I have a joke for you that goes like this: the head of the DDF—the office formerly known as Holy—and Joel Osteen walk into a bar and draft a document and it is called Fiducia Supplicans. I know you are rolling on the floor laughing; or more likely, you are wondering when I am going to make the joke. Well, I did consider calling the fruit of Tucho and Osteen’s fictitious encounter Fiduciary Supplicans on account of the Prosperity Gospel promise of bank accounts that grow like mustard seeds, but I didn’t want to be too on the nose.
At any rate, there is a point to my ramblings that goes beyond a failed attempt at making you laugh.
I contend that the Prosperity Gospel and the Gospel of Same Sex Blessings are of the same ilk and take their inspiration from the same source—and no, that source isn’t the Holy Trinity—and I hope to show that these two seemingly unrelated heresies are indicative of the general error that grips the veritable whole of organized religion in the Western World.
Orthodox. Faithful. Free.
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I should note that I will be playing fast and loose with the term “heresy” in this piece, and I understand that there are technical legal differences between what can be classified as error and heresy in the strict sense. But, if I am being honest, these distinctions have been used by cultish papal and Vatican apologists, who, like ostriches with their heads in the sand, call foul on anyone who uses the term “heresy” outside of the strict confines of that particular canonical delict. I, for one, am sick of our effete and ineffective parlance on the matter, and I believe we should be more willing to use the H word like our ancestors did when dealing with men like Tucho and even Pope Francis.
It seems that none other than Cardinal Sarah may be of the same mind, when he said about Fiducia Supplicans: “We do not oppose Pope Francis, but we firmly and radically oppose a heresy that seriously undermines the Church, the Body of Christ, because it is contrary to the Catholic faith and Tradition” (Emphasis added).
If the good cardinal is alleging that the gay blessing document contains heresy, and Pope Francis put his stamp of approval on the document, then we either have to claim that Pope Francis is illiterate, or that he did willingly approve of the promulgation of heresy. Any way you slice it, Sarah has at least indirectly called Francis a heretic or a promulgator thereof.
Let us now begin with the problem of Osteen’s heresy. While it is easy to lampoon the absurdity of megachurches in general, and even easier to lampoon the idea of a megachurch telling you that Jesus wants you to drive a Mercedes, we would do well to consider how millions of otherwise intelligent Americans can be confused by such an absurdity. As egregious as the Prosperity Gospel is, it is actually quite a simple concept that many Protestants and Catholics believe, even if just implicitly; it is the idea that God loves us and therefore He wants what is best for us.
Now, it is true that God loves us and wants what is best for us, “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting” (John 3:16).
But, the rubber meets the road when we consider what it means for God to love us, what it means when we say that God wants the best for us, and how that relates to everlasting life. In order to understand any of these concepts properly, we must first understand what religion is.
Without even appealing to revelation, we can appeal to reason, the Natural Law, and etymology. The origin of the word religion is found in Latin terms referring to being “bound” as well as to “obligation” and “reverence.” Thus, when we colloquially refer to religion, we are referring to something we are bound to as an obligation in order to show reverence. But to Whom do we show this reverence?
Our reason tells us—infallibly so as per Vatican I—that God the Creator exists and that our being is dependent on Him both for its initial creation and the continual sustaining of our existence and the existence of all created things. Therefore, if there is a God—and there is—then we are bound and obligated to give reverence to God.
That said, given that there is a God and we are bound to revere Him, what would this reverence look like? It is here that we must consider the Natural Law.
Built into the nature of existence, a reality that is believed by all sane persons with common sense—fewer and fewer these days—is an understanding of the infallible and immovable fact of Justice. Simply put, from Athens, to Jerusalem, to Confucius, to Rome, we all understand that a man is due what he is due in the measure and quality that is due to him given a particular circumstance. Therefore, if we must say “thank you” to a stranger who opens the door as a simple act of justice for a simple favor, then how much more of a “thank you” must we say for an extraordinary act of charity by the God who created the reality wherein doors and strangers that open them may exist?
Furthermore, what about the justice that is due to someone who has been offended or harmed by a criminal act? If we take twenty dollars from someone, it is not enough for us to simply say “sorry” and go about our merry way. We must repay the money, but in addition to the repayment, we must resolve the metaphysical wound that has been committed, which requires a rebuilding of trust, which ultimately can only be done with time and effort and great sacrifice.
This understanding of justice is baked into the cake of true Old Testament religion and the only True Religion that is Catholicism. The Jews offered sacrifices that were a shadow of the True Sacrifice Who would come and offer Himself for the forgiveness of sins—something that could not be accomplished no matter how many hundreds of thousands of lambs and goats were slain.
This understanding of justice and the necessity for true sacrifice is at the heart of the perennial understanding of religion, and only secondarily was it ever assumed that religion existed in order for men to be blessed. Yes, we might say that if the prayers go up, then the blessings may come down; but the blessings are for our benefit, and therefore any true blessing is a blessing that will help us achieve eternal life and, therefore, must aid in our quest to become holier so that we die in friendship with God. God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth, will never give us a blessing that will take us off the path or take our focus away from the reality of our sinfulness and our need to attach ourselves to the True Sacrifice that can only be found in Holy Mass.
This is what the modern world and many Catholics and heretics in our world do not understand. For them, religion is for man whereas, for true adherents of the true religion of ages past, religion is for God. This is what the modern world and many Catholics and heretics in our world do not understand. For them, religion is for man whereas, for true adherents of the true religion of ages past, religion is for God. Tweet This
The reversal of this mentality is seen in the topsy turvy trajectory that has befuddled Catholics in their understanding of the Eucharist. This reversal does represent a true heresy in philosophy that confuses the entire enterprise of religion in a man’s life. The insidious thing about this heresy of thought is that a man may be on the surface completely orthodox, but implicitly he may be no better than an atheist.
Call to mind two monks, both who follow the rules of their order and follow God’s commandments. One monk does so because he believes he is a sinful wretch, whereas the other does so because he believes he is the best monk and that he is such a great example of monastic greatness. It is the classic case of the Pharisee who outwardly conforms to God but inwardly has a soul with the structure of a foundation riddled with termites. He may appear to be orthodox, but his internal compass is off, and his whole existence is a heresy and, functionally, an apostasy of self-worship.
Years ago, I remember watching a catechetical series produced by a major Catholic institute on the nature of the Eucharist and Holy Mass. I will not say which it is, as this is not the point of this article, but suffice it to say the catechetical series started with an episode on the nature of food and how we understand what it means to share a meal in the modern age as opposed to previous ages. The intention of this series—again, not produced by Father Boomer’s Liberation Theology Society—was clearly to show us that the primary importance of the Eucharist is that it is a meal.
This is remarkable, as this clearly shows the viewer that the Eucharist is about them first and God second. How could it be interpreted any differently? What is the purpose of food if not to nourish your body and for you to enjoy yourself? The Eucharist may be a really special meal, but if it is primarily a meal then it is primarily a really special way for you to be fed by God.
Any traditional Catechism or Missal will tell you that the four ends of Mass are Adoration, Thanksgiving, Propitiation, and Petition. We adore God; we thank Him; through the Mass God’s justice for the sins of mankind is satisfied; and, after all that, we may ask Him for something. What we want comes last, and what is due to God comes first.
Any notion of a traditional understanding like this is completely lost when we are told the Mass is a meal and that we are so lucky to be there.
Of course, it is easy to see how this is completely lost in Protestantism as there is no Mass to be found, so even if a Protestant thanks God and adores Him—in a way that is false and heretical—his religion can in no way satisfy God’s justice. For this reason, a Protestant has nothing to point to when looking for evidence of God’s blessings in his life. He is already saved because he believes, and therefore all that is left to do is to praise God and be thankful for the things that are given by Him. It is very easy to see how Protestantism cannot help but lead the way for the Prosperity Gospel.
But what does this have to do with gay blessings?
While the setting may be different, the inherent philosophy of religion is not dissimilar. To bless something quite literally means to say that it is good—this is what the Latin term benedicere quite literally means. Therefore, if one is to give a blessing to a couple—which is a type of union by the way—that lives in a state of sin that cries out to Heaven for vengeance, then one is saying that this couple is good, or at least contains good.
But, as Cardinal Sarah pointed out, this is impossible. He said:
The declaration Fiducia Supplicans writes that the blessing is instead intended for people who “beg that all that is true, good and humanly valid in their lives and relationships be invested, healed and elevated by the presence of the Holy Spirit” (n. 31). But what is good, true and humanly valid about a homosexual relationship, defined by Holy Scripture and Tradition as a serious and “intrinsically disordered” depravity? How can such a text correspond to the Book of Wisdom that states: “Distorted reasoning separates from God; but power, put to the test, dispels fools. Wisdom does not enter a soul that does evil nor dwell in a body oppressed by sin. The Holy Spirit, who teaches, flees all deception” (Wis 1:3-5).
According to Sarah—whom I trust much more than Francis and Fifty Shades of Grey fan-fiction writer Cardinal Fernandez—it is not even possible to bless a gay couple according to the Holy Bible.
So, what gives? Why do these narcissists ruining the Church keep pushing this heresy?
Well, because they share the same implicit philosophy that Joel Osteen believes: religion is for man, and God blesses man through religion.
Osteen may be saying that God blesses you with a promotion when you worship him, and Fernandez is saying that God blesses your sodomitical coupling because your humanity makes you good. It doesn’t matter what you do, it doesn’t matter that you live in rejection of God and His teachings with each passing day, God will bless you through the Church because religion is about you and therefore you deserve what you want.
Don’t worry about appeasing God’s justice; because in the New Church, Fernandez says alongside Oprah and Osteen, “You get a blessing; you get a blessing; everybody gets a blessing!”