Thursday, June 21, 2018


We normally think that there is a strict vetting process for those who are to be named bishops especially to important sees like Washington, DC. And yes, we think that there is a stricter vetting process for those named cardinals.

Obviously, in some cases, the vetting process shows nothing but the exemplary nature of the man promoted. But sometimes there are files, secret files, in chanceries that tell another story.

Who dropped the ball here? Or did they simply did not care?

From the Vatican Insider:

The Archbishop of Newark, Cardinal Joseph William Tobin... informs that his diocese “has never received an accusation that Cardinal McCarrick abused a minor” but adds that “In the past, there have been allegations that he engaged in sexual behavior with adults. This Archdiocese (Newark) and the Diocese of Metuchen received three allegations of sexual misconduct with adults decades ago; two of these allegations resulted in settlements”.  

From Tobin’s words, it emerges... the existence of various accusations against McCarrick for problems of a sexual nature, concluded with financial agreements, but without these regarding the abuse of minors. And documents and testimonies about the fact that the Cardinal Emeritus of Washington harassed the seminarians began to circulate: in one of them there was talk of a trip by the then Archbishop of Newark with two young priests and a seminarian with whom he shared the bedroom. 

My final comments: I think most Catholics and even the liberal press are at the point of Catholic Church scandal fatigue. But how did Cardinal McCarrick get named a cardinal by Pope St. John Paul II when in fact both Newark and Meteuchen had scandalous facts about him? Did anyone share this with the Apostolic Nuncio at the time?????????? And if not, why not and if so, why was he promoted? These are important questions for the Vatican to answer. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


Most dioceses in the USA experimented with allowing outdoor any kind of sacrament in the 1960's and 70's and soon discovered what a mistake it was!

Don't these dioceses have a memory of any kind? Evidently not, given our return to the 1970's these past five years:

Catholics Can Now Marry Outdoors in Two U.S. Cities


Pope Francis gives another interview and some interesting responses to questions.

From the Vatican Insider:

The Pope on U.S. Migrants: the separation of children from their parents is “immoral”

Francis interviewed by Reuters takes up the bishops' words in criticizing Trump's policies. On immigration in Italy: no to rejections, but the crisis must be tackled with the whole of Europe. And says he has no plans to resign
andrea tornielli
vatican city
Separating children from parents as is the case with migrants on the Mexican border is "immoral". Pope Francis says it in an interview with the Vatican journalist Phil Pullella of the Reuters agency, saying he is against the decision taken by the Trump administration to separate the families of those seeking to enter the United States. In the summary published by the agency, the Pope showed optimism on the progress of the negotiations that could lead to an agreement on the nomination of bishops in China. Francis also spoke of the scandal of child abuse in Chile and said he may accept more bishops’ resignations.

Under President Donald Trump's zero-tolerance immigration policy, the US authorities plan to criminally prosecute all immigrants caught crossing the Mexican border illegally: holding adults in jail while their children are sent to government shelters. Bergoglio declared to Reuters that he shared the statements of the US bishops who called the separation of children from their parents "contrary to our values" and "immoral". “I am on the side of the bishops’ conference” the Pope said, adding that the situation “It’s not easy, but populism is not the solution”.

The populists, for the Pontiff, "are creating a psychosis" on the issue of immigration, even as aging societies like Europe are faced with “a great demographic winter” and thus need more immigrants. Without immigration, he added, Europe “will become empty.”

The Pope then spoke about the Aquarius, the ship run by two humanitarian associations forced to disembark in Spain 629 migrants it had rescued from the sea because the Italian government refused access to ports. Bergoglio, answering a question on the decisions taken by the Minister of the Interior Matteo Salvini, said: “I believe that you cannot reject people who arrive. You have to receive them, help them, look after them, accompany them and then see where to put them, but throughout all of Europe”. 
In the interview, Francis also spoke of the internal conservative opposition, explaining that he prays for those who say "nasty things" about him. The Pope said that the future of the Catholic Church is "on the streets" and assured that he wants to appoint more women to head the offices of the Holy See, because women are more capable of resolving conflicts, although this should not lead to "masculinism in a skirt". But at the same time, as he had already done several times in the last five years, Francis excluded the possibility of the female priesthood: "John Paul II was clear and closed the door and I do not come back to this. It was something serious".  
Finally, regarding his health, Bergoglio said to be well despite the pain in his legs related to a back condition. He reiterated that perhaps sooner or later he may resign for health reasons as his predecessor Benedict XVI did in 2013, but added: “Right now, I am not even thinking about it.”

Tuesday, June 19, 2018


I feel privileged to celebrate the Sung EF Mass for the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist at the Cathedral of Saint John the Baptist at 1 pm this coming Sunday. How cool is that?

But let me point out the obvious. Vatican II called for the more lavish use of Scripture. Once we got the new lectionary, what happened to the required use of the Propers? These were jettisoned in most parishes in favor of hymns of some kind, biblical or otherwise but usually not the Scriptures prescribed. 

The Propers are Scripture and were lavishly and slavishly used in the EF and still are. Would you substitute a Scripture reading in the Liturgy of the Word for a hymn of some kind or a poem. Yes, some would but they are illicit in doing so.

Don't omit the Propers!!!!!!!!!!!

INTROIT Isa. 49:1, 2
The Lord has called me by name from my mother's womb, and He has made my mouth as a sharp sword. Under the shadow of His hand He has protected me, and has made me a chosen arrow.
Ps. 91:2. It is good to praise the Lord, and sing to Your name, O Most High!
V. Glory be . . .

O God, the birth of blessed John made this day one of honor to us. Grant the grace of spiritual happiness to Your people everywhere, and lead Your people in the path of eternal salvation. Through our Lord . . .

LESSON Isa. 49:1-3, 5, 6, 7
Give ear, ye islands, and hearken, ye people from afar. The Lord hath called me from the womb, from the bowels of my mother he hath been mindful of my name. And he hath made my mouth like a sharp sword: in the shadow of his hand he hath protected me, and hath made me as a chosen arrow: in his quiver he hath hidden me. And he said to me: Thou art my servant Israel, for in thee will I glory. And now the Lord, who formed me from the womb to be his servant, says, "Behold, I have given thee to be the light of the Gentiles, that thou mayst be my salvation even to the farthest part of the earth. Kings shall see, and princes shall rise up, and adore for the Lord's sake, because he is faithful, and for the Holy One of Israel, who hath chosen thee."

GRADUAL Jer. 1:5, 9
Before I formed you in the body of your mother, I knew you; and before you came forth from the womb, I sanctified you.
V. The Lord stretched forth His hand and touched my mouth, and said to me:

Alleluia, alleluiaV. Luke 1:76
"Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High, for thou shall go before the Lord to prepare His ways." Alleluia!

GOSPEL Luke 1:57-68
At that time, Elizabeth's full time of being delivered was come: and she brought forth a son. And her neighbors and kinsfolks heard that the Lord had shewed his great mercy towards her: and they congratulated with her. And it came to pass that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child: and they called him by his father's name Zachary. And his mother answering, said: "Not so. But he shall be called John." And they said to her: "There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name." And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. And demanding a writing table, he wrote, saying: "John is his name." And they all wondered. And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed: and he spoke, blessing God. And fear came upon all their neighbours: and all these things were noised abroad over all the hill country of Judea. And all they that had heard them laid them up in their heart, saying: "What an one, think ye, shall this child be?" For the hand of the Lord was with him. And Zachary his father was filled with the Holy Ghost. And he prophesied, saying: "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel: because he hath visited and wrought the redemption of his people."

The just man shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar of Lebanon.

We place our gifts upon Your altar, O Lord, in solemn celebration of the birthday of John. John was the herald of the coming of the Saviour of the world, and pointed Him out when He arrived as Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord; who lives and rules with You.

Thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Most High, for thou shalt go before the Lord to prepare His ways.

O God, let Your Church rejoice over the birth of blessed John the Baptist, for through him she came to know the author of her own birth, Jesus Christ, Your Son our Lord; who lives and rules with You . . .


We know that the Pontifical Mass in the Ancient usage celebrated by Cardinal Robert Sarah allowed some things that EF purists simply can't digest.

However, I think that Cardinal Sarah knows that more people will be engaged in the EF Mass if some minor changes are allowed.

Thus, "Jake" on the post on Cardinal Sarah's liberties tells us that there were other liberties taken too.

I think these liberties would open the door to more bishops celebrating this Mass as it is a form of "noble simplicity" that Vatican II actually endorsed.

Here is Jake's comment:

 It appears that Cardinal Sarah followed the 1968 Instruction 'Pontificales ritus', i.e. he pontificated sans gloves, buskins and sandals, gremial, and restricted himself to the use of a single mitre.

Moreover, the Cardinal encircled the (rubrically correct) freestanding altar (without gradines or faux tabernacle!) during the incensations. In doing so, the Cardinal, intentionally or not, highlighted that the concept of a freestanding altar (rubrically correct according to the Tridentine books) and the position of the priest vis-à-vis the altar and congregation are two separate issues, which are often conflated. 

My final comment: If we want the EF Mass to have more parishes celebrating it, some common sense adjustments should be allowed and Cardinal Sarah is preparing the way!


I've been at Saint Anne's now exactly two years on June 22nd and all by my lonesome as a priest.

That will change on July 1st when newly ordained Father Drew Larkin is assigned as St. Anne's first parochial vicar.

Fr. Drew is from Macon, Georgia's St. Peter Claver Church, thus I have known him for years.

He will be ordained at our Cathedral on June 30th at 10 AM. He won't begin in the parish until July 6th.

He studied at the North American College in Rome where he was ordained a deacon in the photo above.


Yes, I was wondering the same thing that this CNS story alleges and it tells you how the news  media is controlled by architects of the new world order that leaves authentic, orthodox Christianity out of it:

Pope Francis Says Gay Couples Are Not a Family

CNS News

Sunday, June 17, 2018


This is a great, short video. There are two "Benedictions." The one in the Texas State House is great. I wonder how they got permission?

But the rigid doctor of the law in me has to complain about the young priest carrying the Monstrance in Procession in front of the Austin Cathedral. I do believe it is not appropriate for the priest to wear his biretta while in procession and certainly not in giving the Benediction. In fact a bishop would not wear his zucchetta either and certainly not his miter! But apart from that, it is splendid.


The Holy Father is hitting the ball out of the park and this one will hit progressives in the world square in the forehead and make them scream against the Holy Father, which means, the Holy Father is speaking the Truth, with a capital "T"!

And we all know how politically incorrect it is to equate abortion to the Holocaust and the Nazi mentality. When will the progressives start howling over this one!

First here is a google translation of what the Pope say off-the-cuff as recounted by Sandro Magister:


Given that "it takes courage" to "talk about the family today", Francis expressed himself with politically very incorrect words in at least two moments:
Against the so-called "gay marriages":
"The greatest gift God gave to humanity is the family, because after the story of the creation of man, God shows us that he created man and woman in his image and likeness, and Jesus himself, when he speaks of marriage, he says: 'Man will leave his father and mother and his wife will become one flesh.' Because they are the image and likeness of God. You are an icon of God: the family is an icon of God. the woman: it is precisely the image of God. He has said it, I do not say it, and this is great, it is sacred.
"Today - it hurts to say - we are talking about 'diversified' families: different types of families Yes, it is true that the word 'family' is an analogical word, because we talk about the 'family' of the stars, the 'families' of the trees, of the 'families' of animals ... It is an analogical word, but the human family as an image of God, man and woman, is only one.
And even harder against selective abortions:
"Children are the greatest gift: children who welcome themselves as they come, as God sends them, as God permits - even if sometimes they are sick.I heard that it is fashionable - or at least it is habitual - in the first months of pregnancy make certain examinations, to see if the child is not well, or comes with some problem ... The first proposal in that case is: 'We send him away?' The murder of children. out an innocent.
"When I was a boy, the teacher taught us history and told us what the Spartans were doing when a child was born with malformations: they took him to the mountain and threw him down, to treat 'the purity of the race.' And we remained stunned: 'But how , how can you do this, poor children! "It was an atrocity.Today we do the same.You wondered why you do not see so many dwarves on the street? Because the protocol of so many doctors - many, not all - is to do the question: 'Is it bad?' I say this with grief: in the last century, the whole world was scandalized by what the Nazis did to treat the purity of the race, but today we do the same, but with white gloves ".

And this is the associated press account:

Pope: Abortion is 'white glove' equivalent to Nazi crimes



Commonweal is a progressive Catholic periodical. Thus it is heartening to read this article from it. The author gets it.

The other thing that ad orientem gets extremely right to the question, "who is the priest celebrating the Mass in the photo below?," is the answer "it doesn't matter!"

(Creative Commons)

Silent Grace

Finding Peace in the Latin Mass

Saturday, June 16, 2018


I disagree that Pope Paul VI was the worst pope. There was a giddiness  blowing throughout the Church by 1965 (a pre-Vatican II triumphalism applied to a "pastoral ecumenical council") that convinced the pope and bishops that Vatican II would usher in the Holy Spirit as though at a new Pentecost bringing about a "new springtime" for the Church.

In other words, Vatican II was imposed onto the Church in the most Pre-Vatican II way possible, by the triumphalism of authority and obedience!

People believed that for the most part, especially those in the the clergy and religious. 

In fact, by 1967 or 1968 in the USA, very pious, pre-Vatican II faithful Catholics ushered in the Charismatic movement as a result of unbridled ecumenism with fundamentalist, pentecostal Protestants.

If there was ever a 20th century symbol of the meaning behind the Old Testament "Tower of Babel" passage, this is it!

Pope Paul VI began to realize the folly of what was happening with the "spirit of Vatican II" by 1968 but was impotent or unwilling to apply pre-Vatican II disciplinary methods on post-Vatican II idiots. He was weak but not corrupt.

Pope Francis has not moved from applying pre-Vatican II triumphalism onto the Second Vatican Council and the new pastoral paradigm it presents in a triumphalist way. In fact Pope Francis uses the term of the 1960's of the "God of surprises" to justify the post-Vatican II chaos.

Pope Francis is also more interested in charismatic Catholics and their enthusiasm than in pre-Vatican II Catholics. Just this past year he met with a convergence of Pentecostal Catholics and joined them in their free-wheeling style of prayer, but did not meet with Extraordinary Form Catholics who gathered in Rome and for a Mass at St. Peter's Basilica.


Last night, a Jeopardy contestant swept the television category to the audience's adulation as well as that of Alex Trevec.

But this was the "Final Jeopardy" answer:

This island was discoverd by Alphonse d'Alburquerque 40 days after Easter who gave the island its name. 


Oh, the humanity!

Do you know the question?

Friday, June 15, 2018


Vatican II did not intend this, but his is what happened:

Before Vatican II:
They said Vatican II mandated this:
 They said, no Vatican II didn't mandate stripping things and it was restored

When you look at the current mast photo of an ordination in the Extraordinary Form, you see why 95% of Catholics attended Mass each Sunday: it was otherworldly and it brought peace and beauty to people's lives. Something important was happening in the Church--a foretaste of heaven where everything would be made right and beautiful.

How is it that the implementation of Vatican II's liturgical suggestions got it so wrong? Did Vatican II mandate the stripping of churches, altars, railings, art, statuary and icons, the dismantling of reredoes?

No, only those who listened to liturgical theologians after Vatican II who promoted an "anti-Council" or the Protestantization of our liturgy and churches are the ones that caused this. I hope they repented before they died.

Thursday, June 14, 2018


The church above is being moved from contaminated ground caused over the decades by the Atlanta Gas-light company. It was slated to be torn down but because of its historic nature, they are moving it across the street. I had no idea a brick church, that size, could be moved. Incredible!

Church is just two blocks behind my former parish, The Church of the Most Holy Trinity, and yes our ground was contaminated too, but not like the ground where the church being moved was. 

Here is the Augusta Chronicle article that accompanies the above video:

Supporters prayed and sang as the historic “Mother Trinity” church, considered the birthplace of the Christian Methodist Episcopal denomination, began her short but slow journey across Taylor Street on Wednesday.

“What a glorious day it is,” said the Rev. Herman “Skip” Mason, pastor of Augusta’s new Trinity CME, where members relocated in the late 1990s from downtown Augusta. “We give glory to God, but we also must give thanks to the Augusta Canal Authority.”

Mason said the short move, about 250 feet to a new site closer to the Augusta Canal, “doesn’t take it too much out of its historical context” and that he hopes the church enjoys “a new life and a new purpose” in its new location.

The canal authority spearheaded the latest in a nearly 20-year push to save the historic church, which was built by former slaves in the 1890s at the site of CME’s founding a half-century earlier. Despite its historic past, the church was targeted for demolition by Atlanta Gas Light as part of a massive remediation effort to remove coal tar contamination from the soil that began in the 1990s.

he authority led the “Save Mother Trinity” effort which raised $475,000 to relocate, rather than demolish the church, and Authority Executive Director Dayton Sherrouse said the church’s story continued Wednesday as organizers determine how to renovate and put the church to new use.

“Eventually we’ll find the right thing to do with her so she can shine her light into the 21st century,” said Rebecca Rogers, authority director of marketing and public relations.

The relocated church’s future remains uncertain, but will be aided by a $15,000 grant the canal authority obtained last week to develop a plan and make recommendation for its use, Rogers said. Plans could include a connection with nearby Dyess Park, she said.

Gil Gilyard watched the move on the 47th anniversary of his wedding there on June 13, 1971. Gilyard said he’d been involved when the church served as lead plaintiff in litigation against Atlanta Gas Light, which eventually settled the contamination claims.

Louise Lee, 92, likely one of the oldest Trinity members to witness the church move Wednesday, said she recalled some in the congregation crying over the decision to relocate in the 1990s, but she did not. Now things are turning around.

“If it had to be done, it had to be done,” Lee said. “I try to deal with things as they happen.”
Teresa Shanks Brooks said she first attended Trinity as a child while visiting her aunt, who lived on Taylor Street. “This is history here,” Brooks said.

Frank Lampkin grew up on Taylor Street and watched the church move in disbelief. “I’m just surprised because I had no idea they could do that,” he said.
The move was slow and the church hadn’t reached a platform across Taylor Street by noon. The move was later halted and will begin again at 9 a.m. today.

During the move, Melody Meriweather said she had the “best seat in the house” as she fished in the nearby canal with a perfect view of the move.

The estimated 400-ton brick church was hoisted on steel girders and special dollies in preparation for the move, which was orchestrated by John Landers of Hercules House Movers. The schedule for moving the church was delayed by recent heavy rains.
Observer Darrin Nix said he was pleased to see the community come together to accomplish the move.

“People have to rally behind a cause,” Nix said. “They can’t just armchair quarterback.”

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


Sandro Magister tells us by way of another great theologian, Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap. what Gnosticism actually is!

Gnosticism, an Ancient Heresy. But Here's How It's Reappearing Today

The language of Pope Francis has already been the object of numerous analyses, which converge in recognizing his great communicative efficacy. But there are two epithets that he often applies to his adversaries within the Church, and yet are incomprehensible to most: “Gnostic” and “Pelagian.”

Not only that. Even the few who understand the ordinary significance of these two epithets find that many times Jorge Mario Bergoglio uses them contrary to their meaning. (I have said that time and time again! And that's why I believe Cardinal-Elect Ladaria clarified it!)

It is breathtaking, for example, that he - in the book-length interview with the French sociologist Dominique Wolton - should apply the term “Pelagian” to none other than the mathematician, philosopher, and man of faith of the seventeenth century Blaise Pascal, who was the polar opposite of this and wrote that masterpiece which is “Les Provinciales” precisely in order to unmask the Pelagianism, the real thing, of many Jesuits of his time.

In the agenda-setting document of his pontificate, the exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium,” Francis dedicated an entire paragraph, 94, to what these two epithets mean to him.

But since then he has always used them in such an offhanded and interchangeable way as to induce even the congregation for the doctrine of the faith - in the recent letter to the bishops “Placuit Deo” - to bring a bit of order to the matter, stating in what really consist the two “deviations” now present in the Church “that resemble certain aspects of two ancient heresies, Pelagianism and Gnosticism.”

But once again without any appreciable effect on the elocution of Bergoglio, who never names the targets of his invective but lets everyone imagine who it may be, for example in the person of Cardinal Robert Sarah, he too covertly accused by the pope of “Gnosticism” and another time of “Pelagianism,” in the same way - entirely undeserved and improper - as a Pascal.

The following commentary is an attempt to bring clarity to the use of one of the two terms - “Gnosticism” - by an American theologian already known to the readers of Settimo Cielo, who had the opportunity to appreciate the open letter that he wrote to Pope Francis last summer: Thomas G. Weinandy, a member of the international theological commission consolidated into the Vatican congregation for the doctrine of the faith.

Fr. Weinandy shows how the dispute over “neo-Gnosticism” is not at all marginal, because it affects the transition underway in the Catholic Church, a transition set in motion by Pope Francis and feared and criticized by some, and by others eagerly pursued.

The commentary appeared on June 7 on the American website “The Catholic Thing” and is reproduced here in its entirety.


by Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.

There is much discussion today concerning the presence of a new Gnosticism within the Catholic Church.  Some of what has been written is helpful, but much of what has been described as a revival of this heresy has little to do with its ancient antecedent. Moreover, attributions of this ancient heresy to various factions within contemporary Catholicism are generally misdirected.  To bring some clarity to this discussion of neo-Gnosticism first demands a clear understanding of the old form.

Ancient Gnosticism came in various forms and expressions, often quite convoluted, but some essential principles are discernible:

-  First, Gnosticism holds a radical dualism: “matter” is the source of all evil, and “spirit” is the divine origin of all that is good.

- Second, human beings are composed of both matter (the body) and spirit (which provides access to the divine).

- Third, “salvation” consists in obtaining true knowledge ("gnosis"), an enlightenment that allows progress from the material world of evil to the spiritual realm, and ultimately communion with the immaterial supreme deity.

- Fourth,  diverse “Gnostic Redeemers” were proposed, each claiming to possess such knowledge, and to provide access to this “salvific” enlightenment.
In light of the above, human beings fall into three categories:

1) the "sarkic" or "fleshly" people, are so imprisoned in the material or bodily world of evil that they are incapable of receiving “salvific knowledge”;

2) the "psychic" or "soulish", are partially confined to the "fleshly" realm and partially initiated into the spiritual domain. (Within “Christian Gnosticism,” these are the ones who live by mere “faith,” for they do not possess the fullness of divine knowledge.  They are not fully enlightened and so must rely on what they “believe.”);

3) finally, there are people capable of full enlightenment, the "Gnostics", for they possess the fullness of divine knowledge.  By means of their saving knowledge, they can completely extricate themselves from the evil material world and ascend to the divine.

They live and are saved not by “faith” but by “knowledge.”

Compared to ancient Gnosticism, what is now being proposed as neo-Gnosticism within contemporary Catholicism appears confused and ambiguous, as well as misdirected. Some Catholics are accused of neo-Gnosticism because they allegedly believe that they are saved because they adhere to inflexible and lifeless “doctrines” and strictly observe a rigid and merciless “moral code.”  They claim to “know” the truth and, thus, demand that it must be held and, most importantly, obeyed.

These “neo-Gnostic Catholics” are supposedly not open to the fresh movement of the Spirit within the contemporary Church.  The latter is often referred to as “the new paradigm.”

Admittedly, we all know Catholics who act superior to others, who flaunt their fuller understanding of dogmatic or moral theology to accuse others of laxity.  There is nothing new about such righteous judgmentalism.  This sinful superiority, however, falls squarely under the category of pride and is not in itself a form of Gnosticism.

It would be right to call this neo-Gnosticism only if those so accused were proposing a “new salvific knowledge,” a new enlightenment that differs from Scripture as traditionally understood, and from what is authentically taught by the living magisterial tradition.

Such a claim cannot be made against “doctrines” that, far from being lifeless and abstract truths, are the marvelous expressions of the central realities of Catholic faith – the Trinity, Incarnation, the Holy Spirit, the real substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Jesus’ law of love for God and neighbor reflected in the Ten Commandments, etc.  These “doctrines” define what the Church was, is, and always will be.  They are the doctrines that make her one, holy, catholic, and apostolic.

Moreover, these doctrines and commandments are not some esoteric way of life that enslaves one to irrational and merciless laws, imposed from without by a tyrannical authority.  Rather, these very “commandments” were given by God, in his merciful love, to humankind in order to ensure a holy god-like life.

Jesus, the Father’s incarnate Son, has further revealed to us the manner of life we are to live in expectation of his kingdom. When God tells us what we must never do, he is protecting us from evil, the evil that can destroy our human lives – lives he created in his image and likeness.

Jesus saved us from the devastation of sin through his passion, death, and resurrection, and he poured out his Holy Spirit precisely to empower us to live genuinely human lives.  To promote this way of life is not to propose a new salvific knowledge.  In ancient Gnosticism, people of faith – bishops, priests, theologians, and laity – would be called psychics. Gnostics would look down upon them precisely because they cannot claim any unique or esoteric “knowledge.” They are forced to live by faith in God’s revelation as understood and faithfully transmitted by the Church.

Those who mistakenly accuse others of neo-Gnosticism propose – when confronted with the nitty-gritty of real-life doctrinal and moral issues – the need to seek out what God would have them do, personally. People are encouraged to discern, on their own, the best course of action, given the moral dilemma they face in their own existential context – what they are capable of doing at this moment in time.  In this way, the individual’s own conscience, his or her personal communion with the divine, determines what the moral requirements are in the individual’s personal circumstances.  What Scripture teaches, what Jesus stated, what the Church conveys through her living magisterial tradition are superseded by a higher “knowledge,” an advanced “illumination.”

If there is any new Gnostic paradigm in the Church today, it would seem to be found here.  To propose this new paradigm is to claim to be truly “in-the-know,” to have special access to what God is saying to us as individuals here and now even if it goes beyond and may even contradict what He has revealed to everyone else in Scripture and tradition.

At the very least, no one claiming this knowledge should ridicule as neo-Gnostics those who live merely by “faith” in God’s revelation as brought forward by the Church’s tradition.

I hope that all this brings some clarity to the present ecclesial discussion over contemporary “Catholic” Gnosticism by placing it within the proper historical context. Gnosticism cannot be used as an epithet against those “unenlightened” faithful who merely seek to act, with the help of God’s grace, as the Church’s divinely inspired teaching calls them to act.