U.S. Catholic bishops against the evils of big government intrusion than all the previous popes in recent memory. It's a sad observation, but nevertheless true. It would seem that a pinch of persecution was all that was lacking in American Catholicism to wake up the sleeping giant. In this sense, I will almost (note I said "almost") be sad to see Obama go in January, should Mitt Romney win the presidential race in November. Perhaps another four years of this tyrant Obama might see this pinch of persecution intensify to a sprinkle or a smattering. A few arrests of high profile bishops, for not obeying the HHS Mandate, might finally galvanize Catholic leaders to preach the FULL SPECTRUM of Church social doctrine, with highlights on the absolutely essential principle of SUBSIDIARITY which flies in the face of big government liberalism. Please don't misunderstand. I don't want to see our bishops go to jail, especially over this, but you have to admit something. Had they been doing their jobs correctly for the last few decades, none of this would have ever happened. Could it be that Obama is a blessing in disguise? Could it be that God is using this wicked and evil man in the Whitehouse to wake up the sleeping U.S. Catholic Church and purge her of all her nonsensical self-contradictions? Could it be that it just takes a pinch of persecution, (or maybe a little more), to get that job done? It's something to think about.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Election 2012

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Some of my regular readers will notice that I have been avoiding the general topic of politics as it relates to the 2012 election. I intend to keep that direction when it comes to the candidates. I do not endorse any political ticket this year, and I have asked The Catholic Squire to refrain from endorsing anyone as well. I will however say, that because of Barack Obama's recent HHS mandate, any vote for him is material cooperation in the persecution of the Catholic Church. If you're a Catholic, and you vote for Obama, you just voted to allow the federal government to put your bishop or priest in jail -- literally! If you didn't know that, where the hell have you been for the last six months!?! Under a rock!?! Wake up and get informed. You can vote for the Republican ticket, you can vote for a third-party ticket, or you can choose not to vote at all in the presidential race. But if you vote for the Democratic ticket this year (Obama/Biden), you are committing mortal sin, by voting to persecute the U.S. Catholic Church. That's a fact, like it or lump it, but there it is.

Now in regards to the two Catholic candidates on the ballot this year (Joe Biden and Paul Ryan) we have a striking contrast which is cause for a good conversation of Catholic Social doctrine. Vice presidential candidate Joe Biden represents the classic example of old-school American Catholicism. It's the idea that Solidarity with the poor trumps all, even the right to life and traditional marriage, and as for Subsidiarity -- what's that? Meanwhile Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan represents a new vision of Catholicism in America, which is the emergence of the Catholic principle of Subsidiarity, along with a strong emphasis on the right to life and the traditional family. The question that remains is who's vision WILL prevail, verses who's vision SHOULD prevail?

In my opinion, Paul Ryan's vision WILL prevail in the U.S. Catholic Church eventually, even if Ryan does not win the vice presidential seat this election cycle. The Joe Biden vision is outdated, antiquated and somewhat heretical. However, that doesn't mean we throw out Solidarity with the poor. This is where the "rubber meets the road" in U.S. Catholicism today, and this election (regardless of who wins) will mark the beginning of a very long debate that will probably last us the next 20 years or so. How do we strike the balance between Subsidiarity and Solidarity? Of course, this goes without questioning the non-negotiable principles of life and traditional family. So where is the balance between Subsidiarity and Solidarity? I for one would point to the writings of G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc as embodied in the modern third-way economic model of Distributism. What are your thoughts? How do we find the balance?

To Revive The Catholic Church In Ireland

The Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armagh
(BBC) - Radical plans for "priestless parishes" will not apply to Sunday services, a diocese of Down and Connor spokesman has said.

Speaking to BBC's Good Morning Ulster, Father Edward McGee, said certain liturgical celebrations could take place in the absence of a priest.

Fr McGee said bishops were looking at pastoral situations during the week when priests would be unavailable.

He said plans were due to "a changing scene".

"The bishops are looking at guidelines to establish maybe the training of people to assist the priest in these situations and try to follow the norms already in place within the church and how these should be carried out," he said...

read full story here
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Priestless parishes are parishes that will not last long. It seems to me that what will quickly follow is a consolidation plan by the local bishop, wherein some parishes will simply be closed, the property sold, and parishioners told to go to another parish nearby.

Ireland has but only two hopes, and both will require some time to get them going. The first, is to reinstate the Traditional Latin Mass and organise traditionalist communities. The second is to open up the priesthood to married men of good reputation. The Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham might offer some relief in Northern Ireland, but I don't think there is a strong Anglican tradition in Ireland proper (Republic of Ireland). Lacking an Anglican patrimony, I don't think Our Lady of Walsingham would do well there. So it's probably going to take a dispensation from the pope, to allow married clergy in Ireland proper for a number of years, just to see if they can get their vocations back up.

In all of this, there must be reform, and I'm not talking about cosmetic reforms in regards to clergy sexual abuse of minors. I'm talking about deeply rooted reforms in the formation of priests. The old traditions MUST be revived. You can have your Novus Ordo mass, but you'll need to back it with sound traditionalist rubrics, and fiery homilies, that challenge the faithful to holiness. Outside of these things there is no hope.

The Catholic Church in Ireland has some serious soul searching to do, but they should not despair. The American Church has been there too. While it is true the liberal national media will never let it go, it is also true that those bishops who returned to tradition are now seeing an uptick in vocations and mass attendance. Do not despair Ireland. Return to your roots, and you will be revived!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Mixed Religious Marriages

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: From the profound wisdom of Cheers we have an explanation why men should never marry outside of their religious faith...

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Southern Independence - A 12 Step Program

It is a common Southern tradition to place flags on the headstones
of our fallen Confederate soldiers.
THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The ideas I present here are by no means original. I have reproduced them, and modified them, as needed to fit this cause. The United States of America is sinking. It is a ship that is going down. Our problems far exceed those of national debt and economic recession. If only these two were all that faced us, we could conquer them in time. No, our problems are more deeply rooted. American culture is fractured and eroded. The very fabric of our once great nation is torn. It is impossible to restore the United States and so she shall go the way of all once great empires. America's problem is twofold. The first part is in Washington DC, and the second part is in New York City. This is because Washington and New York are joined at the hip. For the business of Washington is big business, and big business predominately resides in New York. Other cities play a role too, of course, but New York by far takes the lead. America's problem is that socialism and corporatism are just two sides of the same coin. For as the government structures the economy to favour big business, the normal and natural result of that is a cry for more government programs. Government gets bigger and business gets bigger. Smaller governments (state and local) become dependent on the federal. While smaller businesses (mom and pop stores) disappear completely off the map.

As American Southerners (Dixians), all of this is viewed as a direct assault on our people and our culture. In fact, it's nothing new. Our culture has been under siege since 1861. The government that now exists in Washington DC is not the constitutional republic our founding fathers created in 1776 - 1789. That government died in 1861 - 1865. What replaced it was an imperial republic, that has ever since grown in size, consuming everything in its path, until now it threatens every freedom our founders fought so hard to secure. This monstrosity, this empire, cannot be corrected. Every attempt at righting its trajectory has failed. It has become everything our founders fought to liberate us from, everything and so much more. What remains of our people and our culture is nearly lost, but we are not yet extinct.

To liberate ourselves from this empire, our Southern culture and economy will need to be fully restored. We must ready ourselves for the collapse that is inevitably coming.  Washington DC will fall eventually.  It will implode under its own weight.  We in the Southland of Dixie must be prepared for that catastrophic inevitability.  We must be prepared to pull ourselves up and rebuild in a way that only Southerners can.  There are many noble men and women who already make great sacrifices toward this end. However, this will take more than the sacrifice of a few patriots. It will instead require a complete reorientation of nearly every Southerner across Dixie. We must begin to think and act like our ancestors. There is no political party or popular ideology in today's world that will satisfy this need. Liberalism and Conservatism have offered us nothing but empty promises. Socialism and Libertarianism are ideologies that can never be fully attained. The Republican and Democratic parties have betrayed us all. What we need is a way of thinking that will return us to our land, our people and our heritage. With that, I will now present to you a simple twelve-step program, which if implemented by individuals on a large scale, will produce nothing short of cultural, economic and political independence for our people...

Dixie Independence -- A Twelve Step Program
Step 1.  Start thinking like a Southerner (Dixian).  There is a little word that every Southerner must know.  It's called subsidiarity. The principle of subsidiarity simply states that it is immoral and unjust for a higher governing authority to take over the function of lower governing authorities.  Higher governing authorities must take on a subsidiary roll to lower governing authorities, assisting only in ways that help coordinate and amplify what lower governing authorities are already doing.  This should only be done when needed and with the consent of lower governing authorities.  The lowest, and therefore most important, governing authority is the household family.  That is followed by the local community, churches and charities which must act in a subsidiary role to the family.  These are followed by city and county government, which act in a subsidiary role to local community, churches and charities.  These in turn are followed by the state government which must act in a subsidiary role to city and county governments.  Any national, federal, confederate or realm government must likewise take on a subsidiary role to the states.  Subsidiarity is a universal principle that applies not only to government but also to business.  Big businesses should not be permitted to take over and crush small businesses, but rather coordinate and amplify what smaller businesses are already doing. This preserves local economies, allowing people to retain their property, thus letting them provide for their own needs with the least possible dependency.  
Step 2.  Start looking at your possessions as resources rather than assets.  In other words, look at what you own and determine which ones you own, verses which ones own you.  You may need that car to get to work, but do you really need that jet ski that sits in your garage more than half the year?  Any possessions that drain you checkbook are worse than worthless.  They are a drain on your finances, sucking the life out of you.  Do you really need 150 television channels?  How much television do you really watch?  How much should you watch!?!  Take a look at the things you throw out.  Are you throwing out valuable property that can be used as a resource?  What if you saved cardboard, kitchen scraps, old potting soil and turned them into compost for gardening?  You could grow vegetables better than anything you could buy at the grocery store, and save money to boot!  We must own the means of our productivity if we are to truly be free.  This principle can apply to so much more than just growing your own groceries.  It can actually provide a means to make a living.  So look around the house and start thinking.  How can I make this thing work for me?  If it turns out you're working for it, then by all means, get rid of it somehow!  If you can sell it for some much needed cash, then at least it produced something.  Speaking of money; get your money out of those damn Yankee banks!  Even if your bank is locally owned, you know it's just a matter of time before it's bought up by one of those high financing mega-banks based in the North, and you know its just getting bailed out by your tax dollars.  Put your money into a local credit union instead.  Keep your money local, here in the South, here in your community, where it belongs.
Step 3.  Are you married?  Do you have children?  Get married and have a kid, then two, then three or four.  There is nothing more Southern than having a large family.  Learn how to take joy in God's gifts instead of man's.  Find your joy in love of God and family.  Nobody says "I wish I had more toys" on their deathbed.  It is only the love of family, and our hope in God, that brings us peace in the end.  Do yourself a favour and throw away the contraceptives.  The South needs more babies -- Southern babies -- to propagate our culture and values.  If you're not a family person, well that's okay.  Consider a religious life instead.  The world needs more ascetics and contemplatives who's love for God spurs them to great deeds of charity.  Such men and women are the heroes of any society.  Dixie needs more heroes such as these. 
Step 4.  Stop working long hours and put your faith and family first.  Hard work is good for the soul but too much is toxic for your life.  The notion of a person's value being derived from his/her level of productivity is a Yankee Puritan ideal that has broken countless families and driven many good people to an early grave.  If your job is too demanding, and there is no way to work out some flexibility, then it may be time to move on.  Money isn't everything, and nobody on their deathbed says; "I wish I worked more hours for my boss."  
Step 5.  Does your wife work outside the home?  Get her fired!  That's right, bring her home where she belongs, so she can be the queen of your castle, the domestic goddess of your home.  Many people don't realise how much a working wife and mother costs the family.  Daycare is a big enough expense, but consider the amount of eating-out that must be done, take home dinners, and of course extra gasoline that must be burned, just to get her back and forth to that job.  How many unnecessary assets (non-resource things) do you have because your wife is working and so you think you can afford it?  (I'm talking about that jet ski and cable TV again.)  When you add up the extra taxes, frozen dinners, fast food and extra gasoline; how much does your wife really make?  Is it worth it?  Is it worth all the extra expenses, crazy schedules, stress and household madness?  Give it some thought and do the math. 
Step 6.  Do you have a home management problem?  Ever go to the store to get something and find you've already got the same thing at home?  Can't seem to ever find a clean pair of socks, or a matching set of socks for that matter?  See steps 2 and 5. 
Step 7.  Do you work on Sunday?  Why?  If you're not in a public service job, like healthcare or police, you're really being anti-Southern by doing this.  Even God knew when to give it a rest.  Rest and relaxation saves lives and improves marriages.  Take an hour to give God his just deserves (go to church), then spend the rest of the day at play.  Enjoy some time with your family.  You'll be glad you did, and you'll be saving one of the cornerstones of our Dixie heritage.   
Step 8.  Start bartering again!  Yes, resurrect that old rite of our grandfathers.  Go to your neighbours.  Talk to them.  Figure out what they need that you might have, and what you need that they might have.  It doesn't always have to be things.  It could be services as well.  Remember, everything you barter can't be taxed by Uncle Sam, and that's one less dollar you have to surrender to our Yankee oppressors, in the imperial government, had you sold your goods or services instead.  See step 2. 
Step 9.  Grow your own food any way you can, even if it's in your basement under fluorescent lamps.  Learn to hunt or fish.  (A freezer full of fish can go a long way, and it will save your heart too.) The cost of food is skyrocketing, and there are many reasons for this, most of which are related to an overly-centralised economy.  See step 1.  However, you can do your part to help yourself, and your neighbours, by supplying your own food as much as possible, using it to barter with others, and of course when you must buy food, try to buy it from the most locally owned shop possible. 
Step 10.  Children learn by watching and doing, not by hearing lectures.  Teach your children how to fend for themselves by not only watching you do it, but by participating in the process.  Besides your love and faith, this is the greatest gift you can give them. 
Step 11.  Get your kids out of government-run public schools!  They are killing our culture and assassinating our history.  If you can afford a private or religious school, then consider sending them there.  Do your homework!  Many of these schools offer tuition assistance and scholarships.  Some of them only require church membership to qualify.  If you just can't afford private or religious schools, no matter what, then consider home schooling.  Impossible?  See step 5.  With the multiple networks of home school cooperatives available today, it is very possible for a single housewife to educate five children, while using them to help with household chores between lessons.  Not enough discipline in the home?  That's where you come in dads.  Make sure your children respect your wife's authority in the home while you're away working.  She is the queen of your castle.  Her words are your laws.  She bears your last name for a reason.  Whatever she says, it's no different than if you had said it yourself.  Back her up men.  You shouldn't be a tyrant, but then you shouldn't let your kids walk all over your wife either.  However, if both private schooling and home schooling really are impossible, and you must use a government-run public school, then you had better get involved.  Sit in on the board meetings.  Learn how things work and how to get changes made when necessary.  Likewise, get involved with your local city and state government as well.  Learn who your city councilmen are, as well as your state representatives.  Put their phone numbers on speed dial, and keep their email addresses in your computer. 
Step 12.  Honour our Southern history and strengthen our Dixie culture.  Of course learn the real history of the War for Southern Independence, but being an apologist for the Confederacy is just the tip of the iceberg.  You need to strengthen the culture as well.  Consider using the word "Dixian" in reference to yourself, for this establishes a clear national identity, and a clean break from the "North-South" paradigm our Yankee oppressors in Washington DC have used to dilute our identity for over a century.  Follow this twelve-step program, and refer it to others.  Learn how to dress, speak and act like a Southerner (Dixian).  Our ancestors were classy people.  We should be too, and this should really be reflected in our clothing and manners.  Women, start dressing like ladies.  Men, start dressing like gentlemen.  Let's put away the t-shirts, ball-caps and sneakers.  Let's put on some real clothes, full-brim hats (of various sorts), and stylish walking shoes or boots.  Ladies, please bring back the art of long dresses and skirts.  Gentlemen, show a little dignity please.  If you're feeling hot and uncomfortable, find some lightweight dress pants, rather than baggy shorts.  Let's start covering our heads again, to save our skin from the sun and give some meaning to hat fashion once more.  People will be shocked how quickly our culture will self-correct once we start dressing like a civilised people again.  Honour the important days of our Southern history, and most especially mark your calender for November 30th.  It is St. Andrews Day -- a cause for remembrance and celebration, regardless of your religious faith.  First, learn about St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter.  A simple Google search will turn up plenty of information.  Perhaps a nice tradition would be to simply place two poles in the shape of an "X" for public display in your yard or painted in red on your window.  Maybe have a family pot-luck on that day, and bake a cake.  If you don't already attend a church that honours St. Andrew, ask your pastor to do something special on that day, then attend the service.  Finally, last but not least, forget about the bumper stickers and t-shirts.  Buy yourself a nice Dixie flag and hoist it high over your house or outside your balcony or porch.  It is the symbol of who we are, the Christian cross of St. Andrew, the patron of Dixie.  This is our real national flag, and the real symbol of who we are.  Keep 'em flying.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Religious Liberty - What It Really Means

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Within Catholic circles there is a significant debate over the term "religious liberty," and with that comes a significant misunderstanding, on both sides, as to what it actually means. I included the video above, of the popes visiting the synagogue in Rome, because nothing seems to highlight this debate and misunderstanding more so than the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews.

What is religious liberty, and what does it mean? It all depends on from what perspective you are interpreting it...

In an American (and now Western) sense, it mean simply "believe how you like" without interference from the government. It means the government cannot tell you what to believe, or what not to believe, when it comes to religious matters. In this sense it has nothing to do with what is right belief or wrong belief. It is strictly limited to what the government can and cannot do. The restriction is placed on government -- not the Church. Whereas liberty is granted to individuals. This is what we shall call religious liberty in a civil sense, for it has to do with civil society and civil law.

In a religious sense, it means something more than this. Religious liberty has come to be defined as a form of theological relativism. As in it doesn't matter what people believe, so long as they are good and have good intentions. "Believe whatever you like," so it is thought, "and you have reasonable assurance of heaven so long as you play nice." It is mistakenly thought, under this false religious interpretation, that Catholics have no right to evangelise non-Catholics, as everyone is "free" to "believe whatever they want."  As you can imagine, this is the source of the confusion and the debate. Religious liberty, in this context of theological relativism, effectively nullifies the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It makes the death of Jesus on the cross irrelevant, and his life on earth no more significant than Buddha, Mohammed, Joseph Smith or L. Ron Hubbard. Jesus becomes little more than a "good teacher" who is not so much greater than any other throughout history. What makes this misunderstanding so incredibly explosive is that shockingly, many Catholic subscribe to it!!!!

Now when I say many Catholics subscribe to it, that does not mean they have lost their emotional attachment to Jesus Christ. They still have that -- thank God! They may still have an emotional attachment to the mass, the sacraments, and Catholicism in general. What they also have, unfortunately, is a fundamental and toxic misunderstanding of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Many Catholics subscribe to this relativist understanding of religious liberty in an attempt to tackle the tough questions in life. Question such as: "What about my friends and relatives who are non-Christians? Will they inherit eternal life?" Religious liberty, in a relativist religious context, offers them a quick and easy solution, but at the expense of Catholic orthodoxy. We shouldn't lay all the blame at the feet of laymen. Many Catholic priests, especially in the United States, have promoted this view. I have witnessed it with my own eyes, and heard it with my own ears. I have even confronted a priest about it. And in the course of our heated discussion, after he had just promoted this heresy in an R.C.I.A. class, one of the devout Catholic sponsors came up to him and thanked him for putting her mind to ease. You see, she had a family member who rejected Catholicism and became a Buddhist. She worried about her eternal salvation up until this priest's lecture. Now, she said she no longer needed to worry about her, or attempt to evangelise her, because she's a "good person" and that makes her "good enough" to get to heaven. After she walked away, the priest I was confronting was speechless. Everything I was saying to him was just confirmed by somebody who had no idea what we were talking about. She just walked up, made my case for me, and then walked away. The priest was left wide-eyed and stone-faced. I said to him "you see!?!"  He said nothing.  Like a zombie he just walked away.  As if after years (maybe decades) of preaching this nonsense, it finally dawned on him what he had done. I later learned that he succumbed to a deep depression and required medication. I don't know where he is today, but I pray he has learned his lesson and I do hope he is feeling better. For it would be far better for him to fully repent, and become an apologist against this error, then for him to go on in a life of regret.

Naturally, it is this very acceptance of theological relativism that has caused many traditional Catholics to react violently. (I'm speaking in a spiritual sense here.) They find the whole thing repulsive, and rightfully so, and go so far as to say the mainline Church is corrupted with the errors of the modern age -- "Modernism." Most of them remain faithful to the pope and the bishops of course, though they do sometimes segregate themselves from the mainline Catholic population by strictly attending the Traditional Latin Mass (Tridentine Missal of Pope John XXIII), and joining various societies and confraternities that have strong traditional appeal. Again, who can blame them? Anyone with strong orthodox leanings might be tempted to do the same. Then of course there are the ultra-traditionalists who claim to be more Catholic than the pope. These are those who have bought into various conspiracy theories, about how the Vatican was taken over by communists, and the pope is really an imposter. Most of these people have separated themselves from the Church formally, creating what are often referred to as "Sedevacantists" communities, meaning those who believe the Chair of Peter is vacant. A small few have even gone so far as to elect a new pope more to their liking. (I believe he lives with his mother in Kansas if I'm not mistaken. Ah yes, here's the link. Most of my readers should find this entertaining.) It's a bit sad when you think about it, that a dignified faith such as Catholicism would be reduced to this, but it is the result (in my opinion) of a poorly defined explanation of religious liberty. People get the wrong idea of what it means, and then other people react to that wrong idea, resulting in the mess we now have today between the mistaken "Modernists" and the reacting "Traditionalists."

So what is religious liberty in a Catholic sense? What does the Church mean when it says "religious liberty?"

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church (emphasis mine)...
The social duty of religion and the right to religious freedom

2104 "All men are bound to seek the truth, especially in what concerns God and his Church, and to embrace it and hold on to it as they come to know it." This duty derives from "the very dignity of the human person." It does not contradict a "sincere respect" for different religions which frequently "reflect a ray of that truth which enlightens all men," nor the requirement of charity, which urges Christians "to treat with love, prudence and patience those who are in error or ignorance with regard to the faith."

2105 The duty of offering God genuine worship concerns man both individually and socially. This is "the traditional Catholic teaching on the moral duty of individuals and societies toward the true religion and the one Church of Christ." By constantly evangelizing men, the Church works toward enabling them "to infuse the Christian spirit into the mentality and mores, laws and structures of the communities in which [they] live. "The social duty of Christians is to respect and awaken in each man the love of the true and the good. It requires them to make known the worship of the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church. Christians are called to be the light of the world. Thus, the Church shows forth the kingship of Christ over all creation and in particular over human societies.

2106 "Nobody may be forced to act against his convictions, nor is anyone to be restrained from acting in accordance with his conscience in religious matters in private or in public, alone or in association with others, within due limits." This right is based on the very nature of the human person, whose dignity enables him freely to assent to the divine truth which transcends the temporal order. For this reason it "continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it."

2107 "If because of the circumstances of a particular people special civil recognition is given to one religious community in the constitutional organization of a state, the right of all citizens and religious communities to religious freedom must be recognized and respected as well."

2108 The right to religious liberty is neither a moral license to adhere to error, nor a supposed right to error, but rather a natural right of the human person to civil liberty, i.e., immunity, within just limits, from external constraint in religious matters by political authorities. This natural right ought to be acknowledged in the juridical order of society in such a way that it constitutes a civil right.

2109 The right to religious liberty can of itself be neither unlimited nor limited only by a "public order" conceived in a positivist or naturalist manner. The "due limits" which are inherent in it must be determined for each social situation by political prudence, according to the requirements of the common good, and ratified by the civil authority in accordance with "legal principles which are in conformity with the objective moral order."
So based on the Church's own teaching, which is easily found in the Catechism, the Catholic Church maintains her absolute monopoly on the full truth given to the apostles by Jesus Christ.  That is not to say that other religions, faiths, churches, etc. lack any portion of that truth, or even a large share of it, but the full truth given to the apostles SUBSISTS in the Catholic Church.  The word "subsists" means to exist and to continue in existence.  It means to live on and maintain life, as if to say a baby "subsists" on milk and a man "subsists" on food.  It is absolutely necessary.  So with that definition in mind, the Catechism (in paragraph 2105) tells us to believe in "the one true religion which subsists in the Catholic and apostolic Church."  The Catechism minces no words here.  It is clearly telling us that Catholic Christianity, or Catholicism, IS the one true faith.

Likewise, (in paragraph 2108) the Catechism tells us that by advocating "religious liberty" the Church is not giving license to error.  That, in one sentence, wipes out the whole notion of theological relativism.  Instead it defines religious liberty as pertaining primarily to the civil definition, which I pointed out above.  In other words, we don't use the civil laws of the land to force people to convert.  We don't use government to persuade or prod people into converting either.  That doesn't mean that government can't be used to protect a religion, or a culture, from the assault of godless secularism.  For example, laws can be enacted to protect prayer in public schools, prohibit the disruption of church services, and even recognise the contribution a religion has made toward a particular culture.  Government leaders can be openly religious, if they so choose, and so can government officials of all types.  What the Church is prohibiting here is using civil laws to force people, against their will, to attend a particular church or subscribe to a particular creed.  As Catholics, we are not supposed to do that, as it violates the Christian law of charity. 

The Catechism goes a little further than that, in saying that certain social climates should be accounted for too.  Aside from government pressure, sometimes social pressure can force people to convert for less than sincere reasons.  For example, if certain societies give Catholics more privilege than non-Catholics, even if this is done only by social traditions rather than civil laws, it is still immoral, because it lacks charity and is designed to force people to convert solely to elevate social status.  The Catechism is telling us to "be fair."  Don't make it hard for non-Catholics, like Jews or Protestants for example, by enacting laws that restrict them, or social norms that make people look down on them.  In summary; treat non-Catholics fairly, both in law and society, so they have no cause to resent us, and their conversions might be sincere.  This is what the Church means by "religious liberty."  It categorically does not mean, "believe what you like."

Having said that, it does not mean inviting non-Catholics to sing in the parish choir, or receive communion at the altar rail.  There are of course reasonable limits.  We are talking about fairness in society here, not opening up churches to a religious free-for-all.

So what about those tough questions, like "what happens to my Buddhist family member?"  The Catechism acknowledges that it is possible for Jesus Christ to save them in ways outside of the normal sacraments, but it nowhere says this method is "easy" or "guaranteed."  In fact, the Catechism seems to suggest such occasions are really quite rare and unnatural.  This is why it is so very important for Catholic Christians to evangelise, Evangelise, EVANGELISE!!!  For acceptance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the one best shot anyone has at receiving eternal life in Heaven.  Everything else is an unnecessary and unwarranted gamble -- not to mention a dangerous one.

I often compare finding eternal life in Heaven to finding one's way out of a deep dark cave, which is sort of like the darkness of this world.  In a cave there are many pitfalls, dangerous holes, running water, creatures that bite, and an endless maze of twisted caverns. So it is with life in general. To the Catholic, a powerful spotlight is given, able to illuminate the whole cavern.  This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the sacraments of the Catholic Church.  To the Protestant, a less powerful hand-held flash light is given, able to illuminate well the path before him, but not much further than that.  To the Jew is given a candle.  To the Muslim a glow-stick.  To everyone else they must use their hands to feel their way around.  Now, which one is most likely to find his/her way out of the cave?  Which one is least likely?  It is impossible for none, but difficult for some, and exceedingly difficult for those with no light at all.  Wouldn't you prefer to have the best light possible? 

If more Catholics understood this, I think there would be less cause for dispute within the Church.  Please consider sharing this article with your Catholic friends and family.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Sheep Poaching? - Really?

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: The above video is a fair representation from PBS, and I highly encourage everyone to watch this. There is however, one small section I would like to point out. The interview at this point is between PBS Correspondent Bob Faw and Reverend Ian Markham, who is the Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary, an Episcopalian institution....
FAW: Even though the number of Episcopal congregations converting to Catholicism is relatively small, the impact on the Episcopal Church has not been negligible. Indeed, here at Virginia Theological Seminary, the country’s largest Episcopal seminary, the president and dean calls the movement “a real threat.”
REVEREND IAN MARKHAM (Dean of Virginia Theological Seminary): There’s quite a lot of traffic currently going both ways between the two traditions, especially at the level of congregants. What’s interesting here is you’ve got entire congregations and clergy making the shift. So, yeah, I think the Roman Catholic Church is a threat, because we’ve lost the sense of our theological understanding and identity.
FAW: Dean Markham believes that among Episcopalians there’s still anger today over the pope’s 2009 decree.
MARKHAM: There was a perception that this was poaching by the Roman Catholic Church of Anglicans around the world. It was discourteous, it was stealing sheep, it was unecumenical.
FAW: It is seen as a kind of poaching?
MARKHAM: It’s viewed as not recognizing the value of and integrity of our traditions.
read full transcript here
The rebuttal to these statements was quite well done, especially from the Reverend Scott Hurd and parishioner Anne Marrie Whittaker. I applaud them both. Again, watch the video.

I would just like to add my own thoughts here, and in The Catholic Knight's traditional way, I will be as blunt as possible about it. Father Markham is about as wrong as he can be here. The Episcopal (Anglican) Church in the United States has been shrinking in size for the last thirty years, and this is nobody's fault but their own! That's right; I said it, and as a former Anglican I'll say it again. If you want to know the cause of The Episcopal Church's demise you need look no further than the mirror. I know why I left, and it wasn't because Rome had "poached" me. It is precisely because of The Episcopal Church's so-called "vision" of the future that I left. Not just I, but literally one-million others. That's right father, let's review the history shall we? The Episcopal Church began ordaining women in the 1970s, and during that same decade the prayerbook was changed as well, to accommodate "more modern expressions" of the Anglican faith. That resulted in the mass exodus of approximately one-third of all Episcopalians (one million members) over the following three decades. Had the U.S. Catholic Church suffered a proportionate loss, the number would have been approximately twenty-million. Indeed the Catholic Church has lost many members over the last three decades, but nothing on that scale. Which brings me to my next point.

There are many Catholics who convert to Episcopalianism, and this has been going on for quite a long time. I see no cries of "poaching" over that. Why not? In fact, Anglicanism itself was founded on "poaching," was it not Father Markham? I seem to recall something about a king wanting an annulment, or something to that extent, and when the pope would not grant him one, he "poached" against their will, every single Catholic in England. That's all water under the bridge now, but the fact remains that Catholics are crossing over to the Episcopal Church every day, and in fact, I dare say that some reading this article may be contemplating it.

The liberal innovations in the Episcopal Church are driving every traditional Anglican out, and Rome is just trying to accommodate those who beg to be received into the Catholic Church, because they feel they have nowhere else to go. Somehow that is supposed to be "sheep poaching?" Give me a break!

You want to blame somebody, blame yourself, and your denominational leadership. For everyone familiar with the situation knows that your church created the crisis it now finds itself in. When you change a religion from top to bottom, how can you possibly be surprised when a lot of people leave? When you teach that homosexual "marriage" is a sin for nearly five-hundred years, then turn around and bless it as a sacrament, how can you be surprised when people object to this to the point of wanting to leave. When you ordain women to the priesthood, when the New Testament itself says not to place women in spiritual authority over men, how can you be surprised when traditionally-minded Anglicans walk out the door? When you elevate a female priestess to bishopess, how could you expect anything other than more exodus. Seriously father, you've got a lot of nerve suggesting this is somehow Rome's fault.

Well Father Markham, let me help you out a little, in the spirit of "fairness" and "respect for your traditions." We have a lot of Catholics here in the Catholic Church who want Rome to do the things you all have already done in The Episcopal Church. So in the interest of ecumenical brotherhood, I am now going to encourage those people who feel this way to leave the Catholic Church. That's right, I encourage them to stop being such whiners, and put their feet where their mouths are. I encourage them to walk right out of their Catholic parishes, and knock on the door of the nearest Episcopal Church. There they will find everything they've been asking for. They will find female priestesses, acceptance of homosexuality, blessing of gay-marriage, and a general liberal attitude for just about everything. In joining with the Episcopalians, they will still retain all of the liturgical and sacramental appearances they have grown to love and cherish. They can receive open communion without even having to become members. They will smell incense and hear bells. The liturgy will be beautiful (most of the time anyway), and bear striking resemblance to the Catholic liturgy. In fact, Rite Two from the Book of Common Prayer looks much like the older translation of the English mass, where the priest says "The Lord be with you" and the congregation responds "And also with you" instead of "And with your Spirit." Yes, that's right. If they miss the old translation of the English mass, they can virtually get it back again, simply by going to the nearest Episcopal Church and asking at what time Rite Two is celebrated. Upon joining The Episcopal Church, they can even still call themselves "catholic" if they want too, and I suspect many probably will, just no longer affiliated with Rome. That is after all what they want. Why would they want to be connected to such a "stuffy outdated and bigoted institution" when they can simply be "Anglo-Catholics" instead! It's sort of like "Catholic Lite" similar to "Miller Lite" and "Bud Lite." All the taste of a great beer without all the calories. Likewise, in The Episcopal Church, they can get all the "smells and bells" of catholicism without all the "guilt." I do hope that every Catholic reading this will forward a copy of this article to a liberal Catholic friend and encourage him/her to stop complaining and take the leap. I know you wouldn't object, Father Markham, and would be happy to welcome them into The Episcopal Church.

This is more than fair Father Markham, in fact I would say it is quite generous, for there are many more Catholics who will likely join The Episcopal Church than Episcopalians (Anglicans) who will take up the pope's ordinariate offer to join the Catholic Church. I do hope this will be satisfactory to you, and you won't view this process as so much of a "threat" any more.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Pray for the Holy Father

THE CATHOLIC SQUIRE: Our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI , is rumored to be working on his fourth Encyclical. This encyclical, according to the rumors, will be on the theological virtue of faith. The three previous encyclicals penned by the 265th Successor to St. Peter dealt with the other theological virtues (two on charity, one on hope). Let us go to prayer for the Vicar of Christ, that his efforts to instruct the world on these essential points of the Christian Faith be fruitful, being received through the open minds and hearts of all who will read, especially those who up until now have had their hearts hardened by the world that has largely turned its back on God. Beg the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary and of St. Michael the Archangel, that the faith that comes to us from Christ and Apostles might once again shine brightly through the chaos of the world under the capable guidance of our Most Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.

Introducing: The Catholic Squire

I have been asked by "The Catholic Knight" to begin contributing to this blog that many of you readers and known and followed, as have I, for years. I am a faithful Catholic man who simply seeks to do my part to bring to fruition the motto of Pope St. Pius X: Instuarare Omnia in Christo, that is, to "Restore all things in Christ". I was born a few decades after Vatican II, yet I lament with all my Catholic heart and soul the spirit of discontinuity and rupture that is so often readily apparent in Catholic circles these days, be it our parishes, chancery offices, diocesan newspapers, etc. To work towards the end of restoring all things in Christ, I believe, and will work to present on this blog, a viewpoint and a focus that captures the heart of the "hermeneutics of continuity" so that Pope St. Pius X's hope for the world may not have been in vain. In a few short days I will publish an interview with a man whose story will certainly capture your attention and perhaps cause you to evaluate the strength of your own faith and thank God for the things and time that we take for granted in our own lives. I look forward to reaching all of you readers and hope to hear from you! God Bless!

Announcement: This Blog Has Changed

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT: Dear faithful readers of The Catholic Knight. In an effort to grow and expand the influence of this blog, The Catholic Knight has added a new author. One or two more authors may be added in the weeks ahead. All of them will of course be faithful and traditionally-minded Catholics.

Another change is the comments feature. In the past, The Catholic Knight has allowed readers to comment using the anonymous button. That will no longer be the case. Henceforth, to comment on this blog, readers will need to produce an online ID, of which there are many services to choose from. Comments will continue to be monitored, this time by more than just one pair of eyes, and the same rules are in force. However, you will now notice that comments should post instantaneously.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Religious Liberty Dies In America Today

THE CATHOLIC KNIGHT:  As of today, August 1st, 2012, the United States federal government has turned against every Christian, Muslim and Jew in the United States. It saddens me that the country I once knew, as a beacon of religious freedom in the world, no longer exists.

At midnight this morning, the Obama administration's HHS Mandate went into effect, which abridges Freedom of Conscience for all Christians, Jews and Muslims in the United States.

Religious Liberty in the United States has always existed in two parts.  The first part is Freedom of Worship, meaning the right to worship God as you see fit.  The second part is Freedom of Conscience, meaning the right to abstain from moral practices that one finds objectionable according to one's religious sensibilities.  Today, the second part of Religious Liberty, the Freedom of Conscience, abruptly came to an end in the United States.

Henceforth, religious employers of all types, must provide medical coverage for artificial contraception, surgical sterilisation, and chemical abortion.  They must do this against their will, or be forced to pay stiff penalties and face possible jail time.

For the first time in American history, Christians are now forced to choose between obedience to the law or obedience to God.  Christians must now choose between Jesus Christ and Barack Obama.  Failure to choose Obama will result in criminal penalties.

Enforcement of this law can begin at any time, with or without warning, and it is expected that formal charges against orthodox Christians, Jews and Muslims will likely begin today.

The Catholic Knight invites you to share your eulogy for Religious Liberty in America using the comments section below, and share this post with as many people as you possibly can.