In the last issue of The Seraph, we have seen some of the `changes' that have taken place among the Reformed Evangelical sect of which Mr. Eugene Gerulis seems to have been the spokesman. Oddly, the once-Catholic Lithuanian daily, Draugas (Friend), refers to Mr. Gerulis as a `priest.'
Of course, there have always been different kinds of `priests' _ not only priests, but also priestesses. Most pagan religions where superstition prevails, we generally find more priestesses than priests. However, since the circumstances of this `ecumenical' service are such, we would expect the meaning of `priest' to be restricted to validly and licitly ordained priests of the Roman Catholic Church. Besides, Protestant sects do not have a priesthood. Protestant sects only have a layman hired to preach at the sufferance of the hiring committee.
We will further examine some of the thoughts of Protestantism regarding the Roman Catholic Church which may be considered as reflective of the general Protestant mentality.
Mr. Gerulis points out that "it is lamentable that although the era of God's grace exists for 2000 years already, none the less, Rome finds it difficult to bid farewell with the previously existing epoch of works."
This, of course, as every Catholic knows is one of the principal dogmas (You know, the kind that cannot be "frozen into dogmas" according to Mr. Gerulis) of Protestantism, following Martin Luther. Faith alone, according to the Protestant dogma, alone suffices for salvation. The Roman Catholic Church, following the teachings of Her divine Master, has taught and continues to teach that "Faith without works is dead" as St. Paul says.
Now, the kind reader will find something interesting in what follows. We have heard Mr. Gerulis complaining about some very important doctrinal points which some Catholics have not abandoned in favor of the Protestant heresies. Mr. Gerulis asks the question: "What kind of ecumenical changes have our Catholic brothers and sisters achieved?" He then answers:
1. "For the longest time Rome preached: extra Ecclesiam nulla salus _ "outside the Church there is no salvation." After the Second Vatican Council, she no longer makes this declaration. (Gregory Baum, The Magisterium in a Changing Church, Paulist Press, 1969 p. 69; Hans Küng, The Church, New York, 1968, p.318)."
Observation: Mr. Gerulis obviously prefers heretical, defrocked ex-Catholic `theologians.' Rev. Gregory Baum has left the priesthood and married; Hans Küng was fired from his teaching post by Ratzinger of the Holy Office.
Of course, Rev. Karl Wojtyla has his own mystical interpretation of this clear doctrine of the Church which apparently embraces everyone without exception. Everyone, that is, except genuine Catholics.
Obviously, Mr. Gerulis would find this new religion of Vatican II comfortable because it excuses him from abandoning his obstinate attachment to heresy and still hope for salvation.
On the 16th of this month, we Franciscans commemorate the Protomartyrs of the Franciscan Order, Saints Berard, Peter, Accursius, Adjutus and Otto.
These brave Franciscan Missionaries were sent by St. Francis himself in 1219 to preach the Gospel to the Moslems in Morocco. Like the apostles, they left without money and food, but full of faith in God.
Their mission among the infidels, their fearless faith and burning zeal to praise the name of Christ in infidel country, earned them the crown of martyrdom. On the orders of the Moorish king these heroes of Christ were beaten with rods until their entrails were uncovered. They were rolled on pieces of glass and the tops of broken pots, and vinegar and boiling oil were poured on their gaping wounds. In the midst of all these horrible tortures, the martyrs sang praises to the Lord.
When the king made treacherous proposals with the hope that they would change their faith, they made this courageous reply: "Do you think the pleasures which you offer us can elude us? Keep these delights which will lead you to hell, in which even now your false prophet has been burning for a long time, for yourself and your kinsmen."
The Moslem King, Miramolin, angered by these words, took his scimitar and cut off the heads of the courageous disciples of Christ with his own hand. After their death, the infidels dragged their bodies across the town and tore them to pieces. These first Franciscan martyrs were offered to God on January 16, 1220. When St. Francis learned of the great triumph of his courageous children, he exclaimed, crying with joy, "I can say now that I have five real Friars Minor!"
Their bodies were brought back to Coimbra in Portugal; it was on this occasion that St. Anthony of Padua entered the Franciscan Order.
Since Vatican II, the true missionary spirit and activity of the Roman Catholic Church dried up like a prune. Vocations inspired by genuine supernatural idealism disappeared.
All this, most certainly, warms the heart of every heretic! Even those heretics who are still feeding off unsuspecting Catholics like religious parasites.
2. Mr. Gerulis is very happy that Latin has been abandoned in favor of the vernacular. This should not surprise any informed Catholic because it is a matter of history that the only people who ever objected to the use of Latin were heretics. That is a fact! We Catholics never had any problem with Latin as our international liturgical and official language. In fact, even the unlettered faithful in the farthest corners of the world took pride in the thought that they could go anywhere in the world and attend Mass without feeling out of place. Why? Because wherever they might go in this world, they knew they would be at home in the church where Latin was used!
Our Korean Catholics who suffered so much from the Japanese for many years still had that supranational and supernatural attitude that even if they went to Japan, they would be able to attend the Sacrifice of the Mass and feel at home because it was in Latin!
Now, no matter where in the world a person may travel, that person would feel as a stranger even in his own Church, unless he knew the language of the place.
Protestants feel this is a great victory over the Catholic Church. This has nothing to do with the relative merits or demerits of Latin as a language. This aspect can be argued ad infinitum by philologists. It is the religious dimension which the Latin language so effectively served that always exasperated heretics. They were set on destroying unity of faith by destroying unity of expression.
Despite the hypocritical laments of Modernists, the ordinary people were well able to fruitfully assist at Mass even when Latin was used. And this for two reasons: First, in almost every country where the Church was established, instruction in the faith was given in the language of that country. Missionaries not only learned the language of the people, but in many cases it was the missionaries who wrote the first grammars of the languages of the people. Missals were printed with Latin on one side of the page and the clear and correct translation in the vernacular on the other.
Then, too, was the respect shown by the Church to those who preferred to assist at Mass using other means of prayer. The Church did suppress the devotion of those people who preferred to say the Rosary or to meditate on the divine Mystery taking place in the Mass.
3. "As never before, the Roman Catholic Church urges all the faithful to read the Holy Scriptures."
Observation: This is a crass example of prejudiced ignorance. the Roman Catholic Church has always encouraged the faithful to read the Holy Scriptures. What the Roman Catholic Church cannot do is allow the faithful to give their own interpretation to what they read _ as do the Protestants following their erroneous dogma of "Private interpretation."
Even that worn-out slur against the Roman Catholic Church of "chaining Bibles" so that people could not read them is a typical example of false witness. The first Bible was printed by the Catholic, Guttenberg. The Bible was chained not so that people could not read it, but so that they could read it before someone stole it! Anyone who has ever loaned out a book knows how risky it is. It reminds me of the little story in my Italian language book.
The scene is that of a man asking his friend to loan him a book. The friend looks sadly at the other fellow and says: "I am sorry, but I do not loan books to anyone. A book loaned, is a book lost. Look at all the books on my bookshelf _ they are all books that I have borrowed!"
If Scripture scholars have difficulty interpreting some passages of the Holy Writings, what must be said of those who have no knowledge whatsoever of the intricacies of the inspired writings?
Because of the difficulties, the Church guards the Sacred Scriptures with great care. The Bible is a Catholic collection of inspired writings. The fact that so many religious sects have sought justification for their existence in the Holy Scriptures only proves the wisdom of the Church's caution.
I recall an incident in Korea when we Friars went to visit a Methodist missionary not far from us in a spirit of `ecumenism.' Although we Catholics were quite broadminded, Dr. Shaw, the Methodist rector of the Methodist seminary was not so. On this point of Scripture study, I asked him: "Dr. Shaw, since you believe that the Holy Ghost inspires each individual as he reads the Scriptures, how do you teach Scripture in your classroom? If each student has his own interpretation, and the interpretations differ among them, how do you know which of the interpretations is correct?"
Dr. Shaw answered: "After they each give their interpretation, I give them mine."
I suppose because Dr. Shaw is the rector of the seminary, his interpretation must have a bigger dose of divine guidance ..If this is the case, then, the Protestant dogma of private interpretation falls flat on its face.
4. "Next to Tradition, the important role of Scripture is now being recognized."
Comment: Once again, Mr. Gerulis is talking through his hat. How those so-called `Catholic' clergymen and Friars could stand in their church and silently listen to such clap-trap only proves their despicable religious indifference. Any major seminarian knows that in the study of dogma, the very first proof for the doctrines we hold are based on Holy Scripture! First is Scripture; second is Tradition in the teaching and study of Roman Catholic doctrine.
Even the most cursory glance at the missal used at Holy Mass would show Mr. Gerulis that he did not do his homework before standing before these Catholics to `instruct' them in religious matters. From the very first words of the Mass, the priest and faithful with him begin with the words of Holy Scripture: "Introibo ad altare Dei" _ I will go up to the altar of God. Unless I am mistaken, these words (Introibo ad altare Dei) are from Psalm 42!
5. Mr. Gerulis states: "Reserving the central accent to Christ, the spread of the cult of Mary has been slowed down."
Comment: Because Protestants are unwittingly servants of the rabbis, it follows logically that they would have a hatred for the Blessed Virgin Mary. No genuine Catholic could remain indifferent to such an insult to the Mother of God. Mary, the Virgin Mother of Jesus Christ reflects the goodness of the Creator and Her glory is the glory of Her Son.
Just as no one comes to the Father and call God `Father' unless he goes through Jesus Christ, so too, no one comes to the Son who will not go through Mary, His Mother.
It is only the Modernist heretics who are able to warm the cockles of Gerulis' heart because like Gerulis and his crowd, the Modernist heretics necessarily attack the Blessed Virgin. This alone should convince any decent Catholic of the origin of ecumenism: Satan.
One might ask: What personal harm comes to an individual if the chosen Virgin Mary is rendered all the honor which God Himself showers upon her? Only a perverse intellect and a will consumed with pride would object to another human creature's receiving the highest possible blessing the Creator can extend to a creature.
The last saintly Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, Pope Pius XII (died 1958) stated in his doctrinal Encyclical Letter Mystici Corporis (1943): "Her most holy soul, more than the souls of all others of God's creatures, was filled with the Divine Spirit of Jesus Christ." Conclusion: To rob Mary of her honor and status is to insult and deny the workings of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ. And, might I ask: Who is this Gerulis fellow who thinks himself competent to deny the works of God?
May this small appeal to the infallible teaching of the Roman Catholic Church suffice for all men of good will to repudiate the attempted attacks upon the Mother of God.
6. Gerulis says that he considers it a positive ecumenical change on the part of Catholics to minimize the life of the saints and to emphasize the principle of `Soli Deo gloria' _ Glory to God alone.
Observation: Again, Mr. Gerulis betrays his ignorance of God and Jesus Christ when he would have Catholics abandon the veneration of the saints. His attitude merely proves the wisdom and truthfulness of the Catholic Church , on the one hand, and the spiritual blindness which guides Gerulis and all his Protestant disciples.
The Church teaches that it is not only permissible but also profitable to invoke the intercession of the Saints in Heaven.
The holy Council of Trent declared against the spiritual ancestors of Mr. Gerulis and his followers. Twisting the Scriptures, as they must, to justify their rebellious obstinacy to the teaching and practice of the Church, the Protestant Renewers were forced to adopt a narrow-minded interpretation of the Scriptures. It goes without saying that Tradition had to be rejected because it is Tradition that teaches us many things that are only implicit in the later written Scriptures.
Our right and duty to venerate the saints can be deduced from the veneration offered to the angels as attested by Holy Scripture (Jos.5,14; Dn. 8, 17; Tob. 12,16). There veneration is offered to the angels because of their supernatural dignity, which is rooted in their immediate union with God (Mt.18,10). Now, since the saints are also immediately joined to God (I Cor.13,12; I John 3,2), it is only a logical conclusion to admit that the saints, too, are worthy of veneration.
The faith of the Israelites in the intercession of the saints is found in 2 Machabees (15, 11-16). Judas the Machabean saw a vision of two deceased just men, the High Priest Onias and the Prophet Jeremias. These two saints were interceding with God for the Israelites and for the Holy City.
According to Tobias (12,12) and the Apocalypse (5,8 and 8,3), the angels and the saints lay the prayers of the holy on earth at the feet of God, that is, they support them with their intercession as also might be expected from the permanency of charity (I Cor. 13,8).
Veneration of the saints of the New Testament appears first in the form of veneration of the martyrs. The oldest testimony in this regard is the Martyriium Polycarpi (circa 156). The author makes a clear distinction between the veneration of Christ and the veneration of the martyrs: "This (Christ) we adore, because He is the Son of God. To the martyrs, on the other hand, we offer the love which is due to disciples and imitators of the Lord, on account of their unsurpassable devotion to their King and Teacher" (17, 3). Polycarp also testifies for the first time to the custom of celebrating the birthday of the martyrdom, that is, "the date of the death" (18, 3). The ample evidence and proof for the veneration of the saints as Scriptural and according to Tradition is far too numerous to include in this brief exposure of the true spirit motivating the Protestant minister, Mr. Gerulis, in his efforts to encourage the Lithuanian clergy in their apostasy from the true faith as witnessed by the Franciscans in St. Petersburg, Florida.
7. Mr. Gerulis rejoices that "The image of Purgatory is no longer declared." That is to say, the doctrine of Purgatory is eliminated from Catholic teaching.
Observation: The Catholic doctrine of the existence of Purgatory is grounded on Holy Scripture and the continuous practice of the Church.
The Council of Trent declared against the Reformers, who like Mr. Gerulis, rejected the fires of Purgatory, that there is a cleansing fire ,and that the souls held fast in it receive help through the intercessory prayers of the Faithful, above all by the Sacrifice of the Altar, which is pleasing to God.
According to 2 Machabees 12, 42-46 there existed in the Church the conviction that those who had died in sin could be helped by prayer and sacrifice of atonement. Purification from sin was ascribed to prayer and sacrifice. This belief and practice of the ancient Church of the Old Testament continued in the same Church in the New Testament.
Tertullian bears witness not only to prayer for the dead, but also to the celebration of the Eucharist on the anniversary of their death.
Conclusion: Mr. Gerulis' doctrine dates back only to those heretics of the past whose rebellion against the teaching authority of the Church required of them to deny many doctrines willingly or unwillingly to justify their errors. For example: It was necessary to reject the sacrifice of the Mass because their pride obliged the Protestant heretics to deny the existence of a priesthood distinct from the laity.
We find this same Protestant mentality among the majority of so-called `Traditionalists' headed by usurper bishops, disobedient priests, and unscrupulous laymen.
8. Mr. Gerulis likewise is pleased with the decentralization of the Church in Her higher structure. He finds the breakdown in the Vatican praiseworthy because now, as experience shows, the unity of the Church has been undermined. The Church is, factually, split apart just as so many Protestant sects are split. Recognition of a Pope is, let's be realistic, nothing more than pietistic lip-service. The national conferences of bishops serves only to consolidate parochial views that often militate against the unity of the body of the Church.
But, we should ask ourselves: What business is it of Mr. Gerulis how the Roman Catholic Church is structured? Will he become a genuine Catholic on condition that the entire Church be re-structured according to his particular views and needs? Such a mentality, after all, is precisely opposed to objective reality. The Church and Her teaching authority must conform to the narrow, subjective views of men like Gerulis before it can have validity? It seems to me that this is just another case of the tail wagging the dog. The Protestant mentality is opposed to authority. It represents that illogical mentality now parading as `democracy.' Democracy, after all, is nothing more than a jingoism for Communism. And Communism is nothing more than `fool's gold.' That is to say, it is a bold way of getting the fool's gold from him.
9. Gerulis the Protestant rejoices that Catholics have copied them in having the priest face the people instead of facing the Crucifix above the altar.
One would wonder why this apparently indifferent posture is so important to Protestants. Actually its importance cannot be dismissed lightly. But it is very important. It is important because the position of the priest at the altar signifies that which the priest is and does: He is the representative of the people and he is the representative of God. He represents the people by leading them to God, and for this reason he faces the East, towards the Crucifix before him. He does not face the people because he is leading them to God through Jesus Christ. He faces Christ Crucified because the Sacrifice of the Mass is the unbloody sacrifice of Calvary. It is not a memorial meal; it is the Mystery of Faith! He points the way for the people- the way towards which their prayers and his must be directed: to Jesus Christ in the tabernacle; to Jesus Christ present on the altar body, soul and divinity.
He turns to the people to instruct them in the word of God. He turns to the people to invite them to unite themselves with him in the holy sacrifice. The priest does not offer the Sacrifice to the people; he offers the Sacrifice to God the Father.
Only the Protestant faces the people because he is not a priest offering sacrifice to God. The Protestant is a laymen; he is not an ordained priest according to the Order of Melchisedech. The Protestant minister can only preach his mixture of truth and error to the people whom he must deceive by flattery and lies. The Protestant minister is a liar; a false prophet who leads to hell all those who are foolish enough to believe them.
10. Gerulis also is happy that "the participation of the laity in religious services has become more active."
Comment: Gerulis is happy with this because it fits his heretical mind-set which denies the priestly character. He is ignorant of the fact that the laity were always actively participating in the religious services by uniting themselves to the actions and prayers exercised by the ordained clergy. A clergy that had been taken from among the people, consecrated to the service of the altar, and therefore, have become the mediators between the people and Jesus Christ.
The laity have no place in the holy of holies which is what the sanctuary truly is. In this the Catholic church is the continuation of the temple of the Old Testament where only the consecrated Levitical priest might enter the holy of holies
The Council of Trent to which the Catholic conscience is bound clearly states the difference between the laity and those specially consecrated to the service of the altar.
The Roman Catechism (Catechism of the Council of Trent) states:
"Now, to use the words of the holy Council: The ministry of so sublime a priesthood being a thing all divine, it is but befitting its worthier and more reverent exercise that in the Church's well-ordered disposition there should be several different orders of ministers destined to assist the priesthood by virtue of their office, - orders arranged in such a way that those who have already received clerical tonsure should be raised, step by step, from the lower to the higher orders. (Session 23, De Ord. c.2).
"It should be taught, therefore," continues the Catechism, "that these orders are seven in number, and that this has been the constant teaching of the Catholic Church. These orders are those of porter, lector, exorcist, acolyte, subdeacon, deacon and priest."
Women have no place in the sanctuary and it is already a sign of apostasy to paganism to allow women to perform any liturgical function in the sanctuary.
11. Gerulis is pleased that more singing is used during services. Of course he is pleased because he must certainly know that the more distraction people are exposed to, the less chance there is that they can concentrate on silent prayer and union with the priest in the holy Sacrifice.
Our churches have become desecrated once again by turning them into concert halls where the people come to be entertained. Today, where once the sacred presence of Jesus Christ was adored in the Real Presence, the place is occupied with songsters with their back turned to the sign of our salvation.
12. Gerulis is, no doubt, above all pleased with what he calls the "common pulpit" where heretics are invited to preach their errors to unsuspecting Catholics. It is to this heretical practice sanctioned by John Paul II and his entourage of false cardinals and bishops that Gerulis is able to address the once-Catholic clergy there present.
The pulpit is the place from which the ordained priest, approved and representing his bishop, addresses and instructs the faithful in the meaning and application of the word of God. No falsehood, no error must be allowed to proceed from this sacred pulpit. It is for this holy reason that preaching has been referred to as "sacred eloquence." For, only that which is sacred and instructive in spiritual matters is proper for this place. No doctrinal error may be tolerated here.
Those responsible for inviting this heretic to spew forth his errors in defiance of right reason and right religion are guilty of the gravest offense against God Who is Truth.
Therefore, the most culpable of all those participating at this heretical service euphemistically called `ecumenical' are the Lithuanian Franciscans.
As heretics, these Lithuanian Franciscans are automatically excommunicated from the Mystical Body of Jesus Christ. This means they are not Roman Catholics; this means that any Sacraments which they administer are either invalid or fruitless, or both. It means that anyone who supports these heretics who continue to use the name `Catholic' or `Franciscan' are supporting the enemies of the Roman Catholic Church.
As former Franciscans, they no longer have the right and privilege of wearing the Religious habit of the Order of Friars Minor which is a Roman Catholic institute founded by St. Francis of Assisi.
As heretics, they do not have any moral right to hold properties in the name of the Franciscan Order, nor do they have a moral right to the use of these properties.
Mr. Gerulis gladly quotes from the heretic anti-Pope John XXIII who began the great apostasy when he proclaimed that it was necessary to open the windows of the Church in order to let in some fresh air. Mr. Gerulis rightly understood the meaning of John XXIII's "aggiornamento" as did almost every other heretic. It takes one to know one!
And so, we conclude this sad exposure of unfaithful Franciscans and other clergy of the Lithuanian people. Centuries of Catholicism in Lithuania that could not be destroyed by the brutal and bloody persecution of atheistic Communists has been accomplished by the indifference and cowardice of the Lithuanian secular clergy and Religious. Once-Catholic Lithuania has lost everything because she has lost her faith.
It remains now for a tiny remnant to strive to rebuild a lost faith.
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