Newsletter of the District
- December 2000
Back to the
drawing board. Yes, let us do that for a moment, as we look around
us, here in this continental Asia, where a minority of Catholics
is barely surviving among non-Catholic nations, and on top of being
a minority, it is struggling with various forces trying to dismantle
whatever is left of Catholicism here. I would like to touch on some
of these adverse forces in this issue of our Newsletter. So, back
to the basics, let us read the instructions…
is a Catholic?
is one who submits to the Catholic Church in what must be believed
to gain heaven (the Credo) and in how to live according to this
doctrine (the Commandments, the Sacraments, Prayer). In the first
place then, a Catholic will learn from the Church how to worship
God (First Commandment), through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass,
in particular. In relation to this, the Church will teach how to
venerate the Blessed Sacrament and, in a more general way, how to
pray to God, what words we should use in our basic prayers. The
Church is a Mother, and, as all mothers, she teaches her children
how to talk to God.
to the Traditional Magisterium of Rome is therefore an essential
mark of true Catholicism, and has been so for 2000 years. Faith
is to believe the truths revealed by God and proposed by the
of Loyola puts that as the first rule to see if we have the mind
of the Church. In his book, the Spiritual Exercises, no. 352-3:
352 To have
the true sentiment which we ought to have in the Church Militant
let the following Rules be observed.
Rule. The first: All judgment laid aside, we ought to have our
mind ready and prompt to obey, in all, the true Spouse of Christ
our Lord, which is our holy Mother the Church Hierarchical.
to the Magisterium is the very point the Protestants rejected from
the very start. The Charismatics too, by claiming to have a direct
line with the Holy Ghost, bypass the control of the Magisterium.
This is also the tendency of modern apparitions. Because there
is a crisis in the Church, then, we are told by these messages,
‘Heaven’ comes and takes direct control of the situation, as if
we lacked guidance with 2000 years of documents of the Magisterium.
This shows a great ignorance of the Catholic faith and becomes a
a great danger for it when the seer – and his or her (usually her)
followers pretends to become teachers of the Catholic Faith.
There is nothing
new under the sun. The following well-known text of St Vincent
of Lerins (Vth c.) gives the universal key in times of crisis in
the Catholic Church:
will a Catholic Christian do, if a small portion of the Church have
cut itself off from the communion of the universal faith? What,
surely, but prefer the soundness of the whole body to the unsoundness
of a pestilent and corrupt member?
some novel contagion seek to infect not merely an insignificant
portion of the Church, but the whole? Then it will be his care
to cleave to antiquity, which at this day cannot possibly be seduced
by any fraud of novelty.
if in antiquity itself there be found error on the part of two
or three men, or at any rate of a city or even of a province?
Then it will be his care by all means, to prefer the decrees,
if such there be, of an ancient General Council to the rashness
and ignorance of a few.
if some error should spring up on which no such decree is found
to bear? Then he must collate and consult and interrogate the
opinions of the ancients, of those, namely, who, though living
in divers times and places, yet continuing in the communion and
faith of the one Catholic Church, stand forth acknowledged and
approved authorities: and whatsoever he shall ascertain to have
been held, written, taught, not by one or two of these only, but
by all, equally, with one consent, openly, frequently, persistently,
that he must understand that he himself also is to believe without
any doubt or hesitation.”
say to turn to this or that prophet or seer, he says to go back
at what the Church has taught before, to look in the books of the
Church, to examine Tradition.
We have decided
to focus our attention in the following pages on the Japanese Missions.
We have used this country, one of the ten of our district, firstly
to make known some of its Catholic history, but also, to relate
it having in mind the very notion of Catholicism as exposed above,
i.e. the submission to the Roman Church. Various texts from different
epochs show the difficulties encountered by the missionaries in
Japan for the implementation of Catholicism. As you read them,
try to see how human nature, in the Japanese mold, comes up with
the same problems, over and over, throughout the centuries.
close-up view of the monument to the 26 Martyrs
of Nagasaki, Japan
And now, modern
day inculturation - Japan is taken here as an example - is actually
promoting one of the biggest problems instead of helping to solve
it. I speak here of the difficulty for Japanese (not only them
of course) to submit to the authority of the Roman Church. Inculturation
is encouraging the break with Rome, by gradually – or rapidly- putting
together a national church which will require very little to snap
away from the Roman control.
In this season
of Christmas, let us ask the Divine Child, submissive from His birth
to His death, to make our poor sinful hearts like unto His own,
meek and humble, pure and submissive.
With my best
wishes for all our readers and their families, in the Holy Family,