To Kill Two Birds with One Stone – Part I

First Council of Nicea

 

By Desmond A. Birch

(As Desmond noted about the image, the painting forces one to eventually focus on Emperor Constantine – who thought HE was running the Council – sitting with crown in the foreground. Also to be noted is how the painter took creative license as Constantine actually wore flaming crimson robes. Further, bishops most probably did not yet wear miters until the tenth century. ~BH)

There are two dangerous false premises making the rounds these days, they are;

1. This is the time of the worst crisis in the history of the Church.

2. Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI both,

            a. Knew about the clerical abuse from the beginning, and,

            b. Did nothing about it. [This premise will be addressed in part II.]

     FIRST: One counter-example to #1 above:

            Beginning in 319 A.D., an Egyptian Deacon named Arius stated, “There was a time when the Father was not yet Father.” What did he mean by that? He meant that the Son, Jesus Christ, was created** by the Father, that Jesus Christ is not Divine, is not God as is the Father. It means that Arius thought the Son, Jesus Christ, was a creature – a being created by the Father. That heresy spread far and wide over the next 50 to 60 years.

            In 325 A.D., the Council of Nicea was called – to deal with what had then become the ‘Arian Heresy’, which denied the Divinity of Jesus Christ. To combat it, the Council Fathers composed the Nicene Creed. That Creed clearly states that the Son [Jesus Christ] is “homoousios to Patri”,  is, “of the same substance as the Father.” i.e., the Nicene Creed says Jesus Christ is Divine, is God.

            Thanks in large part to early interference of the Roman Emperor Constantine, the Bishops faithful to that Creed, faithful to the Divinity of Jesus Christ began over the course of decades to be systematically driven out of their Dioceses. Many of them were sentenced to a living death in the Roman metal mines. Some had their tongues cut out. Some had their Achilles tendon severed so they would walk painfully with a limp for life.  Some had their eyes burned out of their sockets. But all of those so harmed refused to abandon their belief in Jesus Christ and His Divinity.

Example: Constantine exiled St. Athanasius several times. Why? Because Athanasius would not approve a watered down Creed – which ‘watering’ would leave the Divinity of Jesus Christ in doubt. [Constantine saw the political effect of the controversy as a point of division in his ‘Empire’ – a division which he decided had to be stopped. Constantine instituted the idea of what is called ‘Caesaro-Papism’ – ‘Caesar is Pope’.]

            The apex of all this occurred at the Council  of Sirmium in 357 A.D., at which the vast majority of the attending Bishops agreed to void the ‘Nicene Creed’. In other words, they waffled on the Divinity of Jesus Christ.  They even put Bishop Ossius on ‘the rack’ to try to torture him into signing the false creed. Ossius was 104 years old at the time.

            As a result, St. Jerome wrote a few decades later of those events at Sirmium, “One morning the world awoke and groaned, finding itself ‘Arian’.”

POINT: OURS IS NOT NECESSARILY THE LOWEST POINT IN CHURCH HISTORY. SHE HAS BY THE GRACE OF GOD SURVIVED MANY CRISIS POINTS THROUGHOUT THAT HISTORY! [We’ve still got very many faithful Bishops today – quite a number of them with great courage. Mine is one of them.]

            In the Soviet Communist Era of Russia during the 20th century, many faithful Bishops behind the Iron Curtain were unjustly sentenced to concentration camps in Siberia and other remote locations in the Soviet Empire. There, most of them were starved and worked to death. But this was not worldwide. On the other hand, the persecution of faithful Bishops by Arians [heretics] was throughout the known Roman world – heaviest in the East – but was not ‘localized’.

            POINT: This is only one of a number of examples one can name throughout Salvation History, which when studied thoroughly – were as bad or worse than it is today.

[I don’t judge anyone who disagrees with this assessment. I simply ‘see’ that the historical facts bear out the assessment given above. There are periods throughout Church History which compare with or are worse than our own – depending upon how you look at them. This is not meant to diminish the current crises! It is to point out that we must all keep our eyes fixed on Jesus’ promise that he would be with us till the end of time, and during that interval, the “Gates of Hell will not prevail against the Church”.]

** Arius, imagining himself to be a profound theologian, thought that “begotten” meant “created”.

89 thoughts on “To Kill Two Birds with One Stone – Part I

  1. So great to have you writing for us again, Desmond! Thank you.

    Oh My! How we are capable of becoming barbarians. (And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love… oops.) Part I DOES bring peace and hope by viewing today’s challenges in a wider perspective of Church History.

    Charlie and the patrons of this site have spoken, in a nutshell, to our way forward:
    Charlie: Do the little you can right before you.
    St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Doctor of the Church: Become a saint via the Little Way.
    Pope St. John Paul II: Be not afraid!

    Onward, then, partnering with God by taking Our Lady’s counsel: Do whatever He tells you.

    Liked by 13 people

    1. I dob’t know Beckita, while it does bring peace and hope by viewing today’s challenges in a wider perspective of Church History, …the eye burning, body racking, Achille’s tendon cutting and other things we have to look forward to don’t have me quite shouting “Yippee!” (Especially if this goes on for decades!). I’m starting to appreciate just how tough some of these saints must have been to hand down the faith faithfully.

      Liked by 15 people

      1. So true, Andy. I think those saints of yore gained toughness through acknowledging God deeply and consistently. And it’s why I ask, every day, for more humility, faith and peace born of complete trust in God. For the hard things I’ve been through in life (and we’ve all had to navigate difficulties, trials and tough stuff), I know the grace I was given was not provided one day or moment before it was needed, so I’m confident that we can count on God’s Providence to get us through each next right step. It was precisely St.Thérèse confidence and love for the Lord which carried her through her own via dolorosa.

        There are too many who reject the Love Jesus is pouring out at every moment. This was an absolute emotional anguish on the Cross for Him. Each of us can follow in Thérèse’s footsteps and love Jesus in His Sacred Heart, telling Him we’ll receive all His rejected Love into our own hearts. Imagine how our hearts would be on fire so that surely we could live the biblical wisdom: Perfect Love casts out fear.

        Liked by 13 people

  2. Awesome piece Desmond. ..funny
    …I was thinking of you today and wondering how you are doing. ..lol…still love your book TTT…I keep it near me every night at relax time…ur a pretty smart fellow🤗😇😘

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Important stuff Padre.

    C.S. Lewis here:https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/157977-we-don-t-use-the-words-begetting-or-begotten-much-in

    got the distinction between “begat” and “create” down pat.

    “We don’t use the words begetting or begotten much in modern English, but everyone still knows what they mean. To beget is to become the father of: to create is to make. And the difference is this. When you beget, you beget something o the same kind as yourself. A man begets human babies, a beaver begets little beavers and a bird begets eggs which turn into little birds. But when you make, you make something of a different kind from yourself. A bird makes a nest, a beaver builds a dam, a man makes a wireless set – or he may make something more like himself than a wireless set: say, a statue. If he is clever enough carver he may make a statue which is very like man indeed. But, of course, it is not a ream man; it only looks like one. It cannot breathe or think. It is not alive.

    Now that is the first thing to get clear. What God begets is God; just as what man begets is man. What God creates is not God; just as what man makes is not man. That is why men are not Son’s of God in the sense that Christ is. They may be like God in certain ways, but they are not things of the same kind. They are more like statues or pictures of God.”

    As to the rack at 104 years old….(makes sign of the cross)

    Reminiscent of Dicken’s Tale of Two Cities where a non-catholic had his tongue cut out.

    Odd, but true, this is the beginnings/middlings of Christendom.

    We/I have/had the expectation that Christendom is perfected from the Ascension.

    From your post, we can see it is getting better.

    Thank you!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. Timothy, I readily imagine that Desmond has a paternal love for all the seminarian students he teaches. Brilliant and erudite he is, yet, he’s actually not a Padre. He’s a lay married man with grown children and I have noticed grandchildren in a few of his FB photos. Amazing, isn’t he?

      Liked by 8 people

  4. Thanks for this, Desmond. Much to digest.

    The main point of reference for me is the current volume of Catholics, estimated around some 1.2 billion. Wish I had a graph showing the entire historical growth of the Church (in its truest entirety) to better visualize what’s at stake. I’ve seen similar for the world population and the explosion upwards in modern times is stunning.

    The harvest is ripe, and what a potential harvest!

    Maybe this plays into the thinking that “this is the time of the worst crisis in the history of the Church.”

    Liked by 7 people

    1. From Desmond (He’s having difficulty posting in Word Press at this time):

      The Church is, has always been, and always through time will be, the measure of things being better or worse.

      The Black Death is estimated to have killed 30% to 60% of Europe’s population. [No one really knows – accurate records were impossible during that chaos.]
      In total, the plague may have reduced the world population from an estimated 475 million to 350–375 million in the 14th century.

      Put bluntly, the Plague in Europe caused a death rate more or less equal to projected percentages here in the USA and Canada in case of an all out nuclear war. Imagine the chaos in the USA with 100 million to 160 million people laying dead in our streets and houses.

      But even in that great horror of the Black Death, the Church stood tall. Her clergy and nuns were the only ones who would treat the sick and dying. Many others were for the most part too terrified. THAT IS HOW 2/3 OF THE CLERGY IN EUROPE DIED – caring for their neighbor both physically and spiritually. [It took a century for the numbers of the clergy to build back up again.]

      That ‘Black Death’ involved a much higher percentage of the souls of the Faithful than did the Arian Heresy/Crisis. [It was the bishops who for the most part ‘went south with the geese’ – bought into Arianism. A high percentage of the laity remained faithful to the Divinity of Christ.

      In that sense the reign of the Plague was a much worse numerical crisis. But it was much better spiritually because the clergy, particularly the Bishops stood tall in promoting love and care of neighbor – even when they had the plague.

      Today, a much higher percentage of our Bishops – here in the USA and throughout much of the world – are standing firm in the faith than during the Arian crisis. These Bishops are being attacked, by name/nationality, for just that reason.

      The Church especially in Her bishops is, has always been, and will ever in time be, the measure of things being better or worse. At least, that is the vantage point of this writer.

      Liked by 8 people

      1. Thanks, Desmond. Maybe I’m oversimplifying, so let me try to clarify with a little something.

        When I reference”Church” I’m considering all the earthly souls in that communion with Christ as her head. Of course the value of each soul is immeasurable.

        Consider some number of earthly souls in the earliest formation of the Church. Let’s just think in terms of hundreds of souls to have a number. Today we’re talking about hundreds of millions who are being impacted, for better or worse, by the the current set of challenges (scandalous or otherwise) in the Church. Yes, the Church has faced challenges many times throughout her history, but I am simply considering the numbers here.

        12 commit, 1 is lost. 1.2 billion commit, 100 million are lost (and the Bible gives us an even more tragic proportion).

        This is why I cannot disagree with this statement: “This is the time of the worst crisis in the history of the Church.” That said, I really don’t think we’re in disagreement, so much as coming from different perspectives. My simple vantage is mostly dusty desert.

        Liked by 8 people

        1. We are on the same page vis-a-vis our analysis coming from two different perspectives. Mine begins with the respective health of the Church – because both history and tradition teach us that nothing goes all that well unless the Ecclesia is in good shape. Your viewing point is essentially quantitative – while mine is qualitative. History teaches me that when the Church’s hierarchy is in good shape – things tend to go well – whether the numbers are large or small.

          Liked by 7 people

  5. “I simply ‘see’ that the historical facts bare out the assessment given above.”

    I think he meant “the historical facts bear out” rather than “bare out” but I could be wrong. His English is much better than mine.

    I have to say though that it was a fascinating read. I did not know that Arius wasn’t even a priest.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Dear El Engeniero,

      I have read so many historical accounts of the life of Arius that frankly I lost track of the number of them years ago. Many say he was still a Deacon in 319 when he first advocated his infamous, ‘There was a time when the Father was not yet Father.’ Some others say he was already ordained a priest [but most of them say he was still a Deacon at that point.] So, I refer to him as being a Deacon when he uttered it, because he was assuredly already a Deacon – but there is a question as to whether he had already been ordained a priest.

      Liked by 4 people

  6. Im a big fan of Desmond but see a big difference between theological “wars” of prior epochs and clergy molesting children, teens and seminarians. Sufferings and persecution’s, while terrible to live through, are
    a Blessing in the sense that the witness and blood of the martyr inspires faith in others and grows the church. The abuse scandal has destroyed lives and shattered faith like no other time in church history. IMO It has turned many, especially the youth, In a way the Protestant reformers could only dream of…

    I have no way of knowing what it felt like to be an average catholic back in the 4th century or the 16th but I suspect that communication wasn’t as fast nor as vitriolic as it is today. Most Catholics are very aware of the failure of catholic leadership to address this problem which makes it so much more cancerous than other times.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. At least some Good-News @ CTH …. but the Bad-News -n- de good is the fact that we are dealing with very dangerous cornered “Rats” backed by rich-n-powerful sinister forces. BE READY!!
    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/10/24/big-report-u-s-attorney-durham-administrative-review-is-now-a-criminal-investigation/

    https://theconservativetreehouse.com/2019/10/25/stunning-potentially-game-changing-court-filing-by-flynn-defense-lawyer-sidney-powell/

    https://townhall.com/columnists/kaycolesjames/2019/10/25/building-the-movement-to-stop-the-statist-takeover-of-america-n2555316

    https://theimaginativeconservative.org/2019/10/drag-queen-story-hour-local-library-david-deavel.html

    https://www.crisismagazine.com/2019/welcome-to-the-peoples-democratic-republic-of-canada

    https://dwightlongenecker.com/correcting-fr-martin-yet-again-again-again/

    https://www.foxnews.com/us/texas-man-denied-sole-custody-of-son-7-as-mother-pushes-for-hormone-therapy-for-transgender-boy

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/california-judges-again-trample-rights-of-little-sisters-of-the-poor

    https://dailycaller.com/2019/10/23/abbott-texas-transgender-child/

    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/kellogg-announces-special-cereal-to-raise-money-for-glaads-lgbtq-advocacy-work

    https://www.theblaze.com/news/pennsylvania-school-district-gender-neutral-locker-rooms

    Politico is a “pipe organ” of the Global Left/Democrats and are trying to discourage God-n-Gun Clingers ….. like the rest ogf the Global left Media will be doing for the next 12 months ……. Smear, Divide, Discourage & Confuse Tactis … Vatican too? ;-(:
    https://www.politico.com/news/2019/10/24/trump-evangelical-christian-support-056121

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 8 people

    1. On the Politico piece: How many Christians would leave Trump over Syria and slide over to the pro-abortion, pro-gay union, pro-euthanasia Lefties? Probably about zero. I don’t think Trump’s base is going anywhere, and he continues to siphon minorities and independents to his side. IMO.

      Politico says: “….polls hint…” Dream on, Lefties. Polls are rubbish. 2015 was not that long ago.

      ”I consider all things so much rubbish that I may gain Christ and be found in him.” (Phil 3:8-9)

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Well, Western Canada might be going from the frying pan into the fire if they hook up with the US -especially the Pacific Coast – better they form their own rational government, and hopefully let me move there. I would love to live in Vancouver – or Victoria, Jasper, Calgary or even Edmonton!

        Liked by 3 people

        1. I grew up in Canada – Alberta, Ontario [3 miles from Quebec border] and Vancouver. Vancouver is lovely – but is easily as corrupt as much of Eastern Canada, or the West Coast of the USA. Victoria as been a major hub of witchcraft for a very long time. If was born in Calgary, and it is certainly much better than the previously mentioned alternatives – and so is Edmonton.

          Liked by 3 people

  8. The Saint who punched the Heretic.

    During the First Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325) Arius tried to defend his claims in front of his brother bishops that Christ was not divine.

    St. Nicholas tried to listen patiently but he considered Arius’ proposal so radical, so heretical, that he could no longer contain himself. In the middle of the speech, he rose with a scowl, charged toward Arius, and punched him right in the face.

    Ha! Jolly Saint Nick my @ss….H-slapping Arius! You go, Santa!!!

    But the story does not end there:
    ✝️ https://catholicnewslive.com/story/111266

    👊 Saint Nicholas, pray for us.

    (I guess now we’ve got 2 saints, Joseph and Nicholas, who deserve the fist emoji)

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Maybe three saints, Patrick: I seem to remember that on at least one occasion, Padre Pio decked some guy (I think he might have slapped him; but getting smacked by an irate Italian country boy has gotta hurt).

      St. Nick, St. Joe, St. Pio–yeah, my kind of saints!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Definitely, they’re real men, real soldiers for Christ. In the movie “Padre Pio: Miracle Man”, Saint Pio is portrayed raising his voice in righteous anger, slapping faces, smacking his hand upside one’s head, and whipping people with his white cincture. This movie is hands down one of my favorites. Sergio Castellito is an excellent actor – watch it in the Italian cuz the English dubbing is lame.

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Patrick, that is one of my absolutely favorite movies; and my three oldest kids love it, too. I’ve never watched it in Italian, but I’m sure my daughter has; she took four years of high-school Italian, and she translates JPII’s Wednesday Audiences for fun in her spare time (yeah, she’s kind of a nerd). I agree, the English dubbing is pathetic. My kids and I always make fun of the dubbing when we watch it. But the musical score is simply exquisite! Sometimes the kids pull up the main theme on Spotify and blare it on their stereos in the house or in the car. What’s better than rockin’ out with our boy Padre Pio as we’re toolin’ down the highway? 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

          1. That scene when he meets Father Wojtyła still makes my hair stand on end…

            Try it in Italian sometime, Mick….you probably know the lines well enough by now that you don’t have to read every subtitle. And Castellitto is phenomenal.

            Like

  9. I say this for your discernment. In Saint Augustines book, “The City of God”, He starts by giving an thorough description of the pagan religion that the romans practiced. He did it for a reason, that being, that it was a vehicle to keep the roman people together as they conquered and subdued the world. Hitler, in his book, Mein Kampf, said that people are held together by either a common love, or common scoundrelism. Arianism was Emperor Constantines attempt to use the Catholic church as the pagan religion of the past was used to keep the roman people together in their quest to conquer the world and to keep it subdued once so conquered. History truely repeats itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Thanks Desmond. I was having similar thoughts about the crisis with Arius as compared to today’s. It strikes me though, If Pope Francis clearly is allowing worship of idols as well as denying the divinity of Christ while He was on earth, as the secular journalist reported, than it takes the present crisis to a level beyond Arius. The outcome in both seems to be ‘punish the faithful’. Great analogy though and thanks for your thoughts.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Welcome to commenting, David. I was moved by Charlie’s reasoning concerning the reports that Pope Francis denied the divinity of Christ. Charlie said, in this piece:

      Meantime, atheist Italian journalist Eugenio Scalfari claims that, in an interview, Pope Francis revealed he believes Jesus was just a man, not God. This has agitated many of the faithful. I’m not buying it. Though I am not a fan of Pope Francis, this does not sound at all credible to me. I was good friends with the late Rob Sherman, who was, for a time, the national spokesman for the American Atheists. Sherman frequently completely misunderstood even obvious points of doctrine, not out of malice, but because the framework of Christian theology was so alien to him. To his credit, Sherman pressed me to get what I was telling him right and to understand my claims from my perspective. Scalfari just seems dishonestly determined to spin whatever Francis tells him to try to paint the Pope as a closet atheist. I suspect the Pope said something along the lines that Jesus was truly Man (as the faith maintains, Jesus is True Man and True God) and Scalfari’s mind translated that to “just a man.” The Pope would be well-advised to quit giving interviews to Scalfari.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. Dear David,

      I don’t know if I have ever shared the following with this group. Once upon a time, a time far far away, I served as a press secretary on a U.S. Presidential campaign. I had so served for congressional campaigns prior to that – but in local districts. So the campaign was my first one at the national level.

      ‘Locally’ I learned to regularly apply one of my father’s favorite aphorisms, ‘Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.’ Meaning deprecation to no one, I must say that as a trained and experienced press secretary, I have learned over the last 51 years plus to apply that rule ever more liberally [no pun intended] as the source comes from higher and higher up the proverbial ladder. 😉

      PUT BLUNTLY: I do not take the ‘trust, but verify’ rule seriously. Why? Because it is simply an oblique way of saying, ‘Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see.’

      When someone says or writes something shocking – or something I’m having a hard time ‘processing’ I try to ask questions – in a non hostile manner. In my experience, most but not all of the time, when something sounds too shocking, the person writing or saying it simply hasn’t applied Dad’s rule.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. “To avoid rash judgment, everyone should be careful to interpret insofar as possible his neighbor’s thoughts, words, and deeds in a favorable way: Every good Christian ought to be more ready to give a favorable interpretation to another’s statement than to condemn it. But if he cannot do so, let him ask how the other understands it. And if the latter understands it badly, let the former correct him with love. “—Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2478

        So, according to the church, there must be charity in considering those who’s opinions may differs from ours. This is one of the first and most profound things reading this site has done for me. By carefully considering my neighbors thoughts, in the light of charity, I have opened myself up to a larger access to truth than if I had remained closed-minded.
        Charlie is excellent in this and I was first schooled in this by reading a book by Fr Benedict Groeschel and so was more open to it when I first encountered TNRS blog.
        Desmond, you have opened an even higher chapter to this worldview by challenging us to see through the lense of a deeper understanding based on your saturated learning.
        I’ll admit, it takes such a mind to fully appreciate the depth of meaning you understand by you studying vast amounts of history for decades. Being taught these things can be a bit daunting considering the source and as mostly laymen, we have to more or less “test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good”. (1 Thessalonians 5:21).
        So be gentle with us here Dear Sir as we weed through so profound a mind and calling.
        We’re trying!

        Liked by 5 people

        1. What you write is true and beautiful, Phillip. Not to correct your thoughts in the least, but just to say… I can attest to Desmond’s gentleness and deep respect in all my interactions with him since he began posting at ASOH. In my role as managing editor and moderator, he has contacted me with questions and to seek assistance. The other day, in getting ready to publish this piece, we were on the phone for nearly 45 minutes as I read through it and we discussed certain passages as well as typos. He was respectful, gentle, forthright in sharing knowledge and in answering with candor the questions I had for him and all the while he was brimming with joyous laughter and adding historical gems of interest to the topic of this piece. It was clear to me that his ardent desire is to be of service to our souls, to write in a manner which shares his abundance of knowledge and understanding without overwhelming anyone and without any iota of arrogance about his knowledge, skills and insight. In fact, Dez spoke words about Pope Francis which, surprisingly to me, pressed a new softness in my heart towards our Pope. No pedestal for Desmond. He doesn’t need one and I am convinced he’d vehemently reject such an attitude while gently conveying this to anyone so inclined to try placing him on one. No wonder he and Charlie have become close friends. Wondrous birds of a feather are they. And now we, too, can call Desmond our friend.

          Liked by 3 people

          1. Of course, Beckita!
            A man who signs off with “All my Love in Christ” shows great humility of heart and that his interest in us and our spiritual well-being goes well beyond just friendship but more like a Brotherhood of family ties.

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Don’t know if you saw this recent comment from SteveBC, JAS. Just in case it’d be helpful to you, here it is again:

              Everyone who is having problems with WordPress:

              My connection was stable for some weeks but a few days ago went back to nightly breaks, so I have to log in once each day. I haven’t had to delete my WordPress cookie (which is done in your browser preferences). Try this when you find yourself logged out, no screen name, no ability to “Like”:

              1) Go to any post and scroll down to the Comment section.
              2) Find any comment and look for a Reply button.
              3) Click on the Reply button and get the comment entry area to unfold.
              4) Look under the comment entry field and see if you see three blank entry fields and a small blue WordPress “W” icon.
              5) If you see those items, then you can know you are not logged into WordPress.
              Correspondingly, you should not see a black ribbon across the top of your browser window.

              6) Click on the “W” icon once.
              If a pop-up window appears and disappears, you should now see your name under the comment entry field and not see the three little entry fields.
              If a pop-up window appears and stays open, enter your WordPress username and password and click the Login button, at which point you should see your name below the comment entry area.

              7) No matter which option in (6) occurs, you MUST RELOAD the browser page now. Once you reload the page, you should see the black ribbon across the top of the browser page *and* be able to Like comments and so on.

              If your screen name (your “Public Display Name”) isn’t correct, then look up at the right end of the black bar at the top of your browser page. On the far right you will see a bell icon. If you look just to the left of that bell icon, you should see your avatar in a little white circle. Click *once* on that avatar. A new page will open with a blue ribbon across the browser page. If you look down a bit on the page, you should see a field where you can enter your “Public Display Name”. If it is not correct, make it correct and then be sure to Save your change. Then hit the Back button to return to the ASoH page you had been on, and from then on, you should see your correct screen name when you enter a comment.

              I hope this helps, folks. It’s my best shot at the moment. Just remember that you always need to see a black ribbon across the top of your browser page when you are on the ASoH web page or you will not be able to Like anything or be logged in.

              Liked by 3 people

              1. Thank you Beckita! It’s been months since I’ve been able to post. The directions posted helped me to get back into ASOH. I loved this post and the comments. I loved the link to the Padre Pio video. I shared that to a friend. Good stuff.

                Liked by 1 person

        2. Amen! Phillip Frank, Amen! Charity grows things and hatred KILLs. Interestingly, in regards to limbic system impairment that stems from maladapted stress responses, dendrites under the influence of stress hormones are like the shriveled up pine trees that grow near the tree line on mountain tops while those under the influence of Dopamine, Oxytocin, Serotonin, and Endorphins (DOSE) are like Longfellow’s “spreading chestnut tree”. Truly a physiological demonstration of the life that true Charity endows just as promised in Deut: “I put before you blessing and curse, life and death. Choose LIFE!”

          How good is Our God and His Holy Church, the Spotless Bride of Christ!

          Liked by 1 person

  11. Reading about the emperor Constantine has been eye opening! Even my Catholic college all those years ago must have left something out. This is a good analysis, but I suspect there will be 2 schools of thought on the subject of how bad a crisis we find now within the Church.

    Please permit me to ask prayers for our daughter C., who is about to leave for the Flame of Love pilgrimage in Germany. She needs much inner healing and the priest leading is said to have a gift of healing. If anyone reading is going also, I’d love to connect with you if Beckita can do so. God bless you all.

    Liked by 8 people

  12. Once in a while it’s necessary to see what the other side is currently focusing on….so we know what to counter with our prayers and fasting……

    Liked by 7 people

  13. The Church has indeed faced hard times before – heretics, persecution, wicked and licentious popes – but there is a qualitative difference to what the Church is facing now. The difference is that, while we have seen corruption and human frailty in abundance (how could we not), until now the Church has never, to my knowledge, served the interests of secular power. Rather, it has always stood as a bulwark of eternal truth, an impediment to worldly power even through its trials.

    I felt shock and confusion when the shameful agreement with China, allowing its government to appoint and veto bishops(!), was announced. It was just the beginning. A little over a year later, the current synod makes it abundantly clear that the Church is now carrying water for a secularist agenda. I suspect we’re still at the beginning. The powers of “the world” are now applauding the direction the Church is taking. No longer imposing itself as an obstacle to tyranny, it is becoming a tool that serves their ends. We have never seen this before.

    Perhaps the Jews have, though. I’ve noted recently an interesting parallel between what we’re observing in the Catholic Church and what was happening to Judaism after the Romans had conquered Israel. The Romans were appointing the high priests of the temple, who were beholden to their worldly masters. There were faithful Jews at the time who did not celebrate Passover with a sacrificed lamb because the temple had been defiled. It was during this period of desecration, of course, that God sent us his Son to be our paschal lamb. A friend of mine replied to this observation with the thought that perhaps the Church, the body of Christ, is, like Christ, to be crucified, only to rise again triumphant.

    It’s difficult to imagine how our Church can recover by conventional means. I doubt Francis’ successor will be any better, and likely will be worse. Christ will triumph, of course, whether by miraculous rescue through Our Lady or, when the Father wills, by his return in glory. I’m not looking forward to what’s coming, but I’m not worried. I will put on the armour of Christ and try to take the next right step.

    Liked by 7 people

      1. It is what gives me hope.

        I think it will need to be something like the Guadalupe in Mexico with some mass conversions and inner healings. People needing a direct experience of the supernatural, be that seeing the evil/demons behind their wrong beliefs which in turn makes them turn to God or a direct encounter with God mixed in with some major inner healing and forgiveness.

        From family, to Europe, to Canada, to the Church… What a mess!

        I realised a few years back that the most important miracles are conversions. Healings and prophecies help people open their hearts and minds to God but there needs to be an encounter of some sort. A change of heart and mind is so difficult and is a miracle.

        And that is the miracle I pray for, for family and friends.

        Liked by 7 people

        1. Second that, ITACA123! “The most important miracles are conversions.” Or how about the most miraculous miracles are conversions? Perhaps to answer the question, “Who do you say that I am?” is the greatest challenge to one’s free will.

          Like

        2. When you read about Our Lady of Garbandal and her prophecies and the messages from Our Lady of Fatima, there will be a supernatural event that will convert many people. The most interesting thing is the story of Kanye West and how he is converting people to Jesus. If you had asked me last year that something like that would happen I would have said absolutely not but I should never doubt the power of Jesus Christ. We are definitely living in historical times.

          Liked by 2 people

      2. God has certainly intervened in amazing ways before. In the breadth and length and height and depth of the disorder of our times, it just makes sense that we’re not getting out of this mess without Him and His Amazing Ways.

        Liked by 6 people

    1. Dan, Above you wrote, “The difference is that, while we have seen corruption and human frailty in abundance (how could we not), until now the Church has never, to my knowledge, served the interests of secular power.”

      Years ago I made a fairly thorough investigation into the use of the Papal Office and Court by numerous of the Borgias. There are some gross exaggerations attributed to corruption of Borgia Popes. But there are also clearly examples of scandalous nepotism. Examples, male family members made Cardinals while in their twenties, appointments of family members to key civil offices granting them access to power, money, and influence supporting the Borgia family.

      Anyone can look these things up. They are not imaginary. The Borgias used the Church – including the Papacy – to enhance their wealth, power, and position.

      There were also some good members of the family, such as St. Francis Borgia. But the truly good ones were not involved in that chicanery so often aptly attributed to their family name.

      Yes, secular powers such as the Borgias have ‘used’ the Papacy and the Church before. Ours is not the first time. That doesn’t make it any more palatable in our time, it just means ours in not the first.

      All my love in Christ

      Desmond

      Liked by 5 people

  14. I finished sending angels to Cardinal Sarah this week. Next week I am going to send angels to judge Kim Cooks (haven’t found whether male or female) in Texas who stopped the surrogate mother of 7 year old twin boy who a jury was allowing her to began chemical transgendering into a girl she wanted to call Luna. It never fails to amaze me that so many people seem willing to buy into that totally contradictory nonsense and go along with biological males allowed in girls bathrooms and showers and unbelievable that they are also allowed to set records in female sports and even badly injure women in contact sports such as boxing and martial arts. How low can we go???
    Lord save us lest we perish. May God continue to bless, guide and inspire all here. jas

    Liked by 6 people

  15. The Good-News, as always, is Jesus Christ … Oh! …. some of our Brave Boy’s “Took Out The Trash” ….. Over-There……….. check out the below for a real Mass Murderer .. …..Evil personified:
    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2019/10/26/report-abortionist-klopfer-competed-for-most-abortions-performed-in-one-day/
    https://stream.org/christian-nation-no-longer-get/
    https://www.pickeringpost.com/howellwoltz/12862/dead-men-dont-need-impeachment-swamp-in-panic-trump-in-danger/
    https://humanevents.com/2019/10/25/mexico-is-at-war-america-needs-a-wall/
    https://www.zerohedge.com/political/wexit-will-alberta-ditch-canada
    https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/can-europe-be-saved-demographic-doom
    https://freedomclash.com/google-confesses-to-what-they-do-with-your-tracking-location-data-scary/

    The below is a comment & attached pic from a regular @ MILINET. It’s happening in Our Church “Leadership” and the latest “Synod” are examples. We know that there are Good-Guys in leadershiop positions, I Hope!?!, but most have been silenced ;-( …:

    “I saw this sign while passing through Missouri. Whether intending to or not, it explains perfectly what has happened to America. The unthinkable has transitioned to the point where for many issues it now must be praised.
    A great example is what has happened in the alphabet agency’s Human Resources (HR’s) all across DC. Near the end of the Bush 43 and throughout the obama administrations, what were previously reasons to lose clearances became acceptable and even “must praise” items. For example, homosexuality. Especially under the obama years people who had been lying about being LGBT (to keep their clearances) came out and completely took over the narrative – officially. I watched threads of comments on internal blogs at work over the past 12 years where people were aggressively attacked for any comments, no matter how minor, against the “National LGBT/Pride Month”. The attacks became so aggressive that anyone who held opposing beliefs had to simply keep their mouths shut and hope no one asked them about it. Those who chose to openly disagree were attacked, and if they chose to fight back they lost their jobs. For supervisors it was even worse. Emails went out regularly from HR’s telling supervisors in the alphabet agencies that they must not only support and protect homosexuals, but supervisors must also advocate for homosexuality. Same thing – do it or keep your mouth shut and hope not to get called out on it. I counted the days until the threat could no longer be held over me.
    Bottom line: America has let the unthinkables become acceptable and even openly praised. Until we turn this around, it’s only going to get worse.”
    Capt S*** C****, USMC (Ret)

    GOD SAVE ALL HERE!!

    Liked by 7 people

    1. CD: You say, “We know there are Good-Guys in leadership positions, I hope!?! but most have been silenced.” And Prof Birch insists that “We’ve still got very many faithful Bishops today – quite a number of them with great courage. Mine is one of them.” I believe in Jesus’ promises and I trust that He shows His strength in our weakness. If we have Good-Guys in the Church who do more than write books and make “strong” statements, do you think the ‘little ones’ will get to see them act? Like St. Nicolas maybe even?

      St. Joan of Arc is credited with saying, “Act and God will act” not “speak and write”, although those are good and important things to do. Do the actions take place in back rooms and offices away from the ‘little ones’ notice? It seems to me we’ve seen and heard an awful lot of ‘mill-stones-worthy’ hijinks lately, but the only ones getting dunked end up floating.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. DEAR ALL,
        Interesting choice of epithets//challenges/questions about the implied uselessness of speaking out or writing.

        Hints that talking and writing [even when obviously courageous in and of themselves] are actions that are useless — is a common reaction from some mere spectators of sports events. Such comments are often heard coming from the cheap seat sections way up in the nose bleed areas of an arena or stadium – when their team’s leaders’ true actions are suffering some bloody losses.

        AS I WRITE, MY BISHOP IS HOSTING AND BACKING WITH HIS PERSONAL PRESENCE, A 3 DAY RETREAT/STUDY FOR PRIESTS FROM ALL OVER NORTH AMERICA – LED BY CARDINALS BURKE AND MUELLER – RIGHT HERE IN MY DIOCESE. IT’S ABOUT HOW TO BRING BACK THE GLORY OF THE CHURCH!

        Cardinals Burke and Mueller, and their host, Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver, with holy boldness, are openly challenging the confusion and evil events we see occurring in our time. How does one say this is useless, not DOING anything, not acting? This is unjust.

        I KNOW NUMEROUS BISHOPS RIGHT HERE IN THE US WHO ARE SPEAKING/INSTRUCTING THEIR PRIESTS AND FLOCKS ABOUT THE PROBLEMS BURKE AND MUELLER AND MY BISHOP HAVE TAKEN ON FOR YEARS NOW.

        And someone merely ‘watching from the cheap seats’ [either Yours Truly or anyone else] would be well advised not to judge such courageous men and numerous others like them. Those men won’t judge us back when we do. They are greater in character than to do that. BUT JESUS WILL – IF AND WHEN WE SPEAK RASHLY AND JUDGMENTALLY OF THINGS WE DON’T REALLY KNOW ALL THAT MUCH ABOUT.

        All my love in Christ

        Desmond

        Liked by 4 people

        1. Prof. Birch: It is such a relief to know of this momentous retreat! WHOO HOO!!! Yippeee!

          I have great hopes that my own bishop in Cheyenne, who I understand is somehow under the authority of the Arch Diocese of Denver (please correct me if I am wrong), will be sending a representative or two from my neck of the woods. In case he doesn’t know about this retreat or would be less inclined to participate unless an ‘insistent widow’ like myself would tell him, where would a ‘little one’ like me find out about such a momentous and truly courageous event? Merely being an ‘arm-chair’, Sunday-going, nose-bleed, Catholic as I am, I don’t have all the inside information that your own long years of study, erudition, and good hard work rightfully merit. Might you include a link to information regarding this splendid and truly heartening event that has been planned so that I might direct my bishop to it?

          It is truly a great and good blessing that people from all walks of life come to TNRS to share what they know! We have the privilege of gleaning the best from those who occupy the ivory towers of academia down to pew sheep. Thank you, Professor Birch. You have given me, at least, a much welcomed boost of hope!

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Darn, I hope that the Diocese of Cheyenne was not uninformed and perhaps even has a representative or two there. Sounds like a whiz-bang opportunity, Desmond.

              Like

            1. Thank you for the link, Desmond. I never would have thought to look at the Napa Institute for an event taking place in Denver. Funny, who would of thought of the Amazon Synod taking place in Rome? LOL

              Like

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