Category Archives: Theology

Interview 030 – Robert Sungenis on the Book of the Apocalypse (Revelation)


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The Last Judgment -Hieronymus Bosch

The Last Judgment
-Hieronymus Bosch

SungenisToday we are joined again by Robert Sungenis (Interview 12) of Catholic Apologetics International to shift gears from where his recent work has been back to Biblical scholarship. Today we will be looking at an overview of the Book of the Apocalypse, the last book in the Bible, and explore its symbolism, its order and plan, who is Antichrist and what does 666 mean?

Resources:

Catholic Apologetics Study Bible II: The Apocalypse
Abridged Version
Antichrist by St. Robert Bellarmine

 

Interview 028 – Fr. Chad Ripperger, PhD on Metaphysics, Evolution, Divorce and Remarraige


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ripperger_pipePrepare for the Exhortation by getting the right principles to judge it! Fr. Ripperger rejoins us for a serious conversation on Metaphysics, its importance, the Thomistic tradition in metaphysics and how the modern philosophy and evolution are opposed to the principles of metaphysics and are the main cause for divorce and remarriage. You’ll want to listen to this one twice.

 

 

Resources for Fr. Ripperger
Interview 008 – Exorcism and issues in Theology
The Metaphysics of Evolution
Introduction to the Science of Mental Health
The Morality of the Exterior Act

If you liked this, then consider supporting my translation de_romano_pontifice_vol2_frontwork, especially if you want sound Theology from a great doctor of the Church. St. Robert Bellarmine’s complete treatise on the Papacy is in English for the first time! Click here for more details.

Notes:
Metaphysics
Evolution—For the inability of evolution to stand the test as a scientific argument, see Interview 011 with Hugh Owen of the Kolbe Center
Gender identity disorder
Girl believes she is cat trapped in human body
One false doctrine makes a religion false

Why no synod coverage?

From a reader:

“I am somewhat alarmed that you haven’t had any discussion or podcast on the Synod, or on Pope Francis in general. Why is your voice conspicuously absent?”

Even socially people ask me what I think about the synod. My answer: Nothing.

There is a reason for this. Firstly, why am I not covering the synod? Apart from the fact that I am too busy with work and my children, in general I am just not interested in what is little more than a media circus. In the first place, there are many groups with correspondents in Rome, or providing coverage from such people. There is precious little that I can add. You’ve seen Cardinal Burke and Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and they have given scathing commentary on the instrumentum laboris for this Synod. What can I add to it? I’m not there, I don’t have access to sources who know what is going on, and others are doing a good job.

More importantly, I am resisting the trend in the blogosphere and traddom of becoming an “authentic commentator.” In all reality, I am just a guy with opinions, and largely so are others, no matter how correct they may be. I know of people who are losing the faith over this, or less importantly but no less destructively, sleep, increasing stress, becoming angry. There is simply no reason for this. In a just sense, I do get angry over what manifest heretics like Cardinal Kasper are trying to do to the Church. But I do not let it disturb my faith. St. Paul tells us: “Irascimini, et nolite peccare: sol non occidat super iracundiam vestram.” (Be angry and do not sin: Let not the sun set on your anger.) The first part is a quote from Psalm 4, which we sing every night in Compline in the Benedictine breviary. St. Paul is acknowledging that we can be angry, but we need to be in control of it, or we should not be disturbed. St. Thomas observes that anger is a perfection that helps you overcome difficult things, but is disordered after the fall so that it lashes out in all directions, rather than being directed at difficult things.

The fact is, there is nothing I can do to change the Synod but pray. More importantly, however, there is nothing the Synod can do to change the faith.

Firstly, a Synod does not have doctrinal authority, unless the Pope should elevate its status to that of a local Council and promulgate it as part of the ordinary magisterium. Even if Pope Francis were to do this, there is nothing he can do to eviscerate the tradition on marriage, namely what the Church has always and everywhere believed. This is documented in the Fathers, the Medievals, the Schoolmen, the Manuals, and ecumenical Councils (preeminently Trent). The Pope is not able to change these teachings, or abridge them.

Secondly, the Pope cannot affect the moral effect of Catholic teaching, whatever comes out of the Synod in the way of praxis, or the practical effects of his change to Canon law.

Thirdly, as has been revealed in other places, the outcome has already been decided. There has long been a plan to force the Kasperite thesis through. So while others are melting down over the goings on at present, I am already planning the response to the inevitable change in “praxis” that is somehow divorced from “teaching”, which itself is a novelty and frankly impossible state of things. That is to adhere to the Tradition, and treating novelty the same way the Church fathers treated it: as if it were heresy to be avoided. I will adhere to the Fathers, the Schoolmen and the Manuals, and work on translations of what is not already in English, time allowing. The fact is, the ramming through of what is being prepared will probably cause a schism, if not more widespread confusion. The task at hand, is not to let the sun set on our anger, but to prepare and advocate the course of real reform. This is the Traditional Catholic response. In the 15th century, reforming theologians and canonists advocated reforms that would not be realized until the mid-16th century. This means they died and others picked up their torch, and also died, until after the Council of Trent when reforms began to be realized. Will it take 150 more years? Salva nos Domine! Nevertheless, we need to be planting seeds with prayer, not merely reacting. We need to lay down the challenge with truth, and continue to do so while Christ works in His Church.

We can see this in St. John Fisher, who was himself a reforming bishop, and did his utmost to be a true shepherd of his flock. When refuting a Lutheran, Velenus, he made the following remarks:

Perhaps some may say, “Nowhere else is the life of Christians more contrary to Christ than in Rome, and that, too, even among the prelates of the Church, whose conversation is diametrically opposed to the life of Christ. Christ lived poverty; they fly from poverty so far that their only study is to keep up riches. Christ shunned the glory of this world; they will do and suffer everything for glory. Christ afflicted himself by frequent fasts and continual prayers; they neither fast nor pray, but give themselves up to luxury and lust.
They are the greatest scandal to all who live sincere Christian lives, since their morals are so contrary to the doctrine of Christ, that through them the name of Christ is blasphemed throughout the world.” This is perhaps what an adversary might object. But all this merely confirms what I am proving. For since the Sees of other Apostles are everywhere occupied by infidels, and this one only, which belonged to Peter, yet remains under Christian rule, though for so many crimes and such unspeakable wickedness, it has deserved like the rest to be destroyed, what must we conclude but that Christ is most faithful to his promises since he keeps them in favour of his greatest enemies, however grievous and many may be their insults to him?
Convulsio calumniarum Ulrichi Minhoniensis quibus petrum numquam Romae
1522

Fisher was martyred by the tyrant Henry VIII, not knowing what reform would befall the Church. This is the path for the true reformer, to stay united to truth, passed on by Christ to His apostles, which they passed on to their successors, even to us. God’s providence cannot leave the Church without a remedy.

[The Quote was taken from “St. John Fisher: Humanist, Reformer, Martyr“, a reprint of EE Reynolds’ in depth historical treatment of the saint, now back in print from Mediatrix Press.

See also another helpful discussion in this vein from Boniface at Unam Sanctam.

What Christ Did When He Descended Into Hell

On Holy Saturday, after the Church has commemorated the death of Christ on the Cross, and sung the mournful Tenebrae of Saturday (which before Bugnini we would have done on Friday night) she meditates on the triumphal entry of Christ into hell, before his glorious Resurrection. The part of the Creed where we confess: “Descendit ad inferos” or Descended to the low places (i.e. hell) causes confusion for a lot of people. Why should Christ go into hell? Continue reading

The Perpetual Virginity of the Dei Para: Virginity during Birth

The Nativity with St. Lawrence and St. Francis -Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravagio

The Nativity with St. Lawrence and St. Francis
-Michaelangelo Merisi da Caravagio

Thesis II

Beata Deipara cum ante partum Virginem fuisset, tum remansisset Virginem inviolatam in partu.

The Blessed Mother of God not only was a virgin before birth, but also remained an inviolate virgin even during birth.

In the first Thesis of this doctrine, we showed, irrefutably from the sources of our religion that Mary was a Virgin before birth. This point is not contended by Protestants, nor any true Catholic, but only by modernists, and those not of the Catholic faith.

Now we take up the second part of this dogma, which holds that the Blessed Virgin Mary was a Virgin during birth, which likewise carries the Note of de fide. This means that in the act of giving birth, Mary remained a Virgin, that is to say the physical quality that imparts Virginity remained in tact. Continue reading

The Perpetual Virginity of the Deipara

The Annunciation -Fra Angelico

The Annunciation
-Fra Angelico

As we approach the Nativity of our Blessed Lord, Jesus Christ, it is good to take up the doctrinal realities and teachings on the Virgin Birth, as it is the second great jewel in the crown of the Deipara. (NB: Deipara is the classical Latin theological term which translates the Greek Θεοτόκος, and is used in theology as opposed to Dei genitrix, which is normally used in Liturgy). We will proceed by unfolding three Theses of this doctrine and their proofs, namely that Our Blessed Lady was a virgin a) before birth  b) during birth  c) after birth. While c was historically denied by many protestants, in modern times both a and b are denied, even by some claiming to be Catholic.

Thesis I
Maria purissima virgo ante gignentem Christum fuit. (De fide)
(Mary was a pure virgin before the birth of Christ)

This part of the doctrine holds that the Mary was a virgin from her beginning and through the moment when the archangel St. Gabriel was sent to announce to her the mystery of the incarnation. This should be logical, since in terms of effects if this were not the case, it would be very hard to prove that Jesus was the incarnate God as opposed to having his origin in some man. Therefore it is one of the first and obvious places to attack if one were going to disprove the Incarnation, validating the principle that authentic Mariology lays the foundation for authentic Christology.

Scriptural Proof Continue reading

The Immaculate Conception and the Orthodox Tradition

The Immaculate Conception -Peter Paul Rubens

The Immaculate Conception
-Peter Paul Rubens

The Immaculate Conception was formally declared as a dogma of the faith by Bl. Pope Pius IX in 1854 by a Solemn Definition with his document “Ineffabilis Deus“. Some people have gotten the idea that this came out of the blue, as it were, and elevated an old dispute into an article of faith, or created the liturgical celebration of it. This is actually not the case. Continue reading