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Suppose that a very large group of people had been poisoned by a particular food which they had eaten and that the toxin – although quite deadly in all cases – may actually take years to extinguish the poisoned individual; further suppose that an antidote is readily available, and being offered at the local Catholic Church… The question is then proposed, “How many people would show up at the Church?” We suggest that the numbers may initially overwhelm the Church! However, as the understanding that the poison – in most cases – does not, immediately terminate/threaten human-life, the numbers arriving at the Church decrease dramatically… Additionally, suppose that a number of those that took the word of poison to be a myth had waited until they were too weak to make the trip and had died; their deaths became public knowledge…

Now suppose that the antidote for the poison ingested by these people was not a permanent antidote, but instead required a regimen of weekly, but indeterminate doses, over an indefinite period of time. The question then would be, “how many people would make it a regular practice to obtain their supplemental treatments?” We guess the number of people seeking regular treatment would be significant, pretty constant, and would result in making visiting Church weekly a priority of their busy week’s activities…?

Once upon a time, the Catholic Church, and later the Catholic Church – and Christian denominational Churches (those Churches that were formed by breaking from the “Bride of Christ” i.e., The One Holy Catholic Apostolic Church) – had a large and growing portion of the human-race understanding that the human condition was pretty much as described in the two preceding paragraphs; we cede that the allegory above is not a perfect fit, but only a reasonably metaphorical analogue of the condition of Fallen Man. Jesus Christ redeemed the human race, but saved not a single soul; the Church of yesteryear conveyed an understanding to those with eyes to see, and ears to hear, the tenuous condition of the redeemed regarding salvation… The modern Church seems to desire to confuse redemption with salvation; if they are the same thing, there wouldn’t be a need for a Church or for one to ‘deny one’s self daily, or to pick up and carry one’s cross…’ Nor would Matthew 25: 41-46 make any sense… After-all, there is a Hell – irrespective of Pope Francis’s sentimental claims – and Christ intimates some – perhaps many – will dwell there for eternity.

At this point, we stop ourselves from providing a thumbnail sketch (such sketches are our habit) regarding the historical separation of faith from reason (Theology and Philosophy), so as to explain – to those which may ask: “Why, has the Church seemed to have lost its confidence in its teaching?” Instead, we only point out that when the Church confidently proclaimed that the teachings of Jesus Christ – with all of its sharp and stinging edges – the Church was growing.

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John the Baptist drew crowds to him from the desert as he unabashedly proclaimed: “Repent, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand!” Note that John’s “bedside manner” was not that of a wall-flower, or the wan acquiescent shuffler, as is exemplified by so many soft-spoken clergymen today; somehow they’ve convinced themselves such effeminate comportment exemplifies the Son-of-Man (Carpenters are generally exemplars of masculinity…). John – like Jesus – must have possessed booming voices (else one wonders how the crowds could have heard them…?), and with stentorian voice John the Baptist, Jesus, the apostles and Saint Paul clearly articulated requirements of Kingdom of God and noted what would be in contradiction. Moreover, Christ’s herald – John-the-Baptizer, Jesus Christ, and his disciples were quite polarizing and often quite offensive, because their words tended to unambiguously cleave, leaving the listener a choice: agreement or damnation; and note ‘Christ spits out the lukewarm’… In the modern vernacular, Christ and his apostles would be viewed as blaspheming impolitic bigots…

Given that the 1st Century Jew was quite mercurial (much as modern Muslims) – as presumably were others (e.g., Romans, Samaritans etc.) – Crucifixion for Jesus and martyrdom for Christ’s followers should not surprise… What is surprising, is that the Church – absent persecution, and in the cradle of Christendom – has, since Vatican II, come to more-and-more be conformed to the World (the Church in the 3rd World still seems to be thriving); giving tacit approval to moral decadence – by the Church’s near silence regarding abortion and sodomy… And then the Church wonders why people are not showing the interest, or devotion – in the Church – which previous generations showed…

Aside: Saint Thomas Aquinas identifies “Love” as: ‘seeking the good of another,’ which begs the question: “What is their good?” And the answer: “Accord with God’s Will,” which is the unchangeable condition of all things, including the act-of-will known as love. Love requires the lover to choose to accord with God’s Will! And thus, “unconditional love” is inherently contradictory… God’s Will is the condition of all things – including love; any “love” contrary to God’s Will is inordinate and thus, cannot be love…

The dominant culture – the culture-of-death – echoes Nietzsche, in exchanging evil for good; the Church speaks incessantly of love – absent responsibility; the Church tacitly prioritizes emotional affirmation of sinners as more important than imparting truth, and moral guidance; thus the Church has gradually rendered itself irrelevant; it could become relevant by clear incessant delineated distinction between Redemption and Salvation… And rather than emotional appeals – bereft instruction regarding moral obligations – teach forgiveness-of-sin predicated upon acknowledgment of transgressions (See Luke 17: 2-3), repentance (See Matthew 4: 17) – and the necessity of rendering critical – albeit just – judgments (See John 7:24) of others and our obligations to ‘…Least of His brethren…’ (Matthew 25: 31-40), all of which attend, not to some sickening sweet modern conception of love, but love which aims to: “promotes reconciliation of the individual, the Church and the World to the Will of The Father!”

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author and are not not necessarily either shared or endorsed by iPatriot.com.

TJDonegan7

 

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