Thursday, April 7, 2016

Hell Yes

Gustave Dore's image of Satan

in hell.
Well tomorrow Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis Apostolic Exhortation following up from the 2014-2015 Synods on the Family is due out and the neo-trads are, fittingly enough, girding their loins for war.  For neo-trads Christianity seems to be all about lumbi (Latin for loins), that is when it isn’t all about Latin.  But before we get into that fray, let me print some responses I got from a disgruntled disciple of the late Bishop of Ypres, Cornelius Jansen.  Jansen (1585-1638) you may recall was the Catholic face of Calvinism.   Like the great Protestant Reformer and most unhappy of ecclesiastical campers Jean Calvin, Jansen believed that most souls were damned to hell through no fault of their own but simply for having been predestined to damnation from all eternity through the agency of a rather capricious deity.  In this festival of the divine wrath, should Our Blessed Lady be otherwise occupied it might even be hard to get a foursome for bridge (or golf) if such trivialities were even to be tolerated in heaven. 
Anyway here is what our own Inspector Javer wrote me
Look at what the church fathers have to say about this. They would know that most people will go to hell. Stop supporting father Barron's and von Balthazar's heresy. You are threatening souls.
Adding this is a second post  
Read the church fathers and you would realize that most people are damned. Stop supporting con (sic) Balthazar's idiotic heresy which threatens souls.
I am not really sure what provoked this admonition but let me say that both as a historian and a Christian believer, I believe there is a hell.  And despite my confidence in the overwhelming Mercy of God and the Treasury of Merits of Jesus Christ,  along with his Blessed Mother, the saints and the faithful, I would never go so far as to agree with von Balthazar’s thesis that, as some people put it, while there is a hell, it is empty.  (Von Balthazar gets that idea, by the way, from Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, but then what did she know of theology, a simple girl from the bourgeoisie.)  Hell must be an option or the human will is not ultimately free to reject God and grace is no longer free but a prison that takes away our choices. 
Besides, the words of Saint John Chrysostom have always echoed deep in my soul: Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.  From experience I am willing to add that to the Creed.  So at least there are bishops in hell.  But as for others, I would not presume to know just how chock filled with the damned hell is.  And in fact I have no idea of what hell is like--the Church does not go into a lot of detail about hell and most of our conceptions are owed to popular mythology or classic literature.  But I do know this and believe it with all my heart:
God so loved the World that he sent his only Son that whoever should believe in him might not perish but might have eternal life.  God did not send his Son to condemn the World but so that the World might be saved through him. 
That is the gospel in a nutshell.  You can sum up our entire faith in those two verses. 
So while there are those who might reject God and the Salvation he offers, it makes no sense whatsoever that a God who is Love—who is Love, not simply who loves—would create for the sake of destroying the greater part of his creation. I also believe, because it is in Sacred Scripture, that the plan is for Christ to gather all creation to himself and present it to the Father.  How that squares with hell I am not sure.  
But Jansenism is alive and well and lurking behind this confessional door and that penitential practice and in the sermons of psycho-sexually underdeveloped priests, and in the neurosis of unhappy souls who have not yet found their own peace.  All we can do for these poor people is to pray for them that the Lord frees them to accept the overwhelming Mercy he offers us all. 

Now back to Amoris Latitia.  Love is always a joy and there is no joy without love.  There is nothing to fear in the Mercy of God. And I have heard a rumor that one of Francis' hand-picked American supporters at last year's synod is in line to get a significant Archdiocesan See.  


  1. AttEnd to thy Latin!

  2. ok, show me the mistake I have to admit that i wrestled about the case for "lumbi"because if the sentence itself were in Latin it would be after a preposition that takes the ablative but I just sort of skated over it and kept it in the nominative which is the more usual form when using a Latin word in a non-Latin sentence But maybe I was wrong.

  3. I can only imagine what kind of frustration the Krazies will have with Amoris Laetitia!

  4. I thought I gave you a hint. Okay, one more, my Joy! Didn't S. Seraphim of Sarov call his beloved that.

    1. I am sorry but I am really obtuse and not getting it

    2. ok got it. was looking in the wrong place--concerned about lumbi when the problem was laetitia. I can't believe I misspelled that. one of my dear friends and correspondents is Dame Laetitia C*******s OSB and I use the verb laetare frequently, especially in the Easter Season. thanks for pointing out the mistake now to be corrected

  5. All of us guys are concerned about our lumbi. LOL!

  6. Regrettably, the Pope shows that he may do for Catholicism globally what he did in Argentina: destroy it.

    He doesn't understand what causes people to join, stay, or leave a particular faith. He seems totally clueless about what has happened to the Episcopalians, Anglicans, and Lutherans, and most of the mainline (liberal) Protestants. Indeed, he wants to emulate them.

    I don't get it. It's like buying a baseball team and saying you want to follow the Chicago Cubs model of winning world series instead of the NY Yankees.

    Does this Pope believe in right and wrong ? Apparently only if we are economically successful and don't give enough to certain politicians for failed economic policies.

    More and more, I see secularists masquerading as Catholics - in the Vatican !! - who continue to undermine the Catholic faith while endorsing sexual immorality and economic flawed models. The lastest is welcoming the crooks and thieves who lead Ecuador and Bolivia to the Vatican (along with Bernie Sanders, who supports taking away the Catholic Church's religious freedoms).

    The Catholic Church seems to only want to reach out and dialogue with groups that the anti-Catholic elite favor, not those who they dislike.

    Very telling.

    1. I can see why you are disenchanted with this Pope. His policies point towards radical change in the social-political-economic order in such a way that you go from being on the winning team of Northern hemisphere free-market have's to a more equitable distribution of the resources God has given for all his children. The issue is not secularists masquerading as Catholics but rather Catholics whose vision of the world has been radically changed by reading the Gospels. That we should deal with sinners with compassion, forgiveness and mercy rather than condemnation and judgment--sounds like Jesus to me. That we should work for a world in which the lowly are raised up and the powerful cast down from power; where the rich are sent away empty and the poor are fed plentifully. My, My, didn't the Blessed Mother sing something about that in Luke's Gospel? No, for many of us Francis is the answer to our prayers. He has set a new course for the Church with the Gospel as his compass. For those who are not afraid to leave all behind and follow Jesus it is an exciting time.

    2. Consol....a question. Who did more for the poor in the last 30 years, Ken Langone (Home Depot) and Donald Trump (real estate) or the AFDC program ? Have you seen the Asian and Chinese middle classes, 20 years ago they lived like sub-Saharan Africans, now they live like Western Europeans.

      I read your biography. You're a smart guy, but like virtually all of the priests, nuns, bishops, and Vatican Curia you have a fatal flaw: no training OR knowledge OR experience in business, economics, or finance. We always hear how "celibate males" in Rome can't understand human sexuality, but the same liberal nuns and theologians are somehow experts on economics and reducing poverty even thought they took lots of theology, sociology, psychology, anthropology, and other courses that don't explain how to improve the Human Condition.

      NO knowledge at all about basic economics. No wonder they think the government can wave a magic wand and create magical jobs with a minimum wage of $15/hour. For the record, I'm in favor of it being raised to $50 an hour just to teach the morons a lesson.

      Equitable distribution ? You mean a country like Bolivia or Ecuador, where EVERYBODY is poor ? That's more equitable, using your terminology. I know you don't believe that.

      Who's condemning and judging ? Did the Catholic Church suddenly employ Town Criers to say who is committing adultery. The issue is whether adulterers -- and that's what a person in a 2nd marriage or relationship is doing if they have not received an annulment -- should be given carte blanche to receive Holy Communion.

      Cardinal Kasper, he of the 5% Mass attendance and $7 billion subsidy from the German government, says YES. Just don't call sin a sin anymore, and watch all the nominal Catholics return to the Church. If that happens, combined with the German government subsidy, Kasper may even be able to upgrade from a 5-Series BMW to a 7-Series. Let the good times roll, right ?

      Are you getting rid of all your worldly possessions tomorrow so that the lowly can be raised up and the powerful -- people like you, who are part of the 1% globally -- are given your just reward ?

      I didn't realize that working hard and playing by the rules was a sin. Apparently, in yours and Francis' interpretation of the Gospel, success is Evil.

      Let me know what the Pope and Gospels say about quantitative easing and the effects on income inequality. Maybe Francis wants a return to the gold standard.

      Just don't tell Bernie Sanders, he may pull a William Jennings Bryan on us.

    3. For those whose relationship to Christ consists of an hour or so on Sunday mornings--sort of a weekly phone call to home to "check-in" with the old ones, the key criterion of economics is their "success rate." For those who are Disciples of Christ, the key criterion is its morality. The Catholic Church has a long history--going back to Leo XIII and his encyclical letter, Rerum Novarum--of maintaining that economic systems that provide inequitable dividends between workers and the providers of capital are fundamentally immoral.
      Your examples of Bolivia and Ecuador are poorly chosen. While both countries have widespread poverty, they also have a small aristocracy of incredible wealth whose wealth is based, for the greater part, on the exploitation of the poor. What those countries lack is a significant middle and professional class. A Christian who takes the scriptures seriously is bound to be deeply troubled in conscience about the current economic structures in our world. But then, as Clarence Jordan once put it, Jesus has many admirers but few disciples.

    4. "Inequitable dividends" ??

      2/3rds of "the poor" in the U.S. have hi-def TVs.....95% have cell phones....90% have air conditioning, running water, toilets/plumbing.

      These are considered provinces of the RICH only 20 years ago...and in most of the globe today.

      Tell us: is it better to be poor in the U.S. today or middle-class 100 years ago or today in the Southern hemisphere ?

      I know what I would choose. So do you.

    5. Yes you have made it very clear what you would choose. No man can serve two Masters: he will hate the one and love the other. The problem is not wealth, the problem is when the acquisition of wealth is done in an immoral way.

  7. It's amazing to me how many self-styled conservatives and traditionalists with tacky Latin social media names are jumping on this document and gnashing their teeth.

    Oftentimes, I find that the ones who most adamantly and rigidly "defend doctrine" and promote a hyperbolic, oversimplified black-and-white moral landscape of extreme goodness and extreme evil are in reality not secure in their own faith. A part of them either doubts the epistemological authenticity of their beliefs, or else feels that opposing schools of thought or value system pose a substantial or existential threat to the moral edifice of the their own system.

    For the secretly-insecure religious zealot who insists on a sort of theological imperialism, theology and its applications must be kept under a glass case, for fear that even the slightest cosmetic deviation from the ideal portends the imminent destruction of the entire edifice of the church.

    In reality, Truth is immutable, and no amount of theological wrangling can alter God, who is neither bound nor coterminous with the capacities and footprint of the Church. For the religiously and spiritually secure person, there does not have to such an obsession about toeing the line with moral concepts and what merits being added to the theological repertoire of the church's patrimony. For the religiously and spiritually secure, theology can dragged through the mud or banged around without any threat to its integrity, because it is truly solid and exempt from the foibles of human thinking and logic.

    We are powerless to change the truth; therefore, to suggest--as some of these people do often--that a different packaging of the same fundamental message amounts to the Berlin Wall moment insofar as the Church is the Soviet Union, is simply unfounded, both historically and logically. The Church is simply the apparatus or conveyance that attracts people to the truth by attempting to live it out and by echoing it in a compelling and authentic manner. We neither invent truth nor can we destroy it. Matthew 16:18-19 does not promise a proscriptive power over truth, but simply a guarantee of our authentic descriptive discovery of truth in Christ's name. Same with John 20:23, for that matter.

    Or at least these things seem to me. What do I know? I'm just happy for the springtime in the natural and ecclesial worlds that seem to be coinciding as of late. :-)

    1. Do you believe adultery is wrong ? That's what this whole mish-mash is about. Pope Francis wants to allow DRM Catholics to accept Holy Communion even though they are committing adultery. He wants to open it up to ALL DRM, including those who don't think they did anything wrong, who think divorce is OK, and who don't believe through words and action in what a Catholic marriage is all about.

      At least they are honest. Francis, Kasper, Schoenberg, etc. are not.

      Pope Francis doesn't have the guts to change the teaching outright because he'd invite a schism and destroy the Church. That's why he was so angry after Synod II. He wanted the Cardinals to do his dirty work and they wouldn't. If he did what he wanted them to do, he'd probably have many bishops/Cardinals resign en masse (no pun intended). Including Muller and others in the CDF who said this document violates the natural law AND was guilty of basic Catholic doctrinal errors that any 3rd year graduate of CCD education could see.

      Maybe the Pope, who wants to honor the Lutheran break from Catholicism later this year, can visit the other 20,000 Protestant denominations across the globe. He'll not only have less time to screw things up in The Church, but maybe it will dawn on him after visiting a few dozen or hundred Protestant denominations that maybe there's a reason why the Catholic Church is One (1) and they are thousands upon thousands.

      But even asking that may be too much for some of these people. They seem indifferent to the rot within the Church. Just as with the pedophile scandal.

    2. Why not tell us which hand-picked supporter ? I like your site, but this isn't The Drudge Report, where if you turn out to be correct you'll be subject to tons of publicity. Let's face it, Inside Catholic Dirt isn't gonna give The Kardasians a run for their money.

    3. Well, my reluctance is based on Rome's tendency to withdraw candidates if the word gets out before an official announcement. Rumors are--and they are o more than Rumors--that Bishop George Murry SJ will be named to Newark now that co-adjutor Bernard Hebda has been named to St Paul MN. Newark is a mid-level See, usually a "dead-end appt" but Murry is too old to get a red-hat see. Murry was a strong supporter of Francis as the Synod last fall and making him an Archbishop would acknowledge that Francis is committed to the course he is on.

    4. Well, our friend of 11:02 on April 10 is obviously no fan of Pope Francis on a number of levels--not only for Amoris Laetitia, but for his participation in the upcoming commemorations of Martin Luther's posting the list of debate items on Wittenburg Castle door. There are those who are just so unhappy with the papacy which gives me a sort of morose delectation considering how much the last two papacies pained me. But that is another story.
      No one approves of adultery. But an annulment is not what renders a first marriage invalid--it only uncovers and validates the reason the marriage was not genuinely sacramental. There are other ways this same discovery and validation can be done. There are cases when an annulment was declined but should have been given had all parties been truthful in their testimony, had certain evidence been available at the time, had the various tribunal officials done their job professionally. An individual priest working with the couple to unravel the particular case can sometimes help the couple to understand why the first marriage was deficient and thus how they are free to marry. This process is usually called "Internal Forum" and it pertains to other matters as well where an individual who publicly seems to be out of line with Church teaching is actually in good and clear conscience.
      As to the Synod not doing Francis' "dirty work." We need to remember that a simple majority of Bishops were supporting Francis' agenda. It would have been good, of course, if Francis and the Synod spoke with one voice but in the end the Synod was consultative. That is how the Church works. In writing Humanae Vitae Paul VI chose to reject the counsel of the panel of
      bishop, theologians, scientists, and laity who overwhemlingly favored a change in the teaching on contraception. But do not lose hope. Of course Francis will have a successor and that successor will be in a position, if necessary, to correct the course.

    5. "In writing Humanae Vitae Paul VI chose to reject the counsel of the panel of bishop, theologians, scientists, and laity who overwhemingly favored a change in the teaching on contraception."

      Not entirely accurate.

      First, they were only dealing with the birth control pill, not contraception in general.

      Second, as Sandy Magister, Germain Grisez, and John Ford have stated, the conclusions and numbers thrown out as supporting repeal of the ban on contraception (or to allow The Pill) was fluid and not fixed. Many people were voting for something in committee that they expected would be changed at a later date.

      Third, the reports were 'leaked' so as to embarrass Paul VI into repealing the prohibition.

      Fourth, a Synod of Cardinals is different than a panel of non-clergy whom you cite. The Synod was designed to uphold Church doctrine. The Papal Committee on BC was designed to abolish it.

      Finally, Pope Paul VI said that the burden of proof was on those wanting reform of the BC ban to prove why it was possible. They had to make an overwhelming case that Casti Connunii could be repealed.

      They never came close.

      Liberals deluded themselves into thinking the Catholic Church would do a 180-turn on key doctrine in the 1960's, just like they thought the DRM ban would be explicitly repealed (no) or SSM would be given approval (not even considered).

    6. Yes, granted that the panel was convoked to consider the issue of the "pill' not contraception in general but it is usually conceded these days that when we speak of contraception, particularly in a Catholic context, we are speaking of some sort of birth-control pill.
      I am not inclined to consider Magister, Grisez, or Ford reliable sources for where members of the commission stood. Their writings over the years have shown them to be less than objective on the questions raised about Humanae Vitae.
      Pope's don't repeal encyclicals. No serious strategist would 'leak' data in hopes of achieving that end. Members of the Commission freely spoke about it because they were frustrated in thinking their work was ignored.
      Yes, a Synod of Bishops (not only Cardinals) is essentially different than an panel of experts convoked to advise the Pope on a particular matter. However a Synod has no authority of its own and is only advisory to the Pope. Moreover Synods were not introduced "to uphold Church doctrine" but to give the Pope a good sense of where the larger Church stood on matters. They should, of course, defend the Truth and we should presume that they have. It may be, after all, that we are the ones in the wrong, And when you say that the Papal Commission on Birth Control was designed to abolish Church Doctrine, you show your hand You obviously consider any attempt, even the attempt of Paul VI, to examine the question of the possible legitimacy of the pill to be an attack on sound doctrine.
      Finally, to hoist you on your own petard, the Committee didn't have to show reason why Casti Connubbi --since, as you pointed out, their task was "the pill" they only had to show why "the pill" didn't violate Casti Connubbi.

  8. The bottom line is you want to make the exception the rule. How you can look at what has happened in the Catholic Church (or any church) and not see how a 'liberalization' will be treated is beyond me. Does the phrase "give them an inch they will take a mile" ring a bell ?

    Francis entire agenda seems to be copied from the editorial positions of The New York Times, with a few Biblical and religious garbs thrown in for effect. He embraces the marginalized and anti-Catholic, and spits in the face of loyal Catholics.

    Nice set of priorities.

  9. Your assessment of Pope Francis and the direction in which he is taking the Church "he embraces the marginalized and anti-Catholic and spits in the face of loyal Catholics" tells my readers and me much more about who you are and what your issues are than it accurately reflects the Holy Father. I don't think you will be very much at home reading my blog--you might want to go on the anti-Francis blogs of which there are many.

  10. See, that's the difference between you and me: I can see some of your insight as having worth, even though the CONCLUSIONS you draw are different than mine. Similar to how I feel about those who want a return to the Gold Standard with monetary policy (excuse my investment bias).

    Do you disagree with my statement ? Show me where I am wrong: welcoming in abortionists and population control advocates to the White House...equating the death penalty to abortion in terms of moral gravity....dowonplaying important Catholic issues like abortion and SSM so the Catholic Church can be the millionth player in social justice...NOT ONCE saying a thing about anti-Catholic bigotry (ditto the USCC)....saying nothing about the discrimination faced by Catholics on a daily basis while conjuring up politically correct forms of discrimination offenses involving women, homosexuals, and blacks....the list goes on and on.

    Basically, the Pope and the Vatican are saying the same thing that the USCC has for decades: Loyal Catholics, Drop Dead.

    And if you want a dozen instances of the latter involving the USCC I would be happy to provide them. Start with Cardinal Medeiros of Boston selling out Irish Catholics in South Boston during the busing fiasco so he could ingratiate himself with the NAACP and ACLU and work your way forward from that.

    1. I think you mean "welcoming abortionists and population control advocates to the" Vatican, not to the White House. You obviously disagree with the social magisterium of the Church and you show your biases with the South Boston example. Francis has changed the tone of how the Church will respond to the issues it faces in the modern world. I was not happy with John Paul's abandoning those struggling for economic justice in Latin America, but he was still Pope. I was not happy with Benedict's revisions of the Liturgy or his narrow focus on Europe over the rest of the world but he was still Pope. I probably won't be happy with what the next Pope does either. But the Pope gets to lead the Church and if he wants to sit down with abortionists and Same-sex partners and party with the Lutherans this October, ok he is the Pope. He doesn't answer to me.

  11. Wow, lively discussion, but time to move on. no more comments will be accepted on this posting