+Good Friday+

Many have had questions about the “recusant Catholics” presenting as “homealone” because it seems this group has no intention of accepting papal teaching on a number of topics. I have attempted to answer most of these questions here over the past several weeks but must now move on to more spiritually productive conversations. In summary, however, the following points need to be firmly taken away from this troubling experience.

  1. We have never said that the Church teaches invincible ignorance alone will suffice to secure eternal salvation. Several articles on this site have definitely stated this is not the case and those articles were published nearly a decade ago. Maybe people should do their research before falsely accusing someone of heresy.
  1. No matter how educated someone pretends to be, they are not equipped nor approved by the Church to engage in debate or public discourse regarding the faith. We have devoted two blogs to explaining the Church’s teaching on this so there should be no further questions. It is forbidden entirely to the laity and clerics can engage in it only with permission from the Holy See.
  1. The word forum itself is defined as “open discussion; expression of ideas.” We do not discuss truths of faith or express our ideas concerning them. We accept them with a firm and sincere assent, whether we fully understand them or not, or we cannot call ourselves Catholic. The definition of dialogue, a distinctly Novus Ordo method of dogmatic perversion, is “an exchange of ideas and opinions… aimed at resolution.” This clearly shows the intent of some LibTrads to use discussion forums to compromise the faith — what such ”discussion” is intended to accomplish.
  1. As lay Catholics surviving without the hierarchy, there are certain things we can and must do and certain things we are forbidden to do. One of those things is public teaching on Holy Scripture, whether done vocally or by means of videos. The bishops alone, as successors of the Apostles, are commissioned to teach about Holy Scripture or they may delegate priests subject to them to teach. And such priests must be educated in teaching Holy Scripture in “seminaries and colleges of religious” by professors “who are, in all respects, qualified to teach properly on this subject, which is holy and sublime above all others… He should be equipped with the requisite knowledge of biblical matters which is acquired by serious study and must be conserved and augmented” (Biblical Commission Instruction, 1950; AAS 42-495).

Holy Scripture is the word of God and only the Church has the right and the necessary power to determine who is fit to expound on it. No one qualified today exists to conduct such instruction. Only those validly ordained to the priesthood are allowed to teach the faithful the meaning of Holy Scripture, for this teaching is an act of jurisdiction. NO lay person could ever be permitted to substitute for the clergy in this undertaking.

  1. The modesty issue has been discussed at length in the blogs and in the comments section. No papal directive exists that forbids the wearing of pants that are not immodest in themselves, although there is no doubt that the Church favors women wearing long skirts and dresses. Pope Pius XII, quoting St. Thomas Aquinas, taught in his address to the Young Women of Catholic Action, May 22, 1941: “Feminine adornment may be a meritorious act of virtue when it is in conformity with custom, with a woman’s place in the world and chosen with good intention and when women wear ornaments in keeping with their station and dignity and are moderate in adapting themselves to current fashion.” This is all we need to know.
  1. Concerning the secrecy resorted to by Freemasons to evade detection as enemies of the Faith, Pope Pius IX taught: “A society which thus avoids the light of day must surely be impious and criminal. ‘He who does ill,’ says the apostle, ‘hates the light.’ How different from such an association are the pious societies of the faithful which flourish in the Catholic Church! With them there is no reticence, no obscurity. The law which governs them is clear to all, also, are the works of charity practiced according to the gospel doctrine” (Sept. 25, 1865, condemnation of Freemasonry).

Groups which conduct their discussions in semi-secrecy, bind others to rules which may or may not be Catholic and expel those at will who dare to disagree with them come dangerously close to fitting the description provided by Pope Pius IX above. Catholics should view membership in such associations as a danger to their faith.

  1. The accusation of slander has been levied against certain parties but the use of this term is based on a misunderstanding of what those who present as genuinely Catholic owe to those they are presenting to. Those praying at home who believe that what they are hearing and seeing is truly Catholic have the inherent right to know whether those informing them are faithful Catholics themselves and whether they are abiding by the teachings of the Church.

“Calumny (slander) injures reputation by stories that are untrue Detraction is the revealing of real faults or defects of another. Revealing what is known privately is necessary if otherwise an individual would be seriously injured, spiritually or physically, or honor is attacked; or if a third party would be so injured were the information not revealedSo revealing what is public record is not sinful if done to prevent spiritual harm. (Summarized from McHugh and Callan’s work on Moral Theology.)

I wish no one any ill will. But we all have the duty in fraternal charity to correct those in error, lest they mislead others and for their own sake. It is very sad to see people so eager to associate with other pray-at-home Catholics only to find they are not loyal to the papacy, but this is the havoc the Traditionalists have wrought. I pray that all involved in such groups will reconsider and realize that without obedience to the Roman Pontiffs and what they have taught we will drown in this flood of impiety now engulfing us. I know many are lonely and long to be in touch with other like-minded Catholics who pray at home. But God has provided us helps to endure in these times, which amount to martyrdom of the spirit, and the words of Fr. Frederick Faber from his Foot of the Cross, or the Sorrows of Mary, (1857) below will tell us much about grief and loneliness and how we can best use it for our spiritual benefit.

The sanctuary of “God alone”

“There is no darkness like the darkness of a world without Jesus such as Mary’s world was on that fearful night [following Christ’s death on the Cross.] It is darker than the darkness of Calvary, for that is a darkness which cheers, refreshes and inspires. Jesus is there. He is the very heart of that darkness. He is felt more plainly than if he were seen. He is heard more distinctly because all is so dark about him and other sounds are hushed by the gloom. It is like being in the cloud with God as tried souls often are. It is truly a darkness and brings with it the pain of darkness; yet there is hardly a loving soul on earth to whom such darkness would not be more welcome for than light. But the darkness of the absence of Jesus is, as it were, a participation in the most grievous pain of hell.

“If it is by our own fault then it is the greatest of sorrows. If it is a trial from God, then it is the greatest of sufferings. In either case, we must not let the light of the world tempt us out of the darkness. In such a gloom it is indeed dreadful to abide, but the consequences of leaving it by our own self-will are more dreadful still. it is not safe there to think of creatures. We must think of God only. It is the sanctuary of ‘God alone,’ the motto of the Saints and of the saintly. We must deal only with the supernatural and leave Him who brought us there, whether for chastisement or fervour, to take us out when it shall be His will. Meanwhile we should unite ourselves to the disposition in which Mary endured her seventh dolor, and this will bring us into closer union with God. She did her work in the world as it were with all her heart and yet her heart was not there, but in the tomb with Jesus.

“This is the grand work which sorrow does for all of us. It entombs us in the will of God. It buries our love together with our sorrow. Sorrow is, as it were, the missionary of the divine will. It is the Prince of the apostles; the Church is built upon it. The gates of hell shall not prevail against it. Our Lord is with us always to the end. It is sorrow that digs the grave of itself and blesses it, and burns incense in it, and buries self therein, and fills it up, and makes the flowers grow upon the tomb. The great secret of holiness is never to have our hearts in our own breasts but living and beating in the heart of Jesus and this can rarely be accomplished except through the operation of sanctified sorrow. Happy therefore is he who has a sorrow at all hours to sanctify.

“Mary’s dolors are Mary’s self. Her last 15 years commencing with the descent of the Holy Ghost were the maturity of her dolors. During them her sea of sorrow settled till it became a clear, profound, translucent depth of commingled love, whose last act of taking the tranquil plenitude of possession of its glorious victim was the dislodging of her soul from her body by the most marvelous and beautiful death which creature ever could ever die. Such an edifice of sorrow as the Divine Motherhood was to bring along with it could not rest on foundations less broad and deep than the immeasurable graces of her first 15 years. What then must have been the grandeur of the graces which came upon that edifice when it was completed and were its domes and towers and pinnacles?

“We have often wondered what could be done to Mary in the way of sanctification at the descent of the Holy Ghost. What was left to do and what direction was she to grow? The mere fact of the delaying of the Assumption meant something and what could it have meant — the increase of holiness and multiplication of graces? If she was kept on earth to nurse the Infant Church as she had nursed the Infant Saviour, to be herself a living Bethlehem, with the Blessed Sacrament forever in her and her queenship of the apostles and external ministry of Bethlehem to the childhood of the Church, still, untold and incalculable, augmentation of grace and merit are implied in the very office, as well as in the fact that it was God’s mother who fulfilled the office.

“It was her dolors which opened out in her soul fresh abysses for eager grace to fill. It was the dolors which rendered her capable of that other new creation of grace and the descent of the Holy Ghost. His graces are absolutely inexhaustible; her capacities of grace are practically inexhaustible, to or limited comprehension. The grace which prepared her for the Divine Maternity prepared her also for her singular and lifelong martyrdom. The martyrdom prepared her for those ineffable augmentations of grace and merit which were compressed into her last 15 years. Thus her dolors are, as it were, the center of her holiness. They reveal Mary to us as she was in herself more than any other of her mysteries. Indeed they are hardly to be called mysteries. They are more than that: they are her life, herself, her maternity. They enable us to understand her holiness.

Sorrow is a sanctuary so long as self is kept outside. Self is the desecrating principle. If a time of sorrow is not the harvest time of grace, it is sure to be the harvest time of self. Hence when we find people indulging in the sentimentality of their sorrow, we are almost certain to find them inconsiderate towards others. They are the centers around which everything is to move… But a Christian mourner smiles through his tears, takes the sorrow carefully out of the tone of his voice and makes others almost gay while his own heart is broken. A saint’s sorrow is never in the way. To others it is softness, a sweetness, a gentleness, a beauty. It is a cross only to himself. We must be careful also not to demand sympathy from others and if possible, not even to crave it for ourselves. What is it worth if it comes when we have demanded it?

“Surely the preciousness of sympathy is in its being spontaneous. There is no balm in it when it is paid as a tax. Not that it is wrong to hunger for sympathy when we are in sorrow. We are not speaking so much of right and wrong… The more consolation from creatures, the less from God. This is the invariable rule. God is shy; He loves to come to lonely hearts which other loves do not fill. This is why bereaved hearts outraged hearts, hearts misunderstood, hearts that have broken with kith and kin and native place, on the grave of father and mother, are the hearts of His predilection. Human sympathy is a dear bargain let it cost us ever so little. God waits outside till our company is gone. Perhaps he cannot wait so long for visits to mourners are apt to be very long and he goes away not angrily but sadly and then how much we have missed.

“The whole theology of sorrow may be compressed into a kind of syllogism: Everything is given for sanctification and sorrow above all other things; but selfish sorrow is sorrow unsanctified, therefore unselfishness is grace’s product out of sorrow. There must be in our grief a total absence of realizing the unkindness or neglect of human agents. Nobody is in fault but God and God cannot be in fault therefore there is no fault at all there is only the divine will. Faith must see nothing else. It must ignore secondary causes. It takes its crosses only from Jesus and straight from him. It sees, hears, feels, recognizes no one but God. All these are hard lessons and sorrow, if it is not peculiarly teachable, is the most unteachable of all things. Yet we could hardly expect Mary’s lessons to be easy ones, least of all when she gives them from the top of Calvary. Let us gaze at her once more as she swathes the Body in the winding sheet how like a priest she seems! How like a mother! And are not all mothers priests? For lightly considered all maternities are priesthoods. Ah, Mary! thy maternity was such a priesthood as the world had never seen before!” (End of Fr. Faber quotes)


Christ lays in his tomb, and like His Blessed Mother, we are lonely and sorrowful. If we would read Chapter 12 of the Apocalypase, we would know that, as Rev. H.B. Kramer writes in his The Book of Destiny: “The meaning of the word wilderness is probably contained in the prophets…The prophets by these poetic figures named the gentiles the wilderness for they are devoid of God’s benefits and are a spiritual desert. Osee calls the captivity among the heathen Babylonians a dwelling in the wilderness: “Behold I will allure her and will lead her into the wilderness and will speak to her heart” (Ch.2, v. 4). Ezekiel speaks of the captivity in the same figurative language: “And I will bring you into the wilderness of people and there will I plead with you face to face” (Ch.20 v. 35).  Rev. Haydock tells us of Apoc. 12:6: “The Christians we’re accustomed to fly during the times of persecution into the deserts to avoid the fury of the pagans. This was done by the greatest saints. Saint Jerome remarks that it was this which gave rise to the hermetical state of life.

Commenting on verse 14, Rev. Haydock notes that by the two wings of the great eagle taking the woman to the desert some understand “…the love of God and the fear of offending Him; others piety, prudence etcetera. The Church, on account of the severe pressure of the persecution obtained from the almighty a special protection and assistance.” Still others see in the wings of the eagle the assistance of the Holy Ghost. Well the Church has gone into the desert but she enters that desert  in the arms of the Blessed Mother; She isn’t there alone. Who better to comfort us in our sorrows than the Mother of Sorrows herself. Who better to help us learn of Her Son and listen to His voice.

I’ve noted before that many who leave the Traditionalist movement and other sects go through a period of grieving, and psychologists teach there are five to seven stages of grief. These stages of grief are described above by Fr. Faber in a way that makes us understand that we’re grieving because we’ve lost our Church; we’re grieving intensely because we are sorry for our sins. And we are also grieving because we are alone. But all of this is the will of God, and we can’t benefit from it if we don’t accept it as His will and if we don’t stop pretending that we can still re-create the Church in some way in our lives without Him and without His Vicar. The only thing that we can do is to accept what He has sent us and keep Him company by turning FROM creatures, not TO creatures; by asking our Blessed Mother to intercede for us and to join with her in filling up what is wanting to the Passion of Christ — to carry our Cross with Him and for Him.

You can’t do that by constantly running around visiting with fellow Catholics, spending hours on the Internet watching videos or arguing with others on forbidden “discussion forums” (see above). The best way you can comfort our Lord and commune with Him is to simply do what Fr. Faber is describing. In our grief we have to continue performing our daily duties, make the best of this great trial and try not to worry or seek sympathy from others; we must bury our sorrow in Christ. Of course we’re going to have friends and associate with like-minded Catholics, but all in moderation. We are here for a reason — to expiate our sins and to fill up the cup of His Passion, and if we are preoccupied with creatures, that can’t happen.

So this little excerpt from Fr. Faber is my Lenten offering to you.  May God grant you all a holy Good Friday and a joyous Easter.

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