11 Apr 2018

Marriage is good, but consecrated virginity is even better

Victim Nuns of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.


On May 27, 2014, “Pope” Francis said: “Since it is not dogma, the door is always open to rethink priestly celibacy”. Already, as I write, there are now some married “Catholic priests” around the world. In the United States alone, for instance, there are currently about 125 married “priests”, all recognised by Rome. (See for instance: I’m a Married Man. I’m also a Catholic Priest; see also: Pope Francis: Married priests "on my agenda"--"reform of the reform" not so muchand The new push to end priestly celibacy ).   

Carefully note that Francis’ support of “married priests” is not a news. Before he invaded the Vatican, he had been notorious for encouraging priests to leave the priesthood if they fall in love, and divorce as well. For instance in a private conversation with his longtime friend from Buenos Aires, Oscar Crespo, Francis reportedly revealed his plans to change important “archaic” parts of the Catholic rules. Crespo says “the Pope” intends to overturn the “centuries-old ban” on Catholic priests from getting married and to lift the banishment of divorcees from the Catholic Church. Crespo claims Francis told him “six years ago”, when “the Pope” was archbishop of Buenos Aires, that the ban on priests getting married was not “doctrine”.(See: Pope Francis wants to change two major Catholic laws he sees as 'archaic' ).

As Bergoglio himself, before invading the Vatican, said in “Conversations”, (pp. 118-119): “There are times when a priest does fall in love and must reassess his vocation and his life. Then he must go to the bishop and tell him, ‘I’ve made up my mind… I didn’t know I was going to feel something so beautiful… I truly love this woman’, and he asks to leave the priesthood”.

And what do you do in these cases?

Bergoglio (“Pope” Francis) says: “I stay with him; I accompany him on his spiritual journey. If he is sure of his decision, I even help him find work… We request what is called ‘dispensation,’ permission from Rome, and then he would be allowed to receive the sacrament of marriage.”

So Francis will help a man who took a permanent vow of chastity before God to break his vow and leave the priesthood! (Of course he will, since he doesn’t believe in a Catholic God). The Catholic Church has never allowed a priest to leave the priesthood and get married. This is a heretical invention promoted after Vatican II. Celibacy, in fact, has existed in one form or another throughout history and in virtually all the major religions of the world. It was common in the ancient world—when men were really religious and pious—to view sexual power as a rival to religious power, and the sexuality of the opposite sex as a polluting factor, especially in sacred or crisis situations. Even in the Old Testament times, there were prescribed periods of sexual abstinence in connection with rituals and sacrifices and the prosecution of holy wars. Hence we learn that King David—at a time when a war was going on between Israel and Rabba—after committing adultery with Urias’ wife, Bethsabee, and learning that she had become pregnant, sent for her husband, Urias, who was among those fighting the war, and tried different means of sending him to his house to sleep with his wife but in vain. “And Urias said to David: “The ark of God and Israel and Juda dwell in tents, and my lord Joab and the servants of my lord abide upon the face of the earth: and shall I go into my house, to eat and to drink, and to sleep with my wife? By thy welfare and by the welfare of thy soul I will not do this thing”. (2 Kings 11: 1-11). In post-Old Testament times, some members of the Essenes, according to the Jewish historian Josephus, rejected marriage, and the medieval Talmudic scholar Ben Azzai remained celibate. Our Lord Himself, speaking of celibacy, said, “...there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it”. (Matthew 19:12). The origin of priestly celibacy goes back to the first apostles of Christ who, for the sake of God’s kingdom, gave up marriage. As we read in the Gospel: “Then Peter answering, said to him: Behold we have left all things, and have followed thee: what therefore shall we have? And Jesus said to them: Amen, I say to you, that you, who have followed me, in the regeneration, when the Son of man shall sit on the seat of his majesty, you also shall sit on twelve seats judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, OR WIFE, or children, or lands for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall possesses life everlasting”. (Matthew 19:27-29). St. Paul, who was celibate, writes: “…It is good for a man not to touch a woman…For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that.” (1 Corinthians 9:1&7).  

“A priest”, says the Encyclopaedia Britannica, “may be defined as one who, as a mediator, performs the sacred function of communicating through rites the needs of the people to heaven and the sacred power and presence from heaven to the congregation. His function is objective. Its efficacy is assured if the priest conducts the proper rite and has the proper qualifications of ordination and, perhaps, of ritual purity, regardless of whether he is particularly moral or fervent. Celibacy serves as such an objective mark of special state and ritual purity.” The point to note here is that the main purpose of priestly celibacy is ritual purity required for sacerdotal rites—this is different from another type of celibacy associated withmonasticism, the main purpose of which is moral and spiritual advancement. Today we are often given the false impression (by some perverts among the clergy who, like Martin Luther who renounced his vow of celibacy and married the former nun Katherina von Bora, are intoxicated with sex) that “Well, celibacy is not a dogma. Priests in the early centuries were married and priests today can still marry.” But the fact is that, even at the so-called “time when priests were married”, it was common for ordained men to give up sexual relations with their wives. In fact the reason why some of them had wives in the first place was because they had been married before they took the decision to become priests—so having become priests, some gave up their wives. (Matthew 19:12; 27-29). (Such actions are unthinkable today only because modern men and women have become extraordinarily canal—intoxicated with sex!). These perverts will never mention the regional Council of Elvira in Spain (c. AD 306) which decreed that all priests and bishops, married or not, should abstain from sexual relations—or the ecumenical Council of Nicaea (AD 325) which forbade priests to live with women other than their mothers, sisters, or aunts.

Note that all I've been describing took place between the apostolic times and the fourth century. Thus when Pope St. Gregory VII championed the compulsory clerical celibacy in the 11th century, it wasn't really seen as something new. Celibacy, then, was only made a part of church law—at the first and second Lateran Councils (1123 and 1139) which abolished clerical marriage and thus established the official and still-existing position of the Roman Catholic Church.

The article below says more on this topic.

Why the Church teaches marriage is good, but consecrated virginity is even better
BY PETER KWASNIEWSKI

April 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – As celibacy and virginity come increasingly under fire not only in the secular world but even within the Church and her very hierarchy, we must renew our understanding of immutable Catholic doctrine and our commitment to “contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints” (Jude 1:3).
In the ancient Church, Jovinian was a heretic who taught the equality of sacramental marriage and celibacy for the kingdom of God. His views were roundly refuted by St. Jerome and St. Augustine, and the Church in her Magisterium has consistently taught as they do: one who marries in Christ and brings children into the world does well, but one who altogether relinquishes marriage and family for the sake of following Christ more closely does even better.
Nevertheless, Jovinianism rears its ugly head throughout Christian history. The Protestant Reformers challenged the traditional doctrine, in spite of the fact that it is based on the very words of Christ and of St. Paul. In more recent times, we certainly see among Catholics a pragmatic sort of Jovinianism, which I have discovered in nearly all the students I have ever taught. Perhaps because they have met in their lives so few authentic religious brothers and sisters, they tend to think it wrong to elevate the religious state above the married state as a means for attaining perfection in charity and contemplation. They are surprised to learn that they are in conflict with the unanimous teaching of the Church Fathers, Doctors, Popes, and Councils.
One student put the case this way on a final exam: “If I am a married person and I do everything, including change diapers and go to work and embrace my wife and build up a house and garden, all for the love of God, how am I not making of myself and my life a ‘holocaust’, a total offering, that is just as pleasing as the offering of a religious who gives up family, property, self-determination? As a matter of fact, the religious still has clothes, a bed, a house to live in, probably a lot of books, financial worries in his community, practicalities to take care of, his brethren as a family, and for the most part he does what he wants from day to day, even if the bigger decisions belong (in part) to a superior. So is his life really all that different from mine?”
Sounds plausible, doesn’t it? With a vague appeal to the “universal call to holiness” and the “primacy of charity,” one can quickly deduce that all Christian states in life are equal. Interestingly, St. Thomas Aquinas also teaches that holiness is for everyone and that charity holds pride of place in becoming holy, but he does not, all the same, reach that egalitarian conclusion.
The student claimed that “marriage, too, is a total holocaust.” I ask: in what sense? Is the married man or woman actually giving up spouse, children, house, fields, his or her own will? In a way yes—but in a decisive way, no. When Jesus told his disciples that they who left everything to follow him would receive a hundredfold, he was not speaking metaphorically, but quite literally. Nor was he saying that those who renounced these things up front were permitted to reintroduce them later, through the back door. The hundredfold blessing rests only on the ones who remain poor, chaste, and obedient, and to the extent that they are truly such.
In order to understand the Our Lord’s teaching better, let us consider how the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity (in the sense of perpetual continence), and obedience are means for accomplishing the goal of perfection in charity, that is, holiness.
The counsels take away those material and temporal goods that tend to distract or weaken our focus on God or that allow us to rely on them rather than on Him. Unlike the commandments, the counsels do not separate us from bad things that are incompatible with love of God. Rather, they separate us from things that are in themselves good, even very good, but not the greatest good, and thus can hinder a direct focus on the greatest goods, and on the Giver of all good things. The reason why separating ourselves from things that are good is helpful for focusing on the highest good and source of all goods, on God Himself, is that we are finite beings with finite capacities for attention and love. Therefore, by removing our attention and love from worldly and temporal goods, the counsels help us to fix them more fully on spiritual and eternal goods, on the divine. St. Thomas beautifully makes this point:
“It is manifest that the human heart is borne more intensely towards one thing, to the extent that it is withdrawn from many things. Thus man’s mind is borne more perfectly to loving God to the extent that it is removed from love for temporal things... Therefore all the evangelical counsels, by which we are invited to perfection, have as their aim the turning away of man’s mind from love for temporal things, so that his mind may tend more freely to God, by contemplating, loving, and fulfilling his will.” (On the Perfection of the Spiritual Life, ch. 6)

In the present climate, it is important to emphasize that the counsels are not proposed as good because the things we give up by following the counsels are bad, but because there is a better way to grow in love than the use of these things. Giving up marriage enables one to grow more in the love of God and neighbor solely because the direct dedication of our heart and mind to God is a better means for growing in love than marriage is, whether considered in itself or as a sacrament (see Pope Pius XII, Encyclical Letter Sacra Virginitas, nn. 37–39). Pope John Paul II taught this quite clearly: 
“The reference to the nuptial union of Christ and the Church gives marriage itself its highest dignity: in particular, the sacrament of matrimony introduces the spouses into the mystery of Christ's union with the Church. However, the profession of virginity or celibacy enables consecrated persons to share more directly in the mystery of this marriage. While conjugal love goes to Christ the Bridegroom through a human union, virginal love goes directly to the person of Christ through an immediate union with him, without intermediaries: a truly complete and decisive spiritual espousal. Thus in the person of those who profess and live consecrated chastity, the Church expresses her union as Bride with Christ the Bridegroom to the greatest extent.” (Catechesis on Consecrated Life, November 23, 1994)

Implied in these words is, however, a salutary warning. One who gives up marriage—a monk or nun, a priest, a bishop—will not be any better off for doing so if he does not use the freedom of his heart to devote himself more fully to God and to the service of the Church. In fact, he will be worse off, since he will lack the great good of marriage as well as the greater good of virginity or celibacy “for the kingdom,” the orientation that alone makes it so great a good. 
Moreover, assuming good intentions to begin with, the intensity and steadfastness of the resolve to pursue the goal of holiness using whichever means one chooses is of greater importance than the means as such. To be more concrete: it is better to seek for holiness in marriage wholeheartedly, than to seek holiness in religious life half-heartedly.

Our Lord has provided us with two ways, noble and nobler, good and better, of entering into the mystery of His indissoluble nuptial union with the Church: through a sacramental image of it in marriage, and through a mystical participation in the very union itself in consecrated life.

16 Mar 2018

Russia Says it Will Attack U.S. Military if Trump Strikes Syria Again

by Tom O’Connor

Russian military police members stand guard at the Al-Wafideen checkpoint on the outskirts of the Syrian capital Damascus neighbouring the rebel-held eastern Ghouta enclave on March 13, 2018, awaiting any civilians evacuating from the area. A U.S> strike on Syrian troops and their allies could endanger Russian personnel, prompting what Moscow officials said would be a retaliation. LOUAI BESHARA/AFP/Getty Images

U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley has railed against the Syrian government's recently intensified campaign to retake the insurgent-held district of eastern Ghouta outside Damascus, accusing Syria and its Russian and Iranian allies of mounting civilian casualties. As a fellow permanent U.N. Security Council member, Russia has vetoed a number of resolutions targeting Assad's government and has accused the insurgents of shelling nearby Damascus city. Haley also blamed Russia for breaking a 30-day ceasefire agreement reached earlier this month.
"When the international community consistently fails to act, there are times when states are compelled to take their own action," Haley told the U.N. Security Council on Monday, citing the current situation in eastern Ghouta as an example of this, as The Hill reported.
"We warn any nation determined to impose its will through chemical attacks and inhuman suffering, but most especially the outlaw Syrian regime, the United States remains prepared to act if we must," she added. "It is not a path we prefer. But it is a path we have demonstrated we will take, and we are prepared to take again."
Russia has taken this as a sign that the U.S. was planning to attack Syrian military forces as it did in April, following charges that the Syrian airforce used sarin gas in the northwestern rebel-held district of Idlib, something Russia and Syria have denied. Less than 72 hours after the U.S. accused Syria of being behind the attack, Trump ordered a cruise missile strike from Navy warships in the Mediterranean.
In a disagreement that has become characteristic of U.S. and Russian involvement in Syria, Washington claimed that it had used a previously established de-confliction line to warn Russia of the attack. But Moscow denied this, saying Russian personnel at the targeted Al-Shayrat air base were put at risk.
Navy guided-missile destroyer USS Porter launches Tomahawk cruise missiles against the Al-Shayrat air base in Syria, April 7, 2017. The attack came less than three days after a chemical attack that Russia and Syria denied conducting in the rebel-held province of Idlib. Ford Williams/U.S. Navy/REUTERS
In response to Haley's warning at the U.N., the Russian Foreign Ministry also pledged a forceful response to any U.S. attack that threatened Russian troops who were stationed throughout Syrian military frontlines near Damascus. Accusing a "belligerent" Haley of promoting "criminal actions" in Syria, the ministry said "in this case, required retaliatory measures will be taken," Tass reported.
"If a new strike of this kind takes place, the consequences will be very serious," Russia Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in a separate statement also carried by Tass.
"Mrs. Haley should understand that it is one thing to irresponsibly exploit the microphone in the U.N. Security Council and it is another thing when both the Russian and American militaries have communication channels and it is clearly stated via these channels what can be done and what must not be done," he added.
Russia intervened in Syria in 2015 at Assad's request, helping him overcome a 2011 uprising sponsored by the West, Turkey and Gulf Arab states. As lines blurred between the mainstream Syrian opposition and jihadis groups such as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State militant group (ISIS), the U.S. switched its focus from regime change to defeating ISIS via support for a mostly Kurdish coalition known as the Syrian Democratic Forces.
But Turkey, a U.S. ally and fellow NATO Western military alliance member, has objected to Washington's support for Kurdish militias, which Ankara accused of harbouring ties to the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). A joint Turkish and Syrian rebel attack on the Kurdish enclave of Afrin has drawn Kurdish fighters away from the U.S.-led coalition fight against ISIS and into an alliance with Assad against Turkey.
Two maps show areas of control in Syria as of January 8, 2018 and March 8, 2018. Turkey and its rebel allies have made gains against the Kurd-controlled enclave of Afrin, causing an exodus of Kurdish fighters from the U.S.-led coalition battle against ISIS in the east. Institute for the Study of War/Reuters
Responding to Russia's vow to strike back against potential U.S. military action in Syria, the U.S.-led coalition said its main focus was to fight ISIS, but that it shared Haley's opinion on the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
"Coalition officials regularly engage their Russian counterparts via established ground and air deconfliction lines, with the goal of ensuring mutual understanding and preventing escalations in tension. Our interactions with Russian officials have been professional and effective, proving the value of the deconfliction effort," coalition spokesman Colonel Thomas Veale said in a statement sent to Newsweek. "Although the Coalition does not speak for the United States, we acknowledge the U.S. government's stance, echoed by our Coalition and NATO partners, that the use of chemical weapons use is unacceptable," he added.
Veale said the coalition would to continue backing the remaining, mostly Arab fighters of the Syrian Democratic Forces still battling ISIS in eastern Syria. These forces faced an "operational pause" due to the departure of Kurdish fighters, as well as recent tensions between pro-Syrian government forces that erupted into deadly violence, including the deaths of Russian citizens from U.S. airstrikes last month.
News source: yahoo.com 

27 Feb 2018

Prosperity Gospel: Catholic “mass” now sold for 3 million naira in Eastern Nigeria!

by Jonathan Ekene Ifeanyi

Mbaka
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry...” (Jesus Christ: Luke 6:24-25).

Early this month, I travelled to Eastern Nigeria for the burial of my late cousin, Chief Ignatius Chukwuemeka Uzoewulu, which took place in Ukpor, Anambra State. As usual, one of my ugliest encounters was to see the way spiritually blind Novus Ordo priests are ever increasingly messing up the Catholic Church in Eastern Nigeria. Put simply, the priests here — too demonic — are specialists in MONEY or WEALTH. Here, everything about the Faith is being sold. It’s horrible!

Of course, the people themselves — that is, the lay “faithful”, followers of these “priests” — are, like their “priests”, also massively blind spiritually, so as always almost all the people are not even conscious of what is happening; and these evil priests are not being resisted — the people don’t really know that these demonic priests are leading them to nowhere by hell-fire itself!

However, one of my old sisters, Amechi by name, was different. She knows these “priests” for exactly what they are.

“The Catholic Faith brought to us by the European Reverend Fathers exists no longer”, she lamented during our discussion. “Our people — Igbo priests particularly — have sold it”. I was happy to know that there is, at least, someone who sees what I’m seeing, so I pressed her to say further. Then she exploded: “Look at what happened at Ozubulu recently. These devilish priests and the bishop knew that the young man called Aloysius Ikegwuonu did not make his money genuinely. Yet, they allowed him to build a “Catholic Church” and we all witnessed the tragedy that happened at that “Catholic Church”. It happened because Our Lord did not accept that Church (even though these money-loving priests and the bishop did) because it was built with blood money. ...Look at what people like Father Mbaka and Father Chidoruo are doing in the name of our Church and people are keeping quiet. Just buy their cassettes and listen to the abominations coming out of their mouths. Now Father Chidoruo collects three million naira (N3000000) to say mass for each rich man. During his "prosperity mass" you hear of the donations and "Ndi ga'egburu Jesus Ehi" (i.e. those who will kill cow for Jesus). Rich men (many of whom are cult people, drug pushers and others who did so many terrible things to make their money) would line up and start donating. They start donating millions of naira! This Satanic priest doesn't talk about the sins of these people, no. Rather, he tells them that the more they donate, the more God blesses them. There is also the one they do with recharge card. The more you recharge, the more God blesses you! And then the tithes! Do you see that? And the bishop allows these “priests” to operate FREELY! But Jesus does not accept such a mass because you simply can’t sell the mass. It’s unacceptable. ...The fact that nobody cares to challenge these devilish priests is the reason why there are different calamities in our land, because God is not happy with us.”

Amechi also mentioned one other priest (I’ve forgotten the name) who, like Fathers Chidoruo, Mbaka and others, was collecting money from the people and was believed by them to be a miracle worker until he recently impregnated a woman. “After that abomination many of his followers realised that he was fake, so they stopped following him”, she said. “Yet, they are still following the likes of Fathers Chidoruo and Mbaka. Well it may be too late for them if they are waiting for these ones too to also impregnate women before they open their eyes, because that may not happen”.

I agreed perfectly with Amechi, and added that as far as people continue to do all this evil in the name of Christ more sufferings will come to Nigerians — especially money-worshipping Igbos — and many people will die.

Well, I have already written about this sad situation — this “prosperity gospel” — in my article, NIGERIAN “PASTORS” AND THEIR PROSPERITY “GOSPEL”As I stated there, formerly prosperity gospel was peculiar to the “Pentecostal Pastors”, but today even many “Catholic priests” — like “Father” Mbaka and many others — have joined the race. So many of the lay “faithful” have also joined the race — having been corrupted by the modernist Vatican II Church which is simply going crazy with anything worldly! Today, following the Vatican II Revolution, the love of God has simply vanished from many hearts, and replaced with the love of selves. So many people, who still bear the Christian name, love themselves and their “possessions” above all things. This comes in different forms — many love their wives more than God, others their husbands and others even their beautiful cars and houses. How can men and women with such a mentality know anything about our poor Christ who makes it very clear that to follow Him one must put God first in all things, and carry his or her cross DAILY?

Today in Nigeria, at least over 90 percent of the entire “Catholic priests”, just like the Pentecostals, pollute the churches EVERYDAY with prosperity gospel. They are demonic. Whether you’re in the East, in Lagos or Abuja, theyre just the same. What they studied in the Satanic seminaries is just how to exploit the Church. And they're simply skilled in this act! In Lagos for instance what is reigning now is “renovation” of (the spiritually empty) churches. Try listening carefully to that your parish priest and you will see that what he spends more time preaching always is about “projects” — about building or renovating this or that Church and NOT about salvation of souls. Suffering is simply not for these men, as they seek comforts at all costs and can do anything — anything — to get these comforts. In Lagos almost all the churches are now air-conditioned! In some Pentecostal “churches” if people can’t get comforts (like air-condition and things like that) they simply won’t go to “church”. That is exactly what these devilish priests have turned the Catholic Churches into. Of course the devil himself brings these comforts in order to reduce the spirituality of people — because the more the physical comforts, the less the spiritual commitment of people. Churches like Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (located at Victoria Island) and Church of the Assumption (located at Falomo in Ikoyi) are now worse than Pentecostal “churches”. During mass in these places you can even see lovers holding hands and caressing one another, others talking and chatting and doing all sorts of rubbish. But we know that these are not Catholic gatherings, because in a Catholic gathering — first and foremost — men and women are separated, and people don’t come to Church to seek comforts but to pray and ask for God’s forgiveness of their sins and those of the world. Look at the Muslims! Even the worst sinners among them don’t go to the mosques to seek comforts but to pray, and once they’re there, you see absolute respect — absolute respect — for Allah! When you see their women — the way they dress, the hair well covered, etc. — you see Our Lady! Quite contrarily when you see most Catholic women today you see harlots. Of course, this attitude of the Muslims was actually the attitude of the early Christians, but today if you dare try it in Novus Ordo Churches it is the priest himself who will be the first to mock you.
                                                 
When we compare the prosperous lives of these Nigerian “priests” to those of the poor European Reverend Fathers who brought Christianity to Nigeria, you will weep! As I wrote in the article, Mbaka: A Man Of God Or Just An Impostor? (2), “prosperity gospel” preachers “like Ejike Mbaka will always utter rubbish in order to dupe gullible people and get away with their crimes only because there are no true prophets in Nigeria, because there are no true Elijahs who can slaughter them just the way Prophet Elijah slaughtered the false prophets of Baal, and because those in government are equally spiritually blind. This spiritual blindness is simply responsible for the reality that “churches” (like Mbaka’s Adoration Ministry which is not Catholic) and mosques are expanding exponentially in Nigeria, yet the country is paradoxically at rock bottom in morality. It rankles that Nigeria is ranked as the most religious country in the world and contradictorily ranks among the top dogs too in the corruption index.

No need of writing a new article on their prosperity gospel. The following excerpts — which demonstrate without reasonable doubt that Nigerian “Christians”, “Catholics” or Pentecostals, serve the devil — are taken from my article, NIGERIAN “PASTORS” AND THEIR PROSPERITY “GOSPEL”:

...As St Paul puts it, “If we have died with Him, we shall also rise with Him”.  Jesus makes this very clear as we see in several places in the Gospels. First of all, we see His response to those who wished to follow Him, in the Gospel according to St Matthew (8:19-22):     

“Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go”. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”. Then another of His disciples said to Him, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father”. But Jesus said to him, Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead”.     
     
Again, He makes us know that His true followers would be very few, who would follow the thorny road that leads to heaven, as we read (Matt.7:13-14):

“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it”.

Here our Lord remarkably indicates to us that this way of suffering is what many will never accept, but only a very few — even as we witness in today’s world, in Nigeria.

Again, in the Gospel according to St Mark, we see the drama that took place when Jesus taught His disciples that the Son of Man must suffer many things, be rejected, and finally, be killed — immediately, Simon Peter, like modern “Christians”, took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, as we read (Mark 8: 31-38):

“And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. He spoke this word openly. Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him. But when He had turned around and looked at His disciples, He rebuked Peter, saying, ‘Get behind Me, Satan! For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.  When He had called the people to Himself, with His disciples also, He said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him the Son of Man also will be ashamed when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels”.

The cross, which the Lord talks about in the above passage, is a symbol of suffering, a suffering which the Master Himself first endured. The way of this cross, He tells us, is the very way that leads to eternal life. In fact, from the biblical point of view, anyone who claims to have accepted the Christian Faith, while rejecting this cross, cannot be saved. 

Thus when Peter rebuked Him for saying that He would suffer many things, Jesus did not waste time to call him Satan. Tragically, this Satanic attitude of rejecting the cross while claiming to be Christians, is what today rules millions of “Christians”, millions of Nigerian “Christians”!

In Nigeria, David Oyedepo, Matthew Ashimolowo, Ayo Oritsejafor, Chris Oyakhilome and Chris Okotie are perfect examples of “powerful pastors” who have been materially blessed and who can joyfully boast of these blessings. But St Paul contradicts them. ‘‘…God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’’, he writes, ‘‘by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world’’ (Gal.6:14). Again, ‘‘I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and  the life which I now live in the flesh  I live by faith in the Son  of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me’’ (Gal. 2:20).

Can there be any real fellowship between the man who makes these kinds of statements and the ‘‘pastors’’ just mentioned above?

Again, on paying of tithe, which today is being used by “Catholic” priests and Pentecostal “pastors” to rub the poor, Our Lord speaks, prophetically to the modern clergy (Luke 11: 42-44):

“But woe to you, Pharisees, because you tithe mint and rue and every herb; and pass over judgment, and the charity of God. Now these things you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe to you, Pharisees, because you love the uppermost seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market place. Woe to you, because you are as sepulchres that appear not, and men that walk over are not aware.”

The Greek word “ἀποδεκατοῦτε” (apodekatoute) means ‘you take tithe from’, ‘you tithe’. The Pharisees, like today’s Catholic clergy, neglected to talk about judgment, and the true charity of God, but preached extensively about paying of tithes. The idea of using tithe to dupe the faithful was copied by the Catholic clergy from Pentecostal “pastors” — who promise their victims that after paying their tithes, their sufferings would be over and God would turn them into millionaires!

“Pentecostal Pastors” (and demon-possessed “priests” like “Father” Mbaka) claim to be Christians, and shout the name of Christ everywhere, but, in reality, they are sworn enemies of the Christian Faith. Their Christianity is all about the enjoyment of the present world, and nothing can prevent them from this enjoyment. In fact, were Jesus to come back to this world to preach the message of the cross, these “Christians”, unlike the Jews, will not crucify Him just once, but indeed, a million times.

St Paul already spoke about them in the first century (Phil. 3: 17-20), as we read:

“Be ye followers of me, brethren, and observe them who walk so as you have our model. For many walk, of whom I have told you often (and now tell you weeping), that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame; who mind earthly things. But our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, our Lord Jesus Christ”.   

In other words, true Christians must always look up to heaven, where “our conversation is…”, says St Paul. They must have nothing to do with the enemies of the cross of Christ, “whose end is destruction; whose God is their belly; and whose glory is in their shame…”

Nigerian “Pentecostal Pastors” (and Novus Ordo “Catholic priests”) do not look up to heaven. On the contrary, they are completely earthly-minded. For example, in the posters and sign boards they display about their “churches”, it is always all about them, their wives, and their wealth, not Jesus Christ!  Of course, Christ’s words are simply prophetic, for we read again, in St Luke’s Gospel (Luke 14: 26-27):

“If anyone comes to Me, and does not hate his father and his mother, and his wife, and his children, and his brother, and his sister, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Anyone who cannot carry his cross and follow Me, cannot be my disciple”. 

Is Christ addressing these words to the Catholics who believe in a Christianity of suffering or the Protestants and false Catholics like “Father” Mbaka who believe in a Christianity of enjoyment?  

In the entire New Testament, from the Gospel of St Mathew to the Revelation, there is no place where either Jesus or His Apostles promised riches to those who would accept the Christian faith. Even in the Old Testament, a man like Solomon, the richest man in Jerusalem, became rich only because he never prayed for that but for the gift of wisdom. It was Solomon’s faith — his asking for wisdom instead of wealth — that attracted God’s attention to him and made Him to bless him, just as Abraham’s faith attracted God’s immense blessings. Again, St Paul contradicts these lovers of money who now claim to have Abraham’s blessings. He writes (cf. Gal. 3: 7):

“Therefore know that only those who are of faith are sons of Abraham. And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel to Abraham beforehand, saying, ‘‘In you all the nations shall be blessed. So then those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham’’”.

The few rich people we see in the Old Testament — Solomon, Job, etc — were all men of faith. Solomon sought first the wisdom of God and God then decided to enrich him materially. But the same Solomon, at the end of it all, tells us that even his wealth was all vanity upon vanity. It was the same wisdom of God which never departed from him that led him to realize that. We now invite him to testify for himself:

“I said to myself, ‘‘Come now, I will make a taste of pleasure; enjoy yourself’’. But again, this also was vanity. I said of laughter, ‘‘It is mad’’, and of pleasure, ‘‘What use is it?’’ I searched with my mind how to cheer my body with wine — my mind still guiding me with wisdom — and how to lay hold on folly, until I might see what was good for mortals to do under heaven during the few days of their life. I made great works; I built houses and planted vineyards for myself; I made myself gardens and parks, and planted in them all kinds of fruit trees. I made myself pools from which to water the forest of growing trees; I bought male and female slaves, and had slaves who were born in my house; I also had great possessions of herds and flocks, more than any who had been before me in Jerusalem. I also gathered for myself silver and gold and the treasure of kings and of the provinces; I got singers, both men and women, and delights of the flesh, and many concubines”.

“So I became great and surpassed all who were before me in Jerusalem; also my wisdom remained with me. Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them; I kept my heart from no pleasure, for my heart found pleasure in all my toil, and this was my reward for all my toil. Then I considered all that my hands had done and the toil I had spent in doing it, and again, all was vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun”.

Thus, like Christ, Solomon, the richest man is Jerusalem, here tells us that it was “all vanity and a chasing after wind, and there was nothing to be gained under the sun”.

The Gospels, as we have been demonstrating, are full of Christ’s admonitions to His followers about the deceitfulness of the riches of this world. In these Gospels, He teaches us that, what God wants from all human beings is not really to be successful, but to be faithful.     

In the story of the rich young man, for instance, we read (Mark 18:18-25):

“Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, ‘Good teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’ So Jesus said to him, “…You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery’, ‘Do not murder’, ‘Do not steal’, ‘Do not bear false witness’, ‘Honour your father and your mother’” And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth”. So when Jesus heard these things, He said to Him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”. But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich. And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God”. 

Here we notice carefully that Jesus does not say that all rich people will go to hell, no. But He makes it clear that it will be very difficult for them to go to heaven. This is the core message of Christ in this passage — despite the false interpretations given to this passage by modern fake pastors. Of course there are many rich people who are more righteous than some poor people. But here Jesus is not talking about that. What Our Lord attacks, rather, is the main virus ‘‘rich’’ or ‘‘wealth’’ — for there is actually something sinful even in the mere desire of it. If all Christians are meant to be rich, as Satanic preachers tell us today, why did Christ, the Master Himself, choose to be poor? Where on the face of this earth can we find a master who wallows in abject poverty while his servants wallow in wealth? Certainly, a typical “Pentecostal” will answer that Christ chose to be poor in order that we might be rich. Excellent! But if so, what about His early followers? Can we find a single man among them who, having accepted the Christian faith, did not embrace poverty for the sake of Christ?

In fact, we need not dwell so much on this topic. We see Christ’s teaching on how a Christian should live in this world in the Gospel according to St Matthew (6: 25; 31-34):

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? ...Therefore, do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble”.

The above teaching corresponds with what He taught us in the Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread”, not “give us these days”! Protestants, of course, do not say the prayer this way. In their famous King James Version, this verse of the Bible is simply translated as “Give us day by day our daily bread”! (c.f. Luke 11: 3) The Greek passage of the same verse reads: “τὸν ἄρτον ἡμῶν τὸν ἐπιούσιον δίδου ἡμῖν τὸ καθ' ἡμέραν.” The word “τὸ καθ' ἡμέραν” means “this day”, not “day by day”! In the Latin translation what we have is “Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie.” Here again the word “hodie” simply means “this day”, or “today”, not “day by day”! Who inspired Protestants to change the word of God from “today” or “this day” to “day by day”? How can Our Lord, who asks us not to worry about tomorrow, recommend such a prayer? 

Christ, in the Gospel according to St Mark quoted above, said to the rich young man, ‘‘Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me”. Did He say that merely because the man loved his wealth more than the things of God, as modern preachers now interpret it?  As we pointed out above, what our Lord attacked was only the virus ‘rich’ or ‘wealth’, the very root of all evils, not the individual rich people. Now, Christ counters these prosperity preachers by repeating (and in fact, emphasizing more on) the same statement in the following passage in the Gospel according to St Matthew (6: 19-21):

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

Again, (in verse 24), He says,

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon”.

The word ‘‘Mammon’’ is from the Greek word Μαμωνᾷς (‘’Mamona’’), which in the New Testament is begun with the Greek small letter mu, ‘‘μ’’ (‘‘μαμωνᾷ’’). ‘‘Mamona’’ in the New Testament is a personification of wealth and greed as a false god, used in opposition to the Almighty God (cf. Luke 16:13). In some Bible versions it is translated as simply ‘‘money’’, but that is not exactly accurate. Originally, Mamona or Mammon is the name of the Syrian god of riches who is also the god of the underworld. The Latin counterpart is Pluto, god of the dead, the husband of Proserpine. The Latin counterpart of the Greek Hades, Pluto — in Roman mythology — assisted his two brothers, Jupiter and Neptune, in overthrowing their father, Saturn. In dividing the world among them, Jupiter chose the earth and the heavens as his realm, Neptune became the ruler of the sea, and Pluto received as his kingdom the lower world, in which he ruled over the shades of the dead. Believed to be the bestower of the blessings hidden in the earth, such as mineral wealth and crops, Pluto was also known as Dis or Orcus, the giver of wealth.

The word ‘‘riches’’ or ‘‘wealth’’ in Greek means πλοτος (Plutus). From plutus (πλοῦτος) came the English word ‘‘plutocrat’’ — a person who is powerful because of his wealth, and ‘‘plutocracy’’ — government by the richest people of a country, or a country governed by the richest people in it.

From πλοῦτος (plutus) came the Greek god Πλούτος (Plutus), who is a personification of wealth. The Greek counterpart of the Syrian Μαμωνᾷς (‘‘Mammon’’), Plutus (Πλούτος) was the name of Hades, derived, as stated above, from πλοῦτος meaning ‘’wealth’’, ‘‘riches’’, because corn, the wealth of early times, was sent from beneath the earth as the gift of the god. In the earliest times, various polytheistic gods had their various functions. Plutus (Πλούτος) or Mammon (Μαμωνᾷς), was simply the name of the god responsible for making people rich. Hence when Christ says, ‘‘οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ’’ (‘‘You cannot serve God and Mammon’’), He means that we cannot serve the true, living God, who is mainly after our righteousness and salvation, and the pagan, Satanic god, who promises riches as a way of enticing men and holding them captive. Since the word also means ‘wealth’, ‘riches’, we can also translate the passage as simply ‘‘You cannot serve God and wealth’’. The Greek passage reads:

“οὐδεὶς δύναται δυσὶ κυρίοις δουλεύειν: ἢ γὰρ τὸν ἕνα μισήσει καὶ τὸν ἕτερον ἀγαπήσει, ἢ ἑνὸς ἀνθέξεται καὶ τοῦ ἑτέρου καταφρονήσει: οὐ δύνασθε θεῷ δουλεύειν καὶ μαμωνᾷ’’.

Translated:

“No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and Mammon”. (ibid. verse 24)

Jesus’ teaching can be summarized in His following words, written in St John’s Gospel (Jn. 12: 25): “He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.”

The early Christians, many of whom are saints today, hated their lives in this world, and hence passed through sufferings.  After the ascension of Christ into heaven, they did not selfishly assume that the Lord had done it all for them; and that all that remained was for them to enjoy themselves, or that “It is finished” meant suffering was all over. On the contrary, they remained faithful enough to remember His words, “A disciple is not above his teacher. If they persecute Me, they will also persecute you” (Matt. 10:24). Hence Stephen was brutally stoned to death by the Jews for preaching and practising the Christian faith; Simon Peter, the first Pope, was brutally crucified; St Paul was beheaded—and so on. Apart from these earliest followers of Christ, down the centuries, there are countless cases of faithful men and women — all Catholics — who simply sacrificed their lives for the sake of Christ’s Gospel. Also, we have countless number of cases of rich men and women who abandoned their wealth and chose poverty, all for the sake of Christ’s Gospel — something simply unthinkable even to the “holiest” Christians in today’s world. Contrary to the Protestant error that Christ has suffered in order for us to be rich, our  Lord Jesus Christ expects us to imitate Him in all things—His life of holiness, His zeal in doing good, His rejection of worldly riches, His choosing of poverty, and, in fact, even His martyrdom for the salvation of His brethren!

Indeed, what some call “the gospel of prosperity” is simply not in the Bible and people who preach that are purely serving their master, the devil. From the Gospel according to St Matthew to the Revelation, nothing like that truly exists. In fact, rather than blessing the rich people of His time, as modern false teachers do, Our Lord spent a great deal of time and energy denouncing them. We end this topic with one of such — blessings and woes addressed by Christ Himself to the rich and the poor:

“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep. Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets” (Luke 6:20-26).      

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