The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary

a text of Fr Garrigou-Lagrange O.P.

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1. What is meant by the Assumption ?

The whole Church understands by the term that the Blessed Virgin Mary, soon after her death and glorious resurrection, was taken up body and soul to Heaven to be forever enthroned above the angels and saints.

The term Assumption is used rather than Ascension since, unlike Jesus who ascended to Heaven by his own power, Mary was lifted up by God to the degree of glory for which she had been predestined. […]

2. Was the Assumption revealed ?

Without a divine revelation, the Assumption would not be capable of being defined a dogma of faith, since the motive of faith is the authority of God in revelation. […]

Hence, that the Assumption should have been known as certain and capable of being proposed to the whole Church for acceptance, a public revelation must have been made to the Apostles, or at least to one of them – Saint John, for example.  Note that this revelation must have been made to an apostle since the deposit of common and public revelation was completed with the death of the last apostle [Saint John].  It may have been made explicitly or implicitly. […]

3. Was the privilege of the Assumption explicitly revealed ?

Everything tends to indicate that the privilege of the Assumption was explicitly revealed to the Apostles, or at least to one of them ; and this was transmitted subsequently by the oral Tradition of the liturgy ; otherwise there is no explanation of the universal Feast of the Assumption, found so clearly from the 7th century on, by which time the Assumption itself was already the object of the ordinary magisterium of the Church. […]

4. Is the Assumption implicitly revealed in the Holy Scripture ?

— From the words of Gabriel the Archangel at the Annunciation and from St Elisabeth at the Visitation :

* « Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with Thee ; blessed art thou amongst women » (Lc 1, 28) ;

* « Blessed art thou amongst women » (Lc 1, 42).

we can conclude that the Assumption was implicitly revealed in the Holy Scripture :

Mary received fullness of grace and was blessed by God among women in an exceptional way.  But this exceptional blessing negatives the divine malediction to bring forth children in pain and to return to dust (Gen 3, 16-19).   Mary was therefore preserved through it from corruption in her body: her body would not return to dust but would be restored to life in an anticipated resurrection. […]

— « Thanks be to God, who hath given us the victory through Our Lord Jesus-Christ » (1 Co 15, 57) ; « Through death, [Jesus-Christ] might destroy him who had the empire of death, that is to say, the devil »   5 Hebr 2, 14).

Christ ‘s perfect victory over Satan included victory over sin and death.  But Mary, the Mother of God, was most intimately associated with Jesus on Calvary in His victory over Satan.  Hence she was associated with Him in His victory over death by her anticipated resurrection and her Assumption.

5. What are the consequences of this dogma for our soul ?

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin along with the Ascension of Our Blessed Lord, crowns our faith in the objective completion of the work of the Redemption, and gives our hope a new guarantee.

Finally, the just man lives by his faith.  Hence he finds in the solemn definition of a revealed truth a form of spiritual nourishment which increases his faith, strengthens his hope, and makes his charity more fervent.

(Fr Garrigou-Lagrange O.P., The Mother of the Saviour and Our Interior Life ; St-Louis, Missouri ; B. Herder Book Company ; 1948 ; Part one, Chapter IV, Article II, « The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin », extracts.)

Attendance at the New Mass

Attendance at the New Mass

Is it permitted to take part in the New Mass?

Even if the New Mass is valid, it displeases God in so far as it is ecumenical and protestant.  Besides that, it represents a danger for the faith in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. It must therefore be rejected. Whoever understands the problem of the New Mass must no longer assist at it, because he puts voluntarily his faith in danger, and, at the same time, encourages others to do the same in appearing to give his assent to the reforms.

How can a valid Mass displease God?

Even a sacrilegious Mass celebrated by an apostate priest to mock Christ can be valid. It is however evident that it offends God, and it would not be permitted to take part in it. In the same way, the Mass of a Greek Schismatic (valid and celebrated according a venerable rite) displeases God insofar as it is celebrated in opposition to Rome and to the unique Church of Christ.

Can one attend the New Mass however when it is celebrated in a worthy and pious manner by a Catholic priest with a faith that is absolutely certain?

It is not the celebrant who is called into question, but the rite that he is using. It is unfortunately a fact that the new rite has given very many Catholics a false notion of the Mass, which is closer to that of the protestant last supper than that of the Holy Sacrifice. The new Mass is one of the principal sources of the current crises of the faith. It is therefore imperative that we distance ourselves from it.

Can one assist at the new Mass in certain circumstances?

We must apply to the new Mass the same rules we use for the attendance at a non-Catholic ceremony.  One can be present for family or professional reasons, but one behaves passively, and especially does not receive Holy Communion.

What can one do when it is not possible to assist every Sunday a traditional Mass?

Whoever does not have the possibility to assist at a traditional Mass is excused from the Sunday obligation. The precept of the Sunday obligation only obliges in the case of a true Catholic Mass. One must however, in this case strive to assist at a traditional Mass at least regular intervals. What’s more, even if one is thus dispensed from assistance at Mass (which is a commandment of the Church), one is not thus so for the commandment of God (“Thou shalt sanctify the Day of the Lord”).  One must replace, by one manner or another this Mass which one cannot have, with for example the reading of the text in one’s missal, and uniting the intention, during the time of the Mass to a Mass celebrated elsewhere, and in practicing a spiritual communion.

(Directly translated from “Catéchisme catholique de la crise dans l’Église” [“Catholic Catechism of the crisis in the Church” by Fr Matthias Gaudron SSPX; French translation, subdivisions and revisions made by the Dominican Fathers of Avrillé.]

What about the attendance at an Indult Mass or at a Mass celebrated by an Ecclesia Dei priest?

Answer coming soon…

The Friary’s Position

The Friary’s position

  • The position of the Friary has not changed since the foundation of our community, that is, we continue the combat for the Faith summarized perfectly by the Doctrinal Declaration of Archbishop Lefebvre of November 21, 1974.
  • More precisely, we hold the principle which has been the one of the Society from 1988 to 2012, and which was still clearly maintained in the General Chapter of 2006:

“The contacts that the Society continues occasionally with Roman authorities have for their only end to help these authorities to reappropriate the Tradition that the Church cannot repudiate without losing her identity, and not the search for an advantage for ourselves, or to come to an impossible and purely practical agreement. The day when Tradition will once again regain all its rights, “the problem of our reconciliation will have no further reason to exist and the Church will experience a new youth”. 1

  • We support therefore all the priests still in the SSPX who, not without difficulty, continue the good fight in this spirit. By the grace of God, there are a good number of them, especially in the French District of the Society.  The Appeal to the faithful of January 2014 was not a declaration of rupture with the SSPX, but a “public testimony of our firm and faithful attachment to the principles that always guided Archbishop Lefebvre in the combat for the Faith”.
  • If there are priests outside of the Society who, clearly and without ambiguity, continue the combat of Archbishop Lefebvre, there is no reason not to support them. To support them does not mean “taking sides” for one Society against another. We have no intention to do anything “against” the Society, and do not wish its collapse : nobody wants that.
  • A suggestion for those who want to remain faithful to the combat of Archbishop Lefebvre: to the word “resistance”, we prefer the expression “combat for the faith”, not only because one does not define oneself by something negative; but because this expression exists since the beginning of Tradition, and includes all those who faithfully continue the combat of Archbishop Lefebvre, no matter what organization they belong to.

How much can we trust Private Revelations?

How much can we trust Private Revelations ?

Extract from a letter of Fr. JANDEL, General Superior of the Order of Preachers in the reign of Pope Pius IX

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« It is to my sorrow that I see you overly preoccupied with extraordinary visions. The Holy Father does not put his trust in the imaginations of women; do likewise. Have confidence in God and live the Faith without becoming passionately fond of revelations. What is more worthy than all the prophecies is the certitude that the Faith gives us, that we are in the hands of God, and that not one hair will fall from our head without His permission. Bearing this always in mind, we remain in peace in the midst of all worldly tribulations.

Do not be overly preoccupied with N… This leads you to exaggeration. This unfortunate girl is neither a lunatic nor a monster; she is easily deceived, and there is nothing supernatural about her. I see no reason in breaking off all relations with her just because we do not believe that she is inspired or that she is blessed with revelations; this does not mean that we should shun her or excommunicate her. Nor have I ever intended to prevent her from receiving visitors; this would be excessively severe. I have limited myself to forbidding her to communicate her revelations to people other than her confessor. Be at peace with regards to her and do not dwell on the revelations.

While I do not trust [private] prophecies, I believe even less that the end of the world is at hand; this idea seems to be irreconcilable with what is written in the Holy Scriptures. Of the coming of the Antichrist, I know nothing; it is possible. But after the Antichrist must come the huge triumph of the Church and the reign of God on earth by the return of the Jewish people, by the conversion of the Gentiles, and by the return of the Faithful into one single fold under one single Shepherd. »

FATIMA

FATIMA

Or the means chosen by God to redress the present situation

by a Dominican father

This is a sermon given in the Dominican monastery la Haye-aux-Bonshommes in Avrillé (France).

The Fatima Message

Starting on May 13, the Most Holy Virgin appeared to three young shepherds on the 13th of every month in the presence of a growing number of pilgrims and the inquisitive. The children alone saw Our Lady.

It is not sufficient to say that the message was a call for prayer and penance, as the Vatican claims. Such a lack of precision allows the particular demands given by Our Lady for our times to be placed under the bushel. We must therefore state the exact nature and the aim of the prayer request. Therefore, it is more correct to say that the instructions given by Our Lady between May 13 and October 13 may be summed up in these words: the daily Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners. That is the Fatima message in general.

To this general message were later added two particular requests that were in keeping with the promise made as early as July 13:

- in 1925, the request was made for the Five First Saturdays devotion in reparation for sins ;

- and in 1929, the request was made for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary by the Pope in union with all the bishops in the world.

It would be an error to limit the Fatima message to these two particular requests and to forget the general request: the daily Rosary and sacrifices for the conversion of sinners.

The Miracle of the Sun: the Facts

Let us go back to the 13th day of October 1917, the day that we are commemorating today.

As early as July 13, the Virgin Mary announced a huge miracle that would take place on October 13 so that the entire world may believe in the reality of the apparitions and in the serious nature of Heaven’s warning.

The story is well known: a crowd of nearly 100,000 people gathered in the area; they were mostly Catholics, but also non-believers, militant atheists, and even the freemasonic government minister for national education. A torrential rain pouring from midnight on soaked everyone to the bones and rendered the Cova da Iria1 into a muddy field: in order to give blessings, God wills that we first do penance. At midday, Lucy asked the people to fold their umbrellas. The entire crowd complied and magnificently displayed their faith and obedience. A few moments later, the sun broke through the clouds and Our Lady appeared above a small holm-oak. She asked for the conversion of sinners and, as in every apparition, she insisted on the daily recitation of the Rosary.

Then, suddenly, Lucy cried out: « Look at the sun! » In front of the stupefied crowd of people, the sun gyrated in on itself as if it were a fire wheel, turning various colors of the rainbow. This lasted nearly eight minutes but seemed like hours. This cannot be attributed to a collective hallucination, because the phenomenon was seen within a forty-kilometer radius by various individuals.

While the sun was spinning around, the three young shepherds, Lucy, Jacinta and Francisco alone saw a vision that symbolized the three sets of the mysteries of the Rosary:

- representing the Joyful Mysteries: St. Joseph appeared with the Child Jesus and Our Lady: St. Joseph and the Child Jesus were blessing the world;

- representing the Sorrowful Mysteries: Our Lord appeared with Our Lady of Sorrows;

- representing the Glorious Mysteries: the Virgin Mary in Heaven was seen holding the scapular of Mount Carmel.

The sun then turned blood red in color and seemed to fall from the sky and hurl itself towards the earth. Everyone believed that the end of the world had come. Then everything stopped – the sun returned to its normal place in the sky.

The people got up and noted another phenomenon: their soaked clothes were completely dry.

The non-believers had to acknowledge the reality of the facts. The following day, newspapers, including those most hostile towards the Church, all reported on the event.

What lessons may we draw today from this miracle?

The Miracle of the Sun: Lessons to be Drawn

The largest miracle in the entire history of the Church

Firstly let us observe the spectacular nature of this miracle. We must turn to the Old Testament to find similar prodigies that were performed in front of an immense crowd of people: such as the manifestation of God to Moses and to the Hebrew people on Mount Sinai (Ex 19); or when Joshua stopped the sun and the moon from advancing so that nightfall would not prevent the Jews from exterminating the enemies of Yahweh (Jos 10). The miracle of October 13, 1917 is assuredly the largest miracle in the entire history of the Church. Let us ask why.

The history of the Church is the history of the struggle between two cities: the city of God and the city of Satan:

These two Cities are made by two loves: the heavenly City by love of God even to the contempt of self; the earthly City by love of oneself even to the contempt of God (St. Augustin, The City of God).

This magnificent synthesis of St. Augustine is nothing other than what is written in the Book of Genesis:

I will put enmities between thee [the snake] and the Woman [the Virgin Mary], and between thy seed and her seed [Our Lord; the Church]: she shall crush thy head, and thou shalt lie in wait for her heel [the persecutions of the Church] (Gen 3, 15).

We are now living in the times when « the devil is fighting the decisive battle, meaning the final battle », says Our Lady2. This is the day when the general assault of all anti-Christian forces is launched against the Church.

It is urgent that we realize the terrible reality that we are in. We do not wish to frighten people, but this is an urgent call to the reality of our situation, comments Sr. Lucy 3.

And it is in order to draw our attention to this final phase of the history of the Church that Heaven produced the largest miracle of the past 2,000 years.

Paradoxically, the current Church authorities are totally silent on this event.

And so, in the year 2000, when Cardinal Ratzinger released to the public a questionable version of the third secret of Fatima, he made no allusion whatsoever to this miracle.

Why this silence?

The current Church authorities have not yet fulfilled the Virgin Mary’s request, and so it is understandable that they are embarassed by this miracle, which clearly proves the heavenly origin of this request. At the same time – could it be their guilty conscience? – these authorities feel obliged to talk from time to time about Fatima and to perform the consecrations of the world or of mankind. Pope Francis made one such consecration on October 13, 20134. However, by not consecrating Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary as Our Lady requested, the popes are unable to provide the world with the promised remedy, and the situation continues to get worse.

The Fatima apparitions are the key to understanding the entire history of our era

We will now move to the second important consideration: the Fatima apparitions are the key to understanding all the events of the 20th century and all that we are living through today, whether in the religious or political sphere. To be truly convinced of this, one only needs to read the authoritative work by French Br. Michel of the Holy Trinity, The Whole Truth about Fatima5.

The troubles, the upheavals and the unprecedented decadence of our times are the direct consequences of the fact that churchmen have not yet wished to fulfill the request of Our Lady of Fatima:

I will come to ask for the Consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart and for the Five First Saturdays in reparation for the sins, said Our Lady on July 13, 1917. If my requests are granted, Russia will be converted and there will be peace. If my requests are not granted, Russia will spread her errors throughout the world, raising up wars and persecutions against the Church.

The October 1917 Revolution that took place immediately after the request of Our Lady of Fatima was not a simple coup d’état bringing about a regime change. The aim of the Revolution was especially « to spread throughout the world the institutions and the mores of atheism6 », and the immorality that was to follow in its wake7.

This Revolution occurred precisely during the huge conflagration of 1914 – 1918, which was the first Great War aiming to prepare for a one-world government. It is this that constitutes the errors of Russia: the creation of an atheistic society without Our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the supreme assault against the Social Kingship of Our Lord. And we must admit that these errors have now spread throughout the entire world. No nation has been spared.

The only effective obstacle to this plan was the Church. In order to protect the Church and the world from this plot, the Virgin Mary requested Pope Pius XI in 1921, by the intermediary of Sr. Lucy, to consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart. The Pope did not believe the matter was worth pursuing. Ten years later Our Lord complained to Sr. Lucy:

Tell My ministers: because they are following the example of the king of France in delaying the fulfillment of My request, they will share in his tragedy8.

It was indeed during those years that an organisation was put in place by Moscow in order to infiltrate seminaries and novitiates with agents who had false vocations. These agents later reached influencial positions and gradually worked to effect a new orientation in the Church. This has been proven by a good number of documents. (We have provided references in an article about Fatima9 in our review le Sel de la Terre.) The Pope having ignored the protection that Heaven was offering, the Church became the plaything of her enemies.

At the time of the Second Vatican Council, Moscow doubled the budget they allocated to the Pax organization, which was one of the principal agents of Communist infiltration into the Church10. Among other things, this group contributed to the attacks directed at the Curia during the Council11.

We should therefore not be surprised that the two major documents passed by the Council, and not without opposition, were:

- the document on Religious Liberty12, which sanctions the secularization of States, that is to say their becoming atheistic States, preventing the Social Reign of Our Lord and forbidding the constitution of officially Catholic nations;

- and the document Nostra Aetate13 which, along with the decree on Ecumenism14, leads to what we see today: churchmen who abandon missionary activities in order to work towards uniting all religions for the service of the atheistic and anti-Christian world government. Last October 1st, in an interview with the chief editor of the newpaper Repubblica in Italy, an interview which made huge waves, Pope Francis declared: « Proselytism [that is, missionary activity] is a pompous absurdity ». But this Ecumenism, which refuses the conversion of non-Catholics, leads to Religious Indifferentism, and Religious Indifferentism leads to Apostasy and to Atheism. That is what we see today in the entire world.

Yes, the errors of Russia have penetrated inside the Church.

The means chosen by God to redress the current situation

So, what must we do? And can we do anything, we who are so few?

We need to understand that God alone can now redress the situation. There is no longer any solution on the purely human level. But that does not mean that there is nothing for us to do: God always wants the co-operation of His creatures, but the co-operation must be in accordance with His plan.

The Two Battles

Some years ago an eminent traditional Catholic thinker summed up the situation very well when he said that there are two battles that must be fought at the same time:

1) We must fight in order to preserve our last holdings. It is obvious that we must above all maintain our chapels, our monasteries, our schools, our publications, our associations15, and, generally speaking, we must hold on to our hope of salvation and to the orthodoxy of our Doctrine. This is the lower battle. It is a defensive battle, a battle where we hold our own against the enemy.

2) But on a level higher than these countless battles of self-preservation, a battle of the greatest importance has begun and whose objective is the transfer of power16. « I will reign in spite of My enemies », said the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret-Mary in 168917; a promise that was renewed in the 19th and 20th centuries to a large number of mystics, in particular to Madame Royer in France. […] We may rest assured that today Our Lord is working mysteriously, as He always does, towards the destruction of the Beast and towards the restoration of His own Reign. This mysterious battle which is led by Christ the King constitutes the higher battle, and that is the principal objective18.

The Lower Battle

Concerning the lower battle, the battle fought by men, Fr. Calmel O.P. had these enlightening words to say:

May each priest, each layman, each little group of priests and laymen, who have authority and influence over a small remnant of the Church and of Christendom go to the utmost of their possibilities and power. […] May the leaders of the small groups and their members know each other and communicate with each other. May each of these small groups thus protected, defended, led and guided in their prayer and chants by a true authority, become as much as possible a bastion of holiness: this is what will garantee the continuity of the true Church and what will efficaciously prepare for a revival, when the day chosen by God comes19.

Let us note what Fr. Calmel says: our bastions must be bastions of holiness.

What is worrisome at the moment is not so much the advancement of the forces of evil, but rather the softening of the good. Actually, there’s probably a link between the two tendencies. Those who knew the heroic beginnings of Tradition with Archbishop Lefebvre note that today the traditionalists have become quite lukewarm in comparison to those heroic days: the slovenly manner of dressing, sinful and imprudent use of the Internet, weakening of the convictions among the young, the faithful who no longer read in order to maintain their Faith and to oppose errors, fewer people going on spiritual retreats, a proportional decrease in vocations, etc.

If our principal focus in this lower battle is not on our sanctification, we will not preserve our bastions. We will be swept away in the general apostasy. Let us be watchful, let us wake up!

The Higher Battle

Above this battle of self-preservation lies the higher battle whose goal it is to completely defeat the forces of evil. This is where God’s battle lies. And where do we stand in this battle?

There is but one simple action that each one must take. Our Lady confided that action to Sr. Lucy of Fatima:

Many times, while I was spending precious hours in her company, Our Lady insisted that we fulfill our daily duties according to our state in life and that we offer this effort for the reparation of our sins and for the conversion of sinners. This is the fundamental condition which will enable us to push back the forces of evil that threaten to submerge the world today and which will bring about the conversion of Russia and a period of peace to the world. But she also explained the importance of the Rosary because it is the one principal means given to us by Our Lady for the sanctification of our daily duties20.

This is how we can truly and efficaciously participate in the final battle which will definitively crush the enemies of the Church. This is within everyone’s reach and that is very encouraging!

Conclusion

Let us conclude with the words of Abp. Lefebvre which he gave in a sermon in his last Pontifical Mass on November 1, 1990 in Écône on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the SSPX. This is his testament:

My dear Friends, you can easily see the importance of your role. […] You are a small remnant, but you carry the torch boldly. […] Ah! What a beautiful task, what a noble crusade lies ahead of you! The good God has placed you in a period of the history of mankind that is exciting for young people such as yourselves! It was just like this at the time of the Machabees when they left the corrupt Jewish society, and they too were very few. Judas Machabee with only eight hundred soldiers faced an army of twenty thousand – and he defeated them. And so, be confident, my dear Friends, God is with you. He will not abandon you, just as He has not abandoned us over the course of the last twenty years. Nor will He abandon you in the future because it is Himself that God wants. God does not want to disappear; He is God, He wants to remain God, not only in Heaven, but also here on earth. That is why He wants soldiers in His army.



The Risen Jesus

“It’s very simple:  have your head cut off, rise from the dead the third day, and the whole world will believe in you!”  This is the ironic counsel that the Emperor Napoleon gave to his Deputy La Revelliere who was upset about the failure of the cult of the god of reason (or of the humanitarian god) launched by the Revolution (1797).

The Risen Jesus

Only God can resurrect someone who has died.  Therefore, if Jesus is risen, He is truly the Holy One sent by God.  Now it is historically certain that:

1. Jesus died crucified,

2. His tomb was found empty,

3. Numerous witnesses assert they had seen Him alive (risen).

1.  He died suspended

Jesus Christ in History

The life of Jesus is known by four contemporary accounts (the Gospels of Mathew, Mark, Luke and John), some letters (the epistles of Peter, Paul, etc.) and by:

*  The Jewish Historian Flavius Josephus (37-97):  Jewish Antiquities, 18,3 and 20,8;

*  The Roman Historian Tacitus (55-118):  Annals, 15,44;

*  The Pagan Polemists Luke of Samosate (125-192) and Celsus (around 178);

*  All the converts who up until the 2nd Century had been contemporaries of Christ or who were close to them; the historian Suetonius (69-125) signals their presence in Rome under Claudius (Life of Claudius, 25,11) and under Nero, who delivered them up to tortures in 64 (Life of Nero, 16,3); Pliny the Younger (61-114) recounted them in Bithynia (Letter to Trajan, in 112); several have left writings:  Clement of Rome, († 97), Ignatius of Antioch (35-107), Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155).

Jesus died suspended on a cross

*  Crucifixion recounted in the Gospels (Matt. 27, Mk. 15, Lk. 23, Jn. 19), the Acts (2.23); St. Paul (1 Col. 1.23), etc.

*  Tacitus (who was proconsul of Asia):  Jesus “was condemned in the reign of Tiberius, by the procurator Pontius Pilate”.

*  Flavius Josephus:  “Some chiefs of our nation, having accused him before Pilate, this one had him crucified.”*  Luke of Samosate:  “The crucified sophist”.

*  Justin (who had lived both in Judea and in Rome):  “You can be assured that the facts are accurate in consulting the Acts which were registered under Pontius Pilate.” (Apology addressed to the Emperor Antoninus around 150, paragraph 35.)

*  Celsus (anti-Christian polemist, around 178):  “You say he’s God, and he finishes by dying miserably”.

*  The Shroud of Christ, conserved at Turin, attests in detail to all of the Passion (His image, resembling a photographic negative, remains unexplained by science).

2.  His body disappeared

Friday evening: Jesus is placed in the tomb

Dying Friday (the eve of the Sabbath), Jesus was buried immediately:

*  According to Jewish law, the burial must be accomplished before the beginning of the Sabbath (holy day of the Jews), meaning before sunset on Friday evening.

*  This burial – authorized by Pilate – occurred in public, so it was easily verified by everyone.  It has always been held as certain, including at Jerusalem, from the First Century, before numerous witnesses, without being able to find a single objection raised.

*   The Four Evangelists relate it, each one making their sources clear (Matt. 27.61; Lk. 23.55; Jn. 19.35). – Their accounts are sober, without trace of embellishments (the pitiful absence of the Apostles at the sepulcher would be inexplicable if the story had been invented).

*  This narrative is confirmed by archeology (the tomb carved out of the rock, the stone which was rolled), the Roman law (authorizing the deliverance of the body to near relatives), the customs of the Jews (their respect for the dead and the renown of Jesus requiring burial).

*  The location of the sepulcher has always been known, according to the testimony of Eusebius of Caesarea (Construction of a Church towards the end of the persecutions, in 325).

*  We even know the owner of the tomb:  Joseph of Arimathea, member of the Sanhedrin (unexpected detail, too easy to verify to be invented).

Sunday, at daybreak:  he’s no longer in the tomb

Sunday morning (the day following the Sabbath), the tomb is found empty:

*  The fact was noticed as soon as it was dawn (Mk. 16. 2-4).  It was necessarily verified by the authorities and by many of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, considering the controversy it sparked (the Apostles were arrested, Stephen was stoned, etc.).

*  The disappearance was tacitly confirmed by the enemies of Christianity (if they had been able to, obviously they would have shown the body of Christ to silence the rumors of any Resurrection).

*  The disappearance was confirmed factually by the development of Christianity in Judea (this would have been impossible if the tomb hadn’t been found empty).

*  Finally, the disappearance was confirmed by the controversy with the Jews in which Matthew is visibly engaged (Matt. 27 and 28):  1.  Accusation of the Jews:  the Apostles took the body.   2. Response:  the tomb was guarded.  3.  Reply:  the guards were sleeping.   Etc.  — this polemic would never have taken such a turn if the tomb had not been found empty.

False solutions:

The thesis that the body was stolen by the Apostles is untenable because it gives rise to the Apostles having:

1. Audacity, boldness, being coldblooded, and being organized.  (But instead they were distraught, terrorized, without a leader);

2.  A diabolical perfidy.  (Directly contrary to the teachings of Christ);

3. Deliberately violated both a sepulcher and the Sabbath.  (Things extremely sacred to the Jews);

4.  Become extremely lucky.  (Despite the guards, the stone that needed to be rolled, and the investigation of the authorities …);

5.  And all that without it profiting them personally, but at the price of their own lives, with the sole end being to assume a hypothetical posthumous triumph of an impostor, of whom they would be, in reality, the first victims!

The other theses of the rationalists are just as absurd (They got the wrong tomb, the body was swallowed up in an earthquake, – taken by Mary Magdalene – or by the Jews, etc.).

What must unbelievers not come up with in order to justify their unbelief!

3. Witnesses saw Him

They saw, heard, touched, and accompanied Him.  They gave their lives in order to testify to the same.

Firsthand witnesses

*  Dozens of men and women categorically affirm they have seen the resurrected Jesus, several times and in divers manners, at Jerusalem and then in Galilee, during 40 days.

*  On Pentecost (less than 2 months after the death of Christ) the Apostles testified publicly in Jerusalem:  “This Jesus hath God raised again, whereof all we are witnesses.” (Acts 2.32). Which witness was asserted before the Sanhedrin as well (Acts 4.10 and 4.33).

*  Towards the year 34, Paul, having been converted, received from the Apostles at Jerusalem a formula of Profession of Faith which he transcribed in the Epistle to the Corinthians: “For I delivered unto you first of all, which I also received: how that Christ died for our sins,…..and that he rose again the third day…..” (1 Cor. 15.3-5, etc.).

*  In this same Epistle, written before 55, St. Paul mentions six apparitions of the Risen Christ, of which….    –  One “with more than 500 brethren, of which most are still alive” (a clear invitation to get information from the witnesses).    –  And that which he himself had while he was persecuting the Christians (related in detail in the Acts of the Apostles, written before the year 64)

.*  The Holy Gospels (written before the year 70) relate nine apparitions (7 at Jerusalem and 2 in Galilee), stating also that there had been others.

Truthful witnesses

*  If they had made it up, would the Evangelists have: — resisted the urge to describe the Resurrection itself in detail? – given to the women the honorable role, at the expense of the Apostles? – reduced the apparitions to such banal and commonplace scenes? – delivered narrations that were hard to reconcile, like pieces of a puzzle (which in the end, actually reveals that they were independent witnesses of a complex event)?

*  If they had made it up, would all the Apostles have maintained their false testimony even under torture, as much in Jerusalem (James), as at Rome (Peter), and at Madras in India (Thomas), etc.?

False solutions

1.  Myth? – The Apostles never preached the Resurrection as if it were a myth (as an allegory), but rather as an historical fact.  The word ‘myth’ doesn’t explain their conviction at all.

2.  Legendary deformation? – The historian Sherwin-White showed that a story doesn’t disfigure the hard nut of an historical fact before 3 or 4 generations pass.  Now, the Resurrection, central point of the Christian Faith, was preached immediately (Peter at Pentecost – the Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, written before 55 – etc.)

3.  Hallucination?  Hallucination requires a mental weakness or nervousness that is not to be found in these fishermen of Galilee, and which would have prevented them from being believed.  It can’t explain such varied apparitions during the space of 40 days (the disciples of Emmaus talking to him and walking with him for miles; Thomas who doubted his Resurrection, placing his fingers in his wounds; Jesus preparing a fire on the banks of the lake; etc.).

4.  Autosuggestion? – “Expectation ordinarily creates its own object” (Renan, denying the apparitions). – Other than the fact that that is false (except for the mentally ill), the Apostles weren’t expecting anything!  Mary Magdalene, not expecting to see Jesus at all, took Our Lord to be a gardener; the disciples of Emmaus thought at first that he was a stranger; Thomas refused to believe; etc.

4.  The real solution is something higher!

Four facts

1. – The disappearance of the body of Christ.

2. – The testimony of dozens of witnesses who categorically affirm having seen him again alive (resurrected).

3. – The sudden metamorphosis of the Apostles:  cowardly, fleeing, demoralized and disorganized due to the death of Jesus, and then all of a sudden proclaiming His Resurrection and heroically braving death so sure are they of rising with Him.

4. – Despite all the persecutions, the progressive conversion of the Roman Empire to the cult of a crucified Jew.

Considered individually, each one of the above facts is an enigma.  But when we put them all together, they tend towards the same and unique rational solution:  Jesus is truly resurrected.

If one refuses to believe in the Resurrection, then one has four insoluble enigmas.  If one admits the truth of the Resurrection, everything comes together and receives a crystal clear explanation.  This explanation imposes itself then on our reason, under pain of absurdity:He is Resurrected!

Objection:  Wouldn’t it be lapsing into the irrational to admit the Resurrection?

Reply:  Reason demands that the world has a first Cause:  God.  It’s logical that God can directly intervene in His own Creation (like a watchmaker can, with his finger, move the hands of the clock, independently of the mechanism).  The miracle has then nothing irrational about it. – Here, it even becomes the only rational explanation.

Objection:  But why this miracle?

Answer:  If God sends messengers, it’s logical that He will guarantee their mission by incontestable signs (prophesies and miracles). – Now, Jesus has presented Himself as the great Messenger of God (the Messiah) and He announced that His Resurrection would be the great proof of His Mission.

Let us compare:

The legendary deformation requires:

1.  Someone who is already well-known.

2.  Some time (several generations).

Thus….

*  Buddha already has the reputation of a master of wisdom while his philosophy transforms into a religion and a very late biography attributes miracles to him.

* Mohammed and his successors have already imposed themselves by the force of the sword when the Sira (biography of the ‘Prophet’) lends him (a century after his death) some curious wonders (the moon split in two, etc.), all the more surprising because, according to the Koran (13, 27-32; 17, 90-109; 29, 50), he refused to prove his mission by miracles.

* The cult of Jesus was already well spread when the Apocryphal Gospels (coming after the year 100, and not recognized by the Church) attribute extravagant miracles to Him.But the situation was quite different when the Apostles began to preach the Resurrection of the crucified Jesus who was nothing but one more false Messiah to the crowd (there had been a whole series of them who came and went ignominiously).  It was precisely the affirmation of His Resurrection which rendered His name famous throughout the entire world!  It was preached as the central and essential fact of Christianity from the very first sermon of Saint Peter (Acts 2) and the first Epistle of Saint Paul (1 Cor.), and cannot then in any manner be brought down to the level of developing legends affecting the lives of Buddha or Mohammed.

Of all these religious founders, only Jesus has confirmed His mission by a dazzling miracle, attested by eye-witnesses.

The Religion of Charity

The True Religion is recognized by its fruits: The Religion of Charity

 

Without Jesus Christ

With Jesus Christ

Infanticide

All of the pagan civilizations legitimized and practiced the murder of newborn babies: Greece, Rome, Carthage, India, China, Japan, North, South and Central America, Africa, Oceania, etc.

  • Constantine – (First Christian Emperor) takes away from parents the right of life and death over their children.
  • The Council of Arles (313) encourages Christians to take in abandoned children.

Slavery

  • In ancient Rome as at Athens, the vast majority of inhabitants were slaves.
  • Throughout its history, Islam has always practiced the mass trafficking of slaves (European or Black).
  • In Europe, slavery reappeared when the Christian spirit grew weak, at the end of the middle Ages.
  • “There is neither free nor slave” declared St. Paul.  From that moment, without trouble or revolution, Christian Charity began to snuff out slavery. Christians freed their slaves.
  • In France, the Queen Saint Bathilda (626-680) established the prohibition of slavery.

Cruelty

  • In Antiquity: Habitual massacre of those conquered.
  • Rome: Circus games, atrocious spectacles (under Claudius, thousands of men killing each other on Lake Furino to offer entertainment for the people!)
  • God is Charity announced St. John (first epistle) and the first Christians radiated this charity.
  • The pagans said of them: “See how they love each other!”

The Selfishness of the Leaders

  • Some philosophers praise charity, but practice it very little and without giving of themselves. (Tyrannical Rule: “In helping the destitute, the wise must remain indifferent to the evils he relieves: pity is a weakness, an illness.”)
  • Universal scorn or contempt towards the poor and the weak.
  • The poor are the center of attention Christians are invited not only to “weep with those who weep”, but to honor the poor, to whom they are indebted.
  • Even during the reign of the “Sun King” Louis XIV, Bossuet recalls this great thought in his sermon on “the eminent dignity of the poor in the Church of Jesus Christ” (1659).

Tyrannical Rule

The political power is absolute (Caesarism). Even if there were a few wise kings and emperors, the tyranny of a Nero or a Caligula or a Commodus, didn’t encounter any opposition.

Protection of the humblePopes and Bishops take up the defense of the weak in face of the strong. Multiple examples from the time of St. Ambrose (in face of the emperor Theodosius), up to Cardinal Mindzenty in face of Communism.

More details on the charity of the Church towards…

…The Poor

Since its birth, Christianity has been like an explosion of Charity. In Jerusalem, the first Christians sold their goods to give to the poor (Acts 4.32).

The pagan Lucien de Samosata (125-192) ridiculed Christians in his satire ‘Peregrinus’, but he acknowledged their “incredible enthusiasm” in exercising Charity: “They spare neither trouble, nor money, nor work.”

Before its persecutors, the First Christians emphasized this Charity.  Tertullian: “Has the State forgotten that it owes us the life of its poor, who would alas die if we didn’t come to their aid?” – Saint Lawrence, the Roman Deacon, gathering the poor that were helped by the Church, said, “These are the treasures of the Christians, we have none other.”

4th Century: Towards the end of the Persecutions, the wealthy Roman converts to Christianity sold all their goods to place themselves at the service of the poor: Pinian and Melanie, the Senator Paulinus, etc.

In the Middle Ages, the Christian Kings were well known for their Charity towards the poor: Saint Stephen of Hungary (†1038) washed their feet himself; Saint Edward of England (†1066) despoiled himself to help them; Saint Margaret, Queen of Scotland (†1093) and Saint Elizabeth of Hungary (†1231) literally passed their lives in caring for the poor; Saint Louis, King of France (†1270) each week reunited the poor to serve them himself at table. – Saint Edmond, Saint Casmir of Poland, Saint Leopold of Austria, Robert the Pious, Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Hedwig, Saint Margaret of Savoy, etc.

To help the unfortunate, new religious families regularly sprang up, drawing hundreds and thousands of souls who sacrificed themselves entirely to charitable works: The Daughters of Charity of Saint Louise de Marillac in the 17th Century, the Daughters of Wisdom in the 18th, the Little Servants of the Poor (of Jeanne Jugan) and dozens of other Congregations in the 19th Century…..

You can search everywhere, but you won’t find this heroic Charity practiced anywhere else than in the Catholic Church.

…The Sick

Jesus “went about doing good”, especially to the sick.  From the beginning Christians followed Him in this.

252 A.D.: Epidemic of the Plague in the Roman Empire. Pagans fled from Carthage, abandoning the sick to the care of the Christians (under the jurisdiction of the Bishop Saint Cyprian who would be martyred by the same pagans in 258). – In 268, the same happened in Alexandria.

4Th Century: As soon as the anti-Christian Persecutions ended (Edict of Milan in 313), hospitals, orphanages, and hospices rose up throughout the Empire. The first known hospital was founded in Caesarea by the Bishop Saint Basil the Great, who cared for the sick there himself. – The first hospital of Rome was founded by Saint Fabiola. Something never before seen: this noble Patrician would go and take up the sick from the streets, wash them, bandage them, nourish them and spend her whole fortune on them. – The Senator Pammachius (friend of Saint Jerome) did the same: he died destitute, in the hospital which he himself had founded. – Likewise, Saint John the Almoner founded the first hospital in Alexandria, Saint Chrysostom, that in Constantinople, Saint Ephrem at Edessa, etc.

Throughout the Middle Ages, hospices and hospitals multiplied themselves in all of Christendom.  The Pope Saint Symmachus founded a new hospital in Rome in the beginning of the 6th Century. Pope Pelagius II founded another in 580. Pope Saint Gregory the Great (590-604) still another, in addition to an orphanage, etc.

The historian Hurter estimated that in the 13th Century, France possessed 20,000 hospitals which welcomed the sick, orphans, the poor and pilgrims.

A masterpiece (indeed to be visited!) of this Charity in action is the Hospital of Beaune, founded in 1443.

Century after century, thousands and thousands of religious gave themselves totally to Christ in the person of the sick: The Hospitaller Brothers (Saint John of God, 1537), Camillians (Saint Camillus de Lellis, 1584), etc. In only 30 years, 1584-1614, 220 of the first Camillian Religious died of sicknesses contracted from those whom they assisted.

Not only in Christendom, but throughout the entire world (India, China, Africa, and Islamic Countries) the Catholic Church is the true Mother of hospitals and of works of Charity. Other religions have more or less tardily imitated Her, but without ever preceding or equaling Her.

…The Prisoners

Slowly but surely, the Church brought about the abolition of slavery, not in causing slaves to revolt (which would have led to massacres), but in giving a Christian spirit to their masters. St. Paul recommended to masters this charity towards their slaves: “Forebear threatening them, knowing that the Lord both of them and you is in Heaven; and there is no respect of persons with Him.” (Eph. 6.9).

Hermes (Prefect of Rome under Trajan) freed his 1,250 slaves on the day of his Baptism.  Saint Ovidius freed 5,000 slaves, Saint Melanie 8,000, etc.

Pope Saint Symmachus (498-514) employed considerable sums in buying and freeing slaves in Liguria. His successors did the same, notably Saint Gregory the Great (590-604), and Saint Zacharie (741-752) who bought slaves as far away as Africa.

When the Pagan spirit revived, at the time of the Renaissance (15th-16th Centuries), Popes Paul III (20th of May, 1537) and Urban VIII (22nd of April, 1639) firmly opposed the slavery of the American Indians.  Several Popes equally opposed the slave trade (of Blacks): Eugene IV (January 13, 1435), Pius II  (October 7, 1462), Paul III (June 2, 1537), Blessed Innocent XI (by the intermediary of Cardinal Cibo in 1683), Pius VII (Congress of Vienna, 1815), etc. – Numerous priests helped the negro slaves, notably Saint Peter Claver (†1654) who added to his Religious vows that of consecrating his entire life to the service of the slaves, and who did not hesitate to sign (his name): “Peter Claver, slave of the slaves forever.”

During this time, thousands of Christians were reduced to slavery by the Berber Muslims of Algeria, Tunisia, etc.  The Order of the Trinitarians (founded by Saint John of Matha in 1198) and that of the Mercedarians (founded in 1218 by Saint Peter Nolasco) dedicated themselves to delivering them. – Saint Peter Pascal for example (Bishop of Jaen) gave all his goods, and then his own person to redeem the captives of the Turks. Some Faithful sent a huge sum of money for his ransom, but he preferred to use it to free women and children, and he died a captive in 1300.

Common law prisoners and convicts profited also from the Charity of the Church:  The 5th Council of Orleans (549) ordained that an archdeacon visit the prisoners every Sunday. Saint Damasus, Saint Wenceslas, Saint Leonard, Saint Peter Caracciolo, Saint Vincent de Paul, etc. devoted themselves particularly to this apostolate.

Read the encyclical In Plurimis of Leo XIII, 1888, regarding slavery.

“All the Institutions of Charity that mankind possesses today for the relief of the unfortunate, all that has been accomplished for the protection of the poor and weak in all of the circumstances of their lives, and for their different kinds of sufferings, owes its origin either directly or indirectly, to the Roman [Catholic] Church. It is She who gave the example, She who gave the impulsion, She who often still furnishes the means of execution.”  – (Frederic Hurter) *

(*)  The Historian Frederic Hurter (1787-1865), specialist of the Middle Ages, was converted to Catholicism after having noted the Charity of the Church throughout the centuries.

The confessions of the enemies of the Church

The Pagans:

In the 4th Century, the pagan emperor Julian the Apostate grieved: “While the priests of idols don’t have a thought for the unfortunate, these abominable Galileans (= Catholics) devote themselves to exercises of Charity.” (Letter 48). – “They nourish not only their poor, but even ours as well.” (Letter 49).

The Protestants:

The revolt of the Protestants against the Church in the 16th century was a catastrophe for the poor. In England, King Henry VIII closed all the monasteries and confiscated their goods. Now, these monasteries nourished the poor.  The extreme poverty became frightening, and brought about revolts.  Henry VIII took excessively severe measures: he caused thousands of vagabonds to be hanged. To replace the alms that had before been spontaneously given for the love of God and neighbor, England was constrained to institute a tax for the poor (which became progressively heavier and heavier). She enclosed the poor in Workhouses, the harshness of which moved public opinion. The same circumstances gave rise to the same effects in Holland, where they went so far as to organize veritable “Hunts for the poor”.

In Germany, the leader of the revolt against the Church of Jesus Christ, Martin Luther himself, was forced to admit, after the victory of Protestantism:

“While we were still serving the devil [sic] under the banner of the Pope, everyone was charitable and merciful, not only did one give, but one gave generously, with joy, with piety […]. Today […], there’s no one who doesn’t cry out or thinks he’s going to die if he gives but a mite.”  (Sermon of Luther, ed. Walsh, t. XI, c. 1758).

One of Luther’s first companions, George Wizel, left him for the following reason:

“I reproach the Lutherans for almost entirely destroying or rendering useless, the establishments founded at great expense by our fathers for the benefit of the poor, which is against charity and also against justice for our neighbor. I reproach them for appropriating for themselves the riches of the Churches without helping the poor […]. Everyone agrees and recognizes that the poor have a much harder and more miserable life now, than in the past, in the time of the Roman Church.” (George Wizel, Reiectio Lutherismi, 1535).

The Atheists:

While, in France, the Third Republic chased the Religious from the hospitals that they had founded, Dr. Armand Despres (1834-1896, hospital surgeon and famous unbeliever) testified:

“During my service, at the time the Sisters were working, the mortality rate was 1%. Now, with the lay people working, it is 5%. Why? Because the Sisters never left the Hospital, because they ran at the first call of the sick, because they accomplished not a profession but a duty. These brave girls were content with the 200 f. which they received annually. The lay persons receive 700 – 900 f. when they are boarded, 1500 – 2000 f. when they live elsewhere (…). Where before there was but one Sister, they have now placed two lay nurses. Where we are working, they have even placed three, and that didn’t suffice. These three women claimed they had too much work, and obtained the help of a fourth nurse. See how one has replaced one Sister.”  (Letter of Dr. Despres to The Hospital Gazette, September 7, 1888.)