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Correspondence with Dom Benedict McCaffree, OSB

All the monks of the Monastery of Christ in the Desert, in 2015.
[Source]

Table of contents

1) S. Jetchick (2020-April-19)
2) B. McCaffree (2020-April-20)
3) S. Jetchick (2020-April-20)
4) B. McCaffree (2020-April-21)

1) S. Jetchick (2020-April-19)

-----Original Message-----
From: Stefan Jetchick
Sent: Sunday, April 19, 2020 8:54 PM
To: Brother Benedict
Subject: Re: vocation

[Previous e-mails, and top of this one, deleted because
not related to Jorge Mario Bergoglio]


>> regarding -- in my 'umble opinion -- one
>> opportunity to grow in charity in one of your
>> positions.   This will be a matter of some debate,
>> I suspect;  but I shall simply share my path to
>> peace over Pope Francis.

I would be deeply grateful if somebody helped me understand how Jorge Mario
Bergoglio could really be the Pope, and how that could somehow be made to
line up with the promises of Christ: "... and the gates of Hell will not
prevail...".

Do realize if you step into that debate, I have to post your name, address,
etc., along with your e-mails related to that topic, on my web site. Since
it is the gravest of matters, having an effect on all Catholics, it's not a
debate that can happen in a dark corner (and here, I'd love to be able to
quote in Latin Saint Thomas Aquinas when he says roughly the same thing).

Yes, have a Blessed Divine Mercy Sunday!

SJJ

2) B. McCaffree (2020-April-20)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Profound Judgment requires Profound Humility
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2020 18:49:04 +0200
From: Brother Benedict
To: 'Stefan Jetchick'

My dear brother in Christ, Stefan,

	I am a cloistered and contemplative monk.   Although I am a
priest and a religious, I am not a member of the hierarchy.   Monks
are liminal to the Church by ancient custom and design.  Few people
even know I exist. My role is to live a hidden life, offering
prayer and penance for my own sins and for other poor souls (living
in the world or in Purgatory), especially for troubled and
disobedient priests and bishops.   As a man under obedience, I
cannot publish without permission of my superiors.     As a rule I
do not engage in correspondence, but I have reached out to you upon
the prompting of the Holy Spirit to support your vocation.   You
are so bright (and witty) and clearly have both so much love for
the Church and every sign of a vocation. I have promised to pray
with you and to offer Mass for you.   But I am, nonetheless,
writing you to challenge you to reflect on one position you have
taken, that in my view is disedifying and stands between you and
the realization of your vocation.  I referred to our different
positions as debatable, not to throw down the gauntlet but rather
to invite you to reflect further on that one issue of your
relationship with the Pope.  Upon your invitation, I shall address
that issue, not just primarily on its merits, but also on how such
judgments touch the soul.  I hope you will forgive me for being so
bold.  Because this missive will meander so, I have added some
headings.

Knowing in Faith:

		First, as to 'knowing in faith,' your point as to belief is
well taken.  But the fathers make much of 'knowing in faith' in
commentaries on Hebrews 11.1 seeing faith as the certain assurance
regarding 'things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.'
St. Peter invites us to 'grow in the knowledge of our Lord and
Savior Jesus Christ (2 Pt 3:18), thus we can declare with
Philippians 3:  'I want to know Christ.'  Think too of St.
Irenaeus:  'Scio Cui credidi.' So in using that phrase I am
inviting you to believe with confidence or assurance.

Faith in the Efficacy of Prayer:

		Secondly, as to what one asks for in faith, I understand
and laud your prayers for bishops to be truly Catholic.   God here,
however, is bound by His respect for the freedom He has given each
human.  I don't believe for a moment that your prayers have gone
unanswered.  In answer to your prayer, you can be confident that
God has offered the grace of conversion to lackluster bishops, but
He does not force their hands.    That is perhaps why Chrysostom
said that hell is paved with bishops' skulls (Hom III Acts 1:12)!
This is not new in the Church; Savonarola wryly longed for the days
of yore, when 'chalices were made of wood and bishops of gold.'
During Arian times, the majority of bishops were heretics.   Should
we expect our own times to be so different?  Ambition discolors so
many vocations!  However, when a man asks in faith to know God's
will and to act upon it, he is asking for his own grace of
conversion.  He does so with the moral assurance that such grace
will be granted to him by the God who gives abundantly (see James
1:5).

Charity for the Person of the Pope:

		Thirdly, I suggested to you in my last note that you might
be able to grow in charity toward Pope Francis, and that I would
offer my own experience in that regard.     This begs the question:
Have you really exhausted the charity you owe Jorge Bergolio?  Is
it possible that you could work to see more good in him, in his
homilies, in his prayers, in his faith? Do you love him as God
loves him?    The answer is, of course, that you cannot - as you
are not yet divine, but that does not take you off the hook
regarding Christ's command that you love him.    I have had to work
to grow in my love for the Pope. And I can now say I do love him
and see much good in him. I pray for him daily, just as you do,
with sincerity, filial devotion and love.

Difficult Positions:

	Yet I understand:  you are not alone in being flummoxed by the
language of his exhortation Amoris Laetitia.    Some great minds in
the Church were signatories to the Correctio filialis - including
my favorite living theologian.   Some holy souls offered the dubia.
And frankly, if the interpretations of the Argentinian, Maltese and
German bishops of AL is correct, then that teaching is contrary to
the teaching of Christ. Nonetheless, you have a very good
explanation of the hermeneutic of continuity on your website.   For
Catholics the source and font is always the teaching of our Lord in
the unbroken Magisterium.  Every official statement of every pope
must be viewed in line with the hermeneutic of continuity.    We
have the duty in conscience to view papal and conciliar teaching in
this light.

 Judging Justly:

			I am well aware too that we have the duty to rebuke
even prelates if the faith were endangered (ST II,II, q. 33).  But
in condemning deviations and concrete errors, have you not gone way
beyond the signers of the Correctio filialis or the authors of the
dubia?  Despite our Vatican I assurances that the Petrine Office
will always be occupied, have you not constructively become a sede
vacantist?   I have clerical friends on the right and left who say
they are loyal to the Pope but don't obey him.  I have watched
others jump on the pretexts of the faulty but valid resignation of
the saintly Benedict XVI or the profoundly negative influence of
the St. Gallen Mafia (about which there is much talk but little
evidence, especially sufficient evidence of violation of UDG 82) to
seek to 'undo' Pope Francis' election.    I have seen others engage
in constructive excommunication. For this they must see the errors
of AL in its worst light and determine that it is formal heresy.
Contrarily we are required to look at papal pronouncements in their
best light, and since, in the technical meaning of the words, the
good faith is of Pope Francis is manifestly present, that would
make any heresy contained therein only material at best.
Elsewhere you condemn vague accusations without formal
investigation by competent authority (Williamson).   Surely a
sitting pope should be afforded the same protections.   So on its
face the standards set forth by Canons 194 and 1364 have not been
met.   But neither of us are canonists; should not such
determinations be left to them?

	Bishop Schneider has said that modern popes speak too much.  It
is true. The Acta Sanctae Sedis series in our library has some 250
volumes - one for the first thousand years of pronouncements and
the remaining 249 for the last thousand years.    Although
humorous, making too much of ex aero statements amounts to
papalotry.   Christ continues to keep His Church free from error
but not from banality, sin or stupidity.   You will have noted that
popular accounts of Pope Francis' positions on, for example,
homosexual sexual activity, have simply been wrong, as later
statements have clarified.


		So, as you can see, I am not functioning as an apologist; I
simply do not see as credible all the hoops that people are jumping
through in claiming that Pope Francis is not Pope Francis.    It is
my position that Pope Francis was validly elected and that he holds
the Petrine Office today. In that I differ from you.  I can
continue praying 'una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro Francisco' without
having to pretend that the prayer does not mean what it says it
does.

The Price of Judgmentalism:

	I really do not know if the word 'judgmentalism' exists;   let
us just say it means being excessively judgmental.    I am not
decrying judgment, of course:  our ability to judge is part of our
rationality and is a gift from God.    Adam sought to judge what
was right and wrong without reference to the divine, and thus place
himself in the position of God.   In my experience, excessive
judgment is a drug, and, as with any drug, the more one indulges in
it, the more severe judgments one needs to get the same
satisfaction.  I do not know your soul, and only you and God can
answer this question, but do you not find yourself making more and
more extreme judgments over time, backing yourself in a moral
corner?   In taking the position that Pope Francis was either not
validly elected or that he dismissed himself from office by
embracing heresy, look to the company you are keeping.   That is
not the stance of the cardinals and the bishops you have stated
that you so admire.   The company you are not keeping is that of
the Bishop of Rome.  What Catholic would want to be in that
position?

Living Tradition and Faith via Men:

	I am deeply fond of the fathers (I read little but the fathers
and the Scriptures).   You will no doubt be quite familiar with
this text from Ag. Heresies, III:

That tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the
very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at
Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also by
the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of
the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity
that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its
preeminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as
the tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful
men] who exist everywhere.   The blessed apostles, then, having
founded and built up the Church, committed into the hands of Linus
the office of the episcopate. Of this Linus, Paul makes mention in
the Epistles to Timothy. To him succeeded Anacletus; and after him,
in the third place from the apostles, Clement was allotted the
bishopric. This man, as he had seen the blessed apostles, and had
been conversant with them, might be said to have the preaching of
the apostles still echoing [in his ears], and their traditions
before his eyes. .. And this is most abundant proof that there is
one and the same vivifying faith, which has been preserved in the
Church from the apostles until now, and handed down in truth.
[Emphasis mine]

	Pope Benedict said that '"Tradition" is indeed never a simple
and anonymous handing on of teaching, but is linked to a person, is
a living word that has its concrete reality in faith' (Ratzinger,
Essay in God's Word, p. 23).    That of course makes Tradition both
rich and messy.  I hope in that regard my attachment to Rome does
not seem too simplistic to you. I have had to come to this position
through conversion.    I have a few more decades under my belt than
you.   I came of age in the 60s and 70s and imbibed deeply of the
shallow theology of that lamentable period. I listened to too many
well-meaning but error-filled homilies.  I confess in confidence
that I embraced the sin of Adam, thinking with untrammeled pride
that the Magisterium would someday come around to more enlightened
positions on remarriage, women priests and gay marriage. I embraced
all the mush-headed wrongs that you decried in the statements of
the Canadian religious superiors' 'we regret.'   I was saved from
my grave errors by tough confessors, doses of good theology and
liturgy, and the good example of strong abbots.   I confronted my
own sin.   I deeply regret my pride and my sins, and I am humbled
by them to this day.

	It is for those reasons that I have come to a somewhat
jaundiced view of judgments divorced from humility. Profound
judgments require profound humility.  Because I flew too close to
the sun (to mix my metaphors), perhaps it has made me sensitive to
that perception of your writing regarding the very existence of the
papacy of Pope Francis.  Because you show clear signs of a priestly
vocation (my job for many years was judging such things), I worry
that with your position you would not be able to make the promise
of obedience required of deacons and priests.    Pope St. John Paul
said: "Obedience can sometimes be difficult, particularly when
different opinions clash.  However, obedience was Jesus'
fundamental attitude to sacrificing himself, and it bore fruit in
the salvation the whole world has received" (General Audience Aug.
25, 1993).  I know you are disappointed by many of Pope Francis'
statements - none more so than those in AL.   But as a Catholic you
owe him obedience in all things legitimate. Could you now, if you
were a priest utter the words of the Roman Canon with their
unambiguous meaning -- 'una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro Francisco'?
I believe your stance is an impediment to your vocation.
Certainly even the most orthodox of bishops would regard it as
such.

	Nothing I have said in this letter is particularly original.
Far better minds than mine have opined at length on all of these
subjects.    I write simply to ask:  Will you not perhaps then give
some further thought to your papal stance, perhaps in humility
standing with the bishops and cardinals you admire in their more
nuanced view of Pope Francis' papacy? Your website is brimming with
so much good!   I humbly offer you my opinion that your position on
Pope Francis takes away from the otherwise unmitigated good you are
offering to the Church.   Please forgive me if I have offended you
in any of my statements or if I have misunderstood or misconstrued
any of your positions.   Ultimately I have sure faith that the
gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church.

Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Ambrose and I shall be offering Mass
for you and your intentions.

Sincerely yours in the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Father Benedict

3) S. Jetchick (2020-April-20)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Re: Profound Judgment requires Profound Humility
Date: Mon, 20 Apr 2020 22:17:21 -0400
From: Stefan Jetchick
To: Brother Benedict

Hello again Father McCaffree,

>> As a man under obedience, I
>> cannot publish without permission of my superiors.

I tried to make my disclaimer as clear as I
could at the end of my previous e-mail...

But your superiors will no doubt forgive you,
since you're obviously trying to help a poor
lost soul.


>> But I am, nonetheless, writing you to
>> challenge you to reflect on one position you have
>> taken, that in my view is disedifying

Trust me, I hate my position.

I've spent most of my adult life defending the
Pope, telling people "Ubi est Petrus, ibi est
Ecclesia", quoting official documents of the
Magisterium, etc. I would almost wash my mouth
with soap and water after having said the bad
word: "Sedevacantist".

So now, I find myself in a very unpleasant
situation, and I hate it. So I will appreciate
any wiggle room you could give me, such that
I could claim Jorge Mario Bergoglio is the Pope,
while still keeping the Catholic Faith I want
to die with.


>> Because this missive will meander so, I have
>> added some headings.

I need to remember that line!

My articles tend to meander far more than yours,
so I should add more headings!


>> Knowing in Faith:
>>  First, as to 'knowing in faith,' [...] I am
>> inviting you to believe with confidence
>> or assurance.

Despite reading it twice, and slowly, I could find
nothing to disagree with, under that whole heading.


>> Chrysostom said that hell is paved with
>> bishops' skulls (Hom III Acts 1:12)!

I was delighted when you gave the reference! I've
been looking for years for the origin of that quote!

But I've just read "Hom III Acts 1:12", and it's not
there. Google turned up:

	"The origin of the actual quote is obscure,
	but several theories abound. The most interesting
	are that the flourishing rhetoric of
	St. Chrysostom and Dantean imagery came together
	in the Middle Ages or that the quote was
	actually a misrepresentation of Chrysostom's words
	from the protestant leader John Wesley."


>> Savonarola wryly longed for the
>> days of yore, when 'chalices were made of wood and
>> bishops of gold.'

I like that one too!

So, here again, after reading the heading
"Faith in the Efficacy of Prayer:", I have found nothing
to disagree with.


>> Thirdly, I suggested to you in my last note
>> that you might be able to grow in charity toward
>> [Jorge Mario Bergolio]

I'm sure I could. I have a stone instead of a heart.
If I actually loved my neighbor, wouldn't I just
learn medicine and go work for free as a doctor in
the Third World? Why do I just stay here behind
my keyboard instead of doing something positive for
Mankind?

And Jorge Mario Bergolio, whether he is the current
Pope or not, needs prayers and love. I could sure
increase my charity for him (since I could increase
my charity for anybody).


>> Have you really exhausted the charity you
>> owe Jorge Bergolio?  Is it possible that you could
>> work to see more good in him, in his homilies, in
>> his prayers, in his faith?

I'd love to try, but he's doing his darnest to prevent me.


>> I pray for him daily, just as you do, with
>> sincerity, filial devotion and love.

I have ceased to pray for him as Pope. I should
continue to pray for him as Jorge Mario Bergoglio.


>> Difficult Positions:
>>  Yet I understand:  you are not alone in being
>> flummoxed by the language of his exhortation
>> Amoris Laetitia.

Nego.

I am not "flummoxed" (Merriam-Webster says: "confused").

And no, my warhorse is not Amoris Laetitia,
but his response to the Dubia.
Having some people misunderstand a document you signed
is one thing. Taking a dump on four Cardinals who
politely ask for a doctrinal clarification is an
entirely other thing.


>> Some great minds in the Church were
>> signatories to the Correctio filialis - including
>> my favorite living theologian.   Some holy souls
>> offered the dubia. And frankly, if the
>> interpretations of the Argentinian, Maltese and
>> German bishops of AL is correct, then that teaching
>> is contrary to the teaching of Christ.

So...


>> you have a very good explanation of the hermeneutic
>> of continuity on your website.

You should send an Open Letter to Bergoglio telling
him that! He needs it badly, according to you too!

;-)


>> Every official
>> statement of every pope must be viewed in line with
>> the hermeneutic of continuity.

Yes, if he is the Pope, and not an impostor.

Bergoglio has clarified and officialized his
heretical teachings. No matter how much lipstick of
"hermeneutic of continuity" you lather on the pig
of 2+2=5, it won't work.


>> Judging Justly:
>>  I am well aware too that we have the
>> duty to rebuke even prelates if the faith were
>> endangered (ST II,II, q. 33).

OK.


>> have you not gone
>> way beyond the signers of the Correctio filialis or
>> the authors of the dubia?

Maybe.

I've never met any of them, so I don't know up to
what point their public sayings correspond to
their private positions. I know priests in this
Province who privately say all Quebec Bishops
have lost the Catholic Faith, but who carefully
avoid saying that in public. I've never met a
member of the "catholic" clergy who was not into
"brown-nosing" their superiors.

If you've had the displeasure of wading through the
Letter accompanying the Dubia, you've seen an illustration
of the word: "obsequiousness" (since the dictionary
was out, I checked that one too!).

The current cohort of "bishops" does not exactly
shine for their collective virility. Even if some
agreed with me, they would never admit it publicly.

So let's simplify things: assume for the sake of
the discussion that I'm all alone defending my position.


>> have you not constructively become a sede
>> vacantist?

Yes. Sadly, yes. As I've said, I hate my position.


>> I have clerical friends on the right
>> and left who say they are loyal to the Pope but
>> don't obey him.

Yes, that was an option I considered.

I find it repugnant to pretend to be loyal to somebody,
be he Pope or impostor. My position is uncomfortable, but
it hurts a lot less than trying to cram into my head the
assertion "Bergoglio is a real Pope", along with all the
heresies he has officially taught.


>> For this they must see the errors of AL in its worst
>> light and determine that it is formal heresy.
>> Contrarily we are required to look at papal
>> pronouncements in their best light

When Bergoglio takes the test, I'll consider backtracking.

If some animal smells like a wolf, howls like a wolf
and looks like a wolf, God will certainly not fault me
for asking for credentials.

And if you agree with Bergoglio, then you must agree
with me too! Remember, my conscience is King!

:-)


>> the good faith
>> of Pope Francis is manifestly present

Are you serious?


>> Surely a sitting pope should be afforded
>> the same protections.

You're begging the question. I claim he's probably
not the Pope. So saying my arguments are wrong
because he's the Pope is illogical.

I have arguments, and they are clear and easy
to verify. I'm not leveling "vague accusations
without formal investigation by competent authority".
I'm saying I want to see the White Foot.
I am asking for a formal investigation, and refusing
to open the door first, before I see the White Foot.


>> The Acta Apostolicae Sedis
>> series in our library has some 250 volumes - one
>> for the first thousand years of pronouncements and
>> the remaining 249 for the last thousand years.

I like that one too! Must remember!


>> Christ continues
>> to keep His Church free from error but not from
>> banality, sin or stupidity.

... if we assume Bergoglio is not the Pope.

Otherwise, his very official, very "Catechism-ic",
very "Acta Apostolicae Sedis-mic" teachings make
Jesus a liar.


>> You will have noted
>> that popular accounts of Pope Francis' positions
>> on, for example, homosexual sexual activity, have
>> simply been wrong

Wow. Bergoglio has not protected homosexual perverts?

I thought it was especially unsurprising that
Ouellet attacked Viganò, since I know
Ouellet well, and he's a certified wolf.


>> I simply do not see as credible all
>> the hoops that people are jumping through in
>> claiming that Pope Francis is not Pope Francis.

Great, then you'll be eager to take the Test!
(Also, please send me a good picture of yourself,
so I can publicize as much as possible your answers
to the Dubia.)


>> I can continue praying
>> 'una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro Francisco' without
>> having to pretend that the prayer does not mean
>> what it says it does.

I've stopped saying that prayer, and instead ask God
to send us a real Pope.


>> I am not decrying
>> judgment, of course:  our ability to judge is part
>> of our rationality and is a gift from God.

Well, you are already way ahead of most of the people
I'm stuck arguing with these days! Thanks!


>> excessive
>> judgment is a drug, and, as with any drug, the more
>> one indulges in it, the more severe judgments one
>> needs to get the same satisfaction.

Sounds true.

Except I'm not being excessive in my judgment. I'm
asking for the data necessary to make my judgment.


>> do you not find yourself making more
>> and more extreme judgments over time, backing
>> yourself in a moral corner?

Either that, or all Hell is breaking loose and the
Son of Man is about to have a really hard time finding
scraps of what He transmitted to the Apostles [Lk 18:8].

I do wish the answer was Option 1. I hate Option 2.


>> In taking the
>> position that Pope Francis was either not validly
>> elected or that he dismissed himself from office by
>> embracing heresy, look to the company you are keeping.

Sexy Baby!


>> You will no
>> doubt be quite familiar with this text from Ag.
>> Heresies, III:

Never heard of it. But then I'm a ignoramus, unable
to read Greek or Latin... Sad.


>> And this is most abundant proof that there
>> is one and the same vivifying faith, which has been
>> preserved in the Church from the apostles until
>> now, and handed down in truth.

I love that whole quote!


>> I confess [...] that the
>> Magisterium would someday come around to more
>> enlightened positions on remarriage, women priests
>> and gay marriage. I embraced all the mush-headed
>> wrongs that you decried in the statements of the
>> Canadian religious superiors' 'we regret.'

Holy Smokes, you're a walking miracle!

I'm the exact opposite.

From that Feast of the Annunciation in 1982 until today, I've
never waivered in any way. It was always Pope, Magisterium,
Eternal Tradition, Hard Line, etc.


>> It is for those reasons that I have come to a
>> somewhat jaundiced view of judgments divorced from
>> humility. Profound judgments require profound
>> humility.

Amen!

Except I'm not judging. I'm asking for the data
necessary to make a judgment.

If somebody refuses to provide that data, I withhold
my religious obedience.


>> I worry that with your position you would not be able
>> to make the promise of obedience required of
>> deacons and priests.

I'll be delighted to obey, if I'm first shown The White Foot.


>> obedience was Jesus' fundamental attitude to
>> sacrificing himself

Notice the title of the article I keep referring to:
Loyalty To Satan, Or To The Holy See?

Remember, I was branded with a red-hot iron many years
ago, when my Superior told me this stuff about Jesus
being obedient and all that, so obedience was the most
important virtue. I told him NO, because otherwise
obeying Satan would be a virtue.


>> as a Catholic you owe [Bergoglio] obedience in
>> all things legitimate.

Show me The White Foot.


>> Could you now, if you were a
>> priest utter the words of the Roman Canon with
>> their unambiguous meaning -- 'una cum famulo tuo
>> Papa nostro Francisco'?

No, of course not! Why would I utter lies? I'd
stick to my guns.


>> I believe your stance is an
>> impediment to your vocation. Certainly even the
>> most orthodox of bishops would regard it as such.

Ah, rigidity!


>> Will you not perhaps then
>> give some further thought to your papal stance

Hey, speaking of white feet, you could
take that Test too!

Especially since your Catholicism has been shaky,
whereas mine has been stone-cold solid from the
start.

(Did anybody mention humility, or lack thereof, somewhere
in this meandering missive? DUH! But seriously,
yes, I am a coward and a lazy bum, so if anything in my
life is strong and courageous, it has to be because of
the prayers of both my Grandmothers, etc.)


>> perhaps in humility standing with the bishops and
>> cardinals you admire in their more nuanced view of
>> Pope Francis' papacy?

What? Where? Who? A Bishop who has Shown the White Foot?


>> I humbly offer you my opinion that
>> your position on Pope Francis takes away from the
>> otherwise unmitigated good you are offering to the
>> Church.

Yes, no matter how I look at it, Jorge Mario Bergoglio
is an unmitigated disaster. Even if he was Pope, he
would still deeply suck.

I just try to describe what I see, even when the
Reality Check hurts.


>> Please forgive me if I have offended you

Offend me? The Government says I'm the one who
offends others!


>> I have sure faith that the gates of hell shall not
>> prevail against the Church.

Me too! Except according to my calculations, one heretical
Bishop, one truly Catholic grandmother clutching
her Rosary, and one young heman not yet converted, all three
at the bottom of a dark and humid cave, hiding from the
authorities, qualifies as "the Gates of Hell have not prevailed
against Her". The grandmother converts the young heman to
Catholicism, the Bishop (ex opere operato) baptizes then ordains
him to the episcopate, and BINGO, we have apostolic succession
and the Church survives! The gates of Hell have not
prevailed against Her!

So the promise of Christ is true, but doesn't solve
my problem.


>> Tomorrow is the Feast of Saint Ambrose and I shall
>> be offering Mass for you and your intentions.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

In Christ,

SJJ

4) B. McCaffree (2020-April-21)

-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: Chysostom and others on Hell
Date: Tue, 21 Apr 2020 09:46:26 +0200
From: Brother Benedict
To: 'Stefan Jetchick'

Dear Stefan,

  I very much enjoyed reading your thoughtful reply, and I have
no doubts at all about your sincerity.  Let us continue to pray
for each other.

 As to the quotation attributed to Chysostom, I
encountered it thirty years ago in a late Medieval Biblia Sacra
cum Glossa Ordinaria -- something that preachers frequently
used to access the fathers' commentaries on Scripture.  The
volume was in the Bibliotheque Orléans and thus might have come
from Cluny.   Not infrequently texts were attributed to
Chysostom that were later identified as coming from other
sources such as homilies on Chysostom (by Migne in the
Patrologia Latina and Patrologia Graeca).   If otherwise
unattributed they tended to be identified as Pseudo-Chysostom.
In any case, the volume I had in my hands had to have predated
Wesley by two centuries as it was written in an italic cursive.
So it would be improper to attribute the quotation to Wesley,
as he merely made use of an existing text.   Chysostom did say
that "few bishops were saved" in that same homily on Acts.
	Certainly from the 13th century onward, descriptions of
Hell and those who peopled it tend to be more and more
colorful.  I think the height was reached by a contemporary of
Wesley, St. Leonard of Port Maurice. Citing Chrysostom, here is
what he preached about the number of priests and bishops who
are saved:

"... I am horror-struck when I hear Saint Jerome declaring that
although the world is full of priests, barely one in a hundred
is living in a manner in conformity with state; when I hear a
servant of God attesting that he has learned by revelation that
the number of priests who fall into hell each day is so great
that it seemed impossible to him that there be any left on
earth; when I hear Saint Chrysostom exclaiming with tears in
his eyes, "I do not believe that many priests are saved; I
believe the contrary, that the number of those who are damned
is greater."

Look higher still, and see the prelates of the Holy Church,
pastors who have the charge of souls. Is the number of those
who are saved among them greater than the number of those who
are damned? Listen to Cantimpre; he will relate an event to
you, and you may draw the conclusions. There was a synod being
held in Paris, and a great number of prelates and pastors who
had the charge of souls were in attendance; the king and
princes also came to add luster to that assembly by their
presence. A famous preacher was invited to preach. While he was
preparing his sermon, a horrible demon appeared to him and
said, "Lay your books aside. If you want to give a sermon that
will be useful to these princes and prelates, content yourself
with telling them on our part, 'We the princes of darkness
thank you, princes, prelates, and pastors of souls, that due to
your negligence, the greater number of the faithful are damned;
also, we are saving a reward for you for this favor, when you
shall be with us in Hell.'"

			Pretty frightening, is it not?

Do spare a prayer to St. Anselm of Canterbury this day
on his feast.

He was a great teacher as a monk and abbot, and as bishop he
suffered much to maintain the teachings of the Church.    He
would make a good intercessor for us today.

Sincerely yours in the Sacred Hearts,

Br.  Benedict

[I have not stopped corresponding with Fr. McCaffree, but I only post what relates to Jorge Mario Bergoglio and [Ap 2:2].

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