January 2009

Spiritual Freeloaders

Regarding Nancy Pelosi and other so-called Catholic politicians who publicly thumb their noses at the Church's teaching against abortion (New Oxford Note, "A Lesson From the Past," Nov. 2008): If the cardinals and bishops of the Church wish to be looked upon as shepherds to be trusted, it's their absolute obligation to uphold the Church's teachings, laws, and doctrines, and to admonish any of the "faithful" who openly oppose those things that are necessary to truly belong to the Body of Christ.

For those in the clergy to do otherwise is to acutely diminish the credibility of the Catholic Church both inside and out, and to weaken the Church spiritually. It's hard to look upon clergy who won't lead truthfully as shepherds for guidance.

Nancy Pelosi and other pro-abortion so-called Catholic politicians are acting in the manner of phony spiritual freeloaders who want to sit at the Lord's table to break bread but who won't honor the Host's requests or requirements to be invited to the feast. Instead, they just invite themselves, which is highly shameful and wrong, not to mention embarrassing to the other guests, the faithful Catholics, who desire to adhere to what the Host requires.

Such an egregious wrong as supporting, advocating, and promoting abortion -- the murder of innocent unborn children -- through federal and state legislation qualifies one to be scratched off the guest list.

Paul Kuzio
South Plainfield, New Jersey




Ensoulment & Material Fusion

In response to Nancy Pelosi's claim that "I don't think anybody can tell you when life begins" (quoted in "A Lesson From the Past," Nov. 2008): The Church teaches that human life begins at conception but has not said when ensoulment occurs. As a prudent teacher, and not wanting to be in error concerning this unknown because souls are involved, the Church says, as a reasonable, practical matter, that en­soulment is coincident with fertilization. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in its 1987 instruction Donum Vitae, expressed it thus: "Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person? The Magisterium has not expressly committed itself to an affirmation of a philosophical nature, but it constantly reaffirms the moral condemnation of any kind of procured abortion. This teaching has not been changed and is unchangeable."

The Catechism states, "The Church teaches that every spiritual soul is created immediately by God -- it is not 'produced' by the parents…" (#366). The fusion of the sperm of a man and the egg of a woman is not what gives us a new immaterial soul -- it only starts the material process of producing a body. It is God who directly creates the soul.

It's strange to think that a material fusion always and everywhere immediately forces God to create a soul -- one would think that God, being God, can create whenever He wants. The Magisterium was wise in not affirming the philosophical notion that a material fusion is immediately equivalent to an immaterial soul.

Philip Lehpamer
Brooklyn, New York




A Dinner Date With Death

Judas betrayed our Lord by selling his soul for thirty pieces of silver. Edward Cardinal Egan of New York betrayed our Catholic faith by inviting the most extreme pro-abortion candidate ever to run for U.S. president to the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner in New York City on October 16, 2008. Barack Obama not only supports legalized abortion (including barbaric partial-birth abortion), he backed outright infanticide in his opposition to the Born Alive Infants Protection Act in the Illinois state legislature. Obama is likewise a co-sponsor of the Freedom of Choice Act. This legislation would remove all federal and state restrictions on abortion, including parental consent or notification. Obama even favors taxpayer funding of abortion in all fifty states.

It is an abomination that His Eminence should welcome Obama's presence at an allegedly Catholic function. What message does this send to the faithful? Is it any wonder that so many Catholics vote for pro-abortion politicians when their supposed leaders publicly sell out the faith for "bipartisan" respectability? The once great Al Smith Dinner has tragically become a celebration of the Culture of Death and its leading pro-abortion luminaries.

Vincent Ferro
Milton, New York




Catholic Schoolteachers for Obama

Stephen J. Sanborn Sr.'s letter "Not Just Higher Learning" (Nov. 2008) truly resonated with me and my husband on election night. As bad as the thought of a president who vigorously supports abortion is, our grandson's tale from his Catholic school was even worse. His fifth-grade class was discussing the election when his teacher, who is also a eucharistic minister, admitted to the class that she was going to vote for Barack Obama. Our grandson asked us to explain to him how she could teach religion since she was supporting a candidate who promotes abortion. My husband and I explained to him that no matter who his teacher votes for, he knows that abortion is evil and is opposed to God's will for mankind.

As it turned out, most of the school's staff, who also serve in various ministries in their respective parishes, were also quite vocal in their support for Obama. Somehow, the Church's teaching on the sanctity of all human life was selectively ignored by the very people who are responsible for imparting the Catholic faith to young people in school.

How terribly sad that a Catholic education, once so prized, is now merely the lesser of two evils.

Nancy A. Giglio
Hampton Bays, New York




A Chicken in Every Pot

In the week preceding the election, I opened my parish bulletin to find a "Note From Your Pastor" informing me I can "legitimately vote for a pro-choice candidate" whom I have determined, with a well-informed conscience, "will do the greatest moral good because of his or her position on other moral issues." This was based on reasoning from the U.S. Catholic bishops' website promoting their voter guide "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship" (www.faithfulcitizenship.org).

I live in the Diocese of Phoenix and recall a booklet, authored by our own Bishop Thomas Olmsted, titled "Catholics in the Public Square," that stated quite clearly that "when it comes to direct attacks on innocent human life, being right on all the other issues can never justify a wrong choice on this most serious matter." Bishop Olmsted quoted Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation Christifideles Laici: "Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination" (#38).

What is happening to our Church when our clergy can yank us this way and that on this most important of issues? The sanctity of life is primary. To give permission to vote for pro-abortion candidates because they offer a chicken in every pot is appalling.

Barbara Renshaw
Surprise, Arizona




Word & Deed

The Sunday before the election, our priest read a statement from our bishop, Ronald Gainer of Lexington, Kentucky, telling of the evils of voting for a pro-abortion candidate. In June 2004 Bishop Gainer spoke out against local pro-abortion politicians and asked them to refrain from receiving Holy Communion.

But in November of that same year, Bishop Gainer and the three other bishops of Kentucky decided, against the dictates of perennial Catholic teaching, to allow the abortifacient "morning-after pill" in Kentucky Catholic hospitals. In their "Guideline for Catholic Health Care Institutions Treating Victims of Sexual Assault," they claim that it is "morally permissible to offer emergency contraception within certain moral limits to prevent a conceptus from coming into existence." What hypocrisy!

I have e-mailed Bishop Gainer's office repeatedly seeking an explanation of his and his fellow bishops' 2004 decision -- to no avail. The only explanation I've been given is by a local Catholic radio call-in show: "Science says that it takes at least 24 hours for sperm to reach the egg, so that is what the bishops' decision is based on."

I know of one person (the Virgin Mary) who conceived without sperm, and I bet it was within 24 hours. Let science figure that one out!

D. Scott Hulette
Wilmore, Kentucky




Penalties for Legislative Crimes

The public statement the U.S. bishops issued in November 2008 about the proposed Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) explains its deadly consequences: FOCA would, among other evils, nullify all state laws which now somewhat limit abortions. The bishops' statement is well intentioned and expressed, but it is unlikely to have any deterrent effect on senators and congressmen because it does not suggest that any sanction will be applied to legislators who support FOCA. Teachings about the sanctity of life -- without sanctions -- avail little, as the recent election returns show.

Accordingly, it seems to me that the bishops need to put teeth into their position by declaring that any Catholic legislator voting in favor of FOCA will be excommunicated latae sententiae, pursuant to canons 1398 (prohibiting the procuring of abortions) and 1329 (applying the same penalty to accomplices as to the primary offender, if their support is necessary for the crime to be committed). If the bishops are unwilling to go that far, they could, at a minimum, state that they would invoke canon 1369, calling for a "just penalty" for one "who, at a public event or assembly…gravely harms public morals…." The ordinary of a legislator could then correct the person, under canon 1339, and order a public penance, under canon 1340.

I would be interested in hearing other proposals for cracking down on errant self-proclaimed "Catholics" in Congress.

Hurd Baruch
Tucson, Arizona




Priests, Not Politicians

No one can deny the serious deterioration of morality in our culture. Politicians are not responsible for morality -- Church leaders are. That's their job! All attention is on politicians, what laws they back and believe. But this election should be seen as God's way of making it known that the terrible sin of abortion cannot be solved by politicians.

Only when our Church leaders forcefully teach and preach that abortion is a mortal sin that can cause the loss of one's eternal salvation will abortions end. They cannot "pass the buck" to politicians.

Let us pray for all our Church leaders.

Andrew B. Williams
Roach, Missouri




Divorce & Culpability

Whoa, hold on there, cowboy!

Concluding that divorce is a mortal sin (The Editor Replies to Mark Feliz, Nov. 2008) is using a shotgun approach to a much more complicated situation. After twenty years of a stormy marriage to a psychologically unstable spouse, I sought counseling through Catholic Charities. I was advised to seek a declaration of nullity, but was told that a requirement for the tribunal to hear my case was that I must already have obtained a civil divorce. The grounds for the annulment petition were solid and clear, but I was told that a civil divorce was the legally necessary instrument for the division of property, as well as evidence of the irreconcilability of the parties involved.

I recognize that you mentioned that there are circumstances that "alter culpability," but your response left the impression that some measure of culpability is simply assumed. There are seriously committed Catholics who, for just reasons, seek annulments but are required to obtain a civil divorce before a tribunal will even hear their cases. Unfortunately, that's life in the real Catholic world.

Rick Bohler
Jacksonville, Florida




Calumnies Against the Charasmatic Movement

Dr. Heather M. Erb's article "The Charismatic Appetite" (Nov. 2008) attacking, calumniating, and slandering the charismatic renewal is typical of a lack of faithfulness to the Ordinary Magisterium and practice of the Church found among contemporary theologians, those too far to the left and too far to the right. The Catholic charismatic renewal has long been fully approved and encouraged by popes and various departments of the Holy See. It is officially represented in and by the Pontifical Council for the Laity (headquartered in Palazzo San Callisto, Vatican City) and by its president, Stanislaw Cardinal Rylko of Poland, who has an office there.

Many bishops and archbishops and cardinals have been, and are at present, active in the charismatic renewal. Bishops Joseph Grech of Sandhurst, Australia, and Sam Jacobs of Houma-Thibodaux, Louisiana, are among them, as are many highly respected theologians, such as Norbert Baumert, S.J., of Germany, Domenico Grasso, S.J., of Italy, and Francis A. Sullivan, S.J., of Boston College. Leo Jozef Cardinal Suenens of Brussels was a key figure in the charismatic renewal; Carlo Maria Cardinal Martini of Milan is a charismatic and has been a speaker at the National Charismatic Convention in Italy; and Ivan Cardinal Dias of Bombay is still active in the Roman charismatic prayer group that he helped found.

Robert Faricy, S.J.
Pontifical Gregorian University
Rome, Italy




HEATHER M. ERB REPLIES:

My article is clear about the Magisterium's acceptance over the past several decades of certain forms of charismatic prayer among practicing Catholics. It does raise questions about the danger of assimilating novel practices without sufficient theological analysis, lest we damage the Catholic treasury of truth. Rather than attempt to offer a substantive, reasoned account of his position, Fr. Faricy unfortunately begs the question. He does, however, provide a list of the movement's leading proponents within the Church, which indicates the speed and extent to which the charismatic movement has injected itself into the mainstream of the Church.

The future direction of the Catholic Church depends in large part on how we deal with both the secular and religious currents of the present age, and this is why acceptance of spiritual movements is best revisited over time and balanced by scrutiny. Even Cardinal Suenens and several popes have offered guidance and warnings, implying the dangers of false experientialism and incomplete theology that surround extreme forms of charismatic expression.

While Pope Paul VI encouraged charismatics to enter into the heart of the Church, Pope John Paul II located the sapiential quest within the Catholic university, born "from the heart of the Church." This contrast serves as a healthy reminder that the will is a rational appetite that flourishes and soars through its fertile exchange with the humble light of reason, and that the natural search for wisdom and the supernatural delight that is its crown are complementary within the unity of truth.

Despite scholarly contributions that describe and explain the charismatic movement's underlying spirituality, several questions persist four decades after the "explosion" of charismatic fervor at Duquesne University in 1967. For instance, there is the somewhat neglected topic of the relationship of the psychology of the unconscious and the charisms. Also, the trajectory of spiritual development from kataphatic, expressive, and emotive theology to apophatic and "negative" theology needs further exploration in view of many charismatics' tendency to associate the exercise of the extraordinary charisms with an advance in holiness, and to assume a supernatural source for all paranormal phenomena.

In our fractured and destabilized postmodern milieu, the search for an intense awareness of what surpasses ordinary life dominates the secular and religious arenas alike, taking the form of a diffused quest for a fulfilling "spirituality." There is a hunger that can seek satisfaction in a secular mosaic of discardable beliefs and practices, or in a transformative projection of apocalyptic hopes onto an immanent political figure of media-magnified messianic proportions. Is it a similar hunger that emerges in a quest for a smorgasbord of nonreflective spiritual "experiences" accompanying the main course of approved rituals and devotions?

Without denying the dynamic influence of the Holy Spirit, which has energized ecclesial life through the ages, we can and should assiduously inspect the natural roots of religious experience, given the fact that we cannot completely avoid (either by denial or nostalgia) the domain of secularity we all inhabit. As Louis Dupré reminds us, religious life in a secular society originates partly within the self, in the sense of a personal response to an inwardly felt call.

It does not follow, however, that we are caught between the horns of a false dichotomy of "self" or "Spirit." A divinely inspired vision of the whole of reality is, in part, what faith requires in our fragmented times. But this holistic sanctity has little resonance in a life emancipated from the mind's natural and restless quest for truth, or in one that is saturated with the desire for explicitly religious experiences.





Juvenile Exhibitionism

The charismatic movement, as outlined by Heather M. Erb (Nov. 2008), has an insatiable appetite for self-involved, self-focused, physical displays of pseudo-holiness, rather than introspective, God-focused, real spiritual development. Growth replaces the pursuit of a deep, meaningful relationship with Christ found only through partaking in the sacraments.

The charismatic movement poses a real danger to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church because it ignores the need for, and importance of, the hierarchy and Magisterium. Christ established the sacraments to be the vehicle by which we receive His grace. By encouraging a phony, non-sacramental "grace-filled" experience, charisma­tics discount the process established by Christ, as well as the importance of the priests He ordains to provide them.

Like other New Age innovations within the Church, this cultish phenomenon distracts from pursuing the truths of the faith, seriously conflicts with Scripture and Tradition, and places fleeting experiential feelings above filial submission to the Magisterium.

Clearly, just as these ersatz actors have taken an intellectually sophomoric approach to understanding the true faith, they have chosen a juvenile mode of expression to exhibit their ignorance. Gross displays of shaking, twisting, laughing, babbling, shrieking, rolling around on the floor, and other attention-seeking behaviors, are self-serving exhibitionistic techniques that reveal the true Protestant perspective of the Catholic charismatic: self-sanctification independent of, and outside of, the bounds set by Jesus Himself. How do these charlatans answer their own favorite question: "What would Jesus do?" Where is it in Scripture or Tradition that Jesus ever played the part of the fool?

These are serious times, and we need serious adult people to subdue them.

Shannon M. Jones
State College, Pennsylvania




A Third Economic System?

I have never read any book by Christopher Lasch, nor am I familiar with the "Radical Orthodoxy" of John Milbank and Graham Ward. But after reading Adam Parsons's article (Nov. 2008), the prospect of devoting much time to such a project appears more remote than before.

According to Parsons, the atomization of Western culture is due to the expansion of that old bugaboo, the "market." We are told that the current existential angst afflicting the West is due, inter alia, to having too many choices in the selection of antiperspirants (who knew?), and to our practice of buying inexpensive sweaters manufactured in China rather than knitting our own. We are enjoined to replace our system of global voluntary exchange with an ill-defined "econ­omy of gift."

There are but two economic systems available on a planet having six billion human beings -- capitalism (i.e., free markets) and socialism (a command system in which transactions are determined by a central authority). To this Parsons wishes to add a third -- his "economy of gift," which appears to be a primitive barter system wherein all transactions are accomplished locally by "giving" one's surplus production to others (assuming his handicraft culture produces any significant surpluses), with the expectation that others will "give" theirs, thus providing all with those few material goods that "self-sufficient living" is unable to supply. What effect this miraculous transformation would have on the health and welfare of the suddenly unemployed Chinese knitting-machine operator is left for speculation.

I make no moral claims for capitalism or for capitalists. Indeed, Adam Smith was very clear that capitalism works because it is not dependent on the morals of capitalists. But I do take issue with those who insist that capitalism is intrinsically immoral -- a notion implicit in Parsons's article. Let us be clear: The free market is the only economic system in human history that has proved capable of providing an adequate standard of living for enormous numbers of people -- witness the recent rapid growth of per-capita consumption in many Third World countries previously subject to constant shortage and periodic famine. If Parsons wishes to examine how his "economy of gift" fares in the real world, he ought to visit one of the many villages in Asia and Africa in which the dreaded "market" is yet to arrive and people actually do live by handicraft and local exchange. I'm not sure he would find the experience salutary, but it might prove instructive.

Warren B. Cole
St. Croix, Virgin Islands




ADAM PARSONS REPLIES:

First, a clarification: My discussion of the "economy of gift" is not intended to characterize Lasch's work; rather, it is one of those aspects of Radical Orthodoxy that, as I see it, has natural points of connection with his thought.

Cole assumes that, in my discussion of the economy of gift, I am attempting to propose something that is an economic system, in the same way that capitalism and socialism are systems. I am not, however, offering yet another utilitarian utopia, engineered to maximize pleasure, whether measured by material well-being or some other such standard. Rather, when I discuss economy, it is in the broad sense of the word, the sense that allows us to talk about the "political economy" or "the economy of salvation." For the Radical Orthodoxy theologians, the capitalist financial economy is merely a particular aspect of a larger capitalist economy that encompasses all ordered interactions between persons.

I nowhere suggest that all transactions should cease, or that every transaction is morally troublesome; in fact, I explicitly claim quite the opposite, that "buying a sweater for a child is not meaningless," that homeschooling, for example, need not be seen as a universal mandate. Rather, I suggest that economics must, for Christians, be determined by the ordered interaction that is the most meaningful, the most universal, and the most real: the Eucharist. The transaction, as action, must continue to exist; however, the Eucharist, the supreme gift, is the action par excellence, and it, rather than the transaction, is the normative economic action.

Cole makes one final, implicit claim that I simply cannot fathom: that the validity of an economic system is to be measured by growth in "per-capita consumption." As far as I am aware, the validity of a Christian theological system as applied to daily life has, if anything, traditionally been measured by a decrease in consumption.





Covenant or Contract?

While I appreciate the many fine orthodox assertions F. Douglas Kneibert makes in his article "Are We All 'Children of God'?" (Nov. 2008) -- in particular those that magnify the importance of the Sacrament of Baptism -- one passage gave me more than a little concern.

Being a fairly recent convert myself from the less-than-Elysian theological fields of Presbyterian Calvinism, I was dismayed to find Kneibert using what appears to be the standard Presbyterian rhetoric in describing a covenant. To describe a covenant as operating in any fashion "like a legal contract" plays right into the hands of the heretics. There is a significant difference between a covenant and a contract.

A covenant is a relationship between two people. In sacred Scripture, God defines His covenant with His people as analogous to marriage: "Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou be­camest mine" (Ezek. 16:8). This very intimate language speaks of a deeply personal relationship between two people.

In the New Covenant, this analogy is continued as we are called the Bride of Christ, and He the divine Bridegroom. Notice again the intimacy which attends these words: The titles "Bride" and "Groom" speak to the wedding night and the consummation of the union in the nuptial bed. It is not without reason that God uses such intimate language, rather than calling us merely "wife" and Himself "husband." We are destined to be eternally in a love union with Christ; He has purchased His Bride at a great cost and, therefore, with the same intense love that sent Him to the cross, desires even now to be "one" with us. Thus, He makes His flesh to become really and truly "one flesh" with us in the Eucharist. The result of receiving Him into ourselves is the creation of a whole new life within us, what St. Paul called "the new man." Throughout the course of our lives, we feed upon the Bread of Life and grow into the Christ-likeness that was the original plan of God for every human being who would come forth from the union of Adam and Eve.

Most Catholics (and Protestants) do not understand that one aspect of forming a covenant is the taking of self-maledictory vows. Knei­bert alludes to this when he mentions the "mutual responsibilities" of the two parties. This taking of vows, and the blessings and curses that are associated with them, can be seen in the corporate covenant made between God and Israel in Deuteronomy 28. But we can break our covenant vows and thus terminate our relationship with God. A covenant is a relationship, and relationships can be broken!

A contract, on the other hand, need not involve a personal relationship. For instance, when I bought my house, I entered into a legal contract with the previous owner, whom I never met. We exchanged properties via the contract and went our separate ways.

Why is this important? Because the heretical idea of "forensic justification," with its offshoot heresy of "once saved, always saved," is a direct result of treating Christ's salvific work as a contract between God and Jesus, with mankind (actually, the "elect") as the property to be exchanged. The whole concept involves nothing more than Jesus buying a people for Himself from His Father: He pays the ransom and is given what He died for. Because salvation is a contract, the Calvinist fancies that he can never be lost if he is part of that contract. Remember, unlike some personal relationships, contracts are unbreakable. Yet this is the very way that Calvinists define the covenant of God. They refer to it as an "unconditional covenant," meaning that no matter what the believer does, God will nonetheless take him to Heaven because he is part of the "contract between Jesus and God."

In keeping with this idea of an "unbreakable covenant," the believer is assured that Jesus contracts with God in such a way that Jesus' righteousness is credited to the sinning believer's account. Thus, despite sometimes severe ontological deficiencies, resulting in behavior the Catholic knows would result in the loss of salvation, the Calvinist reassures himself that he is "covered by the snow-white blanket of Christ's righteousness." He is off the hook because the contract is ironclad. Confession, repentance, and restoration of the lost relationship become minor issues, with the result that there is no need for the restorative grace of the sacraments. I fear for the many who have been reassured in this false premise and who will find out, to their horror, that a broken covenant is a sure ticket to a Christ-less eternity.

Since a contract does not involve the giving of my very self to another, then all I have to do is make some promises and keep them. This legalistic understanding is why Protestants think that a mere act of "accepting Jesus" suffices for salvation. It does not. In baptism we do not make a mere mental assent to a bunch of facts, which is what one does when one signs a contract, but we give our whole selves to the Lord when we give our bodies to the waters of baptism. Making a "decision for Jesus" is like saying that I know I am married because I have the framed marriage certificate on the wall for all to see -- it's just a contract. The Eucharist, on the other hand, is the nuptial bed where I actually know that I am married because I become "one flesh" with my Spouse! It is not without reason that in the Eastern Church, of which I am a member, right after the baptism of an infant, the child receives a tiny drop of the precious Blood on his lips. The relationship is "cov­enanted" and sealed in the nuptial embrace of a personal relationship. This is a far cry from the antiseptic relationship of contractual Protestantism.

Such a contractual understanding also leads to a truncated Christian life in which the exercises of prayer and ascesis, which are designed to make an ontological change in the believer, are seen as either unnecessary or part of what is derisively called "works salvation." After all, if one is already "in the contract," of what need are such things?

Edward A. Hara
West Fairview, Pennsylvania




Reflections of a Prison Convert

Gratia vobiscum. I wish to tell you how much I enjoy your magazine, but I must confess that it is a bittersweet enjoyment. Sweet because you are a bastion of Catholic orthodoxy, bitter because one learns of the misbehavior of the princes of the Church.

I only recently, around two years ago, received the grace of conversion and was baptized into the Christian faith, after around twenty years of walking in darkness, the result of which many people were hurt and I was imprisoned for life. A large part of this conversion was the truly miraculous change in my outlook on life due to the action of the Holy Spirit and my subsequent quest to learn, understand, and live the Catholic faith as laid down by the Magisterium of the Church and her saints and doctors.

Yet the more I grow in my understanding of the teachings of the Church, the more it appears to me that certain powerful factions in the Church undermine or outright ignore these timeless and unchangeable truths with impunity, led by the modernists who seek, as Hans Urs von Balthasar put it, to "raze the bastions" of traditional faith. There are some in positions of prominence who know better yet do little or nothing in the face of this present darkness. This is a very shameful thing and does a grave disservice to the legions of martyrs the Church has borne. What, I wonder, has happened to the militant spirit of the Church Militant? Despite such actions as the dire warnings via approved Marian apparitions, the anti-modernist oath of Pope St. Pius X, the publication of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and other remedies, it seems that the forces of the enemy grow stronger and bolder with each passing day.

These things trouble me yet do not cause me to lose sleep or fall prey to despair, for I know that in the end, whenever it may come, the Church will stand triumphant over her enemies, both spiritual and worldly. Thanks to the efforts of those like the brave men and women who work and write for your magazine and other bastions of orthodoxy, the sons and daughters of the Church may come to understand and love the truths of Catholic tradition.

(Name Withheld)
Taylor Correctional Institution
Perry, Florida



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