FULLY CHRISTIAN was formerly CATHOLIC IN THE OZARKS
Still 100% Catholic, and 100% Christian.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Social Media and Catholic Bishops


Michael Voris explains the importance of the NEW Catholic Media.

There is no doubt now that social media (blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are what rescued the 2014 Extraordinary Synod on the Family from a clearly heterodox direction. High ranking orthodox prelates within the synod realised, after the publication of the midterm relatio, that the synod process had been hijacked, and was being directed (orchestrated and planned) from the top-down, in an attempt to 'rail-road' an agenda that was counter to the historic and orthodox teaching of the one, holy, catholic and apostolic faith. The orthodox bishops within the synod quickly realised that they were surrounded on all sides, with the orchestrators of modernist heterodoxy to their front, and the liberal mainstream press to their rear. Neither would give them a fair chance to get their message out. So they turned to the bloggers, and small independent media outlets, to get their message out to the public, and this in turn reverberated on Facebook, Twitter and other social media. Within a very short period of time, social media proved just as effective (if not more effective) at getting the message out, as the standard mainstream media.

Unlike the mainstream media, which is generally passive, with social media comes social action. Bloggers are engaged reporters who are unencumbered with the supposed 'objectivity' of regular journalists -- many regular journalists not really being 'objective' anyway. It is no secret that the mainstream media often promotes a very left-leaning slant on the news. Conversely, many bloggers, and small independent news outlets, are willing to counterbalance that with a more conservative, or traditional, right-leaning slant in their articles. Another advantage is that unlike large media outfits, they tend to be very fast. One can expect an interview to be released to the public within hours to minutes after taking place. Whereas large media outlets take much longer -- hours to days -- due to the editing process (which may not go in a one's favour) as well as set broadcasting and print times. Lastly, large media now depends heavily on small media. Yes, you heard me right, many large media outlets now quote, cite, and sometimes even link to small media outlets (such as blogs and independent news sources) to develop their own stories. So in going to small media, one can potentially reach the entire media, if the story is big enough. How many times have you heard a major news story about some famous actor or actress sending out a controversial "tweet" on Twitter? It happens all the time.

So with that in mind, we now move to the present time and the years ahead. This is not 1970. Nor is it 1980. It's not even 1990. This is the 21st century, and the good news about that dear bishops is this. You now have a tool at your disposal that your predecessors did not have and could only dream of. You now have social media, and that means you are no longer prisoner to the whims of the mainstream media. It also means you have a voice, a powerful voice, that can reverberate around the world (depending on how big the story is), and it can be carried by people who are friendly to your message!

Dear bishops, social media is your friend. It is your ally. All you need do is learn how to use it correctly, and I'm going to tell you how to do that right now. Here we go...
  1. Set up an official Facebook fan page. If you're computer savvy you should do this yourself to retain full and absolute control. If you're not computer savvy, that's okay. You should find a trusted person to do this for you. It should be a close friend -- somebody who will never betray you. It should not be a mere employee. Once the Facebook fan page is set up, you now have your first outlet. The advantage of using Facebook is unlimited text. You can 'cut and paste' entire speeches to it, make long statements, and even post photos and illustrations.
  2. If you don't like Facebook, that's okay, you can skip it. Because the next thing you should do, regardless, is set up a Twitter account. Again, if you are computer savvy you should do this yourself to retain full and absolute control. If you're not computer savvy, again that's okay. You should find a trusted person to do this for you. It should be a close friend -- somebody who will never betray you. It should not be a mere employee. The advantage to Twitter is you can pick up an unlimited number of followers rather quickly, and messages you broadcast tend to travel much faster than Facebook. However, you are limited to text size. Basically, whatever you "tweet" has to be in one or two short sentences. Of course, you can avoid both Facebook and Twitter if you like, so long as you follow through with step number 3 below.
  3. Get to know your local bloggers. A simple Google search will reveal Catholic bloggers in your area, and a cursory review of those blogs will quickly reveal what kind of bloggers they are. You should know rather quickly if they are orthodox and reliable sources of information. You should also be able to tell rather quickly if the blog has a decent following. (HINT: unorthodox, liberal Catholic blogs usually don't last long. They're generally not successful.) Keep the principle of subsidiarity in mind. One can always go to a large blog with millions of followers, located in another region, but if you're a small diocesan bishop far away, that blogger may not be as willing to carry your message, especially when some major cardinal is speaking at the same time. If you stick to local bloggers, they are usually thrilled to carry your message. No worries, because if your message is important enough, it will be cited by larger blogs and media outlets later on. The nice thing about the Internet is that when it comes to information, the size of the blog, or media outlet, no longer matters. Once you have identified two or three local blogs to your liking, contact the bloggers. Usually the blogger will leave an email address somewhere on his blog. Or if he's a Catholic, he's probably a parishioner in one of your parishes. You could simply contact him through that parish priest. Whatever method of contact you choose, make it a point to have a short conversation with him, either by telephone or in person (personal human contact is important here), and ask if he would be willing to publish press releases, important messages, or interviews on rare occasions when needed. I guarantee you, the average Catholic blogger will be thrilled to hear this, and will most likely agree. The key to making all this work is to give the blogger something special or exclusive, that people won't generally find in the mainstream news for a while. This is the 'commerce' of blogging. Bloggers need something special (exclusive) for a short time, to break a new story, to help drive traffic to their blog. If you offer them this, that is more than enough payment for their services. So offer your bloggers a detail or two that you don't release to the mainstream press. They'll be very thankful you did.
  4. Small Catholic media outfits are highly dependent on local bloggers for tips, so working with your bloggers is essential. They're usually well connected with small Catholic media outlets. For example, this blogger (yours truly) has some connection to ChurchMilitant.TV, and has appeared on one of their shows twice. You can be sure that any big news this blogger receives from his regular ordinary, or local bishop, will be passed along as a 'tip' to that small media outlet. The same goes for other Catholic bloggers. Each has their own special connection to some kind of small Catholic media. Once the story hits small Catholic media, larger Catholic media, and sometimes even the secular press, will take interest as well.
As the video above points out, the NEW alternative media has become essential in combating the forces of liberalism, modernism and unorthodoxy. Some Catholic priests have seen the value of this themselves and taken to the Internet with their own blogs and podcasts. Two prominent examples are Father John Zuhlsdorf and Father Dwight Longenecker. Both have enormous followings and have done little more than regular commentary on the latest happenings in the Catholic Church and the world. Assuming a bishop doesn't already run his own blog, it would be unfortunate for him to miss connecting with those bloggers already established within his diocese. As recent events in the Vatican proved, these connections are becoming more and more essential.

Saturday, 18 October 2014

The Great Synod Scandal

Christ in the Storm on the Sea of Galilee
Ludolf Bakhuizen, painted in 1695

This week has been a very trying one for Christian families around the world, particularly those families that seek to live in harmony with the Catholic Christian faith. On Monday, October 13th, 2014, on the 97th anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima, the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, led by Pope Francis and several liberal cardinals in Rome, dropped a bombshell on the world in the form of a draft relatio that appeared to question basic Catholic teaching on marriage and sexuality. The press received this document before many of the bishops did, leaving us the still unanswered question of: 'who was responsible for that decision?' Headlines rang around the world, as the unholy 'Synod of the Media" kicked into high gear. The Times reported...
'In a marked shift in tone likely to be discussed in parishes around the world, an assembly of Roman Catholic bishops convened by Pope Francis at the Vatican released a preliminary document on Monday calling for the church to welcome and accept gay people, unmarried couples and those who have divorced, as well as the children of these less traditional families.' 
- New York Times, 10-13-2014
The document itself issued statements that shook faithful Catholics too their knees, questioning the very teaching of the Catholic Church on some of its most basic doctrines related to the family. In Paragraph 46 for example, the document appeared to instruct pastors to deal with divorce and unlawfully remarried persons in such a way that avoids "any language or behaviour that might make them feel discriminated against."  What does this mean? In the following paragraph, it seemed to leave the reception of communion for such people open-ended and unanswered, but cited an ambiguous "law of gradualness", which clearly suggested that reception of holy communion should be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. However, in view of Paragraph 46, we got the definite impression that communion should be permitted so that they should not "feel discriminated against." While Paragraph 48 negatively critiqued those who question communion for the divorce and remarried.  While the document itself seemed disjointed, the general impression was clear. Divorced and remarried persons should receive holy communion, whether an annulment is attained or not.

The document continued with even more explosive language. Paragraphs 50 through 52 were by far the most controversial and dealt with the topic of homosexuality. The document appeared to clearly and boldly challenge official Church teaching by almost championing homosexuality. It radically called upon the Church to "accept and value" the homosexual orientation. The section appeared to suggest, no, not suggest but assert, that homosexual temptation (the temptation to sodomise people) is something to be "accepted and valued." Yes, you read that right, see it for yourself below, the temptation to commit the sin of sodomy (the homosexual orientation), a sin that if committed, cries out to heaven as an abomination, is to be "accepted and valued."
'Homosexuals have gifts and qualities to offer to the Christian community: are we capable of welcoming these people, guaranteeing to them a fraternal space in our communities? Often they wish to encounter a Church that offers them a welcoming home. Are our communities capable of providing that, accepting and valuing their sexual orientation, without compromising Catholic doctrine on the family and matrimony?'
-- Paragraph 50, Synod 14, Relatio post disceptationem
As one can imagine, this lit of a fire storm in the press and in the synod. All over the world, the message was carried, and now the damage is done -- virtually irreversible. The expectation of the world is that the Catholic Church will soon accept homosexuality and divorce. Whether or not it does is no longer an issue. The expectation is there and people are already beginning to act on it.

If the Extraordinary Synod on the Family was supposed to help Catholic families around the world, it, in effect, accomplished the exact opposite. If anything, we are more harmed by the synod. Already pummelled on every side, by pressures unseen in 2,000 years of Church history, the release of this synod document was nothing short of a stab in the back. Speaking as a family man, a faithful Catholic husband and father, assailed for this by post-modern Western culture, the mainstream media, the national government, and now the local city government; my reaction to the Synod's midterm relatio was the familiar response of another besieged man centuries ago: Et tu, Brute? Et tu? I'm sure the same sense of betrayal was felt by many other Catholic husbands and fathers around the world. It would be difficult to plunge the knife in deeper.

This was a trying week. We learnt that the bishops responsible for the compilation and release of the draft document were hand-picked by none other than Pope Francis. We heard report after report from Cardinal Walter Kasper, who supposedly has the pope's ear, that the Holy Father is behind all this, that he wants this to go forward, and that the synod fathers were merely acting upon his will. It should be noted that this comes from the same man who also said the synod fathers pay no attention to the African bishops because of their taboo and backward beliefs. It is a statement the cardinal now denies, even though it was recorded. Perhaps this should lead us to now take Cardinal Kasper's words with a grain of salt, with the understanding that his recollection of recent events appears to be selective at best. If the poor man cannot recall a rather profound (and racist) statement he himself made just a few days ago, how can we possibly expect him to accurately recall conversations he had with the pope weeks to months ago?

Events at the synod deteriorated rapidly following the release of the midterm relatio. Reports surfaced of "shouting" from the floor over a dispute about the publication of conversations related to the small group follow-up debates, with one bishop allegedly "pounding his fist on the table." The pope, stone-faced and sombre through much of the proceedings, finally capitulated, granting the publication, and then placing an African bishop (a critic of the document) on the panel to draw up the next one.

Through all of this, Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke, an American traditionalist, canon lawyer, and Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura (the equivalent of 'Chief Justice' on the Vatican's 'Supreme Court'), became quite vocal, expressing his concerns to the press about the nature of the process. From Burke (and others) we learnt that the sum of all fears had taken place at the synod. The whole thing was intended to be choreographed, orchestrated, and manipulated in such a way as to produce a pre-desired unorthodox outcome. Burke did not accuse the Holy Father of making this happen, but he did say that the pope's failure, to make his own position well known, was bringing great harm to the synod process and to the Church in general. Burke also confirmed rumours of his soon-to-be demotion by Francis to an obscure position outside the Vatican. While this is certainly within the right of the pope to do this, it does raise some eyebrows, especially since Burke has done such excellent work in the past, and was hand-picked by Pope Benedict XVI for that position after proving himself worthy under fire in Saint Louis, Missouri. Unless it's something personal between Francis and Burke, the move signals a strong deviation from the Vatican trajectory set by the Benedict and John Paul papacies. For his outspokenness, Burke may soon find himself exiled to the most remote region in the world, but he has done the Church a great favour in exposing the façade that was unfolding in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

If there is one thing the first, draft relatio of the synod will be remembered for, it will be the overreach of liberal prelates within the Catholic Church, in an attempt to impose their unorthodox (indeed heterodox) views, related to marriage and sexuality, upon the rest of the Church. Where Pope Francis fits into all of this remains to be seen yet, but one thing is certain. His reputation has been severely damaged. All over the world, many members of the clergy are upset with him for his handling of this situation. Some have even gone public with their disappointment by writing open letters to the pope and publishing them on the Internet. Some more traditional Catholic laypeople are even beginning to call into question the legitimacy of his papacy. (On a personal note, I've even heard the term 'antipope' floated around here and there, by people who don't normally say such things.) Francis has a lot of damage control to do over the next year, and perhaps the best way he can do it is by actually taking Cardinal Burke's advice and challenge. He needs to come clean with the world and reveal his official position (as pope) on these matters of family, marriage and sexuality. 'Off the cuff' casual remarks simply will not do any more. The pope must begin acting like the Vicar of Christ by defending orthodoxy on an official level, both in word and deed.

By Saturday, October 18, 2014, the controversial paragraphs of the relatio had been completely removed, and a revised (orthodox) version of the document was voted upon, and passed, by the majority of synod bishops. The second phase of the synod now begins, as bishops take the document back to their dioceses and use it as a reference point for discussions back home.  In October of 2015, the bishops will return to Rome for the third and final phase of the process, the Ordinary Synod on the Family. Only God knows what surprises lay in store for us then.

On a personal note, I have two reflections to offer on this topic.

The first has to do with the synod itself. How could this happen? How did we get to where we are today? I blogged on this extensively in my previous post: The Crisis and the Storm. In summary, the events that transpired in the Extraordinary Synod on the Family did not come about by chance. They were actually a product, of a long chain of events, beginning in the decades before the Second Vatican Council, and gathering momentum ever since. The revolutionary changes in the Church, that came after the Second Vatican Council, created such a weakened moral state within the laity that it was only a matter of time before this "tyranny of relativism", as Pope Benedict XVI put it, worked its way right into the college of cardinals. We can expect more of this to come. The overreach of liberal prelates at the synod may have been put down for now, but a more general overreach will continue to remain a threat until this older post-conciliar generation of clergy is retired.

The second has to do with what we, as faithful lay Catholics, should do in response to everything that has happened. I am convinced that the timing of this scandalous event was no coincidence. October 13th is the most important date in the Fatima message. What transpired at the synod was nothing short of a fulfilment of the Fatima warnings. Our Lady told the three seer children that more souls go to hell over sexual immorality than any other sin. The synod revealed that some members of the Church hierarchy, including some cardinals, are prepared to virtually sanction sexual immorality. Had they been successful in their push, the papacy of Francis, as well as the unity of the entire Catholic Church, would be at stake. For now the crisis is averted, but the danger remains. So with that in mind, what are we, as faithful Catholics, to do in such a time as this?  I'll tell you. We must do two things. One, we must be good Catholics. We must go to confession and mass regularly. We must follow the teachings of the Church, and make an effort to know what those teachings are, as well as understand them. Second, we must take Our Lady's rosary before the tabernacle of every parish church in the world. We must pray the rosary daily in this time of great distress, and then as often as possible, visit Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament, and say our rosary there.  In all of this, we must offer our intentions up for the two causes of the bishops and the family.

Our Lady of Fatima told us that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will prevail. That will happen. Until then however, our duty is clear. The time of sleep is over. Catholics must be awake, alert and ready for spiritual combat. The mainstream press is reporting the final synod document (which removed the controversial paragraphs and restored orthodoxy) as a "setback" for the pope. I don't know if it's really a setback for the pope or not, since the pope has not yet officially told us what his beliefs and intentions are. I do think, however, that this was a huge setback for the mainstream media and liberals within the Church, and all I can say to that is... THANK GOD!

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Monday, 13 October 2014

THE CRISIS AND THE STORM

The Tempest Calmed
Niccolò Circignani (1517 – 1596)

In ages past, the Catholic Church faced three great crises....
  1. The First Great Crisis was the Arian Heresy, and it was by far the worst. It happened in the fourth century and lasted about sixty years. The crisis centred around the divinity of Jesus Christ, wherein a rogue priest, named Arius, challenged established Church doctrine that Jesus Christ is divine, and God exists in the form of Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  Arius asserted that Jesus was merely a man, a great prophet, and the promised Messiah, but not God. Arius was the first one to come up with the concept of a "Bible" or Canon of Scripture, in which he hand-selected the books contained therein, all of them affirming his heretical views. This period saw the majority of the world's Christian bishops, priests and laity siding with Arius. The Councils of Nicea and Constantinople were held during this time, and in response the Church not only condemned Arius and his heresy, but also formulated the Nicene Creed and commissioned the work of compiling an authentic Christian Bible, particularly the New Testament, which happens to be the same one all Christians use today.  The First Great Crisis of the Church came to an end with the dismantling of Arianism and the victory of the Catholic Church.
  2. The Second Great Crisis in the Church came during the tenth century, in what some have called the "Obscure Century".  This was a period when the papacy was corrupted by wicked families with great wealth and political power.  During this time the papacy was drug through the mud, so to speak, with corrupt popes, nepotism, materialism, political ambitions, and so on.  No official heresy was taught from the Chair of Peter, but the level of corruption and lack of discipline led many Catholics to be carried away by heretical doctrines anyway.
  3. The Third Great Crisis in the Church was called the Occidental Schism (or "Western Schism"), which was in part caused by the exile of the papacy to Avignon in France. This led to confusion which ultimately culminated in the reign of three "popes" simultaneously, each contenting to be the one true authentic pope. The crisis was ended at the Council of Constance in 1414-1418, when two of the three "popes" agreed to resign for the greater good of the Church, the third was deposed by the council, and a new authentic pope was elected in their places. 
Now we face the FOURTH GREAT CRISIS of the Catholic Church.  These words are not my own.  They come from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary of Astana (Kazakhstan), who's interview can be read on Rorate Caeli blog.  The Fourth Great Crisis in the Catholic Church can be summarised as the widespread abuse of the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, which is manifested in the form of liturgical, doctrinal and pastoral abuse.

The seeds of this crisis began in the middle twentieth century, before the Second Vatican Council and shortly after World War II. It was at this time that the focus of leaders within the Catholic Church began to shift from God to man. The discipline of psychology was growing in popularity at the time, and many Church leaders started to embrace it. Along with that, new theologians were coming to the forefront that questioned what was previously established Church teaching. Into this mix the Second Vatican Council was called. Pope Benedict XVI, who was present at the Council as Fr. Joseph Ratzinger, in one of his final public addresses as pontiff some fifty years later, clarified the situation that existed at that time. (I blogged on this extensively here.) In summary, he said that "two councils" were going on simultaneously. The first was the "Council of the Fathers", or the authentic Second Vatican Council, which is what the bishops were actually discussing in Rome. The second was the "Council of the Media", which was a counterfeit council created by the mainstream news press, in which the documents of the Second Vatican Council were "reinterpreted" by the press, and then disseminated to the public with a remarkably Left-wing and Modernist spin that the Council Fathers never intended. This process has continued, more or less, for the last 50 years, to a point where we now live in a time when the popular media has more influence on Catholics than the bishops of the Church. What we have witnessed in the last half century is nothing short than a psychological coup d'état on the minds of faithful Catholics, wherein the authentic leadership of the Church was replaced by the counterfeit leadership of the mainstream press.

Immediately following the Second Vatican Council was the introduction of the Missal of Pope Paul VI. On the whole, the missal was a simplification of the Roman Liturgy, making room for the expansion of Lectionary readings, as well as greater liturgical participation by the faithful laity. This was all it was ever intended to do, and the Council Fathers, previously assembled in Rome, envisioned a future liturgy with greater public participation and more reading from the Sacred Scriptures. They also envisioned a future liturgy that looked remarkably similar to the Missal of Saint Pius V, celebrated by the Council Fathers at the Second Vatican Council. That was not to happen. Immediately, the counterfeit Council of the Media went into action in the 1970s, following the release of the new missal, reinterpreting the intention and purpose of the new liturgy. What was produced was a new Roman liturgy that scarcely looks anything like what the Second Vatican Council intended, resulting in a complete loss of the Latin language (a language the Council Fathers affirmed as liturgically necessary), the loss of Gregorian chant, and most profoundly, a watered-down presentation of the Eucharist wherein the faithful receive communion in the hand while standing, and the sacred tabernacle is literally pushed off to some remote corner of the parish chapel. In almost all celebrations of the new missal, the priest faces the people, and in those parishes where the tabernacle is set off to the side somewhere, it leaves the congregation with the visual impression that man is the centre of the liturgy not God.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), in his book Spirit of the Liturgy put it this way:
'In the very form of its places of divine worship, which we have just been considering, Christianity, speaking and thinking in a Semitic way, has laid down principles by which this question can be answered. Despite all the variations in practise that have taken place far into the second millennium, one thing has remained clear for the whole of Christendom: praying towards the East is a tradition that goes back to the beginning. Moreover, it is a fundamental expression of the Christian synthesis of cosmos and history, of being rooted in the once-for-all events of salvation history while going out to meet the Lord who is to come again. Here both the fidelity to the gift already bestowed and the dynamism of going forward are given equal expression...  Admittedly, these connections were obscured or fell into total oblivion in the church buildings and liturgical practise of the modern age. This is the only explanation for the fact that the common direction of prayer of priest and people got labelled as "celebrating towards the wall" or "turning your back on the people" and came to seem absurd and totally unacceptable. And this alone explains why the meal – even in modern pictures – became the normative idea of liturgical celebration for Christians. In reality what happened was that an unprecedented clericalization came on the scene. Now the priest – the "presider," as they now prefer to call him – becomes the real point of reference for the whole liturgy. Everything depends on him. We have to see him, to respond to him, to be involved in what he is doing. His creativity sustains the whole thing....  Not surprisingly, people try to reduce this newly created role by assigning all kinds of liturgical functions to different individuals and entrusting the "creative" planning of the liturgy to groups of people who like to, and are supposed to, "make their own contribution." Less and less is God in the picture. More and more important is what is done by the human beings who meet here and do not like to subject themselves to a "pre-determined pattern"....  The turning of the priest towards the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself.' 
THUD!  And with that, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) summarised the prevailing direction of the Catholic Church in the modern age. The Council of the Media was so powerful that it affected the minds of some priests and bishops, reorienting them toward a new hierarchy, one in which the Zeitgeist of Modernism (the diabolical spirit of our age) reigns supreme. 

Ratzinger characterised the fruit of this zeitgeist as the "tyranny of relativism" in which sin and depravity is tolerated in the name of "tolerance", while objection to sin and depravity is not tolerated in the name of "tolerance". So we see it played out in the Western governments of today. Easy "no-fault" divorce is commonplace, as is unmarried sexual cohabitation, artificial contraception and abortion on demand. A tide of homosexuality is rising at a rate unseen since the days of Pagan Rome, and once again in the name of "tolerance" this Zeitgeist of Modernism imposes a tyranny of relativism upon anyone who would dare speak out against it. Legal homosexual unions, mockingly called "marriages", have become the norm in Europe and Canada, while in the United States, one state after another falls to this tyranny in spite of the electoral will of the people.

In Christianity, the Zeitgeist of Modernism, with its tyranny of relativism, has wreaked havoc on the Protestant world. What was once just a couple dozen denominations and sects has exploded into literally hundreds, as conservative Protestants, faithful to traditional Christian morality, have fled their mainline denominations to create new splinter churches that maintain older Biblical standards. These "conservative" churches provide a refuge of peace for now, but the Zeitgeist of Modernism knows no denominational boundaries. Already the tyranny of relativism is knocking at the doors of many of these new conservative Protestant denominations. Some religious trend observers have forecasted their downfall within a matter of a decade or two. 

In the Catholic Church, the Zeitgeist of Modernism, with its tyranny of relativism, has not fractured the unity of Rome -- yet -- but it has apparently infiltrated into the highest echelons of the Church hierarchy. Priests, bishops and even cardinals have been unable to evade its deep reaching tentacles. We have seen this unfold over decades with priests who refuse to teach their congregations the evils of: divorce, cohabitation, contraception, abortion, euthanasia and homosexual acts. We have seen this unfold over decades with bishops who refuse to enforce Canon 915 by making excommunication and interdiction almost unheard of in the modern Church. We have seen this unfold over decades with innumerable examples of liturgical innovation and abuse. We have seen this unfold over decades in the form of a clerical sex scandal, with the abuse of minors, that is unprecedented in the whole 2,000 years of Church history! 

Now, after the election of Pope Francis, the mainstream press has put the Council of the Media into overdrive. If the Council of the Media gave us that diabolical "Spirit of Vatican II", which had nothing to do with the actual Vatican II, then what we are now witnessing is the equally diabolical "Spirit of Pope Francis" which has nothing to do with the real Pope Francis -- or so we can only hope.  This artificial "Spirit of Pope Francis" is in every way heterodox. It embraces homosexual acts along with homosexual persons, as well as divorce itself along with divorced people. It makes no distinction between the act and the person. All is one in the same, with this "lovey-dovey, hippy-dippy" new pope, who refuses to judge anything, and views everything as permissible. Is the real Pope Francis anything like what the media has portrayed in its artificial "Spirit of Pope Francis"? We hope not, but only time will tell.

In the midst of this latest media push comes the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October, to be followed by an Ordinary Synod on the Family in October of 2015. As we have seen unfold in the Extraordinary Synod, the sum of all fears has been realised. The Zeitgeist of Modernism has reached its tentacles deep into the Church hierarchy, and touched the highest ranking prelates with its tyranny of relativism. We have seen a statement released calling for changes in Church discipline, tone and language, related to the sins of: adultery, fornication, contraception and homosexuality. At the centre of this agenda is a push to permit the reception of Holy Communion (the Holy Eucharist) by those knowingly and obstinately in mortal sin, all with the blessing of the Catholic Church. Along with this comes the predictable "Synod of the Media" which is already making international headlines. As terrible as the Extraordinary Synod has become, the "Synod of the Media" will compound the situation, and make it so much worse, with the news media's reinterpretation and repackaging of the Synod's already warped message.

It remains to be seen what will come of this, and the first Synod report is just preliminary, but with this report, it has become painfully clear and obvious that Bishop Athanasius Schneider was right. With pinpoint accuracy he nailed it. We are now in the Fourth Great Crisis of the Catholic Church. The crisis revolves around the nature of the Holy Eucharist and abuses related to it. Surveys of Catholics all over the world reveal that the doctrine of the transubstantiation (literal presence of Christ) is no loner believed by a majority of Catholics, and this perhaps explains a lot. It is no wonder that the Eucharist is no longer centre in Catholic life, when the tabernacles are placed in some obscure corner of the parish church. It is no wonder when communicants are no longer asked to kneel in the presence of God, and receive Him enthroned on their tongue, but instead take Him in their own hands like a common cookie to be consumed as a casual snack. It is no wonder when the sacrament of confession is celebrated only occasionally, and rarely before mass, so that the faithful are not reminded of their need to confess their sins and prepare themselves for physical communion with God. It is no wonder when the liturgy becomes a "self-enclosed circle" wherein the priest, and not the sacrament, become the centre of attention. It is no wonder when the liturgy takes on an innovative carnival atmosphere, instead of a solemn and reverent celebration of the presence of God. As the Church used to say: Lex orandi, lex credendi, meaning in Latin, "the law of prayer is the law of belief". When the Church creates a liturgical experience that focuses more on man than God, is it any wonder that the people begin to think of man as God? In the Garden of Eden, the lie the serpent told to humanity was this. To disobey God was to become a god, and to become a god is to judge for yourselves, without God, what is good and what is evil. God's laws do not matter. What matters is your own judgement. So we see this unfolding in the Catholic Church, as we previously saw it unfold in the mainline Protestant churches. Man becomes God, and man creates his own morality, based upon his own judgement. We have seen this happen among the laity, many of whom no longer believe in the "real presence" in the Eucharist, but simultaneously believe homosexual "marriage" is permissible and should be embraced. God is denied, and man is exalted to the level of a god, judging for himself what is good and evil. God is left out of the process. What began in the laity has crawled its way up into the hierarchy of the Church. In the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, we have witnessed Catholic prelates call for a relaxation of laws pertaining to the reception of Holy Communion, so that what is already practised illegally in the Catholic Church, may now receive the blessing of the Catholic Church. This way the Holy Eucharist may be profaned even more regularly, and without the care or concern by those in charge. The community of the Church may finally focus entirely on itself, rather than the One whom they have supposedly gathered to worship.

At he heart of the moral crisis evolving at the Synod on the Family, is a deeper crisis related to the Holy Eucharist, and in particular its treatment in the modern Church. It is revealed in everything, from beliefs, to practises, to liturgy, to discipline. This is the Fourth Great Crisis in the Catholic Church. How long it will last depends entirely on the long-suffering and mercy of God Almighty. In the painting above is depicted a recreation of Jesus calming the storm at sea. Our Eucharistic Christ will calm this storm as well, but like the disciples before us, we must first wake him and ask. Perhaps the time has come for constant prayer vigils to be held at every tabernacle, in every parish, around the world.

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