Monday, June 29, 2009

A photograph of the Catholicity of the Church

I cannot think of a better photograph to show the catholicity of the Church.

Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

The Church's long standing belief is that on June 29, the year usually given as A.D. 67, St. Peter was crucified in Rome on an inverted cross, as he believed that he was not worthy to die the exact same way as Christ. On the exact same day, St. Paul was beheaded for the same faith that St. Pope Peter professed.

This feast in my opinion is a hallmark of the Church's catholicity. But what exactly does the word "catholic" mean?


1. broad or wide-ranging in tastes, interests, or the like; having sympathies with all; broad-minded; liberal

2. universal in extent; involving all; of interest to all

3. pertaining to the whole Christian body or church

The word "liberal" here has a different meaning than it is used to mean today, that is, open to various things. That is exactly what the word is implying, and let me explain why the Church is called such.

The old God-revealed religion was Judaism. It was a very ethnic religion. It was a religion of a people, of a race. On the feast of Shavuot, what the Greeks called Pentecost, the Jewish nation was officially established at Mt Sinai. (I will point out it was originally a harvest festival. It is this background that the Eastern Churches use green on Pentecost, with plenty of greenery.)

On the Pentecost after the Resurrection, the Holy Ghost came upon the Apostles and the Church was established, like the Judaism of old was. As the Church grew, we have this quote from St. Ignatius of Antioch: "Where the bishop is, let the multitude of believers be; even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church." That was written in the first century.

So why that description? Because it is a direct antithesis to the Judaism of old: what was a very exclusive religion became religion inclusive of all people, so that all people could be saved, not just Jews. The traditional translation of "catholic" was "universal": the Church was open to all, not just Jews.

When Sts. Peter and Paul when to Rome, two ethnic Jews, they established the faith there that became the faith of what was once a pagan Empire. These people were not Jews. St. Peter became bishop of a people that owned the land his race lived on.

In like manner, St. Paul, the greatest preacher ever seen, went to various places preaching the Gospel to people who were not Jewish. We have Churches with every name, besides Jewish:
Coptic Church, Byzantine Church, Melkite Church, Maronite Church, Roman Church, Romanian Church, Armenian Church, Syro-Malabar Church, Syro-Malankara Church, etc.

So that is my "sermon" for today's feast. I don't think it is too hard to believe that these two great saints died on the same day. Perhaps that's just what the Romans wanted: to kill all teh major Christian leaders in Rome at the same time. But we know the saying: the blood of martyrs is the seed of Christians.

Saturday, June 27, 2009


Welcome to my first and what I expect to be my only blog ever. The question on everybody's mind is: who are you and what are you blogging about?

I am Joseph Smith, and that's all I'll reveal at this time. I will say I live in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Steubenville, close enough to Wheeling, West Virginia to have easy access to there.

So what am I blogging about? I will blog mostly on things that interest me, which are my religion and politics. But what kind of religion and politics?

You know I am a Catholic by now, and I consider myself a "traditionalist". I consider this to mean that I prefer the older- or, "traditional"- rites of the Church, as I believe they are very beneficial spiritually to the Church, and I would almost go as far to say they are better than the new rites, because I honestly feel that way, but that would offend people (which I feel I will be doing a lot of on this blog, because people can get offended easily), and that is only one man's opinion. By "traditional rites" I mean the Traditional Latin Mass, the Traditional Breviary, Latin in the liturgy, etc.

I also am a monarchist. This means I support monarchy as a workable form of government. I do not mind small-scale democracy, like in a city or smaller political area but I prefer a Catholic confessional state with a Catholic king as the proper form of government, and when I learn more about it, I'll probably endorse distributism in public a lot more as well.

I plan on writing a series on the Traditional Mass, what happens during it and another of my own reflections on the Mass, and another series on why I endorse monarchy, but I'll also blog about things involving these two topics as well as other things that interest me, like orthodox (Greek for "correct belief") Catholicism and liturgics in general, which interest me greatly.

So for now, welcome. Pax et bonum. Peace and the good.

P.S. I take the name of this blog from the story of St. Athanasius. I'll let the Fish Eaters website tell the story.

Athanasius contra mundum

"Athanasius against the world." This phrase refers to St. Athanasius' brave stand against the Arian heresy of the 4th c. when the vast majority of Bishops -- even Pope Liberius himself -- succumbed to heresy. St. Athanasius was even excommunicated for his orthodoxy, but was later exonerated and canonized. The full phrase is, "If the world goes against Truth, then Athanasius goes against the world." The story of St. Athanasius is a good "check" on papolatry and the errors of false obedience. His words to the faithful are good solace for traditional Catholics today who watch Novus Ordo-ites destroy church buildings, trash the liturgy, and preach lies:
"May God console you!... What saddens you ... is the fact that others [Arian heretics] have occupied the churches by violence, while during this time you are on the outside. It is a fact that they have the premises -- but you have the apostolic Faith. They can occupy our churches, but they are outside the true Faith. You remain outside the places of worship, but the faith dwells within you. Let us consider: what is more important, the place or the Faith? The true Faith, obviously."
So if St. Athanasius can be "against the world," I fell I should to if I feel I believe what is right, that is, with my views of Catholicism, traditionalism, conservatism, monarchy, and whatever else I believe to be true.
Hence the name.