WELCOME TO WITNESS

Welcome to Witness

This blog will be our Witness for the Faith. We see a need for good, traditional, Catholic fellowship. Witness will strive to be imbued with charity. Love of neighbor - and yes, love of enemy. The opinions expressed on this blog are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Witness Apostolate.
We can be reached at: torontocatholicwitness@rogers.com

Since faith is one, it must be professed in all its purity and integrity". Pope Francis/Pope Benedict

Friday, 22 May 2015

The tragedy of Ireland ~ how liberalism has destroyed a once Catholic nation

 "With God and Jesus Christ, excluded from political life, with authority derived not from God but from man, the very basis of that authority has been taken away, because the chief reason of the distinction between ruler and subject has been eliminated. The result is that human society is tottering to its fall, because it has no longer a secure and solid foundation". 
Pius XI, Ubi Arcano

Pope Pius XI

Today, the Irish nation is holding a referendum on whether or not two men or two women can "marry" each other. Objectively, the "Sovereign will" of the "people" deciding on truth is blasphemy. It may not be seen as that but even to consider that truth is to conform to my mind is blasphemy against the Creator. There is no need for a referendum; Our Lord is the "way, the truth and the life..."; the Church has spoken. Truth is not put to a popular vote. The fact that referenda are held to decide objective morality is a very serious issue and shows the supreme power of the State, now replacing the Church as the arbiter of "morality". Liberalism morphs into fascism. (Let me be clear, when I refer to "liberalism", I am following the classic definition given by the Popes.

Yesterday morning, the Vox reported on the tragedy of an Irish bishop using the same argument from the evil Winnipeg Statement's erroneous position on conscience for deciding for or against  "gay marriage" in today's Irish referendum.

To see how far Ireland has fallen over the past few decades, it may be helpful to recall the beautiful reference to Our Blessed Lord in the Prologue of the Irish Constitution of 1937. I was unable to find it on the internet (the Irish government seems to have expunged it from its website; fittingly, I suppose, for an anti-Christian, fascist power): 

We, the people of Ireland, ... humbly acknowledging all our obligations to Our Divine Lord, Jesus Christ, who sustained our fathers through centuries of trial..."

Sadly, Article 44 on religion, in the 1937 Constitution was infected with liberalism, and was not approved by Pius XI, who had a few years earlier published, Quas Primas, his encyclical on Christ the King. Contrary to the beliefs of de Valera, and other liberals, the State is bound to give public honour to Christ. The Irish nation had failed Christ the King, and it would be inevitable that moral decay would grow. The Church in Ireland, likewise failed to combat liberalism, allowing anti-Christian forces to steadily chip away at Catholic influence for decades. Soon divorce and contraception were made legal, accelerating abandonment of the sacraments. Grace will be lacking. 

In 1992, on December 23rd, they passed the death sentence on Irish babies, allowing pre-natal infanticide to be permitted "overseas". Once one of the Four Sins that cry to Heaven for Vengeance is "legalised", it is inevitable that all four will be. Sin builds upon sin. And so, the poor, deluded Irish are now on the verge of passing the death sentence on marriage and the family: hence society. Ireland, let us make no mistake, like Canada will die, will pay the price before God for her infidelity. The scourging by God of ancient Israel for infidelity, should always be before our minds.

As to evil bishops the words of St. Augustine are well worth  re-reading:
"St. Augustine is fully aware that not all members of the clerical state and hierarchy are holy men, and if such is the case what is the relation of the wicked members to the body of Christ?  The relation is the same as that of all other members. Good bishops participate fully in the life of the mystical body; they, as principal members are bound to it by life-giving ties. Bad bishops, may have jurisdictional powers and authority and belong to the Church, like all sinners not separated from it, but they do not participate in the life of grace. They are not however severed either from the external Church or the mystical body... till the end of time two categories of pastors are bound to exist. There are shepherds “who occupy a pastoral chair in order to tend to the sheep; others, however, sit on them in order to enjoy temporal honors and secular advantages” Unrightous bishops are not honored with the name of sons, but are called mercenaries. St. Peter, who is portrayed by St. Augustine as a personification of the Church, is also presented as a symbol of all the pastors of the Church. However, it is only good pastors and not of mercenaries that Peter is representative...in opposition to the other apostles, Judas is reputed to be such a mercenary; and if this happened to one of the apostles, who were so close to Christ, there should not be reason for scandal if his example finds imitators among the apostles' successors. They can have a place in the temporal existence of the Church, but will not enjoy the eternal existence of the mystical body of Christ" (Grabowski, pp. 219-221).

Reference: Grabowski, S. J. (1957). The Church: An introduction to the theology of St. Augustine. B. Herder Book Co; St. Louis, MO and London, England.

Monday, 18 May 2015

Happy Birthday Karol Wojtyła ~ 95 years young ~ a time to reflect on his Letter to Families


We are facing an immense threat to life: not only to the life of individuals but also to that of civilization itself. 
Pope John Paul II 


This day, 95 years ago this day, Karol Wojtyła was born. In 1994 he wrote a prophetic Letter to Families, more pertinent today than the day it was written. With the near total moral collapse surrounding us, it is well worth recalling a few highlights:


 The family constitutes the fundamental "cell" of society. But Christ—the "vine" from which the "branches" draw nourishment—is needed so that this cell will not be exposed to the threat of a kind of cultural uprooting which can come both from within and from without. Indeed, although there is on the one hand the "civilization of love", there continues to exist on the other hand the possibility of a destructive "anti-civilization", as so many present trends and situations confirm.

Who can deny that our age is one marked by a great crisis, which appears above all as a profound "crisis of truth"? A crisis of truth means, in the first place, a crisis of concepts. Do the words "love", "freedom", "sincere gift", and even "person" and "rights of the person", really convey their essential meaning...


... Everything contrary to the civilization of love is contrary to the whole truth about man and becomes a threat to him: it does not allow him to find himself and to feel secure, as spouse, parent, or child. So-called "safe sex", which is touted by the "civilization of technology", is actually, in view of the overall requirements of the person, radically not safe, indeed it is extremely dangerous. It endangers both the person and the family. And what is this danger? It is the loss of the truth about one's own self and about the family, together with the risk of a loss of freedom and consequently of a loss of love itself. "You will know the truth", Jesus says, "and the truth will make you free" (Jn 8:32): the truth, and only the truth, will prepare you for a love which can be called "fairest love" (cf. Sir 24:24, Vulg.)....

Parents are the first and most important educators of their own children, and they also possess a fundamental competence in this area: they are educators because they are parents. They share their educational mission with other individuals or institutions, such as the Church and the State. But the mission of education must always be carried out in accordance with a proper application of theprinciple of subsidiarity. This implies the legitimacy and indeed the need of giving assistance to the parents, but finds its intrinsic and absolute limit in their prevailing right and their actual capabilities. The principle of subsidiarity is thus at the service of parental love, meeting the good of the family unit. 

...Modern rationalism does not tolerate mystery. It does not accept the mystery of man as male and female, nor is it willing to admit that the full truth about man has been revealed in Jesus Christ...

How can we not recall, in this regard, the aberrations that the so-called constitutional State has tolerated in so many countries? The law of God is univocal and categorical with respect to human life. God commands: "You shall not kill" (Ex 20:13). No human lawgiver can therefore assert: it is permissible for you to kill, you have the right to kill, or you should kill. Tragically, in the history of our century, this has actually occurred when certain political forces have come to power, even by democratic means, and have passed laws contrary to the right to life of every human being, in the name of eugenic, ethnic or other reasons, as unfounded as they are mistaken. A no less serious phenomenon, also because it meets with widespread acquiescence or consensus in public opinion, is that of laws which fail to respect the right to life from the moment of conception. How can one morally accept laws that permit the killing of a human being not yet born, but already alive in the mother's womb? The right to life becomes an exclusive prerogative of adults who even manipulate legislatures in order to carry out their own plans and pursue their own interests.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

St. Mary of Jesus Crucified ~ another Carmelite nun is canonized!



"Humility is happy being nothing, she is not attached to anything, and she is never tired of nothing. She is glad, happy, always happy, satisfied in everything… Blessed are those who are small!” 
St. Mary of Jesus Crucified

Today, there is great rejoicing in the Church and the Carmelite world, as well as Carmel supporters, and lovers of the Carmelite spiritual way of life. Holy Father Francis canonised Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified, born Mariam Baouardy into a Greek-Melkite family on January 5th, 1846 in Galilee.

In June, 1867, Mariam joined the Carmel of Pau, and lived a life of suffering, united to her Crucified Lord. She was awarded accordingly for her love and fidelity to Love Himself. The Crucified Jesus granted Sister Mariam the gift of prophecy. St. Mary was also instrumental in establishing the Carmel of Bethlehem; shortly afterwards, she died aged 32.

St. Mary of Jesus Crucified, pray for us


Friday, 15 May 2015

LINDA GIBBONS is FREED ~ after nearly two months in custody, charges were dropped!

Linda Gibbons, shortly after being freed. Photo courtesy: Lianne Laurence

This morning, at about 10:45, our dear sister in Christ, Linda Gibbons walked freely out of the courtroom at the College Park Courts in downtown Toronto. The Crown dropped the charges, after nearly two months of holding Linda in custody at the Vanier Centre for Women. 

It was a great joy to be there, and great Linda in person! An excellent report is provided by Lianne Laurence of Lifesitenews, who covered Linda's case. 

Yet, this is bitter sweet: Linda may be free, but the babies continue to be killed. 

Some Interesting Stats

Since the Witness blog began operation in August 2011 the following posts have been made. 

Barona   986

Freyr      157

Montfort  53

Santa       11

Sophie       1

NL_RC       1


Thursday, 14 May 2015

Feast of the Ascension~ Solemn Latin Mass in the Greater Toronto Area


The Toronto Traditional Mass Society - Una Voce Toronto, is sponsoring a Solemn Latin Mass, (according to the usus antiquior), on the occasion of the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord. Mass will be celebrated at St. Joseph's Catholic church in Mississauga, at 7:30 p.m. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Am I a modern Pharisee?

They are always with us, aren't they? Someone is always ready to ask "What are they doing in here?" 

Most people do not think of themselves as Pharisees and indeed they do not intend to become one. It just sort of happens. The Pharisees were not all that bad since their flexibility and willingness to change allowed the Jews to survive the two millennia since the destruction of the temple. In fact there were notable Pharisees who supported Jesus and became part of the early Church. Apparently by Jesus' time a certain corruption had set in and if it can happen to them it can certainly happen to us.

How then do we know we are in danger of succumbing to the same corruption as the Pharisees who confronted Jesus?

1. DISDAIN FOR THOSE AT THE BACK OF THE LINE

Instead of a Jesus-like compassion for those who can’t keep up, we view them with a deepening sense of frustration, cynicism, and a cocky arrogance. Whether it is someone who struggles with sin or who just isn't quite as zealous as we are, we tend to look down on them.

2. A SPIRIT OF EXCLUSIVITY

When thinning the herd becomes more important than expanding the kingdom; or raising the bar becomes more important than helping people climb over it, something has gone terribly wrong.

3. LEGALISM AND AN OBSESSION WITH TECHNICALITIES

The practice of the faith does not require literacy much less a degree in canon law. The gotcha on a technicality mindset which requires many pages of closely typed text to explain and which is beyond the ordinary parishioner is a sign something is seriously wrong.

4. A PATTERN OF IDOLIZING THE PAST

We tend to look nostalgically back at an idealized past and ignore the faults and failures.  But the present-day Bride of Christ and the current crop of leaders whom Jesus has put in place are assailed for their blind spots, failures, and feet of clay. Like the Pharisees of old, we rip on the living prophets and then build monuments to them once they die. Dead popes are preferable to live ones.

5. A QUEST FOR CLONE-LIKE UNIFORMITY

Jesus had room for Simon the Zealot and Matthew the Tax Collector. Rather than being loyal to the Church we give our loyalty to one or another party within it. People who are on our side get a free pass while those who are not are beyond the pale.


Pope John Paul II: The "Gospel of Life" consists in the "proclamation of the very person of Jesus"



"The life was made manifest, and we saw it" (1 Jn 1:2): with our gaze fixed on Christ, "the Word of life"

"Never take a man for your example in the tasks you have to perform, however holy he may be, for the devil will set his imperfection before you. But imitate Christ, who is supremely perfect and supremely holy, and you will never err".
 (Maxim, 78) St. John of the Cross

Pope John Paul II's, Evangelium Vitae just had its 20th anniversary. It deserves to be studied with great care and to be our reference point for the fight for life: through Him, with Him and in Him. Life cannot be truly understood outside of the person of Jesus Christ, who is Life Himself. As the Holy Father stated, the fight for life, is not just "awareness" and bringing "significant changes in society"; it is the "proclamation of the very person of Jesus". Without Christ, the many projects brought about by man will simply crumble and collapse. This alos applies to "pro-life" activity. Without Him, we can do nothing. The Gospel of Life, confirms, enriches and completes all true pro-life activity in favour of life, in Life Himself. 

From Evangelium Vitae: 

29. Faced with the countless grave threats to life present in the modern world, one could feel overwhelmed by sheer powerlessness: good can never be powerful enough to triumph over evil!

At such times the People of God, and this includes every believer, is called to profess with humility and courage its faith in Jesus Christ, "the Word of life" (1 Jn 1:1). The Gospel of life is not simply a reflection, however new and profound, on human life. Nor is it merely a commandment aimed at raising awareness and bringing about significant changes in society. Still less is it an illusory promise of a better future. The Gospel of life is something concrete and personal, for it consists in the proclamation of the very person of Jesus. Jesus made himself known to the Apostle Thomas, and in him to every person, with the words: "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (Jn 14:6). This is also how he spoke of himself to Martha, the sister of Lazarus: "I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die" (Jn 11:25-26). Jesus is the Son who from all eternity receives life from the Father (cf. Jn 5:26), and who has come among men to make them sharers in this gift: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly" (Jn 10:10).

Through the words, the actions and the very person of Jesus, man is given the possibility of "knowing" the complete truth concerning the value of human life. From this "source" he receives, in particular, the capacity to "accomplish" this truth perfectly (cf. Jn 3:21), that is, to accept and fulfil completely the responsibility of loving and serving, of defending and promoting human life. In Christ, the Gospel of life is definitively proclaimed and fully given. This is the Gospel which, already present in the Revelation of the Old Testament, and indeed written in the heart of every man and woman, has echoed in every conscience "from the beginning", from the time of creation itself, in such a way that, despite the negative consequences of sin, it can also be known in its essential traits by human reason. As the Second Vatican Council teaches, Christ "perfected revelation by fulfilling it through his whole work of making himself present and manifesting himself; through his words and deeds, his signs and wonders, but especially through his death and glorious Resurrection from the dead and final sending of the Spirit of truth. Moreover, he confirmed with divine testimony what revelation proclaimed: that God is with us to free us from the darkness of sin and death, and to raise us up to life eternal".

30. Hence, with our attention fixed on the Lord Jesus, we wish to hear from him once again "the words of God" (Jn 3:34) and meditate anew on the Gospel of life. The deepest and most original meaning of this meditation on what revelation tells us about human life was taken up by the Apostle John in the opening words of his First Letter: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-the life was made manifest, and we saw it, and testify to it, and proclaim to you the eternal life which was with the Father and was made manifest to us-that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you may have fellowship with us" (1:1-3).

In Jesus, the "Word of life", God's eternal life is thus proclaimed and given. Thanks to this proclamation and gift, our physical and spiritual life, also in its earthly phase, acquires its full value and meaning, for God's eternal life is in fact the end to which our living in this world is directed and called. In this way the Gospel of life includes everything that human experience and reason tell us about the value of human life, accepting it, purifying it, exalting it and bringing it to fulfilment.