RORATE CÆLI: “Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?

An excellent article via RORATE CÆLI: “Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?.

“Dear Father”: Answers for Troubled Times II – In these times, can I be critical or sceptical of hierarchy pronouncements?

“Dear Father,Can I be a good Catholic and still be sceptical or even critical of certain things said or done by bishops and popes that appear to contradict all the Tradition of the Church?

Thank you,

Confused in Ontario”

Dear Confused in Ontario,

This is a question that I am asked many times. It is, of course, the result of disquiet over what is said by Church authorities mainly in Rome but elsewhere as well. So many “off-the-cuff” pronouncements by members of the hierarchy and the reappearance of theologies that we thought were dead because they lead to dead ends have had this disquieting effect on many of the faithful.

I fear that I will not be able to answer your question in a way in which you will be satisfied. For a clear answer would have to be part of a serious theological task that so far no one has undertaken and that involves a serious rethinking of the role of the Pope and of the bishops in the Church in the light of Tradition. Tradition, we must always remember, is something living and therefore is integrally connected with the past and open to the future, all under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. It bothers me that those Catholics who are labeled as Traditionalists are seen to be somehow locked in the past. While it is absolutely true that the teaching of the Church in the past is necessary for true development of the Church’s teaching in the present and future, one must always be one’s guard against antiquarianism (which in part gave us the Novus Ordo ) and against nostalgia for a perfect time that never really was.

One of the greatest problems in the Church for the past hundred years has been a creeping Ultramontanism that seeks to almost identify the Church with the Pope. We see this happening all through the 20th century, but especially during the last quarter of that century. The era of instant communication afforded by the Internet and the all-pervasive presence of the media has contributed greatly to this situation. But it is also because of a series of Popes who traveled widely in the world in the name of evangelization. Those Masses in football stadiums with thousands and thousands of people, the World Youth Day celebrations, all followed by the media everywhere as they would follow “rock stars”, further contributed to this phenomenon.

Perhaps this was inevitable given the world in which we live. But it has had a bad effect on the understanding of the Papacy and its role both in the world and in the Church herself. We seem to have gone from an understanding of the role of the Pope as Supreme Pastor, Defender of the Faith and Guardian of the Liturgy, the Supreme Teacher who when guided by the Holy Spirit can define in a solemn way what the Church has always believed: from this understanding of the Papacy that reaches (one thought) its dogmatic zenith at the First Vatican Council with its careful definition of Papal Infallibility to the current understanding of the Papacy that sees him as the very embodiment of the Church with apparently no boundaries to his power and authority. It still boggles my mind to think that a Pope claims the power to suppress the Roman Rite of the Mass and impose a rite upon the Latin Church that many would insist is not continuous with the Roman Rite but is something new entirely.

The irony of all of this is that we find ourselves in the grip of reactionary forces that are pushing liberal (as Blessed John Henry Newman understood
that word) causes in the Church. That Newman foresaw this in his Biglietto Speech over one hundred years ago is no comfort to us who are going through this time of tribulation.

Having said all of this, I will answer your question in a qualified way. My answer is as follows. Yes, you are free as a Catholic to question the decisions of the bishops of the Church, including the Bishop of Rome, when they seem to you to depart from the Tradition, the teaching of the Church for the past two thousand years, in its roots in Scripture and in the organic growth of the Tradition. But one must differentiate here between criticizing and questioning. It really does no good to criticize specific words or acts of the Bishop of Rome or of any bishop in an uncharitable and carping way. It is often an offense against charity and leads to hardness of heart.

But it is surely the duty of the laity to question pronouncements (including press conferences and sermons) and decisions of the hierarchy when they seem to depart from the teaching of the Church, from the Tradition. Newman believed so strongly in the importance of an educated laity, educated both in the secular sense and in the ecclesial sense! And in this way it is the duty of the educated and faithful laity to question decisions of the hierarchy on the basis of the Tradition of the Church. And questioning here means to ask the bishops (with no animosity) how a specific pronouncement, whether official or unofficial, of a bishop squares with the Tradition. In this way, for instance, it is perfectly fine to ask how the image of the Church as a “field hospital” is consonant with the self-understanding of the Church within her Tradition.

I am sure, dear Confused in Ontario, that my response is not crystal clear nor does it help to assuage your genuine concerns about the state of the Church. But a priest is neither a medicine man nor a magician. He is called to faith in the same way as every Catholic is called to faith. And he sees, like we all do, “through a glass darkly”. But even through that partially de-silvered mirror that is the Catholic Church here on earth, we see the glory of the Truth in the face of the One who is our only hope, our only source of truth, our only source of real life, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Father Richard G. Cipolla

Fantastic, spot on.

CatholicScout Comments – LMS Chairman “To understand ISIS, look at Anglicanism”

“To understand ISIS, look at Anglicanism

Chalk and cheese, the Islamic militants of ISIS and Anglicans? Actually, they have a lot in common.”

LMS Chairman.

That’s a quote (out of context of course) that Dr Shaw will have a hard time living down for a long time. Have a read of the post (I may copy it for future reference, as I wouldn’t be surprised if he took it down).

So the Internet Memes based on his words have already started…Meme mocking the concept that Anglicans are 16th Century terroristsMeme mocking the concept that Catholics are justified in violence

These Memes are crass and unbalanced.

But I would like to comment on his post.

I’m not going to comment about the fire-storm of wrath that Dr Shaw has whipped up for himself, but looking at his logic. Something which the Memes may have stumbled upon.

There are two concepts in action.

Firstly the Theory of Catholic Just War/violence and secondly the Dogma Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus – Outside the [Roman Catholic] Church there is no salvation.

The concept that a Catholic can justifiably use violence is now so ingrained from 1700 years of teaching, so sub-conscious, that to say otherwise is considered Anathema. This is particularly the case with Traditionalists (for those who aren’t quite clear about the factions within the Catholic Church, I will attempt to elucidate in another post.).

Dr Shaw presents 16th Century Protestant England as being savage persecutors. He goes on to decry the acts perpetrated by the Sovereign powers of England as unjust – because it “was based on the idea that Catholics were idolatrous, and toleration would bring the wrath of God down on the land.”

When presented with facts that Catholic “savagery was based on the idea that Protestants were idolatrous, and toleration would bring the wrath of God down on the land”, Catholics, especially Traditionalist Catholics such as Dr Shaw, is often completely blinkered by the ingrained concept that a Catholic can be violent justifiably. They will simply respond “we were defending ourselves in [England during the reign of Mary, the Holy Land during the Crusades etc]“, and here we see the root cause of the argument.

The root cause is not the double standard that a Just Violence Catholic recognises that a Catholic can be violent and be justified, but not a Protestant.

It is the combination of a Catholic who combines the theory that a Catholic can be violent, with the Dogma that there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church (meaning union in belief and practice with the Pope in Rome).

This combination makes for a particularly ugly prospect, for the Catholic justifies his violence by his conformity and union with the Pope in Rome (and therefore God), and junks everyone else’s “right” to be violent.

The reality is however, that for 1700 years the Catholic Church (and all the mainstream Christian Churches for that matter) have obfuscated the actual teachings of Messiah concerning violence. There is no justifiable violence according to the Messiah.

The praxis that Catholics are commanded to observe is “to love ones enemy, to do good to those that hate you” (Matthew 5:44), “love your neighbour as yourself” (Matthew 22:39), “love one another as I have loved you” (John 13:34).

There is no glory in pointing the finger at those that are violent in the world, if we Catholics ourselves are unable to rid ourselves of the enduring delusion that we can be violent justifiably.

Christ taught quite the opposite.

We Catholics should ask ourselves “what would Jesus do?”. I can assure you He would not write to the UN and compel “the international community, particularly through the norms and mechanisms of international law, to do all that it can to stop and to prevent further systematic violence against ethnic and religious minorities“. I can assure you He would not go on Crusade to “defend” His homeland, or purge “dissenters”.

The Way is not easy, but it is the only Way. No-one professing to be a Catholic is exempt, the elderly, the young, pregnant women etc. We must ask “What would Jesus do” and do it.

To understand ISIS, don’t look at Catholics who justify violence. We don’t even follow what our Founder (Who we believe is God Incarnate) said regarding violence…

“It’s God’s will…

(but we can’t quote Him on it…)”

Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Fortieth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Fortieth Helping


“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14


The general question around which these FAST FOOD Helpings for the 2014 Forty Day Fast for the Truth of Gospel Nonviolence has revolved is not, ‘Does Jesus save?” but rather, “How does Jesus save?” The answer given, employing the words of Rev. John L. McKenzie, is Jesus saves by Christlike love:

The power, which destroys all other powers, is the power of love, the love of God revealed and active in Jesus Christ. God revealed in Jesus that He loves man and will deliver him through love and through nothing else. The saving act of Jesus is an act of love of the type which He recommends in the Gospels. He loves God by loving His fellow men. The enduring presence of the power which entered the world in the incarnation enabled man in any condition to live the life of Jesus and to continue in his own person the love which is the saving act. The resurrection is the climax of the saving act. But, man is not ready for love. He never has been. Yet, it is the one enduring reality in the created world, and in it man achieves enduring reality and value. Jesus presents in His words and life not only a good way of doing things, not only an ideal to be executed whenever it is convenient, but the only way of doing what He did.

The remainder of all FAST FOOD Helpings is then given over to elucidating, explaining, clarifying that it is by those He has chosen to be His disciples trustfully entering into the  process of participating in this saving act, that the salvation of Israel, of each unique individual and of all humanity is ultimately concluded. Participation in the saving of act of love as defined by Jesus’ words and deeds is participation in a moral revolution. This is why He says that for a person to follow in His Way, he or she must die to himself or herself or deny himself or herself.  “Die” and “deny” are pretty strong descriptive words that denote something significantly more than a slight alteration in thought and in behaviour. They are words that envision a moral revolution.

But, Jesus’ teaching is infinitely more than a mere moral statement about right and wrong. As the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the world, He has  “the words of eternal life” (Jn 6:68 ).

If a morality based on reason and nature is the supreme morality of which human beings are capable and it is able to deliver humanity from perpetual enslavement to evil, sin, suffering and death, then there is no need for a Messiah, the Incarnation or any other avenue of Divine revelation communicating God’s Will and Way to humanity. There is no need for a Saviour. Humanity or the individual human being can save himself or herself. But that fact is that neither humanity nor the individual person can save themselves by living in conformity with a moral code based on reason and nature. Why? Because whatever is deduced by reason from nature as a code of moral conduct is deduced from nature by a corrupted consciousness of extremely limited vision, not in its original state of holiness and righteousness, and obscured by personal desires, the ever present orientations and inclinations of concupiscence. The Way of Jesus the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of the world is a Way of revolutionary revelation designed by God. It is not a way of reasonable deductions derived from a perception of a scintilla of nature.

So, now, the issues of how Jesus saves and why human beings and humanity need a Saviour have been addressed. But, how does it work? Most of the seventy billion human beings, homo sapiens sapiens, who have lived and died never heard of the Nonviolent Jesus and His Way and His saving act of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. How can they be saved by Jesus with the cooperation of those He chooses to be Baptized into Him, to put on the Christ and to trustfully follow His Way by trying to “love as He loves?” I don’t know!

Jesus does not tell humanity how evil ultimately works at root. He does not give humanity a philosophy of evil. He does not even tell humanity how to cope with evil. He tells humanity only how to overcome evil—and that is by loving as He loves, as the God, who is love, loves. If one is spiritually assiduous one can see here and there how Christic love freely chosen does conquer evil in a particular situation. But how it conquers evil per se, the terrible and universal dynamic that haunts every nook and cranny of human existence, on this matter Jesus says not a word. So in trusting faith, emmunah faith, in Him, we have to take His word that it does. The metaphysical mechanism by which Jesus’ act of saving love conquers evil, and each Christian’s choice of such an act of love results in the salvation of all, are beyond description in human language because they take place beyond the domain to which human beings, and hence their languages, have access while living their lives on earth.

But within the realm in which language can authentically communicate, this much can be said. The saving act of love that is incarnated in, taught by and lived by Jesus and mediated to humanity through Jesus is a love that has within it the power of God, indeed God is within it, because the reality God is simply one with His love. It is the infinite mystery of the power of the almighty and eternal God within that act of Christlike love that makes any chosen act of Christlike love salvifically efficacious and of eternally enduring value. It is the living Almighty Eternal I AM, who is love, present in the chosen act that makes it an act that saves, an act of participating in the process of the eternal salvation of one and all.

It was on this day, August 9, in 1942, that Saint Edith Stein (St. Teresia Benedicta a Cruce) was murdered by Christians at Auschwitz. On August 9, 1943, Christians in Berlin murdered Blessed Franz Jagerstatter. August 9, 1945, was the day that a Christian B-29 crew, lead by a Catholic man from Boston, murdered forty thousand people, mostly Christians, in Nagasaki. All of the Christians, who did all of this murdering on this date, believed that they were good Christians doing their duty for God and country. And there was no one in the power elites of any of their Churches that communicated to them anything different.

The photograph above is of the melted rosary of Midori Moriyama Nagai, which she had with her at 11:02 A.M. when the people of Nagasaki were cremated alive by a plutonium atomic bomb. Her melted rosary was all that was left of her at 11:03 A.M.

Midori was born into an ancient Japanese Catholic family, the Moriyamas. The family for about 265 years were kakaure kirishitan, “hidden Christians,” who lived secret Christian lives because for this time span (1600-1865) Christianity was an outlawed religion in Japan with torture and death being the consequences of being a Christian. Historically the Moriyamas were the traditional leaders of the kakure kirishitan for seven generations. Midori was fundamentally a mother of a family, although she did lead her future husband, Takashi Nagai, who after the war was known as the “Gandhi of Japan” into Christianity. Except for a small segment of Japanese Catholicism, she, like all those Christians who were murdered by Christians 30,000 feet above them on August 9, 1945, is all but unknown to history and the rest of humanity.

The first atomic bomb in the history of the world was detonated on July 16, 1945, at Trinity Site, deep in the New Mexico desert. It was a plutonium bomb. Major Charles Sweeney, a Catholic man, later to become Major General Charles Sweeney, was the pilot of the plane that dropped the second plutonium bomb ever made on the second civilian population to ever be incinerated by an atomic bomb, Nagasaki. On the 59th anniversary, July 16, 2004, of the explosion of that first plutonium atomic bomb at Trinity Site, Charles Sweeney died in a Boston Hospital.

So now two Christians, Midori Moriyama Nagai and Charles Sweeney, who in this life never came closer to each other than 30,000 feet on August 9, 1945, meet face to face, the murderer and the murdered, in the eternal life in which they both believed. How does the act of saving love by Jesus or subsequent acts of saving love by His disciples save in this situation? Or how does it make any difference when Edith Stein meets her murderers? Or, Franz Jagerstatter his? Or the other 39,999 people murdered at Nagasaki meet Charles Sweeney? I don’t know! What about when Hitler or Stalin or Churchill or “Bomber” Harris meet those upon whom they poured down unrelenting suffering and death? I don’t know!

What I believe is that the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth, who teaches by word and deed a Way of Nonviolent Love of friend and enemies as the Will of God, and as the Way God designed to save and restore humanity to the fullness of life forever, is emmunah-worthy. Of course I cannot syllogistically prove my faith in Jesus is God’s choice to be the Messiah of Israel and the Saviour of all humanity. I cannot logically prove that Jesus and His Way are worthy of emmunah. Faith by definition cannot be proved, even the faith of the atheist. All that it is possible to offer to anyone by way of justifying faith in the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels who teaches a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies is to suggest that he or she ruminate on and savor, these forty FAST FOOD Helpings and the Person and the Gospels that are their source. The only possible “proof “of the truth of this faith is to encourage a person seeking proof, seeking the truth, that he or she pray to God for clarity of mind and spirit, and then “taste and see” if this is not the Way, the only Way, to be freed oneself and to participate in freeing humanity from the chains of evil, sin, suffering and death forever.


Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Ninth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Ninth Helping


“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and He can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism,” states Rev. John L. McKenzie. Jews do not believe Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism. But, the same New Testament that presents Jesus as Nonviolent and His Way as being a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies also maintains He is the Messiah of Judaism and He can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism. The New Testament is not part of Hebrew Scriptures, so the fact that Jesus is designated the Messiah of Israel in these text carries no spiritual authority for the Jewish people. Their understanding and faith is as stated by Moses Maimonides (d.1204) in the twelfth of his thirteen principles of faith: “I believe with complete faith in the coming of the Messiah, and even though he may delay, nevertheless I anticipate every day that he will come.” Some Christian, however, believe that the Messiah of Judaism has come and He is the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth, who teaches as God’s Will a Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies. Should it not then be that these Christians who embrace the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels should regularly pray that Judaism come to see and accept the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth as the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel?

I am not suggesting that Constantinian Christians, who quantitatively compose most of what is named Christianity, regularly pray that Jews become Christian, that Jews should accept any of the institutional Churches of Christianity as something into which they should enter. I am saying that much like the “either-or” issues of whether monotheism, i.e., the one God, is violent or nonviolent, or whether the Jesus of the Gospels is violent or nonviolent, the issue of whether the Nonviolent Jesus is the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel is an “either-or” issue. If Judaism cannot be what it was chosen by God to be, cannot accomplished the mission for which it was created by God to accomplish, unless it accepts the Nonviolent Jesus as God’s chosen Nonviolent Messiah, why would not a believer in Nonviolent Jesus as the Nonviolent Messiah of Israel pray that such an acceptance would occur?

Admittedly, the violent, brutal, power riddled, enmity saturated Constantinian Churches,’ that have systematically tormented and destroyed Jewish people for centuries, are institutions that Jewish people should be a leery of in the extreme. The historical record makes clear that such Churches always have their finger on the trigger, and that the direction they fire in support of one day is the direction they can fire on the next day. But, for Jews to accept the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels as God’s choice to be the Messiah of Israel, proclaiming a Way of Nonviolent love of all, friends and enemies, as the Way to restore Israel, humanity and each person to their right relationship with God would be an entirely different choice for Jews to make. For disciples of the Nonviolent Jesus to pray for this acceptance, would not be praying for Jews to become part of the institutional Constantinian Church.

The salvation of Israel and through Israel of humanity is, like war, ultimately a God question. It is a question of what kind of God is God, and what does God expect of those to whom He has given existence?

“The last and highest of Jesus’ pronouncements is that of love of enemies…’Love your enemies’ in its fundamental meaning is deeply bound-up with Jewish faith and at the same time transcends it.”

- Martin Buber

“Jesus transformed the idea of Messiah when He fulfilled it. The total reality of Jesus Messiah is found nowhere in the Old Testament, not even in its totality. Jesus, however, could have emerged from nothing except Israel and the Old Testament. It is remarkable when one reflects that only as the Saviour of Israel can Jesus be recognized.

-John L. McKenzie.


Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Eighth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Eighth Helping

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

As I was saying in the prior FAST FOOD Helping, lest it be thought that it was being suggested that attacking, de-legitimizing, questioning, mocking, humiliating, denying and annihilating of a possible Nonviolent Messiah, e.g., Jesus, is a level of darkness to which only the religious and political power-people of Jerusalem in the AD 33 could fall in their lust for power, and in their desire to protect and enhance their positions of dominative power, and in their determination to hang on to the psychological and physical gratuities that attach themselves to such positions, consider the institutional Constantinian Churches over the last 1700 years.

What the religious and political power classes of these Churches—Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant—have done historically and are doing presently to the Nonviolent Messiah, Jesus, whom they not only proclaim is the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the World, but whom they also proclaim is God Incarnate, equals in spiritual darkness what the Jewish Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Temple priests and their Roman power-accomplices did to Jesus.

Since “Messiah” is a category of Jewish thought and since “Jesus is the Messiah of Judaism and can only be understood as the Messiah of Judaism” (J. L. McKenzie, ibid), the most telling question a Jew can place before a Christian is, “If Jesus is the redeemer, why doesn’t the world look more redeemed?” The most common response given by Christians at a popular level is the old chestnut from Chesterton: “Christianity has not been tried and found wanting. It has been found difficult; and left untried.” Talk about “being hoisted by your own petard!

Not trying to implement what the Messiah taught as the Will and Way of God for the Jew could only result from not believing that this is the Messiah speaking or from choosing to do evil, i.e., deciding not to do the Will of God. Since the faith of the Jews, and that includes Jesus, is an emmunah-faith, “total trust and reliance on God, where one shows trust through actions,” and not pisitis-faith, “a more intellectual belief in the cognitive truth of something,” to say I believe Jesus is the Messiah and then leave untried what He said, would either be nuts or evil. When God or God’s Messiah speaks, to try to do what is communicated is the “imperative of imperatives.” In other words the “do as I say, and not as I do” proclamation of Jesus Messiah and His Way has as little credibility among emmunah-faith Jews, yesterday and today, as it would have had little credibility for Jesus. This is why the most employed verb by Jesus in the Gospels is “do.”

To not do what God is communicating by His Word through His Messiah would be sin, if a person believed that what was said was God’s Word. But to believe something is the Word of God and then perform an Orwellian double-speak lobotomy on it and make it into the opposite of what it unequivocally means would be an abomination. To then spread this lobotomized Word as the true Word of God would be wickedness that matches what was done in Jerusalem on Good Friday in AD 33. It would be attempting to destroy God’s Plan for the salvation of Israel and for the salvation of all humanity as conveyed through God’s choice of a Messiah. It would be killing the messenger to kill the message that one does not want to hear or to be heard. This is about as evil as evil can get because it is not only flying in the face of God, it is also depriving Israel and humanity of the only Way out of the otherwise no exit world of evil, sin, suffering and death. 

Why is the Nonviolent Jesus’ teaching of the Way of Nonviolent Love of all, friends and enemies, “left untried,” to use the words of G. K. Chesterton? The primary, if not exclusive responsibility for this lies with the Churches’ power people, rulers, leaders and those who control the Churches’ wealth and communication avenues. They are the human beings who are primarily responsible for not allowing the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies to be born in the minds of Christians, and if born, to mature in the minds of Christians. And, if somehow the Nonviolent Jesus of the Gospels is born and matures in the minds of Christian, the religious power-holders will do all in their earthly power to kill the thought and make sure it is never resurrected. 

Daily they crucify Jesus in the minds of those in their Churches by means of attacking Him as unrealistic, by de-legitimizing Him as a Utopian idealist, by questioning the exclusive absoluteness of His spiritual and moral authority, by mocking His teaching as absurd in the real world, by humiliating Him by belittling the teaching He faithfully lived unto His own torture and death, by denying that His teaching is for all who choose to be Baptized, and generally, by annihilating all conscious thought about Him as the Messiah of Nonviolent Love of all under all conditions, even unto death.

Thoughts that people never hear, or if heard are relegated by trivialization to a state of preposterousness, are thoughts that people cannot choose or will not choose. Information control has always been a tactic of those driven by the lust for power, if a piece of information will raise serious questions about them and what they are about. But in this case it is information needed for their salvation, for the salvation of Israel and for the salvation of all humanity, that is airbrushed out, that is systematically century after centuries withheld from human beings who have a need and a right to hear it—and to hear it properly presented.

One can kill the messenger in various ways, thereby assuring that the message never gets to the ears of those who need and/or want to hear it. Contemporary examples of the use of this tactic by power people abound. But, when the message is the Word of God inviting people into God’s Way of removing evil, sin, suffering and death from the human condition for all, as well as God’s Way of inviting human beings into eternal communion with the Holy One, killing it by refusing to let it be heard or killing it by lobotomizing it is the maximal evil in which religious leaders can engage, whether in Jerusalem in AD 33 or in Rome, Constantinople, Canterbury or Geneva in AD 2014.


Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Seventh Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Seventh Helping


“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have a single thing against Jesus as the Messiah. Should the coming one be Jesus he would be precisely welcomed as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come,” says Jewish theologian, the late Pinchas Lapide. But, I am not so sure that such would be the case.

If a Messiah, whom Israel absolutely knew was the Messiah, proclaimed to Israel a Divine command to put up the sword and to live in total trust of the Father and His Way of Nonviolent Love of friends and enemies, I think, that at best He would receive a “mixed welcome.”  Most Jewish men, women and children would exclaim, “Hallelujah!” and would commence in trust (emmunah) to take the necessary actions to incorporate this Way into the fabric of their personal and social lives.

But, there would be a segment of Judaism whose response would not be so celebratory—the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers and their kept sycophants, most of whom would not have the privileges they have nor be able to maintain what they have without violence and enmity. The most basic of all the privileges they would loose is power, dominative, coercive, violent power over others. The history of human beings driven by the lust for power and the self-satisfying prerogatives it makes available to them is probably the most sordid dimension of the human condition. Men and women so driven will sacrifice anything and anybody that they think stands in the way of their climb up the ladder of power or that they think might pull the power ladder out from under them—even their God or by extension their Messiah. If their God or God’s Messiah cannot be harnessed to support their lust for power or their maintenance of power accumulated, or worse, if their God is a major and irremovable obstacle to their becoming king of the hill and staying king of the hill, then God or God’s Messiah’s supremely exalted place in people’s minds and lives has to be attacked, down-graded, delegitimized, questioned, mocked, denied and if at all possible annihilated.

Every form of lust, of any desire by which a person is consumed, including the lust for power, if fed by the person and/or others, has within it the potential energy to bring the person to calling evil good, to calling falsehood truth and of brining the person to brutally attacking, and if necessary killing, his or her God, and by extension his or her Messiah. Lust, including the lust for power, drives people out of their right minds.

Once that primary spiritual battlefield, the mind, is overrun by lust, “justified” sordid behavior is logically what cascades from the person into human existence to work its corrupting effects, not only for a moment, but for only God knows how long. If God or God’s Messiah is on the side of one’s lust then, “Praise the Lord.” If God or God’s Messiah is opposed to one’s lust then God or God’s chosen His Messiah has to be corrected, bought off or annihilated in mind and in memory. And, if God or God’s Messiah too accurately and too acutely threatens the “justifiability” of pursuing or maintaining one’s particular lust, then what God or God’s Messiah is purposing as an alternative must be quickly taken off the table. If possible it must be removed from circulation without even giving it a try, and placed as far out of view and consciousness as possible by those needing God or God’s chosen Messiah’s moral support for pursuing the lust to which they have handed over their minds, but are unable to acquire.

That it was the Jewish religious, political and economic elites, leaders, rulers of Jerusalem and their kept sycophants, who connived to have Jesus killed, and that it was their cohorts in the local Roman power system who agreed to fulfilled these desires and killed Him, is beyond question. This is just the typical arrangement among members of the power classes; one bloody hand washes the other bloody hand. The ordinary Jewish man or woman either felt positive about Jesus or was indifferent toward Him. That the average Jewish person at the time, let alone the majority of Jewish people at the time, wanted him killed is not in the realm of reasonable possibility from anything the Gospels tell us. That the religious powers-that-be whipped up a small crowd of people during the night and early morning hours to yell “Crucify him!,” in front of Pilate, I think, is also beyond question. Power people, left and right, are masters at organizing and orchestrating small, “spontaneous,” vociferous crowds to do their bidding. So the religious and political powerhouses, who probably had more to lose if than any one else if the Nonviolent Jesus of Nazareth was the Nonviolent Messiah chosen by God, made the basic decision on whether He and His Way were God’s choice to save Israel. And, to this day it seems that that decision by those few power-males holds uncontested and unexamined sway among most Jewish people.

Lest it be thought that this is a level of darkness to which only the religious and political power people of Jerusalem in the AD 30s could degenerate in the protection and enhancement of their power positions, consider what the religious and political power classes of the institutional Constantinian Churches have done to the One whom they not only proclaim is the Messiah of Israel and Saviour of the World, but to the One whom they proclaim is God Incarnate!


Fast for Gospel Nonviolence 2014 – Thirty-Sixth Helping

FAST FOOD (2014): Thirty-Sixth Helping

“We adore God Who is love, who in Jesus Christ gave Himself for us, Who offered Himself on the Cross to expiate our sins, and through the power of this love, rose from the dead and lives in His Church. We have no God other than Him”

Pope Francis, 6/21/14

FAST FOOD Helping Thirty-Five concluded with these words:

“Whether Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah of Israel, the Saviour of Israel, or not can objectively have—because of the principle of non-contradiction— only one truthful answer: yes or no. However, any yea or nay an individual human being would give to that question must be a faith answer, a faith answer which is intimately interconnected with whatever it is that is her or his faith understanding of what kind of God God is and what God expects.”

In his Two Types of Faith, Martin Buber distinguishes between the Hebraic emmunah faith: total trust and reliance on God, where one shows trust through actions. and St. Paul’s pistis faith: a more intellectual belief in the cognitive truth of something. Note, Buber attributes this pistis-type faith to Paul, not Jesus. Whatever else Jesus may or may not be objectively, He lives a life of unreserved, unswerving, unconditional emmunah-type faith.

Martin Buber is the most renowned Jewish theologian of the Twentieth Century. He says that at root the faith of Judaism is a relationship of trust (emmunah) in [The LORD] Without standing firm in trust in [The LORD], His word and His way there is no Abraham, no Moses, no Prophets, no Mary, no Jesus. Standing firm in one’s trust of the Holy One is the “imperative imperative” of the Jewish faith. Commenting on the necessity of this rock-like trust in God for faith he writes: “Only if a person stands firm in the fundamental relationship of his life (the relation of the person to the Power, the Source, the God from which his or her being originates and is sustained) does that person have an essential stability.”  But standing firm in trust in God always involves unknowns and possible dangers. Nevertheless, “the true Israelite trusts in the God who exists as a matter of course.” And, as one trusts, so he or she will be entrusted, e.g., Abraham, Moses, Mary, Jesus.

It takes only a little thinking, which still may be too much for too many, to see beyond the evil of the moment and perceive that there is universally running through the human condition a terrible and destructive power, which, can and does, century after century turn individual human lives into hellish cauldrons of misery and the world into a furnace of pain, anger, hate, enmity, deception, despair, cruelty, greed, callousness and death. It takes only a tad more thinking too see that there is no exit, no humanly conceivable way out the lock this power has on humanity. Both Jews and Christians recognize the reality and unrelenting intractableness of this pernicious power, whatever it is. Both also recognize that either [The LORD] saves the individual, the House of Israel and/or the human race from the clutches of its iron fist or there is no deliverance from it.

“Through its history Israel learns that salvation is not achieved through human culture or political institutions: salvation is achieved only through the intervention of [The LORD]. It also learns that the obstacle to salvation is man’s refusal to accept it. Messianism precisely understood, i.e., with reference to a personal human agent of deliverance chosen by God, brings out the human factor in deliverance: while it is the work of [The LORD], it is a work in which man must share”

(Rev. John L. McKenzie, Dictionary of the Bible @ Messiah, Messianism).

Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish theologian and historian, in dialogue with Karl Rahner, S.J. a Catholic theologian, said,

“Jesus was utterly true to the Torah, as I myself hope to be. I even suspect he was more true to the Torah than I as an Orthodox Jew…I cannot imagine that even a single Jew who believes in God would have a single thing against Jesus as the Messiah. Should the coming one be Jesus he would be precisely welcomed as any other whom God would designate as the redeemer of the world. If he would only come!”

At one level what Lapide says is incontestably true. The Messiah is God’s choice, chosen for God’s reasons, whose purpose is to save Israel and through Israel to save all humanity. Messiah is not an office one runs for; it is a ministry one is given by God. So a believing Jew would have to say, “Amen,” to God’s choice—although perhaps he or she would have made a different selection, if consulted. But, “Amen,” does not necessarily mean, “Welcome!” It means, “So be it;” “So it is;” “So shall it be;” “So it must be.”

When we speak of the Jewish Jesus of the Gospels as the Messiah of Israel, we are always speaking of a Nonviolent Messiah. But, we are also always speaking of “the Hebraic emmunah based faith that is the only faith that Jesus knew and that is the faith of Jews in Jesus’ time and today. An emmunah-faith intrinsically calls forth total trust and reliance on God; where one shows trust through actions.” Jesus assertion that “Not everyone who says to me,’ Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven” (Mt 21:7) is just a statement that is logically consistent with the emmunah faith in which He was raised.  In a pistis based faith, one can apparently sing with his or her lips until he or she is blue in the face, “He is Lord! He is risen from the dead and He is Lord. Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,” and trust the Lord only to the extent cultural common commonsense says it is reasonable to trust in Him. So, would a Nonviolent Messiah who would necessarily call forth that level of incarnational emmunah, which is reserved for [The LORD] alone, receive a “Welcome,” or even an “Amen, brother,” from a community that knows faith means emmunah and not merely lip service?

If as it seemingly is with having a pistis-faith in a Nonviolent Messiah, a believer can “praise the Lord and pass the ammunition,” well then, a Nonviolent Messiah would be more that welcome. But if one has an emmunah-faith and the Nonviolent Messiah teaches, “Stop biting the donkey back and forget the search for a faster horse because such are not the Way that the Father of all saves Israel and all humanity”, then a believer in this Messiah has to wholeheartedly trust in the Messiah’s communication as truthfully presenting the Word and Way of God, AND he or she has put it, and nothing contrary to it, into action. We are here presented with two very different answers to the question, “How does the Messiah save?


[editor’s note: The Name of The LORD (the Sacred Tetragrammaton) is used several times in this Helping. I hold The Name as absolutely Holy, never say it and offer reparation when I hear it said. This was the practice of the Fathers of the Church. I try to substitute it’s occurrence with [The LORD] as is the practice in the original Catholic documents]