HOLY, VERSUS LUKEWARM PRIESTS
by Vincent T. Bemowski - Webmaster/Editor
Do you love the Church? Or are you among the lukewarm who defend those who create scandal in the Church? Catholic Messages USA.com contains letters and a booklet sent to Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI that reveal the lukewarm spiritual state of today's Church in America and the West. I have been given the charismatic gift of Wisdom to be used for a special Mission from our Lord, and part of that Mission is revealed on this website.
My wife Loretta (a "victim soul" who passed away April 22, 2009) and I also received an Apostolic Blessing from Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI to help us accomplish that Mission that includes awakening cardinals, bishops, and priests from their "sleep" so that they may return to fulfilling the vows they made to the Lord.
This website is a spiritual journey that contains "Messages of Hope" designed to help all who desire to become truly holy. I hope you will study the below teachings for the good of your soul and for the good of the Church:
HOW TO IDENTIFY A LUKEWARM SHEPHERD
"I know thy works, that thou art neither cold, nor hot. Because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold, nor hot, I will begin to vomit thee out of my mouth. Because thou sayest: 'I am rich, and made wealthy, and have need of nothing...knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked....
Such as I love, I rebuke and chastise. Be zealous therefore and do penance. Behold, I stand at the gate and knock. If any man shall hear my voice and open to me the door, I will come in to him and will sup with him and he with me. To him that shall overcome I will give to sit with me on my throne; as I also have overcome and am set down with my Father on his throne"
(Apocalypse 3:15-17, 19-21).
Do we have a right to judge others in the Church, including our Shepherds? Without question, we are given this right:
"For what have I to do to judge them that are without? Do you not judge them that are within? For them that are without, God will judge. Put away the evil one from among yourselves"
(1 Corinthians 5:12-13).
The judgmental person acts out of pride, the true Christian judges those within the Church for the good of the Church and follows the Guidance offered by the Holy Spirit. Here are some of the marks of those who are lukewarm. It would not be correct to judge based on a single point for many are working to become better Shepherds. It is more accurate to judge based on an overall assessment of that Shepherd after prayers for discernment and a period of time has elapsed.
1. Lukewarm Shepherds do not truly love Christ, His Church, or their Flock. They seek to please man because they wish to be popular, so they cannot be considered true servants of the Lord:
"For do I now persuade men, or God? Or do I seek to please men? If I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ" (Galatians 1:10).
Their sermons are designed to please the "crowd" rather than Almighty God. Even in very evil times they will consider the vast majority of their flock to be "good."
2. Lukewarm Shepherds will not teach "fear of the Lord," therefore very few of their Sheep will possess true wisdom:
"Holy and terrible is his name, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom"
At Fatima, three young children were shown a terrible vision of Hell. If God Willed to teach these children the consequences of unrepentant sins, should not adults also confess their sins frequently and think about the consequences of living in a state of mortal sin?
"Fear of the Lord" involves respecting His Authority and seeking His Help in all that we do. It does not mean we should be scrupulous or have an excessive fear that God will harshly punish us each time we commit a venial sin - it means that we must trust in His Mercy and realize that God truly loves us and will always forgive us if we are truly sorry for our sins. This is why the Divine Mercy prayer is: "Jesus, I trust in you."
Part of being "lukewarm" is refusing to frequently go to Confession. The great Saints sought out a good spiritual adviser and cleansed themselves of even the smallest of their sins on a monthly, or even a weekly or daily basis.
3. Lukewarm Shepherds will not preach or accept correction. Among the Church's Spiritual Works of Mercy is:
"Give correction to those who need it."
Admonishing others differs from being "judgmental," but following the lead of the devil, the sermons of lukewarm Shepherds will only advise you not to "judge" others and will seldom if ever speak of the mercy involved with correcting others who sin against you or their neighbors.
Do not husbands and wives correct each other - do not good parents correct their children? When you spiritually correct sinful people it reveals you are concerned about their soul, and that is part of what it means to "love your neighbor as you love yourself."
4. Lukewarm Shepherds will come to the "defense" of their "brother priests" even when they are lacking in holiness and are not doing God's Will. They have forgotten how Jesus defines what it means to be His true brother:
"For whosoever shall do the will of my Father that is in heaven, he is my brother...."
5. Lukewarm Shepherds remain silent to many evils. Thus, evil continues to grow within the Church. The primary reason for the decline in vocations to the priesthood is that many priests love the world more than they love God and therefore set a poor example to their flock.
At Holy Mass lukewarm Shepherds are more aware of the presence of the people than they are of the Lord, and will often pray directly to their flock, rather than to Our Lord. They forget that they are "intercessors" and not showmen or entertainers.
6. Lukewarm Shepherds grow "tired" of speaking of the persistent sins of their Flock - they will speak little of receiving Holy Communion in a state of mortal sin, taking the Lord's Holy Name in vain, pornography, unnatural relationships, artificial birth control, missing Mass on Sundays and other Holy Days, greed, impurity, the worship of the false gods of consumerism and the excessive pleasures of this world, dressing immodestly, especially at Holy Mass, and keeping Holy the Lord's Day.
7. Lukewarm Shepherds are very worldly. Shopping, attending or watching games on television on the Lord's Day or attending immoral movies, is not creating scandal or "sinful" to them. To please the "crowd" they frequently tell jokes and speak of things like football at Holy Mass. Although the Sacred Scriptures never record any statements by individuals excusing their sins because they are "only human," this is a common excuse with many Shepherds. They forget this warning given to us through the Holy Spirit:
"Adulterers, know you not that the friendship of this world is the enemy of God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of this world, becometh an enemy of God" (James 4:4).
8. Lukewarm Shepherds will seldom speak of the Holy Father's writings or speeches. Against God's Word they possess little knowledge of any Papal Encyclicals:
"Hold the traditions which you have learned by word or by our epistle"
(2 Thessalonians 2:14).
They also fail to teach the Catechism on Sundays as recommended by Pope Pius X, thus many of their flock remain ignorant of the teachings of the Church and what is truly sinful.
SPIRITUAL QUALITIES OF A GOOD SHEPHERD
The following was included with a letter dated November 13, 2000 that was sent to Pope John Paul II (it was also sent to Pope Benedict XVI):
"I am the good shepherd; and I know mine, and mine know me. As the Father knoweth me and I know the father; and I lay down my life for my sheep. And other sheep I have that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice and there shall be one fold and one shepherd" (John 10:14-16).
1. A good Shepherd is not like everyone else. God has called him to be set apart from the Sheep. He must pray regularly before the Tabernacle for the desire to live in the presence of God. He must be truly holy and he must give his Sheep good example or they will not follow him. Lax Shepherds will be held accountable by Almighty God for Sheep that go astray due to his poor example:
"Neither doth any man take the honor to himself, but he that is called by God, as Aaron was"
"Because it is written: 'You shall be holy, for I am holy'"
(1 Peter 1:16).
2. A good Shepherd is a good teacher and devoted to Mary. When possible, each day he leads his flock in the Rosary. Not only does he teach by example during the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, but a good Shepherd constantly seeks to please God the Father and feed the souls of his sheep so that they may not become lukewarm. Unlike worldly Shepherds, he desires to prevent sin, gain souls for Heaven, and bring back the Sheep that are lost.
If he does not do this, he faces a severe judgment:
"But my flock you did not feed. You drank the milk and you clothed yourselves with the wool, and you killed that which was fat; but my flock you did not feed. The weak you have not strengthened, and that which was sick you have not healed, that which was broken you have not bound up, and that which was driven away you have not brought again, neither have you sought that which was lost"
3. A good Shepherd knows the House of God is a Sacred Place, for our Savior is present! He reminds his Sheep that they must love the beauty of this quiet Place and thoughts of the world must cease - Jesus must be in their thoughts. It must not be violated by indecent behavior or immodest clothing, nor by any noisy, impious speech or rude actions:
"How beautiful art thou, my love, how beautiful art thou!....Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee"
4. A good Shepherd keeps holy the Lord's Day and the Feast Days of the Church and expects it of his Sheep. He speaks out against those who do unnecessary work or make Sunday a day of selfish pleasure and do not make it a Day of Spiritual Rest:
"Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day" (Exodus 20:8).
5. A good Shepherd attempts to reconcile himself with God through His Spirit, on a weekly basis. He speaks often of this to his sheep and also teaches them the value of frequent confession. Each week, he provides opportunities for large numbers of his Sheep to receive the spiritual benefits of this Holy Sacrament: "He that hideth his sins shall not prosper, but he that shall confess and forsake them shall obtain mercy" (Proverbs 28:13).
See: Nov. 30, 2007 - Pope Benedict's Encyclical Letter On Hope: SPE SALVI - Why we need a strong faith to truly possess the virtue of Hope.
Please pray for our Shepherds!
"It is my work, which I myself am now carrying out, in order to gather from all sides the little remnant which will remain faithful to Jesus and to His Gospel, to the Pope and to the Church united with Him...If indeed His return is close at hand, then my motherly action becomes more concerned and vigorous, in order to assist all my children to remain ever in the truth of the faith. This is why I have asked you to consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart. This is why, in these times of yours, I have spread everywhere my Marian Movement of Priests."
- Messages to Fr. Gobbi from our Blessed Mother.
"THE TRANSITORY THINGS OF THIS WORLD" - Saint Joseph Cafasso and others tell us what it means to be a holy priest and Pope John Paul II writes of the good example set by St. Joseph of Cupertino.
EXCERPTS: DIRECTORY ON THE MINISTRY & LIFE OF PRIESTS -"In order to be a good guide of his People, the priest must also be attentive to the signs of the times: those larger and deeper ones which concern the universal Church and Its sojourn in the history of man, and those which more closely affect the specific situation of a particular community."