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The Slow Death of our Faith
The Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist,
The world faces problems these days on an apocalyptic scale. Wars and terrorist attacks, devastating natural disasters, increasing plagues like AIDS, Zika, Lyme, and antibiotic resistant super-bugs, not to mention the anxiety, stress, and depression that accompany modern living. I’d like to suggest in this article that the answer to all our challenges is simple – increasing devotion to the Real Presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, and, of course, the rosary and devotion to Our Lady. But I’m going to focus here on the Eucharist, the bread of angels.
An interviewer once asked Bishop Fulton Sheen who was the greatest influence in his life. Was it a bishop or seminary professor, a cardinal or a nun? What, in fact, inspired him to make the challenging decision to pray a holy hour before the Blessed Sacrament every day of his priestly life? The bishop responded with a story about a little 11-year-old girl in China after the virulently anti-Christian Communists took over the country.
One day, the authorities invaded a local parish and locked the pastor in the church’s coal storage room. They ransacked the church, broke open the tabernacle, and emptied the ciborium on the floor trampling the hosts underfoot. Then they left. A small opening between the coal bin and the church allowed the priest to see what happened next. Every night, a little girl, one of the priest’s parishioners, slipped past the guards and stole into the church. She knelt and prayed for a few minutes then, bending over, she took a host on her tongue and made a holy hour of thanksgiving. Afterwards, she stole out of the church again.
This went on for 32 nights, corresponding to the number of hosts in the tabernacle. On the day the child consumed the last host the soldiers saw her and brutally beat her to death. Sheen said if that little martyr could sacrifice her life to make a holy hour with our Eucharistic Lord every day in the midst of persecution, he too should make a daily holy hour in thanks for so great a gift. From that moment, Bishop Sheen preached unceasingly urging both priests and laity to make holy hours before the Lord.
Saint Teresa of Calcutta often said the answer to all the world’s problems was perpetual adoration of the Eucharist with every Catholic making a holy hour every week. Such a small sacrifice with such a great return! Jesus, present in the Eucharist, is the remedy for all our ills. If we only believe and act on our belief, we can change the world.
“But why should we believe Jesus is really present?” some may ask. “It’s only a piece of bread, a symbol. What nonsense to think the host can literally be the body and blood of Christ present here on earth. Who can believe such a thing?” Sound familiar? It should. In John’s gospel, chapter six, Christ Himself responded to His disciples disbelief saying, “My flesh is real food; my blood is real drink….Unless you eat my flesh and drink my blood you have no life in you.” But God never asks us for “blind” faith. Our belief is reasonable and God gives us numerous proofs that what we believe about the Eucharist is true. In addition to the words of our Savior we have many Eucharistic miracles including several modern ones. Let’s examine the recent Eucharistic miracles confirmed by scientists. The witness of scientific evidence proves the truth of our Eucharistic belief, enough to convince the greatest skeptic if he is, in fact, a truth seeker.
My first example occurred in 1996 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Fr. Alejandro Pezet took a consecrated host discarded in the back of the church and placed it in a container of water to allow it to dissolve. About a week later he examined it and found that the “host had become a bloody object.”
Upon informing the local bishop, Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio - our current pope, he was told to have the host professionally photographed. The photos taken on September 6th, “clearly show that the host had become a piece of bloody flesh, and had significantly grown in size.” Three years later in October 1999 the host was examined by Dr. Frederic Zugiba, “an expert in cardiology and forensic pathology.” The doctor did not know the source of the specimen but described it saying:
The analyzed material is a fragment of the heart muscle found in the wall of the left ventricle, close to the valves. This muscle is responsible for the contraction of the heart. The left cardiac ventricle pumps blood to all parts of the body. The heart muscle is in an inflamed state and contains a large number of white blood cells. This indicates that the heart was alive at the time the sample was taken…[W]hite blood cells had penetrated the tissue, which further indicates that the heart had been under severe stress, as if the owner had been beaten severely about the chest.
Later, when Dr. Zugiba learned the specimen was three years old he remarked, “If this sample came from a dead person, how could it be that while I was examining it, the cells of the sample were moving and pulsating? If the heart came from someone who died in 1996, how could it still be alive?”
An Australian journalist, Mike Willesee, who was covering the story and witnessed the tests, converted to Catholicism after researching a previous Eucharistic Miracle. He later wrote a book called Reason to Believe. Willesee, in collaboration with lawyer Ron Tesoriero who also witnessed the tests, produced a documentary on the miracle and screened it around Australia. In one city this remarkable event occurred: The showing at Adelaide drew a crowd of two thousand viewers. During the commentary and question period that followed a visibly moved man stood up announcing that he was blind. Having learned that this was an exceptional film, he had very much wanted to see it. Just before the screening, he prayed fervently to Jesus for the grace to see the film. At once his sight was restored to him, but only for the thirty-minute duration of the film. Upon its conclusion, he again lost the ability to see. He confirmed this by describing in minute detail certain scenes of the film. It was an incredible event that moved those present to the core of their being.
But God isn’t finished emphasizing his Real Presence here on earth. In 2008 a similar miracle occurred in Poland at the Church of St. Anthony of Padua in Sokółka. During Communion Fr. Jacek Ingielewicz retrieved a dropped host and placed it in a silver container filled with water. This time the host was partially transformed into what appeared to be flesh and blood with the flesh still connected to the consecrated host. Again, the local bishop was contacted and took action: On January 5, 2009, the bishop asked two professors of medicine at the University of Bialystok, Maria Elizabeth Sobaniec-Lotowska and Stanislaw Sulkowski, to conduct an analysis of the a fragment of the host….After working separately, the two specialists arrived at the same conclusion – what they had been given came from human heart muscle tissue that was still alive, but in agony….Professor Sobianiec-Lotowska confirmed: “This is living heart muscle tissue.”…Also very intrigued by the way the heart tissue was connected to the consecrated host, she declared that “this extraordinary phenomenon of inter-absorption of the heart muscle tissue with the host, observed under the microscope and also by electron microscopy, proves that no human manipulation of the sample could have taken place.” In fact, the structure of the myocardial fibers and the structure of the bread were so tightly bound that no human intervention could have caused it.
A third recent Eucharistic event occurred in Poland on Christmas Day in 2013 at St. Hyacinth Church in Legnica. A consecrated host fell to the floor during distribution and, as the rubrics prescribe, was placed in water. A few days later, red stains appeared on the host. The bishop, Stefan Cichy, established a commission to investigate: Samples were taken in order to conduct thorough tests by the Department of Forensic Medicine in Szczecin. The final medical statement reported that “in the histopathological image, the fragments were found containing the fragmented parts of the cross striated muscle. It is most similar to the heart muscle.” DNA tests also determined the tissue to be of human origin, and found that it bore signs of distress.
In January 2016, Bishop Kiernikowski presented the matter to the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. On April 10, Bishop Zbigniew Kiernikowski of Legnica made public in a Communiqué that a Eucharistic miracle had happened in 2013. In accordance with the Holy See’s recommendations, he ordered parish priest Andrzej Ziombrze “to prepare a suitable place for the Relic so that the faithful could give it the proper adoration”
Mexico also experienced a miracle on October 21, 2006 in a slightly different way. During Communion at Tixtla in the Diocese of Chilpancingo-Chilapa, a nun serving as an extraordinary minister noticed a consecrated host with a red substance that looked like blood. She showed the priest who reserved the host and notified the bishop. The bishop opened an investigation which found that the host was indeed bleeding and that the blood was flowing from the interior of the host: By analyzing the Host it was observed that it was human blood of type AB and that it corresponded to tissue. Then an analysis was done of phytochemical markers which confirmed that it was live cardiac muscle. No study exists that can maintain alive a cardiac tissue in this situation. Normally after 48 hours the tissue dies, here three months passed before the result could be obtained and this is truly unexplainable for science.
In all these Eucharistic miracles the blood was also found to be the same type as that on the Shroud of Turin and the Miracle of Lanciano, type AB. Eucharistic miracles are not new. They’ve occurred throughout the centuries, but as these recent examples illustrate, they seem to be increasing in frequency. In view of the fact that such miracles are often associated with disbelief (The priest at Lanciano had doubts about the Real Presence as he celebrated Mass), is it really any surprise that our loving and merciful Lord would offer us these modern proofs of his existence to challenge this age of rampant disbelief?
Remember Christ’s response to the father of a possessed boy who asked, “If out of the kindness of your heart you can do anything to help, please do!” “If you can,” Jesus replies and admonishes him for his lack of trust upon which the man responds, “I do believe, help Thou my lack of trust,” and Jesus cures his son. Again, in admonishing the doubting apostle Thomas, Jesus says, "Do not persist in your unbelief, but believe!" Finally, to Jairus when the servants tell him not to bother the Master because his daughter died, Jesus encourages him saying, “Fear is useless; what’s needed is faith.” Faith is a catalyst of miracles. If you have the faith of a mustard seed you can move mountains. Unbelief, on the other hand, says St. Thomas Aquinas, “is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded…the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism.”
Bishop Athanasius Schneider in a recent interview described the crisis in the Church saying it: …consists in the ever-growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic Faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope.
The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic Faith as being against the Pope – as according to their opinion in some way, they are schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pew, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge to their faith in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths which were handed down by our forefathers, and which we find in the traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church. When asked how faithful Catholics should prepare for living in a Church that “while ever spotless, is in complete disarray,” the bishop responded in part:
We have to believe firmly: The Church is neither ours nor the Pope’s The Church is Christ’s, and He alone holds and leads her indefectibly even through the darkest periods of crisis, as our current situation indeed is….All good children of Mother Church, as courageous soldiers, have to try to free this mother – with spiritual weapons of defending and proclaiming the truth, promoting the traditional liturgy, Eucharistic adoration, the crusade of the Holy Rosary, the battle against sin in one’s private life and striving for holiness. The prescription is always the same: personal holiness and devotion to the Eucharist and the rosary. We are, no doubt, living in the time prophesied by the dream of St. John Bosco showing the barque of Peter attacked by enemies and steering toward the two columns: one with the Holy Eucharist and the words, “Salvation of the Faithful,” the other smaller column holding a statue of the Blessed Mother with the words “Help of Christians.”
In explaining his dream, Don Bosco said, “Only two means are left to save [the Church] amidst so much confusion: Devotion to Mary Most Holy and Frequent Communion, making use of every means and doing our best to practice them and having them practiced every-where and by everybody.” No sensible person can deny that Satan attacks the Church today with forces outside and even from enemies within, but we have the assurance that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church. It is our duty as Catholics first, to be the battering rams that shatter the gates of hell, freeing sinners enslaved by Satan and second, to be His legions zealous to establish the reign of Christ the King. Viva Cristo Rey!
Mary Ann Kreitzer
The Slow Death of Our Faith
Father Shenan J. Boquet, President of Human Life International, presented an interesting observation of current day Ireland, comparing it with the Ireland we all have read about. This is a land which was evangelized by Saint Patrick and became fantastically Catholic and itself sent missionaries around the world. In just the recent past the Irish people have rejected this legacy after years of indifference and inadequate catechesis, unchecked dissent from Church teaching (particularly concerning contraception--even from the pulpit); almost two entire generations have lost the faith. If this continues, a third generation will be lost followed by Ireland herself.
Unfortunately, we in America are following this same path. When are we going to learn from our past? As Father Boquet said, ”There is a world of difference between a faithful and fearless Catholic who does all he can to meet the culture where it is and bring the Faith in creative ways, and a Catholic who thinks that where the world and the Church disagree, the Church must change her ways in order to appear "relevant." The former is the life of the Church, the latter, a slow death.”
The clergy and leaders of the Church must be about souls. “We must preach the love and mercy of Our Lord. This Love isn't merely the love of a buddy: it is the love of a Man who died for our sins in the most brutal manner. He was relevant-and is relevant-precisely because He could not care less about being relevant. His love was sacrificial and complete. It is this love, this Person, that is our model.”
Father goes on to say, “God gives us so many models of this radical love that transforms the world. We just had an occasion to honor Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The Church's newest canonized saint is an example of one who loved fearlessly, and who was relevant not despite of, but because of, her lack of concern with conforming to the world. We also just celebrated Padre Pio's feast day-how relevant was he? And if he was relevant, was it because he "got people in the door" or because he brought the Faith to the world in a radical way?”
Father Boquet continues, “The glory of God is not only man fully alive, as St. Irenaus so beautifully put it. It is man whose will is so conformed to God's that he is ready to die for love, to sacrifice all for souls. If we priests and our shepherds see our vocations in this way, God can use us to set the world on fire--not only getting more people in the door, but sending them back out to work for love and justice. They will shut down abortion clinics and put the fear of God into politicians with a peaceful and articulate witness to life. They will open pregnancy centers to help women choose life, and they will preach the social and moral doctrine of the Church in harmony with the Gospel, showing how love demands we end the sexual revolution with a counterrevolution of love. They will show men how unmanly it is to treat women like objects to be used, and show women that they won't find love in hookups.”
“A well-formed people can go out to the world and find creative ways to change it, and not seek endlessly for ways to change the Church and her doctrine to make the Church seem less offensive. When will we learn that caving to the world brings not peace or conversion, but confusion and even greater hostility to faithful Catholics?”
The following excerpt from Father Boquet's article is prophetic as to what is happening here in America. ”Catholics who are well formed in the faith want justice and will work hard for it. They will build solid families that do not need government assistance, and will not seek ever more government to save them from the consequences of their own choices. They will not let the poor and marginalized in their own communities suffer, but will be present to them. They will not have abortions, and will not tolerate this evil in their communities. They will live a witness of true and natural marriage, even with all their flaws, because they remain faithful. They will freely join and support institutions that serve the community well, and they will be generous with whatever wealth they are given. Their society will be more just because they first learned how to love in their families and from priests who were unafraid to tell them the truth and be examples of joyful, Christ-like, sacrificial love.” The last sentence in this quote is the important one. The Catholics must learn from our priests who are unafraid to tell them the truth and be examples. Unfortunately, our clergy have embraced the government to acquire funds for their social justice programs and have sold their souls to the devil. As stated in Luke 16:1-13, You cannot serve two masters.
Catholics need to know how to vote. We are given voter’s guides from the USCCB which only talks of Social Justice and almost completely ignore the horror of abortion, euthanasia and assisted suicide. They depend upon the obviously corrupt and incompetent government for us to care for the weak and marginalized. Our bishops are dependent upon government handouts and have surrendered their faith.
The Church needs to wake up. There are good Catholics and clergy who are willing to do what is right; however, they receive little support from their bishops and cardinals. In addition, the priests who are doing wrong are not corrected. There is a
great disconnect between the church leaders and the faithful.
To quote Michael Voris, “Leaders in the Church, many of them, are simply out of touch, insulated in a clerical bubble where the bureaucracy is all that matters — keeping the machine oiled. What they don't seem to acknowledge is that the bubble of the Church is quickly shrinking as fewer and fewer Catholics consider the Church relevant in any way. Now, Catholics can't respond the way voters do to politicians — by voting them out of office. The Church isn't a democracy. What Catholics do is just leave; they vote themselves out, to their everlasting horror. But they leave, at least many of them, because they are not being fed spiritually, and when they ask for food, they are handed stones by the bishops.”
I had a rude awaking in 2009 when protesting the honorary award to the most pro-abortion president in history by the “Catholic” University of Notre Dame. I was illegally arrested and put in jail (as well as 87 others) by the head of ND, Father Jenkins.
A more recent event includes another group of faithful Catholics who are fed up with the Church of Nice pandering to abortion-loving Catholic politicians like Tim Kaine. A large gathering went to the diocese chancery to remind his bishop, Francis DiLorenzo, he is duty bound by Canon 915 to refuse Tim Kaine Holy Communion. The bishop’s office had them removed from the property by the police. It is also what happened in 2012 when tens of thousands petitioned Dolan to disinvite President Obama from the Al Smith Dinner.
As Voris says, ”It goes on and on and on. The clerical elites, much like cultural elites, have nothing but disdain and contempt for the faithful little people. And they don't care. There is nothing on earth to make them care. They eat with no fear of never having a meal. They walk into their houses with no fear of never having a roof over their head. They are chauffeured around with no fear of never having transportation. They convalesce with no fear of never having health insurance. They continue to bilk the sheep with their diocesan fund-raising drives”
Pray they will wake up, stop supporting the Party of Death and its wolf-in-sheep's-clothing agenda of population control, and turn back to Almighty God. The time for honoring themselves will soon be at an end.
A Comment on the above article “The Slow Death of Our Faith”
A Catholic friend asked "Why do "they" allow Tim Kaine to receive communion when he supports abortion." Actually, the "they" is himself, and if he knew the teachings of the Catholic faith he would either change his position on abortion or voluntarily refrain from receiving communion. Because we have too many wishy-washy priests and bishops who will not speak out and say it is a sin to support abortion in any manner, Kaine, Pelosi, Biden and other prominent politicians continue to receive communion in spite of their political position.
Support of abortion, including support of a party platform that calls for government funding of abortions, is a sin which causes you to fall from grace, and you should refrain from receiving communion if you are not in a state of grace. Many priest do not realize when they refrain from doing the job God has called upon them to do, they too fall from grace.
All Catholics, including priests, should recall and fully understand what we say in the Confiteor "what I have done and in what I have failed to do". Failure to oppose and speak out against evil is a sin and the murder of a child in the womb is intrinsically evil.