Kolbe Report 9/2/23

Dear Friends of the Kolbe Center,

Pax Christi!

One of the most destructive heresies of the early Church was the heresy of Marcion who denied the divine origin of the Old Testament and set up an opposition between the alleged evil god of the Old Testament and the good God of the New Testament.  Although Marcion’s errors were rejected and condemned in his lifetime, Marcion predicted that his heresy would divide the Church until the end of time, a prediction that history has unfortunately borne out to a great extent. Indeed, the interpretations of Genesis 1-3 commonly offered by contemporary Catholic theologians can only be described as neo-Marcion in their failure to recognize or affirm a consistent, continuous doctrine of creation in Genesis, in the writings of the Apostles, Fathers and Doctors of the Church, and in the conciliar teaching of Lateran IV and Vatican I and other authoritative Magisterial teachings on creation from the time of the Apostles until now.

The neo-Marcion modernist sounds remarkably Albigensian as he sets up an opposition between the benevolent God of the New Testament and the cruel god of the Old; between the historically accurate New Testament Scriptures and the mythological, or, at least, non-historical, contents of the first five books of the Bible; between the “primitive” creation account[s] in Genesis and the “enlightened” synthesis between faith and reason that advances in natural science have allowed theologians to formulate in the benevolent spirit of the New Testament.  However, the neo-Marcions pose a much greater threat to the faithful than Marcion ever did, because so many of them speak in the name of the Church, even as doctors of theology, as bishops, even as Popes.  Yet, at the end of the day, even Popes cannot change the defined doctrines of the faith, and God who has bound in heaven what was previously bound on earth by His lawful representatives will ultimately vindicate the Faith “once delivered to the saints,” as it has been defined and handed down to us from the Apostles.

The Mosaic Law and “Hardness of Heart”

In recent weeks I have been trying to help some of my Catholic brothers and sisters who have been fighting to keep perverse books out of a local public library.  At a recent county government meeting, I heard the champions of perversity defend their “right” to show perversity to children by citing examples of alleged cruelty and “child abuse” in the Old Testament.  When parts of the Mosaic law are quoted out of context to Catholics, it can be very difficult for us to reconcile those statutes with the Gospel.  But we should be able to do so.  The first thing that we must remember is that before Moses gave his legislation after the Exodus, God had rescued His people from slavery in Egypt with signs and wonders, even parting the sea to allow them to escape from their enemies.  Yet the people rebelled against God and His servant Moses and fell into idolatry and depravity. Thus, He had to give them strict laws that would restore discipline and allow them to survive in the wilderness.

The Israelites Worship a Golden Calf

To rescue His people, God had worked tremendous miracles, to move them to obedience, but He would not give them the interior graces that He had reserved for the time of His Incarnation until they had cooperated sufficiently with His grace to merit, in some degree, the unsurpassable graces that He merited and made available through His Passion, Death and Resurrection.  That is why the laws that He gave to His children through Moses had to take into account their “hardness of heart.”  He would not remove the “hardness of heart” that mankind had acquired through free evil choices without the prayers and sacrifices of the prophets, confessors, and martyrs from the time of Moses until the coming of Jesus.  This truth finds expression in the sacred liturgy, especially during the holy season of Advent, as the Servant of God Dom Gueranger explains:

With what gratitude ought they not to assist at that divine Sacrifice, for which the world had been longing for four thousand years! God has granted them to be born after the fulfillment of that stupendous and merciful oblation, and would not put them in the generations of men, who died before they could partake of its reality and its riches! This notwithstanding, they must earnestly unite with the Church, in praying for the coming of the Redeemer, so to pay their share of that great debt which God has put upon all, whether living before or after the fulfilment of the mystery of the Incarnation. Let them think of this in assisting at the holy Sacrifice.

Tragically, many contemporary Catholic theologians and Church leaders revive the error of Marcion by making a false dichotomy between the “primitive,” “punitive” God of Genesis and the Old Testament and the merciful God of the New Testament.   These theologians cite the same examples from the Old Testament that the champions of perversity cite to impugn the goodness of God’s character, ignoring the wisdom of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church who always defended the coherence of God’s conduct in the Old and the New Testaments.

The Lord Hears the Cry of the Poor

The champions of perversity love to attack the defenders of childhood innocence by accusing Our Lord of genocide and of directly commanding Joshua to murder men, women and children.  The Fathers and Doctors understood that this was a singular circumstance, in which God used Joshua and his men as the instruments of His justice, by putting an end to a tribe that has become so depraved that children born into that society no longer had any chance of escaping corruption.  But that is only part of the truth that we are called to defend and explain to our children and to unbelievers.  The greatest weakness of atheist criticisms of the goodness of God in Christ is that it is blind to God's identification with all human beings, including all victims of violence and injustice, past, present and future, through Our Lord’s Incarnation, Passion and Death for each one’s salvation and sanctification.

The famous atheist novelist Albert Camus criticized Our Lord Jesus Christ for fleeing to Egypt while He allowed the Holy Innocents to be massacred on His account.  We can expose the blind folly of this criticism with the help of Venerable Maria of Agreda, the incorrupt Conceptionist nun, who bilocated to the Red River region of what is now the United States hundreds of times in the seventeenth century, to evangelize the indigenous people.  This phenomenon was confirmed by impeccable witnesses who testified that Venerable Maria had knowledge of the Indians and the areas she visited that it was impossible to have obtained without having visited the region by bi-location as she testified to have done under obedience.  It was also confirmed by the Indians who received her visitations and who called her the "Lady in Blue" because of the blue habit in which she appeared to them.  They testified that she prepared them to go to the nearest Franciscan mission station to ask for Holy Baptism by instructing them in the rudiments of the Catholic Faith, to the utter astonishment of the missionaries who had never seen them before!

As if to anticipate and refute the scoffing of atheists like Albert Camus, Venerable Maria of Agreda was shown how Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Blessed Mother made Themselves present to the Holy Innocents and obtained for them the grace to unite their sufferings to the sufferings of Jesus so that they were sanctified to share one life with God for all eternity.  She was shown that the command of Herod to murder the children of Bethlehem two years old or younger was issued six months after the birth of Jesus.  According to Venerable Maria:

When it began to be executed the great Queen happened to hold her divine Son in her arms, lost in contemplation of His most holy Soul. Looking into it as into a clear mirror, She saw all that passed in Bethlehem more clearly than if She herself had been present to hear the wailing of the children and the parents. She saw also how her Son prayed to His eternal Father for the parents of these innocents; that He offered up the murdered children as the first fruits of his own Death; asking Him also that they receive the use of reason, in order that they might be a willing sacrifice for their Redeemer and accept their death for his glory. Thus, He would be able to reward them with the crowns of martyrdom for what they suffered. All this the eternal Father granted, and as it was made known to the Queen in her Only-begotten Son, She joined Him in His prayers and sacrifices. She also pitied the parents of the martyred infants in their heartrending tears and sorrows for their sons. She, indeed, was the first and true Rachel weeping for the children in Bethlehem (Jer. 31, 15) ; and there was no mother who sorrowed for them as She did, since no one could be such a Mother as She was to them.

Massacre of the Holy Innocents

The materialist, like Albert Camus, looks at the exterior and judges God according to the tiny superficial part of reality that he sees.  But the saints, by the grace of God, penetrate into the interior, and are often permitted to see what takes place between souls and God, without any external manifestation.  On Judgment Day, we will no doubt be astonished to learn all that God did for the souls of the Amalekite children in their last moments—and even in the souls of hardened sinners at the moment of death.

God Brings Good Out of Evil

One of the most terrible effects of a decline in faith is the resulting decline in sanctity which creates a vicious cycle, as God withdraws Himself from souls who no longer obey Him or even sincerely seek after Him.  In our unbelieving age, Fr. Giovani Salerno distinguished himself as a living saint, a priest who dedicated himself to the service of the poorest of the poor, in Peru and throughout the world, both as a medical doctor and as a physician of souls.  In his memoirs, which he wrote and published before his recent death, Fr. Salerno bore witness to the miracles that Our Lord Jesus Christ continues to grant in answer to the cry of the poor and to the way that Our Lord works secretly within souls, even in the midst of terrible suffering and injustice.

In On Mission with God in the Andes, Fr. Salerno tells the story of one of the children who attended a school run by his congregation, the Missionary Servants of the Poor of the Third Word, in Cuzco, Peru.  He writes:

Natividad . . . hadn’t even reached nine years of age.  Her situation had always been difficult because her father, even though he wasn’t a heartless drunk, was in the habit of beating her severely when he had drunk too much, and was prone to ferocious attacks when annoyed, completely in contrast to his normal calm and affectionate manner . . .  On Wednesday, 28th May, 1997, on the eve of Corpus Christi, Natividad left our dining room at St. Maria to return to her house, where her family waited for her in vain.  Her body, naked and with signs of strangulation was discovered in the river, on the morning the following day.  The news got a small space in the local press, and the police started investigations to clear up the murder. However, very soon afterwards, it was all forgotten and the case was left unsolved because the family was poor and unable to influence the local authorities.

The pain and anguish of parents, brothers and sisters was indescribable. Naty was the eldest daughter. Two weeks after this tragic episode, Naty’s mother came to find us, visibly transformed.  . . . She came to tell us of a dream she had had the night before.  In this dream, she saw herself walking alone in the desert crying over the death of her daughter, when suddenly Naty appeared to her, dressed in a bright white tunic, barefoot, her face radiant and her hair down.  She radiated peaceful happiness.

So her mother asked her in despair why she had gone and left them in desolation.  Natividad told her in a calm and peaceful voice that God had allowed it for the good of many people, even though at the moment she couldn’t understand it.  She said that her mission was to stay and keep watch over them and help them.  Her mother, still not at peace and unsatisfied, asked what had happened and how it had happened.  So Natividad told her of her final hours, but not with a traumatic or an angry tone.  In the words of her own mother, “It was like seeing a sad film but without hate.”

In this visual dream, Naty’s mother could see how her daughter was kidnapped for hours in a forest close to her house on the slope of a mountain on the outskirts of Cuzco.  From there, Naty could see how her parents searched for her and called out for her.  She shouted but they couldn’t hear her.  One of the kidnappers, after a short struggle with the child, who in the attempt to free herself, injured herself with the school scissors that she carried with her, strangled her with the strap of her own rucksack.  Her body was then taken to the river and thrown in the water.

Throughout the whole account of Natividad’s last few hours, she was completely free of any hint of hatred or despair or the desire for vengeance.  Natividad bade farewell to her mother with a smile and disappeared, rising upwards and leaving her mother with an indescribable sense of peace.  At first we would tend to think of this dream as a despairing mother’s nice but sadly false way of consoling herself.  But the fact is that Naty’s mother, when she woke up, remembered the whole dream perfectly.  Not only that, but she decided to check the place where the crime took place, which wasn’t far from her house.  She woke her husband up, and together, they went to the place from the dream.

Natividad’s mother afterwards showed us the small pair of scissors which belonged to her daughter, and the strap from her rucksack, which they found in that exact spot.

Her mother told us all of this in a completely natural way.  For her, it was evident that what her daughter had told her in that dream couldn’t be more certain, and she had gone to that place sure that she would find something .  . . Coincidence?  Revelation?  Perhaps the Gospel gives us the answer: “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children” (Luke 10:21).

Through the prayers of the Mother of God, may the Holy Ghost guide us all into all the Truth!

In Domino,

Hugh Owen

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