31 January 2021

Though He Slay Me, Yet Will I Trust in Him; Time For Our Own ‘Reset’?

Hilary White's take on the scenario presented by Dr Kwasniewski in Preparing Now for What the Future May Hold

From One Peter Five

By Hilary White

Editor’s Note: Following a discussion of Dr. Peter Kwasniewski’s recent essay, “Preparing Now for What the Future May Hold,” 1P5 contributor Hilary White brought to my attention a piece she’d written earlier this month along the same topical lines, but from a somewhat different perspective. After reading it, I really wanted to share it with all of you.

The following was originally published at the author’s site, Hilary White Sacred Art. Hilary makes her living painting works of sacred art by commission along with the occasional essay about the process of producing said art, or about living the faith in the modern world. We hope you will support her efforts there. – SS

“Every time we go through a situation such as this pandemic and the lockdown that followed, we could look at this – if we are willing to see the positive in things, and if we are willing to constantly grow in our spiritual life – we can look at this as an opportunity to go back to the beginning, to go back to that foundation of all spiritual growth, our separation from the world and our focus on who we are before Christ our God.” – Fr. Seraphim Aldea

We’re being proved, as gold in a fire

There’s not the slightest doubt in my mind that there is a class of billionaire oligarchs working as hard as their money can work to make the Covid Crisis go on as long and in as destructive a manner as they can manufacture. Manipulation of information is their biggest weapon, as well as their control over political machinery. All that stuff is really happening. I know because 20 years ago I took a job that involved me finding things out that I knew most people wouldn’t believe. All the things I learned then were obviously pointing in this direction.

Yes, there are very powerful people doing some very bad things, and they’ve been doing it for a long time, manipulating the course of geo-politics to bring about a particular state of things. But there is more to the picture than those guys and their power. There’s all of us, for one thing, and there’s the Even Bigger Picture that involves powers that operate through and at the same time against these bad things. The huge swirl of events, the great struggle between good and evil goes on in heaven and on earth. Maybe it’s coming to a head, and maybe it isn’t. I don’t know, to be honest. But I do know what to do about it.

Some years ago a Catholic news organisation did an unforgettable, haunting series of documentary style videos of the terrible, but at the same time deeply moving, story of the imprisonment of Romanian Christians by the Communists. Romanian gulags were truly the very bottom of the well of human evil you can imagine. But it was under those conditions – perhaps the most extreme examples of evil any human mind has ever conceived – that some of the most miraculous cases of sanctification came about that I’ve ever heard of. The light of Christ reached down into that hell-on-earth and kept making saints. The very worst possible worst-case-scenario made some of the greatest saints of heaven, the very happiest possible ending.

We have had in the “West” a pretty friendly and easy time of things since the end of World War II. Despite a lot of serious problems, despite the emotional and psychological harms the modern condition has created (won’t get into it now; I’m sure you can create a long, long list) we “Westerners” have prospered like no human beings have in our recorded history. But morally, what has this material prosperity created? Frankly, we are teetering on the edge of auto-destruction. Demography alone should have told us decades ago that we were heading for a cliff.

Our wealth and material security has come at a great cost; we have nearly entirely abandoned the spiritual dimension of our lives and at the same time as we are ruining our souls we are living well on the misery of others. Millions of people labouring to produce all the stuff we consume never themselves see the benefits of their work. I saw a thing a while ago where a news crew brought some chocolate for the men cutting cocoa in Africa. They’d never had any. Didn’t even know what it looked like.

Our civilisation – inasmuch as there is one over-arching “economic civilisation” that overshadows all of our different cultures and nations – has been unsustainable, rushing towards its own destruction, for a long, long time. (With “population reduction” a key principle of the New Order, this is quite literal.) And now that elastic has stretched to the very end of its endurance. If it hasn’t snapped yet, it soon will.

The Industrial Revolution never stopped to consider the damage it was doing. But cumulative damage, whether spiritual or material, cannot continue to accumulate forever. Eventually it will come to a point where the framework supporting it collapses. If that isn’t happening now, we have at least seen in the last year how it can happen, how it probably will happen.

Should we not at the very least take 2020 as a warning? If we are being given another year or another decade, could we now say that we know without doubt that the way we have been living cannot be sustained, and start to give very serious and constructive thought to figuring out a new way? Can we start to consider that what we were doing, the way we were orienting our priorities and aims, was collectively what brought us to the brink in the first place?

We gave them this power over us; we can withhold it

Why and how did China and their ideological, political western supporters gain so much power? In part, by producing things we want to buy, by luring us with cheap trinkets. By fuelling the consumerist, materialist culture that has smothered the world in worthless plastic junk, and turned every human being into an open, never-satisfied maw of greed and determined, hardened covetousness. How did this catastrophe happen, really? How much of it was to do with our own desire to satisfy our appetites, our passions? Our greed for “convenience”?

How much power would these powerful evil people have if we all just learned to want something else? To want a different kind of thing? What if we all learned to want the kind of thing you can have anywhere? The kind of thing you can acquire while sitting in a pitch black cell of a Communist prison? How much could they take away from us if we wanted only the things of heaven?

I have no power to stop the oligarchs doing their Great Reset – they have all the worldly power and money, and I have none. I  did spend 20 years of my working life trying to alert as many as I could about what was happening… what was coming. And now here it is. But even as I was starting that work I understood, with a conviction that grew stronger and stronger the more time I spent in the “activist” world, that this was not the solution. It was good and useful to try to warn as many as possible. But we were providing no alternatives – we never talked in a positive sense about how we ought to be living differently. I suppose we understood that we had no power to re-create society – but I think much more we had no real confidence that we had a solution to offer. Some of us came to understand that even if we had the power to do so, we also had no power to create agreement, even among believers. People are contentious, and cannot be herded.

 “Later” has finally arrived, and is here to stay

What’s left? The last year – with much of our time spent restricted in space and greatly reduced in powers – has taught us, perhaps, to look to the interior for the things we really can affect to the good. We still have the power to create a change in ourselves. I want the world to be different, but I’m lazy and selfish and I want other people to make it better so I can have an easier time. I don’t want to change myself to want material security less. I don’t want to increase my courage or my trust in God. That’s all difficult work that requires efforts that won’t produce immediate material results – or any material results at all. But these are the concerns of children, and of people who are determined to stay children forever.

What if, letting go of that hope that someone else will fix things to make it so I don’t have to change myself, I did the much, much harder thing and made the effort to change myself?

I had a conversation with a good friend the other day and we shot back and forth for a while about how the “whole world’s melting down and I’m freaked out about it” – as you do – and she flattened me with, “Hilary you can’t waste this opportunity. When are we ever again going to be able to say, ‘I have to spend all my time at home, and I’ve got nothing to do but make art.’?”

So to my friend’s question I feel compelled to add, “When are we ever again going to have an opportunity like this to spend time praying and doing the interior things we’ve always put off?” I’ve spent my life in busy-ness, doing lots and lots of things, going lots of places, writing lots of things. And always, always thinking, “There will be time for the deep dive into the spiritual life later”.

Well, isn’t “later” finally being forced on us, right now? “Later” seems to have arrived, and it certainly does look like Later will be going on for quite a long time yet. Is it possible that the “2nd Wave” of the Covid nightmare has a treasure of possibility hidden inside? There’s a tiny voice in my head that says, “More time with everything in the external life suspended? Oh thank God I still have time to not blow this opportunity.”

Fr. Seraphim Aldea, the founder of my favourite Orthodox monastery in Scotland, said something similar about the uses of this time for the spiritual life.

What I’ve learned through this horrible year is that the world is ripe and ready to receive the word of God and to hear even someone as humble and silly as myself. If we open up, if we truly open up, and we do not  put on a show and we do not speak at a level that is beyond everybody’s heads, including our own, and that speaks to no one. We need to share the little that we were given. And the more you share, the more you give of yourself, the more Christ will give you.

I’m telling you that from my own experience; if God gave you one coin, give it away with the fullness of your heart’s generosity. Just waste it by sharing it with the world, with your brothers and your sisters. And if Christ sees that act of love in you He will give you two coins. Share those as well and He will give you five coins. Share those as well and then he’s going to pour more and more blessings more and more grace upon you.

The more you share, the more you waste by giving, by sharing with your brothers and your sisters the more Christ will bestow grace upon you. The more you keep it to yourself, the more you define that grace and what you think you have by rejecting your brother and your sister, by creating space and distance, by putting up walls and bridges between you and your brothers and your sisters, the more even what you think you have will be taken away from you.

Waste in the name of love because what you have, my brother and my sister, the grace and the experience you have, does not belong to you. You are just the receptacle of God’s gift. Use that gift for the benefit of the world, of your brother and your sister, and Christ will keep bestowing grace upon grace upon grace upon grace upon you.

 There’s only so much wailing and lamenting that’s worth doing

At some point we have to accept that this is the situation and we have to deal with it. There certainly is no way even now to avoid the tremendous economic consequences of those decisions of the last year. So, this is a reality that we must now deal with, whether it was justifiable or not. We have no power over the past year in the same way we have no power over what will be decided for us by these men. So, what DO we have power to decide and do? What can I do, right now, in this place and in these circumstances?

I’m just now reminded of the fact that a few very stoic-minded, very clever and level-headed men in the 1930s looked at the situation of panic over the economic collapse and instead of panicking themselves asked how they could turn it all into a fortune for themselves.

I’m not advocating here, of course, that you become a millionaire by exploiting the misery of others. Quite the opposite. What I’m saying is merely, keep your head. Don’t panic. Start thinking as hard as you can, understanding the situation realistically and planning concretely. If you can’t solve the huge problems of the world, and can’t avoid the situation these people are pressing on us, start thinking about how to use this bad situation to best possible advantage.

We ask with dread, “What if it goes on for years? What if they never let us go back to normal?” Well, let’s consider that calmly for a moment. What if? Whether it is justified by this virus or not, and whatever the legal or constitutional considerations are, this might well be an outcome of the political decisions made far above our heads. So given that, what are we going to do?

It’s easy to be terrorised by this, perhaps the strangest situation we humans have ever created, and that seems to be turning into a disaster that is rolling down a hill completely out of everyone’s control. But we have our families and friends to think of. Even if we are totally alone in the world, without friends or family, we still have responsibility for ourselves and our own goods, and for using whatever powers we have for others. So, what can we do? What is within our powers?

We are not of this world and our goods, material and immaterial, do not belong to us.

We have been given a perspective, a way of thinking, (even if we tend not to use it enough) that can defeat any of the calamities of the world – because we are not of this world. If we can align our thinking and desires and perceptions to those of heaven, we will be completely impervious to anything the world can throw at us.

Luke 16: 9-12

And I say unto you, make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.

He that is faithful in that which is least, is faithful also in much; and he that is unjust in the least, is unjust also in much.

If therefore ye have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches?

And if ye have not been faithful in that which is another man’s, who shall give you that which is your own?

The commentary on this chapter tells us that it means the unrighteous are better at using money – that is, material things – to make friends in the world than believers are at using material things to make friends for the Kingdom of God. At death, “when you fail,” the needy will welcome their benefactors into the everlasting home. The money we consider our own is actually another’s; that is, it belongs to God. The things of this world don’t last and don’t come with us where we are going to end up. Maybe this is a time we are being given to remember that rust and moth can’t destroy the true treasures.

What can you do with this time that is forced on us that you couldn’t do while you were busy with All The Things? What can you do in your mind and spirit so that what is happening will not crush you, will not stop you doing what you have to do, will not paralyse you into despair or even mere indecision. We will be forced to rethink things, particularly methods, but it’s more than possible that this will turn out for the good in the longer-term.

I can’t help but feel there is something bigger “going on” with all this. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve sort of felt for a while now that this Whole Big Thing is a message from God: “Get your act together. The time is now.” Whether the Billionaire Oligarchs are setting up a One-World-Order of global totalitarianism is beyond my ability to deal with. It’s probably true – it’s the sort of thing these people have talked about quite openly for a century or more. But what, concretely, does that have to do with me right now? Some of it affects me, certainly. Some of it will restrict what I can and can’t do. OK, fine.

“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.”

Maybe the message from heaven is that we were being distracted by too many choices and too much ease, comfort and convenience. Maybe what we’re afraid of losing are things we didn’t need. And maybe those things were keeping us from seeing clearly and learning properly and living the way we were always supposed to live.

Romans 8:38-39:

For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Habakuk 3: 17-19:

Though the fig tree does not bud

and no fruit is on the vines,

though the olive crop fails

and the fields produce no food,

though the sheep are cut off from the fold

and no cattle are in the stalls,

yet I will exult in the LORD;

I will rejoice in the God of my salvation!

GOD the Lord is my strength;

He makes my feet like those of a deer;

He makes me walk upon the heights!

Job 13: 15-16:

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.

I will still defend my ways to His face.

Moreover, this will be my salvation,

for no godless man can appear before Him.

Romans 8: 5-8:

For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God.

This last is from the 1st Nocturn of the Matins readings for the Vigil of the Feast of the Epiphany.

Preparing Now for What the Future May Hold

Dr Kwasniewski looks at possible scenarios of the future and offers advice for the worst case. 

From One Peter Five

By Dr Peter Kwasniewski

In my article “Have There Been Worse Crises Than This One?,” I explained why I believe the Church is in a crisis second to none in her history—a crisis of unique gravity. The question on the minds of many is this: What might happen next—in the near future, in ten years, in twenty years, in fifty years? What might the Church look like if the “new paradigm” of Bergoglio succeeds? It is a question well worth asking in this “Year of Amoris Laetitia.”

As I like to say, when Pope Francis was elected, my crystal ball exploded. I am fully aware that Church history includes many surprises, good and bad. I see two probable scenarios, and we must be prepared for either of them.

One scenario would be a kind of replay of the sixteenth century, when the Church was facing the Protestant Revolt. We could have a series of popes who go back and forth, see-saw-like, between orthodoxy and heterodoxy, reform and corruption. In the sixteenth century, worldly or ineffective or clueless popes alternated with strong reformatory characters. Our next conclave might by some prodigious miracle produce a Leo XIV or a Benedict XVII who would tilt things back in a traditional direction; but then the conclave after could produce a Francis II who would, like a new liberal pastor at the local parish, undo much of his predecessor’s legacy as quickly as possible; and this tug of war could last for fifty or seventy years. In this case, we have to be ready to take advantage of the good moments and stand strong during the evil ones. If we have been paying attention during the Francis pontificate, we have been well and duly warned.

From a strictly human point of view, a second scenario seems more likely: that we will have a Francis II, a Francis III, and a Francis IV. They will continue to foster violations of the Ten Commandments, the rejection of established dogmas, and the sacredness of the liturgy, using the tools of ambiguity, winks and nudges, speeches and documents of minimal authority, committees and conferences, and lower-level appointees who will do the heavy lifting. They will attempt to abolish the traditional Latin Mass, eradicate religious communities that use it, suspend priests who continue to say it, and close hitherto flourishing churches and chapels.

In such a case, we will have no choice but to resist all such abuses of authority and work around them, as did our predecessors in the traditional movement from the mid-1960s onward. Stratford Caldecott remarks that the beatitude “Blessed are they that mourn” includes “those who remember the dead, and who remain faithful to tradition.”[1] We will refuse to cooperate, as did the Catholics in the fourth century when Arian heretics took over episcopal offices and church buildings. As St. Athanasius famously wrote to his faithful flock under persecution:

May God console you!… What saddens you…is the fact that others have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises─but you have the apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the Faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously. Who has lost and who has won in this struggle—the one who keeps the premises or the one who keeps the Faith?

True, the premises are good when the apostolic Faith is preached there; they are holy if everything takes place there in a holy way… You are the ones who are happy: you who remain within the church by your faith, who hold firmly to the foundations of the Faith which has come down to you from apostolic Tradition. And if an execrable jealousy has tried to shake it on a number of occasions, it has not succeeded. They are the ones who have broken away from it in the present crisis.

No one, ever, will prevail against your faith, beloved brothers. And we believe that God will give us our churches back some day.

Thus, the more violently they try to occupy the places of worship, the more they separate themselves from the Church. They claim that they represent the Church; but in reality, they are the ones who are expelling themselves from it and going astray.[2]

We may have to go into hiding, as the early Christians were sometimes forced to do, or as English Catholics did under Queen Elizabeth. We will welcome fugitive priests into our homes. Masses will be offered once again in living rooms, basements, attics, hotels, under tents, in forests, open fields, and caves. To this end, I recommend that families build an altar for home use and, if they have room for it, create a chapel. Even if no persecution comes to your corner of the world, the chapel will still be valuable as a place dedicated solely to prayer, and a reminder of the need to place Our Lord at the center of our lives.

In the wonderful interview entitled Christus Vincit, Bishop Athanasius Schneider talks about his childhood in the Soviet Union, where the Catholics would be without Mass or Confession for months, even as long as a year, because no clandestine priest could reach them. Then a priest would suddenly come, and everyone would go to Confession and Communion, not knowing the next time they would get the chance. He speaks of the many holy men and women in his family who died holy deaths without the sacraments, but full of faith and love.

The same is true in the world today: so many Christians in China and in the Middle East have no access to the sacraments, but they are being deeply sanctified in their life of prayer and their practice of the virtues. Pope Pius XII asked the world to pray to the “King of Martyrs” for the Chinese Catholics in an indulgenced prayer he promulgated on July 16, 1957.[3] It is a prayer we may find increasingly applicable to ourselves:

To those who must suffer torment and violence, hunger and fatigue, be Thou the invincible strength sustaining them in their trials and assuring them of the rewards pledged by Thee to those who persevere to the end.

Many, on the other hand, are exposed to moral constraints, which oftentimes prove much more dangerous inasmuch as they are more deceitful; to such, then, be Thou the light to enlighten their mind, so that they may clearly see the straight path of truth; be Thou also to them a source of strength for the support of their will, so that they may triumph in every crisis and never yield to any vacillation or weakness.

Finally, there are those who find it impossible to profess their faith openly, to lead a normal Christian life, to receive the holy sacraments frequently, and to converse familiarly with their spiritual guides. To such, be Thou Thyself a hidden altar, an invisible temple, a plenitude of grace and a fatherly voice, helping and encouraging them, providing a remedy for their aching hearts and filling them with joy and peace.

Sacramental access has been (relatively speaking) so easy for such a long time in the Western world that we have forgotten about the eras in which a certain deprivation was normal. In its entry on “aliturgical days,” the old Catholic Encyclopedia describes how the holy mysteries, i.e., the Mass or Divine Liturgy inclusive of the consecration of the bread and wine, was, once upon a time, not celebrated every day of the week:

Although we do not possess much which can be regarded as direct and clear evidence, there is every reason to believe that in early centuries of the Church aliturgical days were numerous both in East and West. In the beginning of things Mass seems to have been said only on Sundays and on the very few festivals then recognized, or perhaps on the anniversaries of the martyrs, the bishop himself officiating. To these occasions we have to add certain days of “stations” which seem to have coincided with the Wednesday and Friday fast then kept regularly throughout the Church. Dom Germain Morin has shown that at Capua, in the sixth century, and also in Spain, Mass was celebrated during Lent only on the Wednesday and the Friday. It is probable that a similar rule, but including the Monday also, obtained in England in the days of Bede or even later (see Revue Benedictine, 1891, VIII, 529). At Rome we also know that down to the time of Pope Gregory II (715–731), the liturgy was not celebrated on Thursdays.

As Gregory DiPippo notes: “A similar custom prevails to this day in the Ambrosian and Byzantine Rites, the former abstaining from the Eucharistic Sacrifice on all the Fridays in Lent, the latter on all the weekdays.”[4] This ancient praxis, which remains alive among Byzantine Catholics, has a fresh application in our times, when many days of the year must be “aliturgical” for Latin-rite Catholics who adhere to the usus antiquior, the authentic liturgy of the Church of Rome. On those days, we can pray a “dry Mass” with our missals, make a spiritual communion, and/or pray some part of the Divine Office (e.g., Prime), which is a nourishing feast for the soul. We should try to think of the times when we are deprived of public liturgy or of the reception of sacraments as purgative and preparative periods in which we can cultivate interior longing for Christ, which is the dry kindling needed for a blazing fire!

What did St. Paul mean when he said: “I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2)? The Eucharist, as St. Thomas teaches, is ipse Christus passus—Christ Himself, as having suffered for our salvation. But all of the sacraments are, in a way, Christ crucified, since they apply to our souls the fruits of His redemptive Passion. The very structure of the Church, purchased with His Blood, is Christ crucified in His mystical members; the principal action of the Church is the renewal of Christ crucified upon the altar; the entire Christian life is Christ crucified, as we die to self and live for God; heaven itself is nothing other than Christ crucified, reigning and rejoicing in glory with His life-giving wounds, “a Lamb standing as though slain” (Rev 5:6). Could I only know “Christ Jesus, and Him crucified,” everything else worth knowing would grow out of that as from a mustard seed.

It seems that our times are summoning us in a unique way to a participation in the mystery of the Lord’s passion and death:

We should take consolation from our irrelevance. God knows what we do, and its importance is not measured in human terms but in those of divine love. We can sing, dance, do penance and what you will, in the full knowledge that the value of our actions is beyond calculation, as long as they belong to Christ. Most of what we say will be a dead footnote in history. It is our child raising and prayer muttering that threaten to make a difference, if not on this earth, then at least in Purgatory or Heaven…. Find your consolations other than in the “human health” of the Church. We are not wrong to be so scandalised by the current management. We just have to take the pain. It’s our cross. We have to bear it. Our love is love unknown. And there is nothing particularly new in that.[5]

Cardinal Sarah, Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Viganò, and Bishop Schneider—men who preach the same doctrine as their Master, with the calm, credible, and instantly recognizable authority of Successors of the Apostles—have frequently reminded us that we cannot endure and overcome evils of the magnitude we are now seeing in the world and in the Church except by striving to be saints, the “just men” of Abraham’s bargain with the Lord (see Gen. 18:16–33). During the Arian controversy, St. Hilary of Poitiers, one of a very few unequivocally Catholic bishops at the time, wrote: “In this consists the particular nature of the Church: that she triumphs when she is defeated, that she is better understood when attacked, that she rises up when her unfaithful members desert her.”

As for those unfaithful members, their “getting away with murder” does not have to be our paralysis. We are assured in Scripture, again and again, that the Lord will take care of them—either bringing about their conversion or punishing their wickedness. The words of the Psalmist ring out:

O Lord, how long shall the wicked,
how long shall the wicked triumph?
They prate, they speak arrogantly:
all the workers of iniquity boast themselves.
They break in pieces thy people, O Lord, and afflict thy heritage….
The Lord will not cast off his people,
neither will he forsake his inheritance.
For judgment shall return unto righteousness;
and all the upright in heart shall follow it.…
Shall the throne of wickedness have fellowship with thee,
which frameth mischief by statute?…
He hath brought upon them their own iniquity,
and will cut them off in their own wickedness;
the Lord our God will cut them off.[6]

We do not have to run the universe (thank God!). Our job is to pray for deliverance, for perseverance, for a love that never dies. Our daily exercise is to let go of anger, bitterness, impatience, and despondency, to push it away with a holy stubbornness, and to put ourselves, our Church, and our world, in God’s hands, in His wounded and glorified Heart—a Heart greater than all evil, greater than all our fears, greater than all our deserts and desires, greater than any of the victories of the past, the present, or the future.


[1] Stratford Caldecott, Not as the World Give: The Way of Creative Justice (Kettering, OH: Angelico Press, 2014), 13.

[2] This translation is taken from here; an alternative from the series Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, ed. Philip Schaff, may be found here (see pp. 961–62).

[3] The indulgence for this prayers was, tellingly, not renewed in the 1968 Enchiridion Indulgentiarum and its later editions. See Joseph Shaw, The Case for Liturgical Restoration (Brooklyn: Angelico Press, 2019), 263–64.

[4] “The Raising of Lazarus in the Liturgy of Lent,” New Liturgical Movement, March 16, 2018.

[5] Written years ago by a blogger, “The Sensible Bond,” who subsequently left the internet and took down his writings. I have saved some of them.

[6] Ps 94 ESV; cf. Ps 93 DRA.


[1] From the same principles we proceed to show that intellectual natures are subsistent forms, and are not in matter as though their being depends on matter.

[2] Forms dependent in being upon matter do not themselves have being properly, but being properly belongs to the composites through their forms. Consequently, if intellectual substances were forms of this kind, it would follow that they have material being, just as they would if they were composed of matter and form.

[3] Moreover, forms that do not subsist through themselves cannot act through themselves; rather, the composites act through them. Hence, if intellectual natures were forms of this sort, it would follow that they do not themselves understand, but that it is the things composed of them and matter which understand. And thus, an intelligent being would be composed of matter and form; which is impossible, as we have just shown.

[4] Also, if the intellect were a form in matter and not self-subsistent, it would follow that what is received into the intellect would be received into matter, since forms whose being is bound to matter receive nothing that is not received into the matter. But the reception of forms into the intellect is not a reception of forms into matter. Therefore, the intellect cannot possibly be a material form.

[5] Moreover, to say that the intellect is not a subsistent form, but a form embedded in matter, is the same in reality as to say that the intellect is composed of matter and form. The difference is purely nominal, for in the first way the intellect will be called the form itself of the composite; in the second way, the composite itself. So, if it is false that the intellect is composed of matter and form, it will be false that it is a form which does not subsist, but is material.


As Many as 750 Killed in Massacre at Ethiopian Church

May God have mercy on His Church in Ethiopia!

From Aleteia

By Fionn Shiner

A recent surge in violence in the Tigray region has left 1,000 dead.

Up to 1,000 people—including priests and other church leaders—have been killed in a series of attacks in Ethiopia culminating in a massacre at a church where the Ark of the Covenant is believed to be kept.

Following reports that 750 people were killed in a raid on the Orthodox Maryam Tsiyon Church in Aksum, thought to contain the Ark of the Covenant, an anonymous source from inside the country spoke to Aid to the Church in Need (ACN).

The source told ACN the attack was the latest in a long line of fatal assaults against innocent people, as part of the ongoing conflict in the Tigray region of the country.

He said: “750 were killed in Aksum, 154 people were killed in December in Maryam Dengelat. Also in my home area, 10 people were killed on Christmas Day from one family in one village.”

“More than 32 people were killed by Eritrean troops in Irob, 56 in Zalambassa, 11 in Sebeya. I also heard about 32 people, including priests, who were killed in a church in Gietelo, Gulemakada. In addition to that, in another area, I heard 20 were killed.”

Reports of the Aksum massacre first emerged earlier this month, when the European External Program with Africa (EEPA), a Belgium-based nonprofit organization, released a situational report, saying the people hiding in the church were brought out and shot in the square.

The ACN source said: “I heard there were 1,000 people in the church. It might be that more were injured and died later. 750 were killed for sure.” He added: “In Aksum, there is the Ark of the Covenant. Maybe the people were there protecting the Ark. They were taken outside and shot.”

The ACN source stressed an ongoing political conflict had led to the deaths of so many Christians and Muslims but added that the violence was not motivated by religion. He went on to say: “Inside Ethiopia there is a political conflict to do with the election. The government expired in September and they were supposed to have elections in May. Coronavirus happened and the election was postponed in August. This is a political problem and they are targeting the people of the Tigray region. This is a terrible situation.”

Last November, fighting broke out in Tigray after Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed sent in federal troops, supported by militia and army from Amhara, as well as troops from Eritrea, to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which he accused of holding illegitimate elections.

The source said: “Frankly, the problem is that Eritrean troops have been involved from the beginning. The [Ethiopian] government has denied this but those who are doing the killing are Eritrean troops in eastern and north-western Tigray.”

This article was first published by Aid to the Church in Need and is republished here with kind permission. To learn more about ACN’s mission to help the suffering Church visit www.churchinneed.org

The Adventures of St. Thomas Becket

St Thomas did NOT die 'defending religious liberty'! He died defending the liberty of the One, True Church. He would be horrified by 'religious liberty' as it exists today.

From the National Catholic Register

By James Day

Eight centuries ago, St. Thomas Becket renounced his life for the sake of Christ.

St. Thomas Becket (1118-1170) is well-known for his martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral, defending religious liberty in England from the designs of his former friend, King Henry II Plantagenet.

But lesser-known is Becket’s time on the run, before he returned to England to confront Henry’s abuses of power and ultimately face his death. This archbishop of Canterbury found safe haven in Catholic France while hunted by spies of Henry. There his spiritual presence greatly endeared him to the French, so much so that his shrine in England was a major place of pilgrimage for those on both sides of the Channel.

Among those who found inspiration in Becket was France’s King John the Good in 1356. During the Hundred Years’ War between France and England, King John was taken captive after England’s victory at the Battle of Poitiers. The defeat was a major blow to the French, a battle that saw, among the thousands felled, one Geoffroi de Charny — the brave knight who died protecting King John, and who today is best known as the purported onetime owner of the Shroud of Turin. During his imprisonment in England, John asked his captives if he could go on pilgrimage to the shrine of Thomas Becket. The request was granted.

These days, it might be hard to envision how very much Catholic both France and England were prior to the French Revolution and Reformation. But in this poignant gesture of piety by the Catholic French king, bitter enemy of Catholic English king Edward III, the legacy of St. Thomas Becket bridged, at least temporarily, the division between the two kingdoms.

And so, following his resignation as chancellor and conviction for contempt of royal authority in 1164, Becket fled England. Becket found refuge in France under the protection of King Louis VII. Perhaps there was a personal motive for Louis to lend his help: Louis was once married to King Henry’s wife, the queen consort of England, Eleanor of Aquitaine.

Becket found refuge with the Cistercians at Pontigny abbey in Burgundy. If it was Becket’s famous conversion to asceticism that prompted his fallout with the king, the new Becket was a perfect match with the simple Cistercian lifestyle. South of Pontigny in Burgundy is the Benedictine abbey of Vézelay, named after St. Mary Magdalene. It was a spiritual nexus, from hosting pilgrims as a launch point for the Way of Saint James to the presence of Becket himself, who in 1166 on Pentecost at the abbey church, with its stirring tympanum, preached excommunication against allies of Henry II, even threatening excommunication against Henry as well.

The 1964 film, Becket, is a towering cinematic achievement. At its core is Becket’s moral conversion which leads to his martyrdom. Anchored by two master thespians, Richard Burton as Becket and Peter O’Toole as Henry, the honor of God emerges as the central theme in the film. What was once indifferent loyalty to a king becomes a willing sacrifice to something greater. “I fell in love ... with the honor of God,” Becket tells Henry. Becket thus stands firm on matters Henry would like to see bend, echoing both Henry VIII’s later tussle with St. Thomas More and the enduring struggle of Church and state over the centuries.

Last month, the White House commemorated the 850th anniversary of St. Thomas Becket’s martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral. “Thomas Becket’s death serves as a powerful and timeless reminder to every American that our freedom from religious persecution is not a mere luxury or accident of history, but rather an essential element of our liberty. It is our priceless treasure and inheritance. And it was bought with the blood of martyrs,” part of the proclamation states. (Find the full text here.)

Any student of the Catholic faith must become acquainted with St. Thomas Becket. The film Becket is a good place to start, and perhaps an opportunity even may arise to follow King John the Good’s footsteps in venerating the great saint at the very site of his martyrdom in Canterbury Cathedral.

Off the Menu: Episode 148 - Better

A very wide range of topics in this episode, from Mary, Queen of Scots, to the Sword in the Stone movie.

0:00 Intro 0:10 Thought Leader 1:10 Sales Jargon 5:30 Regis Philbin Died 7:35 Guido Culture 9:00 What's New 13:15 Memes of Production 20:38 Upcoming Patron Vid on Movies 29:22 Anti-Masonic Movement 33:15 Mary Queen of Scots 39:15 Bidding Prayers 49:35 Salazar, Corporatism & Feudalism 1:21:55 Chastisement & Babel 1:33:00 Formality & Courtesy 1:49:58 Can France Still Be Called "Catholic" 1:54:20 Objection to Monarchy: Above the Law 2:05:50 The Depression & Creativity 2:15:15 The Sword in the Stone Movie