Corona/Wuhan Virus a Great Way to Illustrate the Difference between Having Faith and Putting God to the Test

Autloc: Tlotoxl was humiliated. He will not forget, nor will he forgive.

Barbara: I did as he commanded.

Autloc: But not as he expected.

Barbara: What did he want? A miracle?

Autloc: We all awaited it.

Barbara: Why should I use divine powers when human ability will suffice?

Autloc: Yetaxa has spoken.

Dr. Who The Aztecs 1964

There’s an old joke about a man in a flood zone who can’t swim but is not worried because he has faith that God will save him. A police man comes by in his truck to get him out of his house before the water comes but he refuses saying “God will save me.”

Then the water rises and he has to go to the 2nd floor of his house and some emergency workers come by in a small fishing boat to evacuate him but he refuses saying “God will save me.”

The the water rises so high that he is perched on his roof and a Helicopter comes by and lowers a man with a winch to get him to safety but he refuses again insisting: “God will save me”.

He drowns and finds himself before St. Peter and is very confused: “I don’t understand why I’m here? I thought that God would save me?”

St. Peter replies: “I don’t understand why you’re here either, why didn’t you use the truck, boat or helicopter we sent you?”

The moral of the joke is of course that there is a difference between faith in God and expecting him to perform a conjuring trick at your insistence.

This is one of the traps that is in play during the Corona / Wuhan virus. There are plenty of devout Christians. People who go to mass daily, receive the sacraments regularly, visit the blessed sacrament who might be tempted to ignore the public restrictions that have been imposed for the safety of the general public. In fact there will be a fair amount of mocking of faithful Christians who follow said restrictions by those who disbelieve or hate Christianity saying that this proves such people don’t actually believe in God prodding them to do just that.

But this form of temptation is one that is specifically illustrated in scripture as is the proper response to it

Then the devil took him to the holy city, and made him stand on the parapet of the temple, and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down. For it is written: ‘He will command his angels concerning you and ‘with their hands they will support you, lest you dash your foot against a stone.'”

Jesus answered him, “Again it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord, your God, to the test.'”

Matthew 4:6-8

The promise of Christianity is eternal life, but not eternal earthly life. Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain were all raised from the dead by Christ but all eventually died again. While Christ came to earth to serve he is not our manservant here to do our will, we are here to do God’s.

When we put God to the test we reverse our relationship with him, instead of the loving sons and daughters that he helps guide to the right path we become Veruca Salt who wants it now!

Don’t let yourself be tempted this way, particularly in this current crisis, because the drop it can help lead you to will prove a lot worse than what’s at the bottom of a garbage chute

Ash Wednesday and my Favorite Old Testament Passage

Today is Ash Wednesday the beginning of Lent and the reason why so many people got drunk etc yesterday because traditionally this began a period of fasting and sacrificing to bring us closer to God and while many have abandoned the fasting/prayerful reflection part they’ve kept with full force the last big debauch.

Ash Wednesday is not the most popular devotion out there, you are given ashes which is a reminder of our mortality “Remember man that thou art dust and to dust you shall return.” Although because some consider that reminder too harsh a “Repent and believe in the Gospel” is substituted in some parishes.

But what I’ve always loved about Ash Wednesday is the first reading from scripture at Mass. Every Year the first reading is always this passage from the prophet Joel

Even now, says the LORD,
return to me with your whole heart,
with fasting, and weeping, and mourning;
Rend your hearts, not your garments,
and return to the LORD, your God.
For gracious and merciful is he,
slow to anger, rich in kindness,
and relenting in punishment.
Perhaps he will again relent
and leave behind him a blessing,
Offerings and libations
for the LORD, your God.

Blow the trumpet in Zion!
proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the people,
notify the congregation;
Assemble the elders,
gather the children
and the infants at the breast;
Let the bridegroom quit his room
and the bride her chamber.
Between the porch and the altar
let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep,
And say, “Spare, O LORD, your people,
and make not your heritage a reproach,
with the nations ruling over them!
Why should they say among the peoples,
‘Where is their God?’”

Then the LORD was stirred to concern for his land
and took pity on his people.

Joel 2 12-18

Even now! Those are words of power and hope. Most importantly there are no qualifiers to those words

  • Even Now….unless you’ve had an abortion
  • Even now….unless you’ve cheated on your spouse
  • Even now…..unless you are a thief
  • Even now…..unless you are a drug dealier
  • Even now…..unless you are a murder
  • Even now…..unless you are a terrorist
  • Even now…..unless you are an atheist
  • Even now…..unless you promote sodomy
  • Even now…..unless you’ve sold your soul to the devil

In other words, it doesn’t matter what you’ve done in the past or where you are, if you are willing to turn your heart to God, his outstretched hand will be there.

And note the time given is the ever present NOW, the time that every man spends their entire life in. As long as you have breath in your body, even if that breath is your last God will accept your return in that ever present now.

Does that mean that the path that follows will be painless? Nope.

Does it mean that the path will be easy? Nope.

But it means that path is available at every present moment of your life and that the time to embrace the forgiveness of God is always NOW.

Fr Longnecker Nails Catholicism Perfectly

As a result of this, many (of) his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him.

Jesus then said to the Twelve, “Do you also want to leave?”

Simon Peter answered him, “Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.

John 6:66-69

This weekend after a prolonged nap I woke from my sleep to see this tweet from Fr. Dwight Longnecker, one of the few married priests in the Catholic Church that speaks to one of the most salient things concerning the Catholic Church

This nails one of the most critical things about the Catholic Church that there is.

Think about it for a second. If you think about the kind of church you want to join, the Catholic Church would not likely be high on your list.

You aren’t allowed to divorce your wife or husband if the inclination comes

You an’t allowed to have premarital sex, or even contraception

If you’re gay, forget marriage, if you want to be a priest for nun, forget marriage and sex.

In fact forget about porn, masturbation and a bunch of other things that you might like to get away with

and even worse if you do any of these things you have to go before a priest, confess that you’ve done these thing, “firmly resolve to not commit these sins in the future” (and mean it when you say it) and when (hopefully if but usually when) you falter on some of those sins as is the way of life, have the embarrassment of going back and confessing them AGAIN.

And if you don’t do these things you either have to refrain from communion or go up for a blessing and left everyone SEE that you’re in an unfit state to receive communion.

And consider how many attractive alternatives there are avaialble.

You have Christian churches who preach predestination meaning that it’s all God’s will so no matter what you do now it doesn’t matter (so you might as well do what you want).

You have Christian churches who proclaim “one saved always saved” which means that you can sin all you want without fear of hell.

You have Christian churches that redefine sin to the point where not only are the sins you are most tempted from no longer considered sin but are even considered virtuous.

And beyond that you not only have a culture that hates the church, but celebrates you when you leave it but you have scandals from sexual to financial that makes being a public Catholic a very hard thing.

And if you are devout despite this you have a Pope that has at best been a Lemon or at worst been a heretic to the point where some of the alternatives like the Society of St. Pius seem not only reasonable, but honorable. You even have alternatives that the Church recognizes as valid like the Orthodox whose sacraments are recognized but do not return said recognition

So why does one stay Catholic, or as in Fr. Longnecker case convert to the Catholic faith? Simply for the reason Fr. Longnecker said

“…because it’s the true church.”

My degree is in Computer Science, I’ve trained as an engineer, I’m a maths guy. Do you realize how easy it would be to go to a denomination that said my current sins that I battle were not sins and that the various temptations to other sins I have were no big deal if I thought that the Church was not true? Do you think I would put myself though those things if there was the slightest doubt in my mind that the church wasn’t true?

And that not even dealing with the various ethical dilemmas that have come up regularly from loving one’s enemies rather than taking easy revenge on them or taking ethical shortcuts that would have made me wealthy and my life comfortable

Those alternatives are all dangled before us, from the abolition of our since (as opposed to forgiveness) on one end to the affirmation of our virtue on the other with worldly celebration in between. Almost as if it was being said to us.

All these I shall give to you, if you will prostrate yourself and worship me

Matthew 4:9

That’s the real irony. We are in fact being given the same tempting offer that Christ was and by the same being too. Might I suggest the same answer:

At this, Jesus said to him, “Get away, Satan! It is written: ‘The Lord, your God, shall you worship and him alone shall you serve.'”

Matthew 4:10

Now I’m no Jesus. I’m going to fail a lot and so are all the rest of us but the Eucharist remains the Eucharist, the Sacraments are still the sacraments and the Church for all the scandals it has had over two thousands years and for all the lemons we’ve seen from it, past present and future, remains the One Holy Catholic Church in faith in reason and in truth.

That’s is why I have stayed and will stay. With the Church’s help I might obtain heaven despite my sins and maybe if I’m very lucky and very blessed be of some use to Christ in helping a few others, by the grace of God, along that same narrow path.

I’m old enough to remember when “Is the Pope Catholic?” was a Rhetorical Question

One of the advantages of actually reading scripture, having been brought up by devout Catholics and having a faithful priest is that if a Pope says something like this:

The first is all. In front of an unbeliever the last thing I have to do is try to convince him. Never. The last thing I have to do is speak. I have to live consistent with my faith. And it will be my testimony to awaken the curiosity of the other who says: “But why do you do this?” And yes, I can speak then. But listen: Never, never bring the gospel by proselytizing. If someone says they are a disciple of Jesus and comes to you with proselytism, they are not a disciple of Jesus. Proselytism is not done, the church does not grow by proselytism. Pope Benedict had said it, it grows by attraction, by testimony. Football teams proselytize, this can be done. Political parties, can be done there. But with faith there is no proselytism. And if someone says to me: “But why?” Read, read, read the Gospel, this is my faith. But without pressure.

emphasis mine

I can reference the opinion of a higher authority in the Church (again emphasis mine):

The eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had ordered them.  When they saw him, they worshiped, but they doubted.

Then Jesus approached and said to them, “All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me.

Go, therefore,  and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.”

Matt 28:16-20

Furthermore I recall a fellow named Paul who said this:

I am amazed that you are so quickly forsaking the one who called you by (the) grace (of Christ) for a different gospel (not that there is another). But there are some who are disturbing you and wish to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!  As we have said before, and now I say again, if anyone preaches to you a gospel other than the one that you received, let that one be accursed! Am I now currying favor with human beings or God? Or am I seeking to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ

St. Paul to the Galatians 1: 6-10 Emphasis mine

Now I don’t pretend to be anywhere near as well trained and educated in theology than the Holy Father nor more familiar with scripture as a whole but as a person with a Computer Science Degree I can certainly read and comprehend a plan set of instructions with the best of them.

So while the Holy Father’s words on living your faith and setting an example are well taken I think I’ll decline to share his advice to judge those who choose to spread the Gospel in the very way that the apostles were instructed by Christ.

Incidentally if you told me as little as ten years ago that I’d hear a Pope say something like this I wouldn’t have believed you, but I’m not worried.

Given the Catholic church survived the Romans, the Huns, the Rest of the Barbarians, the 1st Islamic Invasion, the Black Death, Napoleon, Hitler & the Cold War it’s certainly going to outlast Francis we’ve had 2000 years of Popes and lately we’ve had a good run of saintly ones so I guess we were overdue for a Lemon.

After all Lemon Pope is still the Pope until God decides he isn’t so I will endeavor to give all the respect that the chair of Peter set up by Christ himself deserves trusting that God knows what he’s doing even if I don’t.

And don’t forget pray for the Pope remembering that he is no more and no less deserving of and in need of the mercy of God than anyone else.

Update: Forgot to give a hat tip to Insty here, my bad.

Update 2: Lemon Pope? sounds like a song…

Lemon Pope very iffy

And his message ain’t so sweet

but the truth of the old Gospel

Is impossible to beat

I’m here all week, try the veal.

Remember Canonization doesn’t make a Saint, it just acknowledges one publicly

There is a very important point that is being missed both by the Vatican in their attempt to block the Canonization of Bishop Fulton Sheen and in the various commentaries on the tactics being used by the Catholic left in positions of power to kill it.

In the long run they don’t matter.

A saint is, by definition a person who is in heaven (the only exceptions to this rule that I’m aware of are certain canonized angels who would are not “human”) beatification or Canonization is merely the church publicly acknowledging this fact which already exists. For example during the entire time the Vatican was blocking the cause of St. Faustina and proscribing against the Divine Mercy devotion, she was in fact a saint, with all the ability to intercede for us in heaven that any other saint has.

I would wager real money that each of us have at the very least dozens of these “unknown saints” in our ancestry from children who died before the age of reason (including the aborted unborn) to devout relatives. Most of these folks will never be known to the Vatican, but are known of course to God.

The number of what I call “unknown saints” in heaven dwarfs the number of canonized saints and is in my opinion one of the greatest untapped resources for the faithful in need. In my own daily prayer routine the 20th the final decade of every 20 decade rosary (the 5th Glorious mystery ) is always prayed in honor of the “unknown saints” and I constantly request prayers from them for people with various needs.

If Cardinal Sheen is a saint in the presence of God no amount of political shenanigans either at the Vatican nor at any dioceses in the nation will end it.

It seems to me that this would be a perfect time to begin a devotion to the “Unknown Saints” and I submit and suggest a daily request that this great untapped source of spiritual grace pray for the hierarchy of the Church might be exactly what we need during these hours of crisis.

Under the Fedora Latin and English, Biden & History, NYT vs Alex Stephens, LGBTQ vs Legal Documents, Dick’s Vs Guns

My post on Canon Turner’s 1st Mass got a lot of attention considering it wasn’t instalanched and I wanted to make a point that might have been unclear.  I have been to the Latin mass before just not a high mass of the type that was on display.  Personally I think it would be healthy for both the vernacular and the Latin masses to both be offered in all parishes.  It would be a perfect illustration of Christ as fully human and our brother while also fully Divine as our God.  I think it’s healthy to remember both.


I don’t see why anyone is surprised that Joe Biden got the decade wrong that RFK & MLK were assassinated.  Given the historical ignorance of the young who tend to vote democrat these days and the attempts to re-write history such a mistake makes perfect sense.  Of course, maybe 1968 identifies as a year in the 70’s


Speaking of re-writing history the NYT 1619 project attempt to reframe a false history as true has actually been going on for a long time by the left.  It’s been a full generation since Mary Lefkowitz Not out of Africa and the backlash she got for refusing to teach myth as history the only difference is now their bold enough to admit it and no amount of facts such as the Vice President of the Confederacy’s attack on the founding fathers for opposing Slavery and considering it evil will stop it.  What happened with Lefkowitz was the broken window theory of this type of thing


On a similar subject that’s a pet peeve of mine on twitter this week the subject of Transgenders altering their birth certificates to change their birth sex/name is something I think is very wrong.  A birth certificate is a legal document recording an actual event.  Namely a person was born of a particular sex to a particular set of parents on a particular date at a particular place.  These are all facts and are not subject to the whims or vanity of others.  Now if you wanted to create a document that was a “certification of live birth”  where a city can certify that a person who has a different legal birth name and a different legal birth sex was in fact born at a particular place on a particular year that would be a fair compromise but we have no business changing the written record.


Finally there is word that Dicks Sporting goods which made a big deal about being woke on guns is considering discontinuing guns altogether.  It actually makes perfect sense when you consider the reaction by gun owners to the company’s previous move:

“I’m not furious, not at all. They made a business decision. I get it. They want to step out of their non-political lane and become corporate activists. I can calmly step out of my lane, too. And given every chance I get, I will not use their products,” he said.

If buyers of guns with long memories are still angry and not going to your stores and you have no interest in getting their business back it’s a logical business decision to stop carrying items that might appeal to that customer base, the remaining guns and hunting items in this case,  and move to a set of items that appeal to the customers you still have.

It’s the same principle that MSNBC and the NYT is using when moving away from reality why give facts when your remaining base will only pay for propaganda?

How dare God leave us when we asked him to

Today is the feast of the Transfiguration

http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/15019a.htm

and as such it is an excellent time to answer a question I’ve been hearing concerning the Dayton and El Paso shootings, particularly from the non-religious: “Were was God when this was going on?”

The short answer is: ” Where you expect him to be?”

For nearly sixty year our media, political, social, educational and cultural so called “betters” have done all they could to drive God out of the public square, out of the classroom, out of our political discourse, out of our social discourse, out of every single cultural aspect of society. And being a loving God rather than an oppressor instead of defying that demand respected the free will of these folk and did so allowing folks who didn’t want him there to do the best they could without him.

That best isn’t very good. Particularly when the ancient enemy has been ready to step into the gap left by his departure.

There is however good news.

There are plenty of people who weren’t all that anxious for God to go away and he has remained with such people willing to give aid and comfort to those who ask. That’s good, but even better is that just like in the Transfiguration where the glory of Christ was made plain to Peter James and John, God is willing to transform us and help us transform our society, if we want to do so.

But it’s our choice, God will not compel us, he will allow us to face the world as it is, human nature as it is if we so choose.

May we as a nation learn from our errors and choose wisely.

Interviews With Immigrants Lucy from Vietnam (and EWTN’s Daily Mass)

Lucy and me EWTN studios Irondale Alabama 9-6-18 (camera date was off)

The Latest in my series of Interviews with Immigrants is the incredible story of Lucy from Vietnam which I conducted during my trip to EWTN studios in Alabama at the beginning of the month.

If you are a person who regularly watches the Daily mass on EWTN you have seen Lucy in her white alb as she has not missed a mass in ten years.  If you’ve ever wondered who she is and wanted to know her story, here is your chance to hear it.

I had planned to get this interview up earlier but the Kavanaugh stuff ate up all the oxygen on the net

The full Interviews with Immigrants playlist:

Philippe: Haiti

Hanna:  Iraq

Alvin:  El Salvador

Maria:  the Dominican Republic (translated by Christian from Puerto Rico)

Lucine: Cape verde Islands

Donald:  Cameroon

Margaret Mary, England.

Lucy, Vietnam

And the updated map