Rorate Caeli

"The task of announcing Christ to all peoples..."

The secret to a true and efficacious evangelization is in the search for holiness. The Church and the world need credible witnesses of love for God and a life of holiness. It is in the contemplation of Christ's face that we are filled with an irrepressible passion to preach Him and give Him to others and recognize Him in the face of the poor and suffering. Only if one is led by the Spirit, can he truly experience the depth of Christ's love, the source of the fruitfulness of the mission and testimony that should fill the Church and the world with the aroma of Christ (cf. 2 Cor 2:14-15). Prayer, contemplation, and imitation of Christ are the soul of every apostolic activity, which lead the apostle – as I wrote in the Encyclical Deus caritas est – to drink “from the original source, which is Jesus Christ, from whose pierced heart flows the love of God” (no. 7). This is the timeless methodology of missionary activity. Every Christian is called to be a credible witness to this love of God, to reveal the attractiveness of the Gospel, to make the Church known and loved, and to contribute to the expansion of God's Kingdom. The real missionary is the saint and the world needs saintly missionaries.

The task of announcing Christ to all peoples is certainly an immense one, one that surpasses human strengths. However, we know that those who evangelize are Christ and His Spirit. We are only their collaborators, aware of the fact that we will only be effective preachers to the degree in which we learn to bend our knees in prayer and lift our hands towards heaven: in a word, if we allows ourselves to be permeated by God's love “poured out into our hearts through the holy Spirit that has been given to us” (Rm 5:5).
Benedict XVI
May 6, 2009


Prodinoscopus said...

When will the Holy Father refute the claim of Chief Rabbi Metzger that the Catholic Church will no longer conduct missionary work among the Jews? That would put some teeth into the Pope's fine-sounding words about "the task of announcing Christ to all peoples". He chose not to announce Christ to the Jews while he was in the Holy Land. To "announce" means to speak directly, does it not?

Get your ripe fruit and pitching arms ready. I'm not backing down on this one.

Anonymous said...

Let us remember that "success" is not so much in pointing fingers or in proving positions as good as they may be, but rather in essentially heeding the words of Benedict: "those who evangelize are Christ and His Spirit. We are only their collaborators, aware of the fact that we will only be effective preachers to the degree in which we learn to bend our knee in prayer and lift our hands toward heaven."

Anonymous said...

These words and true and expressed well but they are obvious. This Pope and his predecessor have had the habit of expressing the obvious over and over and over again during a time of crisis. What is needed is clear statements of condemnation against those actions in the Church which are wounding her, such as the invitation of Barry Soetero to the Notre Shame. The few real Catholics who are left are waiting and watching for true direction against the evils which beset the Church. Instead, we are getting thousands and thousands of well-written letters telling us that it's nice to help little old ladies cross the street.


Iakovos said...

2nd Anonymous wrote:

"The few real Catholics who are left are waiting and watching for true direction against the evils which beset the Church."

And, who, Your Holiness, are these few real Catholics that are left? -- hmmm?

Jordanes said...

As Congregans son of Vomens never said in the 30th chapter of the Book of Proverbs:

"There are three things that never are satisfied, and the fourth never saith: It is enough. Hell, and the mouth of the womb, and the earth which is not satisfied with water: and the traditionalist who heareth an utterance of a post-Vatican II pope."

Dan Hunter said...


In plain English please, what is your point?
God bless.

Anonymous said...

It would have been a true joy to have heard that these words had been proclaimed - or maybe some of the "calls to repentance" from the Acts of the Apostles, - a week ago in the Middle East.
Alan Robinson

Flambeaux said...


Thank you. It needs to be said.

Anonymous said...

"The task of announcing Christ to all peoples is certainly an immense one, one that surpasses human strengths".

I don't agree with this. The task is very easy, what is hard is to preach the gospel when the gospel contradicts the world. It is hard for those who seek the glory and acceptance of the world, like the Conciliar Church does. And it is certainly fit to human strenghts.

LeonG said...

The Holy father himself has said it. Therefore, it is also his solemn duty to proclaim the same message in his interfaith activities - he is a missionary, too.

Anonymous said...


It is easier to say who they are not. That would include most of those who sleep through the pablum which is dished out at the average N.O. Mass. From Pius XII and his predecessors, We didn't get endless speeches about how it's nice to be sweet. Not necessary. Now we get an endless stream of paper pleasantries out of the Vatican while Rome burns. There's almost no faith left in Europe by the Pope's own admission. The response is to tell people to be good.

A little more of a St. Gregory the Great--or St. Pius X--would be a welcome change. A little action would be welcome, like cleaning out the seminaries and ripping up the new document that lets male prostitutes become priests. A little slap on the wrist against German bishops who utter heresies would be welcome. A little action would be welcome to stop the wild parties which pass for N.O. Masses--that would be 'nice'. A wayward word for Notre Shame from the top might help. Just a thought. Mind you, this Pope produces far fewer bromides than the last one did. John Paul II was the all time champion when it came to the issuance of this sort of stuff. It's the effect that 'dialogue' has on the brain.


Anonymous said...

The task of announcing Christ to *all* peoples must necessarily mean that we Catholics should do our utmost to convert those who have put themselves furthest from His grace, meaning the Jews and the Muslims. Let us pray that these brave words of our Pope will inspire many to found movements to convert such infidels in order to save their souls from perdition. Not a moment should be spared. Of course, the Holy See will want to fund movements specifically aimed at converting, for example, Jews. After all, all the first Christians were Jews and they certainly did not hestitate to convert one another.


Jordanes said...

The task is very easy, what is hard is to preach the gospel when the gospel contradicts the world. It is hard for those who seek the glory and acceptance of the world, like the Conciliar Church does. And it is certainly fit to human strenghts.While you are thanking God that you are not like the Conciliar Church, perhaps you might recall that evangelising even one person is humanly impossible apart from God and His grace, let alone the entire world. The task is very easy -- for God.

Jordanes said...

those who have put themselves furthest from His grace, meaning the Jews and the MuslimsRubbish. The Jews and Muslims are much closer to His grace than atheists and idolaters.

LeonG said...

Muslims are idolaters - they do not worship the Triune God. They have invented a god through a spurious prophet and earned the label "pagan" mohamatens in the Catechism of The Council of Trent - the one we still use that the post-conciliar church has attempted to render obsolete because it no longer suited their clouded modernist concepts of The Faith. Their elevation of this prophet to superior status than The Son of God is also tantamount to idolatry also.

Anonymous said...

No, Jordanes, Jews and Muslims *are* idolaters, since they don't worship the One True God. Instead, they worship a god whom they hold to be perfect but whom they also assert is specifically not a trinity of persons. This is a willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation; they do it by an act of the will. In contrast, Old Testament and many apostolic Jews worshipped the One True God because they neither affirmed nor denied His Trinitarian Nature, since that had not been revealed or preached to them. You could say that they worshipped God but knew less about Him since He had revealed less. All the properties of God are essential properties, since He is perfectly simple in His divine perfection. Once His Trinitarian Nature had been specifically and deliberately rejected after its revelation, He Himself was rejected, even if they did not realise this. They therefore worship a non-trinitarian false god. The Muslims mean to declare this rejection of revelation every time they utter that pillar of theirs: There is no god but god. This was actually formulated as a way to reject the Blessed Trinity, and it is one of the five pillars of their religion.

To put it another way, the Muslims and the masoretes (I use the term not as in insult in any way but to distinguish these from earlier Jews) essentially say this: 'We worship a god who is perfect in every way but who is specifically not a trinity of persons'. Since there is no perfect god who is not a trinity of persons, they do not worship the One True God. (This will not apply necessarily to all their children and others of limited understanding who do not will a rejection of the Trinitarian nature of God.) At best, they mean to worship the Creator of all things but bow down before the wrong fellow. They prostrate before a non-Trinitarian god who did not create the heavens and the earth because the One Who did create all things is a Blessed Trinity of Persons. Again the problem is not that they misconceive His true nature but that, having been informed of it by God Himself, they deny it by an act of the will.

I don't comment on the atheists but I do say that non-religious theists can find God by the light of reason alone because they can come to believe in a Perfect God without either affirming or denying His Trinitarain nature. THey can affirm various of His properties correctly and neither believe nor disblieve others, pending further honest searching. This could apply to some deists and the late Greek philosophers who had various concepts of a perfect God. I suppose that we could say that they were seekers after the truth.


Jordanes said...

I’m not aware that it has ever been the belief or the position of Holy Mother Church that Jews and Muslims are idolaters or pagans with no knowledge whatsoever of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and it’s certainly not what She says today. It’s true, of course, that in the past Catholic writers ignorant of Islam sometimes claimed Muslims worship Muhammad or in other ways told wildly inaccurate tales about Muhammad and the false religion he invented. The Church clearly distinguishes Jews and Muslims from pagans and idolaters, as witnessed by the Good Friday intercessions and the prayer of consecration of the human race to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Ignorance of or rejection of the doctrines of the Trinity and Incarnation are not of themselves adequate to classify someone’s religion as including the worship of idols.

Confiteor said...

'The Jews and Muslims are much closer to His grace than atheists and idolaters.'

I wouldn't be so sure. According to St. Paul, the Jews are CUT OFF from the tree of grace by their unbelief.

Pope Benedict XVI, contra St. Paul, says that the Jews are "nourished by the same spiritual roots" as Catholics. Hello? How can a branch be nourished by the roots when it is cut off from the tree???

Jordanes said...

You’re mixing metaphors or word pictures. St. Paul and Pope Benedict obviously are not talking about the same thing, Confiteor. St. Paul is referring to being incorporated into the Israelite Olive Plant, the Holy Catholic Church. Pope Benedict is referring to the fact that in origin the religions of Christianity and Judaism have some significant things in common.

Anyway, atheists and polytheist idolaters are also cut off from the tree of grace by their unbelief. Are Jews and Muslims really the furthest from grace of all men, even further than those whose religions have much, much less in common with the Catholic faith than Judaism and Islam have?

Confiteor said...


I might be mixing metaphors, but you are slicing the baloney a bit thin. :-) The Jews are cut off from the tree of grace by their unbelief and therefore cannot possibly be nourished by its roots. Period.

Whether the Jews are further removed from grace than Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc. is irrelevant. Cut off is cut off. The Pope does none of these poor infidels any service by suggesting that they are somehow joined to the tree. Good grief.

Jordanes said...

The Jews are cut off from the tree of grace by their unbelief and therefore cannot possibly be nourished by its roots. Period.And as I pointed out, the Holy Father is not saying they are incorporated into the tree of grace. There isn’t just one correct meaning to any particular “plant and root” metaphor.

Whether the Jews are further removed from grace than Muslims, Hindus, atheists, etc. is irrelevant. Cut off is cut off.The Church evidently does not think so, but acknowledges as her own whatever truths each of them happen to hold. As Vatican II taught, any spiritual nourishment members of false religions may receive in their lives is properly the Church’s in its origin and mediation. No one is so cut off from God’s grace that they receive and benefit from none of his blessings. As Jesus said, God sends rain on the just and the unjust.

The Pope does none of these poor infidels any service by suggesting that they are somehow joined to the tree. Good grief.Well then it’s a good thing he never suggested they are joined to the Israelite Olive Plant, but instead, as I understand it, he acknowledged, as St. Paul said, that even broken off they are still beloved for the sake of the fathers.

Anonymous said...

That's odd, my post answering Jordanes has been censored. No longer surprising.

I'll try again:

1. Confiteor is not mixing metaphors or word pictures. Consult Fowler to know what a mixed or spolit metaphor is. Still, Jordanes's point is correct in terms of content.

2. I can't remember all of what was cut from my second response. Essentially, Muslims and masoretic Jews are further from God's grace because they directly rejected the One True God Who revealed Himself to them. In the case of the others, they have no grounding in the Revealed Word of the Old Testament and therefore no context for the New one. The first unfaithful Jews, in particular, demanded His crucifixion and pleaded that His blood be upon them and upon their desecendants forever. The Musselmen rejected Judaism and Christianity in order to concoct a new religion which borrowed from both of them and from Arabian animistic religions.

So these people's religions (masoretic Judaism and Islam) are reactions against the Truth, whereas the followers of other religions were raised in ignorance of God's Revelation as expressed in the Old Law. Jews and Muslims have hardened their hearts against Christ and therefore need special mention in the liturgy. They have hardened their hearts against their Redeemer and are therefore furthest from His grace, even though their religions are closer to the truth.


Jordanes said...

Not just one of your posts, Mr. Perkins, but two could not be approved, for reasons which have previously been explained to you. It's a shame, because otherwise they were thoughtful and insightful and gave me some good things to think about.

LeonG said...

The Traditional catechism calls mohamatens pagans. When you live with them on the inside, as it were, this becomes self-evident. When you do not believe in the true God then you will believe in anything. To place an alleged prophet above Our Blessed Lord and have faith in a book that essentially contradicts The Bible is just not worthy of all the valedictory statements made about this false religion by the post-conciliar church hierarchy.

Muslims see compromise as weakness and use it to establish their ever-growing omnipresence. They will insinuate themselves into every legal system with their own set of laws and when the numbers and the times are favourable they will gradually subtract the rights to freedom of religion of all minorities which catholicism is becoming relative to mahomatenism.

Jordanes said...

Muslims are "pagans" inasmuch as they are not baptised and are not Christian, even though they are not pagans who lack all knowledge of the God of Abraham.

LeonG said...

Define it as reductionistically as you wish, they are pagans. They are nowhere near the fantasist nonsense imagined by the post-conciliar interfaith obsession of the neo-modernist hierarchy and its disorientated clergy. They do not believe in God: theirs is one contrived from the mistaken fantasies and poorly informed notions of their megalomaniac militaristic leader a self-styled prophet proclaimed greater than all the prophets including a dedivinised Christ. Their god has nothing at all to do with the triune God of The Bible.

Thus, they are worse than your definition since their claims are sheer human fabrication with blasphemy & heresy admixed. This is what makes interfaith politics even more senseless as they are pursued in the contemporary church. They will lead nowhere and they will end in misery and suffering. They are nothing more than making a contract with Belial.

Jordanes said...

LeonG, your position is an extreme one and not in line with what the Holy See has ever said to and about Islam from Pope Gregory's letter to Anzir down to our own day. The notion that Muslims don't believe in God at all is indefensible. I'll gladly stick with the Church on this one.

As for Mr. Perkins' comment that Jews and Muslims have hardened their hearts against Christ, that's true of at least some of them, but we can't say it of all of them. Nor it is quite accurate to say that the Muslims rejected Judaism and Christianity to concoct a new religion, since its unclear just what was the nature and extent of Muhammad's knowledge of Judaism and Christianity -- I believe he was more familiar with heretical and schismatic versions of Christianity than with orthodoxy.

LeonG said...

The perspective offered is not as reductionist as yours which ignores all the popes who raised armies to expel the pagan menace of mahomatens who threatened Christendom and who nominated feast days to celebrate the fact they were defeated. These celebrations are an embarassment to the post-conciliar hierarchy whoseek compromise with them.

Thankfully, the great holy fathers of yore did not display the same moral cowardice that we often find today among the disorientated leadership of the neo-modernist church. These give their assent for grand mosques to be built in Rome adjacent to The Vatican. One can imagine what Pope Clement X for example would say to such un-Catholic behaviour.

LeonG said...

Thankfully, Pope Clement X, among other holy fathers, was certainly in no mood to theorise, like Gregory VII, about letting them come in and test the hypothesis of the alleged worship of the same God in different ways by mahometans. He wisely assembled the armies of Christendom to repulse them. Evidently, he was not going to allow them to build grand mosques in Rome either. He knew perfectly well that they would destroy ultimately Christianity which is actually what they are aiming at doing tomorrow once they have a firmer foothold in Europe and North America. If you read their books like one of them and not as a liberal-minded compromising westerner then the register of militancy and global predominance is clear. Also, living amongst them for an extended period of time has its own revelations to make where that is concerned. Churchmen in Turkey & other mahometan countries would corroborate the sentiments being made here. The Tridentine fathers were correct to call it mahomatenism categorised alongside paganism which is what it realistically is.

Jordanes said...

Thankfully, Pope Clement X, among other holy fathers, was certainly in no mood to theorise, like Gregory VII, about letting them come in and test the hypothesis of the alleged worship of the same God in different ways by mahometans.You cannot have read Pope Gregory VII’s letter to Anzir. It’s got nothing to do with theorising about tolerating Muslim settlement and subversion of Catholic Europe. Also, while a defensive “crusade” can under certain circumstances be a just and holy endeavor, in the modern age with weapons of slaughter on a horrifyingly colossal scale, the Church is not going to proclaim or bless any crusades to drive Muslims out of formerly Christian lands. If that’s something you’re hoping for, don’t hold your breath, LeonG. That avenue is closed off to us, probably forever. We must deal with the threat posed by Islam in other, even more noble ways than through military heroism.

Anonymous said...

Jordanes writes:

"As for Mr. Perkins' comment that Jews and Muslims have hardened their hearts against Christ, that's true of at least some of them, but we can't say it of all of them."

I am referring to their entire religions. The masorah, for example, is clearly written as a reaction against Christianity. The Jews in general certainly have hardened their hearts. They understand very much Christians' claims that Jesus is the Messias and they directly and vehemently reject it. I should like to add that, for Judaism, the ultimate blasphemy is for any mere man to claim to be God. This is a religion in which one could once be stoned to death even for uttering the Name of God (whom they today write as G-d; they also refuse in Israel to use the cross to mean 'plus' in math). To claim to *be* God is the ultimate abomination to them. Hence Christianity is far more blasphemous to Jews than is Islam or Buddhism or Hinduism. Theologically speaking, Christianity is not only the worst blasphemy to Jews; it is the worst possible blasphemy.

Jews and Muslims directly reject the Christ they know about; others only in the sense of having not received the Revealed word of Scripture. There is a huge difference between rejecting what you know and not receiving or accepting what is foreign to you.

I am not claiming that all Jews and Muslims are all vehemently against Christians as a personal animus. But they reject Christ and the Christian beliefs usually in that spirit. A distinction needs to be made between their attitude to Christianity and their attitude towards Christians. They are like any other men and like or dislike fellow Christians perhaps no more or less than they are liked or disliked by them.

I would contend that Muhammad was very much aware of the beliefs of both Jews and Christians. There is clear evidence for his from the Qu'ran, where our Blessed Lord and His Holy and Immaculate Mother appear. Essentially, he accepts that Jesus is both prophet and messias but not that He is divine. There are also passages in the Qu'ran which very much point to knowledge of the Old Testament. Indeed, Islam sees itself as the 'next stage' in a religious movement which opens in Genesis, and modern Muslims very much see themselves as inheritors of the original promise--but through the 'other' son.


Anonymous said...


Muslims do have a notion of God which is very similar to that of the Old Testament. They do believe in one god who is thought to be perfect in every way; and they do accept Christian scriptures (despite the fact that they contradict the Qu'ran, something they refuse to recognise).

Actually, they are closer to us than are the masoretic Jews, since they believe that Jesus is the messias (although not divine), whereas the Jews reject this not only His divinity but also His messiahship.

The Jews are closer to us than are the other religions because they do believe in the perfect god of the Old Testament, which we share with them and with the Muslims. Arguably, Buddhists are atheists in one sense, whereas Hindus are polytheists. Their religions are much further away, and yet they are usually more open to the Christian faith (less cut off from God's grace) because it is largely unknown to them. For example, the Chinese have a tradition of accepting plural religions and have therefore been open to a consideration of Christianity.

I note that, before the Palestinian issue erupted in the twentieth century, Muslims were generally more friendly to Jews than they were to Christians and vice versa. The Muslims liked Judaism better because it does not believe in proselytism, whereas Christianity compete with Islam for souls. Jews historiclaly liked Islam better than Christianity because Islam at least does not commit the ultimate blasphemy (to them) of believing a man to be divine.

Christians were the most unpopular minority in the Near East before the Balfour Declaration, NOT Jews. The Palestinian issue has changed things a bit.


LeonG said...

All your subjectivised comparisons will be demonstrated for what they are once the mahomatans have the majority practice of their faith in the faithless social democratic republic of the west. Statistically we are on the threshold of this. The contrasts will predominate then. The stronger they are the less they will tolerate Christianity.Their notion of God is a hostile, distant, loveless, though perhaps merciful with followers of their creed and he does not have relations with man other than through selected individuals. If you include all the other intricacies of their belief system you do not arrive at anything very consoling where catholicism is concerned. Strip Christ of his divinity and you are left with a man who is much less than their so-called prophet. The Trinity is a blasphemy requiring punishment and so on. This has almost nothing to do with catholicism. Anything in common is merely incidental.

LeonG said...

St John would doubtless take issue with the "all-worship-the-same-God" hypothesis. He reminds us that we cannot have the Father without the Son nor the Son without The Father. Making a silk purse out of a sow's ear is phenomenologically plausible but in a more rational objective world they both have separate realities denied by the postmodernist sujectivised inner consciousness.

While we certainly do have to live in the same world and create mutual tolerance permitting freedom of worship, this should not be confused with validating false faiths and compromising beliefs which has become a hallmark of post-conciliar ecumenism and interfaith policies. These have achieved nothing but propagate relativism and pluralism. Mosques now regularly replace church and chapel in the ashes of Christendom. Some have even given them over willingly for this purpose. To deny this is taking place is to deny current social reality.

Thank God for those grand papal armies which preserved The Faith in Europe and protected The Roman Catholic Church & its subjects. Otherwise we would not now be discussing The Faith freely in the current environment. However, this is directly threatened once again but it is now from within coupled by fostering liberal neo-catholic approval.

Anonymous said...

LeonG writes:

"All your subjectivised comparisons will be demonstrated for what they are once the mahomatans have the majority practice of their faith in the faithless social democratic republic of the west. Statistically we are on the threshold of this."

I agree completely with this. A majority Muslim population will be a disaster for Christians, as I'm sure any Copt or Maronite would aver.

But your last sentence does not follow logically from your opening. Muslims do have certain important things in common with us. They are also closer to us than the modern Jews are, since the latter reject both the divinity and the messiahship of Christ. Muslims also do venerate Christ and the Blessed Virgin; Judaism does not. But all three accept the notion of there being One Perfect God. Nevertheless, again, the Muslims and Jews are further removed from God's grace because they have rejected the Revealed word directly. Generally speaking, Christians do far worse in Muslim countries than they do in Buddhist countries.


Ogard said...

Ad. P.K.P.T - It is perfectly true that it is “the ultimate blasphemy...for any mere man to claim to be God”. One needs Grace to believe that Christ is not only Man but also God. Jews are faithful to the OT, as they understand it in their centuries old pre-Christian tradition and there is no God-Man in it. One can only argue that He is implicit in some OT texts, but this is a matter of interpretation, not something that can be used as the proof-texts.

It is not that they know that Christ is God-Man and refuse him, but they refuse Him because they do not know Him for what He is; it is not enough merely to “know about” somebody in order to realize who he is. A full implications of what the Apostles were experiencing directly was unfolding with time, as it is evident, for instance, in Arian controversy.

As for Mohammed, he wasn’t an eyewitness of the Christ event at all, but has picked up the Judeo-Chistian data, and selected what suited his ideas.

The Moslems do not “accept Christian scriptures”; all they accept is the “Gospel” (without “s”) which was originally “revealed to” Jesus, and subsequently "corrupted" by Christians. Likewise, the “Torah” which was “revealed to” Moses, but "corrupted" by both Jews and Christians. I.e. we do not have the "revealed" Torah or Gospel.

While they do believe that Jesus is “prophet” (I have never heard: “messiah”), He is classed as one among many, some of whom are from pagan mythology; they deny the Crucifixion and Resurrection.

“Muslims were generally more friendly to Jews than they were to Christians”. I don’t think so. The most used prayer, patterned on our Lord’s prayer, when it comes to the second part which contains petitions, runs: “show us the straight path; not the path of those who earn Thy anger, or of those who go astray.” The former are understood as referring to the Jews, the latter to Christians, who are elsewhere referred as those who “exaggerate” by making Jesus – God, while “Allah is one.”

Jews fully share with us the Hebrew OT. Our Mass contains elements of their Synagogue (“liturgy of the Word”) and Temple (Sacrifice) worship.

That both “the Muslims and Jews are … removed from God's grace” is not the Catholic doctrine: nobody is rejected; and in any case, one can “reject(ed) the Revealed word directly” only if one knows that it is revealed. material “rejection” as such has no moral implications. To venture a judgment on anyone is contrary to Jesus' injunction.

Anonymous said...

Ogard writes:

"It is not that they know that Christ is God-Man and refuse him, but they refuse Him because they do not know Him for what He is."

Sorry, wrong, faith does not work that way. Faith is an act of the will which God makes possible in His grace: we believe that we may understand. God Revealed the Truth about His Divine Son and provided the Chosen People first (and then others) with all the means needed to accept Him. The Jews had the means of recognising Him, which is why so many of them did so in the apostolic age. At the Ascension, Our Blessed Lord told the apostles to preach the Gospel to and Baptise the whole world: those who believe and are baptised will be saved; those who do not will be condemned. The early Jews who did not convert heard the Word and refused Him as a positive act of the will. Their spiritual ancestors have hardened their hearts and stopped their ears (literally, in the case of Jews in Italy who were once required to hear public sermons: they would stop their ears with wax). While it is true that they do not know Him, it is because they have deliberately refused to listen. It is an article of faith that God gives all of us the means to hear the Word and accept the Truth. Obviously, many others also refuse that grace (especially, e.g. Hindus in Orissa State). But the Jews have an historical animus against Christianity and this is transmitted from one generation to the next.

You are wrong on the Muslims: look it up. They accept the Old Testament as well as the New and claim that both accord with the Qu'ran. They do accept Him as messias (sutra 3:45) and believe that He will return at an Apocalpyse to defeat the devil, but nevertheless give Mohammad a greater place in the plan of salvation. I have read an article by an F.S.S.P. priest (it was in the Latin Mass Magazine) which mentions how they accept BOTH Old and New Testaments. (I'm not sure if they include the deuterocanonicals.)

You are mistaken about Muslims' preferences historically. Muslims traditionally preferred Jews in the Levant (prior to 1885, say) simply because Jews do not proselytise. Any Copt or Syriac Christan can confirm this. Muslims regarded Christians as competitors for conversions and therefore constantly tried to force conversions of Christians, usually by inducting their children into the military and then exerting pressure in the absense of the parents.

Moroever, your quotation is not very convincing: Jews earn their anger? That seems worse to me than merely "going astray". People can go astray by honest error, but to *earn* God's anger one must do something wrong. So your own quoation undercuts your point. You're reaching for it. The small Jewish communities in Damascus and Jerusalem were not perseculated by Muslims nearly as badly as were the Copts, the Melchites, the Syriacs and especially the Armenians--all Christians (although, in the Armenians' case, the reason has to do with that group's connexion to the Crusaders of the Middle Ages).

Muslim revulsion for Jews today comes almost entirely from the Palestinian problem. A schoolteacher of mine was a Latin Catholic Palestinian. I would say that his dislike for the Jews was at least as great as that of the Muslim Palestinians. Common persecution makes for strange alliances. But Muslims in Palestine still go after Christians today.


Anonymous said...

Ogard ends by misquoting me:

"That both “the Muslims and Jews are … removed from God's grace” is not the Catholic doctrine"

I never claimed that they are "removed" from God's grace. What a wild accusation you make. Slow down and read what I've written. I wrote that they were *further* removed from His grace than others. Nobody is completely removed from God's grace, obviously.

I stand by my assessment.


Ogard said...

More on P.K.T.P.

To start with: apology for the defective quote, and thanks for bringing it to everybody’s attention; I can’t remember how it slipped through.

That, however, doesn’t require correction of my final assertion: “To venture a judgement on anyone is contrary to Jesus' injunction”, which is certainly applicable to the judgement on who is nearer and who is “further removed” from God’s grace; whether it is about individuals, or communities the faith of which they share. Catholic teaching makes no pecking order.

Vatican II proposes the doctrine on this subject in a mature way, and is positive: the fullness of truth and of the means of grace is available in the Catholic Church (LG. 14, UR 3/5); other Christian Churches and Communities share that fullness in degrees (LG. 15, UR 3/1-4), and the similar principle is applicable to the non-Christian religions (LG. 16, NE 2,3,4), and to those who are atheists (LG. 16). All that refers to what God makes available; no judgement is passed on what use do the Catholic Church (in so far as it is a human institution) and others actually make of what is available.

“All the Church’s children must be sure to ascribe their distinguished rank to Christ’s special grace and not to their own deserts. If they fail to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, so far from being saved, their judgement will be all the more severe” (LG 14/1). Others, even if they, in their conscience, reject the Trinity, but follow the moral law as they understand it, will be better off.

I find the statement: “Faith is an act of the will, which God makes possible in His grace: we believe that we may understand”, a bit incoherent. The classical definition is: “gift of God by which we believe all He has revealed”. The “gift” to “believe” is God’s free gift, for which we who have received it are grateful. Why God doesn’t give it to everybody is a mystery, and we are not called to judge those who do not have the Faith, or whose Faith is defective as it is the case with Jews and Moslems. God has His own ways.

The rest of the paragraph is a DIY interpretation of the Scripture; nothing to do with the Catholic Faith. An individual Catholic cannot offer an authentic interpretation of the Scripture: Christ has left it to the living Magisterium (DV 10/2), for us here and now – the present Magisterium.

Re: Moslems. I am afraid that the F.S.S.P. priest is ill informed, if your account of what he says is accurate. He has probably adopted it from another ill-informed expert, instead of consulting Islamic sources. They do not accept the Scripture as normative, but use it for apologetic purposes. If what is there is in conformity with Quran it is a leftover of the original Torah and Gospel; if not, it is a corruption by Jews and Christians of the original Torah and Gospel which were “revealed to” Moses and Jesus respectively, and no longer exist.

You are right: Jesus is referred to as Messiah of which I wasn’t sure, but he must not be identified with the messiah that it expected in the future, of whom there is nothing in the Quran, but only in other less authoritative sources.

Quran is most authoritative Islamic source, and Jews are worse off there than Christians, as I have quoted.

Anonymous said...

Ogard, like so many liberal priests, repeats the misinterpretation of the 'Judge not' text.

I did not make a judgement on the culpability of any particular person; nor did I claim that I was better than any particular person. I referred instead to two groups of people in general, groups characterised by their typical attitudes to Christianity. This is entirely acceptable judgement under the Church's teaching. Whether I am right or not is another matter.

Then Ogard fails to recognise my paraphrase of St. Augustine. His quotations of various Vatican II texts are misdirected owing to my previous point here.

Then he goes on with more ignorance about Islam. Most Muslims follow schools which DEFINITELY refer to Jesus as the Messias who will return; and the religion of most of them is by no means limited by the Qu'ran. I sense here someone who needs to read up on this subject more. He also needs to read more about the history of the Levant in regard to Muslims' general greater hostility to Christians than Jews. Relying on a single prayer won't do. Muslims, again, like Christians less because Christians try to convert others, whereas Jews do not.

Enough said on this.


Jordanes said...

I would contend that Muhammad was very much aware of the beliefs of both Jews and Christians. There is clear evidence for this from the Qu'ran, where our Blessed Lord and His Holy and Immaculate Mother appear. Essentially, he accepts that Jesus is both prophet and messias but not that He is divine. There are also passages in the Qu'ran which very much point to knowledge of the Old Testament. *** Muhammad had at least some knowledge of Judaism and Christianity, obviously, though I think his contact with Christianity was more with heretical strains than with orthodoxy. Of course we have to be careful, because the Quran didn’t reach its final form until a good while after Muhammad’s death, and was edited and expurgated with the rival versions being destroyed. The Quran doesn’t simply reflect Muhammad’s teachings, but his teachings as filtered through and altered at various points by his successors who may have had knowledge of Jewish and Christian beliefs that Muhammad never had. We can’t be entirely sure what Muhammad really believed at various points in his life, since the Muslims who created the Quran have modified what he originally taught.

Ogard said...

Surely, if the “typical attitude” of Jews and Moslems as groups is that of “willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation”; “not that they misconceive His true nature but that, having been informed of it by God Himself, they deny it by an act of the will” (20th May), that is an evil attitude of the worst possible kind, equally applicable to groups and to individuals who identify themselves with these groups. To allege a wilful rejection is to pass a judgement, which is reserved to God alone.

The Church’s teaching on the status of Islam and Judaism is most authoritatively proposed by Vatican II (LG, NE), and, according to the classical Moral Theology, this teaching demands Religious Assent.

The “single prayer”, I referred to, is not the only place in Quran in which the Christians are favoured. I have chosen it because the Moslems are supposed to recite it five times daily. It is known as the “Basis of the Book”, because “it contains the whole of the Quran as it were in a nutshell” (Maulana M. Ali’s commentary, p 1); while “the Prophet is reported to have said: ‘Those upon whom wrath is brought down are the Jews and those who went astray are the Christians’” ( p.5).

That it the doctrine. Now, what was the attitude of Moslems toward the Jews and Christians in history, is a matter for research; not for sweeping generalizations. Politicians can adopt and abuse any ideology. We know it from the Crusades, and persecution of Moslems in Spain.

Anonymous said...

Ogard yet again misconceives the Church's teaching on 'Judge not'.

We are allowed and sometimes required to pass judgement on matters of fact, including fact about the character of individuals. What we are not allowed to do is to pass judgement in the sense of assessming culpability. That is because only God knows all the circumstances. For example, if you are raised Jewish, you might very well reject the Truth given what you are taught as a child. So your culpability might be very small. It could even be non-existent at the time of your death, since you might change your mind in your last seconds. God alone knows the secrets of the heart. Nevertheless, He also provides us with all the means to receive His own revelation, but He provides that in different measure, since some have the advantage of hearing the Word, some hear it more, some don't hear it at all and must rely for salvation, perhaps, from Natural Law (let's not get into the Feeneyite dispute). That is standard Church teaching. Nobody who hears the Word or knows about Christ can claim that God was too stingy in revealing Himself. We are bound to seek the truth and then cleave to it. One who is open to the truth will at least give the Good News a hearing. But most Jews and Muslims hear or hear of the Good News and refuse to consider it, having hardened their hearts. That is because their particular religions were formulated in part as reactions against Christianity. That is the root cause of why they are further from His grace than are others. The massorah of modern Jews is clearly meant to react to and reject Christianity. In the case of Islam, the idea was to impart a 'last word' by altering the Christian revelation.

As groups (I do not mention individuals, the situation of each of whom is unique), Jews and Muslims are further removed from His grace because, again, as groups, they have rejected a Saviour Who was revealed through a scriptural tradition which was known to them. That is why Muslims and Jews are harder to convert than are Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and animists. Muslims and Jews learn to reject Christianity as part of their own religions.

Of course Christianity will be 'favoured' doctrinally for the simple reason that Muslims accept some Christian teaching regarding Jesus and accept him as prophet and Messias, whereas the Jews do not. But Muslims do not favour Christians in practice, as any Eastern Christian can attest if he knows any bloody history at all of the Levant. Again, Jews were more 'left alone' simply because they did not try to convert Muslims to their religion. Duh!

All these neo-cons think that Islam is more negative to Judaism because they don't know any history prior to 1900. The Palestinian question profoundly changed the situation in the Levant.

Look, there is a parallel here with the East Syrian Christians of Kerala. They were left alone by the Hindus but never expanded their reach much beyond Kerala. Now why might this be? It is because they enacted a rule that Kerala Christians may only marry within the group. This made them non-threatening and it is why the Hindus left them alone. But it is also why they failed to convert the rest of India.

Read up on Levantine history before raising this again.


Ogard said...

The “willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation” is moral evil, a sin against Faith. Only God knows whether what appears to an outsider as wilful rejection is indeed wilful. The accusation of wilfulness is a violation of moral law, and unless one is invincibly ignorant of what he/she is doing, it is mortal sin.

We are not permitted to pass judgement that “Jews and Muslims hear or hear of the Good News and refuse to consider it, having hardened their hearts.” It is the same kind of accusation as above.

((Of the topic, once the last paragraph is of the topic by the same theme; Christians in Kerala have been menaced by Portuguese and other latinizers ever since the latter landed on Malabar coast – I think it was at the end of the sixteen century. That is why they couldn’t evangelize the rest of India.

In point of fact, Roman aparatchicks, toward the turn of the 19/20 century (I think; do not have exact figures) have divided the whole India into Latin dioceses and missionary territories, and Malabar Catholic Church which was best equipped to evangelise the rest of India and had large number of vocations, had no possibility to do it. Malabar priests who had missionary vocation had to adopt Latin Rite – strange to them and to their fellow Indians, as well as humiliation – and put themselves at disposal of Latin Bishops. The situation is better now thanks Vatican II and OE, because there are Malabar Rite bishops outside Kerala, but there are no proper teritorial disoceses under the jurisdiction of their Synod. The dioceses outside Kerala are directly under Rome, but there are Latin dioceses in Kerala, not under the Malabar Synod, but directly under the Pope.))

Anonymous said...

Ogard writes:

"The “willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation” is moral evil, a sin against Faith. Only God knows whether what appears to an outsider as wilful rejection is indeed wilful."

If we apply this to particular individuals by name, then, yes, true. But we can can apply it generally to groups given reasonable evidence. We do not need absolute certitude to determine such things, only moral certitude. Read up on Jone while you're at it.

He rattles on,

"We are not permitted to pass judgement that “Jews and Muslims hear or hear of the Good News and refuse to consider it, having hardened their hearts.” It is the same kind of accusation as above."

Wrong and for the same reason. It is only true if I personalise it and say that this Jew Jacob or that Muslim Ibrahim has wilfully rejected Revelation before he dies and therefore merits hellfire. God provides all the means necessary for everyone to find the Truth; and we all have a moral obligation to seek it and to cleave to it once found. Certain groups, as groups, have had advantages and, on the whole, their members have hardened their hearts against Christ. I am not making any accusation against any single individual in saying this. That's God's job. But part of ours is to make reasonable judgements on matters of fact.


Anonymous said...

Again, you don't know the first thing about the Kerala Christians. The Portugese colonised Goa, Daman & Diu, far far to the north of Kerala and Trivandrum (the French at Pondicherry: no where near the area either); and the Portugese arrived many centuries after the East Syrian Christians did--more than ten centuries in all probability. Why did the Kerala Christians not evangelise India over those ten centuries? Good grief. You don't know your stuff. The reason is the tradition, still found in most of those groups (whether Nestorian or Malankara or Malabarese) of only marrying within the group. It made them non-threatening to the Hindus, who therefore tolerated them. It also greatly limited their ability to extend their reach. There is even today a debate in some of these groups about whether or not to quit this tradition which forbids marriage outsdie their group.

I could give you yet another example to prove the point. The Jains have survived in India because they were also non-threatening to a majority population. In their case, it is because they are strict pacificists. Jains are, on average, considerably richer than are Hindus. Once in a while, the Hindus get angry and grab their loot. But they don't bother killing them (usually) because they know that the Jains won't use force against them.

This is again why the Jews were definitely more tolerated than were Christians in Muslim countries before 1900.

What you write about the twentieth century relation between Malabar Catholics and Latin Catholics is largely true but it is also irrelevant and does not concern the point at issue.


Ogard said...

If it is immoral to accuse a known individual for a “willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation”, “not that they(he) misconceive(s) His true nature but that, having been informed of it by God Himself, they(he) deny(denies) it by an act of the will”, “hear(s) or hear(s) of the Good News and refuse(s) to consider it, having hardened their(his) hearts(heart)” – additions in brackets are mine – the same immoral accusation applies to groups of individuals, in this case Moslems or Jews.

What is an inner disposition of an individual, or of groups of individuals, is known to God alone, and no “reasonable evidence” can reach it. The reasonable evidence can only establish externals, and permits us to say that this or that choice is objectively at variance with the moral law, i.e. whether a material sin is involved, but we cannot judge inner disposition(s); i.e. it is an evil to do it. Not only that we cannot do it, but must not. Only God can judge whether a choice is “willed and …wilful”; whether the subjects (subject) concerned are (is) “informed of it by God Himself”, whether they (he) “deny (denies) by an act of the will”; whether “they (he) have (has) hardened their(his) hearts (heart)”. One is not entitled to any “certitude”, neither “absolute” nor “moral” to pass a moral judgement on anybody, whether individual or group.

“It is only true if I personalise it and say that this Jew Jacob or that Muslim Ibrahim has wilfully rejected Revelation before he dies and therefore merits hellfire.” - No. One does not accuse of moral evil any “group” in the abstract, but by identifying a group, like Jews or Moslems, one says: this group, i.e. Jews, or that group, i.e. Moslems; in other words, he accuses of wilful moral evil not merely one but all the individuals who identify themselves with the cause common to all of them. The accusation is in fact morally more evil, because one not only accuses all the implicated individuals for a particular evil choice they make for themselves, but also for supporting others in the group in the same evil choice, and for sustaining the group as a whole.

“I am not making any accusation against any single individual in saying this.” Not indeed “any single” but all of them, on by one, which makes the violation of moral law more severe.

Jordanes said...

Ogard said: We are not permitted to pass judgement that “Jews and Muslims hear or hear of the Good News and refuse to consider it, having hardened their hearts.” and One is not entitled to any “certitude”, neither “absolute” nor “moral” to pass a moral judgement on anybody, whether individual or group. and The accusation is in fact morally more evil, because one not only accuses all the implicated individuals for a particular evil choice they make for themselves, but also for supporting others in the group in the same evil choice, and for sustaining the group as a whole.****

Ogard, would you accuse St. Paul of leveling morally evil accusations? It seems to me that he and other New Testament writers frequently spoke of Jews and heretics in just the manner that you seem to be saying we should not speak. Here are just a few examples of that kind of "group language" that I've quickly compiled from St. Paul's epistles:

Rom. 9:31-33 "But Israel, by following after the law of justice, is not come unto the law of justice. Why so? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were of works. For they stumbled at the stumblingstone. As it is written: Behold I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and a rock of scandal; and whosoever believeth in him shall not be confounded."

Rom. 10:2-4 "For I bear them witness, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they, not knowing the justice of God, and seeking to establish their own, have not submitted themselves to the justice of God. 4 For the end of the law is Christ, unto justice to every one that believeth."

II Cor. 3:14-16 "For, until this present day, the selfsame veil, in the reading of the old testament, remaineth not taken away (because in Christ it is made void). But even until this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their heart. But when they shall be converted to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away."

I Thess. 2:14-16 For you, brethren, are become followers of the churches of God which are in Judea, in Christ Jesus: for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men; prohibiting us to speak to the Gentiles, that they may be saved, to fill up their sins always: for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end.

II Tim. 1:15 "Thou knowest this, that all they who are in Asia, are turned away from me: of whom are Phigellus and Hermogenes."

II Tim. 3:6-8 "For of these sort are they who creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, who are led away with divers desires: ever learning, and never attaining to the knowledge of the truth. Now as Jannes and Mambres resisted Moses, so these also resist the truth, men corrupted in mind, reprobate concerning the faith."

Anonymous said...

Ogard continues:

"What is an inner disposition of an individual, or of groups of individuals"

Groups of individuals do not have inner dispositios, only individuals have. There is no group consciousness. Only individuals can sin. We only say that groups do if we mean that all or a majority of unspecified individuals do. Sin and choice are properties of indviduals alone.

Secondly, we certainly can say that a certain individual has sinned if he has (although I don't recall accusing anyone in particular). We can judge and say that a rapist is a rapist. Read the rest of our Lord's injunction: by what judgement ye shall be judged. What makes us different as Christians is that we do not judge culpability by an assumed or specified standard, for judgement implies a standard. So it is wrong to say that this rapist is a worse or better man than I am or than another man is. We can't know the rankings because only God knows all the circumstances in which each of us has sinned.



Anonymous said...

Ogard, who obviously knows little about Catholic moral philosophy, writes this gem:

"One is not entitled to any “certitude”, neither “absolute” nor “moral” to pass a moral judgement on anybody, whether individual or group."

Again, you misconstrue the teaching. Yes, we can make reasonable judgements about matters of fact, and whether a certain act was willed or wilful is a matter of fact.

What we cannot do is to judge degree of culpability. The reason is that we do not know all the circumstances which led the immoral agent to his act. For example, you cannot say that you would not have done the same or worse if you had had the same upbringing or were subjected to the same challenges as the one you judge. You certainly can judge if the act was willed or not; you cannot judge if the man is better or worse than another.


Incidentally, learn the distinction between parentheses (curves) and brackets ([]).

Anonymous said...

I thank Jordanes for going to all the trouble of looking up those passages. I wish I had such patience as he!

I think that Ogard is a victim here, not a culprit, of the liberal nonsense which has been spewed from the pulpit since Vatican II. One of the worst abuses of liberals in the Church has been the deliberate (willed and wilful) misinterpretation of the Judge not text. This was done to cripple all those who had, in the past, denounced moral turpitude and who had admonished sinners to their face, something which can be necessary as an act of spiritual mercy. Liberals wish to turn inwards to their own salvation when, in fact, we have a duty to look to others' as well.

Think of the true teaching in terms of saintly behaviour. The great doctors of the Church and heroes such as St. Bernard of Clairvaux, stood up and accused sinners of their sins; and they definitely did assume that there sins were willed or wilful, when that was clearly evident. But they also confessed repeatedly that they were the very worst of men and feared God's divine judgement on their own souls. Many of them expressed fear for their own salvation.

What Christ condemned was the haughty Pharisee who judged the sin of others but then declared (or, in some other cases, at least insinuated or implied) that they were better. They did not fear being judged by the standard in which they judged. Hence the Pharisee in the Temple says, Lord, look at me, I am not like this publican here. I pray every day, I fast frequently, I do not break the law, I follow all the rituals, &c. But the publican, never denying his sins, says, Lord have mercy on me a sinner.

Our Lord Himself gave us the example with the prostitute: which of ye judges of her can say that you have not sinned? He forgives her but also says, Go away and sin no more. He never says that their judgements were wrong, only that they were not worthy to utter them.

So the great saint would indeed call a prostitute a prostitute and would say or imply that her action was willed, but in trying to help her, he does so with compassion and does not imply that he is any better.

Again, the Jews and Muslims have indeed hardened their hearts over the centuries because their very religions were formulated as reactions against Christianity. Hence the "even" regarding the Jews in the Good Friday Office: "God, Who drivest not away from Thy mercy even the Jews, ..."


Anonymous said...

Reviewing the 'Judge not' text, I note that our Lord does not say that we should not cast the mote out of our brother's eye but only that we should cast the beam out of our own eye first.

What the libbies may have been reacting against in the 1960s was the all-too-familiar spectacle of the self-righteous faithful (ofen a priest) who went about reproving others while implying or sometimes even proclaiming his own virtue, like the 'proud Puritans' of old.

But admonishing sinners is one of the spiritual acts of mercy. And one cannot admonish a sinner without first judging (a) that he has committed an unjust act (e.g. fornication) and (b) that it was wilful at least in some degree, for acts which are objectively wrong are not sins at all if not willed.

What we cannot judge, again, is the degree of culpability, since only God knows all the circumsances. In the confessional, the sinner admits the culpability and the confessor passes judgement by trusting in God's mercy. Even there, he cannot say that this sinner must be worse than that one because only God knows what challenges each faced completely. Nevertheless, some confessors (esp. in Italy!) can become very animated in reproving sinners in the penalty box!


Anonymous said...

One last point on the Judge Not text, St. Matthew 7.1. It proves my point entirely. Have a look at the notes in the Haydock Bible, which has the approbations of 37 Catholic bishops and an introduction by Pope Pius VI. The long note for this passage cites St. Jerome for interpretation and begins as follows: "Judge not, or condemn not others *rashly* [emphasis added] . . . does not altogether forbid judging, but direct us how to judge". The note is by no means exhaustive but goes on to expand on this distinction.


Ogard said...

Jordanes, St. Paul is inspired and what he asserts “is to be regarded as asserted by the Holy Spirit” (DV 11/2). What he actually asserts, however, is a matter of interpretation – we can’t phone him and ask what he has in mind – which, to start with, requires scholarly competence I do not have. Pius XII (DAS, in my copy, CTS/Sc 30) speaks of familiarity with ancient “languages, literature, events, customs, cults, …institutions,… forms of speech, writing and narrative,…ancient manuscripts of Sacred Books” (16)…All that to establish the “literal sense” (28) of the text (to be distinguished from taking the text literally), and to proceed to its theological meaning (29-31). DV reiterates it (12/2) and specifically requires an attention to be paid to the “unity of the scripture,…living Tradition of the whole Church and of the analogy of faith,…and thus provide the data where the Church’s judgement may be matured”(12/3). “The office of interpreting authentically the word of God, whether scriptural or traditional, has been entrusted exclusively to the living voice of the Church’s magisterium (there is a reference here to Humani Generis, in my CTS Do 265 copy: Nos 18 and 21) whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ” (DV 10/2). All this is also in the CCC 85, 107,109-114, 128.

So, I am reluctant to embark on interpretation of the St. Paul’s passages, and would view anything I made out of it, and what others made out of it, with a salt, unless it reflected a position taken by the Magisterium. A DIY recourse to the Scripture is a Protestant principle.

I see in my earlier assertions nothing incompatible with the above account, or with St. Paul’s texts, in so far as I “understand” the latter. But if you do, by all means let me know. It isn’t clear to me what the reference to a “group language” is all about. Perhaps the account below will make my position clear, although it is another articulation of what I have already said.

There is a distinction between a morally evil deed as such, and a formal sin of a violator. The former can be established with moral certainty by everybody who knows moral norms; the latter includes the violator’s sufficient reflection on what he does, i.e. the knowledge of the evil nature of the deed, and a full freedom in choosing it, both of which are known to God alone. To accuse an individual of the formal sin is an evil act. The same applies to a group of individuals like Jews or Moslems. To accuse Jews is to accuse every Jew who identifies himself the “Jews”; i.e. the accusation of the “Jews” of a formal sin is an evil deed, even in thought.

The “willed and a wilful” rejection of what is known (“informed of it by God Himself”) to be divine revelation, is not merely a violation of moral norm requiring acceptance of divine revelation, which violation, if real, can be established by moral certainty by everyone who knows moral norms; but because it is “willed and wilful” in spite of one being “informed of it by God Himself”, it is also a formal sin, known to God alone, not to us.

This position underlies, I believe, the recent modification of the prayer for the Jews, and the language used by the NE. And I am trying to be loyal to the Magisterium, including the present Magisterium.

Anonymous said...

Ogard, who still doesn't get it, rants on:

"the violator’s sufficient reflection on what he does, i.e. the knowledge of the evil nature of the deed, and a full freedom in choosing it, both of which are known to God alone. To accuse an individual of the formal sin is an evil act."

It is true that God alone knows such things with perfect (absolute or apodictic) certitude. It is not the case that it is an evil act to draw the conclusion that someone has willed an evil or committed evil wilfully, given reasonable evidence, for the data of this evidence is ultimately provided by God Himself, whereas he does not make us infallible in such matters. We would not be able to judge wilfulness even on our own part if this required absolute certitude. One can conclude on reasonable evidence that the evildoer was free to act, even if that freedom might have been impaired to some unknown extent. Hence we cannot judge the *degree* of culpability, as I have written here from the outset.

In point of fact, we are sometimes required to assess motive in order to confront and upbraid a sinner for his own good or to warn others that his motives are evil. We do not need absolute certitude for this or the metaphysical certitude proper to the demonstrative sciences but only what the Church calls 'moral certitude'. This means a firm judgement in good conscience based on the most plausible explanation for an act. This is why Haydock, commenting on the "Judge Not" text, says that what is forbidden is to judge or to condemn others *rashly*. Judges at law, including confessors, do indeed need to judge others' motives and are not forbidden in the faith from doing so. Their judgements are said to be 'adequate but impefect'. This means that they judge whether or not an act was morally disordered and also whether it was willed and wilful, but they cannot assess completely the degree of culpability, since what they know about the circumstances must needs be limited. But they can know enough to pass reasonable sentence in order to protect society, correct the malefactor, and deter others from similar actions. Judges need to determine if an act was willed so as to distinguish between guilty verdicts and not-guilty by reason of insanity verdicts. Those who are judged to be not free to commit objectively disordered acts are sent to asylums; those who are judged free to act are sent to prison. While judges and confessors have a duty to judge motive, others may do so if their intent is honourable. The spiritual works of mercy, one of which is to admonish sinners, are medicinal.

I am recalling from memory here what I have read on this subject many years ago. However, there is a good overview of the distinctions in certitude available on-line at "New Advent": "Moral certitude is that with which judgments are formed concerning human character and conduct". I suggest, however, that Ogard consult Jone or some more professional source for all the ins and outs on this. You cannot admonish someone for acting badly if you cannot judge that his act was willed. It would be an act of cruelty to reprove a man for a bad act which was unwilled.


Anonymous said...

What Ogard writes about the change to the Good Friday prayer is entirely false. The Church has never even remotely suggested that the 1962 form--or that of 1958--was mistaken. These reflect the constant teaching of the Church.

It was changed for what we might call 'diplomatic' reasons after the two chief rabbis of Palestine lodged a request for this. They did not like the connotations carried by the terms "blindness" and "darkness", and Rome agreed. We are free not to, of course.

Here is a little passage from the fathers (St. Augustine) (not Holy Scripture, so you can't claim 'inspiration') which is embedded in the Tenebræ Service for Good Friday.

From the Fifth Lesson of Matins, Second Nocturn:

"Ye know what the assembly was of the wicked [!] Jews, and what was the multitude of them that work iniquity?" How could the Father know that the Jews were wicked if he could not judge their motives?

From the Sixth Lesson, ut supra:

"Let not the Jews say, We slew not the Christ; since it was with the *purpose of appearing guiltless* [emphasis added] of His death that they delivered Him up. . . . But if [Pilate was] guilty for doing what he did, however *unwillingly* [emphasis added]; are they without guilt who forced him to do it?". How can St. Jerome judge their purpose without judging that it was wilful? And this has been in the official liturgy of the Church for 1,200 years or more. If Ogard want to keep this up, I'm game.


Anonymous said...

Another comment on the "Judge Not" text. Given the commentary in Haydock, which quotes SS. Jerome and Augustine, Christ means to establish a general rule, not an absolute one. He does not say that we are forbidden to judge. He is uttering good advice not to judge others' motives because, by what measure we judge we shall be judged ourselves. This fits exactly with His condemnation of those who were throwing stones at the prostitute. Which of you here is without sin? He never says that the stone-throwers are forbidden to judge the prostitute's motives, and Ogard can find no text anywhere which alleges that we are forbidden to judge others' motives. He just makes this up. Christ condemns the stone-throwers because they are guilty themselves of sin. He says not that we should never remove the mote out of our brothers' eyes but that we should remove the beam out of our own eyes first.

Let us suppose that dad tells little Johnny for the tenth time to stop taking away other children's toys. "You little rotter!", he says, "You knew perfectly well this this was wrong and yet you gave in to temptation". Daddy is not forbidden by the Christian Faith to judge the motive of Johnny. Daddy knows full well that his admonition is not a lesson because Johnny knew damn well that taking the toys was wrong, since he'd heard this ten times already. Daddy does not have to wonder if his son is a retard and did not realise that he acted wrongly. As long as he knows from good evidence that his son is not mentally retarded, he can conclude that the bad act was willed and wilful.

Daddy does not need to know (and cannot know) the degree of culpability of Johnny to have reasonable cause to conclude that Johnny's act was wilful. And 'Ogard' calls this judgement a moral evil. It's not a moral evil if Daddy's judgement is honest and grounded in moral certitude. Ogard needs to grow up and get with it.


Anonymous said...

"Judge Not" Text and the Bleeding-Heart Liberals

The main reason I mentioned this "Judge Not" Text in the first place is that I intended a general accusation against the liberal priests of the 1960s and 1970s, who constantly used this text to undermine the Catholic Faith. What were they up to? I suggest that they were trying to excuse their own sins, such as their rebellious spirit, and sin of disobedience and, especially, their sin of faithlessness. Go see the film entitled "Doubt" for a good review of what was going on. The Sister Superior relies on moral certitude: "I know people. . . . I have my certitude [for evidence]. . . . a dog that bites is a dog that bites".

By convincing the faithful that we are not permitted to judge motives, they intended to disarm their critics. Then they went on to sodomise thousands of children and steal incalculable amounts from collection plates, as we now know. Far worse, they introduced all manner of abuse into the liturgy, breaking every liturgical and disciplinary law known to man, and preached countless heresies from the pulpit. Liberation theology is a case in point. But we are not permitted to look to their motives. We can disagree with their 'approach' but this is just one of many possible interpretations to be imagined in a relativistic world. Judge the sin but not the sinner!, they bellowed, so that nobody would see that their souls were black. At most, they were mistaken! (No, Ogard, I am not referrign to anyone in particular.)

This technique of convincing people not to judge if an act was willed or wilful found a very great appeal in the faithful, and for good reason. It is certainly true that, in the strict 1950s and earlier, there had developed a very bad habit among clerics and others of rash judging and condemning people and then using authority to defend these determinations. People had become angry about 'arrogant and judgemental' priests who were as 'proud as proud Puritans'.

But we have now gone to the opposite extreme, thanks to the deliberate (and, later, indeliberate) misinterpretation of the "Judge Not" text spewed like venom from the liberal pulpit but under the appearance of sweetness and charity. Any man who commits any heinous crime, we now think, must be 'insane'. Nobody could do such an evil. The criminal who molests and then murders over fifteen boys (I am thinking of an infamous case in my own Province) is not evil but only misunderstood. He had a rough childhood. This has led by degrees to the general belief that all our actions, good or bad, are unwilled and that there is no such thing as free choice. All is ultimately determined by conditions.
When one gets out of the habit of judging motive, the end result is to disbelieve that there is such as thing: we only know a thing by action. It is only by judging the thing that we believe in its force.

There are now people running about--bleeding-heart liberals--who will say that daddy is wrong to accuse Johnny of deliberately choosing to be inconsiderate when he steals others' children's toys. This ultimately undermines the entire concept of good and evil; it undermines God's order. Johnny comes to believe that he didn't mean to be bad, since he's just a victim like everyone else, so he can do what he pleases.

So where does it all come from? Where does every liberal idea come from? Where does Liberation Theology come from? The devil.


Anonymous said...

"Judge Not": Hellenic and Hebraic Expression

One of the problems, I think, with the misintepretation of this text which Ogard, like most faithful today, have now imbibed, comes from the difference between Hellenic and Hebraic expression. The Greek way is to assume that a simple statement conveys an absolute principle except insofar as it is limited specifically. So, upon seeing "Judge not", the Greek mind will instantly look for the exceptions: Judge not unless x until y under conditions z. When no exceptions are stated, he assumes it to be an exceptionless rule.

In the Hebraic way, a simple statement might only be a general recommendation or a strict rule but with unstated exceptions: Thou shalt not kill. And yet we can kill in self-defence, in the defence of innocent, in a just war, or when swatting flies.

So I urge Ogard to look to the full statement here:

"Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with what judgement you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again." If we look at the words beginning with "with what judgement", we can say that, therefore, if we judge someone honourably and compassionately, God will judge us according to the same standard of honour and compassion. Therefore, not all judging is forbidden, only rash and insensitive judging, only dishonourable and merciless judging is condemned.

A Greek would say that such an interpretation might be suggested but is not indicated directly by the Divine Lawgiver here, so we need to avoid all judging unless we see some clear restriction somewhere else.

But this is why the interpretation of Sacred Scripture is left to the Church. She has all the experts in the various Biblical sciences and, even above this, a guarantee of divine assistance. She judges the meaning of the texts according to all parts of Scripture and other sources of Truth, such as nature, logic, and tradition.

Hence Haydock. Hence St. Jerome, who is quoted here by Haydock. Hence the approbation of Blessed Pope Pius IX and 37 of his bishops. I'll go with them.


Ogard said...

About Jews:
“willed and a wilful rejection of divine revelation”;
“not that they misconceive His true nature but that, having been informed of it by God Himself, they deny it by an act of the will”;

and about the Jews and Muslims:
“Jews and Muslims hear or hear of the Good News and refuse to consider it, having hardened their hearts.”

Ecumenical Council about the Jews:
“Christ .. has reconciled Jews and Christians through the cross and has made us both one in himself” (NE 11/2).
“according to the Apostle Paul, the Jews still remain very dear to God, for the sake of their fathers, since he does not repent of the gifts he makes or the calls he issues (NE 4/4).
“Although the Church is the new People of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected by God or accursed, as though this followed from Scripture”(NE 4/6).

And about the Moslems: “The Church… regards with esteem the Moslems who worship the one, subsistent, merciful and almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth” and “submit themselves to his mysterious decrees” (NE 3/1).

I accept the Vatican II unreservedly, and reject the accusations against Jews and Moslems. For the obligation of Religious Assent to the teachings not proposed, or not known to be proposed infallibly: Grisez Vol. II. 52 – 55. In the foot note 103: “Papal teaching on the obligation to give religious assent is so insistent that it would be ludicrous to suppose that the popes had been dealing with merely light matter.” He gives references to Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius XI, Pius XII. One can add Vatican II: LG 25/1; and Nota Praevia, introduction, para 6. Also L. Ott p. 10.

Now that we have already conclusively established earlier that the above accusations are evil, because they are an usurpation of judgement that God has reserved to Himself alone, it remains to provide other reasons why they are evil. More about it on another occasion if an opportunity offers. There can be no dispute that they are severe because there can be no worse crime than to reject Divine Revelation, knowingly and willingly. So, the accusations refer to the greatest conceivable crime. Likewise, we had conclusively established that it makes no difference whether the accusations are against an individual, or against a group to which the individual belongs: what is levelled against the faith of the group (i.e Jews), is levelled against each individual (Jew), who in that group shares the faith with others. A group is not an entity which can exist without individuals.

Ogard said...

Further reasons why the accusations are evil.

Firstly, they ruin good names of Jews, and Moslems, both as individuals and as the members of Jewish and Moslem religions, the good names of which we are expected to honour: nothing is worse for a reputation than be known as rejecting, knowingly and willingly, Divine Revelation. It is an example of detraction. “No one is permitted to damage unlawfully the good reputation which another person enjoys” (CIC 220).

Furthermore, everyone is to be considered innocent unless proved guilty, while the very nature of the above accusations, as we have demonstrated conclusively, makes such a proof impossible: nobody has access to the inner experience of another person to be able to judge whether what that person is doing he is doing knowingly and willingly. Even that very person doesn’t know it in absolute terms, but only that far as his own introspection tells him, which introspection an outsider has only for himself.

We are morally bound to adopt a benevolent, rather than judgmental attitude toward our neighbour; not to give in to temptation to adopt the latter even if the available evidence seems to justify it. Who am I to judge my brother’s inner disposition? - “…for they know not what they are doing”.

Vatican II asserts: “Conscience is the most secret core and a sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, whose voice echoes in his depth” (GS 16). An outsider has no access to it, to be able to judge whether an individual acts in accord or contrary to his conscience, and it is this that is implied by the accusation that the Jews reject Divine Revelation willingly and knowingly.

Then the Golden Rule (CCC 989): never do to others …I have to ask myself how would I take a Jew’s accusation that I reject Divine Revelation willingly and knowingly; OR, put myself in a position of a devout Jew in an, openly or subtly, notoriously hostile, “Christian”, environment, who does his best to follow what he believes to be the will of God, and is nevertheless accused for wilfully and knowingly rejecting Divine Revelation.

Friendship is one of the basic human goods (Grisez Vol. I, pp 121-125). Accusations of this kind are distinctly unfriendly.

They are a disgrace to the Church whose doctrine about the Jews has been authoritatively proposed by an ecumenical council, and demands, according to classical moral theology, at least a Religious Assent; a deliberate dissent is sinful (see previous comment).

These accusations adversely affect inner unity of the Church. I am personally ashamed that they are levelled by a Catholic, and would be even more ashamed had I to face a Jew telling me what my fellow Catholic says. Regardless of myself, the Pope’s recent visit to the Holy Land shows that the accusations of this kind are an embarrassment to him.

They are a great obstacle to evangelization, which is entrusted to us. A devout Jew, who might consider becoming a Catholic, and hears these accusations, cannot but reconsider his intentions. The same applies to the Judaism as a whole, Islam, and all religions. While we are far away, that is not what Jesus wants to continue indefinitely. But the evangelization cannot even start unless we Catholics are willing to stop false accusations, and are prepared not merely grudgingly admit, but welcome with a sincere and great joy all that is good in other religions (NE 2/3). All that is a job already done for us to build upon not to destroy, done by God Himself through the natural, cosmic Revelation.

The Council “urges everyone to forget the past, to make sincere efforts at mutual understanding” (NE 3/2).

Anonymous said...

Ogard now hopes to justify himself with inapplicable and misdirected quotations from that ambiguous disaster, V. II:

"Although the Church is the new People of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected by God or accursed, as though this followed from Scripture."

We don't reject them; they reject Him. There is a difference. This is 100% inapplicable to everything I have written, and Ogard can't be so obtuse not to know it. He is trying to save a lost argument by trying to direct attention to something else. This is immoral as it at least implies that I have made claims which I have not made.

"Ecumenical Council about the Jews:
“Christ .. has reconciled Jews and Christians through the cross and has made us both one in himself."

Yes, Christ makes possible everyone's salvation but this requires a loving response from each person. Christ has reconciled the Jews to Christians. The problem is that Jews, as a group, have not co-operated in that reconciliation but quite the reverse: they have wilfully rejected Him. If you need proof of that, just ask one of them. This passage must be interpreted in the light of the teaching from tradition that we must co-operate in our own justification and our own good.

The quotation about the Muslims which follows is one of Ogard's typical digressions; it is an attempt by him to divert the discussion to the question of whether the Muslims worship the God we do, which they do not (again, disguised by a mistranslation by the definite article "the"). It is irrelevant to the question in hand if the Church esteems them or not. We were supposed to be discussing whether or not they have wilfully rejected Him, not if the Church esteems them. Now Ogard wants to waste our time.

Having hastily consulted a few passages from Vatican II documents, since he can find any clear source for anything, Ogard then misapplies them to the issue in hand. What he cites proves nothing at all.

Then he proceeds to put his hand on his heart and declare his loyalty to Vatican II. In doing so, he understates the matter of the degree of assent which is needed. A religious assent to unproposed documents is not equivalent to the divine and Catholic assent which is required to infallible teachings. Assent to general (undefined) teachings is assent to doctrines which may be incomplete and, a fortiori, which may be misexpressed or inadequately expressed in light of tradition. Thanks to the ambiguities of so many of these undefined formulations, every Catholic has a perfect right to asent to the teachings in general but without bothering to read them or know them or consult them: we should ignore the whole lot of them until they are clarified.

But this is just a diversion, so it might be best to say as little as possible about it.


Anonymous said...

Next, really pushing the envelope, Ogard says that speaking the truth about a group in general means ruining its good name. What rubbish. In order to ruin any party's good name, one must judge the degree of culpability of its members and then convey that judgement. But I have already said that I do not do so. I am saying that the group has rejected the Redeemer Who revealed Himself to them, that they had the advantage over others of knowing the context (viz. the Old Testament, which prophesied His coming) for that revelation, that they have all the means of accepting the truth (as everyone does), and that they have been remiss in their obligation to seek the Truth and then cleave to Him. (I also clarified that this does not apply to children and those who do not have the means of reason.) But how culpable any one person is in the circumstances is not something I judge, and whether or not some of them will, through our prayers, soften their hearts and accept the truth, is not something I claim to know.

Again, to ruin someone's name, you need to judge that person's culpability. Pointing out the objective situation for a group is not that at all.

Next, Ogard, figuring that he's a future lawyer, says that they are innocent until proved guilty. But that is only a principle of criminal and civil law and, to my recollection, I didn't accuse them of breaking any such law. What an unprofessional this Ogard is. He's now descending to kingergarten.

Undeterred, Ogard them goes on yet again to fail to distinguish between a fact assessed by moral certitude, which is that they have rejected him willingly, and judging the inner heart, which requires knowing all the circumstances affecting another's disposition. Then he tries to misrepresent what I had written, hoping that I will not notice. I never said that they "knowingly" reject Christ, only that they wilfully reject Him and are negligent in not seeking the truth and then cleaving to it. This is true of everyone who rejects Christ, since we are strictly bound to believe and confess that an all-merciful God gives everyone the means needed to believe in Him. The difference between Jews and Muslims, on the one hand, and all the other infidels is that the first group has had a significant advantage in the process. He came unto His own and His own received Him not. Instead, they demanded his death by torture and implored that His blood by upon them and their children forever. They are objectively the more blameworthy (as a general norm) because God spoke to them of the Messias in the Scripture which they have received. This is owing to their stubbornness and hardness of heart following the Crucifixion. Hence they are much further from God's grace than are the others. That is why others are more liable to convert.


Anonymous said...

In closing, in regard to the Jews, whom Ogard wishes to focus on, I can only say that it would not be all that insulting for a Jew to accept a faith which holds that God the Son is a Jew, the only pure person who is not God, our Lady, is a Jewess, and all the founders and spreaders of the faith--all of them--were Jews, including the first Pope and the first Great Apostle of the Gentiles. It might be harder for that Jew to convert had Jesus been a Jain or a Cree Indian or a Bushman. But Ogard just can't stop making excuses for them. How many people today adhere to a new gospel, the gospel of brotherlove and 'all religions are the same', preached by A.B.C., N.B.C., and the other miscreants and cranks, and arising out of the French and American Revolutions. This is the false religion which the Vatican II periti tried to conform the Church to. While they failed to reverse the teaching of the Church, they did manage to confuse it. That is why one should avoid reading Vatican II documents in order to protect one's soul. Even after they have been clarifed by this Pope and his successors, it is always better to go to documents which are crystal clear, like some of those from the Council of Florence, for instance. What followed Vatican II instantly (even before its close) was a complete devastation of the Church, and yet the fathers of the Council claimed that it would usher in a renewal. So it failed in the very end claimed for it. What sort of a renewal turns an alluvial plain into a desert?

Just as no Catholic is bound even to read the infallible teachings defined at the Councils of Lateran IV or Florence or Trent or Vatican I, no one is in the least bound even to read the non-infallible and ambiguous documents of Vatican II. I might consider just reviewing V. II after Ogard becomes intimately familiar with the four I've mentioned here. It's time for him to expand his reading beyond a flawed non-infallible catechism and ambiguous documents from a non-infallible Council. A good course for him would be to discover the infallible teachings and traditional dogma. That would give him the lens which he needs in order to interpret recent non-infallible teachings. The recent can only be understood in terms of what preceded it, not the reverse. I suggest that he start with the Church Fathers. For example, St. John Chrysostom has a few things to say of interest about the Jews.