Monday, April 17, 2017

The Benedict Option Omits the Fatima Answer -

As the situation of the nation worsens, many are weighing their options. One much-discussed alternative is what is called the Benedict Option.
The Benedict Option is the name of a just-published book by journalist Rod Dreher. The author holds that conservatives have lost the Culture War and it is time to find a way to survive in a “post-Christian” America. Rather than oppose the wave of secularism that lashes society, it is much better to build arks to ride above the fray. These arks involve intentional communities, still inside society, that will allow members to develop themselves spiritually in the hope of better times—a wait that the author admits might even take centuries.
Mr. Dreher uses the example of Saint Benedict of Nursia who supposedly left decadent Rome to live an isolated intentional life away from society. Americans wishing to survive in these uncertain times are encouraged to “secede culturally from the mainstream.”  He insists that those involved must still have some presence in society, which might serve as an unintentional witness to those outside the option.

A Broad Option that Limits
A great controversy has arisen around the Benedict Option. No one disputes the reasons behind the proposal. The nation faces grave dangers that merit action. However, many do question the wisdom of pursuing this option of ark-like withdrawal.  The debate is complicated by the fact that there is no single option being proposed but rather many different options tailored to every religious group, dedication level or inclination.
The broad ecumenical character of the Benedict Option message may allow more to be included under its umbrella, but it also tends to reduce it to what is naturally possible to participants coming from differing religions. If all cannot agree about the role of grace in changing history, for example, then the matter must be addressed in generalities. The Benedict Option also tends to restrict it to an historical narrative that can be commonly held by all faiths.
Thus, concretely for the Catholic who is engaged in the Culture War and following the debate, there is one major omission that clouds the idea of a possibly Catholic Benedict Option.
The Fatima Omission
That omission is Fatima. Nowhere in Mr. Dreher’s book is there mention of Our Lady of Fatima or any role of the Blessed Mother in addressing the crisis. The problem is that the Mother of God is very central to the Catholic perspective. It is not optional.
This is especially true about the apparition of the Blessed Mother to three shepherd children in Portugal in 1917. The event has always been considered a solution directed to the present times—not that of possible centuries hence. It is perplexing that a proposal to deal with the current crisis would completely ignore the most spectacular religious and historic event of the twentieth century that specifically addresses these very issues.
Anyone familiar with the message cannot help but be impressed by looking at the past and seeing that things Our Lady said would happen have, indeed, happened. Her warnings about world wars, conflicts, persecutions, and the spreading of the errors of Russia throughout the world have all come to pass just as she predicted.

Likewise, a look at the present leads one to easily see how the Fatima message is more relevant than ever, especially in describing the immoral fashions, the blasphemies, and the lack of Faith that are evident everywhere.
Given the Fatima record, there is no reason to doubt that those things that lie still in the future will also be fulfilled. To a world that has not heeded her warnings, the Blessed Mother foretold a great chastisement that will fall upon the world in which “nations will be annihilated,” and the “good will be martyred.”  She also foretold the conversion of Russia and the world, and the triumph of Her Immaculate Heart.
Not an Option Among Many
The means by which these results might be obtained were very clearly given by the Blessed Mother. She requested some general measures accessible to everyone inside and outside of society. These center on prayer, penance and amendment of life. She asked for specific actions in the observance of certain prayers on five consecutive first Saturdays and the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart.  By its omission of the Fatima message, the Benedict Option makes all these essential requests optional.
And while it might be argued that Mr. Dreher would have no problem admitting a Fatima version of the Benedict Option, such a concession would only trivialize the message. Fatima becomes an equal option among so many others and not the only real and heaven-sent solution for a modern world in crisis and apostasy as affirmed by popes and Catholics for the last hundred years.
No Final Goal
Perhaps that is the main problem with the Benedict Option—it is only an option without a final goal. Options are by definition means or choices made toward an end. The Benedict Option is merely a means to survive the crisis—for centuries if necessary. However, it has no specific or unified end. Participants need not even be Christian. There is no desire for a final unity but rather the option facilitates the continued fragmentation of the nation into sub-cultures inside the larger post-Christian society.
Nothing could be farther from the Fatima message which foresees the whole world’s conversion to the Faith and the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary—in the near future. The means and final goal are very clear. It enlists the help of the Mother of God since it clearly is beyond the capacity of people today to overcome the adversaries of the Faith.
On this centennial of the Fatima apparitions, many rightly look upon the year with great expectation since the Mother of God brought hope and promises for this world in crisis. It  is to her that those searching for solutions should turn. She is the great and only answer. Without her, there is no option.

As seen on Church Militant.

The Benedict Option Omits the Fatima Answer -: The Benedict Option Omits the Fatima Answer

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Over Three Thousand Rallies For Marriage Make It Clear: It's One Man and One Woman -

As I prepared for a rally for traditional marriage, I wondered how people would react to a public display on this issue that many have declared settled. Perhaps the public would be hostile and see us as divisive. Perhaps others would become furious and seek to curtail our right to free speech.
I am sure many others had similar thoughts as I joined tens of thousands of concerned Americans from all walks of life who gathered nationwide in the public square on March 18. In light of the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision approving same-sex “marriage,” these Americans held 3,109 rosary rallies registering their affirmation of one of America’s most fundamental and cherished institutions.
Reactions to the Rally
The step onto the public square seemed to be a hard one. Our intersection was a busy artery with thousands of cars and truck passing by. It could not have been a better place to gauge public opinion. It would not take long to see what people thought.

The rally was just beginning when I arrived. The rally captain and his family had set up with a large banner reading: “God’s Marriage = 1 Man + 1 Woman.” There were also hand signs, several of which encouraged people to honk for traditional marriage. As I came into the field of battle, there were already some people honking their support of the rally from the safety of their cars. Our extraordinary rally was already being photographed by passing cars and posted on countless Facebook pages.I
Surprising Support
By the time we began praying the rosary, there was a steady stream of support in the form of honks. Evidently, it shows that there are still a lot of people out there that did not consider the matter settled.
The support varied in its intensity and passion. Some people were so overjoyed to see us standing up for traditional marriage that they honked long and loud. Others manifested their enthusiasm with multiple honks as they sped by the rally. Truckers would let loose with their loud horns. Shouts of support and thumbs up were very common. It was quite a symphony on that intersection that I had feared might be hostile.
There were also those who were more cautious. These ventured to register only a short toot. Others honked on the run so as not to appear too committed to the cause. When one honked, it seemed to give courage to the hesitant who would then join in and contribute to the grand disharmony.
Crude Opposition
Of course, there were also a few who opposed the rally. However, they were generally quite crude and cowardly. These would usually consist of people who would scream out something unintelligible or make some obscene gesture as they sped away.
There were a brave few who took advantage of the traffic light to stop, open the window and scream out something about hatred, quite unaware of the hatred they themselves were exhibiting.
Far from discouraging us, the displays of counter-protest actually encouraged us since it revealed the weaknesses of the opposition. Their descent into irrationality showed they had no arguments—only insults. By our presence there, we had shaken their certainties and proven the debate still rages.
And then there were the indifferent ones. They pretend not to see what they cannot help seeing—even when next to a busy highway. They straddle the line without commitment. The indifferent ones never determine the course of history.
Public Square Rallies
These “public square” rallies are sponsored by the American TFP’s America Needs Fatima campaign, which is dedicated to spreading Our Lady of Fatima’s urgent message for society. The idea of these gatherings is to bring the fight for America’s heart and soul to the public square by inviting people to pray publicly for our nation. This might include groups of five, ten, fifty or hundreds gathered at conspicuous locations with a large banner to pray the rosary and clearly bear witness to the need for America’s return to order.
In March, these rallies bear witness to the family in what have come to be called the “Saint Joseph traditional marriage rallies.” These rallies focus on the agenda of the sexual revolution that makes use of misguided public policy and judicial fiat to force its agenda upon the nation especially in the area of marriage.
In October, the rallies are dedicated to the more general theme of the need to return to God as requested by the Fatima message. These rallies have grown steadily. Last year, there were 16,323 rosary rallies. This year, the one hundredth anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, the goal is 20,000 rallies nationwide.
Making History
The most rewarding part about these rallies is the impression that you were participating in something historic. This was not just an isolated protest. It was part of a whole movement that calls upon God to address what appears to be an impossible situation in desperate times.
We may be reviled, ridiculed and even physically attacked by “tolerant” individuals at these rallies. However, this is more than compensated by the outpouring of support of so many Americans who are relieved at seeing people defending moral values in the public square.
It is actions like these that will determine which way America will go. That is why I went to the rally. I was not protesting but making history.

Over Three Thousand Rallies For Marriage Make It Clear: It's One Man and One Woman -: In March, these rallies bear witness to the family in what have come to be called the 'Saint Joseph traditional marriage rallies.'

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oppose Radical Feminism with Lady Day, March 8th — 'Pure Goodness at Work!' -

“The level of any civilization is the level of its womanhood.” -Archbishop Fulton Sheen
Social agitators — the same who marched on Washington, DC last month in the much publicized and shockingly vulgar Women’s March — are at it again.
A Day Without Women general strike is planned for March 8, National Women’s Day, asking women to stay home from work to show support for radical egalitarian feminism and harmful social causes like Planned Parenthood, abortion, and same-sex “marriage”.

But how many women can really skip work? What about mothers? What about nurses or any woman who works in society to help others? We can't skip work! And furthermore, we don't want to.
Lady Day is a positive response, a day for us to celebrate God’s plan for women as pure and good. In fact, the motto for this special day is “Pure Goodness at Work!”
Lady Day is dedicated to the most sublime lady ever: Mary Most Holy. In her motherhood, she has nurtured all human beings.


Our greatest dignity is, like Mary, to be what God designed us to be and our greatest happiness is in fulfilling God’s intention. As St. Francis de Sales says, “Do not wish to be anything but what you are, and try to be that perfectly.” What are women meant to be?
Some are meant to be mothers, with a nurturing presence at home. Others, not given the grace of natural motherhood, are privileged to be mothers in a spiritual sense, to nurture others by unfailing purity, goodness and selflessness.
“Mothers are closer to God the Creator than any other creature; God joins forces with mothers in performing this act of creation…What on God’s good earth is more glorious than this; to be a mother?”
-Cardinal Mindzenty
What can you do on Lady Day?
1. Go out for tea with lady friends on March 8th. Dress up in a modest, elegant way to celebrate femininity. If someone asks why you’re dressed up, be prepared to explain that Lady Day is a special day to appreciate how God made women, and embrace our God-given role in society.
2. Post photos of your Lady Day outing on The Return To Order Facebook page.
This special outing to celebrate Lady Day and the photos will counter the divisive “A Day Without Women” strike. It will have a good influence on our children and on society! Will you join me?
Happy Lady Day!
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Colette Zimmerman is a Catholic mother, wife and writer.  She and her husband Thomas are TFP Supporters.  Mrs. Zimmerman writes regularly on issues related to fashion and Catholic femininity on her Catholic Lady Blog.

Lady Day, March 8th — 'Pure Goodness at Work!' -: Lady Day, March 8th — 'Pure Goodness at Work!'

Monday, February 13, 2017

Should We Stop Opposing the Ruling Legalizing Same-Sex “Marriage”? Bishop Robert Barron’s Surprising Statements -

The recent (January 30) statements by the Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert Barron, that he will not fight for the abolition of the same-sex “marriage” ruling has scandalized even his admirers. He contends that revoking that decision “would probably cause much more problems and dissension and difficulty if we keep pressing it.” He doubles down: “I wouldn’t want to get on a crusader’s tank and try to reverse that.”1

Is Homosexual Tendency Intrinsically Disordered?

This statement by a bishop known for his writings, videos, homilies and cultural comments is even more serious because he made them to David Rubin, a homosexual journalist living in a same-sex “marriage.”2
For Bishop Barron, “if the only thing a gay person hears from the Catholic Church is, ‘you’re intrinsically disordered,’ we’ve got a very serious problem, if that’s what the message has become.”
Contrary to the above statement, the Church has never taught that a person with same-sex attraction is “intrinsically disordered,” but rather his homosexual tendency. To say that someone is “intrinsically” disordered, that is, in their very nature, would mean that God created a disordered nature, which is absurd.

Taking a Principled not a Personal Stand

As practicing Catholics, we are filled with compassion and pray for those who struggle against violent temptation to sin, be it toward homosexual sin or otherwise.
We are conscious of the enormous difference between these individuals who struggle with their weaknesses and strive to overcome them and others who transform their sin into a reason for pride, and try to impose their lifestyle on society as a whole, in flagrant opposition to traditional Christian morality and natural law. However, we pray for them too.
According to the expression attributed to Saint Augustine, we “hate the sin but love the sinner.” And to love the sinner, as the same Doctor of the Church explains, is to wish for him the best we can possibly desire for ourselves, namely, “that he may love God with a perfect affection.” (St. Augustine, Of the Morals of the Catholic Church, no. 49,

In What Sense Is a Sinner a Child of God?

The Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles added, “The first thing a gay person, like any person, should hear is ‘You’re a beloved child of God.”
In the context in which this statement was made—that is, on a pro-homosexual program—it takes on a dangerous ambiguity. For it does not make clear whether the bishop is referring to a person with a disorderly tendency who resists and does not sin, or to one who actually practices the act against nature.
There is no doubt that all men are children of God. But the sinner is a son in revolt against his Creator, whom he offends by despising His Law. In this state of revolt, he loses divine friendship, sanctifying grace, and is on his way to Hell should he die in such a state.3

A True “Son of God” Is One Who Keeps the Commandments

The words of the Savior are clear and unequivocal: to love Him as a son loves his father, one must keep His words—that is Faith—and His commandments:
“If you love me, keep my commandments.”
“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them; he it is that loveth me.”
“If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him. He that loveth me not, keepeth not my words” (John 14:15212324).

Does Concern With Morals Hinder Evangelization?

Bishop Barron, apparently angered by the protests caused by his statements, posted a response on his blog titled “Dave Rubin, the Pelvic Issues, and Larry David.”
Referring to Catholic sexual morality in a derogatory fashion as “the pelvic issues” is really shocking. In his view, people who care about moral issues hurt evangelization.
He says, “[T]his preoccupation with ‘the pelvic issues’ has served to undermine the work of evangelization.”
With the qualification that he does not scorn morality, he adds, “But I fear that for so many people in the secular world today, religion is reduced to the policing of sexual behavior, and this is massively unfortunate.”
As far as he is concerned, the Sacred Scriptures are not concerned with sexual morality:
“When you read the great evangelizing texts of the New Testament—the Gospels, the Epistles of Paul, the book of Revelation, etc.—you don’t get the impression that what their authors wanted you primarily to understand is sexual morality.”
Now, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, Saint Paul makes it clear that he is talking sexual morality:
“Do not err: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers. Nor the effeminate, nor liers with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor railers, nor extortioners, shall possess the kingdom of God” (1 Cor. 6:9-10).

Silence on Morality, a Triumph of the Sexual Revolution

Has the silence of the clergy on sexual morals (save for well-deserving exceptions) favored evangelization? On the contrary, one should consider the empty churches and the closure of convents and seminaries for lack of vocations.
This silence has only favored the Sexual Revolution, which keeps advancing and destroying the very foundations and remnants of morality, modesty, and human dignity.
Sexual pleasure is more and more idolized, with ominous consequences: destruction of marriage and the family, exaltation of free love, normalization of all forms of sexual aberration; sexual frenzy no longer respects barriers of age, sex and even species, with an increase in zoophilia.
Modesty—that flower of chastity that at the same time embellishes and protects it—has become virtually unknown. The human body is exposed and exploited by all means through fashion, movies, pictures, in an erotic exhibitionism opposed not only to morality but even to human dignity.

Is Christian Perfection Impossible?

Even more surprisingly, Bishop Barron declares that the Bible is ironical and skeptical in relation to “any claim to human perfectibility.” If that were the case, every effort man makes to sanctify himself with the help of grace would be useless. Nor would it make any sense for the Church to have canonized the saints for having practiced virtue to a heroic degree.

Sympathy for an Advocate of Same-Sex “Marriage”

Bishop Barron is entirely at ease with, and praises a journalist who advocates same-sex “marriage”:
“Dave is a stand-up comedian, political satirist” he says, though recognizing that “He is also an advocate of gay marriage.” He adds that “I am very grateful to Dave Rubin for the interview and the opportunity to explore a number of issues related to faith and society.”
The bishop again refers in a derogatory fashion to those concerned with sexual morality:
“I just hope that his viewers can appreciate that there is a lot more to Christianity than the ‘pelvic issues.’

Hell Is Supposedly Empty…

It is scandalous for a bishop to employ the crude and unworthy “pelvic issues” formula to refer to the divine and natural moral laws that condemn all sexual practice outside marriage, and especially those contrary to nature.
But Bishop Barron’s moral stance is related to his optimistic theory about Hell. Although he is obliged to reject Origen’s theory, condemned by the Church, that at the end of time the reprobates and even demons will be forgiven,4 he adopts its veiled form, espoused by Hans Urs von Balthasar:
“My own conviction is that Balthasar has this more or less right. Catholic doctrine is that Hell exists, but yet the Church has never claimed to know if any human being is actually in Hell.”
For Bishop Barron, “Hell” or “Gehenna” are “spatial metaphors.” He concludes with a formula very close to Origen’s heresy:
“The divine love, freely rejected, results in suffering. And yet, we may, indeed we should, hope that God’s grace will, in the end, wear down even the most recalcitrant sinner.”
Now, if Hell is purely metaphorical and “in the end” all sinners will be saved by grace no matter what state they die in, why worry about what he contemptuously calls “pelvic issues”?
Morality loses all its meaning, as does the notion of sin and offense to God.
Unfortunately, with his statements, the popular apologist has discouraged those opposed to same-sex “marriage” and created confusion about the very foundations of morality.

If a Catholic Politician Has to Resist Same-Sex “Marriage” Why not a Bishop?

In June 3, 2003, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith published the document CONSIDERATIONS REGARDING PROPOSALS TO GIVE LEGAL RECOGNITION TO UNIONS BETWEEN HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS, signed by then-Cardinal Ratzinger.
The document is emphatic in the necessity to oppose same-sex “marriage” laws.
In n. 5, Section II it states:
“In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty.”
And in Section IV of the document, with guidance for Catholic Politicians, the document insists:
“When legislation in favour of the recognition of homosexual unions is already in force, the Catholic politician must oppose it in the ways that are possible for him and make his opposition known; it is his duty to witness to the truth.”
If that is the obligation of a layman, a Catholic politician, what to say of the obligation of a Bishop that, by his own office is a guardian of the faith and morals?
Should We Stop Opposing the Ruling Legalizing Same-Sex “Marriage”? Bishop Robert Barron’s Surprising Statements -