+ St. Robert Bellarmine+
Having laid aside various distractions and phantoms, it is time to regroup and start paying attention to our day-to-day spiritual life. This was the purpose of creating the prayer society — and it needs to be supplemented with material that will help nourish and develop the interior life so long neglected for lack of spiritual directors and reading material appropriate to these times. Yes, I will still call out Trads when necessary, but only briefly and by pointing to previously published works. The focus however will be self, myself and yourselves. My English ancestors’ motto, in the days before the Reformation, was “Nosce te ipsum” — know thyself. For without self-knowledge there can be no spiritual realization and therefore no advancement.
So where to begin? A Jesuit priest writing in 1953 provides a short and simple evaluation of what to address first; a link to this work and an excellent work on the Holy Ghost by Henry Edward Cardinal Manning will be provided below. The work by the Jesuit priest , Fr. Eiten, emphasizes the need to perfect ourselves, and this is the goal, but first it may be useful to drive home the reasons why we should strive for perfection and the initial step needed to begin that journey. A fellow pray-at-home blogger has pointed out the importance of realizing the necessity of practicing the presence of God, and this is indeed essential to prayer life (https://catholiceclipsed.com/2022/04/13/on-the-omnipresence-of-god-and-the-self/). But the most compelling reason for this practice is something few of us really comprehend.
As Saint Paul writes, “Live in the spirit!” This is the title of Fr. Bruno Hagspiel S.V.D.’s touching and very instructive work, written in 1957. He lamented that rather than being revived in the 20th century, devotion to the Holy Ghost “has fallen into near oblivion” (p. 2). Hagspiel, a retreat master and an acclaimed author on the spiritual life, very carefully guides his readers around the many pitfalls that prevent them from realizing their commitment to live in the spirit and in so doing renew their spiritual life. While Fr. Hagspiel’s work was written for religious women, it provides a sound foundation that can be used by the laity as well to reawaken their Catholic instincts and arm themselves for the spiritual combat that today so closely resembles the circumstances of the early Christian martyrs.
Fr. Hagspiel tells us: “St. Paul, writing to the various churches and reprimanding the faithful for various vices and abuses that had crept into their congregations used a uniquely sharp tone in reminding them that they are temples of the Holy Ghost: “Know you not that you are the temple of God and the spirit of God dwelleth in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16 and Romans 6:19). In other words, how could you ever fall so deeply? How could you ever forget that you are the very temples of the Holy Ghost who is in you? With him in you, you no longer belong to yourselves. This is a truth that you should never forget, for without it how can you practice faithfully the essential Christian virtues?” And Fr, Hagspiel says that those are namely charity, chastity and a childlike trust in God, a trust which the great spiritual master, Fr. Frederick Faber, describes as “…The strength of love… chastised, equable and steadfast. It breaks out into action as if it could not be kept in…It has also the same irresistible tendency to prayer which it has to action… All our spiritual exercises, whatever nature they may be, are so many means of acquiring confidence in God.” Fr. Hagspiel continues:
“In this world of sudden events and sudden changes, in these days of growing unrest and gloom and depression, do we not need such trust and confidence in God more than ever before? what if we, in our own country, should have to face such days of bloodshed and persecution as our brethren have had to face in Russia, Mexico, Austria, Poland, Hungary etc.? How shall we be able to bear such trials bravely and valiantly if we are not strong in our trust and confidence in the indwelling spirit of the living God?” And here he gives a little prayer Cardinal Mercier wrote called “A Secret to Sanctity.” The cardinal writes: “I am going to reveal to you a secret of sanctity and happiness. If every day, during five minutes, you will keep your imagination quiet shut your eyes to all the things of sense and close your ears to all the sound of earth so as to be able to withdraw unto the sanctuary of your baptized soul, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, speak there to the Holy Ghost saying:
‘O Holy Ghost, soul of my soul, I adore Thee.
Enlighten, guide, strengthen and console me.
Tell me what I ought to do and command me to do it.
I promise to be submissive in everything that
Thou permittest to happen to me.
Only show me what is Thy will!’
“If you do this your life will pass happily and serenely. Consolation will abound even in the midst of troubles. Grace will be given in proportion to the trial as well as strength to bear it, bringing you to the Gates of Paradise full of merit.” Fr. Hagspiel adds: “We must get back to the spirit of God if we want to prove ourselves staunch Christians and true members of Holy Mother Church. We must again make this devotion to the Holy Ghost the outstanding devotion among all members of the Catholic Church after the example of the Christians of old in order to rid ourselves of the spirit of the world.”
Make no mistake — there is at this very moment a fierce battle being waged for our souls. It is a life and death battle — spiritual life and death — conceived and set in motion by the rulers of this world of perceptible darkness, the masters of evil and deception. It takes little imagination at this point to envision what those in power today eventually have in store for anyone refusing to obey their commands. In order to successfully fight this battle, all Christians must be fitted with the spiritual armor described by Saint Paul that they may be able to overcome “the spirits of wickedness in the high places” (Ephesians, Ch. 6:13). The first piece of that armor is having your loins girt about in truth (Ibid., v. 14). The breastplate of justice (v. 15) and the gospel of peace comes next in verse 16. This order continues with the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation of the sword of the spirit, which is the word of God (verse 17-18). Christians are then instructed to beg the Saints for their intercession by “praying in the spirit” (verse 19).
Having thus armed themselves, the battle lines must be drawn: first in the battle against self — one’s own spiritual life — and second, in a more general manner, to fight together as Catholics against the spirits of wickedness now cast down upon this earth. Truth is the one most elusive piece of this armor so necessary to this spiritual combat and to eternal salvation. Without it no preparedness of any kind can even begin. Many today boast of all the measures they have taken to ensure their physical survival but what have they done, in equal and most necessarily in greater measure, to study the truths of faith and come to a clear understanding of what war it really is they are engaged in?
For every battle fought, battle lines must be drawn and only in the correct estimation of these lines can victory be assured. Catholics today do not know where to draw these lines. Some believe themselves to be Catholic when this is not even the case. Pope Benedict XV wrote in his encyclical Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum in 1914: “Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: ‘This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved’ (Athanas. Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim ‘Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,’ only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself.” What IS true Catholicism — who can count themselves as members of this most noble society, the Mystical Body of Christ on earth? How successful the enemy has already been in penetrating the camp of the Saints and how few indeed are fully aware of the destruction he has wrought! Those exploring this topic have offered several explanations and remedies but all of them entirely miss the point, in whole or in part. The type of approach to employ in evaluating the dire situation in the Church today — for those who truly believe there is a major departure in teaching belief and practice over the past 60 plus years — is not to analyze persons and events and dialogue readers to death.
If we truly believe in the words of Holy Scripture; if we are truly willing to prepare ourselves to fight this spiritual battle, then we must be willing also to abandon any preconceived notion of this truth and return to its age-old sources.
Prior to his death, the Reformation martyr St. Thomas More told his Anglican interrogators:
“For I doubt not, but of the learned and virtuous men now alive — I do not speak only of this Realm, but of all Christendom — there are ten to one of my mind in this matter; but if I should take notice of those learned Doctors and virtuous Fathers that are already dead, many of whom are Saints in Heaven, I am sure there are far more, who all the while they lived thought in this Cause as I do now. And therefore, my Lord, I do not think myself bound to conform my conscience to the counsel of one Kingdom, against the general consent of all Christendom” (From The Trial of Sir Thomas More, May 7, 1535 in A Complete Collection of State Trials and Proceeding Upon Impeachments for High Treason, etc. (London, 1719), http://law2.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/more/moretrialreport.html).
How many Catholics or those calling themselves Catholics today really know what the Catholics in St. Thomas More’s time and before his death thought and believed? Do they really think that today they could say they believe the same as those Catholics believed, or even those who Fr. Hagspiel wrote for during the time of Pope Pius XII? Do they simply look at what exists today and believe what they are told is Catholic by those who never even saw the inside of a Catholic college or seminary, or do they study their faith and really know for a fact it is Catholic, from approved pre-1959 sources? Because between the death of Saint Thomas More and the death of Pope Pius XII, none of those beliefs changed; none of them. Nor did or could Christ’s very words in the liturgy change or any of the beliefs that Catholics have always held because truth never changes. It may become better defined, clearer, and made more available, but it forever remains the same because God is its ultimate author and is Himself incapable of change. Doctrine develops; it does not and cannot evolve. That is Modernism.
The solution for the lack of Catholicity in the world today begins by learning once again to “live in the spirit.” The following book by Robert B. Eiten, S.J. provides some general guidelines for the lay person wishing to lead a more perfect life:
See also Cardinal Manning’s work on the Holy Ghost at:
May we all learn together to become once again the Catholic Christians Our Lord always intended us to be.
What in the World…
A good summary of the decline of the Church? Really?
I recently viewed an older video made by a Traditionalist “bishop” that reportedly gave a good summary of what happened to the Church that brought us to where we are today. The omissions found were not surprising but the fact that someone thought this a good summary of what had happened to the Church was disappointing to say the least. The history given was a truncated one, which in it itself is always prone to oversimplifying issues that should be explained more carefully. But the three major omissions, predictable though they were, is what was concerning. The reason they are concerning is that an entirely skewed and incomplete picture of what led to the infiltration of the Church results, one that does NOT give Catholics any meaningful idea of what really happened. This is not just an opinion but is based on incontrovertible facts. In rendering this history, the topics of Gallicanism, Freemasonry and the primary causes of Modernism are ignored. Look for a new article on this topic on the Articles page under The Churchfollowing the completion of the site rebuild.
A pope cannot become a heretic
A Traditionalist site has provided the partial translation of a work by the theologian and canonist Felix Cappello that categorically states the pope cannot become a heretic. This teaching of St. Robert Bellarmine has been presented on this site for decades. While what Cappello says is very instructive, given the claims by Novus Ordo and other so-called Traditionalist clergy and lay writers to the contrary, it does not address the problem of what happened following the death of Pope Pius XII. This site has never maintained that John 23 was not a pope because he became a heretic while in office, as others have claimed regarding the usurpers. It has been demonstrated repeatedly that John 23 was suspect of heresy PRIOR to his election, can be judged as a heretic based on his statements and behavior pre-election, and in the end was doubtfully elected on several different counts. So ergo, per St. Robert Bellarmine, Roncalli could never have been pope. All this is based on the teachings of Pope Paul IV’s 1559 infallible bull, Cum ex Apostolatus Officio.
Follow this up with Canon 2391 §1, which states “A college which knowingly elects an unworthy person is automatically deprived for that particular election of the right to hold a new election.” The conduct of the cardinals at the false Vatican 2 council alone proves they knowingly elected Roncalli for they willingly went along with everything he proposed. So bingo, we can kill two birds with one stone and be rid of both Roncalli and Montini thanks to Can. 2391. But now we have Novus Ordo conservatives alleging that Francis was invalidly elected (ya think?!) and Benedict 16, the known Modernist, is still pope. What is it with these folks that makes it so impossible for them to extend their thinking processes to Roncalli? Is it the thought of all the tithes wasted, the errors learned, the sacraments never received? Well join the club, people, and start making amends. We cannot control our past but we can and must repent and take charge of our future. If we are really serious about saving our souls, we cannot waste time lamenting over the fact we were duped. For none of us ever know when our time is up.
Further notes on Fatima
Having said my last about Fatima, relatively speaking, I want to sum everything up with this. Marian apparitions all have the same message: Pray, do penance, make sacrifices for sinners, perform your daily duties and if the world does not convert, expect a terrible, twofold chastisement, one spiritual (which we have already seen) and the other physical, which we may soon expect. We don’t need any more particulars. Had Catholics studied doctrine and obeyed the popes, had they concentrated less on Fatima and Rosary crusades, anti-Commie rallies and other popular devotions and learned their faith, we would not be where we are today. The rally mentality and profit mongering created around Fatima was likely intended to distract the laity from the infiltration of the Church. “My people have been silent, because they had no knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will reject thee, that thou shalt not do the office of priesthood to me” (speaking to the Jewish priests — Hosea 4:6). Prophecy fulfilled.
We are not required to believe in any given apparition; but we must accept every truth of faith that is taught by the Church and obey the Roman Pontiffs. We have to recognize that the Fatima messages most likely were falsified to an unknown degree and are now being used as a propaganda vehicle. (Francis recently embraced the Russian Orthodox Patriarch as part of the church in Rome, as anticipated.) Therefore we must reject the falsification of those messages and all that comes from it. Beyond that, nothing more is necessary. For those wishing to hear more on this topic, see our most recent video at: