Monday, August 8, 2022

Blessed Be Her Glorious Assumption

 

To My Readers: Thanks to Lee, I get a much needed break as he is the guest poster this week. It is a timely post that helps us better understand and appreciate Our Blessed Lady's Assumption into Heaven, which we celebrate next Monday, August 15th. It is my favorite Marian feast day. Please feel free to comment and ask questions as usual. Any questions/comments specifically for me will be answered as always, but it may take me a bit longer to respond this week. For those of you who are interested, and haven't heard my interview for Catholic Family Podcast regarding Father DePauw, it may be accessed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHKeaEcrEns

My screen was blank and voice distorted to protect my anonymity.  I highly recommend Mr. Kevin Davis's Catholic Family Podcast. He is an outstanding Traditionalist Catholic gentleman.  

God bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo


Blessed be Her Glorious Assumption
By Lee

1950 was a year of exultation in the Catholic Church because on November 1st, Pope Pius XII proclaimed and defined as a dogma the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Munificentissimus Deus (MD). Prior to this time, the Plenary Council of Baltimore (1885) had kept the Holy Mother's Assumption (August 15th) to be among the six feasts as holy days of obligation in the United States. It had great significance years before being proclaimed a dogma.

According to St. John of Damascus, at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, Roman Emperor Marcian requested the body of Mary, Mother of God. St. Juvenal, who was Bishop of Jerusalem replied “that Mary died in the presence of all the Apostles, but that her tomb, when opened upon the request of St. Thomas, was found empty; where from the Apostles concluded that the body was taken up to heaven,” the saint recorded. This is known as the Dormition of Mary which many have held in the Eastern Churches.

Whether she died ("fell asleep") and her body and soul was taken up into heaven by God, or whether she was spared death and carried off much like that of Enoch (Gen. 5:24) or the prophet Elias (2 Kings 2:1) is for Catholics open for belief because Pius XII declared "by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory." (MD #44; Emphasis mine) Regardless of what state she was in, all Catholics are bound to believe is that Mary was assumed into Heaven or as Pius XII said, "if anyone, which God forbid, should dare willfully to deny or to call into doubt that which we have defined, let him know that he has fallen away completely from the divine and Catholic Faith...  It is forbidden to any man to change this, our declaration, pronouncement, and definition or, by rash attempt, to oppose and counter it. If any man should presume to make such an attempt, let him know that he will incur the wrath of Almighty God and of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul." (MD #45,47)

A Meditation To Consider

The fourth glorious mystery (Assumption of Mary) of the rosary can be the most delightful, but sometimes hardest to think about, when in prayer. There is not much from the early Church written about it, so we are only left with the imagination and beautiful art passed down through the centuries. However, there is a book to help this problem called The Mystical City of God which has the most carefully detailed events recorded. This book is based on private revelation and so a Catholic is not bound to believe it, nor even agree with it, but the Church through its popes have highly recommended it to be read among the faithful. Here is an example of what a few of them said:

Pope Pius XI

On April 29, 1939 Pius XI granted an audience to the publisher of The Mystical City of God. He told him: “You have done a great work in honor of the Mother of God; she will never permit herself to be outdone in generosity, and will know how to reward a thousandfold. We grant the Apostolic Benediction to all readers and promoters of The Mystical City of God.”

Pope Leo XIII

In 1900 a devout Canadian lay woman undertook the project of printing in one book the instructions of Our Lady found at the end of the chapters in The Mystical City of God. She traveled to Rome, obtained an audience with Pope Leo XIII, and informed him of her project. The great Pontiff not only gave her the Apostolic Blessing, but to the amazement of many, he ordered her book to be printed on the presses of the Sacred Congregation of the Propaganda in Rome. The book is still extant and is titled Sublime Doctrine de la Mère de Dieu sur les vertus Chretiennes (extrait de la ‘Cite Mystique de Dieu’ par le Ven. Marie d’Agreda) (Rome: 1900).

A few months later it was observed by a Canadian diocesan journal: “The reserve which is ordinarily maintained on the subject of private revelations has no longer any real reason to exist in relation to The Mystical City of God, since His Holiness Leo XIII has been so good as gladly to encourage the project of spreading among the faithful the science of the saints which is contained in that heavenly Life of the Mother of God.”

Pope Pius IX

He stated “The Mystical City of God is a most excellent book, very appropriate for propagating the veneration of the Virgin Mary, and an antidote against the evil doctrines of our days.”

Pope Benedict XIII

The Mystical City of God, having been minutely scrutinized periodically for decades by Rome, was finally given entire and unequivocal approval by Benedict XIII, who signed the following decree of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, which was examining the cause for the beatification of Ven. Mary:
“It is ordered that the cause of the above-mentioned Servant of God shall be continued before the holy Congregation of Rites without further examination of The Mystical City of God, and these books can be retained and read. March 14, 1729.”
For more info, go to neemcog.com/OfficialPapalApproval.htm

In her book The Mystical City of God, Ven. Mary of Agreda gives this account of the Assumption of Mary:

The Glorious Transition of Mary

The great Lady came to the entrance of her oratory in order to receive the vicar of Christ our Savior. Kneeling at his feet She asked his blessing and said: "I give thanks and praise to the Almighty, that He has brought to me the holy Father for assisting me in the hour of my death." Then came saint Paul, to whom the Queen showed the same reverence with similar tokens of her pleasure at seeing him. The Apostles saluted Her as the Mother of God, as their Queen and as Mistress of all creation; but with a sorrow equal to their reverence, because they knew that they had come to witness her passing away. After these Apostles came the others and the disciples still living. Three days after, they were all assembled in the Cenacle. The heavenly Mother received them all with profound humility, reverence and love, asking each one to bless Her. All of them complied, and saluted Her with admirable reverence. By orders of the Lady given to Saint John, and with the assistance of Saint James the Less, they were all hospitably entertained and accommodated...

The apostle Saint Peter, as the Head of the Church, called them all together in order to tell them of the cause of their coming, and spoke to the assembly: My dearest children and brethren, the Lord has called and brought us to Jerusalem from remote regions not without a cause most urgent and sorrowful to us. The Most High wishes now to raise up to the throne of eternal glory his most blessed Mother, our Mistress, our consolation and protection. His divine decree is that we all be present at her most happy and glorious transition. When our Master and Redeemer ascended to the right hand of his Father, although He left us orphaned of his most delightful presence, we still retained his most blessed Mother. As our light now leaves us, what shall we do? What help or hope have we to encourage us on our pilgrimage? I find none except the hope that we all shall follow Her in due time.

Saint Peter could speak no farther, because uncontrollable tears and sighs interrupted him. Neither could the rest of the Apostles answer for a long time, during which, amid copious and tenderest tears, they gave vent to the groans of their inmost heart. After some time the Vicar of Christ recovered himself and added: My children, let us seek the presence of our Mother and Lady. Let us spend the time left of her life in her company and ask Her to bless us. They all betook themselves to the oratory of the great Queen and found Her kneeling upon a couch, on which She was wont to recline for a short rest. They saw Her full of beauty and celestial light, surrounded by the thousand angels of her guard.

The natural condition and appearance of her sacred and virginal body were the same as at her thirty-third year; for, as I have already stated, from that age onward it experienced no change. It was not affected by the passing years, showing no signs of age, no wrinkles in her face or body, nor giving signs of weakening or fading, as in other children of Adam, who gradually fall away and drop from the natural perfection of early man or womanhood. This unchangeableness was the privilege of the most blessed Mary alone, as well because it consorted with the stability of her purest soul, as because it was the natural consequence of her immunity from the sin of Adam, the effects of which in this regard touched neither her sacred body nor her purest soul. 

The Apostles and disciples, and some of the other faithful, occupied her chamber, all of them preserving the utmost order in her presence. Saint Peter and Saint John placed themselves at the head of the couch. The great Lady looked upon them all with her accustomed modesty and reverence and spoke to them as follows: "My dearest children, give permission to your servant to speak in your presence and to disclose my humble desires." Saint Peter answered that all listened with attention and would obey Her in all things; and he begged Her to seat Herself upon the couch, while speaking to them. It seemed to saint Peter that She was exhausted from kneeling so long and that She had taken that position in order to pray to the Lord, and that in speaking to them, it was proper She should be seated as their Queen...

After some time She spoke to them again, and asked them to pray with Her and for Her in silence, which they did. During this quietness the incarnate Word descended from heaven on a throne of ineffable glory, accompanied by all the saints and innumerable angels, and the house of the Cenacle was filled with glory. The most blessed Mary adored the Lord and kissed his feet. Prostrate before Him She made the last and most profound act of faith and humility in her mortal life. On this occasion the most pure Creature, the Queen of the heavens, shrank within Herself and lowered Herself to the earth more profoundly than all men together ever have or ever will humiliate themselves for all their sins. Her divine Son gave Her his blessing and in the presence of the courtiers of heaven spoke to Her these words: "My dearest Mother, whom I have chosen for my dwelling-place, the hour is come in which thou art to pass from the life of this death and of the world into the glory of my Father and mine, where thou shalt possess the throne prepared for thee at my right hand and enjoy it through all eternity. And since, by my power and as my Mother, I have caused thee to enter the world free and exempt from sin, therefore also death shall have no right or permission to touch thee at thy exit from this world. If thou wishest not to pass through it, come with Me now to partake of my glory, which thou hast merited."

The most prudent Mother prostrated Herself at the feet of her Son and with a joyous countenance answered: "My Son and my Lord, I beseech Thee let thy mother and thy servant enter into eternal life by the common portal of natural death, like the other children of Adam. Thou, who art my true God, hast suffered death without being obliged to do so; it is proper that, as I have followed Thee in life, so I follow Thee also in death." Christ the Savior approved of the decision and the sacrifice of his most blessed Mother, and consented to its fulfillment. Then all the angels began to sing in celestial harmony some of the verses of the Canticles of Solomon and other new ones. Although only saint John and some of the Apostles were enlightened as to the presence of Christ the Savior, yet the others felt in their interior its divine and powerful effects; but the music was heard as well by the Apostles and disciples, as by many others of the faithful there present. A divine fragrance also spread about, which penetrated even to the street. The house of the Cenacle was filled with a wonderful effulgence, visible to all, and the Lord ordained that multitudes of the people of Jerusalem gathered in the streets as witnesses to this new miracle.

When the angels began their music, the most blessed Mary reclined back upon her couch or bed. Her tunic was folded about her sacred body, her hands were joined and her eyes fixed upon her divine Son, and She was entirely inflamed with the fire of divine love. And as the angels intoned those verses of the second chapter of the Canticles: "Surge, propera, arnica mea," that is to say: "Arise, haste, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one, and come, the winter has passed," etc., She pronounced those words of her Son on the Cross: "Into thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit." Then She closed her virginal eyes and expired. The sickness which took away her life was love, without any other weakness or accidental intervention of whatever kind. She died at the moment when the divine power suspended the assistance, which until then had counteracted the sensible ardors of her burning love of God. As soon as this miraculous assistance was withdrawn, the fire of her love consumed the life-humors of her heart and thus caused the cessation of her earthly existence.

Then this most pure Soul passed from her virginal body to be placed in boundless glory, on the throne at the right hand of her divine Son. Immediately the music of the angels seemed to withdraw to the upper air; for that whole procession of angels and saints accompanied the King and Queen to the empyrean heavens. The sacred body of the most blessed Mary, which had been the temple and sanctuary of God in life, continued to shine with an effulgent light and breathed forth such a wonderful and unheard of fragrance, that all the bystanders were filled with interior and exterior sweetness. The thousand angels of her guard remained to watch over the inestimable treasure of her virginal body. The Apostles and disciples, amid the tears and the joy of the wonders they had seen, were absorbed in admiration for some time, and then sang many hymns and psalms in honor of the most blessed Mary now departed. This glorious Transition of the great Queen took place in the hour in which her divine Son had died, at three o clock on a Friday, the thirteenth day of August, she being seventy years of age, less the twenty-six days intervening between the thirteenth of August, on which She died, and the eighth of September, the day of her birth. 

The heavenly Mother had survived the death of Christ the Savior twenty-one years, four months and nineteen days; and his virginal birth, fifty-five years. This reckoning can be easily made in the following manner: when Christ our Savior was born, his virginal Mother was fifteen years, three months and seventeen days of age. The Lord lived thirty-three years and three months; so that at the time of his sacred Passion the most blessed Lady was forty eight years, six months and seventeen days old; adding to these another twenty-one years, four months and nineteen days, we ascertain her age as seventy years, less twenty-five or twenty-six days.*

Great wonders and prodigies happened at the precious death of the Queen; for the sun was eclipsed (as I said above in No. 706) and its light was hidden in sorrow for some hours. Many birds of different kinds gathered around the Cenacle, and by their sorrowful clamors and groans for a while caused the bystanders themselves to weep. All Jerusalem was in commotion, and many of the inhabitants collected in astonished crowds, confessing loudly the power of God and the greatness of his works. Others were astounded and as if beside themselves. The Apostles and disciples with others of the faithful broke forth in tears and sighs. Many sick persons came who all were cured. The souls in purgatory were released. But the greatest miracle was that three persons, a man in Jerusalem and two women living in the immediate neighborhood of the Cenacle, died in sin and impenitent in that same hour, subject to eternal damnation; but when their cause came before the tribunal of Christ, his sweetest Mother interceded for them and they were restored to life. They so mended their conduct, that afterwards they died in grace and were saved. This privilege was not extended to others that died on that day in the world, but was restricted to those three who happened to die in that hour in Jerusalem. What festivities were celebrated on that occasion in heaven I will describe in another chapter, lest heavenly things be mixed up with the sacred things of earth...

Her Burial
In order that the Apostles, the disciples, and many others of the faithful might not be too deeply oppressed by sorrow, and in order that some of them might not die of grief caused by the passing away of the most blessed Mary, it was necessary that the divine power, by an especial providence, furnish them with consolation and dilate their heart for new influences in their incomparable affliction. For the feeling, that their loss was irretrievable in the present life, could not be repressed; the privation of such a Treasure could never find a recompense; and as the most sweet, loving and amiable intercourse and conversation of their great Queen had ravished the heart of each one, the ceasing of her protection and company left them as it were without the breath of life. But the Lord, who well knew how to estimate the just cause of their sorrow, secretly upheld them by his encouragements and so they set about the fitting burial of the sacred body and whatever the occasion demanded.

Accordingly the holy Apostles, on whom this duty specially devolved, held a conference concerning the burial of the most sacred body of their Queen and Lady. They selected for that purpose a new sepulcher, which had been prepared mysteriously by the providence of her divine Son. As they remembered, that, according to the custom of the Jews at burial, the deified body of their Master had been anointed with precious ointments and spices and wrapped in the sacred burial cloths; they thought not of doing otherwise with the virginal body of his most holy Mother. Accordingly they called the two maidens, who had assisted the Queen during her life and who had been designated as the heiresses of her tunics, and instructed them to anoint the body of the Mother of God with highest reverence and modesty and wrap it in the winding-sheets before it should be placed in the casket. 

With great reverence and fear the two maidens entered the room, where the body of the blessed Lady lay upon its couch; but the refulgence issuing from it barred and blinded them in such a manner that they could neither see nor touch the body, nor even ascertain in what particular place it rested. In fear and reverence still greater than on their entrance, the maidens left the room; and in great excitement and wonder they told the Apostles what had happened. They, not without divine inspiration, came to the conclusion, that this sacred Ark of the covenant was not to be touched or handled in the common way...
So great was the care and solicitude for his most blessed Mother, that in this particular He used not so much precaution in regard to his own body, as that of the most pure Virgin. In her Immaculate Conception He made Her like to Himself; likewise at her birth, in as far as it did not take place in the common and natural manner of other men. He preserved Her also from impure temptations and thoughts. But, as He was man and the Redeemer of the world through his Passion and Death, He permitted with his own body, what He would not allow with Hers, as that of a woman, and therefore He kept her virginal body entirely concealed; in fact the most pure Lady during her life had Herself asked that no one should be permitted to look upon it in death which petition He fulfilled...

In order that this and many other miracles wrought by the power of God on this occasion might become better known to the world, the Lord himself inspired all the inhabitants of Jerusalem to be present at the burial of his most blessed Mother, so that there was scarcely any person in Jerusalem, even of the Jews or the gentiles, who were not attracted by the novelty of this spectacle. The Apostles took upon their shoulders the sacred body and the tabernacle of God and, as priests of the evangelical law, bore the Propitiatory of the divine oracles and blessings in orderly procession from the Cenacle in the city to the valley of Josaphat. This was the visible accompaniment of the dwellers of Jerusalem. But besides this there was another invisible multitude, that of the courtiers of heaven. It was composed of the thousand angels of the Queen, continuing their celestial songs, which were heard by the Apostles and disciples and many others, and which sweetly continued for three days.

When the procession came to the holy sepulcher in the valley of Josaphat, the same two Apostles, Saint Peter and Saint John, who had laid the celestial Treasure from the couch onto the bier, with joyful reverence placed it in the sepulcher and covered it with a linen cloth, the hands of the angels performing more of these last rites than the hands of the Apostles. They closed up the sepulcher with a large stone, according to custom at other burials. The celestial courtiers returned to heaven, while the thousand angels of the Queen continued their watch, guarding the sacred body and keeping up the music as at her burial. The concourse of the people lessened and the holy Apostles and disciples, dissolved in tender tears, returned to the Cenacle. During a whole year the exquisite fragrance exhaled by the body of the Queen was noticeable throughout the Cenacle, and in her oratory, for many years...

Having again gathered in the Cenacle, the Apostles came to the conclusion that some of them and of the disciples should watch at the sepulcher of their Queen as long as they should hear the celestial music, for all of them were wondering when the end of that miracle should be. Accordingly some of them attended to the affairs of the Church in catechizing and baptizing the new converts; and others immediately returned to the sepulcher, while all of them paid frequent visits to it during the next three days. Saint Peter and saint John, however, were more zealous in their attendance, coming only
a few times to the Cenacle and immediately returning to where was laid the treasure of their heart.

Her Assumption into Heaven
On the third day after the most pure soul of Mary had taken possession of this glory never to leave it, the Lord manifested to the saints his divine will, that She should return to the world, resuscitate her sacred body and unite Herself with it, so that She might in body and soul be again raised to the right hand of her divine Son without waiting for the general resurrection of the dead. The appropriateness of this favor, its accordance with the others received by the most blessed Queen and with her super eminent dignity, the saints could not but see; since even to mortals it is so credible, that even if the Church had not certified it, we would judge those impious and foolish, who would dare deny it. But the blessed saw it with greater clearness, together with the determined time and hour as manifested to them in God himself. When the time for this wonder had arrived, Christ our Savior himself descended from heaven bringing with Him at his right hand the soul of his most blessed Mother and accompanied by many legions of the Angels, the Patriarchs and ancient Prophets. They came to the sepulcher in the valley of Josaphat, and all being gathered in sight of the virginal temple, the Lord spoke the following words to the saints.

"My Mother was conceived without stain of sin, in order that from Her virginal substance I might stain lessly clothe Myself in the humanity in which I came to the world and redeemed it from sin. My flesh is her flesh; She co-operated with Me in the works of the Redemption; hence I must raise Her, just as I rose from the dead, and this shall be at the same time and hour. For I wish to make Her like Me in all things. All the ancient saints of the human race then gave thanks for this new favor in songs of praise and glory to the Lord. Those that especially distinguished themselves in their thanks giving were our first parents Adam and Eve, saint Anne, saint Joachim and saint Joseph, as being the more close partakers in this miracle of his Omnipotence. Then the purest soul of the Queen, at the command of the Lord, entered the virginal body, reanimated it and raised it up, giving it a new life of immortality and glory and communicating to it the four gifts of clearness, impassibility, agility and subtlety, corresponding to those of the soul and overflowing from it into the body.

Endowed with these gifts the most blessed Mary issued from the tomb in body and soul, without raising the stone cover and without disturbing the position of the tunic and the mantle that had enveloped her sacred body. Since it is impossible to describe her beauty and refulgent glory, I will not make the attempt. It is sufficient to say, that just as the heavenly Mother had given to her divine Son in her womb the form of man, pure, unstained and sinless, for the Redemption of the world, so in return the Lord, in this resurrection and new regeneration, gave to Her a glory and beauty similar to his own. In this mysterious and divine interchange each One did what was possible: most holy Mary engendered Christ, assimilating Him as much as possible to Herself, and Christ resuscitated Her, communicating to Her of his glory as far as She was capable as a creature.

Then from the sepulcher was started a most solemn procession, moving with celestial music through the regions of the air and toward the empyrean heaven. This happened in the hour immediately after midnight, in which also the Lord had risen from the grave ; and therefore not all of the Apostles were witness of this prodigy, but only some of them, who were present and watching at the sepulchre. The saints and angels entered heaven in the order in which they had started; and in the last place came Christ our Savior and at his right hand the Queen, clothed in the gold of variety (as David says Ps. 44, 10), and so beautiful that She was the admiration of the heavenly court. All of them turned toward Her to look upon Her and bless Her with new jubilee and songs of praise. Thus were heard those mysterious eulogies recorded by Solomon: Come, daughters of Sion, to see your Queen, who is praised by the morning stars and celebrated by the sons of the Most High. Who is She that comes from the desert, like a column of all the aromatic perfumes? Who is She, that rises like the aurora, more beautiful than the moon, elect as the sun, terrible as many serried armies? Who is She that comes up from the desert resting upon her Beloved and spreading forth abundant delights? (Cant. 3, 6-9; 8, 5). Who is She in whom the Deity itself finds so much pleasure and delight above all other creatures and whom He exalts above them all in the heavens! O novelty worthy of the infinite Wisdom! O prodigy of his Omnipotence, which so magnifies and exalts Her!

Amid this glory the most blessed Mary arrived body and soul at the throne of the most blessed Trinity. And the three divine Persons received Her on it with an embrace eternally indissoluble. The eternal Father said to Her: "Ascend higher, my Daughter and my Dove." The incarnate Word spoke; "My Mother, of whom I have received human being and full return of my work in thy perfect imitation, receive now from my hand the reward thou hast merited;" The Holy Ghost said: "My most beloved Spouse, enter into the eternal joy, which corresponds to the most faithful love; do Thou now enjoy thy love without solicitude; for past is the winter of suffering for Thou hast arrived at our eternal embraces." There the most blessed Mary was absorbed in the contemplation of the three divine Persons and as it were overwhelmed in the boundless ocean and abyss of the Divinity, while the saints were filled with wonder and new accidental delight.

Conclusion:
I personally believe in the account given by The Mystical City of God and agree with the popes who give their approval and blessing for the faithful who read it. The beautiful thing about the Catholic Church is that it has treasures, such as these writings, to increase in the faithful lively sentiments of faith, hope, and charity. From Eucharistic miracles, to the stigmata, to incorruptibles, relics, Marian apparitions (approved), wonders of the saints, exorcism stories, and so many other things, what other Church can contend with the Catholic Church as being the One True Church? Absolutely none.  


Friday, August 5, 2022

Hear My Talk About Fr. DePauw

 

To My Readers: Mr. Kevin Davis of Catholic Family Podcast interviewed me last week on the topic of my spiritual father, Fr. Gommar A. DePauw, JCD. Mr. Davis is a true Traditionalist Catholic gentleman. He allowed me to keep my screen black and my voice was mechanically distorted so I would continue to remain completely anonymous. The podcast may be listened to here: 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHKeaEcrEns

Please feel free to leave any/all comments below. Patronize Mr. Davis's "Catholic Family Podcast." It has great information for Traditionalists. I highly recommend his work.

God Bless you all, my dear readers---Introibo

Monday, August 1, 2022

Contending For The Faith---Part 6

 


In St. Jude 1:3, we read, "Dearly beloved, taking all care to write unto you concerning your common salvation, I was under a necessity to write unto you: to beseech you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints." [Emphasis mine]. Contending For The Faith is a series of posts dedicated to apologetics (i.e.,  the intellectual defense of the truth of the Traditional Catholic Faith) to be published the first Monday of each month.  This is the next installment.

Sadly, in this time of Great Apostasy, the faith is under attack like never before, and many Traditionalists don't know their faith well enough to defend it. Remember the words of our first pope, "But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect..." (1Peter 3:16). There are five (5) categories of attacks that will be dealt with in these posts. Attacks against:
  • The existence and attributes of God
  • The truth of the One True Church established by Christ for the salvation of all 
  • The truth of a particular dogma or doctrine of the Church
  • The truth of Catholic moral teaching
  • The truth of the sedevacantist position as the only Catholic solution to what has happened since Vatican II 
In addition, controversial topics touching on the Faith will sometimes be featured, so that the problem and possible solutions may be better understood. If anyone had suggestions for topics that would fall into any of these categories, you may post them in the comments. I cannot guarantee a post on each one, but each will be carefully considered.
The Attack on Religious Belief
Catholic countries are no more. We live in an increasingly secular world. Due to the Modernism of Vatican II (and the sect it spawned), "faith" is seen as more or less "fuzzy feelings" of God's love. (I was literally taught that by one teacher at the V2 sect high school I attended in the early 1980s). It will not be uncommon for you to meet someone who discovers your faith and will ask you such questions as "How can you believe in such nonsense you can't prove?" or "What evidence do you have for those silly beliefs?" When you have a sect that teaches all religions are more or less good and lead to Heaven, nothing is seen as true or false, good or bad. It's just "true for me" or "true for you." Relativism reigns supreme and apologetics and reasons for the faith were jettisoned, because it really doesn't matter anyway.

In this post, I hope to demonstrate that there is good evidence to know that God exists and no equally good reasons to think that atheism is true. As a result, the rational person has nothing to fear in embracing the God of the universe, Who came down from Heaven and died for us. He established One True Church to which all must belong in order to be saved.

 Attack #1: Faith is "pretending to know something" or "having no evidence."
In a YouTube video, Neil De Grasse Tyson makes the following statement:

I have no problems if as we prove the origins of things we bump up into the bearded man. If that shows up, we’re good to go. Okay. Not a problem. There’s just no evidence of it. And this is why religions are called faiths, collectively: Because you believe something in the absence of evidence. That’s what it is. That’s why it’s called faith. Otherwise we would call all religions evidence! But we don’t for exactly that reason. (See youtube.com/watch?v=I0nXG02tpDw).

The first thing I would do is ask Dr. Tyson, “What do you mean by faith and how did you come to that definition?” Those pushing this idea about faith frequently characterize it in one of the following ways:

• Belief without sufficient evidence 
• Belief in spite of contrary evidence
• Pretending to know what you don’t really know
• Just believing something without questioning it

I would ask Tyson to consider an alternate definition. According to St. Paul, "Faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not." (See Hebrews 11:1; Emphasis mine).From the Dogmatic Constitution on the Catholic Faith from the Vatican Council of 1870:

Canon 1. 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.

Therefore, faith in Traditional Catholicism does not require ignoring evidence, but rather it is normative for faith to be accompanied by evidence, that is, motives of credibility. The Vatican Council's Constitution states further:

But the Catholic Church professes that this faith, which is the beginning of human salvation, is a supernatural virtue by which we, with the aid and inspiration of the grace of God, believe that the things revealed by him are true, not because the intrinsic truth of the revealed things has been perceived by the natural light of reason, but because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived.

So God helps us and provides grace at the level of our wills to make our faith firm and lasting. We have the Five Proofs of Aquinas on the existence of God. We have the miracles and prophesies fulfilled in the Bible concerning Jesus Christ, especially His physical Resurrection from the dead. The Catholic Church is the One True Church He founded. Of course, the person attacking faith will deny all of this because he does not believe. However, that is not the point. Tyson and his ilk put up a defective definition of faith and knock down a strawman of their own making. 

Clearly, Tyson, as an atheist scientist, thinks that physical evidence is the only kind of evidence that counts. This is incorrect. At the beginning of the video clip, Tyson talks about evil in the world. How can empirical science prove something to be good or evil? Moreover, in a world without God, there can be no objective moral values. To have an objective moral value means, e.g., even if the Nazis won WWII and brainwashed everyone into believing that the systematic killing of people they considered "undesirable" was good--it would still be wrong independently of what anyone thinks. Yet, Tyson can only say that the systematic killing of people is wrong in his opinion. The Nazis hold a different opinion. The Traditionalist can point to the Ten Commandments, an expression of the attributes of God's external and eternal Nature, against which things are known to be right or wrong. 

Ironically, science cannot prove the existence of the external world, upon which its very endeavor depends. How does Tyson know he's not in a computer simulation like the movie The Matrix? Science presupposes and cannot prove the external world. Faith is having plenty of evidence. When you have a misconception about what faith is, only then do you think there is no evidence.

Attack #2: Faith as a "crutch" for the weak, and "wishful thinking" in the face of death.
The "professional wrestler" Jesse Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota in 1998. He served for one term (1999-2003). During an interview with the pornographic rag, Playboy magazine, Ventura had this to say about faith:

Organized religion is a sham and a crutch for weak-minded people who need strength in numbers. It tells people to go out and stick their noses in other people's business. I live by the golden rule: Treat others as you'd want them to treat you. The religious right wants to tell people how to live.
(See goodreads.com/quotes/116680-organized-religion-is-a-sham-and-a-crutch-for-weak-minded; Emphasis mine). 

Although aimed at "organized religion," people like Ventura will make similar claims such as stating, “Religious faith is a crutch for weak people that don’t know how to deal with the difficulties of life.” If God exists, then he is the crutch we need to lean on in troubled times. Also, Christianity holds that human beings are a fallen race and wounded badly by Original Sin. In such a condition, they need "spiritual medical attention," which makes the metaphor of a crutch appropriate not disparaging. I would ask Ventura, “Isn’t it appropriate for us to have a crutch if we’re part of an injured human race?”

What about the charge that faith is "wishful thinking" in the face of death? If God exists, then it’s true that He could conquer death by providing us with everlasting life. It seems fitting that He would make us aware of His intention to do so.

Theistic philosopher Alvin Plantinga (b. 1932), in his book Knowledge and Christian Belief (2015), distinguishes what he calls de jure objections to theistic belief from de facto objections. De jure objections purport to show that belief in God is in some way defective without necessarily aiming to show the belief is false. De facto objections target the truth of a belief and attempt to show that belief in God is false, and, conversely, that atheism is true. As you can see, unless someone targets the truth of belief in God or a specific Christian belief, the de jure objections do not hold up.

Therefore, labelling Traditionalists as people who have faith because "they are wishful thinkers, afraid of death, and who need a crutch" does nothing to show the object of faith is false or that having this faith is somehow deficient.


Attack #3: "The absence of evidence is evidence of absence."
There are two famous versions of this attack known as "Russell's Teapot," and "Hitchens's razor."

Russell's Teapot is so named after the infamous atheist Bertrand Russell. Russell claims that faith in God is just like faith in a floating teapot in outer space for which we have no evidence. This absence of evidence for God should be taken as evidence of his absence; i.e., He does not exist and faith is futile.

In his paper “Is There a God?”[pgs. 542-548 in The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell, vol. 11, ed. John G. Slater and Peter Kollner (1997)], he has this to say:

If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.

Russell’s point is twofold. First, just because an assertion cannot be disproved, that is no good reason to think it is true. Second, that comprehensive inculturation could lead to belief in an interplanetary teapot just as it leads to belief in God. As to his claim that "because an assertion cannot be disproved, that is no good reason to think it is true," there is evidence of God's existence--proof actually, as has been explained already. As far as inculturation is concerned, I once wrote that Russell and his like-minded individuals should be asked, "Do you believe that women should have equal rights with men?" Of course, he will respond "Yes." (If they start with the "What about trans-women" nonsense, change the question to "Do you believe in equal rights for LGTBQIA+ people?") Then say, "Well you only believe in that because you live in America. If you were living in Saudi Arabia, you'd be a Moslem and would be against equal rights for women and homosexuals, right?" They will protest that they believe in equal rights  not only because of where they live and how they were raised, but because they studied the issue and came to this conclusion. Then flip it on them: "Well that could also be equally true in matters of religion."

This anti-religious statement claiming that circumstances determine religion is based on what is called the genetic fallacy in logic. The fallacy says that a proposition is wrong (or correct) based on where the idea originated. A claim is ignored in favor of attacking or exalting its source. 2+2=4 is true and doesn't become false because Stalin said it. 2+2=5 is wrong, even if St. Francis of Assisi said it. 

Hitchens's Razor is named after one of the so-called "Four Horsemen of the New Atheism," the late Christopher Hitchens (d. 2011). His stated "razor" is a principle in which he claims "what can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence." Once more, there are proofs of God's existence, so his vaunted "razor" does not apply. Hitchens's Razor is basically another way of saying that "the absence of evidence is evidence of absence." This rule will only apply if two conditions are met:

1. The person has thoroughly searched for evidence in all the appropriate areas. 
2. Reasonable persons would expect to have more evidence than they actually do, in a given case.

If someone asked me, "Is there an elephant in your backyard?" I would first look to see if there were an elephant here in my NYC yard. If I don't see one, I look for the big footprints it would leave. I would check the news for reports of a missing elephant from the Bronx Zoo. I would ask my neighbors if they heard or saw any such creature. I would check with my local police precinct and fire department to see if any such sighting was reported. If nothing came back affirming an elephant, the absence of evidence would be evidence of absence. Both conditions were met: evidence was searched for in the appropriate areas and what more evidence could you reasonably expect? 

Now, suppose someone asked me, "Is there a flea in your backyard?" Looking in my yard, searching for footprints, asking my neighbors, checking the news, and asking the police/fire departments wouldn't prove anything. Here, the absence of evidence is NOT evidence of absence. It does not meet the two criteria. 

In the case of the existence of God, absence of evidence is evidence of absence if and only if:

1. The skeptic has fully canvassed the appropriate areas in philosophy and history. He has carefully inspected the arguments for God and shown why they fail. 

2. We would expect to have more evidence than we do if, in fact, God exists.

Don't expect them to be able to get past #1! 

Conclusion
The attack on religious belief has never been greater. We must always be prepared to give a defense for our faith. As the great St. Joan of Arc said, “One life is all we have and we live it as we believe in living it. But to sacrifice what you are and to live without belief, that is a fate more terrible than dying.”


Monday, July 25, 2022

The Naked Truth About Pornography

 

Our Lady of Fatima is claimed to have said, "More souls go to Hell for sins of the flesh (sins against the Sixth and Ninth Commandments) than for any other reason." While it's true that no one is bound to believe in private revelations, even those approved by the Church, I do believe in Our Lady of Fatima. I will not get bogged down with arguments over the alleged "true meanings" of messages, but I wholeheartedly believe this quote is true and accurately recorded. Given the state of the world today, it was prophetic.

Two considerations: 
1. Sins of impurity damn more people than murder (including abortion and euthanasia), theft, lying, calumny, superstition, false worship, drug and alcohol abuse, unjust anger, assault etc. That's astounding. If you think about it, there is good reason. People have natural sexual inclinations, and they can be difficult to control as God intended. Most other sins develop over time. I'm sure that not very many people, who have never used drugs or alcohol, will suddenly wake up one day and think, "Today might be a good day to start taking heroin." 

2. Our Lady spoke these words in 1917! With the advent of the Internet and readily available pornography, how many more (and more serious) sins of impurity are committed 105 years later? 

The purpose of this post is to expose one of the greatest evils of our day: pornography. Its devastating effects are physical and mental, as well as spiritual. If you or someone you know is addicted to porn, let this post serve as a warning to break the habit now. My sources are many and diverse. I take credit for none of what is written below except for its compilationWARNING! The contents of this post are of a delicate nature and may be found disturbing by some. Reader discretion is strongly advised.---Introibo 

Twenty Terrible Statistics

1. According to a recent report by the BBFC, 75% of parents believed their child had never encountered porn, but of those children, 53% reported that they had in fact seen porn.

2. According to research by the NSPCC, of the adolescents who had been exposed to porn, 28% were first exposed by accident, 19% were unexpectedly shown pornography by someone else, and only 19% searched for it intentionally.

3. Despite the fact that porn can be wildly unrealistic and often glorifies violence, sexism, or racism, one recent survey found that over half of boys (53%) and over a third of girls (39%) reported believing that pornography was a realistic depiction of sex.

4. A Swedish study of 18-year-old males found that frequent consumers of pornography were significantly more likely to have sold and bought sex than other boys of the same age.

5. A 2015 meta-analysis of 22 studies from seven countries found that internationally the consumption of pornography was significantly associated with increases in sexual aggression, both verbally and physically among males and females alike.

6. A UK survey found that 44% of males aged 11–16 who consumed pornography reported that online pornography gave them ideas about the type of sex they wanted to try.

7. Consistent with other research on the topic, one study showed that almost half (46.9%) of those surveyed said their porn tastes/preferences escalated to the point of them being interested in more extreme pornography that had previously disinterested or even disgusted them.

8. As of April 2021, according to an analysis of the most trafficked websites worldwide, 2 porn sites are in the top 10 most visited sites, with a third porn site coming in at 13th (Xvideos, Xnxx, and Pornhub at 7th, 9th, and 13th respectively).

9. According to data from the SEMrush Traffic Analytics tool, as of May 2021 porn sites received more website traffic in the U.S. than Twitter, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, and LinkedIn combined.

10. “Teen” is one of the most consistently popular porn themes, and research shows that this theme is (a) becoming increasingly popular, and (b) includes the portrayal of underage characters.

11. One review of 20 studies on the topic found that teen pornography consumption negatively impacts adolescents’ self-esteem and mental health.

12. In 2018, 45 million images of child sexual abuse material (sometimes referred to as “child porn”) were reported, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. In 2019, that number jumped to 69.1 million. 

13. According to a 2020 survey, approximately 45% of teens who consumed porn did so in part to learn about sex.

14. The Internet Watch Foundation recently reported that during 2020, approximately 44% of all child sexual abuse material reported to the IWF involved self-generated material. That’s a 16% increase from 2019, when only a third of reports involved self-generated imagery.

15. Of domestic minor trafficking victims who had been forced into porn production, the average age they began being filmed was 12.8 years old.

16. Porn is a global, estimated $97 billion industry, with about $12 billion of that coming from the U.S.

17. In 2019 alone, the equivalent of nearly 6,650 centuries of porn was consumed on one of the world’s largest porn sites.

18. 1 out of every 8 porn titles shown to first-time users on porn home pages describe acts of sexual violence.

19. According to Pornhub’s analytics, “Lesbian” was the most-searched-for porn term on the site in 2018. In 2019 and 2021, it was “Japanese.”

20. Survey results show that one in four 18 to 24-year-olds (24.5%) listed pornography as the most helpful source to learn how to have sex.

(See fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind). 

The Teaching of the Church
According to theologians McHugh and Callan:
"Impurity is a mortal sin because it is a disorder that affects a good of the highest importance (viz., the propagation of the race), and brings in its train public and private, moral and physical, evils of the most serious kind. Man has no more right to degrade his body by lust than he has to kill it by suicide, for God is the absolute Lord over the body and He severely forbids impurity of every kind. Those who do the works of the flesh, whether according to nature (e.g., fornicators and adulterers) or against nature (e.g., sodomites) or by unconsummated sin (e.g., the unclean, the impure), shall not obtain the Kingdom of God (Galatians 5:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9 sqq.), nor have any inheritance with Christ (Ephesians 5:5)."
(See Moral Theology, [1930], 2:509; Emphasis mine). 

Pornography is at an all-time high in consumption. The reason, which is fairly obvious, has been the advent of the Internet. No longer relegated to filthy magazines, which no decent person wants to get caught buying or reading, the Internet brings porn right to you with ease. I've read some estimates that say as much as 34% of all websites are pornographic. Many people try to turn this into a strictly religious issue, with some even claiming that porn has societal benefits (e.g., men will be less likely to commit rape, there will be less adultery, etc.). However, the Church, in Her wisdom has said (as per Her theologians) that impurity (of which porn is the most prominent example) "brings...moral and physical, evils of the most serious kind." It shall be shown below how porn:

1. Rewires the human brain for the worse.

2. Has a high correlation to violence against women (including rape)

3.  Has a high correlation involving child molestation 

The Brain on Porn
In recent years, one of the most interesting findings about the effects of pornography focuses on how pornographic images rewire the brain. Gaining an understanding of exactly how the brain can be rewired is important in order to have a full understanding of how viewing pornography can impact the behavior of those you love.

In an article about pornography and the male brain, Dr. William Struthers, author of Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brian, wrote:

“The on-demand availability of robust sexual stimuli presents a unique problem for developing and maintaining a healthy sexuality. The ease of access, variety of images, and the vigorous sensory constitution of this media go beyond the strength of mental imagery and fantasy. People can see whatever they want, whenever they want, however they want. In doing so they can generate, serve, and satisfy their sensual nature. Pornography creates a world today where the consumer (usually men) has the ability to bring up at their whim graphic (and sometimes interactive) depictions of nudity and sexual encounters. Women are perpetually available for their pleasure with minimal immediate consequences. People become disposable.”
(See Struthers, W.M. (2011). Pornography and the male brain. Christian Research Journal, 34 [5]).

Some of the most powerful studies of the brain and pornography come from investigating brain scans. In one experiment, the brains of men were scanned while they viewed porn. When neurologists looked at their brain imaging scans, men’s brains reacted to women as if they were objects, not people. This is important because it is the process of dehumanizing a person that makes violence against them much more acceptable. (See Haslam, N., & Loughnan, S. (2014). Dehumanization and infrahumanization. Annual Review of Psychology, 65, 399-423). 

Research comparing the brains of people who are addicted to pornography versus those who are not has found that addicts like pornography just as much as others, but they desire it much more. So, when brain scans of men who are addicted to pornography are compared to non-addicts, they both respond the same way in their “liking centers” but respond differently in the “desire centers” of their brains. When addicted men were shown pornography while their brains were being scanned, their dorsal anterior cingulate, ventral striatum and amygdala were activated – showing a strong desire for the material, more so than other, non-addicted men. In short, all men tested liked pornography, addicted men felt like they had to have it. In an interesting twist, the men who were addicted to pornography had first seen porn much earlier in their lives than did the healthy men. (See Wilson, G. (2014). Your brain on porn: Internet pornography and the emerging science of addiction cited in Wired for Intimacy). 

The more dopamine that is released in your body, the more you are drawn to a particular experience. The highest amount of dopamine is released when someone is sexually stimulated and experiences sexual release. We learn from neuroscience that dopamine works alongside opioids. Dopamine influences the desire for an experience; the opioid makes you like it. Internet porn provides unlimited sexual stimuli, stimulating dopamine to continuously release to a chemical level that is nearly impossible to match through natural human bodily experiences. Thus the brain becomes trained for a level of stimulation (to quickly and constantly available computer images) that can’t possibly be duplicated in real life.

In the process of using more and more pornography, the brain gets used to self-stimulation to porn and feeling a pleasurable release. What people don’t usually realize is that gradually, their brain starts to fight them. Professor Wilson (Your brain on porn: Internet pornography and the emerging science of addiction) found that when the brain keeps experiencing abnormally high levels of stimulation (such as with sexual release while watching porn), it moves into a protective mode of lowering the dopamine release, so that people will want less of the overly stimulating experience. So with less dopamine, the viewer becomes less satisfied with self-stimulating to the same old porn. The individual is then compelled to desperately seek stimulation that might elicit the same levels of a dopamine experienced previously. The brain changes, physically, and becomes desensitized to the images it saw before and needs more and more to reach the same levels of arousal. A porn addict is thus born. 

This addiction can break apart marriages, lead men not to be aroused by real life partners so as to preclude having children, and can lead to financial ruin. Moreover, since porn addiction goes hand in glove with Internet addiction, such people have less gray matter in several important areas of the brain, such as the frontal lobes, the striatum, and the insula. These areas help people with self-control, prioritizing, and feeling empathy; when gray matter lessens, so do these important functions.

There is even more bad news...

Violence Against Women
The leading researcher about the content of today’s pornography is Dr. Ana Bridges, a professor of psychology at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Bridges is an author of one of the most prominent studies of pornography ever undertaken. She and her research team purchased the most popular pornography videos in the mid 2000’s. They methodically watched each one, coding the behavior that occurred in every scene of every movie. They found critically important implications for our understanding of pornography. Each pornography movie had several scenes – perhaps a dozen or more. In 88% of the scenes – not just the movies, but the scenes in these movies – there was verbal or physical aggression, usually toward a woman. What is even more interesting is the result of this violence, as scripted by the pornography industry. When there is aggressive talk or behavior toward someone in porn, 95% of the time, the target expresses pleasure or has no response at all. This teaches viewers that people enjoy being hit. It also teaches viewers that if they are hit during a sexual encounter, they should like it, or at least not object. Think about how an 11-year-old boy, or girl, would interpret what they see. If a woman is hit, she likes it. Pornography teaches boys to hit girls, and shows girls that they should like it. That is why pornography is a recipe for sexual violence. (See Ana J. Bridges, Raymond M. Bergner, and Matthew Hesson-McInnis, “Romantic Partners’ Use of Pornography: Its Significance for Women,” Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 29 (2003): 1-14). 

The data suggest “a modest connection between exposure to pornography and subsequent behavioral aggression,” though when men consume violent pornography (i.e. depicting rape or torture), they are more likely to commit acts of sexual aggression. Dangerously, pornography strongly affects psychotic men, who are more likely to act out their impulses.

Consumption of nonviolent pornography also increases men’s self-acknowledged willingness to force compliance with their particular sexual desires on reluctant partners. And though there are conflicting data on the relative effects of violent versus non-violent pornography, there is little doubt that the consumption of pornography leads to a significant increase in “rape myth acceptance,” which involves a reduction of sympathy with rape victims and a trivialization of rape as a criminal offense, a diminished concern about child sexual abuse, short of the rape of children, and an increased preparedness to resort to rape.

One study at a rape crisis center interviewed 100 sexually abused women to determine if pornography played a role in any past incidences of sexual abuse. While 58 percent could not say, 28 percent stated that their abuser had in fact used pornography. Of this 28 percent (women who were aware that their abuser used pornography), 40 percent (or 11 percent of the total group) reported that pornography actually played a role in the abusive incident they experienced. In some cases the abuser had watched pornography before abusing the woman, in one case he used pornography while committing the abuse, and in yet some other cases he forced his victim to participate in the making of a pornographic film.

Sex Crimes Against Children
A study of sex offenders and non-offenders revealed significant differences in adolescent pornography use as well as current use. Significant proportions of different types of rapists and molesters had used hard-core pornography (depictions of non-consensual acts) during their adolescence: 33 percent of heterosexual child molesters, 39 percent of homosexual child molesters, and 33 percent of rapists. The current use of hard core pornography was even greater for these groups: 67 percent of heterosexual child molesters, 67 percent of homosexual child molesters, and 83 percent of rapists, contrasted with 29 percent of non-offending pornography viewers. About a third of the sex offenders reported using pornography as a deliberate stimulus to commit their sexual offenses.

Another study examined the beliefs of three groups: real life, “contact-only” child sex offenders, Internet-only child sex offenders, and mixed offenders (contact and Internet). While all groups were more likely to minimize the gravity of their offense, the Internet-only group was more likely than the contact-only group to think that children could make their own decisions on sexual involvement and to believe that some children wanted, even eagerly wanted, sexual activity with an adult.

[See W.L. Marshall, The Use of Sexually Explicit Stimuli by Rapists, Child Molesters, and Nonoffenders, The Journal of Sex Research 25 (1988): 267-288 (279); and Dennis Howitt and Kerry Sheldon, The Role of Cognitive Distortions in Paedophilic Offending: Internet and Contact Offenders Compared, Psychology, Crime & Law 13 (2007): 469-86 (478)]. 

Other Findings
The studies that support these facts may be found in Appendix 1 of The Porn Myth, by Matt Fradd, [2017], pgs. 191-212.

There is a correlation between the frequency of porn viewing and:
  •  depression, anxiety, stress and various social problems
  •  the motivation to pursue goals
  •  changed sexual preferences
  • poor overall health
  • hurting oneself
  • problems with intimacy
Porn and deviancy:
  • Porn use increases the risk of developing sexually deviant tendencies such as beastiality by 31%
  • The risk of committing a sexual offense increases 22% in those who use porn frequently
  • States that had higher sales of porn magazines had higher rates of rape
  • In one study, in 193 cases of rape, 24% of the rapists mentioned the use of pornography without any solicitation for such information

Porn and Marriage:
  • Porn heightens belief that marriage is "sexually confining," that promiscuity is normal, and that raising a family is unappealing
  • Women who discover a husband's porn use may experience depression, fatigue, and suicidal tendencies
  • Porn use correlates to higher incidence of adultery
  • Porn correlates with sadistic marital rape
How to Beat Porn
1. If you're not addicted, don't start. Just say NO (apologies to Nancy Reagan).

2. If you're addicted, seek counseling from a Traditionalist priest. See a doctor as there are sometimes medications that can help a person to overcome certain types of addictions. 

3.  It needs to be clear to children that their parents do not approve of immodesty or impurity in any form, that they oppose the pornographic exploitation of others, and that they are willing to correct deficiencies in this area. These attitudes need to be reflected in speech, dress and behavior at every level.

4. Pray frequently and stay close to the Sacraments. God will give you the necessary grace if you are sincere and persevere in your prayer life and in reception of the Sacraments.

Conclusion
There is no doubt that God's Laws are in place for our good both here (wellness) and hereafter (to get to Heaven). Don't be fooled into thinking that pornography is "harmless," "normal," or "prevents greater evils." Secular studies prove this is not the case. More importantly, porn is a mortal sin, making one worthy of Hell.

Say no to porn, and parents, please check what sites your children and teens visit. As Our Lord said, "And if thy eye scandalize thee[causes you to sin], pluck it out, and cast it from thee. It is better for thee having one eye to enter into life, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire." (St. Matthew 18: 9). 

Monday, July 18, 2022

A Fate Worse Than Death

 

In April of this year, 86-year-old Betty Sanguin died in her "Christian" sect's church. She did not have a heart attack or a stroke, nor was any ambulance called. She was killed in front of the congregation by her own request. The "Churchill Park United Church of Winnipeg" (Canada), held a  “Crossing Over Ceremony” for Sanguin who was diagnosed with ALS, better known in the U.S. as Lou Gehrig’s disease, a progressive, terminal disease for which there is no known cure. 

The church's leadership team had unanimously approved Sanguin’s request for the assisted suicide ceremony that was held in the sanctuary, as she had strong ties to the congregation.

The Rev. Dawn Rolke, minister of Churchill Park, told The Christian Post in a recent interview that it “seemed appropriate” to hold the ceremony in the sanctuary, as churches are often “host and home to all the raggedness of our lives and to some of our significant life rituals: baptism, marriage, ordination, funeral or memorial services.”

“For us, it was perfectly natural to hold this service for Betty in our sanctuary because death is a natural part of life and Betty had lived a good part of her adulthood in this faith community. Hers was a growing, changing spirituality; her faith was feisty, fierce and passionate, like Betty herself,” said Rolke.

“Some see medically-assisted death as a private matter and they sought to honor this individual’s request. Some felt it was right for Betty, in particular.”

Canada's healthcare system offers patients the option to have assisted suicide, what is known as MAiD or "medical aid in dying," in which a physician or nurse practitioner carries out the death by chemical injection.

At Churchill Park United Church of Winnipeg, the typical sanctuary seating was removed and replaced by comfortable chairs, tables, flowers and a recliner, which Sanguin sat in during the event as people came and went throughout the day to say their goodbyes. 

Friends and family visited Sanguin who was joined by her adult daughters and grandchildren, with Rolke leading the ceremony. 

(See christianpost.com/news/canadian-church-hosts-assisted-suicide-for-member-with-als.html). 

We've reached a point where murder is a "church ceremony." This post will focus on the subject of euthanasia; what it is, why it's wrong, and the teaching of the Church.

Euthanasia: Definition and Explanation

Many sources have been used in the compilation of this post; especially in regards to Church teaching, most notably, theologian O'Donnell, Morals in Medicine, [1956], and Dr. Niedermeyer with theologian  Buonanno, Compendium of Pastoral Medicine, [1961]. ---Introibo

The word euthanasia comes from the Greek eu and thanatos and means "good death." Euthanasia may be deemed active or passive. The active/passive distinction amounts to this: passive euthanasia (also called negative euthanasia) refers to the withholding or withdrawing of a life-sustaining treatment when certain justifiable conditions obtain (see below) and allow the patient to die. Active euthanasia (also called mercy killing or positive euthanasia) refers to the intentional and/or direct killing of an innocent human life either by that person (suicide) or by another (assisted suicide).

Euthanasia may also be either voluntary or involuntary. Voluntary euthanasia occurs whenever a competent, informed patient autonomously requests it (suicide). Involuntary euthanasia occurs whenever a person is incapable of forming a judgment or expressing a wish in the matter (e.g., a defective newborn or a comatose adult) or when the person expresses a wish to live but is nevertheless killed or allowed to die (murder). 

The following Catholic principles must be used for the withholding or stopping of medical treatment.

1. Ordinary means to preserve life must always be used. It seems best defined as those things associated with the basics of life (food, water, rest, clothing, etc.) and what modern medicine can provide. There is never a good reason to starve someone to death. Even in "brain death" or a PVS ("persistent vegetative state"), we cannot know if the person is capable of suffering--suffering we wouldn't want an animal to endure, let alone a human being. 

2. Most of the now commonly available techniques of modern surgery, medicines, and other medicinal practices/devices should be classified as ordinary means of preserving life. 

3. Extraordinary means of preserving life need not be used. Those would seem to include experimental surgery, untested or unproven medicines and the like which cannot be used without prolonged suffering, devastating financial consequences, and offer no substantial chance of recovery.

We must be very careful in what we consider "extraordinary means" of preserving life. In the medical profession, there is the ideal which demands fighting off pain and death until the last possible moment. There is much to be said for that attitude. Many of the great advances in modern medicine, as well as perfection in surgical skill and technique, have been due to what might have frequently been called a "useless prolongation of life/suffering." Modern surgery is only considered an ordinary means of preserving life because of its extensive use in those stages of its development when it was considered an extraordinary means. We must not be too ready to lower that medical ideal, and slow medical progress in the immediate interest of a present case. The future betterment of humanity is also served by attempting "extraordinary means."

Active and voluntary euthanasia is an act of suicide, as in the case of Betty Sanguin. Those who assisted her are guilty of murder. Those who approved and participated without causing the death may rightly be called accessories to murder. 

Suicide is a grave sin for three (3) reasons:

1. It is a most grave offense against the rights of God. The act usurps God's authority over life and death. "Thou, O Lord, hast the power of life and death." (Wisdom 16: 13). Human life has intrinsic worth because it comes from God, and God wills the salvation of all. The Second Person of the Blessed Trinity took on a human nature and died for humanity, to give all a chance to get to Heaven. 

2. It is a grave offense against society. A community has the right to be benefited by the lives of their members. It has a demoralizing effect on those who loved the person. People valuable to society would rashly kill themselves in a fit of depression thinking they are not valuable. Even members of society not able to contribute in any substantial, material way would deprive others of an example of fortitude, or the opportunity to show charity and mercy to the needy. 

3. It is a grave offense against the natural law. You cannot "love thy neighbor as thyself," unless there is love of self (not inordinate). Those who kill themselves to escape pain and miseries, incur the greater evils of death and moral cowardice, to be followed by eternal damnation--the greatest of all evils and suffering.  

(Material directly above condensed from theologians McHugh and Callan, Moral Theology, [1930], 2: 117-123). 

The Church arrives at this conclusion based on the supernatural creation of the human soul, and the supernatural destiny of each person. In the words of Niedermeyer/Buonanno:

Euthanasia is the extreme consequence of a series of postulates which represent an ideological unity and which are directed against the sacred character of life: birth prevention, abortion, sterilization, suppressive selection. The rational principle common to all these postulates is an absolutely temporal intention; a materialism not always well dissimulated; the idea of unlimited autonomy of man, with the elimination of a supernatural moral law and of responsibility before God as Creator, Legislator, and Supreme Judge. (See citation above, pg. 202). 

The Vatican II sect, and most Protestant sects, are imbued with Naturalism, the view that this life arises from purely natural properties and causes; the supernatural being denied. This is displayed in anthropocentric "liturgy" (i.e., the Novus Bogus "mass"), naturalistic, invalid "sacraments," and Bergoglio telling us "‘The most serious of the evils that afflict the world these days are youth unemployment and the loneliness of the old." Will it be any surprise if there's a Vatican II sect "suicide ceremony" in the near future? 

Most Common Arguments for Euthanasia

1. The Autonomy Argument. Since biological life is not the real, moral issue, then life is not intrinsically valuable or sacred simply because it is human life. The important thing is that one has biographical life and this involves a person's ability to state, formulate, and pursue autonomously chosen interests, desires, and so on. If a person autonomously chooses to end his life or have someone else assist him in ending his life, then such action is morally permissible. One should be free to do as one chooses as long as no harm is done to others.

2. The Equivalence Argument. There is no morally relevant distinction between active and passive euthanasia. Passive euthanasia is sometimes morally permissible. Thus, active euthanasia is sometimes morally permissible.

3. The Mercy Argument. It is cruel and inhumane to refuse the plea of a terminally ill person that his or her life be mercifully ended in order to avoid unnecessary suffering and pain.

4. The Best Interests Argument. If an action promotes the best interests of everyone concerned and violates no one's rights, then that action is morally acceptable. In some cases, active euthanasia promotes the best interests of everyone concerned and violates no one's rights. Therefore, in those cases, active euthanasia is morally acceptable. 

5. The Golden Rule Argument. Moral principles ought to be made universal. If I don't want someone to apply a rule to me, I shouldn't apply it to them. Similarly, if I want someone to apply a rule to me, I ought to be willing to apply it to others. Now suppose I were given a choice between two ways to die. First, I could die quietly and without pain, at the age of eighty, from a fatal injection. Or second, I could choose to die at eighty-plus-a-few-days of an affliction so painful that for those few days before death I would be reduced to howling like a dog, with my family standing helplessly by. The former death involves active euthanasia, and if I would choose it, I should be willing to permit others to choose it too. 

Responses to Most Common Euthanasia Arguments

A) Reply to the Autonomy Argument. First, it begs the question that there is no God and no Natural Law/Divine Law. The same could be said for all five arguments. However, all fail on separate and independent grounds as well. As to this argument, if we only need to protect people with "biographical lives," it would seem, then, that a person who no longer has such a life, who has no point of view, is no longer covered by the duty not to kill. However, if the person has lost the right not to be killed, it would seem that other rights would be lost as well, since the right to life is basic to other rights. In this case, it would be morally permissible to experiment on such a person or kill him brutally. Why? It is because we are no longer dealing with an object which has the relevant rights. 

B) Reply to the Equivalence Argument. Two distinctions can, and must, be made between passive and active euthanasia. First, the direct cause of death is different. In the latter it is the doctor or other human agent. In the former it is the disease itself. Second, the intent of the act is different. The Traditional Catholic view allows for withholding or withdrawing treatment in some cases where certain circumstances obtain, for instance, in cases where the patient is terminal, death is imminent, treatment is judged extraordinary, and death is not directly intended. Those are major differences proving that active and passive euthanasia are not moral equivalents.

C) Reply to the Mercy Argument. First, there are very few cases where modern medicine cannot alleviate suffering and pain. It is wrong ethical methodology to build an ethical doctrine on a few problem cases. The mercy argument violates this methodological principle by placing too much weight on an argument which only applies to a small number of situations. 

Second, though this can be abused, there can be a point to suffering. One can grow through it; one can teach others how a wise, virtuous person handles life's adversities including suffering and death. One can also show that one cares for his or her membership in community with others and that is not right to withdraw from one another in time of need. Further, one can affirm the fact that people have value and purpose beyond happiness, the absence of pain, or the ability to pursue autonomously chosen goals.

Third, life is a gift and we are not the sole, absolute owners of our lives. We are made in the image and likeness of God. He decides matters of life and death, not us. 

D) Reply to Both the Best Interests and Golden Rule Argument. Two responses have been offered which apply equally to the Golden Rule argument and the Best Interests argument. First, the arguments beg the question against a sanctity-of-life view in favor of a quality-of-life view. In other words, if life is sacred, or if persons have intrinsic value simply by being human and, thus, are ends in themselves, then active euthanasia inappropriately treats a person as a means to an end (a painless state of death). Not everything a person takes to be in his own best interests is morally acceptable. Similarly, not everything a person would wish to have done to him or her is morally good. Quality-of-life judgments are often subjective and can be morally bad.

Put differently, a person can dehumanize himself--- and actually does so--- in active euthanasia by intentionally killing himself (or if someone else intentionally kills the person). Hence, when one engages in active euthanasia, one abdicates one's privilege and responsibility to live out one's life in community with and for others. This signals a failure of the community to be present to the sick person in a caring way. It also signals a failure of the person himself to die in a morally appropriate way (e.g., to teach others how to suffer and die) and to undergo a manner of dying which does not hinder those left behind from remembering the person in a morally helpful way. 

Conclusion

The arguments for euthanasia can be answered on similar Naturalistic grounds. However, what is most important is spiritual. Recently, much ado was made when the detestable atheist owner of the drug-and-sleaze nightclub Studio 54, Mark Fleischman, underwent doctor-assisted suicide at age 82. His quality of life diminished over the last two years due to an undiagnosed "mystery illness." He went to Switzerland to the Dignitas suicide clinic to finish his life by his own hand, drinking a lethal dose of barbiturates. (Ironically, "dignitas" is Latin for "dignity"). 

According to his wife, "Mark used to not believe in God at all. He was a complete atheist," she said. "He started to believe in God during the last few weeks." When he took his life, Fleischman most likely sealed his fate forever. However, could God have been trying to get to him before he despaired and took his own life?

 As Niedermeyer/Buonanno teach:

In many cases surprising facts have become known by discovering before imminent death a richness of mental life---buried under the surface---that was hidden in completely demented persons. We also do not know what takes place in the dying. We merely perceive that the last moments are of decisive importance. These last moments can bring to many dying persons a great amount of grace and can still save an apparently lost soul.

When a man believes himself authorized to shorten, even by a few seconds, the life of his fellow creature, he deprives him of these decisive moments of grace---and in so doing, possibly still thinks that he is benefitting him.  (Ibid, pg. 203; Emphasis mine). 

The members of Betty Sanguin's false sect thought they were "benefitting" her. Unfortunately, those who usurp the authority of God, Who Alone can decide the length of a human lifespan, will most likely find themselves in eternal flames. A fate far worse than any "quality of life" issue they were seeking to avoid.