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Posts Tagged ‘Hitler’

Taking Chances

In 08 Musings by Jack Reagan on 2014/10/03 at 12:00 AM

Catholic theology teaches that God consists of three Persons: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.  All are co-eternal, all equal, and all distinct.  Because, in His very nature, God is perfect, the interrelationship between the Persons is also perfect, meaning that the Trinity lacks nothing and needs nothing else to enhance it in any way.

Yet, God did create the world and the human race simply because He wanted to; there was no need to do so whatsoever.  He wanted to give humans the opportunity to participate to some degree in the divine life, not become divine, which is impossible for humans, but to enjoy a union with God that will never end.

In one sense, this was a pure gift.  God needs no human person or any number of them to make Him more complete.  (If He did need humans, He would be lacking something. And, that means He would not be perfect.)  The world could vanish tomorrow, and He would be none the worse for it.

This union with God is a potential gift, not an absolute gift.  There is a price of admission.  Humans are creatures of God and must honor and obey their Creator in order to attain this eternal union.  Those who do this satisfactorily are what is often referred to as “saved,” or as saints.  Those who fail to follow God’s commands will be eternally deprived of ever sharing divine life.  That is their own choice.

Mankind is morally weak.  He likes what we call “sin.”  (Modern man has deleted the traditional list of sins (i.e. the Ten Commandments), so that for him, the only real sins are racism, sexism, environmental abuse, and being intolerant of  wrong ideas.  Virtue is not easy to attain, and we are constantly “falling off the wagon.”  To reach the eternal reward is a lifetime chore.  God knows that we are weak and too often fall back in sin.  We don’t want to, but we do.  Any sin is an offense against God who is all-holy, but some sins are worse than others, for example, murder (including abortion), adultery,  skipping Sunday Mass for insufficient or no reason, blasphemy, etc.  The only remedy for serious (i.e. mortal) sin for Catholics is to seek divine mercy through Confession/Reconciliation in the Catholic Church.  This mercy is available to every sinner regardless of the number and magnitude of his/her sins.

Divine mercy is not an abstract idea; it is very real. If you have ever committed a mortal sin and confessed it, you experienced divine mercy.  If you lived in a state of on-going serious sin for a long time, but eventually went to Confession, you, too, have experienced divine mercy.  If you have lived in a state of serious sin for a long time, and you are still alive, you are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?   The millions of lapsed Catholics are experiencing divine mercy…but for how long?

Divine mercy has its limits.  Divine mercy to any serious sinner is a gift.  It is not required of God.  This mercy must be sought by the sinner; it is not automatic. If you insist on living a sinful lifestyle, God will not interfere; it is your choice.  If you ignore divine mercy, you will not receive it. Perhaps worst of all, divine mercy is not available after death.  Then, there will only by judgment.  There is no faith or repentance after death; no faith because you will know with certainty what you once had to accept by faith; there is no repentance because you are now existing in eternity which has no past, present, or future.  Thus, you cannot see your error and claim sorrow for sin….too late.  The die is cast!  The sinner and saint have made their eternal choices, and God ratifies THEM.  He sends no one to Hell; we send ourselves there.  The  time to seek divine mercy is now.

There is a movement developing in Catholic and Protestant circles that suggests Hell may not be eternal, that God is so good that He could not bear to leave people in Hell, and eventually everyone will get to Heaven.  By this thinking, St. Francis of Assisi and Adolph Hitler would both be in Heaven eventually.  Certainly a comforting thought for the sinner, but totally false.  Why would God demand morality in this life if it didn’t really matter if you obeyed Him or not?  Why should people strive for a virtuous life while history’s egregious villains end up in divine favor?  Besides, Christ Himself referred more to Hell than Heaven in the Gospels because He knew it was really possible to go there. And, He never implied it was a temporary place.

I have heard too many sermons in which God’s “love” is extolled beyond reason.  It is usually put forth as a romantic, sentimental, unconditional, and totally undemanding “love.”  No matter how sinful we are, the most we hear from God is, “Tsk, tsk.” But, true love, in any relationship, is a commitment to another person.  Basically, love is an act of the will.  If the Bible says anything about divine love, it says over and over that love toward God is shown only by our obedience to divine law. (“If you love me, keep  my commandments.”)

I met a man who said that he was not at all worried about sin, damnation, and Hell because he didn’t believe in them.  When I was child, I was a firm and sincere devotee of Santa Claus, but my belief did not change reality; there was no Santa Cause.  This man’s beliefs, or lack of them, will not change reality. Sin, damnation and Hell are realities, and their existence is not dependent upon his or anyone’s belief or lack of belief.  Reality is truth, and it exists outside of us; we do not decide what it is.

Divine mercy is real, and if you need it (we all do), it is available for the asking.  After we die, there will be a realization in the sinner’s mind that s/he lived the wrong life, but it will be too late to do anything about.  Lord, have mercy on us NOW.

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Pius XII knew he would be misunderstood, theologian says

In 13 History on 2014/05/30 at 12:00 AM

 

Vatican City, Sep 26, 2013 / 05:34 am (CNA/EWTN News).- A priest who knew Pius XII personally and had access to “every strip of paper” in the Vatican archives says the pontiff believed he did the right thing during the holocaust despite knowing he would be questioned.

Ninety year-old Father Peter Gumpel, a former professor at the Gregorio University in Rome for 25 years, was simultaneously appointed as a Theological Consultant to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints and as Assistant Postulator General.

He was personally acquainted with Pope Pius XII, and has met every pontiff since with the exception of John Paul I.

The work that Fr. Gumpel was assigned as a theological consultant was to “examine everything” related to Pius XII and other causes of interest, and to present the information in a “historically and theologically accurate way to the congregation before they start to discuss it,” he told CNA in a Sept. 17 interview.

The cause of canonization for Pius XII was overseen by Fr. Gumpel, who was in charge of the research needed in order to prove the late pope’s heroic virtue.

“I had absolute access to every strip of paper that is in the Vatican archives,” he said. “The period of Pius the XII is not yet accessible to scholars, but as a responsible investigating judge, I had to see everything.”

The priest added that he studied “about 100,000 pages” in documents and correspondence in the life of the pontiff.

In his research, Fr. Gumpel confirmed that there were already some who opposed the Pope’s course of action during the Nazi persecution of World War II in the 1940s, and that Pius XII himself was aware of it.

The late pontiff faced criticism then and in subsequent decades for being perceived as silent or inactive in the face of the holocaust. It is believed, however, that the Pope chose to help the victimized secretly so as not to provoke increased persecution by the Nazis.

“He knew that some of his measures were not pleasing to everybody,” Fr. Gumpel noted, and that “at a certain moment he said, ‘I know that what I am going to do will not be pleasing to everybody, but I am going to do it because in conscience I feel that it is my duty to do it.’”

“So he was aware that there would be opposition. It is an attitude that any person with higher responsibility has to take.”

Fr. Gumpel recalled how some during the time of the war thought that the Church should publicly react against the holocaust, but stressed that this “was totally useless.”

“Anytime anybody made a public protest, it aggravated the situation.”

“If you find documents from the Polish episcopacy during the occupation of the Germans of Poland,” he said, it was clearly pleaded “‘don’t speak out, it doesn’t help anything, it only makes things worse.’”

“The same happened in the German resistance movement against Hitler. They said, ‘For Heaven’s sake, don’t say anything because it will make the situation, the persecution will be even worse.’”

Pius XII, he emphasized, “knew that this in the future would be misunderstood.”

“People who had no responsibility in government, who had never dealt with a situation like this, would not understand it,” Fr. Gumpel said, quoting a Jewish lawyer named Kempner who defended Pope Pius XII by saying “the only thing to do was to help people in secrecy as much as possible.”

Another aspect of Pius XII that Fr. Gumpel believes is “very much unknown to people,” is the pastoral heart of the late pope.

“He was always presented as a diplomat,” Fr. Gumpel said, referencing the late pope’s natural gifting and service in this area.

The priest explained that Pius XII had been a bright student, and was asked by a high-ranking official of the Secretary of State on behalf of the Pope to come into the diplomatic service of the Holy See.

However, “he wanted to become a parish priest,” Fr. Gumpel noted, stressing that Pope Pius XII was always primarily concerned with the care of souls. He “didn’t want to become a diplomat,” but did so out of obedience.

Other causes for canonization under Father Gumpel’s jurisdiction that have received decree on the diversity of virtues — meaning, their heroic virtue has been proved — are Mother Katherine Drexel and Cardinal John Henry Newman.