Father Z opines over today’s apparent lack of belief in God and the Church – and the reality of Hell

fourlastthings

Christ, God, gave us the Catholic Church.  It is the Church He founded.  He gave us the sacraments as the ordinary means of salvation.  He gave His own authority to the Church to teach about faith and morals.  He gave us a visible point of reference for unity and security of knowledge for our membership in His Church: Peter and his successors and the apostles and their successors with Peter.

Knowingly reject the Church – and Peter – and the Church’s teaching and her discipline of Christ’s sacraments, and you place yourself on a path that might just land you in hell for eternity.

If nothing else from this rant gets through to readers, and this is especially my plea to priests and bishops, I beg you on my knees, I implore you: make it a habit to think about the Four Last Things at least once a day.  We are all going to die.

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Submitted by Jola S.

On Papalotry

Belief and Obedience

My great teacher, Dietrich von Hildebrande wrote four outstanding books on the present crisis in the Church. Recently, his latest book, The Charitable Anathema was published. I wish we could mail a copy to Rome. A chapter in this book contains one of the most important lectures he ever gave to the Roman Forum. It concerns the difference between belief and obedience. He called it the critical difference. It was masterful.
The point is this: if there is a problem on a question of truth, and there’s a big dispute, and finally Rome speaks (invoking its infallible authority) and says, “This statement must be believed de fide”. Then this is the end of the dispute. Roma locuta causa finita. Rome has spoken, the case is finished. That is the end of it. Therefore, we owe assent of belief to statements of truth.

However, practical decisions of Churchmen, even the highest authorities; the Pope, bishops, priests are something quite different. We do not say, for example, that a command of a Pope or decision of a Pope to call a council is true or not. We can say that it is wise or not … it is opportune or not. Such a decision in no way asks us to assent to its truth. It asks us to obey the command or commands that pertain to us. This is what von Hildebrande meant by difference between belief and obedience. And we Catholics are never obliged to believe that a given command, or given decision of anyone, including the Pope, is necessarily that of the Holy Ghost.

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Submitted by Mark H.

Father Dwight Longenecker: Why I Am a Catholic.

I am a Catholic because the Catholic faith stands the world on it’s head. It turns over the tables. It makes you expect the unexpected. Just when you thought you had it figured it out, the Catholic Church, like a mischievous and shrewd old woman, pulls a trick on you, calls you to step out of the comfort zone and be radical once again. In every age and in every place Catholicism has been subversive, and the message of Jesus Christ is only good news when it is subversive.

I’m also Catholic because Catholicism provides a time tested and true method for ascertaining religious truth. It avoids supernatural explanations while not being so dogmatic as to rule them out altogether. It demands that we use our human reason, but then says human reason is not enough. It requires obedience to an authority, but says that this obedience is to true religion as a map is for the journey. Catholicism is inclusive where it should be and exclusive where it should be. I’m Catholic because I wish to affirm all, for a man is most often right in what he affirms and wrong in what he denies.

Link

Another testimony

Vatican City is evidently, bigger on the inside.

VaticanCity

“Another interesting feature of the Vatican State is the number and extension of areas beyond its boundaries, in Italian territory, on which it enjoys extraterritorial rights, and therefore a very large and almost supreme authority. Italy has agreed to exempt these areas from taxes and from obedience to the law of expropriation for public utilities: papal authorities are entrusted with internal police service. As respects postal and telegraphic service they are considered to belong to the Vatican.”

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How can anyone be so foolish as to refuse religious authority on principle?

A close examination of modern culture reveals a startling emphasis on autonomy. The most important modern value is the ability to be whatever you want to be, to act however you want to act. The result is that complete personal independence is seen as the ultimate good, and modern men and women are exceedingly reluctant to accept constraints on their own self-directed self-realization. We might call this the theology of desire. My goal, my good, and my god are, in the end, whatever I myself want them to be.

But serious Catholics do not think that way at all. For the Catholic, the most important value is to live according to what is objectively good, that is, according to truth. This alone can lead to personal fulfillment and happiness.

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People who fly on the airlines generally welcome FAA authority and regulation, so why do so many people have so much trouble accepting the divine authority and guidance of the Catholic Church?

by Doug Lawrence

The Federal Air Regulations, published by the U.S. Department of Transportation/FAA currently fill 1399 pages, and those regulations typically demand painstaking and detailed attention to virtually every part of the aviation experience.

Except perhaps for the regulations restricting the use of cell phones and electronic devices, which are essentially misunderstood and ridiculed by the general public, and some of the current TSA security procedures, which are often simply offensive … most people who fly on airliners actually welcome this very strict form of government regulation.

Why? Because widespread government regulation of aviation has resulted in a 99.999% safe commercial airline transportation environment … and that level of safety is a very good thing for government, industry, the airlines, and the flying public. After all … who, except for the very, very highly motivated … the desperate … or the suicidal … would buy an airline ticket if they had even a 5% chance of ending up dead?

Do some people still break the rules? Of course! Do some people still lobby for variations, and exemptions from those rules? Of course! Do some people still decry any form of government regulation, in spite of the aviation industry’s extraordinary safety record? Of course!

But one simple fact remains: The laws of gravity and inertia are consistent and inviolable, and no one can attempt to get around them, by any means, without eventually paying a terrible, and usually fatal price … especially if that particular  “rebel” happens to be an airline pilot, responsible for the care and safety of hundreds of “souls”. (Curiously, FAA flight plans typically inquire about not how many “people” are on board the aircraft … but how many “souls”.)

As a veteran pilot and a survivor of more than one crash, I can personally testify to all of the above. There’s also little doubt that people demand these regulations … and the government duly responds … out of fear.

Fear of death and injury. Fear of financial loss. Fear of political repercussions. Fear of the unknown.

So … why is it that people seem to have so much trouble accepting the authority and guidance of the Catholic Church … which receives its’ authority and wisdom from God, himself … and which routinely preaches and teaches divine precepts, for the common good of all … many of which are every bit as inviolable and absolute as the laws of physics?

For the record: The Catechism of the Catholic Church has only 823 pages, compared to FAA’s 1399.

Excommunication is the perfect solution for the Catholic confusion being promoted and shamelessly exploited by the Obama regime.

by Doug Lawrence

“Sorry … he/she cannot possibly speak for the Catholic Church, because he/she has been officially excommunicated.”

Excommunicate Kathleen Sebelius, Sister Carol Keehan, Nancy Pelosi, Andrew Cuomo, John Kerry, Joe Biden, Dick Durbin, Timothy Leahy, and every other high profile Catholic leader and/or politician who publicly stands against the Catholic Church on grave moral issues of the day.

That way, the Obama regime (and everyone else) will know for certain, precisely who they must deal with, and who actually has the authority to officially speak and act on behalf of the Catholic Church … since the others, now publicly excommunicated, will no longer be “in communion” with the Catholic Church … and will have absolutely no say in church matters … unless and until … they publicly repent.

Bishops … this ain’t rocket science!

Catholic Entities Undermine U.S. Bishops’ Authority

Jimmy Akin on the practical effects of excommunication

More Lenten Catechism from Andy P/Doria2

Just more proof that Jesus Christ came to establish His Church. One Church. He calls it the body and He makes it authoritative. I use Bible verses because when you are questioned by non Catholics they will want to know chapter and verse of anything you say. Well we have that information. In the Bible that the Church designed and put together through the power of the Holy Spirit. Do not be afraid to offer these quotes when asked. Send them on and teach them to family and friends. Teach them especially to your children and grandchildren.

The Church is the body of Christ

Col 1:18* He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning, the first-born from the dead, that in everything he might be pre-eminent.

1 Cor 6:15 – Don’t you know your bodies are members of Christ?

1 Cor 12:20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body which seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and those parts of the body which we think less honorable we invest with the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior part, 25 that there may be no discord in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27* Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

Eph 5:30 – we are members of His body.

Rom 12:4* For as in one body we have many members, and all the members do not have the same function, 5* so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

Authoritative Church

Mt 28:18* And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

Jn 20:21* power to forgive sin – Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22* And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23* If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”

Lk 10:16* power to speak with Christ’s voice – “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

Mt 18:17 – power to discipline 17 If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.

Mt 18:18 – power to legislate – 18* Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Infallible Church

Jn 16:13 – guided by Holy Spirit into all truth – 13 When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth; for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 14* He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. 15 All that the Father has is mine; therefore I said that he will take what is mine and declare it to you.

Jn 14:26 – Holy Spirit to teach & remind them of everything – 26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.

Lk 10:16 – speak with Christ’s own voice – 16* “He who hears you hears me, and he who rejects you rejects me, and he who rejects me rejects him who sent me.”

1Tim 3:15 – Church called “pillar and foundation of truth” – 15 if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.

1Jn 2:26-27 – anointing of Holy Spirit remains in you – 26 I write this to you about those who would deceive you; 27* but the anointing which you received from him abides in you, and you have no need that any one should teach you; as his anointing teaches you about everything, and is true, and is no lie, just as it has taught you, abide in him.

Acts 15:28 – Apostles speak with voice of Holy Spirit – 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things:

Mt 28:20 – I am with you – 18* And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19* Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20* teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”

For more visit Bob Stanley’s: The Catholic Treasure Chest

A great example of “circular reasoning” and Protestant denial, in the face of irrefutable Catholic truth.

You asserted the Bible was your ONLY divine authority. I asked you to show me where the Bible teaches that assertion. You didn’t give me one. Instead, you gave me a lot of verses extolling the greatness of Scripture. I already know it’s great. I use it all the time. Hence, if you’re not going to answer my specific request, there is no sense in continuing a discussion with someone who can’t prove from the Bible what she claims from the Bible.

Or perhaps you don’t understand the question (and it wouldn’t be the first time). I had a similar discussion with a Protestant a few years ago, and it took him about a month to understand what I was really asking him. Prior to that, he did the same thing you are doing now, that is, he would quote verses indicting the greatness of Scripture. Then one day it finally dawned on him. Unfortunately, he was not able to come up with a verse, and then the discussion stopped. That is where we are right now.

So, here goes. If you find a verse of Scripture that says the Bible is the ONLY divine authority, I will forsake Catholicism in a heartbeat, because you will have proved it to be a false religion. No kidding, Cheryl. Just one verse will do, and I will disown Catholicism faster than you can say “John Paul II.”

Until then, there is nothing else to talk about. You are the one who initiated this conversation, and you are the one who insisted that we deal with Scripture first. I obliged on both counts. But if you’re going to deal with Scripture, then deal with it. Stop putzing around with verses that don’t prove your point. I hope you understand.

Read the entire exchange

What is the difference between a disciple and an Apostle?


What is the difference between a disciple and an Apostle?

Jesus separated those two terms here:

Luke 6:13 And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles;

Here is an excerpt from the Haydock Bible Commentary:

Re: Verse 13 – These twelve Christ chose as individual companions and domestics. To these he committed the charge of founding and governing his Church. He sent them as legates, or ambassadors, (for this is the import of the word apostle) to all the world. Hence their power was more universal than that of bishops, which is confined to their own dioceses or districts. The jurisdiction of the apostles was not limited to place. (Tirinus) — This power which Jesus Christ delegated to his apostles, and which was for the benefit and regulation of the universal Church in all future ages, the apostles, in their turn, delegated to their successors in the ministry, with such regulations and limitations as have been judged in the Holy Ghost necessary for the proper government of the spiritual kingdom of God upon earth.

And it is the height of presumption to question any ordinations that come to us with the authority of the Catholic Church: for, “whatever the Church says, is true; whatever she permits is lawful; whatever she forbids, is evil; whatever she ordains, is holy; whatever she institutes, is good.” (St. Augustine) — How futile then is the objection of Calvin, who pretends, that an apostle, being nothing but a legate, can make no laws, nor prescribe or teach any thing not expressed in his mandatum! -Calvin, Institutes lib. iv. chap. 8

GOD Bless,

Submitted by Bob Stanley

Visit the Catholic Treasure Chest website

Fathr Benedict Groschel: What to do when “hurt” by people in the Church.

We’ve all been hurt by people in the Church, even those in authority. When this happens, the first thing to do is to calm down. In fact, that’s a good rule when you get hurt by anyone. Take a walk and calm down. The Irish have a saying, “Take counsel with your pillow”, which means to sleep on it. Then ask yourself, when you calm down, “Is this really my problem? Did I expect too much from mortal human beings? Am I looking for something in the Church that legitimately I may hope for?” The answer is probably “Yes.” It was reasonable, even just. But I cannot absolutely demand kind and faithful treatment, because Jesus Christ himself did not find this in the Church he established. As we have seen, the Church has always been made up of weak individuals. When we are hurt by the Church we recognize that the problem is that “the Church” can be very inconsistent. The people in the Church can be nice one day and bad the next. Even on the same day and in the same parish, there are those who can be terribly charitable and terribly unkind.

Next I ask myself the question, “Am I overly dependent on the Church? Has my reliance on Church people caused me not to rely enough on God and his Son?” You know, many people have very positive experiences in the Church. They work for the Church, and it’s been a very positive experience. They went to a Catholic school, and they learned a lot. They were part of a committee or a movement or something in the Church, and it was the most positive thing they ever did in their whole lives. They think that’s going to last forever. That’s what you call a honeymoon, and it doesn’t last. All things pass away. Don’t depend on a particular part of the Church. Depend on God.

Link

Thanks to Matt C. Abbott

No one … not even the devil … had the power or the authority to harm the only begotten Son of God.


by Doug Lawrence

No one … not even the devil … had the power or the authority to harm the only begotten Son of God … let alone the sinless, totally innocent son of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Jesus is both.

Jesus acknowledged Satan as “The Prince of This World” … yet the power of the devil had very specific limitations:

Satan had absolute power over sinners … even unto death
but … Satan had absolutely NO power over the sinless!

Since he is God, Jesus was and is totally devoid of sin. Hence, Satan held absolutely no power over Jesus. Nothing!

John 14:30
I will not now speak many things with you.
For the prince of this world cometh:
and in me he hath not any thing.

The moment Satan set out to induce his willing minions … some of the Jews and Romans of that time … to crucify Jesus … Satan once again became subject to divine judgment. That judgment would be harsh, but fair:

John 12:31
Now is the judgment of the world:
now shall the prince of this world be cast out.

That is in fact, what happened. Satan had absolutely no authority over Jesus Christ. Rightly judged responsible for Jesus’ unjust crucifixion and death, Satan lost everything that he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall, and was left destitute.

His evil dominion now destroyed, Satan would remain a wanderer and a vagabond upon the earth, relying only on the weak and the confused, for any temporal power that he might manage to retain.

Since Jesus thoroughly pleased his Father, all that Satan lost (and more) was awarded to him. The risen and triumphant Jesus makes that exceedingly clear:

Matthew 28:18
And Jesus coming, spoke to them, saying:
All power is given to me in heaven and in earth.

Ever since … Jesus … the New Adam … King of Kings and Lord of Lords … and through him, the Catholic Church … has graciously offered salvation to every person of every generation … as he will continue to do … until he comes again in glory, on the Last Day.

Such was the main point of the life of Christ on earth,
and such is the continuing mission of the Catholic Church.

Simple enough? Thank God!

The Book of Revelation lists a number of divine “rewards” that will be bestowed on those who manage to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, by voluntarily cooperating with God’s grace.


Eternal life

Revelation 2:11  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches: He that shall overcome shall not be hurt by the second death.

Ruling and Reigning

Revelation 2:26  And he that shall overcome and keep my words unto the end, I will give him power over the nations.

Divine Honor and Recognition

Revelation 3:5  He that shall overcome shall thus be clothed in white garments: and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life. And I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels.

Holiness – Being Set Apart by God for His Express Purpose

Revelation 3:12  He that shall overcome, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God: and he shall go out no more. And I will write upon him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God, and my new name.

Theosis – Becoming like God

Revelation 3:21  To him that shall overcome, I will give to sit with me in my throne: as I also have overcome and am set down with my Father in his throne.

Relationship – As God’s Tried and True, Sons and Daughters

Revelation 21:7  He that shall overcome shall possess these things. And I will be his God: and he shall be my son.

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The Papacy and the Priesthood

One of the hallmarks of the Catholic faith is our belief that
the Pope is God’s designated and true representative on earth.

Firmly rooted in Scripture and confirmed
from the earliest times by Apostolic Tradition,
the primacy of Simon Peter,“the Rock”
whose office and authority lives on today
in Benedict, our current Pope,
remains the solid earthly foundation
on which the Roman Catholic Church is built.

When God made Aaron, the brother of Moses,
the first high priest, he set up the office of priest in perpetuity
(a man so ordained would remain a priest forever
and the office of the priesthood would continue forever):

Exodus 29:9-11
To wit, Aaron and his children,
and thou shalt put mitres upon them;
and they shall be priests to me by a perpetual ordinance.

The high priest was endowed with awesome
responsibilities, special powers and extraordinary authority.
A high priest normally served for life
(until later times, when that was changed).

He was in charge of all the other priests,
as well as the administration of the Tabernacle or Temple.
When he died, his office was to be handed down to his successor:

Exodus 29:29-30
And the holy vesture, which Aaron shall use,
his sons shall have after him, that they may be anointed,
and their hands consecrated in it.
He of his sons that shall be appointed high priest
in his stead, and that shall enter into
the tabernacle of the testimony to minister in the sanctuary,
shall wear it seven days.

It was also normal for the high priest to prophesy.
His prophetic words were considered to come straight from God.
This was true even for corrupt high priests:

John 11:49-53
But one of them, named Caiphas,
being the high priest that year, said to them:
You know nothing. Neither do you consider
that it is expedient for you that one man
should die for the people
and that the whole nation perish not.
And this he spoke not of himself:
but being the high priest of that year,
he prophesied that Jesus should die for the nation.
And not only for the nation,
but to gather together in one the children of God
that were dispersed. From that day therefore
they devised to put him to death.

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Before there ever was a canon of the New Testament, there was a Church. And its paper trail is Catholic.


Read “Remembering the Early Church”

Obedience is the virtue that allows the obedient to share in the authority of the commander.


Read “The Power of Obedience”

Faith Alone? Scripture Alone? Grace Alone? How about confusion alone?

Jesus, the Just and Perfect Judge returns. And he’s not happy!
(From the Book of Revelation)
Art: Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
Washington, D.C.

There are a lot of “Solos” sung by our Protestant brethren: Sola Fide (saved by faith alone); Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone is the rule of faith); sola gratia (grace works alone). (See the Protestant Logo to the right). Generally one ought to be suspicious and careful of claims that things work alone. It is our usual experience that things work together in harmony with other things and are interrelated. Very seldom is anyone or anything alone.

The problem of the “solos” emerges, it seems to me, in our minds where it is possible to separate things out. But the fact is, just because we can separate out something in our mind does not mean that we can separate it in reality. Consider a candle flame for a moment. In my mind I can separate the heat of the flame from the Light of the flame. But in reality I could never take  a knife and put the heat over to one side and the light off to the other. In reality the heat and light are inseparable, so together as to be one.

I would like to respectfully argue that it is the same with things like faith and works, grace and transformation, Scripture and the Church. We can separate all these things out in our mind but in reality they are one. Attempts to separate them from what they belong to lead to grave distortions and to the thing in question no longer being what it is claimed to be. Rather it turns into an abstraction that exists only on a blackboard or in the mind of a (geeky) theologian.

Read more. Watch the video.

Seen on the web: Holy Mother Church

“I questioned authority relentlessly.

Holy Mother Church had all the answers.

Some retreat to the Church, others flee or are driven, some even backtrack, and many seem to crawl, but, always, the door is wide open.

Inquisitive mind+ Road To Damascus (TM) moment
= conversion/re-conversion.

Sweet.”

by: Suz

Why Some Take the Path From Anglican to Catholic

To the Editor:

Re “For an Episcopal Parish, a Path to Catholicism” (Rosemont Journal, Oct. 25):

I am the former curate referred to in your article about the Church of the Good Shepherd, Rosemont, as one who had already left the Anglican parish to become Roman Catholic.

The article describes Anglicans attracted to Rome as being against women’s and homosexual ordinations. But this does not describe the real motivation for why priests like me reconcile with the Roman Catholic Church.

The main issue is the fact that the Anglican Church has no consistent doctrinal authority and often acts independently from the historical positions of the universal church. In light of this, the ordination of women and practicing homosexuals is merely symptomatic of much more fundamental problems with Anglican ecclesiology.

Priests like me are not reacting to polemics on the theological spectrum. It is the faith once delivered that we are after, which we pursue as an imperative of conscience.

Albert Scharbach
Baltimore, Oct. 28, 2009

The writer is pastoral assistant to Bishop Denis J. Madden of the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Link to original New York Times article

From the Opinion section of the New York Times

Liberalism and the post Vatican II Catholic Church

Principles of Liberalism

Let us first define in a few words the liberalism of which the most typical historical example is Protestantism.  Liberalism pretends to free man from any constraint not wished or accepted by himself.

FIRST LIBERATION: frees the intelligence from any objective truth imposed on it.  The truth must be accepted as differing according to the individual or group of individuals, so it is necessarily divided up.  The making of the truth and the search for it goes on all the time.  Nobody can claim to have exclusive or complete possession of it.  It is obvious how opposed that is to our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church.

SECOND LIBERATION: frees the faith from any dogmas imposed on us, dogmas formulated in a definitive fashion and which the intelligence and will must submit to.  Dogmas, according to the liberal, must be submitted to the test of reason and science, constantly, because science is constantly progressing.  Hence it is impossible to admit any revealed truth defined once and for all.  It will be noticed how contrary such a principle is to the Revelation of our Lord and His authority.

Lastly, THIRD LIBERATION: frees us from the law.  The law, according to the liberal, limits freedom and imposes on it a restraint first moral and then physical.  The law and its restraints are an affront to human dignity and human conscience.  Conscience is the supreme law. The liberal confuses liberty with license.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the living Law, as He is the Word of God; it will be realized once more how deep runs the opposition between the liberal and our Lord.

Read the article