Thursday, April 6, 2023


 Abbey of La Lucerne is located in the heart of the forests of the Thar Valley in France…


Paul said...

Fr K,

To finish off the 85 comments exchange starting on a post at March 27;

You recently wrote:

“In terms of the historical/critical method of understanding Scriptures, I think it has helped us deepen our understanding of the practical meaning of the Scriptures for our lives”.

I have to disagree. I believe that method has done more harm than good.
What percentage of baptised Christians (Catholic and Protestant) truly BELIEVE in the core essential truths of Christianity in 2023, compared to baptised Christians in 1923, or 1823 ? Or even 1423 or 923 ?

1 of a thousand examples I could give is this: thanks to an overdose of the historical/critical method:
On a YouTube clip today, Good Friday, a Jesuit is explaining to any listening that in the early part of the first century of the common era probably almost 98% of Jews could not read nor write; thus, it is reasonable to speculate or even believe that Jesus himself could not read nor write…..

Honestly !! How helpful is such nonsense ?! And a thousand nonsenses like it? How helpful ?

I think it all simply gets back to whether one has a strong belief in God or not.

If one fully believes and acknowledges that God, for example, as creator created a universe with billions upon billions of stars and planets and created this earth where over tens of thousands of years, millions of species of plants, fish and animals could evolve and flourish - and created man in His image etc….

For such a God, anything, any miracle is possible!
From the virgin birth, to have 5 loaves of bread literally turn into 5,000, for sick people to be truly healed…..and also for the Son of God to be able to not just speak Aramaic but also read Hebrew - and also, on the first Easter Sunday - physically, literally, historically rise from death.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul, you say, "I have to disagree. I believe that method has done more harm than good.
What percentage of baptised Christians (Catholic and Protestant) truly BELIEVE in the core essential truths of Christianity in 2023, compared to baptised Christians in 1923, or 1823 ? Or even 1423 or 923 ?"

You believe that the historical/critical method is responsible, in some substantial part, for the decline in belief.

Show the connection. Remember, coincidence is not causality.

Also, show why other factors may not have contributed substantially to the decline.

Paul said...

Fr K,

It sure didn’t help!

I have read a little lately re: correlation is not causation. But still I (and hundreds of scholars light years more learned than me) honestly think and believe:

….both millions of Catholic and Protestant theological students and Christian college students (thanks to what they were taught by agnostics, often in religious orders - be they Catholic or Protestant) taking an overdose of the historical/critical method over more than a 100 years is A factor, A cause, an important cause among up to a dozen major factors/causes contributing to centuries long Catholic nations, Christian communities etc increasingly becoming post Christian.

The French Revolution, the economic revolution and The move from rural areas and peasant life to an urban life in big secular cities was also a significant cause of decline in Christian belief - millions of pages have been written about this…then radio and TV programs with a close to 99% secular message, often an outright pagan message…

Also, the impact of almost every major thinker after Descartes - Hume, Voltaire, Rousseau, Kant, Hegel to Marx, Darwin, Nietzsche and Freud etc….

By the way, one of my favourite books of all time is A N Wilson’s “God’s Funeral”; this book has a great last chapter on the Catholic modernists of c. 1890 to 1910.

The book finishes with the claim that almost all those great modern thinkers named above (from the 18th century to the early 20th century) would be astounded were they to know that Christianity had managed to survive as much as it eventually did into our century HOWEVER he claims that the vast majority of Catholics and Protestants who still attend Mass and Protestant services in our era are in most respects - re doctrines and morality - are Modernists by the standards of a Pius X, or even by the standards of almost all orthodox bishops - Catholic and Protestant - of the era of Pius X - ie by the standards held by the majority of churchmen in the late 19th early 20th century, the majority of practising Christians today are modernists.

TJM said...


You are dealing with a man who votes for abortion as healthcare. That’s why I call him the great prevaricator

Paul said...

Most of my in-laws are Protestants. For almost 15 years I have read a number of their Anglican books.

What one C of E author said about his Anglican Church (applies equally to our Church).

This Anglican Christian author stated: just imagine what the state, what the condition of the Anglican Communion today would be, especially in the UK and North America, the USA and Canada, if over the last 100 plus years every Anglican bishop, every Anglican priest/minister and every Anglican teacher had, on ceasing to fully believe in the 39 Articles, simply resigned ! … the Anglican Church in the western world would still have shrunk - but at least the remaining remnant would be Christian believers in the fullest sense; brave enough to know and act on the fact that often to truly love and serve God one must often hate the ways of the mainstream secular world - and to turn away from a world that has become increasingly secular, increasingly pagan, even at times increasingly evil over the past century…..instead of embracing its ways, or even compromising on core Christian truths to get along in such a world….

Also, recently I’ve been listening to the Bernard Janzen interviews of Malachi Martin in the 1990s. I wonder how true it was what Fr Martin claimed - ie: that almost all the big Jesuit thinkers, especially Rahner, and important Dominican theologians, and people like Hans Kung etc in the mid 20th century in the lead up to THE Council they were to dominate had about as much genuine, personal devotion to Catholic truths as his old left boot…..

Paul said...

How many young Catholic and Protestant people, over a 100 years, were negatively impacted by their reading on the scepticism of Hume and his views on causation etc and Kant’s epistemology as opposed to the negative impact of being taught and influenced by a Modernist Catholic priest or Modernist Catholic teacher or Anglican bishop or priest who had basically lost his faith in most of the 39 articles ?

TJM said...


This will ruin Father K's day. Another one of his partisans acting badly:

"Just one week after a transgender mass shooter killed six people at a Christian school in Nashville, Tennessee, another male-to-female transgender person had a mass shooting plot foiled by police in Colorado Springs."

Another mentally ill Democrat. Funny how virtually all the mass shootings DO NOT involve conservatives or Trump voters. That is why the evil, corrupt, national media memory holes these tragedies because it did not involve the right perpetrator! Remember the mass shooting in Virginia at a Walmart? Of course not, because the shooter was Black. And they left harps about "White Privilege" unless they are referring to the Clintons and Pelosis!

TJM said...


Another one of Father K's heroes:

Democratic Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs vetoed legislation Thursday that would protect newborns from infanticide after surviving an abortion

rcg said...

In John 8:8 “he (Christ) wrote on the ground” regarding the woman taken in adultery. So here is a YouTube Jesuit who is not only illiterate, but illiterate about a Gospel passage that is in his NO liturgy. And is often quoted to interdict criticism of carnal sins. This guy must be an embarrassment to his buddies.

ByzRus said...

That, is noble simplicity.

It has everything, it lacks nothing.

Simple, beautiful and elegant.

Happy Easter, everyone!

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

TJM - You are a liar. Although I have corrected you any number of times about my position on abortion, you continue to lie. You are guilty of detraction. I hope you can get to confession today or tomorrow.

TJM said...


Happy Easter to you!

I believe picture is of La Lucerne in France

Paul said...

Most 10 -12 year olds today have better IT/computer/cell phone skills than I do….

It is only very recently I’ve managed to arrange a news feed that matches my interests (sorry if this is off immediate topic - but is perhaps relevant to recent discussions on this blog)

For example,

An article on Thailand - when any westerner visits Thailand he/she is almost certainly unaware that 1 in 7 Thai citizens walking the streets is “packing a weapon”. Thailand has the highest firearm ownership in Asia yet they, apparently, are not shooting each other at the rates people do in the USA…

It is possible Cardinal Matteo Zuppi , Archbishop of Bologna, President of the Italian Episcopal Conference, and turns 68 this year, could have supporters in the next conclave, and receive votes….Zuppi has done great work for the poor, elderly and drug addicts and gypsies. He has even reached out to traditionalists and has celebrated the Pontifical Mass according to the Tridentine rite BUT has also contributed an essay to the Italian translation of James Martin’s “Building a Bridge” and only God knows what his euphemistic statements mean re LGBT people with a “new pastoral attitude” required for LGBT people and talk of “dialogue, and encouraging reciprocal knowledge and understanding of our LGBT brothers and sisters” etc AND amazingly, very recently, the Italian Catholic priest who last year “blessed” same sex relationships at the church of San Lorenzo Di Budrio claims he informed Cardinal Zuppi what he and 6 other priests in that diocese were doing re blessing LGBT relationships in special new services in Catholic Churches and Zuppi, allegedly, did not object …..

The traditional/socially conservative Anglican Deacon Calvin Robinson’s recent speech at the Oxford Union OPPOSING any Christian denomination blessing and marrying same sex couples in ANY Christian church has gone viral online - including in many Muslim nations - Muslim podcasters are saying Deacon Calvin Robinson is a rare exception in Christian churches in our era and the majority of Christian priests and pastors and bishops in the West are OK with trampling on their own scriptures when it comes to families, marriage and sexual relationships - unlike almost all Muslim imams who could NEVER oppose or NEVER disregard what the Koran teaches on marriage and sexual morality…

Muslims are gaining converts all over the world - from poor neighbourhoods in American cities, from jails and prisons in the UK, France and Germany - to formerly majority Christian towns, cities and areas in sub Saharan Africa…

Finally, a statistic I never knew - the majority of Arab Americans are not Muslim; over 65% of Arab Americans are Christians - many Catholic.

Mark said...

Ross Douthat had an interesting and illuminating article in the New York Times yesterday on the value of what he calls “a naïve reading of the Gospels.”:

Related, to repeat a question I asked TJM in another thread recently, but which I now ask generally: I don’t know whether it has been addressed on the Blog, but has anyone been watching the streaming TV series “The Chosen”? I find it to be a very refreshing and inspiring portrayal of the Gospel stories (and creative back stories) and a very attractive portrayal of Jesus.

Paul said...


This YouTube Catholic “scholar” in presenting the high probability Jesus was unable to read or write provided more support for his belief than the alleged fact that almost 98% of Jews in the early first century of the common era were illiterate; he also pontificated about first century socio-economic class in the Holy Land 2,000 claiming Jesus, Mary and Joseph were of a very low socioeconomic class - basically just one notch above the lowest, ie the slaves. He considered several other factors to support his claim re the illiteracy of Jesus……but somehow completely forgot that all true Christians believe Jesus was and is the Son of God.
Am I such a simplistic, literalist, rigid, unsophisticated believer to be unmoved by his arguments?

I think I will continue to believe as before; Jesus, the Son of God, second person of the Trinity, was 100% capable of understanding written Hebrew and if He chose, to write in Hebrew.

I suppose when one has no faith, or loses faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, his or her human “scholarship” can construct just about anything regarding the nature of Jesus and the first Christian believers…

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Paul - I don't know where to begin...

Any philosophy or philosophical system or thought can be misused. That doesn't mean that the philosophy or the system is somehow anti-religious or anti-Catholic. Yes, some of those you name were just that - they rejected faith in the divine. Others, not so much.

At the same time, the thinking of those you named has had powerful positive impacts on the human experience. "Perhaps the most valuable impact of Descartes’ philosophy is in demonstrating the inherent rationality of Christian faith." The skepticism of many of them underlies the scientific process of questioning, hypothesizing, testing, and theorizing.

Modernism is one of those terms that means many different things to many different people. John F. Fink writes of Piux X, "He particularly disliked historical studies by theologians and scholars that showed how Catholic doctrines developed over the centuries." But, we know, without doubt, that Catholic doctrines developed over centuries.

Paul said...

I am aware I’ve almost certainly overdone it re how much I’ve contributed to this blog over the past month.

I am aware also that this year I’ve spent way too much time online.

It’s all getting a bit much. In the last 24 - 48 hours I’ve followed all my usual Catholic blogs. Plus following news in the secular world - from the latest with the latest Russian advance in Ukraine, to rising tensions again with the situation in China/Taiwan to Israel/Palestine… reading about Cardinal Zuppi and the DOZEN Catholic priests in his archdiocese who have blessed the relationships of same sex couples; to the latest Joe Biden insanity of him blaming Trump for the disastrous withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan to also again Biden claiming “Transgender Americans shape our Nation’s soul” - Biden should have said : “Leaders like me are allowing radical LGBT activists and ideologues to shape our nation’s psyche and culture”……to seeing people, elderly people, around the world being assaulted while simply praying the rosary near a statue, in former Catholic nations….to reading of significant numbers of conservative young Protestant evangelicals and young traditional Catholics converting to Eastern Orthodoxy…..which (thank God!) led me to hear a sermon by a Russian Orthodox priest, whose advice I intend to follow:

For many Christians in the West, this Russian priest said, the BEST form of fasting in our era is to regularly fast from being online; to have regular fasts from social media…..I loved how he explained one important aspect of this problem - the Tech Giants want you addicted to what they push on you; it almost inevitably leads to at least anxiety in a lot of people; and then the Tech Giants and other big secular corporations like people being stressed and anxious by information overload and the reporting of stressful, painful happenings around the world and so on. - as they can then sell us various means (often emotionally, psychologically and spiritually harmful means) to alleviate that stress, worry and anxiety …..

So starting midnight tonight, I plan to fast from everything online/social media for one week (I’ll allow myself 15 minutes radio or TV news a day)….then after that week, have 2 days a week fasting from everything online/social media etc….

I plan over the upcoming week to pray more and read the old fashioned way, ie read from a book in my hands.

Paul said...

Fr K,

You are not secretly Cartesian are you?

Ever read Paul Johnson’s “Intellectuals” ?

After Kant, who was an honourable, decent man, it is amazing how many of the great western thinkers were very flawed human beings - everything from being hopeless husbands, poor fathers, unreliable friends, were often financially dishonest to often being very politically naive - and that doesn’t include the outright modern degenerates that culminates in Foucault. Marcel Foucault the Aristotle or Aquinas of our age! The most cited scholar of our era, who was so much more than the average ordinary homosexual person - he abused drugs, was addicted to the worse aspects and practises of sadomasochism, and, finally, he paid little boys in North Africa for sex, at least some of whom he could have infected with the HIV/AIDS that ended up killing him….a fitting intellectual giant for our era…

TJM said...

Fr K,

No you are lying to yourself - faithful Catholics do not vote for the Party of Moloch

TJM said...

This is for the useful idiots who continue to vote for the Dems:

"WASHINGTON, DC – Walter Reed National Military Medical Center has issued a “cease and desist order” to Holy Name College, a community of Franciscan Catholic priests and brothers, who have provided pastoral care to service members and veterans at Walter Reed for nearly two decades.

The government’s cease and desist order directed the Catholic priests to cease any religious services at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. This order was issued as Catholics entered Holy Week, the most sacred of days in the Christian faith, in which they participate in liturgies remembering Jesus’ passion, and leading the Church to celebrate the Resurrection on Easter morning."

Biden is such a devout Catholic

Mark said...


Oh please, do stop. Hasn’t the needle worn through the groove yet? We are all useful idiots, Republicans too. From Chapter 6 of my book Professions and Politics in Crisis (2021):

Although it might perhaps be different in the politics of some types of local political community such as a county or city, and although we have learned through hard experience that “every vote counts,” Cash’s “voice” as expressed through the vote will typically be only one among thousands or even millions (assuming Cash actually votes at all). And so MacIntyre concludes that “[p]olitically, the societies of advanced Western modernity are oligarchies disguised as liberal democracies,” with most inhabitants excluded from membership in the wealthy and powerful “set of interlocking. . . political, financial, cultural, and media elites” who are really in control. The result is that “a small minority of the population . . . make politics their active occupation and preoccupation” and a cadre of “professional and semiprofessional politicians”—the “political elites”—mobilize “a huge, largely passive majority . . . only at periodic intervals, for elections or national crises.” [pp. 215-16]

It should be noted that MacIntyre’s critique to a large extent precedes the increasing influence, and in some cases even the rise to power, of contemporary “populist” political movements in several Western liberal democracies. This development can arguably be understood, at least partly, as a reaction against at least some of the features of modern politics that MacIntyre critiques, such as the power wielded by the oligarchy of wealthy elites discussed [on pp. 215-16]. I do not want to go too far down the rabbit hole of trying to identify all the various factors that have precipitated the development of current populist movements or to canvass the various responses that have been proposed. Suffice it to say that the matter is complex and multi-faceted. This said, I strongly suspect that MacIntyre is unlikely to approve of the nature, goals, and methods of contemporary populism, especially its “right-wing” variants, regarding these movements instead as being yet another symptom of the same political malady he critiques rather than a cure. Consistent, the MacIntyrean prescription for the malady advocated in this book seeks to provide a more radical and more satisfactory solution than those offered either by contemporary populist movements or the responses to them that have so far been proposed. [pp. 214-15]

Now, do you want to be part of this more satisfactory solution [see Chapter 8], or to continue being just a manipulative and manipulated spokesman for the Trump Cult?