12 December 2008

St. Louis Review Editorial Brings the Heat

That boom you heard this morning was the St. Louis Review hitting mailboxes today with a surprisingly powerful call to Catholics to live their Catholic identity:

May I see your Catholic I.D., please?

How sad that so many in our American society today dare to claim the title "Catholic" yet are charged so aptly by Bishop Robert Hermann and others as largely having lost the true Catholic identity. Indeed, authentically to be called Jesus’ disciple necessarily entails full commitment to a whole way of life; a way of being; a way of becoming. It requires full orientation and concentration; lukewarm is worse than cold.

Being a Roman Catholic should be the most challenging, demanding and rewarding thing about us. Is being know as "Catholics" making us any different from what we would otherwise be were we to choose some other religious affiliation, or even no faith designation whatsoever? If our Catholicity does not make us radically conspicuous in a world whose heart runs largely counter to that of Jesus, then we have taken a most beautiful name and made it an empty, hollow shell.

We have heard it so often from politicians, legislators, governmental officials, Supreme Court justices and others that it has become a cliche: "I shall not let my Catholic faith get in the way of or even influence the discharge of my responsibilities of office." (Translation: "I will say or do whatever I think gives me the best chance of being elected or appointed.")

"Get in the way!? Since when did acting in the justice and righteousness, the very mind and heart of Christ Himself, ever become an obstacle? If we do not allow our Catholicity to influence our decisions and judgment, then we are armed with naught but our own subjective "morality" and wayward hearts.

How can we be given God’s revealed truth, yet be willing to "check it at the door" when we enter our houses of legislature and courtrooms? How can we disarm ourselves of the priceless treasure which is the very mind of God Himself, the one who knows the right way; the best way; the only true way? As we thus abandon the Truth, how can we continue to call ourselves "Catholic"?

The wife of a state governor was recently interviewed in a Catholic publication. A lifelong Catholic, she admitted unabashedly that, when it comes to what to believe and which course to follow, she "picks and chooses" from among Catholic Church teachings. She nonchalantly concludes that she is probably a "cafeteria Catholic."

She has a lot of company in the cafeteria, and by neglecting the full nourishment offered by the Church they are selectively starving themselves to death in there. In addition, they are inflicting the malnutrition and famine upon the rest of us. By their decision to perpetrate intrinsic evils such as abortion, euthanasia, assisted suicide and embryonic stem cell research in full and conscious violation of Church teaching, they guarantee that our society is universally poisoned.

This has happened only because we, as Catholics, have allowed it. Thus, we as a society bear culpability. Were we, as Catholics, to stand firmly behind the authentic Catholic leadership which Christ Himself is giving us, we would never allow ourselves to stray from the true path. As Catholics, we have more than considerable numbers; we have the Good Shepherd Himself to lead us rightly.

What identity could we claim which outweighs true allegiance to Christ? What affiliations could possibly be more important to us than our Catholic faith? Nations and governments rise and fall. Economies and sociopolitical structures wax and wane. Throughout it all, Jesus Christ stands firm. What good would it do us to gain the whole world and lose our very selves in the process? As Bishop Hermann points out, this very night our lives could be required of us.

Truly, it is time for us to be reawakened to our Catholic identity. It is something to be celebrated and lived, not covered up or watered down. It is the gift of Jesus Christ Himself to us! Let us put it on as a cloak of honor and wear it with pride. Indeed, it will warm the whole world!


1 Kings 19:10

...Zelo zelatus sum pro Domino Deo exercituum: quia dereliquerunt pactum Domini filii Israhel: altaria tua destruxerunt, et prophetas tuos occiderunt gladio, et derelictus sum ego solus, et quaerunt animam meam ut auferant eam.

...With zeal have I been zealous for the Lord God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant: they have thrown down thy altars, they have slain thy prophets with the sword, and I alone am left, and they seek my life to take it away.


Anonymous said...


Bishop Hermann is right to be disturbed by how detached or lightly attached many/most Catholics are from the Catholic Faith and the Catholic Church.

But the bishops themselves created this situation. They instituted this new program of ecumenism at the Vatican II Council and have carried it out ever since.

Nothing will be accomplished by bishops and editorial writers condemning Catholics for having such a loose connection to their faith and the Church. This is the bishop's fault. They instituted the new ecumenism, not the laity.

At the heart of the new ecumenism is the teaching that AS LONG AS YOU ARE SINCERE IN YOUR BELIEFS AND COMMITMENTS, it does not matter what church you are in or what religion you practice, with regard to you as an individual getting God's graces, and with regard to you as an individual getting into Heaven.

That really is contained in the ecumenical theology now taught by the magisterium.

Yes, the magisterium still says that the Catholic Church is the One, True Church.

What is new since the Council is the teaching that non-Catholics can be saved as easily in any church or any religion as they could in the Catholic Church, as long as they are sincere and seek to obey God to the best of their ability.

Pope Pius XII and all preceding popes, bishops and saints were in unanimous agreement that even fully sincere and earnest non-Catholics were in a state in which they could not get all the graces that devout Catholics can get, and were in state that they could not be as sure of their salvation as devout Catholics can be.

This is directly and clearly stated in Pope Pius XII's encyclical "On Mystical Body of Christ."

If you doubt this, research it yourself. But read the documents carefully.

But all this is nothing to be ultimately distraught about.

For its first 1,600 or so years of existence, the Catholic Church did not practice or believe in anything like the Vatican II ecumenism. So the Church can once again return to normalcy.

The pre-Vatican II ecumenism was this: All persons in schismatic and heretical groups were constantly called to return to the One True Church, that is, the Roman Catholic Church.

Two years ago I wrote a letter to Archbishop Burke about this, asking him if he agreed that the Church's teaching on these points had indeed changed due to the advent of ecumenism. It was a respectful, polite letter. He never answered me.

One year ago I wrote a second letter to Archbishop Burke asking if he'd gotten my first letter, and if he could answer the first letter (I provided a copy). He never answered that letter either. I think certain things can be interpreted from his non-response.

Lord have mercy!

Tom the Malcontent (Libera Nos...)

P.S. If this is published, I hope a bishop, priest or apologist will read it, and research it for themselves. I think they will be surprised.

Anonymous said...

That was well written. Our priests owe it to all of us faithful to say as much from the pulpit.

Kevin O'Brien said...

God bless Bishop Hermann, who is leading the way on this in his weekly articles.

Anonymous said...


Bishop Robert Hermann of St. Louis and Archbishop Raymond Burke (formerly of St. Louis, now running the supreme court in the Vatican) are indeed bold, heroic bishops who are working to repair the damage done by the great experiment in liberalism carried out in the Catholic Church in the last 45 years.

The Oratory of St. Francis de Sales in St. Louis (at Gravois and Jefferson) is one blessed fruit of their efforts.

We all should directly compliment them, and pray for them. They are worthy of praise and blessings from God.

They face FIERCE, cunning opposition from certain liberal bishops in the U.S., Europe and some offices in the Vatican.

It is sad to say things are this way, but that is the way it is. Many solid, reputable persons have described this situation.

But the God of Heaven is always in control, and is always victorious, so, I think, we need not be overly anxious, and need not despair.

Evil doers only seem to triumph for a time, but their misdeeds all come to NOTHING in the end.

The God of Heaven always saves those He intends to save, those who want to be saved.

Tom the Malcontent ("Libera nos a malo")

Anonymous said...


Oops. In a comment above I made a little, or rather, big, math error.

Tom the Malcontent

Anonymous said...

I'm curious as to how Bishop Hermann's connection with the Catholic Charismatic Movement (for which he was the Director and a long time supporter)fits with your definition of following the Catholic faith. The Charismatics practice many "rituals" which would seem contrary to what you feel so strongly against. Their prayer meetings would seem to fly in the face of all that you are wanting the church to return to. I can not imagine the pre-Vatican II church espousing praying in tongues, being "slain in the Spirit", having the gift of prophecy or praising God in an unorthodox way. So would this then cause you to have a different opinion of him? Would his preaching of orthodoxy then become hollow since he supports these other "ways"?

Just curious

Anonymous said...

The Charismatic movement in the Roman Catholic Chruch is on its way out, "Just curious."

This movement is nothing more than a 70ies thing. Just another way for the evil one to try to get us away from the true worship of God which is the Holy Mass of the Chruch.

If you want to be a protestant then go.

Most people today want true Roman Catholic faith.
Thats why you see so many young people going to latin Masses. This is the future of the one true Church of Christ.

Anonymous said...

I never said that I was a charismatic, therefore your statement "if you want to be a protestant, then go" is kind of snitty. I was simply asking about Bishop Hermann's prior affiliations and has he dropped his support of the Charismatics.

~still curious