The Controversial Catholic Prayer that You Should be Praying Daily

Today was the last day for my apostolate, Christendom’s Rome study abroad program. The students were amongst the most brilliant, most intellectually-curious, and most devoutly Catholics I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet. This morning, Cardinal Burke celebrated a closing Mass for us (in the usus antiquior) in St. Peter’s. After Mass, he gave us each each holy cards like this:

It’s one variation (apparently courtesy of the Marian Catechist Apostolate) of a common prayer that many of us already pray daily, and Cardinal Burke encouraged us to pray it daily. What struck me in reading it was how distinctively Catholic it is, and how effortlessly controversial it is. So here’s the prayer, line-by-line, with an explanation of what makes it controversial amongst some Christians:

O Jesus, Not only Jehovah’s Witnesses, but even some Protestants reject the idea that we should pray to Jesus.
“through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,” Obviously, Mary is a controversial figure in Catholic-Protestant dialogue, and the idea of coming to Jesus through Mary is particularly troubling for some Protestants.
“I offer You my prayers, works, joys, and suffering of this day in union with the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass throughout the world.” Most Protestants reject the Mass, and particularly the idea that the Mass is a sacrifice through which we join our offerings to Jesus’ perfect Sacrifice.
“I offer them for all the intentions of Your Sacred Heart: the salvation of souls, reparation for sins, the reunion of all Christians.” While Protestants overwhelmingly pray to Jesus (despite the outliers mentioned above), prayer to His Sacred Heart is almost exclusively a (beautiful) Catholic tradition.*
“I offer them for the intentions of Your Bishops and of all Apostles of Prayer and in particular for those recommended by our Holy Father this month. Amen.” If references to Mary, the Mass, and the Sacred Heart weren’t enough, the prayer closes on asking for prayers for the Holy Father’s intentions. Of course, the papacy (and sometimes, the episcopacy) are controversial amongst non-Catholics.

In pointing out all of these differences and areas of separation, I’m not making an argument here for the Catholic side (although I’ve done that for each of these issues elsewhere on this blog). Rather, I’m just pointing out that the wounds of the Reformation are still festering, and in a way that keeps us from being able to pray together as deeply and unitedly as we should. This is for two reasons.

One, because we need to be reminded. When a well-meaning Evangelical said that Catholics and Protestants were basically in agreement, someone (perhaps Mark Shea or Peter Kreeft? I can no longer remember) responded to the effect of, “Great, let’s pray the Rosary together in front of the Blessed Sacrament before Mass!” The point of the response was, yes we have huge areas of unity and that’s great (truly!), but if we can’t pray together without the Catholic leaving his spiritual traditions at the door, we’re not yet where we need to be. We shouldn’t overlook the great progress in Catholic-Protestant relations in the last century, but we also can’t whitewash the areas still needing work.

Second, because this Christian disunity is a scandal (cf. John 17:20-23) and a crisis that demands serious attention. More specifically, it needs a spiritual response,  not just a theological one. For us Catholics, it strikes me as exactly why (well, one reason why) we should be making a morning offering of the sort that Cardinal Burke prescribes. Through Mary, united with the graces of the Sacrifice of the Mass, offer up your sufferings for your Protestant and Orthodox brothers and sisters for the cause of Christian unity.

*In doing so, in striving to live more fully in unity in the one Church, we’ll bring great comfort to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. When I say that devotion to the Sacred Heart is a beautiful Catholic tradition, I have in mind this insight from Pope Pius XI:

Now if, because of our sins also which were as yet in the future, but were foreseen, the soul of Christ became sorrowful unto death, it cannot be doubted that then, too, already He derived somewhat of solace from our reparation, which was likewise foreseen, when “there appeared to Him an angel from heaven” (Luke xxii, 43), in order that His Heart, oppressed with weariness and anguish, might find consolation. And so even now, in a wondrous yet true manner, we can and ought to console that Most Sacred Heart which is continually wounded by the sins of thankless men, since—as we also read in the sacred liturgy—Christ Himself, by the mouth of the Psalmist complains that He is forsaken by His friends: “My Heart hath expected reproach and misery, and I looked for one that would grieve together with me, but there was none: and for one that would comfort me, and I found none” (Psalm Ixviii, 21).

202 Comments

  1. Dear Joe,

    Did you teach the junior year students from Front Royal’s Christendom college? Wonderful, wonderful. I hope that Cardinal Burke is well. The prayer of Pope Pius XI with the ending psalm is heart-rending.

    This artistic rendering of the sacred heart often hangs in my parish church (architectural style is “in the round”) behind the priest’s chair (don’t know liturgical lingo for its proper name). As the namesake of that saint with profound devotion to the sacred heart, I am always struck by this image. It selfishly reminds me of my own desolation for not attending His heart more often. May I begin to do so every day, please God.

    God bless you, Joe, your studies, your blessed holy day of ordering, and this site which is teaching a thing or two or more.

  2. In my opinion, the focus on the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ through the promotion of the graphic image ( one of which is above) was instituted especially for the sake of Protestants, and those who might be inclined to follow them. From what I’ve studied in the history of the Catholic Church, there has never been a serious problem necessitating a particular focus on the ‘Heart of Jesus’ (Although maybe the Jansenist heresy might have helped). In the thousand years before the devotion was promulgated (in 1674), the ‘Sacred Heart’ was well portrayed through the lives and most loving hearts of the Saintsgreat Christians who were intent on imitating Christ in their lives, saints such as St. Francis of Assisi ,St. Francis de Sales, St. Theresa of Avila, St. Francis Xavier, St. Francis of Paola, St. Philip Neri, St. Dominic,…etc.. whose own hearts were filled with the Love of God, and they spread that love through both their example and writings (by which we can still read about and benefit by today).

    But, when the Gospel message, wherein the ‘Sacred Heart of Jesus’ is easily witnessed in all of the stories of His Sacred Humanity related therein… is overshadowed by confusing philosophical debates, on topics such as ‘double pre-destination’,for instance,….a spiritual rebooting is necessitated back to the simple words of Christ that are found in the Gospels that were left to us.

    Now, how is Protestantism a particular catalyst for a necessary rebooting back to the loving Gospel message given to us by the most loving and merciful Jesus Christ Our Lord? It is because Martin Luther, the father of Protestantism, could not understand well the most loving and merciful nature of Jesus (the Sacred Heart)…the same Lord that allowed the head of the similarly loving St. John the Evangelist to rest on His breast at the Last Supper. What Luther was most intent on was attaining his own personal salvation, at what ever the cost. He was deadly afraid of eternal damnation, and this is demonstrated in so many of his words and actions during the early stages of his monastic life. He was terrified of the public exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, and also of his first Mass which he was pretty much physically forced to complete. So, in all of this, it indicates that his understanding of Jesus lacked an essential ingredient…an understanding of His sacred and most loving and merciful humanity which is amply portraying in the four gospels left to us.

    Other saints, such as St. Francis of Assisi were completely the opposite. St. Francis was so enraptured with the Sacred Heart of Jesus, that He was content with nothing less than imitating His Love in every act of his life. He was like St. Paul, he would do anything, spend anything, and suffer anything, to spread the love of Christ to others. He even went to preach to the Moslem Sultan in Egypt (At the Battle of Damietta) during a holy war…regardless of his own safety! But Luther was not like this. He started his religious life with a rash vow to join a monastery if God spared his life from another lightning strike…the first of which knocked him of of his feet. And, after vowing tto the mother of the blessed Virgin Mary, St. Anne, to become a monk if his life was spared, he actually kept his word and joined a monastery only two weeks after the lightning strike. Yet, how rash and careless a decision!

    Would anyone marry a woman he didn’t love, or follow a vocation that he was not called to, due to the fear of being physically killed by God…as Luther indicated he did…and as he elated such to his friends in the ‘Table Talks’ historical literature left by him)?

    So, with a tortured conscience, due to a false monastic and sacerdotal vocation, Luther could not understand an essential part of Christian theology that is essential for any one who is called to be a teacher of true religion. He did not understand the sacred charity of Christ, that burned in His ‘Sacred Heart’, and was demonstrated on a daily basis in almost everything He said and did. He only saw the powerful Christ, that He knew could damn souls to Hell on the last day, and so he struggled for a way to not be thus damned by Christ….ignoring completely that Jesus was a gentle, most merciful, ‘Lamb of God’, in whom he could trust, follow and imitate like the other Catholic saints. That is, what was obvious to St. Francis in the Gospel message, was not recognized by Luther. And this is why Luther was so happy to think that Jesus’ sacrifice on the Cross was all that was necessary; that, with this sacrifice, he was guaranteed Heaven and so could be freed from all the thoughts eternal damnation… that hounded him to endless degrees.

    The problem here, is that Luther only cared for what Jesus could DO FOR HIM, and not for who the ‘meek and humble of heart’ of Jesus actually was. He only cared for the ‘philosophy’ of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, the theory of it, and neglected the most loving ‘Person’ of the Lamb of God who loved Him in an eternal way, even as He loved His disciple Judas. And so, Protestant theology has always been focused on St. Paul’s teachings on ‘justification due to faith’….while ignoring the eternal love of the Person of Christ, His ‘Sacred Heart’, which is actually the most essential and important part of that same Christian faith.

    So, this is why I say that the Sacred Heart is such an important devotion, because it focuses our attention on the PERSON OF CHRIST..and not only what that ‘Person’ has done for us. Protestantism in this is was is sort of like the nine lepers who never returned to thanks to Jesus after he healed them of their leprosy. They were only interested in their own health, their own lives. But the ‘one leper’ was grateful, and went back to give thanks to the loving heart of Him who saved his life. He adored Him for the charitable miracle that He did for him.

    So, there are two types of Christians, one that focuses on the most loving heart of Christ, and tries to imitate Him in his most merciful life, being loving to others and even to his enemies, and also trusting Christ in everything, even as Jesus trusted His Father on the Cross. And the other is one who fears God, like Luther did, and doubts the love of Christ… as it is portrayed in all of the sayings, examples and teachings throughout the Gospels. And because this second Christian has so much fear, he lacks the understanding of true charity, which is the very thing that he needs to conquer his fears, as ‘charity conquers all fear’.

    So, the focus on the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a truly a healing remedy for the venomous teachings derived from Luther’s fear orientated doctrines. It draws the Christian soul back to the most loving humanity of Christ as it s taught and displayed throughout the Gospels. And this is why I think God ordained that this very pius devotion was established.

    But, of course, this is only my opinion. (After reading and analyzing much on the life of Martin Luther).

    1. On June 15, 1520 Pope Leo X wrote regarding Luther through the bull Exsure domine: “Mindful of the compassion of God…, we are ready to forget the injury…and exercise the greatest possible indulgence…, so that we may see him return..,like the prodigal son….We therefore exhort him and his followers through the love and mercy of our God and the Precious Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the human race was redeemed and the Church founded, and adjure them that they cease from troubling with their deadly errors the peace, unity and truth of the Church for which the Savior prayed so fervently to His Father.”

      On June 25, 1520, Luther replied, “Now farewell, you unhappy, lost, and blasphemous Rome; the wrath of God has come upon you at last, as you have merited [NB1], for in spite of all the prayers that have been said for you, you have become worse each day. We would have healed [NB2] Babylon, but she is not healed. Let us forsake her then [NB3]to become a dwelling place of dragons, evil spirits, goblins, nd witches, and her name an eternal confusion, filled to the brim as she is with the idols of greed with traitors, apostates, beasts, lechers, thieves, and simoners, and an infinity of other monsters, something new in the way of a pantheon of iniquity.” ETC.

      NB1: Note the irony. The church must merit but Luther’s followers do not. And, according to Scripture, vengeance is not ours but the Lord’s.
      NB2: Who are the “we” who would heal the church?, and
      Luther here appears to attribute free will/choice to the Church.
      NB3: Compare Jesus’ treatment of Judas and Pope Leo’s overture to Luther.

      Quotes from Carroll’s History of Christendom.

    2. Hi Al,

      Thanks, as always, for your insights. Yes, the devotion to the Sacred Heart makes sense as a response to the reform movement; St. Margaret was born in 1647. Through profound contemplative prayer, she understood and promulgated that the Holy Eucharist was the principal means by which God yearned to apply His merciful love. She began a Holy Hour devotion every Thursday night with the purpose of consoling our Lord during His agony in the Garden when His disciples could not keep watch with him but one hour.

      Jesus assured her that these practices would bring comfort and consolation to his Sacred Heart which was wounded by the sins of thankless men and women. Her understanding revealed or reinforced that His heart (His flesh….our Eucharist) was the source of His merciful love for us, and He wished us, as he did his disciples, to “remain” and return the love.

      s, as always, for your insights. St. Margaret was born in 1647, and God revealed this understanding to her:

      1. Thanks, Margo,

        But, I do regret the very poor editing, above. I just wanted to convey the point that intellectuals and theologians (such as Dr. Luther was) can often get caught up in their own glorious philosophies, and neglect the simple faith that even children can understand. And so, a focus on the ‘hear’t…as compared to the ‘head’ can help bring intellectuals back to the core of Christ’s simple and loving.. Gospel stories and teachings. Even Jesus noted that “From the depths of the HEART does the mouth speak”. Many times intellectuals conflate issues to such a degree that it certainly seems they change the saying of Christ to mean: “From the depths of the brain, does the mouth speak”.

        And I think this is what the Sacred Heart picture and devotion was trying to remedy.

        Your comments and citations above are excellent as usual.

        Best to you,

        – Al

        1. Hey Al,
          Any reading of my posts shows who needs an editor; please do not regret your writing. Your post’s cry of anguish, your mourning of lost love, comes through loud and clear.

          Your pointing out the great humanity of Jesus suggests the immensity of his suffering. It calls us to console him ( in so doing, we ourselves are more greatly consoled.) In his body he carried the sin of humanity of all the ages. Any one person’s sins alone would probably be enough to cast One into hell. For that one alone (be it I or you or us together multiplied) we ought to cling to him, begging constantly, remembering what His Heart has done for us in his Humanity and what He in his Sacred Divine Heart continues to do for us now.

          God bless you, Al. May God use your gifts to move others’ hearts.

          1. Thanks Margo.

            Sometimes I do feel like…”a voice crying in the wilderness”.

            ..with the main cry being:

            Everyone!….Just take a look at the GREAT LOVE that Jesus Christ showed in almost everything that He did! Look at His multitudes of healings! What charity and concern! Look at His first miracle….wine for a wedding!! And what about the forgiving of sins…and His great patience with His often ‘faith lacking’ apostles! Look at the way he let His disciples speak and act so freely in His midst! Look at His lack of anger and condemnation for anyone…on the tortuous Cross! Look at His love and patience with Judas, even minutes before being tortured and crowned with thorns! Look at how He searched out a blind man that He healed, who had defended him before a pack of Pharisees! Look at His gentleness and mercy with ‘the adulteress caught in the act! And Mary Magdelene, who wept at His feet! And Peter after he denied Him 3 times!….

            And we can go on and on probably all day long!…maybe make that… all eternity long!

            Best to you, and continue with your great comments and excellent citations and links that you often provide!

            – Al

    3. I agree that it is good to focus upon the loving heart of Christ. I do not agree with your assessment of Luther. What you think about Luther above is actually less about Luther and more about the Church of the Late Middle Ages. Everything you described above was the understanding of the common believers of that day and age, especially in Germany. Luther was as you described before his revival that led to the Reformation. Luther actually got back to the loving heart of Christ through reading the scriptures and his understanding of justification, which was the start of the Reformation. It would be beneficial for you to read this document from the Vatican to hear what they say about Luther. http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/pontifical_councils/chrstuni/lutheran-fed-docs/rc_pc_chrstuni_doc_2013_dal-conflitto-alla-comunione_en.html

      Given the history of this devotional prayer, I see it as a very smart and very faithful move by the Roman Catholic Church to help correct itself from its own extreme views of the Late Middle Ages. It is a “reboot” of the faith that spoke so powerfully to the faithful believers of the seventeenth century that it has been passed down every since.

      1. Al: Of interest is that Fr. Kasper, the same who wants a re-look at divorced-remarried Catholics receiving Holy Eucharist, chaired this commission for about ten years in the early 2000s.

        1. Are you hinting at the idea that is he is too liberal to be trusted? 😉 The Bishops and priests involved in these ecumenical works tend to be rather welcoming and progressive.

          1. You seem to be hinting at that idea. Yes?

            I called Al’s attention to Fr. Kasper’s directing that Council as he who wants to review longstanding doctrine against divorced-civilly remarried Catholics receiving Holy Eucharist. The Catholic view of marriage is that it is not simply a juridical nor simply a moral bond. Its bond is ontological, put there by God himself, by means of the two consenting adults participating in the sacrament. Kasper’s proposal would grant its dissolubility, a contradiction in term. Kasper’s position does demonstrate the lengths to which some Church officials seek to pastor the many wounded victims within a permissive secular society. What did Jesus at the well do for the Samaritan woman? How can the Church do the same?

            I simply don’t know enough about international ecumenism to comment on its goodness, truth, or justice. I don’t have time to read the document you posted.

            However, historical revisionism in any field is suspect. What was the Reformation itself but a but a revision? Have its fruits been for the good? Perhaps some agree, but some certainly do not.

            In spite any historical revision which would paint Luther as more admirable and the Church as more heinous, the picture is still extant and prevalent that Luther was a fairly pitiable specimen of charity toward the Christian faith which had nurtured the civilization–university, culture, and livelihood–in which Luther found himself. Please do not misunderstand me. I do not say the Church in Luther’s day was a model of holiness. Its corruption was rampant, vigorous, foul, and to this I offer no revision. But could not Luther’s gifts of passion and intellect have been put to good use within that Body? Instead, we now have how many?

          2. Hi Margo,

            It might be added that the Church of Germany, largely under the leadership of Cardinal Kasper, is a train wreck with only about 20% of Catholics actually even believing in a personal God. He is a perfect example of how not to run a Catholic Church. On the contrary, the Church of Africa is flourishing with orthodox Catholic doctrine and exploding vocations, under the example and leadership of such men as Cardinal Arinze.

    1. Me too. If we really desire that the world believe, there is nothing better we could pray for. Keep it up Craig!

    2. Craig, did you convert to Orthodoxy or Catholicism? It feels like your recent comments have been a tad tempered.

      1. James,

        My wife and I have recently began conversion to Orthodoxy. I just wanted to say that I appreciate the prayers, predominantly of Roman Catholics, on my behalf, especially in light of my stubbornness. They have had a profound effect and I ask for continued prayers from anyone who so feels inclined 🙂

        God bless,
        Craig

        1. Craig, you are such a talented Christian, that praying for you is akin to praying for St. Paul. The Lord needs good apologists on His side, and your love of study and research should help you defend orthodox (Catholic + Orthodox) positions well into the future. The only problem would be if you decide that you have attained a goal, and so can retire from the apologetic battle, and thereby become spiritually timid. Just remember, St. Paul didn’t retire until he lost his head… and St. Augustine also kept going until his death. So, I hope you keep on going, and also that you don’t allow anyone whoever, to spiritually ‘neuter’ you. 🙂 I can only speak for the Catholic Church, as I don’t know much of the Orthodox, but the Catholic faith provides a great deal of theological freedom, and the laity has many freedoms provided by canon law, as you can get an idea and witness first hand with Joe’s blog.

          So keep on progressing. Everything you learn you can transmit to others in the future. And, I for one will continue to pray for you, as I have done so in the past over the last few years.

          On a separate topic, which also relates to the Orthodox faith, I am currently publishing a series of 6 readings on the Early Christian catechetical work from the 4th century called “Apostolic Constitutions”.
          It is a compilation of early Christian teachings from the Didache, the “Didascalia of the Apostles”, and other ancient texts. It’s really a great read, and compliments the ‘Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus’, and I think some from Hippolytus’ literary work is included in it, (I’ll have to check this out). Anyway, I think it’s something not to miss in early Church history. I’ll be handing copies from my new series out at Farmers Marklets and super markets within about a month or so. I gave my first edition of the first 3 part packet that I normally distribute the saints in to my wife today to read and review (with the next 3 part series that will come in about 2 months.) Anyway, we read them together, and she liked it a lot! And when the wife actually likes it….you know your on the right track. 🙂

          Anyway, you can check out Book I of “Apostolic Constitutions” linked below…. if you have the time… and as it was composed in the 4th century AD, it shouldn’t pose a problem with your Orthodox faith:

          http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/0715.htm

          Everyone else should check it out as well. It’s an important historical and spiritual resource for any Christian to benefit by.

          Best to you always in the Lord,

          -Al

          1. New Advent was down when I clicked on your link, so I read Hippolytus’ Apostolic Traditions, a source document for the Apostolic Constitutions. Thank you for encouraging me to read it, I found it remarkable how many things within an Orthodox service are in the document (even the eating of blessed bread and wine afterwards). However, it is worth adding, that the positions of reader, sub-deacon, deaconess (“widows”) existed at the time of writing and the liturgy was quite developed.

            God bless you and your wife,

            Craig

          2. You should also read the Apostolic Constitutions, as it has a lot of other info. in it more in line with ancient Catechesis, similar to the Didache…. and includes parts of the Didache. As said this is a compilation of earlier Christian texts, put together as sort of a manuel for early Christians. It’s just good to know about it so as to get a better over all picture of the ancient Church, what they were concerned about then, their strategies for catechesis, their admonitions for martyrs…Men and women relations, marriage, abortion, infanticide, how to mind ones own Christian business while immersed in a pagan culture surrounding them,etc…Hippolytus is used for the liturgical parts, but there are a lot of interesting items that might be difficult to find covering the other topics in other early Christian Literature.

            I’m kind of enthusiastic about this work no because after so many years of studying Christian history I never read it before. I always like to find additional ‘pieces to the puzzle’ that add to the over all understanding of Christ’s Holy Church.

            Best to you,

            – Al

          3. OK, I understood those passages to read as…you shalt not ‘mar’ your beards…if you have one. Because many early Christian murals, etc…portray shaved Christians. So, it seems that those who have a beard are not to be effeminate or artistic with it, as they seemed to indicate with the ‘shiny curls’ in the hair prohibition. And since they didn’t particularly mandate that every male must have beards, this seems to make sense?

            Actually, if you go online and google ‘Ancient Christianity’, and then click on ‘show images’…it seems that the majority of the mosaics portray beardless males.

            …But I feel sorry for your wife if you are required to have a long beard at your new Church! 🙂

          4. Hey Craig and Al,

            Not shaving would give a few more minutes for goodness toward others– and would save those of softer skin–wives and children– from razor burn. Now that is a rare charity!

  3. Here is the old school prayer ABS was learnt

    O my God, I offer You all my prayers, works, joys and sufferings in union with
     the Sacred Heart of Jesus, for the intentions for which He pleads and offers
     Himself in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, in thanksgiving for Your favors, in
     reparation for my offenses, and in humble supplication for my temporal and
     eternal welfare, for the wants of Our Holy Mother The Church, for the conversion of sinners, and for the relief of the poor souls in purgatory.

    I wish to gain all the indulgences attached to the prayers I shall say and the good works that I perform this day.

    ++++++++++++++++++

    Looking at the magisterial record pre 1962 and post 1965 it is undeniable there has been a striking rupture when it comes to the Papal Praxis of appealing for unity and Pope Francis is a striking example of the change as he seeks a unity that sloughs-off doctrinal differences.

    1. Hi ABS,

      Your 11:32 post leads me to questions…. Please excuse my ignorance.

      1) What is D.H.?
      2) What is the source of the italicized portion?
      (I also had to use the dictionary for puissant and epicene!)

      The first post mentioned a change in Church attitude to unity. Perhaps this change reflects realistic acceptance of an unyielding situation which has lasted more than 400 years.

      Is it possible that the Holy Spirit is ‘righting’ our modern Church with crooked lines? The disciples expected Jesus to establish his kingdom in front of their material eyes. They deserted and denied him (except John who he lay on Jesus breast–at His Sacred Heart–at the Last Supper) at his death. We orthodox Catholic faithful tend to view the modern church with wary, perhaps horrified, skeptical eyes. But ought we not surrender, not to indifferentism, but to God’s great mercy, putting our trust in the Lord? He knows better than we how to bring good out of evil.

      The main theme of the modern church appears to me as one of predominantly “pastoral mercy” evidenced by:
      1) JPII’s canonization of Sr. Faustina and the message of Divine Mercy,
      2) Vatican Council II (a pastoral council) which opened Catholics up to a) deeper personal relationships with the Lord, b) expanded roles for laity, c) stronger hope in Mary and Joseph, d) more openness to others not of our faith; and other….
      3) The election of Pope Francis. Many persons outside mainstream orthodox Catholicism see him as a plain and down-to-earth man whose basic 1-liners led many to take a second look…..

      In the end, the Sacred and Immaculate Hearts will triumph.

      1. DH is Dignitatis Humanae which is a repudiation of Catholic Tradition.

        The One True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church ABS was born into in 1948 is invisibililium outside of a handful of traditional orders and the Second Vatican Council was a revolution within the form of Catholicism that intentionally created a new church.

        There is no new reality as, early on, schismatics and heretics and apostates abounded. What was new at Vatican Two was the creation of a nearly entirely new Ecumenism that seeks aught but a superficial unity that tries to either slough-off or cast a cloak over the differences in doctrine between the Catholic Church and other Christian communities.

        Of course, the most telling sign of this new church is the weird attempt to rehabilitate the insane heresiarch, Luther.

        ABS often laughs at the attempt of the hierarchy to claim continuity when there obviously is not.

        The Roman Rite was destroyed and forbidden to the faithful.

        Every single Sacrament was changed.

        The Religious Orders were “updated” and decimated.

        The Sister and Nuns were eviscerated.

        The list is as long as the lies told during a typical national political campaign.

        The new motto of the Church ought be

        Everything is changed, nothing is different.

  4. Invisibilium in the Hierarchy is that Prelate whose puissant grasp of Tradition is such that it could be applied as a force against out inertia into indifferentism.

    The praxis of Pope Francis is practical indifferentism.

    Prior to 1962, there were even Americans who had kept their intellects free of the colonising power of the heresy of Americanism.

    Mgr John A Ryan, Catholic Principles of Politics, 1940:

    The fact that an individual may in good faith think that his false religion is true gives no more right to propagate it than the sincerity of the alien anarchist entitles him to advocate his abominable political theories in the United States, or the perverted ethical notions of the dealer in obscene literature confers upon him the right to corrupt the morals of a community.

    And yet we are told, repeatedly, that D.H was not a rupture in doctrine and yet the world woke-up to discover that it was an assembly of Americanism.

    There is not one – not a single one – prelate who would be bold enough to speak this truth publicly because ecumenism and the new Church have produced a class of ecclesiastics who are epicene when they are not merely effeminate.

  5. As to Christian unity, a nice concept, but…

    It seems helpful to reflect upon the fact that every ideology ever invented has inevitably subdivided in to competing, or sometimes warring, factions. We might think about that for a second, for this fact has much to teach us.

    The universality of this subdividing phenomena within all ideologies strongly suggests that the division process arises not from the content of the ideologies, which can differ greatly, but from a factor which all ideologies have in common. That is, these consistently appearing divisions and sub-divisions arise not from the content of thought (this idea vs. that idea) but from the inherently divisive nature of thought itself.

    To call oneself a Christian is to divide oneself from other human beings. To call oneself a Catholic is to divide oneself from other Christians. To call oneself a traditional or liberal Catholic is to divide oneself from other Catholics. This process of division is inescapable within the realm of thought, because it is the nature of thought itself which is the source of the division.

    We can’t solve the problem of disunity by becoming a Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or Communist or anything else, because disunity plagues all these ideologies too, for a simple reason. The process of disunity is built in to the way thought works. Thought operates by a process of division, a reality which is the source of it’s great power, and also the enormous suffering it generates both personally and socially.

    People of all faiths like to talk about unity within their congregations, which is a pleasing cover story. But the real story is that we like our disunity, because it is only by being divided that we can perceive ourselves to be superior to somebody else, a goal which is very highly valued in a hyper-socially competitive species like human beings.

    Joe isn’t interested in unity, but in victory. And so it is within any group of people which label themselves as anything other than human beings.

    1. Phil,

      Most of us on this blog are baptized Christians, and already profess faith in Christ. We already believe in His multitudes of teachings and sayings, such as:

      ” I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would without doubt have known my Father also: and from henceforth you shall know him, and you have seen him. Philip saith to him: Lord, shew us the Father, and it is enough for us. Jesus saith to him: Have I been so long a time with you; and have you not known me? Philip, he that seeth me seeth the Father also.” [John 14:7]

      And,

      ” If you continue in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.They answered him: We are the seed of Abraham, and we have never been slaves to any man: how sayest thou: you shall be free? Jesus answered them: Amen, amen I say unto you: that whosoever committeth sin, is the servant of sin. Now the servant abideth not in the house for ever; but the son abideth for ever. If therefore the son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.

      And,

      “Now this is eternal life: That they may know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” [John 17:3]

      So you see, almost everything you write above breaths of a lack of faith in the same Christ that said these things and countless others. Your thoughts are ones of dissimulation and spiritual anarchy, not that you don’t have the right to think them, as the God the Father has given you the free will to do so.

      However, one of the last things Christ told to His followers, and to us through them, is:

      “Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.”

      So, those here who believe, are blessed…they need only to persevere in believing, and become knowledgable disciples of Christ; living how He said to live, and feeding and pondering on His words both by day and night. This is the love of God that we are commanded to have in the first commandment of the Decalogue; because those that love Jesus and His sacred words, love also the Father who sent Him, per Christ’s most delectable teaching:

      “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. And the word which you have heard, is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me. These things have I spoken to you, abiding with you. But the Paraclete, the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.”

      So, Phil, your lack of hearing and understanding Christ’s beautiful Gospel message is very unfortunate for you. But you can always try to acquire faith by asking God for it, even as Jesus taught us to pray to God Our Father in the depths of our hearts. He also gives us confidence by teaching us :

      “For every one that asketh, receiveth; and he that seeketh, findeth; and to him that knocketh, it shall be opened. And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?”

      So, whenever we feel our spirit is not right or healthy, we need only to do what Jesus says to do, and ‘our Father in heaven will give the good Spirit’ to us that ask him.

      So, understanding how weak your faith in Christ and his holy words are…which is demonstrated abundantly in your incoherent rant above, I can only hope the best for you, and pray that you are given by the merciful God and Our Father…the gift to value the holy words and teachings left to us by the mouth of ourmost loving Lord Jesus Christ. May He have mercy on you and give you the holy light of Christian faith.

      And may He strengthen the faith in all of us here, as we progress to an eternal destination of either salvation, joy, love and eternal peace with God, in the Holy Trinity….or the contrary: eternal destruction, misery, weeping, unending sorrow, darkness and ‘gnashing of teeth’ .

      Best to you in the Lord,

      – Al

    2. You err wildly by calling the Church established by Jesus an ideology and so, of course, you are going to end-up as lost as you are

      1. Hi ABS,

        In a feeble attempt to posit Catholic Christianity as an argument against the mass of words about conglomerated congealed confused dribble-drabble, one poster (moi) unfortunately did what you claim. I hope I am not lost, but I certainly am mistaken in my use of language. Thanks, ABS, for helping me right myself.

        1. Margo. You have nothing to apologise for. All of your opinions ABS have read track in sympathetic synchronicity with the beautiful music of One True Faith

  6. Do you agree with the following?

    1) Every ideology ever invented divides itself from those outside the ideology, and…

    2) Every ideology ever invented also subdivides internally in to competing factions which then come in to conflict with each other.

    Once these facts are seen, it becomes clear that there is no ideological solution to ending conflict and creating unity.

    The never ending pattern of conflict between Catholicism and other religions, AND within the Catholic community, are just familiar examples of a universal phenomena which afflicts all ideologies. Thus, the point being made here is neither pro-Catholic or anti-Catholic, but rather a commentary on the nature of ideology, or more precisely on the inherently nature of that which all ideologies are made of, human thought.

    Here’s how the process works.

    Thought is an electro-chemical information medium which operates by a process of conceptual division.

    Because we are made of thought psychologically, because we are looking at reality through that lens, we experience reality as being divided between “me” and “everything else”. “Me” is very very small, and “everything else” is very very big, so this perspective generates fear, which in turn generates conflict, which generates more fear etc.

    We attempt to find safety by attaching the tiny little “me” to something larger, such as a community of other humans. Ideology is created as a kind of glue for keeping such communities together. So the urge for unity is sincerely there, as has been pointed to in Joe’s article.

    Regrettably, we typically try to create the unity we seek out of the very thing which is causing the division, thought. Thus, the harder we try to stay connected through ideology, the more divided we become. We need look no farther than the highly divisive internal dialog of the Catholic web to see this universal process unfolding.

    Not many people are interested in how the process actually works, because they typically aren’t conducting a real investigation, but are instead merely seeking safety within the circled wagons of some ideological community. And so all their energy goes in to manning the barricades and defending their chosen ideological fort. Anything that helps build the fort is seen to be good, and anything that challenges the walls of the fort is seen to be bad. This is a very understandable and very widely shared process of self defense, but also an immature level of understanding.

    These ideological forts can never provide us the safety we seek, because anything created by humans can be destroyed by humans too.

    There is an escape hatch from this never ending pattern of divisive conflict that is fully within the Catholic tradition. One need not become a Buddhist or a new age guru or any of that.

    The escape hatch is of course the EXPERIENCE of love.

    Note that the word “experience” is in all caps as a way of distinguishing that which is real, experience of love, from that which is merely symbolic, talk about love.

    So as example, this post can never achieve the sought after unity, because it’s just talk. Well intended, but still just talk. And if the ideas in this post were adopted as a new ideology, they would generate more division and conflict, just like all other ideologies do. Thus, there would be no point in converting from whatever ideology you hold now and becoming a true believer of these ideas, as that would take you right back to where you already are, immersed in division and conflict. Again, there is no ideological solution, thus there is little point in a war between this ideology and that ideology.

    The EXPERIENCE of love doesn’t suffer from these problems because that experience is not made of thought, that which generates the illusion of division.

    Ideology is all about building a tower of ideas, and then whatever has been built must be defended, a process of fearful clinging which inevitably leads to conflict.

    As you know, love is all about surrendering. And so to the degree that surrender is achieved, there is nothing which requires defending, and thus no need for conflict. You know this principle as “die to be reborn”.

    All this excessive wordiness can be boiled down to the following simple bumper sticker slogan.

    1) Thought divides.

    2) Love unites.

    1. I believe in a Person. His name is Jesus Christ. I gave you some of His sayings. If I see Jesus, I see God the Father Almighty, Creator of Heaven and Earth. I don’t care about the process, and the “electro-chemical information medium”, that’s science and is common to even ticks and mosquitos. Its natural even as eating an apple is.

      Communion with God is supernatural, and it comes from a source, even as the apple you ate had a source… it’s parent seed, from which the apple and tree grew. The source for the eternal knowledge of God is God Himself, descended to this world to teach us about God the Father and creator. He teaches us WHY we were created, where we are going, the purpose of our existence. “No one can come to Me unless the Father draws Him”, says Christ. And,

      “Amen, amen I say to you: He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up another way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he hath let out his own sheep, he goeth before them: and the sheep follow him, because they know his voice. But a stranger they follow not, but fly from him, because they know not the voice of strangers.”

      Maybe if you reboot your physical life, and get off drugs, alcohol, sex, pride, gluttony, laziness, envy, anger,…the seven deadly sins…etc… you will understand the calling of Christ better. This is called ‘penance’ and ‘repentence’. Regarding this, one of the last things the Lord said to us before His ascension into Heaven was:

      “Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise again from the dead, the third day: And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things. And I send the promise of my Father upon you.”

      So, you probably need to reboot your physical life with penance (and everyone needs to continue to do the same) to understand Christ better when He says things like this. The physical life helps the spiritual life and vice versa.

      Best to you on your path to God, truth and charity, through our Lord Jesus Christ.

      – Al

  7. Do you agree with the following?

    1) Every ideology ever invented divides itself from those outside the ideology, and…

    2) Every ideology ever invented also subdivides internally in to competing factions which then come in to conflict with each other.

    The focus of Joe’s article seems to be unity. I am attempting to address that focus by looking for evidence that ideology, any ideology, will ever be able to create the desired unity. What I see so far is that ideology seems to typically lead not to unity and peace, but to division and conflict.

    I’ve offered evidence of this by pointing to the disunity and conflict that exists within the Catholic community, the most easily accessible example for this audience. This seems a particularly useful example, given that Catholicism is specifically about bringing people together in peace.

    However I don’t at all feel this is a Catholic problem exclusively, but something much larger, given that division and conflict seems to plague all ideology based communities. I’m asking readers to reflect on the seemingly universal nature of such ideological division and conflict.

    Readers are of course free to ignore such reflections and continue with the chanting of memorized scriptural dogmas. I don’t mind, and other participant’s posts are of course theirs to write. I just personally don’t see much evidence that peace and unity lie in that direction.

    1. Disunity can often aid to create unity, even as warfare, evil as it is, can unite both of the opposing parties MORE than if there was no war. Sometimes evil results in unlooked for and surprising benefits…even as was the Cross of Jesus both evil, but with exceedingly good results. The deaths of other martyrs in Christianty had the same effects, that is, good is a by product of the evil.

      And vice also can often have elastic effects, where a person can fall into a miserable existance wherein he understands that he has become a slave of addictions, lies and vanity….and then, with this realization of his poverty of joy and virtue, he turns to God, and from the bottom of his heart asks for help. Then, this same soul might also spring back like a stretched out bungee cord, and have a repulsion for that same vice like he never had before.

      I think there are many people like this, who have experienced liberation from one sin or the other, and are now champions and teachers against those particular sins. You hear stories of this at abortion rallies like the ‘Walk for Life’, and from people who have overcome alchoholism or even nicotine addiction.

      We find this also in the Bible with the stories of the ‘Prodigal Son’, the ‘Woman at the Well’, ‘Mary Magdelene at the feet of Jesus, and of the converted Zacheus , the short tax collector who climbed a tree.

      So disunity can actually have its blessings, as long as TRUTH is involved. On the other hand, unity WITHOUT TRUTH is probably a good definition of Hell.

  8. You make some good points, and I agree it’s often wise to look at things holistically, as you are doing here. Your post helps illustrate that the dualistic polarities that form the basis of much disunity and conflict are largely inventions of the human mind.

    Your point also depends on what you call TRUTH. And so it will inevitably be asked, which truth, whose truth? And then we find ourselves falling directly back in to disunity and conflict.

    As I see it, the source of disunity does not arise from the content of thought, this idea or that idea. If that were the case, then by now we would have stumbled upon the correct idea that transcends disunity and conflict.

    But what the evidence shows is that even among those who largely agree on what “The Truth” is, disunity and conflict is an ever present condition. You know, even those who willingly call themselves Catholic can not agree on what that means, and so the disunity and conflict continues without end even among those who are seemingly on the same ideological team.

    The reason I keep asking you if you agree that all ideologies suffer from this phenomena is that, if that is true, that teaches us a great deal about disunity. If every ideology ever invented inevitably subdivides in to warring internal factions, then the unity Joe is speaking to is quite unlikely to be achieved by tweaking the ideology, the content of thought. If true, then endless battles over which ideology is the “one true way” are largely pointless, as none of them will ever lead to peace.

    My proposal is that disunity arises from a source deeper than the content of thought. It arises out of the inherently divisive nature of thought itself. This theory would explain why all ideologies fall victim to disunity and conflict, because they are all made of thought.

    I hope by now it’s clear that this point of view is not presented as a challenge to Catholicism, but rather to the phenomena of ideology, the attempt to capture Truth in thought.

    I realize that such proposals are likely to be quite unwelcome to those fighting holy war ideological battles, and that’s ok, no problem. I’m just trying to add something to the conversation that might not have already been said a thousand times, which is how I see the job of a poster.

    1. Phil,

      It seems to me that you are trying to do the impossible and reconcile Heaven with Hell, Christ with Satan and Good with evil, so that they are compatible and at peace with one another. The problem being, that by very definition, they can never be reconciled. There are only two ways to travel, either the narrow way to God, Love and eternal life, or the ‘broad’ way, which travels the road of evil, sin and eternal destruction.

      And not to insult you, but it does seem that in trying to attempt the impossible, you are only relying on your own insights, and almost never refer to any other theologian, philosopher or historical figure who supports your position. Do you have any citations at all from others? In this it seems that you think your own wisdom to be superior to others, and kind of raise yourself up as a type of self appointed Messiah or guru wherein all might find wisdom through your ponderings on ‘electro-chemical information medium’s and their impact on ideological communities’, unless you actually have someone else out there who actually understands your ponderings?

      Catholics, on the other hand, have countless saints to agree with them, from the likes of St. Francis of Assisi, St. Patrick, St. Dominic, the Desert Fathers, The Apostles, The Early Christian Martyrs and all of the doctors of the Church; and also with many, or all of these, having their writings still being available for us to study and spiritually enjoy. But, this dissimulated theory of yours lacks almost any philosophical or theological details, and is very repetitive; and only seems to be a commentary on the state of a person’s present psychology at any particular time, and regardless of whether that persons psychology is actually in a state of health, or even possibly under the influence of drugs or other intoxicants. So, actually, your phychological assumptions sound as if they are actually the products of a drug experience…as I have already speculated before.

      Mere awareness of ones own existence is not theology, philosophy, or even wisdom. It is common to all life forms, and such awareness was created by God as part of our natural world. Theology, on the other hand is the study of God, and not just a mere experience of thinking a thought, and then analyzing how that thought exists. That’s more akin to Descartes ideas, who speculated : “I think therefore I am.” But it least Descartes had many premises upon which to build his theory, and a capacity to communicate to others what he actually means. You seem to have neither.

      The theology of the commenters that come to this blog is primarily centered on the teachings of Christ. So, it should be no surprise to you if we don’t consider your theories to be very inspiring, as you are competing with not only the teachings of Jesus Christ, but the teachings of the entire 2017 years of world Christianity and Western Civilization. So, you shouldn’t be surprised by the reaction of commenters here on your theories of ‘ideological subdivisions’ and their ‘competing factions which then come in to conflict with each other.’ … But, it sounds like it might possibly have been a hit back in the 1960’s… at a ‘beatnik’ poetry festival??

      If you would refer to something relating to Jesus Christ, and His teachings, maybe it would be more in line with the topics that most people come here to discuss. After all, we didn’t sign on to the ‘Shameless ideological subdivisions and conflicts blog”. We just happen to like ‘popery’.

      Best to you,

      – Al

    1. One ideology–Catholic Christianity–does accomplish unity. Jesus Christ came to earth so that we might, through, with, and in Him, have life and have it abundantly. When one begins living as Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church teach, one enters a path to full communion with Him here on earth and continuing, after death, in heaven. Scripture teaches this, the saints tell us so, and personal experience proves it.

  9. In regards to disunity in this thread, how about this?

    First, obviously no one is obligated to read and reply to my comments. So ignoring me is one easy solution, which I have no argument with.

    Second, if anyone does wish to engage my reflections on the nature of disunity, could you please address yourself to the post instead of the poster? Doing so will likely assist us in reducing disunity.

    I’ve repeatedly asked, has any ideology in history successfully ended disunity within it’s own ranks? This seems a relevant question which is very much on topic. If some ideology has accomplished this, we ought to know what it is and how it achieved internal unity. If no ideology in history has achieved this, then it seems reasonable to question whether the problem is ideology itself.

    Please return to the top and read Joe’s second sentence. Joe likes intellectually curious Catholics. Agreed, me too. I’m trying to do what Joe says he likes because I share that interest. Being intellectually curious is not chanting memorized dogmas from scripture, it’s not immediately jumping to a fixed conclusion which we then defend to the death. Being intellectually curious is a journey, a process, an investigation. By definition intellectual curiosity does not start with a conclusion, but with questions.

    And so I ask you this question again…

    Can anyone share evidence of any ideology in history which has not subdivided in to internal factions which then come in to conflict with each other?

  10. Al wrote…

    “Everyone!….Just take a look at the GREAT LOVE that Jesus Christ showed in almost everything that He did!” And, he wrote eloquently about how intellectuals can often complicate that which should be simple, and thus, universal.

    All I’ve been saying in my too many words is that the act of surrender we call love is the transformative healing agent which wipes away the illusion of division and separation inside ourselves, between each other, between ourselves and God.

    The ACT of love is what matters.

    Everything else is just talk.

    And all the talk quickly becomes just what Al warns us against, a complication of that which should be simple, and thus, universal.

    And out of all the complications arises disunity and conflict, for this person prefers a different flavor of complication than that person. And then our egos take over and grab the complications and use them as fuel for our social competition agendas. Then the power tripping organizers arrive and use the complications to build a bureaucracy, which then must be defended against anyone who won’t join and salute the flag. And when all these agendas spin out of control we start screaming at each other, and then maybe beheading each other.

    The turning point in this story was the moment we tried to capture the living act of love and make it permanent within a pile of dead symbols, ie. ideology. That process might be compared to taking a photo of our friend (a living thing), and then worshiping the photo (a dead thing). And so we might ask, what is the point of worshiping the photo when we have our friend? And what is the point of worshiping a pile of talk about love when we have love?

    In every moment of our lives we either surrender the “me” and die to be reborn, or we don’t.

    Here’s a moment. What’s our choice?
    Here’s another moment. What’s our choice?
    Here’s another moment. What’s our choice?
    Here’s another moment. What’s our choice?
    Here’s another moment. What’s our choice?
    And on it goes….

    Ruthlessly simple.

    All Christian ideology is really nothing more than a public declaration that love isn’t sufficient unto itself. Thus, all Christian ideology is heresy.

    1. “The ACT of love is what matters.”

      But talking is a form of acting out ‘love’; it’s an expression of the true and Godly love that motivates it…at least in the heart of saints. Talking, writing and communicating in any way(though imperfect) is an expression of the interior soul and heart of a person. And this is why Jesus said “From the depths of the heart does the mouth speak”. So, with the right intentions ‘communicating’ is an act of love that you talk about in the quote above.

      The problem I see is that you seem to denigrate acts of communication as if they are worthless. And yet you are expressing your very thoughts through such communication. So, it is true, if communication is vain in any way, and not motivated by the love that you talk about there is some evil involved. And this is also why Jesus (motivated by Love) warned

      “But I say unto you, that every idle word that men shall speak, they shall render an account for it in the day of judgment.”

      So you are correct in this Phil, but that doesn’t mean that the words we do speak, that ARE motivated by true love and charity, don’t have value. If they didn’t have value, it would be better if we did not speak or write at all.

      But on the contrary, God indicates through both his prophets and His Son, that words DO have a sacred purpose. And this is why Jesus also said to: “Go out to all the world and preach the Good News.” This is using speech as it was designed to be used. And, of course, there is more than mere speech involved in preaching and teaching. Living out the holy teachings is the ultimate goal, even as Christ said: “….he that shall do and teach, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”

      Best to you,

      -Al

  11. This prayer, which is the basis of the post, would have not have come from my lips or my heart when I was younger and still deeply influenced by some of the more conservative Protestant sources. I can see this prayer and pray it now. As I have read more of Luther’s writings, I think that he could even pray this prayer (as long as Holy Father meant God and not the Pope).

    It is sad that there are some who call themselves “Protestant” or even “Christian” and cannot say a prayer to Jesus. In my humble opinion, a Christian needs to be Trinitarian. The Apostles’ Creed and Nicene Creed have given us all a common foundation of the faith.

    1. Your conversion cannot be too far behind. Being that you are vocationally Protestant, this poses difficulties. I know that the Orthodox offer some means of support for converting clergy and their congregations. I know Father John Peck works with them: http://journeytoorthodoxy.com/contact/

      I am sure Roman Catholics have the same.

      I will pray for you.

      God bless,
      Craig

      1. Craig, I always appreciate your thoughtful comments and questions. It is a joy to see your faith journey unfolding on this format. Blessings on your reception into the Orthodox Church.

        I do not think that I will have to convert given the progress made by our churches. We have not had a specific bilateral dialogue process here in America because this discussion is happening on the international level. Check this out! https://www.lutheranworld.org/content/lutheran-orthodox-dialogue

        Thank you for the prayers! My wife is getting ordained at the end of the month, and she will be joining me at my church as the youth and family pastor. If you all would be in Kansas City at the end of the month, then you should attend!

  12. Rev Hands,

    There will never be a “common foundation of the faith” so long as the faith is in ideas, conclusions, ideology, thought. 2,000 years of disunity and conflict within the Christian community proves this beyond all doubt.

    There is an alternative binding agent. We could have faith in the act of love. Not theories about the act of love. The act itself.

    Here’s an example. Talk about food can be interesting, but no amount of talk provides the nutrition our body needs. Only the act of eating sustains us.

    I sense this is an analogy that can guide us. Of course we’re all going to have our opinions about things, our various interpretations, our personal ideology. And of course we’re going to talk about our opinions. But to the degree we can see such talk as being of secondary importance, an optional hobby some people enjoy, then the opportunity for overcoming disunity presents itself.

    Acts of love are what provide spiritual nutrition, not talk about acts of love.

    I remind readers, some of the very best Christians have little to no interest in ideological debate, because they are too busy serving others to have time for such things.

    A real Christian blog would not be about us and our opinions, our ideology and why it’s better than someone else’s ideology, nana nana na na etc etc.

    A real Christian blog would be about the practical business of raising money for those in need. In the Catholic context, we should raising money for Catholic Charities here. A real Christian blog would put the focus on somebody else and their needs, instead of our own need to trumpet whatever ideology we are using to make ourselves feel important.

    A real Christian blog would be about acts of love. Acts. Action. Real world. Real people being served in real time. It is only in action that we participate in the liberating process of dying, to be reborn.

    We will never be reborn by just talking about surrender, or putting our faith in some pile of words.

  13. Craig –

    Great news to hear about your conversion. The weight of history and logic was hard to bear for me as a Protestant and lead to my conclusion. Either the Mass is correct or Christianity is a false religion IMO. It is that simple in the end. There is no other historical or logical explanation to explain away the importance of the Mass. The Church doesn’t get a “do over” if it messed the Mass up so badly as alleged by the Reformers. The Mass was the bridge to Judaism and without such bridge scripture makes no sense.

    1. All good points, Clayton.The sacrifice of the Eucharist is implied in Heb 13:18 and explicit in the Didache and Ignatius. If something so important got screwed up so soon, then Christianity was a misfire and no-start.

      I am not a convert, however. I am being catechized. Please pray for me.

      God bless,
      Craig

  14. So I returned the top and re-read Joe’s article. This line jumped out…

    “Second, because this Christian disunity is a scandal (cf. John 17:20-23) and a crisis that demands serious attention.”

    CRISIS:

    First, I remain unclear as to why a variety of interpretations of the Christian message is a crisis. It seems this state of affairs has existed for 2,000 years. Ok, it was a crisis when Christians were murdering each other, agreed, but now? Why a crisis? It seems very few people consider it a crisis, and most have happily accepted the existence of multiple Christian denominations, with multiple perspectives within each denomination.

    Second, what would Joe and a million other Christian bloggers write about if everyone agreed on everything? Wouldn’t such an ideological unity make theologians irrelevant? Wouldn’t it go a long way towards pulling the rug out from under Christian conversation?

    It seems possible to me that our inability to ever fully nail down scripture may be a deliberate part of the design of Christianity? Yes, such uncertainty does generate conflict, but it also keeps us on the subject. Consider the skilled philosophy professor who never gives you the right answer, but instead is always feeding you a new question. That’s how you keep people engaged, but never arriving at the end of the story.

    SERIOUS ATTENTION:

    Here I guess I should grant Joe some leeway for rhetorical excess, being a victim of it myself all too frequently. That said, there is little to no evidence that anyone on any side is going to be giving Christian disunity serious attention, including Joe. I say this to point to a malady that seems to inflict the entire Catholic web, a passion for the grand sounding statement that when examined closely really doesn’t mean too much.

    Look at this thread. At least one poster has made a sincere attempt to understand ideological disunity, the logical first step in doing something about it. Readers couldn’t be less interested….

    I ask you friends, what are YOU willing to give up to move towards Christian unity? Nothing at all, right? Case closed. Everyone on all sides seems to think that Christian unity will involve everyone else finally seeing that they were right all along. Chances of this working? Exactly zero. That is, not serious.

    1. Phil –

      There is a massive difference between the search for unity and accepting heresy. It’s impossible for someone to be unified with a heretic unless truth is relative. The Catholic Church doesn’t have “denominations” and that is a Protestant concept. Your post would make more sense if Christianity were devoid of a physical Church on this earth that was instituted by Christ and protected by the Holy Spirit.

      The first logical step is understanding whether one is dealing with a subject from which unity can flow or whether one is dealing with outright heresy.

    2. Phil, Christian disunity is a consequence of free will. Free will, created by God for the human race, means that some souls will choose NOT to love others, NOT to serve others, NOT to thank and praise God for their existence, etc… And so, the world is comprised of a mix of billions of people all with their own relationship with God and their own ‘free will’.

      The people who choose not to love truth, love, God, their neighbor, etc…cause a lot of trouble for those who seek to do all of these things. So, there is a spiritual warfare in the world, as has been since God created mankind.

      So, your ideas are more designed for angels than humans, because humans have other’s living with them that are trying to influence and tempt them towards following the ‘evil’ path away from goodness, virtue and holiness of life.

      And everyone has a free choice as to the way they want to walk.

      But you say that the good folks who follow love should not ‘talk’ but only ‘act’. But this is also ridiculous because speaking is an act, and one of the greatest gifts that God has provided mankind. So, I think your problem is with the concept of free will. Even Jesus didn’t have power over the free will of Judas, who betrayed him to death, because God the Father gave him the free will to think and act the way He did. Yet, the consequences for Judas himself, his own soul… would result in the saying: “better for him if he had not been born”. And this is the prospect of all who use their free will to contradict in their lives the Eternal and all Good God. On the contrary, all mankind should fervently pray as Jesus taught: “Father, Not mine, but Your will be done”.

      Best to you,

      – Al

    3. Unity without ‘love, BASED ON TRUTH’, is worthless unity, and more suitable to demon’s than saints. This is why there is a Hell and wherein Jesus said clearly of His Church: “Upon this Rock I shall build my Church and the ‘gates of Hell’ shall not prevail over it”. That means, that there will NEVER be UNITY between Jesus’ eternal Church and the dominions of satan, demons and Hell. They are contrary states and places of eternal existence which was created by our Almighty God from the foundation of the world.

      You should really start studying the words of Christ so as to start figuring some of this out.

  15. Hi again Al,

    Christian disunity is a function of free will, yes. And free will is a function of the illusion that we are separate from God.

    But why do you then describe Christians who are disunited as “some souls will choose NOT to love others, NOT to serve others, NOT to thank and praise God for their existence, etc…” Lost me there.

    Um, my ideas are not for angels, or they wouldn’t be coming out of my mouth. I thought we might be able to agree on that much. 🙂

    The act of love is what provides spiritual nutrition, whether or not a particular person can make that act of surrender in any given moment. This isn’t about angels, nor is it complicated.

    We can talk about food all day long, but we don’t receive a single calorie until we eat some actual food. Simple. And all that I’m saying. This analogy puts the talking of the talk and the walking of the walk in to a proper perspective. Is talking the talk evil? Of course not. Does it provide spiritual nutrition? Of course not. Only dying to be reborn does that. Note that “dying” is an active verb.

    In your third paragraph you blatantly misquote me, and then set out to argue against assertions of your own invention. Ok then, have fun.

    Then you conclude with this….

    “Father, Not mine, but Your will be done”

    Right. That’s it. Jesus is talking about the act of surrender here. The ACT of surrender. Not talk about surrender, not theories about surrender, not clergy approved doctrines about surrender, not arguments for or against surrender, but….

    The act of surrender. The act.

    That’s what love is. An act. Not a theory or ideological position.

    1. Hi Phil,

      Christians in this world have free will as all others… they don’t stop doing evil just because of a name that they are called. But on the other hand, having access to both grace and instruction from God, they are given the ability to live in this world with their goal being to focus on the ‘narrow gate’ …the path of virtuous living and union with God. On the other hand, a Christian can also turn back from the narrow way, if he doesn’t ‘Pray always that you enter not into temptation’. That is, the temptations of others in this world, and of demons as well, can lead a Christian in the opposite direction from the ‘narrow’ gate that Jesus talked about (striving to enter through), and lead him to travel the ‘broad way’ to spiritual destruction, wherein Christ says ‘…and many are they who take that easy route’.

      So again, there is spiritual battle taking place in the world as a consequence of ‘free will’ which was given to mankind by the gift of God. And by BOTH word and deed, the good and the evil carry out this battle, because every person has an effect (be it good or evil) on the others around him. That is to say, ‘no man is an island’. And so, a virtuous man should set his eyes on helping others, from the love in his heart in every way he can, and to help them to follow the Good God and a life of virtue in this world. And he should do this by many acts of charity, and many words of wisdom, spiritual guidance and love, as well. It all goes together, ‘walking the walk’ and ‘talking the talk’, as you say. But, primarily it is love for God and neighbor that is the motivation for all action, be it speech or actions, and it is the free will of each person to decide to the degree that he wants to love both God and neighbor. Some, like St. Paul and St. Francis, wanted to give a lot. Others are more miserly with their charity. And others will not only give nothing, but attack those who do want to love God and neighbor, in an act of jealousy and envy, even as is seen in the story of ‘Cain and Able’.

      But, in all of this the spiritual battle between good and evil, virtue and vice, love and hate, Heaven and hell, angels and demons…continues. And all will culminate when Christ separates the ‘sheep’ from the ‘goats’ on the last day. So, talk about disunity! And, all is provided by a mans ‘free will’ to follow God, or not to follow Him, while he lives here on Earth.

      Best to you,

      – Al

  16. Steering back on topic…

    We’ll never be united in ideology, but we could be united in love.

    As example, what if this blog was all about the practical business of raising money for some chosen charity?

    I’ve made this suggestion many times all over the Catholic web, and it’s ALWAYS resisted or ignored, every single time. The same thing will happen here.

    Here’s why.

    Discussing and debating ideology is all about us. Me and my situation, me and my salvation, me and my opinion, me and my knowledge of scripture, me and my rightness, me and my clever use of words, me and my rhetorical triumph, me and my superior club of like minded friends, me and spiritual journey, me and my ideas, me and my blog, me and the glorious sound of my own voice, me and my sanctimonious platitudes, me and my many wonderful sermons, and so on etc.

    All this activity all over the Catholic web is really all about us, our needs. And focusing on our own needs is fun. And so understandably, nobody wants to give it up and change the subject to somebody else’s needs.

    The challenge is that all the talking of the talk we’re doing SOUNDS very Christian, and so we convince ourselves that all our talking is part of a holy march towards Jesus etc. This is a very pleasing cover story, and so it’s very popular.

    But the opposite is true. All the talk is really about us, and our needs. It’s not about surrender, not about service, not about the needs of others, not about dying to be reborn, and thus, not about Christianity.

    We’re heretics. And to make it worse, we’re not honest about that, even to ourselves.

    Watch. You too will resist the idea of using Christian blogs to raise money for the needy. You’ll have a thousand clever little come backs which try to somehow dismiss the subject. Or more likely, you’ll take the easy way out and just ignore it. That way you don’t have to admit that you’re resisting.

    You’ll sweep it all under the rug, and hope this inconvenient person somehow goes away, so you can get back to pretending holy talk is Christianity.

  17. Ok Al, let’s give your words a try and see if they are real. You say Christianity is BOTH talk AND service. Ok, a reasonable theory, so let’s find out if it is true.

    1) Let’s keep talking the holy talk here on the blog….

    ….AND…..

    2) ….let’s use this blog to raise money for Catholic Charities.

    I’ll show you how if anyone is interested, but um, watch….

    Nobody will be.

    Prove me wrong dude. Here’s your chance.

      1. Yes Al, your reply is one of the common avoidance defense mechanisms to my proposal. There are a number of others. I’ve seen it for years all over the Catholic web.

        Whenever the focus changes from _talking_ about serving the needy on a blog, to actually using a blog to serve the needy, everybody runs for cover. Nobody wants to know how such service might be accomplished, or anything about it. The only interest is in how the subject can be dismissed and swept under the rug at the earliest moment.

        There’s no crime in that. There really isn’t. But there’s no credibility either.

        Observe how I reached out to you and worked to find a solution where everybody gets what they want, we get to talk the talk AND walk the walk AND people other than us get served, all at the same time. And observe how quickly you said forget it, not interested, at all.

        That’s the Catholic web in a nutshell my friend. So if you’re wondering why the parishes are emptying out as the Church careens from one scandal to the next, this topic does a lot to explain that.

        Talk about love is like talk about food. There’s no nutrition involved.

        1. Phil, you are being ridiculous and redundant. You would be happy to: “….let’s use this blog to raise money for Catholic Charities”. This is not your blog. So, why don’t you start your own? People have their own charities to donate to. You’re such an egoist as to think that everyone here, because they are Catholic, will just automatically love Catholic Charities. But that is your egoism speaking. People with brains donate to the charities that particularly inspire them. Not because of a name. Personally, I doubt that I will ever donate to Catholic Charities, but do plenty of donating none the less. So, your assumptions and conclusions regarding others are ridiculous.

          1. More of the usual dodging and weaving I’ve seen a hundred times. It’s not just you Al, it’s the whole Catholic web, best I can tell.

            I don’t care if it’s Catholic Charities that receives the donations. I just suggest that because so many posters are so intent on proclaiming what faithful Catholics they are, so I try to make it easy for them by suggesting a charity run by the Catholic Church, that organization they claim to be so incredibly loyal to.

            Yes, I’m sure you and others already donate your time and resources. I’ve never made the point that you don’t.

            The point is, many thousands of people are investing a LOT of time in typing all over the Catholic web, and all that typing could be put in service of somebody other than just ourselves. And because we’d all like to see the world become a better place, that’s an activity people of all Christian points of view could be united in.

            Regrettably, the Catholic web has fallen in to a deep coma, so the leadership for such a project will have to come from some other denomination. What’s ridiculous about my comments is that I am very much barking up the wrong tree. To this I plead guilty.

            Here’s what will happen next. There is no logic to your arguments against this proposal, and you’re intelligent enough to know that. So you will soon shift to ignoring such real world unity proposals, in the hope that they will soon go away and you can go back to chanting the empty holy talk in peace.

  18. There is an insuperable distance twixt Catholicism and the faith of many in the schismatic Church of the East and ABS posts this link in the hope that Mr. Truglia, and lurkers, will consider the too rarely spoken about insuperable distance between the one True Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church and the putative Orthodox Church.

    The final end of Catholicism – Salvation and Sanctification – is the Beatific Vision – whereas that is not possible according to the Orthodox.

    There is simply no way to either slough-off this truth or to place an ecumenical cloak over it. It must be faced, the two Churches worship a different God.

    http://www.waragainstbeing.com/partiii

    1. If the two churches are so different then why can a Catholic participate in an Orthodox Mass if necessary? Schism is vastly different than heresy.

      1. What you observe is simply one, of many instances, of what was once forbidden is now not only permitted but encouraged because Ecumenism is the Universal Solvent of Tradition.

        http://www.christendom-awake.org/pages/thomas-crean/praying-with-non-catholics.htm

        Vatican Two was the revolutionary rocket that was loaded with ecumenical explosives, ignited, and exploded within the very church that created it and it blowed-up everything and so now the idea a Catholic fulfills his Sunday Duty by assisting at an Orthodox Liturgy is aught but the consequence of the indifferentism that now reigns supreme in the shadow church.

        ABS has had family members go to Confession at his behest because they missed Mass and went to a proddy production instead and two different priests told his family members that a proddy production substitutes for a Mass even when the family members could have made it to Mass.

        That is, the priests, owing to their poor faith formation in modernist seminaries, can no longer distinguish and.or differentiate the form and content of a Catholic Mass vs the form and content of a proddy service because both are all about the Lord’s Supper now.

        Eastern Orthodoxy is the seedbed of heresy and iconoclasm but it has become increasingly attractive to cradle catholics because of its sane liturgy which only goes to illustrate just how blind the fathers at the council were in failing to read the signs of the times which included rampant hatred of all things Catholic and Sacred; but, the V2 revolutionaries desired to make peace with the world, theirs, and ours, ancient and permanent enemy.

    2. Perhaps they both worship the same God after all?

      Me and my ideas. Me and my interpretations. Me and my correctness. Me and my superiority. Me and my club. Me.

      1. Phil. You do not even realise that many of your posts are psychological projection, do you?

        No matter that the topic of the post is, you always demand the readers of it agree with your own personal passions, prejudices, and proclivities in response to it or you judge them as sad deluded victims of some ideology.

        It would be one thing if your psychological projections were interesting but they are not – they barely qualify as microwaved masonry.

        1. The only objective truth is Phil’s relative truth!

          🙂

          Relativism is so subtle and tempting which is why Satan loves this worldview to confuse people.

        2. Phil’s views come from the pillar of Protestantism which is relativism. Make up anything you want since there’s no objective truth and become your own Pope, priest and Church.

          This worldview is very seductive and unfortunately, many within the Catholic Church are effectively Protestant a majority of the time (ex. Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, etc.)

          You cannot believe in the Mass and turn around and actively reject Church teaching. Logically impossible.

  19. Clayton, you said…

    “This is a blog therefore all anyone can do is post the written word. Geez.”

    FYI, there are literally millions of sites all over the net where the written word is converted in to cash. Typically this is for commercial profit, but there’s no reason why the same process can’t be used for “spiritual profit”, that is, an exercise in surrender, service, etc. Millions of dollars could be raised across the Catholic web to serve many fellow human beings in desperate situations, if there was a will to make that happen.

    But there is no such will, or it would already be happening.

    Raising funds to serve the needy is a project that all Christian congregations can agree on, unlike ideological issues where disunity blossoms. This is why I raise this proposal in the context of Joe’s article. There is zero chance of achieving unity if the focus is ideology, but if the focus is switched to love and service new possibilities for conquering disunity arise. No Christian has to compromise their particular personal beliefs in order to participate in love and service, right?

    The project might be called something like… Write-To-Serve

    Everybody still gets to give their wonderful moral sermons, but the sermons are converted in to cash for the needy, so that the sermons become more than just glorious holy talk.

    Everybody wins…

    …and nobody is interested.

    1. Millions are ALREADY raised over the web by Catholic charities!!!! You obviously aren’t Catholic or you would know this fact.

  20. Clayton, I hear you saying….

    Catholics already do much good work, therefore it’s a bad idea to do more good work.

    Now perhaps you might hear me as I’m saying… That makes no sense whatsoever.

    Here’s a plan which might resolve the disunity between us.

    Steal my idea, and claim it as your own. Wait, better yet, let’s start a rumor saying it’s the Pope’s idea. Seriously, why shouldn’t you, and/or the Pope, have an idea like this? It’s a very Catholic idea. It poses no threat to your ideology whatsoever.

    As a Woodstock orgy heretic, I’m obviously an obstacle, so let’s get rid of me. Email Joe and have him delete all my comments on the blog, and then claim this idea on behalf of the Catholic Church.

    Or, an alternate plan could be that we argue divisively over this for the next few years, building the towering inferno of pointless disunity ever higher, while no needy people of any kind get served by all our typing.

    Your choice dude. Which is more Catholic?

    1. Nope. Bad idea to do more good work? That’s preposterous and no way could that be logically inferred from my posts. What you’re posting is a logical fallacy and/or a straw man argument. It’s like you’re determined to create your own reality and language be damned.

      I’m not against a link to donate, but the fact that one doesn’t exist doesn’t detract from a blog. What you are accepting is theological relativism under the guise of unity. That’s evil.

  21. Clayton,

    You’re consistently arguing against a specific proposal to do more good work in the name of Catholicism. That’s why I accurately characterized your post as such. It’s all here in print, anybody can see that for themselves.

    Please tell us, what is the logical fallacy in using Catholic blogs to raise funds for Catholic causes???

    1. Another logical fallacy in your post and here it is:

      You presume that if one doesn’t comply with your recommendation that such failure to comply is or must be a bad work.

      That’s nonsense. In fact, blogging in this instance is a good work. I’m not arguing that having a donation link is bad at all. But you are the one arguing that if you don’t donate somehow that is bad. The issue of donating or not donating isn’t an either/or position unless, as you do, one tries to redefine words into new meanings (nominalism) or create some new reality. Of course everyone can do more in their life but that isn’t the issue. You’re trying to remove the good act of blogging because it isn’t “good enough” for you. The fallacy is in your position that if one doesn’t include a donation link that somehow that failure is bad.

      Theological relativism is evil. No way around it and what Satan prefers. He wants people to believe lies as truth and the easiest way to have that happen is through relativism. You are so focused on “unity” that you are willing to ignore historical truth and accept heresy for the sake of unity. Evil!

  22. Your position would only make sense if the lack of a donation link is instrinsically bad.

    That is fallacious!

  23. Clayton,

    First, I never said the lack of a donation link is “instrinsically bad”, so as is somewhat common here, you are all wound up arguing against an assertion of your own invention.

    Second, I’m talking about more than a donation link. I would happy to explain further, but I’ve yet to find a single Catholic online who is interested in how Catholic blogs might be used for something more constructive than endless ideological theory.

    Third, what I will say is that a failure to connect the talking of the talk to the walking of the walk undermines the credibility of any Christian blogger. The churches are emptying out for a reason, given that lots of folks see the entire enterprise as being little more than the mass production of sanctimonious platitudes. As example, when the Pope addressed the U.S. Congress, the most powerful legislative body in the world, he made no specific concrete action proposal and instead just repeated the same old Catholic theory sermons everyone has already heard a million times over 2,000 years. Good guy, weak message.

    Fourth, the main point I’ve made repeatedly, which you’ve completely ignored in your rush to have a pointless controversy, is that shifting the focus of Christian blogs away from ideology and towards service could be a powerful tool in building the Christian unity Joe’s article is addressing.

    My mistake was in thinking anybody here including Joe takes anything Joe says seriously. If you want to debunk me and slap me down, that’s how to do it. Reveal my simple minded naivete. Perhaps we should change my screen name to Country Bumpkin?

    1. I know you didn’t say it, but you have to take that position for your posts to make any sense. You implied it. That’s called the law of non-contradiction and it’s a bitch.

      You’re a theological relativist that thinks Christianity can be “saved” if watered down for the masses. Such thinking is grounded in sin and a complete disregard for truth. Proof? Pism itself compared to Catholicism. Pism is relativism at its core. We need more people to repent or stop trying to destroy the Church from within. We need more blogs like this that have a passion for truth. The fact that you can’t see Catholics living out their faith after they blog isn’t a problem except for you.

      You debunk yourself with your posts. It’s easy to point out.

      1. Your a good and patient man for putting up with Phil, and defending the Faith in such a kind way, Clayton. May God bless you for it.

        – Al

        1. Thank you for your kind words, but I often fail and charity isn’t a strong suit.

          Relativism isn’t the answer. We need cold, hard and historical truth coupled with people who aren’t afraid to wrestle with these topics on an intellectual level. BUT, even that isn’t enough. The faith must be lived and that’s hard. It’s easy to fall prey to intellectualism and put Christ in a classroom or limit him to a book. There’s a danger that because we have truth that it’s all over and everything will work out. It’s much easier with truth but living the faith is hard work. Not getting the theology correct is devastating but so is not living the faith. Of course, this is only a blog and it can only do so much or go so far.

          1. Clayton,

            You’re making an important point about intellectualism. And the point is that God is a Person and not an ‘idea’. Jesus teaches us this when He uses the analogy of a shepherd. It’s the ‘voice’ that they recognize and follow, and not even necessarily what the voice says, for that matter. It’s the person, and personality of the Shepherd that they know and trust on a primordial level. It’s also a voice of love and care, and one reaching back to past experiences with the shepherd wherein He has helped them in difficulties. So, you’re right about the intellectualism. Following and understanding God is much deeper than that, and probably involves items even on the DNA level, or going back to our mother’s wombs. How intellectual is that experience?

            This, I think, is why Jesus uses so many parables, because the intellect will always be insufficient to teach about God. Our whole physical creation, and being, preaches Him to us, and this is how we recognize His voice, because it is innate in us as part of our creation being made in the ‘image of God’. How we grow to not hearing or listening to His voice is if we start on a path of sin, wherein the voice of God is barely heard. Other voices are preaching to us a false Gospel of the world, the flesh and the devil…or like the ‘relativism’ that you describe.

            But, as Christ says, some sheep will not listen to the voice of the evil shepherd, who has no care for the sheep. They still have an ear for God, in the depths of their souls and being, and so ‘run away’ from crazy doctrines, ideas and thoughts that don’t ring of the Shepherds voice.

            Best to you in the Lord, our Good Shepherd.

          2. One of the inadvertent consequences of Western Civilization (which was built off of the back of Christianity and Rome) is the emergence of scientism through intellectualism. Pism/scientism/intellectualism destroys the metaphysical and seeks to answer every question and remove mystery.

            Science has greatly benefitted mankind but man now views science as a god.

          3. Clayton,

            A year or so ago, the literary journal of my alma mater chose to honor the work of gifted humanities students by publishing their work and distributing this to alum.

            One painting depicted a faithful crèche. On first glimpse, the manger appeared empty. Closer inspection revealed a swaddled lab mouse nestled within. Imagine the Christian’s instinctive recoil at seeing and understanding the postmodern ‘half-truth’ of such an image.

          4. Heresy and evil must be cloaked with apparent “goodness” to be accepted. Not everyone is steeped in rhetoric or philosophy so they can’t always spot the issues. Joe’s perspective is unique since he was a lawyer and a classics major. That is a powerful combination when used properly.

            Of course, one could read Chesterton to spot the issues. 🙂 🙂 :). The law of noncontradiction is a bitch to relativists (ex. there is no truth but their truth violates the law).

      2. Thanks Clayton, but your comments have nothing to do with anything I’ve said. You’re having an argument with someone else here. And here’s who that is…

        Catholicism.

        Ye who are SO INCREDIBLY FAITHFUL!!! to Catholic teachings should have had the idea (blogging to serve the needy) I’ve shared above long before I ever got here. Your own chosen ideology demands it. It should be you persuading me to join your ongoing project, not me having to bang my head against the stubborn thickheaded brick wall of this blog.

        ——————–
        Posters above are using an argument with me to distract yourself from the real argument you’re having with your own faith.
        ——————–

        What’s really pissing the lot of you off is that even though I’m a hedonistic Woodstock orgy heretic who should be immediately excommunicated according to your own doctrines, I’m expressing Catholic values better than the rest of you.

        What we can agree on is that I am not the right salesman for the “Catholic blogging to serve the needy” proposal. Being outside the incredibly sleepy group consensus helped me have the idea, but that same position makes me a poor candidate to sell it. I’m not part of your little mutual validation transaction club, and that’s about all you really care about it.

        Again, the solution here is for one or more of you to steal this idea, claim it as your own (with my blessing) and start selling it to Catholic bloggers all over the net.

        Or, you can ignore the needy, ignore love, ignore surrender, ignore Jesus, ignore Catholicism, and use Catholic blogs only for proclaiming gloriously empty sermons which make you feel better about yourself. Me, me, me, me, me, all about me.

        BTW, although any comparison between me and Jesus would be absurd, my inconvenient comments above are a little taste of what’s in store for you should Jesus return. He’s not going to come back to tell us what a great job we’re doing, because we already excel at that ourselves. Should he return it will be to lead a course correction, and a lot of people LIKE YOU are going to be made very uncomfortable. This is not speculation, it’s the very thing that happened within the Jewish community Jesus was born in to the last time he came.

        Here’s a concrete example. Jesus is going to visit every local parish, look the priest in the eye, and ask…

        “Do you mean to tell me that you raised millions of dollars from your hard working congregation, and then spent it on this big fancy building that sits empty almost every day???”

        Yes, you clergy worshipers, heads are going to roll, and some of them are going to be yours.

        1. I’m expressing Catholic values better than the rest of you.

          BTW, although any comparison between me and Jesus would be absurd, my inconvenient comments above are a little taste of what’s in store for you should Jesus return. He’s not going to come back to tell us what a great job we’re doing, because we already excel at that ourselves. Should he return it will be to lead a course correction, and a lot of people LIKE YOU are going to be made very uncomfortable. This is not speculation, it’s the very thing that happened within the Jewish community Jesus was born in to the last time he came.

          Ladies and gentleman, It is rare to see the ugly combination of arrogance and ignorance in one post in such a pristine presentation as to be of museum quality, so enjoy it for what it is.

          Phil is better than us – arrogance – but he has not the first clue as to the Parousia but,rather, thinks that Jesus will return to correct some problems -ignorance.

          1. Hi ABS,

            Ladies and gentleman, It is rare to see the ugly combination of arrogance and ignorance in one post in such a pristine presentation as to be of museum quality, so enjoy it for what it is.

            BRAVO!

        2. What pisses me off is that your relativistic worldview is grounded in sin and yet you hold that out as Christian when it is far from Christian. You don’t understand philosophy, theology, epistemology, rhetoric, etymology or ecclesiology and yet you post on a website that is steeped in these studies.

  24. Al, Clayton is not defending the faith, and neither are you. Both of you are defending YOUR INTERPRETATION of the faith.

    1. More relativism and you can’t even see it. Your post incorrectly presumes that Christianity can only be distilled into personal preference and objective truth doesn’t exist. Sure there are times when aspects of the faith are subjective, but those are few and far between. The Mass and the authority bestowed to the Church are objective.

    2. You said…I’m a hedonistic Woodstock orgy heretic. I thought it might be something like that. Why would anyone want to listen to a

      “…orgy heretic?”

  25. ABS, your comment is the classic example of trying to change the subject from the post to the poster to cover up the fact that you have nothing interesting or useful to say about the subject of this page, building unity among a variety of Christian congregations.

    I’ve addressed Joe’s article with a specific theory…

    1) Change the focus from ideology to service.

    And then followed up with a specific action plan….

    2) Use Christian blogs to raise money for the needy.

    Yes, ABS, on this particular topic, I have proven I’m better than the rest of you, less ignorant of Catholic values than the rest of you, and more serious about Joe’s article than the rest of you.

    Yes, it’s arrogant and impolite to say that out loud. But what I’m saying is indeed true, and when confronting a brick wall, sometimes a sledge hammer is necessary.

    1. Phil. Unity has always existed in the Catholic Church. Really, it is in every single Creed ever approved for use by the Catholic Church but you obviously have no clue of objective reality although, to be fair to you, are are ever anxious to dismiss Divine Revelation.

      Your level of knowledge about the Catholic Church would not pass muster even in today’s RCIA but we all know this will not stop you from boasting and insisting that if we do not agree with your goofy proposals we are somehow lacking.

      You are a boring troll and you should simply be ignored as attention is the oxygen that keeps you alive in here.

      ABS is shutting off your oxygen.

      Adios. RIP.

  26. What you’ve proven is your egotism, relativism and ignorance are more important than history, scripture and reality. You have created your own version of Christianity planted firmly in mid air.

    You can’t be a theological relativist and a Christian. Mutually exclusive worldviews.

    But Satan loves lies which is why relativism spreads so easily. It allows us to avoid how hard it is to follow Christ and his Church. Sinful man wants to be his own Pope, priest and Church so that he can appease the flesh and kid himself that he’s still “religious” and better than everyone else. Once again, the deadly sin of pridefulness cripples humanity.

    1. Phil is trying to teach us that “orgy heretics” make excellent teachers (like himself0, especially when they have graduated from the ‘Woodstock school of hedonism.’ I was always wondering where he got his unique philosophical ideas…, and now I know. It seems that nudist colonies,or sex clubs, (where else would you find orgies readily available?) from the 1960’s were his unique philosophical and theological training. No wonder he hates the Church so much…because it says NOT to go to this school, wherein Phil is highly disturbed and defensive with such sound advice. And then he makes it sound like a little loving kindness towards another, like kindness to one of the other orgy members, will make everything virtuous and according to God’s plans.

  27. We can now observe how members are abandoning the topic of Christian unity altogether, and the constructive suggestions that have been offered for advancing it. No one is bothering to even try to offer a reasoned challenge to the Christian unity proposal that’s been put on the table, or make any constructive suggestions that might improve the idea.

    However, I bow to my fellow posters nonetheless. For in rising up to offer their passionate personal mudslinging, their participation in these Christian unity ideas exceeds that of the vast majority of their fellow Catholics who will, indeed have, simply ignore such constructive suggestions without bothering to lift their sleepy hands out of their lap and place them on their keyboard.

    So let this thread serve as a representative little slice of what is happening to modern Catholicism. All those who have the energy and creativity to breath new life in to this ancient enterprise have been drummed out of the community by the incurably fearful, and those who remain are too sleepy to grasp why their churches are emptying out as the nice little old ladies who populate them die off one by one by one.

    Ah well, so it has always been, and always will be. All things must pass.

    1. If “christianity” is relative, as you presume in your posts since you are trying to unify heresy with truth, then why bother with Christianity at all?

      Another logical fallacy again: Christians must unite with anybody who calls themselves a Christian and without regard to any heresy that one touts.

      Complete nonsense once again. You cannot unite truth and untruth and yet you try to hold out that somehow unity is abandoned because we won’t accept heresy??? How is that not evil?

  28. You aren’t trying to bring in “life,” on the contrary, you are trying to bring in death through relativism under the guise of unity. Satanic.

  29. Clayton, I mean you no harm, but honestly, you have not the slightest clue what I’m writing about. Perhaps I am a really poor writer, that could be it. Anyway, you are essentially arguing with yourself above. Your comments have nothing to do with the Christian unity ideas I’ve been expressing here.

    I think you are just reacting to me personally, which I understand because I realize my ideas are very inconvenient to committed ideologists, and my personality flaws can be rather annoying. Please recall that Jesus was so inconvenient that his neighbors had him killed for it. So being inconvenient is not by itself a moral crime.

    The social dynamics of pretty much the entire Internet (not just the Catholic web) are that people like to gather in groups of the like minded so that others will validate their perspective, whatever it may be. I call this the “mutual validation transaction” a sort of psychological business deal. As example, on this blog the others members agree to tell you what a good Catholic you are, and you do the same for them, and everybody is happy. That’s the price tag of popularity pretty much everywhere, online and off, you have to tell others what they want to hear.

    My genetic destiny renders me incapable of this group hug experience. My talent and burden is that I excel at sharing what folks least wish to hear. But I remind readers, if the things we want to hear could take us where we want to go, we’d already be there.

    I’m a perpetual outsider, which like everything else has it’s benefits and price tags. Not being part of the Catholic culture group consensus provides me with the freedom and distance to have the Christian unity ideas I’ve expressed above, but it also renders me incapable of selling them.

    The solution here is fairly simple. Keep the ideas, and get rid of me. The ideas are important, but I am not.

    The idea of using Christian blogs to fund Christian values and help unify various Christian communities is a good idea, and I think you know that. I’m sure that Al does. You just don’t want to hear this idea from me, which I can understand. If a priest brought you this very same idea you’d embrace it, because the priest is part of your mutual validation transaction system, a member of the authority structure you look up to.

    But, regrettably, no priest brought you this idea, did they? Nor did the author of this blog. The whole Catholic web blabs endlessly on and on and on with the mass production of sanctimonious platitudes, while a billion people around the world live on the very knife edge of survival. And across Christian culture at large, this is considered completely normal. Trillions of dollars are spent on Christian church buildings which sit empty most of the time, while people in the same neighborhoods are being ground to dust by poverty. And this too is considered completely normal.

    The point here is that unless you can find some way to accommodate voices from outside of this hyper-sleepy group consensus, the religion you care about so much is going to continue to die. Evidence, Christianity is currently in the process of losing it’s traditional European homeland, which is why we now see a Pope from the third world. That same creeping death will inevitably infect every corner of the Christian world if the comatose status quo is allowed to continue.

    So I renew my challenge to you. Convert this blog from a celebration of yourselves in to a vehicle for raising money for people in need. Surrender your need to continually tell each other how superior you are to everybody else, and invest your considerable intelligence in to serving somebody else.

    You’ll know you’re making progress when you start asking each other down to earth practical questions regarding how this blog could make money. You’ve got the talking of the talk down cold, but that’s meaningless unless you then translate the talk in to the walking of the walk, here and now.

    1. Then please do us all a favor and leave us to our misery. It would be much appreciated given your proclivity for obfuscation.

  30. Phil,

    You think so highly of the idea of giving things to the poor that you think that you are the inventor of such an ingenious idea. Moreover, the entirety of creation will be your market place, so great and excellent this idea is. But, what probably everyone else in the world really knows(except you it seems), is that this idea of raising money for the poor is the oldest, and most common of all charities, and is not at all rare or special in any way. Now, if you have a party, and you do what Jesus said to do, and invite all the vagabonds of the city to your house, and serve them…then, THAT is a special charity. And this is what Jesus actually taught. Or, again, if you have two coats, and give one of them to a homeless man, that also is what Jesus literally taught. But to merely write a check, and send it off to a Bureaucracy, as if you were paying taxes….without personal contact….that is quite common, as most people of the world, and even atheists and pagans do this type of charity that you endlessly preach on.

    And this is why I think that most people here are bored of listening to you, pushing an idea that you think is so great…when really it is so normal and common. On the other hand, what IS rare, is seeing all of these fellow Catholic commenters, treat you with patience and charity , and actually practicing real charity in real time. Whereas you actually practice hatred towards us here, in that you know you are being repetitive, and you don’t care at all about us. Yet, you are preaching love of others, and then actually hating us while you are preaching the loving message of donating to the poor.

    Now, how do you hate us, you might ask? Because the repetitive exhortations you continually make would be akin to going to Mass and listening to the priest give the very same homily every day, over and over, for three months in a row. And, even you yourself would not stand to listen to someone saying the same thing over and over again, and then be subjected to being asked by that person if they would love to hear such a great and perfect oration again just to remember it better, even after they listened very well through the first 50 times that you said it. So, those who listen to you in such a way, with great patience, will be rewarded by Christ, even as those would who listened to the priest who had only one sermon to preach,and yet listened all the same in humility and patience.

    Or, another analogy: A mother loves everything about her 1 year old baby, and can’t stop talking about it and relating everything the baby does, over and over again with everyone she meets, talking of almost nothing else. Now, no matter how great the baby indeed is, all other people are worn out listening to the broken record, and they actually got the message on the very first minute of the initial conversation. So, you are like this proud mother. And it’s not that the message is bad, it’s that if people don’t show you their receipts from Catholic Charities, proving their donations….then you will continue to think that no one understands you, and will repeat the same story over again, wondering how people cannot understand how great it is to give to the poor. And you think… maybe they did’t understand? I’ll tell them again.

    Anyway, this is how you are, like a woman who can’t stop talking about how beautiful her baby is… who is more beautiful than any other baby in the world. And so, YOU… cannot stop talking about YOUR baby…how great it is to give things away to poor people and to write checks to Catholic Charities. So, just to let you know, all of us here KNOW that it is important to give as much to the poor as is possible, even as Jesus teaches. But, to listen to you say it over and over again, and then over, and over and over again, and then repeating it, and then clarifying it, and then repeating the clarifications just so that everyone understands…. is SO boring that most here would probably choose Chinese water torture as an alternative torture if given the chance. And it’s amazing (truly amazing)that you haven’t even bored yourself yet! ; but that’s probably because you might really think that you are the ingenious inventor of this highly novel idea… even patentable in all probability, and at least capable of winning a Nobel prize, or two, and maybe even deserving a handshake from Bill Clinton, Elizabeth Warren the Al Gore.

    So, you really should repeat the following, like a mantra: “It’s not a new idea… it’s what most people already do.”…. “There are many ways of giving to others, both in time and talent.”…. “The best charity is to make personal contact, and give to the poor directly, face to face, heart to heart, soul to soul.” …”I must remember what Jesus said…let the left hand not know what the right is doing.”….” I must do my charity in secret also, as the Lord teaches, otherwise I’ll get no reward from my Father in Heaven.”…. So, these are the kinds of things you should be repeating to yourself…so as to not bore everyone else around you…and especially your wife, if she hasn’t checked in to a State insane asylum, due to the daily torture of your talking endlessly about the virtues of charitable giving, as you do on this blog.

    However, most here are good Christians, who will understand that such listening can be offered up to the Lord in imitation of Jesus, who being so talented, wise and eternally good, that all of us are really nothing but tortuous bores to Him in comparison.

    That said, for your own sake, you should really find some other theme to talk with people about. Of course, unless you actually enjoy torturing people, by repeating boring topics over and over again, ad nauseam? That, of course, would not be very charitable of you… and ‘kind of’ a contradiction of your overall goal, if that really is your goal…’charity’ to others?

    1. For years and years, ABS and The Bride worked Saturday mornings at SHARE – Self Help and Resource Exchange – at the Goodwill Warehouse on Old Okeechobee Rd in West Palm Beach.

      The idea of the program was to collect good quality, but excess quality, food and to “share” it with those in need and each church/community had its own representatives to help bag the food, sell it at ridiculously inexpensive prices, and to help the participation members load their cars with the goods, and, if the participants could not show-up for some reason, we would drive it to heir house and deliver it etc.

      Of course, similar programs like this have always operated within christianity but only the arrogant ignorant claim that what has always happened is his new idea and demand praise for it

      O, and wasn’t there once an Apostle who was, similarly, fixated on money?

      1. ABS, congrats on your service.

        But again, I MADE NO CLAIM WHATSOEVER to have invented charity. Neither did I demand praise. And you know that. So the word liar may soon be used appropriately in your direction.

        But ok, let’s imagine for a moment that ideology is the most important thing, and the purpose of Christianity is to spread that ideology, thereby saving souls etc.

        Then explain to me please why every site I’ve ever seen on the Catholic web, including this one, is all about Catholics talking to other Catholics, or at least other Christians. How does this process spread the ideology??? It doesn’t obviously.

        And, should somebody who doesn’t share your ideology happen to wander in here, what do you do? You jump down their throat and start slinging personal insult mud in their face, a process which probably isn’t converting anybody to Catholicism.

        So even if we accept your premise that the ideology is very important, or even the most important thing, you are still heretics to your own stated position.

        Yes Al, we know you hand out leaflets, the most ineffective method of spreading religion ever invented.

        So my question is, do you wish to continue slumbering forward ever deeper in to a sleepy status quo which uses Catholic blogs neither for serving love OR ideology? Is it your wish that no one disturb you while you enjoy the fantasy that you are accomplishing something?

        Yes, I know you’d rather hear all this from a priest, I get that. But the problem is, they are all asleep too, or the Vatican would be the party asking you to use Catholic blogs to serve somebody other than yourself.

        Honestly guys, what a load of ______ you got going here…

        1. Phil,

          You should meditate on this Gospel saying, so as to understand better the value and use of the speech and writing (and thinking, also, for that matter):

          “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word Was God” ?

  31. Al, I read the first sentence of your post and see you are AGAIN deliberately misquoting me, presumably to then AGAIN argue against assertions of your own invention. FYI, I see such tactics as you flying the white flag of surrender, dishonestly. I never said ANYTHING about me inventing charity. I didn’t read the rest of your post. Should it interest you that I read your posts, you’d best not start them off with that same old silly tactic.

    I’ve said plenty here. I’ve given you plenty to argue against. Argue against what I actually said please. Or argue with someone else.

  32. Ok Al, giving you a read.. You said…

    “And this is why I think that most people here are bored of listening to you, pushing an idea that you think is so great…when really it is so normal and common.”

    Al, please provide links to Catholic blogs which include advertising and other methods of raising money which is then funneled to the needy. Please provide links to Catholic blogs which specialize in sharing interesting stories about those volunteering for Catholic Charities, thus inspiring others to participate. Please show us anyone on the Catholic web who is trying to build unity with other denominations by shifting the focus of the conversation from ideology to jointly shared service.

    Show us the links Al, show us the links.

    Show us the links Al, show us the links.

    Show us the links Al, show us the links.

    I tried to read the rest of your post, but as usual it’s more incredibly boring blather about Phil, Phil, Phil etc adnaseum, the standard amateur hour tactic of trying to sweep inconvenient ideas under the rug by changing the subject from the post to the poster.

    Again Al, members are focusing on arguing with me to distract themselves from the argument they’re having with their own chosen philosophy. As a group who who claims to be incredibly loyal to Catholicism, it should be YOU guys who are arguing that Catholic blogs be used to serve the needy, instead of as a mutual validation society serving the fantasy holiness egos of readers.

    I’m on to you Al, you at least know I’m right about this, and THAT is why you’re annoyed with me. If I was a priest and would pat you on the head and tell you what a good little Catholic boy you are, you would immediately agree with the constructive Christian unity proposal I’ve put on the table.

    By the way, where is YOUR constructive Christian unity proposal???

    1. Phil, my comment was NOT about your idea about donating to be a bad one. That’s not what I was arguing. I was making the point that no matter how good your argument is, you CANNOT stop talking about it. This is why I concluded that you must think that you are the inventor of the idea, because usually inventors have an overly high opinion of their creations, and seem to focus only on their own creation as being the greatest thing ever created. So, since you cannot stop talking about the greatness of your idea, over and over again, this is why i drew that conclusion and analogy.

      So, again. Your idea of donating to the poor via a blog, or otherwise, is a good one. Normally they use a ‘crowd funding’ page for this…if you ever heard of it? But it’s still a good idea. But, as said before, it’s not the idea that’s the problem, it’s your inability to change subjects, even as if Joe were to only blog on one and the same topic, day after day after day, without changing his tune. So, this fixation of yours is like a mania, or obsessive compulsive disorder. You should really find some other angle of theology to discuss, even as Joe does every few days….as this idea of donating to Catholic Charities is quite worn out already. The record has played ‘ad nauseam’ so many times that even though the the idea is good, the way you promote it makes your listeners sick. That’s why I said above, that Chinese water torture is preferable to listening to you talk another time about the virtues of putting a donate button on Catholic blog pages. You seem to have a deep chasm in your brain that won’t let you escape from this preferred topic of yours, as if you’re inescapably obsessed by it.

  33. Just submitted the following to another Catholic blog, seems relevant to the topic of this page…

    ——————–
    David,

    There appears to be a great deal of discussion about defusing divisiveness on the Catholic web (and beyond). While many of the articles are, like yours, very intelligent and articulate, they seem to mostly skim along the surface of the subject. That is, such discussion seems to focus almost exclusively at the level of the content of thought, comparing this moral idea to that moral idea.

    It seems reasonable to propose that if such a limited focus could work in defusing divisiveness, after 3,000 years of Judeo-Christian moral theology, divisiveness would no longer be blooming. Doesn’t there come a point when we have to face that doing the same thing over and over again is most likely going to lead to the same old failures?

    Thus, it seems worth trying a shift of focus from the level of the content of thought, to the nature of thought itself. That is, perhaps we should be addressing ourselves to the source of conflict instead of just the symptoms.

    Such a shift of the inquiry is suggested by the fact that every ideology ever invented has inevitably sub-divided in to warring internal factions, which would appear to be clear evidence that divisiveness can not be remedied by editing the content of thought, by swapping one ideology for another. As example, if everyone on Earth were to become Catholic that would clearly not end divisiveness, given how divided Catholics so often are among themselves, as are members of all ideologies.

    The universality of divisiveness within and between all ideological communities argues that the source of divisiveness is to be found in a factor which all philosophies have in common, that which they are all made of, thought itself.

    This theory in itself tends to undermine divisiveness, given that it proposes that the conflict that concerns us is not the fault of this or that group or philosophy, but is instead a fundamental human challenge shared by all.

    On the other hand, such a theory is divisive in the sense that it presents an inconvenient challenge to philosophers, theologians, clerics and others who have invested their hopes for peace in some particular philosophy.

    And the reason that this theory, well intended as it is, also winds up being divisive is that because, it too is made of thought.

    Imho, the real investigation begins at the moment we realize that human conflict can not be solved by applying more of that which is the source of the conflict.

    1. I’m not saying to NOT be enthusiastic, but to stop being so repetitive after you have said the same story more than 50 times. As Joe’s posts illustrate, there are very many interesting topics in the Christian religion and these should all be discussed and debated. And after people donate as much as they can afford to the poor, they will still have time for the great amount of spiritual literature available to read, and all for the sake of wisdom, to live healthier lives and to know God better.

      And the only reason that the prophets of the OT wrote, is so that people in the future would read, and learn from them. And this goes also for the many saints who have written likewise, since the coming of Christ. And , again, to say that learning is not important, or at least spiritual learning is not important…as you continually imply…is to also say that MORAL instruction has no value.

      Yet immorality is what causes almost all of the misery here on Earth. So, by moral lessons taught correctly, sickness, violence, divorces, wars, robberies, gangs, drugs, pornography, and the need for police, judges, armies, doctors, politicians, etc… would largely be unneeded. And that is because to teach morality is to teach LOVE. And to teach love, is to reduce evil, thereby making unnecessary all of the professions needed to stop or control vices. No more vice squads would be necessary. People would be making their own just decisions and always with their neighbors welfare in mind. And this is really Christ’s way of living in this world.

      On the contrary, without teaching morality to the populations, all kinds of sexual promiscuity and diseases flourish, causing divorces and family break-ups to occur, and gangs to flourish. Therefore, police and armies are needed, judges, lawyers and politicians are necessary, and many more doctors needed to stop all of the vice caused by diseases such as AIDS, Hepatitis C, Herpes, Syphilis, etc…

      So, Phil, when you consider all of this, to teach morality to others results in the reduction of the jobs of Lawyers, doctors, police, prison guards, psychologists, pharmacists, insurance agents, military professionals, missile designers…and the list goes on and on.

      And that is why I teach the lives of the saints. In the end, all of society is lifted up, and becomes a lot happier, wherein as Jesus says, the Kingdom of God is lived here on Earth even as it is in Heaven.

      Doesn’t this make sense?

  34. By the way, there’s much more to my idea than just “putting a donate button on the page”, but we never get to any of the details because all anyone on the Catholic web wants to do is get rid of this idea as quickly as possible.

    As example, observe how you are willing to argue against the idea all day long for hours, especially if that involves debunking Phil, but you’ve shown exactly no interest in the mechanical details of how funds might be raised by Catholic blogs, and how the money could be funneled to those who need it.

    Your only concern appears to be in preserving the mutual validation transaction process, which clearly I have no talent for.

    There seems a simple solution. There are many thousands of Catholics online who will happily give you the mutual validation transaction experience which you seek, and you can feed the wonderful story they have about themselves too. I don’t have the power to interfere with that process, so I have no idea what you guys are so incredibly fearful about.

    My proposal is that it seems helpful that at least a few people with Catholic heritage not be held prisoner to this popularity process, and be able to offer a perspective from outside the cozy sleepy self congratulatory group consensus.

    If you disagree, ok, no problem, another simple solution presents itself…

    Don’t read my posts.

    1. The reason I read your posts is only so I might help you understand your banal and repetitive obsession with which you seem to bother people far and wide with, thinking it is a kind of beak through idea, such as Einstein also had. And this is actually a charitable act on my part, to reveal it as a rather common idea, that everybody naturally knows about with little encouragement by you.

      Your idea primarily addresses helping people in a ‘physical’ way. For instance, you might like to give food or money to poor residents of a trailer park regardless if those same residents are predominately obese and physically unhealthy. So, you beg money from your friends to buy something these residents are accustomed to eat, and use the money collected to buy purchase 200 packages of of bacon, 100 pounds of spareribs, 50 dozen eggs, and another 25 boxes of donuts to go and distribute to them. This is how you think you can best be charitable to these poor people, considering their material needs. But they really appreciate it.

      On the contrary, my way of charity is to help people in a spiritual way, and to print the life of St. Francis to distribute it to these same people. In this, they don’t receive donuts, but do receive examples of the virtues found in fasting and abstinence, which a few of these residents might be interested. And those who ARE indeed interested actually start fasting, exercising and doing all of the things that St. Francis and Jesus use to do in their lives…such as walking long distances to strengthen their lungs, heart and muscles. What you do, on the other hand is to add to the obesity of these poor people, causing their diabetes and other disorders to cause them great suffering and death, by supporting the vices that are killing them. What I do is provide these same people with the remedies that they can use to heal themselves. Your way is to throw money at them so they can continue their vicious habits. My way is to use money to help them to spiritually conquer their vices, and in a joyful way. Your bacon, spareribs, donuts and beer help kill these same people, but my spiritual literature (Lives of the Saints) helps to inspire them have the courage to conquer their addictions and obsessions and ‘reboot’ their lives. Your charity hastens their misery, and also causes the government to pay many of their medical bills and medicare. My way leads them to health, spiritual sanity and joy of life… by showing them how to live life the way that God designed them to live.

      So, you say that words are not as powerful as money. But, I say that wisdom, fraternal love and good counsel are the greatest consolations and gifts the world has to offer.

      So, we just have two different ways of expressing our charity!

      But now…time to go visit our most loving Jesus… and to receive Him in the Eucharist…..at Mass! Sunday! YES!! 🙂

  35. Where are the links to that which you claim is so common and normal Al?

    Where are the links?

    Where are the links?

    Where are the links?

    You keep repeating that my CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTION FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY is tired, boring, old hat, and yet you’ve not shown us a single Catholic website that is doing what I suggest. Nor have you shared your own CONSTRUCTIVE SUGGESTION FOR CHRISTIAN UNITY.

    Put up, or shut up friend. Put up, or shut up.

    Put something relevant of value on the table, or please sit down and be quiet.

    By the way Al, your version of charity is really all about you. That’s why you like it so much. As example, see this…

    “The reason I read your posts is only so I might help you understand your banal and repetitive obsession…”

    This isn’t you helping me Al, this is Al enjoying playing the role of holy teacher, and that my friend, is the obsession of the Catholic web. Site after site after site, page after page after page, everybody wants to play the self flattering role of holy teacher, moral authority. It’s all about me, me, me and me. When you distribute the literature, same thing, Al the holy teacher on parade, feeding his own story about himself.

    I am clearly not immune from this sad self absorbed story telling obsession, for I too have Catholic genes. And I get that we can’t help ourselves, and that the Catholic web will always be a sermon machine. That’s ok, but let’s try to put the sermon machine to some higher purpose than just our little egos, ok?

    Get over yourself Al, and shift the focus to serving somebody else. That’s what Christianity is, in case you didn’t know. You aren’t arguing with me, but with your own chosen values.

    1. Phil – please define what you mean by “unity” between Catholics and those who reject Catholicism? You seem to imply that Catholics must accept heresy for the greater good of “unity.” If a Protestant won’t convert to Catholicism should Catholics reject the Mass for unity? Christ never said or implied such nonsense.

    2. As I amply wrote above, teaching morality to people reduces diseases, divorces, wars, gang violence, over doses, obesity, poverty, etc… all of which make unnecessary: police, judges, lawyers, prison guards, armies, doctors, pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance agents, missile designers, court houses, and politicians.

      The economy would be so healthy because of these unnecessary professions and projects that poverty would be eliminated. And best of all…you could retire. You, wouldn’t need to preach far and wide the need for other people to donate more, because nobody would be poor.
      And this come from morality which produces true love for one another. So, teaching morality lays the axe to the root, where your path merely puts a Bandaid on the physically incurable infirmity.

      If you really want to do something profitable, even if you don’t read it yourself….start spreading the Lives of the Saints to others. If you help one person not to commit suicide by them, you will have done much more than merely giving a few pounds of bacon, or potato chips, to the poor. We already live in the richest country the world has ever known. But thousands of our citizens are killing themselves by opioid overdoses, suicides and murders caused by immoral habits. Yet you don’t have a problem with this. You think that teaching them to conquer their addictions through charitable and moral teachings is worthless.

      Anyway, maybe you’ll learn some day. By the way, this isn’t about me…its about them. I just happen to love people, and want to see them live happy and productive lives. Including you.

  36. Al,

    1) You’ve still provided _no evidence_ of your primary objection to my proposal, despite repeated requests.

    2) As best I can tell, you’ve contributed no constructive suggestions to address the topic of Joe’s article, enhancing Christian unity.

    So thanks for your enthusiasm, but it’s now clear you have nothing useful to say on this particular subject. I wish you better luck in future articles.

    1. Phil – Please tell us how Catholics can be “unified” in Christianity with anti-Catholics? What would this look like? Catholics giving up their identity and beliefs for the greater good of unity? Catholics ignoring everything that makes them Catholic? Catholics accepting heresy so the heretic feels good?

  37. Clayton, thanks for your question….

    “Phil – please define what you mean by “unity” between Catholics and those who reject Catholicism? ”

    Already described in detail above. I mean shifting the focus of Christian activity online from ideology to service.

    There’s wide disagreement on ideology between and within Christian communities, and focusing on that disagreement accomplishes little more than generating pointless conflict which never resolves anything. On the other hand, there is wide agreement in all Christian denominations that service to others is important, so that is an arena ripe for constructive partnership.

    Example: You’ve invited your extended family to your house for Thanksgiving dinner. You want the gathering to go well, so you steer away from controversial topics like politics, and instead focus the conversation on topics which everyone agrees on.

    NOTE: Everyone at the table still has their various political views, and will still act on them in the voting booth, so that doesn’t change. Nobody has to surrender anything.

    But as the host of the dinner party you recognize that there’s no point in focusing on politics when it will just generate a lot of pointless conflict and nobody will be persuaded of anything by anybody else.

    It’s the simplest thing. Only on the Catholic web would it have to be explained endlessly to no effect.

  38. Clayton, you ask…

    “Please tell us how Catholics can be “unified” in Christianity with anti-Catholics?”

    First, the vast overwhelming majority of other Christians are not “anti-Catholic”, they just prefer to be part of other denominations. So any huge chasm you may be imagining in your head is mostly a product of an overactive imagination.

    I agree that Catholics and Protestants will never be fully unified on the ideological level. Indeed, even _WITHIN_ each denomination, ideological unity will never be achieved, as can be easily seen all across the Catholic web. So searching for ideological unity is largely a fool’s errand. A more realistic goal is to politely agree to disagree on ideological details.

    Catholics and Protestants can be unified in service to the needy, for this is a principle which pretty much every Christian agrees on. Luckily, love in action is the REAL Christianity, whereas ideology is just talk ABOUT Christianity. So, Christians can be unified on that which really matters, love, surrender, service, dying to be reborn.

    A key problem in these conversations is that while some of us are really, really, really enthusiastic about waving the flag of Catholicism, they don’t really understand the underlying simple genius of Christianity, and so get lost in the weeds of all the largely unnecessary details.

    The act of love addresses what afflicts the human condition on a very fundamental level.

    Ideology is standing back at a safe distance, skimming along the surface. That’s why ideology is so popular, the ideologist gets to convince themselves they are a fantastic Christian, without the need to perform the act of surrender.

    I know this for a fact, because I’m doing it myself in all these posts, just like you are. The only difference between us is that I know I’m doing this and will admit it out loud, while you are still stuck inside the fantasy desperately struggling to keep the dream alive.

    To be fair to you, I’m probably older than all of you, and thus have had more time to consider all this, time I can of course not take credit for having.

  39. Phil –

    1) What do you think Protestants are protesting? Catholicism. Being outside the Catholic Church isn’t just a being a part of another “denomination” of Christianity, it’s an outright rejection of Catholicism and thus, anti-Catholic. There is no “denomination” in Christianity except for Catholicism just as a square-circle doesn’t exist. Only if one completely redefines Christianity into a theological mess could one conclude that Christianity has denominations.

    2) Do you really believe that you aren’t a theological relativist? The consequences of your ideas is that theology is just a small idea that confuses people so we should just abandon it and focus on love. Everything is just love. That isn’t Christianity. That is new age relativism and/or neo-atheism and disguised with a Christian wrapper.

    3) Catholics believe, and history proves this out, that the Catholic Church is Christ’s bride and endowed with the Holy Spirit ON THIS EARTH. You now claim that Catholics, operating under the direction of the Church, don’t understand Christianity??? That’s insane. Catholicism is Christianity whereas Protestantism is merely parts of Christianity. If you can’t get your theology right then more likely than not you’ll have a difficult time living out the faith.

    1. The problem with Phil’s ‘ideology’ of Christianity is that he wants the moral teachings of Christ to go away. He has no need for the details regarding how to attain eternal life… that Christ spent 3 years laboriously teaching to His disciples. In ignoring what Christ actually taught, Phil demonstrates that he is actually more of a Buddhist than a Christian. He believes in reducing the teachings of Christ to such a degree that they become the essence of nothingness. Christians, on the other hand, treasure and keep and meditate on the words of Christ by day and by night. We love the words of Christ because they teach us about God the Father, even as Jesus said: “Those who have seem Me have seen the Father”. So, we love to study Jesus, everything that He said and every thing He did, so as to be able to see “Our Father who art in Heaven”.

      Moreover, we love to keep His words, and are exceedingly happy to do so…because Jesus taught delectable sayings such as this:

      ‘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.
      And the word which you have heard,
      is not mine; but the Father’s who sent me.
      These things have I spoken to you,
      abiding with you.’

      And, also:

      ‘…if any man hear my words,
      and keep them not,
      I do not judge him:
      for I came not to judge the world,
      but to save the world.
      He that despiseth me,
      and receiveth not my words,
      hath one that judgeth him;
      the word that I have spoken,
      the same shall judge him in the last day.
      For I have not spoken of myself;
      but the Father who sent me,
      he gave me commandment what I should say,
      and what I should speak.
      And I know that his commandment is life everlasting.
      The things therefore that I speak,
      even as the Father said unto me,
      so do I speak.’

  40. 1) Clayton, sorry, my bad, I was referring to the real world. You know, the one where there are multiple Christian denominations, and multiple perspectives within each of those denominations, and even multiple conflicting ideas within most persons.

    2) I never said we should abandon all ideology, or that such a thing was even possible. You’re all wound up in a passionate desire to reject my posts, and that’s distracting you from actually reading them. Please re-read my last couple of posts at least, so that I don’t have to type the same things over and over and over. Thanks.

    3) Thank you for the dogma chanting, but again, I never said that all Catholics don’t understand Christianity. I was referring mostly to those who think that ideology IS Christianity, when really ideology is just talk ABOUT Christianity. To be fair, this is a very common and widespread misunderstanding, and not the personal failing of a few members of this blog.

    This is very simple.

    PHYSICAL: Food provides physical nutrition. Talk about food can be interesting, but provides no physical nutrition.

    SPIRITUAL: The ACT of love provides spiritual nutrition. Talk about love can be interesting, but provides no spiritual nutrition.

    Jesus said, “Die to be reborn.”

    Jesus didn’t say, “Talk about dying to be reborn, that’s good enough”.

    Die, love, surrender. These are ACTIVE verbs.

    Here’s why ideology is so popular. It’s very easy. And, it can be easily adapted to inflate the ego, an all consuming interest of the human condition.

    Yes, I have hard evidence that fancy pants holy talk is cheap.

    I can do it.

    1. Phil –

      Does your ideology reject the real presence in the Mass and think that’s okay as long as one does good works and focuses on love?

      If so, are there any bounds to your ideology other than your personal opinion of what is the Bible and the words contained therein? In other words, is there any earthly church that has authority over you and what you should believe?

      I’m not sure you understand the theological relativism you preach and the consequences of it upon Christianity. Of course scholasticism can lead one away from living the faith, but relativism destroys the faith entirely.

  41. Ok, time for something different. Here’s a video I made of Jesus saying the prayer at top of page. I’ll leave it on the server for a week or so. If you want it, download the video now and do anything you want with it, I claim no rights.

    https://vimeo.com/217507969

    If you want to add a section at the end of the video which proclaims Baba Phil to be an agent of Satan, that’d be ok too. 🙂

    If you want more such videos, speak up and maybe I’ll make some.

  42. Clayton, thanks for more interesting questions.

    1) I don’t reject the Mass or “the real presence” in it, or anything else about the Mass. I’m not against the Mass. I’ve just not personally found it to be an inspiring ceremony, but then I’m not much of a ceremony type guy. This is not an argument or debating point, just a report of my personal situation, provided at your request.

    All that said, and so as to keep things spicey, I’m adamantly against wasting trillions of dollars on building expensive Christian churches (while millions starve) just so the clergy can have a fancy stage to perform on. But a Mass said out under an open sky, like the way Jesus did it, no complaints.

    2) No, no church has authority over me, or anybody else. Everybody believes whatever portion of Christianity they find suitable for them, and discards that which they don’t find appealing, me included.

    You perhaps think you’re above this, but you’re not, you apparently just believe in that part of Christianity which says the Vatican is “the one true way”, which is just one segment of Christianity, just one more opinion, even within Catholicism. You don’t believe in Christianity, you believe in YOUR INTERPRETATION of Christianity, just like me, and everybody else.

    3) Perhaps you should elaborate further on your use of the phrase “theological relativism”. I should reply to what you actually mean, and not to what I imagine you might mean.

    For now, I’ll answer with this. To have adamant faith in ANY ideology is to declare the power of love insufficient. Jesus says, “Die to be reborn”, and the ideologist replies, “That won’t work, but I’ll fix it with my ideas.”

    Christian ideology can be useful to the degree that it leads directly to the experience of love. Christian ideology becomes a problem to the degree folks confuse talk about love with the experience of love.

    Again, this is not complicated. Talk about food can be useful if it helps us find food. Talk about food becomes a problem if we get confused and start thinking that talking is eating.

    Christian ideology is like a road sign pointing the way to the next town, the experience of love. The point of the road sign is that we continue on down the road to the destination, love, not that we sit down on the side of the road and begin worshiping the sign. Ideologists are sign worshipers, idolaters.

    God is love. Not a doctrine about love.

    1. Phil –

      There is one big problem with your love theology, you have no guidance on what to love or why. Love everything! What you chose to love is mere preference and without absolutes (you have none since everything is relative) your love theology is unworkable. Sure at times it will follow a Christian ethic just like other religions and secular humanism, but you’ve completely removed man’s purpose which is to honor and glorify God and now man worships an idea called “love” which can be defined however you want.

      Part of loving someone is showing them when they’re wrong and why they need to change their thinking or behavior. If Christ tells you how to worship him and you reject him, how is that love? It isn’t. That’s sin.

      I seriously think your posts would be better suited on a blog about secular humanism than Christianity. I will pray for you and wish you the best.

      1. Stop feeding the troll

        He is an ideologue who can not be made to change his personal opinion.

        Neither truth nor logic can liberate the ideologue from his idee fixe any more than truth, logic, or rational argument can liberate the psychotic from his delusions.

        Ignore him, do not respond to him, and he will leave.

        1. Yes, huddle fearfully in little defensive circles of the like minded where you don’t have to think, explore, examine, question or learn.

          Talk only to people who believe exactly what you believe so there will be no chance of ever persuading anybody outside your circle of your point of view.

          Ignore anybody who will not play the game where you get to play the role of teacher, and they have to play the role of student.

          Cast out any stranger who will not join your mutual validation transaction society.

          Excommunicate anybody who has the energy and creativity to breath new life in to the Catholic enterprise.

          And sit passively by watching as your churches empty out, you run out of priests, Catholicism rips itself to shreds from the inside, and scandal after scandal tears the heart of that which you love.

          That’s the path you’re on now. If you approve it, change nothing, just keep going.

      2. Clayton, you and Al both keep confusing YOUR INTERPRETATION of Christianity, with Christianity.

        In the real world Christianity is not, never has been, and never will be a single thing. This is simply a fact of life, whether you like it or not. Please recall, even Catholics can not agree among themselves about what Jesus meant, what Christianity teaches, what doctrines should be binding upon modern life, etc. Even the Catholic clergy debate these things among themselves.

        If Christianity was a single fixed thing which could be nailed down and owned, there would be no need for theologians, clergy, churches, various denominations, or ideological conversation. All these things exist because 2,000 years of human experience in the Christian world have proven the need for a variety of methods of accessing the Christian experience.

        No matter how hard you might stamp your feet and adamantly declare that only you and your group own the “real” Christianity, that proves nothing beyond the fact that you are enthusiastic about your position. You are of course entitled to such declarations, but don’t expect them to be persuasive with anybody but yourself.

        The fact that members feel the need to come to this blog daily and tell themselves over and over and over again that you are right, you are superior, you own the truth etc, illustrates to any objective reader than you don’t quite believe all that yourself.

  43. Thanks DaisyLou, glad you enjoyed it. I did change the word Jesus in the prayer to the word Father, so it would sound less like Jesus praying to himself, though that’s an interesting concept too.

    If anybody wants more of these I need the following…

    1) The text you want Jesus, Mary, God etc to speak. Just post text here.

    2) The image of whoever it is you want to speak. You can link to image on Google or elsewhere. Post link here.

    The head must be mostly facing the camera (like in the video above) and should not be showing any teeth. This is a technical requirement, not an ideological position. 🙂

    However, please note, it costs extra to put “Baba Phil is an agent of Satan” in the video. 🙂

    1. Once you get others like yourself to follow you in creating pious depictions of the Son of God, you should just consolidate your collection at a site where all interested might appreciate it. A very appropriate domain name could be “Blasphemy.com, Blasphemy.org, etc..”. You better hurry to ‘go daddy’s’ to make sure it’s not taken! It will be hard to find a more adequate name for your purposes.

        1. What are you talking about? I’m talking about the blasphemous cartoon you created of the 2nd Person of the Blessed Trinity?

  44. Did you read my post? I did not say that I looked at your video. Ergo, I could not enjoy it. You are full of presumption.

    From what I know about you, from your posts, you are full of words. Your words are full of little meaning. Just as you say. You are brilliant in your own contradiction. That is your genius. That is you–a museum piece.

    God bless.

    1. Ah, I see now DaisyLou, you were insulting me for providing the blog with media which supports the point and purpose of this article. Sorry, went right over my head. I apologize for being constructive and attempting to help Joe spread his own message.

    2. Daisy, your comment deserved a better reply.

      1) You’re right, I presumed you watched the video from your less than fully clear comments, and I was wrong. Agreed.

      2) You observe correctly, I am full of words. That’s not my only experience, but yes, many many words are often present. I have Catholic DNA.

      3) Yes, my words lack real meaning, because like all words, they are not real in themselves, they only symbols which point to the real.

      4) I’m not sure the word brilliant applies, but yes, I was born quite handy with words and these kind of concepts. That is, I had nothing to do with that state of affairs. And yes, my ideology is an argument with itself, I readily admit this.

      And this is why you should not convert from your ideology to mine, because as I’ve attempted to explain at great length, all ideology inherits the inherently divisive properties of that which all ideologies are made of, human thought.

      If any ideology could bring people together in peace, surely Catholicism would have done so by now given that this has been it”s explicit purpose for 2,000 years. Right? And yet, divisiveness runs rampant even _within_ Catholic culture.

      Thus, if I convert to your ideology, or you convert to mine, nothing will really be accomplished. All the same old conflicts will continue, just under different colored flags.

      Luckily, there is no need for you to convert to anybody else’s ideology, because the solution to all this divisiveness lies at the heart of your own religion in the _experience_ of love.

      I’ve been attempting to explain this and provide constructive real world projects to this end throughout the thread, and you guys have been resisting, resisting, resisting every step of the way. Which illustrates that you don’t yet understand the brilliantly simple genius at the heart of your own religion.

      I’m selling you your own religion. But because I’m not patting you all on the heads and telling you what good little Catholics you are, that which you most want to hear, that which you prize most highly, you don’t recognize your own religion coming to you in these words.

      Most of you are mad for a simple reason. You can’t keep up in these conversations, and that undermines your ability to play the role of teacher, spiritual parent, the most popular role in all of Catholicism.

      The problem here is not that you’re not intelligent, it’s that you don’t apply your intelligence to these subjects, preferring to chant memorized slogans handed to you by the clergy on a platter. Such laziness leaves you essentially defenseless when anybody who is conducting a real inquiry comes along and challenges your assumptions.

      So, point being, if you are sincere about defending your faith, you will have to find the courage to challenge your faith, before others beat you to it.

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