Monday, May 25, 2020

Betrayed By Benns

This is the age of ultracrepidarianism, i.e., the giving of advice and opinions outside the scope of one's knowledge and/or training---and unfortunately many people accept such worthless advice. Once, while interviewing a potential client, the client's brother (whom he brought with him) interrupted me to tell me I was "all wrong" in the proper way to file the lawsuit. Knowing I was correct, I politely asked him if he was a lawyer. "No," he responded. "But I'll have you know I took two legal courses online." I shot back, "I'll have you know I went fishing twice, but that doesn't make me Jacques Cousteau." I have had my advice challenged by Wikipedia and tweets from celebrities. It makes me shake my head in dismay.

However, there are times when emergency circumstances necessitate a non-expert to weigh in. I'm a former New York City science teacher and current lawyer, so why am I writing a blog on theology? In the absence of the Great Apostasy, I wouldn't be; and shouldn't be. There is no hierarchy with Ordinary jurisdiction, no pope, and no approved theologians and canonists. The burden of trying to make our Catholic way the best we can falls (by necessity) on Traditionalist clergy and the laity. If we ever get a real pope again, I will first thank Almighty God, and then (happily) deactivate this blog, as it is no longer necessary.

There are also times when a person's advice and/or actions are just so egregiously wrong, they should never be consulted ever again. This applies even to qualified experts. If a surgeon leaves a scalpel inside a patient's body and they die as a result, they should never be allowed to practice medicine again. Now, consider the following scenario:

A married laywoman decides to end the state of sedevacante by "electing a new pope." She was a Home Aloner, convinced all Traditionalists were "evil schismatics and heretics," so she deprived herself of the Mass and Sacraments.  The leading "papal contender" was a former Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) seminarian, David Bawden (b.1959), who was expelled after approximately two years of study in 1978. This female Home Aloner and self-professed "theologian," decided to "call a conclave." Bawden allegedly contacted all Traditionalists to attend his conclave, which was held on July 16, 1990. How someone could claim to have attempted to contact all Traditionalists in an age before computers is baffling. As a result, six people attended near his parents' Kansas farmhouse; Bawden's mother and father, two nice neighbors who were husband and wife, the "female theologian," and Bawden himself. David Bawden was then "elected" as "Pope Michael," and at 61 (as of this year) still lives with his mommy on the farm.

According to various sources, Bawden is believed to have anywhere from 30 to 100 followers worldwide. He has never held a real job. The female "theologian" later abandoned and denounced the very "pope" she helped to "elect," and is back Home Alone. In the meantime, there are between 30 to 100 people following this very same false "pope," thereby putting their salvation in danger. Do you think this woman should ever write about theological matters again?

Neither do I. Unfortunately, Mrs. Teresa Stanfill Benns, the "theologian" in question, remains undaunted. She runs a website entitled Betrayed Catholics (betrayedcatholics.com) in which she tries to convince Traditionalists to abandon their churches and chapels and remain under a self-imposed "spiritual quarantine." Upon inspection, the only thing diseased is her theological writing. She's peddling a new book, and has written a series of posts explaining why Traditionalists are not the remnant Church. In this post, I will expose the flaws in her "research" wherein she calls into question the validity of any/all ordinations and consecrations performed by Bp. Thuc and Abp. Lefebvre. Although she does not mention Bp. Mendez, since Bishop Kelly derives his priestly orders from Abp. Lefebvre, she casts the same specious "doubt" on his orders, and thereby the good priests and bishops ordained/consecrated by him for the Society of St. Pius V (SSPV).

Please read her website articles which I cite because I have respected her decision of not wanting to have any of her materials used elsewhere without permission. Hence, I have merely stated her arguments using my own words, without quoting anything. By reading her work you can check that my representation of her arguments is accurate.

Please note that for sake of brevity, I sometimes refer to Bp. Thuc as simply "Thuc," and Abp. Lefebvre as merely "Lefebvre." This is in no way to be interpreted as a lack of due respect for these holy clerics and their proper titles.

The Invalid Case For Dubious Orders
On Benns' website, there is an article entitled "A Comparison of Anglican and Traditionalist 'Orders.'" You may read it in full at her above referenced site. She contends that the defects mentioned against Anglican Orders hold for Traditionalists. Do they really? Here are her major reasons for attacking Lefebvre and Thuc.

1. Abp. Lefebvre's ordaining and consecrating bishop was a Freemason and most probably withheld the intention necessary to validly confer Holy Orders. I've dealt with this canard in previous posts, so I will be as brief as possible and restate the main points I wrote prior.  

 There is a rebuttable presumption (praesumptio juris tantum) that every time a Catholic cleric seriously undertakes to perform a sacrament it is done validly. It is presumed that the correct matter, form, and intention were all present. Pope Leo XIII clearly teaches:

"A person who has correctly and seriously used the requisite matter and form to effect and confer a sacrament is presumed for that very reason to have intended to do what the Church does." (Papal Bull Apostolicae Curae [1896]--the very document Benns uses to attack the orders of Lefebvre).

According to theologian DeSalvo, "As long as the lack of proper intention is not externally manifested, the Church presumes that the intention of the minister is correct." (See The Dogmatic Theology on the Intention of the Minister in the Confection of the Sacraments, [1949], pg. 105).

The reason for this principle is clear: Divine Providence will prevent the Church from defecting. While we can never know with absolute certainty (without Divine revelation) if any particular sacrament is valid, we have moral certainty, and the assurance that the Church will continue. Each week at Mass, you don't know if the priest tampered with the bread and or wine. You don't know if he correctly pronounced (and included) all the necessary words of Consecration. He could have done such things, but it is never to be presumed. On moral certainty, the Church allows us to adore that which looks as mere bread as Jesus Christ Himself.

The reason for this presumption is spelled out by theologian Courtemanche, "...it would be monstrous for the law to presume that what the mouth speaks is not in the heart, since that would be tantamount to presuming the presence of a lie." (See The Total Simulation of Matrimonial Consent, [1948], pg. 41).

It is alleged that the Cardinal-Bishop who ordained Marcel Lefebvre a priest, and later consecrated him a bishop, Archille Lienart, was a Freemason. The evidence for his Masonic membership is hardly conclusive, but ad aguendo, I will concede he was a Mason.  There are those who assert that since Masons are the sworn enemies of the Church, Masonic clerics must withhold their intention and make the sacraments invalid. To demonstrate someone has withheld the proper intention, "...one must prove the existence of a positive will that excludes [the sacrament]." (See  Courtemanche, The Total Simulation of Matrimonial Consent, [1948], pg. 18). Such was the case in South America of a bishop who was strongly prejudiced against ordaining native [pueblo nativos] clergy. On his deathbed he confessed that he withheld his intention on those natives. The priest refused absolution unless the bishop agreed and gave permission for this to be told to the proper authorities. The native priests were re-ordained but NOT non-native priests. "The Church, recognizing that She can never know the internal intention of the minister, assumes it is the same as his external intention (the intention which the traditional rite provides by its very wording), unless he himself informs the Church otherwise." (See Coomaraswamy, The Problems with the New Sacraments, pg. 11 and footnote 19; words in parenthesis in original).

Those who assert Masons withhold their intention (have a "positive contrary intention" by willing "I do not intend to ordain [or consecrate] this man" while performing the ceremony) are setting up an opposite presumption from the Church, i.e., your sacraments are invalid, unless proven otherwise.If the Church tells us we must presume validity, we must do so. There is no "Masonic exception" to the rule. Remember that there is a possibility that any sacrament could be invalid, but we must not fear it because we have moral certainty. If Masonic membership makes sacraments doubtful, what about Modernists and Communists? They are the sworn enemies of the Church as well, yet we would have to consider virtually every sacrament invalid based on Modernism! (The number of Modernists who came out at Vatican II was staggering).

The objection to such bishops is not based on theology and the practice of the Church, but rather, "I've got a bad feeling about this situation." That does not suffice. Notice that even the bishop who admitted to withholding his intention on native clergy, did not state he did have the intention for non-native clergy. Did the Church ordain all of the priests "just to be safe"? No! It was presumed valid. Thankfully, it is Church teaching and not Mrs. Benns' bad feelings that control the principles of sacramental theology.

Wrong Ideas about the Intention to Confer a Sacrament
Benns also has a wrong idea as to what constitutes a proper intention. Benns asks for "which Church" did Thuc and Lefebvre consecrate these men? She claims neither Traditionalism nor the Vatican II sect is the True Church because an "antipope" rules in Rome and the Traditionalist Church is "headless." First, none of the heretics from Roncalli to Bergoglio is (strictly speaking) an antipope for that presumes a real pope against which they claim the papacy for themselves. Even the Catholic Encyclopedia of 1913 will tell you an antipope is "A false claimant of the Holy See in opposition to a pontiff canonically elected." (See https://www.newadvent.org/cathen/01582a.htm). So, unless she's gone back to "Pope" Michael at the Kansas farm, she's using imprecise terminology. Bergoglio is a false pope.

 Second, the True Church is never "headless" (in the sense of being unable to function) just because it is without a living pope on the throne. If that were the case, each time a pope died, the Church would be headless and no sacraments could be conferred until the new pope is elected.  According to theologian Dorsch:

The Church therefore is a society that is essentially monarchical. But this does not prevent the Church, for a short time after the death of a pope, OR EVEN FOR MANY YEARS, from remaining deprived of her head. [vel etiam per plures annos capite suo destituta manet]. Her monarchical form also remains intact in this state.…
Thus the Church is then indeed a headless body.… Her monarchical form of government remains, though then in a different way — that is, it remains incomplete and to be completed. The ordering of the whole to submission to her Primate is present, even though actual submission is not…

For this reason, the See of Rome is rightly said to remain after the person sitting in it has died — for the See of Rome consists essentially in the rights of the Primate.

These rights are an essential and necessary element of the Church. With them, moreover, the Primacy then continues, at least morally. The perennial physical presence of the person of the head, however, [perennitas autem physica personis principis] is not so strictly necessary." (de Ecclesia 2:196–7; Emphasis mine)

According to theologian Salaverri, instead of being a "primary foundation… without which the Church could not exist," the pope is a "secondary foundation," "ministerial," who exercises his power as someone else’s (Christ’s) representative. (See De Ecclesia 1:448)

Third, the minister of a sacrament only needs to intend to do what the Church does, not intend to do what the Church intends.

This is the teaching of Pope Leo XIII in his pronouncement on Anglican orders: "Now, if a person has seriously and duly used the proper matter and form for performing or administering a sacrament, he is by that very fact presumed to have intended to do what the Church does.” (Bull Apostolicae Curae,  September 13, 1896; Emphasis mine)


The theologian Leeming says this passage recapitulates the teachings of previous theologians who "...all agreed that the outward decorous performance of the rites sets up a presumption that the right intention exists.… The minister of a sacrament is presumed to intend what the rite means… This principle is affirmed as certain theological doctrine, taught by the Church, to deny which would be at least theologically rash." (Leeming, Principles of Sacramental Theology [1956], 476, 482.)

According to theologian Many, heresy, or even total apostasy from the faith on the part of the ordaining bishop, does not harm this sufficient intention, because intention is an act of the will.

"Error in faith, or even total disbelief, does not harm this intention; for concepts of the intellect have nothing in common with an act of the will." (S. Many, Praelectiones de Sacra Ordinatione [1905], 586.)

2. The Three-prong Attack Against Bp. Thuc
Benns does not question either Bp. Thuc's ordination or consecration, unlike her attack on Archbishop Lefebvre. Of course, there's the senility charge which she doesn't harp on, but, we are told, Thuc's consecrations were invalid because:

(a) He was a member of the Vatican II sect at the time of the consecrations in 1981
False. Bp. Thuc was confused about the person of the pope, and was trying to figure out the situation in the Church. He reconciled with Montini after the Palmar de Troya fiasco. Secondly, by 1981 he was certain about sedevacantism, otherwise why would he consecrate two theologians (des Lauriers and Carmona) who were known to reject the papal claims of Wojtyla? He rejected the heresies of Vatican II and the papal pretender. He was a member "on paper" only, much like Abp. Levebvre who was R&R prior to his 1988 "excommunication." According to the testimony of Fr. Noel Barbara, a priest who once opposed Bp. Thuc, and solemnly, publicly recanted that opposition after interacting with him, Fr. Barbara had this to say about Bp. Thuc just prior to the 1981 Consecrations:

"From all that I know about the matter, it is clear that up to the time of the consecrations of which I am speaking [in 1981], Archbishop Ngo Dinh Thuc:

  • never professed any error with regard to the faith which would make him a heretic;
  • has never been guilty of schism by contesting the universal jurisdiction of the pope;
  • has never incurred any censures of the law for communicatio in divinis cum acatholicis (worshiping with non-Catholics); whether he be good or bad, he was a bishop of the Holy Roman Catholic Church when he conferred the Episcopacy on R. P. Guerard des Lauriers and on Fathers Carmona and Zamora.

    Therefore, the judgment which we made about this matter . . . was completely wrong and should be retracted. This I have already done and now do so again." (See Barbara, "Episcopal Consecrations," in The Answers, pp. 66-67; words in parenthesis mine). On March 12, 1983, the Modernist Vatican again "excommunicated" Thuc precisely because he rejected them in these consecrations! He "reconciled" with them on July 11, 1984, a mere five moths before his death that year on December 13th at the age of 87. I could write another whole post (and someday I might) on the very suspect nature of the "reconciliation."

    (b) Bp. Thuc used the invalid Pauline Rite of Consecration.
    False. In his letter defending the attacks on his episcopal consecration, the eminent theologian Moises Carmona wrote a letter dated May 18, 1982, wherein he states:

    On October 17, Father Zamora and I were consecrated by Archbishop Thuc in a virtual catacomb, with only two distinguished doctors as witnesses. Both of us were conscious of the furious storms of protest that would come, but the words of our Divine Master encouraged us: "You shall weep and lament, but the world shall rejoice; and you shall be sorrowful, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy." (John 16:20).
    On our return to Mexico, the attacks began. Some said, without any foundation, that our consecrations were invalid because we were consecrated with the new rite; others, more serious, said that, based on Canons 953 and 2370, the consecrations were valid but illicit, and that consequently we were suspended. (See http://www.cmri.org/carmona.html; Emphasis mine). For all consecrations he ever carried out, Bp. Thuc only used the Traditional Rite, and this is attested to by all witnesses. Benns makes the assertion that the Pauline Rite was used with no evidence to support such a claim.

    N.B. Bp. Peter Thuc was made archbishop on November 24, 1960 by Roncalli, a false pope. He really only has the proper designation of bishop. However, I see nothing wrong with allowing him that title since in 1960 no heresy had yet been professed and nearly everyone thought Roncalli was legitimate at the time. I see nothing wrong with those who wish to call him Archbishop Thuc (as Bp. Carmona does in his letter) out of respect and common error at the time the title was bestowed. I have many times referred to him as "archbishop" also.---Introibo

    (c) Thuc Used Invalid Matter Regarding the Oil for the Consecration
    This falls under the "You gotta be kidding me" category. Benns opines (without proof) that the oil used in the episcopal consecrations were most likely provided and blessed by a Vatican II sect minister. Was she there? How does she know the good bishop didn't obtain and consecrate the oil himself? Nevertheless, it doesn't make a dime's worth of difference because oil (consecrated or not) is not the matter of the sacrament and has no effect on validity.  Pope Pius XII, in his Apostolic Constitution Sacramentum Ordinis of 1947 solemnly settled the question as to what, exactly, constitutes valid matter and form for the orders of deacon, priest and bishop. His Holiness decreed in para. #4: "Wherefore, after invoking the divine light, We of Our Apostolic Authority and from certain knowledge declare, and as far as may be necessary decree and provide: that the matter, and the only matter, of the Sacred Orders of the Diaconate, the Priesthood, and the Episcopacy is the imposition of hands..." (Emphasis mine). The matter, and the only matter, is the imposition of hands, not oil. If she meant something different (e.g., perhaps that the oil was integral to the Rite and if defective it somehow calls the rest of the Rite into question; which is false anyway) she certainly was far from clear. Again, there is only her speculation (absent any proof) that the oil was not properly consecrated and used.

    A Brief Remark on Thuc's Alleged "Senility"
    As we have seen, the Church sets a low bar, not a high one, in what is necessary for a sacramental intention. In order for the consecrations to be declared invalid due to senility, it would mean that Bp. Thuc was so "out of it" that he didn't know what he was doing, and had no intention to do it, while performing an episcopal consecration. There are numerous photos and witnesses that attest to the fact that Bp. Thuc was able to navigate the difficult, hours-long consecration ceremony and was able to pose for pictures. These are hardly the actions of someone who has tragically gone the way of former U.S. President Ronald Reagan, who had no idea who he even was towards the end of his life.

    Signatories at Vatican II
    Benns then attacks both bishops because they signed the documents of Vatican II. Since they signed the documents they were "heretics" and "outside the Church." Therefore, they cannot be presumed to have valid sacraments. As demonstrated above, as long as the Catholic Rite is used (which it always was), the intention is presumed correct. Were Lefebvre and Thuc heretics? No. The documents were signed under the appearance of coming from legitimate Church authority, and the "pope" asked them to sign. The essence of heresy is denial of a dogma with stubborn resistance to the Church's authority. The bishops at Vatican II were in a unique situation of having a false pope, and many didn't want to even contemplate such an event. After the heresy became apparent when the bishops went home after the Council, almost all did accept it.

    However, suppose, ad arguendo, they were heretics. They weren't declared heretics, for by what authority could they be declared such? Sedevacantist author Mr. John Daly, has done a masterful analysis of theologian De Lugo's teaching on undeclared heretics:

    Cardinal de Lugo holds that the law forbidding Catholics to participate in worship together with heretics or schismatics does not apply unless those in question have been declared to be such by the Church (or belong to a condemned sect). And de Lugo also shows that the majority of theologians hold his view on this subject, against a minority who disagree.

    This teaching is supported by Pope Martin V's Ad Evitanda Scandala which expressly allows communion with excommunicates until they have been condemned by the Church. Naturally this does not apply to what is certainly forbidden by divine law – as would be participation in a rite which itself contained heresy or which exposed oneself or others to grave scandal.

    It should be noted that there has been no noteworthy change in ecclesiastical law on communication in sacris since de Lugo wrote. The law forbidding communicatio in sacris with non-Catholics remains in force (Canon 1258). And the law authorizing the reception of the sacraments from uncondemned excommunicates (Canon 2261) remains in force also. (Commenting on "Communication in Religious Rites with Heretics"--Cardinal De Lugo, Tractatus de Virtute Fidei Divinae: Disputatio XXII, Sectio 1)

    Benns' Dishonest and Shoddy "Research"
    In another related article on her website, "Additional proofs Traditional 'clergy' cannot function," Benns claims that Canon 2261, referenced by Mr. Daly, does not apply to schismatics, and instead of electing a pope (!) Thuc and Lefebvre created their own sect.  Benns uses lots of quotes from theologian Szal to prove you can never approach schismatics for the Sacraments. (Please read the article if you want to see the full argument). I bring this up because Benns, knowing that most of her readers don't have access to these theological works, will not check her citations, and simply take her word for what it says.

    On page 62 of theologian Szal's work, The Communication of Catholics with Schismatics, [1948], we read, "There are times when the Church does permit the faithful to receive the Sacraments from a schismatical minister, but when such a permission is granted a necessary condition is set, namely, that the Sacraments be administered according to the rite of the Church." (Emphasis mine). That would certainly apply to Traditionalists wouldn't it, Mrs. Benns?

    On pg. 92, theologian Szal references the Catholics in the East where there are almost exclusively schismatics and not Catholic clergy. He writes, "It is very probable that a Catholic may find himself in a situation which implies the guilt of mortal sin in his soul and will not have the opportunity of going to confession to a Catholic priest for two or three months. He is in the state of mortal sin, and his conscience is troubled. He tries to make an Act of Perfect Contrition, but he cannot satisfy his conscience in this matter. In this case, if there were no scandal or danger of perversion, such a person could probably confess his sins to a schismatic priest and receive absolution in order that he would no longer remain in the state of mortal sin." (Emphasis mine). Even doubt about jurisdiction does not prevent him from going. Would this not apply to Traditionalist clergy today, Mrs. Benns? She reveals a lot by what she omits. 

    Conclusion
    Teresa Benns is the one betraying Catholics and Our Lord, not Traditionalists who are the remnant Catholics in this time of the Great Apostasy. Between 30 to 100 people are following some deluded man in Kansas as "pope" because of Mrs. Benns holding a farmhouse "conclave" based on her "theological research." She disavows the very fictitious "pope" she created, goes back to being Home Alone, and wants to sell a book on her nonsensical ideas. Her "scholarship" is both shoddy and dishonest.  She is doing Satan's work in trying to keep Traditionalists away from the Mass and Sacraments; a "spiritual lock-down" with consequences to the soul more deadly than COVID-19 when you stay home alone. Someone who "elects" a false pope on farm should pray for God's forgiveness and never attempt to expound on theological matters ever again.

    In her current writing, I have demonstrated Benns:

    • makes a material false statement regarding Thuc's alleged use of the Pauline Rite
    • assumes facts not in evidence (the oil for consecration was made by a Vatican II sect minister)
    • has an demonstrably false idea regarding sacramental intention
    • has a confused and/or erroneous idea about oil and its role as matter in Holy Orders
    • cherry-picks citations to theologian Szal to "prove" her preconceived notions
    • makes no analysis between declared and undeclared heretics
    Benns has claimed that credibility is important. I agree. Too bad Mrs. Benns doesn't have any. 





    Monday, May 18, 2020

    The Phony Apparition Of A False Sect


    One year ago, on May 12, 2019, the now Unholy See occupied by the false pope and Argentinian apostate, Jorge Bergoglio, officially permitted pilgrimages to Medjugorje. Most people, even the irreligious, have heard about the alleged "apparitions" of the Blessed Virgin Mary that began in 1981 and supposedly continue to this very day. Bergoglio has tacitly given credence to the biggest hoax regarding an apparition of the Blessed Mother. (See https://cruxnow.com/church-in-europe/2019/08/vatican-confirms-medjugorje-approval-by-joining-youth-festival/). It is obvious that a false pope would approve a false apparition. However, it goes farther than that. Medjugorje perfectly reflects everything that is wrong with the Vatican II sect.

    Many people have asked why I disbelieve the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje when so many flock there and claim to be "healed," or "spiritually enlightened." What I've done for the purposes of this post is to condense the large volume of writings on the apparition into a concise summation of everything that's wrong with it. There are members of the Vatican II sect that might convert to the One True Church, but these "apparitions" keep them in Bergoglio's clutches. To write on every aspect of an almost thirty-nine year continuing so-called apparition would take more than a hundred posts in order to fully cover what's wrong. What I've done is to give the most salient points under four main categories dealing with the serious defects regarding: the "seers," the "Blessed Virgin," the clerics involved, and the content of the messages. It should (God willing) be enough to remove any doubt from a Traditionalist's mind that Medjugorje is a Satanic fraud, and will hopefully provide enough information to keep anyone you care about away from it (or even to abandon it).

    A Brief Background
     The alleged apparitions began on June 24, 1981 in the small town of Medjugorje in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The "seers" were four boys and two girls; to wit: Mirjana Dragicevic, Marija Pavlovic, Vicka Ivankovic, Ivan Dragicevic, Ivanka Ivankovic and Jakov Colo. Three were born in 1965, one in 1964, one in 1966, and one in 1971. (Due to the length of their surnames, I will refer to them by their first names). According to the official website medjugorje.org: The BVM has come there "In Her own words She tells us, 'I have come to tell the world that God exists. He is the fullness of life, and to enjoy this fullness and peace, you must return to God'.

    Our Lady's mission is one of peace. She has come to earth to reeducate us and to help us convert and recenter our lives back to God. Our Lady's role has always been one of guiding people to Her Son, Jesus. What an amazing opportunity we have before us! Our Lady's call to conversion is urgent, and we should respond with all our hearts." The six seers (referred to as "visionaries") have received apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary since June 24, 1981. In addition to Her public messages, Our Lady is to give each of the six visionaries a total of ten "secrets" of happenings that will occur on earth in the near future. Some of the secrets pertain to the whole world while others concern the visionaries themselves or the local village. Only one of the secrets has so far been revealed by the visionaries. In the third secret Our Lady has promised to leave a supernatural, indestructible, and visible sign on the mountain where she first appeared. "Our Lady" said: "This sign will be given for the atheists. You faithful already have signs and you have become the sign for the atheists. You faithful must not wait for the sign before you convert; convert soon. This time is a time of grace for you. You can never thank God enough for His grace. The time is for deepening your faith, and for your conversion. When the sign comes, it will be too late for many."

    Finally, we are told, "Since the apparitions began in 1981, approximately 40 million people of all faiths, from all over the world, have visited Medjugorje and have left spiritually strengthened and renewed. Many bring back stories of miracles in the form of healings (of mind, body and spirit), supernatural visual signs, and deep conversions back to God. You owe it to yourself and your loved ones, to investigate with an open mind and heart the messages which are given to us by Our Lady of Medjugorje. I invite you to read these messages and decide for yourself how they will affect your life and that of your family." (Emphasis mine). I have accepted their invitation, and my findings on how these messages will affect anyone foolish enough to get involved, follows in the rest of this post. My sources will be listed prior to the conclusion.

    Problems with the "Visionaries"
    • Unlike the seers of approved apparitions, the visions began with disobedient and sinful teenagers. Only one (Jakov Colo) was a true child at the time, being ten years of age. The average age of an approved seer is eleven, and those who were older led virtuous lives like St. Catherine Laboure, who was a holy nun of 24 when the Immaculate Virgin started appearing to her. These false "visionaries" were materialistic, disinterested in religion, and corrupted by the influences of the world in the 1980s
    • The first vision was allegedly seen by Mirjana (age 16) and Ivanka (age 17) when they saw a light which Ivanka claimed to be the Gospa (i.e. "Our Lady"). What were these two young teenage girls doing prior to this event? They had each stolen cigarettes from their father and went to smoke and listen to evil rock music. It reminds me of the false apparition of Garabandal where the seers had stolen apples prior to the first "vision." 
    • It was claimed, on reliable testimony, that Mirjana both used drugs and gave them to others
    • The visionaries were caught in numerous discrepancies ("lies") about various aspects of their experiences. They also claimed they were oblivious to anything when in "ecstasy" watching the Gospa
    • When in an "ecstasy" staring at the ceiling of the church where the Gospa was present (1985), a pilgrim named Jean-Louis Martin, was able to get near and went close to Vicka's eye with his finger as if to poke her. She jerked her head back and ran out of the room. She came back to explain that it wasn't the finger of Martin that made her move her head and run away, it was the impression she got that the Gospa was about to drop the Infant Jesus she was holding. God can't "fall," and Mary can't "drop the Divine Child." The very idea is manifestly absurd. In addition, none of the other visionaries thought this was happening. The discrepency was never explained. Their "spiritual director"  had the "apparition room" of the church closed to the public after that day
    • Threats: Ivan said in a letter to the Vatican II sect "bishop" who was refusing to approve the apparitions, that the Gospa demanded his "immediate conversion" and that he should stop emphasizing the "negative side" of Medjugorje (how could a visitation of Mary have anything "negative"?), otherwise she and her Son would punish him.
    • Vicka had frequent headaches and blackouts. In the opinion of the medical authorities who examined her, it was the result of an "hysterical stupor" and a psychologically unhealthy need of attention. Not only was she deemed psychologically unstable, she was ignorant of basic religious truths, such as the significance of the Annunciation. Yet we are to believe Mary appeared to her on a daily basis.
    • When their "spiritual director," the invalidly ordained "Fr." Vlasic, wanted to start a "mixed-sex religious community" in 1987, Mirija said the Gospa approved of such an abomination. The V2 priest started it with a woman named Agnes Heupel. When the Vatican II sect "bishop" ordered it closed, Marija retracted her statement in a writing in which she stated, "My first statement (about approval from the Gospa)...does not correspond to the truth" (Letter of July 11, 1988; Emphasis mine). Her change of heart might be explained by the fact that Vlasic and Heupel shared a room together which was locked at night. It is rumored that Mirija caught the couple having sex and didn't want the Medjugorje events damaged by such a revelation. Hence, her prior and clearly articulated approval (which came from Mary) was somehow "misunderstood" and not a lie
    • Unlike the seers of approved apparitions, none of the six visionaries became nuns, priests, or brothers. They were worldly and made huge sums of money off those with a dangerous desire for the miraculous. All kinds of "relics," religious articles, books, and even tours of Medjugorje made them opulent. The promoters of Medjugorje stated on the official website, "I know Marija, Vicka, and Ivan all seriously considered a religious vocation, but after much prayer, they discerned that their vocation was married life. We should not consider the decision to be parents and to bring life into the world a less important or holy vocation than a religious vocation."  (Emphasis mine) Compare the infallible decree of Trent: On Matrimony: CANON X.-If any one saith, that the marriage state is to be placed above the state of virginity, or of celibacy, and that it is not better and more blessed to remain in virginity, or in celibacy, than to be united in matrimony; let him be anathema. It was also stated on the official website: "Ivanka was the first to decide that her calling was married life, and asked for Our Lady's blessing. Our Lady joyfully gave Ivanka her blessing, and added that she had chosen the harder path for her life." (Emphasis mine). 
    • Today, the visionaries live in mansions with double garages and security gates, and one even has a private tennis court. They drive fancy cars (BMWs)  go on frequent and expensive foreign trips, and all have married.Ivan married a former Miss Massachusetts, Loreen Murphy, a beauty queen who dresses immodestly. He is obese (so much for frequent fasting); and this, by the way, is "the harder path for [their] life." 

    Problems with the "Gospa" as She Appeared
    • Ivan claimed that the hands of the Gospa "trembled." This is clearly out of character for the serene Queen of Heaven, and she was not making a point about something; e.g., how people will tremble with horror for their sins, etc. That was simply how he perceived her.
    • The Gospa said nothing at the beginning of her appearances. Then she would merely answer questions from the visionaries. This is a complete departure from all approved apparitions whereby Mary had a mission and was never there for a "question and answer" session.
    • The visionaries claimed to be able to "kiss and touch" the Gospa, while she "laughed." In approved apparitions, Mary has occasionally been said to smile, but not laugh, nor was she "kissed and touched." It reminds me of Garabandal where the phony seers said Mary laughed and "played hide and go seek." 
    • It is asserted that one of the visionaries sprinkled the Gospa with Holy Water to make sure she wasn't a demon in disguise. Later, Vicka claimed it was only ordinary water but "contained some blessed salt."
    • Unlike all approved apparitions, the Gospa of Medjugorje appeared only gradually out of some orbs of light (sometimes a "blue mist"), as if she were composed of it. By contrast, in approved apparitions, Mary appears immediately with any light being totally distinct from her. 
    • The Gospa would "bless" the religious objects from pilgrims (as the visionaries collected donations), and impart to the six a "special grace" they could then give unto others. Only priests can bless religious objects, and Mary is not a priest. Imparting "special grace" (whatever that means) to have the six visionaries impose hands and pass it on sounds like an imitation sacrament from ersatz "priests" and "priestesses"
    • The Gospa would "burst into spontaneous laughter"
    • The Gospa would recite the Our Father with the visionaries. This is heretical and blasphemous to suggest. How could Mary ask God to "forgive us our trespasses" when she is without stain of sin?
    • Why is it taking almost 40 years--with no end in sight--for the Gospa to reveal her message to the world? Mary always gave a message in a short time in all approved apparitions. Whereas Fatima had three secrets given in less than a year, the Gospa has sixty (60) to give, and most of the content is virtually unknown to this day. 
     Problems with the Clerics
    •  "Father" Tomislav Vlasic (b.1942) was invalidly ordained in 1969. He was the "spiritual director" of the visionaries. There is much evidence he may have concocted much of the story by manipulating the kids. In 1976, he impregnated a Vatican II sect nun, Sr. Rufina (born Manda Kozul). He moved her to Germany where she gave birth to their child conceived in broken vows and lust. Vlasic made her swear never to reveal his paternity, and suffer in silence "like Mary" (!)
    • Kozul wrote Vlasic love letters and asked him to keep his promise to leave the priesthood and marry her. One of the letters fell into the hands of Kozul's landlord who turned it over to one "Cardinal" Ratzinger. Despite his knowledge of what happened, Vlasic was not defrocked until Ratzinger became "Pope" Benedict XVI, and Vlasic was formally laicized in 2009. 
    • After being involved with the "Charismatic Catholic (sic) Movement" he heard about Medjugorje, and immediately went there to be the "spiritual director." The money came rolling in soon after his involvement. The Gospa gave messages to the visionaries about Vlasic's "sanctity."
    • He started the "mixed sex" religious congregation mentioned above, where he was accused of having sex with the woman co-founder, Agnes Heupel, who claimed a visit to Medjugorje "cured her partial paralysis."
    •  Vlasic was finally investigated in 2008 for "dubious doctrine," "manipulation of consciences," "suspected mysticism" [i.e.,occult practices], "sins against the Sixth Commandment" and "disobedience." Rather than be excommunicated, he asked to be reduced to the lay state ("laicized") and Ratzinger let him leave. 
    • As of 2012, Vlasic and his latest concubine joined "Central Nucleus," a New Age religious movement that engages heavily in pagan astrology. 
    • The official Medjugorje website has this to say of the demonic wretch Vlasic: "First, it is not important to go into detail of the charges against Vlasic, it can only make us become what the media sources are today – Scandal-makers. The Vatican itself sets that example with forgiveness and stopping the study of the Vlasic case, as a result of his request to be laicized." (Emphasis mine).  What spin-doctoring! "Who am I to judge?" 
    • There were two other "priests" involved with the visionaries: "Fr" Ivan Vego, who also impregnated a nun, and "Fr." Jozo Zovko (declared "saintly" by the Gospa) who was accused of multiple affairs and sexually assaulting an American woman, apparently while she was on a pilgrimage.  
    Problems with the Messages of "the Gospa"

    • The Gospa accepts Vatican II and the "popes" from Roncalli to Bergoglio
    • The reason Bergoglio approves of Medjugorje is because it promotes ecumenism and has a sappy, "feel good" message
    • The stated purpose of the Gospa: "Our Lady's mission is one of peace. She has come to earth to reeducate us and to help us convert and recenter our lives back to God. Our Lady's role has always been one of guiding people to Her Son, Jesus." (Emphasis mine). Her message is one of peace? In what sense? Did not Our Lord say, "Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword." (St. Matthew 10:34). "Reeducate"? Yes, to brainwash the world into accepting Modernism. While the real Blessed Virgin Mary does indeed "guide people to her Son Jesus," this "Gospa" is leading people away from Christ. There is only salvation in the One True Church, yet the Gospa says otherwise
    • Gospa: Once stated that most souls go to Purgatory and not Hell. So the world has gotten more holy since Fatima?
    • Gospa: "All religions are equal before God" This is "Positive Indifferentism," the teaching that all religions are equally good and all roads lead to God. There is no One True Church
    • Gospa: "...Jesus prefers that you address your petitions directly to Him, rather than through an intermediary." This is Protestantism
    • Gospa: "In God there are no divisions or religions; it is you in the world who have created divisions."
    • Gospa: "...The Muslims [Moslems] and the Orthodox, like the Catholics, are equal before my Son and before me, for you are all my children." (Emphasis mine)
    • In addition there is the problem of what the Gospa never says. If you go to the "Concordance" of the official website, where you can search for key words in the messages of the Gospa since at least 1984, here are words that the Gospa never uses: abortion, contraception, homosexual, molestation, and divorce. With these huge evils, and almost four decades of hundreds of messages, Mary never condemns the murder of innocent unborn children? She never condemns the proliferation of contraception and its acceptance by over 85% of the Vatican II sect? No mention of sodomite "marriage" and sodomite clergy molesting thousands of children? No mention of the ease of divorce and sinful remarriage? (See https://www.medjugorje.ws/en/messages/concordance) 
    Sources
    Davies, Medjugorje After Fifteen Years: The Message and the Meaning (1998)
    Foley, Understanding Medjugorje: Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion? (2006)
    Laurentin & Ljudevit, Is the Virgin Mary Appearing at Medjugorje (1988)
    Laurentin, Medjugorge Testament: Hostility Abounds, Grace Superabounds (1999)
    Weible, The Final Harvest: Medjugorje at the End of the Century (1999)
    Official Medjugorje website: medjugorje.org
    Various websites that have referenced and corroborated the information above.
    The works by "Fr." Laurentin are pro-Medjugorje as is the official website; the other sources are critical. 

    Conclusion
     I have frequently wrote against those I label "Apparitionists:" They are people who exalt private revelations and apparitions whether approved by the Church (such as Our Lady of Fatima and Our Lady of Lourdes) or not (such as Our Lady of the Roses or Garabandal) over the teaching of the Church. It should be painfully apparent how placing these apparitions over doctrine leads to people being trapped in falsehood. Whether Satanic, fraudulent, or a combination, one thing is certain: they do not come from or lead to God, and the Blessed Virgin Mary never appeared there.

    Now, the Vatican II sect has approved pilgrimages to a place where heresy is taught, people are swindled out of their hard-earned money to make phony, disreputable visionaries rich, and it was promoted by invalid priests who led debaucherous, pagan, evil lives. If anyone thinks a true pope could approve anything connected with this abomination, I question not only their faith, but their sanity. 

    Monday, May 11, 2020

    Stay Tuned

    In these terrible times of COVID-19, most people are turning to God--some for the first time. However, certain atheists are taking this state of affairs to "prove" there is no God. I find it highly ironic because the existence of God can be known by human reason alone, apart from any Divine Revelation. We may never know the reason God does or permits something; we may not know His ways of doing things ("For My thoughts are not thy thoughts, neither are thy ways My ways,"declares the Lord. "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than thy ways and My thoughts than Thy thoughts."--Isaiah 55:8-9); but all human beings with the use of reason can know that He does indeed exist.

    The Vatican Council of 1870, in its Dogmatic Constitution Dei Filius, decrees:

    The same Holy Mother Church holds and teaches that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be known with certitude by the natural light of human reason from created things; "for the invisible things of him, from the creation of the world, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made" [ Rom 1:20]...

    Canon I. If anyone says that the one, true God, our Creator and Lord, cannot be known with certainty from the things that have been made, by the natural light of human reason: let him be anathema. (Emphasis mine).

    Why then, are there atheists? A few preliminary remarks need to be made. Atheism is the denial of God's reality. Atheism may be subdivided into theoretical and practical. Theoretical atheism is based on judgments of the intellect. Practical atheism is a term for those who deny God in the practical order. They may give God lip service, but in the practical order, they never really give Him any consideration and behave as if He didn't exist. "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father Who is in Heaven will enter." (St. Matthew 7:21).

    Absolute and invincible ignorance of the existence of God, in principle, cannot be conceded because it is impossible for human reason not to ascend from the experience of the of the external world to the cause of it. The Vatican Council of 1870 makes this clear. However, since the existence of God is not immediately evident, people can fail to see the force of the arguments advanced to prove it and can, consequently, accept some contrary argument, forming a false conviction. A theoretical atheist is always guilty, at least initially, for a lack of prudence, of careful consideration, and of more accurate and dispassionate investigation. An atheist really convinced and in perfect good faith is an absurd and untenable hypothesis. (See theologian Parente, Dictionary of Dogmatic Theology [1957], pg. 24; the preliminary discussion of atheism was culled and condensed from this work).

    In my personal experience, most atheists have reached their conclusion for the non-existence of God based on reasons that do not arise from the intellect, but from emotion. The most common examples:


    • Medical causes. People who suffer from manic depressive states, or who are on certain types of medications, can become depressed and experience doubts because they are incapable of clear thinking. Proper medication and treatment can relieve such moods--and with it the doubt or denial over God's existence.
    • Anger over life's circumstances. Frequently, people will turn on God after the death of a loved one, loss of a job, or onset of a medical condition. In these days, the COVID-19 pandemic, "Why did God allow this to happen?" We must remember that God permits things to happen for our greater good, even if we can't see it. We follow in the footsteps of a Suffering Savior. 
    • Judging by feelings. This is a direct result of the Modernists, who expect us to feel warm and fuzzy, because religion (according to them) is emotive. The so-called "Charismatic Movement" thrives on making faith "an experience." When someone does not (or no longer) "feels close to God," they think He's not there. 
    • The World. Peer-pressure from those who think you're a "religious nut," will often make people want to give up the Faith to fit in. The "New Atheists" attack religious people as "superstitious" and "dangerous," while rock and pop music, TV, and movies attack religion and religious people as "not being with it." Hypocrites in the Church who don't live the Faith will exacerbate the problem. 
    Finally, some people want to deny God's existence because that gives them an excuse to lead a sinful life and quell their conscience. They make up intellectual "problems" to mask their evil desires. I find this to be most especially true regarding those who wish to sin against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments. 

    The remainder of this post will be dedicated to examining the teleological argument. Championed as one of The Five Ways to Prove the Existence of God by the Angelic Doctor, St. Thomas Aquinas, I will give a condensed and nuanced version. I have drawn not only upon the works of Aquinas, Principles and Problems of Philosophy [1944] by theologian Ryan, but also modern non-Catholic thinkers such as Swinburne, Spitzer, Craig, Davies, etc. Why would I include heretics? To prove the Church correct in Her judgement that all human beings, using the light of human reason apart from Revelation and outside the Church, can discern the truth that God exists. Did not even Aquinas himself use the principles of pagan philosopher Aristotle in the service of the One True Church? Moreover, it proves that advances in science since the 13th century, far from "disproving God," have only added more credibility to the famous Five Ways.

    I have tried to avoid technical language as much as possible to produce what (I hope) will be a readable and understandable condensed version of the teleological argument for the existence of God. 

    A Universe Designed By God
    Teleological refers to the evidence of design and purpose in the material world. Since circa 1970, astronomers have been stunned by the discovery of how complex and delicate a balance of initial conditions must be present to permit the existence of intelligent life anywhere at all in the universe. This has been referred to as the "fine-tuning" of the universe. Many modern theists, such as Dr. William Dembski, have sought to concentrate on biological systems here on Earth, in what is commonly called "Intelligent Design Theory." However, the cutting edge of the contemporary teleological argument involves the fine-tuning of the cosmos.

    There are two kinds of fine-tuning; the first involves the constants of nature, and the second involves certain arbitrary physical quantities. Both will be examined in turn.

    1. Constants of nature. What is a constant? When the laws of nature are expressed as mathematical equations, you find appearing in them certain symbols that stand for unchanging quantities, like the force of gravity, and the electromagnetic force, to give but two examples. These unchanging quantities are called constants. The values of these constants are not determined by the laws of nature; they are independent of them. You could have the same laws of nature with different values leading to a very different kind of universe from what we have now.

    2. Arbitrary physical quantities. In addition to the constants, there are certain arbitrary quantities that are just put in as initial conditions on which the laws of nature operate. Since the quantities are arbitrary, they're also not determined by the laws of nature. One such example is the amount of thermodynamic disorder (called entropy) there was at the beginning of the universe. It's an initial condition, and had that quantity been different, the universe would be quite different as well. 

    Keeping these constants in mind, consider the following: 
    The force of gravity is so finely tuned that an alteration of its value by even one part out of 10 to the fiftieth power (that's a 1 followed by 50 zeroes!) would have prevented a life-permitting universe. Likewise, a change in the value of the so-called cosmological constant, which drives the acceleration of the universe's expansion, by as little as one part in 10 to the one hundred twentieth power (1 followed by 120 zeroes) would also have prohibited life in the universe. 

    To be clear, by "life" It is meant organisms that can take in sustenance, extract energy from it, grow, adapt to its environment, and reproduce. Anything that can fulfill these functions counts as life, and in order for life (as just defined) to exist, requires the constants and quantities of the universe to be unbelievably fine-tuned, otherwise there could be no life anywhere.

    Three Possibilities: Necessity, Chance, or Design
    How do we account for such fine-tuning? There are only three possibilities: it was by physical necessity; it was by chance; or it was designed that way.

    1. Necessity. This would require the belief that there could not be a non-life permitting universe, because the constants had to be the way they are now. This is absurd to suggest since the constants are not determined by the laws of nature. No philosopher or scientist has come up with a logical reason that the constants were required to be the way they are, and we have every indication they could have been otherwise.  There is no proof of fine-tuning by necessity. 

    2. Chance. As explained above, the odds of a life permitting universe are incomprehensibly improbable. Atheists who say we are here by sheer luck will make an analogy to a lottery. The odds of winning are 10 million to one, but somebody has to win. Therefore, we are the lucky "lottery winners" and the prize is a life-permitting universe! The analogy is inapposite. The correct analogy is a lottery in which there are ten billion ping-pong balls in a container. All are white except for one that is orange. If a white ping-pong ball comes down the chute, you will be executed. If the orange one rolls out, your life will be spared.

    The odds of any particular ball getting picked over all the others is fantastically improbable. This is the false analogy of the atheists because the theist is not trying to explain why this particular ball was picked. The relevant point is that whichever ball rolls down the chute, it is overwhelmingly more probable to be white rather than orange. Getting the orange ball is no more improbable than getting any particular ball; but it remains incomprehensibly more probable the ball will be white and not orange. So if the orange ball did come out, people would assume the lottery was rigged by someone to save your life, and it was not chance.

    In the correct analogy, the concern is not why you got the particular ball, but why, against overwhelming odds, there was a "life-permitting ball." The question is not addressed by saying, "Well, some ball had to be picked." The atheist will protest, "But it's not mathematically impossible." Ok, let's look at some similar mathematical possibilities: It is mathematically possible that randomly hitting keys on a keyboard could produce Shakespeare's play Macbeth. It's mathematically possible that wind and rain erosion could produce the faces of four presidents on the side of Mount Rushmore. If you saw a copy of Macbeth, would you believe it was randomly typed or produced by a great intellect? Which is the more probable? If you saw Mount Rushmore, would you believe the faces were the random effects of erosion, or would you think someone designed and made those faces? 

    All indications rule out chance in favor of...

    3. Design. The universe was designed for life by an immaterial Mind of Infinite Power, Whom we call God.
    Atheist objection: If God designed the universe, then who designed God? The question is irrelevant. Why? Suppose someone is very sick and losing weight rapidly. After a battery of tests, they discover a parasite in the person's intestines. The doctors remove the parasite, and the sick person stops losing weight and makes a complete recovery. It is a fact that the explanation of the illness was a parasite, even if the person and his doctors have no idea how he got it or from whence it came. You don't need an "explanation of the explanation." There is further proof of God as the "Uncaused Cause," which would be too long to explain in this post. 

    Conclusion
    The proofs are there for all to see that God exists. He is, as the Vatican Council of 1870 tells us, "Creator and Lord." Of course, there are things that unaided human reason cannot tell us about God, e.g., that He exists as a Trinity of Three Divine Persons, but only One True God. For those truths we need Divine Revelation. The Vatican II sect has reduced belief in God to emotion.  Modernism denies the supernatural as an object of certain knowledge. The Modernists who challenge all rational proof of the existence of God as the First Cause of everything in existence, both material and spiritual, fall victims to a "scientific agnosticism." For these, God is something which comes forth from man's subconscious. Religion is therefore essentially about feelings, specifically what makes you feel good; if Christianity, or any other religion, is what makes you feel good and more in touch with the Divine, then it is true for you. Religion has never consisted of creeds or objective truth but of feelings. This doctrine is known as vital immanence. Religion is a feeling or sentiment that comes from a subconscious need for the Divine.

    This is why the Novus Bogus "mass" has people shaking hands, hugging and kissing at the "sign of peace," and singing happy, profane songs while skipping up dressed immodestly and like slobs to get the cracker and wine. It's all about being happy and feeling good. The Vatican II sect schools, colleges, universities, and seminaries no longer teach the Five Ways, and eschew the proofs of God's existence. And why shouldn't they? Modernism leads ultimately to atheism, which according to Bergoglio, isn't a bad thing. "Atheists can go to Heaven," as he told us. Indeed, the number of atheists has risen dramatically since the Vatican II sect began. The Anti-Modernist Oath of Pope St. Pius X (required to be taken by all clergy, and abolished by Montini--Paul VI--in 1964) had as its very first Truth to be affirmed that, "I profess that God, the beginning and end of all things, can be certainly known and thus can also be demonstrated by the natural light of reason "by the things that are made" [cf. Rom. 1:20], that is, by the visible works of creation, as the cause by the effects."

    It is therefore with reason that the Bible tells us, "The fool hath said in his heart: There is no God..." Psalm 13:1. 

    Monday, May 4, 2020

    When Strangers Come Knocking---Part 9

    This is the next installment of my series to be published the first Monday of each month.

    There are members of false sects, like Jehovah's Witnesses, that come knocking door-to-door hoping to convert you. Instead of ignoring them, it is we who should try and convert them. In 1 Peter 3:16, our first Pope writes, "But in thy hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks thee to give the reason for the hope that thou hast. But do this with gentleness and respect,..." Before the Great Apostasy, the Church would send missionaries to the ends of the Earth to make as many converts as possible.

    Those in false religions don't always come (literally) knocking at your door. It may be a Hindu at work who wants you to try yoga. It could be a "Christian Scientist" who lives next door and invites you to come to their reading room. Each month, I will present a false sect. Unlike the Vatican II sect, I do not see them as a "means of salvation" or possessing "elements of truth" that lead to salvation. That is heresy. They lead to damnation, and the adherents of the various sects must be converted so they may be saved.

    In each month's post, I will present one false sect and give an overview of:
    • The sect's history
    • Their theology
    • Tips on how to share the True Faith with them
    Hinduism
    There was a time when the word "Hinduism" evoked images of Mahatma Gandi sitting in a lotus position and telling people to "Be the change you want to see in the world." The pagan religion is no longer almost exclusively comprised of Indians being catered to by Mother Teresa (but not converted by her). Famous converts to Hinduism include actress Julia Roberts, rock singer Adam Levine, and comedian Russell Brand. The attraction seems to be that Hinduism is non-dogmatic, teaches that we are "divine," and allows people to live as they wish because of the evil doctrine of reincarnation.

    Hindu is a Persian term that means "the people and culture of the Indus River region." Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world today with about 800 million adherents. It is the predominant faith in India, where it comprises 82% of the population. Hinduism does not have an individual founder.  Scholars typically trace its origins to around 1500 B.C. in what is now known as India.  It began as a polytheistic and ritualistic family of religions with various sacred rites performed by the heads of particular households or tribes.  As time passed, the rituals became increasingly more complicated, and the need arose for a specialized priestly class to learn and administer them.  During this period, the Vedas were developed (and later written down) to instruct Hindu "priests" how to perform these rituals.

    Hinduism does not have an official set of beliefs.  There is no formal creed one must accept to be Hindu. Instead, Hinduism is a quite diverse set of various religious beliefs and practices. Scholars do not typically define Hindusim in terms of common doctrine, but rather by loosely shared rituals, traditions, and religious inclinations.  Nevertheless, in an attempt to make sense of the broadness of Hinduism, it is worth noting some beliefs that are common to a large number of Hindus, even if they are not required by all.

    Brahman: There is one supreme, impersonal reality called Brahman.  Brahman is the source of all things, but is not a personal creator. Brahman is, rather, the divine essence of all that exists. Brahman is impersonal, eternal, and beyond all human comprehension.

    "Gods and Goddesses:" Many Hindus worship various gods and goddesses. They often believe that these beings can be appeased or appealed to through rituals and offerings in a temple, at a home shrine, by a sacred river, or in other places. Hindu scholars often explain that the millions of local and household gods and even the major Hindu gods such as Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver), and Shiva (destroyer) are all expressions of the one divine essence, so that all Hindus are, in a sense, worshiping the same divinity. Despite these protestations, they cannot escape the fact that they are, in essence, polytheistic. The Hindus worship them as distinct entities, and not just a different manifestation of Brahman.

    Karma/Reincarnation: According to Hinduism, our primary problem is that we are ignorant of our own divine nature. We have forgotten that we extensions from Brahman, and we have attached ourselves to the desires of our separate selves, or egos. The law of karma is essentially the moral equivalent of a natural law of cause and effect.  It basically says that we reap what we sow.  However, our actions not only affect us in the present life but on into future lives, which is why there is reincarnation. Any act of personal will is karma, and its effects keep us bound in the endless cycle of reincarnation.

    Samsara: The perpetual cycle of birth, death, and rebirth that an individual endures until the balance of their karma is removed.

    Moksha:  The liberation (the word moksha  means "freedom") from samsara and true enlightenment. In many forms of Hinduism, it means the realization of one's union with the universal essence of Brahman and thus one's complete union with all things. It is similar to the Buddhist belief in nirvana.

    Enlightened Masters: Many Hindus accept various enlightened masters, avatars, or other wise persons who can serve as guides to faithful Hindus.  These individuals serve as examples and provide direction for those who want to achieve moksha or enlightenment from the suffering of samsara.

    No One True Religion: Hindus believe that there are many paths to God. There is not one true religion or one right way to find Brahman.

    (Sources for the above: See "Hinduism" in The Compact Guide to World Religions by Dean Halverston [1996], See also Nos and Nos Man's Religions [1980]).

    Reincarnation: Doing Life Over Until You "Get It Right"
    On December 7, 1977, Eldon McCorkhill (age 33) and Linda Cummings (age 28) were having drinks at a bar in Redlands, California. Their conversation eventually came to the subject of life after death. Cummings said she was firmly convinced that reincarnation was true. A spirited debate ensued, as McCorkhill was not a believer in cycles of birth, death, and rebirth. They argued all the way back to McCorkhill's apartment; once there, he took out a loaded gun and handed it to Cummings, saying, "If you believe in this, let's see what you'll come back as." Linda Cummings took the gun, pointed it at her head, and without hesitation, pulled the trigger. (See San Francisco Examiner, December 8, 1977).

    Truly, the most horrific doctrine of the Hindus is reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief among both Hindus and Buddhists that you will be "incarnated" (given a body) again ("re-") in order to progress and work out your karma (good and bad deeds) and ultimately escape the cycle of rebirths by attaining moksha or nirvana (a state of perfection which usually, but not always, involves the extinction of the self into "Oneness"). There are seven themes that are common in all variations of reincarnation:

    1. A goal of ultimate perfection for humanity.

    2. An evolution towards perfection that is achieved through reincarnation.

    3. Your karma will affect the type of reincarnation you have; a bad karma will mean a rebirth in a worse or lower state, while a good karma will mean rebirth to a better or higher state.

    4. Your self survives death in successive afterlives.

    5. You get multiple chances to make amends for the wrongs you've committed.

    6. You will always be reincarnated in a body susceptible to die until you reach moksha.

    7. There are multiple planets, universes, and dimensions upon which you can be reincarnated; it is not limited to Earth.  

    The True Church of Christ has always taught--along with the Apostle St. Paul---"(Just as)people are destined to die once, and after that to face judgment" (See Hebrews 9:27). The popularity of reincarnation and Eastern Mysticism is rampant in the Vatican II sect, with many "priests" and loony "nuns" practicing yoga, un-Catholic forms of meditation, and "centering prayer," all of which is opposed to authentic Catholic teaching and is linked to Hinduism.

    Here are but two reasons (apart from Church teaching) that reincarnation is both false, and the very idea of cycles of rebirth is not "giving people more chances," but actually quite evil:

    1. One lifetime is enough to decide your eternal fate. What difference does it make if a person lives 7,000 years in various incarnations or 70 years in one lifetime when compared to eternity? Are not both infinitesimal when compared to eternity? Everyone is given ample opportunity to get to Heaven, and no one goes there unless they choose it! Not all experiences admit of second chances. The Hindus are fond of comparing life to a test that a kind teacher lets you retake if you fail. I could just as easily analogize to someone committing suicide by shooting himself in the head. There is no "do over," and the result is permanent. Provided that the person was of sound mind, the choice was freely made.

    2. Reincarnation does nothing to explain evil and is unjust unlike Hell. Children can be baptized because they did nothing wrong in contracting Original Sin. It is simply the deprivation of sanctifying grace caused by the Fall of Adam. In a similar way, if a wealthy couple squanders millions of dollars, their children will be born into a poor state through no fault of their own but those children can work their way to wealth. Children who die without baptism are generally thought to enjoy some natural happiness (Limbo) because of no personal fault. Contrast this with reincarnation. In what sense does your self continue? If you have no memory of what you did in a past life (and you may not even exist as the same gender or on the same planet/dimension), in what sense do you survive death? If there is no bodily continuity, memory, or intellectual awareness, it seems like you're suffering for what someone else did, which is unjust.

    Reincarnation also offers no solution to the problem of evil. For example, if someone is born with no arms because they assaulted people in a prior life, and they assaulted people in a prior life because before that life they couldn't control their temper, whence did evil originate? It's an infinite regress of past lives with no explanation. How did suffering begin in the first place if each life of suffering was caused by past bad karma? Moreover, there would be no free will in the view of reincarnation. Eventually, everyone will come to some "moksha." So it doesn't matter if you're Hitler or St. Francis of Assisi, you both get to the same place regardless of what you do. On the other hand, Heaven and Hell are freely chosen with the wicked punished and the good rewarded.

    The Vatican II sect helps spread the wicked doctrine of reincarnation (and Hinduism in general). At Vatican II, Nostra Aetate para. # 2 states:

    "Thus in Hinduism, men contemplate the divine mystery and express it through an unspent fruitfulness of myths and through searching philosophical inquiry. They seek release from the anguish of our human condition through ascetical practices or deep meditation or a loving, trusting flight toward God."

    This is a false representation because it leads the Catholic to see Hindu mythology and philosophy as valid, as if they might effectively "search for" the "divine mystery," and as if Hindu asceticism and meditation bring about something similar to Christian asceticism. In what sense does worshiping the demon-"gods" of Hinduism comprise a "loving, trusting flight toward" the True God?

    Reincarnation was explicitly condemned in the schema of what was to be the Dogmatic Constitution De Deposito Fidel Pure Custodiendo, which was drawn up by the greatest anti-Modernist theologians during the preparatory phrase of  Vatican II. "Pope" John XXIII and the other Modernists saw to it that the schema was rejected prior to the start of the Council because of its paucity of "ecumenical" character.

    Proselytizing Hindus
    Hindus are very difficult to pin down because they accept one religion is as good as another. Therefore they vary in their beliefs. Try to show them the inherent unfairness of reincarnation, as stated in the two points above. If reincarnation is true, why bother to be moral? You keep coming back and can do whatever you want. If someone "reincarnates" as an animal, on what moral grounds will they be judged? Hindus do not limit reincarnation to people. If the Hindu you are trying to convert is Indian, it is so wrapped up in the culture, conversion is extremely challenging, to say the least. We are called by God to try, and that does not mean every attempt will be successful.  

    Hindus recognize a large number of books as sacred scripture (shastras). Most Hindus are familiar with only a few of these. The most popular is the Bhagavad Gita, which is a song recounting the interaction of prince Arjuna with the "god" Krishna; it expresses the hopes to which many Hindus aspire. The great diversity in beliefs and practices among Hindus reflects a number of factors, not just the sacred books, so arguing against the books will not help much. 

    Going against their polytheism is a good approach. When we speak of God, we are talking about the Supreme Being. God is ultimate and eternal. God is, as St. Anselm wrote, "that than which no greater can be conceived." There cannot be two Supreme Beings for the obvious reason that neither of them would be supreme. There cannot be several ultimate realities because none of them would be ultimate. The only way around this is to lower the bar for what it means to be a god, which is generally what polytheists do. The "gods" are often born or formed at various times and might be limited to particular places. The "gods" have power over certain things and sometimes even need things from people. Men form idols with their own hands and must guard them against theft and shield them from the elements because the "gods" cannot protect their own sacred images. How does this make sense and qualify the Hindu "deities" as truly "gods"? 

    Conclusion
    Hinduism is a false, polytheistic, pagan religion with ill-defined beliefs. It is largely based on cultural tradition. It appeals to Westerners who like the demonic idea of reincarnation, and that we are all "divine." People can (and do) change their minds. There have been many converts to Traditionalist Catholicism; I converted my own parents and one of my close friends from law school. You can be God's instrument to free someone from the demonic "gods" of Hinduism, and the Satanic doctrine of reincarnation--with the horrible implication that morality doesn't matter because you can "do life over and over again." We need to understand, and try to impart to others, the correct idea that this life is the one and only chance you have to gain eternal salvation, so you had better get it right.