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The Rosary: The Way of Perfection
“To Mary alone God gave the keys to the cellar of divine love and the ability to enter the most sublime and secret ways of perfection, and lead others along them.”
(St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin, #45)
Our Lady of Fatima said that her Immaculate Heart would be our refuge and the way that would lead us to God. She also clearly designated the praying of the Rosary as the Way by which this interior fulfillment of our hearts in union with God should be accomplished.
Just as all Truth, Holiness, and Perfection came to us in the Incarnation of Christ through the Angelic Salutation, so the Hail Mary provides the way for each of our hearts to be fully immersed in Mary in order that we may be transformed into the likeness of her Son Jesus.
Those who have prayed the Rosary faithfully can testify to the mysterious power it has over the human soul, especially in terms of instilling a deep security in their faith. This is something which seems to occur even in the midst of all sorts of distractions, inadequate concentration on the words we are saying, or the equally frustrating failures to focus on the mysteries themselves. But few seem to consider that the Rosary itself, embodying the very words with which God became man, might equally be the means by which Our Lord and Our Lady desire that we be drawn into the highest realms of love and union with God.
Throughout the history of Catholic spiritual writings, there has traditionally been proposed a threefold hierarchical division of types of prayer: oral prayer, discursive meditation, and the higher states of contemplative prayer in which one is drawn into deeper union with God. The Rosary has almost always been seen as operating exclusively in the realm of the first two types of prayer. The third type, usually considered as an exalted mystical state experienced only by very rarely chosen souls, has been viewed as something to which oral prayer like the Rosary cannot usually provide a “Way”. In light of what has been written above, this makes little sense. The Hail Mary being the Word by which God came to us, it should also be considered the “cellar of divine love” (using St. Louis de Montfort’s expression), which contains all that is necessary in order that we may be drawn up through all the stages of prayer into union with the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.
St. Teresa of Avila, one of the greatest mystics in the history of the Church, tells us that the deepest experiences of prayer through which we reach union with God, are not at all intended by God to be reserved only for a few select souls. She tells us, in fact, that a very large number of souls in this world hover on the edge of such deeper union with God, and never manage to cross over into this marvelous world, solely because of one very tragic mistake which they commit in their spiritual lives.
These souls, described by St. Teresa, have reached a state where mortal sin is truly abhorrent to them, and they even are committed to waging war against venial sin. They are firmly established in the faith, are committed to the practice of virtue, and have spent much time and effort in meditating upon the mysteries of Our Lord and His Mother, and the truths of the Gospel. And all this has been reflected in a devotion to prayer and discursive meditation.
But they come to a point where all of this is not enough – something much deeper seems to place a demand upon their souls. Their former practices of prayer and meditation, which had seemed such fruitful sources of joy and enlightenment, now seem to have become profoundly permeated by temptations, aridity, distraction, and lack of consolation. It is at this point that such persons might experience a great deal of anxiety, restlessness, melancholia, and discouragement – all of this posing the threat that they might even abandon prayer altogether. It is here, according to St. Teresa, that so many souls falter because they lack understanding – most specifically, they lack self-knowledge.
What St. Teresa means by this lack of self-knowledge is not the kind of self-knowledge which we speak of in regard to unraveling the blindness which we may have acquired concerning our sins and infidelities. Rather, it is that ignorance which fails to understand our makeup as fallen human beings, and how this applies to making progress towards God. Because of this ignorance, the temptations, distractions, discouragement, melancholia, etc. which such persons experience become a threat to their commitment to, and progress in, the spiritual life of prayer. And even though these persons may, in all good will, persevere in prayer, they become resigned to a spiritual state of distraction, dullness, and torpidity – somehow becoming convinced that this is the best that has been willed for them by God. They may even suffer the delusion that such a continual state of torpidity and lack of progress is a meritorious cross of suffering intended for them by God.
It is here, says St. Teresa, that such persons are profoundly mistaken. They are indeed very close to God. But they are led away from being drawn into the depths of His love because they identify all of the distraction and temptations which are raging away in their lower mind (because of the effects of original sin) with the state of their soul. And in “going after” such things, they are simply following in the steps of the very foolish man who thinks he can fight the Devil on his own ground. St. Teresa says that in reality, we can no more stop such things through our own efforts than we can stop the roaring of the sea. In her writings, she describes the extraordinary nature and extent of such temptations which she often experienced even after having attained the highest states of union with God.
The lack of self-knowledge which is the cause of this unfortunate attitude and state is therefore this: it consists in the failure to understand that, at this stage of the spiritual life, deeper union with God is dependent not primarily upon the mind and its operations, but rather upon the will. And this in turn requires that we realize that we are now being called to simplify our prayer into what should consist primarily of simple acts of love and surrender to God. St. Teresa even goes so far as to say that during this descent into the cellar of God’s love, we need to laugh at our temptations and distractions, and count them as nothing. This of course does not in any way mean that discursive thinking and meditation cease entirely, but only that they assume their now proper status as the foundations of Faith from which the soul is called to launch forth into the deeper reaches of God’s light and love.
All of this bears profoundly on our praying of the Rosary.
Probably all readers have either read, or heard it said, that meditations upon the individual Mysteries, and the lives of Jesus and Mary which they depict, are the very soul of the Rosary. This is certainly true. Just as Faith is the absolute foundation of all true Charity, so the Mysteries of the life of Christ and His Mother are the foundations of all that constitutes our growth in love through the Rosary. As St. Teresa also wrote, any devotion or method of prayer which proposes to make progress in the spiritual life by bypassing the humanity of Christ (and therefore the actual Mysteries of the Rosary) is an extremely dangerous deceit of the Devil.
This does not mean, however, that all of our time spent in praying the Rosary must be spent in discursive thought concerning these Mysteries. Anyone who has spent years trying to use something such as a “scriptural rosary” is fully aware of the futility of always trying to keep their attention fixed upon such “thoughts”. Because their prayer is always focused in the realm of discursive thinking and imagination, they also find themselves operating in the playground where all the “demons” of distractions and temptations make their home. They must therefore come to realize that there is truly a path into the heart of all of these mysteries which is profoundly effective in bypassing this “roaring of the sea”. And since the Angelic Salutation occupies what is certainly at least ninety percent of the time of our prayer, and is the heart of the Rosary, we shall begin here (we shall discuss the other prayers of the Rosary afterwards).
While at the beginning of each decade we must certainly try to focus on, and bow our minds and hearts, before the individual mystery which we are about to pray. During the actual recitation of the Hail Mary’s we suggest something very different – a difference which is completely focused on placing our hearts within Mary’s Immaculate Heart in order to enter upon that way of interior transformation that will lead us “affectively” closer to Her and to Jesus.
During the words “Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee”, we should see Our Lord entering in complete spiritual childhood into Mary’s Immaculate Heart and womb at the moment of the Incarnation. It is here that we may be assured that we are in no way attempting to bypass the humanity of Christ or any of the Mysteries of His life, despite the fact that we are not always focused on discursive thinking and meditation upon these Mysteries. As St. Louis de Montfort writes, “The Incarnation is the greatest of the Mysteries of Christ’s life, because it contains the grace and intention of all the rest.” With the very first words of the Angelic Salutation we therefore become united with Our Lord and Our Lady in all of the Mysteries of their lives. And we may be assured that, as deemed necessary by Our Lord Himself, the deeper meaning of these Mysteries will open up to us, not only during the recitation of the Rosary itself, but also through all the further meditations upon and study of the Faith which is incumbent upon all of us during our entire life.
With the words “Blessed art thou among women” we interiorly follow Our Lord in
total humility and descent into the Immaculate Heart of Mary our Mother. And with the words “and blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus”, we receive Jesus in spiritual communion. It is an extraordinary source of joy to have realized that we can “make” a spiritual communion during each Hail Mary. We might also add a quick “Come into my heart” after saying the name of Jesus. Such an ejaculation “in the back of our mind” is possible even when praying the rosary orally with someone else, and while we are meanwhile responding with the second half.
As for the second half of the Hail Mary, it is easy simply to focus on the words – to pray as sinners for the grace of profound inner purification which can only come through the grace of her intercession (“Pray for us sinners”), and to also pray especially for what has always been considered the greatest of individual actual graces – the grace of final perseverance (“now and at the hour of our death.”). This second part of Hail Mary amounts to a total consecration to Jesus through Mary for the entirety of our lives on the path towards holiness.
What is written above might seem rather complicated in print, but after a bit of initial effort and work, it has become something that seems very natural. It does not disturb the pace of the Rosary (unless we are praying it too fast). Even if we become distracted (which still often happens), it is easy, as St. Louis de Montfort says, to “arise with alacrity” and return our hearts to Jesus and Mary. It is the work (the art) of a lifetime.
One of the very noticeable effects of this method of praying the Hail Mary is its effect on the desire and ability to focus on the other prayers of the Rosary. The additional great benefit of this practice is that it does truly bring about a “union” between the “word” that is on our lips and the thought that is in our mind. We are actually intending with our mind and will what we are orally (or silently) praying. One of the primary effects of original sin, stemming from the loss of the gift of integrity between all our faculties, is the now natural (in terms of fallen nature) duplicity ( St. James calls this “double-mindedness”) that runs so deep in each of us between what we are thinking and doing, and especially between what we are thinking and what we are saying. Any restoration of “single-mindedness” is therefore a wonderful thing and a foretaste of Heaven in which this integrity will be fully restored. As Our Lord said, “If thy eye be single, then thy whole body shall be lightsome.”
The recitation of the Apostles Creed seems to be almost immediately affected by the overflow of graces which now flow from this at-least partial restoration of integrity. All of the articles of belief enunciated in the Creed are of course quite specific truths of our faith, and the movement of assent of our minds and hearts to the truths contained therein is penetrated now with new attentiveness and assent.
The “Our Father” is of course “Our Lord’s Prayer”, and therefore pre-eminent over all of creation. When we pray “Our Father Who art in Heaven, hallowed be they name; Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven”, it might therefore indeed be seen as appropriate to make the simple intention of surrendering to God’s absolute sovereignty over all the world, especially as expressed in the Kingship of Christ over all individual souls, all nations, and all aspects of our individual and collective lives. And even though entire books have been written on the Our Father, the simple requests that follow should present no problem for the attention of those who pray them. We only need to mention that, as we descend more deeply in to the Heart of Mary, our supplication “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us” naturally becomes far more redolent with meaning. Entering into the Heart of Mercy cannot fail in generating the effect of saturating our own hearts with a deeper charity and mercy towards our brothers and sisters in Christ. This of course should also necessarily have the effect of increasing our attention and desire for the salvation of souls which is the essence of the Fatima prayer at the end of each decade.
The “Glory be to the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end” might indeed be the Rosary prayer which has been said in the most rote matter, and could well rate highest on any scale of double-mindedness and minimal consciousness. This is tragic. It is the prayer which most succinctly expresses the greatest mystery of our Faith – the Holy Trinity – and it should not at all be difficult during its recitation to place our minds in the eternal unchanging knowledge, will, and embrace of God (we wrote on this subject in the article on the Fifth Glorious Mystery). It might even be very appropriate in reciting this prayer to experience a wave of fortitude, and even anger, in militant defense of the eternal, unchanging Nature of God and His Revelation in the face of the world-wide attacks now being made by the forces of Antichrist against all that is contained therein.
We need also consider the intentions for which we pray the Rosary. Anyone who has prayed the Rosary for many years probably has experienced how tedious it can be offering the same intentions over and over, especially if they are numerous. These intentions tend to become very automatic, and profoundly lacking in all that we might imagine to be integral to truly desiring what we ask for, or in loving the very people for whom we are praying. It is one of the wonderful and mysterious effects of praying the Angelic Salutation in the way we have described above that it opens our hearts to the needs and miseries of others:
“And I will give you a new heart, and put a new spirit within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh.” (Ez. 36:26).
All that we have offered above in regard to a method for praying the Rosary are suggestions. There is a great deal of richness and variety in human hearts and minds which cannot be placed under any one absolutely- uniform method or rule of prayer.
At the same time, however, we believe that we have offered some principles that are universal. Holding primacy among these principles is the truth that it is a great error and delusion to be in any way satisfied with a practice of praying the Rosary which is beset with distractions, inattentiveness, etc. What is imperative is that each one of us becomes, as was the Old Testament prophet Daniel, a “Man of Desires”, incapable of resting in spiritual mediocrity and duplicity. If none of what is written above is helpful to some particular individual, then we recommend incessant prayer to Our Lady that he be shown his own particular way – like the widow who sought justice from the unjust judge (Luke 18: 1-8). As Our Lord said, “The kingdom of heaven suffereth violence, and the violent bear it away (Mt. 11:12). Nothing is more pleasing to Our Lord than the violence within the human heart that refuses to live on the outskirts of His love.
We need only add that what has been written above is the essence of what the Rosary to the Interior: For the Purification of the Church is all about. There can be no solution to the tidal wave of chaos which is now upon us except through that extraordinary interior purification of our hearts which awaits our descent into the cellars of divine love present within the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and which is accessible through her Rosary. Only thus will the power of the Holy Spirit once again become fruitful within the Church for the conversion, and re-conversion, of peoples and nations to Christ. Let us pursue this love violently, especially for the sake of our children who are faced with a world (and the Prince of this world) which is now in possession of a power to devour souls never before witnessed in Christian history.
Praying At All Times
“Watch ye, therefore, praying at all times, that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that are to come, and to stand before the Son of man.” (Luke 21: 36)
Never in Christian history has it been more imperative that we pay heed to the scripture quoted above. Never have we more needed an escape from the “things to come”, and never, therefore, has it been more incumbent upon us to “pray at all times”.
The five-decade Rosary of course requires a period of extended time. There are therefore many limitations in our over-busy world placed upon how many times we can pray such a Rosary during the day. There would seem to be no such limit placed upon Hail Mary’s prayed according to the method we have described above. A Hail Mary takes about twenty seconds. We all need to think about what this means in terms of the potential for being immersed in the “cellars of divine love” of Our Lord and Our Lady, of receiving Jesus in spiritual communion innumerable times during the day, and of protecting ourselves from evil and all “the things to come”.
One of the most wonderful times to pray Hail Mary’s in this way is when we are in bed and trying to fall asleep. This is especially true if we go to bed with worries on our mind, and enormously so if there is any kind of despair, discouragement, depression, anger, etc. At such times, the truths concerning Mary as being the “Refuge of Sinners” and the Rosary as the “Way of Perfection” are verified beyond any possible doubt.
A Love That Maketh a Lie:
Amoris Laetitia and the Teilhardian Agenda
“Without are dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols, and every one that loveth and maketh a lie.”
In order to accomplish the victory of Teilhardian evolutionary theology over 2,000 years of Catholic teaching concerning God’s immutable Truth and Revelation, it is above all necessary that the perpetrators of this agenda falsify the Catholic doctrine concerning the theological virtue of Charity.
The above-quoted scripture from the Book of the Apocalypse should be something which causes us to “draw up short” in profound self-reflection. In a world and a Church in which the absolute truths of our Faith are being denied, de-emphasized and marginalized in favor of a view of a God Who is unconditional love, the notion that there is a love that “maketh a lie” to such a magnitude as to place those who exercise it on the same level as those who are “without” the Kingdom of Heaven because they are “dogs, sorcerers, the unchaste, murderers, and servers of idols”, should make all of us tremble.
The key to understanding this passage lies in understanding the Greek word which is used in this passage for “loveth”. It is not eros, which means erotic or sexual love, and is in fact a Greek word that is never used in the New Testament. Nor is it agapē, which is translated as charity, and which we properly use only for the supreme love of God and man. Rather, it is philěō, which is defined as brotherly love, or the love of the brotherhood. It is in fact where the name of the city Philadelphia comes from, which literally means the City (delphia) of Brotherly Love.
The most malicious form of love which “maketh a lie” is obviously, therefore, any love practiced towards one’s brethren which establishes or confirms them in sin. It is a love, in other words, which contradicts and violates that highest form of love of God which is called Charity. As we shall see, it is precisely just such a love, and its corresponding lie, which is now being widely promoted within the Church.
The “hub” of all Catholic life is the truth concerning the Catholic theological virtue of Charity. This is so because it is the absolute key to the reality of the Catholic truth concerning the justification and salvation of every person who is destined for an eternity with God. The Council of Trent defines this doctrine in the following words:
“For, although no one can be just but he to whom the merits of the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ are communicated, yet is this done in the said justification of the impious, when by the merit of that same most Holy Passion, the charity of God is poured forth by the Holy Spirit in the hearts of those that are justified and is inherent therein.” (Session VI, Ch. VII).
In other words, the supernatural gift of Charity is equivalent to the possession of sanctifying grace, and constitutes our being in the friendship of God (please see our previous article Teilhardian Evolution: To Change the Hearts and Minds of All Men for an analysis of Charity and its relationship to the Catholic concepts of Truth, Love, and Mercy). It is therefore of primary importance that we properly understand how we come to possess this inestimable gift.
It is a defined doctrine of the Catholic Faith that the exercise of man’s free will is absolutely necessary for all that is involved in his justification and sanctification; necessary for cooperating with the actual graces in preparation for justification; necessary in cooperating with the grace of justification itself; necessary for persevering in faith and good works, both of which are necessary for salvation; necessary for performance of those good works which merit an increase of glory in eternal life; and necessary for the grace of final perseverance. In other words, while God’s gift of Charity and sanctifying grace is totally gratuitous, being derived solely from the merits of Our Lord’s Passion and in no way due to the merits of man, it at the same time requires the cooperation of man’s free will for its reception and application, and is therefore the most merited thing in the life of any human being who seeks to be in the friendship of God and inherit the Kingdom of Heaven. The Council of Trent’s Decree on Justification in fact contains over 20 canons detailing the absolute necessity of the cooperation of man’s free will in meriting and living this grace, and pronounces anathemas upon any who presume to deny these truths.
Consideration of Charity as being the “hub” of all Catholic life is appropriate because all that constitutes what is necessary for being in friendship with God may be metaphorically compared to a wheel containing the “spokes” of the many Catholic doctrines and truths which are integral to the reality and understanding of Charity. And, unlike a physical wheel, the entire structure of this wheel is shattered if even one of these spokes be broken (culpably denied). As we pointed out emphatically in our previous article, Charity cannot exist where there is not Faith, and Faith itself cannot exist where even one such doctrine is culpably denied. The following doctrines are all intimately related to and necessary for the understanding of Charity:
God created man and endowed man with Charity (sanctifying grace) super-added to his human nature. This we call the state of “Original Justice”. It could not have existed if Adam and Eve had not been endowed with the full human intelligence and free will necessary for understanding and freely choosing to live in this friendship with God.
Man fell from this original state of Justice and Charity through freely willing to sin in rebellion against God. As a result, he lost sanctifying grace. And also as a result, he came to possess a fallen nature, which, although severely weakened and disordered in both intellect and will, still possessed the necessary intelligence and free will to be responsible for his actions. This fallen nature is the common inheritance of all men (Our Lady being excepted) at the moment of their conception.
The restoration of man to the state of possessing Charity (sanctifying grace) was only made possible through the Sacrifice of Christ in His Passion. This only becomes a reality in an individual person’s life through freely chosen faith and baptism. It is this “state” of Charity which each person is responsible for maintaining through faith and good works. This entails that it is also a matter of Faith that there is a real distinction between living in this state of Charity, on the one hand, and being dead in mortal sin on the other. This further necessitates the real distinction between mortal and venial sin. If a person loses sanctifying grace through mortal sin, this Charity may be restored through the sacrament of Confession. And since, as St. Thomas says, “The reality of the Eucharist is the unity of the Mystical Body of Christ, without which there is no salvation”, then the reception of the Eucharist while living in objective mortal sin is in itself a sacrilegious denial of this unity, a “re-crucifixion” of Christ, and a sacrilegious offense against the Charity of God.
Having thus detailed the very specific doctrinal content of the Catholic doctrine concerning Charity, we are now in a position to determine the nature of the “lie” which is the defining heresy involved in Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia.
Amoris Laetitia: Heresy Unveiled
Since the public presentation of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia on April 8, 2016, the traditional Catholic media has been flooded with negative evaluations. Following is a list of some of the pejoratives used to describe this document: ambiguous, undermining, fundamental option, turning point in Catholic doctrine, uncertainty, coup, revolutionary, relativistic, plot to turn the Church upside down, demolish the foundations of two thousand years of Catholicism, constant teaching of the Church destroyed, strange, surreal, disquieting, dreadful, devastating for the Church, a praise to heretic joy, catastrophic. It has even been simply called the “Bergoglian heresy”.
In these evaluations, a number of passages have been quoted from the Exhortation, virtually all of the relevant ones to be found in Chapter 8, which is titled “Accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness”. Unquestionably, these passages and their respective evaluations offer evidence for the strong condemnations of these commentators. Possibly most succinct, and most often employed, is a passage from paragraph 305, and its footnote. The passage reads:
“Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”
The relevant footnote (#351) reads:
“In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments. Hence, “I want to remind priests that the confessional must not be a torture chamber, but rather an encounter with the Lord’s mercy” (Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium [24 November 2013], 44: AAS 105 , 1038). I would also point out that the Eucharist “is not a prize for the perfect, but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak” (ibid., 47: 1039).”
All this is indeed an indication of an underlying heresy, but it does not, so to speak, “put the nail to the coffin”. As one commentator put it, it is “careful language”. Or, as Cardinal Schonborn stated in his Intervention at the Presentation of Amoris Laetitia, it is a “linguistic event”.
Possibly the most succinct, devastating, and poignant summary of this position – that Amoris Laetitia represents not explicit, but implicit, heresy – has come, not from a traditional Catholic, but from a man who describes himself as having been a secular Jew who converted to Catholicism, and now has rejected the Faith entirely. Damon Linker, in The Week magazine, writes the following:
“If there were any doubts that Pope Francis is a stealth reformer of the Roman Catholic Church, the apostolic exhortation he released last week (Amoris Laetitia, or the “Joy of Love”) should settle the matter.
“A straightforward reformer of the church seeks to change its doctrines. A stealth reformer like Francis, on the other hand, keeps the doctrines intact but invokes such concepts as mercy, conscience, and pastoral discernment to show priests that it’s perfectly acceptable to circumvent and disregard those doctrines in specific cases. A doctrine officially unenforced will soon lose its authority as a doctrine. Where once it was a commandment sanctioned by God, now it becomes an “ideal” from which we’re expected to fall short. Before long it may be treated as a suggestion. Eventually, repealing it is no longer controversial — or perhaps even necessary.
“Stealth reform ultimately achieves the same reformist goal, but without inspiring the intense opposition that would follow from attempting to change the doctrine outright.”
However, Cardinal Schonborn, Damon Linker, and others who promote such views concerning the Pope’s Exhortation are wrong. Amoris Laetitia is not just a “linguistic event” or “stealth reform” or “implicit heresy”, which is able to fly under the radar of a specific charge of objective heresy.There is a very explicit heresy, it is the foundation of all the other legitimate condemnations of Amoris Laetitia, and it clearly reveals the agenda which germinates and nourishes all the rest of its errors. It is found in paragraphs 296 and 297:
“The way of the Church is not to condemn anyone for ever; it is to pour out the balm of God’s mercy on all those who ask for it with a sincere heart… For true charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous.” (296).
“It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial com-munity and thus to experience being touched by an ‘unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous’ mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (297).
Clearly, in the context of Chapter VIII of Amoris Laetitia, the Pope is speaking here of the individual human person, and the state of his soul which determines not only whether he may receive Holy Communion, but also whether he is justified or condemned. As a Catholic, whatever he says therefore must be judged in the light of the Council of Trent’s infallible teaching concerning justification, which we examined in our Introduction to this article.
To assert, as does Pope Francis, that “true charity is unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous” is simply a very explicit heresy. As we have pointed out, the Grace of God which is called “Charity”is indeed totally unmerited and gratuitous in itself, but its presence in the soul of man – a state which we rightly call “living in sanctifying grace” and “being in the friendship of God” – is of necessity merited by man and not at all unconditional. The following two passages from the teachings of the Council of Trent make all of this abundantly clear:
“But no one, how much soever justified ought to think himself exempt from the observance of the commandments, no one ought to make use of that rash saying, one prohibited by the Fathers under an anathema, that the observance of the commandments of God is impossible for one that is justified. For God commands not impossibilities, but, by commanding, both admonishes thee to do what thou art able, and to pray for what thou art not able (to do), and aids thee that thou mayest be able; whose commandments are not heavy, whose yoke is sweet, and whose burden light. For whoso are the sons of God love Christ; but they who love Him keep His commandments, as Himself testifies; which, assuredly, with the divine help, they can do.” (Session VI, Ch. XI).
“In opposition also to the subtle wits of certain men who, by pleasing speeches and good works, seduce the hearts of the innocent, it is to be maintained that the received grace of justification is lost not only by infidelity [loss of faith], whereby even faith itself is lost, but also by any other mortal sin whatever, though faith be not lost; thus defending the doctrine of the divine law, which excludes from the kingdom of God not only the unbelieving, but the faithful also (who are) fornicators, adulterers, effeminate, liars with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, railers, extortioners, and all others who commit deadly sins; from which, with the help of divine grace, they can refrain, and on account of which they are separated from the grace of Christ.” (Ibid., Ch. XV)
Therefore, Pope Francis’ statement in paragraph #305 that, “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin [he is obviously speaking here of mortal sin] – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end” does indeed constitute heresy. And his statement in footnote 351, that, “In certain cases, this can include the help of the sacraments”, is an explicit invitation to Eucharistic sacrilege. It would seem the perfect example of a love “that maketh a lie.”
Herein resides the essence of this heresy. It lies specifically in teaching that there is a “gradualness” applicable to the possession of charity and sanctifying grace. It is Catholic dogma that possession of supernatural charity is an ontological state created by sanctifying grace added to the soul, that one cannot possess this charity unless living in this substantial state, and that it is this state of being which is absolutely necessary for receiving the Eucharist and other sacraments. It cannot be possessed by a person living in objective mortal sin, or by any person who is in some process of pastoral effort working towards the attainment of some “ideal”.
In addition, all of Francis’ various statements which promote the idea that an individual’s correspondence with immutable Catholic moral doctrine is only an ideal, which may be now unattainable because of “weaknesses”, and which must be subject to this new principle of “gradualism”, constitute a blasphemy against God’s goodness and grace, “Who aids thee that thou may be able”, as clearly laid out in Chapters XI and XV of Trent’s Decree on Justification as quoted above.
It must also be noted, that it is also an egregious error to claim, as does paragraph 297, that “It is a matter of reaching out to everyone, of needing to help each person find his or her proper way of participating in the ecclesial com-munity and thus to experience being touched by an ‘unmerited, unconditional and gratuitous’ mercy. No one can be condemned for ever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (297). It is not “the logic of the Gospel” that “no one can be condemned forever”. Our Lord emphatically stated, “For many are called, but few are chosen”. The existence of a populated Hell is indeed Catholic doctrine taught clearly by Holy Scripture.
Satan’s Primary Target: The Family
“The final battle between the Lord and the reign of Satan will be about marriage and the family.” (From Sr. Lucia’s letter to Cardinal Carlo Caffara)
It is no accident that this Heresy which denies the Catholic doctrine concerning Supernatural Charity is to be found in a document which purports to encapsulate the teaching of the Synod on the Family.
Continuing the metaphor employed at the beginning of this article, we may rightly say that, if the Catholic truth concerning Charity is the “Hub” of the wheel of all true Catholic life, then the family is the lynch-pin which holds this wheel in place as the foundational institution incarnating this Charity in the life of both the Church and the world. The family is the place where Charity is received through baptism. It is the place where it is nourished through love. It is where it receives its foundations and bulwarks through the educational process, and the place of support and protection where it endures through the sufferings of this life. It is the Family, and the question as to whether it is constituted as either a place of Charity or its denial, which determines whether we live in a Christian civilization, or a civilization turned away from God to the worship of Evil.
It is also therefore no accident that the chapter of Amoris Laetitia (Chapter VIII) which attempts to enshrine this heresy within its teaching on the family is called “Accompanying, discerning and integrating weakness.” The “weaknesses” specifically addressed in this chapter are Catholics couples living in objective mortal sin through cohabitation, those in a civil marriage without the sacrament, and those who have gone through the process of civil divorce and remarriage. Each of these are designated as “weaknesses” in this document, but are in reality situations of objective mortal sins which are primary attacks upon the family and the institution of marriage upon which it is founded. To therefore speak of integrating such sins into the Church is to speak of integrating evil into the very lifeblood of the Church, thereby violating the entire Christian idea of what constitutes Charity within the family.
The key to this satanic strategy is the word “integration”. It is a word which is absolutely central, not only to the agenda of a totally anti-Christian occult worldview which now worships the evolutionary progress and “salvation” of the entire world through an “integral ecology”, but also the theology now dominant within the Church through the theology of Teilhard de Chardin and Pope Benedict, and which is now being implemented through the words and pastoral policies of Pope Francis and his supporters in the hierarchy. It views Christian Revelation not as immutable and finished upon the death of the last Apostle, but rather as an ongoing historical progression (containing no fixed absolutes,) toward the Omega point of Teilhardian evolution in which the truth will be fully revealed and incarnated.
In his 1998 book Milestones ((in the context of discussing his thesis on St. Bonaventure), then Cardinal Ratzinger reveals that since the middle of the 20th century (the heyday of Teilhardian popularity), Catholic theologians had come to the conclusion that neoscholasticism had kept the notion of revelation “too confined to the intellectual realm”, and that now:
“Revelation appeared no longer simply as a communication of truths to the intellect but as a historical action of God in which truth becomes gradually unveiled.” ((P. 104).
And three pages later, in attempting to use St. Bonaventure to further this new view of Revelation, he states:
“Here, ‘revelation” is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act [read “Dogma”]. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of ‘revelation’.
If ‘revelation’ is something gradually unveiled through historical evolution, and if the human subject is always part of this progression of revelation, then what we are dealing with here is a concept of Catholic Revelation which only becomes manifested “gradually” through the evolutionary development of all human beings. And, this in turn necessitates that all human beings, at some point in time, must be forcefully integrated into this evolutionary process. In an extraordinary passage from his book The Heart of Matter, Teilhard de Chardin writes:
“The irresistible ‘setting’ or cementing together of a thinking mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny: we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum [social, psychic, informational, etc.] whose branches, instead of diverging as they normally do, are ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like some monstrous inflorescence – like, indeed, an enormous flower folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building to planetary dimensions [one can only imagine the ‘fuel’ which the Internet would have provided for Teilhard’s ‘Great Vision’]….Writing in the year 1950, I can say that the evolution of my inner vision culminates in the acceptance of this evident fact, that there is a ‘creative’ tide which (as a strict statistic consequence of their increasing powers of self-determination) is carrying the human ‘mega-molecules’ towards an almost unbelievable quasi ‘mono-molecular’ state; and in that state, as the biological laws of Union demand, each ego is destined to be forced convulsively beyond itself into some mysterious super-ego.” (p. 37-38).
We might well imagine the delight of any sort of Antichrist figure at the prospect that he has both divine and evolutionary sanction to “convulsively force” all men into “some mysterious super-ego.”
What unites the secular and Teilhardian views of evolutionary progression, therefore, is that both demand a convergence of the minds and hearts of all human beings towards a unity of consciousness (an “Omega Point” – this Teilhardian concept has even been adopted by many secularists) in which all the divisions separating and alienating men from one another on all levels of culture (politics, economics, and especially religion) have been overcome. This of course demands the integration of all that is viewed as “truly human” into this process. The widespread acceptance of this agenda within the Church began at the time of Vatican II with a false Ecumenism, graduated to calls for inculturation of all sorts of foreign things into Catholic belief and worship, and now issues forth in the siren call for an exponential increase in such inclusiveness and integration.
Such “integral humanism is, for instance, the reason virtually all children are being subjected to so-called “Diversity Training”, and this includes most Catholic colleges and universities. It is the potential death of all the immutable Catholic Truths and Doctrines which separate the Church from the rest of the world, and demands the poisoning of all Catholic minds and hearts with a love that “maketh a lie” through inclusiveness towards every form of error and sin. And it therefore constitutes total warfare against the Charity of God, being nourished by a satanically inspired passion which will only be satiated through the spiritual death of all of mankind. This Teilhardian agenda is now heavily focused on the coming October Synod of Bishops – the so-called Amazonian Synod – for the implementation and spread of such darkness within the universal Church. The Amazon Basin, because of its extraordinarily complex ecological, cultural, and religious diversity, is the ideal experimental situation for the final convergence of the Teilhardian and secularist agendas.
It is also this “forced convergence” which is now being implemented within the legal systems of nations throughout the world through the legalization of contraception, abortion, divorce, homosexuality, “gay- marriage”, transexualism, and gender ideology. All of this is aimed at destroying the traditional Catholic institution of marriage and the family. And this agenda is being promoted (or at least passively accepted) by many within the Church, including many members of the Catholic hierarchy. We therefore repeat the following, and will continue to do so in all subsequent articles:
It must be realized that virtually all the positions of influence (media), money, and power, both in the Church and the world, are now in the hands of the enemy. There is no human solution to what is now befalling us. All that has been (or will be) written here therefore has one purpose: to convince readers that our only solution lies in the supernatural grace which has been promised through the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and that this can be accessed only through fulfillment of Our Lady’s plan. The only question now remaining is whether we will comply with God’s plan through Mary before total chaos and tyranny descends upon us and those we love. We again, therefore, ask all readers to seriously read our Original Proposal, and to promote what is requested therein
Note: The following is posted in response to a very good question we received as to whether a person can be “objectively” in the state of mortal sin but not “subjectively” culpable. It is especially relevant to Pope Francis’ statement in Amoris Laetitia that “in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.”
Amoris Laetitia: Seeking the Ruin of Souls
“More souls go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason.” (Our Lady of Fatima to Jacinta Marto, 1919)
After startling Nicodemus with the words, “Amen, amen I say to thee, unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God”, and then explaining their meaning, Jesus concluded with these words:
“For God, sent not his Son into the world, to judge the world, but that the world may be saved by him. He that believeth in him is not judged. But he that doth not believe, is already judged: because he believeth not in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their words were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God. (John 3: 5-17)
Jesus said that he was come, not to judge the world, but to offer it salvation. We know, of course, that Christ will come “to judge the living and the dead” in the Final Judgment at the end of time, and that He also judges each person, in a particular judgment, at the end of his sojourn in this life. But all judgment during this life – as to whether we are alive in the Charity of God, or dead in sin; as to whether we are living in the friendship of God, or whether we are living as His enemies – is appropriated to the work of the Holy Spirit: “Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. Concerning this coming of the Holy Spirit, and His mission, Our Lord said:
“It is expedient to you that I go: for if I go not, the Paraclete will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. And when he is come, he will convince [also convict, reprove] the world of sin, and of justice, and of judgment….” (John 16:8).
The judgment of the living is therefore this: either a person is alive in the charity (sanctifying grace) of the Holy Spirit, or he is dead in the works of Satan. There is no half-alive in God, no gradualism in the possession of charity, no “living in grace” for those in mortal sin. In Our Lord’s terms, there are those who do evil and therefore hate the light; or, on the other hand, there are those who do truth and come to the light that their works may be made manifest “because they are done in God”.
Pope Francis does not agree. In Chapter 8, paragraph 305 of Amoris Laetitia, he states: “Because of forms of conditioning and mitigating factors, it is possible that in an objective situation of sin – which may not be subjectively culpable, or fully such – a person can be living in God’s grace, can love and can also grow in the life of grace and charity, while receiving the Church’s help to this end.” And in his now infamous footnote (#351) to this sentence, he states quite clearly that in “certain cases” such persons can be admitted to the sacraments, and specifically to Eucharistic communion.
It is truly extraordinary that Pope Francis, during his return-flight from the island of Lesbos on April 16, 2016, flatly stated, in answer to a reporter’s question, “I don’t remember the footnote.” It seems that we are faced with the choice of either believing that this is a blatant falsehood, or that he did not write (and read) all of Amoris Laetitia. As evidence for the former, Pope Francis, when specifically asked whether, after the issuance of Amoris Laetitia there now exist “new openings” and “concrete possibilities” for the divorced and remarried to have access to the sacraments, replied, “I can say yes, period”. He then went on to refer the questioner to a fuller explanation given by Cardinal Schonborn at the official presentation of the document. At that presentation, Cardinal Schonborn stated, “In the sense of this “via caritatis” (AL 306), the Pope affirms, in a humble and simple manner, in a note (351) that the help of the sacraments may also be given “’n certain cases’.”
A very large portion of Chapter 8 is devoted to overwhelming us with “forms of conditioning and mitigating factors” which are intended to convince us of the possibility that a person living in objective mortal sin can be living in a state of grace and be worthy of receiving the sacraments, and especially Eucharistic Communion. Following is a partial list, ranging from the abstract to the very specific: cultural or contingent situations; awaiting more security in life; the expense of a wedding, not in a position to understand, appreciate, or fully carry out the objective demands of the law; complexity of various situations; obligations towards children’s upbringing springing from a second marriage (civil); having been unjustly abandoned during the original marriage; subjective belief that the first marriage was never valid; fear that the lack of “expressions of intimacy”, required of those who must live as brother and sister in the raising of their children, might endanger the virtue of “faithfulness”; ignorance; inadvertence; duress; fear; habit; inordinate attachments; affective immaturity; force of acquired habit; conditions of anxiety; and, other psychological or social factors [one wonders whether there might not be hundreds].
All of this is, of course, simply obfuscation. No one denies that there may be mitigating factors in regard to human culpability. But the “life of grace” – that life of charity which provides access to Eucharistic communion – cannot exist where there is objective mortal sin. Neither ignorance, nor any of the other mitigating factors mentioned above, can justify receiving Our Lord while living in objective mortal sin. St. Paul writes:
“Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord. But let a man prove himself: and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of the chalice. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh judgment to himself, not discerning the body of the Lord….But if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged.”
Every person in this world is absolutely obliged to prove himself, to judge himself in the light of God’s Truth (both faith and morals) before receiving Holy Communion. In any “internal forum” existing between priest and individual Catholic, whether during confession or spiritual direction, every priest in the world is obligated to make clear that there are no mitigating factors which will allow a person living in objective mortal sin to receive Holy Communion. Any priest consciously and willfully withholding such truth would be cooperating in sacrilege if the person were to receive communion. He would find himself immersed in a moral quagmire very similar in its parameters to the person who helps facilitate an abortion – only something much worse, since both sacrilege against God and the killing of a human soul are infinitely worse sins than the killing of the body, even if the body be that of an innocent child.
As discussed in our article above, the grievous error which is at the heart of Pope Francis’ notion that someone living in objective mortal sin could yet be “living in God’s grace”, “growing in charity”, and therefore possibly have legitimate access to the sacraments, is rooted in the heresy explicitly formulated in paragraph 296: “For true charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous”. There is, in fact, nothing in the life of any human being which more requires merit, is more conditional, and more requiring the cooperation with, and submission, to God’s Holy Will and commandments, than does possession of the supernatural virtue of charity.
In order to penetrate further into the depths of Pope Francis’ error, we must examine more closely the relationship between God’s grace and human merit.
We must always keep in mind that God’s grace, in principle, is totally unmerited and gratuitous. Man, by nature, has no right to any claim upon God’s charity, or His mercy. The merit which man possesses before God is what is called condign merit. It exists simply because God, in complete freedom, has willed that man, with his own free will, should co-operate with Him and thus merit reward. From this, we see that even merit itself is a gift of God’s grace.
Possibly the most pervasive error infecting the thought of virtually all modern Catholics is the deep-seated, and often unconscious, attitude that God owes us something. For a glaring example of this attitude, we refer the reader to the second part of our article The Mind of Antichrist. Therein, we discover Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI telling interviewer Jacques Servais that St. Anselm’s concept that man is under obligation to satisfy God’s Justice has been “reversed”, and that we must now rather view God as under compulsion and obligation to show man mercy.
Modern Catholics have basically lost sight of the absolutely necessary Christian truth that after the sin of Adam and Eve, God owes mankind nothing, and that every gift now received from Him is indeed totally gratuitous. And if we add to this Our Lord’s words quoted earlier – “And this is the judgment: because the light is come into the world and men loved darkness rather than the light: for their words were evil. For every one that doth evil hateth the light, and cometh not to the light, that his works may not be reproved. But he that doth truth, cometh to the light, that his works may be made manifest, because they are done in God” – then man has no excuse for not responding to this light. It is man, and not God, who is under the absolute obligation to prove himself. It may indeed be the case that his sincere response to this light does not entail explicitly and immediately understanding all the truths of the Catholic faith, and that he therefore may indeed not be culpable for some degree of ignorance. But it certainly does entail that he has sufficient light (if, in Paul’s words he is one who “doth truth”) to examine himself, and pray to God for the light to know if he is free from the grave sins which prohibit him from receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist.
According to St. Thomas, there are four things necessary for justification of the sinner, and thus for the presence of charity (the life of grace) in the human soul: 1) the infusion of grace, 2) the movement of the free will towards God by faith, 3) the movement of the free will in renunciation of sin, 4) and the remission of sins. (ST I-II, Q.113, A.6). Two of these (numbers 2 & 3) are acts of the free will requiring not only grace but also merit through free will co-operating with grace. Most important for our present consideration is # 3. There can be no charity where there is not “the movement of free will in renunciation of sin”.
The presence of the charity of God in our souls is appropriated to the presence and work of the Holy Ghost. “The charity of God is poured forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, who is given to us.” (Rom. 5:5). Our Lord proclaimed:
Therefore I say to you: Every sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but the blasphemy of the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but he that shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, nor in the world to come.” (Mat. 12: 31-32).
The presence of justifying charity in the soul is the work of the Holy Ghost Who comes to dwell within us. He cannot dwell with mortal sin in the soul. To claim, as has Pope Francis, that charity is always un-merited, unconditional and gratuitous and that “a life of grace” can exist in a soul living in objective mortal sin, is to claim that charity and the Holy Ghost can dwell within individual souls alongside grave objective evil. It is this “blasphemy of the Holy Ghost” which creates a condition in the soul which cannot turn towards repentance because it now lies deeply imbedded in that overwhelming darkness of self-deceit which identifies God’s mercy with evil. We should not be at all surprised at Our Lords words, therefore, that all – whether laity, priests, bishops, or Pope –who claim to “loveth” man while confirming themselves or other persons in such iniquity, are listed by Our Lord along with “dogs and sorcerers, and unchaste, and murderers, and servers of idols”.
The world has been afloat since the publication of Amoris Laetitia with headlines proclaiming that Pope Francis has opened the door for the divorced and remarried to receive the Eucharist. In an article written for the website of the Archdiocese of Milan (and translated into English for Crux News), Monsignor Fausto Gilardi, who was in charge of confessions for the Milan Cathedral, stated: “In some cases, linked to partial information in the press, there’s been a “demand” for absolution, and thus confession is seen as a sort of passport towards the Eucharist”, and that, “Some priests, perhaps in a slightly rushed and efficiency-oriented way, have opened a ‘teller’s window’ for consultation, giving the idea that “any priest can quickly grant ‘exceptions’.” Msgr. Gilardi attempts to down-play all this by proposing a “path of discernment”, the “importance of graduality”, and awaiting “guidelines from the bishops”. It all rings hollow. The floodgates are now open.
I don’t think there is any doubt that we can say, “Now it all begins”: large-scale sacrilege, and the ruin of countless souls – not only of the divorced and remarried, but those co-habiting, those in homo-sexual relationships, those practicing contraception, etc. They all can propose “mitigating factors”, and they can all appeal to God’s alleged “unmerited, unconditional, and gratuitous mercy” in order to commit sacrilege.
To lead a person living in objective mortal sin along a path which, without conversion and renunciation of that sin, culminates in reception of Holy Communion constitutes the worst savagery against his eternal soul. Any priest who participates in such a journey will be held accountable. A Bishop who pursues such a policy will be responsible for all those who suffer such ruin under each and every priest in his diocese. One can only shudder at what awaits a Pope who institutes or encourages this policy for the universal Church.
Please pray for Pope Francis.
Please Pray the Rosary for the Purification of the Church!