Friday, June 30, 2017

A Catholic Identity Movement

Procession on Sunday, June 7th, A.D. 2015, Canada, Photo Credit: SSPX

There is a grave need in the Catholic Church today for a Catholic Identity Movement. By this I mean a necessity for Catholics, particularly young Catholics, to start identifying themselves as Catholic first, above everything else: race, ethnicity, nationality, culture, politics, peer-groups, etc. We need to begin identifying our very being, who we are, with our Catholic Christian faith. Catholicism should not "influence" us, but rather "define" us. Many people call themselves "Catholic" but few actually have a Catholic Identity...

Characteristics of Catholic Identity...

A person who has a Catholic Identity is one who submits to Jesus as King, and views the pope as his royal prime minister. Bishops are the King's local sheriffs, while priests and deacons are the sheriff's deputies. Catholic identity means submitting to this God-ordained government first. This is our primary government, and we only submit to local civil governments insofar as our primary government (the Church) allows. So naturally we obey the speed limits, traffic laws, tax code, state and city ordinances, etc. However, if any of these things ever violated the sacred law of our first government (the Church) we would have to disobey them. For example; suppose a civil government were to ban the celebration of mass within a certain city limits. Catholic identity would demand that we ignore this civil government since it secondary to the Church. Then we would celebrate the mass anyway, even in secret if necessary, because our primary government demands this. The same principle could be applied to many different things.

A person with Catholic Identity embraces life. Understanding that God is the God of life, and that his desire is to give us life in this world and beyond; Catholic Identity demands that we embrace human life in all its forms, rejecting anything that cheapens life, or destroys it, even if society considers this acceptable and/or legal. This means that while there is often little we can do to prevent people in society from killing themselves and each other, we who embrace Catholic Identity reject these things for ourselves, our families, and our communities/parishes: abortion, euthanasia, cloning, embryonic and foetal stem-cell research, artificial insemination, surrogate pregnancies, executions, riots, and unnecessary wars, etc. For all of these things involve the unnecessary death of human beings (both born and preborn). Therefore, it is vitally important that those of us who embrace Catholic Identity, and the communities we support, valiantly reach out to defend and protect members of our own communities/parishes who's lives are in danger.

As part of embracing life, a person with Catholic Identity absolutely rejects the relativist standards of sexual ethics that are now considered "normal" in Western civilisation. This means that Catholic Identity demands we obey the sexual laws of King Jesus and his Kingdom Church. Sexual activity is to be limited between one biological man, and one biological woman, in the bond of Holy Matrimony for life. Catholic Identity rejects both concurrent polygamy and serial polygamy -- the latter of which is prevalent in Western society in the form of divorce and remarriage. Catholic Identity likewise rejects fornication, cohabitation, homosexuality, same-sex marriage, and gender fluidity. It also rejects artificial means of contraception and sterilisation. Catholic Identity understands that these views run counter to societal norms and legal standards. However, we don't care, because our primary society is the Catholic Church, and our primary government is the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, with Jesus Christ as our King. Matrimony is designed to give life because our God is a God of life. Catholic Identity understands sexual relations between a husband and wife as both unification and procreation. Sexual intercourse, under Catholic Identity, is designed solely to bring a man and a woman into complementary biological unity. That is it's primary function. Then, as a direct result of this primary function, procreation naturally occurs, and the unity of the man and woman create a new person (baby). Even in cases of natural infertility, when procreation is not possible, the unification process (sexual intercourse or spousal communion) must be open to the possibility of life (however remote). For with God, all things are possible. Catholic Identity demands we only embrace periods of natural infertility to regulate family size. Catholic Identity demands that we embrace all the marriage laws of the Catholic Church, and reject for ourselves anything outside those laws, regardless of what is considered permissible and legal according to civil law, because civil law is secondary to us.

Catholic Identity means that we marry within the Catholic community. We do not marry non-Catholics, nor do we marry non-practising Catholics. For statistics tell us that children of mixed marriages rarely remain Catholic, and mixed marriages are more likely to end in divorce anyway, which is illegal under Catholic law, hated by God, and leaves families broken. Recent statistics clearly show that when both spouses are practising Catholics, the chances of the marriage surviving are much higher. Furthermore, marriage within the Catholic community simplifies life and makes the relationship easier.

Catholic Identity means we do not trust anyone outside of the Catholic community to educate our children. Therefore, our primary means of education for our children consist of: homeschooling, cooperative schooling, Catholic distance schooling (online or correspondence learning), or sometimes parochial schooling when such schools actually teach Catholic Identity. Catholic communities/parishes should work together to insure that Catholic parents have some of these means at their disposal, and provide both financial and practical support when necessary.

Catholic Identity means that we support others within our Catholic community/parish. When faced with a choice to patron the business of a community/parish member, versus a non-community/parish member, Catholic Identity demands that we patron our fellow parishioners first. Catholic Identity means we always show favour to our own when it comes to business and finance. We only venture our business outside of our community/parish when we need to. This can only be realised by the intentional choice of each member, and a personal resolution to live by this standard. Ideally, Catholic bishops should start robust credit unions, with small offices near every community/parish, to aid in this process. This helps keep our money within the community as much as possible.

Catholic Identity means consciously tuning out of mass media culture. That doesn't mean "cutting the cable" or eliminating all forms of modern communication. What it does mean is carefully limiting what kind of information enters your home and/or media devices. Net Nanny is a service available to parents wishing to accomplish this. Elimination of modern communication devices might reasonably become a last resort, when limiting the content of information becomes too difficult.

Catholic Identity means thinking about the Catholic Church FIRST in all political matters. Translated practically, this means voting in accord with politicians and ballot issues that best protect the safety and freedom of the Catholic Church. Politicians and ballot issues that threaten the Catholic Church's integrity, or safety, or that limit the Catholic Church's freedom to act in accordance with the gospel, are an unacceptable threat to Catholic Identity and must be voted down. While other issues; like abortion, marriage, poverty and climate, are all very important, these come secondary to protecting the safety and freedom of the Catholic Church, regardless of what our Catholic bishops may valiantly say or write. Remember, Catholic Identity sees the Catholic Church as our primary government. Therefore it must be protected at all cost. We are subjects of King Jesus first, and the Church is his Kingdom on earth. It is not the full Kingdom of God, but it is a deposit of that which is to come, and is still very much real in the here and now. We are subjects of the King first, and citizens of our nations second. REMEMBER THAT. While protecting such things as church property and finances are important, they are secondary to protecting our bishops, priests and deacons, along with our fellow parishioners.

Catholic Identity means putting your local community/parish first in all things. This means that we don't just go to church for mass once a week. Catholic Identity means seeking ways to fellowship with communicants/parishioners outside of mass, and finding ways to volunteer at the community/parish in any way possible. It also means finding a Catholic parish that promotes Catholic Identity. This can be done by finding a traditional type of parish (see details here) that is hopefully nearby (within 15 minutes drive). If one is not, and cannot be reasonably found nearby, Catholic Identity means we do something radical. We move. That's right, we move to put ourselves as close to an authentically Catholic community/parish as possible.

Catholic identity means stepping up to the plate financially when it comes to supporting our community/parish. Dropping $5 in the collection plate just won't cut it in a world that is hostile to our Catholic Christian faith. Catholic Identity means we set up a giving method that is habitual, consistent and substantial. For some this means an automatic bank transfer. For others this means having your bank draft and send an automatic check. (This is what I do.) Many banks provide this service free of charge. The amount should be substantial and within the confines of your budget. For some it may mean $10/week. For others this may mean $25/week. For others $50/week. Still others may be able to give more. Financially supporting the work of the Church is one of the 5 Precepts taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. People adhering to Catholic Identity take this seriously.

Catholic Identity means loving traditional ways of Catholic worship -- see details here.

Catholic Identity means being stable. We may move around a bit when we are young, so as to get established with work, but as a general rule, we should always seek to become established near a Catholic community/parish that promotes Catholic Identity (traditional Catholic prayer and devotion -- see details here). Once established, we stay put! Stability is a sign of spiritual maturity, and a willingness to give back to the community/parish. It is necessary for the growth of the community/parish, and the further formation of one's own Catholic Identity. Adult children should try to live close to their parents, and parents' community/parish, whenever possible. When not possible, families should make every effort to remain close in other ways. In addition, Catholic Identity means embracing the community of the local parish as well. This means getting involved in things: prayer groups, Bible studies, charity work, even if it's just a social hour. We must learn to share each other's burdens and rejoice in each other's blessings. Coming closer in community means learning how to forgive. Because everyone has rough edges, and they only way they can be smoothed is to interact and forgive one another for being human.

A person with Catholic Identity will embrace the spiritual disciplines of the Church (fasting & abstinence) as well as organised daily prayer and devotion, both individually and with family. This is in addition to regular confession and mass attendance.

A person with Catholic Identity will embrace social ostracism, social non-conformity, public ridicule, and outright persecution for the Catholic Christian faith. In the West, his may mean losing some career opportunities and/or financial gain.

A woman with Catholic Identity will embrace Mary-like modesty, refusing to conform to the flesh-revealing "norms" of society, and covering the head during times of prayer. The following are some suggested online retailers of modesty clothing for women, but honestly, some of this stuff can be found at conventional retailers too. I'm not telling women to shop here, though you're certainly invited to, but I am saying to use these websites for ideas...

A man with Catholic Identity will likewise embrace modesty, neither showing off too much flesh nor wearing excessively tight clothing.

Both men and women with Catholic Identity will seek modesty in swim wear. One easy solution is the use of sun/swim shirts used primarily for protection from UV radiation from the sun. These can be worn easily by both men and women, boys and girls, not only providing modesty for the upper body, but also the added benefit of protection from sunburn. Boys and men should wear swim trunks as opposed to briefs. Women and girls should seek bathing suits that are one-piece with an attached skirt that hides the thighs and bottom. Some swimwear companies are now offering bathing suits with leggings that go midway down the thigh. Here is one example of this type, but it is certainly not the only retailer marketing to modest women. Catholic Identity means being different. It means being a called-out people from the rest of society. We are not to conform to social fashions and norms. Catholic Identity means we set our own fashions and norms.

Catholic Identity means we resolve ourselves toward learning some Latin. We need not be fluent speakers of Latin, but we should at least know some basics. Here is a short PDF you can download to get you started. Learn these two pages, and you'll already be more familiar with Latin than 90% of people in the Church today. Now, once you've got that down, and if you're ready to really dig into the language of the Church, pick up a copy of Reading Church Latin here. This will keep you busy for several months, but it will teach you a lot. Or if you prefer a total immersion method, and are willing to spend a little more: get First Form Latin, followed by Second Form Latin, followed by Third Form Latin, and Fourth Form Latin, etc. Finally, if Catholic Identity is something you really want to fully incorporate into your life, and you're willing to dedicate a couple years to the language, get Rosetta Stone Latin Software, Level 1-3. This will bring the language to life! Now the reason why I'm recommending it this way is because it's a logical progression. First you download the free PDF and learn the bare basics of Ecclesiastical Latin pronunciation. When you're done with that, you get the Church Latin book (or the Form Latin sets), and that primes you fully in Ecclesiastical Latin. Lastly, you get the Rosetta Stone software, and this teaches you how to actually speak Latin conversationally. The software teaches both Classical and Ecclesiastical Latin. There is just a subtle difference of pronunciation between them, Ecclesiastical Latin is simpler. By reading the Church Latin book (or the Form Latin sets) first, you'll be well aware of how to pronounce Latin with an Ecclesiastical accent. Once you've completed Rosetta Stone software, you'll be ready to literally speak Latin with anyone around the world -- FLUENTLY. The point here is to inculcate a fully integrated Catholic identity through language. This helps bring Catholics together, and sets us apart as a distinct people, unique from the world. It also provides a common auxiliary language for Catholics to use with other Catholics who have fully adopted the Catholic Identity around the world. Learning a language takes time and practise. Embracing the Catholic Identity means being patient with yourself, and being realistic about learning another language. Don't set yourself up to fail by expecting too much too fast. Relax and take your time with this. Try to enjoy it. You will be shocked how much learning Latin can actually help your English skills as well as provide an easy bridge to learning other Latino languages (Spanish, French, Italian, Portuguese, Romanian, etc.).

Catholic Identity means we reach out to others in love. We don't want to come across as the "uptight traditionalist" who judges others for being less Catholic than himself. We must have compassion for others, and be patient with them. We do not beat people over the head with our beliefs and traditions. Rather, we simply attract them with the demonstration that we are different. Catholic Identity means we reach out to our local communities with charity and kindness, all the while never compromising our beliefs or standards. We should volunteer, and socialise with others, so we don't become "weird" in isolation. Catholic Identity means being counter-cultural, and part of being counter-cultural means showing true Christian charity (real love not sentimentality) to our neighbours (see details here). Remember, the message of the Scriptures is to tell us we are IN the world but not OF the world. We interact with humanity, but we don't imitate it. Above all, we must focus on our Lord and King at all times, for only that will make us joyous.

We are never going to recover our Catholic Identity until we choose to become our Catholic Identity. This needs to be a real movement, with no central head or organisation, but rather an organic grassroots movement starting with individual young people willing to make a commitment. The general rules of this movement, which I've outlined here, are basic guidelines. They are by no means concrete, but should be considered directions. Let the Church be our guide and our organisation. It's time for Catholics to start getting radical again. It's time for Catholic youth to start getting real. This is about surviving as a distinct community within a hostile society and culture. The time is now. Tomorrow is much too late. It's time for a worldwide Catholic Identity Movement. 

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'
A Catholic Guide

to the Last Days

for Protestants

Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Must Return to Tradition

Traditional Latin Mass, St. Agnes Cathedral in Springfield, Missouri, circa 2014

A number of Catholics are starting to realise that we've entered into a new paradigm in history. The sexual revolution and culture wars in the West were not a passing fad. They were, in actuality, a permanent apostasy. Western Civilisation has rejected Christ, for the long-term foreseeable future.

We mustn't make the same mistake as our Evangelical brethren in the Christian faith. Their religion is new (less than a few hundred years old at best), and they've never seen anything like this before. Therefore, they assume that such a radical shift in society signals the end of the world and the impending Second Coming of Jesus Christ.

This is not the case. Catholics should know better. We've been in similar situations before. The first major apostasy came with the Arian Heresy (3rd - 6th centuries AD). At its height, there was a period of time when there were more Arians than Christians. The Mohammedan Heresy (Islam), which is just a rehash of militant Arianism, has dominated the East for over a thousand years now.

More recently the Marxist Heresy (Communism) had completely dominated large portions of the world, and is still a persistent problem in the East, as well as a few beachheads in the West. However, what the West is primarily dealing with right now is the Nietzsche Heresy (Moral Relativism), named after Friedrich Nietzsche (1844 - 1900) which holds that morality should be constructed actively, making it relative to people, places, time and culture. In other words, there are no moral absolutes. Like all great heresies, this too shall pass, but not until it runs its course and levels society. I think it's reasonable to assume that the Nietzsche Heresy in the West will run at least as long as the Marxist Heresy in the East. The Marxist Heresy is going on its 100th anniversary this year (2017), insofar as widespread acceptance. It's already seen its glory days, so its on a downward trend now. The Nietzsche Heresy will probably get a run close to that. It gained widespread popularity around 1960, so we can expect it to last well into 2060, and possibly a little beyond. Both the Marxist Heresy and the Nietzsche Heresy are destructive to society, each in its own way, but destructive nonetheless. Neither creates any kind of religious or moral structure to replace Christianity, so they inevitably result in the collapse of society. This means we need not worry about them lasting as long as the Arian or Mohammedan heresies. Still, 100 years is a long time. It's unlikely that I'll see the end of it in my lifetime.

Expecting a sudden change, and a return to sensibility, in Western society anytime in the near future, is delusional. Outside of divine intervention on a global level, it's simply not going to happen. In the past, God has simply allowed great heresies to run their course, intervening only in small ways to preserve his Church in the midst of them. We shouldn't expect any more than that. We can pray for more, but we shouldn't expect it. It is far more likely that God will simply carry on with his usual pattern of preserving his own people while the world goes to hell in an hand-basket. Christendom (AD 500 - 1500), for all of its flaws, was the greatest civilisation ever produced. It's no wonder the devil has sought to destroy it so aggressively.

So now what? We need to go back to tradition.

It's already happening. Catholics and Orthodox are returning to tradition, because you see, Christianity only withers and dies insomuch as it has embraced modernity. They say that many Catholic parishes and dioceses in the West have become "protestantised." I've had some time to think about that, and I've decided that as a former Protestant, I'm offended by that, and it's an offence to many Protestants in general. Many Protestants (especially Evangelicals) have rejected the moral relativism that now infects society and the Catholic Church. Catholic churches in the West have not been "protestantised." They've been MODERNISED! They've accepted many of the errors of Modernism, and one of them is the moral relativism of the Nietzsche Heresy, or what I call the "Heresy of Don't Judge -- Be Nice." Many Catholics, of all different backgrounds and traditions, are beginning to realise that some of these parishes and dioceses cannot be reformed. They, like the rest of society, are just going to have to be allowed to run their course. Many Catholic dioceses in the United States are already in a state of managed and orderly decline, with parishes merging, closing, then merging again. Properties are being sold off as a result. It's not going to get any better until our leadership radically changes, and we don't see that happening fast enough. So what are Catholics doing?

They're going back to tradition by attending more traditional parishes. By this I mean parishes that are rejecting modernity and embracing the historic traditions of the Catholic Church. Some of them are driving long distances to attend such parishes. Many more are just switching to the parish on the other side of town. That is what it's going to take to preserve our families, and our faith, in this new paradigm of Nietzsche apostasy in the West.

We Catholics now have three legitimate Patrimonies to choose from: Roman, Eastern and Anglican.

The Roman Patrimony is by far the largest. This is most clearly manifested in parishes that celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, (or Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite). Now the parish doesn't have to be an exclusively Latin Mass parish. It may celebrate the Latin Mass only once a week, in conjunction with a more reverent version of the regular Vernacular Mass (Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite) more often. Some of these parishes are diocesan. Others are part of a fraternity or institute. There are LOTS of them. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them, but I do recommend you call the listed parish first, to make sure the information is up to date. I also recommend checking the notes at the bottom of many of these pages for updates as well. Some parishes might not celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass at all, but the priest may still be staunchly orthodox and traditional in the way he celebrates the Vernacular Mass with no innovation or abuse. These parishes should be considered as viable alternatives. 

The Eastern Patrimonies are also a legitimate options for Roman Catholics. Yes, there are more than one type. One doesn't need to change rites to be a participating member of an Eastern Catholic parish. Granted, these parishes are not part of the historic Western culture, but they are a legitimate Catholic expression of Eastern cultures. All of them are in full unity with the pope and the Roman Catholic Church. THIS WEBSITE will serve as a very effective tool for finding them. If no Roman Patrimony parish is nearby, one of these parishes might serve as a viable alternative.

The Anglican Patrimony is a relatively new option for Roman Catholics, because it was only recently reintegrated back into the Catholic Church after 500 years of heresy and schism. However, what was reintegrated was extremely traditional and based on a patrimony that is actually a bit older than the Traditional Latin Mass (Exraordinary Form). This is because the Anglican Patrimony is based on the Serum Use, which was used in England, and throughout the British Isles from AD 1000 to 1535. It's very medieval in character, even though it is technically more closely related to the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Anglican Patrimony is part of the Western tradition, so it shares many features with the Roman Patrimony. The name of this Form of the Roman Rite is called Divine Worship, and it is a legitimate option for any Roman Catholic to attend. Though this form of liturgy is exclusive to Personal Ordinariate parishes, one does not need to be a member of the Ordinariate to attend. A Roman Catholic doesn't even need to become a member of the Ordinariate to become an active member of such parishes.

  • THIS MAP shows the official Ordinariate parishes in North America.
  • THIS MAP shows them in the British Isles.
  • THIS WEBSITE shows them in Oceania.
  • While THIS MAP (available soon) will show all of them, along with additional startup groups in various areas.

Whatever Patrimony a Catholic chooses to preserve his faith and family in, it's not nearly as important as getting involved in some kind of traditional parish. That's the main thing. When society takes a turn like this, the way people survive is they hunker down in tradition. We get back to what you know works. We return to the faith of our forefathers. That's what many Catholics are already doing. That's where the majority of Catholic youth is heading. If you haven't already done so, it's time for you do the same.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

The Heresy of "Don't Judge -- Be Nice"

Rocco Marconi - Christ and the Adulteress, circa 1525

It's a popular narrative from the eighth chapter of John's gospel (John 8:1-11). A woman is caught in the very act of adultery. She is dragged before Jesus by the scribes and Pharisees, so as to put Jesus to a test. They wanted to see what he would do with her. The Torah (Law of the Jews) from the Old Testament dictated that she be stoned. (My question is: where was the man she committed adultery with? They're both guilty.) Contrite and broken, the woman lay prostrate before Jesus, obviously sorry and penitent for her sin. He told the scribes and Pharisees they were right. The Torah does command that she be stoned to death, for that is the lawful penalty of adultery, and that he who is without sin should cast the first stone. Jesus then began writing in the sand. The Scriptures don't tell us what he was writing, but many believe it was the Ten Commandments, which of course all of us have broken at some time in our lives. One by one, they all dropped their stones and walked away. Then Jesus asked the woman: "Where did they go, has no one condemned you?" She answered: "No one, Lord." Jesus replied: "Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more."

It's that last phrase that is the key to the whole thing. "Go and sin no more." With that one statement, which he used many times, Jesus made it crystal clear that sin is a real thing, that he does not condone it in any way, and that if people are truly penitent, they should stop doing it. Sadly, it seems that this one point is lost on a growing number of Catholics today.

It's a term ChurchMilitant.Com has been using for many years now -- "The Church of Nice" -- but I don't think I fully understood it until recently. The Catholic Church is in the midst of the greatest crisis it has seen since the Arian Heresy. I do believe what is going on right now is catastrophic, and could very well result in a massive schism in the very near future, outside of some kind of divine intervention. When I say massive, I mean MASSIVE, such as the likes we have not seen since the Protestant Reformation. It may even dwarf that schism in comparison.

I am talking about the Church of Nice here. What is the Church of Nice? Well, let me tell you. It's not Catholic. Unfortunately, however, it is currently joined at the hip with the Catholic Church in the United States. What is it? Well, here it is in a nutshell...
The Church of Nice consists of those Catholics who believe, in the most sincere way, that the message of the Gospel is simply "don't judge others and be nice." 
That's it. That's the Church of Nice in a nutshell. The whole concept of sin, atonement, redemption, repentance and sanctification mean absolutely nothing to these people. They truly believe, in their heart of hearts, that the only thing Jesus really taught us is to never judge anyone or anything, and just be nice to people.

So that means we never judge sin as sin. We never tell people they're doing anything wrong. We never speak of anything as being wrong. And we are always just sweet and syrupy to each other, all the time, and pretend everything is fine. That is the Church of Nice.

Would it shock you if I said that MILLIONS of Catholics in America actually believe this? What if I told you that number was actually in the TENS OF MILLIONS? What if I told you that no less than HALF of all Catholics in the United States are full, active and participating members of the Church of Nice.

Now what if I told you the Church of Nice is built on an absolute heresy called Moral Relativism. What is Moral Relativism? It's a heresy that says that there are no actual God-given standards of absolute right and wrong. Morality is rather defined by social norms. So whatever society views as socially acceptable, that is considered "right." While as whatever society views as socially unacceptable, that is considered "wrong." Because society is always changing, so is morality. Therefore, there can be no moral absolutes. A good example of this is when people scoff at a traditional Christian virtue, and say something like: "Come on! It's the 21st century!"

Since when is morality determined by looking at a calendar?

Nevertheless, that is exactly what moral relativists want us to think. The calendar says 2017, so therefore we are supposed to change our moral standards now?

Of course, time isn't the only thing that relativists use as a moral compass. They also use geography. Standards of right and wrong can be determined by where you live too. For example; in Western countries its okay for a woman to leave her head uncovered, but in the Middle East, that's morally unacceptable. So therefore Western women should cover their heads when visiting there. These are the two big things moral relativists use to determine morality. Culture might be another one. But after all is said and done, the moral relativist subscribes to the notion that what is right for you may be wrong for me, and vice versa, what is wrong for you may be right for me.

Moral relativism is an extremely common and pernicious heresy which is widely believed outside of the Church, but inside the Church it has an equally powerful influence. It manifests itself in the ever popular "don't judge" mantra as well as the equally popular "be nice" mantra. Why is it so pervasive within the Church? I'll tell you why. Because too many priests use those exact same words, and repeat them constantly, as their own mantra. I've heard it with my own ears folks, from the lips of many priests, more times than I can count. Pity it's a heresy.

So did Jesus really tell us: "don't judge and be nice?" Well, not exactly. You see, it's actually a bit more nuanced than that. On the one hand, Jesus did say the following...
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgement you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. 
-- Matthew 7:1-5
This is the verse most commonly cited to back the "don't judge" mantra. But what exactly was Jesus talking about here? Was he saying we can never judge anything at all? Well, that would be silly! How could we know what is right and wrong if we can never judge anything? While "don't judge" Catholics are so quick to point out Matthew 7:1-5, they fail to see what Jesus said about judging in John's gospel...
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.  
-- John 7:24
So in Matthew's gospel, Jesus told us not to judge. But in John's gospel, he specifically told us to judge, and judge righteously! What gives? To judge or not to judge? That is the question. Or is Jesus just contradicting himself?

John's passage makes it clear that we are not to judge according to appearance. In other words, we're not to make judgements based on insufficient information. St. Paul elaborates on this in his first epistle to Timothy...
The sins of some men are conspicuous, pointing to judgement, but the sins of others appear later. So also good deeds are conspicuous; and even when they are not, they cannot remain hidden. 
-- 1 Timothy 5:24-25
In other words, St. Paul warns us that sometimes things are not always as they seem. People can hide their sins, but they can't hide them forever. Just as good deeds will reveal themselves eventually, so will people's sins. Sooner or later the truth catches up with us all. So we shouldn't judge prematurely, or with insufficient information. Nevertheless, we are still expected to judge, both by Jesus Christ and St. Paul.

So from this alone we know that we can judge, but we must judge righteously, not prematurely or with insufficient information. So what then was Jesus talking about in Matthew's gospel when he told us not to judge at all? Again, St. Paul elaborates...
Therefore you have no excuse, O man, whoever you are, when you judge another; for in passing judgement upon him you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, are doing the very same things. We know that the judgement of God rightly falls upon those who do such things. Do you suppose, O man, that when you judge those who do such things and yet do them yourself, you will escape the judgement of God? 
-- Romans 2:1-3
Hypocrisy is the key here. If we look at Jesus' words in Matthew 7, and compare them with St. Paul's words in Romans 2, the whole passage against judging starts to make a lot more sense. Jesus is condemning hypocrisy! He did this so many times in his ministry. He's not condemning judging per se'. Rather, he's condemning the ever popular practice of condemning others for something you yourself do. You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye. In other words, you can make a judgement about another person, provided you check yourself first, and make sure you're not doing the exact same type of thing. But wait, there is more.

We also should not judge people in matters of private opinion...
As for the man who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not for disputes over opinions. One believes he may eat anything, while the weak man eats only vegetables. Let not him who eats despise him who abstains, and let not him who abstains pass judgement on him who eats; for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgement on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Master is able to make him stand. 
-- Romans 14:1-4
Actually, this is a pretty big problem. While men are not innocent of this, I do personally find that this is a particular problem among women. Women often tend to judge each other over the most petty things: clothing, makeup, mannerisms, hairstyles, jewellery, personal habits, talking too much, not talking enough, shyness, boldness, etc., etc., etc.. Yes, men can be guilty of this too, but let's face it ladies, it's usually the fairer sex who do this more often.

Still yet, the Church of Nice, meaning the "don't judge" Catholics, will use Jesus' words in Matthew 7 to condemn anyone attempting to call out another for blatantly sinful behaviour. Today, this is most prevalent in the Homosexualist Movement, as we saw recently in The Paprocki Affair. They hold Jesus' strong prohibition against judging as a shield to cover their evil deeds. "Don't judge me" they wail, "you hateful bigot! Jesus said not to judge!" As I've already pointed out above, while he did say this in regards to hypocritical judging in Matthew 7, he also commanded his followers to "judge righteously" in John 7. So clearly Jesus DID NOT prohibit all judging. Again, St. Paul helps to clear this up...
Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 
-- Ephesians 5:11
Here St. Paul explicitly tells Christians to "expose" works of darkness. What else could he mean by this than to point out when others are doing something wrong? What else could he mean but judging? Indeed, that's exactly what he's talking about. We most certainly can judge, and we should judge, but when we do so we should judge actions not people. So let's look again at Jesus' words in John, and compare them to what the Torah has to say about the same subject...
Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgement.  
-- John 7:24
You shall do no injustice in judgement; you shall not be partial to the poor or defer to the great, but in righteousness shall you judge your neighbour. 
-- Leviticus 19:15
Here both Jesus, and the Torah, tell us to judge. But they're both very specific about the kind of judgement we are allowed to do. Normally, I don't cite the Torah often, because Christ is the Christian's Torah. Nevertheless, when Christ speaks specifically to a topic like this, and it matches what the Torah says, we can see the total consistency in approach, and it gives us a great context. When we judge, we are to judge people's actions (their sins or good works), but we are not to judge the person's soul, nor his state in life, background, heritage, etc. That is God's business. We cannot know what is really going on in a person's heart. People will often do evil things for reasons that are not apparent. Often times there is more to the story than meets the eye. Good people do bad things all the time. We must judge the action as wrong (sin), but at the same time, we must not judge the soul of the person doing it. We cannot know what is really happening inside his heart and mind. We cannot always know what sort of horrible circumstances might have led to this evil act (sin). We judge the act, but not the man/woman doing it.

So therein lies the heart of the matter. When the "don't judge" Catholic says "don't judge," he should be corrected with the Biblical context. What Jesus really said was "don't judge hypocritically" but we should "judge righteously."

The Church of Nice is dangerous, because in the end there is no limit to the amount of evil that can be justified under the mantra of "don't judge." Likewise, the sister mantra of "be nice" is equally pernicious, because it invokes the idea that we should never confront anyone for anything. It invokes the idea that we have to put on a phoney smiley face, pretend that everything is okay when it's not, and let our fellow man commit spiritual suicide by persisting in his unrepentant sin until death.

Now having said that, we certainly shouldn't go around like prudes, judging every sin we see. That's not the point. The point is, we should be as generous as possible, cutting people as much slack as we can, realising we can't always understand the circumstances that make people behave in the ways they do. We should be joyful, forgiving, and never judge another person's soul. However, at the same time, that doesn't mean we pretend there is no sin at all. When people do things that are clearly sinful, and they refuse to acknowledge it as sin, we are morally obligated (in true Christian charity) to point out to them that it is sin and they should repent. We don't judge the person, because we're all sinners here and there. But we do judge the action as sinful and wrong.

The Church of Nice is teaching a false gospel. That gospel goes something like this...
  1. God loves you just the way you are, and would never condemn you.
  2. Jesus died for our sins, so now God condones them.
  3. Sin is relative anyway, so it doesn't really matter.
  4. Don't judge at all, just be nice.
The real Catholic Church, the one currently being invaded by the Church of Nice, teaches the real gospel, which goes something like this...
  1. God loves us but sin is real, and it separates us all from God.
  2. Jesus Christ died to forgive our sins, not condone them.
  3. Now anyone may be forgiven of sins, if only we will sincerely try to repent of them, and continually ask for forgiveness as needed.
  4. Show true love for others by judging the sin but not the sinner.
Granted, this is all an oversimplification, but you get the idea. There is a radical difference between the Catholic Church and the Church of Nice. Sadly, in our society, the two are joined at the hip. It's going to take some really good priests and bishops, along with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, to surgically separate the two. One way or another, there is going to be a schism eventually. Perhaps, with enough prayer, and enough clergy willing to wake up to reality, that schism might be limited to minimal damage.

Regarding the woman caught in adultery, the problem with this story was that the scribes and Pharisees were not interested in saving the poor sinner's soul or trying to rehabilitate her. They just wanted her dead. But more then that, they wanted to see if Jesus would condone her execution. Jesus changed the game. Instead he confirmed they were right, and she should be stoned, but that only the one without guilt should do it. Nobody threw a single rock, and in that one analysis, Jesus changed the paradigm. He pointed out that while sin is real, our goal shouldn't be to judge sinners for the sake of condemning them, but rather our judgement should be to call them to repentance, so that hopefully God can rehabilitate them, and heal their wounded lives. Once rehabilitated, they are no different than the rest of us, and we cannot ever judge them for the previous lifestyle they repented of. In other words, judge the sin but not the sinner. Judge the act but not the actor. Judge what is wrong but not the wrongdoer. So it's not "don't judge and be nice," but rather "judge righteously and be merciful."

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Paprocki Affair

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois

His Excellency, Thomas Paprocki, Bishop of the Diocese of Springfield, Illinois, recently issued the following statement on his Facebook Page. By the way, if you haven't already done it, please go to Bishop Paprocki's Facbook Page and give it a "Like." Here's the statement...
These norms regarding same-sex “Marriage” and related pastoral issues are necessary in light of changes in the law and in our culture regarding these issues. Jesus Christ himself affirmed the privileged place of marriage in human and Christian society by raising it to the dignity of a sacrament. Consequently, the Church has not only the authority, but the serious obligation, to affirm its authentic teaching on marriage and to preserve and foster the sacred value of the married state. Regarding the specific issue of funeral rites, people who had lived openly in same-sex marriage, like other manifest sinners that give public scandal, can receive ecclesiastical funeral rites if they have given some signs of repentance before their death. Jesus began his public ministry proclaiming the Gospel of God with these words: “This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). People with same-sex attraction are welcome in our parishes in the Catholic Diocese of Springfield in Illinois as we repent our sins and pray for God to keep us in His grace... 
See the Same-Sex Policy Decree Here
The full decree is both charitable and consistent with sound Catholic orthodoxy. It is a triumph of actual Catholicism in the United States, something rarely seen anymore. His statement was met by both praise and denunciation. Praise was given by faithful Catholics, myself included, and denunciation by many different types; watered-down fake Catholics, former Catholics, non-Catholics, active homosexual activists, atheists, etc. I know, because I read them all. The gist of their message was the same and predictable. They declared the good bishop's statement and policy an act of "hate" based solely on "bigotry." I'm being kind. Actually most of their comments were vulgar and not fit for print here. In response I posted many things, all in as much charity as possible, but in summary I gave this one reply to all, and then posted the same on my own Facebook page...
We are all called to repentance and the sacraments are NOT entitlements. As a heterosexual married man, even I can be denied the sacraments if I live in a scandalous way, and I'm even supposed to deny myself the sacrament of communion if I know I've committed a mortal sin. The sacraments are not entitlements. Jesus came to forgive our sins, not condone them. He told us to repent. Go and sin no more. It is the Church's responsibility to safeguard the sacraments and yes, even withhold them to encourage us to repent of our sins. It's not "hate" when you're just doing your job, as Bishop Paprocki is. It's not "bigotry" when you try to stop people from committing spiritual suicide by receiving the sacraments while in a state of unrepentant mortal sin.
So therein I believe I addressed the root of the problem. Naturally, while my own statement received several positive "likes" it was also derided as "hate-filled" and "bigoted." Of course, I expected as much. It was so predictable. Here's the problem, as I see it. We now live in a culture of total entitlement, and within that culture of total entitlement, there is this notion that the Catholic Church is somehow a public institution, on par with a state Church. So, those who feel entitled naturally want the Church to entitle them, as if it were part of the state. They expect that if they will only just apply enough pressure, the Catholic Church will bend to their will, and give them exactly what they want. So exactly what is it they want? Well, here's the list. Such people are expecting one, or more, of the items below to be implemented by the Catholic Church...
  1. Total acceptance of their homosexual temptations as a "God-given grace."
  2. Total acceptance of same-sex "marriage" as a sacrament.
  3. Performance of same-sex "weddings" in Catholic churches.
  4. Elevation of homosexual relations as at least on par with, preferably superior to, heterosexual relations.
  5. Acceptance of transsexualism as "normal" and "grace-filled."
  6. Ordination of homosexuals openly, with blessing and encouragement given to homosexual activity by such clergy.
  7. Ordination of women, since gender is fluid anyway.
  8. Promotion of adoption of children, by Catholic charities, to same-sex couples. 
  9. Teaching that Jesus Christ as at least ambiguously homosexual himself, as were some of his apostles.
  10. Teaching of some or all of these things to children in Catholic schools and Catechism classes.
The Homosexualist Agenda is pretty universal both inside and outside the Catholic Church. There is nothing new here, and it's not personal. The Homosexualist Agenda is the same for all churches. Those of us who were formally Anglican, like myself, sadly watched this unfold in The Episcopal Church USA, as well as various other denominations. Baptists and Pentecostals are in their cross-hairs too, they just haven't gotten to them yet. Right now the Homosexualists have all of their attention focused on the U.S. Catholic Church, because you see, we're the next domino to fall. If they can get America's largest Christian Church -- The Catholic Church -- to crumble beneath their will, all the rest will fall in short order thereafter. The Baptists will scatter to the wind. The Pentecostals will too. You have to understand, it's nothing personal. It's just business. They have an agenda to push, and the last stronghold standing in their way is The Catholic Church. So they must attack us. They must break us. We shouldn't take it personally. It's just business to them.

The attack methods are predictable and banal now. They accuse us of "hate" and "bigotry" for not accepting all, or at least part, of their Homosexualist Agenda. They frame themselves as the "poor, persecuted, minority" and the Catholic Church as the "rich, powerful, persecutors" who want to "deprive" homosexuals of their "human rights" for the sake of "bigotry" and "hate." You have to understand that these accusations, these terms, are just the tools of the trade. It doesn't matter if they think they're true or not. I'm sure the promoters of such terms know there are a few useful idiots who really do believe this stuff, but for the most part, it's just verbal leverage. Again, it's all just business. We shouldn't take it personally. The objective is to bully the Church hierarchy with bad press. That's what it's all about, until one of these bishops cracks. That will be the proverbial "chink in the armour" they need to bring the whole Catholic edifice down -- or so they think. Why not? It's worked with other religious organisations. 

The fact that many Catholic clergy are closeted homosexuals doesn't help one bit. It only makes things worse. You can tell who they are by their silence on these matters, or sometimes by their public support of the Homosexualist movement itself. This leads to weakness on the part of the laity, who are afraid to speak up, and afraid to act in accord with Church teaching. They know they won't have the support of their homosexual-friendly priest, and in some tragic cases, not even the support of their homosexual-friendly bishop. So they hide in the shadows themselves, holding their tongues, all the while allowing the Homosexualist movement to continue to infiltrate the Church.

Then there is another movement going on, and this one is much bigger than the Homosexualist one. This is what I call the Entitlement Culture, and it's been well entrenched in the U.S. Catholic Church since the 1970s. It presents a much greater threat than the Homosexualist movement, even though the two often go hand-in-hand. The Homosexualist movement is dependent on the Entitlement Culture, but the Entitlement Culture is not dependent on the Homosexualist movement. In fact, the Entitlement Culture has been operating independently of the Homosexalist movement for a long time.

At the core of the Entitlement Culture is the heresy of moral relativism. Moral relativism asserts that there is no absolute right or wrong, but rather that "rightness" or "wrongness" is determined solely by social norms. Whatever is considered normal behaviour in society, that is considered "right." While what is considered abnormal behaviour in society, that is considered "wrong." So for example, standards of right and wrong can change, and are always in flux, because society is always changing what it considers to be "normal," or in other words, what most people are doing. Sadly, there are many moral relativists within the Catholic Church and this drives, in big part, the Entitlement Culture.

The Entitlement Culture basically operates on the premise that if one bears the name "Catholic" then one is entitled to all of the sacraments, regardless of one's state of grace or condition of sin. In other words, it goes something like this: "I call myself Catholic, therefore I'm entitled to receive communion, so give it to me now, or you're a bigoted hater!" Actually, a lot more people fall into this movement than you might think. We don't just see this among Homosexualists. We also see it among fornicators, co-habitators, serial-monogamists, polygamists, masterbaters, voyeurs, artificial-contracepters, thieves, gossips, greedy people, those who defraud their employees of a just wage, etc. There is a sense in the U.S. Catholic Church that if one is just willing to bear the name "Catholic," or go through an RCIA program, or be raised in a Catholic school, that one is automatically entitled to the sacraments. There is a sense that repentance of sin is not necessary (Because in a morally relative society what is sin anyway?) and the Church's teachings on morality are subject to change. I think the later comes from weak clergy who are unwilling to defend Church teaching, and sadly, we've had too many of those in recent decades. In the end, the sum-total morality of most Catholics is simply: "Don't judge and be nice." In the eyes of too many people who call themselves Catholic, that is what it means to be Catholic. "Just don't judge and be nice."

So we come full circle now to the Paprocki Affair. Here in the Summer of 2017, an entire diocese is now on edge, solely because her bishop decided to actually do his job, and defend Catholic teaching! Think of it, a Catholic bishop actually behaved like a Catholic bishop, and now the proverbial "snowflakes are melting in the streets." Among them are the Homosexualists. We would expect no less from them. But also among them are those Catholics who subscribe to the Entitlement Culture. They fully expect anyone who bears the name "Catholic," even a professed "out and proud" homosexual in a same-sex "marriage," to be able to receive communion, and enjoy all the rites of a good and practising Catholic, including the Church changing its teaching to accommodate his or her vice. Yes. This is where we are today. You're not dreaming. This isn't a nightmare. This is reality. This is the Summer of 2017, Main Street, USA, and no, it's not going to get any better.

So where do we go from here?

Well, first of all we have to accept that this is our new reality, and it's not going away. The second thing we need to do is clearly establish to our surrounding communities that the Catholic Church is not a state-run church or a publicly controlled entity. We need to demonstrate to them that we Catholics are a separate and distinct community from the rest of society. We are in this world, but not of it. We interact with mainstream society, but we are not just another part of it. We are a called-out people. We are an independent nation. We have our own beliefs, our own norms, and our own laws. (Yes, our own LAWS, and this includes our own courts, lawyers and judges.) We are not subject to the ways of the rest of the world. We do follow the laws of the land -- to an extent -- but our own laws (just like our own doctrines) take precedence among our own members. 

Very rarely do people attack the Amish. In fact, most people simply don't expect the Amish to be anything but -- well -- Amish! There is a reason for this. The Amish have firmly established themselves as an independent and autonomous community within society. They function under their own rules and everybody knows it. Obviously, most people wouldn't want to live under Amish rules, and that's why most people aren't Amish. Nevertheless, nobody tries to change the Amish, or make them comply with some social agenda. This is because everybody knows the Amish are just "Amish" and they're not going to change for anyone. They've firmly established themselves as a separate, independent and autonomous community within the greater society.

The same could be said of the Orthodox Jewish community. Like the Amish, they have established themselves as a separate, independent and autonomous community within the greater society. The same could be said of various Muslim communities, and so on.

Catholics certainly shouldn't withdraw from mainstream society like the Amish do, but we should re-establish ourselves as an independent and autonomous community within the greater society like the Orthodox Jewish and Muslim communities have done. This seems foreign to us right now, because we Christians here in the West haven't had to do it in over 1,000 years. The last time Western Christians had to do that was toward the end of the first millennium, when Christians had to live as separate, independent and autonomous communities within the larger Nordic Pagan culture of Scandinavia. Prior to that, it was within Germanic Pagan cultures in Europe. This condition was short-lived, because these societies converted rather quickly, once a critical mass had been reached. So they're not good comparisons. Probably the best comparison to be made in Western culture is nearly 2,000 years ago, when early Christians had to live under the thumb of the Pagan Roman Empire. My point here is that we Christians in the West have since then been so intertwined with Western government and society at large, that we literally don't know how to act in a separate, independent and autonomous way. We've simply forgotten how to do it. This is one reason why the Entitlement culture has steamrolled us for the last half century.

Probably our best example to model ourselves after is the Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic communities, who have lived under oppressive societies in Eastern Europe for decades and the Middle East for centuries. They know how to do it. You don't hear about Homosexualists going after the Eastern Orthodox communities so much, because again, they're thought of as "separate" and "independent" from mainstream society. Nor do you hear of their own members boasting an entitlement mentality, because once again, their own members see themselves as separate and independent from mainstream society. They have to follow their own laws, which are different from the laws and social norms of society at large. I think it's high time Roman Catholic priests and bishops begin cultivating this way of thinking within their parishes and dioceses.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Divine Worship: The Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite

Divine Worship Mass at Westminster Cathedral on January 11, 2016
Photo: Ordinariate Expats Blog, used by permission.
Recently, His Excellency, Steven Lopes, Bishop of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, gave an address at the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary at the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois. This was on June 21, 2017. Here is a short excerpt...
Let me begin by articulating something of a thesis statement. I would like to state at the outset that our Ordinariate liturgy is often misunderstood and therefore not described correctly. 
Because our liturgy shares many traditional elements and gestures in common with the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, it is thought to be a type of “subset” of that form: “the Extraordinary Form in English” as it is sometimes called. But this is neither accurate nor, honestly, helpful. For one thing, the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, a principal source for the Ordinariate Missal, is older than the Missal of Saint Pius V, and has its own origins in the Sarum Missal, a variant of the Roman Rite going back to the eleventh century. My first goal today is for you to understand Divine Worship on its own terms, to see the historical and ritual context out of which it develops, and in that light to recognize how it might contribute to the ongoing renewal and development of the Roman Rite. 
And so my thesis: Divine Worship is more than a collection of liturgical texts and ritual gestures. It is the organic expression of the Church’s own lex orandi as it was taken up and developed in an Anglican context over the course of nearly five-hundred years of ecclesial separation, and is now reintegrated into Catholic worship as the authoritative expression of a noble patrimony to be shared with the whole Church. As such, it is to be understood as a distinct form of the Roman Rite. Further, while Divine Worship preserves some external elements more often associated with the Extraordinary Form, its theological and rubrical context is clearly the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. That I situate Divine Worship within the context of the Ordinary Form becomes a fact more discernable when one considers the dual hermeneutic of continuity and reform, which informs the project. 
read the full address here
So, based on Bishop Lopes' explanation of Divine Worship, it is NOT the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite) in English, and it does a disservice to both Divine Worship and the Extraordinary Form to call it that. Rather, it is an entirely new form of the Roman Rite, neither Ordinary nor Extraordinary, but is more closely situated within the context of the Ordinary Form. Therefore, it can most accurately be described as the "Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite" or the "Anglican Form of the Roman Rite."

Personally, I prefer the term "Ordinariate Form" over "Anglican Form," not only because Bishop Lopes appears to prefer it, but also because it reduces confusion, not among Anglicans but among regular diocesan Roman Catholics. For some reason, whenever the word "Anglican" is mentioned, the thought "Protestant" registers in their minds. Immediately what follows is a myriad of questions such as...
  • Well, is it Catholic or Protestant?
  • Is this really Catholic at all?
  • What? Now their letting the Anglicans in without becoming Catholic?
  • Shouldn't these Anglicans just convert and become Catholic?
  • Is this liturgy just for Anglicans or can Catholics come too?
  • If Catholics go to this mass, do they become Anglicans?
  • etc.
I think the problem here is that the words "Anglican" and "Protestant" have been too closely associated with each other for far too long in the Catholic collective consciousness. This is why I go with the more innocuous term "Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite."

It's a shame really, because I do like the word "Anglican" and to me, it sounds more descriptive of what Divine Worship really is. So while I still do think the terms "Anglican Form" and "Ordinariate Form" are technically interchangeable, my experience dealing with diocesan Roman Catholics tells me to go with "Ordinariate Form" for the time being. It lowers resistance, reduces questions and breaks through the communication barrier. 

So Divine Worship really is the third form of the Roman Rite -- the Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite, written in Sacred English and containing therein the specific prayers and rubrics particular to the Anglican Patrimony for the last 1,000 years. These are based in the 11th century Sarum Missal, a Catholic liturgy used exclusively in England for 500 years prior to the English Reformation. In fact, the original 1549 Book of Common Prayer (a Protestant text) was based heavily on this medieval Catholic liturgy. So what we have in Divine Worship is the Catholic Church reclaiming a form of liturgy that was rightly hers to begin with. It is a form of liturgy that is in fact older than the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) in its origin.

I think its important for us to get a proper understanding of this. The Roman Rite now has three forms...
  1. The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (always in Latin)
  2. The Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite (many vernacular translations)
  3. The Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite (always in Sacred English)
Each form has its own particular prayers and rubrics that are specific to its kind, and each form is unique. As Bishop Lopes says, the Ordinariate Form of the Roman Rite finds itself in a closer context to the Ordinary Form, because it's part of the dual hermeneutic of continuity and reform.

Now that being said, who would appreciate Divine Worship? Traditional or Contemporary Catholics? I think its a mistake to assume one or the other. In fact, Divine Worship has a little in there for both groups. I think anyone who is Catholic would have good reason to appreciate Divine Worship. The truth is, I've seen Contemporary Catholics both like it and dislike it. I've also seen Traditional Catholics both like it and dislike it. It's really a matter of taste, and in truth, its not for everyone. Nevertheless, anyone is free to look into it and find out for himself.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Bible Answer Man Goes on Catholic Answers -- Praises Catholicism

Hendrik "Hank" Hanegraaff
Bible Answer Man - Christian Research Institute

So let me tell you a little story about myself. Though I was baptised Lutheran, and raised an American Baptist, my family stopped going to church during my teens. This left me spiritually hungry. So at the age of 17, after the death of my grandmother, I began frantically searching for a spiritual tradition. I looked into Mormonism. I looked into the Jehovah's Witnesses. I looked into Christian Science, Armstrongism, Christian television networks, you name it I looked into it. By the age of 20, however, I settled down at a local Calvary Chapel (just six blocks away from my home in Southern California) and started listening to the Bible Answer Man broadcast on the radio. This was about the year 1990.

During that time, Hendrik "Hank" Hanegraaff ran the show with a partner, a fellow by the name of Ron Rhodes. The show was Evangelical in nature, but had a broad spectrum, recognising essential Christianity in a variety of different churches, including (believe it or not) the Roman Catholic Church. This is because the founder of the Christian Research Institute (CRI), and the Bible Answer Man (BAM) broadcast, was a fellow by the name of Dr. Walter Martin. Now Dr. Martin was raised in a Catholic school. Though an Evangelical himself, he was intimately familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church. So he considered the Catholic Church as an errant church, which had gone astray, but still retained the essential elements of Christianity. Having died in the late 1980s, he left the ministry of CRI and BAM to Hanegraaff, who became the acting president. On Catholicism, Hanegraaff shared the same views as Martin. Rhodes did not. Rhodes eventually left the show, and went on to produce some anti-Catholic material and books. While Hanegraaff became the sole host of the BAM broadcast.

In the early years of my Christian re-awakening (early 1990s), I depended highly on Hank's radio show and the books he would recommend. I also began reading his books as well. I credit two people for taking my early Evangelical faith to a higher intellectual level. The first is Hendrik "Hank" Hanegraaff, and the second is Clive Staples Lewis, otherwise known as C.S. Lewis. Together, their books, combined with Hank's radio show, kicked up Evangelicalism to an intellectual level I desperately needed. I owe a debt of gratitude to both men for this.

By the late 1990s, long after I moved to the Ozarks, I followed the path of C.S. Lewis into Anglicanism, and spent a bit of time there, learning to distance myself from some anti-Catholic attitudes, as well as acquaint myself with liturgical worship and the sacraments. By the year 2000, my wife and I converted to the Roman Catholic Church, and we've remained Catholics ever since. When the Ordinariates for former Anglicans were created by Pope Benedict XVI between 2011-2012 we jumped on board and founded an Ordinariate community in Republic, Missouri -- St. George Catholic Church.

Hank Receiving Chrismation with Two Others
Throughout the years I have occasionally tuned back in to the BAM broadcast, and listened to Hank evolve on many of his personal beliefs. His venture into a Preterist interpretation of Last Days prophecy signalled to me that he was starting to trend in the same direction I was back in the late 1990s. I thought to myself that if he is trending toward a more catholic way of thinking on eschatology, I wonder if he'll start to go that way on the sacraments as well. However, some time after that I stopped listening for a while. Then just this year, in 2017, something amazing happened. Hank converted to Eastern Orthodoxy. He received the sacrament of chrismation (Orthodox confirmation) on Palm Sunday. It was at that point I knew something amazing happened, and I immediately started tuning back into the BAM broadcast to get more information. I had to use the Internet, because it wasn't long after this news had gotten out, that the local BAM radio broadcast was cancelled by the Evangelical Bott Radio Network. Thankfully, in this age of the Internet, we need not be subject to the censorship of anti-Catholics and anti-Orthodox anymore. As I listened to his explanation of his decision, and recount of his chrismation, my mind raced back to my own experience of confirmation in the Catholic Church some 18 years prior, on the Easter vigil of 2000.

Hank is now experiencing, as an Orthodox Christian, what we Catholic Christians have endured in this country for centuries. He's getting a small taste of it now, and I've written him to express my solidarity with him as a brother in Christ. The BAM broadcast has been cancelled on hundreds of Evangelical radio stations. Hank had been derided as a heretic and apostate -- accusations I am well familiar with myself as they are regularly levelled at me too. Yet he takes it all in stride and with a smile, because he has discovered our Eucharistic Lord. We Catholics would do well to learn from him on this and mimic his unwavering joy.

Now some of my Catholic readers will criticise Hank on this, chiding him for not going fully Catholic and embracing the papacy. I've even heard some people say "from heretic to schismatic" in regards to Hank. I believe this attitude is unwarranted. Here's why. As a former Evangelical I know what it's like to be on that side of the fence. I know the pressures and prejudices of that world. I lived in them. It's hard enough for Evangelicals just to overcome prejudice against liturgy and sacraments. Veneration of the Saints is extremely difficult to overcome. Invocation of the Saints in prayer is nearly impossible. Veneration and invocation of Mary requires nothing short of divine intervention from the Holy Spirit. I can easily see how an Evangelical could get past all these things, with God's help, and then get hung up on the papacy. What are we to say in such circumstances? Are we to tell the Evangelical it's an "all or nothing" deal. Are we to say, either you accept the papacy or live without the sacraments? I say no! While I encourage Evangelicals to keep studying and try to overcome their fears of the papacy, I recognise that some will just never be able to do it. For those who can't, there is Orthodoxy, and if an Evangelical has already decided to go Orthodox, I absolutely WILL NOT stand in the way. Personally, I think Catholicism would have been better, but at least with Orthodoxy I know they're getting authentic sacraments, recognised as valid by Rome, and doctrinal teaching that is vastly superior to anything out there in the Evangelical world. Let not perfection become the enemy of good. Orthodox are essentially catholic (small "c"), as all of their sacraments are recognised by Rome, including holy orders, and their churches are real "churches" in an ecclesial sense as understood by Rome. So when Evangelicals convert to Orthodoxy; that is good. It may not be perfect, but it is good. Let us recognise good for what it is. I do.

When it comes to good, the proof is in the pudding. While Hank doesn't make a habit of pointing people toward Catholicism (few Orthodox do), he does recognise the authentic Christianity of the Catholic Church, and he's given great complements to Catholicism and those within Catholicism. Just recently, Hank was interviewed as a special guest on the Catholic Answers Focus program. You can listen to it by iTunes here, or by streaming audio on the Internet here. I highly recommend you do so.

The conversion of Hank Hanegraaff to Orthodoxy was a watershed event in the Evangelical world. Unless you've been an Evangelical, you have no idea just how popular Hank is, and how dependent American Evangelicalism itself has become on the ministry of CRI and the BAM broadcast. His conversion to Orthodoxy has left (and continues to leave) a powerful impression. Already, I personally know two Evangelicals here in the Ozarks who are converting to Orthodoxy because of Hank's ministry. I have heard of several more Evangelicals here in the Ozarks looking into Catholicism now for the same reason. This is the real deal, and it's a paradigm shift in American Evangelicalism. Hank has led by example, and that example is having an impact.

Shane Schaetzel is an author of Catholic books, and columnist for Christian print magazines and online publications. He is a freelance writer and the creator of ' -- Apologetics and random musings from a Catholic in the Bible Belt.'

A Catholic Guide
to the Last Days
for Protestants