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    Fr. Joseph Jenkins

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[35] Fifth Sunday of Lent

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Readings:  Jeremiah 31:31-34 / Psalm 51 / Hebrews 5:7-9 / John 12:20-33

Our first reading selection today is taken from what is called the Oracles of the Restoration of Israel and Judah.  Jeremiah’s writings would be an inspiration for the prophet(s) Isaiah; indeed, they proved more beneficial after his death in that they gave hope to a vanquished people.  He promoted religious reform and fought the idolatry that plagued Judah.  With the apostasy and fall of the nation, he suffered arrest, imprisonment, public disgrace and exile.

The prophet speaks of an impending new covenant, different from before, in that faithfulness will replace their current infidelity.  God’s law will not be upon tablets of clay or rock that might be lost or broken, but rather placed within them and written “upon their hearts.”  The words once spoken to Abraham will be made everlasting:  “I will be their God, and they shall be my people.”  While arguably ambiguous, it sounds like the language of grace.  It deeply resonates with Christ’s words about his new and everlasting covenant.  Just as the admonition of the Gospel was “repent and believe,” i.e. “obey,” the prophet writes in the persona of the Almighty, “I will forgive their evildoing and remember their sin no more.”  Our Lord came into the world for the forgiveness of sins.  He heals the breach between God and man.  The new Israel and the New Judah is the Church.

The responsorial similarly speaks of God’s law imprinted upon human hearts:  “Create a clean heart in me, O God.”  The two-fold commandment of Christ emphasizes the love of God and of neighbor.  We are to have the Lord’s heart in the priorities we set for ourselves, in regard to that which we love and in how we demonstrate or witness compassion, generosity and forgiveness.  Jeremiah was of the priestly class— priests offered sacrifice— they sought to make atonement for sin.  The prophet lamented how hard-hearted were both the rulers and the people that followed them.  They invited their doom by forfeiting divine favor and protection.  No doubt our Lord had Jeremiah in mind when he spoke about how the leaders and crowd even rejected him.  We read in Matthew 23:37-39:

“‘Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her young under her wings, but you were unwilling! Behold, your house will be abandoned, desolate. I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”

God is faithful.  Both God and man will be faithful in Christ.

What is a clean heart?  It is pure for sure, but it is also undivided.  It is a heart with a single purpose.  Do we want this heart?  If so then I would recommend the prayer that the apostle Paul gave the Ephesians:

“For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, that he may grant you in accord with the riches of his glory to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in the inner self, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the holy ones what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. Now to him who is able to accomplish far more than all we ask or imagine, by the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Ephesians 3:14-21).

The second reading presents Christ as the one High Priest of Christianity.  Our Lord did “offer prayers and supplications with loud cries and tears” to the Father on our behalf.  Jesus is faithful to his mission given him by the Father unto the Cross.  He does what no other priest had ever accomplished, he offered perfect atonement and “became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him.”  When our Lord beseeches us to take up our crosses and follow him, he is appealing to us as his priestly people in baptism.  It is within the oblation of Christ that our sacrifices and self-offering can be made to the Father.  This merits for us a share in the Lord’s reward or victory.  Every disciple is to believe, love and serve with a priestly heart.  The measure of all love is in terms of surrender or sacrifice.  We belong to the Lord.  He is a jealous God.  He will not share us.  He abides in us by grace so that we might live in him forever.

There are several times (both explicitly and in veiled symbolic language) that Jesus prophesies about his coming betrayal, passion and death.  He asserts in today’s Gospel, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Amen, amen, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains just a grain of wheat; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.”  After making a reference to his coming death, his attention turns to his followers.  “Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will preserve it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me, and where I am, there also will my servant be. The Father will honor whoever serves me.”  How would you advertise for such an ordeal?  Imagine you were reading the HELP WANTED ads and your eyes ran across the following:

“WANTED… men and women willing to give up family, position, wealth and power… yes, absolutely everything so as to follow a prophet who claims to be God.  Note that you must be willing to follow him in being betrayed, mocked, tortured and murdered.  He promises to give you eternal life.”

Sounds crazy, does it not?  Who would answer such a thing?  And yet, that is precisely the call of the Gospel.

  • What does it mean to have a sacrificial “priestly” heart?
  • What must we do to show that we belong to the Lord and his kingdom?
  • How might we be prophetic instruments in bringing reform to our society?
  • Have you ever prayed for someone or something to the point of tears?
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40 Days for Life

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From September 24 through November 2, you’re invited to join other Christians for 40 Days for Life – 40 days of prayer and fasting for an end to abortion.

You’re also invited to stand and peacefully pray during a 40-day vigil in the public right-of-way outside Metropolitan Family Planning, 5915 Greenbelt Road, College Park, MD.

If you’d like more information – and especially if you’d like to volunteer to pray, please contact: Tom Trunk at 240-593-6982 or 40daysforlifeMD@gmail.com.

Visit the website at http://www.40daysforlife.com/collegepark.

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Father Joseph Jenkins, our Council Chaplain and the Pastor of Holy Family Parish was scheduled to lead the Rosary in front of the Greenbelt Abortion Clinic on the first day of the prayer vigils, Wednesday, September 24 at 1:00 PM. He was accompanied by Jim Murry, PGK, PFN. He was joined by other Council Knights, Jimmy Cardano, DGK and Roger Doucet, Fraternal Benefits Advisor. Various others had come from other councils and parishes. People came and left, although numbers swelled into the 20’s at one point. A young woman came over and told us that the happiest day of her life was when she had an abortion and that she did not regret it. We did not debate her but simply let her know that we were praying for the unborn children, including hers, and for the conversion of the hearts and minds of mothers and fathers to the Gospel of Life. It was clear to see that she came over to incite some negative action. Instead, we extended love and prayers. After the Rosary was offered, Father Jenkins offered an extemporaneous prayer, invoking the grace and aid of the Holy Spirit upon the prayer champions for life and for this woman in particular. That she might come to repentance and instead of dispairing when her eyes are opened, that she might find hope in Christ’s mercy. A few people beeped their car horns at us. In the past we have had people shout and gesture obscenities. Our reaction is always non-violence. We hate no one and do not want to hurt anyone.

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Every year when we do this prayer of protest there are women who will also tell us that we made them rethink what they were doing and turn around. Babies are saved. Father Jenkins also made mention of SPIRITUAL ADOPTION and how our prayers are an expression that all children are miracles and wanted. We are Christians proclaiming the Gospel of Life. There is no such thing as a pro-abortion Christianity. We witness to life. The Council Knights and their families were urged to come throughout the month and to offer their prayers and rosaries, both outside the clinic and wherever else they find themselves. We should pray unceasingly against the scourge in our society. Father Jenkins was very defiant and exclaimed, “When the child in the womb is not safe, none of us are safe!”

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Women Bishops – The Lights Go Out for Anglicanism

5f0c3e5657ed3b8229685eac8a081987The General Synod of the Church of England voted on Monday to consecrate priestesses as women bishops. Well, there’s the nail to the coffin for the home of Anglicanism. Ecumenism with them will be restricted to soup kitchens, sharing contributions from C.S, Lewis, and appreciation for perfecting the English language. The bridges have been burned to most else. Since women cannot be ordained in truth, this makes arguments about their Masses and the Eucharist mute. Fake priests can only give you a counterfeit Holy Communion. When it came to morality, our ships passed in the night a long time ago. They disregard both Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition, wrongly approving homosexuality and dismissing the indissolubility of marriage. Abortion is reduced to a personal choice, far from the Catholic stance that sees it as an assault upon the heart of the Gospel of Life. Their last convention in the States could only agree about how terrible landmines were, as if that is a big issue in suburbia. This is what happens when morality collapses and an “everything goes” mentality takes over. Public opinion and modernity is given preference over divine revelation. Instead of obedience to God, the human becomes the measure of all things— and people are fickle and frequently wrong. The Orthodox churches are lamenting that years of work toward a common faith and even levels of recognition have been thrown upon the garbage heap. Anglicanism, except as a small group received by the Holy See, is destined not to be counted as a branch of the apostolic and “catholic” family of churches. The “reapproachment” with them since Vatican II is now a dismal failure because the Anglicanism of even half a century ago no longer exists. It has been replaced by a mutated structure that will continue to devolve and crumble. Australian Anglicans are arguing that priests might be optional and that the laity can offer the Mass. Fragmented, one segment fights with another, and there is no contemporary pretense of a world Anglican order. Certain traditionalists among them refused the offer of Pope Benedict XVI, hoping to rebuild with a union of conservative African bishops. But how long will it be until modernity will invade that new structure? Ironically, some of them attack the Anglicans who accepted the special offer from the Pope in becoming Catholics. They still buy the prejudices against Rome which were initially an element of their split. Catholicism has its dissenters; but they will have no official weight in the practice of our sacraments and doctrines. The accidentals may change, as with language, but the deposit of faith is safe and sound. As for the Anglicans, could they even agree as to what this deposit consists?

The Anglicans feel that immutable doctrine can be changed by ballot. Here is the vote approving women bishops:

  • House of Bishops: 37 to 2 with 1 abstention
  • House of Clergy: 162 to 25 with 4 abstentions
  • House of Laity: 52 to 45 with 5 abstentions

This move goes against the teachings and pattern passed down from Jesus. There was no woman among the twelve apostles. Jesus did not worry about stereotypes. But this one, he did not break. It was God’s will. Anglicans no longer care. I guess they would say that Jesus was wrong. Of course, this change was anticipated. A long time in the mix, the first ingredient was added back in 1994 when they began ordaining women as priestesses (women priests). Error breeds error. The United States made a woman its chief Episcopalian bishop some years ago, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Before her they elected their first gay bishop. Australian, New Zealand, and Canada also have women bishops. The show continues but it no longer matters. They can wear their pointy hats and play-act all they want— these women are neither true priests nor bishops. Both Orthodoxy and Catholicism are in agreement here. There is no third tier to the Church. Without a valid hierarchy, there can be no true priests. If there is no priesthood, then there can be no Eucharist (sacrifice of propitiation and real presence). If there is no Eucharist, the ecclesial community is not really a CHURCH.  End of Story

Can a Priest Deny Sacraments to a Gay Man in the Hospital?

The news was on fire this morning about a DC priest who purportedly refused to give Last Rights to a gay heart-attack patient at the Washington Hospital Center.

Oh boy, here we go again! This man condemns the priest but we only have his side of the story.

I suspect there is a lot more to the story than what we are hearing.  A priest was requested and Father Brian Coelho came to the bedside of the patient, Ronald Plishka.  The priest followed the ritual by offering the Sacrament of Penance prior to the Anointing of the Sick and Holy Communion.  If a patient is unconscious, the priest will often presume contrition and a desire for the sacraments, giving absolution even without auricular confession.  In this case, the patient was alert and responsive.  The patient seemed to want to make small talk and remarked about how as a homosexual person he was so happy that the Pope was accepting of gay people.  But he next asked if this admission bothered the priest, almost as if he were baiting him.  The priest said it did not but offered to pray with him.  Nothing more was said about Extreme Unction and Viaticum.  While left unsaid in the article, this intimates that this dialogue took place as part of a Confession.

Because the disagreement probably happened during Confession, the priest is silenced by the seal and cannot share his side of the story. Indeed, he would face automatic excommunication if he says anything… something I hope that Church authorities appreciate. Even they cannot question the priest.

Instead of a civil conversation, the patient rejects the offer of prayer and tells the priest “to get the [deleted] out of here!”  That in itself probably demonstrates an improper disposition for God’s mercy.  Then the doctors came in to calm him down.

We should pray for all the parties involved. 

Anti-Catholic Lies: Jesuits Started the Civil War

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Anti-Catholic Proposition:

Lincoln: “Jesuits Started the Civil War”

Explanation – The following is a brief debate between over the Know-Nothing propaganda which asserts that the Jesuits started the Civil War and killed Lincoln. It is all foolishness for weak and prejudiced minds.  The discussion eventually digressed into the area of modern-day Nazis or racists who hate both the Jews, the state of Israel and the Catholic Church.

LOU:

Honest Abe cited the Jesuits as the instigators of the Civil War!  I wonder what other wars they might have instigated!  Here is the quote:  “This war would never have been possible without the sinister influence of the Jesuits. We owe it to Popery that we now see our land reddened with the blood of her noblest sons. Though there were great differences of opinion between the South and North, on the question of slavery, neither Jeff Davis nor any one of the leading men of the Confederacy would have dared to attack the North, had they not relied on the promise of the Jesuits, that, under the mask of Democracy, the money and the arms of the Roman Catholics, even the arms of France, were at their disposal if they would attack us” (Charles Chiniquy, Fifty Years in the Church of Rome, The Wickliffe Press, Protestant Truth Society, Wickliffe Avenue, 104 Hendon Lane, Finchley, London, N3., 1885, p. 388).

FATHER JOE:

Lies and the fools who believe them!  I am told by a reputable historian that the anti-Catholic press (20 years after Lincoln’s death) fabricated the quote. It does not reflect Lincoln’s respect for Catholics, although he had inherited some of the common Protestant misconceptions about Catholics in vogue at that time. It does not appear in his collected writings, which I own. Lincoln even engaged Bishop Hughes of New York to appeal to the French not to aid the South in the War Between the States.  Oddly enough, the same Know-Nothings who popularized the lie you quote were refuted by Lincoln on August 24, 1855:  “I am not a Know-Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression of negroes, be in favor of degrading classes of white people? Our progress in degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ We now practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no presence of loving liberty—to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”

PETAR:

I just started studying secret societies.  The Jesuits are a military order and always have been.

FATHER JOE:

The Society is a religious order, not a military one.

PETAR:

They instigated the long series of religious wars that occurred during the Catholic Anti-Reformation, and their perpetual political terrorism is exactly what led to Pope Clement XIV issuing a Papal BULL to ban them for eternity, for the sake of the peace, at the request of the French government.

FATHER JOE:

No, they peacefully preached the Gospel in foreign lands and many of them suffered martyrdom. They were defenders of the papacy; their suppression was the frenzied response to fear and a revolutionary spirit. The old Catholic Encyclopedia states: “We look forward a generation, and we see that every one of the thrones, the pope’s not excluded, which had been active in the Suppression is overwhelmed. France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy become, and indeed still are, a prey to the extravagance of the Revolutionary movement. The Suppression of the Society was due to the same causes which in further development brought about the French Revolution. These causes varied somewhat in different countries. In France, many influences combined, as we shall see, from Jansenism to Free-thought, to the then prevalent impatience with the old order of things (see France, VI, 172). Some have thought that the Suppression was primarily due to these currents of thought. Others attribute it chiefly to the absolutism of the Bourbons. For, though in France the king was averse to the Suppression, the destructive forces acquired their power because he was too indolent to exercise control, which at that time he alone possessed. Outside France it is plain that autocracy, acting through high-handed ministers, was the determining cause.”

PETAR:

I know that Adam Weishaupt was trained by the Jesuits, and I know that he was their puppet when he created the Illuminati.

FATHER JOE:

Okay, it is clear that you are either playing games or just a wacko. Weishaupt went to a Jesuit school but he became an enemy of the Church: “…he came into ever sharper collision with the loyal adherents of the Church and with those who were influential in government circles. Furthermore, his obstinate nature led him to quarrel with almost everyone with whom his intercourse was at all prolonged; he felt the need of a powerful secret organization to support him in the conflict with his adversaries and in the execution of his rationalistic schemes along ecclesiastical and political lines. At first (1774), he aimed at an arrangement with the Freemasons. Closer inquiry, however, destroyed his high estimate of this organization, and he resolved to found a new society which, surrounded with the greatest possible secrecy, would enable him most effectually to realize his aims and could at all times be precisely adapted to the needs of the age and local conditions.”

PETAR:

I know that the Illuminati created the French Revolution, and I know that Napoleon was their puppet.

FATHER JOE:

The culprits were revolutionary ideas and poverty.

PETAR:

Napoleon attacked the Papal States and took them hostage, and this is what forced Pope Pious VII to restore the Jesuits, despite the Papal BULL of his predecessor.

FATHER JOE:

The Jesuits were restored when people came to their senses. Passivity to the Church’s real enemies permitted the suppression.

PETAR:

The Jesuits teamed up with the Zionists when Rothschild became the official bank of the Catholic Church, and the Knights of Malta are the military wing of this “New World Order” movement.

FATHER JOE:

Oh my goodness, are you really a NAZI? Now the conspiracy nuts have found my blog!

PETAR:

Skull And Bones runs America, and guess who they work for as well?

FATHER JOE:

A college secret society condemned by the Church rules America? Pleeease!

PETAR:

Even Masonic Saudi Arabia and its Wahabi Islam stooges are ultimately under the mind control of your “Black Pope.”

FATHER JOE:

Mind Control? Yes, and we all take our orders from the Great Spider from the Andromeda galaxy!

PETAR:

The New World Order funded the Bolsheviks, they funded Hitler, and they created the Holocaust in order to institute Israel.

FATHER JOE:

Really, are you serious?  I did not know they gave Internet access to patients in the insane asylum.

PETAR:

Don’t you realize that they are intentionally setting the stage for Armageddon?

FATHER JOE:

Actually, I have it on good authority that the End of Days is being plotted by Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

PETAR:

The Beast of Revelations has 10 horns, and why don’t you take a guess as to how many “assistancies” your “Society of Jesus” has divided the world into.

FATHER JOE:

Actually the beast only has 9 horns now, as he broke one off using it to as a can opener.

PETAR:

They aren’t even Catholic; they plan on destroying all religions, and creating global Lucifarianism, just like the Roman game plan of Revelation dictates.

FATHER JOE:

Actually, they plan to establish a religion that worships Barney the singing dinosaur.

PETAR:

Please wake up and stop spewing propaganda on behalf of this genocidal force that has terrorized the earth for centuries, and is moving to kill 90% of the world’s population soon.

FATHER JOE:

Oh my goodness, I am so afraid! Thank you ever so much for telling me! NOT!

PETAR:

I am very pleasantly surprised that you had the courage to publish and respond to my comments. My guess would be that most priests would avoid such a public debate about their church at all costs, considering the atrocious nature of the allegations. I would say that the Catholic Church is well known for sweeping things under the rug for as long as possible, but you would have proved yourself to be the exception in this case. It really is wonderful that you had the courage to publish and respond to my allegations, but it would have also shown a lot more decency if you would have avoided chopping up my comments to insert your own responses within. It really damages the flow of my communication, and it also makes it a lot more difficult for me to respond to your comments in return. The fair form of debate would be if you would allow my comments to appear in full, while you would respond in kind. Please show me that the Catholic Church can be fair as well.

FATHER JOE: 

I am not the whole Catholic Church, just a priest with a Blog. The Church is accused of many things, some of it quite untrue. In any case, this is my Blog… my RULES.

PETAR: 

I don’t mind that you feel the need to ridicule my opinions, or slander me as a “NAZI,” in fact I find it amusing that a priest should behave in such a childish manner, but I do feel a terrible storm of disagreement with the points that you are attempting to make.

FATHER JOE: 

Not slander, but descriptive labels; what you talk about is peculiar and has little substance in the real world.

PETAR:

I maintain that the Jesuit order is a military one, and I offer the following counter argument: Any honest investigation will reveal that Ignatius Loyola was a complete Catholic fanatic, and he was also extremely determined to spread Catholicism throughout the whole world.

FATHER JOE: 

The mission mandate of Jesus Christ requires that we as Catholics take the Gospel and the Church to the whole world. What you call fanaticism we call Christian discipleship.

PETAR:

The Jesuit order was created with a Papal Bull entitled: “Regimini militantis ecclesiae” (To the Government of the Church Militant).

FATHER JOE: 

The term “Church Militant” is a title for the Church on earth, sometimes called the Pilgrim Church, today.  The victory is won in Christ, but the devil is spiteful and we are still battling powers and principalities.

PETAR:

Loyola was an ex-soldier, and Jesuits are governed by a “Father General.” Ignatius also referred to his original disciples as “The Company of Jesus.”

FATHER JOE: 

Yes, Ignatius was formerly a soldier who put down the sword and took up the cross. The Jesuits keep company with Jesus and with one another. They also call themselves the Society of Jesus or just the Society.

PETAR: 

Loyola’s “Spiritual Exercises” would train Jesuits to deny themselves, and to thoroughly mortify themselves, and to believe that “black is white and white is black,” if a superior Jesuit would state so.

FATHER JOE:

The Spiritual Exercises is a form of meditation or prayer, particularly used among retreatants these days, either truncated or for thirty-day retreats. You can buy copies of the devotion in regular bookstores. The citation in question, maybe a bit much today, is “What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it.” There is no disavowal of reason or delusion about reality here; rather, it is a form of hyperbole about trusting the Church and our religious superiors. The Church arbitrates and defines divine truths from revelation: Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. The Holy Spirit protects the Church and her teaching office. The posture of a disciple is humility and unswaying obedience.

PETAR:

This allowed Loyola to build a strict hierarchy within the Jesuit order, which he then used as a military intelligence apparatus within the Catholic Church.

FATHER JOE: 

Catholicism and most of her Orders are hierarchical in structure. This is not unique to Jesuits. Missionaries were not spies, but sometimes as in England, they had to move about secretly given that a death sentence was placed upon the heads of Roman Catholic priests.  Similarly, the penal laws in Maryland forced clergy into roles as landowners and to travel as tinkers during the colonial period.

PETAR:

The Jesuits would build many schools, and also train the children of Catholic nobility.

FATHER JOE:

Christian education is a hallmark of the Jesuit life. They have done much to advance learning.  English Catholic schools and seminaries were established in France when the British crown outlawed the Church.

PETAR: 

The Jesuits became popular court confessors, and they used this position in manipulating Catholic rulers to instigate the long series of brutal religious wars that occurred during the Catholic Anti-Reformation.

FATHER JOE: 

The Jesuits were the chief defenders of the papacy and were very successful in combating the Protestant rebellion. The wars or violence between rival Catholic and Protestant princes were instigated for many reasons, and not just because of religious differences.

PETAR:

It is undeniable that the Catholic Church was at this time heavily involved in Empire building, and the renewed Office of the Inquisition showed exactly what kind of disposition the Church had towards Protestants.

FATHER JOE:

The Church followed the various political states in their acts of discovery and exploration. The Inquisition was often operated directly by the states themselves, with churchmen employed to enforce uniformity in faith. Extremes are often exaggerated by anti-Catholic critics. Remember, the Church was also coming out of a period where Europe had been invaded by Islamic authority and power. Missionaries sought to convert the new peoples and pilgrims sought religious freedom in new lands. The negative spin you place upon this is very much in error.

PETAR: 

The Council of Trent would also represent how the Church felt when they labeled each value of the Reformation as “accursed” and “anathema.”

FATHER JOE: 

The reformation was not an expression of pure Christianity or godliness. Indeed, it would set the stage for a further break from all Christianity, as with the bloody French Revolution. The Catholic Counter-revolution accomplished many of the reforms wanted by those who became Protestants. Trent was one of our greatest Councils. The anathema statements were a way of speaking, by which truths were affirmed and heresies condemned. There is nothing wrong about using such a formula.

PETAR: 

What resulted with the Jesuits should come as no surprise then.

FATHER JOE:

The Jesuit martyrs in Asia, England and in North America would be heralded as heroes of faith. Schools were started that later became some of the world’s greatest universities and places of learning. Certain Know-Nothings would grow to hate the Jesuits because they were so successful at apologetics. They slandered with falsified charges that you are promoting as your research. The Jesuits preserved the Church and helped her to grow.

PETAR: 

And though you may deny this interpretation of history, you cannot deny the fact Pope Pious XIV himself stated that the Jesuits were the cause of perpetual conflict, and that they needed to be suppressed eternally for the sake of the peace, when he issued his Papal Bull of suppression.

FATHER JOE: 

The Jesuits were suppressed (1750-1773) by Pope Clement XIV (there is no Pius XIV) because of hysteria and a lack of good sense on the part of others. The Pope was pressured to do it; however, it would later be lifted: Never had faithful sons of the Church been treated so shamelessly. The reasons were political, monarchs were afraid for the kingdoms. Jesuits were theologically sound. France and Portugal were fighting over territory. They were seeking for some fall-guy to take the blame for their troubles. The Jesuits were highly successful in drawing people back to the Church. This could affect the various alliances. However, their suppression made matters worse, the secular voices of the Enlightenment could advance unencumbered.

PETAR:

It is also a fact that he then lived his last days in mortal fear of assassination by the Jesuits, and it is also a fact that he was poisoned shortly thereafter and died a prolonged tortuous death.

FATHER JOE: 

You even got the name of the pope wrong. Your comments are riddled with inaccuracies and lies. The suppression of the Jesuits was by Pope Clement XIV in July 1773, not Pope Pius XIV. “His work was hardly accomplished, before Clement XIV, whose usual constitution was quite vigorous, fell into a languishing sickness, generally attributed to poison. No conclusive evidence of poisoning was ever produced. The claims that the Pope was poisoned were denied by those closest to him, and as the Annual Register for 1774 stated, he was over 70 and had been in ill health for some time.”

PETAR:

You may also claim that the Illuminati had nothing to do with the French Revolution, and everything that happened towards the direct benefit of the Jesuits because of it, but if one examines the history of the Illuminati before its suppression, then one will also discover that the French Revolution was nothing but an extension of this organization.

FATHER JOE: 

Ah, you do know that the Church was on the losing side of the French Revolution? Countless priests were murdered and churches destroyed. If there are Illuminati; they are no friends of Catholics or the Jesuits.

PETAR: 

So why should one assume that Adam Weishaupt was the true enemy of the Jesuits, when he even modeled the Illuminati after the Jesuit structure?

FATHER JOE: 

Sometimes the enemies of the Church will steal elements from the Church to suit themselves. Hitler was enamored by the structure of the Jesuits too, but he deplored their faith and defense of the papacy. You fail to make important distinctions between accidentals and the matters of substance. Adam Weishaupt was educated at a Jesuit school but was a married layman, not a Jesuit priest.  May our Lord Jesus open your eyes to the truth and help you to turn away from anti-Catholic fantasies and calumny.

PETAR:

It really is unfortunate that a representative of the Catholic Church insists on using what I would characterize as an underhanded debate tactic, by persistently inserting his own comments in the midst of mine, as opposed to just formulating his own separate responses, in what would be the civil manner in exchanging ideas. It really makes correspondence very difficult, but I suppose that is the whole point of this tactic.

FATHER JOE:

You received more courtesy than you deserved as an anti-Catholic and anti-Semitic bigot leeching off of the Know-Nothing propaganda of a century ago.

PETAR:

The Catholic Church spent a lot of time and energy avoiding all of its culpability in rampant child molestation within the Church, and I guess that this is just another example of the same kind of thing.

FATHER JOE:

You are just trying to hit back in a soft spot because your lies revealed your terrible ignorance and prejudice masquerading as enlightenment.

PETAR:

I have many, many, thoughts that I would like to discuss with you about your responses, but I am not going to spend the energy that I would have to spend, in order to deal with the manner in which you avoid civil discussion.

FATHER JOE:

I think you have already exhausted the few thoughts you could spare. I allowed your comments on my Blog for comedic value, not for any serious debate. Everyone had a good laugh, but now it is time to say goodbye to such foolishness. Not one of your points was left standing.

PETAR:

I would just like to say that you are correct that I made a mistake and named “Pious XIV” instead of “Clement XIV,” but that does not change the general truth of what I am saying.

FATHER JOE:

There is no truth in your charges to change. You cannot get basic facts (large or small) right. You do not even know the names of the figures about which you speak. Why engage in you conspiracy theories if you are so much in the dark? Are you mentally ill in that you need to enhance your importance by throwing mud at the Catholic Church?

PETAR:

You may claim that these were “know nothings” who claimed that Clement was poisoned by Jesuits, and claimed that Jesuits were a perpetual threat to the peace, but I maintain that both Clement himself, and also many other officials with the Catholic Church at the time, were 100% correct on their characterization of Jesuit tyranny.

FATHER JOE:

The Know Nothings were a political entity that hated and ridiculed the Church, making up all kinds of sensational stories. They no longer exist although anti-Catholicism remains the one tolerated bigotry in the U.S. You quoted no papal statements about “Jesuit tyranny” because the cause for suppression was really a political appeasement that backfired. Revolutions still came and the Holy Father’s strongest defenders had been disbanded. Later the decision was rectified and the Jesuits were restored.

PETAR:

I urge any individual interested to investigate the obvious connections between the Jesuit order, Adam Weishaupt’s Illuminati, The French Revolution, the restoration of the Jesuits, the rise of the Illuminati Zionist Rothschild, Rothschild fusing with the Catholic Church, Rothschild associates creating the Bolsheviks, Rothschild associates propping up Hitler, Hitler modeling the SS after the Jesuit order, Illuminati controlled British Empire propping up radical Wahhabi Islam, Vatican Knights of Malta creating the CIA with NAZI war criminals, and Illuminati Skull and Bonesman engineering 911 while the Vatican maintains ever closer ties to this 4th NAZI Reich.

FATHER JOE:

[I can’t stop laughing.]  Just when I thought there was no more humor to derive from you; you entertain us with a long ludicrous tirade. No defense is needed. Anyone who would believe these slurs should be locked up in a padded room.

PETAR:

There really is a never ending amount of issues to discuss, but unfortunately you make it impossible to do so in a completely civil manner. Nonetheless, thank you for allowing me some opportunity to express my ideas.

FATHER JOE:

Oh yes, so many other issues… Hey we have RCIA classes coming up in the fall… want to join the Church’s spy agency? (Still laughing!)

ATRUECHRISTIAN:

After stumbling upon this page, and reading through here, I am appalled.  What church are you with Father Joe?  Totally ridiculous, I am ashamed to be associated with people like you.  In my church if a priest called someone a NAZI they would be fired immediately.  I bet you wouldn’t talk like that to his face.

FATHER JOE:

Did you miss something in the conversation?  This is a conspiracy fanatic. You do know that there are still self-professed Nazis, right? I am talking the whole show…. swastikas, white supremacist, anti-Catholic, anti-Semitic, Holocaust-denier, etc.  He does not deny the label.  It did not pass my notice that you attacked me but said nothing about his latest comments?

PETAR:

The very last thing that I would like to point out to you is that many Orthodox Jews also agree that Zionists helped create the Holocaust in order to create Israel.

Here is what they have to say on the topic:  [link deleted].

I’m curious if you would arbitrarily accuse them of being “anti-Semitic” or “Nazi’s” as well!

FATHER JOE:

I do not link to such offensive sites. Just as there are traitors to Catholicism, I can only pity those who are ashamed of their Jewishness. They should be proud because revelation comes from the Jews. Within the context of salvation history, the Jews are truly God’s People of the promise. The more you try to defend yourself, the more convinced I become about who and what you are.

LADY GODLESS:

Father Joe said: “Just as there are traitors to Catholicism, I can only pity those who are ashamed of their Jewishness. They should be proud because revelation comes from the Jews. Within the context of salvation history, the Jews are truly God’s People of the promise.”

I don’t know what site Petar linked to, but here goes…

As I understand it, the reason that some Haredim give for rejecting the current state of Israel is that God hasn’t sanctioned its existence, and therefore neither can they. Israel was supposed to be refounded and Diaspora regathered at the coming of the Messiah and the beginning of the Messianic Age — i.e., not yet.

In other words, it’s an obey-God’s-law-no-matter-what thing, not a self-hate thing.

Also, ultra-Orthodox aren’t the only people who accuse some Zionists of collaboration. The writer Lenni Brenner, who is secular, has written extensively on this topic. It’s a touchy subject, but still not solely the province of wackos.

In fact, Brenner is how I came to hear about this stuff. He’s written for Counterpunch and other Left publications.

FATHER JOE:

I am very strong on Palestinian rights and weak on Zionist nationalism. But this critic would take things even further… he is no friend of Catholics or Jews. Madalen, you really want no part of this person’s agenda.

THE BARON:

What does it matter if Petar and I are Nazis? It doesn’t mean we totally agree with Hitler. Anyway, we have as much right to speak our mind as anyone else.

It has been over half a century since WWII. It is time to reclaim a good idea that went a little haywire.

It is proven by test scores that certain races are intellectually superior. The white races have led the way for civilization and others have clung like parasites. Some lesser races might make better basketball players and sanitation workers. As for the Jews, their money runs the planet. Zionism plagues us in Palestine and in their other residence of choice, New York.

How did Father Joe find out about us? That is what I want to know! I have no doubt those Jesuit assassins are behind this. They were behind the murder of Lincoln and many more contemporary catastrophes. It is time to unite against the tyranny of the black pope and all popes.

Terrorism today is not the work of ignorant Muslims. The papists exploit the mongrel races to their bidding.

FATHER JOE:

Maybe I should explain to people that I sometimes make statements after deleting and editing posts? I suppose the end result is that I come off sounding harsher and more judgmental than I actually am. I have left this post alone to prove a point. Usually comments like this are quickly deleted.

TRIBUTE 13:

Remarks are edited…

Hi, I’m a first time poster. I’m not big on conspiracy theory at all. I don’t believe that 9/11 was staged. I don’t think that crop circles are made by aliens.

However, conspiracy theories aside, it’s not a “theory” that Hitler and the Third Reich practiced Pagan and Wiccan rituals and attempted to call upon evil spirits to ensure their victories. They were the real nuts. This subject has been explored and proven. I really wouldn’t be surprised if they used organizations like the Jesuits or whatever remnants of other societies for him to accomplish his goal.

God gave you this divine privilege to help people, not ridicule them. If this man is mentally ill, as you seem to believe, does he not deserve the same treatment as regular human beings? He is just a man trying to converse and ask questions.  Bless you.

FATHER JOE:

Dear Mike, if I wronged this man, then I am sorry. But I am privy to information that I have not shared with you. There may be a degree of mental illness, but there might also be a case of real evil and sometimes evil requires a name. You are only 16 years old and I have been around a lot longer than you have. I intended no slur based upon heated emotions but a label that best described a certain mentality; indeed, a name that some twisted souls claim for themselves, even today. Maybe the world from the perspective of North Carolina looks like a nicer place than it actually is? And yet, I know you have had more than your share of troubles. His lies and baiting against Catholics, Jews and others exemplifies terrible prejudices which can result in people getting hurt. I have little patience for such things. While I do not hold with bias against our good Jesuits, you write well and I would urge you to keep up with your learning. Continue to work with computers, play your guitar, and try to find faith and hope despite difficult living arrangements and so many challenges. I will keep you in my prayers.

PETAR:

Zionists helped create the Holocaust, and you claim that it is “offensive”, merely because it proves how wrong you are.

You are nothing but a Papal propagandist, and I fully believe that if it was possible to criminally investigate Rome, then most of your entire gang would be in prison.

If there is one thing that is more pathetic than a person who supports evil, it is person who does so while feigning sanctity. Shame on you, you are an extremely poor excuse for a human being.

FATHER JOE:

You are entitled to your opinion, but thankfully God is my judge… not you.

XIMENES:

I’m not here to take a side on any of the issues. However, I do want to inform you where this Petar fellow gets his information. He more-than-likely bases all his statements and arguments off of stuff that he’s read from Eric Phelps’ “Vatican Assassins” or a site that supports it. I’ve heard some of that exact material from some of those aforementioned sources, and believe me, that Phelps guy really did cook up a complicated Jesuit/Masonic/Illuminist/Islamic/Zionist/Nazi conspiracy theory. I haven’t read it, as I’m a jobless sixteen-year-old and I don’t have money to get the third edition (the “most accurate”). Plus, it would be a pain reading the second edition online… but if you want to understand where this Petar guy’s coming from, I suggest you look into it.

It’s a long book, I’ve heard, but it will either enlighten you for/against what is being or will simply give you a laugh of sorts. And neither of those can be so bad.

I don’t think Petar’s mentally ill. He’s just quoting stuff that he read without telling where it came from. And he’s throwing stuff out there too quickly to make himself sound credible.

RAOUL THE MAGNIFICENT:

I am your judge, Joe. Be no more any papist.  Lucifer is not God, but is the rebel. God punishes losifer.

FATHER JOE:

I will pray that God brings healing to your confused mind.

REBE 4 LIFE:

Pff if your a Nazi that means your a conformist meaning you have connections to the Jesuits too ;). Hitler Kissed the papal [deleted] and there is even pictures of him hanging out with some of them. I find it sad when people know the truth and yet they join retarded groups like Nazis knowing that Jesuits having deep connections with them. Remember the phrase divide and conquer? :l That’s how the system works by dividing us all and making us all fight each other….when the time comes of the mass awakening I’ll be sure to see you guys there when you’re fully awake 🙂

FATHER JOE:

Omar, people like you remind us all, that not only are some asleep, but there are others who seem hopelessly delusional. The Church condemned Nazism and other forms of atheistic and/or occult totalitarianism.

ME:

I saw the quote attributed to Lincoln from the Know Nothings on another site, and searched for it to confirm or deny its creditability, and your site came up. Thank you for the lucid explanation.

I was raised in an Anglican church, and therefore understand some of what it means to be Catholic. I am by no means an expert. Over the years my faith has grown. As a religious protestant I have never settled on a denomination, but instead have actively participated in churches with pastors who speak the simple truth, and Christians who are devoted to God.

I have met more than my share of those who claim to be Christians, but yet espouse doctrines of hate towards the Catholic Church. As a Christian, I intend to draw no Catholic – Christian with the use of the word Christian, I see myself as a defender of truth. Thus in these occasions I take the person aside and expose them to their ignorance. The person, most often, goes away thinking seriously about what I said.

I too find it sad that the Jesuits are commonly defamed by these people, as there is so much good that this order has accomplished.

Though I disagree in concept with the Papacy, that one man should hold such authority, the Catholic Church has resisted the temptation to cave into political pressures then the reformed churches (e.g. Nazism). This, I will admit, is most likely due to the power of the Papacy. A strong leader if motivated by godly ambition does a great deal to stem the tide of social pressure.

The Seven Beatitudes in the Book of Revelation

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Grace asks the following question: “Father, could you kindly explain the meanings of the Seven Beatitudes in the Book of Revelation?” Here is my reflection upon them.

Revelation 1:3“Blessed is the one who reads aloud and blessed are those who listen to this prophetic message and heed what is written in it, for the appointed time is near.”

Forming part of the greeting in this book of Scripture, it makes reference to God’s prophetic word that now is tthe appointed time.  The time is near when the Lord will appear in his glory. Like so much of this book, it strikes an apocalyptic tone. Harkening back to the Gospel message and the promises of Christ, it signifies that time is short, we must make ready for the coming of the Lord.

Revelation 14:13“I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ said the Spirit, ‘let them find rest from their labors, for their works accompany them.’”

The context here is the warning of three angels. Having admonished the pagan Romans to repent and worship the true God before it is too late; believers are consoled that if they remain faithful then their obedience or works will be a pleasing witness on their behalf before the divine tribunal.

Revelation 16:15“‘Behold, I am coming like a thief.’ Blessed is the one who watches and keeps his clothes ready, so that he may not go naked and people see him exposed.”

This beatitude is uttered at a more ominous part of the book. While there are certainly references to the persecution by pagan Rome, it has also been understood to point to a final reckoning. It is a time of false prophets and the infestation of demons. The antichrist wages war against the saints. After this blessing we are told that the kings will assemble in a place called Armageddon. True believers are urged to keep courage and know that even if all the powers of hell are waged against them and they only see death at every side, the Lord will come to save them. Christ has already conquered sin and death. But there will come a day when their effects will be undone. God’s people will not be abandoned.

The business about Christ coming as a thief at night is also often associated with our mortality.  Even if we are not personally alive at the end of the world, every death is the end of our mortal sojourn.  We need to be ready for our encounter before Christ and our particular judgment prior to the last or general judgment of all. 

Revelation makes allusions to the ancient plagues in Egypt at the time of Moses. But we have an even greater liberator in Jesus Christ.  We must be sentries for the Lord and stay awake. The reference to clothes is a reference to Genesis and the fall. After they had sinned, Adam and Eve hid themselves in shame because they realized they were naked. Apart from Christ we are all spiritually naked. As St. Paul tells us, we must be clothed in Christ. In the Lord there is no more shame or fear, just confidence and an ever-realized hope.

Revelation 19:9-10“Then the angel said to me, ‘Write this: Blessed are those who have been called to the wedding feast of the Lamb.’ And he said to me, ‘These words are true; they come from God.’ I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, ‘Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers who bear witness to Jesus. Worship God. Witness to Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’”

This beatitude is echoed in every Mass with the final elevation of the consecrated species; the priest says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.” A heavenly messenger is so filled with the divine presence that he must warn the visionary not to worship him. The scene is overwhelming. The previous verses speak of the bride who has been allowed to wear a clean linen garment, vesture which represents the “righteous deeds” or works of the holy ones or saints. This bride is the Church brought to perfection by her divine bridegroom, Christ. The wedding feast is the nuptial celebration of the heavenly kingdom. Christ is the Paschal Lamb who is now the Lamb of Victory. He has purchased the life of his bride with his own life. She has been washed clean by his blood. The angelic demand to worship God alone has been the faithful charge given the Church.

We are baptized into the spirit of prophecy, indeed we are reborn in the Spirit and anointed into Christ, priest, prophet and king. This theme of the marriage banquet and the Lamb of God is an integral element of Catholic worship. Our Lord made reference to himself as the Lamb of God, a truth realized between his Last Supper and the hill of Calvary. Every Mass is a celebration of the paschal mystery of Christ, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.” Again and again, we repeat these words every time we gather for worship. Jesus is made present and his sacrifice is realized or re-presented for believers today around the world. The mystery of Christ refuses to be locked in human history or any one place. It is a piece of eternity that intersects the linear time and world of mortal men, changing the meaning and direction of all salvation history.

Signified in his ministers, our Lord is the eternal High Priest and groom to his Church, his bride. Every Mass is a sacramental participation in the heavenly marriage banquet. The risen Christ comes to us in Holy Communion, giving us a share in the bounty from his table. One day sacred signs will pass, as will faith, and we will see face to face and know the one who has called us to share in his intimate everlasting love. This blessing is in regard to that union with God that Christ makes possible.

Revelation 20:6“Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over these; they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for [the] thousand years.”

There are a number of elements that make this book difficult to interpret. It is filled with symbolism and numerology. There are references to the old pagan Rome and also to the final judgment. Chronology is often confused by exegetes, particularly those who read it with a bias against Catholicism or because they want to connect modern-day figures or countries to the symbolic elements. Keeping all this in mind, what can we say about this blessing? First, there will be no literal thousand year earthly reign of Christ. The mention of a thousand years is not literal but signifies the extended period between the chaining of Satan (Christ’s resurrection and victory over sin and death) and the end of days or end of the world. We were reborn in baptism. We were granted a share in eternal life. Becoming temples of the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in us. At the end of the first millennium, many believers took the number literally and thought that Christ would then surely come. But the Lord comes in his own good time. Second, the Church would rejoice that many more souls might be conceived and come to faith in Jesus and have a share in his resurrected life. Just as Moses prophesied when he said that he would have a nation of priests, along with prophet, we are anointed with chrism as priests. Our baptismal priesthood joins us together as a nation of priests.

Verses seven to ten which follow speak of Satan being released: “When the thousand years are completed, Satan will be released from his prison. He will go out to deceive the nations at the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them for battle; their number is like the sand of the sea. They invaded the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the holy ones and the beloved city. But fire came down from heaven and consumed them. The Devil who had led them astray was thrown into the pool of fire and sulfur, where the beast and the false prophet were. There they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.”

There are been similar visions in the history of the Church.  Although the story circulated for years from Vatican staff to others, one of the more influential tales has to do with Pope Leo XIII.  Back on October 13, 1884, Pope Leo had concluded offering Mass. However, when he turned around, he sudden froze in place. Other authorities claimed he collapsed down the few steps and went into a death-like coma. He stayed this way for ten minutes or so. The attending clergy raced to his side in fear for his health. When he got moving again, apparently in some shock, they quickly took him to his private rooms. He sat down at his desk and wrote what has come to be called the Leonine Exorcism Prayer or the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel. He would mandate that this prayer be appended to the “Low Mass” (unsung) of the Roman Rite.

What did the Pope experience during his mystical ecstasy? On the level of legend now, it is said that he claimed he could hear the voices of Satan and Christ in front of the altar and tabernacle. He described the voice of Satan as raspy and deep. The other was manly but soft and gentle.

Here is one version of the supposed dialogue:

The gruff voice boasted, “I can destroy your Church.”

The Lord challenged, “You can? Then go ahead and do so.”

Satan responded, “To do so, I need more time and more power.”

Jesus asked, “How much time? How much power?”

The devil said, “Allow me seventy-five to a hundred years, and a greater influence over those who will surrender themselves to my service.”

Christ consented, “So be it. You have the time; you will have the power. Do with them what you will.”

It is said the Pope claimed to have been shown a vision of demons released from Hell and with the purpose to corrupt souls and destroy the Church. Some suggest that this was all he experienced and the accompanying dialogue was a later embellishment. Fr. Domenico Pechenino, a priest who witnessed the event said as much in the 1940’s. He spoke about the look of terror on the Pope’s face, which had lost all color.

Now relegated to private devotion, although modern Popes have suggested but not demanded it’s restoration to the reformed liturgy, here is the edited or short version of Pope Leo’s prayer in vogue today:

“St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil; may God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust (or cast) into hell Satan and (all) the other evil spirits who prowl (or wander or roam) about the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.”

What have we endured in the century since the vision? We have seen the devastation of the French Revolution, the rise and fall of European Communism, Hitler’s Germany and the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others besides, Communist dictatorships in Asia and the rise of radical militant Islam. We have seen the massive defection from faith and the eradication of Christian values from Western society. During this century homosexuality became a civil right and abortion became a legal choice. More people cohabitate and fornicate than coming to the marriage bed undefiled. Babylon has returned and the remnant of the saints is again persecuted.  While not underestimating man’s capacity for evil, it certainly seems that the demonic has had free reign to numb sconsciences and to corrupt souls. 

Revelation 22:7-9“‘Behold, I am coming soon.’ Blessed is the one who keeps the prophetic message of this book. It is I, John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said to me, ‘Don’t! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book. Worship God.’”

This blessing at the end of the book parallels similar beatitudes at the beginning and later in Revelation: 1:3 and 19:9-10. The message is essentially the same: this is a prophetic and spirit-filled message from God, it rests upon the authority of John, and an angel of God exhorts that all who receive this message abide in it seriously. The repeated stress on worship is not incidental. Along with the heavenly hosts, our very purpose and the general thrust of creation is to give glory to God. Such calls us to know, to love and to obey the Lord. Our worship in this world joins us to the communion of the saints and to the choirs of angels.

The principal activity in the heavenly kingdom is to give glory to God. Here we may find a hint to the deadly sin of Satan. He refused to bend the knee to the Son of God, the one who would be made incarnate. He could seek to slaughter the Lamb of God but he would never render worship. There is an old saying, “Pride goes before the fall.” True for men, it might have significance as well for the fallen angels or demons. And yet, the pride might not be so much between themselves as angelic creatures and the divine spirit as it is with the Second Person of the Trinity who would join himself to material creation. Knowing that angels are of a higher order or hierarchy in the created order, one could easily imagine that the devil would be incensed that an ensouled “animal” of flesh and blood should suddenly trump them and be so honored as to become God made man, reflecting the face of the Father in the Son. God became a man so that men by grace might share in divinity.

Revelation 22:12-15“‘Behold, I am coming soon. I bring with me the recompense I will give to each according to his deeds. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.’ Blessed are they who wash their robes so as to have the right to the tree of life and enter the city through its gates. Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the unchaste, the murderers, the idol-worshipers, and all who love and practice deceit.”

While the reference to “dogs” was originally used by Jews about the Gentiles, here it means those outside the faith. We are called to be God’s children. “Sorcerers” are literally those seek to bypass divine providence and call upon the powers of the occult. The “unchaste” touches upon all those mentioned by St. Paul as excluded from the kingdom. Our Christianity demands a life of chaste and moderated love, safeguarding persons and not degrading others or ourselves with lust. Fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, etc. would fall into this category. “Murderers” refers to actual killers but also those who approve of taking innocent life, are passive to such acts. Those who betrayed Christians to the murderous persecution of Rome were murderers. Those who destroyed children as in abortion and infanticide (practiced by the pagans then and now) are also reckoned as murderers. The reference to “idol-worshippers” was a direct attack against the pagan religion of the Greeks and Romans. They could not worship idols of stone or the false deities they signified. Today, we would probably just argue that these deities did not exist in any form and that such worship was empty. However, it was the view of the ancient fathers that the deities of the pagans, while not gods, did have real existence as creatures, the demons. Thus, association with such false worship not only violated the Decalogue but placed one in bondage to Satan. The truth is also very important for the Church. Our Lord said that he came to testify to the truth. As for those who “love and practice deceit,” this is a stark warning to the believers of every age. We must be authentic. The word of a liar has no value. Just as the Lord keeps his promises, we must keep ours. God does not want part-time Christians. We must not simply go through the motions of discipleship. Every liar says with Peter in the courtyard of Caiaphas when asked about being a friend of Christ, “I tell you, I do not know the man!” Fortunately Peter had the opportunity to change his tune. Will we have time to do so?

As in the other beatitudes, we find the theme of Christ’s imminent return, judgment, reward to the just and punishment to evildoers. It has often amazed me that while some anti-Catholic apologists make so much of faith over works, the truth is that the two elements are intimately connected. It is not enough to say one believes. Faith needs to be realized with a movement of the will. There must be a genuine love of God that flows over into charity for neighbor. Christ is the eternal Word of God, the First and the Last. All creation must be consummated in him. The elect of God are depicted as in robes of white, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb. The damage of the old Adam has been healed by the new. Note that while original sin was connected to the forbidden fruit of a tree in the Garden, here too there is mention of a tree, the Tree of Life. This tree makes possible our return to a state of grace and communion with God. What is this Tree of Life? More recently Pope Benedict XVI has spoken about it as the saving Cross. Sin and death came into the world from a living tree; forgiveness and life were restored through the dead tree of the Cross. In other words, the saving work of Christ in his crucifixion has eternal consequences. Nothing will ever be the same. As pilgrims in this world, the fruits of that Living Tree are given to us as saving food in the Eucharist, rations from the banquet table of the Promised Shore and Kingdom. Immediately following the beatitude, there is an acknowledgment of those who are lost on the outside.

We are reminded of the foolish bridesmaids who in the parable allowed their oil to run out and were left outside the marriage banquet. We read in Matthew 25:11-13: “Afterwards the other virgins came and said, ‘Lord, Lord, open the door for us!’ But he said in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Therefore, stay awake, for you know neither the day nor the hour.”

There are also other teachings of Christ that refer to such judgment:

“I say to you, many will come from the east and the west, and will recline with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the banquet in the kingdom of heaven, but the children of the kingdom will be driven out into the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth” (Matthew 8:11-12).

“Then Jesus went from that place and withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a Canaanite woman of that district came and called out, ‘Have pity on me, Lord, Son of David! My daughter is tormented by a demon.’ But he did not say a word in answer to her. His disciples came and asked him, ‘Send her away, for she keeps calling out after us.’ He said in reply, ‘I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.’ But the woman came and did him homage, saying, ‘Lord, help me.’ He said in reply, ‘It is not right to take the food of the children and throw it to the dogs.’ She said, ‘Please, Lord, for even the dogs eat the scraps that fall from the table of their masters.’ Then Jesus said to her in reply, ‘O woman, great is your faith! Let it be done for you as you wish.’ And her daughter was healed from that hour” (Matthew 15:21-28).

This last quotation connects with the word “dogs,” following this beatitude, actually a word that might be translated even more crudely. It would remind us that even the dogs might come inside from the cold and share from the table, if there is genuine faith, love and obedience. But the time grows short and soon it may be too late. There is urgency throughout these blessings and they are weighed against the possible terrible consequences of the curse and judgment.

Prophecies: Malachy, Fatima & Padre Pio

GENUSLILIUM: Father, I have some important questions to ask. My first questions are about false prophets or prophecies. How do I know if they are false, or true?

FATHER JOE: You do not mean true prophets but fortune tellers and soothsayers. I would regard most if not all as false. This does not mean they are or are not sometimes pious people. As for private revelation, the Church does not require you to believe one way or the other. Just stay prepared for the coming of Christ. Either at the end of the world or upon your death, you will meet Jesus. That is for sure!

GENUSLILIUM: I am concerned about the Prophecy of St. Malachy. He had detailed visions of 112 Popes until Doomsday, also known as The Biblical Apocalypse. The current Pope, Benedict XVI is the 111th named Pope, so is it true that only 1 pope remains until the return of Jesus?

FATHER JOE: The so-called prophecies probably do not belong to St. Malachy. They are curiosities, but I put no trust in them.

GENUSLILIUM: My next question is about the prophecies from The Miracle at Fatima. I truly believe in our Blessed Mother, and I have no doubt that her appearances are true. In the third prophecy that Lucia wrote, it specifically states, according to eyewitnesses, that the Pope would betray the flock and turn his sheep over to the slaughter devised by Lucifer himself. John XXIII fainted because he thought he would be the Pope who would open the door to Satan and that he would be the long awaited anti-pope. Is this true? Please explain.

FATHER JOE:

This is not the third prophecy of Fatima and the history you cite is bogus.

“The third part of the secret revealed at the Cova da Iria-Fátima, on 13 July 1917: I write in obedience to you, my God, who command me to do so through his Excellency the Bishop of Leiria and through your Most Holy Mother and mine. After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!’ And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it’ a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father’. Other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, men and women Religious, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God.”

Pope Benedict wrote about the third secret:

“A careful reading of the text of the so-called third ‘secret’ of Fatima … will probably prove disappointing or surprising after all the speculation it has stirred. No great mystery is revealed; nor is the future unveiled…. The purpose of the vision is not to show a film of an irrevocably fixed future. Its meaning is exactly the opposite: it is meant to mobilize the forces of change in the right direction. Therefore we must totally discount fatalistic explanations of the ‘secret’, such as, for example, the claim that the would-be assassin of 13 May 1981 was merely an instrument of the divine plan guided by Providence and could not therefore have acted freely, or other similar ideas in circulation. Rather, the vision speaks of dangers and how we might be saved from them…. The concluding part of the ‘secret’ uses images which Lucia may have seen in devotional books and which draw their inspiration from long-standing intuitions of faith.”

GENUSLILIUM: My other question is about the prophecies of Padre Pio. Is this real? How do we know if it’s real or false? My heart tells me its true, but I do not want to be misled.

FATHER JOE: We should not regard such things too literally. The fact of tribulation and suffering for believers requires no great stretch of the imagination. Look at the hedonism, perversity and anti-life mentality that afflicts our society. The prophecy of blood, also noted by the late Pope John Paul II, will require courage from the faithful. We need to remember the words, BE NOT AFRAID.

GENUSLILIUM: Jesus said that no man knows the hour or the day of the End of Days. Even Jesus didn’t know. Only his father did. But Jesus added that he hoped that those who will live in the Final Generation would look for the signs in the hope their suffering would not be so great.

FATHER JOE: Certainly Jesus as God is aware of such things. What was meant was that it was not for him to divulge God’s time-table while he was still in the world. I suspect that it was an element of his divine knowledge which he placed behind him (in a sense) so that he could truly be like us in all things. But ours was no amnesiac God and he could always call upon his divine knowledge.

GENUSLILIUM: It also disturbs me that people call the Catholic Church “satanic” and “demonic.” It really discourages me, because I know the Catholic Church is right because they do not make excuses for sin, or change their beliefs to fit with the “New Age.” It hurts me because immediate family members have said these things to me, and I know better. How do I respond to them without stating an argument because it always turns into one, and it makes me very upset. All I want is for me, and my children, and the ones I love to go to Heaven, how can I get through to them?

FATHER JOE: The best response any Catholic can make to such charges is the witness by fidelity and holiness of life. We leave the conversion of souls and the movement of grace in others to God.

GENUSLILIUM: Okay. Thank you Father for clearing those things up for me. It is kind of scary thinking about the whole anti-pope, 3 days of darkness, and the 112 popes left, when we are at our 111th.

Should I get blessed candles, salt and holy water because of what Padre Pio has told us? or is it not necessary?

FATHER JOE: Sacramentals are nice. People should keep holy water and blessed candles in their homes. However, I would not get all bent out of shape about apocalyptic prohesies. Remain in a state of grace and do not give in to fear.

GENUSLILIUM: If the prophecies of the 112 popes were not made by St. Malachy, who do you think could have made that up? Whoever it was was pretty accurate on the popes we have had thus far.

FATHER JOE: You can read a great deal into them. Their accuracy is arguable.

GENUSLILIUM: Do you think we are living in the Final Generation?

FATHER JOE: Me or the kids after me? Ponder your own death, not the end of the world. We know our days are numbered.

FINAL NOTE

Genuslilium gave me a list of web sites where his/her material was gathered.  One was a site on the paranormal but it was not a Christian source.  Indeed, the information seemed deiberately wrong as if one were trying to see how gullible Catholics might be.  Another site was purportedly about the Divine Mercy.  However, it was a hodge-podge of information from both approved and unapproved sources. We should be careful of sites that use the appeal of popular devotions to push an agenda of conflict with the authentic Catholic Church in union with the Holy See.  The one given to me for review demonstrated an animus against the reformed liturgy and too much gravity upon private revelation.  The third site I reviewed, and I have opted not to list them here, focused upon the prophecies of Malachy but then added its own peculiar brand of mysticism and devotionalism.  Indeed, it actually had messages from innerlocutions or visions not approved by the Church. Anyone can go online and claim that God or Mary is speaking through him or her. I would steer clear of such sensationalism. Stick with the the universal catechism and the Catholic Bible!