Tuesday, 2 June 2015
I have written about magical thinking in the Church.
One example from past articles has been the misconception that sacraments can be given to the dead.
But, something which has come to my attention in the past six months has been the fact that in some dioceses, not all, The Rite of Christian Burial is being allowed for known apostates.
Recently, a young woman committed suicide in another state after many years of living away from the Church. In fact, some of her relatives, who are truly orthodox, said she may not have even been baptized by her parents long ago.
Yet, the priest in the home parish said a funeral Mass "for the parents". The Rite of Christian Burial is for Christians. If the woman had been a practicing Catholic and mentally unstable, and committed suicide, there would be room for doubt and a funeral could be appropriate. But, to hold large funeral for a young woman who did not want to be a Catholic and never lived an adult life as a Catholic seems to be not only hypocritical, but an insult to the dead.
She decided to fall away, or perhaps never did practice past her teens, so she chose not to be a Christian.
Why a funeral? The person who is dead gets no graces after death. Death ends the journey to heaven, hell or purgatory.
The parents should have been mourning the death of a soul long before the day of death--when a child grows up and falls away from the Church, choosing to live in a pagan lifestyle, that is a choice.
Magical thinking clouds truth.
For those who are faithful and fight the good fight daily, this confusion as to the reality of apostasy means that we have a hard time helping people fast, do mortification, pray daily, for those fallen away.
The priest made matters worse, imho, by giving in to the parents'desire for comfort. Funerals occur for three reasons: to say goodbye formally and allow grief to be shared; to give the body to God in respect for the tabernacle of the soul; and to pray for the dead person.
Magical thinking disregards not only sacramental theology, but common decency.
How far some clerics have fallen from the true understanding of death. This young woman chose a radically different lifestyle from her family. No amount of the trappings of the funeral Mass can change her decision made long ago to reject Christ and His Church.
Why, why do people choose lies? This situation was a running away of pain and suffering, which should have been faced while the woman lived.
Did anyone try to evangelize her? No, her pagan ways were accepted by her parents. "Everyone goes to heaven."
No, not everyone goes to heaven.
Perhaps the young woman repented at the last moment of life, That is possible, always, but a funeral Mass seems presumptuous.
Those diocese which have rules that a person be practicing member of a parish seem to be more obedient to reality and Church teaching on free will.
Years ago, many years ago, a grandmother who had fallen away from the Church for most of her life, came back because her grandson phoned the priest and asked him to go to the hospital. She was reconciled to the Church and she received the Last Rites.
Sadly, she did not have a Catholic funeral, as her children had fallen away, but her death was "in the Lord" and "in the Church". Her grandson acted by doctrine and good faith, not in magical thinking.
We need to be Catholics, not mushy minded relativists or universalists, and that warning must be applied to priests as well as the laity.
I decided to share some of the pearls from this little book and set aside the encyclical on the Mystical Body of Christ for now.
The first section defines the relationship between Sacred Doctrine and the soul. Over and over again on this blog, I have written that one must be completely dependence on God's action in the soul and use our intellect and all our faculties "with a view to our sanctification and that our neighbour."
We must dedicate ourselves, and consecrate our intellect to the service of God. We must move our will by our consecrated intellect to know and love God, and then to know and love our neighbor. What is behind the purification of the intellect was stated in my perfection series--and that is prayer.
Prayer leads to the purification of the senses and the spirit, as also noted by the Maritains in this book, the process leading to the clarification and purification of the intellect. One must leave the sensory world in order to grow more perfect. The Maritains state here that the intellect grows more perfect "in proportion to its emancipation from sensory image.
Prayer allows the Spirit to share knowledge with us and only prayer, "by supernaturally rectifying our faculties of desire enables us to convert the truth into practice."
Interesting is the point the Maritains make that "Prayer, particularly in the case of intellectuals, can only preserve a perfectly right direction and escape the dangers which threaten it, on condition of being supported and fed by Theology.
Of course, the Maritains mean orthodox theology.
They go on to note that the study and knowledge of Sacred Doctrine shorten the spiritual journey. Sacred Doctrine "saves the soul from a number of errors, illusions and blind alleys."
And, here is a key point--"In relation to the purgative life, it (knowledge of Sacred Doctrine) possesses an ascetic virtue which succeeds in detaching the sould from the degradations and trivialities of self-love. "
For those in the illuminative state, or life, the purfication that it beings simplifies the gaze of the soul and turns it from the human self to God alone."
I shall comment on their explanation of Sacred Doctrine and the Unitive State later....
I am so sorry that so many people do not believe in hell. I have come to realize lately that the vast majority of people who go to Church on Sunday, or even some at daily Mass simply do not understand God's Wrath or Justice. The cult of psychology has trumped doctrine.
The priests of this land must begin to preach about the Four Last Things. They must. Here is part of St. Faustina's vision of hell.
" Today, I was led by an Angel to the chasms of hell. It is a place of great torture; how awesomely large and extensive it is! The kinds of tortures I saw: the first torture that constitutes hell is the loss of God; the second is perpetual remorse of conscience; the third is that one’s condition will never change; the fourth is the fire that will penetrate the soul without destroying it, a terrible suffering, since it is a purely spiritual fire, lit by God’s anger; the fifth torture is conditional darkness and a terrible suffocating smell, and despite the darkness, the devils and the souls of the damned see each other and all the evil, both of others and their own; the sixth torture is the constant company of satan, the seventh torture is horrible despair, hatred of God, vile words, curses and blasphemies. These are the tortures suffered by all the damned together, but that is not the end of the sufferings. There are special tortures destined for particular souls. These are the torments of the senses. Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus, I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest sufferings, then offend You by the least sin. (Diary 741).
Here are some awful paintings of hell. I think we should look at these and try and evangelize those who are in darkness.