If you are like me just humming along doing my best trying to do good and avoid evil, you are also scratching your head saying, “What in heck is going on in the Church?” The Super Bowl is looming. Olympics events occupy our attention. And Catholic media tell us about a vote count tallied by the German synod on synodality. A “vote count????” If we’re going to vote, let’s go back to voting for our local Bishop. The Shepherd knows his sheep—something like that. And, hush! Yes, listen to the clucking voices that say the action of the Church proves we are in the end times. Well, we are in the proximate end times in which we have been since Our Lord’s Ascension; however who can deny there is increased evil activity today. All the above said, let me share with you A Letter from an Irish Priest that popped up on my computer. It is digitized by Google Books project.
Once upon a time…….. The time was 1872 exactly. Wow!! 150 years ago. The Pope was Pius IX, the 255th Pope and the longest-reigning.
…and once upon a time there was an Irish priest named Michael. Who is Michael? “I do not give you my name, but I refer you to the Professor of theology at Maynooth. He knows it.” Why do we know so little? Was Michael afraid of being “cancelled” if Cardinal Cullen identified him? Am I therefore become your enemy because I tell you the truth? (Gal 4:16) says the verse before the body of the letter. Or was Michael a pseudonym to represent St. Michael the Archangel, “the Michael foretold by Daniel and the Michael of the Apocalypse” who is planning to lead other men as angels to do battle for the Church? An even more inclusive thought: was Michael the entire Seminary Faculty? Inspirational, indeed!
Who is Cardinal Cullen? Cardinal Cullen was the first Irish Cardinal. Cullen was a “prince of the Church”, definitely a member of a privileged class. He had crafted the formula for papal infallibility at the First Vatican Council. Was he an ultramontanist giving strong emphasis to the privileges and powers of the Pope?
The Letter might have begun, “You are Hereby Invited”.
The letter is really an invitation to Cardinal Cullen who albeit a man is being asked to do the work of an angel in ridding the Church of the abomination of desolation, Satan in the sanctuary.
The letter is set in both the context of the proximate end times and the context of the Parable of the Tares or Cockle which appears only in Matthew (13: 24-30, 37-43). Let’s look at the parable. Put simply, the wheat seeds planted under ideal conditions with all the variables needed for a successful crop are the children of the Kingdom. Satan came while the sower, the owner of the land and his helpers/underlings all were asleep. Secretly, Satan sowed tares and/or cockles which are weeds but look like the wheat one by one in and throughout the wheat. These weeds/tares are infiltrators in the Church (Taylor Marshall). When they first appeared in the field it was hard to notice the difference between the wheat and its competitor enemy, the look-alike tares and/or cockles. From Fonck (The Parables of Christ): This image [of the sower] was most particularly adapted to our Lord’s teaching and labors because He had come forth to call new life and fresh vital energy. This life He would communicate to all by preaching His doctrine and sowing his Word along with divine Grace in the hearts of men, so that by cooperating with that Grace, and by obeying that word, they might become members of his kingdom of Light and Life. It is definitely explained to us in this simile that by the image of the sower in its literal sense we are to understand our Divine Savior Himself. “He that sows the good deed is the Son of man, the Messiah foretold by Daniel (Dan. 7:13.) And the field is the world (v. 38). Not Israel alone but the whole world shall have part in this Kingdom. The good seed which he scatters are children of the Kingdom. On the same field and intermingled with them as cockle with wheat are the children of the Evil One. The devil is their father because they do his works. For, as Jesus Christ, by means of His Divine Word, sets the germ of good in the human heart and offers to all the life-giving power of the Holy Ghost, and as men, by their acceptance of the Word, and by their cooperation with grace, become members of the Kingdom of God, so in like manner, Satan, as the enemy of God and man, labors by his allurements and temptations, that evil may take root in the heart. And thus it is that those who, deceived by him, listen to his blandishments, and yield to sin become “children of the wicked one” and bondmen of the kingdom whose prince is this same wicked adversary of God. But as in the parable the enemy only scattered the cockle among the good seed, and in the field which had been already sowed, so also, our Lord, in His explanation, keeps especially in His view, the operations of the devil amongst men who are already members of His Heavenly Kingdom. We are, therefore, told afterwards that the angels will sort out the wicked from the kingdom of the son of man (v. 41). Real and actual membership of this kingdom depends on interior dispositions and inclination of the will, and thus it is that the wicked enemy can recruit even within the limits of this society and can seduce men from their allegiance to Christ. Thus, Satan’s kingdom is at least in part, intermingled with the kingdom of Heaven and finds subjects therein. Good and evil are intermingled within the Church just as the cockle and the wheat in the field. From the very beginning the weed [tares/cockle] betrayed its presence among the good wheat, at least to the penetrating glance of the son of God who searches the heart and the reins……Hence, He willed to give his disciples a special instruction on this new mystery of His kingdom….the existence and origin of evil in His Church.
Why is Michael writing this letter/invitation to Cardinal Cullen? I think Michael wrote the letter because he saw himself as a spiritual Watchman. A spiritual Watchman sees the shadow play of the battle between good and evil behind all the workings of the world. The mission of a spiritual Watchman is to awaken the world with the word of God, whether they listen or not, to help them escape disasters and to lead them to salvation (Ez 3:11, 17-18).
As spiritual Watchman of the Church, Michael calls out the errors that have occurred. In Truth, Christ is the Spiritual Rock, the Foundation upon which the Church is formed (Dan 12:10). After Peter proclaimed the Divinity of Christ, Jesus named him as the temporal rock, the physical visible foundation of the Church. The mission of the Church is to proclaim The Everlasting Gospel. The Holy Spirit has guided the Saints of the Church to profess a short creed: the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
There is an apostasy in the Church, that is, the destructive delusion. In error, the Pope has created an Empire with power over every tribe, and tongue, and people and nation. Christ set himself up as a model with His Apostles imaged in the washing of the feet of the Apostles; in a stark contrast an exalted dignitary has been created with an emperor, princes and lords to teach His religion. The apostasy’s creed is the commandments of men. A saving religion has been turned into an engine of destruction Michael decries. Pope Siricius in 389 in a commandment of men coerced celibacy. This was anti-evangelic as regards the counsel of continence. All men cannot be continent for it is a gift. The commandment to celibacy has robbed some of a means to sanctification and a life of hypocrisy. It has demoralized them who have not been permitted to a life of sanctification in marriage and caused scandal. Returning to practice as a counsel, a single life in peace and humility can be lived with those gifted with continence; and those who are not so gifted can sanctify and save themselves by marriage. Even when in the course of time, when the evil fruits of the Pope’s legislation were discovered, no Pope has repented or receded fearing a confession of error might weaken the faith of the people in their assumed infallibility. A further error is that the Bishops never take an oath to observe “the Everlasting Gospel”. Instead, at their consecration the Pope obliges the Bishops to take an oath to teach the canons and papal decrees. This endangers their salvation by involving them in some measures that are bad and some that are positively destructive. If they would take an oath to teach the revelation of God, pure without change, addition or dimunition, not only would it be profitable to their salvation, and conducive to what God and all good men desire, the concord of Christians.
Michael ends his letter repeating that this letter has been to show the destructive fruits of the Papal legislation of the fourth century with a commitment to send a following letter pointing out the destructive fruits of Papal legislation in the nineteenth century. Alas, cannot find his second letter if it survives.
Where are you today, Michael, our spiritual Watchman?
Why are we placing Michael at the Synod? It’s a “natural” because without the context of a Watchman, we might overlook the shadow play of good and evil framing the battle in the issues and the action in the Church today. Michael speaks with parrhesia, frankly, to anticipate the consequences and predict the outcomes of these battles.
We need an updated Letter from you, Michael, to our Cardinals of the United States. How many are there? We have Cardinals in their own dioceses, in Rome and retired. Michael, your inquiry and invitation might address these active Cardinals Cupich, DiNardo, Gregory, O’Malley and Tobin. And there is sure to be wisdom gained, also, from Cardinals Burke, Mahony, Maida, Rigali and Wuerl, and those assigned to Rome Cassiavillan, Harvey, and O'Brien. Do they think the coercive celibacy has led to the high number of homosexual clergy? Do they think “voting” on synodal topics will add to increased numbers of commandments of men? Do they favor dropping the attire of their privileged class and dressing in common priestly attire? Do they favor vowing the commandments of God and faith in Jesus over Papal canons and bulls? And most importantly how do they plan to recognize the tares (church infiltrators), mark/identify them, and remove the abomination of desolation—Satan in the sanctuary? You might ask them to list the destructive fruits poisoning our Beloved Holy Mother the Church today in the twenty-first century.
Oh, the Invitation!
Dear Cardinal Cupich, DiNardo, Gregory, O’Malley and Tobin, Burke, Mahony, Maida, Rigali and Wuerl, Cassiavillan, Harvey and O'Brien, “You are Hereby Invited” albeit men to do the work of angels in ridding the Church of the abomination of desolation, Satan in the sanctuary.
R.S.V.P. No Regrets, Please.