Why Not Western Roman Catholicism?

Today’s western Roman Catholicism is not fully “Catholic.” It has a broad following in the world today. There are more adherents to the Roman Catholic Church than to any other Christian Church, and Roman Catholicism may be the largest religion on planet Earth. Remember what the Lord said about His flock; Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.[1] The way is narrow and straight into the Kingdom of God, and few find it.

Would an honest person who has read ancient Popes believe for a millisecond that the modern western Roman Catholic Church is truly in communion with itself only 100 years ago? If one is not in communion with the previous Pope, or a Pope a hundred years ago, or a Pope a thousand years ago, in what way is the “Catholic” Church Catholic or Universal in its ecclesiology? In the first thousand years of the Church, anyone entering a Catholic Church from another time period would know where they are and what the prayers are. Today in the Orthodox Church, one could enter from 1700 years back and know immediately where they are and what is going on. That is Communion and Universality – Catholicity. The western Catholic Church is temporally locked in the Chronology of the World. It is contemporary but has given up something of the eternal.

This is important in revealing the true issue at the heart of the western Catholic Church. It is a Church of this world, and that is a far country away from Christ Kingdom that is eternal.

When one really studies it, one finds western Roman Catholicism is not in communion with itself from 1054 on back. There were incredibly profound changes in the western Catholic Church between 1075-1175 as western scholars admit. And there were profound changes in the western Catholic Church after Vatican II. While scholasticism has always been important in the Church, it took on a modernist tone long ago in the West and became very selective with respect to the information imparted.

A modern Catholic Bishop, while still a priest and professor of systematic theology, made a remarkable statement that the words of Saint Thomas Aquinas with respect to transubstantiation are the basis for the reception of the Real Presence of the Holy Eucharist. This seemed remarkable in that “transubstantiation” was one of many, many words, all insufficient in themselves, to describe the reality of the person of Christ who we receive in the Holy Eucharist. It also seemed remarkable from a historic standpoint. After all, Catholics had been receiving Jesus for over a twelve hundred years before Saint Thomas Aquinas came along. Did Peter receive something less than Aquinas? Did Paul? Did Gregory the Great?

With Catholics in the West and Saint Thomas Aquinas, what Saint Thomas himself called straw was elevated to gold. His Summa was set beneath the Gospels on the Altar, just as a professor of systematic theology elevates the Summa to the bedrock of the Holy Gospels today. What about the Old Testament?

While the Summa may be straw to Thomas, and not gold, it is still silver to us and has utility. One need not be anti-Thomist, but rather pro Saint Thomas for having worked with silver, at the end finding pure gold. Saint Thomas would have been horrified with what people have done with his Summa.

There is a grave danger in taking something a Saint himself finds inferior, and then building too much upon that with ones’ own mind. That is not seeking the mind of the Fathers. Saint Thomas was a repentant philosopher. Philosophers are interesting to some, but they were not as blessed as the Church Fathers nor do they have universal scope. Holy Saint Pope Gregory’s argument against the Iconoclasts was that they were denying the poor access to Holy Scripture because poor people in olden times could not read. Does one rashly imagine that the mind or intellect is required to fully receive the Lord? And upon receiving the very Real Lord and Savior organically, does one imagine intellect something that one can hold above another brother or sister? 

Those who can read ought to know better. Jesus did not choose philosophers. Jesus chose fishermen and tent makers. The one business-man in the group sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver.

Without Saint Polycarp and Ignatius of Antioch, without the Didache and a host of other writings, we are truly lost in this age of arrogance manifest. The Holy Spirit has poured rich healing oil on monastic Saints. Still all stairways begin with the lower and ascend to high rungs, and Christianity is supposed to be gentleness, so Thomism has utility. But Thomism is neither a basis, nor an end. It is perhaps a beginning for some, and boredom for others, but truly unknown to most. After all, unless we become as children, we will in no way enter the kingdom of God.[2] Does one need a philosophy degree to enter the Kingdom of God?

Saint Thomas Aquinas came to see his Summa as straw through a process that went directly through reason and philosophy. The utility of that process should not be lightly disregarded, just as it ought not to be elevated beyond its proper bounds. The foolishness of God is wiser than the wisdom of men.

While reason and logic are not the enemy of truth, and truth can be discerned by material, natural, mathematical, and human logical means, such truths of the world are hard bound in death. Christ has trampled down death by death, our cosmos is subject to death by the fall, but reasoning and learning through a fallen nature brings us to love the miracle of Jesus, for Christ is Risen. And it brings us to the realization we must go through death, and that is a cross. Better to pick up our cross and follow Jesus. Better to preach a cross and warn against taking philosophy beyond proper bounds.

The situation with the heterodox is non-trivial, but with God nothing is impossible. If someone doubts legitimate Saints, or claims “they” are all in delusion, one is in danger of committing unpardonable sin when considering wonder working Saints who manifest the works of God; “Satan cannot cast out Satan”, further:

And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he did not follow us. And Jesus said to him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.[3]

These passages works both ways of course with respect to the East – West schism. There were sharp divisions between Saint Paul and Saint Barnabas as well as between Saint Epiphanius and Saint John Chrysostom. One must not be in a hurry to fanatically draw the conclusion of “graceless” when the evidence is contrary to historic reality.

Such attitudes and criticisms of many “orthodox” commentators is contrary to reality and to prudence. God gave us reason, “come let us reason together.”[4] If reason is less than mystery, that does not preclude the value of reason, nor does it excuse one from applying reason when grasping greater heights. One takes one step at a time on the ladder of Divine Ascent, one does not leap from the ground to heaven. Nor does one forsake reason and step off into space! 

To the Orthodox who wish to live in the fulness of truth, and who believe that truth is needed to heal spiritual disease, there are many true Saints in the West post schism. This includes spectacular wonder workers such as:

Saint Thomas Becket (1170) who was Britain’s greatest wonder worker and who demanded obedience to Rome. He was martyred in the Church for the Church, and his blunt methods called many wayward to repentance. There are centuries of healing from pilgrimages to his grave site.

 Saint Galgano Guidotti (1181) who put a sword in the stone at the bidding of Saint Michael so that he might pursue a life of prayer and fasting in extreme ascetics as a Hermit on Mount Siepi. The sword is still there and testifies as material proof. If one attempts to remove it by force, one will lose. The skeletal arms of one who tried are found next to the sword.

There is Saint Germaine Cousin (1601) who was humble and kind and probably didn’t realize the wonders she worked in her short lifetime of prayer and forgiveness in the midst of incredible cruel abuse. Saint Germaine, pray for us.

There is Saint Martin de Porres (1639) whose humility was legendary, and who took on several menial odd jobs simultaneously. He was multi-locating in order to feed and support many poor. With God, nothing is impossible.

There is Blessed Mary of Jesus of Agreda (1665) whose deeds would not be realized until 1945 through Vatican records. She bi-located from Agreda Spain to the New World to preach the Holy Gospel and catechized native Americans as witnessed by those natives. The flowers called Blue Bells of Texas are a visible sign of her gifts to the New World. She is not even considered a “Saint” in the western Church.

There are the three Fatima youths whose visions in 1917 on the first of the Old Calendar months[5] of an Angel and the Theotokos culminated in the “Miracle of the Sun”, whereby tens of thousands of Portuguese having viewed the miracle with skepticism, converted to Christ away from atheism even as atheism was consuming Russia. Portugal was on that same path and was dramatically changed in a day. As a direct result of the promises received by the visionaries, Portugal was neutral in World War II, spared the ravages of war, and Lisbon became a conduit where Jews fleeing the holocaust could escape Nazis.

In Orthodox Russia, little warning was given following decades of Jewish pogrom persecution and a sort of modern form of Marcionism[6] that is readily apparent listening or reading some. It is surprising that Orthodox fathers in Russia did not see the errors of pogroms and repent of them. It seems in Russia the suffering will continue as the offense is not abated nor repented of; Loving enemies is a command, not a request. Love does not persecute or steal or murder. Russia reaped what it sowed and is continuing to reap even as it has sown more error as the Fatima youths were so warned.

One might ask, how I am not a Western Catholic then, if I find so many Saints in the West and see some glaring errors in the East?

The addition of “and the Son” to the Creed can be defended scripturally[7]. It is most certainly temporal, the real error of the West being the slow poison of assertion of some, that the eternal procession of the Holy Spirit from the Father is also from the Son when the Son Himself testifies that the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father.

The slow poison of intruding on eternity has infected the west. Prominent Roman Catholics say there is no practical difference between the eternal and temporal reception of the Holy Spirit.[8]  That is a gross blunder with respect to respect itself. For if you do not respect the words of Jesus, whose word do you respect? And if you say it is a light thing, what are the fruits of the Western Church of late, as the error has grown? 

To refute this blunder, let us consider first the Roman Catholic Saint Padre Pio[9]. Saint Padre Pio spoke of the Holy Spirit proceeding from the Father just like Scripture. He certainly knew to honor the Holy Scripture with Jesus words as recorded by John:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said to you.[10]


But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send to you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.[11]  

To correct the error and bring clarity to the issue, the Eastern Orthodox Saint Gregory Palamas in his exact exposition of the Orthodox Faith, provided a definitive and clear teaching that comes from one who experienced God through self-emptying and Christ filling:

And once he [Jesus] had ascended to the Father he sent the Holy Spirit, who proceeds from the Father, upon his holy disciples and Apostles. On the one hand, the Holy Spirit is together with the Father and the Son without beginning since he is eternal, yet on the other he is not without beginning since he, too-by way of procession, not by way of generation-has the Father as foundation, source and cause.

He also [like the Son] came forth from the Father before all ages, without change, impassibly, not by generation but by procession; he is inseparable from the Father and the Son since he proceeds from the Father and reposes in the Son; he possesses union without losing his identity and division without involving separation. He too is God from God; he is not different since he is God, yet he is different since he is the Comforter; as Spirit he possesses hypostatic existence, proceeds from the Father and is sent-that is, manifested-through the Son ; he too is the cause of all created things since it is in him that they are perfected.

He is identical and equal with the Father and the Son with the exception of unbegottenness and generation. He was sent, that is, made known, from the Son to his own disciples: By what other means-he who is inseparable from the Son-could he have been sent? By what other means could he-who is everywhere come to me? Wherefore, he is sent not only from the Son, but from the Father, and through the Son, and is manifested through himself.

One does not walk into Noah’s tent and expose his father’s nakedness.[12] One does not intrude on the eternal using words different from the Fathers or the Savior. There is an arrogance to speak of things eternal when one is clearly bound in the temporal. Few Saints achieve what Saint Gregory Palamas achieved and many Roman Catholics respect his clarity and Sainthood.

But there is an arrogance to intrude far into the mystical when one is sinful, worldly and intellectually minded. Arrogance seals error in pride. Why speak a different way than the Savior and sacred Scripture?  Why go beyond prudent bounds? Let us understand ourselves and our intrinsic limitations.

In nuclear engineering, or engineering in the modern world, going beyond proper bounds gets people killed. Going beyond proper bounds in the spiritual realm gets people damned. It is foolish to take foolish risks. It is foolish to disregard the words recorded in the Holy Scriptures, in the Holy Great Ecumenical Councils, and in the Church Fathers.

If one respects and loves ones’ Father, and one respects and loves the Church Fathers, and one respects and loves Jesus, and one respects and loves John who recorded the God-man’s words, one must accept the language of the Nicene Creed without alteration as it speaks of the eternal, for it is the language of the Lord as recorded in the Holy Gospel. It is the language of the Saints, and it is the language of many early Saint Popes who condemned the addition of the Filioque precisely because they saw where it was going![13] History clearly teaches the Popes resisted using the filioque in Rome.

If, as Saint Maximus the Confessor pointed out in his letter to Marinus, that a Pope can add “and the Son” to the Creed, one ought to teach, as Saint Maximus urged, that this reception is in temporal experience. The issue is causal, and therefore in time or causal beyond time which is the realm of divinity. What we receive in time is temporally experienced. What the God-man speaks can be beyond causality and above time.

All who are baptized into Christ have put on Christ”, and our confession that Jesus Christ is Lord to the Glory of God the Father is our confession made possible by the Holy Spirit who we have received by the hand of Providence and by the eternal Love of the Almighty Father. We have received an inheritance from the Father that is the field of the Holy Spirit, and we pray in that field, selling all to gain it along with the pearl of great price. If we have not fully sold all, how can we intrude on the eternal? We who are intellectually bound and therefore temporally bound, cannot and should not speak of causality with respect to the mystery within the eternal Trinity.

We can identify the bound, and then we should respect it not to intrude over it and overstep ourselves. By muddling causality bounded in temporal experience and extrapolating to relationships eternal, there is a foolishness that is right to oppose. The Orthodox have more than a little point. Our Western Catholic friends have left the reservation of prudence. 

From this Orthodox person’s perspective, this is the root Papal error; to go beyond proper bounds. For the men elevated to the Papacy in this world are of this world. They are known by their fruit and they ought to realize their limitations. The West have sacrificed something for their position, and they must understand what that sacrifice means with respect to the depth of their understanding and its limits. After all, Popes are not dedicated to mystery but to service in the temporal sphere. Very few Popes were strict ascetics prior to their elevation, particularly after the early centuries of the papacy.

But this sword of division, “and the Son”, has occurred exactly as prophesied when Peter grabbed Jesus, took Him to the side and started to rebuke Him about the teaching of the coming Holy Cross[14]. At that moment the prodigal son, Simon Peter, son of Jonah, a man against his Father, had been revealed and the temporal schism between East and West was prophesied and eventually clearly manifest.

You may ask, how can one who has not achieved Theoria[15] say this? One can read and believe what one reads. That is dangerous but it is not as deadly as believing and not knowing when to stop treading here and there where one might project causal experience to the eternal mystery. Only Jesus can answer the question, and He has as recorded by John and the Father has rebuked Peter, again anticipating what is happening today:

Then answered Peter, and said to Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spoke, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid.

Time and again Peter is rebuked and time and again Peter repents. The way of repentance is not the way of exaltation but the reproof is clear, use Jesus words. How can a causally bound man contend with God?

The Lord was wroth with the Pharisees, with the Scribes, with ones like this present author because they did not read the signs of the times, that they are evil. If one reads those signs and is honest, that knowledge is not too high for a reader and it urges us on to repentance. But the boundaries are to be read – the stop signs and the yields.

With later militant Frankish Popes demanding worldly obedience, rather than leading in humility as the Saints before, the taking of the inheritance became manifest. One can read their words and see their examples and know they are temporally bound. Some of their words are very embarrassing, as were their deeds; like destroying cities of those who surrendered.[16]

Jesus did not establish Rome, He established Himself to build His Church. He did not promise that Peter would build his church on Peter, but rather that Jesus Himself would build His Church on the Rock of Peter who personifies Repentance; on the Apostleship of Peter and on his confession, “you are the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”[17] Peter was the Father of Antioch and Alexandria also. Romans must beware pride, for all who exalt themselves are humbled while those who humble themselves are exalted.[18] If God can take the inheritance away from the Jews who were natural branches, Saint Paul made clear to the Romans, he can easily graft them back in while removing the Gentiles, including Romans to whom he wrote these warnings.[19]

Beloved Roman Catholics speak of the Church Jesus Christ had founded. This is past tense. The once illustrious professor, now Bishop Barron speaks against Orthodox Christianity because he claims it does not have a vicarious, a “living person” to arbitrate and make decisions. This points out perfectly the error of western Roman ecclesiology. God is alive. The Holy Spirit is alive. Jesus Christ is alive and truly Present.

Orthodox speak of the Church Jesus Christ founds and builds. Orthodox confession is Jesus IS born and Jesus IS Risen. Orthodox enter an eternal understanding of the Church that is being built by the Savior here and now. It is not in the past that He builds it, it is NOW that the Lord acts – beyond causality yet entering our temporal sphere for our sakes.

The schism is not East and West, the schism is past and NOW. The schism is with respect to the Father, of the Father, and with taking the inheritance from the eternal to the temporal. The Roman Pontiff has become a man against his Father and our Father by taking for himself the inheritance into the temporal. This does not mean Western Catholics are graceless, but rather that the Father awaits their return from a long way off – even eternity. And He has prepared His Sign for them, a long way off.

Ironically the Orthodox are created NOW and have absolute recourse to the past and future in eternity in Christ in the Holy Spirit. So too do faithful western Catholics who innocently obey and do not intrude on these matters. But if this model and view is correct, Orthodoxy has the problem of the other prodigal son, the one who stays behind and works close to the Father with the inheritance of the Holy Spirit that proceeds from the Father, whose field the Orthodox labor in. We have to know, when the feast of the fatted calf comes, to enter into that feast. Never do we add the filioque, and never do we confess co-redemptrix but even apart from the Romans, we can accept the Romans as prodigal refugees. 

Today the evidence is plain that modern Western Catholics are creating and now even “reforming” in schism with the past having intruded onto eternity.

[1] Luke 12:32

[2] Luke 18:16-17

[3] Luke 9:49-50

[4] Isaiah 1:18 and also consider 1 Peter 3:15, Phil 4:5, Acts 17:2, 18:4, 18:19 and 24:25. 

[5] “The Earth is established it shall never be moved forever.” Copernicus was wrong, and Galileo rightly repented as will be shown later.

[6] Marcionism is a heresy where the Old Testament God was rejected. The man himself seemed to have a hatred for Jews, and this kind of hatred was manifest in Russia in pogroms against Jews, leading to a mass exodus in the late 19th, early 20th centuries. With these errors, many Jews sought refuge where they are welcomed in the United States. One must love one’s enemies lest one becomes like them and destroys one’s soul.

[7] Titus 3:5-7 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

[8] Recently Scott Hahn.

[9] Saint Padre Pio had the marks of Christ in His Body, similar to Saint Paul [Gal 6:17], worked many wonders and prophesied his death 50 years ahead to one who came to him annually for confession.

[10] Gospel of Saint John 14:26  – “whatsoever I have said to you.” Listen to what He says to us and use His words. Or I suppose you can fool around and make it up as you go? Flying a rocket to the moon is trivial compared to shepherding souls. Do not deviate from the Fathers who do not deviate from the Holy Spirit and the Scriptures. But I suppose if you take the inheritance, you can do whatever you want?

[11] Gospel of Saint John 15:26-27. “ye have been with me from the beginning” Those who have received Christ in the Beginning have entered eternity with Him in self-emptying. And these unanimously testify the Holy Spirit proceeds from the Father. For while they were not elevated to high office in this world like a princely Pope, they were elevated in the Holy Spirit to the heavens, having emptied themselves of themselves and of all honor and vainglory in this world, so that their words are perfect as the Father in heaven is perfect.

[12] Genesis 9:20-29

[13] Leo III placed silver plaques without the Filioque in the Vatican. The issue is causal and therefore of time.

[14] Matthew 16:22-23 Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be to thee. But he turned, and said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence to me: for thou savors not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

[15] Theoria – Deification is the transformative process whose aim is likeness to or union with God.

[16] Boniface VIII, writer of Unam Sanctam, quoted by Papal apologists and destroyer of Palestrina and other towns he razed to the ground after giving assurances they would be spared. Judge a tree by its fruit.

[17] From Matthew 16:16

[18] Matthew 23:12

[19] Romans 11:1-36 – do you idly believe this just happened to be written to the “Romans?”

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