How Many Will Be Saved?

“And a certain man said to him: ‘Lord, are they few that are saved?’ But He said to them: ‘Strive to enter by the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, shall seek to enter, and shall not be able.'”—Luke 13:23-24.

Hugh Hefner died today, and even bloggers like Fr. Dwight Longenecker at patheos are promoting a very different attitude towards Hefner than the tradition of the Catholic Church.  I don’t know where Hefner is any more than Fr. Longenecker, and I’m not saying Fr.  Longenecker has a theology that is wrong,  but his attitude towards heaven and hell is very, very different from that of Jesus Christ in the New Testament and the saints in every century.

I don’t have a better insight than any priest, but I do know that we simply need to return to the Deposit of the Faith in both Scripture and Tradition to find what is taught De Fide (by defined dogma.) Even most of my faithful readers will be surprised to read that we can know De Fide that hell is not empty.  We will look first at public revelation and later private revelation, as only the former is De Fide.

First, Our Savior Jesus Christ said “Not every one who says to me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the kingdom of heaven.”—Matthew 7:21a. This is not simply a “warning” like most modern theologians say. Christ looked through time as the Son of God and said very clearly that some Christians who will profess Him as Lord, but they will go still go to hell forever. Why? The answer is found in the full phrase: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”—Matthew 7:21.

Of course, Jesus “desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth”—1 Tim 2:4, but the problem is not in the heart of God. God wills even the worst sinners to be saved. The problem is Satan who has tricked us into original sin and actual sin to the point that we refuse the Divine Rescuer, Who, please God, will never say to us: “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”—Mt 7:23.  Obviously, the first answer to all of this is to know Jesus Christ intimately.  If we do come to know Him, we will be led to the same love of God and fear of God that we read below in the lives of the saints.

But first, the Council of Trent, an infallible council of the Catholic Church gives a definitive statement on whether hell is empty or not: “But though He died for all, yet all do not receive the benefit of His death, but those only to whom the merit of His passion is communicated; because as truly as men would not be born unjust, if they were not born through propagation of the seed of Adam, since by that propagation they contract through him, when they are conceived, injustice as their own, so if they were not born again in Christ, they would never be justified, since in that new birth there is bestowed upon them, through the merit of His passion, the grace by which they are made just.”—Council of Trent, Chapter 3, Session 6, 13 January 1547 under Pope Paul III.

Therefore, no one can say: “The Church admits that hell exists but we don’t know if anyone is there.” (Fr. Longenecker never wrote this, but I hear it all the time from priests and modernist theologians.)  But such a statement would indeed be a material heresy, considering that the Council of Trent infallibly stated that “not all receive the benefit of His death.” (It would be a formal heresy to say such a thing after reading this blog post!)

Let us look to what has been referred to as “The Magisterium of the Saints.” The “Magisterium of the Saints” is not as De Fide (defined dogma of the faith) as the above quotes from inerrant Sacred Scripture or an infallible council like Trent. However, those canonized men and women had to be found nearly flawless in their theology to be canonized. Furthermore, the canonized saints’ private revelations of the afterlife have to be pretty spot-on to make the honors of the altar. As far as visions of the afterlife in the following quotes from the saints, you will notice how many saints give actual percentages as to how many are saved, and ask yourself if Hugh Hefner showed any signs of being in these numbers below:

  • “Out of one hundred thousand sinners who continue in sin until death, scarcely one will be saved.'”—St. Jerome, Western Doctor and Father of the Church
  • “What do you think? How many of the inhabitants of this city may perhaps be saved? What I am about to tell you is very terrible, yet I will not conceal it from you. Out of this thickly populated city with its thousands of inhabitants not one hundred people will be saved. I even doubt whether there will be as many as that!'”—St. John Chrysostom, Eastern Doctor and Father of the Church, speaking about Constantinople when it was still a Christian city.
  • “Our chronicles relate an even more dreadful happening. One of our brothers, well-known for his doctrine and holiness, was preaching in Germany. He represented the ugliness of the sin of impurity so forceful that a woman fell dead of sorrow in front of everyone. Then, coming back to life, she said, ‘When I was presented before the Tribunal of God, sixty thousand people arrived at the same time from all parts of the world; out of that number, three were saved by going to Purgatory, and all the rest were damned.'”—St. Leonard of Port Maurice
  • “Woe to you who command others! If so many are damned by your fault, what will happen to you? If few out of those who are first in the Church of God are saved, what will happen to you? Take all states, both sexes, every condition: husbands, wives, widows, young women, young men, soldiers, merchants, craftsmen, rich and poor, noble and plebian. What are we to say about all these people who are living so badly? The following narrative from Saint Vincent Ferrer will show you what you may think about it. He relates that an archdeacon in Lyons gave up his charge and retreated into a desert place to do penance, and that he died the same day and hour as Saint Bernard. After his death, he appeared to his bishop and said to him, ‘Know, Monsignor, that at the very hour I passed away, thirty-three thousand people also died. Out of this number, Bernard and myself went up to heaven without delay, three went to purgatory, and all the others fell into Hell.'”—St. Leonard of Port Maurice
  • “So many people are going to die, and almost all of them are going to Hell! So many people falling into hell!”—Bl. Jacinta of Fatima
  • “If you would be quite sure of your salvation, strive to be among the fewest of the few. Do not follow the majority of mankind, but follow those who renounce the world and never relax their efforts day or night so that they may attain everlasting blessedness.”—St. Anselm, Doctor of the Church
  • “With the exception of those who die in childhood, most men will be damned.”—St. Regimius of Rheims.

These quotes come from Fewness of the Saved Saints’ Quotes, a post that contains 101 quotes describing the population of heaven versus hell, at the writing and description of only canonized saints. Honestly, I hope those numbers are wrong, but I can no longer say that the above saints are “Jansenist” or “sedevacantist.”  I can no longer claim that those quotes are “Jansenist” or “sedevacantist” because those quotes span 2,000 years, coming from saints in the East and the West, long before the advent of either of those errors.

Again, I don’t know if Hugh Hefner is in purgatory or hell, but I have a pretty good guess, and I do no one any favors by promoting this presumption that Hugh having a last-minute emotional movement to have a sweet thought about God can erase 50 years of oppression of women and getting half the globe of men addicted to pornography.  Yes, I have a pretty good guess where such a man resides.  God could have forgiven all of his sins by repentance, baptism or confession.  But there’s no evidence that Hugh wanted any of those.  No, I don’t know for sure, but I’m going to follow a preponderance of evidence.  I write this post not to rip on Hefner, but to bring sobriety to the living that God can forgive any sin in the confessional, so go to confession.  1

Finally, Fr. Longenecker mentioned Divine Mercy, and I agree that next to the Bible, there is no greater written revelation of the Love and Mercy of God than the Divine Mercy Diary of the 20th century nun, St. Faustina of Poland.

But he left out the part where St. Faustina was also given a vision of a highly-populated hell so that people might understand that we face a populated hell and that this aspect of Our Faith is an intricate part of what Divine Mercy saves us from.  In the Divine Mercy Diary, St. Faustina had to describe the human souls already in hell:

Each soul undergoes terrible and indescribable sufferings, related to the manner in which it has sinned. There are caverns and pits of torture where one form of agony differs from another. I would have died at the very sight of these tortures if the omnipotence of God had not supported me. Let the sinner know that he will be tortured throughout all eternity, in those senses which he made use of to sin. I am writing this at the command of God, so that no soul may find an excuse by saying there is no hell, or that nobody has ever been there, and so no one can say what it is like. I, Sister Faustina, by the order of God, have visited the abysses of hell so that I might tell souls about it and testify to its existence. I cannot speak about it now; but I have received a command from God to leave it in writing. The devils were full of hatred for me, but they had to obey me at the command of God. What I have written is but a pale shadow of the things I saw. But I noticed one thing: that most of the souls there are those who disbelieved that there is a hell. When I came to, I could hardly recover from the fright. How terribly souls suffer there! Consequently, I pray even more fervently for the conversion of sinners. I incessantly plead God’s mercy upon them. O my Jesus I would rather be in agony until the end of the world, amidst the greatest suffering, than offend You by the least of sin.—St. Faustina, Divine Mercy Diary 741

Notice again that according to Jesus’ revelation to St. Faustina, “most of the souls [in hell] are those who disbelieved that there is a hell.”  We can conclude in all fairness that the same destiny awaits the souls of clerics and theologians who lead lay people to the same practical conclusion (even if not theological error) by teaching them: “There is a hell, but we are not sure if anyone is in it.”  2


  1.  Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma by Ludwig Ott is a compilation of all the De Fide dogmatic statements of the Catholic Church, including the topic of perfect and imperfect contrition on pages 427-428. The Council of Trent teaches that if a person is dying on his death bed in mortal sin, the only way he can go to heaven is by baptism or confession or perfect contrition. A baptized Catholic who is dying in mortal sin with imperfect contrition but finds no priest for confession, according to Trent, will not be saved.  I know this will rub many readers the wrong way, but it rubs poorly only because we are so influenced by Protestantism. Remember, Protestantism holds salvation to be a mental-act. A single mental-act is not sufficient for salvation in any age of the Catholic Church, even the early Church, unless it be accompanied by martyrdom (baptism by blood) or perfect contrition, that is: a perfect love of God where the penitent is sorry for his sins not because of a fear of hell, but because of pure love of God. The crucified thief next to Jesus had perfect contrition, a perfect love of Christ, and therefore went to heaven without need for water baptism. But King Henry VIII, after destroying the Catholic Church in England, had quite a different ending. Apparently, he had a last-minute frantic desire to confess to a priest on his death bed! However, his court could not find him a priest, for King Henry had killed most validly-ordained Catholic priests. Thus, the wicked King apparently died with imperfect contrition and a desire for the sacraments, but this was not sufficient for salvation according to Trent. The Divine Mercy Diary does say, however, that anyone who is dying will be saved if the Divine Mercy chaplet is prayed over him or her, assumedly by himself or another, assumedly for Catholics and non-Catholics alike.  Christ’s promise to St. Faustina on this is extremely generous and therefore doubted by many traditionalists who don’t believe in Divine Mercy.  But I do believe in Divine Mercy, and I even tried to pray this Divine Mercy chaplet over dying people even a decade ago as a paramedic.  This was of course best prayed after patients were transferred to ED staff from EMS as we men can only do one thing at once.  

  2. Someone on my Facebook page publically asked me how to not get depressed after this blog post.   I wrote her back:  “It’s good news because Savior actually means ‘rescuer.’  If everyone is going to heaven, then we don’t need a rescuer.  But if the status-quo is actually separation-from-God, then Christ is our only hope, and He gives us the perfect and sure way to heaven.  The quotes from the saints show that most people choose their own way, and not He who is The Way and The Truth and The Life.  But, if you choose Him and His Church, if you love him and are confessing your sins, then it is exactly as the Apostle John says:  ‘Perfect love casts out all fear.’  Hugh Hefner chose a pathway of abusing women and no sacraments.  That’s why I don’t hold out much hope for salvation for him.  But Jesus wants you in heaven more than I want you in heaven, more than you WANT to be in heaven!  So take courage and walk this pilgrimage to heaven, for his ‘yoke is easy and burden light.’ It really is.”

16th Sunday After Pentecost

The Mass and Salvation History, part 2. This two-part series is based on the stained glass around the high altar and sanctuary, here at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville, Florida. All of salvation history culminates in the single sacrifice of the Last Supper and Calvary, found in both of the center panes. The featured landscape image above is the sculpture of the Last Supper, found under the mensa of the high altar. Pictures for reference to the podcast are on my blog.  They are numbered 1 to 9, going west to east with a north-facing high altar (still liturgical ad orientem, of course.)  Today is 5 to 9 on the East Side, seen below on the blog.

5) Wedding Feast of Cana (Jn 2)

6) Abraham and Isaac (Gen 22)

7) Passover (Ex 12)

8) Multiplication of the Loaves (Mt 14)

9) Calvary (Jn 19)

15th Sunday After Pentecost

The Mass and Salvation History, part 1. This two-part series is based on the stained glass around the high altar and sanctuary, here at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception in Jacksonville Florida. All of salvation history culminates in the single sacrifice of the Last Supper and Calvary, both found in the center panes. The featured landscape image is a stained glass from the nave. Pictures for reference to the podcast are on my blog.  They are numbered 1 to 9, going west to east with a north-facing high altar (still liturgical ad orientem, of course.)  Today is 1 to 4 on the West Side.

  1. Pentecost (Acts 2)

2) Melchizedek (Gen 14)

3) Moses and God giving Manna (Exodus 16)

4) Last Supper (Lk 22)

Leave Fr. James Martin Alone!

For the few of you who actually live human lives without social media, and don’t know who Fr. James Martin SJ is, here you go:  Fr. Martin is a highly influential Jesuit Catholic priest who is editor at large of America Magazine, located just off Columbus circle and Central Park in Manhattan. On 12 April 2017, Fr. Martin was also promoted as a consultor to the Vatican’s Secretariat for Communications. Now, I rarely name people by name in my blog posts, but this priest has over half a million Facebook followers. Fr. Martin has a wide footprint in the social justice world, but the most controversial of his teachings is that he implies on a weekly basis that sodomy can sometimes be morally acceptable for two Catholics.  1

Of course, that teaching is against every drop of Divine Revelation coming from the Holy, Triune God “who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”—1 Tim 2:4. So, I do not agree with Fr. James Martin’s extremely-clear implication that there are certain times when two monogamous same-gender lovers can proceed into disordered actions (even provided their spiritual director declare their consciences clear!) We know this is wrong not only because of Divine Revelation, but the Holy Spirit speaking through the Apostle Paul teaches that one need not even be a Jew or a Christian to know that homosexual actions are wrong. Please experience the beauty of this quote even if you don’t think you like St. Paul:

For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to Him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened….For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error. And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done.—Romans 1:19-21, 26-28.

That chapter from Romans is saying that the beauty of creation is enough to show man and woman that those pieces do not go there, even before one gets to the topic of any religion. Thus, Fr. James Martin is teaching not only against Divine Revelation, but against the very nature of the universe.

So why then the title of this blog post, “Leave Fr. James Martin alone!”? Endure this one boring doctrinal paragraph before getting to a whole new battery of overdone similes and metaphors that I’ll hopefully never pull out again. Doctrinally, the heresy of modernism has nothing to do with being a modern Christian in an age of technology. What Pope St. Pius X named as the heresy of modernism is essentially the denial of the supernatural and a religion that is anthropocentric (human-centered) not theocentric (God-centered.) When did it start? Some people say modernism influenced the minds of Catholics in the West beginning with the Enlightenment in the 18th century. Others will say it started with the Protestant revolt in the 16th century. Others say it started with Vatican II. Others who are very clever will trace it all the way back to Francis Bacon or maybe Adam and Eve at the fall. Or Satan. That debate is unending.  But really, from all of my study on this, I don’t believe that the heresy of modernism entered seminaries until sometime just before World War I. Then, Pope St. Pius X first excommunicated Fr. Alfred Loisy (a Scripture professor at a French seminary) in 1908 for denying the divinity of Christ, denying parts of Divine Revelation and overturning the supernatural side of the sacraments and the miracles of the Bible. Notice that Fr. Loisy was not discussing liturgical innovations or challenging the Church’s teaching on contraception. Rather, the root of modernism is a very denial of Divine Revelation. Fr. Loisy himself wrote:

“Christ has even less importance in my religion than he does in that of the liberal Protestants: for I attach little importance to the revelation of God the Father for which they honor Jesus. If I am anything in religion, it is more pantheist-positivist-humanitarian than Christian.”—Mémoires II, p. 397.

I’m not saying that Fr. James Martin would ever write this. So, don’t jump to any conclusions quite yet. Follow me here: Fr. Loisy did not really believe in the Bible. I know that sounds more like an evangelical sticking-point than a Catholic sticking-point to some, but Fr. Loisy kicked off this modernism thing by implying to many others in the Church that really God did not mean what He said. It started to sound a lot like the enemy of human nature: “‘Did God actually say, “You shall not eat of any tree in the garden”?’”—Genesis 3:1. Notice that Satan weasels his way into the heart of Adam and Eve not by the temptation of the sin, but first by the temptation against Divine Revelation: Did God really say in the Bible? This is the root of the heresy of modernism.

Now, we have had nearly 100 years of modernism creeping into the Church. The reason I say “Leave Fr. James Martin alone” is because Fr. Martin was simply the first one courageous enough to rainbow-color in the lines of the adult coloring-book handed to him by superiors who didn’t want to take the hits of not really believing any of the hard parts of Christianity.   In some sense, it is not the fault of Fr. Martin for swinging at a pitch right down the middle, a pitch given by parishes and “Catholic” Universities to Fr. Martin, all surreptitiously promoting sodomy and letting this poor man take the hits for his courageous stance, if it can be called that. I rather pity the man. Here he is at my alma mater, Boston College:

Fr. Martin is the lightning rod that cowardly liberal Catholics have hoisted high above themselves to take all the hits from mean conservatives, all the while shielding their conscience behind each other in what they all call collegiality.  But Fr. Martin also seems to be the surrogate case of conscience to the right. We have a group of barely-awake neo-conservatives who have finally reached their boiling point after sleeping through decades of putatively-orthodox Catholics promoting the exact same heresy of modernism, just non-pelvis issues against the Magisterium, like the timelessness of the liturgy.

Fr. Martin only did one thing new: He brought modernism out of the closet, pun intended, and implied that a gentle God would not send people to hell for sodomy. It’s sick, I know, but in that sense, Fr. Martin is nothing more than the intellectual boy-toy for the big, silent players in this war for souls.  These are those men who have not only allowed such a mind to develop, not only fomented such a heart under their tutelage, but finally promoted him as their unarmed little flag-bearer in the culture wars of the Catholic Church. I for one, think it’s cowardly to shoot the little drummer-boy in war.

Also, remember that community organizers like Saul Alinsky actually want half of the population to love them and half of the population to hate them.  This schism causes chaos.  So, the more ink you waste on Fr. James Martin, the more you cause chaos.

If you want something good on this topic of homosexuality, go to see the website of my friend, Joseph Sciambra. Joseph was a gay porn star in San Francisco turned traditional Catholic and he even goes to the Latin Mass. He is not schismatic.  He does not hate people who identify as gay.  He actually loves people at BDSM parades more than anyone I know.  However, my friend’s website might seem extreme to even mildly-orthodox Catholics, for Joseph claims that no one is actually gay! Still, Joseph has helped me give spiritual direction to some of my dearest spiritual directees and friends who have struggled with same-sex attraction. Again, his site might seem extreme to you at first, but realize that his website has more daily visitors than even Jason Evert, the juggernaut of Catholic chastity talks (a married man whom I admire greatly, too.) I give my friend Joseph a “pass” to my excoriation to leave Fr. James Martin alone, as this is his full-time ministry.

But the rest of you should really go further down the rabbit hole of modernism to ask: Do I really believe everything taught by God in the Bible? If not or if so, you might be able to find yourself in this awesome and accurate categorization of modern American Christians coming from Matt Walsh recently:

1) The Apostates. These are the Christians who have renounced Christ without fully realizing that they have renounced Him, and are now skipping merrily into the eternal clutches of the Devil.
2) The Apathetic. These are the Christians who may basically accept the faith on some level, but they have given up attempting to live according to it, or else they have never really tried.
3) The Struggling. These are the Christians who believe, who try with all their might to live as though they believe, but who are besieged on all sides by the forces of darkness. These Christians have placed their hope in the Lord, but their lives on this Earth, in this depraved culture, are filled with fear, confusion, and pain.

Which one are you?  I really, really love Walsh’s categorization of modern American Christians because it allows for no self-righteousness.  It shows that no one is perfect, that the best of us struggle with something, even if not same-sex-attraction. I would sell down the river those struggling with same-sex attraction and relegate them to the category of “apostate” if I gave them a pass from struggling.  Why?  Because “struggling” is what it means to carry your cross of chastity with Jesus Christ in a community that actually wants you “to work out your salvation with fear and trembling.”—Phil 2:12.

I will not allow my friends struggling with same-sex attraction to slip into the category of “apostate” or “apathetic Christian.” This is what Fr. James Martin does to so-called gays, and it is ironically discrimination against them. Notice one last time that the best of these three groups of Matt Walsh is the “struggling.” We all struggle with something to make our lives square away with the rigorous demands of Divine Revelation. And when we try, we find it’s not so rigorous.  Rather, His yoke is easy and His burden light.  We are not perfect, but we try. You can’t really struggle against your own sins by following Christ if you’re spending too much time on Fr. James Martin (or listening to him) so leave him alone.


  1. He recently said at an interview after speaking at Villanova the following about same-gender couples in regards to the sign of peace at Mass: “So I hope in ten years you will be able to kiss your partner or soon to be your husband. Why not? What’s the terrible thing?”—Full Story

What Muslim Invaders Could Not Accomplish

I am rarely shocked by what I see in the media, but this one got me:

This 60 second video is Dutch children learning to pray to Allah in a small mosque in the Netherlands.  So, the full title of this blog post will be “What Muslim invaders could not do against Europe, Europe did to herself.” But it is actually a hopeful blog post with a strong resolution.  I want to get a little into the world of Divine Providence to ask why God would allow this. I don’t know the mind of God, but I think I may have a decent answer.

Let’s consider that the only country in Europe which was conquered by the Muslims was Spain. Mohammed died in 632 AD but within that same century, his Muslim invaders were astonishingly capable of conquering the majority of modern-day Spain. But in 718 AD, King Pelayo, a 33 year old ruler of a small region in Northwest Spain, began to fight back. Pelayo was nothing more than the leader of a small tribe, much like William Wallace trying to fight the English. But by winning the small but decisive Battle of Covadonga, this young King Pelayo inspired a whole country to win Spain back to Christ, out of the hands of Muslim invaders.

He never lived to see the day. When Pelayo died, his son picked up his sword to continue to fight sharia law. When King Pelayo’s son died, his grandson picked up the cause to win back Spain to Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. And so on, including his great grandson, and his great-great grandson. In fact, this war then lasted 700 years, the longest war in the history of the world. Don’t be fooled by your 7th grade history book that called this a “War of Religion.” The best name for this war is what the Spanish all called it through the Middle Ages: “La Reconquista,” or the reconquering of Spain. This was to win the land back for Christ from violent invaders. Remember that these Muslim invaders never had a right to establish a violent sharia law in a free Christian country.

Finally, after 700 years of battles peppered throughout Iberia, a distant relative of that same line of Pelayo would finally unite Spain to eject the Muslims: Queen Isabel of Spain, or as she was known “Isabel, la Católica.” Yes, a woman won the longest war in history. (She is my favorite non-canonized woman in history.  In fact, my favorite biography is this 400 page book by Warren Carroll, titled Isabel of Spain:  The Catholic Queen.  You will read how Isabel would ride a horse through the night in the rain to quell an uprising—by her mere presence—and yet she was feminine enough to knit her children’s own clothes.)  It is important to note that in that long biography, Warren Carroll makes it very clear that Queen Isabel ensured that Spanish Catholicism remain totally free of bad doctrine and bad worship.

Returning to the story, in 1491, Queen Isabel (and her not-as-inspiring husband King Ferdinand) demanded that Muhammad XII surrender the city of Granada. When he refused, Granada was sieged by her Castilians, the decisive and final battle to eject Muslims from Spain. On 2 January 1492, Muhammed XII finally surrendered Granada as seen in this picture. It was the same year that the same Queen Isabel funded Columbus to sail the ocean blue.

By the 16th century, Queen Isabel would be dead, but her unification of Spain and the opening of the Western Hemisphere by boat seemed to be what God Himself inspired in the 15th century in order to accomplish His great plan of Spanish saints across the 16th century: St. Ignatius of Loyola, St. Francis Xavier, St. Teresa of Avila and St. John of the Cross to name a few. Before the close of that same century, thousands upon thousands of Jesuits and Franciscans would bring the saving doctrine and sacraments of Jesus Christ to the farthest pagan peoples of the world, spanning from Brazil to Japan. Of course, many of the Spanish and Portuguese traders went for gold and women and fame, not souls.

But I want to consider briefly the endless stream of brothers and priests who travelled to bring Jesus Christ and His love across the whole globe: These Spanish saints and martyrs of 16th century Spain learned to endure such physical pain for Christ precisely because of their ancestors’ 700 year war with the Muslims. God had used even the pain of La Reconquista to forge the wills of the Spanish to become the first nation to tackle demon-ridden lands and establish the reign of Christ the King. (This is why all of South America now speaks Spanish or Portuguese, and also why even lands as far East as the Philippines have Spanish names.) Perhaps the Spanish friars would have never had the steel to endure endless days and nights on the high seas for Christ, had they not learned the value of “Catholicism under fire” from their fathers. These saints and martyrs also maintained the doctrine and liturgy of apostolic times. They knew that if they changed doctrine or liturgy, there would be no glorious crown in being a “heretical martyr” for Christ, if even such a thing exists.

The fact that the “War of the Reconquering” took 700 years tends to make post-modern minds (like mine) wonder why God would allow so much suffering for a Spanish people who only wanted to follow Christ and His Church. But if you look closer at those 700 years, the Muslims were never really allowed by Divine Providence to conquer the people or the purity of Catholic doctrine or worship.  Only the land was conquered, not their hearts. The hearts and minds of the Spanish remained free and attached to Christ. (I’m happy to cover the Crusades and Inquisition in another blog post. Knowledge of these things does not diminish my conclusion at all.) All in all, God never fully permitted Islam to take over Iberia. From this, God forged the strongest Catholic nation in history to bring the Gospel to more countries than ever in history.

Now, consider the video at the top. In that video, Dutch children learned to pray to Allah. Never in Spain’s history (except possibly by kidnapping and brainwashing) had we ever seen children happily praying to Allah. This is why I subtitled the blog post “What Muslim invaders could not do against Europe, Europe did to herself.”

The story of Divine Providence is more inspiring that that subtitle, and here’s why: It hit me when I saw that Dutch video that God will never let us to fail if we do our best. It is almost like God blesses misplaced effort. The battle belongs to God, but He has shared it. Imagine a father tells his son to go to the forest to fight a bear. His father hides himself in the bramble even though his son does not know his father is there for him. As long as the son fights hard, his father (hidden in the bramble) will shoot the bear if his son simply does his best, even if the battle does not go well for his son. (I’m not saying God sets up Muslims for Christians to shoot, so don’t take this limping analogy too far!) What I mean, however, is that this seems to be how Divine Providence works: We can not fight Satan successfully on our own, but God still requires our measly-100% for Him to step in and win the battle. This also explains the whole tension between faith and good works: Only God’s grace can accomplish even the smallest good work, but God wants us to give our weak 100%—dare nec computare— “to give without counting the cost,” as St. Ignatius wrote.

Only when  a Europe of the 20th century chose a watered-down Catholicism did we see God permit Muslim invaders to finally take over in the 21st century. I realize that the Netherlands have not been Catholic for centuries, but I have also lived in the suburbs of Paris as a teenager. (There, I was mugged at knifepoint by a Muslim teenager outside my home.) I am not as scandalized by being mugged at knifepoint as I am at how few French Catholic go to Mass and how many French “Catholics” use contraception. Now that I see what is happening in Europe, I don’t expect much from contracepting France as she is outbred by Muslims. Even if God allowed physical pain through the middle ages, it seems that God would never allow the first daughter of the Church (France) to have more people at Friday Mosque than Sunday Mass unless she willing chose to enter a state of apostasy and rebellion against Divine Revelation. Perhaps this began at the French Revolution, but even then, the few Catholics who suffered for Christ maintained a purity of doctrine and liturgy. Something else happened the past 50 years:

We Catholics opened ourselves to a full conquering of Satan by denying God in our modernist heresy and bad liturgy of the 20th century. No physical fight against the modern Muslims invading lands like France will likely be of any value if we do not do our best to eradicate bad liturgy and heresy.  If we don’t stay faithful to Divine Revelation as given in Scripture and the great gift of the fullness of the Holy Mass, we will not have Divine Providence on our side, for we will be offending God more than even Muslims offend the Triune God.  I hold to that last sentence with no hyperbole.

Yes, we must now do our best to fix our home before we defend it. There is only one way back: La Reconquista of worship by acceptance of Divine Revelation (primarily in Scripture, as shown by Pope Leo XIII in Providentissimus Deus) and worship of God, as He Himself has always set-forth for His sons and daughters.  This is necessary if we want the freedom of the kingdom of Jesus Christ.  If we do our best (even our measly-best!) in siding with God by accepting in love what He has given us in apostolic teaching and worship, then we are guaranteed total success in the Catholic Church, even if it causes physical pain. Why? Because faithfulness on our part guarantees that Our Father fight for us.  God does it on God’s time, as long as we are faithful in our times.


Afterword:

Yesterday was the anniversary of the 9/11 Muslim terrorist attacks against the United States.

Today in the old Roman calendar is the feast of the Holy Name of Mary. Today’s Third Class Feast takes its name from a Christian battle against Muslims for Europe in 1683 in Vienna, for Christians called on the Holy Name of Mary. Pictured here is a Polish Winged Hussar trampling down an Ottoman Turk in that battle.

In two days, both the new calendar and the old calendar, we will celebrate the Exaltation of the Holy Cross.  Pictured is the cross from the rubble of lower Manhattan, after the attacks in 2001:

14th Sunday After Pentecost

You’ll hear a lot of reverberation in this sermon in an old Florida basilica (my new home) but you’ll need to tweak your volume until I adjust the basilica microphones for future podcasts.  In this sermon, you’ll hear about the Gospel of the day applied to Hurricane Irma.

Undivided Hearts: The Power of Celibacy

What does it mean to have an undivided heart for the Lord? “The unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit.”—1 Cor 7:34

I gave this talk to homeschooling families that have taken literally God’s command to “be fruitful and multiply” as the Old Testament says.  But the New Testament generally holds it to be a calling to be fruitful and multiply for the salvation of more souls for Jesus Christ’s kingdom.  Therefore, this talk is about why to encourage your children to be very open to the calling of celibacy for the salvation of even more souls than physical generation.

The how to encourage this was mentioned only at the end, during the Question/Answers.  I subtitled this talk:  Undivided Hearts: Allowing Your Child to Choose the Higher Pathway of Celibacy.