Note the words highlighted in bold from the parable of the sheep and the goats (Matthew 25:41-45):
“Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you accursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’”
In Matthew’s gospel the “least ones” or “little ones” are references to Jesus’ followers, who, for the purpose of the parable are neither the sheep nor the goats; they represent the ones whose treatment by the world becomes the standard for which the world is judged. The disciples would have understood this. But it also might have disturbed them since the implication is that they should expect to experience misfortunes as hunger, thirst, prison, etc. Otherwise, they would be no basis for the judging of those who either mistreated them or were hospitable toward them while suffering under those conditions.
The prophetic nature of the parable is reflected in St. Paul’s list of his own misfortunes in his letter to the Church of Corinth:
“We are fools on Christ’s account, but you are wise in Christ; we are weak, but you are strong; you are held in honor, but we in disrepute. To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clad and roughly treated, we wander about homeless and we toil, working with our own hands. When ridiculed, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we respond gently. We have become like the world’s rubbish, the scum of all, to this very moment” (1 Corinthians 4:10-13).
“I give you a new commandment: love one another. As I have loved you, so you also should love one another. This is how all will know that you are my disciples” (John 13:34-35).
Note the exclusivity in Jesus’ words; this love is reserved for the disciples and is contrasted with “all”, a reference to current non-followers. This exclusivity obviously bothers Pope Francis who decided to reinterpret the passage in a recent address:
“Why does He call it a ‘new commandment’? The old commandment of love became new because it was complete with this addition: “as I have loved you,” “love one another as I have loved you.” The novelty is all in Jesus Christ’s love, that with which He gave his life for us” (link).
The true novelty is the exclusivity expressed in the command. On the following Sunday, God would raise His Son from the dead and the Church would be born; the Holy Spirit would descend on Her and a new family would exist in Christ. The sacrificial love that characterized Jesus’ relationship with His disciples would be the example of the love to be shared within the mystical Body of Christ.
The Pope is determined to conflate the “New Commandment” with the old one, “Love your neighbor as yourself”, which is a universal love. In the same address he makes this clear:
“We all have people – I do not know if they are enemies – but that do not agree with us, who are ‘on the other side.’ …Love opens us to the other, becoming the basis of human relations. It makes us capable of overcoming the barriers of our own weakness and our prejudices. The love of Jesus in us creates bridges, teaches new ways; triggers the dynamism of fraternity.”
The Pope tried this before in paragraph 161 of his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, even referring to Jesus’ new commandment as the greatest commandment:
“Along with the virtues, this means above all the new commandment, the first and the greatest of the commandments, and the one that best identifies us as Christ’s disciples: ‘This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you’ (Jn 15:12). Clearly, whenever the New Testament authors want to present the heart of the Christian moral message, they present the essential requirement of love for one’s neighbour: ‘The one who loves his neighbour has fulfilled the whole law… therefore love of neighbour is the fulfilling of the law’ (Rom 13:8, 10)…”
Pope Francis’ doesn’t like the idea there is special love that is only shared among Christians. Perhaps it’s due to his devotion to Liberation Theology, open immigration, or religious pluralism; but a pope should not get away with twisting Jesus’ own words.
“Greet one another with a kiss of love” (1 Peter 5:14).
“Greet all the brothers with a holy kiss” (1 Thess. 5:26).
What was striking in the fire’s aftermath is that whenever a commentator brought up the dramatic rise in attacks on churches in France they were quickly silenced by the government and the press.
Churches in France are being vandalized, ransacked, and desecrated (and burned) at the rate of about three per day and local police rarely conduct investigations.
In light of my understanding of St. Hildegard’s prophetic visions of the last days, the fire was a clear sign from God that the persecutions of the Church as described in her vision of the Grey Wolf are commencing.
The Church, says Hildegard, a Doctor of the Church, will be punished for having committed three sins: fornication, rapine (theft or plunder), and murder (see St. Hildegard’s Scivias, Book III, Vision 11, Chapter 13).†
The case for the first two isn’t difficult to make; rampant homosexuality among the clergy, the sex abuse of children, and the cover-ups of such evils by the highest of Church authorities. Also, money laundering and other crimes within the Institute for the Works of Religion (the Vatican Bank) are well documented and constitute rapine of the laity and general public. But what about murder?
I think today’s Church bears the guilt of homicide in the eyes of God in three ways:
The silence of church authorities on contraception. Throughout Church history contraception was an established canonical crime bearing the same culpability as that of murder and remained so until the twentieth-century revisions of the Church’s laws. But it was never contradicted. The teaching was reaffirmed by Pope Pius XI in his encyclical on marriage, Casti Connubii (1930):
“Since, therefore, the conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious” (54).
Secondly, the refusal of bishops to excommunicate those catholic politicians from their dioceses on account of their support for abortion rights. When asked about excommunicating Gov. Andrew Cuomo for signing into law the practice of infanticide, New York Cardinal Dolan [like most of them] appealed to the noxious “seamless garment” argument in his refusal to sanction governor Cuomo for his support for infanticide:
“I am obliged to challenge our political leaders, to urge them to re-examine their priorities, and to respect and protect the unborn baby in the womb as strongly and passionately as we should the undocumented immigrant, the single mom worrying how she will feed her family, our dying grandparents, or the poor struggling to make it.”
Thirdly, why is former Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Viganò in hiding if it’s not for fear of being assassinated by order of church authorities? A former head of the Vatican bank feared the same thing:
“Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, from 2009 to 2012, President of the Vatican Bank, during the papacy of Benedict XVI, recounted that being around the Vatican, he had literally seen all kinds of things, even people disposed to killing…” (link)
From a recent interview:
“When you say the Vatican Curia was making you lose your faith,” interjected his interviewer before Gotti Tedeschi, interrupting, said: “And my life!”(link)
Also looking at it as a possible sign, but from a different perspective, author William Kilpatrick notes an obvious consequence of the fire:
“Whether or not the French leadership takes the fire at Notre Dame as a sign from heaven, Muslims almost certainly will. They will see it as a sign from Allah—a sign that Islam is destined to triumph over France and all of Europe. Some Muslims will, no doubt, feel that they have a duty to hasten the process along. As a result, we can expect the attacks on Christian churches to continue and even to escalate.” (link)
In a recent speech, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Bagdadi took credit for the bombings in Sri Lanka which killed hundreds of Christians, announcing that this will be their new modus operandi:
“Expelled from the territories initially conquered in Syria and Iraq, al-Baghdadi has proclaimed a new ‘war of attrition,’ in Arabic ‘istinzaf,’ against the ‘crusaders,’ with no more armies in the field but with guerrilla acts, assaults, murders, attacks, carried out by militants deployed and concealed everywhere, even in Europe, to judge by the numerous ‘foreign fighters’ who went back to France, Great Britain, Italy, Belgium, Germany, [and France] etc. after having fought in Syria and Iraq among the ranks of the defeated Islamic State.” (link)
†Columba Hart and Jane Bishop, trans., Hildegard of Bingen: Scivias (The Abbey of Regina Laudis: Benedictine Congregation Regina Laudis of the Strict Observance, Inc.: Paulist Press, 1990).
After His triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday Jesus headed to the Temple, making a whip out of cords and driving out of the Temple area not just those selling doves and changing money, but sheep and oxen as well. People who’ve studied Temple practices in the first-century find this story curious since this type of commerce was acceptable and necessary. Continue reading “Was Jesus’ Temple Clearing on Behalf of Gentiles?”→
Aside from the fact that a dramatic and public excommunication of Gov. Cuomo would be the right thing to do, it could have some very constructive consequences:
It would be a big news story and possibly stimulate discussion and debate on the nature of the law that he signed and the inhumanity behind it. Cuomo gave in to radical feminists who hate babies and actually consider killing them a liberating event. The more this is exposed for what it is, the less sympathy people will have toward abortion rights in general.
The Governor’s response could be offensive (attack the bishop and the Church) or defensive (remain silent and pretend it didn’t happen). He loses either way because he has publicly affirmed his Catholicism. He would probably be defiant, recently stating, “To the Catholic Church, I am sorry about the situation. I’m not sorry about my position. I’m sorry they have taken the position they’ve taken.”
To many Catholics, it would impress a scarlet letter, “E”, on Cuomo. According to the polls, about half of all self-professed Catholics vote democrat. How many of them might be disinclined to vote for a candidate wearing that letter?
It also might have an effect on current and future Catholic politicians to reconsider their stand on abortion.
It might embolden those Church authorities with spines to follow suit and take the battle for the lives of today’s innocents to the streets.
“…A Psalm of David, when Nathan the prophet came to him after he had gone in to Bathsheba.”
Psalm 51 was the result of a sex crime. It should have been the theme of the summit of bishops in Rome. The abuse, it’s cover-up, and the pain it has caused cannot be undone. More transparency, apologizing to the victims and their families, offers of compensation, are all the right things to do, but won’t undo the damage.
Only a renewed spirit on the part of the clergy as a result of repentance, contrition, and humility will solve the abuse crisis:
“For you do not desire sacrifice or I would give it; a burnt offering you would not accept. My sacrifice, O God, is a contrite spirit; a contrite, humbled heart, O God, you will not scorn” (vss. 18-19).
It is interesting that David’s self-reflection on his transgressions, specifically adultery and murder, do not include a mention of either one. The gravity of killing someone’s husband so you can take his wife was less of a crime against Uriah and Bathsheba than a grievous disobedience of God’s law. God sent the prophet Nathan to David charging, Continue reading “Lessons from Psalm 51 for the Summit”→
Author Saul Bellow once wrote that he would occasionally attend a dinner party and would be asked for his opinion on a politically sensitive issue. His standard answer was non-confrontational: “I support all good policies and oppose all the bad ones.”
While the arrogance and moral bankruptcy behind political correctness will eventually lead to its own destruction, the current emerging generation of social engineers are becoming a serious danger to those who publicly proclaim basic Christian truths. Jesus demands, however, that we speak the truth, and courageously.
“Cut off the king’s head” is a common chant heard by the weekly protesters in France, squarely aimed at President Macron.
The fascinating thing is that the Yellow Vests have no real leaders, or common ideology or politics. They’re middle and lower class people who are struggling to keep up with ever-increasing cost of living, including taxation, the highest in the developed world. They blame the elites in Paris and the other European capitals whose priorities are climate change, massive immigration, globalization, and abandoning France’s common culture and history. Continue reading “From Yellow Vests to Grey Wolves: Insurrection in France”→
In the same vision as the five beasts, recorded in Scivias, Book III, Vision 11, Chapters 25-42†, the Doctor of the Church shares what was revealed to her about the Antichrist and offers clues to Christians during the last days on how to identify him.
She starts with the mother of the Antichrist, who begins learning “the arts of the Devil” in her infancy. We are told that she grows up apart from her family, and in the care of “abominable people” living in the “vilest of waste places”. As she matures her parents do not recognize her, nor even the people who raised her. At some point, we are not told what specific age, she will be visited by the Devil in the guise of an angel. She will depart from her community and seclude herself under the guidance of this angel from hell (chap. 25).
At some point after this the devil/angel commands her to engage in intercourse with a succession of men at the same time, with all participants remaining anonymous. She is impregnated by one of the men but she will never know who it was. Hildegard tells us that at this point Satan “…will breath on the embryo. and possess it with all his power”. (At this point we are reminded by the Saint that this is all done with the permission of God). After the baby is born the mother will show the infant boy to the people around her, declaring to them that she does not know who the father is or how she got pregnant. At the same time, although she had been given to a life of debauchery, she begins to observe a chaste lifestyle. The reaction of people to this will be to give her and her baby respect and even consider her a holy woman (Chap. 25). Continue reading “St Hildegard’s Revealing Vision of the Antichrist”→