Jerry's Blog  1.3.400
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Fri July 19 2019  12:30pmReligious/Rant

A principal symptom of psychosis, especially of schizophrenia, is a profound disconnection from reality. The patient, for emotional or organic reasons, does not relate to his surroundings in a rational manner. He often constructs his own private reality quite different from the world in which more sane folks live.

We are in the midst of the modern Dark Ages, an epoch of human history marked by a mass departure from reality. An age in which certain psychoses become acceptable because believed in by so many, perhaps by the majority. But if everybody believes in an alternate reality, does that alternative therefore become true? I think not.

100 or even 50 years ago, it would have been very difficult to find someone who sincerely believed that abortion ought to be legal, much less sanctioned by society. Even before science confirmed it, the common humanity was beyond reasonable doubt. The human zygote-embryo-fetus is just that: human. To pretend otherwise is to depart from reality.

Certain organs of the human body are for procreation; that's a biological given, a certainty of nature. Sex is pleasurable, for sure. Sex can forge a strong bond between the two persons, an important bonus. But the primary reason for sex, its biological purpose, is for the propagation of the species. Heterosexuality and reproduction are essential rules of Nature. To pretend otherwise is to depart from reality.

These questions certainly have moral and religious dimensions. But even if one were to put aside all religious and moral considerations, they are simply rooted in reality. The humanity of the pre-born baby, the biological facts of heterosexuality and procreation, can only be denied at the expense of one's faculty of reason and connection with reality. When psychotic departure from reality becomes the accepted norm, that doesn't make it rational, merely schizophrenic on a massive scale.

Times and Seasons
Sun June 2 2019  7:24pmReligious/Rant

Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  (Acts 1:6b)

Immediately before the Ascension of our Lord, and in the midst of his promises of the imminent outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles ask Jesus this question. It seems irrelevant, and countless preachers and homilists have dismissed it as such, or as yet another example of the clueless disciples completely missing the point.

But there is nothing of a rebuke or dismissal in Jesus' answer, "It is not for you to know the times or seasons. . ." It sounds rather similar to other words of Jesus regarding the end times. To be sure, Jesus is warning us not to speculate overmuch as to the times and seasons of his return. But we are to expectantly wait. It will surely come, perhaps within our lifetime, though no one knows exactly When, or How.

I offer this thought in conjunction with the previous "Until" article: That, as the post-Pentecostal evangelism was to start at Jerusalem, and later extend to the whole world, so there is a definite sense here that it must someday return to a Judaic focus. The Lord does indeed intend to literally restore the kingdom to Israel. No one knows When, or How.

rev. Fri Jun 7  1:33pm
Tue October 2 2018  11:18amReligious/Rant

. . .and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled  (Lk.21:24b)
. . .that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.  (Rom.11:25b)

An essential element of the Catholic Faith is the conviction that the Church will abide, that the Lord Jesus will never abandon his bride (cf.Mt.28:20b).

This blog article is best read in conjunction with a study of the prophet Jeremiah and of the letter of Paul to the Romans, especially chapter 11.

Likewise the chosen people of the Old Covenant knew that the Almighty would never forsake Israel (Is.44:21). But that firm belief didn't prevent the prophet Jeremiah (±600 B.C.) from foretelling the fall of Jerusalem and the captivity in Babylon. Many prophets in Jeremiah's day were boldly predicting victory and blessings for Israel. They were wrong; Jeremiah was true.

Nor did Paul's lament that a blindness had come upon his fellow Jews mean that he had lost faith in their status as God's chosen race. That privileged status is irrevocable (Rom.11:29). God does not break his promises.

Suppose we view the crisis in the Church in a similar way: neither losing faith in God's unalterable promises, nor pretending that everything is OK. The man they call Pope Francis is a humanist at best. Bishops, priests, and theologians are neglecting to preach the Truth, many openly doubting the very existence of unchanging Truth. As with Jeremiah, as with St Paul's honest lament, we ought to acknowledge - and lament - that a great blindness has come upon the Church.

Let there be no doubt - Israel, especially her leaders, were unfaithful, the majority broke faith with the Almighty. But God does not break faith; his promises are sure, and the Jewish people are still his chosen race. As it turned out, the blindness that came upon the Jewish clergy 2000 years ago signaled a sort of changing of the guard, when God's focus gradually turned from the chosen Semitic people to the Gentiles. One door (apparently) closed that another greater one might open. But notice - what Jesus prophesied, what Paul recognized - they both said 'until...'. Which is to say, the changing of the guard they spoke of is temporary, and will one day end.

When, precisely, might this happen? When will 'the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled'? Might not the current blindness in the Church portend another great change? Could we be seeing the fulfillment of the great 'Until' of which both Jesus and Paul spoke? The age of the Gentiles may be drawing to its close before our eyes. If this is so, what greater door might be about to open? The same Jeremiah who foretold the defeat of Jerusalem at the hands of Babylon also saw farther ahead, that if they would repent of their faithlessness, God would deliver his people and bring them back again (Jer.29:10-14). At the coming of Jesus, when the Old Covenant was nearing its completion, there were a faithful few who recognized and welcomed their long-awaited Messiah (Lk.2:25, Lk.23:51). In those first years, many Jewish leaders remained blind, but many others repented and believed (Acts 2:41, 4:4). They saw a greater door opening, the fulfillment of their religion and of God's promises.

The Church is failing, that much is clear. Ought this realization fill us with trepidation? On the other hand, the Lord's promise to remain with his Church is rock solid. Ought we then be filled with hope as we anticipate the greater door that may soon open? My opinion: we ought to be filled with holy fear (Rom.11:20ff), and with a spirit of repentance, repentance for our personal sins and for the part we have played in the collective blindness and unfaithfulness. So as to be prepared, Until...

rev. Dec 3 2018  7:52pm
Empty Chair
Sat September 15 2018  4:38pmReligious/Rant

From previous 'Rant' posts it should be clear that this Roman Catholic no longer believes that the fellow they call Pope Francis can possibly be the vicar of Christ here on earth. (For this reason I may often refer to him as 'Señor Bergoglio', his proper name.) But how have we arrived at this point - where we have no Pope, or where the Pope is not Catholic?

One idea, popularly called Sedevacantism, theorizes that since Vatican II, the heresy of modernism has infected the Church and has rendered all recent conclaves invalid so that we haven't had a true Pope in 50 or 60 years. Thus the term 'sede vacant', which means the chair (of Peter) is vacant. Moreover, most sedevacantists assert that recent (within the past 50 years or so) episcopal consecrations, priestly ordinations, and the Novus Ordo Mass may all be materially invalid. That is to say, they've been materially changed (by accepting non-Catholics into the Council, changing essential liturgical words, etc.) and therefore lack validity. In sacramental theology this would be somewhat analogous to, for example, wanting to baptize without pouring water or without saying the correct words of baptism. There would be no Baptism, regardless of one's good intentions.

The sedevacantist solution to the crisis would be a general repudiation of Vatican II and a new valid conclave.

Another less extreme theory, called Sedeprivationism, maintains that recent popes have been validly elected and so are materially eligible to reign. But, by accepting the heresies of Vatican II, especially modernism, all the Novus Ordo Popes - Paul VI through Francis - have failed to accept the true authority of the Chair of Peter, and so are not true popes. The now infamous quote by Bergoglio "Who am I to judge?" was, in effect, his explicit denial of pastoral authority. If he doesn't think he has apostolic authority, he in fact doesn't have it. This would be somewhat analogous to baptizing with water, but without really intending to baptize. There would again be no Baptism.

According to Sedeprivationism, should Francis (or any particular Novus Ordo bishop or priest) formally and publicly repudiate the errors of Vatican II, and accept the mantle of authority to teach Catholic Truth, the formal obstacle would be removed and he would immediately be bestowed with apostolic authority and become a true pastor, no new conclave necessary.

The above simplified explanations are far from exhaustive. Fine distinctions, variations on the above themes, and other different ideas abound. There seems to be no clearly defined 'creed' to which all sedevacantists (or sedeprivationists, etc) adhere. Which is to say, there is almost as much variability and confusion in these camps as in mainstream Catholicism.

There does remain at least one other way of looking at this riddle, a way that doesn't rely upon a legalistic analysis of the sacramental system, nor does it involve placing all the blame upon the Vatican Council or upon a particular heresy. This explanation is not a variation of any of the popular ideas such as sedevacantism or sedeprivationism, but looks at things from a completely different angle. The main problem is that it is not at all well known. In fact, I know of only one old retired geezer who is putting this alternate theory forward, and he's not a bishop or theologian or even a priest, so how credible can his theory be? Nevertheless, since yours truly is that old geezer, I will try to put this possible explanation on the table for your review, probably in the next blog post.

rev. Dec 3 2018  7:55pm
Riddle me this
Tue August 28 2018  5:06pmReligious/Rant

I revel in riddles and logic puzzles, especially the kind that at first seem nonsensical or unsolvable. I might puzzle and noodle for several minutes, or hours, to no avail. Can't write an algebraic equation or a computer program to solve it; there seems no answer. I put it aside; have things to do, a life to live. But the noodling continues as a 'background' process within my frontal lobe, perhaps for weeks or months or even years, as I go about my daily business.

a riddle

Then suddenly - a flash of intuition, a spark of creative thinking, and the answer jumps out. I shout aloud, "I'VE GOT IT!" to no one in particular. (If there are people within earshot, they may suspect that I definitely don't have it, that I've lost it.) The thrill, the adrenaline rush of finding the answer makes all the puzzling worthwhile, and satisfying. I've got it. Now I understand.

I can only do this if it's a real puzzle with a rational answer, and not some stupid Zen riddle whose only answer is that it's vain to seek an answer. No, I have to know before I start noodling that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

Man the rational animal is also Man the religious animal. Intuitively, I know that the religious instinct - the desire to know the meaning of life, and what lies beyond - is part of our rational nature. The Ultimate Question must have a rational answer. And we can know when we've found it. The Zen-like notion that the quest itself, the seeking, is of sole importance, that you cannot find the answer - that notion is supremely irrational. Why seek something that cannot be found? No, I have to know, before beginning to ask religious questions, that there is an answer, and that I will know when I've found it.

The above explains why I am Catholic, and not Protestant nor pagan nor Buddhist nor atheist. Catholic theology simply makes more sense; it involves a rational system of thought that explains better than the others the meaning of life, of suffering and death, of what lies beyond, and what we must do to get there. I've raised a few eyebrows by stating that I am a Roman Catholic because I have a brain and am not afraid to use it.

Which brings me to the point of this article: a religious riddle that has me stumped, at least at present. Have written about it here in other Jerry's Blog posts, and in my old blogspot blog dating back several years. Indeed, my writing blog posts may be my way of noodlng over this perplexing riddle in the hope of drawing closer to an epiphany. Allow me to quote from my own blogspot article of some 3 years ago:

After many years as a nominal Catholic / practicing Evangelical, I gradually began to realize that Truth must be singular. The false dogma of Sola Scriptura is ever subject to individual interpretation and can therefore never lead to anything like verifiable Truth. Real authority, established by God, must trump personal and subjective interpretation of the Bible. Thus I returned to Catholicism and to the divinely established authority of the Church's Magisterium. It is no accident that 'Catholic' simply means 'Universal'...

The sad fact that many Catholic 'faithful' and clergy were believing and practicing soft heresies was troubling, but did not detract seriously from my faith in the aformentioned Church authority. Always needful is a clear distinction between Church teaching and the beliefs and practices of individual 'Catholics', including clergy. The solid teachings remain a sure anchor, and the Magisterium - i.e, the bishops collectively in union with the Pope - could be counted upon to faithfully safeguard and transmit those teachings. I took no small comfort in the fact that while other denominations were altering their doctrines to conform with worldly values and norms, the true Church would never follow suit.

Yet here we are in 2015, and I must declare honestly that what I thought could never happen is in fact happening, has been happening for some time. I first began having some misgivings over 5 years ago, and have seen practically nothing since then to relieve my doubts. To the point where, starting about two years ago, some kind of threshold seems to have been crossed. When the reigning pontiff says he cannot judge homosexual clergy, he is in fact publicly confessing that he is not their pastor. When a majority of bishops, led by the bishop of Rome, meet to discuss the possibility of changing Church teaching on marriage, something is seriously, seriously, seriously amiss.

The excuse, "Who am I to judge?" may tell us all we need to know. When Bergoglio and other bishops cannot or will not judge clearly and in accord with Catholic Truth, or, worse, when they presume to alter Catholic teaching, they demonstrate that they do not understand apostolic authority. That would seem to indicate that they do not in fact possess true apostolic authority. Everything else that comes from their mouths and documents might be understood in this light. That is, everything else these false shepherds say may be ignored by the serious Catholic. cf. Gal.1:7-9

Now - If we have no apostolic pastors, if there is no Magisterium, are we not thrust back into the Protestant dilemma of individual subjective interpretation? Or worse, into agnostic confusion as to whether or not Truth even exists? Which is to say, that there is no answer to the riddle, and it is vain to seek one? In such a case the whole riddle of life must be nonsense; there is no purpose, and my mind cannot know any religious truth with any degree of certitude. I find this non-answer supremely irrational. No, there must be an answer, and it must lie within my mind's ability to find, otherwise my mind itself has no ultimate purpose.

What I confess is that right now I am quite uncertain as to what the answer might turn out to be. The noodling continues in the background, no epiphany so far. But there are a couple possible ways to explain the present crisis in the Church and what it might mean. Perhaps writing about them will help.

rev. Dec 4 2018  12:26pm
Some Specifics
Wed May 9 2018  10:45amReligious/Rant

Having complained about "a massive, collective clerical desertion" in the Church, it would be reasonable to detail a few specifics. Let me start with some quotes from the papal press conference of 28 July 2013 following the WYD in Brazil:

A French correspondent at that meeting asked Pope Francis about concrete measures he would offer women in the Church. In part, his answer was, "...The role of women in the Church is not simply that of maternity, being mothers, but much greater... the role of women in the Church must not be limited to being mothers, workers, a limited role..."    WHAT?!?    Motherhood - that radical vocation of bringing new life into the world, and then nurturing, protecting, and teaching her children the Faith - this is now 'a limited role' ? To what 'greater' role can he possibly be alluding? No mention of consecrated virginity, and, anyway, he wouldn't be able to take credit for discovering that vocation.

He goes on to say, "...we have much more to do in making explicit this role and charism of women..." I suppose he must be thinking of some quasi-clerical role, which would necessarily be something other than full priesthood. Are feminists cheering this patronizing condescension? How about you Catholic mothers and you consecrated virgins, what do you think? I wonder what the great women saints, what the Blessed Virgin Mary would have to say about this prelate's promise to discover a new and more important place for them.

Who is he to judge?

In the same response, Francis went on to say, "...For me, the women of Paraguay are the most glorious women in Latin America. Are you paraguayo? After the war, there were eight women for every man, and these women made a rather difficult decision: the decision to bear children in order to save their country, their culture, their faith, and their language..." So - the role of Christian mothers is belittled as 'limited', while openly polygamous women are 'glorious' role models? Such confused misogyny is not only un-Catholic, it's un-civilized! (By the way, he doesn't specify exactly what faith and what culture the polygamous paraguayas were saving. It certainly wasn't Catholicism.)

In the same press conference, a Brazilian reporter asked why Pope Francis had not addressed (while in Brazil) the newly passed measures legalizing abortion and same-sex 'marriage'. Francis refused to comment, saying "it wasn't necessary to speak of it". Three times she asked for clarification, and three times he demurred. This is a clear example of a heresy of omission: deliberate silence where a clear and prophetic voice is sorely needed.

Finally, Pope Francis uttered his now-infamous "Who am I to judge?" when asked about alleged pro-gay activists within the Vatican. Which is to confess that he is not their pastor. I may have more to say later on this particular cop-out.

The above quotes are all from just one press conference, about 4 months into the Francis papacy. True, nothing was said ex cathedra. But the absence of retractions or clarifications since then is quite damning. Indeed, Francis has subsequently muddied the waters more and more with remarks implicitly or explicitly in support of a variety of heresies:

  • On contraception:
    From a 2015 press conference:

    I believe that the number of three per family, which you mentioned, is important, according to the experts, for maintaining the population. Three per couple...That is why the key phrase for responding is one which the Church constantly uses, as I do: it is "responsible parenthood". How does this work? With dialogue. Each person with his or her pastor has to try to exercise this responsible parenthood.

    The example I mentioned just now, about the woman who was expecting her eighth child and already had seven caesarean births: this is a form of irresponsibility. [Some might say:] "No, I trust in God". "But, look, God gives you the means, be responsible". Some people believe that - pardon my language - in order to be good Catholics, we should be like rabbits. No. Responsible parenthood.

    Here's a news flash: the Church does not constantly say "responsible parenthood". Margaret Sanger, maybe, not the Church. The true Church does say "trust in God". Natural Law and the principles of true Religion dictate that the married couple do what married couples do, and trust God for the results (Gen.1:28). None of us are masters of our own life or our own fertility. Periodic continence by mutual consent for legitimate religious or moral purposes, OK. But the very moment a couple decides to repress their own fertility - whether zero or three or any other magic number, whether in consultation with their pastor or other expert - the very second they do so they are in sinful rebellion against God's sovereignty over human life.

  • On universal salvation:
    From a August 2017 audience: "...where God will welcome all mankind so as to dwell with them definitively..." This is ostensibly a quote from Rev.21:3, but he's added the word 'all', and fails to mention Rev.21:8

    From a October 2017 audience: " that same future there will be Christ's return. No one knows when this will take place, but the thought that at the end of our history there will be Merciful Jesus suffices in order to have faith and not to curse life. Everything will be saved. Everything."

    From a homily (date unknown): "The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! 'Father, the atheists?' Even the atheists. Everyone!"

  • On evangelizing:
    In an ecumenical conference, a teenage Christian girl asked about witnessing to her unchurched friends, to which Francis replied, "It is not licit to convince them of your faith; proselytism is the strongest poison against the ecumenical path."

Nor is it just a problem of one non-Catholic pope. The college of cardinals must have known who they were electing in 2013, and by their subsequent silence and cooperation they must approve his soft heresy. Further evidence of this was the 2014 Synod of Bishops led by Francis in which they discussed the possibility of changing Church teaching on marriage. Or, even before the Francis papacy, the cardinal who publicly denied the sacrificial nature of Christ's death on the Cross! (with no reproach or discipline from Rome.)

I could go on and on. But, lest this turn into an even longer and more tedious blog post, let me be content with the above few specifics. I hope soon to return to more general opining. Like, How did this happen? and, What to do about it?

rev. Dec 4 2018  8:28pm
Crisis of Authority
Fri April 20 2018  10:40amReligious/Rant

The previous article noted the difference between God-given authority and contrived human authority, and noted that the natural God-given authority of a husband, a mother, a pastor must be honored, both by those subject to the authority and by the one wielding it.

The Family


The most basic form of God-given authority is that of the natural family. The authority therein moves in a sort of chain of command: originating in God, flowing through the husband to his wife, and from both to their children.

I want to stress that the family is the most basic of all human authority, the beginning of all human governance, the very foundation of civilization. Period. Full stop. End of paragraph.

Is such authority absolute? Of course not. Naturally, authority given by God is subject to God. The husband, for example, may not tell his wife to do something contrary to the moral Law of God. If he does, his authority in that case is invalid, and the wife may have to disobey her husband so as to remain obedient to the higher authority of God.

One more point: The chain of command is a matter of order, not of superiority or inferiority. God is, of course, the Supreme Being. But the husband is not a superior being to his wife, nor are Mom and Dad superior to their kids. To rule does not necessarily mean true superiority; to obey does not mean inferiority. (This becomes theologically important in the next section, with regard to God the Father and God the Son.)

The Church

God the

Chronologically later and of secondary importance is the ecclesiastic authority established by Christ. As above, there is a definite chain of command here. (Contrary to Martin Luther's Sola Scriptura doctrine, the Church built upon the foundation of apostolic authority is the true teacher and interpreter of Scripture, not vice-versa.)

As above, the human players in this chain of command are not autonomous, but are always subject to higher authority. Catholic pastors have an obligation to teach the Truth of Christ as handed down through the apostles. They may not change the teachings of the Church; that's not how apostolic authority works. Still less can they presume to second guess the older, more basic, more natural and more sacred authority of the family, nor redesign the structure thereof. And yet, that is precisely what many - perhaps most - bishops are wanting to do today: arrogate to themselves clerical power to grant ecclesiastic permission for easy annulments, divorce and re-marriage, contraception, even same-sex unions.

The Crisis

Beginning over 8 years ago, I began to acknowledge this crisis of Catholic authority: namely, the bishops' collective failure to remain true to Catholic teaching. Even wrote a few articles in my old Blogspot blog on that theme [1][2], culminating in an April 2015 article in which I puzzled over the apparent defection of Catholic hierarchy.

As mentioned above, a crisis of authority may arise in the family if the husband departs from his rightful God-given role. At what point does the father's failure amount to complete abdication and desertion of his duties? Is that what divorce means? Similarly, at what point does a pastor's apostasy amount to abdication and desertion? At what point does a massive, collective clerical desertion spell the end of Catholic unity? Have we reached that point?

Suffice it to say I am still puzzling over how we've arrived at this crisis, and what, if anything, to do about it. Perhaps these past couple blog posts have been my attempt to sort things out in my own mind by putting my thoughts into writing. Probably more blog articles to follow.

rev. Dec 4 2018  9:10pm
No, no, no! I said fresh coat, not frescoes!
- Pope Julius II, to Michelangelo

6/2/19Times and Seasons
9/15/18Empty Chair
8/28/18Riddle me this
5/9/18Some Specifics
4/20/18Crisis of Authority
3/1/18Self abnegation
©2017, 2019 Jerry DePyper - Jinotega, Nicaragua, C.A.
rev. 2019.10.23