The Bishop Speaks

Bishop Louis Vezelis O.F.M.


There are only two philosophies of life: the objectively false and the objectively real. The only objectively real philosophy of life is that which the Universal (Catholic) Church has been teaching before and since the Incarnation; and then you have all the other idealistic and/or materialistic philosophies of life with their various mystical superstitions constructed into religions of mass appeal. Any other philosophy will fall in between the two extremes of idealism and materialism.

In all these philosophies-made-religion, or religion-made-philosophy, man becomes God; whereas in the authentic Christian religion, man does not become God, but only a child of God by adoption through the mystery of sanctifying grace.

This is the basic difference between pantheism (into which all these false philosophies necessarily lead) and the teachings of Catholicism.

There are those who would imagine that the Buddhist, Confucionist, Hindu, Talmudist, and Protestant seek God. Nothing can be further from the truth because all these religions are not religions at all.

Take Buddhism, for instance. The Buddhist does not seek God because for the Buddhist there is no God. The Buddhist does not even believe in the soul. For the Buddhist, the `soul' is only another faculty like sight, touch, smell, hearing.

"Man's position in Buddhism is supreme. Man is his own master, and there is no higher being or power that sits in judgment over his destiny." ( What the Buddha Taught -by Walpola Rahula)

Basically, then, Buddhism is atheistic and cannot, therefore be "wooing God" as Bishop Sheen once wrote. Pride reigns in the house of Buddhism just as pride reigns in the house of Stoicism.

As for Confucius, neither he nor his disciples ever spoke of God. Confucius appealed to the natural principles of morality knowable and known by anyone who would reflect dispassionately. Here, too, the follower of Confucius does not "woo God" because he is content in his self-love. He walks with his head held high and his eyes focused on a distant horizon.

The same may be said of the Hindu religion which occasioned the birth of Buddhism.

Then we come to that other mistaken and deceptive notion some have irrationally promoted under the absurd name of "Judaic-Christian".

First of all, there is no such religion as "Judaism". It has become popular to speak of this myth since Karol Wojtyla spoke of the adherents of this ancient sect as "our elder brothers in the faith." Even before this, Bishop Sheen was promoting the idea, not so much because he knew what it meant, but more because it was the popular thing to say. The whole idea of a "Judaic-Christian" religion suggests that Christianity was born of Judaism. That's like saying Catholicism came from Protestantism.

Because we are closer to the Protestant phenomenon than we are to the Talmudic phenomenon, it is easier to see the error in claiming that the Catholic Church comes from Protestant rebellion than to perceive the identical error in referring to Talmudism ("Judaism") as giving birth to Christianity.

There is always a great danger of confusing nationalism with religion because it is the same person who is at once the member of a tribe and a believer of a religion. This confusion is sometimes deliberately promoted to either control the members of the group by appealing to national pride or religious loyalty - depending upon which was perceived to be the more effective at the time.

Nothing is more harmful to genuine religion than to make it subservient to the political control of a populace. On the other hand, nothing enhances and protects political autonomy than the fostering of the true religion.

This may be seen in the event that has come to be universally known as "Christmas". In Latin, the term is `Nativitas Domini' - the Birth of the Lord. It does not really make much difference what terminology is used as long as the idea is correct in each case.

Talmudism (Judaism) should not be confused with the true faith of believers of the Old Testament. The true believers under the Old Testament looked forward to the coming Messiah. The true believers were actually the `Catholics' of the Old Testament. Of course, they did not use the word `Catholic' because they had not yet come into contact with the Greek language. Nevertheless, their faith was universal in time and place.

The true believers had no other name than "believers". This was their simple self-identification before the birth of the Messiah and it was there identification after His birth. It was only much later that these believers were labeled `Christians'. This happened in Antioch when the Talmudists used government power to persecute them.

Not all believers were ethnic Judeans. And not all Israelites were Judeans. The Judeans were only one tribe among twelve. Therefore, to consider all Israelites as if they were "Jews" is as false as anything can be.

Genuine believers who lived before the coming of the Messiah hoped in His coming based on their faith in the prophets. The Levitical priests and high-priests who awaited His coming embraced His coming. Others, however, had already begun compromising themselves and gradually had gone from religion to politics until, eventually, they themselves could no longer distinguish one from the other. Or they chose not to.

It must have been very confusing for believers in those days to keep their religious balance while remaining `religiously correct' in the eyes of those who were seated on the chair of Moses but no longer followed the precepts of Moses and the prophets.

But this had occurred much earlier. Ever since Aaron fashioned the golden calf in the desert, there was born a distinctive division among the believers: those who were with Moses and those who were with the Golden Calf.

The unity that exists between religion and politics is such that any divorce between them inexorably leads to chaos and destruction.

What was the greatest fear of those in power at learning that a prophesied King was born? Bear in mind that King Herod was a Talmudist flunky of the Roman Empire. He was made `king' by the Roman Emperor. He was just a little king; but, often a small frog feels greater in a small puddle than in a big ocean. There was not much ado over the miraculous birth of the Child in Bethlehem because most people will not listen to someone dressed in shepherd's rags.

This is especially true when taking such people seriously has consequences which the listeners are not prepared or willing to accept. Such things happen even today.

What happened in Bethlehem? So far, all that has been said was merely to place the event in its historical circumstances.

Then it happened! The promised One was born! God, the Creator of all that has been created - visible and invisible - entered into His creation. The Creator became a creature!

The King of Kings was born!

A new Ruler came into existence. A Ruler whom all mankind was bound in reasoned and enlightened conscience to obey. A Ruler Whose rule would be just; a Ruler Whose reign would last forever. In a word, "the Word of God was made flesh and dwelt among us."

But, later on the very people whom this King came to lead back to the true God of all creation would hypocritically shout: "We have no king but Caesar!"

They, who had made themselves gods by denying the true God, remained silent when Herod ordered the slaughter of all male children under two years of age simply because the wise men of the East came searching for the new-born King. Only divine intervention saved the infant King. God's plan and purpose would not be frustrated by any vile self-seeking and self-serving impudence.

This is the real Christmas. This is the true meaning of Christmas.

There is no other significance to the celebration of this particular day. The importance of this day rests on the simple historical fact: God has visited His people.

God's love was greater than man's hatred. And it was to turn this hatred into love that Divinity became a new Humanity. For, this is what the King of creation came to achieve: To restore divine right order in the universe through a second birth of His creature: Unless a man be born again of water and the Holy Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. And that kingdom is already here on earth. It's name? It is known as the Roman Catholic Church.

It all begins with Christmas. And there is no other name by which we are to be saved. Saved from ourselves, first of all, and then saved from all that which conspires against us.

Only in the Holy Name of Jesus can the world hope for that peace and justice which it desires. There is no human organization of whatever dimension that can bring peace and order into the world without Christ.

No organization of whatever seemingly `noble' purpose can achieve the salvation of society without first bowing to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.

Divine Love entered our human condition not to destroy love, but to direct it back to its original right order.

God desires our love because we were created to love and to be loved. Any individual's greatest achievement in this brief lifetime is to return love for love. And, because a disordered love reigns among us, it required God to come and visibly show us how genuine, well-ordered love must act.

So far, mankind has quite miserably failed to learn the lesson. And what of us of this generation: Will we continue in the tradition of disorder? The sign has been given by which we are to recognize our King. He is like no other ruler in this world because His rule is not of this corrupted world, it is nothing less than the rule of heaven.

This is the real Christmas. This is the only Christmas; there is no other. There will be no other. A world that rejects this genuine Christmas is a world in deep trouble. It is a world that can only suffer the consequences of its rejection.

There is only one Messiah. He has already come; any other can only be an imposter. Worse - it can only be the Antichrist.

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