Today is the 100 year anniversary of the miracle of the sun at Fatima. This event, witnessed by thousands including hostile skeptics is seen as validation of the apparitions. About a year ago, maybe less, I received a packet in the mail from the local Catholic radio station. Labeled “celebrating Fatima” it contained a commemorative keychain and some other devotional items of the syrupy sentimental sort. This is entirely wrong headed. Just as effeminate spirituality has transferred Jesus from the dread judge of the living, dead and world by fire to a soft inoffensive nice guy; it has transferred Our Lady of Fatima to an object of sentimentality.
Devotion to Fatima has largely been successfully reduced to images of the Lady and three shepherd children. Fatima was a warning. To put it in my own words “pray the Rosary, do penance, make sacrifices, consecrate Russia otherwise the errors of Russia will spread and really bad stuff will happen”. This is serious business and a warning to be headed not celebrated.
These warnings have largely not been headed in my opinion. The errors of Russia is usually interpreted as communism. “But we won the cold war” some will object. Ah, but did we? Contemporary western culture is dominated by postmodernism, which as Dr. Jordan Peterson explains is Marxism. Other errors of Russia, daughters of Marx, which many are unaware of, are it’s sexual revolution. Widespread pornography, abortion, easy divorce/temporary marriage, normalized perversion and huge numbers of abandoned children wandering the streets. The resultant social problems in the USSR became so great that the communist party had to completely reverse its policy on sexual “liberation”. Sound familiar?
So those of us who believe in the apparition of Fatima aught to heed it, albeit imperfectly, by praying and making sacrifices. We should also oppose the watering down of the message into a sentimental attachment to the image of OL Fatima. Taken in conjunction with the vision of Pope Leo XIII we might hope, assuming that it was the 20th century which was given to Satan, that the triumph of the Immaculate Heart is coming soon.
Recently I was at my parents’ house and paged through the KJV family Bible. In this particular volume, rather than printing the Apocrypha between the testaments as it should be, the editors put supplementary material there. Essays on the inter-testamental period, touching on the Apocrypha, as well as a history of English Bibles. I was struck by a number of inaccuracy’s some of which come off as outright lies. I have decided to lay out a number of these myths with more historical detail in hopes of balancing them.
The mythology- is a cohesive narrative which goes something like this. “The evil Roman Church intentionally kept man in darkness and ignorance during the middle ages. The Roman Church suppressed the Bible by only allowing it in a corrupt Latin version which no one could understand. Additionally these Latin Bibles were physically chained to lecterns in churches so they couldn’t be read.
Additionally the Church killed anyone who tried to make the Bible accessible to people. When they could no longer keep the Bible from people they then added books to it to justify their unbiblical doctrines.”
The mythology is set up such so as to have clear good guys and bad guys. This set up, generalizes in such a way as to ignore the nuances of historical realities. This distorts an accurate understanding of the history of both the protestant reformation and the origin of translations of the Bible into English. What I’m going to do is lay out a number of myths which are typically presented as historical details.
I think this addresses the general myth. A perusal of any Evangelical or Fundamentalist account of the history of the English bible (they are out there, museums, films or essays) will be some version of what I covered along with the false facts.
It’s time for my annual Lenten pep talk. I’ve reshaped these same ideas the last few years and presented them differently. This year I’m going to speak as a man to men. Ladies, feel free to draw inspiration. (I’m not exactly leaving the women out, it’s just that this other way of speaking is how I’m presenting these ideas this year.)
Ok, obligatory, cautionary warning! We are talking about a spiritual workout. Just as you need to ease your way into physical exercise so as not to injure yourself. You also need to establish the basics and ease into the routine of spiritual exercise. We are in pre-lent right now, this past Sunday was Sexagesima Sunday which is 60ish days before Easter. Now is the perfect time to establish good form and a foundation for your spiritual exercises before increasing the intensity. You can do some mini fasts on Wednesday and Friday in preparation for a fuller Lenten fast, for example.
Ok, what sort of spiritual practices should we be planning on for Lent? The 3 traditional practices are prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. To this we can add spiritual reading as well. Let’s examine these in greater detail.
Ok, that’s pretty much it. Get real with yourself, be honest, stop making excuses. The spiritual life is one of struggle and combat. You will fall down, when that happens get back up. It will be difficult, so man up, and face it head on.
Today is Candlemas day, the commemoration of the presentation of Jesus and purification of Mary in the temple. Candles are solemnly blessed on this feast.
I came across this poem.
If Candlemas be fair and bright,
Winter has another flight.
If Candlemas brings clouds and rain,
Winter will not come again.
Interesting, considering it is our Groundhog day with woodchucks predicting the weather by looking for their shadows.
St. Brigid of Kildare, Pray for us.
This begins the Protestant Mythology series.
2017 is the 500 year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This post begins my 2017 series debunking the Protestant mythology. By mythology I mean a certain set of generally accepted ‘facts’ which are believed without hesitation, at least in the English speaking world. The truth behind the ‘facts’ is usually not so simple and straightforward of course. At this point many of these myths have become secularized and one can find them in textbooks of our secular public schools, they are part of a cultural imprint.
This first myth is one I consider a gimmie.
“During the Middle Ages The Catholic Church sold forgiveness for sins.”
This claim refers to the granting of indulgences and is expanded in a number of ways, some more accurate than others. Some of the more outrageous versions of this claim state that one could purchase indulgences for things like adultery ahead of time, in other words the elements of repentance and contrition weren’t necessary one could simply buy their way out of hell. According to this myth an indulgence was permission to indulge in sin. I consider busting this myth a gimmie because I need only explain what an indulgence is.
It is true that indulgences were granted for making donations to the church and that there were abuses of this practice to the point that one could say churchmen were selling indulgences. One may debate whether granting indulgences for donations is a good thing. One may debate and object to the theology of indulgences. In either case, for the sake of honesty one must actually, as a prerequisite, know what they are objecting to.
So, what is an indulgence? An indulgence is the remission of temporal punishment due to sin. It is not a remission of sin but of punishment. It is not a remission of eternal punishment. It is not a remission of guilt. It is most certainly not a permission to sin. CCC 1471
The underlying theology is that of satisfaction for sins, and very much a development from the public penances of the early church. Additionally, the communion of the saints and the concept of bearing one another’s burdens is involved. Of course most of those who think an indulgence is remission of or permission to sin have no idea what temporal punishment is. Eternal punishment is Hell. Temporal punishment are the other negative fruits of sin due to the sinner. The classic biblical example is that of King David and his sin of Adultery in the old Testament. He repents and is forgiven but is told he still must suffer the punishment of his child dying as a result of his sin.
More could be said as this is a complex subject but the myth has been addressed, if you’re trying to get rid of sins and avoid hell, indulgences don’t even claim to help.
(For further reading see St. Thomas Aquinas part 3, questions 86-90: and questions 25-27 of the supplement to part 3 of the Summa. I doubt anyone will actually click the links though, but I included it for those who might claim the church changed the definition of ‘indulgence’ after the reformation.)