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A round peg in a world of square holes...

Friday, May 30, 2008

To be versed in history is to cease to be Protestant.



So wrote the Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman.

The following are the collated posts of a good friend's response to a video of young Catholics yelling, shouting, screaming on top of their lungs during a so-called "Prayer and Worship" (PnW) outside Mass:

Names have been removed.



If you find Protestant forms of worship spiritually inspiring, well and good.

Just don't try and call it Catholic. Be intellectually honest.

There is an old saying - lex orandi, lex credendi. "The law of prayer is the law of belief." The way you pray is the way you believe. Pray and jump about like Protestants, and you will believe as Protestants.

If one finds that one's prayer life is best expressed and edified using forms of prayer that were invented and developed outside of the Church, outside Sacred Tradition, and hence outside the guidance of the Holy Spirit, perhaps one might do well to reflect if one really belongs in the Church.

It's about being intellectually honest - to oneself and to God. If you need to ask, "What exactly is not "Catholic" about this video?", then the answer is — everything. If you claim to be Catholics, start acting like Catholics. This video is nothing more than Catholics (allegedly) behaving and worshipping as Protestants.

Why label the video as Catholic or Protestant? Intellectual honesty. There are people claiming this as Catholic.

It's quite simple. Take, for example, the Shanghai Philharmonic Orchestra, composed entirely of ethnic chinese. They play mostly Western classical music, on exclusively Western classical instruments, dressed in Western clothes. Their genre is Western, not Chinese. it would be intellectually dishonest to call them a Chinese Classical Orchestra when they play Mozart, even though they're ethnically Chinese.

Likewise, even if the people in this video are Roman Catholics, their tone is Protestant, their attitude is Protestant, their form of worship is Protestant. Therefore, what's happening is Protestant.

Certainly there are things in non-Catholic religions that Catholics can learn from. However, Protestantism is a degenerate heresy of Christianity, and is the product of schism. The father is schism is the Devil, and nothing good can come out of something inspired by the Devil.

The Charismatic movement began outside the Church — outside the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox and Assyrian Churches, which are the only bodies to keep the Apostolic Succession and keep the majority of the Apostolic Faith. Only the Apostolic Churches have anything close to the fullness of the faith — the Protestants do not come close. There is nothing good or admirable that the Protestants have in their faith and worship which is not derived from us: all else is error and darkness. If the Charismatic movement is such an essential and wonderful gift, why did it not arise within the bodies which have the Sacraments, which are how the Holy Spirit works?

I believe I hardly need remind all those taking part in this discussion that Protestantism is not a Church, but only a multiplicity of heretical sects. Where the Sacraments are, there is the Church. Following the practices, ethos and scriptural misinterpretation of those outside the Church is a sin against the first commandment.

All I do is state what the Church teaches. This is not what *I* have decided, but what the Church, in her wisdom, guided by the Holy Spirit, has taught unchangingly since the earliest days. This is a solemn teaching of the Magisterium, and those who differ, do so at the peril of their immortal souls.

The fullness of the Holy Spirit may be definitely found within the Church — outside, we cannot be certain. to seek and receive blessings from those outside the Church (as Protestants are), is a sin against faith and against the first commandment. Saint Basil the Great points out that the "blessings' of heretics are not blessings, but rather follies" ("ou eulogia all' alogia"). As the "Catholic" Charismatic movement began with some Catholics seeking to "receive" a "blessing" from those outside the Church, it thus springs from a sin against the first commandment.

This is fraternal correction, not a generalisation or judgement. We haven't called anyone here demoniacs or heretics. The use of the term "heretics" in reference to Protestants is nothing more than the plain and simple truth, an objective statement made without derision or rancour. You're a university student — who should be able to read a text objectively, paying attention to what the writer actually says, and not what the reader thinks the writer is saying. You should also be able to understand that precise terminology and categorisation is necessary for any sort of philosophical discussion, and that these serve to clarify and structure. Clarification and structuring is not derision or judging, merely a prelude to being able to discuss things objectively. Objective discussion is impossible if the parties involved cannot agree on the definition of terms.

All I am doing is pointing out that the event here filmed is not a Catholic act of worship. I haven't generalised or judged anyone. No name-calling has occured. No generalisation has occured — I have been nothing but precise and to the point, and it is you who have been fudging the issue. I've answered every single one of your questions with step-by-step explanations, and you've ignored all of them, preferring instead to accuse us of name-calling and generalisations and lack of love. Our act of correcting you is fraternal charity that springs from love. You asked questions, I answered them point by point, and you now scream, "Inquisition!" and refuse to carry on the thread, calling for "tolerance, love and understanding." There is to be no tolerance for error, for error has no rights.

Back to [the] first point, "Catholic" does NOT mean universal and all-embracing. It's from the Greek, "kath' holou," meaning, "according to the whole." The Church is therefore not "kath' hekastou" (according to the individual), but rather, "kath' holou" (according to the understanding of all within her unity). This, "all within her unity," includes all the past generations of believers before us.

Your question, "How do you best express your love and adore him?", is answered simply — "In the way countless generations of saints have expressed it before us." It's not a matter of, "Oh, it's not for me," or, "Oh, this is for me." We are to worship God in the way God wishes. If one feels that the way of worship, which God through the Church has decreed, is lacking, and one needs a boost from ways of worship formulated by heretics, then the problem lies not with the Church's way of worship, but with one's own attitudes. We are to conform our attitudes to that of the Church, not the other way around.

_____ has made a very relevant point with his statement that this PnW [Prayer and Worship] stuff isn't done in Britain and he misses it very much. This Protestant, clearly un-Catholic import has obviously become like an addictive and poisonous drug. Worship is not a matter of feel-good highs.

No, a Catholic cannot worship God in a Protestant, nor in a Hindu, nor a Buddhist, nor a Taoist fashion.

It is not about *my * worship being more correct than anyone else's. It's about what the Church herself teaches, which _____ and you appear not to grasp.

If you think my comment about knowing what "Catholic" really means was pompous, I am sorry for you. If you, professing yourself a Catholic, say you can't say what being Catholic really means, I suggest you learn.

If you think the video "in no way suggests that these people are doing something that is either 'Catholic' or 'Protestant' — these people are simply worshipping God," then perhaps I ought to label a Nyingmapa Tantric Buddhist initiation video as "Catholic," and if anyone objects that the video is of Buddhist ceremonies, I should answer that it "in no way suggests that these people are doing something that is either "Catholic" or "Buddhist" — "these people are simply worshipping God."

Your statement, "as if the way in which one sings or moves or praises defines his religious orientation!" is very strange. Try telling the Mahometans that they can offer incense sticks, chant prayers in Sanskrit, blow trumpets, spin prayer wheels, and still remain Mahometans. Try telling Baptists that they can sing Gregorian chant, light candles, wear vestments and have processions with statues/icons and crosses and still remain Baptists. Historically, members of the Apostolic Churches have been distinctly identifiable by the way they sing, move and praise. While you are certainly right that these externals do not define the religious orientation per se, perhaps you might agree that it is the religious orientation that defines the way one sings, moves and praises, in which case, perhaps Catholics might start behaving and thinking like Catholics.

As for an "insidious slide from dialogue to debate to discrimination" — dialogue was attempted, and _____ ignored the reply. No debate then ensued. regarding the point about discrimination — "discrimination," means the act of being able to clearly identify and separate right from wrong. I believe what you are trying to accuse us of is "unfair discrimination," but what unfair discrimination has occured? It is no unfair discrimination to discount Protestant views. It is no unfair discrimination to say that Protestants have no right to comment on matters of faith and worship of the Church. It is no unfair discrimination to say that the worship styles and ideas of Protestants are inferior to those which the Teaching Authority of the Church, undoubtedly guided by the Holy Spirit (whether Protestants have the Holy Spirit is debatable and to believe they certainly have it is also heresy), has seen fit to prescribe for the salvation of souls.

Christ prayed "that they might all be one," but in Truth, not through the fudging of error. Let God judge? That's exactly what we do when we let the Church, which speaks for God, judge. He who hears the Church, hears God. yes, the CCC says that Protestants are fellow Christians, but it does not dispute that they nevertheless remain heretics. just as we are called to hate sin but love the sinner, likewise we should love Protestants, but we cannot remain indifferent to the heresies and errors of Protestantism, and recognise that Protestant ideas are dangerous heresy. No need to talk till kingdom come — this is not about us arguing on an intellectual basis. This is about what the Church solemnly teaches, and it is either for us to accept it humbly (even if we don't understand it) or leave.

Those of us defending Tradition speak not for ourselves, but for the Church. The rest appear to prefer individualism to Catholicism.

A form of worship certainly does define a person's religious orientation. This is what the Church has always taught, a teaching that has become muddled and confused in the last 40 or so years within the Roman Catholic Church (fortunately the Eastern Catholics and Orthodox have been spared this confusion), with the result that many Roman Catholics, such as yourself, do not see the inherent schizophrenia of believing in one religion and worshipping like members of another.

[I]t *is* important that Roman Catholics of today learn more about their own traditions.

Roman Catholic "culture" is many things: music, literature, spirituality, art, architecture, Every Roman Catholic has a duty to learn as much about these things and pass them on to the next generation. The Jews are fiercely loyal to the Hebrew language and Jewish sacred music, taking pride that all their children are taught to pronounce their sacred language. Mahometans who are not able to pronounce Arabic or pray the basic obligatory prayers in Arabic will admit so with shame. Hindus all over the world take pride in building temples in ancient style, praying in Sanskrit as their forefathers did, and rejoicing in the antiquity of their rites.

Eastern Catholics and Orthodox take great care in being able to pray and sing the traditional chants of the services in the liturgical languages of their churches, be it Koine Greek, Church-Slavonic, Romanian, Aramaic even Arabic; and zealously pass on the entire culture and mindset of their religion. To take a personal example, _____ and I are of the Byzantine Church — we take delight in learning the prayers and chants in Greek, Church Slavonic, Romanian, English and various other languages, as well as about our traditions. We would be aghast if someone suggested we attempted to learn to worship as Roman Catholics before we learned to worship in our own tradition.

In contrast, how many Roman Catholics here can honestly say they know even the, Our Father, Hail Mary, and Glory Be, in Latin? Gregorian Chant inspired composers for over a thousand years — can any of you sing the Creed, the Gloria, the Kyrie, the Sanctus or Agnus Dei, to any traditional melody, in any language?

The Roman Church was largely what kept knowledge of the Latin language through the Middle Ages; it produced the gems of sacred music and art; it civilised the last barbarian tribes of the West and gave them law and order. In the last 40 years, there has been a movement to trash and forget all these things. Brothers and sisters, these things are your heritage. To take but one example, the Roman Church produced so much glorious sacred music, ranging from Gregorian Chant to Mozart. Most of this is rarely heard within Roman Catholic churches, far more frequently without, with the knowledge, love and performance of it kept up by non-Catholics. More than one conductor of Renaissance sacred music has commented that if it were left to the Roman Catholic Church, these treasures would have been lost to humanity, and that the Roman Catholic Church is not a fit guardian of these priceless heirlooms of human culture, nor is she to be trusted to preserve these for future generations. For shame!

If you speak of the need to be charitable and love Protestants and Protestant things, I would urge you that charity and love begin at home — you must first learn to know and love Catholicism in its historical reality and Catholic things.

The Church is not comprised primarily of the clergy, with the laity being the stragglers. We cannot say, "It is the duty of the clergy to lead us and teach us," and claim ignorance. The Church is every single one of us, and every time any of us are lax in learning about our traditions, we collaborate in their destruction. Already since the 1960s, so much tradition has been lost in the Roman Church due to cultural vandalism by her own believers. Please, if not for yourselves, but for the richness and diversity of human culture — do not be the generation in which Roman Catholic culture is lost.


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I am asking for people to realize that dialogue will be a waste of time if one of the two partners to the dialogue states beforehand that one idea is as good as the other.
         (Marcello Pera)


You and I are of a single mind in rejecting a pacifism that does not recognize that some values are worthy of being defended and that assigns the same value to everything. To be in favor of peace on such a basis would signify anarchy, which is blind to the foundations of freedom. Because if everyone is right, no one is right.
         (Pope Benedictus XVI, in a letter to Marcello Pera)

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