I read a fantastic article at The Remnant titled “Why I’m Disregarding Laudato Si and You Should Too” by Chris Jackson. It is a very lengthy article, but is worth the time it takes for Mr. Jackson to dissect and critique parts of the encyclical. You can read the article HERE.
While Laudato Si is an encyclical coming from Pope Francis, I am not going to spend any time reading it in its entirety. I will read the paragraphs that are highlighted in articles, but I will not read it from start to finish, at least not anytime soon. There are better things to read. Just because I choose not to read Laudato Si completely, this does not mean that I cannot speak freely and express my opinion upon the encyclical either. Using the aforementioned mentality, you cannot critique nor condemn anything immoral if you do not partake of it.
The language we find in Laudato Si could have been written by Al Gore or any other “climate change” alarmist. Data has been released stating that so-called Climate Change is nothing but an elaborate hoax. It does not exist. Because climate change isn’t real, the urgency demonstrated in this encyclical festers into nothingness.
It is true that Pope Francis condemns abortion in this document. However, he spends as much time condemning abortion as he does air conditioning. The destruction of innocent life and the running of air conditioning are not comparable, nor even on the same moral plane. Abortion is murder, one of the four sins that cries out to Heaven for vengeance. Running the air conditioner is not even a venial sin.
There is much evil lurking in the world. ISIS, the destruction of the Church from within, homosexuality being ushered in across the globe are but a few examples of the evils this world is plagued with. It leads one to wonder what the Holy Father is thinking when his priority is not addressing these evils, but perpetuating the lies that have been handed to us by corrupt organizations who look for ways to bring about the Catholic Church’s destruction.
The bits and pieces of this encyclical I have read sheds light on Pope Francis’ beliefs. He lacks a basic understanding of Catholic principles. He has no belief in the story of Creation as told in the book of Genesis. Jesus is not needed in this call to “save the world” as Our Lord is hardly mentioned. Pope Francis has said “proselytism is solemn non-sense” when it comes to Catholicism, but proselytizes in an entire encyclical on the need for the world to help “sister Earth”.
The entire encyclical is riddled and laced with modernism, a heresy as given in an encyclical by Pope St. Pius X. Those who disagree with my assessments and those of Mr. Jackson’s will eagerly ignore Pascendi Dominici Gregis. We will be accused of “cherry-picking” the beliefs that we like while ignoring others, all too similarly to them, who pay no heed to the dangers that prior Popes have forewarned us of.
While there may be “some good things” within this encyclical, we should expect the Pope to write an encyclical that is full of good things. If you were handed a brownie and there was just “a smidge of poo” in it, would you still consume the brownie, eating around the poo, or would you throw it away? Effectively, we have been given a poo brownie with Laudato Si, and I will not be consuming any of it.
If you’ve been paying attention at all, you’ll know that there are plenty of the Church’s enemies operating from within the highest ranks of the Church, even the Vatican. These enemies are Modernists, heretics, and those who want to see the Church handed over to Satan. These men and women have spent the last 100 years infiltrating the Church and are finally seeing their efforts bear fruit within these last few years.
Objectively speaking, they still have a long ways to go, as they will not rest until every single individual who professes Christ’s sacrifice and His Truth is dead or silenced. However, they are becoming far more comfortable with themselves as they are winning more and more battles. Look no closer than the number of Bishops and Cardinals at the Synod who are in favor of giving communion to the divorced, remarried, and active homosexuals.
Their victories are allowing them to sleep more peacefully at night, I’d imagine. They rest easily, knowing that the Vicar of Christ is not going to stop them. After all, he approved the Relatio and continues to invite Cardinals and Bishops who openly preach a “gospel of acceptance”.
But the one thing they have forgotten in their efforts to destroy the Church from within, is who God Is. At one point they knew that God was omnipotent and unchanging. They knew that God was God. They knew that Jesus Christ was the Son of God, true God and true Man. They knew Jesus was divine. They knew what the Church taught, yet they did not believe. They wanted to redefine who God, Jesus, the Holy Ghost, Mary, the Saints, and the Church was. They created a god in their own image and likeness. They created another religion.
As the years have progressed and their evil has made itself manifest, we see that few people really know who God is. The problem. however, is these evil individuals have also forgotten. They have bought into the lie much like Adam and Eve bought into the serpent’s lie in the Garden. They no longer recognize who God is, but cling to their imaginative ideal of what they wanted God to be.
While all of this may sound depressing and glum, there is always hope. God is all powerful and omnipotent, and He will have His justice served to these transgressors. We need to pray, fast, and stick close to the Sacraments. We want our enemies to repent of their sins and convert. But we must also recognize that one day, they will meet Jesus Christ face to face, and will have to answer for their crimes against Him and His Church.
Whether this is through their own death, or through a great chastisement as Our Lady of Fatima has warned about almost 100 years ago, they will be forced to seen the error of their ways. And while they rested peacefully here on Earth, thinking that they had won, they have in reality been the biggest of losers and will live in torment for eternity.
As you have likely heard, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Archbishop John Neinstedt, of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis . Below is Archbishop Neinstedt’s statement:
In order to give the Archdiocese a new beginning amidst the many challenges we face, I have submitted my resignation as Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, and I have just received word that he has accepted it. The Catholic Church is not our Church, but Christ’s Church, and we are merely stewards for a time. My leadership has unfortunately drawn attention away from the good works of His Church and those who perform them. Thus, my decision to step down.
It has been my privilege the last seven years to serve this local Church. I have come to appreciate deeply the vitality of the 187 parishes that make up the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis. I am grateful for the support I have received from priests, deacons, religious men and women and lay leaders, especially those who have collaborated with me in the oversight of this local Church.
I leave with a clear conscience knowing that my team and I have put in place solid protocols to ensure the protection of minors and vulnerable adults.
I ask for continued prayers for the well-being of this Archdiocese and its future leaders. I also ask for your continued prayers for me.
Here are a few thoughts I have with the entire situation. The timing seems far too coincidental with Bishop Finn’s resignation, almost two months ago to the day. With both resignations, we find similar language such as “a new beginning” and to allow “healing”. It seems odd at how close these two were, and I would suspect that both of these bishops were forced from their post.
Pope Benedict XVI seems to have established an odd precedent with his abdication. Both Archbishop Neinstedt and Bishop Finn were appointed by Pope Benedict. All three have stepped down due to some form of sexual abuse. At this rate, most of the good bishops that have been appointed by Pope Benedict will be forced out.
Pope Francis will likely appoint a bishop who “smells of the sheep”, a bishop of “mercy”, and one who isn’t always talking about abortion and gay marriage. In other words, another Archbishop Blaise Cupich, We will unlikely see a replacement who is traditional, but one who is charismatic.
All the progress made in the Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis to restore the sacred and bring back the Traditional Latin Mass will be for naught. The FSSP will be forced out. The Traditional Latin Mass parishes will be severely punished. Priests within the Archdiocese who feel called to learn the TLM will now fear for their well-being. Suppression will occur. Reverent Novus Ordos will go difficult to find. It’ll be like the days of old with Archbishop Flynn. The Seminary will be reformed again and all the traditional elements the current seminarians are learning will be thrown out the window.
Archbishop Neinstedt is paying the price for his vocal discord with homosexual “marriage”. The gay lobby is powerful and will silence anyone who will try to expose them. Archbishop Flynn, who was in charge during the entire priest sex abuse crisis and who moved these child molesters around should be the one who is publicly tarred, feathered and thrown in jail. But then again, he is a liberal, so he is a “good guy”.
I also would not be surprised if Cardinal Burke’s Solemn Pontifical Mass that is scheduled for September is cancelled.
I hope I am wrong, but seeing how the last two years of this pontificate has revealed poor appointments for bishops while faithful bishops are being removed for the mismanagement of their predecessors, I’m left with a sense that this is bad news for St. Paul and Minneapolis.
If you are going to stand up for the Truth and proclaim God’s mercy and love, you need to be prepared for the persecution that will follow: “If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated me before you. If you had been of the world, the world would love its own: but because you are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to you: The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you: if they have kept my word, they will keep yours also.” John 15:18-20.
It is not an easy road to follow Jesus. He even told us so: “Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!” Matthew 7:13-14.
Whether you stand against pornography, homosexuality, transsexualism, extra-marital sex, divorce, remarriage, or any other sexual evil, you will be persecuted. The destruction of the family and society is in full force. The Devil and his minions, both angelic and human, are out on the prowl looking to destroy anybody who is in their way. But don’t fret. You’re reward is not here on this earth, but in Heaven where your Father is.
You will be called a bigot for standing against indecency. You will be called judgmental for calling out sin. You will be called a hater for your disgust at sin. But this is all good in the eyes of God, because anything that is offensive to Him and goes against Him is worthy of destruction. But our Lord is merciful, and is willing to pour His mercy upon those who seek it.
Matthew Kelly is a front runner in the Catholic speaking circuit. He has written numerous books including Rediscover Catholicism and The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic. He is the founder of Dynamic Catholic. Over the last several years he has grown in popularity. While this is great for him, his methods are effective for a minute few, and ineffective for the vast majority of practicing Catholics.
I used to be a huge fan of Matthew Kelly. I have a lot of his talks, a couple of his books, and I would give out copies of Rediscover Catholicism to lapsed Catholics. You can even find many mentions of him throughout this blog. Matthew Kelly has played a role in my desire to learn more about the faith. However, having gained the knowledge I now have, I’ve realized that Matthew Kelly doesn’t teach Catholicism in its entirety. His approach is laced with modernism, rooted in emotionalism, and waters down Catholic identity to appeal to a Protestant mentality.
During recent years, parishes across the country have been giving out copies of Rediscover Catholicism to those in attendance at Christmas and Easter Masses. The concept is to re-engage Catholics who are only coming to Mass on Christmas and Easter. The program seemed to have an impact, as many people across the country were coming back to the Catholic Church. While I have no complaints about bringing people back to the Church, I do have a serious concern about methods that use emotion as opposed to logic and reason.
Rediscover Catholicism is a book written for a very specific audience. It’s written for those who hardly identify as Catholic, or who have left the Church completely. It’s an appetizer to the grand banquet of Catholic cuisine. The book’s purpose is to present the case for Catholicism simply and pithily. It only scrapes the surface and doesn’t dig deeply. It relies heavily on emotion and sentimentalism.
The introductory story of Rediscover Catholicism is meant to be a parable of God the Father giving up Jesus Christ, His Only Son. The analogy is incomplete unless the reader has a devotion to Jesus in the Eucharist. In Kelly’s example, the parents decide to sacrifice their son, ignore his pleas for help and knowledge, and leave him questioning as his parents abandon him.
There is a significant difference between Kelly’s tale and the sacrifice Jesus willingly embraced in order to bring eternal life to the world. Jesus knew what was involved and what was to come of His passion. This boy did not know what was going on. Allowing your child to choose to give up their life to save those around them, and volunteering your child without their consent are two vastly different theological choices. With Jesus, we see a sacrifice of choice. With Kelly, we see a forced victim. Jesus laid down His life willingly for others. Kelly’s tale is contrived, an artificial and incomplete analogy.
The Rediscover Catholicism and Dynamic Catholic Institute mentalities are awash in modernism. Modernism was deemed heresy by Pope St. Pius X, and described as the synthesis of all heresies. Modernism reveals itself by presenting something very traditional and recognizably Catholic in one context, and something very non-Catholic almost as a counterpoint, or a contradiction, attached to it. An example of modernism would be an author talking about how important Catholic identity is on one page of his book, and on the next page discuss how each person can worship however they feel brings them closer to God.
An example would be this statement on how Matthew Kelly views tradition in Rediscover Catholicism:
Many are calling for a return to the past. These people are reactionaries, not visionaries. Too often their cries are driven by a fear of uncertainty and a grappling for stability. Rather than placing their trust in God and cooperating with his future, they allow their humanity to get the better of them as they try to control things beyond their control.” Matthew Kelly, “Rediscover Catholicism” page 22-23 2010
Pope St. Pius X states in his encyclical Pascendi Dominici Gregis (1907):
They exercise all their ingenuity in an effort to weaken the force and falsify the character of tradition, so as to rob it of all its weight and authority. But for Catholics nothing will remove the authority of the second Council of Nicea, where it condemns those “who dare, after the impious fashion of heretics, to deride the ecclesiastical traditions, to invent novelties of some kind…or endeavor by malice or craft to overthrow any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church”.
Many parishes are beginning to switch over from traditional catechetical programs and are using Rediscover Catholicism and other programs by the Dynamic Catholic Institute as their course material. This would be the equivalent of using a hammer to pound in a screw. You are using a tool which has an already intended purpose in a way in which it was not intended.
At one time I was convinced that using Matthew Kelly’s methods would be the most effective way to get people interested in Catholicism. I attended his Living Life with Passion and Purpose event. I was even ecstatic when the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis partnered with him to create the “Rediscover Faith” series which was incorporated in each parish within the Archdiocese. I was thrilled about the “Rediscover Catholic Celebration” conference the Archdiocese hosted in 2013 which was attended by 5,000 Catholics.
Looking back, Rediscover Catholicism is a very basic explanation of Christianity. There is so much more to learn about Catholicism that requires us to engage material which is at a deeper level of understanding. From what I have seen, this program does not encourage the learner to look deeper into the more advanced subject matter, instead, enabling one to keep buying books at the same level of reason. While there is nothing wrong with simple explanations, to keep someone from advancing in their faith is sinful. A pre-school teacher not only gives his students the information and knowledge required to advance to Kindergarten, but also encourages the skills and curiosity to want to learn. Likewise, a Kindergarten teacher teaches the knowledge and skills required of his students to advance to First Grade. Additionally, if the subject matter is mired in Modernist philosophies, then the experience will be confusing at best and discouraging at worst. Heresy leads us further from Christ, not closer.
According to Kelly, 85% of Catholics leave the Church within seven years of being confirmed. Last year, Matthew Kelly released Decision Point, a confirmation program designed to address this problem. Having taught Religious Education to 10th and 11th graders going into Confirmation (confirming children at this age is part of the problem), I was excited.
I recall that in one of Father Robert Barron’s talks, he mentions a problem with Catholic schools. At his niece’s high school graduation party, she had displayed all of her books from her senior year. Included were books on Calculus, Chemistry, Physics, and many books in Latin. When Father Barron got to her religion book, it was a thin book in which all the pages were cartoonish and the subject matter was what was to be expected for a child. We are teaching high school students advanced academic and sociological material, yet we can’t give them anything intellectually challenging or stimulating in regard to the Catholic faith.
I bring this up because every page of Decision Point is littered with random doodles. Every page. Additionally, the subject matter is light. From my perusal, there was no explanation about the consequences of Hell, nor even mention of Hell. There was no mention of Purgatory. There were no explanations of mortal or venial sin. Zero references to the Devil, but one mention of Satan when Kelly quotes the Renewal of Baptism formula (pg. 259). There is one mention of original sin.
But, rest assured, there are at least 75 references to Kelly’s self-coined “Best-Version-Of-Yourself” mantra to instill a sense of the feel-goods. If this book is meant for Catholics in middle school and high school, why are we treating them like toddlers?
There are no serious reasons regarding why we need to embrace Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. When asked, “Why should I stay in the Catholic Church?” Kelly responds with:
There are lots of reasons you should stay Catholic and grow in your faith every day, but what is more compelling than to say, “You should stay because Jesus prayed you would”? There in the garden of Gethsemane two thousand years ago Jesus agonized over every person who would think about leaving his Church, and he prayed that they would remain one. – Decision Points pg 223.
Matthew Kelly says “there are lots of reasons” to stay Catholic, but uses a weak reason rooted in sentimentalism to try to make you feel bad. He doesn’t discuss it being the Church that Christ started as the reason. He doesn’t talk about Extra Ecclesiam Nulla Salus which is the Catholic Doctrine that states there is no salvation outside of the Catholic Church. Instead of using logic and reason to engage the maturing Christian reader into making a lasting decision on why they should be Catholic, he uses sentimentalism and emotions to persuade them to be Catholic. Essentially, “not being Catholic makes Jesus sad” is his reasoning.
Sentimentalism emerges in most of Kelly’s language. “The Best Version of Yourself” is a term Kelly began using after he read the Second Vatican Council’s declaration stating the universal call to holiness. When teaching this declaration, many people would shrug off the idea of holiness. He began using this catch-phrase and people responded positively. While changing the language a bit to help drive a point (Jesus did this with His parables), it’s important to remember that context is needed. This phrase only works when you apply a lens of holiness and God’s law to it. Any other lens and this phrase can be used to promote a litany of sins.
Eventually, this blossoms fully into the mentality of “feel good Catholicism”. If the teaching is too hard, too old, or doesn’t leave you with a feeling of joy, then it isn’t good. This can be seen in 2014’s “Rediscover Catholic Celebration” put on by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis. There was no mention of having a reverent Mass. Everything had to feel good. No classical Gregorian Chant, but plenty of Modernist Praise and Worship tunes. No time for deep contemplation, but enough time to do a “flash mob” to a rendition of Pharrell’s “Happy“. Planners had reserved room for 10,000 people. Only 5,000 came.
At this event, they discussed the brand new program they were going to launch; “Amazing Parish”. Amazing Parish is similar to “Rebuilt” in which we forego most of our Catholic identity in all facets of parish life to appear more Protestant friendly and appeal to those leaving the Catholic Church for Mega-Churches. It is important to note that this “mega-church” mentality doesn’t work. Parishes that embrace tradition and reverent Masses are the parishes which see a boost in parish attendance and tithing. The Church in general has been trying to appear more Protestant for the last 50 years and are seeing the fruits manifest in the problems we face; priest shortages, vocation declines, parishes merging/clustering/closing. Becoming more Protestant won’t fix the problem.
There are plenty of liturgical abuses in many Masses across the world. Taking issue with these abuses is normal and good. Matthew Kelly is a firm believer that those who take issue with these abuses are the ones who have the problem, not the priests who allow the transgressions. The complainers have an imperfect heart for not appreciating Jesus Christ’s presence in the Eucharist. Ultimately, this logic reduces one to accept “clown Masses are okay, and if you have a problem with it, you are deficient in your faith”.
The works of Matthew Kelly were a stepping stone in my faith, but his approach is insufficient. His books are simple, and don’t touch upon the important aspects of the Catholic faith. Each person is unique and different, and each person is entitled to hear the fullness of the Truth. There are plenty of resources written prior to 1965 that explain Catholicism concisely and provide plenty of meat to chew on for both Catholics and non-Catholics alike. I would highly recommend reading St. Peter Canisius’ “Catechism for Catholics” to get a solid understanding of Catholic teaching. There are some good nuggets in what Matthew Kelly has to offer, but due to the Modernism that is laced throughout much of his material, it would be best to avoid it and stick to the catechetical material which has been developed throughout the history of the Church.
Finally, while these novel methods may bring an influx of people into the Church the methods do not have the lasting effects would the methods that the Church has had at her disposal over the last 2000 years. I don’t think Matthew Kelly embraces Modernism intentionally. I believe he’s a product of the catechesis of his day. The Church has suffered greatly these last 50+ years in catechesis and the knowledge and attitude of today’s Catholics demonstrates it. Matthew Kelly has a gentle demeanor which many find attractive. If he would embrace traditional teachings and present them clearly, he would make many Catholics stronger in their faith, a faith which will last longer than the popularity of his latest book.
The Traditional Latin Mass, the Baltimore Catechism, and traditional Catechesis have plenty of substance to feed the faithful and an 80% retention rate prior to 1965. New ways to present classic material come out each year which tries to address the now 15% retention rate, and fail. Perhaps we should use what the Church has always used: good old fashioned Truth.