ST. PETER
BANNER
by Pauly Fongemie, September 19, 2013


It is no revelation at all to say that the media and most of the culture intelligentsia are scornful of Christianity, in particular the Catholic Church --- some of it based on bias or bigotry and the rest stemming from crass ignorance, the remedy for the latter easily attained in this vast information age, if anyone was so motivated. However, setting aside motivation which is not always discernible, it seems that the ignorant are so disinterested that they do not even know they are ignorant. The other evening a FOX News segment of the O'Reilly Factor provided us with another incident of this phenomenon which has exploded geometrically, with inverse proportion to the availability of facts and the truth
--- by those who knowingly or not implant tacit bias bombs within the polity at large.

Mr. O'Reilly, a Catholic, was interviewing Dr. Charles Krauthammer, a regular panelist on FOX and an accomplished man in various fields, one of which is
psychiatry. I do not know of Krauthammer's religious practice and or beliefs. I presume he is not a Catholic. The topic was America's standing in the world --- its appearance of weakness and diminished respect among other nations. There was some disagreement between the two gentlemen about the cause, which is not germane to this article, so I mention it by way of partial context. During the thoughtful discussion --- and any conversation with Dr. Krauthammer is thoughtful by definition, for the man is an original thinker and highly intelligent and well-spoken, whether one always agrees with his conclusions or not --- the Church came up. It is important for you the reader, who may not be acquainted with his appearances on FOX, to know that he is not a flippant commentator, out for the singular sound bite, nor does he bear malice toward those he may be commenting on. The matter of the Catholic Church was cited by both men: Mr. O'Reilly correctly using the Church's moral [influential] decline as a comparison with the USA's decline. His use of the Church as analogous was strictly factual, historically speaking and cannot be considered an opinion as such. I find no fault with his comparison, as sad as it is to me as it seems to him. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Krauthammer weighed in when the topic of favoritism from the White House in Obamacare policy waivers was introduced by O'Reilly. Krauthammer compared the bias of the White House and its unjust application of the law to favor those the President likes, with the Church's use of Indulgences, which is a bias bomb imploding so tacitly that I do not even think the ever prescient O'Reilly picked up on it.

This unjust comparison cannot go unaddressed, although the Church, consisting of souls born with Original Sin and its residual effects after Baptism is not above fair criticism. But Dr. Krauthammer was comparing an apple to an orange, I am certain with no idea or intention to do so. The myth surrounding Indulgences among a number of other distortions is still with us despite all the advances the human race has made with regard to overt prejudice that is unjust to our neighbor. It seems bigotry, whether intended or not is still the only socially acceptable bias and thus goes largely unexamined, especially by other Catholics who ought to know better, but have internalized the myths themselves.

Was there at one time abuse of the grant of Indulgences by some Churchmen? Yes, but it was readily stopped once the Pontiff got air of the sacrilege. First, such abuse was never official Church policy, and second, no one was or is required to acquire an Indulgence under penalty of a tax or fine, thus there is no valid comparison. An Indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due to sins whose guilt has already been forgiven, a remission which one of the faithful, properly disposed and under certain definite conditions, can acquire through the Church which as minister of the redemption authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasure of the satisfactions of Christ and the Saints.  To be capable of gaining an Indulgence it is required that one be Baptized, not excommunicated, in the state of grace at least at the completion of the prescribed works [which are spiritual], and a subject of the one granting the Indulgence. There are no fees, no mandates that consist of financial exchanges, and everyone is required to play by the same "rules", if they want to acquire one
--- exceptions cannot be granted and the Church simply does not do so. Not even by the wildest stretch can Krauthammer's analogy hold up. But for the general population who tuned in, they think it fair to consider the Catholic Church as unfair as the Obamarama game. And since O'Reilly who is quick to challenge let this slip by, it is a good assumption that most Catholics who tuned in to the exchange just absorbed this noxious poison without so much as detecting any odor of foul play. [Glenn Beck, another media mogul who fights against the monopoly that is anti-Christian and pro-statist, also happens to throw similar bombs of bias regarding the Catholic Church, one of his most often used is a horrendously distorted view of the Spanish Inquisition, a distortion he would not permit if such were the case involving his own religion, I wager.]

This piece is to say that I am one Catholic who does know better and as a duly charged Soldier of Christ, I am bound using all my ability to defend our disparaged Mother, Holy Mother Church. Even when some of her prelates overstep their bounds, misuse their authority or teach contrary to the Tradition which they must uphold, I would rather, gladly, be a member of the Church and endure all that I may be called upon to bear up under, than be a member of any other society that the media pretends is more perfect. To paraphrase that well known and glorious Defender of the Faith, Ann Muggeridge, I might freeze from time to time within the Church, but outside of Her I would surely die ...

The image of the Repentant St. Peter, Apostle and First Pontiff was selected because according to tradition, he is known to have shed so many tears that eventually his face held gullies which his tears etched. No doubt some of every Pope's tears are not for his own sins, but rather because the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is so little known, despised for what She is not and little loved for what She actually is ...





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