Saturday, 13 December 2014

Father Tom Rosica - The Essenes and faithful Catholics "a sealed fortress"

Thomas Rosica, CSB, is the English-language spokesman for the Holy See's communication office and Executive Producer of Salt + Light. He spoke recently to KTO, the Catholic television operation in France and in the presence of the Apostolic Nuncio.

Never missing an opportunity to slam Catholics faithful to tradition and Tradition, Rosica did it again using the ancient Essenes as a comparison.

Here are some excerpts from his speech delivered in French and translated here with the help of Google Translate:

"Let me share some of my first Bible scholar training at the Biblicum of Rome and the Bible School in Jerusalem. On the northwest shore of the Dead Sea in the south of Israel, is the site of the Essene establishment where, in 1947, a young Bedouin discovered the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. Manuscripts that retired to a cave that day and the following days would become the greatest treasure ever found. The Essenes, an ascetic Jewish sect of the Second Temple period, were a rather fanatical group who lived from 200 BC to 75 AD. They had consciously chosen to settle in a readily accessible location. Their group of priests and laymen lived a communal life of strict dedication to God. They called their leader the "Teacher of Righteousness" and regarded him as the only real elected in Israel, the only true to the Covenant. The Essenes were convinced that religious leaders and the people of Jerusalem had gone astray and became unfaithful to God. That is why these pious Jews fled to Qumran to refocus and prepare for the coming of the Messiah. The writings of the Essenes reveal the climate of messianic fanaticism among the Jews of the time and make us discover the nature of the Essene community, lifestyle and beliefs as well as many details of the Second Temple, rituals and worship. These documents clearly describe an aspect of the religious world in which Jesus came to live."

I confess that I am not biblical scholar. According to my letters from Tom Rosica, I have no right to comment on anything Catholic or liturgical because I am neither “a trained liturgist nor a bishop." So, with that disclaimer, let me say this from my limited knowledge. 

The Essenes were the essence of Judaism. They were awaiting the Messiah and they indeed believed as Rosica said "that the religious leaders and the people of Jerusalem had gone astray and become unfaithful to God." They were "pious Jews" meaning they were seeking holiness and the desire to be closer to God. There was "messianic fanaticism" because they believed that the time of Messiah's coming was literally, at hand as it indeed was. On the above, he is correct.

What Rosica does not tell his audience is that many in the Church throughout history believed that St. John the Baptist was one of them.  The Jewish Encyclopedia itself states: 

“John the Baptist seems to have belonged to the Essenes, but in appealing to sinners to be regenerated by baptism, he inaugurated a new movement, which led to the rise of Christianity. The silence of the New Testament about the Essenes is perhaps the best proof that they furnished the new sect with its main elements. The similarity in many respects between Christianity and Essenism is striking.”

The Jewish Encyclopedia refers to the silence about them for one reason and it is what I have always thought about the Essenes from reading of them, they were the first Catholics!

The interchange between John the Baptist and the powers of Jerusalem which we will hear about at Mass this Gaudete Sunday shows the disdain that they had for him. We know from his preaching what St. John thought of the religious and political leadership. The Essenes, as John were actively waiting the Messiah and John proclaimed him to the “Lamb of God” and that he must “decrease” so Christ could “increase.” Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich in her Dolorous Passions (private revelation) often referred to the amount of time that Jesus spent with the Essenes and that he found a refuge there.  Can there be any doubt as to why?

Rosica continues:

“Qumran offers the Church a paradigm on its way to deal with the world, information, media and communications. There are people in the Church today who have felt a little what the leaders of the Essene community felt: they see themselves as the only true elect in the Church, as the last faithful. In their view, the only way to deal with the world is to flee, to build a community in places as inaccessible as the edges of the Dead Sea ... to erect a sealed fortress that pushes the outside world; it is to preach to the small group of elected officials and people who pose no problems. Experience has taught me that the method of Qumran is not the way to deal with today's world! Instead of avoiding the confusion and ambiguity of our age, to seek refuge in nostalgia for a past that is now buried in the heart of God, we need some of us to remain in the city, in this in the fray to offer the world a strong message of the Gospel, the Church's teaching, a ray of hope and a dose of badly needed joy. And we must do it simultaneously on different media platforms!”

Perhaps we should get rid of monasteries then or home-schooling? Given the state of the world today or in the first century who could blame the Essenes or anyone today for wanting to build a wall of protection around their families or themselves? Not everyone is capable of going out to the "peripheries." For some, the periphery is in their family.

I've heard this "nostalgia" canard before. When the fledgling "Oratory" at Ottawa where I learned the chant for the first time was slandered by the late Archbishop Plourde in the Ottawa Citizen stating, "Those that long for Gregorian chant suffer from nostalgia neurosis." More lies from those who never acquainted themselves with either Sacrosanctam Concilium or Summorum Pontificum.

Yes, there are many Catholics who feel as the Essenes did. I would not be so bold as to say that “I” am truly of the elect and nobody else is. In fact, other than to say that we seem a little “remnant” holding to the faith of our fathers which is biblical, I know of no faithful Catholic prideful enough to say that they are the “only true elect.” Did Our Blessed Lord not call the Jewish leadership "whitewashed sepulchres" and did not John the Baptist call them a "brood of vipers." Perhaps the Essenes knew something that Father forgets. There is a reason that they cut themselves off. Is there a parallel today? Indeed there is.

Who then, is Rosica speaking about? 

Given that he is in France, he probably has the Society of St. Pius X in mind along with other Ecclesia Dei orders and congregations.  The reality in France is that the Church in her eldest daughter is imploding. The only growth is in the referred to Orders and in the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon where the faith is taught without fear and the liturgy is taught properly in both Forms in the seminary. In less than twenty years in France, there will be more priests celebrating the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite than the Ordinary Form. How is that for a stark reality? The future of the Church in France more than anywhere else is traditional Catholicism!

It is nothing new for Rosica to attack those faithful Catholics in particular who associate themselves with these orders or the traditional liturgy.

Rosica continues that:

“Jesus has not established his base of operations on the shores of the Dead Sea, but in the cosmopolitan center that was Capernaum on the shores of the Sea of Galilee. In this small fishing village strategically located in the extension of the Via Maris, he could deal with all kinds of people, including tax collectors and a Roman centurion. He was really at home in Capernaum, not in Jerusalem or the Dead Sea. Even though Jesus was clearly not a politician, he had a keen sense of politics and rarely refused an invitation to dinner. Jesus attended the unclean, the sick and the dying sinners and those who lived in the margins of society. It binds to the sinners and the poor of his time - without approving of their behavior, but to offer them an alternative lifestyle. It teaches us that "being with people", it also happens to heal, restore, renew and reconcile broken humanity.”

Yes, Our Lord ate with sinners and tax collectors and he called them to repentance. Let us be clear, "without approving of their behaviour" as Rosica says, but let us be clear, those who manipulated the Synodal process and now try to say that it did not happen are now speaking with clarity. All of the tools to call back sinners are already here. There does not need to be a Synod to tell priests and bishops to go out to the peripheries. 

“Jesus asked his disciples to go to the periphery, to the ends of the earth, and not only where they felt comfortable. Jesus always spoke a language that people understand, and he used the media that people had access. He was the communicator par excellence. His incarnation was great communication between God and humanity. The challenge he noted is ours today. To be effective, use traditional media and new media, either as users or as communicators. The best way to use the media is to testify in the truth of the message we want to convey. The strength of our message and our work lies in the authenticity and transparency with which they are presented. Catholic television today must resist the temptation to run to an extreme in times of crisis. You risk becoming fundamentalist, clinging to a doctrine and a life form so severe that a person is locked up, like a secret garden or behind the walls of a fortress, so that it does are only those who are inside that can hear speech. There is also the temptation to run to the other extreme and adapt so well to the ways of the world and the values that the teaching and the truth of the Gospel entrusted to us are thereby diluted and distorted.”

The Essenes not only went out to the "periphery" they were the periphery!  

We must always "testify to the truth" but to state that "clinging to doctrine and a life form so severe that a person is locked up” is nonsensical. Truth is Jesus Christ. You cannot have truth without doctrine! Who else speaks in this manner? We can ask the question, is Rosica parroting Pope Francis or is Pope Francis parroting Rosica? Perhaps this speech is helping us get a little closer to the nub of the issue, eh?  With the ground being established for the next Synod in October, we can see where we are going and it is not good and we shall address this matter in the future post. The stage is now being set.

These men are out to marginalise faithful Catholics. They have as their strategist none other than Saul Alinsky himself and Rosica’s statements prove it by the identifying and discrediting those whom he sees as the opponents to his ideology. These men are Modernists and they are hell-bent on changing doctrine through stealth – by the change of practice under the guise that which is considered pastoral. Modernism is the "synthesis of all heresies" as St. Pius X wrote in Pascendi.  

For proof that the change of doctrine occurs through practice one need look no further than the belief in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. They moved the tabernacle to a side wall or another room and off the apex of the apse or reredos because the faithful would be confused between the dynamic and static presence. They made us stand and forced us to receive Him in our hands. They gave lay people in whatever state they are in the right to distribute Holy Communion. Ask yourself, did they change the doctrine? Not officially, but what is the state of this belief now? Do not forget the Latin phase, Lex orandi, lex credendi -- the law of prayer is the law of belief.

They refuse to rule out that they will not change the teaching on Holy Communion for people who are adulterists and homosexualists and living in unchaste relationships. Why? Why are they so afraid to say there will be no change on the reception of Holy Communion?

 What this is about is a further desecration of the Holy Eucharist and a fundamental heretical protestantisation of the Catholic Church and they are caught up in false humility, false evangelisation and false faith. They act is if they have lost the faith, if they ever truly understood it.

Tom Rosica condemns the Essenes for wanting to escape the world and for calling evil, evil. He compares faithful Catholic to them for the same thing.

In a recent interview, Bishop Athanasius Schneider said, "Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert." (Ep.2:43.)

So what are we to think about those who call good evil and evil good?


Woody said...

It appears, unfortunately, that Fr. Rosica has not learned or remembered his history. The late Fr. Bargil Pixner, OSB, whose books are perennial best sellers to English speaking pilgrims to the Holy Land, was of the view that not just John the Baptist but all of the main characters related to Jesus, Anna, Joachim, Mary, as well as Elizabeth and Zecharaiah, lived in close proximity to the Essenes in Jerusalem (there was an Essene quarter) and were greatly influenced by them. Thus, the Essenes practiced virgin consecration, whereas the other Jews did not, so Mary's consecration was Essene-inspired.
The kind of evangelization by being in place that this represents has historically been very effective, and has been the trademark practice of many groups,including the Orthodox and anecdotally some Catholic missions as well. Think of Saint Theophane Venard, who evangelized by just being there in Tonkin, even though always hunted.
The thing about this kind of evangelism that is so important, though, is that by not trying to go to the peripheries, the faithful keep the faith whole and untainted by the outside world. Used to be that was thought vital, now some appear not to value it so much.

Brian said...

More from the Modernist echo chamber of Rosica.

Thanks Vox, for keeping tabs on this guy. Not pleasant but necessary.

Unknown said...

That's right, the implication of his moralizing is that monastic institutions are defective and represent a counter-witness to the Church's mission. It's just nonsense.

Restore-DC-Catholicism said...

I believe not too long ago you posted an article that cited Fr. Rosica as calling the Holy Family "irregular".

Netmilsmom said...

I attend a Chaldean Bible study. The Priest told us that it is believed that Christ was Essene.
I'll proudly be compared to them.